Mike Miller (doo wop)
|This article may meet Wikipedia's criteria for speedy deletion as a page that is patent nonsense, consisting purely of incoherent text or gibberish with no meaningful content or history. This does not include poor writing, coherent vandalism and hoaxes (G3), coherent material not written in English, badly translated material, etc. This criterion also does not apply to pages in the user namespace. See CSD G1.
If this article does not meet the criteria for speedy deletion, or you intend to fix it, please remove this notice, but do not remove this notice from pages that you have created yourself. If you created this page and you disagree with the given reason for deletion, you can click the button below and leave a message explaining why you believe it should not be deleted. You can also visit the talk page to check if you have received a response to your message.
Note that once tagged with this notice, this article may be deleted at any time if it unquestionably meets the speedy deletion criteria, or if an explanation posted to the talk page is found to be insufficient.
Administrators: check links, history (last), and logs before deletion. Consider checking Google.
This page was last edited by HemovanadinCSDbot at 06:24 UTC (7 months ago)
The year was 1955. I was about eight years old and we were riding in my father's 1954 Packard Patrician. I was in the back seat with my brother Ritchie. After he became the youngest first vice president of Burson - Marstellar in NY at age thirty nine, you could only call him Richard. Every Sunday we drove up the Taconic Parkway looking at new homes. This was my father's passion. We lived in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. The radio was blaring but I was unfulfilled. Patti Page and Tony Bennett were great but my ears ere always reaching out for the R n B sound of The Flamingos, The Harptones, The Chords, and The Moonglows.
My mother always left a radio on in my room when I was going to sleep. I would sneak out of bed and change the station to WBLS or WINS. My little ears found a sound that was pure ecstasy. Rhythm and blues, blow harmony and romantic lyrics, soon to be called Doo Wop, was what I found every night on the little Motorola transistor radio that was mine and mine alone.
I guess house hunting paid off because we moved to the very exclusive town of Armonk, NY, in private community called Windmill Farms. I remember seeing Marilyn Maxwell sitting with Rock Hudson for lunch at the club. I remember my mother saying, "That's Rock Hudson you know. His real name is Roy Fitzgerald.” Roone Arledge of ABC sports was my neighbor. I think I even mowed his acre and a half of lawn once with my friends. For some reason, everyone in Armonk was musically inclined. There so many fabulous guitar players everywhere. It was the late fifties and the guitar was becoming the new instrument of choice for young guys like me. I recall being four or five years old and standing on my bed with my fathers tennis racquet, pretending to play the guitar and sing. Billy Bauer the very famous, Encyclopedia of Jazz, guitarist and George Thorne of "I Hear a Rhapsody" fame were my teachers. In junior high school my mentors were Gary Donelian, brother of the famed Armen Donelian, the jazz pianist, and Rusty Thorne - Fragos, the son of composer George Thorne. They were very accomplished musicians at a young age.
Just then, disaster set in. My parents announced that we were moving to Manhassett Hills, Long Island. Could this be true? Why was I not paying attention? How can you uproot a young guy who was going into his junior year of high school and ask to start over in a new school. These were very impressionable years. I was the new guy at Herricks High School. I was tested immediately. What is this guy all about? Where did I fit in? There were two distinct groups. "The Sport Rats" were the "jocks" or the team guys. "The Diddley Bops" were the cool guys with the pompadours and the too tight pants. You guessed it. I was a "Diddley Bop". I was a Jewish guy who hung more with the Italian guys. "I got it" I said all of a sudden. "Hey Pop", lets go to Sam Ash in Hempstead. Jerry and Bernice Ash, at that time only in their twenties, sold us a new Fender Jaguar, a Turner Dynamic microphone and a Fender Deluxe Reverb amplifier. "Thank you Lord above." I found Louis Aquina and Bobby Szymanski. We became "The Motions" and we were high school stars. We played all the school dances in the area and all the neighborhood bars and clubs even though we were underage at the beginning. We were making money at sixteen years old. We worked at the famous "White Brick Inn" and The Crazy Crickett. We talked Mario, who had a pizza restaurant on Hillside Avenue in New Hyde Park, into featuring live music on the weekends. It was great. We worked every weekend for quite a while. One week Mario said, "I'd like to shake it up a little". He wanted to put in a new group for some variety. We didn't mind because we had been there for six or eight weeks already. It was a group that Val Scott, a friend and very accomplished guitar player had put together. They played oldies and surf music. Dick Dale and The Deltones had just caught on and had a few surf tunes pre Beach Boys. They had a tall, good looking blue eyed drummer who sang and played the drums standing up. The girls loved him. This drummer was Joey Neary, who I would sing with more than forty years later with George Galfo's Mystics. Now ain't that a kick in the head. I would love to find Val Scott.
