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One day in 1973, while driving down La Brea in Hollywood, I saw Jerry Moss waiting in line at Pinks hot dog stand. I leaped out of my car and introduced myself!

He was standing with Jack Daugherty (the Carpenters producer) They were both surprised and amused by my boldness…which led to both of them opening the doors of the A+M lot to me. As time went by, I became friendly with not only Jack, but with Richard Carpenter, John Bettis ( who co-wrote “Top Of The World”, “Yesterday Once More”and Paul Williams ( “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Old Fashioned Love Song”). We would sit around Paul’s office, discuss music and play songs for each other.

About a year later, when the top position at Irving/Almo music became vacant, Paul Williams suggested to Jerry Moss that they consider me for the job.

In 1974, I left Warner Brothers Music and was asked to join the Irving/Almo publishing arm of A&M Records. The company had been run by Chuck Kaye, but Chuck had decided to take some time off. I was in the right place at the right time.

The following is the actual press release that Rondor Music (the parent company) put out to announce my hiring:

MOSS NAMES WAYNE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IRVING/ALMO MUSIC

Jerry Moss, president of A&M Records, has announced that effective March 15, 1974 Artie Wayne has been named executive director of publishing for Irving/Almo Music. He was formerly general professional manager and director of creative services for Warner Bros. Music.

Wayne was first discovered by Bobby Darin in 1959…who sent him to Donny Kirshner who had just formed Aldon Music with vet song man/producer Al Nevins. It was there that Wayne learned how to write songs from Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield.

He went on to collaborate with Paul Vance and in 1963 co-wrote his first hit “Meet Me at Midnight Mary” with Ben Raleigh and produced Bell Record’s first hit with Joey Powers.

In 1965, Wayne went to Scepter Records with Ed Silvers, where he produced the Shirelles, the Kingsmen and the Guess Who. When Silvers moved to the coast to join Viva Records, Wayne stayed in New York.

Unable to afford to sign Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, whom he worked with at Scepter, he took the duo to Eddie Holland, who signed them to Motown. In the next four and a half years, Wayne and partners Sandy and Kelli Ross build Alouette Productions into the top New York administration and exploitation firm of the late sixties. They represented Quincy Jones, (Joey) Levine and (Artie) Resnick, (Gary) Geld and (Peter) Udell, Bobby Scott, Janis Ian, Ron Haffkine, Leslie Gore, Bo Gentry and Jerry Jeff Walker.

After moving to the coast in 1970, he contributed pieces to Rock and Fusion magazines and reviewed acts for Cash Box before joining Viva Music as professional manager.

For the last three years, Wayne has been general professional manager and director of creative services for Warner Bros. Music. He directed the New York, Hollywood and Nashville professional staff, which has been dubbed “The Warner Raiders.” During those years, they represented the works of America, Badfinger, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, the Faces, the Fifth Dimension, the Kinks, Gordon Lightfoot, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, Randy Newman, Stephen Stills, John Sebastian, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimmy Webb, Neil Young and many others.

He spearheaded campaigns that resulted in multiple recordings by Three Dog Night, the Lettermen, Bobby Sherman, the Jackson Five, Johnny Winter and Art Garfunkle. His “Raiders” were also responsible for over 50 “cover” records of “Theme From Summer ’42” before the composition received a Grammy or Academy Award nomination. In 1973 the company boasted 55 chart singles and representation in the average of 33 chart albums every week.

More recently, Wayne acted as musical consultant on Warner Bros. Films’ “Cleopatra Jones” which resulted in two top 20 records by Joe Simon and Millie Jackson.

Although his time only allows him to be an occasional song writer, over the years he had nearly 200 of his own compositions recorded, including, among others, titles by Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, Jose Feliciano, Chi Coltrane, Rick Nelson, the Jackson Five, Miriam Makeba, Tiny Tim, Wayne Newton, and most recently, the much-covered “Flashback” (co-written with Alan O’Day) with chart records by the Fifth Dimension and Paul Anka.

