1. |Chicago Charlie was a good| time| romeo.|
|He'd love a gal then whisper goodbye, cheerio.
Just like Napoleon love got Charlie too.// Here's
How Chicago Charlie said he met his Water- loo.//
2. |Chicago Charlie's singin' "No/ more/ wedding bells/!"/
|He's got a sore throat singin' "No/ more/ baby yells.!"?
|They wake the neighbors|| when they start to cry.// And
Charlie has to pacity them with this lulla- by.///
1. I left Frisco Kate,// swingin' on that Golden Gate,// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// ////
I left Ma and Pa/// out in Omaha-ha- ha,// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// ////
She comes from Mis- souri and she showed/// me///
Like a Texas steer she Buffa- loed/// me.///
Every Jim and Jack// got the well known Hacken- sack,// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// /|||
2. I [ just played the chp] for the famous Diamond [Lil ]// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// /// While
Folks in Nouro- shal say "He ain't done right by Nell,"// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// ////
I gave Georgia Brown my watch case Sun-/// day///
I gave Lula Ba- loo the works on Mon-/// day.///
I passed up those queens// like ketchup Boston beans,// when
Kansas City Kitty smiled at me./// ///|
1934-2011 music publisher of Brill Building hits
like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ ”
who later served as a deadpan Ed Sullivan for Kiss, the Ramones and others
with his 1970s television show, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”
Albert Franklin Rucker Jr. / Clay
1938-2010 his dance program “The
Clay Cole Show”
had a loyal following among adolescent television viewers
in the New York area
in the 1960s
and gave many groups, including the Rolling Stones,
early exposure on American
The Library of Congress > The Historic American
Sheet Music collection > 1850-1920
presents 3,042 pieces of sheet music
drawn from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke
which holds an important, representative, and comprehensive collection
of nineteenth and early twentieth century American sheet music.
Randy Wood started out stocking records
in a nook of his
electrical appliance store
before going on to found Dot Records,
a label that found success in the 1950s
recording white artists like Pat Boone
singing black artists’ rhythm-and-blues
August 15, 2011
The New York Times
By LARRY ROHTER
Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce
Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the
Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s
“One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for
record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States
copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to
reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the
When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of
other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to
regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two
years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview
of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by
the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation — and
then, as the calendar advances, every other master recording once it reaches the
The provision also permits songwriters to reclaim ownership of qualifying songs.
Bob Dylan has already filed to regain some of his compositions, as have other
rock, pop and country performers like Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Loretta Lynn, Kris
Kristofferson, Tom Waits and Charlie Daniels, according to records on file at
the United States Copyright Office.
“In terms of all those big acts you name, the recording industry has made a
gazillion dollars on those masters, more than the artists have,” said Don
Henley, a founder both of the Eagles and the Recording Artists Coalition, which
seeks to protect performers’ legal rights. “So there’s an issue of parity here,
of fairness. This is a bone of contention, and it’s going to get more
contentious in the next couple of years.”
With the recording industry already reeling from plummeting sales, termination
rights claims could be another serious financial blow. Sales plunged to about
$6.3 billion from $14.6 billion over the decade ending in 2009, in large part
because of unauthorized downloading of music on the Internet, especially of new
releases, which has left record labels disproportionately dependent on sales of
older recordings in their catalogs.
“This is a life-threatening change for them, the legal equivalent of Internet
technology,” said Kenneth J. Abdo, a lawyer who leads a termination rights
working group for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and has
filed claims for some of his clients, who include Kool and the Gang. As a result
the four major record companies — Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner — have
made it clear that they will not relinquish recordings they consider their
property without a fight.
“We believe the termination right doesn’t apply to most sound recordings,” said
Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America,
a lobbying group in Washington that represents the interests of record labels.
As the record companies see it, the master recordings belong to them in
perpetuity, rather than to the artists who wrote and recorded the songs,
because, the labels argue, the records are “works for hire,” compilations
created not by independent performers but by musicians who are, in essence,
Independent copyright experts, however, find that argument unconvincing. Not
only have recording artists traditionally paid for the making of their records
themselves, with advances from the record companies that are then charged
against royalties, they are also exempted from both the obligations and benefits
an employee typically expects.
