webb1.jpg

Growing up in the turbulent 60’s in the Shadow of the Cold War, wasn’t easy! Growing up in New York of the 60’s, with all the drugs and violence, had an even harder edge. I was tired of writing formula pop songs about made-up experiences in a location that no longer held any fascination for me. My recording career had fizzled out and my marriage was winding down. Although my partner, Kelli Ross and I were running the publishing companies of Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Bobby Scott, Janis Ian, Joey Levine and Artie Resnick, my own creativity was suffering from a lack of positive stimulation.

I knew the next musical trend would be coming from the west coast, when I first heard, “Cherish” by the Association” and “California Dreaming”, by the Mamas and Papas…but when I heard “Macarthur Park” by Richard Harris I knew it had arrived!

Before I go on with my story, I’d like you listen to hear the song that kicked me into high gear. It’s Richard Harris singing his classic record, which Jimmy Webb, wrote and produced…”Macarthur Park”. This video is distracting, so personally I prefer to listen to the music and let my imagination create my own pictures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0D-boeOCG0

Although “Macarthur Park” was seven minutes long, twice the length of any song on the radio at the time, it quickly became number one! The poetry of the lyric and beautiful, psychedelic labyrinth of music gave a shot in the arm to Pop music in general, and to me particular. I took my first trip to Hollywood in the summer of 1968 to get a better understanding of the new emerging music scene …and to get a quickie Mexican divorce.

Jackie DeShannon, took me on a tour of Hollywood and introduced me to the wonders of Malibu Beach. I hung out at the Troubadour and the Whiskey with Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys and Terry Kirkman of the Association. I went to parties up at Mike Love’s, down at Richard Baskin’s and over at Football Hall Of Famer, Jim Brown’s house. I reunited with my long time songwriting partner, Ben Raleigh ( “Love Is A Hurting Thing”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) who had recently relocated to California. I also hooked up with my friend Bob Stone, who was once signed to me, as he celebrated his number one record with Cher, “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves ” I also started writing with Gary Zekely and Mitch Bottler ( “Wait A Million Years”, “Sooner Or Later”), found time to go to a Phil Spector recording session…as well as fall in-and-out of love a couple of times!

It was quite an eventful two weeks, but I still hadn’t met Jimmy Webb, whose music brought me out here in the first place. As my plane took off for New York, “Up, Up and Away” kept running through my mind…I was disappointed, but I knew I’d be coming back.

Jimmy’s songs like, “Didn’t We?”,”The Worst That Can Happen”, “Wichita Lineman”, and “Galveston”, continued to inspire me as I spent my last dreary year in New York. It was two years after moving to the West Coast, however, before I finally met my inspiration!

I was working as General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music, when CEO, Ed Silvers, informed me that we now represented Jimmy Webb. I can’t tell you how excited I was to go out to his house in Encino with Warner Brothers Records President, Mo Ostin to hear the final mixes of his latest WB album, and finally meet my hero!

As we waited for Jimmy in his game room, I saw a Las Vegas slot machine in the corner. I put a quarter in and hit the jackpot. Mo smiled…as I hit the jackpot again…again and again! Mo, started glaring at me as I tried to push my winnings back into the machine. Now fully embarrassed, I started kicking hundreds of quarters underneath the living room rug, just as Jimmy walked in laughing…that’s when I realized I was the victim of a practical joke!

I knew I was gonna’ like working with this guy!

( To Be Continued )

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

Advertisements

lovinspoonful.jpg

Back in 1965, after I left April-Blackwood music I went into my own publishing buisness with David Kapralik, who was the former head of Columbia Records A&R department. Although I had signed Tony Romeo (who later went on to write “I Think I Love You” and all the Partridge family hits) and Bob Stone (who later went on to write, “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”), and took the first song Joey Levine ( who later wrote,”Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy”, ever had published, we needed to find a band who could generate immediate income!

I went on an intense search of New York’s Greenwich Village to find girls…I mean acts and found a group that just blew me away! They called themselves The Lovin’ Spoonful and they were the ambassadors of good time music. In their first set at the Night Owl they played, “Do You Believe In Magic?”, “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”, “Younger Girl”, and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” Four songs, written or co-written by a young John Sebastian, which later became their first four hit singles.