My first day at the office I found “I Honestly Love You” and sent it to Olivia Newton John https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/09/13/olivia-newton-john-tries-to-squeeze-one-more-hit-out-of-jeff-barry-and-artie-wayne/

The following week I discovered and signed Rick James
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/26/rock-and-roll-heaven-soars-on-internet-tribute-to-croce-perren-and-james/

I had a chance to work with Brian Wilson https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/brief-encounters-with-brian-wilson/

I didn’t have a chance to work with Billy Preston https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/25/rock-and-roll-heaven-rocks-internet-special-tribute-to-cash-pitney-preston/

Got to work with my old pal Jeff Barry https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/02/10/jeff-barry-i-honestly-like-him/

Became friends with Barry White  https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/28/a-very-special-tribute-to-barry-white-mickey-most-and-jimi-hendrix/

During a time when women were treated unequally in the music business, I did everything I could to give talented, qualified women a break. I promoted my Secretary, Margo Matthews, to the Head of the Copyright Department where she remained for over 30 years.

Brenda Andrews, had been a secretary for seven years before I arrived. Not only did she have a good song sense, but she was showing songs in the catalog and getting more covers than anyone on the professional staff! I doubled her salary and made her an official songplugger. I’m happy to say that she retired a few years ago after becoming senior Vice-President of the company!

Lance Freed, the son of disc jockey Alan Freed, was fairly new to publishing at the time, but had potential. He ultimately became president of the company, a position which he still holds today.

I was told by Jerry Moss when I was hired that I was in charge of the World Wide Publishing operation, only to find out from one of A+M’s lawyers on the eve of my departure to Europe, that I was only in charge of the operation in the US!

Jerry was out of the country, so I couldn’t get this “mistake” straightened out. Besides, I had a meeting in London the next day with Richard Branson to make him an offer to buy his company…Virgin Records.

(To Be Continued)

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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VAN MCCOY 1/6/40 – 7/6/79

Back in 1966, having been traumatized by my run in with the Rolling Stones in the U.K., I returned to the United States. My friend, Ed Silvers, who produced me as an artist for Liberty records, was now a vice-president of April-Blackwood music [Columbia Records publishing arm], and gave me my first job as a songplugger. Of all the staff writers who were signed to the company, Van McCoy, who was starting to make a name for himself, impressed me the most.

This was the first of many times in my career that I worked with him. I wasn’t at the company very long, but I managed to get Van a top 20 Billboard hit when I gave Chad and Jeremy, “Before And After”.

The next time I worked with him was when I went into business with David Kapralik, who was formerly the head of April-Blackwood. Van McCoy was producing for David and recorded a song from one of the writers I discovered and signed to an exclusive contract, Tony Romeo, who later went on to super-success writing for the Partridge family. Needless to say I was thrilled when Van put “I Will Watch Over You”, on the B-side of “Close Your Eyes”, the first hit by Peaches and Herb!

The last time I saw him was in the mid 70’s, just before his rise as the ‘King of Disco’, with “The Hustle”. He was in the Billboard top ten with “Walk Away From Love”, by David Ruffin, and Ed Silvers, head of Warner Brothers music sent me to New York to hang out with him and hear his new material. Van sat down at the piano and played me a half a dozen new songs that were sensational!! Then he invited me to the studio where he was putting down 16 tracks of live drums, a Linn drum machine and percussion for a 25 minute dance track.

It’s been almost 30 years since he passed away, but I still hear his vocal influence today in artists like Usher, Justin Timberlake and Ne-Yo, who may or may not know who their “Musical Grandfather” was. Van’s singing was largely unknown by the general public, but his unique phrasing became popularized by artists who heard his demos and recorded his songs.

My faves in Van’s catalog include, “Baby, I’m Yours” by Barbara Lewis, “Giving Up” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and “When You’re Young and in Love” by Ruby and the Romantics.

I wish someone would put together a CD of Van’s incredible demos, so people outside of the industry would know what a great talent he really was.

VAN McCoy R.I.P.Rock In Perpetuity!

Your Friend, Artie Wayne

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne

WHILE FIGHTING LARGE CORPORATIONS WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP ROYALTIES AWAY ME AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER ARTISTS, SONGWRITERS AND PUBLISHERSMY ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME IS FROM THE SALE OF MY BOOK. ” I DID IT FOR A SONG”, WITH OVER 100 STORIES FROM THE MUSIC BUSINESS OF THE ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I HOPE YOU’LL CONSIDER BUYING ONE DIRECTLY FROM ME THROUGH PAYPAL FOR ONLY $9.99 AT  artiewayne@gmail.com OR BY CHECK TO…ARTIE WAYNE  P.O. BOX 1105, DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA 92240

THANKS AND REGARDS, ARTIE WAYNE https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

 

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A few days ago I was apprehensive about blogging my experiences with the paranormal, today I can’t wait to start again! I’ve learned so many things in the time I’ve spent on Earth that I can’t wait to share them!

