Bob Gaudio was inducted into the Songwriters, Rock and Roll, and the New Jersey Hall of Fames. He was the principal writer & an original member of The Four Seasons, as in Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. He wrote and/or co-wrote “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and numerous others. He produced a number of songs for Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack & others. He co-produced the Frank Sinatra album Watertown.
It seems like almost everything Bob was involved with was wildly successful. Born in da Bronx and having moved to New Jersey, he created the music for the hit Tony Award winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys. He is now the co-Lead producer of the sensational Neil Diamond Broadway musical A Beautiful Noise. In this exclusive interview on C-Suite Radio’s The Motivation Show podcast, Bob discusses:
How did the Four Lovers turn into the Four Seasons in 1960?
I have to clarify, as they told me when I joined the band, it’s the four lovers of music. When I joined the band, I was one of the four lovers. I think I made $100/week. We met Bob Crewe in an elevator and he knew Frankie from awhile before. That turned into, hey come up to see me, I need a band to play on my stuff, and we did. He promised us a recording contract and at some point we finally got around to recording our own stuff and Sherry came out and here we are and we changed the name, because nobody liked the Four Lovers and it was time for a change.
How did your upbringing lead you to the musical path that you were on and were you always confident at an early age that you would have pretty much a meteoric level of success that you enjoyed pretty early on?
I don’t think anyone can predict success. I was driven. I started playing piano when I was six or seven. I had an amazing teacher Sal Mosca who was a jazz artist in his own. I learned so much from him. He taught me how to focus. I think the focusing is what drove me through many times, good, bad and indifferent to just stay on track and getting too scattered didn’t work. That pretty much was a life lesson for me. Maybe that’s part of the reason I’ve been lucky. Focus is everything as far as I am concerned.
Besides Focus, anything else you would add?
I think it always helps to do something you can make a living at and love. I was really fortunate. I started at sixteen. I had a hit record at sixteen, “Short Shorts,” so I had that taste of blood. I knew something was here, so I stayed with it, travelled on buses.
I look at success as having good collaborations. You’ve had some of the most perfect collaboration. How did you form these collaborations?
Sometimes they just happen. They drop in your lap. I have always tried to work with people better than me. Then when I get as good as them, it is time to move on. Always surround yourself with people that are as good or better than you.
What about your career are you most proud of?
Jersey Boys winning Best Musical. It was the first musical that was called a jukebox musical that won a Tony Award. When I saw Julie Andrews come out on the stage and read that announcement, my body went numb. That was a moment I didn’t expect because we were categorized as a jukebox musical. I composed 70% of the music and I am a character in the show.
Do you have a favorite song?
Yeah I do. Most people don’t know I wrote it: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore. It just reaches my soul.
Of all the acts you worked with, outside of the Four Seasons, where there any artists that intrigued and inspired you most?
Sinatra for sure. That was a trip. And then working with Neil Diamond. He has been a friend for a long time. I did seven albums with him. I would say we are friends in the studio and out of the studio.
You can listen to this interview on The Motivation Show on any podcast listening app or use this Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/show/3NVmTDAvGbzooN8TCW7tuN.
To contact Eli, email email@example.com.
The Glorious Corner
SUNDAY DEADLINE — As we go to press, the AMPTP has submitted it’s last, best offer to the WGAto resolve this strike; now heading into 145+ days. Strikes are meant to be settled, but the damage may have already been too much. Governor Gavin Newsom estimates a 5 billion dollar take-down for Hollywood and the state in general. As we mentioned last time, thousands of below-the-line workers have already been let go or furloughed during the strike and even if it is resolved by later-today, it will take a full 10-12 weeks for everything to be up and running again. By my count, that’s mid-December. Stay tuned … it can only get better.
