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I’ve been a member of Spectropop, the 60’s music forum for about four years, and have reunited on line with many of my old friends in the music business. Ron Dante, producer and former lead singer of the Archies, Al Kooper writer and producer, and Artie Butler, Arranger. I’ve also become friendly online with dozens of other songwriters, producers musicians, and disc jockeys I didn’t know before.

For almost a year I’ve been corresponding with Eddie Hodges, former child actor (“The Music Man”, “Come Blow Your Horn”) and recording artist (“I’m Gonna’ Knock On Your Door”, “Girls, Girls, Girls, Were Made To Love”. He sent me an E-mail last week about an honor he received, which I’d like to share with you.

Artissimo,

It was a great evening. I was honored as the first Mississippian to ever receive a Grammy, but the actual Grammy went to the orig. cast album of The Music Man. I just happened to sing a couple of songs on the album, but according to John Hornyak of the Memphis chapter of The Recording Academy, that qualified me for a Grammy commendation.
The performances were fantastic. Jerry Lee Lewis looked a bit frail backstage, but told me he was fine – he did three songs and played and sang well. Marty Stuart was the emcee and performed alone and with the North Mississippi Allstars. It was fun reminiscing backstage with Marty about mutual friends – his performances were absolutely electric – what a talent! The North Mississippi Allstars were incredible, and I got to see them jam at a club later in the evening when they sat in with a local blues group. The legendary James Burton also performed and was great. When the Williams Brothers got up and did an accapella version of”Amazing Grace” with impeccable harmony, there was not a dry eye in the house. The Governor called me up onto the stage to recognize me individually and I was moved to tears. He also recognized the son of the legendary blues man Robert Johnson, who also was there. What a thrill it was to meet him. If they have a DVD of the show, I’ll get a copy for you.

There were people from NARAS, BMI, Malaco Records, AT&T, etc. Hartley Peavey, of Peavey Electronics who co-sponsored the event, gave away two of their guitars to members of the audience. NARAS put together a video of highlights form past Grammy Awards shows in which Mississippians won Grammys. I was glad I decided to go.

Attached are a couple of pics. One is from the The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson and shows the North MS Allstars and me in pics with the Governor. The other is just one I wanted to share with you that is a favorite from my personal collection and shows me sitting on W.C. Handy’s lap when I was a little kid.

I wish you could have been there. It was a humbling experience for me and my shyness was kickin’ my butt the entire time. But it was an honor and a privilege I will never forget.

God bless,
Eddie

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Considering all of the talented people who are from from Mississippi, including Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Faith Hill, and dozens of other artists, for you to have been the first mississippian to receive a Grammy is quite an honor! First I want to congratulate you as an artist, then as a humanitarian for earning your B.A. in psychology and becoming a mental health counselor!

You could have taken the dark road, as many former child stars have, but you chose a path of light. May you continue to inspire everyone you meet.

Thanks for sharing your joy with me and that picture of you and the father of the blues, W.C.Handy ( “St.Louis Blues”). I was about the same age as you were in that picture when I met Mr. Handy. His son was my music teacher.

Regards, Artissimo

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

Pictured at top Frank Sinatra and Eddie Hodges in “A Hole In The Head “, featuring the song that won the academy award, “High Hopes”

For more about Eddie Hodges http://www.meekermuseum.com/ehodges.html

For Spectropop http://spectropop.com


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In the past few months we’ve heard about millions of dollars being paid out by the giant music conglomerates, as a settlement for using payola to get their product played. The first time the public became aware of the practice was forty years ago, during the cold war, when endless repetition of popular music on the radio was the ONLY way to sell records!

Critics of Rock and Roll, equated the saturation of the public consciousness with this subversive music to “brainwashing” and many politicians saw this “pay for play” scandal as a way to stop the music in it’s tracks. What better way to accomplish this, than to crucify the man who was responsible for many of the hit artists of the day and the record companies who spawned them…The man who named Rock and Roll, Alan Freed.

