BMG Convention.Paul White/The Beatles..From MSMP-The Missing Link
THEN..we had a workshop with a BMGentleman, Paul White, and why Paul is so important (Altho I have to have a word with him about the Bobby Curtola project) is because, aside from being a real nice guy, was the head of Capitol Records Canada when 4 guys from Liverpool were ‘crowning’ on the world stage and he was determined to get them going with LOTS of support from EMI in England, and Paul was one to listen to His Masters Voice and knew a Hit/Hot act when he heard it, and Canada has always been more open to British acts originally, be it Cliff Richards (billed as England’s Elvis, I’m surprised the Colonel didn’t sue, or Monty Pythons Flying Circus who survived the adoption of their original name ‘Owl Stretching Time, CANADIANS got it, first.
So it was a real treat to get the skinny on how this FABulous project broke thru from the man that was there. To quote Conan Daly’s sonorous John Lennon comment…Cums as now s’prise t’ May’, I almost pissed myself when he said that.
So anyways, Paul wasn’t with the Beatles or Capitol at that point, he was handling special Projects for BMG, quite astute on BMG’s part, hedging their bets as The Beatles were a Special Project for Capitols British branch EMI, that label being Parlophone which handled basically Comedy acts/artists, which to absolutely everyone’s embarrassment and mortification, they were booked as, a Comedy act, for their appearance on the Ed Sullivan, now I know the lads enjoyed a good laugh but this was over the top, and they’re STILL laughing today, as am I.
But Paul’s mission this day was focused on another Classic, Classical Music, and how do we broaden the audience/consumer for this type of music. Classic Musicians and aficionados (now there’s a fruity term for ya!)
People rationally see Classical Musicians (Classical people in general as a dour lot), upper crust, monied, toffee-nosed snots. BUT the format exists and how do we do better with it? I came up with the concept of ‘Music You Didn’t Know You Knew’ as a lot of people have heard the theme song for ‘The Lone Ranger’ TV show, which is the ‘William tell Overture’ for example, so I suggested they market a sampler that actually RE-introduced the listener to the music and connect the Muse with the Musicians and Composers (altho most of them were dead so possibly Decomposers is a better fit here) via a sampler of Sturm & Drang warhorses. I do confess, I LOVE Strauss waltzes, back in HIS day, his shit was like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is to us.
Like a lot of my ideas, nothing came of this, it went straight to my ‘Bright Idea Orphanage’ where they all die of inattention…Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to appease Ray cuz you know how he gets…
Like any Label rep, I’ve done my time with touring Classical artists and Musicians…Carrying the Irish Flautist (he played the FLUTE, read a book!) James Galway’s Computer thru Van Int’l Airport and in those days it was the size of a mini-bar (my BACK!!), Carrying Myron Floren’s Accordion thru the same airport..oh no! let ME carry that, what the hell was I thinking! It weighed like a sea anchor! Just ask my separated shoulder.
I recall having the Piano Virtuoso Evgeny Kissin, a Russian, I called him ‘Huggin’ and Kissin’, in English) and I had some communication problems with him as he only spoke Russian and one required an interpreter to communicate, and you could only hope the interpreter liked you or you had NO idea what he was telling the guy, PLUS, I couldn’t track down his hotel and it turned out that he didn’t have one, he was hiding out at a ‘safe house ‘ or something, so Dansk Dania to him.
There are exceptions to every rule, take the Pianist Victor Borge for example. He was a staple on the Ed Sullivan show and younger people/kids may have seen him as a pie-in-the-face Comedian old fart, but get a whiff of this….long before there were Rawkers that threw things from Hotel windows (TV sets, burning mattresses, the Hotel Manager and staff…) here I was, still a kid watching ol’ Victor, on a film clip, play a Classical piece, and for a flourish finale, he pushed the Grand Piano INTO THE HOTEL POOL; you could say he was ahead of his time.
Back in the day, talking 1970 AD, we didn’t have the Communication Technology we have today, you had to have willpower (Okay, sigh..WiPo, happy now?) to succeed, basically it was Mail or the phone if you were out of town. One HAD to build relationships, the Music/Entertainment Biz was and I hope, still is Relationship driven, not eDriven.
At TPC/Quality one rule they had about Long Distance calls was..Don’t take any and don’t make any…so how to communicate? If I REALLY needed to talk to an out of town station I’d call ‘Operator 6’ which was code for RETURNING a call at the stations expense; by any means necessary.
King Lee/Victoria Times Colonist writer had a Music show on Radio CJVI Sat nights..played Crows ‘Don’t try to lay no boogie woogie’… as I wrote him a letter about it and he played it. It preceded (1970) the Long John Baldry version (1971), our band Bigfoot discovered it and played it but we had NO idea how big it would become in others hands. This was how you tried to start something.
Today there seems to be no end to available methods of technological communication: it’s all electronic, internet, wireless, WiFi, Social or AntiSocial Media, conspicuous in their absences are Psychics and Uri Geller, but at least they were people! Today, where is the one-to-one dialogue, the social interaction that goes beyond the fact you’ve gone to Asia on a trip, left the bath running and all your doors unlocked, on the internet for every footpad and cut-purse to read and take advantage of.
Music, Art and Literature….are PASSION, they are FEELING, without that element, they wouldn’t exist, and people NEED that stimulus, and altho I too use things like email for communication, sooner or later there has to be a human connection, a conversation, a beer, not an eBeer, this is all one dimensional, flat as piss on a plate. My long suffering wife who only wants good things for me (OK, explain GOOD) has threatened to get me a Twitter account, and God only knows what else to help me along the electronic highway (aka Cyberia)…Great! MORE shit to forget how it works, too much information. I used to tell my staff, as I was working on my exit strategy from BMG, do NOT just email somemediabody with a question upon which untold millions of dollars and somebodies career rests upon the answer, show some respect, pick up the fucking phone, y’know that thing in your pocket you live on that can pull down movies from other planets? Yeah, THAT thing, and TALK to somebody about it, otherwise, when people, stop needing people, REAL people, well…..