I’m not a professional psychic, documented healer, or spiritualist. I’m a writer and an artist who’s lived an extraordinary life http://artiewayne.com/ I do, however, consider myself a psychically attuned, spiritually guided, observant layman who has made remarkable discoveries. Ever since I was a child I knew I was being given information and instructions from another place. When I started writing songs and composing music, I always felt that the best ideas, lines and passages came from somewhere else…somewhere outside of my ego and my own frame of reference.

Although I currently use deep meditation techniques to receive and access information, my best and deepest songs have all come from intense emotional times in my life.

The first time that I realized that I was channeling information from the other side was in the summer of 1966. I was a staff songwriter and producer for Scepter records in New York City. I had just gotten married and like most young breadwinners needed extra cash. I made a deal with Ed Silvers, who headed Scepters publishing company, that I would get a base salary of $125 a week plus $100 general advance for every song I’d have recorded. He would usually only accept one or two songs a week, which limited my income.

When he made a two week trip to Europe I took the opportunity to convince the label owners that I could write and produce sides for the Shirrelles, the Kingsmen and the Guess Who, as well as writing 10 new songs for a patriotic and spiritual concept album…all before Silvers got back.

Just as I started writing, my grandmother, “Gooma” who helped raise me and was a big influence in my life, became seriously ill. I was beside myself and stressed out, but I had a big job to do. In between bedside visits, I knocked out the pop songs first…then I did the patriotic songs. When it came time for me to do the spiritual songs, my grandmother took a turn for the worse. I started to write…and as I wiped away my tears, from out of nowhere an entire song came through me in less than 3 minutes. It’s called,” “Daddy, Daddy What is Heaven like?” It’s a song about a little boy having a conversation with his father…

Daddy, Daddy What Is Heaven Like?
By Artie Wayne

“Daddy, Daddy What is Heaven Like?

Is it like our house so pretty and White?

It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair…

If Mommy loved us so…why’d she go there?”

“Heaven, my child, is a beautiful place

Where there’s a smile on everyone’s face

Mommy loved us both but she had to go…

We needed her so but they needed her more”

“Daddy, Daddy is Heaven very far?

How long would it take if we go by car?

If you cross me at the corner, I can take my bike

Daddy, Please tell me what is Heaven like?”

 

“You can’t go there by a bike or a car…

But if you’re good you’ll go real far.

Maybe someday you’ll go to Heaven too

If I know your Mommy she’s saved a place for you.”

“Daddy, Daddy I can hardly wait

I’m so excited Heaven sounds great!

Can I run and tell sister goodbye?

Why is there Daddy a teardrop in your eye?”

Copyright 1966/ 2007 Wayneart music

What’s ironic about this is…I never knew my father on Earth and didn’t have any children myself! In retrospect, I look at this as an exchange with my heavenly father who was answering questions that were in my spiritually developing mind.

God let us keep “Gooma” a little bit longer and I was fortunate to have Tiny Tim record “Daddy, Daddy” on his Gold album “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.

I was proud when Miriam Makeba performed the song to a five-minute standing ovation in Philharmonic hall at Lincoln Center…but even prouder when she sang it on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” the following night and my grandmother was able to watch it.

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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Diana Ross As Billie Holiday

The following is Part III of Breaking The Motown Sound Barrier Series. If you haven’t read Part I, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, click on to https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/14/breaking-the-motown-sound-barrier-aint-no-mountain-high-enough/

If you haven’t read Part II, “What’s Goin’ On?”, click on to https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/09/23/breaking-the-motown-sound-barrier-part-two-in-the-series-whats-goin-on/

Part III

In 1972, Ed Silvers, President of Warner Brothers music was losing his patience with me because he thought I was spending far too much time at Motown. Although I was getting our songs covered by some of their biggest artists, they were only album cuts. Ed was convinced that I would never get a single released by them. I didn’t say much, but I had spent over a year infiltrating the company, and I knew it was just a matter of time before I scored big with them!

