Come On Down To Coverville!

February 3, 2007


I was bitching to Joe Klein of Podcast voice guys, about how few cover records I’ve gotten on my songs in recent years, and he told me about Brian Ibbott, the creator and host of COVERVILLE, who has one of the hottest podcasts around, with 40,000 subscribers, who ONLY plays cover records!

I’ve always been proud of the multi-million selling cover records I’ve been involved with over the years, which include “You’re 16” which I gave to Ringo Starr, “Rock And Roll Heaven” by the Righteous Brothers, and “Daydreamer” by David Cassidy. So needless to say, as a songwriter/ publisher who’s still running hot and heavy in the street, this program is very inspiring to me! As well as providing information on who’s doing cover records these days, I was surprised how many new versions of my favorite songs from the the 60’s to the present are spotlighted on the show. I heard covers of Elvis Presley songs I’d never heard before by the Pet Shop Boys, Cheap Trick, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. There were covers of Beach Boy songs by the Troggs, Elvis Costello, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra, John Lennon songs done by Eva Cassidy, Dream Academy and Roxy Music. Surprising covers of James Brown songs from The Who and Concrete Blonde. Even artists like Metallica, and Pink Floyd, had covers as well as hundreds of others!

COVERVILLE was the first place I heard Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”, recorded by Fuel…whose arrangement was at the center of a controversy on “American Idol” last year. Chris Daughtry, a finalist in the competition, who currently has the number one album on the Billboard charts, performed Fuel’s version without crediting them for the arrangement. What The Fuck! When has anybody ever credited anybody for doing their arrangement on TV?

Before I got all worked up about it…I thought wait a second, all this controversy is over a cover? Maybe doing somebody else’s song is cool again?

It’s been a bitch trying to get a song recorded by a group who writes their own material, since artists and managers have long realized that song writing and publishing royalties are sometimes the only source of income from their”Multi-Platinum” CDs. Remember, the poor artist is usually charged with everything a company can get away including outrageous studio costs, touring expenses, promotion, and the making of million dollar videos!

I remember hearing stories about Beatle manager, Brian Epstein, sitting down with John Lennon and Paul McCartney and forcing them to start writing more original songs for economic reasons. I heard that Andrew Loog Oldham, The Rolling Stones manager, convinced Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to do the same, which changed the musical direction of two of the greatest “cover” groups of all time!

I was there with “Papa” Joe Jackson, the day that Michael and the Jackson 5 escaped from Motown, weary of being forced to do “covers” on their albums and”other peoples songs” on their singles. I was able to help Joe get a $25,000 dollar advance, within 48 hours for their sub-publishing around the world based on songs that were yet to be written by unproven writers.The deal ultimately included “Beat it”, “Billy Jean” and most of the compositions on the 65 million selling,”Thriller” album!!.

Okay…Okay, The world’s a better place because of these self-generating artists…but how many artists today are capable of really writing “Great” songs today? I asked Brian Ibbott, why do cover records seem to be coming back?

“I think because the reasons people cover songs have broadened. It used to be a purely financial decision to cover a song, but these days, many do it because it’s an honor, and a tribute to a band that helped shape their own music. At least, in an ideal world, that would be the most prominent reason.”

“Brian, you seem very committed to your podcasts and to cover records?”

“Second to my family, Coverville has turned out to be the joy of my life. I look forward to new episodes, email feedback from listeners, and the music they introduce me to. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing, if it weren’t for the show!”

Personally, I’d be happy as a music lover and consumer to have a couple of familiar songs, I could sing along with, on every CD that I buy. Am I wrong? Wouldn’t all of you like to hear more of your favorite songs performed by more of your favorite artists?

Copyright by Artie Wayne 2007

Check out Brian Ibbot’s “Coverville”, he’s got an archive of over 250 podcasts you can download. Hear what all the buzz is about!

For Artie Wayne’s website and complete discography

To see Sebastian Prooth’s inspiring video of Alan O’Day’s brilliant update of he and the late Johnny Stevenson’s classic, “Rock and Roll Heaven”

For Joe Klein



Kristen Bell blows a bubble!

