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Joey Reynolds winds up in the most unexpected places.
by Rollye James
Rollye: “OK, so it’s not aimed at me, but I had never heard of ‘Resident’ magazine. I figured
if they had the good sense to devote a page to Joey Reynolds, the least I could do was find out
where they were and who they were trying to reach. I stumbled on this self-description:
‘Resident embodies the aspirational luxury lifestyle. The best in travel, dining, real
estate,celebrity news,fashion, and events from around the world.’ Joey is not aspirational.
He’s already there— wherever he wants to be, and on his own terms. Joey is the walking
definition of WYSIWYG. Near as I can tell, this publication is for rich residents, in the same
way that an upscale version of ‘Where,’ is for tourists. Resident is now found throughout the
world, including as of last year, South Florida (encompassing Palm Beach to Coral Gables).
“When I saw the tear sheet, I laughed out loud over the changes Joey has been through in the
past 50 years. I had just read Jay Meyers reminiscences in Tom Taylor Now. Virtually
everyone reads Tom Taylor’s daily emails, as evidenced by Holland Cooke sending the blurb
to Dick Rakovan, who in turn sent it to Joey, and Joey to me. (If you don’t read Tom Taylor
Now, it’s free— sign up here
.) Jay retold the well-known story about Joey exiting WKBW in
1965 by nailing his shoes to the door with a sign reading ‘fill these’. What I didn’t know until
this week, was the rest of the story. Joey subsequently took 12 steps right into sobriety through
AA. Step 9 had him making amends to those he harmed, which caused Joey to write a letter to
Norm Schrutt. Schrutt, who had been the ‘KB’ GM during the infamous shoes incident, was
then running Cap Cities. A few weeks later Joey got a response in the form of a sizable check.
Unbeknownst to Joey, Cap Cities had a profit sharing plan, and given Joey’s flamboyant exit,
no one went to the trouble of tracking him down. Little did anyone realize that they were
doing Joey a favor. Joey’s money just sat there accruing interest. And by the time time he
received the check, he was in a much better position to use it wisely.
“Joey was also on my mind this week because of the Valentine gift he sent. Courtesy of Joey
’ thoughtfulness, and the folks at Chocolate Works
in Plainview, Long Island, NY, I
got a plate full of chocolate goodies that should last til Easter, with a card reading 'The Beatles
had it right, all you need is love.' Well, that and chocolate. Thank you Joey!”
: “See below and RSVP here
before March 30…and feel free to forward to
anyone who knew her.”
Rich Brother Robbin: “Jack Vincent was every bit the great, fine man everyone says he was
... I knew him for 46 years and he never had a cross word ... caustic, abrasive, funny as hell,
yes ... but never cross!”
Bill Gardner: “Claude Hall's remembrance of Johnny Rivers as a great dude was right on the
money! And it reminded me of my chance to talk with Johnny. During my 1999 to 2008 time
as Morning Personality on KOOL 94.5 Phoenix, I had the good fortune to interview many stars
of music, sports, and politics. I had only one personal rule: It had to be a "live" visit. No
pre-recorded interviews from the day before, since I felt that pre-recorded interviews really
lacked timeliness, energy, and spontaneity.
“When offered a chance to interview Johnny Rivers in 2007, they told me that he NEVER did
morning interviews, and others advised me that he tended to be a 'difficult interview.' To my
surprise, Johnny accepted the "live" morning interview. I went into the interview a little
hesitantly, but Johnny Rivers was friendly, gracious, and a very enjoyable interview! My
producers recorded about half of my interviews, and I've converted many of them to MP3. You
can still actually hear that Johnny Rivers interview and others at my web site here
“Reminds me of another interview. With Don McLean. They told me, "Whatever you do,
don't ask him the question he's been asked a million times....to explain the lyrics to 'American
Pie.;' I didn't. But who brought it up almost immediately? Don McLean. :-)”
Claude Hall: “In the original Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee, there are
several plaques on the wall honoring a few of the greats … I mean the really greats. I’m
talking about Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams and Kitty Wells. They don’t make them
anymore like Ernest Tubb.
“I wish they did.