“This is a situation where you have to use your own common sense,” said June M.
Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at
the Columbia University School of Law. “Where do they work? Do you pay Social
Security for them? Do you withdraw taxes from a paycheck? Under those kinds of
definitions it seems pretty clear that your standard kind of recording artist
from the ’70s or ’80s is not an employee but an independent contractor.”
Daryl Friedman, the Washington representative of the recording academy, which
administers the Grammy Awards and is allied with the artists’ position,
expressed hope that negotiations could lead to a “broad consensus in the
artistic community, so there don’t have to be 100 lawsuits.” But with no such
talks under way, lawyers predict that the termination rights dispute will have
to be resolved in court.
“My gut feeling is that the issue could even make it to the Supreme Court,” said
Lita Rosario, an entertainment lawyer specializing in soul, funk and rap artists
who has filed termination claims on behalf of clients, whom she declined to
name. “Some lawyers and managers see this as an opportunity to go in and
renegotiate a new and better deal. But I think there are going to be some
artists who feel so strongly about this that they are not going to want to
settle, and will insist on getting all their rights back.”
So far the only significant ruling on the issue has been one in the record
labels’ favor. In that suit heirs of Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley, who died
in 1981, sued Universal Music to regain control of and collect additional
royalties on five of his albums, which included hits like “Get Up, Stand Up” and
But last September a federal district court in New York ruled that “each of the
agreements provided that the sound recordings were the ‘absolute property’ ” of
the record company, and not Marley or his estate. That decision, however,
applies only to Marley’s pre-1978 recordings, which are governed by an earlier
law that envisaged termination rights only in specific circumstances after 56
years, and it is being appealed.
Congress passed the copyright law in 1976, specifying that it would go into
effect on Jan. 1, 1978, meaning that the earliest any recording can be reclaimed
is Jan. 1, 2013. But artists must file termination notices at least two years
before the date they want to recoup their work, and once a song or recording
qualifies for termination, its authors have five years in which to file a claim;
if they fail to act in that time, their right to reclaim the work lapses.
The legislation, however, fails to address several important issues. Do record
producers, session musicians and studio engineers also qualify as “authors” of a
recording, entitled to a share of the rights after they revert? Can British
groups like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Dire Straits
exercise termination rights on their American recordings, even if their original
contract was signed in Britain? These issues too are also an important part of
the quiet, behind-the-scenes struggle that is now going on.
Given the potentially huge amounts of money at stake and the delicacy of the
issues, both record companies, and recording artists and their managers have
been reticent in talking about termination rights. The four major record
companies either declined to discuss the issue or did not respond to requests
for comment, referring the matter to the industry association.
But a recording industry executive involved in the issue, who spoke on condition
of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for the labels, said that
significant differences of opinion exist not only between the majors and smaller
independent companies, but also among the big four, which has prevented them
from taking a unified position. Some of the major labels, he said, favor a court
battle, no matter how long or costly it might be, while others worry that taking
an unyielding position could backfire if the case is lost, since musicians and
songwriters would be so deeply alienated that they would refuse to negotiate new
deals and insist on total control of all their recordings.
As for artists it is not clear how many have already filed claims to regain
ownership of their recordings. Both Mr. Springsteen and Mr. Joel, who had two of
the biggest hit albums of 1978, as well as their managers and legal advisers,
declined to comment on their plans, and the United States Copyright Office said
that, because termination rights claims are initially processed manually rather
than electronically, its database is incomplete.
Songwriters, who in the past typically have had to share their rights with
publishing companies, some of which are owned by or affiliated with record
labels, have been more outspoken on the issue. As small independent operators to
whom the work for hire argument is hard to apply, the balance of power seems to
have tilted in their favor, especially if they are authors of songs that still
have licensing potential for use on film and television soundtracks, as
ringtones, or in commercials and video games.
“I’ve had the date circled in red for 35 years, and now it’s time to move,” said
Rick Carnes, who is president of the Songwriters Guild of America and has
written hits for country artists like Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks. “Year
after year after year you are going to see more and more songs coming back to
songwriters and having more and more influence on the market. We will own that
music, and it’s still valuable.”