My interview with Spectropopper, Jean Emmanuel Dubois, for his forthcoming book “Le Bubblegum”, the history of American and French Bubblegum music, published by le cahiers du rock, continues…

JE- There were a lot of sexual overtones in the music? “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”

AW- Sexual overtones! Sexual Undertones! Shit! There was all kinds of sex…all kinds of tones! (laughs) Those guys tried to get away with as much as they could…under the guise of innocent teen pop music! I remember one day a staff writer came into the office with a song, ” 1, 2, 3 Lickety Split”…and was sent home because the title wasn’t suggestive enough!

JE- Weren’t Joey Levine and Artie Resnick the first to have “backwards” versions of their a-sides as the b-sides of their records?

AW- It made sense, kids who were buying Bubblegum records weren’t buying them for the artist…but for hit A-side! There were no production costs for the B-side, and since all of the royalties were divided in the same way as the A-side, it was a win…win situation!

JE- Besides Levine/Resnick you represented Bo Gentry? ( “I Think We’re Alone Now” )

AW- Joey started writing with Bo and started coming up with some excellent stuff! They wrote a song, “Make Believe” and put it out under the name, Wind. This time Joey wasn’t the anonymous singer on the track, it was Tony Orlando. Ironically, Tony was also having hits at the same time as the anonomous voice of Dawn, (“Candida”, “Knock Three Times”)

The record was a modest hit in the US, but the B-side…a “real” B-side “Groovin’ with Mister Blo”, was top ten all over Europe!

JE-How were you involved with Tommy James and Shondels?

AW- I recorded an album under the name Shadow Mann, for the legendary Morris Levy, and he sometimes put my label mates and me out on promotion together. I remember once we all did the Upbeat TV show in Cleavland, Neil Diamond was there, Jimmy Ruffin, Kenny Rodgers and The First Edition. Tommy sang his number one hit, “Crimson and Clover”and I performed,” Come Live With Me ” the title track of my album. I also introduced my protoge, Sissy Spacek, who I renamed “Rainbo”. She was promoting her single, “John, You Went Too Far This Time”, which was a Bubblegummers reaction to the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Two Virgins” album cover.

JE- It was around this time you started writing songs with Gary Zekely and Mitch Bottler, who wrote, “Sooner or Later”, “Wait A Million Years”, “Superman”, and other “Sunshine Pop Songs”?

AW- I fell in love with a beautiful, Playboy Playmate on my last trip to California…and couldn’t wait to get back to the West Coast! The night before I was scheduled to write with Gary And Mitch…I broke up with her! I was crushed and devestated, but when I heard the chorus that Mitch started banging out on the old stand up piano I started singing some of the happiest, most positive lyrics I ever wrote in my life!

I used to look at life through a shade of grey

‘Til I found some satisfaction in the things you’d say

You took me in your hands like a piece of clay

Made me a man now I gotta’ say


Copyright 1969/ 2006- EMI music/ Artie Wayne music

JE- What about the beautiful Playmate?

AW- Never saw her again…anyway, Gary Zekely had a top ten hit as producer for the Clique with “Sugar On Sunday” ( written by Tommy James), and recorded “Hallelujah” for the album. It was covered about a year later by Sweathog, and went to the top 30 in the US!

JE-You also produced, Sal Tramalchi who wrote the smash,”1, 2, 3 Redlight”, for the 1910 Fruit Gum Company.

AW-Sal Tramalchi was a very complex person. He could go from writing bubblegum songs to psychedelic anthems in the time it takes a cube of sugar to dissolve in a cup of coffee! He wrote a great song, “Woodstock”, which Howard Bogess and I produced for Vanguard. Sal was magic when he played guitar and sang, so I got the “Brilliant” idea to cut him live with my studio band. Unfortunately, Sal arrived in the sudio, “inspired” but unable to perform.