The following is from the history of rock…

“Payola” is a contraction of the words “pay” and”Victrola” (LP record player), and entered the English language via the record business. The first court case involving payola was in 1960. On May 9, Alan Freed was indicted for accepting $2,500 which he claimed was a token of gratitude and did not affect airplay. e passed away in Palm Springs

Before Alan Freed’s indictment, payola was not illegal, however, but commercial bribery was. After the trial, the anti-payola statute was passed under which payola became a misdemeanor, penalty by up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison.

By the mid- fifties the independent record companies had broken the majors stranglehold on airplay and BMI licensed songs dominated the charts. In the wake of the quiz show scandals ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) urged House Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Oren Harris to look into the recording industry’s practice of payola.

ASCAP, with its head in the sand, believed BMI licensed songs were hits only because of payola. With the breakdown in morals, ASCAP believed these records were played so often by greedy deejays causing them to become imprinted on unsuspecting teenagers. ASCAP who had always looked at rock and roll as a passing fad. With these hearings they were trying to ensure that would be the case.

“The cancer of payola cannot be pinned on rock and roll.” ….Billboard Magazine. Billboard stated payola was rampant during vaudeville of the 20s, and the big band era of the 1930s and 1940s

The committee decided to look into deejays who took gifts from record companies in return for playing their records on their shows. Fearing the worse the record companies began stepping forward and announcing that they had given money to specific deejays. Soon twenty five deejays and program directors were caught in the scandal. Among the more popular ones were Joe Niagara (WIBG, Philadelphia), Tom Clay (WJBK, Detroit), Murray “The K” Kaufman (WINS, New York) and Stan Richards (WILD, Boston) The probe quickly focused in on the two top deejays in the country Dick Clark and Alan Freed’s broadcast alliances quickly deserted him. In late November, Freed was fired from both ABC-radio and WNEW-TV.

Clark, with more to lose, quickly gave up all his musical interests when ordered to do so by ABC-TV. When asked to sign a statement denying involvement Freed refuse and was promptly fired from his job with WINS.

When Clark appeared to testify he brought Bernard Goldsmith a statistician. Goldsmith told the committee that Clark had a 27% interest in records played in the past 28 months and those records had a 23% popularity rating. The committee was stunned as they wondered what came first the chicken or the egg.

Clark’s testimony began with telling the committee he had given up all outside interests connected with the recording industry. He also said the only reason he had gotten involved with those businesses were for the tax advantages. Clark admitted a $125 investment in Jaime records returned a profit of $11,900 and of the 163 songs he had rights to, 143 were given to him.

When questioned about Jamie records it was discovered that Jamie paid out $15,000 in payola, but Clark denied ever accepting any. The committee clearly didn’t believe Clark, but he received just a slap on the wrist. In fact, committee chairman Oren Harris called Clark “a fine young man.”

Freed who refused to deny involvement wasn’t so lucky. Though he would only receive a small fine and six months suspended sentence his career was in tatters. Freed would die penniless, a bitter broken man, Jan 20, 1965 in Palm Springs, California.. He was forty three.

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Alan Freed, Larry Williams, some guy in a hat and Buddy Holly

I first met Alan Freed in 1959, at one his legendary Rock and Roll Shows at the Brooklyn Paramount. I wanted to become a rock star…and Alan wanted to manage me. I spent a lot of time backstage with he and his”family”, which included Jackie Wilson, Jimmy Clanton, The Isley Brothers, Fats Domino, Bobby Darin, the Skyliners, Little Anthony and the Imperials.

While basking in their reflected glory, I thought back to when I started High School, and really had to search the radio for my kind of music. Alan Freed, was always the first one I’d turn to when I wanted to hear Bill Haley and the Comets, The Platters, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, or Elvis Presley!

As Rock and Roll became more and more popular, so did Alan Freed. He gave us all a steady diet of what we wanted to hear. I heard the word “Payola” from time to time, but it never meant much to me. Growing up in the Bronx, I accepted the fact that you did whatever you had to do to gain the edge! I thought, ” What’s the big deal about paying to have a record played anyway?”

In the early 60’s, when I was primarily a songwriter and producer, I was concerned with making quality commercial records and would only lease my product to companies who could give me the kind of radio exposure needed to make a hit! I never asked them how they did it …and they never told me! I always believed what you don’t know, won’t get you indicted!