In the absence of a definitive court ruling, some recording artists and their
lawyers are talking about simply exercising their rights and daring the record
companies to stop them. They complain that the labels in some cases are not
responding to termination rights notices and predict that once 2013 arrives, a
conflict that is now mostly hidden from view is likely to erupt in public.
“Right now this is kind of like a game of chicken, but with a shot clock,” said
Casey Rae-Hunter, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, which
advocates for musicians and consumers. “Everyone is adopting a wait-and-see
posture. But that can only be maintained for so long, because the clock is
April 23, 2011
The New York Times
By WILLIAM GRIMES
Max Mathews, often called the father of computer music, died
on Thursday in San Francisco. He was 84.
The cause was pneumonia, his son Vernon said.
Mr. Mathews wrote the first program to make it possible for a computer to
synthesize sound and play it back. He also developed several generations of
computer-music software and electronic instruments and devices.
He was an engineer at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., in 1957 when he
wrote the first version of Music, a program that allowed an IBM 704 mainframe
computer to play a 17-second composition of his own devising.
Because computers at the time were so slow, it would have taken an hour to
synthesize the piece, so it had to be transferred to tape and then speeded up to
the proper tempo. But the experiment proved that sound could be digitized,
stored and retrieved.
“The timbres and notes were not inspiring,” Mr. Mathews told a conference on
computer music at Indiana University in 1997, “but the technical breakthrough is
At Bell, Mr. Mathews developed new generations of Music as well as Groove, the
first computer system for live performance. Music V led to such current programs
as Csound, Cmix and MAX, a visual-programming language for music and multimedia
originally written in the 1980s and named for Mr. Mathews.
The implications of Mr. Mathews’s early research reached popular audiences
through the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” in which the HAL 9000 computer
sings “Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two)” as its cognitive functions are
The science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke had visited Bell Laboratories in the
early 1960s and listened as a vocoder, or voice recorder synthesizer, developed
by John L. Kelly, sang “Daisy Bell” to a musical accompaniment programmed by Mr.
Mathews. He incorporated the innovation into the novel on which the film was
Mr. Mathews later developed the Radio Baton, a forerunner of the gestural
controllers developed by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. The device consists of
two wands, similar in appearance to timpani sticks, equipped with antennas that
allow the user, waving the sticks like a conductor’s baton, to spatially
manipulate the tempo, dynamics and balance of digitized orchestral music stored
on MIDI files and broadcast on a computer.
“He gave us a whole new way to imagine and create music,” said John M. Chowning,
a composer and the founder of the Center for Computer Research in Music and
Acoustics at Stanford University. “He has had an enormous effect on how music
has evolved in the past 50 years.”
Max Vernon Mathews was born on Nov. 13, 1926, in Columbus, Neb. His parents
taught at the state teachers’ college in Peru, Neb.
After graduating from high school, he entered the Navy, which trained him as a
radio technician and set him on his future course. He went on to study
electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, where he
received a bachelor’s degree in 1950, and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, where he earned a doctorate in 1954.
At Bell Labs, where his mentor was John R. Pierce, Mr. Mathews collaborated with
several scientists, as well as the composer James Tenney, working on voice
synthesis and computer music. Early on, he saw the musical implications of
Claude Shannon’s work on converting analog information into digital form. His
optimism about the musical possibilities of digitized sound was reflected in the
title of an early paper, “The Digital Computer as a Musical Instrument,”
published in Science in 1963.
His research and ideas led to collaborations with the avant-garde composers
Edgard Varèse and John Cage. In the 1970s, with the composer and conductor
Pierre Boulez, he helped create the Institut de Recherche et Coordination
Acoustique/Musique in Paris, a center devoted to research into the science of
music and sound and to avant-garde electroacoustical art music.
