Saturday, April 23, 2022

This Week Phil Nee Talks to Duane Eddy!

Today we honor the great Duane Eddy.  

He was born April 26th, 1938, and rose to fame in the early days of American Bandstand. 

In a 2005 interview on my WRCO radio show, I asked him about his early influences.

 

Duane Eddy was backed up by a group known as the Rebels.  Three of the players in the unit went on to become some of the most sought after session artists of all time.


The biggest hits of Duane Eddy were, 'Because They're Young' (number 4 in Billboard in 1960),  'Rebel Rouser' (number 6, Billboard, in 1958), and
'Forty Miles Of Bad Road' (number 9, Billboard, 1959).  

He had many other great records including two versions of 'Peter Gunn,' first in 1960 as a solo artist and then again with Art Of Noise in 1986.    

One of his early records became even more famous to a new generation because of a scene in the movie Forest Gump. 

I asked Duane about 'Rebel Rouser'.


The DUANE EDDY Hit List

1958 - Rebel Rouser (#6)
1958- Ramrod (#27)
1958- Cannonball (#15)
1959 - The Lonely One (#19)
1959 - "Yep!"  (#27)
1959 - Forty Miles Of Bad Road  (#5)
1959 - Some Kind-A Earthquake  (#28)
1960 - Bonnie Came Back (#20)
1960 - Because They're Young (#3)
1960 - Kommotion (#28)
1960 - Peter Gunn (#23)
1961 - "Pepe" (#15)
1961 - Theme from Dixie
1962 - The Ballad of Paladin
1962 - Dance With The Guitar Man
1963 - Boss Guitar

Friday, April 22, 2022

PART THREE: Forgotten Hits Interviews Paul Evans

Today in Forgotten Hits, we wrap up our four part series with Paul Evans, talking about his new book "Happy Go Lucky Me: A Lifetime Of Music" by having a very candid conversation addressing where I felt there was more to the story that could have been told.

I want to thank Paul Evans for taking the time to do all this ... and for being such a good sport about doing i!  (He probably feels like he could have written at least half another book by now!!! Lol)  But please know that it IS appreciated ... and I hope you sell a TON of copies and do two dozen more interviews as a result of our little promo piece here.

(Again, any disc jockeys on the list who may be interested in having Paul on their show, please contact me at kk@forgottenhits.com and we will be more than happy to set this up for you.  A great chance to play some of Paul's music, some of the songs he has written for other artists that became big, big hits ... and the chance to talk to just a really nice guy.)

Here we go ...

 

KENT KOTAL / FORGOTTEN HITS:  You started out telling the story of your career in parallel with the events of the time ... but abandoned that fairly early on ... I think the way your career and the rest of the world were "linked" made for an interesting storyline and analogy and would have liked to have read more from that perspective ... especially the early days of rock and roll where your parents "banished you to the basement" for playing it!  (lol)

PAUL EVANS:  I would have liked to stay on track with that as well but my publisher kept telling me that they needed the book ... that I had to finish it up.  They literally told me at one point to stop writing ... and when I laughed about it, they said, "No, seriously ... STOP WRITING!!!"  I think at that point I was probably more focused on finishing it up and just never went back to that initial narrative.  I can appreciate what you're saying ... as I would have liked to have continued in that vein as well ... but the publisher needed me to wrap things up so I sort of switched my focus to making that happen, even if it meant not being able to tell the story exactly the way I would have liked to have told it.

kk:  I would have liked to hear more about the Elvis connection ... and how you beat the system by standing your ground.  Think about it ... how many songwriters ever got Elvis to record one of their songs, much less several.  I felt like that put you in a pretty elite group of writers ... and, as such, more explanation there would have made for some very interesting fodder ... plus the fact that despite all these connections, you never actually got to meet the man!  Still, you beat the royalties system!

PE:  Cut-ins on writer’s royalties by important recording artists, and I’m going way back to Al Jolson here, writers, some record companies, and publishers was probably much more common that you might think.  Here I’m thinking of the early 20th century and my reporting about the shenanigans of some of the Mills Music staff.  The simple truth is, this practice has been going on since there was a pop music business. Unfortunately, the competition among so many writers to get records by so few artists that can sell records is great, and the pressure to get those records leaves the writers vulnerable to the attack.  

I appreciate your honoring my standing my ground against the Presley organization's cut-ins (Not Elvis, who, you're right, I never did meet). It came from my anger that they were making lots of do-re-mi and didn’t need to take any of my royalties.

And oh, that letter, signed by so many top NYC writers, making the cut-in a necessity for getting an Elvis recording. Grrr. 

I also had heard that the Colonel never registered Elvis as a writer with ASCAP, so the kickback that he demanded from all of Presley's songwriters wound up never being put into the pot that was shared by all the writers who received ASCAP royalties. 

Another burden borne by writers was that publishers, including Elvis’ publisher, would deduct the cost of the demos for every song that they accepted to be shown to Elvis. When enough writers complained after seeing the deductions on the royalty statement for their first Elvis recording, Freddie Bienstock, H&R’s manager, agreed that they would only deduct the demo costs for the songs that actually made it onto vinyl or into the movies. It seems that publishers didn’t want to pay for anything but their offices, and wouldn’t even have to pay for that, if only they could have found a way to charge it off to the writers. That’s a bit harsh I must admit, but sometimes it seemed that way to this songwriter.

The question of who paid for demos became moot with the advent of music programs for the computer. It wasn’t long after that publishers would only listen to songs that were presented on demos.

Kent, you also wanted to know how many songwriters had several Elvis  recordings in their catalogs. Ben Weisman was the all around king of Elvis recordings with an incredible 57 songs to his credit. The team of Doc Pomus and Mort Schuman scored 25 Elvis recordings and Leiber and Stoller had 20. The very prolific hit songwriter, Otis Blackwell, wrote several Elvis hits, including my favorite, “Don’t Be Cruel.”

There were also writers who wrote many songs for Elvis’ movies. My friend, Randy Starr (who wrote and sang “After School”), wrote 12 songs for Elvis’ movies, including “Kissin' Cousins,” the title track for the movie and a single for Elvis. Another of Randy’s songs, “Almost in Love,” was also a movie song and a single (the other side of “A Little Less Conversation”) for Elvis. The team of Sid Tepper and Roy Bennett wrote 42 songs for Elvis movies, including two title songs, “GI Blues” and “Stay Away” for the movie Stay Away, Joe

kk:  You had mentioned to me some time ago that you already had a song "in the can," so to speak for a future release at the time of Elvis' death.  We talked quite a bit about "I Gotta Know," which was the biggest hit Elvis had with one of your songs ... but what about some insight into some of the others, like "The Next Step Is Love" which, by the way, I always thought was the stronger side of the "I've Lost You" single ... and that's fifty years ago before I even knew you or that you had written it! 

