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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

COVID-19 GUT PUNCH — We knew the Corona virus was coming, but in the last 48 hours, New York City has become something akin to a dead-zone, with Broadway shuttering, concert events canceled, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame awards in May, bars closed, museums shuttered, restaurants closing early and a sense of fear totally pervasive. I went into my local market last night and there were lines everywhere. Negating the fact that I didn’t bring my own bag, I got out there reasonably intact but with only a fraction of what I needed. Face it, NYC is almost in a state of being lock-down.

Bill DeBlasio., who is reacting far more formidably than he did on his one presidential debate, declared a state of emergency last week.

TV shows have been shut down, movies re-jiggered for release and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have become the face of the virus; struck down in Australia where they were doing a movie, they have been struck down.

The economic impact will be huge and felt for many, many months. Face it, this will be even bigger than 9/11.

PALM SALE CONFIRMED — After a rocky few years involving a multi-million-dollar family lawsuit and a bankruptcy, storied steakhouse chain the Palm is no longer in the hands of the family who launched it in New York City 93 years ago. Massive Houston-based Landry’s — billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s company behind restaurants ranging from Morton’s the Steakhouse to Rainforest Cafe — has purchased the Palm in a $45 million deal, according to a spokesperson.

The Ganzi and Bozzi families started looking into selling the caricature-filled steakhouse in December. The company had filed for bankruptcy in March, following a lawsuit between family members that resulted in an $120 million payout to one side.

By the end of February, Landry’s was the only bidder remaining in an auction to acquire the Palm, which has more than 20 locations from Miami and Nashville to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There are still NYC locations in Midtown and Tribeca, as well as at JFK airport. As part of the deal, Landry’s also got Huntting Inn, a historic East Hampton hotel. The Palm Too, which had been open for nearly 47 years, on Second Avenue, in Midtown East, closed just this week. The Philly-outpost shuttered as well this week.

Founders Pio Bozzi and John Ganzi opened the Palm in Midtown in 1926, and over the years, the restaurant became known for consistent food, warm service, and walls filled with caricatures of both famous clientele and regulars. In the 1970’s, Bozzi and Ganzi’s grandchildren expanded the brand expanded nationally.

But the original location closed in 2015, and the ownership of the brand split, with Ganzi’s grandchildren Garry Ganzi and sister Claire Breen as part owners of the original Palm and their cousin Walter Ganzi Jr. and former partner Bruce Bozzi Sr. overseeing the expansion. There was disagreement over how profits were being shared, and in 2017, the family became embroiled in a lawsuit. A judge eventually ruled in Ganzi and Breen’s favor, asking that the chain pay them $120 million.

Landry’s is based in Houston and has a global restaurant footprint. It owns restaurants such as Del Frisco’s Grille and Morton’s the Steakhouse, plus well-known casual spots like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. In New York, it runs BR Guest Restaurants Dos Caminos and Bill’s Bar & Burger.

Despite the sale, Ganzi Jr. and Bozzi Sr. will still be involved as “ambassadors for the brand,” according to a statement from Landry’s. “Bruce and Wally will forever be a part of the Palm family,” the statement says.

We became part of the Palm-sphere years back when PR-pasha David Salidor handled the midtown one – in fact, he even dubbed it Palm West and attracted a regular flow of celebrities as well as some fronting some terrific events, like the Celebrity Server-event, which featured the likes of Tony Danza, Gilbert Gottfied, celebrity-scribe Mark Bego and Micky Dolenz as waiters.

It also hosted some great events like the launch-party for Bego’s book on Billy Joel; attracting the likes of Liberty DeVito and CBS FM’s Race Taylor. Says Salidor, “Chris Gilman, the manager at that restaurant really brought my team on. I was there opening day for the restaurant and we just struck up a friendship. It was a great team at the restaurant back then, but then the whole thing was turned over to one of the sons, a failed-actor, who didn’t really care for it. He tried his best, but, if you’re not in it … you can’t win it. One day, he removed all of the PR-people and decided a direct-mail campaign would work better, it didn’t. The Palm was a great legacy for so many and this sale should never have happened. I look back at my five years there as just sensational.”

George Harrison with Splinter 

DARK HORSE RECORDS RE-BORN — (from Rolling Stone) As Olivia Harrison remembers, her future husband, George, drove himself to work on the first day on his new job. It was October 1974, and George Harrison had flown to Los Angeles to visit the offices of the record label he’d just launched. The only problem was that no one had organized a welcoming party for him, but Olivia — then Olivia Arias, newly hired to work on the project — dashed out to the parking lot to greet him. “I thought somebody should,” she says. “He drove onto the lot by himself in this little car, and I thought, ‘Jeez, this is a big day in his life,’ and I went outside and said, ‘Welcome!’ He said, ‘What’s going on?’ He was very excited, but it was just me.”