I had never heard such obvious hit songs as I did that night or saw more entertaining performers. You could tell by the crowds enthusiastic response that this group was going to be huge! The next night I brought down Dave Kapralik, to see the Spoonful and he became even more excited than I was!

We brought some execs from Columbia records down to see them the following night and watched a spectacular show, as the the crowd went crazy! After the show, the stone faced execs admitted that the group was good, “But they already had two long haired groups on the label, Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Byrds…and that was enough.” David and I just looked at each other in amazement!

A few years went by and I happily watched the Spoonful grew into one of the biggest groups in America. At this time I was in business with Kelli Ross and ran the publishing companies of Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Janis Ian, Levine and Resnick. Kelli’s father, Irving Green, the owner of Mercury and Smash Records, as well as a silent partner in our firm, was aware that I had a relationship with the Lovin Spoonful.

When the group was 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!”

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

 

elisha.jpg

Elisha Cuthbert blows a bubble!

In the the middle to the end of the 1960s, a new kind of Pop music emerged in America called Bubblegum Music and I was fortunate to be smack dab and sticky in the middle of it all! My partner Kelli Ross and I were representing the publishing catalogs of some of the hottest artists and producers in the Music buisness, that included Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Bobby Scott, and Janis Ian when we picked up a new catalog, Peanut Butter Music.

The catalog was owned by Joey Levine, a newcomer, whose first song I published in 1965 and my old friend , Artie Resnick ( “Under The Boardwalk”, “Good Lovin'”.) It mostly consisted of material that Joey, Artie and Kris (Arties wife wrote) and Joey and Artie produced. Their first million seller was “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, a demo sung by Joey by the Ohio Express in 1968. This was the idea of Jeff Kaznetz and Jerry Katz who executive produced the dates to have Joey start singing lead on most of their records. They loved Joey’s commercial, young sounding voice with a Rock and Roll edge and those great tracks he and Artie produced, so they released single after single using different names of actual groups they had under contract. When a record became a hit the real group went on the road to promote it. Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records, encouraged the concept and put out a string of hit singles “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”, “Chewy, Chewy” by the Ohio Express, “Shake ” by the Shadows of Kniight”, “Gimme, Gimme Good Lovin”, By Crazy Elephant”, Run , Joey Run” by the Kaznetz-Katz singing orhestral circus, and dozens of other singles for Buddah.

The records were geared for the “Tweenies”, the nine to 15 year olds and suffered a fatal backlash from radio in 1969…bursting the bubble of the Bubblegum market! Joey, Artie and Kris ( Artie’s wife who co-wrote many of the songs ) started to write more adult themes and formed the group “The Third Rail”. When the group disbanded, the Resnicks continued to write songs while Levine wrote, sang and produced jingles for commercials that include several top Coca- Cola campaigns.

When my Spectropop pal, Jean-Emmanuel Dubois, asked me for an interview for his forthcoming book on Bubble Gum Music in France, some of the information went beyond the genre so I decided to include some of it here.

JE- When did you meet Joey Levine?

AW-In 1964 when I went into business with Dave Kapralik ( Sly and the Family Stone, Van McCoy, Peaches and Herb) Joey Levine stopped me and introduced himself, as I was walking through the Brill building. He asked if he could play a song for me, he did and I signed it on the spot. Although I hardly remember the incident, Joey said that act was a big consideration when he and Artie Resnick were looking for someone to administer their publishing companies.

JE- How did you discover Tony Romeo ( The Partridge Family) ?

AW- Tony came in off the street and played me 6 or 7 songs and we signed him to an exclusive songwriting contract. Tony was more into the Beach Boy kind of music, at the time, and the two of us did a single for Columbia called, “Californie” (Romeo) under the name Tomorrow’s People. He was incredible at stacking background vocals and we were disappointed that it wasn’t a hit.

It was a couple of years before Tony hooked up with Wes Farrell and wrote,” I Think I Love You” (Romeo), and all those other hits for the Partridge Family.

JE- You seem to have a strong connection with French recording artists.

AW- Yes, my first hit in France was, “Excuse Me Lady” (Wayne) by Joe Dassin. The song had gotten to #3 in the UK by the Magic Lanterns…Joe covered it and took it to top ten in France. American by birth, I remember hanging out with Joe a few times in New York, when I was known as Shadow Mann. He, his entourage, Sissy Spacek ( who I had renamed “Rainbo” for recording purposes) and I, made the rounds of all the clubs and hot spots…and had an incredible time!