PE:  Regarding "The Next Step Is Love," first of all, thank you, Kent, for the compliment. A friend of mine, Johnny Vallis, once sent me a link to a video of a very relaxed Elvis rehearsing the song with his band. In it, he sings, “the next step is sex.” It was fun to see Elvis rehearsing my song and to hear Elvis playing with the lyrics.  

As for “I Gotta Know,” one day, just for the fun of it, I decided to see how closely Elvis’ record of “I Gotta Know” matched up with my demo. And I was surprised and flattered that he sang the the song in the same key that I had sung it in (in spite of the fact that he had a higher voice than I had) and at the same tempo that I had cut it at. The only major addition was the Jordanaires (who copied some of the backgrounds from the demo).

And I must add that When Elvis passed away on August 16, 1977, I lost a little piece of my life. And I don’t mean just my musical life. I mean - my life. 

When I heard “Heartbreak Hotel”, I felt a connection with the music and the artist, something that I never felt with the “standard” singers … Perry Como, Vic Damone, Eddie Fisher, etc. And when I saw him on the Ed Sullivan show - I loved the guy. He was breaking the rules and it felt right. Then he cut my song “I Gotta Know,” and I felt like I had joined the top of the writing mountain – the “King” had cut my song.

Elvis was about to head for California for a recording session and he was holding two songs of mine when he died. There was never a certainty that he’d record those songs, but I had high hopes. Here are the demos of the two songs he was holding.

 

kk:  Let's go back to the conversation that many of your biggest hits were written by someone else ... your career (that most of us would notice anyway) was primarily spent as a songwriter ... and you had success writing songs for other artists ... but other than "Happy-Go-Lucky Me," the rest of your biggest hits were written by someone else.

 

PE:  “Seven Little Girls” was written by Lee Pockriss and Bob Hilliard, who hired me to record their demo-turned-master. That song kick-started my recording career at Guaranteed / Carlton Records. From then on, at Joe Carlton’s urging (he shared in my songs’ publishing royalties), I wrote my own hit recordings. “Midnight Special” - my arrangement of a Houston prison folk song, “Happy Go Lucky Me” (co-written with Al Byron), and “Hello, This is Joannie” (co-written with Fred Tobias).

 

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  Although "Hello, This Is Joannie" never charted here on the US Pop Charts, it was a HUGE hit overseas in England and Australia, even hitting #1 in South Africa! - kk]

 

I’m flattered to think that after my stints with RCA, Atco and Carlton records, 15 more labels had enough faith that I could have another hit with my own songs, to sign me up and release my records, mostly my own songs. Do I hold the record for being signed to the most record labels (18)?

kk:  Tell us a little bit about what it meant to BE a songwriter at this time ...

As we touched on in an earlier conversation, once The British Invasion hit, most of those artists became successful by either covering old American rock and roll songs from the '50's and early '60's ... or writing their own material.  This is what put the concept of The Brill Building out of business to a great extent ... outside songwriters were no longer needed ... especially once these bands learned for themselves how lucrative it could be to write your own material, even if it just meant sticking something on the B-Side, as that earned just as much in the way of royalties as the A-Side did, based on total sales of the record.

PE:  When the Beatles hit, and the British groups just kept coming and coming and dominating the charts, it was like a dark cloud had wrapped itself around the Brill Building. And I knew that the 50’s and 60’s party was over. But there was another party available next door – at the advertising agencies. 

The Lennen & Newell agency had purchased the rights to my song, “Happiness Is” for a three-year-plus ad campaign for Kent cigarettes. And that was my clue that I could still do what I loved – I could sing and write my music – only now I wouldn’t be at the mercy of music publishers. I’d be at the mercy of the ad agencies. Of course there would be new obstacles to overcome, but I found a new home for whatever talent I might have, among the clique of talented and successful studio singers and commercial writers.

So it would be correct to say that the British Invasion actually helped me discover a career of new worlds to be explored, and they all had to do with music. Exploring them fit my personality like a glove, and I could wear that glove as long as I had the energy and love for music that I still have.

As my niece pointed out, my book, Happy Go Lucky Me – a Lifetime of Music, has put an exclamation point on my career.

As to your indicating that the British groups discovered that “B” sides were a good source of income, it was not quite the same as having the “A” side, which benefited from ASCAP or BMI performance money, but good enough. My song, “Let’s Pretend,” was on the other side of Lulu’s “To Sir, With Love,” a big hit in the UK. And when the record was released in America, it became the best-selling single of 1967. Lucky me. Except that the producer had put one of his own songs on the back-side of the song here. What a blow that was.  

 

kk:  And, since we covered it, maybe you can tell us just a bit more on the early ABBA connection, which I just find fascinating. 

PE:  ABBA! What a treat to tell this story!

When my publisher and friend, Stanley Mills came back from Sweden with the American rights to “Hej gamle man” (“Hey Old Man” - a song about an old soldier - written by two writers, Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson) he put my co-writer, Paul Parnes and me to work on an English lyric. We wrote, and I recorded, “For Old Times Sake.” I had no idea that according to Carl Magnus Palm, an ABBA historian, I had the honor of having the first recording of an Andersson/Ulvaeus song by an American artist. If I had known it, I would have forced my way backstage after attending an award show for the two writers in London, to tell them that I was that “some country guy” that they had mentioned in a 1972 interview as having recorded the song.

  
kk:  And then, after being out of the spotlight for many, many years, along comes a MAJOR, successful comeback with "Santa's Stuck Up In The Chimney" ... over three million YouTube views (and counting) ... and several interpretations since you did yours ... I mean who has this kind of a comeback over the age of 70?!?!  I think this deserved playing up a little bit more in the book.  To me, this was a HUGE accomplishment.

 

PE:  In 1993 I decided to form my own label and I flew down to Nashville to record four sides for an EP on the label. Mistake! A series of errors, forced and unforced, made me understand the foolishness of messing with my own label.

One of the four songs was “Santa’s Stuck Up in the Chimney,” and in 2007 I decided that it would make a good You Tube video. I knew that this was a shot–in-the-dark decision and could wind up where my own record label went – nowhere. So I asked my wife for advice and she did what she always did, and supported my career decision. Another case of “behind every lucky man is a good woman.” With her agreement, I hired an artist who was doing some work for Disney at the time, and the result was a video that has gathered almost 3,200,000 views to date. 1,940 views in the last 28 days as I write this in March, 2022. One of the reasons for the success of the video was that many teachers organized their Christmas parties around their classes singing and acting the song out. I also found videos of groups dancing to the song. One of these videos is from a dance group in Malaysia no less. 


kk:  And while I think it's AMAZING and SO fortunate that you were able to spend your whole life in the entertainment business (and by that I mean in ALL phases of the entertainment business ... as a writer, a producer, a recording artists, a television star, a ship singer, theater, etc., etc., etc.), I felt that some of this was inproportionally accounted for in the book, often being given "equal space" and attention to many of your greatest and best-known achievements.  Keep in mind, that many of these other successes weren't necessarily known by the bulk of us out here ... one had to personally EXPERIENCE Paul Evans in these "roles" in order to appreciate them ... and that honor was limited to a select few.  I think that's why I felt some of the items mentioned above deserved a little more attention ... in order to better balance out the whole Paul Evans story.

