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By Claude Hall
and Rollye James
Claude Hall:  “I have a friend in radio that I’ve known for countless years … so many years
that he falls into that category along with Woody Roberts and Tom Campbell and Chuck
Blore and Joey Reynolds and a very, very few others of “Mi casa est su casa” and I suppose
it wouldn’t hurt to mention his name, but I won’t at the moment.  He knows who he is.  He
used to dote on Mexico, as did Barbara and myself.  We don’t haunt Mexico anymore and he
doesn’t either.  Which is a pity.  Maybe even a crime.  Because I wish I could go there again
and I can’t.  Here’s a link he sent me recently.
“Somehow or another, mi casa friend keeps informed about goings on south of the Rio
Grande.  Now and then he feeds me one or more of the horror stories.  The places where
Barbara and I and the kids used to roam and even campout are bloody stomping grounds now. 
You could get killed by some stray bullet of a drug lord and be dead and your body rotting on
the side of the road before you were even aware of some bandido and there are so many, many
bandidos strolling by, driving by, standing on a corner waiting for you, waiting for anyone,
especially some wandering gringo.  Tom Russell, who once lived by the border, wrote a song
about it.  “Goodnight Juarez.”  Well, he wrote a couple of other songs about it, too.  But
“Goodnight Juarez” tells the story just as well as it’s going to be told.  Except, of course, these
violence reports and newspaper clippings sent to me sporadically by mi casa friend.
“We were often in Mexico in the 70s, Barbara and me.  We never even once had any kind of a
Mexican problem.  Not even close!  And one time we drove the length of the Baja in a beatup
old Volkswagen camper with sons Darryl and Andy.  Four days of fun.  A gringo lifted my
wallet.  We weren’t even slowed down!  Called son John in the states and he canceled our
AX.  Ferried to the mainland and drove back up the coast.
“We were always down at Los Felipes on the Sea of Cortez.  You could dig up dollar clams by
the handful and boil them and dip them in butter.  A delight.  And, yes, gringos wore knives on
their belts in the nearest cantina.  I don’t remember seeing any guns.  They were probably
guns around, though.  But everyone was laughing and drinking cerveza and singing and
having a good time.  One time, we drove to Guadalajara and camped out and one day watched
a young kid pump the bell in the church tower to make it ring.  And we loved Puerto Vallarta
and Acapulco.  Barbara and I always felt that Mexico was something akin to our backyard.
“My mi casa friend has almost met death himself while in Mexico.  And he has driven out to a
radio tower and found it a dumping ground for bodies.
“Makes you want to cry.  For, all of the good days are gone.  My mariachi days.  And, yes, I
still love Mexico and Mexicans and Mexican food and Mexican customs.  I even grew a
mustache back in the 60s in order to look just a little bit Mexican.  And also, to be honest,
because Barbara said I couldn't and I felt a desire to maintain my macho … not be too
henpecked.  You know?  Quien sabe?
“Do I have any solutions?  No.  I suppose not.  But it occurs to me that perhaps we should be
more worried about Mexico than Iran or Afghanistan.  Or Isis.”
Joe Smith continued (third installment of an article that appeared in Casino magazine,
September 1981, written by Claude Hall under the pen name of Dan Banks).
The social life of a record man – like his business life – is vastly unique.  If you’ve ever seen
the Los Angeles Lakers play basketball on TV, you’ve more than likely seen Joe Smith sitting
on the front row courtside.  He won’t, as a rule, be too far from the basketball team and you’ll
probably see Jack Nicholson or Mo Ostin, the chairman of Warner Bros. Records, nearby.  “I
should be commissioner of basketball,” he wisecracks.  Not only has he had season tickets
since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles around 1960, but team owners like Dick Bloch of the
Phoenix Suns and Larry Weinburg of the Portland Trailblazers are personal friends … “and
someday these friends will come to me and say ‘Why don’t you lead us out of the
wilderness’?  And I’ll get higher ratings on TV for them and I’ll get more people to the
He also plays tennis for fun and exercise and savors wine.
