Today at 8:27 AM
May 4, 2015
Claude’s Commentary No. 62
By Claude Hall
Frank Boyle: “Love reading your weekly runs down Music Memory Lane. As a National Sales Rep for Eastman, I knew mostly owners, GM, GSM's and rarely PDs or DJs -- never met a record guy. But you folks mentioned Philadelphia. Best known GM of WIP and WPEN was Harvey Glasscock. Women meeting Harvey for 1st time -- would shyly ask -- "is that accurate description of your ‘you know what’? Harvey would laugh -- put his arm around her and ask ‘Would you like to come up to my room and see for yourself’? At WIP he was followed by Dick Carr and Bob Mounty. Mounty never dialed Long Distance -- just opened his office window and yelled. Remember Larry Wexler, WMagic GM -- the amateur magician? He did his favorite trick with me at a Greater Media Annual Management Conference on the stage. He told the audience he was going cut my head off with his Magic Guillotine. After setting up the guillotine -- he cut a cantaloupe in half. Then put my head in a black hood under the knife. Said this is the penalty for a National Rep not making their 1975 National Revenue projection. I heard the falling knife whirr down but did not cut my head off. Rick Buckley and his dad bought WIBG. Someone told them the call letters stood for ‘I Believe in God’. So much for I. B Gimbels. You'll recall they called it "Wibbage" on the air. Famous guys like Jerry D. (Inside Radio Newsletter) were PDs there. Jerry Lee was just starting then. He made radio history after being a US Army Military MP in WWII. One of the reasons Philly always has great Radio is because of gutsy, creative GMs who backed up their creative PDs. Stay well.”
Don Eliot: “Larry Shaw in hospital. Waiting for update. Will let you know. Sure enjoyed our visit, Claude, and of course, it was too short! I have no excuse for not coming more often other than my sinuses getting messed up by the third day but since it's such a short drive, i'm thinking about coming back just for a show or two... and maybe taking you to the Silver Sevens for those wonderful eggs Benedict you talk about. Joey Reynolds give me a copy of his cookbook… Speaking of cookbook… And as far as rats in my room… My wife who is a year or two younger than I, had not heard the song, so when we had a little visitor scrambling around under the couch visitor recently (we nicknamed Rodney the Rat... Going to head a dirty look and a guy… Must've been mafia), I started singing it to her. Week before last I was in Buffalo for a family funeral. Must've missed all the excitement with the guys mentioned in your column today… I spent some time at famous Amish Maple pancake place up in Appalachia (sp), Cartwright's Maple Tree Inn. Dad used to sell Buick limousines to Sally Gambino, but that's a whole nother story, too! Last but not least, wondered if you know some of the folks involved with the ASCAP convention which is in town this week: (My cousin is a songwriter, so we'll probably get over to see him as well while he is in town for this).
Always interested in what inspires song writers to write certain songs… And then it struck me… This morning as I was reading your column… I was cleaning my gun… (cuz it rhymes with Galveston?).” This is a 22 Magnum… The orange is around an inch and a half in diameter at 75 feet holding the revolver… Put it in perspective, it would be like blowing out the two tiny little slots on an electrical socket from 3 rooms away. Not bad after 25 years of not touching it and considering hand-holding cameras these days gets me a shaky picture but this one seems to be right ‘on target’. Stay in touch.”
Sad to hear about Larry Shaw being in the hospital. I always considered him to be a great country jock. I’ve never told this tale because it still embarrasses the devil out of me when I think about it. Larry asked me to sit in with him on his show one evening. I brought some of my favorite albums up. That was the deal. Along the way, I mentioned that “Tomorrow Never Comes” was derived from “O Solo Mio,” the American translation, so to speak. Larry quickly jumped in and said there was no connection and praised the writer of “Tomorrow Never Comes.” I quickly realized my goof. The tune I was thinking of was “There’s No Tomorrow.” I used to think I knew country music. But Larry’s familiarity with the genre puts me to shame. He not only knew country music, but was dedicated to the music. Went out and learned how to drive a truck and actually took trucks on the road … just so he could communicate better with some of his truckdriver listeners. Larry was probably one of the best jocks in the genre.