PE:  The fact that I was able to spend my whole life in the music business ... in the entertainment business ... I can't even begin to express what all of this has meant to me.  It was ALL important to me, even when things didn't go exactly according to plan ... and writing this book brought all of this back to me and made me appreciate it all again ... probably more so in many ways, just being able to tell others about it.  Earlier you said something about the overused phrase "living the dream" ... well, as you pointed out, I lived the dream ... I just didn't know it at the time ... but writing this book brought it all back to me ... I'm not exaggerating when I say the book saved me ... it really did.  And I think others would enjoy hearing about all these experiences that I've packed into my 84 years.

kk:  Thanks again, Paul, for taking the time out to do this.  Now that we've finally got it up on the site, I hope to hear from some of the jocks on the list ... and some of your long-standing fans who I'm sure would be interested in reading your book.  I will also talk to Joel Whitburn about having a possible Billboard connection ... there are other industry movers and shakers on the list, too, who may be able to help in this regard.  (And seriously, if somebody can get Paul an interview with AARP, please let me know ... that would seem to be the perfect forum for something like this!)

 

PE:  Thank you, Kent ... this has been fun.  I have enjoyed writing my notes - it’s put me back into book writing mode!

 

Thanks to everyone for sticking with us for this very special week-long tribute to Paul Evans.

 

And now,  

 

THE PAUL EVANS HIT LIST

 

Paul had three Top 20 Hits in the course of twelve months, 1959 - 1960 ...

 

1959 - Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat (#5 CB / #9 BB)

1960 - Midnite Special (#14 MV / #16 BB)

1960 - Happy Go Lucky Me (#8 MV / #10 BB)

 

Other Top 20 Hits written by Paul Evans include:

"Roses Are Red," a #1 Hit for Bobby Vinton in 1962, "I Gotta Know," a #20 Hit for Elvis Presley in 1960, "The Next Step Is Love," a #14 Hit for Elvis Presley in 1970 and "When" by The Kalin Twins, a #4 Hit in 1958.

 



 

Paul Evans has had songs he has written recorded by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Bobby Vinton, Ed Ames, Homer and Jethro, Johnny Tillotson, Peter Lawford, Dorsey Burnette, LaVern Baker, Jimmy Dean, The Ray Coniff Singers, Leonard Nimoy, Wayne Newton, Slim Whitman, Cliff Richard, Bobby Rydell, Pat Boone, Lulu, The Sandpipers, Troy Donahue, Jackie Wilson, Frankie Lymon, Tab Hunter, The Coasters, Freddy Fender, Shelly Fabares, Dickey Lee, Jim Reeves, Bobby Goldsboro, The Tremeloes, Patty Duke, Sonny James, Bobby Bare, Fabian, Reba McEntire, The Lennon Sisters, Roy Clark, Burl Ives and Chad and Jeremy ... and literally dozens, and dozens and dozens more.


Now THAT'S a career in music!!!  (kk)

 

And this just in ...

 

AN UNEXPECTED ENDORSEMENT FOR “Happy Go Lucky Me – a Lifetime of Music

It has just been nominated for the 2022 ARSC Awards for “Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research” - the winner to be announced in September.

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings.

When my publisher asked me to write a book about my 60+ years in the music business, who’d have thought (other than my wife) that it would get reviewed as well as it has and be nominated for its Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research?

Certainly not me!

Paul

 

Pick up your copy here:  https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Go-Lucky-Me-Lifetime/dp/0857162187/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2A7JTITM58FMA&keywords=happy+go+lucky+me&qid=1650162367&s=books&sprefix=happy+go+lucky+me%2Cstripbooks%2C71&sr=1-1

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Forgotten Hits / Paul Evans Interview - Part Two

More of our EXCLUSIVE interview with Paul Evans, today in Forgotten Hits

In addition to having his own hits, Paul Evans was successfully placing songs with other artists as a songwriter.

The biggest, of course, was the #1 Bobby Vinton Hit "Roses Are Red," which spent four weeks on top of Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart in 1962.

He also scored a hit with a song called "When," recorded by The Kalin Twins.  This one went to #5 in 1958, a year before Paul Evans cracked The Top Ten with his OWN hit single, "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat."  (Ahh, to be Fred in 1959!!!)

Along the way, Elvis Presley also recorded four of Paul's tunes.  (In fact, at the time of his death, he was sitting on two other titles, never recorded and released, that Paul had submitted for consideration.)

Probably the best known of these tracks would have to be "I Gotta Know," the B-Side of Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight" single from late 1960.  The A-Side went to #1 and stayed there for six straight weeks, earning Paul royalties for the sale since his song was on the flip side.  "I Gotta Know" did well enough on its own to reach #20 on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.

Then, in 1970, Paul scored another hit with Elvis when The King recorded his song "The Next Step Is Love."  This one wound up on the B-Side of "I've Lost You," which went to #14 on the Record World Chart that fall.  (I've always felt that Paul's song was the stronger side of the record ... still, it charted as both a B-side as well as on its own.)

Elvis recorded two more of Paul Evans' songs, including "Blue River," another B-Side from 1966 that backed up Presley's "Tell Me Why" single.  It peaked at #95 in its own right.  The other was a song called "Something Blue," which wound up as an album track.

Today, we talk a little about the Elvis connection ... and what it was like pulling together all these memories to write his book "Happy Go Lucky Me: A Lifetime Of Music."

*****

KENT KOTAL / FORGOTTEN HITS:  You have been very fortunate in not only placing songs with the likes of Elvis Presley, but also being able to hold on to your own copyrights, which allows you to license all of this music today.

PAUL EVANS:  Well, I was very lucky that my first manager was a big believer in “Save your copyrights … don’t give them away.”  You mentioned Elvis and that whole story with Elvis ... I just remember that his company wanted not only just the publishing which, of course, you gave him, but if you signed the right contracts, you would get it back in 28 years, which in most cases, I did.  

I made one big mistake and I wrote about it in the book.  I didn’t want to think about it, but we got the American “Roses Are Red” back only because my lawyer kept something in his attic … it was an attachment to the original contract, which said I would get the American rights back … because we didn’t know any better … we were kids! And all we cared about was writing and singing.  I learned that if a song was successful, money would come to me eventually. Because I had those two experiences where, you know, Joe Carlton ran off with my money and I had another manager who also had a money dispute with me.  We were all taken advantage of … we were just kids … and we didn’t know about the business end of things because we just wanted to sing.

I think by the time several years rolled by, it was finally understood, by even young singers, that they should get more than just the kicks of being on the radio.  They should also get paid for their part in the record sales.

 

kk:  Back then, everybody got ripped off and it’s just really a shame

 

PE:  I remember a long time ago that the artist got hurt … I mean the female singers ... they had it written into their contracts that they had to pay for their own wardrobes … and then they had money stolen … it was a stinky business that the hoodlum crowd quickly got into … bad people … and there were some people that were scary, as you well know.  Jackie Wilson’s manager, John Brolan, wrote a great book, it was called “Hitmen.”  It was a big hit book, as a matter of fact, and it was about what went on in the music business, telling about all of these artists that didn’t get paid.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  “Hitmen” was actually written by Fredric Dannen.  Jackie Wilson’s manager was a guy name Nat Tarnopol, who apparently came into controversy when it was revealed that he had never paid Jackie’s taxes, leaving Wilson in dire straits at the time.  Wilson’s touring manager was described as “a mob enforcer.” – kk]

For an overview of the underbelly of Jackie Wilson’s career, this synopsis makes for a great read:  https://soul-patrol.com/jackie-wilson-story-nat-tarnopol-brunswick-records/

 

Now Jackie Wilson, for instance, he left Brunswick owing them money!  Now how could that have happened???  He signed the wrong contract. 

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Early in his career, as Jackie saw his career taking off under the guidance of Tarnopol, he signed over power of attorney for all his affairs, a REALLY bad move for ANY artist! – kk]

 

Jackie Wilson, when he first signed up, he was someone who was obviously loaded with talent, but he just signed anything they gave him to sign … anything they put in front of him. And he wanted to be a star and he wanted to show what he could do ... so he signed it because he figured this is the way it's done ... this is how they make you a star.  It’s too bad that when you’re young and foolish, you’re young and foolish.  That’s all.  I don’t think today that would happen … I think that they all know that you need to get a lawyer right away, and you need to get a good one.

 

kk:  Yeah, people got ripped off by management and the record companies … and more than a few lawyers and investors, too.  Some of these artists had HUGE success and then ended up almost penniless because someone ran off with their money … and it’s just a shame … it’s a real shame.

 

PE:  Oh yeah, I ran into a few of them over the years and I hate to say it, but a good number of these artists, almost all of them, were black … and they were just taken advantage of again and again … it’s just horrible.  I remember in the market back in the day that even the small R&B stations at one point were taking $5.00 per play or something like that.  I mean I’m glad that I was not in that end of the business … in the R&B business … because artists just got killed there.

 

kk:  You’ve mentioned before, and I know you cover it in your book in regards to the Elvis connection, there was a time when if you wanted Elvis Presley to record one of your songs, you had to give up half of the publishing and in some cases, the copyright … but the feeling was that Elvis was going to sell SO many copies, the songwriter would still make more money than he ever would have made by performing that same song himself.  And even then, you'd have to hope that your manager could get the disc jockeys to play it and make it a radio hit ... whereas if Elvis did it, it was going to get played no matter what and it was going to sell.  And The Colonel got a good share of that money … most of it, I think.  Sometimes they even wanted to put Elvis’ name on the record as a co-writer of the song!  And there were several times over the years when Elvis would say “I never wrote a song in my life.”  But those first few years when he was just so popular, virtually everything they released by him was pretty much going to be a guaranteed hit … so the songwriters would cut him in for a piece of the action.  That’s not to say that they LIKED it … but it was just the way the business was done if you wanted Elvis Presley to record your song … so in that respect, you were VERY fortunate in your dealing with Elvis, The Colonel and his publishing company.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Elvis recorded four of Paul Evans’ songs over the years, the biggest of which was “I Gotta Know,” which went to #20 in 1960.  Elvis also cut Paul’s “The Next Step Is Love” in 1970 which, as the B-Side of “I’ve Lost You,” also made The National Top 20.  Elvis had planned to record another one of Paul Evans’ songs right before he died, but because of the untimely circumstances, it never actually happened.  -kk]

 

PE:  And another thing that I read, I didn’t really research it because I was trying to put everything all together in order to meet my book publisher’s schedule, which tied me up from March to October of 2020 … in fact, at one point they actually said to me, “Stop writing!  We wanna go to print!”  

But I’ve also heard that The Colonel, Tom Parker, never put Elvis into ASCAP … and I don’t think BMI … I’m not sure about that, but ASCAP for sure … so when they took a third of the writing credit, that money would go to HIM … normally, it would go into the pot and be split up between all of the ASCAP writers.  It was like they stole the money and put his name on it BECAUSE THEY COULD.  You know, that’s what other artists were doing … they were putting their name on stuff to claim the royalties … and I mean this was Elvis Presley!  Who was more entitled to a third than the biggest recording artist in the world!

 

kk:  Well, I don’t think it was Elvis who was doing this … in fact, I have to wonder if he was even aware that it was going on at the time … this was just one more way for The Colonel to milk the golden goose … lol … betcha never heard THAT one before!!!  (lol)

 

PE:  Here’s a story that I think I might have written … I don’t remember if I wrote it or not or if it just got put aside because the publisher wanted me to stop writing! 

I was in Fisher Music, which owned the publishing to “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” and the phone rang and it was somebody in Elvis’ office … or maybe Hill and Range [another major publisher – kk], I don’t remember … but whoever it was, they had something to do with choosing Presley's material … and they wanted 50% of the song, the publishing, and the publisher, Danny Fisher and Marvin Fisher, and they were LAUGHING at them.  “You want us to give up 50% of the rights to who???  Elvis something???”  And they just put the guy down.  And, P.S., they were threatening to not record the song, but he did it anyway, because Elvis liked the song.

 

kk:  That’s why I don’t think Elvis was behind any of this under-handed dealing that was going on.  At that point in time, I think Elvis just wanted to sing.

 

PE:  It was a weak community for the writers back then because there was SO much competition … it was a weak community.  Now that would change when groups and artists started writing and recording their own songs … but at THIS time, songwriting was a profession … and there was SO much competition to get YOUR song placed with an artist.  But as you read in the book (and we’ve talked about before), I fought the Presley issue and actually won!  He did my four songs that they didn’t get the publishing to.  And my co-writer was tempted … I don’t know why, maybe he thought the songs would do a little better if they had a piece of the publishing, maybe they’d push them a little harder, I don’t remember why … but that was a GREAT victory for me, not to have to give that up.

 

kk:  Oh, absolutely!  And again, I think that’s something that could have REALLY been played up much more than it was in the book … because how many people can make that claim?  That they stood their ground … and won … and Elvis recorded their songs anyway!  That was a VERY rare exception to the rule … and you stood your ground and you won!

 

PE:  It was …

 

kk:  I think back then that anything with Elvis’ name on it was pretty much a sure thing … we saw it again years later with groups like The Beatles and The Monkees … these artists were going to sell MILLIONS of copies of everything they released.

