Currently, I’m all about MUSIC, American Music HIstory from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. That’s because I am offering my talents and skills as Alison D. Gilbert, Music Publicist to crooner, Keith Galliher Jr. Music and his producer, Clarence Collins, former member and founder of Little Anthony & The Imperials. My activities include representing them on their record label, Imperials Plus Records. In addition, I am their #Ace Detective when it comes to solving #MusicMysteryChallenges on Two Paths, The Internet Radio Show.
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WHAT IS CREATIVE PASSION? How can one define or describe it? I am writing my fourth blog post attempting to answer these questions. This clearly indicates two things. The first is my fascination with the topic CREATIVE PASSION and the second is the proliferation of information aka creative passion in American Music History between the 1920’s and the 1970’s.
EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVE PASSION: PART FOUR
SERENDIPITY OR FOLLOWING A SERENDIPITOUS PATH
AS EXEMPLIFIED BY KEITH GALLIHER JR. MUSIC
Keith Galliher Jr. has been a Las Vegas based litigation attorney for over forty years. About five years ago, he decided to record an Eric Clapton song, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ as a gift for his lovely wife Linda. He surprised her with it. She was moved to tears when she found out that he was singing it. That is the second element of serendipity in this post. The first serendipitous piece to this path began some years ago when Clarence Collins, founder and former member of Little Anthony & The Imperials became a client of The Galliher Law Firm. So when Keith starting singing, Clarence was the logical person to seek out to help him on his new path.
Clarence brought several crucial elements to their musical union. The first was Clarence’s own immense talent and musical history. The second was the relationships and connection he had in the music industry. Important questions had to be asked and answered.
What kind of music would suit Keith’s voice best? What songwriters did he feel passionate about singing? What ideas did Clarence have? The answer to these questions led to the next step on the serendipitous path, making a connection with the right music.
In the midst of this, Keith created a two-part radio show, Two Paths. One week featured some aspect of the legal profession. Alternate weeks featured his music. The show is one of many on the streaming audio network, America Matters Media. One of the owners is Eddie Floyd. He is also a host on Two Paths which can be heard on Fridays at 10am PST. As a correspondent on another show, A.M. News, I heard about Two Paths and started listening to it. I was fascinated by both features. I called in several times and soon became a familiar voice on it as well. I introduced myself to Clarence. As they got to know me, they realized I had a keen eye for research. I became their #AceDetective, commissioned with two Music Mystery Challenges. The second one had to do with the Randazzo family. In solving the mystery, I got to know Teddy Randazzo, Jr. rather well.
Although Teddy, Sr. had died several years before Keith started singing, Teddy Randazzo was someone Clarence knew well. He was intimately familiar with his music. Teddy had written some of the songs that were ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials’ biggest hits as well as hits for other artists. For example, Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop, Tears on My Pillow, Hurts So Bad, It’s Gonna’ Take a Miracle, I’m on The Outside Looking In, Song Without An End. Keith was a natural for these types of songs and so Imperials Plus Records was born.
By 2015, Keith had completed two full CDs of songs featuring various artists, ‘Love Songs For Linda’ and ‘Two Paths’. Some of them were written by Teddy. Some were not. Anyone who hears Teddy’s music falls in love with it. He wrote over 650 songs, was a singer in his own right and a teen movie idol as well.
Keith Galliher Jr. wanted to work with the music of this brilliantly talented man. He had started adapting some of Teddy’s music to his style. He has created an entire CD of only Teddy’s music calling it, ‘Teddy’s Songs’. That CD has just been released by Imperials Plus Records, the company belonging to Keith and Clarence. The final song, ‘Destiny’ was recorded with special technology to include Teddy’s voice. The name says it all. It has been and is the destiny of everyone accompanying Keith on this journey to experience the magic, the passion and the ‘evergreen’ or timeless quality that Teddy’s music has. It is truly due to Keith’s passion to follow a serendipitous path.
