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“When I was plugging songs in back in New York City, I used to wear a jacket, tie and “good pants” ( not jeans). When I moved to Hollywood in the early ’70s, it was jeans and cowboy boots all the way! Although I do admit to having my jeans tailored and chemically “aged”, and wearing highly polished Fry boots with two inch stacked heels. It was like John Wayne meets “Superfly”

I remember one night I was standing outside the Troubadour bar getting my cool on, when Glenn Frey of the Eagles, walks over to me, looks down at my feet and says, “I don’t believe this shit!” At this point he and Randy Meisner wrestle me to the ground, remove my “sissified” boots and throw them in the middle of traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard! The last thing I remember, was all of us lying there in the street drunk with hysterics…or was it hysterically drunk?

I’d been trying to break the ice with some of David Geffen’s acts for months and this was a good sign. I was General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music and we administered the publishing companies of all of David’s artists including, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills and Nash, John David Souther and Neil Young.

As any good manager must be, Geffen is relentless in getting the most for his clients, and is always on my case to get more recordings on his artists songs. After the Eagles first album comes out, one my “Warner Raiders”, Bob Stabile, gets B.W. Stevenson to cut “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. B.W. just had a number one hit with “My Maria” and his cover of “Peaceful” becomes formidable competition to the original! Of course I knew why Geffen was freaking out, it’s always more important to have an artist make a hit with their own song than have somebody else do it! It broke my heart, however, when we had to stop the Hollies from recording “Witchy Woman” after they had a number one record “Long Cool Woman ( In A Black Dress)”, but there are millions at stake…not to mention my job!

After I get Michael Jackson to cut Jackson Browne’s, “Doctor My Eyes”, which goes top ten in the UK, things begin to change dramatically. Jackson talks me up to his label mates while my friend, Lita Eliscu, who runs his publicity department, talks me up to Geffen. For about a year David and I have what I like to call an “uneasy truce.”

Then one day I walk down to his office, which is only a block or so east of Warner Bros. Music. I have five copies of the not-yet-released Van Morrison “Moondance” album under my arm and Everybody in David’s office wants a copy! Off the top of my head I offer to give a copy to whoever can name 3 Van Morrison songs. First David’s assistant, Leslie, names 3 songs, she wins an album…then the mail boy names 3, and he wins one too.

At this point, Joni Mitchell walks in and asks what’s going on? I tell her about the contest, she picks up her guitar and plays 3 of Van’s songs and yes…we have another winner!

I see it’s getting late, and as much as I hate to leave, I have to get back to my own office. On the way out of the building I run into Neil Young. He sees the remaining 2 albums under my arm, says he’s a friend of Van’s and asks me to give him one. Unfortunately he’s not able to name even One of Van’s songs, so I say, “Sorry Neil”, explain the rules of the contest and quickly leave!

When I get back to Warner Brothers music, I hear Geffen on the phone yelling at my boss, Ed Silvers. When I explain “A contest is a contest”, Ed smiles, and sends a copy of Van’s album over to Neil!”

 Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com 

From Wayne’s new book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG” now available at  AMAZON , Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

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Brian Jones
In 1969, Horizon was a group that was signed to Schwaid/Merenstein productions. My pal, Lou Merenstein asked me if I like to produce the group, which I thought was as good as the Association. I didn’t like any of the songs they had. I told him that I’d keep the group in mind, if I had any ideas. A few weeks later, after hearing that Brian Jones, who I had hung out with on my first trip to the U.K. had drowned in his swimming pool, I put together a medley of Rolling Stone songs and told Lou that I had an idea for a concept record called “Tribute” that started with a chorus of monks slowly singing “Paint it Black” in Latin…while a Cello was playing the guitar riff from “Satisfaction” (which Brian Jones created)…which evolved into an uptempo “Ruby Tuesday”…with a mixed chorale and most of the N.Y. Philharmonic Orchestra!!

He loved the idea and gave me carte blanche in the studio, if I could finish it up fast and get it on the market!!!. I taught Horizon the parts that afternoon, that night I dictated the parts for the orchestra to an arranger and we were in the studio the next day…doing final mixes that night.

The next morning I took the master to Lou Merenstein’s office and played it for him. He started screaming, “I don’t believe it…I don’t believe it!!! It’s a masterpiece!!” With tears in his eyes he handed me the award he received from Rolling Stone for having produced the album of the year, Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” and said, “You deserve this !!!” (this was the exact moment I became a legend in my own mind.)

Lou called Neil Bogart, head of Buddah records , who was rushing off to the airport. Lou played Neil the record over the phone, and when it was over Lou kept saying, “Hello….Hello…..”, to no one at the end of the line. We just shrugged our shoulders and kept playing “Tribute” over and over. 10 minutes later Buddah’s lawyer was in Lou’s office with a contract and a $10,000 check for the master!!! Neil couldn’t finish the conversation without missing his plane, but he had to have the record !!!

When they rush released it the following week, we were all positive that the record would go to number one! I was even bold enough to echo a statement of my hero, Phil Spector, “If this record isn’t a hit..I’ll NEVER produce again!!!” OK, it wasn’t a hit..it didn’t even make the charts…but I did have the decency to wait a few months before I produced again.