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  That’s how Neil Diamond was persuaded to let The Monkees record “I’m A Believer” instead of doing it himself.  No matter how big a hit Neil Diamond might have had, The Monkees would have outsold him 20 to 1! – kk]

 

Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a “sure thing” anymore … but back then, if Elvis was going to record your song, you just knew that you could go to the bank with that.  It’s funny because I don’t know if you ever ran across Harry Nilsson at the Brill Building at the time, not knowing for sure exactly when each of you were there, but I remember … I’m actually reading a book on him right now … that when The Monkees said that they were going to record his song, “Cuddy Toy,” the publisher came up and told him, “Harry, you can quit your job at the bank … this thing’s gonna sell four million copies … and you don’t need to work at the bank anymore!”

 

PE:  (laughing)

 

kk:  And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened and that's exactly what he did.  And then two years later, Three Dog Night cut “One,” which became a huge hit, and then Harry had two big hits of his own with “Everybody’s Talkin’” from “Midnight Cowboy,” and “Without You” and BOOM! His career just took off.  And it’s just magical when that kind of stuff happens, but it’s about as unlikely a scenario as there could be!  (Kinda like being discovered in Schwab’s Drug Store!  Lol)

 

PE:  (still laughing) – Ya know, I started other chapters and I didn’t fill out the chapters the way I would have liked to and you know, you spotted it, and I never got the chance to go back and fill out the rest of those chapters … but I knew that they wanted it by the end of the year in 2020, even though it didn’t come out for so long.  It’s a process, I guess, and I didn’t really understand the book business … I STILL don’t really quite understand the book business!  But even though I didn’t understand it, I still knew I had to give them as much as I could give them until I hit their deadline … and they told me “It’s gotta be in by October” and I was down to just a few more weeks … and that was when I heard from the publisher and he said, “Paul, stop writing … and we’re not kidding!!!  We’ve gotta go to print!”  And so I just stopped writing!  And I was disappointed because I still had so much more to say!

 

kk:  And so now this Forgotten Hits piece will become known as “the sequel!”  lol (both laughing)  ‘Cause now you’ve had a chance to think about all of the things that didn’t get in there …

 

PE:  Right, right  … It’s going to be called … I think my second book is going to be called “How I Wrote My First Book!”

 

kk:  Yeah, see, there you go!  Lol

 

PE:  I mean, it’s ridiculous … but I mean, it’s too hard … seriously, if he said “Write a sequel, the first person I’d go to would be my wife and I’d ask her “Can we stand this???”  She loved it.  I dedicate the book to her, Kent, because without her, there would be no book, no doubt about it.

 

kk:  Well, you really had the unique chance to do this … it was almost as if all of the planets aligned and you were motivated to get it all down on paper and then Covid hit and you couldn’t really go anywhere anyway … I mean the company that I worked for at the time, we never shut down, not even for a day!  We were considered “essential workers” so I haven’t had a day off yet during Covid that I wasn’t at work, other than the two weeks when I had it myself!  There never was a single day when I didn’t have to go to work.

 

PE:  You know, you’re in a unique situation … you’re very knowledgeable about the music scene but you also really know some of the secrets of the business … and I think that’s probably why you picked up on some of the times where, you know, I didn’t finish certain ideas … and I had much more to write, but I couldn’t.

 

kk:  Well, that’s why I wanted to try something a little different here with this approach … and review some of the things that I think you could have elaborated on a little bit more … and then give you the chance to do so.  I was happy to provide this forum because I’ve heard some of these stories over the years that we’ve known each other and have been talking to each other and I just think that sometimes there was a lot more to the story that could have been told.  That’s what I meant when I said I felt a little bit “cheated” reading the book … because I knew there was a lot more in there, waiting to be told.  Like before when we first started talking and you said “You picked up on this,” that’s what I meant about feeling a little bit disappointed, because I knew there was more to the story to tell.

For example, I liked the flow of the book, how it started out with the parallel story being told, correlating the rise of your career to all that was going on around you in the ‘50’s … how YOU discovered this great music right along with the rest of us and how YOU experienced some of the conflicts at home regarding “the generation gap” and your parents, especially your father, not wanting to have anything to do with listening to rock and roll in the house … because before it came along, you listened to the radio as a FAMILY and all enjoyed the same things!

And you’ve got to understand that I had NO idea WHY this story line dropped off course … I mean now it makes perfect sense to me … but in a way, your publisher kinda cheated himself out of what likely would have been a much better book!!!  A more interesting book!

And that’s why I wanted to do this … to fill in some of the gaps and cover some of that lost ground … and encourage people to go out and pick up the book, because it really does encompass your entire life in show business, WAY beyond the pop hit years … and then read OUR interview for “the rest of the story” … damn, I sounded like Paul Harvey there for a minute!  But this a chance to fill in some of the blanks and we are more than happy to provide this forum for you to do so.

And let’s face it, you really lived through one of the most exciting times in music history … I mean, rock and roll was brand new and you were right there in the thick of it … appearing on Dick Clark’s television program and doing the record hops and some of those shows where they’d have a dozen artists come out and make an appearance on the same night!

And you’ve got to remember, I missed the beginning of rock and roll … I was too young … so reading the parallel about YOU discovering this music and all that was going on in the world at the time … and how rebellious it all must have seemed back then … THAT to me would have been a VERY interesting story line to pursue and I would have really enjoyed reading about it.

I mean, I didn’t fall in love with Elvis until the ’68 Comeback Special!!!

Sure, we had been to a few movies … back when my parents would have us all dress in our pajamas and lay down in the back of the station wagon so they could go to the drive-in … which is SO funny to me now, thinking about listening to Elvis sing thru that tiny little speaker that you used to hang in your window!  My Dad took all us kids to see “A Hard Day’s Night” at the drive-in because he couldn’t stand the thought of sitting in a crowded movie theater and listening to all the girls scream throughout the entire picture! (lol)

But I missed “Early Elvis” … I mean, obviously I’ve caught up on all of it now … but that’s not the same as living it and experiencing it first hand ... being there to watch the whole phenomena unfold at the time.  

Fortunately, I got to live that dream with The Beatles.  That was MY first real music experience, when The Beatles hit and were on Ed Sullivan … and I just happened to be at the right age at the time to be totally sucked into the British Invasion vacuum!  It's been a running gag forever now … Elvis or The Beatles?  Which one ya gonna pick???  But you CAN’T really pick … because I love ‘em both!!!  Because the simple fact remains that without Elvis, there ARE no Beatles!!!

 

PE:  Well, the Elvis thing was a pretty fascinating time … and the whole Mills Music thing … I mean, back in the ‘20’s when they were grabbing a piece of the writers’ money, in most cases, most of these artists just collapsed and gave them what they wanted.  Because the competition was just so intense … you know, when we heard Elvis was coming up, everybody just went into their rooms and wrote songs FOR Elvis!  They just forgot about everybody else because it was just that important to get!  What a time!