As mentioned in CREATIVE PASSION: PART ONE, there are many motivating factors that drive the creative passion within an artist. It is a challenge and an honor to have the opportunity to study, discover and identify them. It involves listening a great deal to the work of an artist, in this case, a singer, songwriter, producer and teen idol movie star. It also involves learning as much as possible about the artist from written research. If one is fortunate enough, there are primary research sources, as well. All of these elements exist in the case of our third example.
EXPRESSIONS OF CREATIVE PASSION: PART THREE
TIMELESSNESS EXEMPLIFIED BY TEDDY RANDAZZO
Teddy was an extraordinarily talented young man who started as a teen idol. He starred in four movies including two Alan Freed Rock ‘n Roll movies. Throughout his life, and at various times, he was either primarily a singer, songwriter and/or music producer.
He began his singing career as backup in a group that combined comedy and song. He quickly moved up to lead singer of ‘The Three Chuckles’. He was electric and romantic at a microphone or in front of a camera. Despite both of those skills, he withdrew into the background focusing on songwriting and producing. He worked with some of the most popular groups in the 1950’s and 1960’s and beyond. He wrote some of the great hits for groups like ‘Little Anthony & The Imperials’. Among them was ‘Hurt So Bad’ that had great success sung by not only Little Anthony but also Linda Ronstadt. His songwriting hits included, ‘It’s Gonna Take A Miracle, ‘Tears on My Pillow’, “Goin’ Out of My Head”, and “Pretty Blue Eyes” in the 1960s. His songs were also sung by great crooners like Frank Sinatra, Steve Lawrence and many other big names in the music industry. He was driven to express his creative passion. Sharing his art with the world was more important to him than, who shared it, who sang it or who became famous because of it. It was not a short lived proposition. It was a labor of love that had timelessness sewn into its very fabric.
“Teddy Randazzo was never quite as visible as other New York-spawned rock ‘n’ roll talent of the 1950’s — to name a few, Dion was more of a star and for a lot longer, and the various members of Jay & The Americans enjoyed hits right to the outset of the 1970’s. But Randazzo had his day in the sun as a singer, and he also wrote hundreds of songs, and saw many dozens of recordings of the best of his work.”
The above quote from the YouTube comment about Teddy is shortsighted. In my opinion, he was extraordinarily talented as a singer. The fact that he did not experience the short lived singing fame that Dion or Jay and The Americans does not reflect a superior talent on their parts. In fact, I believe Teddy had more talent than all of his contemporaries. His focusing on writing rather than singing was to everyone’s benefit. Who remembers either Dion or Jay and The Americans now? Did they write hundreds of songs that other singers recorded, had and are still having success with singing today? Teddy Randazzo’s songs were sung by some of the greatest pop singers over decades and are sought after today. In fact, the tribute CD sung by Keith Galliher, Jr. has just being released.
“Born in New York City in 1935, he was lucky enough to grow up in a musical family, and by 15 was a good enough accordion player to turn professional, as a member of the group the Three Chuckles, who were in the market for a new keyboardman and singer — the singing took a little time to develop, with help from his decade-older fellow group members Tommy Romano and Russ Gilberto, but when the group started recording, it was the sides that Randazzo sang on that initially hit, and by 1955, at 17, he was the frontman for the group. They had a number one hit with “And The Angels Sing”, which had a rocking beat and brought them to the attention of deejay Alan Freed, who put the group into his first jukebox movie, Rock, Rock, Rock (shot in New York, in the Bronx, actually), but also gave Randazzo a solo spot.
When Teddy finished the movie, Randazzo had decided to go solo. “He continued recording for Vik Records, a unit of RCA Victor, and enjoyed a minor success in 1958 with “Little Serenade”, and made an appearance in Freed’s next movie, Mister Rock And Roll, as well as in the 20th Century-Fox CinemaScope color production The Girl Can’t Help It, among other movies. By 1960, he’d moved to ABC-Paramount, where he had another minor hit with “The Way Of A Clown”, and in 1963 he had another small hit with “Big Wide World” on the Colpix label.”
“But it was mostly as a songwriter and producer that Randazzo busied himself and made his real success in the music business; he wrote some 650 songs over the ensuing decades, and saw them recorded by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick. “Pretty Blue Eyes”, authored with Bob Weinstein, was a number one hit for Steve Lawrence. But it was with Little Anthony & The Imperials that he had his longest success — in addition to producing the group, he authored “Going Out Of My Head”, “I’m On The Outside Looking In”, and “Hurt So Bad” (later covered by Linda Ronstadt), among other hits.
“Randazzo became less visible as the 1960’s wore on, and in the 1970’s was largely forgotten by all except oldies fans. He remained active as a songwriter and behind-the-scenes, and did the occasional live performance to keep his hand in, but by then he was earning a good income from his annual royalties. He busied himself in local production in both Florida and Hawaii, especially the latter, and reportedly enjoyed a very happy second marriage — his son from his first marriage, Teddy Randazzo Jr., has also had a successful music career. Randazzo died in his sleep in 2003.”
As I listen to the following song written by Teddy and sung by Frank Sinatra, I can’t help but feel that this is his good-bye song.The photos include those he worked with and those he was close to. I feel such sadness and such pain. But he will always be remembered, remembered for his songs. Anytime you hear one, it could have just been written. His songs are evergreen.
INTRODUCTION Degrees of Separation is a play on the words of the famous Broadway show that was made into a movie, Six Degrees of Separation. The playwright, John Guare illustrated how it is by six degrees of separation that everyone on the planet is connected. I am not sure that I agree. This blog post will explain why.
FIRST DEGREE: KEVIN
It all started with Kevin. I met Kevin J. Gillard on the Internet. He had developed a comprehensive marketing system using facebook pages and groups to enhance people’s ability to network and improve their businesses. It took me years to master his system. In the meantime, we became good friends. Besides inventing his own system, Kevin was quite good at discovering what other people were doing with social media.
He had found an online, streaming radio station, AmericaMatter.us that broadcast live around the world. He mentioned a particular show to me, A.M. News, unique in that it was correspondent driven. I jumped at the chance to sign on as a local correspondent. That was on February 10, 2015. I have listened to the three-hour, weekday morning show and been on the air almost every show since.
SECOND DEGREE: A.M. NEWS AND AMERICAMATTERS.US
Over time, I started listening to other shows on AmericaMatter.us. One show in particular caught my attention. It starred and is about, Keith Galliher, Jr., a Las Vegas attorney who realized after many years of practicing law that he also had a beautiful singing voice. Dedicated to pursuing both professions, he named his radio show, alternatively featuring law and music segments, Two Paths.
THIRD DEGREE: KEITH AND TWO PATHS
I started listening to Two Paths as often as possible. I got to know a bit about Keith and his unusual story. I also noticed, after a while, that whenever the show was about music, Keith would mention a man named Clarence. Clarence always seemed to be within earshot on the music shows. I became curious about him. Some of his story emerged on Two Paths. He was the founder and part of the very popular, Little Anthony & The Imperials group from the 1950’s and 60’s. But I did not know how he and Keith met. My curiosity was aroused. I could not imagine the catalytic connection.
FOURTH DEGREE: CLARENCE COLLINS
It turned out that Clarence has settled in Las Vegas. Keith’s law practice is in Las Vegas. Clarence Collins needed to consult with an attorney on a musical matter. He sought out the legal services of Keith Galliher. When the time came for Keith to take his step into the music world, who did he turn to for guidance, musical arrangement and production? He sought out none other than the ‘man of music’ himself, Clarence Collins.
Once I found out this connecting detail, I wanted to know more. I got permission to speak with Clarence on the phone and had a delightful conversation that lasted about an hour. During that time, I found out many things we had in common. There were the coincidences of both having lived in Brooklyn. He briefly worked for a butcher. My great-great grandfather was a butcher. That was enough connections for one day. But it was only the first of many connecting conversations to come.
FIFTH DEGREE: THE TWO BROTHERS
One Friday afternoon when my husband and I were listening to Keith’s music show, something was mentioned about ‘two brothers’. I only vaguely caught the gist of the conversation until I heard these words. I am paraphrasing. ‘We really have to find these brothers and we just know that Alison Gilbert can do it’. My husband and I turned to each other with our mouths dropped open. Before we could even recover to speak, the challenge was repeated. ‘We have been looking for these brothers for over a year and we just have to find them. We know that Alison Gilbert, our ‘Ace Detective’ can do it if anyone can’.
Somewhat in shock, I picked up the phone to call the radio station. But the show had just ended and they were no longer on the line. Since Keith calls in from his office in Las Vegas to do the show with Clarence, I realized I could call there directly. Keith was on a business call but Clarence was still there and available. So I was able to speak with him. I asked him what kind of challenge I had just been given? I needed a bit more information to live up to my reputation as an ‘Ace Detective’. Somehow that is what they decided I was or would be when I found these missing, mysterious brothers.
My questions ranged from were these ‘birth brothers’ or ‘brothers from the hood’? How did he know about them and what was the reason they needed to be found? The story goes something like this. Clarence knew their father, a man also in the music business. But Clarence could not remember his name or find the demo of the brothers’ songs that their dad had given Clarence. Clarence and Keith has searched high and low throughout music industry organizations including Halls of Fame, etc. But all they had were the names of two songs. ‘Good Times, Good Times’ was one of them. No one was able to direct them to resource archives or provide a clue.
So given the ‘father and two brothers’ challenge, I commenced to my sleuthing. By coincidence, in talking with my musical sister, I learned that the Library of Congress was a great resource for musical archives. So my next step was to call there. I was connected with the Music Dept. and after a few steps that required additional information from Clarence, I was able to locate a page in the Library of Congress musical archive with the name of the song, ‘Good Times, Good Times’. There were several gospel versions that I knew were not what the brothers had composed. But there was one that was copyrighted around the year that fit the brothers’ profile and could be their style of music.
So the next thing I did was click on the year link provided on the records. It brought me to a page. Without having final confirmation yet, I knew I had found all of them, Clarence’s contact, John Paul Fetta, their dad and his twin sons, JP (Jon Paul) and Rich, the two brothers.
I was also able to find a page for one of the brothers on facebook. JP lives in New York, north of NYC. I live in New York south of NYC. His phone number was on his page so I was able to call him, asked him a few questions and quickly confirmed that the year old mystery was indeed solved. I asked JP for his dad’s phone number in Las Vegas and excitedly called Clarence’s number to give him the good news. I left him a message. While I waited for him to call back, I had an initial interview with Jon Paul while he was driving to a business appointment.
SIXTH DEGREE: JOHN PAUL MOLFETTA, SR. AKA JOHN PAUL FETTA
I had secured the father’s phone number for Clarence. They both resided in Las Vegas. When Clarence called back, we were cheering with excitement. It has take me, their ‘Ace Detective’ about two hours to solve the mystery that they had not be able solve in a year. Clarence and the twins’ dad connected. The next thing I knew, two weeks later, Keith Galliher’s music show was dedicated to me and featured the two brothers. We all spoke on air and it was very exciting.
Rich and JP Molfetta have written and sung some extraordinary songs over the years. They had recording contracts with major music labels. But as family became a priority, they both went into the more financially stable business world. They still write and sing. In addition, Keith Galliher and Clarence Collins will be carrying on the Molfetta music legacy.
THE JOURNEY COMES FULL CIRCLE
Clarence Collins became famous at the tender age of 16 with the song, Tears on My Pillow. He had a long history as part of Little Anthony & the Imperials. When it was time to stop, he became part of Imperials Plus, Keith’s recording company. A journey of about 50 years brought Clarence full circle, writing music, recording music, arranging music and discovering talent for more music. Jerome Anthony Gourdine and the Imperials, Keith Galliher Jr. Music and Molfetta Music Productions are all contributors and beneficiaries of their serendipitous journey.
Is this journey six degrees of separation or layers of connections? Either way, it doesn’t matter. What is important is that it has happened. But personally, I prefer to think that we are not separated by degrees of a linear path but connected by layers of spontaneous bonds. And if you are on the same layer as someone, you will connect with them. Neither time, space nor circumstances can impede a process that is meant to be. You know it when it happens because you can feel it. That is why I am so strongly in favor of the concept of layers of connection.