After that, I sang and played guitar with The Dynatones. We had a steady gig at the Picture Lounge and The Camelot Inn. After that came The Impossible Dream, The Charisma Society Orchestra, a group called "Michael", no kidding, then Grand Boulevard, and a parade of "top 40", oldie groups. I even did weddings with The Joe Pastor Orchestras. I played all of the Long Island clubs. One club in particular was Saint James Infirmary in Deer Park, Long Island. It was a haven for oldies. They showed cartoons on one wall, the ladies room had a microphone in it and there was sawdust on the floors. The waitresses were dressed as nurses and the bar tenders as doctors with a stethoscopes around their necks. We backed up some of the biggest oldie groups in the country right there in Deer Park.
Hold on now! During the summer of my junior year in high school, I received a phone call from Tom Giacalone who was the lead singer of The Islanders, a group that had a contract with Relic Records in Hackensack, New Jersey. They were on The Best of A cappella series. Tom was one of the most talented guys I knew. He told me that Jimmy Ponticelli was leaving the group and they wanted me to replace him. Be still my beating heart. I am now a legitimate first tenor/lead in a very well established Doo Wop Group. So there we were, Tom Giacalone, Jimmy Hanley, Howie Maher and Mike Miller, The Islanders. WoW! We hooked up with Clay Cole and opened for Johnny Maestro and The Crests at Clay Cole's World near Roosevelt Field in Long Island. It was huge and the stage was thirty feet high with a capacity of over a thousand. There were closed circuit television cameras that showed video on the opposite walls. At that time Johnny had the band, The Crests singing all the Crests hits with Joey Dee's wife Lois. This was of course well before The Brooklyn Bridge. Clay introduced us when we worked there. How thrilling it was for a bunch of young guys. We drove all over Long Island. Sometimes we found ourselves in Long Beach and we would get out the car and just sing. We went to Nathans in Long Beach and would just start singing and draw a crowd. Sometimes the management liked it and sometimes they would run out and say "Get lost McQuire Sisters". They were foolish. They could have had a night of entertainment for a hot dog. We would go to Jones Beach and sometimes never make it to the beach while singing in the tunnel at gate 4 because it had a great echo. We would stay there for hours and do requests. When we made it to the beach and stood on the blanket we would draw hundreds of people who would call out tunes. We would just chime off and sing them. That is what singing groups do. They sing. We were just four guys and a pitch pipe. So good. So beautiful.
There is a song that the Islanders recorded that is unreleased. It is called "You're Such A Pretty Girl" with the flipside "Answer My Prayer". I think Stu Leibowitz had it in his jukebox at his house. We hung out there many nights. I think we wore out “The Girl I Love” by The Glowtones. We sang at a club in Queens one night and Sandy Yaguda from The Americans was there. We were doing “Walking In The Rain” by The Ronnettes that night in our show at the club. A month or two later Jay and The Americans recorded it. We like to fantasize that they got the idea from us.