Whatever Alan Freed did or didn’t do, he should be primarily remembered as one of the first Champions of Rock and Roll, a man who for the love of the music, was responsible for dozens of sucessful careers in the spotlight as well as dozens of those behind the scenes of the music business.

Thank you for befriending me and validating me in a way that nobody else could!

Alan Freed, R.I.P. Rock In Perpetuity!

Respectfully, Artie Wayne

 

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Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley and Jerry Leiber

Sometimes visiting Artie Wayne On The Web, is like going to the Turf Bar and Grill, after a long, hard day at the Brill Building! You never know who you’re gonna’ meet…but you know you’re gonna’ have a good time!

The last time I saw Mike Stoller, was at a quiet dinner with my late manager Marty Machat. Mike kept us spellbound with his tale of having been rescued from the Andrea Doria, the luxury liner that was shipwrecked in 1956!

The last time I saw Jerry Leiber, was at a little sushi bar, in Hollywood. He had me, and my friend, Patti Dahlstrom laughing so hard…that we forgot that we had an opening to go to at the Troubador!

The first time I became aware of Leiber and Stoller, the songwriter/ prodcers, was in 1956 when I saw their names on an Elvis Presley Record, “Hound Dog”. It wasn’t long before I considered them the equivelant of a “Name Brand”, and would buy one of their creations without even hearing the song! I became impressed with more than their songs and productions, however, when I realized how much they helped define the image of the artists they worked with!

Although Elvis had dozens of hits in his remarkable career, 30 years after he passed away, whenever there’s a tribute to him you”re sure to hear “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock” by Mike and Jerry. Both songs are full of humor and rebellion…and embody the Spirit of Elvis!

Until I saw their photos, I assumed they were “Negroes”, which African-Americans were called at the time. Their output of hits with deep roots in West Coast Rythym and Blues, The Robins, The Clovers and “Big” Mama Thorton was legendary but it wasn’t until their smash hits by the Coasters, “Young Blood” and “Searchin'”, did they start to leave their indelible mark on the Pop Music Market!

Although they produced many hits over the years for the Coasters, Drifters, Ben E. King, Stealers Wheel and Peggy Lee, the most memorable recordings they made are the songs they wrote or cowrote for those artists. These signature songs include, “Stand By Me”, and “I Who Have Nothin” for Ben E. King, “Yakity-Yak” and “Charlie Brown” for the Coasters, “Love Potion Number 9” for the “Clovers”, “There Goes My Baby” and “On Broadway” for the Drifters, as well as, “Is That All There Is? for Peggy Lee.

I never knew Mike and Jerry well, but I knew their songs intimately…and there was never a time that I’d be around them when I didn’t hope that a little of their “Magic” wouild kinda’ rub off on me!

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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Binky is horrified after discovering he’s only one pair of chromosomes away from being human!

The world is reeling after a cell phone video released on the internet shows a silver haired Elvis Presley, celebrating his birthday in Brazil with his balding pals, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Can a “Return of the Kings” tour be far behind?

Role model Paris hilton, in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight, admits she’s not promiscuous and only has sex when she’s in a relationship. Later, she confides in People magazine that she had 112 “relationships” in 2006!

At his long awaited press conference today, President Bush, was outraged that the entire press corp laughed when he proposed enlisting the aid of Jedi Warriors and Storm Troopers to help end the war in Iraq. When informed by veteran reporter Helen Thomas that they all were ficticious characters from “Star Wars”, Bush smirked and said, ” Next thing you’ll try to tell me is that Spiderman isn’t real! ”

Shock Jock, Howard Stern just received an 83 million dollar bonus from his bosses at Sirius radio. It’s reported that he gets $100 every time he curses or tells an off color joke.

Several technicians at NASA were fired today after it was revealed that they were using the extreme close-up lens on the Hubble telescope, which circles 380 miles above the earth, to photograph Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan exiting cars in Hollywood!

A team of Iraqi sharpshooters, rifles loaded with silver bullets as well as local villagers armed with wooden stakes, are said to be watching Saddam Hussein’s unmarked grave 24 hours a day…just in case the execution didn’t “take”.