Allan Shaw: “I saw Joe Maimone Jr.'s comments in this week’s Commentary. You might want to forward the attached photo to Joe Jr. It's a photo I've kept over the years of Joe Maimone Sr. on the job in NYC circa 1970 when he brought British recording artist Jackie Lomax by WABC-FM to drop off his new single. Joe was one of the best ever. You mention that you attended the Gavin Radio Conference at the Riviera in Las Vegas and interviewed Tom Donahue. Was it the 1967 conference? If so, I was also there and was APD at WCFL at the time. I remember that Jerry Moss was a speaker at the conference and opened his remarks by saying that it had been a pretty good year for his and Herb Alpert's fledgling A&M record company. That was an understatement for sure. Tom Donahue's address inspired me to think about programming album rock on FM. Those really were exciting days for the radio and record industry. Thank you for taking the time to do these commentaries. There is nothing else that chronicles those olden and golden days of the radio and record industries and the colorful people who were involved as well as you do.
My son John A. Hall, Esq., dug this up:
I tapped into a May 1964 issue of Billboard (I joined the magazine about this time) and noticed a column written by Bill Gavin. This, I did not know. No, I did not replace Bill Gavin at Billboard. He probably had a stringer deal … got paid by the inch of copy in a stick (printed column). Just FYI, I considered Bill Gavin one of the greats in our business.
Robert E. Richer: “Hi, Claude … the piece and photo mentioning Telly Savales brings back great memories. My first job out of college was in the mailroom at the American Broadcasting Company. ABC was the last of the Big Three to get into TV, and was sucking every penny out of radio in order to finance the TV. That was good news for me, because at no addition to my breathtaking mailroom salary, I was given a half-hour of time on the ABC Radio Network to write, produce and deliver a show. I chose to produce a program that I called ‘Strictly From Dixie’, obviously a Jazz show. Back in those glorious days, we had an announcer, an engineer and a director. All for a half-hour record show. The staff director assigned to me: A kid named Telly Savales. When the show ended at midnight, we’d go out and hit half the gin mills in Manhattan, with Telly driving his Hudson, which today would qualify as a toxic waste zone. I think he might have been living in the car at that time.”
Don Graham had asked me to place his son on my email list. I did, of course, and wrote Mark a note.
Mark Graham: “Thanks for the Commentary. Dad speaks highly of you, too!”
Joey Reynolds: “You might want to add Bruce Morrow to your list and drop him a note that I forwarded this to you? Another legend who is still working. GOD bless Cousin Brucie!”
Joey had obviously sent a copy of Commentary to Cousin Brucie because there was this note included: “Thanks Joey -- great reading. Maybe I should ask Claude to send the Commentary to me. Very enjoyable stuff. Bruce.”
Dave Sholin: “Noticed that in your recent commentary a message from Larry Cohen mentioned Lesley Gore's ‘You Don't Know Me’. A song that's gonna be a hit all over again, thanks to Grace … an incredible 18-year-old artist who has a brilliant career ahead of her!”
Frank Jolley: “Claude, For those of us not giving in to the new wave of old radio trying to be new radio www.rockhouse.mobi has listeners in 24 countries now with a weekend lineup that appears to be old radio in the new world. Friday night 6 pm-12 midnight is Jimmy Rabbitt, followed Saturday night by John R (formerly of WLAC, Nashville) and Frank Jolley on Sunday followed by ‘The HiFi Club’ with Mike Shannon from Ft. Worth and the ‘CBS Radio Mystery Theater’. As Jimmy says ‘That’s what Rockhouse is all about and keep your toe tappin’. BTW: Jimmy’s new album with the Renegades has just been released. Hope you'll check it out.”
I’m pleased to hear that Jimmy Rabbitt has a new CD out. I’ve always liked – and enjoyed – El Conejo. A cutie: El Conejo is one of the few (maybe the only) disc jockey to be fired long distance. From Australia, in fact.
Frank Shively: “Thanks for remembering Frank Mancini! I worked for him in the late 60s at MCA and kept the connection for years after. He was the nicest and smartest person I have ever worked around. I think of him often. He could make my day better just by answering the phone. Tony Richland was another one of the really good guys.”
I, too, miss some. It’s lonely without Lee Baby Simms and George Wilson.