Now signed with Gino Moretti and GMC Records. We recorded four sides in the studio. Gino used members of Maynard Fergusons Orchestra for the session. One tune was “Where The Lights Are Bright” and another was “Baby Pack On” a song written by Ray Ceroni of The Bell Notes. I remember a song written by Howie of our group called "Don't Send No Flowers", but I cant remember how it went. Wow, I would love to have those master tapes. "Baby Pack On" is now a Northern Soul Collector’s Item valued at just under $200. If anyone has a clean copy or knows where Ray Ceroni is, please let me know. The Islanders were young, no hit wonders the first time out, so with Viet Nam facing us and starting careers and relationships, we broke up. Looking back, we should have stayed together. It was a great group with great harmony and great personnel. Jay Traynor of The Americans wanted us to record his original tune, “Looking Out My Window”, but it was never to be. Jay and I spoke about it on the radio recently.
I still had my top forty groups and we sand a lot of Doo Wop and current tunes in the New York area. I auditioned for many Doo Wop groups over the years. I was always accepted into the group I tried out for. There were The Salutations in Brooklyn, Street Corner Society on Long Island stood out, but the timing was not good for me. I sang at weddings with The Joe Pastor Orchestras in Brooklyn. I did The Copa with my singing partner Frankie 13 from Mulberry Street. He was a Mafia Brat. That is a long story. Ask me about it and I will tell you the facts. I has a successful Disco group called Devoshun with Steve and Lori Adorno, Alan Korenstein, Joe Weinman, Manny Caiati and Kevin Zambrana. They were a fabulous rhythm section. We did all the big Discos in NY, got some radio play and missed having a Disco Hit not by much. I remember playing the tunes for Paco Navarro one night at Latin Sound Recording Studio. He was very distracted that night if you get my drift. He looked like he had just eaten a powdered jelly donut when he walked in, but he listened and loved our sound. He was the top dog in NY for disco and was a DJ at WKTU, the mecca for disco in NY. The big tune was called “Dance City”. People who frequented the Discos still remember it well.
Where is the Doo Wop? It was the Eighties and I was now remarried and driving to The Bronx everyday as a Dean in a tough NYC Junior High School from Danbury Ct. My younger very successful brother was diagnosed with AIDS. It was heartbreaking. I built a small recording studio and recorded a series of tunes that I called Michael and The Dreams. I did all the parts on all the vocals and music. It was very healing for me. I called my friend Don K. Reed from CBS FM on The Doo Wopp Shop and he played some of the tunes as well as a few jingles I did for him. He said, “Michael, why don’t you put a new group together”.
Any time you are in spiritual or emotional pain, the music will save you. It has lifted me up more times than I can remember. Any time you can be creative, it will take you to a better place.
I took what Don K. said very seriously. I wanted to sing again. I hadn’t for a few years and except for a few shows at my school with the talented Kim Burgie, the nephew of Lord Burgess, of “Jamaica Farewell” fame. I placed an add in The Danbury News Times. “Lead singer looking for backup singers to singers to sing Doo Wop. Experienced only. A long line of not so talented people marched through my den. Then I got a phone call. “My name is Dee Heavrin. I read your advertisement. I sing with two other ladies, Robin and Ellen. We call our selves Class. Can we come over and sing for you. WoW! I never ever thought of three ladies. I wondered what that would sound like. I said, “sure”. They were fabulous together. They said they were going to think it over. They managed to overcome my cocky Bronx attitude and they called back and said, “Yes, we will try it”. I told them that if they listened to everything I told them, we would be wonderful. They did. We were. We rehearsed about four nights a week at the beginning. We learned to breath together, phrase together and most of all listen to each other. We listened to Manhattan Transfer religiously. Thank you, Tim Hauser for your friendship and your talent. We added bass singer Scott Poarch and with Larry Cozy Colby, who was our musical director. We became Harmony Street which we took from a street in our home town, Danbury, Ct. I taught the girls Doo Wop as I had promised and of course the ladies sang it like angels, always on pitch and always ready to add their talent to the arrangement. I was in Harmony Heaven.
We were ready. I called The Danbury News Times for an article with pictures. Robin Miller, had a successful beauty salon in Bethel, NY called Hair Escape, and down the street was a restaurant named Hole In The Wall, which featured entertainment. We booked a date there and then we called Don Teig, a promenant eye doctor in Ridgefield who just happened to have a radio show in Ridgefield called The Doctor Doo Wop Show. He was a fabulous guy and an instant friendship was born. We were on his show a few weeks in a row. We sang live and talked about our aspirations. We even sang a jingle for him and talked about our upcoming debut. Thank you Don, for giving us our start.
The result at Hole In The Wall was a crowd so large, that we broke every fire code in Bethel, Ct. The waiters had to go outside and come in another entrance to serve the people in the back room. Harmony Street was really born that night. It grew like a spreading fire. Radio interviews, clubs, dinner theaters, National Anthem opportunities and opening for big oldie shows in very large venues. Ellen Pacelli's arrangement of The National Anthem was heard in many venues. We wowed them with a twenty five minute show and the Anthem at Shea for The Mets during their playoff fight. What a thrill that was. Rob and Laura Albanese's very first show at Queens College featured opening act Harmony Street along with The Tokens, Randy and The Rainbows, Lou Christie and a long list of top names. Bobby Jay from CBS FM was the MC that night. Ronnie Italiano, of UGHA fame, asked us to open for the UGHA 200th anniversary show at Schuetzen Park in New Jersey. I still have the handmade poster that was hanging in the lobby. It is a collectors item. I have later learned that it was handmade by Christine Vitale, who Ronnie mentored and does her show from The Group Harmony Alley, Sundays on 89.1/FM-WFDU.
Johnny B, (John Bunnell) from at that time WWCO in Waterbury was a prominent legendary DJ in Ct for many, many years. He came to hear us one night at our insistence. That night we made a life long friend. We were regulars on his show. Of course we composed a jingle for him which he played every week. He would let me come on Sunday nights and sit in with him, taking phone calls and spinning records. I was getting DJ experience and I didn't even realize it. John made sure that we worked with every major oldie act in the business by inviting us to open up at Kennedy High School in Waterbury for every doo wop show for many years. I cannot ever thank Johnny B enough for what he did for our group. As a matter of fact. I owe him a phone call.
I cannot forget my good friend Doo Wop Don Bonomi, a friend and record collector originally from New Haven, Ct. Don was an inspiration for us. He picked songs for us, came to all of our shows and was always there for us. We were invited to his wedding to his wonderful wife Gladys and we maintain a friendship to this day. As a matter of fact, when he moved to Florida, he invited Ken Brady of The Casino's and I to perform at Del Webb's Stony Creek. Ken and I have a show that we do in Florida called " Doo Wop Stylings with Mike Miller and Ken Brady. It is a great 90 minute show filled with our favorite Doo Wop songs.
As luck would have it, you run into people in life who are there to help you. Two of these people are Rick McCaffree and the infamous Gary Lee Schwartz of The Solid Gold Jukebox in Poughkeepsie. Harmony Street did their show so many times that we lost count. They were great to us. We sang live, and they played our tunes. They had me on with Kenny Vance, Jay Traynor, Mary Wilson, Darlene Love and a host of others. Gary had a portion of the show called Garyokee, where the guest group would back Gary up singing lead on a tune and listeners would call in to guess the tune. Gary was one of the funniest guys I ever met. He once asked Johnny Maestro on the air, who was better looking, Alice Cooper or Tony Bennett. When Johnny didn't want to play, Gary announced, over the air, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the legendary Johnny Maestro has just been taken away for an emergency charisma bypass. Guess what folks? Johnny laughed.