The noxious fumes that hung over New York earlier this week was deemed to be only the fallout from the raging feud between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell.

Congress has unanimously approved the use of convicted Taliban as human missles. The terrorists, ironically, will have bombs strapped to them and dropped without parachutes over Somalia, to help wipe out their Al Qaeda comrades!

The video of the week submitted by Patti Dahlstrom should give you a smile! http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1734043

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

 

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Elvis on his 1968 NBC Comeback Special

I can’t think of person in Modern History who has had a greater influence on music and the pop culture than Elvis Presley! I was 14 when I first heard one of his records…and I haven’t been the same ever since!

As an African-American, I was laughed at in my neighborhood for liking and trying to emulate him. It angered the Black community that he allegedly said,”All “Colored” people can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records.” I never believed that someone who loved the Blues, R+B and Gospel music as much as he did would ever say such a horrible thing. Although he never confirmed or denied the statement, when he recorded, “In the Ghetto” in 1969, that was enough to convince me where his heart was really at!

Although I never met him, I got as close to him as I could, I became friendly with some of the writers who created some of his biggest hits; Otis Blackwell, ( “Don’t Be Cruel”, ” All Shook Up”, “Return To Sender”), Doc Pomus and Morty Shuman ( “Viva Las Vegas”, “Surrender”, ” HIs Latest Flame” ) Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold ( “It’s Now Or Never”), Sid Wyche ( ” Big Hunk O’ Love” ) and Spectropopper Paul Evans ( “I Gotta’ Know”.)

When my songwriting partner at the time, Ben Raleigh (“Tell Laura I Love Her”, ” Love is a Hurtin’ Thing” ) got us a shot at writing for some his movies, “It Happened At The World’s Fair”, “Kid Galahad”, “Fun In Acapulco”, Kissin’ Cousins”…I was in Heaven! Unfortunately, none of our songs were used but I treasured the advance checks we would receive from Gladys music with Elvis’ picture on them!

I never gave up on Elvis covering one of my songs, however, and in 1977 a song I co-wrote with Deanie Hofheinz, Nancy Barry ( Jeff’s ex-wife ) and Brad Berg called “Perfect Strangers”, made it to his last recording session but was never finished due to his untimely death.

About 10 years ago, I ran into Deanie in Nashville with her husband Ron Anton, a Senior VP with BMI. She said that she was trying to get a copy of the track and hinted that there might’ve been a scratch vocal by Elvis that went along with it. I’m still waiting to hear it!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

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Original Christmas of clips of Bing, Elvis, Band Aid, Darlene Love and Phil Spector! Christmas Video animations featuring Destiny’s child, Bobby Helms and the Drifters!

When Whoppy and Streaker were little more than kittens I sat down with them on their first Christmas Eve and sang Christmas songs on my guitar. Ten years later they’re playing Christmas songs for me that they found on the Internet! Sound outrageous? Not as outrageous as some of the the videos they found!

Here is the 50’s version of “White Christmas”, by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, one of my aunt Wan’s favorites, which my friend Publicist/ Writer Gary Stromberg, sent me as a Christmas card. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooc5eJc5SHA

Growing up in the 50’s, Irving Berlin was one of my greatest influences. He wrote other classic songs like “Easter Parade’, “True Love”, “Always”, and “God Bless America”, but none ever touched as deeply as his perrenial “White Christmas”. When I started in the music business, I remember going from door to door in 1650 Broadway, trying to get my songs published. One day I walked into Irving Berlin Music, which occupied a suite of offices on the second floor. I asked the receptionist If I could see Mr. Berlin, and play him a few of my songs. Holding back a smile, she said, “I’m sorry, but Mr. Berlin, no longer comes into the office…besides this company Only publishes Irving Berlin songs!”

This “Brash Brotha” from the Bronx, smiles and asks, “In that case may I just take a look at his piano?” She smiles back and says she shouldn’t be doing this…and took me into the room where he did his writing.

This is the instrument, I read about in Life Magazine. Berlin, with no formal training, was only able to play in the key of C. So he had this upright piano made with a “gear shift”, to change keys or modulate with a flick of the wrist! Although I want to sit and play, I don’t want to overstep my bounds, so I just gently and respectfully touched it on my way out.