I started to notice a change at the company when CEO Berry Gordy, Jr. became interested in producing movies. When production costs soared, record production budgets were cut and fewer records were released. I remember hanging out at Motown one day when I ran into producer and song writer, Michael Masser. He played me a song he had written with Ron Miller and produced on Diana Ross, that was being canned again! When he played me “Touch Me In The Morning”, my mouth dropped open! I couldn’t believe such a phenomonal record could be in the can for over a year, but Berry had his own plans for Diana. He and Paramount pictures had started production on “Lady Sings The Blues” and he was determined to make Diana a movie star!

For the first time, I heard complaints from usually loyal employees about all the money that was being wasted on Diana’s film. I heard that Berry had shot a scene for the film using an integrated chorus line at the Cotton Club, which had to be reshot with only Blacks to maintain historical accuracy. This mistake cost $50,000! Athough the record company was still on top, it couldn’t keep absorbing such costs without suffering in the process.

The only new artists who were given the “Motown Push” were the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson who now was having hits as a single artist. I knew at this point that the only way I could have a chance for a hit with this company was to get a cover by the Jacksons or Michael. There was only one staff writer at Warner Brothers music who could write in a classic R+B style, George Clinton, Jr. ( not the lead singer of Parlement, but the one who later scored the three Austin Powers movies.) The two producers who loved Georges writing the most were Jerry Marcellino and Mel Larson, who just had big hits with 12 year old Michael on “Rockin’ Robin” and “Little Bitty Pretty One”. “Ben”, from the movie of the same name was racing up the charts and Berry Gordy asked each of his producers to start recording new sides with him.

I sat with Jerry and Mel and we talked about what kind of song they should record with Michael. I suggested A Christmas song…one so commercial that it could be the follow up to, “Ben”. When I saw their eyes light up, I told them that George Clinton, Jr. and I had started such a song! When they asked to hear it, I told them we were still working on it ( when in fact we hadn’t even started! ) I couldn’t tell them the title (’cause there wasn’t any!) I did tell them, however, that it was a true story of how my girlfriend left me out in the cold like the last tree in a lot which was left unsold on Christmas eve. They freaked out and said they had to have the finished song by Monday. I said, “No problem”

I called George, who knew nothing about any of this as soon as I got back to my office. He couldn’t believe I’d told them we’d have a finished song to them by monday, when it was friday and we hadn’t even started it! Saturday morning we met at my office, which was on Hollywood Boulevard across from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It was the middle of summer, about 90 degrees, but we had to get in a Christmas Mood. As I told George my sad story, I started throwing Ivory Snowflakes around the room…and after a few hours we had the verse and chorus of, “Little Christmas Tree”

Little Christmas Tree

words and music by George Clinton, Jr. and Artie Wayne

I watch the snowflakes fall against my window pane

and wonder if you are watching snowflakes too?

I take a walk downtown to where you used to meet me

There’s joy everywhere but all that’s waiting there…is just a

Little Christmas Tree..Lookin’ sorta’ sad and lonely just like me

No one seems to care… They just went away and left him standing there

All alone on Christmas Eve!

Copyright 1972/ 2006 by Warner Brothers Music

On Monday morning George did a piano voice demo, and I got it to Jerry and Mel that afternoon. They loved it so much that they knocked one of their own songs off the date and cut ours on thursday! I was almost in tears when I heard the finished record the following week with the news that it was being considered for the follow-up to “Ben”, which had just hit number one! You can imagine how I felt a few weeks later when Berry decided not put out any follow up to Oscar nominated “Ben”, until the Academy Awards were given out…after Christmas! A few days later I came up with a plan and presented it to Motown. Put 2 albums worth of previously recorded Christmas songs by all of their hit artists along with a new song that Marvin Gaye recorded and of course, Michael Jackson’s, “Little Christmas Tree”. I’m proud to say that “A Motown Christmas” has sold many times platinum over the years…but there was a dark cloud  loomng on the horizon!

( To Be Continued)

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

To hear a sample of Michael Jackson’s, “Little Christmas Tree” from “A Motown Christmas”, just click on to http://www.amazon.com/Motown-Christmas-Various-Artists/dp/B00000JPBZ/sr=1-1/qid=1165772884/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5725259-3053219?ie=UTF8&s=music

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“When I was plugging songs in back in New York City, I used to wear a jacket, tie and “good pants” ( not jeans). When I moved to Hollywood in the early ’70s, it was jeans and cowboy boots all the way! Although I do admit to having my jeans tailored and chemically “aged”, and wearing highly polished Fry boots with two inch stacked heels. It was like John Wayne meets “Superfly”

I remember one night I was standing outside the Troubadour bar getting my cool on, when Glenn Frey of the Eagles, walks over to me, looks down at my feet and says, “I don’t believe this shit!” At this point he and Randy Meisner wrestle me to the ground, remove my “sissified” boots and throw them in the middle of traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard! The last thing I remember, was all of us lying there in the street drunk with hysterics…or was it hysterically drunk?

