Mr. Pop Culture Report… An Interview With NY Rock Pop Icon Clay Cole… Follow-up To His Book, “Sh-Boom.”

Mr. Pop – Clay – The past year, you’ve had an incredible ride, touring on the strength of your book:  “Sh-Boom.”  Tell us about it.

Clay Cole – It has been amazing. I must say, I first went out there with trepidation thinking, would anyone remember me? Remember, I was out of the spotlight for 40-something years, but people did remember and they came at me with stories and praise.  What a pleasure it was meeting fans; those who remembered. One of the greatest days of my life was being interviewed by DJ Norm N. Nite – in what was supposed to be a two-minute interview for his Sirius radio show. Norm turned it into a whole three hours, lining-up old friends such as Connie Francis, Dion and Lou Christie. I haven’t spoken to them for years – and there they were. It was a marvelous time.

Mr. Pop – Clay, meeting your fans now, what became obvious to you?

Clay Cole – With the release of the book, that they were starving for information about those early years of rock ‘n roll.

Mr. Pop – And the book has plenty of great stories. It doesn’t surprise me that people remembered you well. You had one of the top pop music shows during the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s, in the nation’s largest market – New York City. Do you plan on staying in the spotlight?

Clay Cole – No, not really. I’m sort of winding down the book tour now – about one appearance a month.

Mr. Pop – Clay, as you know – I grew up in the New York area, and the last we saw of you, before the book and subsequent tours, was January /1968. As your book says, you walked away from it all. But really, the times were a changing – the music was changing – wasn’t it?

Clay Cole – Yes, groups began to appear on my WPIX-TV show that I couldn’t relate too. I was a black-tie guy and they were stoners, or so it seemed. It was time to walk away.

Mr. Pop – Yes – and it had nothing to do with ratings – which were still tops. Interestingly – other hosts tried, but it all disappeared about a year later. When you left, so did the ratings.

Clay Cole – That’s correct and they included Peter Martin from Canada and Frankie Crocker – a very popular New York City DJ.

Mr. Pop – They offered the show to a DJ named Gary Stevens out of WMCA – but he had his own plans and was leaving New York to market TV in Switzerland.

Clay, you were a DJ for a short time in New York. You don’t talk about it in your book, but I’m fascinated by it. Can you tell us more?

Clay Cole – Oh my – only you! I knew the WINS (radio) general manager at the time – Ted Steele. He also had a music show on channel 13 – the same time I was there.

Mr. Pop – This would have been during your (WNTA) channel 13 days – when you first came to New York. I always thought you should have titled that chapter “Concrete and Clay” – with your move to New York City.

Clay Cole – That’s funny! Ted Steele was a good friend of mine. When I was out of work and between the two TV stations, he called and offered me the overnight show on Saturdays and Sundays on 1010WINS – then – a very popular music station.

Mr. Pop – Yes, that was early summer 1963, according to my website.

Clay Cole – Yes. I must tell you – I’ve always been a TV host and actor – but never a DJ. I must tell you, I learned that disc jockeys must have a great deal of talent. You have to have a sense of timing, read live copy and have a sense going into and out of records.

Mr. Pop – Did it take you a while to get into it?

Clay Cole – Oh yes. In television – at least you have a crew. On radio – it’s you, even though WINS had an engineer – but you had to create the atmosphere.

Mr. Pop – Clay, you knew another fascinating, legendary NY DJ – Murray the K of 1010WINS. Any memories?

Clay Cole – I remember going to his apartment and so much was covered in plastic. Mostly the furniture.

Mr. Pop – That was an interesting trend. Plastic was used to keep the dust and dirt away, although I’m not sure when that trend went away.

Mr. Pop Continues – Clay – you’ve said that the great Bobby Darin and Jackie Wilson were your two all-time favorite artists. Any others?

Clay Cole – Frankie Valli was terrific; his records were wonderfully produced. Another favorite was Dionne Warwick. And, she was always good to me. And, there are more.

Mr. Pop – Clay – it’s been a pleasure and thanks for the update.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – September 29… A Pop Culture President… Why Is “Dancin With The Stars” On My Newscast Nite And Day?… Is It Possible To Get 300% More Gas Milage? … Obama Loves His Music…

Ashton Kutcher  is President of of Pop Culture (which means he was hired by popchips and this is their new ad campaign). He needs a V/P. Any votes for Mr. Pop Culture and his 3,000 week-by-week library?