Here’s “White Christmas” performed by Bing Crosby, from the 1942 film, “Holiday Inn”.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4430902754197897751&q=christmas+music+videos&hl=en

The next video is from a 1977 ABC special with a duet by Bing Crosby and David Bowie on “Little Drummer Boy”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zMhSjDqvRs

Author and songwriter, Patti Dahlstrom sent this interactive video Christmas card, I thought you’d enjoy! http://badaboo.free.fr/merryxmas.swf

Patti sent this incredible “Silent Night” interactive card as well! http://ecard.ashland.edu/2004admission/index.html

Along with my first phonograph, my mother gave me “Elvis’ Christmas Album”. Here’s a clip of Elvis Presley, from the Ed Sullivan Show, singing “Peace in the Valley”with the Jordanaires. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7879112400700265061&q=Elvis+peace+in+the+valley&hl=en

How did Whoppy And Streaker know I loved “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” It’s the Band Aid Video That Bob Geldof put together in 1984 to raise money for starving people in Africa.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jEnTSQStGE

Here are the Jingle Cats and their version of ,”Jingle Bells” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4713533704832803716&q=jingle+bells+jingle+cats&hl=en

Here’s Bobby Helms with Dancing Snowmen and “Jingle Bell Rock”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2785975325131488663&q=jingle+bell+rock&hl=en

Elvis Presley from his 1968 “Comeback” NBC Special doin “Blue Christmas” in a medley.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5220054224932530118&q=Elvis+Presley+christmas&hl=en

The next song, “Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer”, is one of the best known songs in the world. It was originally the B-side of a Gene Autry record, “If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas” It was the first 78 I ever owned, a gift from my uncle Mick and aunt Polly…to be played on the new phonograph my mother gave me!

Johnny Marks, the composer of “Rudolf”, as well as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, was definitely the King of Christmas? The song became so popular, that everytime a reindeer was drawn or painted with a red nose, he would get a royalty! Johnny was a character out of a Damon Runyan story, hair slicked back 40’s style, always nattily dressed, the kind of a guy you’d see at the race track waiting in line at the $100 window. He was quiet and assuming most of the year, but at Christmastime, he’d be in his glory! I remember once in the mid-sixties, during the holiday season , Johnny took my wife and I to lunch at Jack Dempseys’. The restaurant was located right next to the Brill Building and the poor man couldn’t take a bite without one his songwriter or publishing pals coming over to interrupt. Without question he was definitely one of my songwriting heroes!

Now Destiny’s Child’s 2001 video of “Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6009882569248305300&q=rudolf+the+red+nosed+reindeer&hl=en

About ten years ago after inexplicable weakness and episodes of falling down in the street. I checked into UCLA Medical Center for 3 days of test. They kept me for 3 weeks! It was a few days before Christmas, I was in a ward with many who were far worse off than me…and we did our best to keep each others’ spirits up. Somehow, I lost my phone book, and the only numbers that I could remember was my Mothers’, who had moved to West Virginia, and that of my long time friend Alan O’Day, who was on his way out of town.

It’s a policy of most hospitals to send as many patients home for the holidays to be with their family and friends. Soon, I was the only one left in the ward, since I had nowhere else to go. One lonely night, as I sat feeling sorry for myself, I heard a group down the hall, singing Christmas carols. I followed the voices to the the children’s ward…where I heard the joyous sounds of “Jingle Bells”. It was the Salvation Army, passing out toys and candy, and singing to the kids, who were confined to their beds. I joined in on “Silent Night”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”, but when they started singing “White Christmas”. Tears started running down my face, and I had to sit in another room to compose myself. This song, written by Irving Berlin, always brings back memories of family and friends in a snow covered New York City…flooding me with emotions.

10 years later, I told Toni Wine (“Candida”,”Groovy Kind Of Love”) I told her the story…and showed her some lyrics I had written that fateful night, “I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”. She loved it, but wanted to make the story more universal. Over two writing sessions, which we actually started on Irving Berlin’s piano that Toni bought many years ago, we came up with….