An enthusiastic amateur violinist, Mr. Mathews invented several electronic
violins. The first, called the Crossbow because of its appearance, relied on a
voltage-control filter to generate nonviolin sounds. A later violin, made of
sheet metal, transmitted sound from a pickup under each string to an electronic
work station, where a collaborator could transform the music emanating from the
After serving as the director of the Acoustical and Behavioral Research Center
at Bell from 1962 to 1985, Mr. Mathews continued his research as a professor of
music at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford.
In addition to his son Vernon, of San Francisco, Mr. Mathews, who also lived in
San Francisco, is survived by two other sons, Guy, of Palo Alto, Calif., and
Boyd, of Berkeley Heights, N.J., and six grandchildren.
“What we have to learn is what the human brain and ear thinks is beautiful,” Mr.
Mathews told Wired magazine in January. “What do we love about music? What about
the acoustic sounds, rhythms and harmony do we love? When we find that out it
will be easy to make music with a computer.”
The New York Times
By ERIC PFANNER
After another year of plunging music sales, record company executives are
starting to contemplate the unthinkable: The digital music business, held out as
the future of the industry, may already be as big as it is going to get.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a trade group based
in London, said last week that sales of music in digital form had risen only 6
percent worldwide in 2010, even as the overall music market had shrunk 8 percent
or 9 percent, extending a decade-long decline.
In each of the past two years, the rate of increase in digital revenue has
approximately halved. If that trend continues, digital sales could top out at
less than $5 billion this year, about a third of the overall music market but
many billions of dollars short of the amount needed to replace long-gone sales
of compact discs.
“Music’s first digital decade is behind us and what do we have?” said Mark
Mulligan, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Not a lot of progress.”
“We are at one of the most worrying stages yet for the industry,” he continued.
“As things stand now, digital music has failed.”
Music executives disagree, saying there is hope, as long as they can come to
grips with piracy, which according to the industry federation accounts for the
vast majority of music distributed online.
Stronger measures to crack down on unauthorized copying are taking effect in a
number of countries, executives note, and even as the authorities wield a
heavier stick, the complementary carrots are appearing, too, in the form of
innovative digital services.
“The challenging environment continues, but we have some grounds for optimism,”
said Frances Moore, chief executive of the music federation.
Ms. Moore said the recent introduction of tough anti-piracy laws in South Korea
and France, which authorize cutting off the Internet connection of repeat
offenders, showed that stricter enforcement could persuade listeners to seek out
legal alternatives to unauthorized file-sharing services.
In South Korea, where the music business has long been blighted by piracy,
digital music sales rose 14 percent in the first half of last year, after the
new law went into effect in 2009, the federation said. The first account
suspensions occurred in the autumn, and the group said the publicity surrounding
the crackdown should help convert more consumers.
Max Hole, chief operating officer of Universal Music Group International, said
his company, the biggest of the four major record companies, was so encouraged
by the signs of a turnaround in South Korea that it had decided to start
investing in the development of new music acts again, after suspending
operations in South Korea several years ago.
France has also implemented a so-called graduated response system. In the French
system, cutting Internet access is preceded by several warnings. While the
authorities say they have sent out hundreds of thousands of e-mails to suspected
copyright cheats, nobody’s connection has yet been cut.
Record company executives said they were also encouraged by recent legal action
in the United States to cripple the file-sharing service LimeWire, as well as by
the progress in the U.S. Senate of a bill to give law enforcement officials more
power to shut down file-sharing services.
In Europe, the industry has notched legal victories against other sites accused
of abetting piracy, including The Pirate Bay and Mininova.
Industry executives say they are encouraged by the development of new digital
services, particularly those that embrace the principles of cloud computing.
These services can provide unlimited amounts of music to listeners on demand,
through a variety of devices, from mobile phones to televisions.
“The television is a great opportunity,” said Thomas Hesse, head of the digital
business at Sony Music Entertainment. “We haven’t innovated in the living room
for many years.”
Around the world, 10 million people have already signed up for
subscription-based online services from Spotify, Rdio and Deezer, some of which
have attracted additional millions of users with free, advertising-supported
services. Many executives hope the growth of offerings like these can reduce the
industry’s dependence on sales of individual tracks through digital stores like
Apple iTunes, a model that has attracted little interest from young music fans,
particularly outside the United States.
