Can a young girl, daughter of a small town butcher, find happiness on a $100,000 annual income from record royalties, and movie-TV-concert contracts?
Is 14 a good age to quit school, leave the family roost, record a raunchy rhythm-and-blues song and take a nightly job in the smoky cellar club of a big city? Is 19 too young to entertain Queen Elizabeth II at a Royal Command performance? Is a 19-year-old girl ripe and ready for the sophisticated companionship of big swingers like Who, Them, Beatles and Stones?
If you want the answers, ask five-foot, 100 pound, brown eyed blondette Marie McDonald McLaughlin, better known today as Lulu, singer, movie actress, dancer and jet set pet.
Loverly Lulu isn’t about to give any flat pat advice to ambitious under-age girls. What’s right for one couldn’t be wronger for others under totally different circumstances. A 14-year-old American girl who tries to do what Lulu did at that age could well be stomped to death in the mad scramble of mufti truant officers, blue-coat fuzz and juve hall matrons grab her as a school jumper, runaway, curfew violator and general all-around no-good bum. The winds of change are blowing clean fresh insights and understandings over the land but old thoughts and hang-ups will prevail for a few years to come.
Nuggets from the Lulu Mind: “My father loves to sing, in fact father is the best singing butcher in the whole of Scotland”… “I have to wear maxicoats over miniskirts because the English winter is so cold and rotty”… “Working with Burl Ives on the Red Skelton Show was fun. He’s gorgeous and so very cuddly”…
Success is harder to hold than an oiled eel. You could prove that statement by more than a score of artists who had one—and only one—disk on the Boss 30, Top 40 or Hot 100 charts during the course of a year. Where it’s at:
“Yesterday you’re nobody,
Today you’re a star,
Tomorrow nobody knows
who you are.”
Three rather recent chart-climbing songbirds are not going to be one-hit wonders: Lulu, Linda of the Stone Poneys and Bobbie of the Mississippi Gentries. They said Bobbie couldn’t do it again but Okolono River Bottom is it.
Does anybody remember who they are, the post-Beatle biggies Statler Brothers, Billy J. Kramer, Dixie Cups, Casinos, We Five, Kingsmen, Wayne Newton and even the New Vaudeville Band? We know the Sunrays and Walker Brothers have totaled out. The Righteous Brothers have come apart. The Lovin’ Spoonful are still giants but whatever happened to drop-out Zal Yanovsky? He needed them more than they needed him. Ditto Gene Clark.
The early singsational success of the Byrds gave Gene delusions. He split to star himself as bossman of his own group. It was a disaster. Gene then agreed to resume his Byrdmanship if Roger McGuinn would shake Dave Crosby and his magic guitar. When the dirty deed was done, Gene came back for a few weeks, played a Whiskee-a-GoGo engagement and a couple of concerts. On the eve of a long siege of taping a new Byrd album, Clark copped out again. As a loner the first time Gene Clark’s record releases didn’t make the Top 40,000. What now?
We never dreamed the Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, would come to a parting of the ways. The boys grew up together and shared all their disappointments and triumphs, more like real brothers, until every platter spun them a goldie. It’s all over now. Tall lean Bill separated from his wife as well as his partner. He’ll record as an independent single singer. Bobby Hatfield retains the Righteous name. Ex-Knickerbocker Jimmy Walker is his professional “brother” now.
Peter Noone can’t keep his Hermit crew together much longer. They may not make another concert safari together. The Mamas and Papas are trying to work it out but haven’t a clue whether they’ll stay as a four or come unstuck for good. Mama Cass has already signed a separate recording contract. John Phillips is hot to trot as a producer, arranger and songwriter. That would leave Denny Doherty out on a limb.
When the Flying Nun is grounded, then Sally Field opens the throttle and roars around the acreage on her Triumph 650 motorbike. This is no genteel putt-putt for little old ladies from Pasadena. It’s an orange-colored candy-flavored, super-charged “hog” loaded with leather-and-chrome goodies including a four-tone airhorn.
Astride this high-strung monster, she charges out to the studio, jumps into her habit and zooms into the wild blue yonder on the wings of her nunsy headgear.
Besides cycling, high flying and record spinning (Felicidad for Colgems is a current goer), this amazing miss is on a trip of mind-blowing dancing. She won the $100 first prize doing the boogaloo and shingaling at the Whiskee, the music mob’s fave hangout on the Sunset Strip. Although Davy Jones was a watcher, her dancing partner was Eric Driscoll, ski champ with medals on his manly chest and loving cups on his mantel. With her prize money she treated everybody in the packed place to dogs and liquid refreshments.
Sally and Davy are mum about their romance, if such it is. When we asked them about it they said nothing, therefore we know nothing authentic to blab about in this column of deathless prose. At a recent Tiger Beat party, the two charmers arrived separately, sat apart and spoke only a few words to each other, which may be nothing more than a cover-up for their secret love. Who knows?