Then it happened. Don't ask me how it happened. Maybe the planets were lined up correctly or the Universe smiled. I was on the White House website when I wondered after looking at a virtual tour, whether President Bill Clinton had an e mail address. I found it and wrote a wonderful letter saying that we would love to come and perform The National Anthem at The White House. I clicked send and got a screen that was a security screen asking some general questions. Then I clicked again. This time I got a thank you page which said we get thousands of e mails each day. We randomly read them. Thank you for e mailing the President. I forgot about it. About six weeks later I got a letter that said, "We read your e mail and are very interested in Harmony Street. Please send us some promotional material. I sent pictures, a 90 minute video and a few cassette tapes. About six weeks went by and I got a letter that said. The President watched your video in Air Force One, on the way to China and he wants the group to come to entertain at the White House. The letter said my secretary Daniel Westfall will contact you and it was signed Patricia Penavic Marshall, secretary to the President of The United States. When Daniel called she asked us if we could be the entertainment for The White House Christmas party in December. It all came together very nicely. It does not get any better than that. It was a forever memory. I still have the 8 x 10 portrait shot that I took with Bill that he later signed and sent back to me. From there we had another surprise phone call. Terry Stewart, CEO of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was living in Stamford Ct in 1998 and saw on a Fox News feed that Harmony Street was going to The White House. His secretary called me and asked if we would be his guests at his New Years Party ringing in 1999. We were now hanging with some big guns. Please pinch me.
We did many shows with Johnny Maestro and The Brooklyn Bridge. If you remember as a kid we would open up for him on Long Island. It was great to see him again now with The Brooklyn Bridge. We even did a show together at Newtown High School, were at that time our bass singer Scott had children attending. All those years later the high school children then experienced a tragedy there involving their own children. We think about that often.
Harmony Street mostly sold out every show they did and with the help of my good friend Mitch Schlecter, who was like my right hand for many years, we sold many cassette tapes and later CDs and videos. He would go out into the audience with a box and was so pro active that he always came back with an empty box. They were fifteen dollars. He would offer them 2 for $10 and then $5 when there were a few left. Mitch was good and because of that we always had a good cash reserve. That meant it was time to record. We used Dennis Rivelino's studio in Westchester and eventually recorded, Harmony Street a weep ballad that I wrote and sang lead on and Christine an up tempo original tune as well. It was distributed by myself and Steve Dunham on Crescent Records. We got a huge amount of air play on the oldie stations with both tunes. A bit later we went back to the studio and recorded a version of "Lonely Way" the Skyliners great hit and "Come Back To Me" the late great Margo Sylvia song which Robin sang beautifully. These two tunes were I believe the only two songs with music on Bob Kretzchmar's, Starlite Discs. We were in good company on the Starlight 2000 CD. All of these tunes continue to be heard on Doo Wop compilation CDs every year. Mickey B. used the Harmony Street tune to close out his Volume Two, CD. Thank you, Mickey B, Michael. Harmony Street also appeared in a movie called "The Root of All Evil", a very B movie about trees that eat people. Ron Palillo, from Welcome Back Kotter, starred in that movie and Scott Poarch had role as the woodsman. Ron has since passed away in Florida.
The Ladies of Harmony Street, as I used to call them, were very unique. They had their own mystique on stage. Dee once said, "We have three times of the month in this group and we take it all out on him. All three immediately pointed to me. I remember the time Robin sewed Randy Sufuto's button on his jacket moments before Randy and The Rainbows were called on stage. The ladies were many things to many people. Ellen Pacelli, the high soprano in the group and a super musical arranger, was also a great cook. She loved to bake. Especially when we were doing one of our many shows with The Brooklyn Bridge. She loved Johnny and Grace Mastrangelo and had a very close relationship with both. One night she made a whiskey cake and a cheesecake. When we got off the stage from doing an hour and fifteen minute show, the cheesecake was gone. Johnny, Freddie and Les had frosting in the corners of their mouths. Johnny said, "I hope you don't mind, we ate the cheesecake". We laughed and Ellen assured them it was made for The Bridge. I reminded John that too much dairy before you sing is not beneficial to good vocals. John gave his standard answer. "It coats the throat". You can guess the rest. He was fighting to get the words out on the first tune. It got worse before it got better. Johnny was not happy till the middle of the show. He did say in the middle of that show however, "I heard Harmony Street sing Juanita and I realized we've been singing it wrong all these years". I loved that man and spoke to him the day before he passed away.
