Geo’s Media Blog. (Hanky Panky) 2/4/19

Writing a Blog recently about Chris McCarty’s exciting new musical, “Elvis Says,” got me thinking about when another one of my friends, Reid Reker and I had an opportunity to get involved in a musical.
Reid had talked me into flying out to Vegas to meet with the lovely writer/director/producer Nancy Gregory. (pictured with me above) Nancy is a lady of many talents who has already produced several Superbowl halftime shows plus created a bunch of productions that play all over the world including Jambalaya the Musical which is currently in New Orleans. At the time I met her though, she was in the middle of writing a musical about Hall Of Fame songwriter Jeff Barry (pictured on top) called Chapel Of Love. She planned to launch it in Las Vegas where she’d already created and produced many musicals for the big rooms. Once established, she would then take it to Broadway.

Later that night when she took us to dinner to meet Jeff, he turned out to be a great guy with a lot of fascinating stories about the golden days of Rock & Roll. After spending the evening talking about all the hits he wrote, and the stars he worked with, Jeff said he’d been fortunate because he’d only had one song failure during his whole career.
It had all begun in the Brill Building in New York where he and his then-wife Ellie Greenwich, along with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, plus Carole King, Doc Pomus, and Phil Spector were all there writing hit songs. While at the Brill Building, Jeff and Ellie cranked out a ton of million-selling hits together like Da Do Ron Ron and Then He Kissed Me-The Crystals, Be My Baby-The Ronettes, Do-Wa-Diddy-Manfred Mann, Chapel Of Love-The Dixie Cups, Leader Of The Pack and Remember (Walking In The Sand)-The Shangri-Las, River Deep Mountain High-Ike and Tina Turner, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)-Darlene Love, and Sugar Sugar-The Archies.
Jeff’s only song failure came about the day he was charged to come up with a tune for the b-side of a new Tommy James record. The record company wanted it to be so bad that the Dee-Jays would never be tempted to flip it over. He gave them Hanky Panky and the rest, as they say, is history.

Geo’s Life-Liners

I think you may agree that the one thing Trump has done is get the rest of us interested in politics.

How come there are no conservative professors?

The thing that makes your daughter’s advice more worthy than other females, it’s usually less self-serving.

You can still work while listening to the radio and you can even do it while surfing the internet.

The scary thing about women is … Once you make love to them your f**ked!

Most men are not looking for a meaningful relationship, it just happens.

The first time I ever thought about woman’s rights was when my first daughter was born.

Speaking of daughters, my youngest advised me not to have pictures taken with women I wouldn’t want her hanging out with.

You can always buy great sex, but not a great conversation.

Just when you thought you were getting a handle on millennials, here comes Gen Z.
 
You never have to recreate the truth.
 
I wonder how Canadians felt when Justin Trudeau started fawning all over Obama a couple of years ago when he was visiting the White House. I’m sure the reverse would have been true had his Daddy been involved.
 
You can never overplay someone’s favorite song.
 
I so miss the warmth of the Canadian people but not the cold of the Canadian winter.
 
As America’s attention span continues to shrink, everything is just too f**king long!
 
What’s the sense of having power if you don’t abuse it.
 
The toughest part about my current life is getting any woman I may be interested in past my daughters.
 
You pass the same people going up as you do coming down, how you treated them will determine the comfort of your ride.
 
It’s others who get to decide what your reputation is.
 
When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the months with 31 days are a bitch.
 
The thing about rock&roll is that it always comes back to 3 guitars,  drums, three chords, and the truth.
  
Have you ever noticed that the TV weather girls who have great asses, make sure you see them?
 
If you want all the credit, you’ll have to give up some of the money.
 
An idea is just a concept that still needs a lot of work.

The best are always challenging to work with; if they weren’t, we’d all be working for them.

Faith is just like a muscle; it needs exercise.

You would think with the millions Roger Goodell makes, he would have some better copy?

Great weekend, Pats win and the Winnipeg Jets are still in first place.