Yet some services that were hailed as potential iTunes challengers when they
were introduced are fading from the scene. Nokia, the mobile phone manufacturer,
said this month that it was sharply scaling back a service that gives buyers of
certain phones free, unlimited music downloads. Sky, the British pay-television
and broadband provider, recently canceled a subscription music service.
Music executives say Internet service providers hold the key to solving the
piracy problems and helping the music companies recoup lost revenue. For the
most part, providers have balked at taking stronger action against file-sharing,
saying they do not want to snoop on their customers.
But one provider in Ireland, Eircom, recently started instituting its own
version of a graduated response system. Customers who illegally download music
face a “graduated response” similar to the one in France, but they can avoid the
threat of disconnection by using a new music service from Eircom that offers
free, unlimited streaming.
Mr. Mulligan said tougher enforcement would succeed only if music companies and
other rights holders, including collecting agencies that represent artists and
composers, embraced digital services that met the needs and interests of
consumers, particularly teenagers and young adults.
Rights holders have grown more flexible as industry sales have collapsed, but
they remain reluctant to license their music to some services. For example,
Spotify, a popular streaming service in Europe, has yet to sign the record
company deals it needs to open a U.S. site. Meanwhile, Internet companies like
YouTube have sometimes struggled to reach agreements to show music videos in
The industry has also balked at the unlimited MP3 format, which comes with no
copy restrictions, allowing people to share music with friends or provide
soundtracks for their own videos, or post songs to social networking sites.
With growth in digital revenue slowing nearly to a standstill, analysts say, it
is no surprise that talk of mergers and buyouts is again swirling around some of
the Big Four music companies — Universal, Sony, Warner Music Group and EMI.
Warner, for example, is said to have hired bankers to explore a sale of the
company or a purchase of EMI.
“What has been keeping labels afloat has been the digital story,” said Mr.
Mulligan, of Forrester Research. “If, all of a sudden, what they have been
telling the market is the future turns out to be a failure, that radically
changes the conversation.”
October 15, 2009
The New York Times
By A. E. VELEZ
Al Martino, the Italian-American baritone renowned for a string of hits,
including the sentimental ballads “Spanish Eyes,” “Volare” and “Speak Softly
Love,” and for his role as the wedding singer in “The Godfather,” died Tuesday
in Springfield, Pa., The Associated Press reported. He was 82.
Mr. Martino was one of the most recognizable pop singers of the 1950s and ’60s.
Influenced by Perry Como and Al Jolson, he had a career that spanned nearly five
decades. He leaves behind several celebrated songs, including his breakthrough
hit for the small BBS label, “Here in My Heart.” Released in 1952, it rose to
No. 1 in the United States and later became the very first No. 1 single in
Britain. It also won him a contract with Capitol Records.
Mr. Martino had an influential and encouraging childhood friend in Mario Lanza,
the American opera singer who became a Hollywood movie star in the 1940s and
’50s. Lanza was slated to record “Here in My Heart” himself, but dropped his
plans after Mr. Martino explained that his own debut recording would be
neglected if he did.
In the mid-1960s, with rock music dominating the charts, Mr. Martino and his
“olive oil voice” (in the words of a character in “The Godfather”) helped
reintroduce classic pop romanticism to trans-Atlantic audiences. Between 1963
and 1967 he had nine Top 40 singles, of which the most enduring proved to be
“Spanish Eyes.” The vocal version of a song composed and first recorded by Bert
Kaempfert as “Moon Over Naples,” it became something of a standard and was later
recorded by both Elvis Presley and Wayne Newton. Mr. Martino returned to the
charts in 1975, when he recorded a disco version of the Italian singer Domenico
Modugno’s signature song, “Volare.”
One of the most prominent of the old-guard Italian-American romantic crooners,
Mr. Martino found his image permanently embedded in pop culture when he played
the singer Johnny Fontane in Francis Ford Coppola’s celebrated 1972 movie, “The
Godfather” (he would reprise the role in 1990 in “The Godfather: Part III”).
