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Business lessons from The Beatles.

Ok, I know I overdo the anniversary thing. But this week does warrant a commemoration. Fifty years ago, the greatest band that ever was—the most successful musical ensemble of all time—took shape.

On August 13 1960, Pete Best joined the Beatles—finally giving the band a permanent drummer and stable membership. (For more, read my 2007 interview with Pete.) On August 16 they departed Liverpool for Hamburg, to begin their first club residency.

Within two-and-a-half years The Beatles had their first #1 hit in the UK. A year later they exploded in the US and began their domination of the world pop charts.


Miscellaneous opinings.

Someone recently asked me what rock band of the last quarter-century—formed after 1985—has been the most successful. (That eliminates U2 of course.) My immediate answer was 'Green Day'.

Some could make the case that Nirvana, despite their short seven-year lifespan, has been the most influential band—and has justifiably earned its title as 'the flagship band of Generation X'. But it's hard to argue with Green Day's twenty years of commercial success and the critical acclaim of its last two albums, American Idiot and Twenty-first Century Breakdown.

And now the punk trio has inspired a Broadway musical.

Income from record royalties, music publishing, live performances, and merchandising should keep the boys off food stamps for a while.


Hats off to Charles Westover.

I just came across a fine article at "The Best Years of Music" on '60s R&R singer Del Shannon. I hate to date myself (though I save $50 a weekend when I do), but I personally learned a key business lesson from this early rock maverick. More on that in a moment.

Shannon—whose real name was Charles Westover—heard my LA rock band, The Band of Angels, at a small nightclub in the San Fernanco Valley in the early '70s and expressed an immediate interest in producing us.

In addition to his success as a recording artist (known for his piercing falsetto and highly original compositions), Shannon had produced hits for others ("Baby It's You" by Smith and "Gypsy Woman" by Brian Hyland), and had discovered Bob Seger a few years earlier. He was also the first American artist to recognize the Beatles' songwriting potential—after they had opened for him in London in 1963—and got his own version of the Beatles' "From Me to You" onto the US record charts long before they did.

So when Shannon dubbed us "a combination of the Rolling Stones and Everly Brothers" we took notice. But not enough notice, apparently, because we got busy and he got busy, and nothing came of it. (Come to think of it, that seemed to happen a lot in my music career at the time.)


Manage this: corporate bands?

Watch out! The Battle of the Corporate Bands—for amateur, company-sponsored rock bands—is back.

According to the press release:

'Fortune Magazine, NAMM, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum joined together to celebrate the benefits of music-making and the positive effects that music has on employee morale and productivity in the international business world.'

They're singing to the choir here at blfr. But we especially love the names of these bands.


Protecting your brand from heathens.

Uncle Crusty & the Venice Canaligators was an LA-based honky-tonk boogie band I performed with (as mentioned previously), sometimes in the street, sometimes in bars.

The band gained in popularity in the '70s & '80s—helped by television appearances on NBC's The Midnight Special. Eventually the Canaligators became "adopted" as the band of choice by a renegade motorcycle club, the Heathens. A mixed blessing, as it turned-out.

It seemed like a harmless enough partnership at first. (What's not to like about large, menacing, hirsute hulks, sporting skull-and-crossbones, in wild Bacchanalian revelry?)


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