Mr. Pop History – Many forget the original title of the show was “American Idol: The Search for a Superstar.” That lasted only a year. Thanks www.mrpopculture.com
Mr. Pop History – Vee Jay Records – Once home to the 4 Seasons and… The Beatles. Long reported to be in trouble financially, the American Federation of Musicians severed its licensing agreement with the label on October 12, 1965 and the very next day, Vee Jay Records – then 11 years old, died.
Vee Jay started out in Chicago, but with all the Beatle activity and a flood of cash, moved to Los Angeles in 1964. Beatle activity? It wasn’t supposed to happen – but it did as this small label was thrust among giants in early 1964. Vee Jay – for all practical purposes, released more than several Beatles records, plus an album (which was re-packaged at least five times). It’s an amazing story – one of my favorite in the colorful world of record labels – and pop culture history.
Mr. Pop History – Originally, it was headed by Don Kirschner, in a three-way corporate parlay with RCA Victor, Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems. Kirschner of course, was fresh off his “Brill Building” success and this would be his second major coming in the biz. His Brill Building partner – Al Nevons, had already passed away by this time – Summer of 1966.
The label was operated much like an independent – with Kirschner working closely with Steve Sholes – an a&r executive with RCA. After the Monkees broke with “Last Train To Clarksville” and “The Monkees” album, Kirschner primarily focused on signing songwriters for the TV quartet. At first, things went great. The single and album were selling lot hot cakes and follow-ups had big advance orders.
Mr. Pop History – It was. But the problem seemed to be ongoing – not just a one or two-shot event. This was back in the fall of 1966 and the Sunset Strip was getting a bad reputation. Real bad. So much of it had to do with the area’s hotbed of music places and how teens were ticked off because they weren’t allowed in some of these places.
And, it had to be worked out by authorities from local businesses, real estate, even a local Reverend. They all came together to call a “truce” in December 1966. And, a lot of the events – rioting and such – were overblown, so a West Hollywood and Sunset News Bureau was set up – just to be sure.
Mr. Pop History – This one’s easy. It was the Australian band “The Vine” back in December of 2002. Why you ask? From the Mr. Pop archives:
Rowdy Australian band – “The Vines” are jettisoned from the Jay Leno “Tonight” Show after lead singer Craig Nichols began trashing the group’s equipment during a sound check, just before the show’s taping. He went into a tantrum – throwing around things – and then they were asked to leave.
Mr. Pop History – Stax was as legendary and influential as Motown – make no mistake. It was an incredible label – giving us hit makers such as Sam & Dave, Staple Singers, Mel & Tim, Booker T & The MG’s and so much more.