“Country music isn’t what it used to be. I listened to some country music the other day and I
couldn’t understand the words to the song. And I didn’t like the music either.
“I wrote some of those plaques. Paul Ackerman, music editor of Billboard magazine up until
the 70s, wrote some of them. To be honest, the board of the Country Music Hall of Fame,
asked Paul to write those plaques for the walls. Paul asked me to help. Heck yeah! I was
raised on “Walking the Floor Over You.” And I’ve even been in Ernest Tubb’s record shop
near Ryman Auditorium where he performed just about every Saturday night that he was alive.
“I also wrote the liner notes on the promotional albums sold nationwide by country music radio
stations to raise funds for the then-new building to house the Hall of Fame. But that’s another
story, I guess. For a brief time, I was even country music editor of Billboard in addition to
serving as radio-TV editor. Then we hired the fabulous Bill Williams in Nashville.
“Billboard magazine, a weekly trade publication, and its publisher Hal Cook were strong
about supporting country music and, in my opinion, did a great deal in stabilizing a somewhat
crazy music industry and lending it respect. Especially country music. For there was a time, if
you don’t remember, when if you were listening to a country music station on your car radio
with the window up and you stopped for a traffic light, you changed the station real quick.
Except in Texas and maybe New Mexico and Oklahoma. This was so in Manhattan when I
joined Billboard. There wasn’t much country music around in the mid-60s in the north.
Marty Robbins performed once in an auditorium in Brooklyn. I was there. He got heckled
from the audience in spite of doing a great show.
“There was a hard-to-find country nightspot in Patterson, NJ. I visited the place once or
twice. Performed there one night at an open mike.
“I recall the day in the mid-60s I was taken to lunch by the general manager of the only
country music station in the area – located in New Jersey – and I mentioned carefully that I
didn’t think he was programming the station as well as he should. He remarked that everyone
in the Manhattan area were Jews or Italians and he had everyone else listening. I paid for my
meal and got up and left.
“Shortly afterwards, a country music nightclub opened in the basement of a hotel on Seventh
Avenue nor far from Billboard. I think it was called The Nashville, but too many years have
gone by for me to be sure. Glen Campbell performed there one night and we took occasion
for me to present to him his first-ever award for topping the country music charts at Billboard.
That nightclub didn’t last long. But about this time Billboard came out with an annual
magazine called World of Country Music. Paul Ackerman and I largely wrote the entire
issue. It was around for several years and quite beneficial for Billboard and Nashville. And
we helped the Country Music Association do a special live show for the advertising industry of
New York City. I remember taking a picture of Eddy Arnold. Tex Ritter performed. Gene
Nash, as I recall, was producer and Leroy Van Dyke whom he managed performed. Those
shows did well for country music.
“Music changed a great deal, too, in that period as strings and orchestration came into play,
courtesy mostly of such as Chet Atkins and Bill Walker, an Australian who migrated to
“Some good days happened in country music back then.
“I think the genre needs some more good days.”
Claude Hall, left, presents Glen Campbell an award for topping the Country Music Chart of
Billboard at his performance in the 60s in a country music nightclub in Manhattan.
Eddie Arnold on stage. Picture taken by Claude Hall.
Rollye: “I’m with Claude Hall on this. (I probably should disclose that I’m typing this column
listening to Frankie Laine’s pop standard, ‘Mule Train’— 1949 Mercury version, of course.)
The scandalous strings of the Countrypolitan sound of the late 60s (I put Billy Sherrill at the
top of the perpetrators) was one of two ‘outrages’ before country made it to the mainstream.
The other one came in 1974, when I was handing Charlie Rich’s promotion. Bill Anderson
and his ilk were horrified that Charlie and Olivia Newton John could top the CMA
Entertainers list. (Funny to think that Barbara Mandrell was squarely in this camp,
considering her later mucho-mainstream Vegas presence.) Anderson, Mandrell and others
formed the ACE, the Academy of Country Entertainers to try and stop the tide. Little could
they recognize what would ultimately come. Back then, even with their concerns, country
was anything but mainstream— I recall Bob Luman coming into my office when I was at
Epic. We were going over sales figures on one of his singles. We got to Boston and he said, ‘It
says three. Three what?’ … Three copies, Bob. I glossed over New York only selling one, and
tried to explain that many areas were racked at a distance and local sales tallies might not
reflect what was actually moving in a given locale. I didn’t add that there was nothing quite
like Amarillo’s Western Merchandisers in New England.