In many ways, the story befits Harrison: Among his fellow Beatles, he was always the most low-key and publicity averse — the so-called quiet Beatle who also had a sly sense of humor. But his life after the band’s breakup was far from quiet; the early-to-mid-Seventies were some of the most creative and bustling years of his career. He went solo as soon as the group disbanded in 1970, organized the all-star Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden, and had hit singles of his own. Then, in 1974, he decided to start his own label, Dark Horse Records.

The list of contemporary musicians with their own imprints is vast and includes Drake, the Weeknd, Dan Auerbach, Meek Mill, Jack White, and Kanye West. Dark Horse wasn’t simply one of the earliest artist-headed labels — along with labels started by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Jefferson Airplane — but one of the most eclectic. During the company’s first few years, Harrison released records in genres few would have ever associated with the Beatles: suave disco, strummy folk rock, funky R&B, Seventies boogie rock, even proto-yacht rock. “There was some time and distance between whatever they went through with the breakup of the Beatles,” says Olivia, who met Harrison during this time. “You got to the end of that [period] and Apple had split up, and he said, ‘I want to do something different.’ It was a new day and a fresh start.”

Many current rock and hip-hop artist-entrepreneurs have determined how to own, run, and distribute their own labels, but in the early years of such undertakings, everyone — especially the musicians who fronted the companies — was learning as they went along. Dark Horse began with the best intentions and was a testament to Harrison’s wide-ranging tastes. But his experience running a company, and touring to promote himself during that time, would reverberate for the rest of his career, in ways both positive and less so. With the label now revived by his son Dhani — who has reactivated Dark Horse’s famous logo and is digging into its long-unavailable back catalog, with plenty of unreleased material due to be issued in the coming years — it’s worth looking back on an often-forgotten chapter in the life of a Beatle, the free-wheeling music business era that led to Dark Horse, and the lessons learned when an artist takes the business plunge.

In 1973, drummer Jim Keltner, who remained a close friend of Harrison right up until his death in 2001 from lung cancer, paid a visit to Friar Park, Harrison’s private estate outside London. The two were hanging out in the downstairs breakfast room that was the social hub of the house. “We were sitting there one evening and George asked me, ‘What does dark horse mean to you?’” Keltner says. “My dad worked at a racetrack all his life. So to me, dark horse is the one not expected to win but who wins.”  

For Olivia, the connection was clear. “George always considered himself to be a dark horse — under the radar,” she says. “It’s interesting considering he was so out there [in the public]. But he was very internalized. If you looked at him onstage, he didn’t physically jump around and express himself like that. In that dark-horse way, people wouldn’t expect you to be a songwriter or be spiritual or funny, because you’re a dark horse. Nobody really knows what’s going on with you.” 

Harrison told Keltner he was starting his own record company and even showed him an illustration of the Uchchaihshravas, a seven-headed horse common in Hindu mythology, which would serve as the company’s logo. “He was just the king of all horses, the prototype for all horses, the best horse ever,” says Dhani of the symbol. “He turned the tide in the battle and just generally was seen as this powerful vehicle for protection and overcoming.”

By 1974, the idea of offering a refuge to some of his fellow artists appealed to Harrison, who’d been battered by the Beatles’ messy business breakup, and he had the additional clout to make it happen. His 1970 triple album, All Things Must Pass, was both a best-seller and a declaration to the world that he could make records equal to those of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The Concert for Bangladesh the following year found Harrison sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and others to benefit the ravaged country, and he continued his commercial streak with his 1973 album, Living in the Material World, and its corresponding hit, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).”

Harrison was still under contract to EMI, the Beatles’ label, until early 1976, but the idea of running his own company and promoting his friends’ work appealed to him. “If George liked you, he wanted to help you,” says Keltner. “He would put it as, ‘These people are the people who really deserve to be signed to a label.’” According to reports, Harrison consulted with David Geffen, then running Asylum Records, and he and Ringo Starr were said to be considering buying Apple. Instead Harrison opted to start Dark Horse, and in the spring of 1974, he entered into a five-year partnership agreement with A&M Records, then the home of the Carpenters, Peter Frampton, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and many more. A&M invested more than $2 million into the project; for its investment, A&M also would eventually land the rights to Harrison’s solo albums.

