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Last year I learned how to “Lean Back” from Fat Joe in his Hip-Hop Video. I tried to learn “The Krunk” from Lil John…but I guess I didn’t have enough “Junk in my Trunk” to execute it properly. Then I thought about another time and a simpler dance that everybody could do…The TWIST!! Capitalized not because it was such a great dance…but because it was such a great social equalizer! “The Twist” was written by Hank Ballard and Henry Glover, popularized by Chubby Checker, and made into an international phenomenon by “Jet-Setter”, Zsa Zsa Gabor! It was more than just a cultural phenomenon to me…it was a turning (or should I say, “twisting”) point in my life. Armed with my fake ID (which I made in High School print shop), I’d hit all the clubs in New York and do “The Twist” all night long in the early 60s’.

I was a singer/songwriter, starting to make a name for myself. I was dating Dee Dee Sharp, (“Mashed Potatoes”), which thrust me into the center of the dance universe. I remember going out to dinner with many of her well known friends, including Jerry Butler, Joey Dee, Ronnie and Nedra of the Ronettes, La La from the Crystals and various members of the Crests. Although I was the unknown and poorest of the group, in my shiny dark blue irridescent suit, I did look pretty affluent…and would be the one the waiter would always hand the check to. Fortunately, one of my well heeled dinner companions would grab the sweaty check away from me!

These associations lead me to be put on lists of the Peppermint Lounge, the Apollo theater, the Gold Bug and smaller venues all over the city, where I would bring artists and producers from all over the world. I remember taking Chas Chandler from the Animals, Billy J. Kramer and Gerry Marsden, from Gerry and the Pacemakers his brother Fred, to the Peppermint Lounge, where we saw the Ronettes perform one night. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie, “Don’t Knock The Twist’…The “High School Musical” of it’s day! At one point in the evening, the entire overcrowded room was on their feet. Even the fire marshall was “Twistin’ The Night Away”!

These days I keep looking in vain for a “Twist” night at the Disco. I guess I’ll just rewind my Betamax while I’m looking for my Hula Hoop!

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Dick Clark and Jerry Ross at American Bandstand

Artie Wayne On The Web and Spectropop proudly present my interview with legendary producer/ songwriter/ and entreprenuer Jerry Ross. When you read my in depth talk with my old friend and sometime songwriting collaborater, you’ll discover a new connection to songs that you’ve loved all your life. Just click and enjoy! http://spectropop.com/JerryRoss/index.htm

You can reach Jerry Ross at http://www.phillyoldies.com

Spectropop at http://spectropop.com

Artie Wayne at http://artiewayne.com

IRVING GREEN  2/6/16 – 7/1/06

What do Sarah Vaughn, The Platters, Brook Benton, Patti Page,
The Diamonds, Del Vikings, James Brown, Dinah Washington,
Roger Miller, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Laine, The Troggs,
Wayne Fontana, the Mindbenders, the Troggs, Leslie Gore, Blue
Cheer, Manfred Mann, Steam, Freddie and the Dreamers, Dusty
Springfield, Keith, Paul Mauriat, Jay and the Techniques,
David Bowie, The Blues Magoos, Spanky and Our Gang, Crispian
St. Peters, Jerry Butler, Bobby Hebb, Louie Armstrong. and
Rod Stewart all have in common?

They all recorded for Irving Green, who owned Mercury Records,
a little indie who could… and did… become a major label!
He also owned Smash and distributed Phillips records and all
of their subsidiaries. He was one of the first champions of
Rock and Roll and Mercury was the first major company to
promote Black artists to crossover into the Pop mainstream.
It also was the first to have an African-American as Vice-
President of A+R, Quincy Jones.

Although he repeatedly asked me to call him Irv, I always
called him Mr. Green, out of respect for his daughter Kelli
Ross, who was my partner in Alouette Productions. Not many
people knew that Mr. Green was a silent partner in our
publishing and administration firm.

He was one of the few CEOS I’ve ever known who an artist
could talk to. Although he wasn’t a producer, I remember
when James Brown recorded briefly for Smash, he wouldn’t go
into the recording studio without Mr. Green being there.

From time to time he’d ask me to go “undercover” for him. In
the last days of Cameo-Parkway records, he asked me to
introduce him to my friends Neil Bogart, who was running the
label and Bob Reno, who was with the publishing company. He
wanted to get them to come over to Mercury, but Neil and Bob
wound up going to Buddah Records instead. A few years later,
Bob Reno did have a successful stint at Mercury, as head of
MRC publishing and later as head of A+R.

When the Lovin’ Spoonful were about to re-sign with Kama-Sutra,
Mr.Green sent me to Wilkes-Barre to meet up with my old pals
and offer them a check for a million dollars to defect to
Mercury! When I mentioned to him that he hadn’t signed it, he
said, “When they sign a contract…I’ll sign the check!”

The last time I saw him it was 35 years ago hanging out at
Quincy’s house. He said he would leave the music business
when it stopped being fun. I guess it stopped being fun when
a big conglomerate bought him out. A few years later he went
into semi-retirement and moved to Palm Springs.

Although I’d heard he had become a top land developer, I will
always remember him as one of the greatest developers of pop
music and the human potential. Thank you for believing in me
and helping me to believe in myself.

Rest-in-Peace, Mr.Green.

Respectfully, Artie Wayne

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

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