This is a picture of me and my first day on the job at NewYork’s Lowe’s State Theater, yelling, “Immediate seating for Gone with the Wind! ” It’s fun to meet stars like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, even if it’s only to take them to their seats. The most appealing part of the job, however, is the location. It’s only five blocks away from 1650 Broadway — the new Tin Pan Alley, the “hipper”BrillBuilding! This is also the day that I take my Mother up to Aldon Music, to meet Al Nevins and Donny Kirshner.

imposing man still in his 20’s, is a close friend and songwriting partner of Bobby Darin, who sent me to meet him. He gives my Mother such a pep talk about my future, even I’m convinced I can’t fail. He tells her, “If you’ve got talent and perseverance; all you need is a little luck.”

Donny’s partner Al is a member of the Three Suns (“Twilight Time”), who’s the guitar player in one of the top instrumental groups in the fifties. He’s as stylish and dapper as Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. on 77 Sunset Strip, and convinces my mother that I can learn more about the music business from spending time in their offices, than I can by going to college. Even though Al and Don only give me a $50 general advance when I sign an exclusive five-year songwriting contract, I know that millions of dollars aren’t far away.

Like Chuck Berry says, “I study hard hoping to pass.” I’m privileged to be around some of the most incredible talent who soon would become the most successful songwriters in music business history!

As a wide-eyed 18-year old, I sit for a few hours everyday in Aldon Music’s 1650 Broadway office and become friendly with most of the writers who are signed: Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield (“Happy Birthday Sweet 16,” “ Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” ) Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’), Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“ One Fine Day,” “I’m Into Something Good”) Larry Kolber (“I Love How You Love Me,” “Patches”), as well as Brooks Arthur, Billy Michelle, Al Gorgoni, Tony Orlando, and a 14-year old Toni Wine.

It’s exciting for me to sit around and listen to them as they discuss their songs, other people’s songs, and what radio is playing. Most of them are older than me and far more evolved. They lose me when they start talking about writing from experience, since I have none. All I can write about is my teenage angst and disappointment, which I guess gives the older writers a peek into my horny little world.

Today is just another day when I’m going to hang out at the office. I walk into the revolving door at 1650 Broadway; I glance to my left and see Sam Cooke coming out. I get so excited to see one of my idols that I stop suddenly, trapping Sam in the revolving door.

Embarrassed, I pantomime an apology while Sam smiles and exits the building. While I’m still recovering from the experience, I ride the elevator to the 6th floor with Larry Kolber, who was brought to Kirshner by his longtime friend Ira Howard.

As I’m about to discuss a song we’re writing, Larry flashes me a “look” and puts his finger to his lips to make me shut up. When we get off at our floor, he cautions me never to discuss a song I’m writing on the elevator here or at theBrillBuilding. “You never know who might be listening and steal one of your ideas.”

I apologize as we walk into Aldon. Larry is waiting for Barry Mann to bring a demo back on a song they wrote for the Paris Sisters, “I Love How You Love Me”

I love how your eyes close, whenever you kiss me…

Jack Keller brings in his discovery, 14 year — old Toni Wine, to go over some songs in the piano room. On his way in to meet Jack and Toni, Tony Orlando stops to say hello. He’s the first one to notice that I have my hair straightened for the first time, a la Jackie Wilson.

Barry Mann and Brooks Arthur walk in with the demo of “I Love How You Love Me,” but every room with a phonograph is occupied. While they’re waiting, everyone starts kidding around. Barry starts doing impersonations of everyone in the office. He’s got Al Nevin’s smooth style and voice down, as well as Donny Kirshner’s walk and unbridled enthusiasm. He even imitates Neil Sedaka doing his “Oh, Carol” cha-cha. I’m surprised and a bit embarrassed when Barry does an imitation of me (complete with nerdy glasses and gangly walk).

When Al and Don arrive after lunch, Faith, Al’s secretary, asks if Donny knows he’s wearing one black and one brown shoe. As he looks down at his feet I say, “I bet you have another pair just like that at home”. Everyone laughs — except for Donnie.