At a press conference a few months later, Harrison explained his approach: “I don’t want Dark Horse to be a big label. I want to keep it reasonably small.… If I signed all the artists who have given me audition tapes, Dark Horse would be bigger than RCA now.” (Asked about the Beatles reunion at the same event, he said, “If we do it again, it will probably be because we’ll be broke and need the money,” adding that McCartney “is a fine bass player, although he may be a little overpowering at times,” and saying he preferred session man Willie Weeks.)

As an artist himself, Harrison was happy to delegate: In the U.K., the label was run by Jonathan Clyde, with Dennis Morgan (who was previously involved with Elton John’s Rocket label) managing the company’s L.A. office. Olivia Harrison had been working as an assistant in A&M’s merchandising department for two years when she was offered the job at Dark Horse, which had its own offices on the A&M lot — sharing space with Ode Records, whose major act was Carole King. “George was very excited, and he loved having that office to go to,” she says. “He loved being surrounded by musicians. He designed everything, even the merch. He had beautiful bronze Dark Horse belt buckles and pins. There were dark horses everywhere.”

“Jerry Moss [A&M co-founder] put my mom on the Dark Horse project because she was the only person cool enough there,” adds Dhani. “She was a mediator, and they figured she would get on with my dad real well, which evidently she did.” (The two were married in 1978, the year Dhani was born: “I was one of their early releases,” he says drolly.)

As if declaring its range right out of the box, Dark Horse’s first two releases — albums by Splinter and Ravi Shankar, both in October 1974 — were at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Shankar Family & Friends was an East-meets-West collaboration between Shankar’s band, Harrison, and musician friends like Keltner, Starr, guitarist David Bromberg, jazz sax and flute player Tom Scott, and others. 

George was tipped to the British folk-rock duo Splinter (Bill Elliott and Bobby Purvis) by Mal Evans, the Beatles’ late confidante and personal assistant. To Olivia, the appeal of their music — the gentle hooks of their debut album, The Place I Love, and rollicking singalongs like “Drink All Day” — was obvious. “Badfinger had been on Apple, and Splinter was not too dissimilar,” she says. “You could see them following Badfinger.” Harrison produced the album and played various instruments on it; reflecting the self-deprecating humor that would also be showcased in the Rutles movie, he referred to himself in the credits as Hari Georgeson, Jai Raj Harisein, and P. Roducer.

Still, Dark Horse was hardly a haven for purist music. Harrison also issued Mind Your Own Business!, a taste of period FM rock by former Wings and Joe Cocker guitarist Henry McCullough. One of Harrison’s label heads signed the Stairsteps, the updated lineup of the Five Stairsteps, the Chicago R&B group whose biggest hit was the glorious soul hymnal “O-o-h Child.” Their album 2nd Resurrection was the unlikeliest of Dark Horse releases — silk-sheeted Seventies soul with ebullient harmonies, squiggly Billy Preston synths, and as many flute solos as a Lizzo show. “George listened to everything,” says Olivia, “but as an artist, he let the artists have final approval.”

Another Dark Horse signing resulted from the weekly jam sessions at the Record Plant studio in L.A. Called the Jim Keltner Fan Club Hour, after a mischievous liner note in Living in the Material World, the jams attracted everyone from Mick Jagger and John Lennon to support players like James Taylor–Carole King guitarist Danny Kortchmar, soul-rooted bassist Paul Stallworth, and a young, R&B-steeped Canadian keyboardist and singer named David Foster, who went on to produce pop acts from Chicago to Josh Groban and was featured in a public TV special last year with his current wife Katherine McPhee. “Foster was a hungry piano player,” Keltner recalls. “He was so funky, man, nothing like the guy you see now on PBS.”

As a result of those jams, Kortchmar, Foster, Stallworth, and Keltner wound up forming a band, Attitudes, that played radio-ready grooves blending Foster’s pop tendencies and Kortchmar’s roots in R&B. Even though the music didn’t seem up Harrison’s musical alley, he nonetheless signed the group to Dark Horse — a favor to his close pal Keltner, as Kortchmar recalls — and released two albums by them. The first includes the scrappy original version of Kortchmar’s “Honey Don’t Leave L.A.,” later covered by James Taylor. (Kortchmar says it was “loosely based on a relationship with a woman who I really dug but who split with somebody vastly more famous than me.”)