“There are a lot of show business people who’ve taken up tennis.  Obviously.  Like everybody
else.  And a lot of the socializing of my wife and myself is with people in the industry.  It’s by
choice, not because of business.  Because people in the entertainment business are generally a
little more up and amusing and fun to be with.  I’m not saying that we’re elite, but we do have
some wonderful people in the movie and television and record business.  And the business is
fun to talk about, too.
“And I’m a big wine drinker.  Just yesterday I had producer Richard Perry and Abe Summer
and a whole bunch of people at the house tasting California wines.  I have 7,000 bottles of
wine at home; I’m a major, major collector of wines; it’s a big hobby.  Most of them are
French, but in the last couple of years, I’ve been buying some California wines, too.”
Smith was born in Chelsea, near Boston.  He went to Yale and after college became a disc
jockey at WELI in New Haven, CT.  After bouncing around at several radio stations – at one
time in his career he was known as Cousin Joe on WSSV in Petersburg, VA – he ended up in
Boston.  He became extremely well known as a disc jockey.
Then Mitch Miller, a friend of his, along with a songwriter named Bob Allen and
arranger-producer Ray Ellis were coming to California to make records with Doris Day and
Jo Stafford.  They asked Smith to come along on vacation.  On that trip, he met and fell in
love with his wife of 24 years; he now has a son attending the University of Pennsylvania and
a daughter attending Brown.
In 1960, he gave up radio and moved to California and started out at the bottom in the record
business as a local Los Angeles promotion man.  A year later, he joined Warner Bros. Records
where he rose through the ranks to become president of the company in 1970.  In 1975, he
became chairman of the board of Elektra/Asylum.  He has, quite literally, survived in a
business that has seen men come and go.  Smith wisecracked that RCA Records has had 112
presidents during his 20 years at Warner.
He is now a millionaire.
Joe Smith admits to the mansion in Beverly Hills, the prestige area of Los Angeles where
people like Neil Diamond live, but jokes, “A very ornate, gauche mansion.”  He points out
that it’s worth more now then when “I bought it ten years ago, I must tell you that.  And,
basically, I’ve made my money by working in the corporate structure here at Warner’s,
through stock options and through performances of that stock.  The success of this company
has been enormous.  I think it’s not a secret – the record company of Warner Communications
has been enormously profitale for a lot of years and we have been rewarded, individually and
commensurately, for providing all that profit.  Because the money we have made enabled them
to pull the motion picture division together, the buy things like Atari, to finance the CATV
operation of Warner’s.”
Smih’s day starts early in the morning with tennis or jogging.  He gets to the office between
9:15 and 9:30 a.m., “usually after making some phone calls from home to New York or
“The phone is amazing … fifty to a hundred-and-fifty calls a day.”
Too, Elektra/Asylum is a major record company “and we deal with a large number of
recording artists, all of whom have managers, all of whom have agents and publicity people. 
And, at one time or another, I brush against all of them.  We’re constantly looking for new
talent, signing new artists, so I spend a lot of time doing that or discussing it with those who
do it.
“Internally, I’m the chief and everybody wants to bounce ideas or projects or decisions off
me.  We have fourteen vice presidents in everything from business affairs to promotion and I
try to see everybody every day.”
(concluding installment next week)
Woody Roberts, from the quail country outside of Austin, TX:  “I had a blast with the guys on
Saturday tonight, it was perfect, and could only have been more perfect had you joined us. 
Bob's friend Mike lives in Tulsa, but is going to the University of Michigan this semester to
teach Shakespeare.  If you had been there adding one extra literary perspective we might never
have left Dr. Bob's motel suite and instead jawed the night away.  As it was we attend an
Austintatious Elvis birthday show and celebration at the Continental Club.  This joint is a
small in-town roadhouse and was packed wall to wall.  The performance was a great example
of why Austin is the Live Music Capitol of the World.  It was a local pickup band and the 29th
year of this annual tribute.  All the musicians playing for Elvis' birthday were pros and on key,
seven-piece brass, bass, guitar, piano, drums, four girl singers, and the lead singer/bandleader. 