And really … you were captivated by The English Invasion … but Elvis was one of the few American artists who made it through The British Invasion pretty much unscathed … he continued to do movies, he continued to have hits, maybe not like before, but he was still always on the charts and yes, some of his movies were pretty lame … but he still maintained a very loyal fan base through all of this.  Paul Simon held his own during The Beatles … Bob Dylan … The Beach Boys … there were a few American acts that still were getting airplay … but there were a LOT of them that weren’t.  I mean at one point, and I mention this in the book, The Billboard Chart was almost exclusively English!

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Many of these artists Paul mentioned were more Beatles contemporaries … meanwhile, several artists that had enjoyed HUGE careers and success in the ‘50’s and early ‘60’s couldn’t buy a hit!  Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Neil Sedaka … talented guys who eventually came back after the mania died down … but The British Invasion put an awful lot of American acts out of business for a few years! – kk]

 

And once they hit, it was pretty obvious that the end was coming fast … and I really had to scramble … because at that point I knew that as a singer, I could never have come back anymore … but maybe I could continue on as a songwriter … but even then, I knew that I could never compete with these people who were filling up the charts.  For me, it was always an aim to get records on the charts.  I did write, and I enjoyed it … I had fun doing it … but the bottom line was, I wanted to hit the charts!

 

kk:  But see, that’s where something like “Happiness Is” comes in and becomes a success.

 

PE:  Oh yes …

 

 

kk:  it’s kind of a “universal” song and those are the ones that really stand out because they’re catchy and people remember them, even if they’re just being used in a television commercial or an ad campaign.  Things like “Santa's Stuck Up In The Chimney” … think about how many years that that’s been around now and its received millions and millions of views on YouTube and new kids are discovering it all the time and they're singing it in schools and in Christmas assemblies!

 

PE:  Yeah, it still gets some play, but I’m going to tell you something, Kent …

When I first did it, I asked my wife, “Do you think we can have somebody do a little film for this story, for this song” and she said, “Of Course!”  And so we put together this little animated cartoon video and all I can tell you is, it was good to be married to a good woman who understood … and it’s been good to have a good wife!  And she has shared in all the fun … digging out old articles and helping me research my own life! (lol)  Well, that’s not entirely true … I mean, writing songs was fun … I loved writing with other writers.  I mean, that’s one thing ... I didn’t have a single partner … even when I was writing with someone like Paul Parnes, we enjoyed our time together, we wrote a lot of small-sized hits that made the easy listening charts, but I enjoyed working with other writers at the time because they all had different ways of working and each one presented a different experience, working with different writers.

You’ve got Jack Reardon, who wrote “When” with me, he wrote the lyrics to “The Good Life,” which was a MAJOR hit for Tony Bennett … and EVERY major artist covered that song on their albums … I think Ella did it … and I know Ray Charles did it … and he wrote “When” with me, which is just a simple little song.

The demo on it is amazing when I look back.  I mean it’s just my guitar, I’m singing lead, my co-writer sings harmony on the demo and we sing the song straight thru … I mean, there’s no instrumental, you could NEVER get a record deal out of a demo like that anymore!  I just don’t think so.  It was a time where you just had to produce a record to produce a record .. and then show it as a demo.

 

 

kk:  And then how many times the artist would just copy the demo note for note back then …

 

PE:  I’ve seen that, too.

 

kk:  It was almost like the songwriters could have been having hits, enjoying their OWN hits with songs they were giving away, because the artist was just going to copy their style anyway!

PE:  I know that you can really see that with my demo of “I Gotta Know” for Elvis, and I keep wishing I could do something with it but his lawyers are very litigious, they’d be on my neck right away … but if you listen to my original demo, and Elvis’ hit record, Elvis sang it in the same key that I did the demo in, even tho he’s got a higher voice than I had, and with the same tempo, EXACTLY, and I’ve mixed the two together and I came out with my own duet of Paul Evans and Elvis singing “I Gotta Know” … and I was astounded.  Of course, I could never PLAY it for anybody, but other than adding the Jordanaires, which made all of his records sound the way they did and the girl group that backed him later … and the strings, which I certainly never would have put on this record, although now you can – just turn on the computer and get your strings sound!  Not many people are using real, live musicians anymore.

But you just listen to it and you’ll be amazed … I mean we just flow into each other’s songs.  And it isn’t just the voice … I used his background and my background at the same time.  It’s CRAZY!  CRAZY!  You’ll be amazed when you hear it … it sounds like it was done on purpose!

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  While I, too, could never possibly share it, Paul DID let me hear the mix of him and Elvis “dueting” on “I Gotta Know” … and it really is quite incredible.  But that’s all I can really say about that!  Lol – kk]

 

PE:  I remember when we were doing the demo, I kept saying “I need a sound here, I need a sound here” … so one of the guys said, “I know what you need … how about Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Dah-Dah” … and so we used Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Dah-Dah and it just worked!  And if you listen to Elvis’ record, it’s Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Dah-Dah!  What a funny business.

And I’m sure most of the people who were writing songs for Elvis or turning in songs for Elvis to hear, sent in demos of how they envisioned Elvis doing their tunes … and I think MOST of them probably kept copies of these demos … and I think with all that’s come out over the years in the way of alternate takes and rehearsals and bonus tracks, people would LOVE to hear them … and they could easily do what I did, which is to join the two versions together so Elvis fans could hear how these songs were developed. 

The truth is, MY “I Gotta Know” … my demo of “I Gotta Know” … had more oomph to it … more power, more pop … and I’m sorry to say that because then I’m going to get nothing but comments like “So you think you’re better than Elvis?”  No, no, no … but the record … my demo … is more exciting.  You’ll see what I mean when you listen to it.  Because I sounded like Elvis when I was doing it.  In fact today there are certain parts of that record that I can’t tell if it’s me or Elvis singing after all these years.  And you can call it Elvis and Paul or Paul and Elvis … I go with Paul and Elvis ‘cause it’s my demo and I can do what I want!

 

kk:  lol … I can’t wait to hear it.  It sounds like maybe you should have kept this one for yourself!  (Believe me, folks, I wish I could share it with you … but I just can’t.  However, if any of you ever have the occasion to make it down to The Forgotten Hits Ranch and we’re in the privacy of my own home, I will let you give it a listen … I just can’t send you a copy!  Lol  So please don't ask.)

 

PE:  And you see, with all the interviews I’m doing, and I’ve heard some of them back … I’ve asked the disc jockeys to send me clips of the shows … and when I listen to them back I’ve always said, “Oh My God, I couldn’t stop talking on this interview!!!”  But I get so excited when I talk about all of these experiences.  I guess I have to learn not to get so excited ... but it’s my life!  This is my life we’re talking about … and it was a good life.

 

kk:  I give you a lot of props for everything you’ve done … and I’m hoping this book earns you a few more interviews and gets some of your songs played on the radio again.  (We’ve got about 200 deejays on our list that read Forgotten Hits regularly … I’m hoping at least a couple dozen of them will take advantage of this opportunity to have you come on their show and talk about your book and your career and your hit records!)

