The first time I met Ron Anton was in 1966 when I was living in NYC. He was a lawyer  at BMI, who was young enough to relate to the songwriters who were making the popular music of the day. My partner, Kelli Ross, and I administered the publishing for some of those popular music makers, who included Joey Levine, Artie Resnick (“Chewy, Chewy”), Leslie Gore (“She’s A Fool”, “California Nights”), Janis Ian (“Society’s Child”), Jazz greats Bobby Scott, and Quincy Jones!

It was always a pleasure to deal with Ron on behalf of our clients, he treated Kelli Ross and me with the upmost respect, during a time when there were no black song pluggers at any major publishing company, and few women owned their own businesses. I never thought of Ron as being part of the establishment because of his sensitivity to the needs of songwriters, composers, and publishers.

In the early ‘70s, when I moved to LA and went to work as General Professional manager for Warner Brothers Music I’d run into Ron, who was running BMI’s west coast office, at industry functions, concerts, openings, etc. and occasionally share a lunch, but I never imagined I had such a strong ally.   

In 1975, I remember Ron coming to my aid, when I went into business for myself after running Irving-Almo Music and BMI wouldn’t give me a $5000 advance against my future songwriter and publishing company royalties. It was standard procedure, when I was at Warner Brothers music, that every new artist David Geffen would sign to his record company would get a $5000 advance from BMI, so I thought I should at least get the same consideration.

When BMI turned me down I was livid, but Ron calmed me down and not only got me the advance I was asking for, but he named my new publishing company, WayneArt Music.

I remember, it was a cloudy afternoon the Wednesday before thanksgiving I was waiting up in Ron’s office up at BMI, for a my check to arrive overnight from NY…but it never came. As the office workers started to leave early for the long weekend, Ron saw me sitting dejected in the outer office, sat down with me and asked, “What’s wrong?”

I told him that I needed that certified check in order to buy a classic 1965 Mustang hardtop at half it’s value by tomorrow or lose the opportunity. He smiled, wrote me a personal check for $5000 and took me to his bank downstairs to cash it, wished me “Happy Thanksgiving” and walked out to his car!

I thought to myself as I returned the money to him on Monday, when my check came in up at BMI, how lucky I was to have a friend like Ron.

Over the years as I drifted away from the music business I lost touch with Ron and his lovely wife Dene, who was my occasional songwriting partner. Then I ran into them unexpectedly at Rick Bolsom’s Cakewalk restaurant in Nashville in the mid-nineties, where I was guest hosting for the evening. We were all so happy to see each other, even though Ron introduced me to the rest of the dinner party as Artie Shaw in the excitement of the moment, Dene hit him on the arm and corrected him. We all had a good laugh and proceeded to have a great evening!

In October of 2000, I was stunned to hear that Ron lost his life in a fire at his home. I’ve stayed in touch with Dene over the years, who has done a remarkable job of keeping Ron’s memory alive.

As we get older, we look back and appreciate the people who made a difference in our lives and Ron certainly made a big difference in mine!

Thank you my friend and may you ROCK IN PERPETUITY!

Respectfully, Artie Wayne

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne

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