I’d been trying to break the ice with some of David Geffen’s acts for months and this was a good sign. I was General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music and we administered the publishing companies of all of David’s artists including, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash, John David Souther and Neil Young.

As any good manager must be, Geffen is relentless in getting the most for his clients, and is always on my case to get more recordings on his artists songs. After the Eagles first album comes out, one my “Warner Raiders”, Bob Stabile, gets B.W. Stevenson to cut “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. B.W. just had a number one hit with “My Maria” and his cover of “Peaceful” becomes formidable competition to the original! Of course I knew why Geffen was freaking out, it’s always more important to have an artist make a hit with their own song than have somebody else do it! It broke my heart, however, when we had to stop the Hollies from recording “Witchy Woman” after they had a number one record “Long Cool Woman ( In A Black Dress)”, but there are millions at stake…not to mention my job!

After I get Michael Jackson to cut Jackson Browne’s, “Doctor My Eyes”, which goes top ten in the UK, things begin to change dramatically. Jackson talks me up to his label mates while my friend, Lita Eliscu, who runs his publicity department, talks me up to Geffen. For about a year David and I have what I like to call an “uneasy truce.”

Then one day I walk down to his office, which is only a block or so east of Warner Bros. Music. I have five copies of the not-yet-released Van Morrison “Moondance” album under my arm and Everybody in David’s office wants a copy! Off the top of my head I offer to give a copy to whoever can name 3 Van Morrison songs. First David’s assistant, Leslie, names 3 songs, she wins an album…then the mail boy names 3, and he wins one too.

At this point, Joni Mitchell walks in and asks what’s going on? I tell her about the contest, she picks up her guitar and plays 3 of Van’s songs and yes…we have another winner!

I see it’s getting late, and as much as I hate to leave, I have to get back to my own office. On the way out of the building I run into Neil Young. He sees the remaining 2 albums under my arm, says he’s a friend of Van’s and asks me to give him one. Unfortunately he’s not able to name even One of Van’s songs, so I say, “Sorry Neil”, explain the rules of the contest and quickly leave!

When I get back to Warner Brothers music, I hear Geffen on the phone yelling at my boss, Ed Silvers. When I explain “A contest is a contest”, Ed smiles, and sends a copy of Van’s album over to Neil!”

 Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com 

From Wayne’s new book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG” now available at  AMAZON , Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

TO READ SOME OF THE COMMENTS  CLICK  HERE

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Although Motown had been having hits produced in Hollywood for the Jackson Five and Michael Jackson, the move to the West Coast from Detroit allowed Motown more time and money to develop new artists, like the Commodores, Lionel Ritchie, and Thelma Houston, songwriters like Michael Masser, Patti Dahlstrom, and Clifton Davis. The producers that came into their own during that time, included Freddie Perren, Deke Ritchards, Fonse Mizell, Hal Davis, Jerry Marselleno and Mel Larson. Only a handful of those who had hits back in Detroit were able to make a successful transition. the first was Marvin Gaye, who initially met with resistance from Gordy when he delivered his landmark album, “What’s Going On’?” Berry wanted to continue his persuit of “The Sound Of Young America”, making “crossover” singles that dominated the charts. Marvin, on the other hand, wanted to push the envelope with a socially relevant concept album. My friend, Jobete staff writer Al Cleveland, told me that when he heard Marvin working on a new track in the studio, he stuck his head in the door and asked, “What’s Going On?” This led to their collaboration on a song that defined a generation!

Although I was General Manager and Director of Services for Warner Brothers music, I was up at Motown so often people thought I worked there. I would sit in the outer office flirting with the receptionist, waiting to see what producer or artist would walk in next. I remember meeting writer producer Norman Whifield (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, ” Cloud 9″) that way. After briefly, but enthusiastically, discussing his body of work he invited me into his office to listen to a track he was starting to work on. I sat there and listened to a track for twelve minutes that consisted of only of an electric bass and percussion and was a bit confused. I asked him if there was a song that went along with it? He started the track again…and sang, “Papa was a Rolling Stone”

Around the same time I cornered Freddie Perren in an elevator, who was cutting Jermaine Jackson and convinced him to cut a Warner Brothers standard, “I Only Have Eyes For You”. I also got Hal Davis to produce “I Want To Be Happy”, from the Broadway revival of “No, No Nannete” for Michael Jackson, which eventually went to newcomer Lionel Ritchie.

