For anybody who grew up in New York in the ’50s and ’60s, Clay Cole is a music legend. He popularized dozens of artists on his local television and radio shows. Now he provides a behind-the-scenes look at the shaping of an era.
Without a doubt the most entertaining music book of the year is Cole’s “Sh-Boom: The Explosion of Rock ‘n Roll-1953-1968” (Morgan/James Press).
Cole, at the time, was the hottest personality on TV; take one-part Dick Clark, one-part Johnny Carson, mix them together, and you get… Clay.
A child prodigy, Cole was born to television, then also emerging as a major pop culture influence.
He would write out complete sketches as a child, while the other kids on the block were playing baseball and chasing girls.
A raconteur of the highest order, he knew everyone and had more than a front seat to the birth of rock and roll. He was on the inside.
Name an artist or a band that marked that era and chances are Cole had them on his show.
That would include The Beatles, Dion, Donovan, Paul Anka, The Turtles, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, The 5th Dimension, The Young Rascals, Peter Paul & Mary, Tony Bennett, George Carlin, Neil Diamond and Herman’s Hermits.Beyond that, Clay broke the color barrier on television and has such artists as Little Anthony and The Imperials Richard Pryor, Steve Wonder, The Supremes and Dionne Warwick on his shows as well.
In fact, he recounts how management scolded him for featuring too many black artists on his show. Later the station won a diversity award, in no small part because of Cole.
He walked away from it all, moving from his beloved New York City on Sept. 1, 2001 … and, now has returned with this simply remarkable book.
I loved meeting him!
The Dark Night Returns: 2012
Warner Bros. has set July 20, 2010, as the release date for the third Christopher Nolan-directed “Batman” movie.
The story is still being written by David Goyer and Nolan, but early reports suggest that it’ll be a return-to-his-roots epic, although I’m not even sure I understand what that means.
Surely, Nolan, beginning with his “Batman Begins,” brought the comic-epic full circle, re-inventing certain aspects of the caped crusader’s beginnings.
As much as I loved the Joel Schumacher movies, Nolan’s vision blew me away.
FYI: 2012 is shaping up to be one of the greater comic-geek movie seasons; with Marvel’s “The Avengers” slated to come out May 4th; the “Star Trek” sequel on June 29 and, the re-booted “Spider Man” swinging onto screen on July 3.
Glee Madonna Tribute Mind Blowing
I hadn’t watched the Fox comedy show Glee much, but caught their much ballyhooed “Madonna-tribute” and it simply blew me away.
It was most original thing I’ve seen on the box in years.
Can’t quite believe the Nip/Tuck team came up with this. We’ll discuss more next dispatch But, simply awesome!
Names in the News
Simone, Mitch Koulouris, Kurt Loder, David Fricke, Eppy, Steve Rosenfield, Mike Navarone, R. Couri Hay, Frank Schmidt, Deb
Caponetta, Keisha1, Micky Dolenz, Chip