TO RECEIVE THIS COLUMN BY EMAIL EVERY WEEK, CLICK HERE.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
by Rollye James
Rollye: “It started with an email from Don Graham last Monday. He forwarded an email
from Don Whittemore, who forwarded an email from Jay Lowy. All were in agreement,
along with Ron Alexnburg. They wanted a Grammy for Harold Rustigan aka Russ Regan,
specifically a NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award. Claude Hall concurred. I did too. I
was sorry I let my NARAS voting membership lapse years ago (in small part due to a dues
increase, in large part because I no longer recognized most of the nominees). This would be
worth a vote. Jay Lowy included a youtube video. Unfortunately the link in the forwarded
plenty from which to choose, though I don’t know if any are what Jay had in in mind. So I
figured I'd mention Don's email somewhere in this week's column. Little did I realize the
response I'd get”…
Bill Leopold: “Russ has my vote! Maybe if someone with better writing skills than I crafted a
letter to Neil Portnow and the board at Naras, something could happen. PS I also want to
thank Don Graham for including me, a mere mortal, on his list of music business luminaries.
I am honored to be included.”
Rick Frio: “There is no question, I’m in. Anything for Russ Regan. Love you Russ.”
Jerry Heller: “You can count on my vote.”
Bob Sherwood: “Russ Regan….a Boulder among pebbles.”
Tommy LiPuma: “Just got thru watching the Russ Regan youtube and was reminded of what a
great music person was all about… someone who started from jump street promoting records,
and always, as he said, kept his nose to the street. I first met Russ when I came out to LA to
become the local promo guy for Liberty.
“An LA promo person’s first stop in the morning, especially on Mondays and Tuesdays when
they would add records, was Aldo’s coffee shop downstairs from the number one station in
town, KFWB. Bud Dain, who’s place I was taking, brought me there the first morning I was
in town, and believe it or not I think I met every promo guy in LA.
“Sonny Bono, Jerry Moss, Gil Bogus, Lee Lassef, Joe Smith, Tony Richards and at one
point this very energetic personality -plus gentleman came walking in the door with a smile
from one ear to the other, and he introduced himself as Russ Reagan. He couldn’t have been
friendlier, and really helped me put myself at ease. He started inviting me to his place for
these parties that he and his roommate Lee Lassef would throw, usually on Friday nights, and
you could be sure that they were a blast.
“Russ was the quintessential record man who knew that perseverance and follow-thru was the
name of the game, and if anyone deserves to be honored I put my vote in for Russ. By the
way, unless I didn’t see it, no one mentioned he signed and broke one of the biggest disco stars
of all time, Barry White. We love you Russ.”
Macy Lipman: “I owe a lot to Russ ..We worked very close during his 20th Century Records
….Barry White, Love Unlimited days …It seemed as if everything he touched turned to
gold…. and was often criticized for falling in love with his artists…but he was mostly right
‘cause they fell in love with him it was mutual… Can I vote for Russ more than once??? Only
kidding I sincerely wish him well.”
Steve Tyrell: “Anyone who signed Elton John, Neil Diamond and named the Beach Boys
has my vote!!! My man Harold has been my dear friend for 53 years. He deserves every honor
Bill Leopold: “Don't forget Ambrosia... WFL”
Steve Tyrell: “What about The Strawberry Alarm Clock?”
Rick Frio: “How can you forget the lovely Olivia Newton-John?”
Bob Sherwood: “Russ named her ?! Signed her ? Gave birth to her ? Just axing . Happy
Memorial Day to all !
Wink Martindale: “Please add my name to all those before me underlining the many reasons
Russ Regan is deserving of a NARAS Achievement Award. As a personal friend of
long-standing andvas a pro among pros, I could not name a more deserving person on the
Les Garland: “Russ Regan can defeat Hillary and The Donald…Russ has my vote!!”
Don Sundeen: “It's his time.”
Bob Emmer: “Totally agree. I’ve felt this way for years. Count me in. Whatever I can do to
help move this forward.”
Jerry F. Sharell: “For me & all my years in the music business RUSS REGAN is: A Player, A
Prophet, A Promotion man, A Power and A First Class Producer! Count on me to join the rest
to Honor RUSS REGAN!”
Owen Husney: “Count me in.”
Bruce Garfield: “It seems that this is a good moment to mention something that’s been
gnawing at me for several years. The very core and face of the record/music business was
crafted by colorful and wonderful creative characters such as yourselves.
“Yet when one of us passes, we’re usually gone like a puff of smoke from the pages of the
history of our business. Besides the handful that are honored with either a Lifetime
Achievement Award, a flash of their face on the Grammy broadcast or maybe… just maybe a
brief obituary in Billboard we’re basically gone without a trace.