After we redid the tracks and overdubbed the N.Y. Philharmonic string section, Sal came in and did an excellent vocal in one or two takes. The record came out and quietly sank into the sunset, as I packed up the last of my belongings and moved to Hollywood.

JE- What would you consider your greatest acheivement in bubblegum music?

AW- In 1973, I was at the Tokyo music festival for Warner Brothers music and picked up a song from a white South African writer, who the music people were avoiding because of his country’s stand on apartheid!

JE- You’re an African- American, why didn’t you ignore him also?

Aw-After talking to him, I felt he had the heart and soul of an artist that transcended the archaic practice of his country. It only took a few minutes to listen to the song that nobody wanted to hear…but I knew right away it was a hit!

Terry Dempsey gave me the sub-publishing rights for no advance, if I could get his song, “Daydreamer”, covered by a major US artist. Within days of my returning to Hollywood, Stephen Craig Aristei, one of my “Warner Raiders” gave it to David Cassidy. He was fresh from the Partridge Family, and it became his biggest solo hit, selling 5 million records!

JE- I never realized how involved you were with Le Bubblegum!

AW- Now that you mention it…neither did I!

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

If you missed the first half of the interview…and Elisha Cuthbert blows! click on

EXTRA! Lindsay Lohan And Paris Hilton On Top Of Britney Spears. PHOTOS!

To see the naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono Naked album cover and hear Sissy Spacek (“Rainbo”) sing, “John, You Went Too Far This Time” Just click onto

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.

Artie Wayne with Singer and Songwriter Patti Dahlstrom

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne





In 1971, When I was general professional manager of Warner Brothers music, the late Johnny Stevenson played me a song he just recorded, “Rock and Roll Heaven’. I thought the chorus was a smash, but didn’t care for anything else! I suggested that he collaborate with Alan O’Day (“Undercover Angel”, “Angie Baby”) and turn it into a tribute to Rock Stars who have passed away.

In 1974 the Righteous Brothers recorded it and took it to number one! Since then we’ve lost so many more of our heros that it was time for an update of the lyric. Alan O’Day worked on it for months, then he went to Nashville and made a demo with Ronny Kimball. I e-mailed a copy of the demo to my friend, director and producer, Sebastian Prooth for an opinion. This morning he surprised us with this brilliant video he made!

