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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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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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