 

PE:  Kent, this is really, really fun.  You had mentioned writing me some questions … is that going to help you to fill in some of the blanks here?

 

kk:  Honestly, I think what we just did is great because it gives me insight into certain things in the book and I can actually use some of the things from our conversation to sort of move the story along.  We can now take the original review and explain some of the reasons for where I may have felt a little bit cheated and disappointed by editing in some of our conversation here today.  And then yes, I think I may still send you some follow questions to address some specific points and who knows, we may have enough here to run a three or four part series spotlighting the career of Mr. Paul Evans!

 

[EDITOR'S NOTE:  Paul's answers to some of my specific "wish there was more to the story" type questions will run as part of tomorrow's wrap up piece ... so don't miss it! - kk]

 

PE: I have learned a very, very interesting thing that I will pass on to you about books.  My book comes from England … it’s an English Publisher … so first of all, it got caught up in the shipping crisis, you know, you see about it on the news all the time, all these boats being held up offshore … and when we saw that, my wife and I would yell at the tv, screaming “My book is on there!!!” … but what happens next is that when they finally get here, they go to Amazon first and ask them, however many may happen to get here, say three hundred, and they’ll ask them, “Well, how many do you want?” and then they’ll say “I want ‘em all!” … and they get them because they’re Amazon.  The problem with the bookstores, and it’s a big problem, because if it was an American publisher, they would get what they want, but right now Amazon gets what they want and they always get first pick.  Then, whatever’s leftover has to be shared between all of the other bookstores around the country that are willing to sell my book.  The major book stores still have trouble getting them because of Amazon, they have such a hold on the market.  They’re an amazing company, an amazing company, but it just does not do bookstores any good as they can’t get the product.  It’s a strange, strange business, books.

 

kk:  I have always maintained that we won’t realize the true impact of Covid until long after you and I are gone … because it truly has affected EVERY industry.  


[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Paul and I did this interview on a Saturday … two days later on Monday, the mask mandate was lifted in both New York and Chicago … and things have been semi-normal ever since … but it is my belief that we are still far from out of the woods on this sort of thing.  There will always be new strains … and now that we’ve all seen first-hand what a pandemic can do, we’ll never be able to live life to the fullest again without some concerns for our own health as well as the health of others.  I've gotta be honest with you ... I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to go sit in a stadium right now with 20,000 strangers, many of whom may or may not have ever been vaccinated or taken the proper precautions. – kk]

 

PE:  As I say, we’re getting older … and I have had some lung problems … my wife has, too … so we’re being careful … and I’ll wear the mask.  But I don’t care, they can look funny at us if they like, but I’d rather err to the side of caution on this.

 

kk:  I’m triple-vaccinated … and I STILL got Covid … and I know in my heart that there wasn’t ANYTHING more than I could have done than I did when it came to following protocol and exercising good caution.  We wore the masks, we stayed in … we even had food brought in to us rather than dealing with the crowd at the grocery store!  I mean, I’ve watched more TV in the past two years than I have in my entire life combined!

 

PE:  THANK GOD for Netflix!!!

 

kk: Yeah, really!  But it’s just not the way to live.  I mean, I’ve got two very young grand kids that are like 1½ and 4 … and they only know life now wearing a mask ... this has been with us now for most of their lives.  Their whole lives have been masks and it’s all that they know.  (I still say that if at ANY other time in my 60-something years here, somebody told me that you could walk into a bank wearing a mask and sunglasses and get service as usual, I would have thought they were crazy!!!)

 

PE: I know, I know.

 

kk:  it’s just a shame … it’s a shame.

 

PE:  With all that’s going on now with Covid … and coming out of Covid … and now all this crazy stuff that’s going on in Ukraine … enough is enough!

Now I’ve got a question for you …

I want to ask you … and anybody else who might correspond with you … how do I get to Billboard?  How do I get Billboard to talk about the book?  Because I think … and I really believe this … I deserve a mention in Billboard … I’ve put together sixty years’ worth of music and I think that deserves something – and I think eventually I’ll get it … but all MY people are gone … a LONG time ago now … and it’s a different magazine now.  The door was always open at Billboard to talk to somebody there … but there’s nobody I can find … they’re not interested in Paul Evans at all.

 

kk:  I’m more than happy to mention all of this during the course of our series and maybe somebody on the list will know somebody who knows somebody, you know what I mean, but I personally don’t know ANYBODY with ties to Billboard Magazine anymore except maybe a guy like Joel Whitburn, who has put together all those chart books for the past 40 or 50 years now.  And HE certainly knows who Paul Evans is.  In fact, his newest book only captures the chart results from 1955 – 1989, the years of the 45 and really, The Forgotten Hits Years, too, as this seems to be the era we concentrate on the majority of the time.  Joel’s still publishing books on The Billboard Charts, so HE might know somebody that we can connect you with to get your story out there about your book and some of the hits you were involved with along the way during the course of your career.

But maybe somebody who's reading this series will drop me a line and help make that connection.  I can honestly say, to this day,even after all these years, I am STILL completely blown away when I find out who is reading Forgotten Hits these days … because most people really aren't very vocal about it and they don’t participate or write in … until something hits a nerve and then they’ll respond and say something like “Oh yeah, I’ve been reading Forgotten Hits for YEARS!!!  Never miss it!” … and it’s a shame because there are SO many more great stories that they could share with all of us if they simply participated from time to time.

But I’m more than happy to put it out there and see who responds, which is really the other purpose of this 4-part series.  We want to remind people out there about who Paul Evans is and let them know that he has a fascinating story to tell ... read his book, read our interview and then get him on your show and play some of his music!

I mean people know people … and we’ve had people write in who used to work for the old Casey Kasem American Top 40 show … other recording artists … deejays who have their own oldies shows, many of them on the internet … who might be VERY interested in having Paul Evans come on as a guest for 15-20 minutes or so and talk about what the music scene was like when you were making your records.

You’ve still got the Sirius / XM 50’s and 60’s Channels (although they’ve shoved both of those WAY up on the dial now these days … it’s not “The ‘50’s on 5 and The ‘60’s on 6 anymore, which kinda tells me they’re trying to phase these out due to a drop off in interest ... without even realizing that there still IS a massive interest in this great music.)  I can’t tell you how many time I’ve heard people involved in the music business today … radio programmers … guys that put together these Greatest Hits / Compilation CD’s … when I confront them on how they’re effectively making more and more of this music obsolete and extinct, the most common answer I get back is always something to the effect of “I want to program music to people who are still alive” … and it KILLS me that they can’t see how this music will continue to excite and inspire new generations of fans for many more years to come if they simply make it available to them to discover it.

 

PE:  Oh sure, sure … Joel Whitburn … those Record Research books … HE’S still publishing charts, so certainly HE must know someone to ask!