Although I was starting to get cuts…they they were slow to be released. Ed Silvers, President of WB Music, thought I was spending too much time at Motown and doubted I’d ever get any of our new material covered. I couldn’t give up now, so in an accelerated effort I got Hal Davis to cut “Doctor My Eyes”, which Jackson Browne wrote and Michael Jackson took to the top ten in the U.K. As my friendship grew with Jerry Marselino and Mel Larson, who produced a top ten hit with Michael on “Rockin’ Robin”, I suggested that they cut as a follow up, “Little Bitty Pretty One”, which I had no interest in. I knew for certain that I had their attention when it became a hit…but I wanted to wait for the right opportunity to present them with an original song that I really wanted them to cut.

In the meantime, over the next few weeks Norman Whitfield let me hear “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, in it’s various stages of development. There were layers of vocals put on and taken off, sections editited or deleted, countless re-mixes, and finally the last step…the mysterious mastering that set Motown apart from all the rest! That’s when I met Iris Gordy, head of Quality control, who allowed me to watch and listen as she performed her magic!

The Temptations classic was finally released and zoomed up the charts. I remember running into Norman Whitfield in the lobby of Motown, the day the song hit number one on the Billboard charts. He was livid that he had written and produced another smash for Motown…and Berry Gordy hadn’t even called to congratulate him…it was never like this back in Detroit!

Berry’s new aspirations, producing films and his obsession with making Diana Ross a movie star, brought new problems along with new priorities. For the first time in Motown’s history his relationship with everone he had worked with at the label seemed to be on shakey ground! (to be continued)

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Richard Perry
I was in the music buisness as a songwriter, artist, producer, publisher and promoter from 1960 to 1996 and met many people who have become legends. One CD and record producer who particularly stands out is Richard Perry. His track record is astonishing! From Tiny Tim, Harry Niilson, Barbra Streisand, Ringo Starr, The Pointer sisters, to the last four Rod Stewart “American Songbook” albums…he’s been consistantly on the charts for the last four decades!

I talked to him a few months ago after not being in touch with him for ten years ( I was quietly recovering from a spinal operation ) and have begun to submit songs to him again. I’d like to share a couple of stories with you from my forthcoming book about some of my experiences with him.

Richard Perry and I became friends in the mid-sixties when we were neighbors at 1650 Broadway. He was producing the “God Bless Tiny Tim” album and recorded one of my songs, “Daddy, Daddy What Is Heaven Like?” His first Gold Album, and mine. Since Richard isn’t a songwriter and depends totally on outside material, he became the number one producer that songwriters and publishers would persue. When I ran the professional department at Warner Bros. Music in the early ’70’s, Richard was always the first to hear our best songs. My boss, Ed Silvers, suggested that I update the old Johnny Burnette hit, “You’re 16,” with a New Orleans feel for Richard’s upcoming Fats Domino session. Richard loved it, but didn’t cut it with Fats. Over the next two and a half years it was turned down by 122 artists and producers. My little piano voice demo became an ongoing joke at Warner’s….until Richard Perry finally cut it with Ringo Starr and sold five million records!

The next story…

In 1971, the single “Stoney End” by Barbra Streisand was in the top ten, but her album wasn’t finished yet. Richard Perry, who was the producer, called me up on a Sunday afternoon and asked if I wanted to listen to the final mixes on Barbra’s album.

Needless to say I was thrilled, but as I sat in the studio listening to the playback something was bothering me. I couldn’t hear the lyrics loud enough over the track!! As I sheepishly told Richard what I thought, his engineer, Bill Schnee, jumped up and said, “I told you Richard……You can’t hear the lyrics !!” Richard looking a little stunned, smiled, thanked me for coming down and started re-mixing again.

The already overdue album was finally released a month later. My friend Allan Rinde, who was the Columbia Records’ West Coast Contemporary A+R director, told me that I’d be banned from the company forever if I ever interfered with any of their producers again!