“There’s no room for an Al Coury, Tunc Erim, Charlie Minor, Peter Grosslight, Barbara
Skydell, Milton Olin, etc etc in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, or the Grammy Museum….
“No one needs to construct a building or erect statues, but there should be some sort of lasting
chronicle bespeaking of one's career. Why shouldn't NARAS create such an annual as a
website? Lord knows they've now got deep pockets. Yes I know the process could be
complicated, but you have to start somewhere. Maybe even charge for an entry. Your
thoughts? PS: I vote for Russ! PSS: The 4th Quarter has begun and for some the game is in
Bob Sherwood: “You’re on the Green in one, Garfield !!
“Wonderful idea and well stated.
“To your list I’d certainly suggest Steve Popovich and Neil Bogart.
“And didn’t Joe Smith start in promotion ?
“And certainly our friend Don Graham. As you probably know it was he who got Edison to
play the first record the day he finalized the record player.
“I think it was Sergio Mendes and Brasil (18)’96.
“I believe Joel Katz is still on the NARAS Board. He represented me for many years (and, of
course, many industry giants, as well. Hello, Clive !...and Doug !) and we’re still in occasional
contact. If you agree—and assuming no one in the group suggests otherwise--I’ll call him and
broach the idea.
“No wonder you got so many records played, Bruce.”
Jon Scott: “Great idea Bruce!!”
David Chackler: “I love Bruce's idea, and I also feel that Russ deserve's this award!! He is one
of the all time record biz greats!! When I was a young gun in this biz, Russ was always there
for me, and others!! He earned the love and respect of his peers!
Bill Leopold: “My partner Carter wrote Incense and Peppermints when he was about 17 years
old. Went on to be an amazing producer, A & R man. Produced the Sammy Hagar records,
Produced Tina Turner's Private Dancer....Most insightful guy I ever met. If Carter was alive
today he would be on this list.”
Les Garland: “Carter was a unique and special rock star, himself…I agree with the movement
that’s erupting in this thread regarding paying homage and recognition to Russ and all those
the spotlight…most everyone on this thread belong…”
Dave (Duke) Sholin: “Rooting for Russ..sent letter to Naras and sure they make the right
decision. Carter was brilliant, one of kind sense of humor and yes indeed..a total star in every
Bruce Garfield: “This chain of reply to everyone is going to give us recipient atrophy. Let's
all have a good weekend, then put together a plan and steering committee. Make a list of the
names of executives who are potential targets for listing as advocates”
Rollye: Bruce included his iPhone number, but in the interest of not wanting him besieged by
bots and trollers, I’ve omitted it. If you’d like to reach him however, drop me an email at
and I will get you his email and phone info. Anything Claude Hall
or I can
do to help, just say the word.
Woody Roberts: “Was, for no reason at all, just thinking about my WPOP experience and the
special people who are my favorite memories, Lee Baby, Bob Paiva, Barbara Bodner, Miss
Fox and Joe Amaturo, the adult in our room. I have no bad memories of anyone at POP,
everyone was great. That station and its dedicated team stand among the highlights of my
life. Wish those Connecticut days were frozen in time so they could be relived. I really liked
POP and enjoyed New England living and would not have moved back to San Antonio and
Texas if the offer had not been for a GM position. Money wouldn't do it. I'da stayed put.
But of course sooner or later everyone has to leave, that's radio.”
Mel Phillips: “There were 10 program directors and 3 acting PDs during the top 40 era of
Bob Henabery Mel Phillips Paul Power
(1967) (1967-1972) (acting PD 1972)
Scotty Brink Robin Mitchell Gerry Cagle Peterson Paul Kirby
(1972-1973) (acting PD 1973) (1973-1975) (1975)
J.J. Jordan Les Garland Harry Nelson Mark McKay
(1975-1978) (1978) (1978-1979 & 1980) (1979-1980)
Donna Halper Charlie Van Dyke Personalities Joel Cash & Al Gates with
(acting PD 1980) (1981) Harvey Mednick Promotion Director
“WRKO 50th Anniversary Reunion: When: Weekend of June 2, 2017 (Save the date)
Where: Allston-Brighton, MA: A Friday Night (June 2) Party for all WRKO employees past
and present (news of both a hotel room plan and party venue coming soon)...
On Air: WRKO-AM and Backbone Streaming (produced by George Capalbo Jr.) (Saturday
Night June 3, 2017, 7-11 pm).”
Bob Skurzewski: “Saw the reference to Mickey and all about some events up here in Buffalo.