In retrospect, the Attitudes records (in particular tracks like “Ain’t Love Enough” and “Drink My Water”) seem to presage the soft-rock invasion of the late Seventies, though Kortchmar begs off such comparisons. “I don’t think you can compare what we were doing to Christopher Cross or Kenny Loggins,” says Kortchmar. “And that’s not to disparage those people at all. But what we were doing was way rawer and funkier than what you’d play on your yacht.”

The label also released Jiva, featuring Michael Lanning, who went onto his own solo success and was a regular for years in Donnie Kehr’s Rockers On Broadway. Check out : “There’s Something Going On In LA.” Just brilliant: 

On top of launching his own label, Harrison piled even more work onto his plate by undertaking his first (and only) American tour. By 1974, none of the Beatles had toured America on their own, so Harrison’s concerts — more than 30 shows, spanning all of November and December — were among the most anticipated events of the year. Even at a time that found Dylan back on the road and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young reuniting, an endeavor like this by a solo Beatle was an event.

Everything appeared to be in order: Promoter Bill Graham was handling the tour, which was booked into arenas, and Harrison’s band featured a formidable lineup that included Preston, Scott, and, at times, Keltner. Predating the way Dylan would rearrange his material and, with the Rolling Thunder Revue, put the spotlight on other musicians onstage; Harrison reconfigured his material for some of the jazz-rock players behind him and generously allowed Preston and Scott to showcase their own songs. Each concert also included a lengthy midsection set by Shankar and his musicians.

But in rushing to complete an album (Dark Horse) in time for the shows, Harrison strained his voice, which proved to be only one of several potholes. Across the country, Beatles fans were thrilled by the sight of Harrison onstage, but some were confounded by his hoarse singing and versions of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and the Lennon-McCartney “In My Life” with tweaked lyrics (“I love God more,” in the latter case). “George wanted people to listen to the Indian music,” says Olivia. “He thought he was doing a service. He used to say, ‘If people want to come to hear Beatle George, then they shouldn’t come.’”

Keltner has fond memories of traveling on private planes with Shankar’s band and crew, and in hotel rooms, Harrison would play Dylan albums and sing along with every word. But everyone involved was indulging in typical Seventies rock excess. “We were having too much bad fun,” Keltner admits. “It was a big, fun party. So George was not in the best shape to do a big tour. I think that’s why he never toured after that.”

Olivia also confirms it was a difficult time for her future husband. “He had such a raw throat when he left on tour,” Olivia says. “He wasn’t used to being a frontman. He was a bit unhinged at the time, and he had the responsibility for 25 or 26 musicians. He had a new manager, and had he known George, he wouldn’t have allowed George to push himself like that. George didn’t have the nerve to cancel, but he should have.”

The rigors of the road would prove to be only one hurdle. Perhaps reflecting his jammed workload, the Dark Horse album (released by Capitol/EMI, not Dark Horse, for contractual reasons) felt tired and wasn’t greeted as warmly as his previous records. In spite of their quality, the same went for the initial slate of Dark Horse releases. Kortchmar says he had “high hopes” for Attitudes — “I thought maybe it would catch on and people would start digging it” — but few of the Dark Horse releases made the charts. Olivia says sales were not an issue for George: “You did the music and put it out and tried to promote it. They say, ‘Do it and drop it in the well.’ That’s the reason George did anything, for the pleasure and the need to create.”

But the relationship between the label and its financial backer soured. “George started hitting the road, and then it was this guy making the record and this guy making decisions, and this guy running up a huge tab that we were paying for and the records weren’t very good,” A&M’s Moss recalled in 2007. “And it got to the point where I couldn’t root for this project any more, even though George had charmed a great many people on our lot to do extra work for that label, and we created the whole image for him.”

When Harrison delivered his next album — what would be Thirty-Three & 1/3 — to Warner Bros. instead of A&M, A&M sued him for $10 million. Harrison had developed what Clyde calls “a close personal friendship” with Warner’s head Mo Ostin and felt that company would be more amenable. Harrison ultimately had to fork over $4 million to A&M before he fully moved Dark Horse to Warner Bros., where it remained for many years. “Management and A&M were not happy with the deal,” Olivia says. “It didn’t have much to do with George, but it had everything to do with him because he had to sign everything. I don’t know the ins and outs, but it was pretty acrimonious and it was very disappointing to George. Being an artist label, he never thought that would happen. It went wrong, and that was really sad.”