He certainly had a lot of hits.  We heard 2 1/2 hrs of Elvis songs and I recognized every one of
them.  The audience lived up to our Keep Austin Weird motto singing the backup chorus parts
and dancing on top the bar during ‘Viva Las Vegas’.  Hearing the horns in that little place was
a musical treat, like being in a living room with a super HI FI system.  But no TexMex nearby,
so afterward when the guys took me out to dinner and it was a foodie kind of Italian place,
delicious.  Expensive.  When Bob found out the next day was my birthday he wouldn't let me
pay for anything.  Really nice gift, a night on the town.  And the next morning I awoke to
learn David Bowie had died.  When I read the obit a couple of comments reminded me of last
year and Lee's unexpected departure. 
“Highlighting how secret Bowie kept his illness, long-time collaborator and friend Brian Eno
said his death came as ‘a complete surprise’. He received an email from Bowie a week before
his death which he now believes was a farewell message.  ‘It was funny as always, and as
surreal, looping through word games and allusions and all the usual stuff we did.  It ended
with this sentence’:
'Thank you for our good times, Brian, they will never rot'.
‘I realize now he was saying goodbye’.
“And this perfect quote from his wife:
"Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory."
“PS  Re medicine.  Found out the only doctor I've used since 1969 -- except for a 1976
hospital stay -- is closing his office this month.  I've only been to John's office twice otherwise
it was on the phone or he came to me but I am going to make an appointment this month, for
ceremonial purposes.  He is a friend.   PPS  I am starting to reread ‘My Name Is....’  I learned a
lot about you reading that book, maybe it's a subconsciously written autobiography.  Not
exactly automatic writing but text embedded with hidden meaning unknowingly inserted by
your psyche.  PPPS  In a couple days I will forward Lee Baby's last email.”
More Woody:  “A genius performance artist who trod his own path .... His recent and last video

[ The embedded video probably won't show up if you're reading the emailed copy of the
column, so here's the link to see it directly on youtube.   --Rollye]
“Ziggy must have known this would be his last.  Musically --and not looking at the video -- it
is a stunning piece for a career finale, all the elements of the Sgt. Pepper Satanic Majesty era
brought up to date with jazz undertones ....
“Yes, I was a fan.
Claude Hall:  “This family dotes on Shakespeare, Bob and Woody and Mike.  We have or had
an elite British edition of his works … you know, printed with the S … and we have caught
productions at Statford in Canada, the Old Globe in San Diego and, of course, in Utah. 
Always wanted to take Barbara to England for the real stuff, but ….”
Doc Wendell:  “Hi, Claude, my new blog site is back and cooking.  I had to write a loving
tribute to David Bowie.  I hope you enjoy this.   Lots of love.”
Also:  “Here are the links to the blogs to my new site.  Finally got it fixed!!!

Claude Hall:  “The death of David Bowie got to my sons John and Andy.  Frankly, they are
much more hip than I when it comes to much of the pop music scene.  I’ve got it over them
when I mention Red Sovine and Moon Mulligan and Johnny Lee Wills, though.  But Bowie
was a topic of conversation in the Hall House for two days.  Thus:  ‘We come, we do, we go’
and peace be with us all at the end.”
Ken Dowe: “Claude, you need to sell your book, ‘George and Me’ to Quintin Terrantino for a
film.  Rock 'n Roll, Drugs, Murder, missing persons, payola, and interviews that are really
difficult ... when the interviewee is just a little drunk!  What's not to like?  Haha!  Wild stuff,
Claude.  I am seeing names I have not thought about in decades.  Pretty rough crowd we ran
with, and I'm glad my mother didn't know.  Of course, I had a perfectly good Jewish mother
(who wasn't, but ‘acted’) Jewish.  Had you told her I killed Buzzy, she'd have said: ‘Well,
Claude ... my boy Kenny ... is a good boy.  He never hurt anybody who didn't need it!  And, if
he did kill that Buzzard fellow, then he deserved that, too!’  So, there!”
Claude Hall:  “The Halls while in Los Angeles had an adoptive Jewish mother named Lee
Levy.  She was a member of Barbara’s West Coast Writer’s Conspiracy.  Bobby Vee and wife
Karen knew her, too, as did, heck, everyone, because she hungout at the Halls and her
peanutbutter cookies were always burnt.  But everyone in the book industry knew and loved
her; she and her husband once had a bookstore for years in the Times Square area of
Manhattan.  She died right after we left Los Angeles, otherwise I would have had a bestseller
with this book ‘George and Me’.  Probably every book I’ve written.  Lee Levy was something
else.  I don’t miss those cookies, but I do miss Lee Levy.”