“Eventually every fear that traditional country acts had, came true. Before country music
exploded, if you were a star, it was a lifetime designation. The late Bill Taylor designed an
ingenious bingo game for country radio. He printed hundreds of bingo cards with country acts
in the squares rather than numbers. A new game started every hour. Listeners who picked up
the cards at advertisers played along marking squares that corresponded to records being
played that hour. Those who hated contests, didn’t realize one was going on. What made it
work without massive effort at renewing the cards was the stability of the country acts. The
stars would remain stars, receiving the accordant airplay. Years later, things started to
change— gradually at first. When I was a music director at a country station, I recall the
astonishment of one promoter when I told him I wasn’t adding the latest Statler Brothers
record. ‘You’re not gonna play the Brothers?’ he wailed in a tone sounding like I was selling
his sister into prostitution. He called the general manager. We added the record. It lasted a
week. The change that was coming wasn’t going to be stopped. And it was nothing short of
sad when acts like Johnny Cash were no longer guaranteed airplay— or bookings. To them it
was not only confusing, it was betrayal.
“To my ears, what happened was mainstream country morphed into male AC. Female listeners
had tons of adult contemporary, soft rock options aimed at them. Delilah on steroids. But
males? It was not unknown that generationally, dad might like country while son was listening
to album rock (Metromedia’s KMET/KLAC in Los Angeles shared families). Album rock
begat classic rock, and as some males looked elsewhere, country was their answer. The
themes, production and attitude is every bit as relatable to male listeners as traditional AC is to
females. (Though it’s possible I have no idea of what I speak— I recently saw a station that I
was pretty sure was hip hop, labeled as ‘adult contemporary’. By a stretch it might be urban
contemporary, but definitely not the suburban contemporary of AC that anyone might expect.)
“As for country venues in New York, the name that comes to mind for me is Al Aronowitz.
The New York music journalist was known for introducing the Beatles to Dylan, but left out of
his obits at the time of his death over a decade ago, was his promotion of country music in
New York. It was a suicidal task back then and he knew it, though he did respectably well with
the “Country In New York” concert series at the Madison Square Garden Center in 1974 and
’75. One night he and I took David Wills to Stanbrooke Ranch and O’Lunney’s, a couple of
Manhattan country music venues. Aronowitz was gracious enough to mention me when
recalling that night in liner notes on David’s first Epic LP, or I might have forgotten about it
entirely. The rest of New York probably did. Out of curiosity, I checked the New York
Nielsen Radio ratings tonight. Country enters the list (of 12+ listeners) at #19 with under a 2
share. With that in mind, it can be argued that Country’s success is aided exponentially by the
sheer number of options that listeners have to satisfy their tastes, whatever they are. Or not.
I’m rambling because you’re not writing.. so weigh in on this, or anything else, please.
Bob Sherwood: “In response to Kindly Ol' Uncle Claude's (paraphrasing) 'clown in the White
House' comment, I heartily recommend to you and discriminating VoxJox readers Matt
Tiabbi's recent book release "Insane Clown President". It's his 'Dispatches from 2016',
pillorying The Donald and the 'bought & paid-for' Republican party (Aristotle was right !) and
is a most enjoyable tribute and continuation of the legacy of the late, lamented,
beyond-brilliant creator of Gonzo Journalism, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Claude shouldn't
read it as he'll frequently be laughing so hard his stitches will let go ! As usual, Tiabbi is right
“By the way, if there're any of our associates who never read Thompson's "Fear & Loathing on
the Campaign Trail 72" they should run, not walk, to their nearest remaining book-seller or go
on line to Amazon. Besides the ongoing frighteningly fair and reasonable assessment of
Richard Milhouse Nixon, the piece on the moment when George McGovern looked in the
mirror and realized he might actually become the Leader of the Free World will become one of
the greatest essays you'll ever read in your life.