Later after the excitement wears down a bit, I tell Larry Kolber about my Aunt’s candy store and the cute little girl who comes in and ignores me. That’s when we start to write:

Boy At The Fountain

I’m the Boy At The Fountain in your candy store

I make all the sodas that you ask me for

You want my chocolate, pistachio, peppermint sodas but heaven above

Knows you don’t want my kisses, you don’t want my huggin’

You don’t want my love.


copyright 2011 EMI Music 

Donny loves it, but nothing happens. It is never recorded, but it is the first song that is based on one of my own real life experiences that somebody connects with.

Although I know how to play piano, I’m amazed whenever Neil Sedaka plays. He can go from classical to R & B in a heartbeat, and when he writes with Howie Greenfield; it’s magic!

Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la…Happy Birthday Sweet 16

Barry Mann (“Who Put The Bomp?”) helps me develop my singing style and teaches me how to sing harmony. He helps me record my demos and is generous in showing me more interesting chords that make my songs bet                                                                                                              Carole King courtesy of the BBC

I occasionally baby sit for Carole King, while she’s in the studio doing demos. In return she plays keyboards, arranges, and sings all the background parts on my demos. I remember one day she comes in to play her new song for Donny Kirshner, but he’s still out to lunch. She asks me if I’d like to hear it while she rehearses it.

She sits down at the old upright piano and starts to sing,

Tonight you’re mine completely, You give your love so sweetly….

I sit there as she goes over “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” a few more times, even though I know I won’t be able to write anything of my own for weeks!

Then she’s summoned to Donny’s office. I think he likes it too…I can hear him yelling through the door, “It’s a Smash! It’s a F@#in’ Smash!”

photo in middle – Don Kirshner, Barry Mann, Gerry Goffin, and Al Nevins


Jimi Hendrix stays at my apartment. Jim Morrison surprises me…

While I’m on the West Coast I let my friend, Ann Tansey, Mercury Records’ A&R director, stay in my apartment. I didn’t know she’d invited her sometime-boyfriend, Jimi Hendrix, to stay with her.

When I arrive home, I find some nasty notes from my neighbors, about my loud guitar playing at 3:00 in the morning. The notes also say something about people going in and out of my apartment by way of the fire escape. I have no idea what really happened, but I do admit I am flattered that they think it was me playing the guitar!

It’s hard for me to get back into the rhythm of New York this time around. There are too many things pulling me back to Hollywood, including a beautiful playmate I briefly met, while she is breaking up with a friend of mine.

I’m tired of writing formula pop songs mostly about made-up experiences in a location that no longer holds any fascination for me. My partners try to re-ignite my excitement in our company, by telling me how well we’re doing financially, but that isn’t enough for me.

In the summer of ’69, my friend Allan Rinde had just joined Columbia Records family as head of Epic Records publicity. Two weeks into his stint there he himself went off to L.A.for aColumbia convention and returned with two thoughts: he didn’t want to be a publicist and he thoughtL.A.was paradise.

I did my best to convince him that both of us should move there. Excited by the prospect, he approaches Cash Box owner George Albert (remember Allan had just left Cash Box to join CBS) and convinces him he needs more help in his West Coast office. Then he quits his job. Boy, is he pissed when he finds out that I don’t quite have it together to move out there with him.

Allan forgives me by the time I visitL.A.again and lets me stay on his couch at his apartment onHarper Avenue. As I’m walking around the neighborhood I run into a lovely publicist friend of mine, who lives in the apartment downstairs from Jim Morrison and his girlfriend Pam Courson, around the corner on Norton Avenue. My publicist friend invites me in for a little “afternoon delight,” and while we’re in the middle of hooking up, a burly, bearded, blasé Morrison walks in.

She smiles innocently and says, “This is my friend, Artie” and as Jim reaches out to shake my hand, all I could say was “Pardon me if I don’t stand up”

A few weeks later I leave the surreal world of Hollywood, go back toNew York and half-heartedly start to turn out demo/masters again.”


Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne


For the last three years I’ve been writing my book about my 50 years in the music business. I was warned not to write about certain people, certain companies, and certain things which made me want to tell more.

As my blog became more popular with over 1,870,000 VIEWS, I began to get bolder and relentlessly went after large corporations and social networks until they discontinued some of their questionable practices.