Hurry, hurry, hurry, gals! The list of unwed, unattached minstrels and musicians is shrinking faster than a $9 suit in an Iowa rainstorm.
Of the five Turtles, for instance, only one is still clinging to single cussedness. Johnny Barbata, beater of the hot skins for the Big T team, is an artful dodger of the tender trap. So many are being grabbed off by marriage-minded gals that we can’t keep up with what’s happening.
Here’s an inside tip for out-sized females who melt for Sky Saxon. An armful of skin and skeleton doesn’t turn him on. The chief Seed grooves on girls of generous proportions, eye-popping dimensions and jolly disposition, with plenty of beef on her bones. The fatter the better, his buddies say.
A&M Records is backing a new signee with a blizzard of press releases and publicity blurbs. Singer Phil Ochs (rhymes with croaks), long an unsung hero of the underground, is being promoted as a loveable [sic] lad (he’s 26) who has “concern for humanity’s plight, sympathy for its follies, laughter for the sad, compassion for the lost… He’s a good man.”
It doesn’t say so in the publicity hand-outs but Phil (rhymes with daffodil) is also a nut.
Genie the Tailor, a cousin or something, says Phil is a dingy-dong. “There’s a touch of loveable [sic] lunacy in our entire family, me included,” she says. “He just happened to get more than his fair share.”
The Cake are sweet as sugar plums. The three New York teenagers, Jeannette Jacobs, 16, Eleanor Barooshian, 17, and Barbara Lewis, 19, now living in Los Angeles, have learned to sing a bunch of songs a cappella, vocalizing without musical accompaniment, so they could entertain their friends at house parties, on boat trips or hay rides.
A disaster that became a blessing in disguise happened at the Miss Teen World contest in Dallas. Some mothers of contestants objected to the Cake’s exaggerated eye make-up and mod velvet-and-lace dresses and raised so much heck-and-holler that their scheduled performance was cancelled from the stage and TV.
Others who get hostile about unconventional dress and revisionist thought are Mao Tse-tung, the Red god, Col. Papadopoulsap, the Greek geek, and Orville Pillski, the mean dean of Mark Lindsay Junior High.
“I don’t think young people want entertainers to be carbon copies of everybody else they know,” said wispy, slender, short-haired Eleanor, the gifted rapper of the three melodears. “They expect excitement, glamour and exotic apparel from actors, actresses, singers, musicians, ballet dancers, trapeze artists and other showbizzers.
“Dallas was a terribly depressing experience. I don’t think the present teen-age generation will grow up to be as intolerant, narrow-minded, cruel and unjust as many older people are today. The girls in the pageant were on our side but they were helpless under senior authority.”
The unhappy incident made them a controversial and high-sell act. Since then the girls have appeared on most TV network song-and-dance shows and are booked for more. Their disk, Rainbow Wood/Fire Fly is a baroque beat beauty to the tuned-in ear.
The Beatle-financed non-profit record label, The Apple, could be a hot shot in the arm for the world of young music. The only 8-track recording studio in England, the absolute best, it will be rented to established artists but the main idea is to help starters who can’t get contracts with major companies and can’t afford to finance their own production, publicity and distribution. Profits will be ploughed back into the Apple label. The Beatles have already set a few unknown but fantastic songmen and bands for openers.
British musicians we rap with seem almost unanimous in their opinion of today’s now music. England has the greatest pop rock groups, America has the greatest jazz and country music. Though we don’t agree that’s what we’re told by Eric Burdon, George Harrison, Gary Brooker, Procol Harum, Brian Jones, of the Stones.
A tough thread tale. Robbers broke into the bachelor pad of Rodney Bingenheimer, buddy and bat boy of the music greats, and stole all his clothes and recordings. A few nights later Rod, wearing the only clothes he owns, lost most of those backstage at Convention Hall, Anaheim, where the Turtles, Seeds and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were playing a benefit for Danny Thomas’ pet charity project, St. Jude’s Hospital.
As Rodney and Sky Saxon were leaving the hall they were jumped by a bunch of frenzied star fans wanting autographs and souvenirs. Sky ran. Rodney, flattered by the fanzied attention, stopped to mew with the pretty little pussycats—who quickly transformed themselves into wild, clawing, tearing tigresses. A pair of dark-eyed twins, one on each side, pulled the ends of his wrap-around neck scarf until his face turned choke purple. Others acted in a more traditional manner, pulling out hunks of hair. When claws clutched his jacket, Rodney panicked, shucked it off and sprinted into the night, losing one shoe in flight.
Elvis Presley pictures, often produced by movie hacks who couldn’t produce a boss burp, make money no matter how corny camp they are. Nevertheless one movie-maker, Douglas Laurence, has courageously decided to experiment with an original idea off-beat plot and hope the Presley worshippers won’t horsewhip him for it. Watch for this coming attraction, based on a bestselling ha-ha novel, Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips.