I remember a few years later sitting in Brockton Fair Owner George Carney’s home off Pleasant St. discussing rock entertainment for the up coming July fair. He asked whom I liked. William Morris offered Marvin Gaye and a Motown Girl Group featuring Diana Ross. They were playing concerts for $15,000 a date. I suggested he make the SUPREME sacrifice and hire the girls and he did. The original Supremes performed in concert at the Brockton Fair in 1966. The movie, “Dream Girls” (2006), is based on their story.
It was the same year I almost got invited to spend the night downtown at Police Headquarters. My dad’s first helper, Al Savini owned Motel 138 in Easton where ROCHE BROS. PLAZA is now located. Because I was on the air at WOKW Radio and my dad knew Mr. Savini, I got to meet all the acts that stayed at the motel and one of those groups was The FOUR SEASONS. It happened after 11 PM following their Fair Grounds performance that we heard a knock on the door. Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVitto, (the late) Nick Massi and Frankie Vallie were all sitting around in their room recording accapella radio promos for my show It seems the group skipped out on a hotel bill the previous day after playing the North Shore Music Circus. Despite selling more than 50 millions records for Jay Laser’s Vee Jay Records, The Four Seasons weren’t being paid. I was lucky to get away without a free ride downtown that night. It paid to know people. Every Sunday morning before going on the air, I had to check the police log for night news and they knew me. Frankie and I joked about it years later but not until after he started making money thanks to improved contract terms on Phillip Records. Frankie went on to have many hits as a solo artist including the title song to the movie, GREASE.
Frankie Valli (1966)
Member Bob Gaudio composed the Four Season’s hits. “SHORT SHORTS” was his first hit and he wrote it in 1958 while in his first group, The Royal Teens. Bob has since composed and produced soundtrack albums for Barbara Streisand as well as Neil Diamond’s, “The Jazz Singer”. The Four Seasons are finding a new generation of fans thanks to Broadway’s hit musical JERSEY BOYS which is based on the group’s musical journey as America’s own Beatles. There’s a scene in the show where an actor portrays my radio friend, Joey Reynolds. Joey got credit for discovering and playing their first hit, “Sherry”. The liner notes on their 1962 album are his. I met Joey, one of my early radio heroes, in 1964 at the Surf Nantasket. He was a 250-pound dj who smoked Salem Cigarettes the same way people pop Tic-Tacs. That was same year; the U.S. Surgeon General first declared smoking was hazardous to your health. Joey and I later worked together at the same station in Connecticut. Meet Joey at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Reynolds
WKBW’s Joey Reynolds (1964)
Click Play to hear Buffalo’s K-BIG Joey Reynolds.
During high school, some of my free time was spent working with my Dad. He was not only a contractor but he owned several apartment buildings and retail stores on Main Street. Because of a contract with the Brockton-Taunton Gas Co., he often asked me to help his crew.
Brockton – Road in Brockton near D.W. Fields Golf Course (MAPQUEST 2007)
As time went by, he became quite successful and the city named a street in Montello after him. Raymond Road runs off Blair Street. What I really enjoyed most though was going to see my favorite djs and listening to the musical creativity that was the 60’s. It ended in 1982 with the death of John Lennon. But in the early 60’s, I spent almost every Friday night (without lights) at St. Edward’s, St. Margaret’s, The Canoe Club or the Surf Nantasket Beach soaking up the music of my generation’s sometimes played by my favorite “Good Guy”, Ed (Fenway) Hider.
Ed Hider plays “Fenway” who in turn portrays Al Jolsin (Surf Nantasket 1962)
Click Play to hear WMEX’s Fenway.
I still remember hearing my friend and mentor, Eddie “Fenway” Hider playing Bobby Vee’s, “The Night Has a 1,000 Donuts”. If you know Ed, you know it was more than a joke. He loved his jelly donuts and perhaps that’s why my second home is Dunkin ‘Donuts. Visit dunkin’ at: www.dunkindonuts.com. He was the first guy who I really enjoyed on the radio and the person who showed me how to do humor on a contemporary music program. We all used the same subscription libraries and comedy albums but making the material funny was a quite challenging at times. Ed was certainly extremely talented and clever at it. He worked on the “Big X” two different times, 1961 and 1963. He sandwiched those years around a 14-month run on “Wonderful, WCOP”. Their studios were at the station’s transmitter site off Route #2 in Lexington. WCOP was the first radio Boston station where I saw tape cartridge machines. They were used to play commercials, jingles and music.