“One wonders what St. Peter must've thought when he realized that he'd have both Hunter
Thompson AND Lee 'Baby' Simms together up there at the same time ?!? Although, as
Catholics believe each would almost certainly be doing some significant time in Purgatory
before being allowed through the Pearly Gates. Never mind.”
Rollye: “Anyone who hasn’t read Thompson’s take on the 72 campaign because they figure
it’s totally slated in one direction— rethink that. Thompson describes Humphrey as being
genuinely surprised that former supporters no longer believe a word he says, and portrays
Muskie as a three toad sloth against the wolverine that is Nixon. Fun stuff. Here’s
a link to
cheap laughs from Amazon (a comment on their pricing, not Thompson’s writing).
Bob Sherwood (Sunday evening 2/12): “After attending a couple of dozen Grammy’s during
my music business career and having many wonderful memories of most of them---I think I
just watched the best produced and performed show of them all. Adele’s momentary
indiscretion and stop & restart during her wonderfully performed and moving tribute to
George Michael was a special event. Then her two sincere tributes to Beyonce were beyond
the pale and all-time classics. The Car Karaoke Classics with everybody doing “Sweet
Caroline” was a Hall of Famer. And the amazing quality of the majority of the Grammy-based
TV commercials absolutely buried the overhyped Super Bowl spots.”
“Timmy Manocheo sent a copy of print ad that will really take you back— probably to
memories you never had. Take a gander at this:”
Rollye: “Remember Hip Pocket Records? If you actually had any, the memories probably
aren’t too fond. They were good for maybe half a dozen plays, assuming you were tracking
lightly. But they were interesting— and cheap. They resembled the Eva-Tone Soundsheets that
were distributed as pull-outs in various magazines since the early ‘60s, only smaller (and
thinner if that’s possible). They came packaged in a cover art envelope and were sold at
Woolworth stores and Ford dealerships (this is not a total non-sequitur— manufacturer Philco
was bought by Ford in 1961, and was sold to GTE in 1974. They were Philco-Ford during the
Hip Pocket days.)
“Hip Pocket Records started up with some fanfare in 1967, and wound down quietly in 1969.
All totaled, there were 41 discs, beginning with Tommy James and ending with The Isley
Brothers. In ’67 the venture debuted with titles from Roulette, Atlantic and Mercury, but
several independent labels were added in ’68. They were playable on any turntable (at 45
RPM) but Philco wasted no time in debuting a mini-record player just for them.
“As bad as this idea would seem to any set of ears, Hip Pocket Records had a competitor—
PocketDiscs from Americom, for only 50 cents. They didn’t have sleeves, but they did have
The Beatles (and a few other big names.) When they released ‘Hey Jude’ I figured they’d
have to increase the disc’s size. Americom didn’t have its own record player but they did have
grander plans. They were working on a vending machine to dispense their product—
convenient and theft proof. Philco, in response, reduced their price from 69 to 39 cents. The
selling factor for both was portability (God knows, it wasn’t sound), and while I’d heard about
carrying them in pockets and mailing them to friends, this earring thing escaped me. If you do
not believe any of this, check out eBay. Nary a week goes by that someone isn’t selling these
discs. Should you be so inclined, make sure to go for something that hasn’t been played. Ever.
“Flexi-sheets were huge in the Soviet Union (not the Hip Pocket titles, obviously). They were
often included in propaganda magazines for teens— until the great vinyl shortage. I’m not
making his up, either. Bootleg flexi-sheets were released with titles like ‘ribs’ and ‘bones (in
the Russian words for them, ‘rebra’ and ‘skelet’ is the closest I can come without a Cyrillic
keyboard). The names weren’t odd when you discovered that what was being used for the
vinyl medium was discarded x-ray films.
