Tuesday, March 19, 2013

THE '64 TSUNAMI


 Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and misjudged the size of an oncoming wave; only to realize your mistake once it was too late?


THE BEATLES . . w a v i n g
  
What had begun in December of '63 as an interesting ripple in the American music scene had - like a wave - grown steadily in size and intensity - and in early February, 1964 The Beatles came and exploded upon the shores of the United States.


By April 4, 1964 the 'Fab Four' had accomplished something never before achieved by any other pop music act - they occupied the top 5 spots on the Billboard Pop Music Chart




The U.S. music industry had been completely blindsided by the tidal wave that was The Beatles' arrival on American soil, and once the enormous wave receded, many formerly successful U.S. recording artists found themselves hopelessly adrift in the 
ensuing field of debris.

And the waves kept coming . .  
 







Amongst the casualties were all of the stars from the 1963 Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tour -  which some have come to call,   
'The Tour To  Obilivion.'

For reference - check out my original blog post regarding the 1963 Caravan of Stars tour:
http://4d5rpm.blogspot.com/2012/10/dick-clarks-caravan-of-stars-1963.html 




                              
 

   Just one year prior to The Beatles' arrival, Paul & Paula had struck gold with their enormous, #1 hit record, 'Hey Paula.'

Then The Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show, and suddenly nobody gave a $#!+ that Paul and Paula wanted to get married.  

DALE & GRACE



Within a few months of The Beatles' arrival, the only thing Dale & Grace had to 'stop and think over' was how they were going to make a living now that no one would buy their records.
 
THE ESSEX








After enjoying one of the biggest #1 hits of 1963, The Essex would find that - once The Beatles came on the scene - matching their previous success would be 'easier said than done.'

  










By April of 1964, the only advice one could give Linda Scott was, 'don't bet money honey,' 'cause your singing career won't last.



 

Sadly, after The Beatles arrived; Brian Hyland's career would be 'sealed with a kiss' alright - the kiss of death . . at least for a few years.






 
After rising to the top of the charts in the fall of '63, The Ronettes' hit-making dropped off substantially once The Beatles came to America, but they remained popular; and Ronnie Bennett (the lead singer) continued begging that some man 'be my baby' for a few more years. Then one day her luck ran out when Phil Spector (The Ronettes' producer & owner of their record label) answered her plea - the two were married in 1968 with disasterous results.
THE RONETTES & PHIL SPECTOR IN THE STUDIO






A little off topic:
 
I recently stumbled across an amazing interview of an obnoxious and rather unlikeable Phil Spector from 1965 on the Merv Griffin Show.  
 
Griffin's other guests on the show included: Eartha Kitt (with whom Spector tangles with), Wally Cox and Richard Pryor . . what an odd  combination.


If you'd like to watch this clip just click on this link: 
 http://youtu.be/zSSs20AYS0o








After The Beatles hit the U.S. even the tour's headliner - the consistent hit-maker - Bobby Vee soon discovered that 'the night (indeed) has a thousand eyes,' but they were now all focused on The Beatles.



Speaking of Bobby Vee



The man in the middle of this photo is none other than Myron Lee.  It had been Myron Lee & the Caddies that Bobby Vee refered to Dick Clark as a talented and reliable backing band for the '63 Caravan of Stars tour. 

MYRON LEE & THE CADDIES








I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Myron Lee.

I contacted him at his home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and we talked for nearly two hours. 
DICK CLARK AND MYRON LEE & THE CADDIES ('63 tour)














He shared personal stories about the '63 Caravan of Stars tour, and spoke warmly about all those involved, especially Dick Clark.
MYRON LEE








Eventually the conversation turned to The Beatles' arrival in February of '64, and suddenly the tone of his voice changed.  Out of nowhere - with a sound that reflected nearly fifty year old desperation - he asked, "Did you hear what happened to us?  None of us could find work I was forced to go back to playing Elks' Clubs - I was right back where I'd started!"





There was a part of me that wanted to apologize - to say, "I'm sorry, Myron - sorry that America tossed you, and so many others aside," but I realized he wasn't looking for that from me or anyone else . .




Myron Lee's story has a happy ending . . and I'll explore that (and more) in my next post.






3 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff... Boy that Phil Spector was quite a charmer! Do you know if he was ever a guest again on the show? ~K

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  2. I cringe at the thought of having to spend one moment in the same room with the guy that appears in that clip from the Merv Griffin Show. Perhaps he's different today, but (sadly) I doubt it. What a tragic life he's lead . . ken

    P.S. As for whether he ever appeared on that show again - I have no idea. Can't imagine why they wouldn't have him back!

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  3. Had to apologize to my mom - I didn't get off of the Beatles as I promised . .

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