WAKEMAN’S OPUS —(via Prog) Rick Wakeman has announced that he has released a massive 32-disc box set entitled The Prog Years 1973-1977, which features his studio albums from 1973’s The Six Wives Of Henry VIII through to 1976’s No Earthly Connection, plus his film soundtracks for 1975’s Lisztomania and 1977’s White Rock. You can watch a video trailer for the box set here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nER9BgLka1w
Each album is represented by four discs, either CD or DVD, featuring the original album plus rare live material, demos, alternative mixes and live film footage all from the era. These include live performances of Six Wives… and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth from Melbourne, a DVD of The Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table performed on ice at Wembley, the full films of both. Lisztomania and White Rock, and more.
The Prog Years 1973-1977 also features a 60-page hardback scrapbook, 10 x postcards, 8 x full-size replica promotional photos and 4 x A3 posters, plus reproduction press kits for the relevant albums. The first 500 copies of this extremely limited box set will also come with a numbered certificate signed by Rick himself.
He may wear the cape and be a bit old school, but Rick Wakeman is the real deal. He rocked Yes and his solo albums were simply terrific. When Yes did The Apollo several years back, when Wakeman left the stage and went up and down the aisles with his keyboard strapped on, there was sheer joy. He’s amazing. Bravo!
SHORT TAKES — Robert DeNiro shilling for Uber? That’s what a divorce does to you. Actually, it should be great commercial, although it was filmed in London as opposed to NYC, which is odd. Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader was quoted in Deadline as saying: “Ouch,” he wrote. “Why Bob would do this is beyond my reckoning. But I haven’t seen it. If I’m lucky I never will” I’m sure he asked Driver-director Marty Scorsese …
Micky Dolenz’s SRO show Friday night in LA (at the ACE Theatre)
was sensational and he debuted the live version of his new single, R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People.” Seen at the show were Randy Lewis; Roy Trakin; Tyrone Biljan; Ken Sharp and Nederlander’s Lisa White …
On Friday’s Today Show, Savannah Guthrie interviewed someone who told you how to pack during a move, quickly. They said to put all personal items in a lock box with a label saying to be moved by owner only. Savannah quipped that all the personal items in your nightstand belong there begging the question, what does she have in hers? … A report on NY1 about the ongoing migrant crisis in NYC called The Roosevelt Hotel – where the migrants have been housed – the new Ellis Island … Say what you will about NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s been a key area in NYC for decades.
For me, when the Film Center Cafe disappeared, it was a tragedy. And, remember the fabulous restaurant Memphis? Here’s a great look into images from there: https://w42st.com/post/hells-kitchen-photographers-karla-james-murray-book-vanishing-mom-and-pop-stores/?utm_medium=email … George Clooney selling his Lake Como retreat he’s had for 21 years? Could go for 100 million … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor at Shalom Japan in Williamsburg Sunday night … Usher headlining Super Bowl 2024? Wonder where that choice came from as he hasn’t had a hit in 20 years …
Watched Jean Psaki on MSNBC Sunday. She didn’t bowl me over, but was good. She had stories on Rupert Murdoch and FOX and an interview with Hillary Clinton, who bashed Trump and Putin again … and HAPPY BDAY Mark Bego and Cory Robbins!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sara Gore; Andrew Sandoval; Pat Prince; Mark Bego; Jim Clash; Cynthia Rowley; Barry Zelman; Christopher Gilman; Barry Manilow; Joel Diamond; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Gary Gershoff; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony King; Donnie Kehr; Kimberly Cornell; Lush Ice; Barry Fisch; Eppy; and BELLA!
Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Live In Times Square
For the 17th year, the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night will be transmitted live to numerous large screens on Tuesday, September 26th at 6:00pm in Times Square on Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets). This year it will feature Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking starring Joyce DiDonato and Ryan McKinny in a new production by Ivo van Hove conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
A 17-year tradition continues as the Met once again partners with the Times Square Alliance to present a free, live transmission of the season-opening opera to the iconic screens of Times Square. This year’s simulcast of Dead Man Walking is Tuesday, September 26; house opens at 5:30 p.m.; pre-show begins at 6:00 p.m.; and the opera begins at 6:30 p.m. Attendance is free, and no tickets are required. There will be 2,000 seats available on a first-come, first-served basis at Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets) and the Broadway plazas between 43rd and 44th streets and 46th and 47th Streets with additional standing room available.