With Warner Bros. now backing Dark Horse, Harrison attempted to revive the original spirit of the label, releasing a solo album by Stairsteps co-founder Keni Burke and albums by Splinter and Attitudes. But during the switch from A&M to Warner Bros., a potential hit — Attitudes’ “Sweet Summer Music,” which recalled the breezy Latin-pop hits of War and had begun climbing the soul charts — didn’t get a proper promotional push and faded quickly. Soon, the burden of being a label boss began to gnaw at Harrison, as he told Rolling Stone in 1979.

“I was so wiped out, and it resulted in me saying, ‘Sod it, I don’t want a record company,’” he said. “I don’t mind me being on the label because, all right, I can release an album and it makes some profit, and I don’t phone myself in the middle of the night to complain about different things. But artists are never satisfied. They spend maybe $50,000 more than I’d spend making an album, then they won’t do any interviews or go on the road — whatever you’d organize for them, they’d foul it up. It was just too much bullshit. They think a record company is like a bank that they can go and draw money out of whenever they want.”

Harrison went on to say that there were “some good things that came out of it,” citing Attitudes’ Good News and the two Shankar albums he bankrolled. But his disenchantment with the experience deepened, and Dark Horse eventually became a home for Harrison’s solo albums, right up to his final release, Brainwashed, released shortly after his death.

Speaking of the label’s early days, Olivia says, “it was a lot of work. He’d done it, and he wanted to do other things. Yes, in hindsight, it’s like you’ve created a monster here.”

As an outlet for Harrison’s intermittent solo albums, Dark Horse continued right up through his death, but Dhani admits that the label has largely been “dormant outside its current vaults” since then. Earlier this year, he and his manager David Zonshine announced that the label was being revived, thanks to a new distribution deal with BMG. Dark Horse’s re-entry began with a fresh recording —  a cover of Tom Petty’s “For Real — For Tom,” featuring Dhani, Jakob Dylan, and Willie Nelson, along with Nelson’s sons Micah and Lukas — but Dhani and his four-person staff will largely focus on material in Dark Horse’s vaults. So far, they’ve rolled out an Attitudes compilation and reissues of Shankar’s In Concert 1972 and Shankar’s 1997, George-produced Chants of India, with more back catalog to come.

Dark Horse will also reissue the work of simpatico artists who weren’t on the label, starting with the post-Clash albums by the late Joe Strummer and his band the Mescaleros. “It was just one of those things where it was such a natural fit,” says Dhani. “Joe was half Indian from his father, and he spent some time in Mexico. My mother’s Mexican and obviously my father was family with Ravi and all the Indian classical musicians. So it was a similar parallel.” For now, though, the label doesn’t plan on signing new artists.

The company’s archival research has also turned up a trove of unissued George Harrison material. “We have people digging through mountains of tapes, and they keep coming,” says Dhani. “Boxes and boxes of them.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of All Things Must Pass, and Dhani and his archivists have unearthed hours of unreleased material and unheard songs from those sessions. “A lot of it has been bootlegged, but we have better versions,” says Olivia. “We have all the 24-tracks of All Things Must Pass, and we found lots of different takes and talking in the studio.”

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Concert for Bangladesh, followed in 2023 by the five-decade mark of Living in the Material World. Each of those projects could be accorded expanded editions, although the specifics aren’t worked out.

Dhani says he is asked on a regular basis about his father’s controversial 1974 tour more than any of Harrison’s other undertakings. Dhani says he’s listened back to tapes of all the shows and agrees that his father wasn’t in the best of voice, but still feels the shows revealed another aspect of George’s music. “His voice is pretty tired, but in my opinion, it sounds great,” he says. “It’s raspy, and it has grit to it. You can hear the fragility in all the songs. It’s a different take on a lot of his music.” Olivia says several of the shows were also filmed, onstage and offstage, and the material has the makings of a documentary. “I think it would make a great tour movie,” she says. “The backstage footage is amazing and hysterical. Things went on backstage that don’t happen now. Now everything is so cut and dried, the opposite of spontaneous.”

Although it’s largely forgotten now, Dark Horse paved the way for other artist companies, a legacy Dhani is seeking to protect and continue. “It’s the family business, as they say,” he says. “It’s funny — if you’re a plumber and want to be in the family plumbing business, no one would think anything about that. That would be normal. But in our family, the family business is music, so I’m just doing what mum and dad did. No one is making us do it. We have to do it.”