From Asheene K – Our local “Eyewitness News” in Los Angeles features “Dancing With The Stars” updates on its morning and evening newscasts. As a story. All the time. Everyday. Why?

Mr. Pop History – Who knows? It’s not news, but a concise plug for the show. Why this show? I have no idea, but someone, somewhere wants it on the news. Makes you wonder and it must tick-off the producers of other ABC-TV shows. This one is getting quite a ride – and in the news, no less.

200% to 300% more gas mileage from a car? It’s possible. It’s being done. The story is amazing. Developing…

Cover of the Rolling Stone – Is President Obama and his music. We get a glimpse inside his iPod. Should be interesting.

Visit the largest week-by-week resource on the planet. It’s free, it’s here. And, you can pick a week – and dedicate it to anybody. Your week. Your way. A service of www.mrpopculture.com and www.mrpophistory.com

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TV Show Being Plugged By Newscast… Pop. Culture. History.

From Asheene K – Our local “Eyewitness News” in Los Angeles features “Dancing With The Stars” updates on its morning and evening newscasts. As a story. All the time. Everyday. Why?

Mr. Pop History – Who knows? It’s not news, but a concise plug for the show. Why this show? I have no idea, but someone, somewhere wants it on the news. Makes you wonder and it must tick-off the producers of other ABC-TV shows. This one is getting quite a ride – and in the news, no less.

Mr. Pop Culture Report… September 28… Virtual Is Hot… Singer Arrested For Cocaine… Goodbye Gloria… And…

The “virtual goods” market is growing at a healthy clip, according to an industry report issued Tuesday. The research group Inside Network says the U.S. virtual goods market will hit $2.1 billion in 2011, up from $1.6 billion this year. The group, which also owns a blog about Facebook, attributes much of the growth in that market to social online games like “FarmVille.”

British singer Pete Doherty was charged on Tuesday with possessing cocaine in connection with an inquiry into the suspected overdose death of heiress Robyn Whitehead. The 31-year-old Babyshambles frontman and former partner of supermodel Kate Moss was one of four people questioned after the January death of the filmmaker, who had been working on a documentary of Doherty at the time. Two of Doherty’s friends were also charged — Peter Wolfe, 42, for supplying and possessing cocaine, and Alan Wass, 29, for possessing cocaine.

Passing – Gloria Stuart, the 1930s Hollywood leading lady who years later became the oldest Academy Award acting nominee for her role as the spunky survivor in “Titanic,” has died. She was 100.

Sarah smiles at daughter Bristol – live from the audience on “Dancin’ With The Stars.” Naturally, the press thought they heard boo’s.

Early Duran Duran Videos… Pop. Culture. History.

Deanna R – Mr. Pop – It’s been established that the 1980′s pop band, Duran Duran – was a success largely, because of MTV.  Anything to add?

Mr. Pop History – Let’s face it – the music had to be good too! And it was. But, early Duran videos such as “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Save A Prayer” used exotic locations and better production techniques – better then most music videos of the day. That created buzz.

Hope that helps.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – September 25… My Generation Stinks In the Ratings… So, That’s Why Zucker Is Leaving NBC? … No more Heart in this marriage… Hot albums this week.

TV Ratings – Big Bang, in its Thursday debut, drew 14 million viewers and improved over its Monday season premiere a year ago among the adults-18-to-49 demographic. The strong start also lifted freshman comedy S#*! My Dad Says (12.5 million viewers) to a solid debut and provided a healthy lead-in to CSI (14.6 million viewers) and The Mentalist (15.3 million viewers). However, the two procedurals were down in the demo 17 percent and 8 percent, respectively, versus a year ago. NBC’s rival Thursday comedies suffered, as Community (5 million viewers) fell 42 percent from its freshman debut. (It did, however, premiere after The Office a year ago.) 30 Rock ( 5.8 million viewers), which also premiered post-Office last year, was down 13 percent in the demo. The Office (8.4 million viewers) was up slightly, providing a nice platform to new comedy Outsourced (7.4 million viewers).