As a Dean in the Bronx I had junior high school kids of all sizes, shapes and backgrounds. Two of these kids were Jimmy and Paul Keyes. They sometimes created situations that required me to call their father to my office to talk. He was of course Jimmy Keyes, the writer of Sh Boom" and original founding member of The Chords. We became very good friends. He came to career day and dazzled a full auditorium with stories about the old days. I called Don K. Reed and got The Chords a shot on The Doo Wopp Shop. He said that in all those years, he had never had The Chords on The Doo Wopp Shop. Jimmy died without realizing the abundance of royalties that he and so many of the early performers deserved.
The Doo Wopp Shop
No matter how many hits, no matter how many street corners, unless you were heard on The Don K. Reed's Doo Wopp Shop on CBS FM in New York, you were missing that ornament on the highest branch of The Doo Wop Tree. Don after he played your favorite Doo Wop tune or request and the collectors rarely heard song, turned down the lights in the studio, sent the engineer home, inched closer to the microphone, played a cut of your music and said something like, "That was Harmony Street, They will be our guests tonight on The Doo Wopp Shop". Hearts would beat very fast at the concept that thousands upon thousands of Doo Wop fans would lean into their radios on Sunday night at 11 PM EST, to hear the story of your group, hear your jingle if you brought one and hear the best of your repertoire. Don played our "Rama Lama Don K. Reed jingle on a regular basis and has told me that it was one of best on a short list that included the top names in the business. We were there many times. I would ask Don, about the microphone all the way to the right that had lipstick on it. He told us that lipstick belonged to Deborah Wetzel who did the traffic and news on CBS FM. I am happy to call Don my good friend to this day and I applaud him for spending his entire career playing the music of our genre and supporting all of the groups who sang it. Thank you, sincerely, Don K. Reed. Don has re established The Doo Wopp Shop on Sunday nights at 7 PM EST on The Belmonts Internet Radio.
In the midst of a long list of concert bookings, radio interviews, a mailing list of thousands, and recognition most everywhere in northern New York and New England, I was going through a crisis. My very successful brother had succumbed to his illness. He passed away in Florida, my mother was dying from her Hepatitis C, that she contracted from a transfusion during surgery and my father had Parkinsons Disease and was very close to the end. I was going through a divorce and I was really burning out at my profession as a Dean in a tough NYC junior high school. I was flying regularly to Boca Raton where all three of my family members lived. I decided I need a big change. I retired from my job in The Bronx, and as sad as it was on that day, I left Harmony Street and made the decision to move to Florida. I suggested Lenny Seiter, a talented guy who I knew at a young age to be my replacement. Lenny fit in beautifully and the group is going strong as "In Harmony" still based in Danbury Ct. I gave three eulogies in a very short period of time in Florida and I was emotionally and spiritually spent. I know lived in Boca Raton. Frank Iovino of The Five Boroughs called me and asked if I would sing with them and I told him I did not have the emotional strength. I spoke to Frank Mancuso now of The Legends of Doo Wop in Florida and formerly of The Imaginations. I knew Frank when he had a group on Long Island called "Rubber Band" that he sang with when the Imaginations were not working. I told him I missed singing but did not have the energy. I got a call from George Galfo of The Mystics. He was reforming a Mystic group in South Florida to be called George Galfo's Mystics. We had the necessary questions and answers and I decided that once again I need to sing. It was myself, Shelly Brill, and Lenny Cintron of Vito and The Salutations fame. Lenny was later replaced by my old childhood friend Joey Neary who by then had been the high tenor on two of Dion's CDs, Nu Masters and Deja Nu. Joe was the tenor on Shu Bop which was one of Dion's big later hits. I was now traveling, singing, writing and arranging Doo Wop. I wrote a tune called "Hushabye Again" which I dedicated to tying the old with the new. This tune is out on Collectables Records on a CD of the same name. I had a great time on stage with George Galfo's Mystics. Many good times and memories. I produced a few CDs for them and we did some very big shows.