I pulled some stuff from my files and am still trying to find a good way to respond. Mickey, an
attractive woman, (real name Joyce Kociencki) passed away some years back. I doubt if I
would make the next edition of Vox Jox.
"Behind The Scenes" was a newsletter started by George (Hound Dog) Lorenz. Joyce was his
partner. The newsletter header attached shows a male and female. The male is suppose to be
George. Mickey Turntable is Joyce. They ran this newsletter for some years and after Joyce
passed away or just before, it was sold to another person in Buffalo who simply changed it so
much he killed it.
“Frank, George's oldest son, married Joyce but that lasted a few years. That affair left some
bad vibes between them. Newsletters were common at least here in Buffalo during the era of
great radio. Danny McBride put out a excellent one every week. Lucky Pierre (Gonneau)
also did one. There were others. It was all about communications. Some times distractions get
in the way.”
Rollye: “Thanks Bob. I hope you will tell us the rest of the story! The version I heard was a
real soap opera, culminating with Joyce's marriage to Frank. Loved the graphic!! (Great issue
to choose-- FM coming to cars! And "Mike" or "Mickey" was so right about the bandwidth's
future. It's a no brainer now, but back then, his thoughts about FM's dominance were
definitely in the minority.) Until I saw the scan, I’d forgotten that the sheet was called
“Behind The Scenes”! We always referred to it as Mickey Turntable and the years that made
me smile had the silhouette of “Mickey” complete with a great set of legs. I don’t know how
many back issues you might have, but with your permission I’d like to pass your email
address on to David Gleason. I’m sure he’d like to reprint whatever he can find at
all love to see them too!”
Ron Brandon: “Hope not too many object to the story you shared... but imagine many will
chuckle and smile "yeah I remember those days".... While it is on my mind here's something
I posted on FB a few days ago. I'll send the two photos in separate mail. I have reached out to
David Gleason and will share any of the old RMR stuff that I still have, etc.”
Ron’s Facebook posts: “Rainy day (can’t play golf) musings… the heady days of rock and
roll. Back in the late 60s, I spent a few years at WLEE Richmond. And as an offshoot, got
into promoting concerts.. which was pretty easy for a radio guy to do in those days. Purchase
a local biz license, rent a venue, advertise, etc. Did dozens of shows and dances.. never
bought a lick of insurance, or paid a dime for security. Also, in those days, the legal
department had not scrutinized their radio properties to the extent of today, so that a station
would occasionally “co-sponsor” a concert as WLEE did with the following two examples.
As a “co-sponsor”, they would give the event a few freebie ads, in addition to the schedule
that you purchased. (Later the attorneys would discover that this opened a legal liability issue,
and the “co-sponsor” days were over). But here are a couple of stories…
“JIMI HENDRIX… picked him up at the airport.. he was quiet, reserved, looked and dressed
pretty much like you see in this pic. Took him (the other two guys weren’t with him.. didn’t
see them till showtime) to the old, staid, Jefferson Hotel. I used the Jefferson often.. it was
nearby the venue, the Richmond Mosque (before the days of coliseums).. and had no previous
issues with acts staying there. Went to check him in.. and they flatly refused. Whether racial
or his dress.. who knows.. Jimi was nonchalant.. and we went to another hotel and checked in
with no problem. That night at the concert.. backstage I approached him to say hello again
and see if there was any particular way he wanted the group introduced onstage.. and I was
shocked.. thought he was totally stoned and the show would be a disaster. Couldn’t have been
more wrong.. terrific two shows.. played the guitar behind his back, with is teeth, etc.
Unfortunately we lost money with a half full auditorium.. his music and name was just not yet
mass appeal (WLEE was only playing a couple of lp tracks at night).
“SUPREMES.. had an opportunity to pick them up on an open night at a great price.. and with
their long string of #1 hits.. sold out two shows in advance. First I saw of them was when
their road manager showed up with them backstage.. and ushered them directly into a dressing
room and the door was closed.. no hello, how are you, no nothing. Immediately from their
dressing room, loud and unmistakable sounds of vehement arguing. I cornered the manager
and asked how he wanted the group introduced. His reply.. say this and nothing else: “Ladies
and Gentlemen, the number one female signing group in the world, The Supremes.” I did..
they came on stage.. did a killer show of nothing but hits.. and the crowd absolutely adored
them. Off stage they came.. back into their dressing room.. and the very loud arguments
continued until time for the second show.. which was a repeat of the first. When concluded,
they promptly left the building. So I never met The Supremes. Or Diana Ross and The
Supremes, as they became known shortly thereafter.”
Rollye: “Great stories, Ron. We’ll never grow tired of hearing them. Send more as often as
Doc Wendell: “This Thursday the 26th, Miles Davis would have turned 90. I thought you