High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Show Me the Money, Honey! (Part 1)


At last count there are a million and one 
songs about love.  Lately I've noticed that 
there are nearly as many about money. 

By now you know how much I love to play six degrees.
I'd like to share with you a few songs and performers that are right on the money along with a few other favorites that are somehow related.


In 1953 the incomparable Clyde McPhatter left his position
as lead singer of Billy Ward's Dominoes and was replaced by Jackie Wilson. Clyde went to Atlantic records where a new R&B vocal group called the Drifters was formed to showcase his vocal talents. The early to mid 50s were the greatest years for the Drifters. Driven by McPhatter's distinctive voice their jump tempo recordings burst with energy. In the late 50s when Ben E. King took over as lead, Atlantic added lush orchestration to Drifters recordings and the group adopted a more polished sound. The new Drifters (the ones with strings attached) appealed to white audiences, enabling them to rack up pop chart hits like "There Goes My Baby" and "Save the Last Dance for Me." The earlier the better I always say and my money  is on the authentic R&B sound that the original Drifters produced during the Clyde McPhatter years!

"Money Honey" - Drifters (January 1954, 
highest chart position #1 R&B) 


1986 was one of the most exciting years of my life. Working as production manager of an MTV style television station,
I had the opportunity to meet many of the top power pop, hard rock, glam and heavy metal acts of the day including Kiss, Poison, The Thompson Twins, Ratt, Cinderella, Heart, Ronnie James Dio and Stevie Nicks. My station played the latest music videos supplied by the record companies and had veejays hosting various categories of music according to day part including a heavy metal show late Friday night that was similar to MTV's Headbanger's Ball.  One of the videos that burned up the boss lines and crossed over between the power pop and heavy metal audiences was Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight," a single taken from the Brooklyn rocker's album Can't Hold Back. The call-and-response style duet featured a rare, exciting and Spec-tacular appearance by the charismatic, melismatic Ronnie Spector, former lead singer of the Ronettes.

"Take Me Home Tonight" - Eddie Money 
featuring Ronnie Spector (October 1986, 
highest chart position #4) 


Under the tutelage of iconic record producer Phil Spector, the Ronettes developed a bad girl image, rendering their pop love songs in a more seductive manner than most other girl groups of the early and mid 60s.  Cloaked in Spector's dense wall of sound, the Ronettes achieved an international smash hit in 1963 with "Be My Baby."  I love to dig a little deeper for gold and I struck pay dirt with the Ronettes' less successful follow-up single "Baby I Love You."

"Baby I Love You" - Ronettes 
(February 1964, highest chart position #24) 


Black independent R&B record label owner John Dolphin, founder of Money Records and Cash Records, is one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock and roll.  The story surrounding his murder includes three famous names from my youth. In the 50s Dolphin operated a 24-hour-a-day Los Angeles record shop called Dolphin's on Hollywood. In a payola scheme to turn records on his labels into instant hits, Dolphin arranged to have popular deejays including Cruisin' 1959's Hunter Hancock, conduct live radio broadcasts from inside his store. Dolphin's history of shady business practices caught up with him in 1958 when a disgruntled songwriter who had been denied royalties shot and killed Dolphin.  The murder was witnessed by famed drummer Sandy Nelson and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston! Sound like a dream you have after eating an anchovie pizza right before bedtime?

Don Julian's R&B vocal group recorded on Money Records.  They started out in the early 50s as The Meadowlarks and recorded "Heaven and Paradise" (on Dootone), one of the greatest romantic R&B/doo-wop ballads of the decade.

"Heaven and Paradise" - Meadowlarks 
(April 1955, uncharted) 

Calling themselves The Larks, Julian's group earned a top ten hit in the mid 60s with a dance record called "The Jerk."

"The Jerk" - Larks (January 1965, 
highest chart position #7) 

In 1970 the Jackson 5 launched their career with a #1 hit entitled "I Want You Back."

A year later Don Julian and the Larks group brought their doo-wop soul sound into the 70s with a different song of the same name. This beautiful ballad failed to chart but deserves to be heard!

"I Want You (Back)" - Larks 
(1971, uncharted) 

Please stay close.
Part 2's coming soon and you know what that means:

Have a Shady day!


  1. Well done! I love to find the non-obvious connections between things, and you've done a masterful job here. YOu have truly met some of the heavy hitters in the music industry- wow! Phil Spector certainly had great talent (maybe still does) but his life has taken some bizarre and tragic turns. I wonder if he always had those dark sides in him or if fame's lifestyle developed those.

    Thanks again for the very interesting information, my friend!

  2. Hi, Shelly! In Spector's case I think it's a little of both. Fame and fortune bring out the best in some and the worst in others. Spector was a genius in the recording studio and I can relate to his being a perfectionist. In my work I was always driven to achieve perfection and was rarely satisfied with the end result of my projects. Thank you very much for the compliments, Shelly. They mean a lot to me, dear friend!