NBC placed third overall behind (goodbye Jeff Zucker), ABC, which debuted documentary-style scripted drama “My Generation” to a disappointing 5.2 million viewers. The show tied with the CW in the demo during the 8/7c timeslot and was down 60 percent compared to FlashForward‘s debut last year.

Universal Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Zucker will step down once Comcast Corp. completes its takeover of the company as the new owners move to reshape management. Zucker’s ratings simply stink and he’s made some horrific decisions over the past few years. Some say, it’s amazing he’s kept his job this long.

Divorcing after 24 years of marriage – Heart’s Nancy Wilson and movie director Cameron Crowe.

Top albums this week –

Passion, Pain & Pleasure – Trey Songz

A Thousand Suns – Linkin Park

The Guitar Song- Jamey Johnson

Recovery – Eminem

Band of Joy – Robert Plant

Now 35

Hurley – Weezer

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Early TV Shows And Pop Music… Pop. Culture. History.

From Anne C – Mr. Pop – Ricky Nelson set a big trend of singing songs on his TV show to sell records. Came you name others right around that time – the late 1950′s?

Mr. Pop History – Yes – either directly or indirectly – TV producers began realizing the power of their stars and the synergy of cutting a record, particularly shows aimed at younger audiences – the record-buying crowd.

Warner Brothers tried so hard with the likes of Ed “Kookie” Byrnes and Connie Stevens and others. Some had hits – others bombed such as Bob (Robert) Conrad. To be fair – these WB records were not sung on their respective TV shows – unlike Ricky Nelson. But some did…

Let’s face it – acting and singing are two different things – and the audience has to accept both. Sometimes – it just didn’t work. After Ricky Nelson – Dwayne Hickman of “Dobie Gillis” actually sang something called “I’m A Lover, Not A Fighter” on his comedy show. The episode aired September 27, 1960 and the single was released the following week (on Capitol) – but went no where.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – September 21… This teacher was famous… Clutch Jackson… Douglas on the carpet… Paris Japan…

Passing – Leonard Skinner (Our photo), a high-school gym teacher who became a rock ‘n’ roll footnote by inspiring a  group of pupils to name their band Lynyrd Skynyrd, died on Monday in Jacksonville, Fla., after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, the Florida Times-Union reported. He was 77. Skinner earned the disdain of long-haired students at Robert E. Lee High School during the 1960s by sending them to the principal’s office, where they were handed suspension notices. One of them — he later believed it was guitarist Gary Rossington — returned with his father who protested that his son needed to have long hair so that he could support the family with his earnings from a band that he played with.

With less than 24 hours to go before “American Idol” announces who will be on the judges panel for the show’s ninth season, judge Randy Jackson has made a formal agreement to return to the show.

Michael Douglas walks the red carpet at the New York City premiere of his latest film, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The Academy Award-winning actor recently announced he’s being treated for throat cancer. He posed for photos Monday night with co-stars including Shia LaBeouf (SHY’-uh luh-BUF’), Carey Mulligan and director Oliver Stone. He didn’t give interviews.

Japanese officials delayed Paris Hilton at Narita Airport while they decide whether she will be admitted to the country after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in Las Vegas. Hilton was scheduled to appear at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday to promote her fashion line, but that appearance was apparently canceled.



Album Sales, Soundscan and 1991. Pop. Culture. History.

From Erica H – Mr. Pop – When SoundScan took over as the official album-seller counter, who was champ?

Mr. Pop History – Well, SoundScan’s first full year charting album sales was 1991 – so let’s go back to that year, which saw Garth Brooks’ “Ropin’ the Wind” at 4 million album sales for 1991. Even though it was released September of that year – and that album sold millions more in 1992 – it’s really the first SoundScan year-end champ.

Adam Carolla Beginnings… Pop. Culture. History.

From Brad J. – Specifically, where did Adam Carolla come from?

Mr. Pop History – Carolla, a part-time boxing instructor and former construction worker – made a name for himself for his comedic portrayal of a character named Mr. Birchum on the KROQ (LA) radio morning show – back during the early 1990′s.

His big break came when Dr. Drew Pinsky recommended him to co-host the MTV version of KROQ’s “Loveline” in the late 1990′s.