So ya wanna be a rock & roll star?

Heard cherry“Cherry Pie”, by Skip & Flip, this morning on the radio while taking The Kid to school. I remembered that Skip & Flip had another hit, “It was I”, and that one of the two singers also had a later hit as a member of another group. What was it? I wondered. The Kid wanted to know. So did I.

But we’re talking about old stuff here. Those two hits were from 1960 and 1959, when I was 13 (like my kid, the oldies lover, is now) and 12. Whatever else they did was moldly too. Still, I used to know. Or, I still knew, but didn’t remember, which is just as bad. Shit like this happens when your archives fill up and spill all over the brain pan.

Anyway, I went to the links above, and to Wikipedia, where I found that the two were Skip Batlin and Gary S. Paxton, the former of which has been dead since 2003 and the latter of which had quite the subsequent career, including the item I didn’t remember: that he was with the Hollywood Argyles, which had a hit with “Alley Oop” which reached #1 in the summer of 1961. (Though in New York, where most of my radio came from at the time, Top 40 stations — WABC, WINS and WMCA — played a version by Dante & the Evergreens. Hey, I remember that, anyway.)

Seems Paxton did a lot more, too. For example, producing “Monster Mash”, by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, and playing with The Byrds, New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

But the strongest stuff is at his website. His all-caps testimony page is packed with interesting stuff. Such as,

RIGHT AFTER I TURNED 18 – I HAD TO REGISTER FOR THE DRAFT. ONE DAY WHEN I WAS SITTING IN A RESTAURANT A WOMAN WALKED UP TO ME AND SAID, “MAY I TALK WITH YOU I’M YOUR MOTHER! … I WAS IN TOTAL SHOCK – I HAD NEVER BEEN TOLD I WAS ADOPTED … I WAS ‘VERY CONFUSED. IN THE SAME TIME FRAME MY FIRST RECORD “IT WAS I BY SKIP AND FLIP WAS OUT …. 1 WENT TO NEW YORK, DID TV SHOWS AND TOURS WITH THE GREAT ALAN FREED (WHO NAMED) ROCK & ROLL AND THE DICK CLARK TOURS … INSTANT STARDOM …
TOO MUCH TOO FAST AFTER BEING SO-O-O POOR FOR SO-O-O LONG.
WE THEN CUT “CHERRY PIE” IT WAS A MILLION SELLER … I WENT TO HOLLYWOOD IN 1959 AND THERE I CUT “ALLEY-OOP” IT WAS A MULTI-MILLION SELLER. .. I WAS PART OF THE SUNSET STRIP HIPPIE MOVEMENT – THE SEA WITCH – THE WHISKEY A-GO-GO ETC. A YEAR OR SO LATER I PRODUCED “MONSTER MASH” – A MILLION SELLER – 3 TIMES – 1962-1967-1974 … 1 CUT MANY MILLION SELLERS WITH TOMMY ROE AND THE ASSOCIATION, PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS, MANY JAZZ ARTISTS INCL1JDING THE FOUR FRESHMAN AND VARIOUS JAZZ STARS.
MY MOTHER TOLD ME SHE WAS 1/2 NATIVE AMERICAN-KICKAPOO INDIAN AND 1/2 SCOTCH AND THAT MY FATHER WAS 1/2 JEWISH AND 1/2 RED-HEADED IRISHMAN – SO. THAT MAKES ME AN lNJU. I DID A LOT OF SOCIAL WORK WITH THE YAKKI INDIANS IN THE PlUTE MOUNTAINS … 1 MOVED TO BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA – HAD A LAKE MARINA HOTEL & CABINS IN THE MOUNTAINS

Then he moved to Nashville and found Jesus. This came in handy:

IN 1980 TWO MEN WERE HIRED TO MURDER ME OVER A CONTRACT DISPUTE .. THEY BEAT MY HEAD IN WITH A PIPE – - BROKE BOTH OF MY SHOULDERS – SHOT ME THREE TIMES WITH A .38 WHILE I CONTINUED TO YELL” IN THE NAME OF J E S U S YOU CAN’T KILL ME!” WHILE I WAS DOWN SICK – MY STUDIO PARTNER EMBEZZLED ME OUT OF A 1/2 MILLION DOLLARS – THE FDIC FORCED ME THROUGH INVOLUNTARY BANKRUPTCY AND TOOK ALL OF MY ROYALTIES FOR 10 YEARS – THEN THE IRS BILLED ME FOR $432,000.00 FOR THE MONEY THE FDIC TOOK. I THEN GOT BLEEDING ULCERS, LOST 80% OF MY BLOOD – STARTED HAVING A STROKE – I WAS RUSHED TO BAPTIST HOSPITAL, I WAS GIVEN 8 BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS -THEY GAVE ME HEP C IN THE BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS FROM 1990 ON. MY WIFE, VICKI SUE HELPED ME MOVE TO BRANSON n~ 1999 – WE GOT MARRIED ON VALENTINES DAY – 2002 – I’VE WRITTEN WELL OVER 2,000 SONGS – OVER 600 RECORDED – ABOUT 150 OF THEM HITS IN ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

As Neo put it in The Matrix, Whoa.

3 comments

  1. David Fisher’s avatar

    That’s quite a read. Thanks for filling us in. Being a rockstar is highly overrated it seems.

  2. CGHill’s avatar

    For a little bit rawer harmony, you might want to hunt down the original Marvin and Johnny version of “Cherry Pie.”

    Bobby “Boris” Pickett, incidentally, died (leukemia) in 2007.

  3. Morgan Palmer’s avatar

    i had an ulcer last year because i am fond of skipping meals and working too hard. it was quite painful*.”

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