SHORT TAKES — Guess who … don’t sue: What industry legend-literally in the business for decades- just retired and stiffed his long-time publicist? If I was the quarterback on this team, I’d do the right thing. Really shocking … Where is 88-year old Regis Philbin? The long-time TV personality is seemingly nowhere to be found. Relocating several years back to the Left Coast with wife Joy (who was Joey Bishop’s secretary!), scant news these days. I hope he’s OK … Flashback of the week: “It’s Gonna Rain” from Mike Scott and The Waterboys. Classic track; check it out out here: 

Michael C. Hall and Wendy Stuart Kaplan

From social influencer Wendy Stuart Kaplan: It was fitting that my last NY night galavante was to see Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) at the Mercury Lounge. His group “Princess Goes To The Butterfly Museum” was fantastic! This night out could be historical if we go into lockdown … 

We’ve just started watching Amazon’s Hunters: Holocaust survivors identifying and putting down Nazi-war criminals here in the US. It’s a lot to take it, with extensive flashbacks, but we’re entranced. Al Pacino is simply mesmerizing and Josh Radnor (yes, of How I Met Your Mother) as one of the hunters, along with Logan Lerman, give an astonishing performance. Terrific casting for sure.There’s a little Tarantino-thrown in for good measure. We’re liking it .. Micky Dolenz interviewed yesterday by ace-journalist Mike Greenblatt for Goldmine … Stay safe!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Heather Moore; Buddy Blanch; Donna Quinter; Jane Blunkell; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; James Edstrom; Ronnie Rush; Alan Rothstein; Desi Lou; Jacqueline Boyd; Mark Alpert; Chloe Fay; and, ZIGGY!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.


The Mayor of Times Square Meets One of the World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivors



I arrived to a packed lecture room at a Library in South Florida.   This lecture caught my eye weeks prior and I made sure to have it in my calendar.  After all, how many more times will I get a chance to hear a 99 year old survivor tell his remarkable story of inconceivable hell, survival and ultimately impressive success?   What I heard in the room that day was hard to fathom it wasn’t part of a Spielberg movie with some creative liberty thrown in to embellish an already unbelievable true story.  This was the real deal.  A vivid description of hell on earth.  What I couldn’t understand is how did this survivor go on to create a vibrant family and a very successful business career and not be bitter every day of his life?   Equally remarkable is how someone his age could tell a story from 85 years ago as if it happened yesterday and with energy and charisma of someone half his age.  He spoke for 45 minutes without a break.  Little did anyone in the audience know that, just prior to arriving at the Library, he fell and injured himself, making his perseverance in even making it to the Library even more heroic.  This is no ordinary man.   I approached the stage after the lecture, patiently awaited my turn to speak with him and asked if I could interview him for my podcast.  I am pretty sure he knew little to nothing of what a podcast was, but he agreed as you are about to learn why telling his story over and over is his divine mission.

Eli Marcus and Sam Ron

Sam Ron bears personal witness to the greatest atrocity in human history. He is one of the only remaining Holocaust Survivors his age who survived four concentration camps…and a Death March.  He turns 99 in July.  His story is remarkable…and he himself is equally as remarkable.

Here’s what you will learn when listening to this World Exclusive interview on The Motivation Show podcast:

-Where did Sam grow up and what was life like before the Germans invaded his country

-How life changed once the Germans invaded and how long did the changes take

-Why and when did Sam and his family decide to go into hiding and where did he hide

-How did Sam end up in the Krakow Ghetto, how was it different than the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, and what took place in the Ghetto

-When did Sam first realize that the Germans were not just transporting Jews to what they disguised as labor camps, but were actually killing them.

-How many times was Sam transported in cattle cars and what was that like

-Which concentration camps was Sam in & what were they like

-What was life like in the concentration camps and why did they move Sam around to different camps

-What is a Death March, why and how did that happen and how did Sam survive it

-What lessons should listeners take away from Sam’s experience

-What does Never Again mean to Sam and why is it so important for him to share this and other Holocaust lessons

You can listen to this interview on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link:    WARNING:  This interview is GUARANTEED to move you to tears!!!

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Book Reviews

Inside The PR Brain



G.H. Harding

For PR-guru David Salidor, late-February proved to be as hectic a week in his 40+-year career as ever. With client Micky Dolenz in tow; Monday night was The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; Tuesday held four different interviews at SiriusXM; later that night was the premiere for actor Willem Dafoe’s new movie Inside; and, Wednesday held an early spot back at NBC for NY LIVE with host Sara Gore.

THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON — Episode 1803 — Pictured: (l-r) on Monday, February 27, 2023 — (Photo by: Todd Owyoung/NBC)

For the music industry veteran, it was the latest chapter in a career that was sealed back in 1967 at Long Island’s Lido Beach Club when he saw a new group, The Who: Says Salidor, “My father who worked for Decca Records asked if I wanted to accompany him and go see a new group the company had just signed. Believe it or not, it was The Who, playing around the club’s swimming pool. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; Keith Moon with day-glow drumsticks and Townshend literally destroying his guitar at the end of the set. For me, that was it, this business was for me.”

Salidor also worked for the legendary My Father’s Place club in Roslyn, New York, that launched everyone from Bruce Spingsteen,  to Todd Rundgren and Hall & Oates. “If The Who whet my appetite, My Father’s Place solidified my journey,” Salidor adds.

London Records

His first job out of college (where he was music director the college-station) was for the much-missed London Records. “All of a sudden, I was working with the Rolling Stones and Moody Blues, Al Green and Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was the new kid in town, but learned about everything all at once. I was doing ad layouts, writing press releases and taking the artists to radio stations. It was a trial by fire for sure, but I loved it,” adds Salidor.

He went onto to work for other labels like Atlantic and the PR-firm the Howard Bloom Organization, which at the time was the hottest pr-firm in the country, with clients including Billy Joel; Prince; Genesis. Genesis stands out for him. “It was right when Peter Gabriel left the band and there was a tour which I went on. Imagine every night not only seeing a terrific show, but also a dazzling visual show. No question, they were the tops at that point,” he says.

He also formed a relationship with Tom Silverman – then running a very influential tip-sheet called Dance Music Report. He and Silverman, who was also his first and only partner for a spell, went onto create the New Music Seminar, which became a focal point for all the new labels and artists to network. Adds Salidor, “That first event was held at SIR Studios in NY and everyone who was anyone attended. It’s funny now to recall that we started it because we couldn’t get properly accredited for the Billboard Music Forum, which was then the featured industry event in the business; but really neglected the up-and-coming acts and labels.”

A two-year stint with indie ZE Records was also a fascinating run. “This was during the burgeoning new-wave/no-wave movement and I just loved it. Kid Creole & The Coconuts; Cristina; Material; Suicide ; james White and the Blacks and it introduced me to the The Mudd Club, which became an instant favorite.”

A life-long association with August Darnell and his Kid Creole & The Coconuts began as well. “August is without a doubt one of the most creative artists I’ve ever worked with, Totally unique.”

He decided to start his own firm in 1984. He adds, “I learned very quickly that working for someone else is a double-edge sword. If a good campaign happens, the head of the firm gets the credit; if the campaign doesn’t work, you get called on the carpet.”

His first success via his dis Company was with Profile Record’s Run-DMC. “Profile was an amazing label back then. Cory Robins was one of the premiere music guys and had a prescient nuance. Together we got Run-DMC on the cover of Rolling Stone and made them a major marquee attraction. They started the whole urban, hip-hop era. I know it was a long time ago, but they were the first along with Kurtis Blow. No question.”

The next big project to come his way was with a 15-year-old from Merrick, Long Island, named Debbie Gibson. “This was something I had never encountered before; a performer who wrote her own music; produced it and had just an engaging personality. Needless to say, she was a smash. Tours, videos, hit singles followed. Totally engaging and creative. I remember being in Bremen, Germany, when I sat with her at a piano and she played me her entire second album … that hadn’t even been recorded or released yet. Totally amazing talent,” adds Salidor.

Mark Bego and David

Also, a life-long association with celebrity-scribe Mark Bego began. Called the “prince of pop bios” by Publisher’s Weekly. 62-books later, their relationship continues to this day. Bego will be releasing a bio on Joe Cocker later this year via Yorkshire Publishing – also a client.

David, Mark Bego and Micky Dolenz at the Hard Rock Cafe in 1993

Bego would go on to pen several books on Salidor’s clients; including Debbie Gibson and Madonna. Also, Bego wrote the authorized bio on Micky Dolenz (I’m A Believer) in 1993 and Salidor set up a launch party at NYC Hard Rock Cafe. That was the first time Salidor met Dolenz,which foreshadowed a Dolenz/Salidor PR-connection down the road.

David with Jellybean, Madonna; and Russell Simmons photos from dis COMPANY archives)

He was also involved with Madonna in her early stages. “Madonna was always a star. You could just feel it. Repping her then boyfriend and producer John Benitez was key. She and I would constantly discuss pr and together we accomplished a lot. Signing her to Seymour Stein’s Sire was a major move for her.”

Salidor also recalls repping a number of prominent DJs turned producers as well, including Jim Burgess; Arthur Baker; Shep Pettibone and Mark Berry. Remembering, “It was an interesting time; people today forget the amazing contributions they made to music. Pettibone’s production and writing of ‘Vogue’ is still a gem to this day.”

Amid so much success, Salidor also recalls the low-points of a career. “When a client leaves after so much success, there’s certainly a mourning period, but it’s also part of the business. Loyalty is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but is not as evident as one would assume in this business. I just read where a major music personality personally delivered tour bonuses to his road  crew. In all my years, I’ve never heard of something like that happening … never. Loyalty and professionalism are rare, rare traits.”

Gibson and Profile would eventually leave his purview; although he worked for Gibson on many of her other endeavors.

In 2004 Salidor met Micky Dolenz and they began working together. “No shade to former clients, but Micky is the most professional client we’ve ever had. Certainly, growing up in the family business, as I had, had everything to do with it. Last year Dolenz did a sit-down with CBS Morning’s Anthony Mason which was sensational. Mason, a fan, did a no-holds barred interviews that was universally embraced by not only Dolenz’s huge fanbase, but by other PR-persons as well, which is always an interesting development – having other experts compliment you!” Salidor recalls.

“When you set a campaign up, three things can happen. #1, everything goes well and it’s a smash. #2: It doesn’t go well, and, #3. It happens, but there’s no feedback. The reality is that sometimes, even bad feedback is good. It’s a funny business, but your reputation, contacts and experience is key.”

Regrets … he’s had a few: “There was a jazz/rock/fusion band that made some terrific records, on SONY of all places and though they had a #1 jazz album, they just did not get the respect that they should have had. I love jazz and watching them perform live was just great. The powers-that-be there had their own ideas, which weren’t at all realistic.”

And, “When Debbie Gibson was a hit, every parent that had a child who they thought could sing called us. 99% of them didn’t have it. Talent, success, know-how … it’s something that I’ve always been able to recognize. We’ve worked with several young female-singers, but they just didn’t have the right people in place. One from New Jersey had her father paying for everything, but doing exactly what he wanted and he just didn’t have any idea about the business. He installed solar heating panels!”

Continues Salidor, “Management is key and finding the right one is often not easy; there are a lot of people who profess to be a manger and they’re clearly not. Organizing a campaign is a lot of meticulous work; knowing what the client is capable of is key too. Being a PR-person is akin in some ways to being a closet-psychiatrist – you’ve got to know your limitations. That NYC-week with Micky Dolenz was prodigious because I knew exactly what would work and I knew how well he’d perform.”

Salidor is also currently repping involved writer Terry Jastrow (Anne Archer’s husband); Donnie Kehr’s Rockers on Broadway and writer C.W. Hanes.

What does Salidor see in his future. “Certainly, more of the same. Identifying the talent and trying to develop it to the point of releasing it in the most effective way. Many of my peers say the music business has changed and not for the better. I disagree as there are more opportunities for music and musical artists than ever before.  bring it on!

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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Todd recently -we’re both from Philly- and the caliber of his output is just astonishing. From his legendary solo albums (Something/Anything); to his work with Utopia ; “We Gotta Get You A Woman”; his production work with Meat Loaf and Badfinger; Ringo; and his terrific tour with Micky Dolenz; Joey Molland; Christopher Cross termed the Fifty Years Ago … celebrating The Beatles White Album and writing songs like “Black Maria,” “Just One Victory,” “Sometimes I Don’t Know How To Feel” and “The Want Of Nail,” Todd is simply amazing.

War Babies

Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!

WILLIS REED RIP — I’m not much of a sports fan these days; I can’t even seem to keep up with all the new rules; but when Willis Reed was the center of The Knicks, I most definitely was. I even remember going to dozens of games at MAdison Square Garden (and always seeing Woody Allen there) and having the time of my life. Yes, it was eons ago; before the pandemic; but the game seemed to be so much more fun then. He passed yesterday. A giant for sure and an amazing player. RIP!

Joe Pantoliano

SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …

Jason Ritter

Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know)  is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.

Fred Rogers cake

The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Kim Garner; Cindy Ronzoni; Peter Shendell; Al Roker; Julie Gurovitsch; Avra; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Charles Rosenay; Phil Collins; Tony Smith; Gail Colson; Howard Bloom; Carol Ross; Danny Goldberg; Paul Cooper; Tony Mandich; Randy Alexander; Shelley Cooper; Brad Balfour; and CHIP!
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