Roger Carroll:  “Claude, always enjoy your Monday posts.  KMPC always promoted the air
people  I was very fortunate to be on the air at KMPC for 22 years.  Happy New Year!”
Tom Campbell:  “This video link should work. Sorry for the old link that did not.” 

Rollye:  Tom and Doc weren’t the only folks with internet issues.   If I had a LinkedIn profile,
I’d be first in line to help Chuck Buell.  If you've got one, please take a moment to help him

Chuck Buell:  “As I start off this new year of 2016, it has come to my attention that within my
LinkedIn Home Page, under "Skills and Endorsements," many of my previous "Radio Air
Personality" acknowledgements have mysteriously vaporized!   So I have a quick and small,
yet obviously important to me, favor to ask of you. Would you mind going to my LinkedIn
page, scrolling about halfway down and simply clicking on my "Radio Air Personality"
category for me so that it might be repopulated? That's all that should do it. ( And while not as
critical as that category, if there are any other categories you might be so moved to also note
while you're there, those, of course, would be also be appreciated as well as any
recommendation, if you wish! )  Meanwhile, I wish you an Abundant and Prosperous New

Rich Brother Robbin:   “Hi Claude:  Here’s a great article on the Internet radio situation
written by a local pal tryin’ to help me raise a buck or two to keep going’ but I think it’s newsy
enough for your great pub!  Great Job again this week…  you just keep getting’ better!”

Rollye:  Not only is it “newsy” enough, it’s downright important. I believe the situation Rich
and many more like him (including all very small market broadcasters, webcasters and
hobbyists) are facing falls under the dreaded law of unintended consequence.  I don’t believe
that anyone in Congress who voted for the act, which created SoundExchange on behalf of
labels and artists, could have begun to imagine that it might be used, albeit inadvertently, to
silence diversity.  But that’s what’s happening.  The act as written requires a review of the
rates every so often.  This go round some common sense carve-outs were not included.  For
instance, the provision that small webcasters could opt to pay a percentage of their income, is
nowhere to be found.  That’s the issue for Live365.  They’ve been paying over a million
dollars a year, but without the ability to pay a healthy chunk of revenue to satisfy the
requirements, they’re unable to operate.
     It’s more disastrous for the hobbyist.  One of the most resplendent things about the Internet
is how many streams have cropped up dedicated to the love of a musical genre rarely heard
elsewhere.  Virtually all of them are done by individuals who love a particular sound and are
willing to invest a few dollars in equipment, monthly streaming fees and modest royalties to
proudly play it.  It’s likely that none of them are making money in the process. Very few even
try.  They simply want to expose like minds to the musical jewels that have captured them. 
That includes a lot of recordings that have never been played on the radio and songs, which
won’t rise to the level of consignment to the trash cans of our memories, because we’ve never
heard them before.   There’s probably a reason that most weren’t hits, but a few are certified
standouts.  I believe these hard core fans are delivering exactly what congress and the public
would have wanted— true diversity. This niche programming nicely fills a need that if not for
online streams would go unsatisfied.   (And it’s almost certain that none of the artists featured
on such shows will ever directly get any royalties paid at any rate.  It’s hard to find them, or
their estates.)
     I recently saw a comment from an artist griping about streamers complaining about paying
.0017 cents to play one of their songs.  It was lost on them that it is .0017 per person listening
to it— which even for the microstreamer can add up to several hundred dollars a month.  If
that doesn't do bit players in,  the reporting requirements will be the death knell.  There was
relief in the past with realistic abbreviated standards.  What’s required now is an
administrative burden that most small players can not bear.  They simply have no viable way
to come up with the data as requested. 
