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BEN RALEIGH  – 1997

One of my first songwriting heroes was Ben Raleigh, who was the lyric writer of hits like “Dungaree Doll”, “Wonderful, Wonderful”, “She’s a Fool”, “Love is a Hurting Thing” and one of my all-time favorites, “Tell Laura I Love Her” in 1962. I was introduced to him by one of my early mentors Paul Vance, who co-wrote “Catch a Falling Star”, “Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie Weenie Yellow polka dot bikini”. Paul wanted me and his nephew, Danny Jordan (who later became one of the Detergents) to write with Ben for a session we were recording as a duo for Diamond records.

Soon Ben and I just started writing together and started getting some good covers…Wayne Newton, Jack Scott, Leroy Van Dyke, Aretha Franklyn, Jose Feliciano, and Bobby Darin. Ben introduced me to Freddie Bienstock at Hill and Range, who asked us to write for several Elvis movies, to Arnold Shaw at E.B. Marks music who got us a hit with Helen Shapiro in the U.K. and to Al Gallico at Shapiro Bernstein, who offered me a chance to become the first Black country artist signed to major label.

At that time Ben was also writing with Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Sherman Edwards and Mark Barkan. I was lucky to have him on Wednesday and Saturday.

Then in 1963 we wrote and I produced “Midnight Mary” for Joey Powers. I still can remember taking publicity pictures and being handed a gold record by Larry Uttal (head of Amy/ Bell records), who whispered, “Now this doesn’t necessarily mean it sold a million records!”

We continued to write for several years and have covers by Dion, the Hues Corporation, Gene Pitney, Freddie and the Dreamers, etc. and when I was at WB Music I got the company to buy the renewal rights to his classic song, “Laughing on the Outside, Crying on the Inside”.

Two weeks before he passed away in 1997, we got together and updated “Midnight Mary”. Originally, our Hero worked on the railroad…( and with apologies to Joe Nelson, who wrote recently that it was his favorite part of the song] we changed the line to ‘Just got a job at the Airport. Also in the new version, Mary gets pregnant, which you couldn’t say in 1962.

In one of my last conversations with Ben, I asked him, which of all of his hit songs has earned the most money? He laughed and said, “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”, which he co-wrote in 20 minutes. He was offered a few thousand by Hanna-Barbera as a buyout…but opted for a royalty instead.

This was before the release of the Multi-million dollar making “Scooby-Doo Movie”…and it’s equally successful sequel!

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com


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After the “English Invasion” of the U.S. in 1964, at the urging of my friends, Paul Simon and Jackie DeShannon, I decided to go to London to promote my songs and productions. Bess Coleman, one of the Beatles press officers, with whom I was writing songs , brought me into the groups inner circle and I traveled with them on several stops of their, “Beatles For Sale” promotional tour.

Backstage at a venue in White City, George and Paul were playing guitar and singing to relax in with a handful of their old mates and confidantes. Bess introduced me to them, and just as Paul smiled and handed me the guitar for me to take a turn…John majestically strode into the room. Bess introduced me to him as the American who wrote the recent top ten UK hit by Helen Shapiro, “Queen For Tonight” (Raleigh/ Wayne) John, with a wide grin, shook my hand and in a deep voice sang a parody of my song, ” I am a Queen For Tonight…but will I be a King tomorrow?”…which had the room in hysterics! Unfortunately, I didn’t know they were laughing at John, who was poking fun at the husky voiced 16 year old Shapiro’s sexuality, which had recently been questioned by the press…I thought they were laughing at me! I was embarrassed, but managed a smile as I passed on playing one of my songs and handed the guitar over to John, who sat down and sang, ” I’m A Loser”.