I’m proud to have been the first to write about Tommy James’ shocking book, “ME, THE MOB, AND THE MUSIC” and have an exclusive no-holds barred three part interview with my pal from the past and former label mate…probably the only such event where the participants didn’t have to go into the witness protection program right after the show!

In my book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG”, I write about my first hand experiences songwriting (Aretha, Michael Jackson,Tony Orlando, Cher, etc.) producing (the Kingsmen, The Shirelles, the Guess Who) and getting hits for Warner Brothers Music (“You’re 16″, “R+R Heaven”) and Irving/ Almo music (“I Honestly Love You”, “Our Day Will Come”).

I share my private stories about, Carole King, MORRIS LEVY, Neil Bogart, The BEATLES, Jimi Hendrix, SCOTT SHANNON, Eagles, MICHAEL JACKSON, Bert Berns, THREE DOG NIGHT, Alan Freed, BOBBY DARIN, Brian Wilson, PAUL WILLIAMS, Murray The K, TOMMY JAMES and the Shondells, Olivia Newton-John, HERB ALPERT, JERRY MOSS, Don Kirshner, RICK JAMES, Rolling Stones, ELLIE GREENWICH, Clive Davis, Barry White, DAVID GEFFEN, Marvin Gaye, QUINCY JONES, The Rolling Stones, DAVID BOWIE, Phil Spector, AND DOZENS MORE!


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




Thanks and regards, Artie Wayne

Special thanks to Sally Stevens for  the Rainbow’s End photopainting on the cover.

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne


big artie

When my longtime friend and sometime collaborator, Artie Kornfeld the Father Of Woodstock, invited me to the festival in 1969, I thought it was going to be a great picnic, I wasn’t expecting a life changing experience!

Back in 1967 my wife Sheilah was working at Mercury records as a secretary to the songwriter/ producer (“Pied Piper”, “Dead Man’s Curve”, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things”) we hung out a lot with Artie and his wife Linda. Artie was always concerned about social issues and making the world a better place, but none of the gang at the Brill Building or from 1650 B’way ever expected that one of our own could make such a powerful impact on our culture!

A few weeks ago right after the world wide celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, I spoke to Artie who filled me in on everything going on in his life, his book, his radio show, etc.

“My memories of my most wonderful days were after three recording deals and managers while attending Queens College at night that, as I tell in my book “The Pied Piper of Woodstock” that I met Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin. With a 25$ demo I took the subway into Nevins Kirchner a/k/a Aldon Music and left with a 75$ a week advance against royalties and a $ 500 advance from BMI.The bread meant nothing as I was now a writer for what soon became Screen-Gems Music. I was accepted in a world of Goffin and King, Mann and Weil, Barry and Greenwich, Leiber and Stoller, Artie Kaplan, Artie Wayne, and so many others who I had only read about and got to learn with the whole Brill Building gang and was lucky enough to have hit songs with Toni Wine my first collaborator and then Steve Duboff and Jan Berry and Brian Wilson. Even my idol Steve Allan, I thought I was in heaven and I was. That is why when I got into position my door was always open. Although we all competed we all were happy at our friends successes.. It is this love of making music and affecting others through song that the seeds for Woodstock 69 were born, I used all my knowledge of music, I actually made a living out of while learning.

Those days in the rooms writing and the friendships that remain almost sacred to me are as clear in my soul as anything in my life.Those incredible days with brooks Arthur in the studio and others and the incredible Hugh McCracken. I am proud to carry on that message we all were sending out of NYC. It remains all about giving all you have for others. As Jerry Wexler told me when he backed out of a label deal in front of my attorney, the incredible Paul Marshall, who is back in my life again. Jerry said, “Artie “, d.” I am backing out because you said we are going to make a lot of money and I wanted you to say we will make great music”. Those  were the most important words I have heard . Since then I have carried the sword of our groundbreaking music in three buildings and the incredible world of super talented and wonderful friends. I am so happy I took a breath and through Artie Wayne’s work and others to be back home in my heart where I started, still carrying our message.

I tried to tell it all in my memoirs, scratching the surface in MY GIVE BOOK “The Pied Piper of Woodstock”, a writer is always a writer.

Peace and Love through Music.- Artie Kornfeld




Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne