Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (inside the world of radio&records) Chapter XXXIV July/17

 

” GOOD TIME CHARLIE “

Did a show called “Pillow Talk”
which was doing really well
Now all I needed
was an album that we could sell

You would think that for as long as I’ve been in the radio biz, I’d know a bunch of record guys. Surprisingly, I only know four, Doug Chappell, Al Mair, Jerry Brenner, and Charlie Minor. I’m sure the others would agree with me that of the four, “Good Time Charlie” was the most exciting and colorful of them all.
Tragically though, on March 19th, 1995, Charlie (pictured above) was gunned down by a jealous stripper who lay in wait for him at his Malibu home. 

Charlie was the only record guy who ever figured out that I was the one doing the adds for all our stations and after he tracked me down In Indianapolis, we became good friends. After I moved to California to start my own business, Charlie would spend the occasional weekend at my place in Coronado, and I’d stay at his home in Beverly Hills whenever I was in LA. The problem with doing a sleep over at Charlie’s was we’d be out socializing until the wee hours. However, even though I’d pack it in long before him, he would be the first one up, ready to rock the day.
Charlie was the kind of a friend that you usually only dream about having. Hey, who else would always have a spare ticket with your name on it for all the sold out events in LA. Oh, and did I mention that he hired my daughter Candis straight out of UCLA upon her graduation? Charlie taught Candis how the record business worked which eventually led to her becoming the Licensing Director of WEA (Warner Brothers, Electra, & Atlantic Records). Yes, he also was the Charlie who saved my ass at the Polo Lounge the night of my 40th birthday.
At the height of its success, “Class FM” was in forty markets but like all AC formats, it was a sun up to sundown operation. All that was about to change though when we came up with a concept called “Pillow Talk.” The show which was on 7 to midnight, targeted, targeted lonely women and featured love songs along with a few requests and dedications. Delilah later took the concept to a whole new level when she added relationship advice to the mix. 

When “Pillow Talk” became a huge success, I thought maybe we should release an album of love songs and the only guy I knew that could help me with that, was my old friend Charlie Minor.

AlpertWhen I told Charlie, who was the V/P of A&M Records then about my plan, he suggested that I meet with his boss, Herb Alpert. (pictured above) A&M Records was the perfect place to start because they had all the hit love songs that I needed. When I arrived for my meeting with Herb, I was delighted to discover that A&M was located in the old Charlie Chaplin movie studios (being from Canada, anything Hollywood always freaks me out). I’d arrived early, so I hung out with Charlie and watched him work the phones. What an ehausting experience, he had seven conversations going on at once and yet was still yelling at one of his assistants to get him someone else on the phone.
Even then Charlie had a reputation for being a bit of a scoundrel and womanizer, but at work, he was all business. Years later when my daughter Candis worked for him, she successfully defended him against a sexual harassment suit. Charlie, at the time, was the President of a record company which was trying to get out of their contract with him. The company lawyers hoping for a quick settlement were pressuring Candis to say that the work environment was sexual which offended her so she threw them out of her office.
Anyway, back to my upcoming meeting with Herb Alpert. When noon hour finally rolled around, I was already totally exhausted just from watching Charlie. As Charlie and I walked across the lot to meet with the A of “A&M Records,” I couldn’t help but wish that my father was still alive. He would have been so proud of the fact that his son was meeting with Herb Alpert. A day rarely went by at our home in Transcona when my father wasn’t blasting the Tijuana Brass out of his big stereo system.
Herbs office was located in a Quonset hut; however, once inside, you felt like you’d just entered Camelot. It had stone walls and flooring and what looked like real torches hanging on the walls provided the lighting. The wooden furniture was massive wooden, and huge black steel chandeliers hung from the ceiling. When we entered Herb’s office, I couldn’t help but notice that his desk, which looked like it was carved out with an ax, could have easily accommodated the Knights of the Round Table.
After the introductions, Charlie told Herb that I had a concept worth his hearing. Herb was not only charming, but he
 asked all the right questions, so I thought it went well. When Charlie and I walked back to his office, I asked him how he thought it went. He claimed that he could tell that Herb liked me so the meeting went as well as could be expected. However, when I asked him what happens next, he said, “Absolutely nothing!What you’ve got understand George is that what you want him to do takes an enormous amount of work. He has to research who wrote the songs, who published them, who performed them and then get them all to sign off on the project. It’s easier and more fun for him to just walk to one of the studios across the lot and record a new group. George, he went on to say. “This the only industry in the world where the owners are wrong nine times out of ten but they’re all still billionaires.”

9 thoughts on “Guitars & Radio & Wild Wild Women (inside the world of radio&records) Chapter XXXIV July/17

  1. George, I really enjoyed reading this blog. There are so many reasons to honor those who have passed. Your friendships are many and that says a lot about your integrity. Great read. Xoxo Barbara

  2. As Midwest Regional Promotional Manager for about a decade for various labels, I never had the pleasure of crossing paths with you until my strange side journey at WNAP. So, as a “once was” record guy, what does it take to get into your exclusive circle of record guys :-)? I only crossed Charlie’s path a couple of times at industry events, but he was very well known to just about anybody, connected to or in the record biz… magnetic charisma, more than gracious host, beautiful women around at his beckon call, quick to pick up the tab and all the perks that record/showbiz (radio) enjoyed. If the perfect Record Man Robot came out of a machine it would be a clone of Charlie.

    • Mr. Below the first record guy I ever knew was Al Mair in Canada who when I was a first time PD, flew all the way out to Saskatoon to by me dinner. When I asked him why, he said, “Cause I don’t think you’ll be here long.” I met Doug Chapelle in Toronto where he always brought me good information on a record and never lied to me. Charlie Minor tracked me down when I was at Fairbanks and over the years did me a lot of favors including hiring my daughter Candis as his assistant when she graduated from UCLA. When I also asked him why, he said, “If you’re about to add a record and your choosing it from the three most qualified and one of them is mine, I want the nod. Jerry Brenner was a good friend of my brother Reg so eventually we hooked up.
      Sadly, Charlie and Jerry are both gone but Al and Doug are still standing tall and I’m still in touch with them today.

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