Oh Dad, Poor Dad

I think I’ve let it slip, from time to time, under certain conditions and to certain people, that my dad, Robert E. Brockway, was President of PolyGram here in the US in the early 70’s.

I trust you believed me, but for those who were skeptical or those who never heard the stories, here is proof positive courtesy of my brother, who unearthed this shot from the family photo archives: James Brown signing to Polydor.

My dad is immediately to James Brown’s left, and however uncomfortable my dad may look, we can all take comfort in the fact that he had no idea who James Brown was. Dad was hired not for his musical experience and knowledge, but for his business expertise and, perhaps, because he didn’t know or care who these people were.

He once asked me if I had ever heard of “Eric Clampton and the Creams.” Clapton was also on the Polydor label at the time.

Just a wild guess, but the gentleman at extreme left is probably an associate of Mr. Brown’a… and the gentleman at right one of the European PolyGram overlords.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 40

From Bryan Olson: Eva Marie Saint reminisces about working on Hitchcock’s North By Northwest as well as her work in theatre and radio.

Wikipedia reports that Saint, who turned 86 last month, has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – one for motion pictures and another for television.

The all-time Walk of Fame record for multiple stars is held by Gene Autry, who has five – for motion pictures, radio, recording, television and live theater.

I’m happy for Gene, but somebody needs to tell me why Dudley Moore has only one star, awarded for motion pictures. Moore did live theater on Broadway (Beyond The Fringe and Good Evening with Peter Cook). Moore played piano in The Dudley Moore Trio, which recorded quite a few albums.  His television series with Peter Cook, Not Only But Also, was hugely successful in England. Gene Autry gets five stars? Dudley Moore certainly deserves four.

That means Peter Cook deserves three stars; and he has exactly zero at present, which makes him tied with Tom Snyder, who is also yet to be recognized for his television and radio work.

When they rip up Hollywood Boulevard or Vine Street to correct these egregious omissions, they should use the opportunity to add a radio star and theater star for  Eva Marie Saint. Then she’d be tied with Dudley Moore.

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Sundays With Snyder No. 38

April 25, 1990.

The guest is Herb Alpert. It’s a short excerpt – about 10 minutes.

The program comes from Bryan Olson.

This post missed Sunday by 5 minutes here on the East Coast.

Thank God it’s still Sunday out West.

Interesting talk about the format change from vinyl to CD.  Also- whatever happened to Abba?

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Nearly every story written about a band called Railbird - and there have been more than a few – has intimated that the brilliance and originality of their sound places them either on the brink, verge, or cusp of huge success. They have been anointed The Next Indie Band Deserving a Huge Mainstream Following.

There’s no mistaking the band’s beautiful thunder – it’s always only been a question of how far away their lightning transition to wider success might lie.

The band’s every-Wednesday-in-June residency at The Living Room (which ends June 30th) narrowed the gap to nil.

Simultaneous thunder and lightning, like clockwork, every Wednesday at 9. If you were there, you witnessed it. If not, don’t be surprised by how quickly their sound reaches you. (A matter of seconds, if you open this new window, scroll down, hit the play button, and let Sarah Pedinotti’s voice reel you in. The current page stays open in a tab.)

Railbird’s music can be as insistent and hard-edged as Limousine, their high-adrenaline closer last Wednesday… or as vulnerable and fragile as Sarah Pedinotti’s whispered opening to Not Alone, a song that skips consciousness and heads directly for the spine. Continue reading “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” » →

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Hope You Like Melanie... Because I'm Going To Play One Of Her Songs For 35 Hours Straight

A comment on Tom Snyder No. 30 sent me looking for airchecks… and boy, did I bump into a Beaut! From www.NotheastAirchecks.com:

Top 40 WCCC  jock locks himself in the studio, plays the same record over and over and states he won’t leave the studio until he’s promised a full time job.  It’s one of those stunts that is supposed to get the public talking.  I have no idea whether this worked for WCCC – but the next I knew, WCCC was AOR.  Toward the end of this aircheck then Program Director Rusty Potz comes in and negotiates with Bill. The aircheck just leaves me – speechless!

Go to http://northeastairchecks.com/ and Search for WCCC on that page. It’s a great site! Or if you’re lazy, just click here.

If you like Melanie.

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Strangely Similar Music

“Wow, this song reminds me so much of some other song, only I can’t think of what that other song is while this song is playing, but if I turn off this song, I’ll forget what the other one sounds like.”

Sometimes, it’s coincidence. One song just happens to sound like another. I refer you to the words of Mr. Andy Breckman, who wants this phrase on his tombstone: These Things Happen.

Sometimes, it’s carefully plotted strategy (Gary Puckett and the Union Gap always made sure that their next hit contained roughly the same notes in roughly the same order as their previous hit).

Sometimes, it’s an honest mistake. The late George Harrison didn’t consciously elevate He’s So Fine into the realm of the sacred as My Sweet Lord. (When Paul McCartney was convinced that he had stolen the melody of Yesterday unconsciously, he hummed the tune to dozens of friends who failed to identify it, leading Paul to eventually conclude that he did, in fact, write it in his sleep).

Sometimes, egregious thievery is involved. That’s the subject of this post, although some of these amazing sound-alikes may not have resulted from conscious lifts.

The first one did, though:

The Song You Know is Venus by Shocking Blue (1970)

Why was Dutch group Shocking Blue a one-hit wonder? Maybe because they stole their hit song from The Big Three featuring Cass Elliot (before she became a Momma). Oh, and you’ll notice, in the opening notes, that Shocking Blue also “borrowed” Pete Townsend’s signature guitar riff from Pinball Wizard, released the previous year.

The song Shocking Blue wishes would disappear is Banjo Song by The Big Three (1963). (OK, The Big Three “borrowed” some lyrics from Stephen Foster, but still…)


Another song: Ernie’s Tune by the Tony DeSimone Trio. The instantly recognizable song was actually titled Oriental Blues and is credited to Jack Newton. It accompanied some of the best comedy ever to appear on TV.

What a great song it is – worthy of a George Gershwin. Very worthy.
Rialto Ripples by George Gershwin.


Last but not least, one that I’ve been thinking about for a couple of months. It is The Theme to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

When you’re pledging to your local public radio station to support Melissa Block, you might want to send a couple of bucks to the poor devil (Randy Newman)who wrote Just One Smile by Dusty Springfield. (Wait for the chorus).

And in the picture above, Dusty Springfield looks strangely similar to Paula Poundstone in a blonde wig.

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Mickey Mouse Music

I tend to listen to the Internet more than read it or watch it, so lots of files on this blog will be listenable. This particular post is Mickey’s Son and Daughter (3m) by the BBC Dance Orchestra. I first heard this track performed by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band on their album Gorilla in October 1967. A great album of the originals of many of the 20’s and 30’s songs later covered by the Bonzos is now available through Amazon.uk.

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Jay Ward: The Musical Suite

Snidely Whiplash

The place: 8218 Sunset Boulevard. The time: long, long ago. The Store: Dudley Do-Right’s Emporium. The purchase: the lovely production cel image of Snidely Whiplash (above), and The Jay Ward Music Cassette, (12m) with best excerpts presented here for your listening or downloading pleasure. There are two things you cannot help but do while listening: 1) mentally insert all missing sound effects, and 2) Do your best impression of the narrations that accompanied some of these tunes.

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