You can reach Sebastian Prooth at
You can reach Alan O’Day at
Artie Wayne

Of course, it was impossible to mention every Rock Star who has passed away in the song and the video, but I would like to start a list to honor as many as we can on this blog. I would like to begin with my friends Jim Croce and Bobby Darin, who were mentioned in the Righteous Brothers record. Then we have Bill Haley (Comets), Rick James, Marvin Gaye, Carl Perkins, Rick Nelson, Johnny Burnette, Dorsey Burnette, Sam Cooke, John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Keith Moon (The Who), Richie Valens, Luthor Vandross, Eddie Cochran, Wilson Picket, Tammi Tyrell, John Phillips (Mamas and Papas), Mama Cass (Mamas and Papas), Frankie Lyman, Peter Ham (Badfinger), Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chas Chandler (The Animals), Mike Milward (The Fourmost), Stu Sutcliff, Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Keith Relf (The Yardbirds), James Jamerson, Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys), Carl Wilson (Beachboys), Big Mama Thornton, Bert Berns, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Blackwell, Ben Benay, Lowell George, Van McCoy, Floyd Cramer, Ersel Hickey, Bobby Sheen (Bobby Soxx and the Blue Jeans), Mickey Most, Jim Capaldi (Traffic), Gene Vincent, Tony Williams (The Platters), Joe Brown, John Lennon, George HarrisonJohnny Johnson, Ray Peterson, Janet Vogel (Skyliners) Jan Berry (Jan and Dean), Freddy Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), Eugene Record (Chi-Lites), Chuck Willis, The Big Bopper, Jimmy Radcliffe, Bill Orr (the Cars), Doris Troy, Joe Tex, Joe Simon, Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), Billy Preston, Joe Strummer (The Clash), Del Shannon, Barry Cowsill The Cowsills), Bill Cowsill (The Cowsills), Joey Ramone (Ramones), Stevie Ray Vaughn, Link Wray, David Blue, Danny Gatton, Zal Yanovsky (Lovin’ Spoonful), Phil Seymour, David Blue, Shel Silverstein, Graham Parsons, Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead), Bobby Fuller, King Curtis, Buddy Knox, Johnny Preston, Eddie Cochran, Kirsty MacColl, Jimmy Bailey, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Richard Tee, Hank Ballard, Tony Romeo, Jessie Belvin, Ed Townsend, Sterling Morrison (Velvet Underground), Jackie Wilson, John Fred (Playboy Band), Hank Ballard, Bobby Hatfield (Righteous Brothers), April Young, Arthur Conley, Dick St. John (Dick And Dee Dee), Timi Yuro, Lou Rawls, Paul Atkinson (Zombies), Johnny Bristol, Francine Barker (Peaches and Herb)Maurice Gibb, Chris Curtis, Shirley Goodman (Shirley and Lee), Johnny Cymbal,The Duchess, Little Eva, Mickey Most, Billy Preston, Irving Green, Morris Levy, Nick Drake, Barry White, Laura Nyro, Frank Zappa, Barbara George, Arthr Lee, Baker Knight, Eddie Kendricks, Tony Jackson (Searchers), Link Wray, Kevin Gilbert, Michael Hutchence (INXS), Milan B. Williams (Commodores), Adam Faith, Johnny Wilder junior (Heatwave), Richard Barrett, Arthur Lee (Love), Syd Barrett (PInk Floyd) , Arthur Conley, Gene Pitney, Freddy Garrity (Freddie And The Dreamers), Shannon Hoon, Ray Peterson, Denny Doherty (Mamas And Papas), Bruce Gary (The Knack), Freddie Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers), Dennis Peyton (Dave Clark 5), Ruth Brown, Ahmet Ertegun, James Brown, Bill Pinkney (Drifters), Harry Nilsson, Dusty Springfield, Florence Ballard (Supremes), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), Barbara Acklin, Ron Miller, Donnie Brooks, Paul Griffin, David Ruffin, Freddy Scott, Hank Medress (Tokens), Dan Fogleberg, Ike Turner, Al Gallico, Mike Smith, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Norman Whitfield, Alan Gordon, Levi Stubbs ( 4 Tops) , Estelle Bennett (Ronettes)…

To view a RARE VIDEO OF BO DIDDLEY IN HIS PRIME!              

Copyright 2008 by Artie Wayne

If you have any names that you would like me to add to the list you can click onto comments (below) or e-mail me at You may submit up to three names to add to the list, which I will post.


“Back in 1968, I was recording an album under the name Shadow Mann for the legendary Morris Levy. During the recording of one of my tracks, a cute little girl with a giant guitar case, walked into the control room. Ron Haffkine ( Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show), who was producing my album, jumped up, introduced himself…and then he introduced me as Shadow Mann. He got our engineer, Brooks Arthur, to play the track back as I danced around the studio.

Sissy and I hung out over the next few months. She played me and Ronnie quite a few songs she had written, on a guitar that was almost as big as she was…but we didn’t hear that special song that could make her a star. Just before I left on a trip to California, a couple of free-lance writers Ron and John, (whose last names I don’t remember) brought a song to me that was a comment on the controversial John Lennon and Yoko naked LP album cover of “Two Virgins”. I suggested A few lyric changes and flew off to California for 10 days.

When I returned I was surprised that my partner, Kelli Ross, had signed Sissy to our record label and Ronnie Haffkine had started making plans to record her on the song, “John, You Went Too Far This Time!”, by the two writers who finished the song in my absence! After I heard her sing it, I knew why everyone was so excited!

When my album and Sissy’s single was finished, Morris Levy decided to send both of us out to promote our records at the same time…but not before one little thing. I convinced her to change her name to something more suitable for the times. She bit her lip and agreed to let herself be called Rainbo.”