JE- Did you know Sylvie and Johnny Hallyday?

AW-I met Sylvie Vartan once backstage at one of her incredible shows, after she recorded one of songs, “Ma Decadance” (Leikon/ Munson/ Wayne)…I met Johnny Hallyday a few days later in the middle of a media blitz. The Headlines shouted, “Sylvie Divorces Johnny” and all during our lunch, he was understandably preoccupied!

JE- As a publisher you had quite a few American hits…with French songs?

AW- Oui’, in 1968, my partner Kelli Ross and I found “J’Taime” by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, at MIDEM the international music conference held every year in Cannes, France. Eight years, later my partner, Lou Reizner and I were sitting in a little café in Cannes, when we heard the pianist playing a catchy little tune. The pianist was Claude Morgan, and he was the composer of the song, “El Bimbo” which was becoming a number one hit by Bimbo Jet all over the world! Lou and I looked at each other and lit up like light bulbs knowing the song could be a smash in the US as well!

It was midnight, but before the sun came up Lou and I had a meeting with the French Producer and the original publisher. We secured the American sub-publishing rights, before MIDEM opened it’s doors the next morning, even before our competitors started their continental breakfast!

Jean…I remember when I was at Warner Brothers music, I heard, “Amorouse” by Veronique Sanson and asked Patti Dahlstrom to write an English lyric. She recorded it herself as “ Emotion” (Dahlstrom/ Sanson) on her 20th Century Fox album, it was covered and became a hit by Helen Reddy. That song is as timely today, as it was when it was written…and should be a hit again!

For Part II of the interview https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/11/12/it-was-women-and-children-firstthe-day-the-bubblegum-bubble-burst/

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

 

To Hear Patti Dahlstrom sing “Emotion” click onto http://artiewayne.com/emotion.html

To find out about Spectropop http://spectropop.com

You can reach Jean-Emmanuel Dubois at http://martyrsofpop.com
also at http://myspace.com/jeanemmanueldeluxe

mar-tam.jpeg
When I started writing songs and producing records in the ’60s, there wasn’t anywhere to go to learn your craft. Like many of my contemporaries, I went to the school of Top 40 radio. First I learned the ABCs of Rock and Roll in the ’50s, listening to Elvis, Fats Domino, and the Platters, then I graduated in the ’60s, where everyone in my class majored in Motown.

Although I’m an African-American, R+B music wasn’t my first love. It was Berry Gordy, Jr.the owner and guiding force behind Motown, who changed the sound of Black America into the “Sound of Young America.” The “crossover” vision soon captured my imagination as well. His formula always started with an extremely well crafted song, musically sophisticated with a strong beat, and used the best producers, musicians, arrangers as well as pool of remarkable singers.
It was, however, the competition between songwriters and producers within the company that drove the quality, commerciality and technical superiority to such a high level. Even “Smokey” Robinson ( Vice-President of Motown), had to compete with Norman Whitfield, Marvin Gaye, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Mickey Stevenson, and every other songwriter/ producer based at the Detroit label, for every single that was released!

Ironically, It was white people who made me aware of how Motown records were put together. I used to sit with Bert Berns (“Twist and Shout”, “Hang On Sloopy”), Jerry Ragavoy( “Cry, Cry Baby”, who co-wrote “Piece of Heart” with Bert) or with Ed Silvers, who ran the New York office of Metric music, and listen to Motown’s latest releases. Each of these astute, songwriter/ producers would point out something in each record that would strike a chord in me. Little did I know that this informal education would help me forge relationships with some of the greatest African-American performers, songwriters and producers of all time that included Quincy Jones, Van McCoy, Donny Hathaway, Freddie Perren, Hal Davis, Allan Toussant, Joe Simon, and Rick James.

It wasn’t until I worked with Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson did more of the pieces of the Motown puzzle began to fit. We were all signed exclusively to write songs and produce for Scepter Records. When we weren’t creating, Nick and Val would take time to show me the chords and demonstrate the harmonies of all my favorite Motown hits.