     My premise, as I said, is that congress couldn’t possibly have intended this.  And if I’m
right, there will be some revisions.  Already SoundExchange has announced somewhat
simpler reporting requirements for radio stations that fell under the now discontinued “small
broadcaster” category.  I gotta believe that similar relief is in store for all microcasters.   I
shared that thought with Rich Brother Robbin.  He added that in the best case, it’s still gonna
cost him more to operate going forward, and without some help, it’s doubtful he’ll be able to
continue to stream.  I think that news will sadden everyone reading this.  If all of us went to
RichBroRadio.com, clicked on the donate link and gave him a couple bucks, collectively it
would make a difference. (Here’s a direct link to the donation page. When you get to PayPal,
log in, click on “Pay or send money,” then choose “Send money to friends or family”, when it
asks for the recipient, use rich@richbroradio.com, then donate whatever you can.)  I’m in. 
I’m hoping you are too.

David Gleason (americanradiohistory.com):  “Rollye, I was happy to see Jack Sandler
mentioned today.  It brought back memories.  I was 18 and building my own radio station in
Quito, Ecuador. I flew through Miami on my multiple trips, and on occasion I had a 13 hour
layover for my 1 AM flight to Quito. I took the bus downtown and crossed to the McAllister
hotel and took the stairs to the mezzanine and entered WQAM. I said I was the owner of a
soon-to-launch Top 40 station and I’d love to have a quick tour.   The receptionist gave me a
“you gotta’ be kiddin’” look but called Jack Sandler anyway. He came out to meet the kid
who says he has a radio station. After chatting a while, he realized that I was not pulling a
prank and said, “there is someone here you should meet”.  We went to another office where he
presented me to another man. That man was Todd Storz. After repeating my little story, Todd
embarked on a several hour lesson on how to do Top 40. I left for the airport on another bus
(at 18 nobody would rent me a car) loaded with new and fascinating knowledge. Sadly, just a
few months later Mr. Storz passed away. I always wanted to tell him that what he told me
worked; like a classic Storz launch, the station I built was number one within months of going
on the air.  Thanks for naming the names and telling the stories. Every column brings back
both memories and a bit of sadness over our nearly-lost art.” 

Larry Cohen:  “Claude:  Your kind words describing The Lipsius family, to me, was very
touching. Harold Lipsius and his brilliant wife Clara both passed several years ago. Frank,
his son & his sister Julie have been left with the 'family jewels.' I spent close to 6 years with
Harold after he had brought me in as his National Promotion & Sales Director in 1966 to help
run Jamie/Guyden. He afforded me the opportunity to grow and operate freely without the
everyday corporate bullshit. I know you knew the family, but I'm not aware how well you
knew him both personally & for his keen business acumen.
     Let me give you a briefing on this soft spoken, iconic man.You may pick up some info'
about the man that you are not aware of...he had a special quality not often found in what was
our industry.   Harold Lipsius was a soft spoken, low key person who many in radio were not
familiar with his name. But the heavyweight people at every level in the music industry from
Broadcasting, Distribution & Manufacturing knew of him & his name was like 'gold.' Claude,
you're aware he was the owner of Jamie/Guyden Records & Distribution which had Duane
Eddy, who at that time in the early 60's, was their most profitable artist. Before the payola
investigations, it was no secret that Dick Clark was Harold's partner in the Jamie operation.
Matter of fact, Clark was also Duane Eddy's manager.
     Harold then negotiated & purchased Dandelion Music, in 1962, a W.Coast music
publishing company whose current cash value is worth today, well over a million dollars. So
Mr.L (as he was often addressed) had a publishing company to accompany his label(s.) He
purchased the publishing company from Fabor Records (Fabor Robison/owner). The
copyrights included "From A Jack To A King", "Uh Oh Cherrie" and other hit songs.  In
Philadelphia, he was the sole owner of Universal Record Dist. Corp, one of the biggest record
distrib's in Penna. Some of the lines he distributed were A&M, London, Roulette, Epic. Atco,
Scepter, Uni, Ode, Casablanca & of course his own family of J/G product & their distribution
arm of Arctic (Barbara Mason), Phil-Les Records which was Phil Spector & Lester Sills
'baby' of which Harold was the 3rd partner. (betcha' Claude, you never knew Harold was Phil
Spector's partner.), Sundi Records, (Love Can Make You Happy by Mercy), Phil-L.A. of Soul
(George Wilson helped me design the eye catching logo artwork.), Dionn Records with
Brenda & The Tabulations. Here again was Mr.L giving me the freedom to start an R&B label,
separate from the Jamie label. We sold over 3 million records on the PHIL-L.A of SOUL
label. In the late 60's Harold had a recording studio built with 36 tracks in the 919 building we
occupied. Hall & Oats, early in their career recorded at the studio along with the rhythm
section of Phila. International Records who recorded many musical tracks for Gamble &
Huffs multi million sellers on the P/I label distributed by Columbia Records. Claude, I could
do another chapter separately on the 919 recording studio alone.
