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One day in 1973, while driving down La Brea in Hollywood, I saw Jerry Moss waiting in line at Pinks hot dog stand. I leaped out of my car and introduced myself!

He was standing with Jack Daugherty (the Carpenters producer) They were both surprised and amused by my boldness…which led to both of them opening the doors of the A+M lot to me. As time went by, I became friendly with not only Jack, but with Richard Carpenter, John Bettis ( who co-wrote “Top Of The World”, “Yesterday Once More”and Paul Williams ( “We’ve Only Just Begun”, “Old Fashioned Love Song”). We would sit around Paul’s office, discuss music and play songs for each other.

About a year later, when the top position at Irving/Almo music became vacant, Paul Williams suggested to Jerry Moss that they consider me for the job.

In 1974, I left Warner Brothers Music and was asked to join the Irving/Almo publishing arm of A&M Records. The company had been run by Chuck Kaye, but Chuck had decided to take some time off. I was in the right place at the right time.

The following is the actual press release that Rondor Music (the parent company) put out to announce my hiring:

MOSS NAMES WAYNE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IRVING/ALMO MUSIC

Jerry Moss, president of A&M Records, has announced that effective March 15, 1974 Artie Wayne has been named executive director of publishing for Irving/Almo Music. He was formerly general professional manager and director of creative services for Warner Bros. Music.

Wayne was first discovered by Bobby Darin in 1959…who sent him to Donny Kirshner who had just formed Aldon Music with vet song man/producer Al Nevins. It was there that Wayne learned how to write songs from Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield.

He went on to collaborate with Paul Vance and in 1963 co-wrote his first hit “Meet Me at Midnight Mary” with Ben Raleigh and produced Bell Record’s first hit with Joey Powers.

In 1965, Wayne went to Scepter Records with Ed Silvers, where he produced the Shirelles, the Kingsmen and the Guess Who. When Silvers moved to the coast to join Viva Records, Wayne stayed in New York.

Unable to afford to sign Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, whom he worked with at Scepter, he took the duo to Eddie Holland, who signed them to Motown. In the next four and a half years, Wayne and partners Sandy and Kelli Ross build Alouette Productions into the top New York administration and exploitation firm of the late sixties. They represented Quincy Jones, (Joey) Levine and (Artie) Resnick, (Gary) Geld and (Peter) Udell, Bobby Scott, Janis Ian, Ron Haffkine, Leslie Gore, Bo Gentry and Jerry Jeff Walker.

After moving to the coast in 1970, he contributed pieces to Rock and Fusion magazines and reviewed acts for Cash Box before joining Viva Music as professional manager.

For the last three years, Wayne has been general professional manager and director of creative services for Warner Bros. Music. He directed the New York, Hollywood and Nashville professional staff, which has been dubbed “The Warner Raiders.” During those years, they represented the works of America, Badfinger, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan, the Faces, the Fifth Dimension, the Kinks, Gordon Lightfoot, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, Randy Newman, Stephen Stills, John Sebastian, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimmy Webb, Neil Young and many others.

He spearheaded campaigns that resulted in multiple recordings by Three Dog Night, the Lettermen, Bobby Sherman, the Jackson Five, Johnny Winter and Art Garfunkle. His “Raiders” were also responsible for over 50 “cover” records of “Theme From Summer ’42” before the composition received a Grammy or Academy Award nomination. In 1973 the company boasted 55 chart singles and representation in the average of 33 chart albums every week.

More recently, Wayne acted as musical consultant on Warner Bros. Films’ “Cleopatra Jones” which resulted in two top 20 records by Joe Simon and Millie Jackson.

Although his time only allows him to be an occasional song writer, over the years he had nearly 200 of his own compositions recorded, including, among others, titles by Aretha Franklin, Bobby Darin, Jose Feliciano, Chi Coltrane, Rick Nelson, the Jackson Five, Miriam Makeba, Tiny Tim, Wayne Newton, and most recently, the much-covered “Flashback” (co-written with Alan O’Day) with chart records by the Fifth Dimension and Paul Anka.