They sang background on most of my demos and shared their studio musicians with me. I always thought it was a shame that Motown didn’t consider outsde material for their artists…I was convinced that they had two or three songs that could have topped the charts with The Four Tops or the Supremes.

Then something unexpected happened, for financial reasons, Scepter records sold off their publishing companies. Ed Silvers moved to Hollywood, to run Viva music, Nick and Val started doing more background sessions, and I who was newly married, had to scramble to find another job in publishing!

About a month later, I became a partner in Allouette productions with Sandy and Kelli Ross, and we represented the publishing interests of Quincy Jones, Bobby Scott, Joey Levine, Artie Resnick and Leslie Gore. I brought Ashford and Simpson to Quincy’s company, but at the time he couldn’t afford to sign them.

When I was approached by Jeffery Bowen and Eddie Holland (Holland/ Dozier/ Holland) to join Motown’s publishing company, Jobete music, I turned them down. I did, however, take the opportunity to introduce them to Ashford and Simpson. It wasn’t long before my friends were signed to an exclusive contract.

A few months later, Nick and Valerie call me from Associated studios, and ask me to come over and listen to the tracks they’d been cutting at Motown. I sat down and freaked out when I heard, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and “Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing”. Although their voices were on the tracks, it didn’t take much imagination to hear Marvin Gaye singing it! They said he was recording it as a duet with a new Motown discovery, Tammi Terrell.

Over the next few years, I discovered that Motown was quite a secretive place and had little to do with people outside of their organisation. There were rumors that it was really owned by the Mob…but they were only rumors.

For years, I followed Nick and Val’s careers like everybody else…on the radio. The next time I talked to them was when I moved to the west coast to join Ed Silvers at Warner Brothers music. I got a call from Nick, who told me that they were victim of Motown’s “creative accounting” and they weren’t getting the money that they deserved as songwriters. I was happy to get my former partner, Sandy Ross to represent them and help them escape…but that was just the beginning!
(To Be Continued)

ash-simp.jpg

left to right- Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson

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

EXTRA! EXTRA! NOW YOU CAN BUY MY NEW BOOK ,“I DID IT FOR A SONG” AT AMAZON or Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

TO READ A CHAPTER OR TWO FOR FREE CLICK  HERE

TO READ SOME OF THE COMMENTS  CLICK  HERE

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com  
 

L to R- Shadow Mann, Ron Haffkine, Kelli Ross, and Morris Levy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Stephen Paley

“In 1968, I wrote a song, “Come And Live With Me,” and Ron Haffkine (who several years later produced a string of hits with Dr. Hook) helps me make a demo. Then my publishing partner Kelli Ross arranges for us to play it to the legendary owner of Roulette records, Morris Levy …who’s riding a wave of Tommy James hits (“Crimson & Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now”.)
Although I had met him before as Artie Wayne, I introduce myself to Morris under my new persona… Shadow Mann.

Ronnie puts the music on….turns the volume up…and I leap onto Morris’ desk!! in my black, floppy ‘Shadow Hat’ … custom made black suede jacket with a giant red eagle on the back… I lip-synch my little heart out!!

“Come and live with me…I’ll treat you nice…na na na na na na na”

Morris can hardly contain himself…he makes me perform it over and over for different members of his staff. Then he clears his office…leaving only the three of us. Morris slowly lights a cigar…and tries not to appear excited.

Then he says, “OK Shadow…I want to to do an album…I’ll even give you and Kelli your own label!! How much do you need to get started?” Haffkine chimes in “$25,000″…at which point Morris reaches under his desk…pulls out a brown paper bag and hands me $25,000 in cash!!

I look at Morris wide-eyed and say, “Don’t you want me to sign anything?”, he laughs and says, “Don’t worry, I know where you live!”

3 months later “Come And Live With Me” is released. I go on a promotion tour with one of my discoveries, Sissy Spacek. She’s promoting a song I found and Haffkine produced, “John You’ve Gone Too Far This Time,” a commentary on the Lennon/Ono nude album cover.

I change Sissy’s name to Rainbo, which I think is more commercial, and we travel the country promoting our records, until radio finds them too controversial, as “Shadow” and “Rainbo.” I go back to writing songs and producing, while Rainbo changes her name back to Sissy Spacek and decides to try her hand at acting.”


From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” Copyright 2010 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com