Although that was my only personal encounter with John Lennon, it wasn’t the only connection I had. The first was in 1968, when I found a song, “John You Went Too Far This Time”, a reaction to the John and Yoko naked “Two Virgins” album cover, recorded by Sissy Spacek, whom I discovered and renamed “Rainbo”.
The second was concerning the original artwork of “Clouds” used on the “Imagine” album cover, which I was given as security from a friend who needed a fast $100.00 loan! I never asked my friend how he got it, but I knew I had to enjoy the painting in “secrecy” for as long as it was in my possession! Then one day, about three years after John’s assasination, my now well-heeled friend who gave me this treasure in trust, offered to buy it back. Although I knew it must be worth upwards of a $100,000 dollars, I just asked him to return the hundred dollar loan I made him originally. To this day I wonder was that the right choice?

Anyway, here’s a glimpse of this beautiful piece of art that hung for years in my office at Warner Brothers music. You can see it in the upper right half of the photo.

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Artie Wayne with Singer and Songwriter Patti Dahlstrom

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/+

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On July 30, 2006 Top of the Pops, which has been on the air in the U.K. for 42 years, will broadcast its final show. I only saw the show once…when I went to London for the first time 40 years ago…

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In 1964, when I became disillusioned with the music business
in the U.S., my friend Paul Simon [then known as Jerry
Landis], convinced me that I should go to London, where I
just had a top ten hit with Helen Shapiro, “Queen for
Tonight” [Raleigh/ Wayne]. At the time I was trying to get
some club work in New York’s Greenwich Village, Paul
introduced me to the folk scene and backed me up on guitar
at the Bitter End and Gerdes Folk City. He was tired of
plugging other people’s songs at E.B. Marks Music, and was
hoping his debut accoustic album with Artie Garfunkle,
“Wednesday Morning 3Am”, would put him on the map. His
producer at Columbia, Tom Wilson, disappointed with the
public and label’s response to the album, went in and
overdubbed the same electric group he used to record Bob
Dylan, which caused a controversy among folk purists!. I
remember, Paul shaking his head and telling me how much they
respected his music in the U.K. and how he longed to go back.

It didn’t take much to convince me that I too, needed a
change. My Liberty single “Where Does a Rock and Roll Singer
Go” [Wayne], had bombed out, money was slow coming in from
my songs, and Amy records, for whom I produced “Midnight
Mary” [Raleigh/ Wayne], was trying to take the Artist, Joey
Powers away from me, because I didn’t have any subsequent
hits.

As I was about to leave for London, I came down with the
chicken pox and had to postpone my trip. It was during the
next few weeks that I met Bess Coleman, one of the Beatles
Press officers, and started writing some songs with her.
When she said that she was friendly with the road manager
of the Rolling Stones, and Mick Jagger was going to be
staying at his apartment, I jumped at the chance to write
for the group.

We wrote a few songs…made a few demos…and Bess gave her
friend two songs to pass along to Mick. One of them, “It
Ain’t Me”, is the song I eventually sued over.

I knew the Stones were slated to record in Chicago, at the
legendary Chess studios, before they went to Hollywood,
where they filmed the “TAMI” show…so we crossed our
fingers and hoped we had made the session. We didn’t hear
back from anybody…so we uncrossed our fingers and went on
with our lives.

My co-writer, Bess Coleman, started preparing for the
Beatles to come to New York and introduced me to Jackie
DeShannon, who was the opening act for the Fab Four. As we
all hung out, it was Jackie, who re-ignited my desire to go
to London. She said she was going there on a promotion tour
in a few weeks, and it would be a perfect time me me to go.
I figured that I could still meet up with Paul Simon, and
play whatever clubs were left on his tour. When I arrived
at Paul’s publisher’s office, however, I found a note from
him saying that he had to go back to the States to promote
the reworked single of “Sounds of Silence”.

I wasn’t too upset, since It gave me the opportunity to go
to recording sessions and TV shows with Jackie and her new
co-writer, Jimmy Page. I had time to hang out and jam with
the Animals and the Moody Blues, play guitar with “Howlin’
Wolf” and “Sonny Boy” Williamson, participate in a
“kidnapping” of Cilla Black, from the Palladium, by her
pals, Mike Millward and Billy Hatton, of The Fourmost, and
go on the “Beatles for Sale” promotional tour.