     In the mid 60's, Harold & Joe Martin (Apex-Martin Record Dist. in N. Jersey) opened
Campus Dist. in Miami, FL to compete & curtail the high volume of records which were being
trans-shipped into the PA & NJ area by the late Henry Stone. And it worked with A&M
Records being the first label to join Campus. Campus was a very successful investment &
over a period of time proved it's worth many times over. Harold bought out Joe Martin &
became the sole owner. Campus's GM, Joe Stanzione, was responsible & was one of the first
two markets that broke "The Horse" on PHIL-L.A. of SOUL records. He called our office in
Philly to alert me that a jock at WTMP, an R&B station in Tampa, Fl was getting great
reaction to THE B SIDE of the record, which was just the rhythm track of the vocal, which
was the "A" side  The mom & pop record stores in Tampa were getting calls for the record &
contacted Campus for product.The first order for this "B side Instrumental" came from
Campus for 2600 units. Who knows what would have happened if Mr. L had not acquired
     The record might have fallen through the cracks. The second market to follow Tampa, was
Richmond, VA, WLEE, another R&B station. "The Horse" eventually crossed over to every
format & sold 1.4 million records & ended up #2 on The Billboard's Top One Hundred Pop
Charts.   (Claude, FYI, I bought the record for a $1000 & negotiated 50% publishing for
Dandelion publishing.)   And all because Harold Lipsius had given me the freedom to go
"with my gut."  And Claude, with all of your kind words about Mr. L, I'm not aware if you
knew of all of the people that he helped in our one-time record industry. I could do another
chapter on his graciousness. 
     Today, Harold's children have followed their father's footsteps & both are very active in
todays world of music. Julie has her own company in NYC, where her company excels in
world wide music licensing for film, TV, commercials & todays record industry.
Frank Lipsius is running the entire J/G operation & has successfully invigorated the J/G label
& their distributed labels into a selling catalogue available on line. Both England & Europe
have been an excellent source of steady publishing & performance income for J/G. Frank
makes frequent business visits to London.
     I just got off the phone with Frank & he once again sends his warmest regards. He is
TOTALLY NOT aware of this e-mail to you, but I felt compelled, after reading your kind
words regarding Harold & his family, to write a few words about the merits of the late Harold
Lipsius who was also very good to this writer amongst others.” 

Rollye:  Great memories, Larry!  “The Horse” was such an improbable hit (which the best
ones often are).   As you mentioned, it was the instrumental of the A side.  Cliff Nobles wasn’t
on it.  Jesse James, the producer, wasn't there. (Jesse James wrote “Boogaloo Down
Broadway” as you know well, as it was on Phil L.A. of Soul a year before “The Horse”.)  The
way I heard it, engineer Frank Virtue and arranger Bobby Martin were responsible for
tweaking it and they tried to get money for the musicians, to no avail.  Bobby Eli said they all
agreed never to work for Jesse James again, which turned out to be fine as they went on to
great success with Gamble & Huff.  But Larry, I bet you have some wonderful inside details,
and I'd love to read them!  It was fun to see Joey Stanzione’s name (and no, I didn’t know
Harold Lipsius & Joe Martin  owned Campus, I always figured it was Stanzione’s the way
Tone was Henry Stone’s, so thanks for the details).  Joey was certainly riding high when “The
Horse” peaked at #2 nationally.  As you pointed out Campus distributed A&M, which was #1
nationally at the same time with Herb Alpert’s “This Guy’s In Love With You.”