Sunday, June 28, 2009

Building the Band Brand
Steal a song that has been a hit

Gale Brooks passed June 28, 2009. She, like Pat Boone, was famous for covering popular songs by Black artists (known as Race records) and recording them for white audiences.

An example is I Hear You Knocking. The original done by Smiley Lewis reached #2 on Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues chart in 1955. Storm’s version landed at #2 on Billboard’s regular chart, meaning Dot Records realized a whole lot more $$$$ than Lewis’ unknown label.

One of Storm’s hits (she covered Frankie Lymon’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love? among many other race records) was a folk song done by John Jacob Niles. Storm covered it two years after I Hear You Knocking.

Bob Dylan was 16 and probably heard the song on his radio. His future girlfriend, Joan Baez did a cover of the Niles song about three to five years after Storm covered it, as best I could learn.

So, how does a young and hungry guy from Hibbing, Minn. build his band brand in the 20th Century? He takes Niles song, re-titles It Ain’t Me Babe and it becomes one of his first and biggest hits.

How to make more $$$? Get the leader of country music, Johnny Cash, to cover it in 1965.

To make even more $$$, realize a Los Angeles band, The Byrds, had a big hit with your Mr. Tamborine man – launching the band.

Why not launch another LA band with the song Johnny Cash currently has a hit with? Yes, Dylan was a marketing genius. He owned the mid-1960s.


If you look closely at the Johnny Cash clip, it must be from Saturday Night (SNL - Howard Cosell owned the name Saturday Night Live). That is G. E. Smith, husband to the late Gilda Radner, on acoustic guitar. Also Duck Dunn on bass and can not place the harmonica player, but he also got to play harmonica with Peter Tosh the night Mick Jagger showed up on SNL to sing with Tosh.

No comments: