My management career started when I was in my early teens. I figured my father thought my passion for music was a fad. I’m sure most 50’s parents were hoping their kids’ obsession with rock and roll was no more than that. I was convinced he only tolerated my collection of 45 RPM records so I was completely surprised when he took a Sunday off from work and offered to take me to the Alan Freed rock and roll show at the stately old Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. It became a truly defining moment one that changed my life completely.
Freed was a disc jockey who’d come to prominence in Cleveland, then moved to New York after helping make the term rock and roll an integral part of 1950’s pop culture. He broadcast nightly on radio station 1010 WINS. He was a crucially important figure in the lives of an entire generation of New Yorkers who lived for the music he brought to the airwaves.
His shows were revues that featured a dozen or so hit acts backed by a single orchestra, often led by Sam “The Man” Taylor, Big Al Sears and legendary saxophonist, King Curtis. As I stared at the procession of artists strutting their stuff across the Paramount stage, I suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my life. The music business beckoned with all the allure of a first love and I swore that one day I’d meet my musical heroes and have artists of my own performing on stages like Freed’s. Within a couple of years, I had indeed met a lot of artists I had seen on that Paramount stage – Paul Anka, The Everly Brothers, Jo Ann Campbell (The “Little Blonde Bombshell”), Larry Williams and Jerry Lee Lewis---the Killer himself. I also met Alan Freed and I remember that moment like it took place last week.
Those early days as a teen signaled the beginning of what would eventually lead me into my own business as a talent manager. I’m extremely blessed to be able to live my dreams, which have allowed me to mentor and guide some incredibly talented and gifted people.