The participating screens in Times Square include ABC SuperSign; American Eagle Times Square; Branded Cities’ NASDAQ Tower; and EXPRESS Times Square. The live transmission to Times Square is made possible with the cooperation of the City of New York and the Times Square Alliance, with leadership support provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Based on Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir about her fight for the soul of a condemned murderer, Dead Man Walking matches the high drama of its subject with Heggie’s beautiful and poignant music.
The Glorious Corner
STRIKE END LOOMS — (Via Showbiz 411/Roger Friedman) All the studio chiefs met Wedneday with the Writers Guild and will continue negotiating tomorrow, according to a WGA post.
The sudden seriousness of the studios is welcomed as the deadline looms for the 2023-24 TV season. If the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes aren’t resolved by early October, my sources say it will be impossible to put on a season.
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav were present today for the negotiations, a sure sign that the studios are finally in panic mode.
There are no daytime or nighttime talk shows, no new material on TV, and actors can’t promote the fall and winter movies. The actors have already missed the Telluride, Venice, and Toronto Film Festivals. Now the New York Film Festival looms, as does the premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
The so-called Fall TV Season has been decimated; the Emmy’s pushed back and just general chaos everywhere. The severity of the strike -142 days in- has hurt almost-every-single below-the-line sector, from caterers to limo drivers to costume houses. It’s reported that it will take up to 10-12 weeks to fully resume everything. That means early-November and let’s not forget come Thanksgiving, the holiday season officially starts. Stay tuned.
LOVE, BURT AT THE CUTTING ROOM — Monday night at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room was the presentation of Love, Burt – celebrating the majesty and memory of Burt Bacharach’s music.
The show really moved me and reminded me of the reason I do what … the music!
The show was just sumptuous – with the assembled group -led by Mike Visceglia- honoring and doing proper justice to a host of Bacharach songs – everything from “Baby, It’s You” to “One Less Bell To Answer,” The Look Of Love” and “Alfie” were all dutifully done. Especially poignant was their rendition of “A House Is Not A Home.”
The fact of the matter is that when these songs were recorded, they were embedded into everyone’s consciousness. These versions were good, but the originals remain standout. You hear a lot about the Great American Songbook, but these songs are the “new” Great American Songbook. Just luscious.
They ended the show was one of my favorite-Bacharach songs, from the 1988 album Burt recorded with Elvis Costello, Painted From Memory. One of the album’s strongest cuts is “God Give Me Strength.” It was simply sensational. Spotted there were Benny Harrison and Maria Milito from Q1043.
The room was packed like never before; what a night!
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz headlines the ACE Theatre Friday night in LA, and was a guest on KTLA Wednesday. Here’s a shot of him on-set with Sam Rubin who interviewed him with the KTLA-gang. Sam’s the second from left. Industry stalwarts at the ACE Theatre show include legendary-LA Times writer Randy Lewis; LA Magazine’sRoy Trakin and Goldmine’s Ken Sharp … Roger Friedman reported Wednesday that the pre-sales of Jann Wenner’s upcoming book Masters have been severely impacted by his New York Times interview. Take a read here: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/09/20/jann-wenners-new-book-the-masters-drops-in-pre-sales-run-on-amazon-almost-off-the-top-2000-after-scandal-erupts And just last night his big presentation at NYC’s 92nd Y with Cameron Crowe was shuttered as well … SIGHTING: Alison Martino at NYC’s Algonquin Hotel …
When Apple TV’s The Morning Show debuted years ago (November 2019), created and run by Kerry Ehrin, it was a first-rate series certainly of The Sopranos-like and Mad Men-like caliber. Billy Crudup was astonishingly good as were Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. The second season was basically trash. Three episodes in on a third season -with a 4th already guaranteed- it’s kind of a mixed-bag. I did not care for the first two EPs, but the third was bordering on the edge of greatness – and Witherspoon wasn’t even in this one and there was no explanation why. Jon Hamm has joined the cast as sort of an Elon Musk-figure. To me, he’s still Don Draper, just with an updated wardrobe. Most of the production staff has been replaced and it seemed to me, they’re still finding their way. The trouble is, that with these 8 or so episode-runs, it gets really good at episode 6. Go figure …
Rupert Murdoch to retire per CNBC? More on this next column … Meg Ryan and David Duchovny in What Happens Later – looks cute and Ryan directed it – check out the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqTZqSglhZo … RIP Roger Whitaker
and Happy Bday David McCallum; Curtis Urbina; and Bill Murray!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Glenn Gretlund; Jodi Ritzen; Leonard Nimoy; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Scott Shannon; Zach Martin; Michelle Grant; Art Rutter; Maria Milito; Joe Lynch; Melinda Newman; Mandy Naylor; Kimberly Cornell; Sam Rudin; Jim Clash; Terry Jastrow; Randy Alexander; Bob Merlis; Andrew Sandoval; Art Rutter; and CHIP!
Beatles Brunch at City Winery Where Strawberry Fields Lives Forever
I was taken to City Winery by Eli Marcus for the Beatles Brunch with Strawberry Fields.
This show plays every Sunday with an unlimited brunch buffet that includes coffee, tea and juice, starting at noon. A bottomless brunch cocktail package is also available and children get in free. Here tourists mingle with New Yorkers, eating scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, dried out French toast, spicy potatoes with onions and peppers, perfectly done chicken, salad and fresh fruit. What is so nice, is that everyone seems happy to to be here, to see and hear the Fab Four.
The show starts off without fan fare. The lights dim and four men enter, not quite looking like the originals. Tony Garofalo (John Lennon), Billy J. Ray (Paul McCartney), Ira Siegel (George Harrison), and Michael Bellusci (Ringo Starr) and their costumes and wigs have seen better days. Then the music starts. You can watch one of our video’s here.
From the early hits like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” “Ticket To Ride” “Eight Days A Week” and more the first act is nostalgia at it’s best. It was adorable to watch the audience, especially the young ones “Twist and Shout.”
After a break in came the Sergeant Pepper era, clothing and all. From that we got “Nowhere Man,” “My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “When I’m 64,” “Penny Lane” and songs that dig into your soul. They are done well and the Beatles live again. You can see our video here.
Then the later songs like “I Am The Walrus” and “Don’t Let Me Down” end a show that is almost two hour long of music, that is classic. I have to admit I wanted to hear “Blackbird” and “Norwegian Wood,” but what you get is a well rounded assortment of those songs that shaped several era’s.
Ira Siegel stands out with his guitar playing that is out of this world. I really loved all the songs he sang as well.
Michael Bellusci, gives Ringo a run for his money on the drums.
Tony Garofalo is the founder, creator and producer playing rhythm and lead guitar and singing lead vocals along with Alan LeBoeuf from the original Beatlemania playing bass guitar. Ray looks the most like the Beatle he is playing.
Strawberry Fields has been covering The Beatles for over three decades. They used to have a residency at B.B. Kings, but these days their home base is City Winery and it is definitely a great way to spend a Sunday. All four are consummate musicians and obviously have a love for what they do and that rubs off on their audience.
For a souvenir up a City Winery Strawberry Fields Rose Wine and have it signed by the cast. With its is its strawberry pink color, you get a combination of kiwi, watermelon and the taste of strawberry that lingers.
City Winery is right next to Little Island, Chelsea Market, The Highline, the Meatpacking district, Chelsea, and West Village. Everything is nearby to make a perfect outing for the whole day and this is one brunch where you definitely get your money’s worth. Click HERE for tickets
The Glorious Corner
WENNER TAKES A DOWN —Jann Wenner always speaks his mind and this week he may have overstepped just a bit. In an interview that ran in the New York Times about his new book called Masters, he quite openly said that there were no black or R&B artists in it, because they were not able to articulate properly. I know, I felt the same way reading that. Minutes later, he was let go by the board of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which he helped start with Ahmet Ertegun way back in 1983.
His Like A Rolling Stone autobiography book was quite an indulgent read last year, but Wenner has in the last several years suffered several health set backs and it was pointed out that he may not be in his right mind. Still, he should have spoken way more carefully. I’ve known Wenner for decades and trust me, he feels he’s way entitled, and that said, you can rest assured that there were dozens and dozens of people (and former employees) waiting to take him down.
The sad fact is that most of the accusations are true. That said, let’s face it Rolling Stone magazine in it’s heyday was a miraculous outlet for so much music and terrific journalism – from Ben Fong-Torres to Hunter Thompson and Jann himself .. it was distinguished. Now, he may have killed it all.
Rolling Stine magazine Monday posted this – essentially disowning his from the magazine: “Jann Wenner’s recent statements to the New York Times do not represent the values and practices of today’s Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner has not been directly involved in our operations since 2019. Our purpose, especially since his departure, has been to tell stories that reflect the diversity of voices and experiences that shape our world. At Rolling Stone’s core is the understanding that music above all can bring us together, not divide us.”
Here’s the report from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2023/09/jann-wenner-removed-rock-and-roll-hall-fame-foundation-board-1235548690/comment-page-1/#comment-3858649
DREW’S BLUES — Boy, what did Drew Barrymore ever do to deserve the treatment she’s been through with the media. Sure, her ideas to bring back her daily-chat fest was a good one, for the right reasons, but everyone from Rosie O;’Donnell to the trade papers have bounced on her like madmen. I never met her, don’t hate her, but really … let’s get back to something real, like these Russell Brand-accusations!
SHORT TAKES — We finally caught David Bryne and Fatboy Slim’s Here Lies Love and absolutely loved it. I remember it well when it premiered at the Public Theater way back when and knew they were trying to get it to Broadway. Honestly, I never thought twice about the Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos story, but the play was riveting then and it remains now. They’ve outfitted NYC’s magnificent Broadway Theater with disco-balls galore and club-lighting and the immersive experience is terrific. Here’s a great re-cap of the play’s evolution from Theatre Guide: https://www.newyorktheatreguide.com/theatre-news/news/how-the-music-of-here-lies-love-evolved-on-the-way-to-broadway …
Micky Dolenz appeared on Sunday’s Breakfast With The Beatles with Chris Carter (on KLOS) and talked about his new Dolenz Sings R.E.M. on Glenn Gretlund’s 7a Records. He also talked about his time with The Beatles and John Lennon. Carter also played a mash-up of Monkees and Beatle-songs which was done in England and it was superb. Here’s a shot from the event at LA’s Hard Rock Cafe on Highland and Hollywood Blvd. … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor and Benny Harrison at Monday’s Cutting Room tribute to Burt Bacharach … RIP Sammy Ash …
I’ve been thinking the best way to describe Jimmy Buffet and I saw this headline in LA Magazine: leisure evangelist– and it fits perfectly …
Happy Bday Donnie Kehr and Richard Branciforte.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash: Robbie Robertson; Carol Ruth Weber; Randy Alexander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Gans; Kathy Brown; Roger Clark; Chris Boneau; Tricia Daniels; Dan Zelinski; Benny Harrison; Steve Walter; Gil Friesen; Donna Dolenz; Dan Mapp; Brad Auerbach; James Clash; and ZIGGY!
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