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Spectropop - Digest Number 118

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                The World's Foremost Amusement Newsletter 

There are 7 messages in this issue of Spectropop.

Topics in this Digest Number 118:

      1. The NY Music Business in the Early Sixties
           From: GT 
      2. Van McCoy
           From: "David Gordon"
      3. JFK
           From: Doc Rock
      4. Dion - Born To Be With You 
           From: LePageWeb 
      5. I Stand Accused
           From: John Clemente
      6. Re: I Stand Accused
           From: "David Gordon" 
      7. Re: I Stand Accused/Sharon Tandy
           From: Alec Palao


Message: 1
   Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 20:21:33 EST
   From: GT 
Subject: The NY Music Business in the Early Sixties

When I was a kid, circa 1961-65, I took to hanging
around Broadway, just above Times Square, looking to
break into the music business. 

What was really amazing is that just a few addresses on
Broadway, 1619 (The Brill Building), 1650 (Don
Kirschner's Colpix stronghold and 1697 (CBS's old Ed
Sullivan Theatre building) housed the lion's share of
the talent and entrepreneurs that were responsible for
what kids were listening to (and growing up to) all
across the USA.

This was a very special point in time for the music
business. I consider myself to be very fortunate to have
been around the scene, enough to have a true idea of
what it was actually like.

Although these are just brief glimpses of that time,
with no particular "point" or "payoff" to any of them,
here are a few random flashbacks of the things I saw and
experienced during those years:

One day, at 1650 Broadway, I got stuck in elevator that
stopped working for about 45 minutes with two of the
Shirelles. Just 13 year old me and them- I was in
awe-There was lots of very salty language and lots of

Elvis soundalike, Terry  Stafford, a grown man, being
dragged by his mother(!), up and down Broadway, from one
office to another, trying to get another whack at a hit,
long after his one big success, "Suspicion (Torments my

My first day in Quintano's School for Young
Professionals, a special high school for kids in show
business.  My fellow sophomores included Mitch Margo,
the youngest Token; Mary Weiss, lead singer of The
Shangri-La's; Two members of Randy and The Rainbows AND
LaLa Brooks of THE CRYSTALS.

My high school was in midtown Manhattan, just a few
blocks from The Plaza Hotel.  One February morning, a
man came to our school and gave anybody who wanted it, a
Beatle Wig and a Beatle sweat shirt, with the promise of
five dollars, if we would go over to the hotel and
scream for the Beatles, who had just arrived in America
for the first time. We all went and screamed.

While waiting for the elevator on the 9th floor (I think)
of the Brill Building, the door to Jobete Music opened
up and out came a very young Stevie Wonder, heading
towards the elevators (and me). Nobody was with him -I
said 'hi' and he asked me to let him know when the 'down'
elevator got there.  This was right at the time of his
first top 40 hit, "Fingertips, Part Two" and way before
having an entourage, or 'posse' became fashionable in
pop music.  

On that same floor of the Brill Building (or maybe just
one or two floors, above or below-all the floors looked
alike) were the offices of Leiber & Stoller (Trio
Music); Jubilee Records (run by Al Ham/birthplace of
"The Shoop Shoop Song," by Betty Everett) and Trinity
Music, which had recently been purchased by Bobby Darin
and renamed TM Music.

This happened before I learned how to talk my way past
receptionists around town:  I knew if I wanted to
audition for Darin's TM Music I had to come up with a
foolproof scheme to catch Bobby's attention. Then it
came to me: Realizing that Bobby would eventually have
to leave his office to heed the call of nature, I
decided to wait for him in the hallway outside the TM

So as not to give the impression that I was some sort of
wacky stalker, let me give you the visual reality here:
I was this heavy set 13 yr old kid in a twenty-nine
dollar, silver-gray, iridescent suit that I was given as
a present for having just graduated from Catholic
elementary school. (As far as I was concerned, the suit
was just like the ones worn by Len Barry and The Dovells,
those "Bristol Stomp" boys. So I thought I was looking

Well, in any event, Bobby did eventually head towards
the men's room, and I went in right behind him.  With no
time to waste, I casually sidled up to a urinal one down
>from where he was.

I played it cool, making as though I was just there for
the usual purpose; when I felt the timing was just right,
I introduced myself to him and told him that I would
like to audition for him and his production company. He
just smiled and listened to my pitch (he didn't really
have much choice; I DID have him cornered). When I
finished, he laughed and suggested that we both wash up
before shaking hands.

Rather than being irritated or put out by my totally
absurd approach to getting discovered, it struck him
funny.  He brought me back to his office, introduced me
to some of the TM staff, telling all about how we met.

Although this encounter wasn't exactly my 'stairway to
stardom,' from then on I was allowed to hang out in the
TM lobby from then on, with an occasional invitation to
come into the back offices/inner sanctum to hang out and
listen to demos, etc. Very cool.  I loved it.