The character, loosely based on Frank Sinatra, is a famous crooner and washed-up
movie star. There are four instances in the movie in which Don Vito Corleone,
Fontane’s godfather and the head of a major Mafia crime family, intervenes to
help his career, most memorably in the scene in which a horse’s head is place in
the bed of a movie producer who would not hire Fontane. Mr. Martino told The
Times in a 2009 interview that “when Coppola was hired to direct, he fired me.”
“I was already cast for the part of the wedding singer by the original producer,
Al Ruddy,” he said. “But I needed to show Hollywood they couldn’t push me
around. I fought fire with fire. Sinatra was infuriated by the story line of
‘The Godfather,’ he wanted to stop production on the film, and I knew that if I
took the part Sinatra would bar me from Vegas and Coppola would ostracize me,
but I had some people that helped me.”
In a singing career that can best be described as a roller coaster, Mr. Martino
encountered both highs and lows. In 1972 he stormed off the stage of the Persian
Room at New York’s Plaza Hotel with some bitter remarks about the city and
canceled the rest of his booking there because of a disagreement with the
In 1979 he was arrested with his manager, Daniel J. DeJohn Jr., on shoplifting
charges. Both men were accused of stealing less than $100 worth of men’s socks
and shirts. “I was a victim of circumstance,” Mr. Martino said of the incident.
Born on Oct. 7, 1927, in Philadelphia, Mr. Martino was just 15 when he joined
the Navy in 1943. He completed basic training in New Orleans, where he developed
a love for country music. “I took the heart of country singing with me into
Italian romantic pop,” he said.
After shipping out to Iwo Jima and becoming a signalman on Mount Suribachi, he
suffered a shrapnel injury and was given orders to return home. In 1947 he moved
to New York City to pursue a career in show business, and earned his break as a
winner on the CBS show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.”
Always the classy dresser, Mr. Martino said in 2009 that he hoped today’s youth
would be able to have its own romanticism in future recordings. “I can’t sell
records in stores anymore; everything is online and I don’t have access to
younger audiences,” he said. “But 20 or 30 years from now, how are kids going to
October 16, 2006
The New York Times
By BEN SISARIO
She had played there many times over the last three decade,
but last night, before making her last appearance there, Patti Smith made sure
to snap a picture of CBGB.
“I’m sentimental,” she said as she stood on the Bowery and pointed an antique
Polaroid toward the club’s ragged, soiled awning, and a mob of photographers and
reporters gathered around her.
Last night was the last concert at CBGB, the famously crumbling rock club that
has been in continuous, loud operation since December 1973, serving as the
casual headquarters and dank incubator for some of New York’s most revered
groups — Ms. Smith’s, the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Television, Sonic
Youth — as well as thousands more whose blares left less of a mark on history
but whose graffiti and concert fliers might still remain on its walls.
After a protracted real estate battle with its landlord, a nonprofit
organization that aids the homeless, CBGB agreed late last year to leave its
home at 313 and 315 Bowery at the end of this month. And Ms. Smith’s words
outside the club, where her group was playing, encapsulated the feelings shared
by fans around the city and around the world: CBGB is both the scrappy symbol of
rock’s promise and a temple that no one wanted to see go.
“CBGB is a state of mind,” she said from the stage in a short preshow set for
the news media whose highlight was a medley of Ramones songs.
“There’s new kids with new ideas all over the world,” she added. “They’ll make
their own places — it doesn’t matter whether it’s here or wherever it is.”
Crowds had been lined up outside since early yesterday morning for a chance to
see Ms. Smith and bid farewell to the club, in an event that was carefully
orchestrated to maximize media coverage. Television news vans were parked on the
Bowery as fans with pink hair, leather jackets and — the most popular fashion
statement of the night — multicolored CBGB T-shirts (but not necessarily
tickets) waited to be let in and Ms. Smith’s band played a short set for the
Curiosity about the club’s last night was mingled with harsh feelings about its
“It’s the cultural rape of New York City that this place is being pushed out,”
said John Nikolai, a black-clad 36-year-old photographer from Staten Island
whose tie read “I quit.”