Tom Skinner of KZST in Santa Rosa told me that when he became a GM, he bought a book that advised him what questions to ask a prospective employee. However, he stopped using it when he discovered that there was another book out there that told the folks how to answer them.

Geo’s Media Blog is an inside look at Radio, Music, Movies, and Life. For a sneak peek at some upcoming Blogs go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting are much appreciated. 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog. (Hanky Panky) 2/4/19

  1. Lover the one about your youngest daughter and pictures

    Love nbc weather girl Dylan Dwyer come rain or come shine BB

  2. That whole Brill Building era had several husband and wife teams including Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich, Carole King & Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil and other teams such as Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman (who went to to write “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and living In Paris”, plus Neil Sedaka & Howie Greenfield. Jeff Barry told me (and probably told you George), that he came up with that opening drum riff for “Be My Baby”. “Bum-bum-bum-cha” by banging on a filing cabinet.

    • Can you imagine how cool that must have been for those folks to hear a tune that you or one of your friends wrote every time you turned on the radio?

  3. Hey Geo,

    re: “Hanky Panky”: (Tommy James & The Shondells, not Madonna’s hit)

    I have an important historical correction about this song and Jeff Barry & Ellie Greenwich’s lack of direct involvement with the TJ&TS version. (Sources taken from stories I read as a kid in the teen music mags like “16”, Wikipedia, Discogs, as well as from Tommy James excellent must-read bio, “Me, The Mob, And The Music” [Simon & Schuster]):

    “The song was recorded by “an obscure R&B girl group” The Summits in 1963, but failed to chart. (Harmon 1017; Rust 5072) It was also used as the B-side for a Brill Buildinh group, The Raindrops single “That Boy John” (Jubilee 5466). I think this the single Barry wanted to have “Hanky Panky” as a B-side DJ’s so wouldn’t want to flip it

    “Hanky Panky” became popular with garage rock bands. James heard it being performed by one such group in a club in South Bend, Indiana. “I really only remembered a few lines from the song, so when we went to record it, I had to make up the rest of the song,” he told Bronson. “I just pieced it back together from what I remembered.”

    James’ version was recorded at a local radio station, WNIL in Niles, Michigan, and released on local Snap Records (Snap 102). The first pressing titled “Hanky-Panky’ and credited “Tommy Jackson” (James real name) as the composer. It sold well in the tri-state area of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. However, lacking national distribution, the single quickly disappeared. James moved on, breaking up The Shondells, and finishing high school.

    In 1965, an unemployed James was contacted by Pittsburgh disc jockey “Mad Mike” Metrovich. Metrovich had begun playing The Shondells’ version of “Hanky Panky”, and the single had become popular in that area, allegedly selling 80,000 copies in the region from a bootleg of the 45. James then decided to re-release the song, traveling to Pittsburgh where he hired the first decent local band he ran into, The Raconteurs, to be the new Shondells (the original members having declined to re-form).

    After appearances on TV and in clubs in the city, James took a master of “Hanky Panky” to New York City, where he shopped it to over 10 labels who all showed interest. Amazingly, the last label he went to was Roulette Records. Suddenly the offers and interest stopped until Tommy asked Ahmet Ertegun at Atlantic why he was no longer excited. It turns out the infamous Morris Levy at Roulette let the other labels know in no uncertain terms that “Hanky Panky” was HIS record. So James sold it to Roulette. “The amazing thing is we did not re-record the song,” James told Bronson, “I don’t think anybody can record a song that bad and make it sound good. It had to sound amateurish like that. I think if we’d fooled with it too much we’d have fouled it up.” It was released promptly as Roulette 4686 and took the top position of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in July 1966.”

    All DJ’s and music afficianados should read “Me, The Mob, And The Music” as Tommy could only safely publish ihis stories after all the shady mob characters portrayed had passed on. It was so compelling I finished reading in one long session.

    all the best to you & my broadcast pals,
    xrey
    long beach, ca

    • Thanks for the read xrey and just so you know, the Raindrops were actually Jeff and Ellie. As far as the Hanky Panky story goes, I like Jeff’s version the best, it makes a better movie.

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