Here I was nearing sixty, running around singing and staying up late coming home to a lonely Boca Raton country club. When the door latch clicked I knew in my heart I was alone with just my own thoughts. I needed to be in love again. Enter Paulette. She showed me how to live better and how to love better. We married, I left the singing group and we settled in to make a new life. Of course I built a new recording studio and continued to write and produce. I wrote a few new songs that have had radio play. One called "No Ordinary Love Affair" was dedicated to Paulette. "Bouncing A Kiss Off The Moon" is a doo wop ballad from Don Riggio's "7 Inch Vinyl" a novel based which is the first part of a trilogy about a group from our genre called The Du - Kanes. It follows their rise, fall and then resurrection during the late fifties sixties and seventies. I told Don that the tune should come alive seeing as it was their first big hit. He dared me to write it which I did. I recorded it as the Du - Kanes doing all the music and vocals with the help of Les Levine of The Del Vikings singing the bass parts. We also did a cover of "That's The Way It Goes", Raoul Cita's smash hit that he wrote for the Harptones. Both tunes can be downloaded on I Tunes and Amazon.
The Harmony Street Show with Mike Miller ™
As is often the case at Starbucks, people go there for first dates, to relax with friends, to do their corporate writing out of the office, to work on their computer or to just plain enjoy a venti caramel macchiato. I was leaving Starbucks in Wellington with my coffee when I heard some people at a table talking about a concert. I turned and said "What concert, blah, blah blah." The guy turns around and says who are you. It turns out to be Peter Wein from Peter's Living Room, a popular radio show in South Florida. I told them my history in the music and Peter immediately asks, ”How would you like to do a radio show". I called some of my big name friends for advice and got the green light from everyone I called. The Harmony Street Show was born. Peter Wein was the person responsible for started me in radio. Thank you very much Peter. The first year and a half I did the show with Paulette who is very knowledgeable about the genre. When I met her she had a 1957 Seaburg Jukebox in the family room fully loaded with vintage doo wop. I eventually moved to Boston Internet Radio which is now my home station. Joe Fiske and Brian West who run the station have welcomed me with open arms and given me a great home for my show. I play a collection of main stream and obscure doo wop and rhythm and blues on the show as well as very in depth interviews with the people who I have been on stage with over the years. I did Earl Carrolls' very last interview, as well as Clay Coles last interview along with Carl Gardners' very last interview, with the help of his lovely wife Veta Gardner. It was a thrill to have Johnny Mathis on my show as well as Lloyd Price, Mary Wilson and Little Anthony, Shirley Reeves of the Shirelles and Eugene Pitt of The Jive Five. My show goes out to many other feeds such as The Belmonts Radio network, owned by Warren Gradus of The Belmonts, where Don K. Reed has also found a new home. I did a show with Barry Newman and JT Carter of The Crests, Jay and The Americans, The Tymes and The Crystals not long ago. Clay Cole was the Master of Ceremonies. It made my eyes tear up to hear Clay introduce me 43 years after he introduced me the first time back on Long Island when I was a young guy. Clay's brother Richard told me that Clay was writing a Christmas Card to Paulette and myself when he got up from his desk, walked into the hallway and drew his last breath. I was honored to have him as a friend. Im still producing shows when I have the chance. Most recently Barry Newman and I had The Del Satins, The Brooklyn Bridge and JT Carter of The Crests at a great show in Boca Raton, Florida.
I was very good friends with Earl "Speedo" Carroll. and spoke to him often in the nursing home during his last days. Princess his daughter in law told me they used a picture that I took of Earl at his funeral. What a gentleman he was. He was a true legend and a gentleman. RIP Earl.
My radio show is done once a week. It airs every Sunday night for the United States audience and early in the morning for the European audience. We have many thousands of listeners all over the world. When you host a radio interview show, you learn things from your guests that most people never get to hear. Most of these facts are very interesting to our listeners who want to know more about the people who they idolize.
Are you aware that:
Larry Figueredo sat right behind Earnes Evans in elementary school in Philadelphia. When translated that means that Larry Chance sat behind Chubby Checker in elementary school. This makes alphabetical sense.