  3. Shady, You really went back in time for some of these memories. Both Money Honey and Heaven and Paradise are in my 45 collection. Glad you brought me up to date on the Drifter's history. It is hard to keep who was lead singer for many of the groups straight as many went solo or on to other groups. I saw the original Jay of Jay and the Americans singing "She Cried" at Hershey Park last weekend. He was now singing with the Tokens. I wonder of these guys still need the MONEY or just enjoy doing the old shows.


  4. I don't know any of these songs about money, but my favourite song about the green stuff has to be Money by Pink Floyd, what a great song!

    Speaking of which, I get paid tomorrow!

    Hope you're having a great week!

    Emma x

  5. Jerre - Wow, the last time I saw Jay Black was in 1984 when I had lunch with him at an auditorium in Clearwater prior to his concert. He was a handsome guy with an operatic voice. I can't help wondering how he looked and sounded at Hershey Park. I can't get enough of those Clyde McPhatter lead vocals. Clyde was the real deal and, as I read, like many others he received very little compensation for his performances on stage or on record. Thanks for coming by, Jerre, and have a great weekend!

    Emma - I can see by the smile on your avatar that you're happy about getting paid tomorrow! Your comment reminds me of another money related song, "Rip It Up" by Little Richard.

    Well it's Saturday night and I just got paid
    I'm a fool about my money, don't try to save.
    My heart says, "Go go, have a time."
    'Cause its Saturday night and I'm feeling fine.
    I'm gonna rock it up, I'm gonna rip it up
    I'm gonna shake it up, I'm gonna ball it up
    I'm gonna rock it up, and ball tonight.

    Thanks for swinging on over from Ireland, dear Emma, and have a safe and happy weekend!

  6. Greetings from Ibiza dear Shady! Another wonderful post! The information you provide is always amazing as well as the tunes, of course :)

  7. Hi dear friend. Good connections you have made again there. The Phil Spector sound was amazing with so many hits in the 60's. I loved them all. I also absolutely love The Ronettes and also, not mentioned in your post I know, The Crystals.

  8. Me again. I've just noticed that G-T posted her comment just a minute before mine! Now there's a coincidence, and her being in the heat of Ibiza as well!

  9. Take Me Home Tonight was pretty good. You can sure tell it was the eighties; both the music and they styles. I liked the sax? in it. I always liked the Ronettes. Sad story about the death of John Dolphin and I'm sorry to hear some of the singers didn't get paid well.

  10. Gawgus - Thank you for taking time in the middle of your holiday for little old me. That's so sweet of you, kind friend, and I appreciate it so much! I have two questions for you:

    1. Who's watching Alfred?
    2. May I dog sit next time you go off globetrotting?

    Have a ball and stay safe in lovely Ibiza, G-T!!

    Thisisme - I thought the comment from Gawgus might actually be YOU, dear friend! I never know for sure. (LOL) Are you watching Alfred? You are also very kind for coming over for a visit. I'm glad you liked a couple of these songs today and I hope that the weather's fine and you're feeling tip top! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend!

    Belle - IMO the 80s was the greatest decade second only to the 60s. I find myself collecting much of the music from those years in the power pop, new wave and rock categories. MTV made a big difference in how we got our music and those high budget conceptual videos of the period are unforgettable. Thank you very much for coming to see me, Belle, and have a great evening up your way!

  11. You are amazing. We all know that “money makes the world go round”. Oh, how I love a “Cabaret”.

  12. Lady in Black - Sing it for me! (LOL) You are a sweetheart for visiting, reading, listening and commenting, dear friend! Have a fantastic weekend in Poland!

  13. I was late getting to this one Shady and I really didn't remember some of them but really enjoyed listening to them. That is what is so refreshing about your posts in that I get to hear great music that I somehow missed in my younger days. Thanks for all your hard work for us.

  14. Odie - Hello, good buddy! I'm so glad to hear from you. Honestly, I hadn't heard some of these songs in ages before putting this piece together and I never heard the second one by the Larks before. I'm learning right along with you. Thank you for taking the time to listen, Odie, and give Rocky a biscuit for me!

  15. Jerre - I need to apologize because in my haste I wrote a reply that didn't fit your comment. I was referring to Jay #2, Jay Black, whose real name is David Blatt. You were clearly talking about Jay #1, John "Jay" Traynor who had been lead singer of the "Hushabye" Mystics. While I'm discussing the second Jay, however, I might add that he wasn't thrilled to be sharing the stage that evening with an Elvira Mistress of the Dark look-alike, an impersonator hired by the promoter to be plucked from the audience, escorted on stage, and serenaded by Jay while he sang "This Magic Moment." Jay (David Blatt) told me earlier that day at lunch that he thought the idea was hokey and I agreed with him. Sorry I got mixed up, Jerre! How did Jay Traynor look and sound at Hershey that day?