“I LOSE IT WHEN I HEAR “WHITE CHRISTMAS”
words and music by Toni Wine and Artie Wayne

They can play “Jingle Bells” all day
talk about Santa’s Sleigh
I’m alright on a very “Silent Night”
But then my tears begin
when they sing I can’t join in
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

Bein’ without you just ain’t no fun
What kind of thrill is cookin’ for one?
Can’t deny I wanna’ cry myself out
Here’s to Holiday spirit
don’t wanna’ be anywhere near it
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

And Baby I know…You needed to go
But why did you have to leave me now?

[instumental]

Don’t feel like spreading good cheer
Just wanna’ sleep in the New Year
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”
‘Cause I Lose it When I Hear “White Christmas”

Copyright 2005-CasmoTwine

If you’d like to hear the Tony Orlando and Dawn recording click http://artiewayne.com/I_Lose_It.html

Where to buy Tony Orlando and Dawn”Reunion” CD http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Reunion-Tony-Orlando-Dawn/dp/B000ANVP7Y

FOR THE ORIGINAL TOP CHRISTMAS MUSIC VIDEOS featuring

Elvis Presley “Blue Christmas”, Neil Diamond “Holly Holy”, Celine Dion “Oh Holy Night”, Bing Crosby and David Bowie “Little Drummer Boy” plus THIRTY MORE! JUST ADDED…JOSH GROBAN FROM HIS #1 “NOEL”…OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN FROM HER NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUM, John Denver, the Muppets, MORE!
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/the-top-the-best-and-the-greatest-christmas-m

For “Nookie’s Top Christmas And Hanukka Videos!” Adam Sandler, “Hanukkah Song”, Neil Diamond, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, ‘n Sync, Toby Keith, complete version of Charlie Brown Christmas, more! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/12/22/nookies-top-holiday-video-picks/

To reach Toni Wine http://toniwine.com

For Sebastian Prooth http://sebrt.com

To know more about Gary Stromberg’s book, “The Harder They Fall http://thehardertheyfall.blogharbor.com/

For the Salvation Army http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf

More Artie Wayne on the Web https://artiewayne.wordpress.com

If you liked “Whoppy and Streaker Present The Top Christmas Videos of all time”, feel free to share it with a friend…I you loved it, please feel free to send it to your entire address book!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka and the the best of the holiday from Artie Wayne On The Web…and Whoppy and Streaker on the couch!

You’re In A Coma With MTV!

November 29, 2006

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No, it’s not ex-Congressman Mark Foley about to turn a new Page.. it’s Howdy Doody and “Buffalo” Bob Smith!

I’ve known about the power of television since I was seven years old, and charged other kids five cents to watch “Howdy Doody” at my uncle’s, who had the only set in the neighborhood! I also remember performing in grade school every wednesday at “Show and Tell”, with jokes I learned the previous night from my other uncle, “Uncle Miltie”. In 1956, however, my whole world changed when I saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show! Up until then I wanted to become either a nuclear physicist or a clown…now I wanted to ROCK!

Unfortunately, I was a “Rebel Without Applause”, until I performed Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe”, at a High School talent show. Now the girls started paying attention to me. I don’t know if it was my Ed “Kookie” Byrnes cool way of talking or my red Elvis jacket, but even the neighborhood gangs started to respect me and would give me a head start before they’d chase me home from school! My role models were high school bon vivant, “Dobie Gillis” and “Love That Bob”Cummings, who portayed a photographer/ playboy. I even sucessfully used many of their characters outrageous “pick-up lines” that me got me close to some of the most beautiful girls in the world!

I was in for a big shock though when I got married and realized that real life wasn’t, “I Love Lucy”, and problems weren’t always solved in a half hour. Unfortunately, we wound up in “Divorce Court”…but fortunately for me, I lost the TV in the settlement! For the next 2 years, my creative abilities and productivity increased significantly. I no longer sat in the front of a tv set and watch negative stories on the news, or look at a sitcom, where the laugh track would tell me where to respond! I read, I bowled, I had actual conversations, and then I moved to Hollywood!

I was General Professional Manager at Viva music for two months before I learned how to drive. I guess I had too much time on my hands, and against my better judgement I bought my first color tv set. I was just like a recovering alcoholic, testing ing himself with just one drink…then craving a half dozen more! All I needed was one more game show, one more made for TV movie or one more talk show then, I’d be able to go to bed.

When it became no longer enough to watch TV…I had to Live TV! I started flirting with sitcom stars I’d run into at the Hollywood market, Anne ( “Honey West”) Francis, Denise ( “Room 222”) Nicholas, have dinner with Yvonne ( “Batgirl”) Craig, go dancing with Linda ( “Happy Days”) Purl or just hang out with Sissy ( “Love American Style”) Spacek. In case there would be trouble at some of the wild parties I went to, I made sure to be around TV tough guys like Michael ( “Streets Of San Francisco” ) Douglas, Bill ( “I Spy”) Cosby, Max ( “Beverly Hillbillies”) Baer and David ( “Kung Fu”) Carradine. It was during this time that I also became friendly with a couple of TV comedy writers who “appropriated” some of my real life stories and used them on “The Bobby Sherman Show”…the adventures of a songwriter! Instead of suing, I settled for a few of my songs to be used on the program.

Then I got bored with TV and all the bullshit that goes along with it, even relegated my set to a little used room in the house. That’s when my career started to flourish at Warner Brothers Music, which had recently bought Viva music. I didn’t pay much attention to television for the next ten years.

Then one day in 1982 I was invited to the launch of a new 24 hour cable music network, called MTV…and that’s when I saw the future! I’d been a fan of Scopitone, a european jukebox that played musical film clips, but I knew it could never succeed in the US because of the “stronghold” American jukebox operators had on the market. I looked at “this” MTV, not just as another place to promote music but as having the potential to become the primary means of delivering music to the masses!

In less than 25 years, MTV not only fufilled the prophecy, but actually helped to change the music itself. In the first few years the network played the ubiquitous videos of English artists, Duran Duran, David Bowie and Phil Collins, Austrailian artists Men At Work and whet the appetite of the American public for more of the same! In addition to music, fashion and slang started to travel around the world at a record pace, but it took Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and a near boycott by CBS Records to break the color barrier at the network! Soon Lionel Ritchie and Billy Ocean were being played as much as Blondie and became regular staples of MTV.

For years , the network thrived on it’s legitimate pop content, then something odd happened. There were fewer and fewer music shows aired in favor of reality shows. After the success of “The Real World” ten years ago, the “Reality” floodgates opened. Today when we watch MTV and it’s sister network VHI, we see endless episodes of “Laguna Beach”, where horny teens fuck with each others heads, and “Punk’ed”, where Ashton Kutcher plays practical jokes that would get him an ass kicking in real life! Then we have “Next”, “Breaking Bonaduce”, ” Road Rules”, “Made”, “The Fabulous life of…”, “Flava’ Flav”, “Best Week Ever”, and “Celebrity Deathmatch”. The most obnoxious, though, is “Sweet Sixteen”, which feature rich little bitches-in-training conning their parents out of expensive sweet sixteen parties and lavish presents. It’s a series that’s an argument for an official sanction of corporal punishment!

As far as the music goes, when you can find it, most of the groups have a sameness about them. if you don’t look at the lower left hand corner of the screen you might mistake Panic at the Disco for the Killers, or All American Rejects. It’s just about impossible to tell what rap video you’re watching, since Kanye West, “Diddy”, Lil’ Jon and “Snoop” Dogg appear in almost all of them, as either a guest or a featured artist!.

It seems like most of the artists today are conciously making music to please corporations and music directors who have narrow taste and program for an audience who prefers not to think too far outside their electronic boxes. I’ve read studies on how too much TV eventually overwhelms the viewer and diminishes productivity. I don’t want to be lulled into complacency, so I’ve decided never to watch MTV again…after I see the finale of “Laguna Beach!”

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

If you want to hear a recording that Terry Mace and I wrote and perform called   “You’re in a coma with EMPTY -V” click onto http://artiewayne.com/music/coma.wma

Special thanks to Alan O’Day http://alanoday.com for helping with the re-mix