 

kk:  Well, I want to thank you again for taking the time to do this this afternoon … You’ll have to give me a few weeks to pull this all together and get something up on the site because now with this new job, it’s really kicking my ass as far as having any free time to work on Forgotten Hits these days!  And I’ve gotta tell you, it’s pretty rough being the 68 year old trainee!!!  (lol)

 

PE:  68 … aww, you’re still just a kid!  I’m 84!  I have a number of friends who are in their 70’s and I refer to all of them as “kids” … ‘cause it’s a different decade, you know … there’s a time difference there!  It’s strange to think how much time gets away from you … but you’ve heard it from me, Kent … it’s strange getting older … it’s just a different life … but you’d better get used to it fast!  You can feel things shift when you hit certain plateaus.

When I was 70, I remember I looked in the mirror one day … and I was 70 and I looked in the mirror and I said, “Holy Cow!!! My Father!!!”  I had his face and I had never noticed that before.  A friend of mine said the same thing … “At 70, the very same thing happened with me!”  In my early 70’s, I suddenly saw my father in me … you know, I should write a book about that, too!  Lol

 

kk:  Yeah, you should!  (lol)

 

PE:  When I was younger, I used get a lot of crazy ideas like that!

 

kk:  You know, it’s funny you say that because I think back and the year I was born, my grandfather was 53 … and my grandfather at 53 looked like 80 or 85 … because that’s what grandparents looked like back then!  People just looked older!  And he just seemed SO much older than his years.

 

PE:  You’re absolutely right!

 

kk:  And I guarantee you that at 53, he wasn’t as sharp and as lively as our conversations have been today!  I would have like prod information out of him!  Because he was old enough to have seen Babe Ruth play … and I was FASCINATED with all the great baseball players and I’d want to hear stories about Babe Ruth and some of the others because he had seen it all first hand … and he just brushed most of it off because I guess it just wasn’t all that exciting to him at the time.  But I wanted to hear Babe Ruth stories!

But it’s true … as we’ve grown older … as time has moved on … I think we’ve all stayed a little more in touch with what made us happiest … and music has always been a driving force in my life … and obviously in yours … and I truly believe it helps to keep you young.  I’m pretty good friends with Jim Peterik who has written all these great hit songs for people over the years … and he’s older than I am by a few years … he's probably about 72, 73 now … but he tells me all the time that whenever he straps on that guitar, he’s 19 again … and I’ll tell you what, he will go up there and put on one of the most high-energy shows you’ll ever see, rockin’ out with the best of ‘em … and still loving every minute of it.  The man was born to perform.

I just think music keeps you young … it keeps you sharper, a little more in tune with things … a little happier.  I know you have … I’ve kept up with the music scene.  I may not particularly LIKE the music scene and where it’s at today, but I will ALWAYS be a fan of good music ... and music that makes you feel go.  And I’ve gone all-in as far as committing myself to doing whatever I can to help keep this great music we all grew up with alive.

 

PE:  Absolutely!  And this is not just me giving you an apple … but I am SO impressed with your knowledge and you have this incredible site that generates SO many memories … and what was it, last week you reran that Lawrence Welk thing … that “One Toke Over The Line” clip … and I sent it all over the place … and everyone I know went crazy for that … that is the FUNNIEST thing … and there’s a little piece there at the end where he calls it “a new spiritual”!!!  Yeah!  If that’s what Lawrence Welk got out of it, maybe it WAS a new spiritual!

 

kk:  He was TOTALLY clueless as to what the song was really about … totally, totally clueless … and then to present it in such a wholesome way!  (lol)

 

 

PE:  The whole PROGRAM had to be totally clueless to let that go on the air the way it did.

Well, listen, I have totally enjoyed talking to you today … and you’re absolutely right … you caught some things in the book that I was never given the proper chance to expand upon … and I think a piece in your publication will help to fill in some of those blanks and hopefully inspire enough interest that other music fans out there might want to read the book as well.

But you know, in ALL of the other reviews … and all of the interviews … NOBODY else picked up on that, that some of the stories may have been “shortened” for one reason or another, so I give you a lot of credit for being perceptive enough to see this and for offering me the chance to talk with you in Forgotten Hits to fill in some of those blanks.  I did feel bad that there were times when I felt rushed to finish something up … and I know that I did have more stories that I could tell … more flukey stuff that came up … the stuff I wrote about doing the jingles, well that was always mesmerizing to me … how much money was wasted on those commercials because they had so many different ways of doing these things and everybody had their opinion of what it should sound like … and I know you read that chapter … but all of a sudden I went from singing on these commercials to producing them!  And I was always amazed that like the Pepsi one … I thought I had a full, long-term campaign in the works and not just a one-off ad … but this was all supposed to be a big campaign and I was going to produce all of the spots and they took it away because somebody in one of those focus groups who sits down and listens to all these commercials and then gives their opinion on them said, “Well, it sounds like some religious thing … ‘the silent majority’ … and then all of a sudden it was like “Oh My God!” ‘cause somebody caught that thing and they didn’t just pull the whole commercial, they pulled the whole Pepsi campaign!  There was SO much money spent and wasted … I mean, even for ME, they spent so much money … they flew me up to Montreal, they hired The New Christy Minstrels, I produced them, I produced Delaney and Bonnie and all the money that was wasted on film. 

There’s a ratio, I discovered, that’s acceptable in making films … how much time you take vs. how much time goes into the final and it’s twenty times that in commercials … it’s just a silly business.

 

Be sure to check out Paul's website to gather more insight into his illustrious career ... https://paulevans.com/

 

TOMORROW IN FORGOTTEN HITS:

 

Paul Evans addresses our specific issues as to feeling a bit short-changed reading his book - you won't want to miss it!

 

And be sure to order YOUR copy of Paul's "Happy Go Lucky Me:  A Lifetime Of Music" today ...  https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Go-Lucky-Me-Lifetime/dp/0857162187/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2A7JTITM58FMA&keywords=happy+go+lucky+me&qid=1650162367&s=books&sprefix=happy+go+lucky+me%2Cstripbooks%2C71&sr=1-1

 

Get it with his two CD set “Sitting In The Back Seat:  Complete Masters, 1957 - 1962” … https://www.amazon.com/Sitting-Back-Seat-Complete-1957-1962/dp/B088SZS6TM/ref=sr_1_4?crid=18TPPKLG4QEFU&keywords=paul+evans&qid=1650162464&sprefix=paul+evans%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-4

 

You can also shoot for an autographed copy of Paul's book via this link provided below ...

 

Kent, 

It should be available at Shakespeare & Co.  They usually keep a few autographed copies on hand and if for any reason they ever run out, I can always run over there and sign a few more ... they're just up the street from me here.  

Unfortunately, when it comes to getting autographed copies of my book, it's shipped to the US from England, and the giant of book sales, Amazon, grabs all they want, leaving the rest for bookstores to scramble for copies. But it’s probably still worth the time to try the link to see if they have the book in stock.

Paul

https://shop.shakeandco.com/happy-go-lucky-me-lifetime-music