HAVING A WILD WEEKEND
I was now working on the weekends and enjoying every minute of it. In February it was raining free tickets to all who wanted to attend. Alice Tully Hall presented John Prine, Carnegie Hall had Mary Travers, and America was playing the Felt Forum.
John Prine was the artist to watch. He was deep, dark and shattered. When you heard him sing “Sam Stone,” you got the blues instantly.
America had just scored with “Ventura Highway” and were at the pinnacle of their career. FM stations loved them and played them in heavy rotation.
In March it was the Bee Gees at Lincoln Center. I loved these guys since I first heard the “New York City Mining Disaster- 1941.” One time I took off school and stood in line to get the best tickets. I sat close and even got a handshake from Robin Gibb. Now Atlantic was giving us free tickets for both nights.
The shows kept coming. Bette Midler at the Capitol Theater in Passaic. Roberta Flack and Quincy Jones at the Felt Forum, Focus at Lincoln Center and finally the Kinks over at St. John’s University in Long Island.
I loved the Kinks and remember getting their first album on my eleventh birthday, along with an electric guitar. I stood with that guitar and pretended to play that debut album over and over. On this evening, Ray did a version of “Celluloid Heroes” with a screen behind him playing old B&W Hollywood movie clips.
“Grand Hotel” was the name of the new Procol Harum album. WB went over the top to promote the record. They held a black-tie party at the Plaza Hotel. Both Joe Smith and Mo Ostin from WB greeted everyone at the door. At one point a Russian Dance Company came out and cleared the floor to perform the Saber Dance. The guest list included Alice Cooper who wore a three piece plaid suit, Todd Rundgren who wore a gold lame’ suit, Bette Midler and Carly Simon.
When it was time to go, I was walking with a few of the WB folks to get my car and we walked by the Copacabana Club. Don Rickles was performing but it was sold out. Don had done an album for WB called “Hello Dummy” so within minutes, after a few front door meetings, we were led inside. The Copa crew was adding a new table right up front for us. Don Rickles started calling all the spouses hookers and it was pissing off the guys. I could see these guys wanted to laugh, but their wives were squeezing their hands. I never laughed so hard in my life.
The WB promotion team was the most creative when it came to breaking new artists. They put together a series of live shows for Long Island’s WLIR-FM Tuesday Night Concert Series. They were broadcast from Ultrasonic Recording Studios and the shows included Little Feat, Graham Central Station, The Good Rats, James Montgomery Band, Grinderswitch, Marshall Tucker Band and Tower of Power. WLIR-FM was playing the greatest music and treating their listeners to some of the finest recordings ever captured. Great looking T-shirts were made up and given away.
Terry Reid came to play a club in the Village in support of his new album. Someone at Atlantic called and asked me if I’d go down to say hello to him and check out the show. Terry was working a new laid-back disc called “River” which was the opposite of what his first two albums sounded like. They called Terry ‘superlungs’, but the week I saw him play he kept it mellow. The record didn’t do well at radio, but the critics liked it. The entire week I saw him play, I think he only did one song from those two early albums.
Lillian Roxon, the rock writer called and asked me if I wanted to go see T.Rex open for Three Dog Night and I said yes. On my way to her place, I stopped at Manny’s Guitar Store and ran into Marc Bolan who you couldn’t miss. It was a very hot afternoon and he was wearing a gold lame’ sports coat. I was wearing my home made Beatle Butcher T-shirt and asked if we could take a photograph together. He said it was cool. I loved his records and told him I worked in the warehouse where all his records were. He said, “I hope by touring America, my albums sell out!”
One of the strangest pairing for a show was Atlantic’s Black Oak Arkansas opening for Slade. Slade put on a great show that was full on power chord anthems. “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” is a classic in my book. Black Oak Arkansas tried but couldn’t crack the New York market. I went backstage to say hello to both bands and we got along great. The guys from Black Oak Arkansas invited me down to Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas for the weekend. I went down and had a great time swimming and fishing off their houseboat.
There was so much activity, I began to write a ‘”Weekend Promotion Roundup” and send it to my boss, the branch manager. Here are a few of them.
Weekend Promotion Roundup-March 4, 1973:
Friday evening I enjoyed watching “The Midnight Special,” a late night rock show featuring many of today’s top artists. Badfinger, one of Warner Bros. new acts, appeared playing new material from their upcoming album.
WCBS-FM (the station has the largest audience of any FM station in America) has adopted a ‘solid gold’ musical format, featuring million-seller hits from 1955 to the top hits of today. In January they went on a play list of 14 records. I am happy to report we hold the Top 3 slots with:
#1 “Killing Me Softly With His Song”/Roberta Flack
#2 “Dueling Banjos”/Deliverance Soundtrack
#3 “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love”/ The Spinners
Saturday afternoon I worked with our salesman on his successful Judy Collins promotion at S. Klein’s in Union Square. To coincide with “Cook With Honey” from her new Elektra release, “True Stories and Other Dreams,” we hired a model in a chef’s outfit to stand behind a stove with jars of honey and give away free cookbooks to all who buy a copy between 10am and 2pm.
On Saturday evening, I attended a concert by the Spinners. With hit singles on Atlantic and nine years experience behind them, the future for the Spinners certainly looks good.
On Sunday evening the Bee Gees gave one of their rare appearances at Philharmonic Hall in New York. Featured on the bill was Jimmy Stevens, a newly signed RSO artist. Jimmy is a cross between Cat Stevens, Ray Charles, and Randy Newman, if you can imagine that!
The Bee Gees along with a 30-piece orchestra, showed what true professionals they are. With a long line of hits behind them, the Bee Gee’s performed them well, including a 10-minute medley of their new album. I look forward to seeing the Bee Gee’s again this evening.
My report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that the Best Record of the Year at the Grammy awards was presented to Roberta Flack for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” Atlantic 13054. I predict that Miss Flack will be the first artist to win the honor two years in a row. Also worth mentioning is that America won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1972.
Weekend Promotion Roundup- March 12, 1973:
After seeing the incredible Alice Cooper so many times in the past, I wondered why I was so eager to drive all the way to Philadelphia to see them again. After all, they are coming to New York in June. After a long delay we were ready. When the show was finally over we were still ready, to throw up! WHEW!! What a show. The highlight of the new show is to have Alice decapitated and have the killer hold his bloody head up for all to see! Stay away from this tour if you have a weak stomach.
Saturday I went back to the S. Klein’s on Fourteenth Street in New York for the finale of the Judy Collins promotion. This week with the album on sale and an ad in the paper, we had a much bigger turnout than the previous week.
Saturday evening I attended the Bette Midler concert at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ. Yes, Passaic, NJ. As the Divine Miss M said, “On this tour we’re only playing the tackiest towns in the United States.” This show, unlike her New Year’s Eve show, featured many tracks from her next LP. New tunes included “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Da Do Ron Ron,” “Do You Love Me” and “Auld Lang Syne.” If you have never seen the Divine Miss M please do, don’t hesitate.
Quick Flashes. Biggest thing on the FM radio all weekend was the new Procol Harum LP. The new Chris Rush LP looks like a winner for late night programming. Mickey Newbury was heard almost everywhere else this weekend and from across the ocean in England, The Faces “Cindy Incidentally” went from 21 to 3!
Weekend Promotion Roundup- March 19, 1973;
Friday evening I had the great pleasure of meeting the Spinners. I had seen them a few weeks ago, but after receiving a couple of backstage passes Friday morning, I was in great anticipation of meeting them. They enjoyed talking about the old days and some of the clubs they played in the early part of their career. Their first album on Atlantic Records should put them in the superstar category.
Miss Roberta Flack headlined the gala event with Quincy Jones at the Felt Forum Saturday evening. At my last count there were over 30 musicians gathered on stage. The first half of the show reached a high point when the group, with Quincy Jones, performed the TV theme of “Ironsides.” When Miss Flack joined the entourage midway through the second half of the show, the crowd was ecstatic. The climax naturally was “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” however, her take on “Suzanne” proved to be strong and may follow her last #1 right up the charts.
- Manassas on “In Concert” Friday evening more than made up for their absence from the public the last few months. Randy Newman also made a rare appearance on the same show. See you all at the Grateful Dead concert tonight.
I was taking my job seriously and wanted to succeed. I started coming up with suggestions that could improve the department and now I was working more closely with the sales and promotion staffs.
For the King Karol stores in Manhattan, we came up with a plan for the new WB release of Captain Beefheart’s “Clear Spot.” On Tuesday, March 6th, all personnel of the King Karol stores and warehouse will be wearing Captain Beefheart turtleneck shirts. (They were bright red). This, along with the Captain Beefheart posters already on display, will make for a worthwhile effort to push this fine album.
Meanwhile, awaiting me at the post office was a large envelope from Godzilla. The new catalog arrived and it had 100 albums that were legit on the front and the ‘Trademark of Quality” bootleg releases on the back. The new releases for the month were the Beatles “Hollywood Bowl 1964,” the Beatles “The Get Back Sessions, Volume 2,” David Bowie “In America,” Crosby & Nash “A Very Stoney Evening,” Deep Purple “Purple for a Day,” Bob Dylan “BBC Broadcast,” The Grateful Dead “Hollywood Palladium,” Led Zeppelin “BBC Broadcast,” the Rolling Stones “Winter Tour 73,” the Who “Fillmore East” and Neil Young “Boulder, Colorado.” What a list. I wanted all of them.
At work nobody ever spoke of bootlegs. Occasionally, if I was with a DJ, I’d ask him about playing bootlegs and he said it was taboo.
I remember when I went to see the Who’s two shows at Flushing Meadows in Forest Hills, NY back in ‘71. I taped one show with a cassette player, then I transferred it an 8-track so I could listen in my car. I took a review of the show from the New York Times, cut it out and pasted it on the 8-track. I played that tape thousands of time, not caring at all about the quality. It brought me instantly back to the experience I had with the Who.
I enjoyed listening to tapes of shows that I had attended. I taped a 10 Years After show, a Kinks show, a Faces show and I’d trade them with other fans. Once I had a good quality tape of the Who’s afternoon show at the Metropolitan Opera House doing their rock opera “Tommy” for what was supposed to be one of their final performances. I was a fan.