“Probably the most well known flexi-sheet to American kids in 1963 was Mad Magazine’s
beefy (by comparison) pull-out of “It’s A Gas.” Today, it’s on several CD compilations, but
back then it was a prized rarity, made possible by RCA deciding that it wasn’t in keeping with
the label’s reputation for good taste. (Several RCA singles will easily debate that reputation,
such as the Sweet Sick Teens doing ‘Agnes (The Teenage Spy)’ but I digress.) Big Top had no
such reservations, and in addition to the Mad pull-out, “It’s A Gas” appears on the “Fink Along
” album. ( Info on that here
. If any tracks spark your interest— and I’m pretty sure
you’ll recognize a few like ‘Don’t Put Onions On Your Hamburger’, they’re probably on
youtube— and a few, like ’She Lets Me Watch Her Mom and Pop Fight’ may still be attached
to some old issues of Mad.)
“My thanks to Timmy for the ‘ad of the day’ and to inherited-values.com which chronicles
such things. Their music related memorabilia is here
, where you’ll see some Hip Pocket
Records and that resistible player.”
Mel Phillips: “I had no idea Phil Gernhardt was involved with all those projects. He would
actually come up to the Florida stations I was at: WKKO in Cocoa, WFLA & Big WALT in
Tampa with his latest "hit". Other Florida characters I remember was the group from Hialeah:
Henry Stone, Milt Oshins, Steve Alaimo. Steve and I became friends when he had the Red
Caps and later when he went solo. Milt was a nice guy and Henry Stone reminded me of Col.
Rollye: “Henry Stone was the real deal. Someone who made records because he loved to do
it. And in the era before many labels self-distributed, Tone was a huge influence. The Miami
New Times did a very nice retrospective obit when Stone passed in 2014 here
, and in 2015, a
documentary on Henry, The Record Man
, was released. Worth every minute to watch.”
Mel Phillips: “We're less than 4 months away from the 50th Anniversary Weekend of June 2,
2017. Dinner invitations will be going out in just about a month (Mid-March). This week we'll
continue to pay tribute to the promotions we ran at The Big 68, starting with WRKO Heavy
Wheels. WRKO Camaro Couple, New England Race Day, Joel Cash rewards one of our Time
Machine Winners, Giving the Bird for Thanksgiving (photo of Jon Powers), The Money
Machine, Dale Dorman tests the One-Armed Bandit, Al Gates' "Feathers" contest...
“WRKO 50th Anniversary Dates:
Friday, June 2, 2017
We're getting closer every day. Dinner invitations will be emailed in about a month for the
Anniversary which will be celebrated at the Crowne Plaza (Charles Ballroom) in Newton.
Cash bar at 6 will be followed by dinner. Jordan Rich (seen above) will emcee. Parking fees for
those driving to the event will be waived with front desk validation.
Saturday, June 3, 2017
L-R: Al Gates, Joel Cash, J.J. Jeffrey, Chuck Knapp, Arnie Ginsburg, George Capalbo Jr.,
On air live (7pm-11pm) on WRKO/Streaming & Backbone Networks (Streaming) (produced
by George Capalbo Jr.) All music & jingles from 1967. Art Vuolo will video tape the
festivities, a copy of which will go into the National Radio Hall Of Fame in Chicago. Art
recently paid tribute to the late Herb Oscar Anderson on YouTube. To see that video, click
“Reservations: Rooms are still available at the Crowne Plaza (Newton). Check-in: Friday (June
2). Check-out: Sunday (June 4). Call 617-969-3010 and ask for special "WRKO Reunion" rate
of $159 a night (tax not included). You'll pay about $175 after taxes but more if you park at the
hotel. We suggest using a cab from Logan (Gordon Brown is offering special rates, his email
address is available by request). Local transportation while staying at the hotel is advised
(Woodland Station of the MBTA Green Line is just a few minutes away)... Dinner invitations
will be emailed in Mid-March. Party time is less than 4 months away…”
Gordon Brown: “The Crown Plaza sits over the Mass. Pike, Exit 17 at Newton Corner. There
are 1/2 dozen or more local buses that leave from that Hotel going to Kenmore Sq. (connecting
to Longwood Medical area); to Watertown (connecting to Arsenal and Watertown Malls and
connecting to Red Line at Harvard and Central Squares in Cambridge to Downtown Boston;
express buses to/from Copley Sq. and Express buses to/from Waltham. Also to Dedham Mall.
There may be other routes, as well.”