1962 – Playing guitar (not well) for Neil Sedaka’s Christmas tour, whenever there was no piano at the venue.
1967 – Watching the great arranger Peter Matz work with the string section at Gene Pitney’s recording session for my song “Flower Girl”, and feeling just a bit guilty about missing a college final that day.
I must mention here that I recently checked Pitney’s website a few years ago with the idea of possibly seeing him in concert, and was shocked to see the phrase ‘his music lives on’. I am including an e-mail that he sent me in November 2001, only to demonstrate how down-to-earth he still was in spite of his world fame and extraordinary talent as a singer and songwriter. I never got to know him well and had not seen him since the 60s; how considerate of him to take the time to write and send this to the writer of just one of his many recordings.
Nice to hear from you. Flower Girl is one of my favorite songs. You would be surprised to hear how many people request it at concerts. I have a concert coming out on the PBS Network in December which was recorded live at the Foxwoods Casino last July. It will be all over California during their pledge weeks so have a look. They wanted a hit laden show so songs like Flower Girl did not get in but I did sneak in some guitar songs ala Belafonte and a Robbie Williams song Angels to try to break it up. I have a very busy year coming up with 25 concerts in Europe and then a further 23 in Australia and New Zealand before I start in the US next summer. It's a lot of moving but I love it. Please take a look at www.gene-pitney.com.
1972 - Hearing two of my records on the top New York r&b stations, one artist under the name Magic Touch, the other called Soul Potion, and knowing that both vocals had actually been performed by Randy Silverman (formerly of the Salutations) who was driving a truck in Queens for a living (with the radio on). The listening audience never would have believed it.
1973 – Tiny Tim at Scepter Records studio saying “Mr. Bergen, please come in to the vocal booth and help me with the melody”.
1976-7 – Playing in a band with Al Scotti and Elaine Caswell (called the Three Of Them) in Florida and New York, plus various drummers including Anton Fig and Leo Adamian.
1985 – Accompanying rock singer David Coverdale on a blues improvisation at Le Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood.
1986 – Being in a London taxi with Robert Guillaume and hearing the driver exclaim “It’s Benson!”.
1987 – Coaching Cybill Shepherd during her very busy years at ‘Moonlighting’ and being greeted warmly by her in her living room with: “Hi, I’m Cybill”.
1989 – Accompanying Debbie Reynolds on the song ‘Tammy’ in various venues, just voice and piano.
1990 – Singing Beatles songs with Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees and the other Tokens in back of a tour bus.
1993-7 – Watching audiences tapping along to ‘Knock Three Times’ at Tony Orlando’s Theater in Branson Missouri, so many years after the hit.
1997 – Producing vocals for Mel Tillis and Charlie Pride in a Branson recording studio.
1998-9 – Performing with Bob ‘Bogie’ Bohinc and Tim Pope asThe Bowery Boys.
Norman, Bogie, Tim
Norman with Pam Tillis at the Bowery Boys Restaurant
FAVORITES OF MY RECORDS
(Alphabetically by Artist)
"It Was Always, Always You" - Jimmy Druiett
"Ain't That Peculiar" - The Tokens
"First Spring Rain" - We Ugly Dogs
FAVORITE OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF
(that I had nothing to do with)
All-Around Talent: Ray Charles
Arrangement: “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”– The Four Seasons; arranged by Artie Schroeck
Check out those strings in the intro.
Record: “Into The Night” – Benny Mardones
Reid Whitelaw and I recorded him in the early 70s under the name Troy (never released).
Musician: Paul Shaffer
He is amazingly versatile and a great guy.
In addition to his other obvious talents, Tony is a great r&b vocalist, a fact which many have either forgotten or never knew
TV Show: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
TV Theme Song: “Love Is All Around” (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) – composed and sung by Sonny Curtis
. A great talent and nice guy; wrote many hits; performs with The Crickets