Ron Jacobs: “KHJ kicked off Boss Radio 50 years ago this week. About the earliest days: On August 12, 1965, I’d been the KHJ Radio program director about four months. Never lived in Los Angeles before. Previously, I worked with Frank Terry at KMAK, Fresno. On weekends, we would often drive south to see the LA Rams, The Troubadour and Watts Towers. That August afternoon, I was called into the KHJ Radio/TV newsroom. Six news wire machines chattered nonstop. What was going on? The announcer on duty explained, ‘Riot in Watts. Getting worse, fast’. ‘How are we covering it?’ ‘(News Director) Art Kevin and Frank Terry went there in the mobile unit … wanna talk to them?’ Terry was on the mobile phone. In the background I heard, ‘Plat, plat, plat’. ‘What the hell is that, Terry?’ ‘… just gun fire’, he replied nonchalantly. ‘Where are you guys? We need a feed. Now’. Terry said, ‘OK’ and passed the mobile phone to Kevin, who was next to him – Underneath the car! KHJ 20/20 News earned more honors than most any Top 40 radio station. The entire crew was fearless. Thank God it wasn’t what’s exploding and blazing in Baltimore: 50 years and nothing has changed.”
Thanks for the news feed, Ron.
Mel Phillips: “I am very excited that Amazon has decided to publish my new book, 'From the Mailroom to the Majors.' I decided before I published my first book that recording my thoughts and memories will be the way to help young people starting out in pursuit of a career. And it doesn't have to be in the radio or music business. Hopefully I can help them pick up a thing or two that can be useful in any field. 'From the Mailroom to he Majors' is a story of a successful career that started in the mailroom. The trail to success began with a series of jobs in small towns but would lead to some of the biggest cities in the U.S. This is my story and you'll have a paperback edition as soon as I get it published. My friends can order the Kindle edition from:”
Great on you, Mel. Sadly, I doubt that kids are hanging out, waiting for a career in radio, anymore. But the book is history and that’s very important. Ah, radio!
Woody Roberts reports the king is dead.
Richard Irwin: “I try to skim your newsletter every week, though some of the names are unknown to me. Did you know we have the ONLY video of Lee Simms? I spent a day with Lee and it was among the treasures he contributed to REELRADIO. The following was published on REELRADIO in General Comments, so you might as well have it, too.”
To wit: email@example.com was prohibited from airing more than 1,100 exhibits online. The site lost about 1,000 subscribers. The sites have been restored, but many subscribers are still hanging fire, according to Uncle Ricky, who adds: “Today, April 29, less than 60 subscribers have returned … to say this is disappointing would be an understatement. I’m quite gloomy.”
Be nice if those of you who have been supporting the website contact Uncle Ricky and help him with funds to keep the site online. The URL is http://www.reelradio.com
Pete Cosenza at Columbia Records is promoting Hozier’s new single “Someone New.” If you’re interested in hearing the record, contact Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org
I just learned (Thursday) that Billboard had dropped the name Vox Jox many years ago. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. At one time the column was read on islands in the South Pacific, behind the Iron Curtain, and even translated into Portuguese and read throughout Brazil. Just about every disc jockey and program director in the United States and Canada read the column. Australia, too. Yes, I even know where it was usually read. Doesn’t matter … it was a force.
Good news! A good friend of mine, someone very knowledgeable and experienced in radio, is launching VoxJox.org. If you’d like a “page” in this new site to promote yourself or a link to your own site or whatever, contact the president at email@example.com. The president/director asks only for your patience as it takes a while to generate something such as this. I understand that my own Commentary will be a part of this new VoxJox.org.
The director, who wishes to still be off the record for a while longer: “What I want to recreate is what Jack Roberts had with Hollywood Hills, allowing everyone to be a visible part of it.”
As a former bus driver used to say: “How sweet it is!” And I assure you that I could not ask for a better heir.
Now and then one discovers a music masterpiece. Something that makes you proud to work in our combined industries. But this tune evidently missed the boat. My son John just brought home a reissued CD by Gene Clark – “Two Sides to Every Story” on High Moon Records from the RSO Records recording. The tune I’d like to praise is “Give My Love to Marie” written by James Talley, Hardhat Music. With orchestral background, Gene has created a heart-tugging coalmining tune, evidently circa 1977? My compliments. I love this tune.