Lenny Welch once drove a taxi in NYC when he wasn't singing and he also had a recurring role on General Hospital. His longtime friend Mel Carter had several television roles including appearances on Marcus Welby.
Who knew that Don K. Reed's mentor was the legendary Hal Jackson of had taken the time to speak to Don during a class trip to a NY radio station when he was a youngster. Don has a picture of Hal, myself and Don taken at Rye Playland. It was a picture that was taken of the three of us. I gave it to Don as a gift.
When Jay and The Americans were turned away by Leiber and Stoller after their audition, it was Kenny Vance's mother who told them to go right back up there and tell them they made a big mistake and they should sign you right away. It worked
John Madara who wrote "Rock and Roll is Here To Stay" and "At The Hop" was Joey Heathertons first true love
Terry Stewart, the CEO of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was originally The CEO of Marvel Comics who produced Spiderman and gave us all of those super hero's
Tim Hauser of Manhattan Transfer was a baseball player
Dodie Stevens who sang "Tan Shoes and Pink Shoe Laces", sang with Sergio Mendes and "Brazil 77" for many years.
Lloyd Price wrote all of his hits, owned all of the publishing and all of the record labels that he recorded. This means he owned all the means of production including the distribution. He owed nothing to anyone. He did not have to chase anyone for royalties as did so many of the greats from years gone by.
Johnny Mathis after listening to his newly recorded offering of "When Sunny Gets Blue" on the radio, admitted that he sang it wrong.
I asked Little Anthony once if the smoke at The Brooklyn Fox Theater bothered him on stage because in those days at the Murray The K shows they smoked in the theater. He told me it didn't because he would put the cigarette out on his heel just before he walked out on stage. Joey Dee told me when I was just 17 years old that I should always get paid before I put one foot on the stage. I told him, that would work for him because he was Joey Dee and I was just Mike Miller.
Living in south Florida is wonderful. It is also a Mecca for singers who sang our music. So many of them have moved here to appreciate not only the Baby Boomers who are their fans, but the fabulous warm weather. Dion, Jimmy Gallagher of The Passions, Terry and Theresa Johnson of The Flamingos, Gene Chandler, Joe LoCicero of The Chimes, Frank Mancuso of The Imaginations, Tony Passalaqua of The Fascinators, Frank Iovino of The Bob Knight Four and The Five Boroughs, Ken Brady of The Casinos, Connie Francis, Herman Santiago of The Teenagers, Barry Newman, Johnny Contino, Vito Balsamo of The Salutations, Joe Karp, Phil Cracolici, George Galfo and Joe Neary of The Mystics and Eddie Pardocchi of The Five Discs, Lola and Tom Foy of The Impalas and The Saints, are just some of the names who have found a home in Florida. This would make a fabulous super group
Every week I learn something new about the music that I love. I marvel at the audiences that still come to hear the tunes of the Fifties and Sixties. You may have bank presidents sitting next to the person who does their landscaping. You may have the waiter who served your last meal at your favorite restaurant or the guy who does the used car commercial at the dealership down the road all sitting shoulder to shoulder with one common goal. They all yearn to be magically beckoned back to their youth remembering the songs and the events that brought them forward through their journey in life. Each one remembers it differently, but the songs are the same and they want to hear them exactly the way they remember them. I have sung every genre of music from Rock to Disco and back. There is no music so pure or so spiritual as a few guys standing on the corner with only their voices making tight vocal harmony with each other. It is hard to explain the ability to just chime off and sing a song naturally without pause. I have heard many talented singers who were unable to capture a true Doo Wop quality. I offer you this. I am thrilled to be a small pebble on a big beautiful and wonderful beach that encompasses our genre of music filled with sand castles and beautiful waves and shells. When I look out over the horizon and see the many greats that have paved the way and have gone before us. I imagine those fabulous harmonies that inspired us to emulate them and to be creative in our own right. There is no music that fills me up more then the street corner sound. You may call it Rhythm and Blues or just call it Doo Wop. It doesn't matter, It will live forever.