From my book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2011





When my late partner Lou Reizner, the man who discovered and
produced such diverse artists as the Singing Nun and Rod
Stewart, developed a taste for larger than life productions,
there was no going back. Still riding the success of his
stellar recording of the Rock opera “Tommy” that he produced
with a cast that included Roger Daltry, Elton John, Tina
Turner, as well as the London Symphony orchestra… Lou was
determined his next project would be as spectacular!

Lou was larger than life himself. At 6’4″ he looked more like
an action hero than the transplanted American who once ran
Mercury Records International in London. I remember one time
when I was staying with Lou and his wife Pam in Knightsbridge,
he sat me down in a futuristic cocoon like chair, with a
built-in stereo speakers and proceeded to play me a dozen or
so tracks he just produced on the Bee Gees. Robert Stigwood
had hired him to be the musical director of his soon to be
produced film, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
and these incredible recordings of John Lennon and Paul
McCartney songs were to be part of the sound track.

Several months later, when Lou was staying with me in
Hollywood, the project had developed into something else. It
seems that Robert Stigwood and Lou couldn’t make a deal, and
Stigwood gave the rights to the tracks back to Lou, including
3 performances by the Bee Gees as some kind of settlement.
Our lawyer and manager, Marty Machat, Russ Regan, who was
head of 20th Century records, and Lou got together and came
up with the idea of putting some of the biggest stars of the
day over the cuts and use it over WW2 newsreel footage from
20th Century Foxs’ vast archives. Talk about larger than life
…”All This And World War Two”!!!

The next few months were quite exciting, Lou was going back
and forth to London, putting Brian Ferry on “She’s Leaving
Home”, Leo Sayer on, “The Long and Winding Road”, then coming
back to Hollywood to work with Bob Gaudio, and Frankie Valli
on “A Day in the Life”. I recruited my friend, Helen Reddy,
to do “Fool On The Hill”. Elton John gave his friend, Russ
Regan, the man who discovered and signed him to UNI, the
rights to use his number one record “Lucy In The Sky With
Diamonds”. Russ also got 20th Century artists, Ambrosia,
[“Biggest Part Of Me”], to record “Magical Mystery Tour”.
While Lou was in London, I was at Cherokee studios in Hollywood
watching Rod Stewart put his classic vocal on “Get Back”, that
became number one in the U.K. I’m sad to say that the reggae
version I did of “Give Peace A Chance”, that I did with Art
Munson and Joe Klein, plays over the film credits but was
recorded too late for the album.

I’ve always believed that Lou Reizner’s, “All This And World
War Two” was ahead of it’s time. The new Hip-O records double
CD Re-issue is excellent. How many CDs have you bought
recently that you can sing along to almost every song?
Hopefully the DVD of the Film can’t be far behind.

Here’s the complete track list:

1-Magical Mystery Tour – Ambrosia
2-Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – Elton John
3-Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight – The Bee Gees
4-I Am The Walrus – Leo Sayer
5-She’s Leaving Home – Bryan Ferry
6-Lovely Rita – Roy Wood
7-When I’m 64 – Keith Moon
8-Get Back – Rod Stewart
9-Let It Be – Leo Sayer
10-Yesterday – David Essex
11-With A Little Help From My Friends/Nowhere Man – Jeff Lynne
12-Because – Lynsey De Paul
13-She Cam In Through The Bathroom Window – The Bee Gees
14-Michelle – Richard Cocciante
15-We Can Work It Out – The Four Seasons
16-The Fool On The Hill – Helen Reddy
17-Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Frankie Laine
18-Hey Jude – The Brothers Johnson
19-Polythene Pam – Roy Wood
20-Sun King – The Bee Gees
21-Getting Better – Status Quo
22-The Long And Winding Road – Leo Sayer
23-Help – Henry Gross
24-Strawberry Fields Forever – Peter Gabriel
25-A Day In The Life – Frankie Valli
26-Come Together – Tina Turner
27-You Never Give Me Your Money – Wil Malone & Lou Reizner
28-The End – The London Symphony Orchestra

For more information… Go to Hip-O records at