It was at “Ready, Steady, Go”, while chatting up one of the
dancers, I heard a few familiar lines being sung by the
Rolling Stones. It sounded like the song Bess and I had
given their road manager to pass along to Mick. They were
celebrating the success of “Little Red Rooster”, which was
their first number one record, and this was the b-side,
“Off the Hook”. After the performance, I went over to Mick
and told him how much I enjoyed the way he did my song…he
just looked at me somewhat astonished and just walked away,
without saying a word!

The next day, when I bought a copy of the record, “Off the
Hook” and I saw that it credited Nanker Pheldge [Jagger and
Richards] as the writers! I hired David Jacobs, one of the
Beatles’ lawyers, to put a temporary injunction against the
single. This came as a shock to everyone, bringing a volley
of threats against me.

I decided it would be safer for me to keep a very low
profile for the remainder of my trip to London…and I hid
out with a couple of “Birds” who lived on the floor below
Charlie Watts in Ivor Court.

I heard that a lot of unsavory characters were out looking
for me, but I managed to escape the U.K. and get back to
New York unscathed. For the next five years I spent
thousands and thousands of dollars seeking justice in the
U.S. courts, but ultimately lost the case. It seems that
the defendants claimed they wrote their song a week before
I wrote mine and sang it to an engineer friend, which in
the U.K. constutes a common law copyright! Although my case
prompted a change of the U.S. copyright law, I was
devestated, traumatized and lost my will to write. This is
when I started working for an array of publishers, showing
other people’s songs.

It was years before I was able to write again…but now,
forty years later I can talk about it… and hardly feel
any pain.

Regards, Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com

A few days ago, on July 6, I wrote about a sudden medical emergency I had that made me think I was having a heart attack! Although I fellt better after I calmed myself down with deep breathing and meditation, I decided to see a doctor. After several hours of tests, he determined that I didn’t have a heart attack or a stroke. He did say that whatever I used to calm me down worked…and asked for a copy of the technique that I used.

For the last few days, I’ve had a chance to rest and reflect on my life. I woke up this morning refreshed, did a deep meditation and turned on the news. The headlines shouted, “Terrorist Bombings in India…Israel attacks Lebanon…Wildfires sweep California, Arson suspected…Suicide bombings in Iraq!” I shook my head as the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love” started running through my mind. I turned off the TV, closed my eyes and went back to another time….

I first met Jackie DeShannon back in 1964, when she was on tour with The Beatles. We had talked on the phone a few times after I cut a couple of her songs with Joey Powers (for whom I had produced “Midnight Mary”) and we arranged to get together when she got to New York.

We hit it off immediately, with our mutual love of music, dancing and art museums. I was going to show her “My New York,” but she would up showing me hers. That world included after hour jam sessions in Greenwich Village with Dave Van Ronk, John Hammond Jr. and Tom Paxton.

My first (and only) single for Liberty Records, “Where Does A Rock and Roll Singer Go (When His Record’s Off The Charts)?” had just bombed out and I was discouraged with the music business in the States. Jackie suggested that I go to London (where I had just scored a top ten hit with “Queen For Tonight” by Helen Shapiro) in November, 1964, when she would be there promoting her latest single. Once again I was swept away to her galaxy, becoming friends with one of her co-writers, Jimmy Page, watching her perform on “Ready, Steady, Go!!” and going on several stops of the Beatles promo tour for “Beatles For Sale.”

Jackie and I never dated, but we hung out a lot, until a misunderstanding (too petty to remember) threatened our relationship and we hadn’t spoken in a month. Then, the day after I had open heart surgery (back in N.Y.), she called me from a recording studio to see how I was. She had the engineer play the backing track she was working on with Burt Bacharach and Hal David….and sang “What The World Needs Now Is Love” to me over the phone. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me….but I actually made medical history by walking around 36 hours after my operation!

Thanks to Peter Lerner and the Jackie DeShannon Society

http://jackiedeshannon.tripod.com/