My first day at the office I found “I Honestly Love You” and sent it to Olivia Newton John https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/09/13/olivia-newton-john-tries-to-squeeze-one-more-hit-out-of-jeff-barry-and-artie-wayne/

The following week I discovered and signed Rick James
https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/26/rock-and-roll-heaven-soars-on-internet-tribute-to-croce-perren-and-james/

I had a chance to work with Brian Wilson https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/brief-encounters-with-brian-wilson/

I didn’t have a chance to work with Billy Preston https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/25/rock-and-roll-heaven-rocks-internet-special-tribute-to-cash-pitney-preston/

Got to work with my old pal Jeff Barry https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/02/10/jeff-barry-i-honestly-like-him/

Became friends with Barry White  https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/28/a-very-special-tribute-to-barry-white-mickey-most-and-jimi-hendrix/

During a time when women were treated unequally in the music business, I did everything I could to give talented, qualified women a break. I promoted my Secretary, Margo Matthews, to the Head of the Copyright Department where she remained for over 30 years.

Brenda Andrews, had been a secretary for seven years before I arrived. Not only did she have a good song sense, but she was showing songs in the catalog and getting more covers than anyone on the professional staff! I doubled her salary and made her an official songplugger. I’m happy to say that she retired a few years ago after becoming senior Vice-President of the company!

Lance Freed, the son of disc jockey Alan Freed, was fairly new to publishing at the time, but had potential. He ultimately became president of the company, a position which he still holds today.

I was told by Jerry Moss when I was hired that I was in charge of the World Wide Publishing operation, only to find out from one of A+M’s lawyers on the eve of my departure to Europe, that I was only in charge of the operation in the US!

Jerry was out of the country, so I couldn’t get this “mistake” straightened out. Besides, I had a meeting in London the next day with Richard Branson to make him an offer to buy his company…Virgin Records.

(To Be Continued)

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne

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The Banned Beatle Album Cover

In the early 80s I was absolutely apalled when someone took the tapes from the first Elvis Presley album, added “Disco beats, modern sounding instruments and effects”, while removing the excess echo that was my favorite sound on the original lp! I remember hearing a few cuts while I was waiting to be served at the Hard Rock cafe in Hollywood. I was starting to become physically ill from hearing some of my all time favorite cuts desecrated, so I walked out…but not before I complained loudly and vehemently to the manager! I chalked this one up to the Presley estate trying to breathe life into a dead horse! (no reflection on the Hard Rock’s hamburger, of course.)

The next time I was shlocked to my very core was when my friend, Alan O’Day, sent me the URL to the new remixes of Motown classics “remixed” by current top Hip-Hop producers. Although there were a few interesting moments…it was a futile attempt to improve upon musical history. http://motown remixed.com/

As long as I’ve been in the music industry I’ve admired, enjoyed and studied the sucess of Motown records. When I brought Nick Ashford and Valarie Simpson to Eddie Holland in 1967, I developed a strong relationship with many of the company’s writers and producers. I was also privy to many secrets of their phenomenal sucess. I used to sit (at different times) with Norman Whitfield, Hal Davis, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino, Freddie Perren, Bob Crewe and Michael Masser and listen to what sounded like instant smash hits, including early mixes of ” Touch me in the Morning”, ” Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, and “My Eyes Adored You”, all of which were initially turned down by quality control!

The endless remixing and meticulous mastering was the most important And the most frustrating part of the recording process. I remember sitting with Iris Gordy, who was head of quality control and listening to dozens of mixes of ten totally different tracks of Stevie Wonders production of “Let’s get Serious” by Jermaine Jackson. I was intrigued by some of the “radical” mixes and amazed by the subtlety of others. I asked Iris if this many versions were unusual? she laughed and said, “Sometimes there are hundreds!”

With so much care and respect Berry Gordy had for the music, it’s a shame that the new owners of the Motown catalog let someone come in and fuck with the music!

This past tuesday a double CD was released called “Love”, featuring remixes of the original Beatles hits along with an incredible advertising blitz. After hearing a little of about 10 songs, of this “Bloodless”, adreneline free remix, I couldn’t help wonder who put this shit together? Are the Beatles hard up for cash? Has producer George Martin gone mad? Is his son Gilles the actual producer of this CD set? What has Cirque du Soleil have to do with this? After reading the Associated Press story I understood what was going on! http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,229702,00.htm ,

I realized this was the soundtrack to the new Cirque Du Soleil Las Vegas Extravaganza that opened last July! This means I have to listen to it with entirely different ears. Unfortunately, that also means before I say anything more about the album I should hear it in context with the show! If the Cirque Folque are reading this, pleased be advised that Artie Wayne on the Web is ready to be flown to Vegas to check it and come back here to report the findings!