  16. As I wrote in my other comment Traynor is now singing with another Jay. Jay Seigel of the Tokens (Lion Sleeps Tonight). Another guy I still like and buy his albums was with the original Americans. Kenny Vance of Kenny Vance and the Planetones was with the Americans. They do alot of Doo Wop and still tour.

    Both Jays at Hershey were showing their age, but both seemed to sing just as good as back then. They were with Bowsers (Sha Na Na) Rock and Roll show that comes to Hershey every year. Also with the show was, Joey Dee looking really old but still very spry, Freddie Boom Boom Cannon still skinny, and Kid Kyle. Kid Kyle started singing Doo Wop when around 10 and is now 16 or 17. He is putting out a new album as Kyle James with songs meant to rival Bieber. They all put on a 2 hour show that was pretty good.

  17. Hi Shady! You always come up with such interesting themes in your posts. I would have to say overall my favorite video and song was Eddie Money's, "Take Me Home Tonight". Loved the Drifter's, "Money Honey" and "The Jerk" by The Larks.

    I appreciated you sharing some facts from the most exciting time of your life in 1986. Knowing you now, I realize it was the most exciting time of your life because you were doing what you loved ... your passion. Thank you so much for continuing to share your passion on here with the world! Us!

  18. Cindy - Such kind words from you, dear friend, and greatly appreciated! I agree with you that a life lived passionately is a life well lived. As an artist you know how it feels to begin with a blank canvas and create something of beauty and relevance, something that connects with the soul. That's what I tried to do in my work. It was challenging yet very rewarding and I have many great memories of those years. Thank you very much for stopping in to see me. I hope you are well and have a great weekend, dear Cindy!

  19. Hi, Shady!

    "Money" by Barrett Strong, the Beatles, the Kingmans, Jr. Walker & the All-Stars-- they're all good, but I really enjoyed "Money Honey" with Mr. McPhatter singing lead. He also sang lead in their "Drip Drop", which was one of Dion DiMucci's bigger hits years later. Can't go wrong with the Drifters. I saw them a couple of times, but doubt that Clyde or Ben E. King was with them then. My favorites are with Ben E. King, beginning with "Save the Last Dance for Me". I had the album, and many other hits came off them. I'll have to check out more from Clyde's era---I had their "White Christmas". My favorite Clyde McPhatther songs were "Ta Ta" and "Lover Please", which rode the charts after he left the group. Thank you for the info about Don Julian & the Meadowlarks/Larks. I had "The Jerk", but had never heard either of the others. Jerre, keep enjoying those concerts in central PA. I would if I were there. Interesting info from Jerre and you about the Tokens and Jay and the Americans. Keep them coming, Shady. I've been reminiscing songs from your Pixies Three and other ladies triggered, now Jerre just added more songs to my head. Have a great weekend.


  20. Ron - The Drifters underwent numerous personnel changes over the years and were, for all intents and purposes, several different recording acts, each with a different sound. Most Drifters hits were achieved with three lead vocalists: Ben E. King (my favorite of his being "I Count the Tears"), Rudy Lewis who sang "On Broadway," and Johnny Moore who really brought me back as a Drifters fan with "Under the Boardwalk," "I've Got Sand in My Shoes" and "Saturday Night at the Movies." My favorite Drifters lead vocalist remains the first, Clyde McPhatter, who was even more exciting fronting Billy Ward & the Dominoes earlier in his career. Thanks for your comment, Ron, and have a great weekend!

  21. Okay, I must admit that the song ( not sure it falls within your fabulous classics) Money, Money Money by Abba popped into my head before all of the others. I always love stopping by and reading and listening to your blog dear friend. Big Hugs and wishes for a beautiful day ahead.

  22. Katie - Abba's one of my favorite acts along with Agnetha Faltskog in her later solo career. "Money Money Money" is a great song and video by the Swedish super group. The tribute group called Stars on 45 also used the song in their spot-on 8-minute plus Abba Medley which sounds more like Abba than Abba sounds like Abba. Thank you very much for visiting, Katie, and happy Sunday to you!

  23. Shady...The Ronettes were so much a part of my youth! Another good memory from the jukebox! Can't wait for the music to come in Part 2!

    Thanks for all the kind comments with the turtle watch. I know Florida is another turtle refuge...but I'm wondering how many you get to see nesting in central Fla., if any?

    Have a great week...and

  24. Hugs to you, Sush! I live in the center of the peninsula and therefore am not near any beaches. My knowledge of the turtles comes from stories on the news and not from direct experiences like yours. I've been thinking every day about those hatchlings you observed and wishing them the best. I know they'll stick in your mind as well. Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Sush, and stay tuned for Money Pt. 2 coming this Thursday!


You talkin' to me?