Tuesday, December 13, 2005
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12/1/1999
Green Tambourine


 NFL Quiz: What QB has the lowest interception % in NFL
history (min. 1500 pass attempts)? [Hint: He's still active]
Answer below.

Green Tambourine

I recently licensed the rights to this classic song from 1968 for
some radio spots I'm running this coming January. So I asked
the lyricist, Shelley Pinz, if she wouldn't mind telling the story
behind the song. I'm sure just about every songwriter has a
similar tale. Not having the talent, personally, to write music, I
always admired those who did. Herewith is Shelley's tale:

"My first introduction to the music business was at Queens
College in 1965. I met a young man in an English literature class
who was recording songs he had written and after class had
invited me to a recording session at Associated Recording
Studios in New York City. When I entered the studio I saw an
eight-track board with wires and lights and the largest speakers I
ever saw and thought to myself, the world has all this to offer."

"During a coffee break I walked into the waiting room and met
Leroy Glover, Jr., a songwriter-arranger. Leroy asked me what
kind of work I did and I told him I was a student and wrote
poetry. He asked if I had any poems with me. I had two and
after he read them, asked if I would mail them to him. Several
weeks later Leroy called and over the phone played two songs
with his music to my words. It was then that I knew I wanted to
be a songwriter.

"The theatre district was at the tail-end of Tin Pan Alley and
Broadway was alive with music. Songwriters collaborated past
midnight into early morning. The Viet Nam War was exploding
everyone's mind but I tried to look past that madness and
immersed myself into creativity and music. It was on the streets
between Seventh Avenue and Broadway where I found a
contentment and a magic one could only imagine.

"In early Spring, 1966, while standing in front of the Brill
Building I watched a man holding a tambourine begging for
money. I wrote a poem about him and called the poem, "Green
Tambourine." I added it to my lyric collection. I continued
walking uptown towards 1650 Broadway, hoping to find a
musician who could write music to my words. I began on the top
floor of the building, knocking on doors, hoping to collaborate,
but to no avail. While in the elevator I met Guy Costa. He told
me about Paul Leka, a songwriter-producer-arranger who was
looking for lyrics. Guy told me what floor he was on and
mentioned that it might be a good time to see him.

"I got off the elevator, poetry book in hand and walked up the
hall hoping not to find another closed door. This time when I
knocked, a young man named Joe opened the door. I asked if
Paul Leka was in and Joe walked me towards a piano where Paul
had been sitting. Paul was receptive. I watched him as he read
through the pages of my book; holding a red pen, placing a check
on the top right corner of each poem he wanted to write music to.
We spend several hours talking about music and art, then he
asked if I could return tomorrow and write songs.

"Paul and I became a team. We wrote songs together until the
early 70s. We wrote almost every day. On the days we didn't
write we went around to the publishers and played them our
songs and got advances for the songs they would publish. One
night in June, 1967, Paul and I sat at the piano until sunrise
writing "Green Tambourine;" which was then refused by five
major music publishers until one day, Paul played it for the
manager of a rock group from Ohio called The Lemon Pipers.
He arranged the song and produced them and after The Lemon
Pipers recorded it in February, 1968, "Green Tambourine"
became a #1 gold record. We wrote The Lemon Pipers follow-
up songs: "Rice Is Nice," "Jelly Jungle of Orange Marmalade,"
"Shoeshine Boy," "Blue Berry Blue," and "Shoemaker of
Leatherware Square." We also wrote songs for other popular
recording artists.

"Sometimes I wonder what happened to the man in front of the
Brill Building, holding a tambourine begging for money. I
remember writing the lyric, "watch the jingle jangle start to
shine, reflections of the music that is mine. When you toss a
coin you'll hear it sing. Now listen while I play my Green
Tambourine" as if it were yesterday. As I said before, in the 60s,
on the streets between Seventh Avenue and Broadway there was
a magic one could only imagine.

"Finally, I returned to school and received a masters degree in
social work. Presently, I still write songs and recently completed
a book of poetry and lyrics called, 'Courage To Think.'"

College Basketball Tidbits

From time to time I'll share what Sports Illustrated considers to
be some of the top moments in college b-ball history.

--In the 1973 NCAA semis, Ernie DiGregorio of Providence
whips an 80-foot behind-the-back pass, splitting two defenders
and connecting perfectly with streaking teammate Kevin Stacom
for a layup. The crowd grows eerily silent, awestruck.

--In the same 1973 tournament, UCLA's Bill Walton sinks 21 of
22 shots on his way to 44 points and a single-handed demolition
of Memphis State in the championship game. SI suggested that
Walton send Memphis State a note:

Dear Memphis State,

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoxxxxxx

Peace and love,

Bill

Top 3 songs for the week of 11/27/65: #1 "I Hear A Symphony"
(The Supremes) #2 "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (The Byrds)
#3 "1-2-3" (Len Barry).

Billy Paul turns 65 today..."Mrs...Mrs.Jones..."

Quiz Answer: Neil O'Donnell, 1.99%.

Next Bar Chat, Friday.