bmi-dinner

L to R: Artie Ripp, Jeff Barry, Phil Spector, Paul Case, Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Leiber, and Ed Silvers at BMI award dinner in 1964

Yesterday I was talking to a pal from the past, Ira Howard, the former editor of Cashbox Magazine, who ran the music division of Readers Digest for 28 years. He was telling me about a new super website he’s about to launch especially for our generation, who never lost our love for the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. As we talked about old times, the conversation turned to the headlines and Phil Spector, and our encounters over the years with him.

I told Ira, “After I left Aldon music, I started hanging out at Paul Vance’s (“Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”) office at 1650 Broadway. Ellie Greenwich (“Hanky Panky”) dropped in one day to see Paul who wasn’t there, and wound up writing a song with me and Danny Jordan (The Detergents), “You Should’ve Told Me”, which the Angels recorded. As Danny and I were dreaming of further collaborations with this talented young lady, Ellie, her fiance Jeff Barry (“Tell Laura I Love Her”) had other plans.

The two of them had started writing songs with 21 year-old producer, Phil Spector (“To Know Him Is To Love Him”). ..songs that defined a generation. “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, “Da Doo Run Run” by the Crystals, and “River Deep Mountain High” by Ike and Tina Turner.”

Ira Howard recalls, “I was at Cashbox in the early ’60s when Phil came in and immediately blurted out “I got a hit record and I need a name for this new group I’m producing.” (the group, by the way, included Bobby Sheen, Darlene Love and Fanita James, who recorded under many group names back them.) We began throwing around some ideas, when, out of left field, I mentioned that we could possibly name them after the clothes the kids were wearing. I then said “how about dungarees…or blue jeans?’ Phil’s eyes lit up and said “bingo…it’s The Blue Jeans.” He followed it by saying, “now how about a lead singer?” I then followed with “how about bobby sox?” Phil had a grin from ear to ear and said “great…it’s Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans.” The recording was “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and it went Top Ten in November of ’62. Ira went on to mention that Phil had an amazing memory. The two didn’t meet until 40 years later at a songwriters awards dinner in New York. Ira got past Phil’s bodyguards and went up to him and just smiled. Phil then said “Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans as his hello.”

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

For more personal encounters with Phil Spector click onto

https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2006/08/16/the-scoop-on-richard-baskin-and-phil-spector-with-a-cherry-on-top/

https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2007/03/17/part-2-trade-martin-and-an-exclusive-look-inside-a-phil-spector-recording-session/

To see and hear Phil’s brilliant recordings with the Beatles as well as EVERY BEATLE VIDEO EVER MADE! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/every-beatle-video-ever-made-for-free/

RAIDERS

top l-r Ed Silvers, Tony Byrne, Mel Bly… bottom l-r Artie Wayne and Stephen – Craig Aristei

Back in 1972, I moved to Hollywood, became General Professional Manager and Director of Creative Services at Warner Brothers Music. I headed up a group of seven relentless songpluggers, I named “The Warner Raiders”, who would go to any lengths to get one of our companies songs recorded.

There was a kid in the mailroom that had the same fire in his eye as David Geffen had, when he was in a similar position at the William Morris agency. Stephen Craig Aristei would work hard, ask questions of everybody and stay late in the office listening to songs in the vast catalog. Ed Silvers, president of the company, and I welcomed him to our staff meetings where he would make astute casting suggestions and be treated like one of the “Warner Raiders”.

We all knew that he had the potential, but I didn’t have the budget, to hire another “Raider”. One day, Ed called me into his office and told me that we had to get cover records from the show that was just revived on Broadway, “No, No Nanette”. I looked at him like he was crazy … and asked if that meant I should try to get Michael Jackson to cut “Tea For Two”? He glare and said, “You’re the Director of Creative Services … be creative!”
Craig and I listened to the score over and over, and we decided that I should update the song “I Want To Be Happy” and submit it to Motown. I gave my piano voice demo to the late Hal Davis at Motown, who cut the track for Michael Jackson.

A week later, when I went to Mowest studios, found him putting an unknown Lionel Ritchie on the track!! Hal, an imposing bear of a man, saw that I was freaking out over the “switch”, grabbed me and threw me across the recording console, warned me that if I got anyone else to record the song, I would have to answer to him!!

I quietly got up, brushed myself off and went back and locked myself in my office. That night, Craig and I sent out dozens of copies of “I Want To Be Happy” to everyone I could possibly think of!! Nobody Fucks with the Warner Raiders!!

NANA

A few days later, I hired a dancer, the actress Teri Garr, to join Tony, Craig (who would carry a boombox, playing “Tea For Two” and “Happy”), a limo and a camera-bearing limo driver, who would capture us promoting “No, No Nanette” in the offices of Mo Ostin, Joe Smith, Jerry Moss, Artie Vallando, Mike Curb and Jimmy Bowen. 

On the morning of the promotion, Teri Garr, the dancer, is a no-show, at which point Stephen Craig Aristei jumps in and says, “I can dance!!”. I got down from the window ledge and said, “If you dance today …you’ll be a “Warner Raider” tomorrow!!

Well, Craig became a “Warner Raider”…and “I Want To Be Happy” was cut by Sammy Davis, Jr. and wound up on the b-side of his million selling, “Candy Man”! Over the years Craig has become one of “Unsung Heroes” of our business, and one of the best song men I’ve ever known! 

CRAIG

Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne

To reach  Stephen -Craig  Aristei https://www.facebook.com/stephencraig.aristei?fref=ts#

ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/