Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Story Behind "LAKE SHORE DRIVE" (Part One)

We recently had the chance to speak with Skip Haynes of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah.  (Sadly, it was after the untimely death of keyboardist John Jeremiah ... but during this conversation, I also had the opportunity to ask Skip about the origins of the band ... I was concerned after seeing information posted on some other websites promoting the fact that their roots hailed from West Allis, Wisconsin ... and that just didn't sound right to me.  As far as I've always known, the guys called Chicago home ... and their best-known hit, "Lake Shore Drive", told the tale of a night's journey up the coast of Lake Michigan ... literally "from rats on up to riches", starting from some of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago and traveling right on up and past The Gold Coast.)

A bit of that discussion follows ... but during our conversation Skip also offered to give our readers the COMPLETE scoop behind the writing of "Lake Shore Drive" ... The Story Behind The Song, if you will ... so naturally we took him up on it ... and now present it here for all of our readers to enjoy.  (Some of you may remember Christmas of 2010 when Skip sent us a "custom" version of "LSD", mentioning Forgotten Hits by name in the lyrics.  Interested readers, jocks, collectors and fans can get their OWN "personalized" copy of "Lake Shore Drive" simply by visiting Skip's website.  CNN Columnist Bob Greene even picked up the story last year and I can personally attest to the fact that both Skip's and my websites BOTH saw a substantial increase in action immediately thereafter!)

Hi Kent,

The band formed in Old Town in Chicago above the Earl of Old Town at North and Wells in 1970, which is where we first met. None of us are from Wisconsin.  I am from Chicago.  Mitch Aliotta is from Berwyn.  John Jeremiah was from Percy, Illinois.

The original band was called Aliotta Haynes Music and was comprised of myself, Mitch Aliotta and his brother Ted Aliotta. Ted was asked to leave the group at the end of 1970 and was replaced by John Jeremiah who had been a bandmate of Mitch Aliotta in the Rotary Connection.

"Rats on up to riches" refers to driving from the poorer sections on the southside to the more affluent northside. The song is about a Friday night  cruise from the clubs on State street (Beaver's to be exact) shooting the loop at Foster and returning to Beaver's just in time for the second show to begin. I can give you a more detailed description of the meaning of the lyrics if you'd like but that is the gist of it. Drugs (not LSD) were involved.
If there is anything else please let me know.

Thanks and all the best

Skip Haynes

Skip also told us about an upcoming fund raiser that we wanted to let you know about ...

FYI, we are putting on an Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah reunion benefit concert in April to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository called (strangely enough re your question) the "Rats On Up To Riches Greater Chicago Food Depository Benefit Tour". It will be comprised of three concerts beginning on the south side and ending on the northside. Jeremiah will be a part of the shows.

We are also donating $2.00 to $5.00 from the sales of albums and personalized versions of Lake Shore Drive to the Greater Chicago Food Depository in Jeremiah's name at our website
Sounds like a great cause, Skip!  Here's hoping some of our readers can help out.

The True Story Behind "Lake Shore Drive"