Added Ms. Smith outside the club, “It’s a symptom of the empty new prosperity of
Ms. Smith was CBGB’s last booking as well as one of its first. In the 1970’s,
she was the oracular poet laureate of the punk scene, and her seven-week
residency in 1975 is still regarded by connoisseurs as the club’s finest moment.
With an open booking policy, its founder, Hilly Kristal, nurtured New York
rock’s greatest generation, and in turn those groups made CBGB one of the few
rock clubs known by name around the world.
“When we first started there was no place we could play, so we ended up on the
Bowery,” said Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the group’s first
drummer and only surviving original member. “It ended up a perfect match.”
It has been a long and painful denouement for CBGB. After settling in 2001 with
its landlord, the Bowery Residents’ Committee, over more than $300,000 in back
rent, Mr. Kristal, a plucky, gray-bearded 75-year-old, landed back in court last
year. The committee, which has an annual budget of $32 million and operates 18
shelters and other facilities throughout the city, said the club owed an
additional $75,000 in unpaid rent increases.
Celebrities including David Byrne of Talking Heads and Steven Van Zandt of the E
Street Band and “The Sopranos” lined up to help mediate, but an agreement was
never reached. Last December, three months after the club’s 12-year lease had
expired, it agreed, at the prodding of Justice Carol R. Edmead of State Supreme
Court in Manhattan, to finally close.
Muzzy Rosenblatt, the executive director of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, has
said that a new tenant has been found for the space. Both Mr. Kristal and the
committee also say that CBGB’s accounts have been settled and that there are no
CBGB (its full name was CBGB & OMFUG, for Country Bluegrass Blues and Other
Music for Uplifting Gormandizers) is the latest and highest-profile rock club to
vanish from Lower Manhattan in recent years as rents and other expenses have
continued to skyrocket. Last year the Bottom Line closed over a debt of $185,000
to its landlord, New York University, and Fez and the Luna Lounge shut down
because of development. The Continental, another ragged temple of punk on Third
Avenue in the East Village, quit live music last month. Other clubs have
sprouted up in Manhattan, but the center of gravity of the city’s club scene has
gradually been shifting to Brooklyn.
Mr. Kristal is looking as far as Las Vegas. With the help of the mayor’s office
there, he has been inspecting spaces in that city’s Fremont East district, a
zone that the city intends to make into “a walkable live entertainment area like
Bourbon Street or Beale Street,” according to a statement from the mayor’s
The office of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg helped find a new space in New York but
the space it offered, on Essex Street on the Lower East Side, would have taken a
prohibitive $5 million to prepare for use, Mr. Kristal said. Calls to the
mayor’s office for comment were not returned late last week.
“I’d love to have the place here,” Mr. Kristal said. “If not here, then I’d love
to have it in Vegas. I’m going to keep it active no matter what.”
The club’s interior — a narrow corridor with a bar to the right, the stage to
the back, stalactites of grime dangling from the ceiling and miles of ancient
posters and graffiti all around — is almost as cherished as its music.
“It’s like it’s grown its own barnacles,” said Lenny Kaye, Ms. Smith’s guitarist
and a longtime rock critic and historian. “You couldn’t replicate the décor in a
million years, and dismantling all those layers of archaeology of music in the
club is a daunting task.”
The club’s architectural history stretches back much further than the Ramones
era. Marci Reaven, the managing director of City Lore, a nonprofit arts group in
Manhattan that studied CBGB in a joint project with the Municipal Arts Society,
said it is a rare example of the Bowery’s long past as an entertainment mecca.
“When you get beyond the layers of interior decoration that is CBGB,” she said,
“the architecture of the structure probably evokes the 19th and early 20th
century years of the Bowery better than any other building on the strip that we
Mr. Kristal said he planned to preserve as much of the interior as possible and
transport it to a new club, wherever that might be.
But CBGB’s symbolic legacy may far outweigh the value of its graffiti and its
“When I go into a rock club in Helsinki or London or Des Moines, it feels like
CBGB to me there,” Mr. Kaye said. “The message from this tiny little Bowery bar
has gone around the world. It has authenticated the rock experience wherever it
Mr Fred Mortimer, who conducted Foden's Motor
Works Band in all its major successes during the past 27 years, including eight
of the nine occasions on which it won the national championship, died at his
home in Elworth, Sandbach, on Saturday night. He was 73.
