Happy Birfday, DHP!
His Masters Voice Cartoon
We have selected only the finest photo for your birthday. One that will give you hope, love, and help with The Pursuit of Happiness:

Michael Jackson Kissing A Dead James Brown On The Lips.


Stand By Me---Fifty Years Later
His Masters Voice Cartoon
Who wouldda thought that 50 years after writing "Stand By Me" that Ben E. King would still be getting royalties for it?

The saga of that song is amazing. Ben wrote it in '59, while he was lead singer for The Drifters. Atlantic poo-pooed it, thinking it was too religious. Ben acknowledged that it was based on an old gospel tune.

The next year he went solo, and producers Lieber-Stoller were having fun exploring spanish flavored arrangements. Lots of swinging songs about loose chicks; Not slow funeral dirges about dudes in trouble.

But late one day, at the end of a recording session, they found themselves with 15 minutes left on the clock. Ben acts like a Taurus and starts hammering on a piano. "We've got to record this! We got the time!"

Reluctantly, they record the basic tracks. A few months later, they are going across the session tape, and ready to shelve it, happy that King's "Spanish Harlem" has peaked at #10. It's Christmas, 1960.

King walks in to the studio unannounced, with a Christmas gift. He runs into Leiber and hands him a cake with the inscription "Thanks For Standing By Me." That's when Leiber fell into the trap by asking "What do you want for christmas, Ben?" Whereupon Ben smiles and says: "Let's work on my song."

It took another week to flag down what would become The Atlantic String Section. The bass player made a new intro to the song, that wasn't exactly in the correct key. But by February they reluctantly declared it finished, and began distribution on Atco. It would go on to be Ben's biggest hit.

And it would return to the Top 10 in '86 after Rob Reiner revived it for his movie.

But now it's reincarnating itself again. And now it's an official folk song, with 16 people from all over the world singing it. Not rock musicians, not pop musicians...not even musicians. Just common folk from all over the world, who love the song, and can play an instrument.

The cast, in order of appearance:

  • From Santa Monica .... Roger Ridler .... Guitar & Vocals
  • From New Orleans .... Grandpa Elliot .... Harmonica, Vocals
  • From New Orleans .... Washboard Chaz .... Washboard
  • From Amsterdam .... Clarence Bekker .... Vocals
  • From New Mexico .... The Twin Eagle Drum Group .... Drums
  • From France .... Francois Viguie .... Tambourine
  • From Brazil .... Cesar Pape .... Ukulele
  • From Moscow .... Dimitri Dolganov .... Cello
  • From New Orleans .... Roberto Cuti .... Guitar
  • From Venezuela .... Geraldo & Dionisio .... Guitars
  • From Congo .... Junior Kissangwa .... Cymbals
  • From South Africa .... Pokei Klaas .... Bass Fiddle
  • From Spain .... Django Degen .... Congas
  • From South Africa .... The Sinamuva Vocal Group .... Chorus
  • From Italy .... Stefano Tomaselli .... Tenor Sax
  • From South Africa .... Vusi Mamelodi .... Vocal


Goodbye Michael Jackson
His Masters Voice Cartoon

Michael before the "is he black or white?" days.

Michael was just about this age, as were the other Jackson's, when I went to deliver video tapes to the family. It was 1972, and the family owned a top-of-the-line Sony video tape recorder. It allowed them to record in glorious black and white on expensive 1" reel-to-reel tape.

It was a gated community in Encino, and I was happy that no cop had pulled me over for interrogation, as I had a long beard and long hair, and was traveling slowly, attempting to read addresses. Of course, the "Smith & Larsen TV Repair" logo on the side of the truck, probably helped.

I'm not sure which one Michael was, since I met all 5 at the same time. But they did smile at me, and acknowledged that I had the biggest beard that they had ever seen, besides Santa. I bellied my best Santa laugh, and headed back to Van Nuys.

Here's to you, Michael.

Where Is Duke?
Turns out lots of people have been looking for me. Cops, CIA, CHP...you name it, they've been looking for me.

Even This Person
(mp3 player needs to be engaged)

His Masters Voice Cartoon
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