A PLUMBING FOOTNOTE-The Brill Building didn't have
private restrooms available in its offices, so no
matter who you were, you had to go to the communal johns,
next to the elevators on each floor.  It was a very
different time.)

Anyway, that's all for now.  Glad you're there,

Best, GT

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 2
   Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 04:24:48 -0000
   From: "David Gordon"
Subject: Van McCoy

Hi people,

It's a shame that Van seems to be best remembered for his
least interesting records. 

I had a quick look at the BMI database entry for Van to
refresh my memory - he has around 700 published songs so
to give his work its rightful due would take a book in

Among other career highlights -

Chris Bartley's "The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven" 

David Ruffin's " Walk Away From Love"

The Vonettes "Touch My Heart" - a great Northern Soul

The Ad-Libs version of "Giving Up" on Share, a label
owned by Van.

The Presidents on Sussex - they had a very emjoyable
sweet soul album

Brenda and the Tabulations, Sandi Sheldon, Kenny Carlton,
Tommy Hunt and hundreds more.

I haven't checked yet but wasn't he only in his late 30's
when he died? He was amazingly prolific yet managed to
sustain high quality in almost all his projects apart
>from his own records which are either too close to MOR
for comfort or well produced but rather sterile

If I can find the time it would be interesting to do a
chronology of his writing / production work.

Thanks to John Clemente for revealing that Kenni Woods
and Kendra Spotswood are one and the same. Odd that she
seemingly reverted to her full name for her final (?)

David Gordon

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 3
   Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 12:56:13 -0500
   From: Doc Rock 
Subject: JFK

For a couple of decades, I've been hearing that a reason
that the Beatles succeeded in 1964, the reason the
British Invasion did so well, the reason the Raindrops
"That Boy John" tanked, or the reason the Spector
Christmas album fizzled was the national depression
caused by the death of JFK.

My family members are long-term democrats. I even
campaigned for RFK and almost met him (came within 5 feet).

I was in high school when JFK was assassinated. In fact,
I was in American History class when my teacher made the
announcement. I saw Oswald shot dead on live TV.

But neither I, nor any of my friends, got depressed.
"Current Events" was a class assignment, not a way of
life. My thoughts were still on my girl friend, my
homework, and rock and roll radio. The assassination was
a blip on the radar, not a painful body blow, to mix

My musical interests and day-to-day attitude and
activities were not affected in the least.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Doc (who bought the Xmas LP in an early '64 sale bin 
for 50 cents)

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 4
   Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 13:53:50 +0900
   From: LePageWeb 
Subject: Dion - Born To Be With You 

This link is on the Spectropop web page but for those
who may not have noticed, March 5 is Ace Records'
release date for the Spector produced Dion album "Born
To Be With You" on a 2fer with "Streetheart."

Sean Rowley writes: "Every school day afternoon I'd
have my portable transistor pressed up to my ear from
3:45pm (school closing time) to 7:00pm (the end of the
show). I was fourteen years old and my hero was Roger
Scott, Capital Radio's drive time DJ. He played a
record by a singer I had begun to idolise, produced by
a man who made records that were like pocket symphonies.
The record was five minutes forty seconds long and when
it finished he played it again in its entirety..."

Dion - Born To Be With You

Rowley raves it. Do we love this record or not?

All the best,


--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 5
   Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 12:49:32 -0500
   From: John Clemente
Subject: I Stand Accused


Jerry Butler's song, "I Stand Accused" is the same title,
but not the same song.  Jerry has writing credit on his.

John Clemente

--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

Message: 6
   Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 04:06:57 -0000
   From: "David Gordon" 
Subject: Re: I Stand Accused

--- In spectropop James Botticelli wrote:

> Jerry Butler did it as a ballad.


I haven't heard the Tony Colton or Elvis Costello records
but I'm pretty certain they're different songs - Jerry
Butler's was written by Jerry and his brother Billy

David Gordon


Message: 7
   Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 14:53:04 -0800
   From: Alec Palao 
Subject: Re: I Stand Accused/Sharon Tandy

>Jerry Butler did it as a ballad.

Same title, different song (though no less great for
that). Incidentally I'm surprised no-one has mentioned
Tony Colton's original version of "I Stand Accused" with
the Big Boss Band (Pye, June 1965). It's a slower, more
kinda nightclub/mod arrangement, but equally cool.

Tony Colton is also responsible for writing/producing
perhaps my all time fave Brit Girl 45, Sharon Tandy's
"You Gotta Believe It", released on UK Atlantic in 1968.
Though Sharon recorded in the US, most famously at Stax
in Memphis, this was done in England, most probably at
Philips in Marble Arch, 'cos its got that killer Peter J.
Olliff drum sound. An amazing kitchen sink production in
a mid-period Dusty style, strings and vibes etc. Great
emotional vocal from Ms Tandy. Bit of a looker too, if I
remember correctly.

Archivally yours


--------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]--------------------

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