Mr Mortimer, who was born at Hebden Bridge,
estimated that he had broadcast with Foden's Band on 250 occasions. He became a
bandmaster at the age of 20 and was an active conductor until a few months ago,
when he became ill.
J. H. E. writes: The death of Fred Mortimer deprives the brass-band world of one
of its best-known personalities. A modest and friendly man, quite unspoiled by a
run of successes unique in band history, he was known to hosts of enthusiasts in
this country and abroad.
He devoted the greater part of his life to the band movement and was much in
demand as an adjudicator at contests and as a professional coach.
He will best be remembered, however, as conductor of Foden's Band during the
most brilliant years of its career. There was nothing spectacular about his own
contributions to its public performances, during which he was characteristically
His unobtrusive and straightforward manner of conducting, which contained
nothing to cause remark save that it was left-handed, may have deluded some
onlookers into underestimating his capacity. One had to observe Mortimer in the
bandroom to realise with what patience, tact and skill the performances had been
Mortimer was bandmaster when Foden's Band won the Belle Vue championship on
three successive occasions during the 1920s, conducted by a famous professional
coach, the late William Halliwell. But when the band accomplished the far
greater feat of recording two hat tricks at the national band festivals during
the 1930s, Mortimer conducted the winning performances himself.
The policy of the organisers of the contests confronted bandmasters with new and
challenging demands. That Mortimer won so consistently during the 1930s when
special test pieces were being written by Elgar, Ireland, Bantock, Bliss, and
others, is sufficient indication of the breadth of his musical accomplishment.
In 1936 he and the band were invited to represent English brass-band music at
the Government Empire Exhibition at Johannesburg, and a South African tour was
carried out with success.
The summer solstice at Stonehenge is now celebrated by a grand
company of policemen, trespassers, pot takers, coach drivers, pop bands, barking
dogs and distraught farmers, none of whom, apparently, knows what is truly going
This year's first pop festival followers evidently broke into a National Trust
field, half a mile from the stones, on Friday night. By yesterday there were
well over a thousand, accommodated mostly in the now familiar tents, teepees and
makeshift shelters, but occasionally in brand new polythene wigwams.
The spectacle is now a kind of ramshackle ritual. The coaches on the way to the
official car park opposite the stones pause so that the passengers can gaze at
the 'hippies.' Policemen move from control point to National Trust field. The
fans say 'yeah man,' — it sounds as old-fashioned now as 'yes sirree' — and the
wood smoke cuts the pure air of Salisbury Plain like the scent of burnt chips.
'There's a lot of power round here, man,' one follower volunteers, indicating
leylines and ancient barrows. One group tries to harness some of it by sitting
silently, eyes closed, to encourage the sun to shine. The old symbols of alchemy
and the zodiac flutter on flags and tent flaps, but the sky stays heavy. A kind
of rump parliament meets squatting on an ancient barrow, and decides against
permitting a hot dog stand. It also passes a resolution against cutting down the
farmers' trees for kindling. 'It's like cutting somebody off at the knees,' one
voice proclaimed, transforming wilful damage into ecological immorality in a
Cyclostyled handouts are issued from time to time, from sources as mysterious as
the stones. 'Don't take any drugs off the site,' one says. There is a threat
that the Sex Pistols may come to perform, but no one knows when or why. The road
outside is thick with the law, but what is to be done?
Beside the entrance to the field, a policeman notes the registration numbers of
cars. A local milk roundsman who sold almost one thousand bottles before lunch
says: 'They let the tradesmen in.' Union Jacks, a defiant innovation if ever
there was one, fly high above the tents, among the soaring kites and the
woodsmoke. There is much tramping about, sitting and strumming and waiting for
'I mean, it's the way we live now, isn't it?' the milkman says. 'It's anarchy in
action, man,' one of his customers says. Down the road the tourists from Europe
and beyond retire to await the dawn between clean sheets.