Merci’ and Auvoir

Copyright 2006 by Artie Wayne

To reach the Mirage where “Love” by Cirque du Soleil is playing
http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/CirqueDuSoleil/en/showstickets/love/intro/intro.htm?sa_campaign=internal_click/redirect/love

 

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Although Motown had been having hits produced in Hollywood for the Jackson Five and Michael Jackson, the move to the West Coast from Detroit allowed Motown more time and money to develop new artists, like the Commodores, Lionel Ritchie, and Thelma Houston, songwriters like Michael Masser, Patti Dahlstrom, and Clifton Davis. The producers that came into their own during that time, included Freddie Perren, Deke Ritchards, Fonse Mizell, Hal Davis, Jerry Marselleno and Mel Larson. Only a handful of those who had hits back in Detroit were able to make a successful transition. the first was Marvin Gaye, who initially met with resistance from Gordy when he delivered his landmark album, “What’s Going On’?” Berry wanted to continue his persuit of “The Sound Of Young America”, making “crossover” singles that dominated the charts. Marvin, on the other hand, wanted to push the envelope with a socially relevant concept album. My friend, Jobete staff writer Al Cleveland, told me that when he heard Marvin working on a new track in the studio, he stuck his head in the door and asked, “What’s Going On?” This led to their collaboration on a song that defined a generation!

Although I was General Manager and Director of Services for Warner Brothers music, I was up at Motown so often people thought I worked there. I would sit in the outer office flirting with the receptionist, waiting to see what producer or artist would walk in next. I remember meeting writer producer Norman Whifield (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, ” Cloud 9″) that way. After briefly, but enthusiastically, discussing his body of work he invited me into his office to listen to a track he was starting to work on. I sat there and listened to a track for twelve minutes that consisted of only of an electric bass and percussion and was a bit confused. I asked him if there was a song that went along with it? He started the track again…and sang, “Papa was a Rolling Stone”

Around the same time I cornered Freddie Perren in an elevator, who was cutting Jermaine Jackson and convinced him to cut a Warner Brothers standard, “I Only Have Eyes For You”. I also got Hal Davis to produce “I Want To Be Happy”, from the Broadway revival of “No, No Nannete” for Michael Jackson, which eventually went to newcomer Lionel Ritchie.

Although I was starting to get cuts…they they were slow to be released. Ed Silvers, President of WB Music, thought I was spending too much time at Motown and doubted I’d ever get any of our new material covered. I couldn’t give up now, so in an accelerated effort I got Hal Davis to cut “Doctor My Eyes”, which Jackson Browne wrote and Michael Jackson took to the top ten in the U.K. As my friendship grew with Jerry Marselino and Mel Larson, who produced a top ten hit with Michael on “Rockin’ Robin”, I suggested that they cut as a follow up, “Little Bitty Pretty One”, which I had no interest in. I knew for certain that I had their attention when it became a hit…but I wanted to wait for the right opportunity to present them with an original song that I really wanted them to cut.

In the meantime, over the next few weeks Norman Whitfield let me hear “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, in it’s various stages of development. There were layers of vocals put on and taken off, sections editited or deleted, countless re-mixes, and finally the last step…the mysterious mastering that set Motown apart from all the rest! That’s when I met Iris Gordy, head of Quality control, who allowed me to watch and listen as she performed her magic!

The Temptations classic was finally released and zoomed up the charts. I remember running into Norman Whitfield in the lobby of Motown, the day the song hit number one on the Billboard charts. He was livid that he had written and produced another smash for Motown…and Berry Gordy hadn’t even called to congratulate him…it was never like this back in Detroit!

Berry’s new aspirations, producing films and his obsession with making Diana Ross a movie star, brought new problems along with new priorities. For the first time in Motown’s history his relationship with everone he had worked with at the label seemed to be on shakey ground! (to be continued)

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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)

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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

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