If you click to the Links page and scroll down to the bottom you'll see that this site is dedicated to the memory of the late Honorable Sonny Bono. My friend, the great Dr. David Petrucco, recently asked if that was some kind of joke. The answer is, it's no joke. I'll explain. 4th of July Weekend 2003, Leon and I made our way out to beautiful Hoboken, New Jersey . . . The Catholic Girls were playing at Maxwell's.
Our association with this great, back to basics, all female rock group goes back to our MCA days. In fact, most of the staff of this web site was involved in the signing of the group to the label. Professor Brian "Bondito" McAlley gave me a tape, bio, and photo of the unsigned band. I listened, and if truth be told wasn't knocked out. They were great at what they did, but it wasn't my thing. I did love the way they looked four hotties in Catholic school uniforms. I kept the package on my desk.
Leon was out in the West Coast office and we talked frequently. One day I had to get the spelling of his name right for some album credits . . . Leon Tsilis (pronounced Tillis) wasn't the most common name to spell. As we spoke, I didn't realize it, but I sort of doodled his name all over the photo of the girls. When I hung up and noticed this, I sent him the photo, the tape and bio and a note that said, "Here's a group with your name all over it." What I thought was a joke turned out to be fate because he signed them! There's a lesson in there somewhere.
Anyway, now it was the summer of 2003 and the girls were still rockin' out on tunes from all their CD's. I still love "Private School" with the line, "I don't want to go to hell. I don't even want to die." They did some great covers, like The Stones' "Satisfaction," mixed in with their originals.
Between sets we were musing about other tunes they might cover. One tune we came up with was "Needles and Pins" by The Searchers. It's a sensational record that introduced the jingle-jangle 12 string guitar opening a year or so before The Byrds copied it for "Mr. Tambourine Man."
Same night, 3 am, New Jersey Turnpike, CBS-FM, "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, I turned it up and marveled at the record's production. Not only did Sonny write it, he also produced it. Then it hit me . . . Sonny wrote "Needles and Pins!"
When the acid rock era took hold, it was over for many 60's rock acts, but not Sonny & Cher. Sonny reinvented their act for Vegas. It was so successful that it became "The Sonny & Cher Show" on CBS, a hit from '71 to '74.
Not a bad life, but there was more. After running 3 restaurants where he received acclaim for his Sicilian-style Italian Cuisine, Sonny entered politics. Fed up with a "failure of leadership", he ran for mayor of Palm Springs and won by the largest majority in the city's history. In 1994 he was elected to the 104th Congress with a 16-point margin of victory. He died skiing into a tree at a place called The Heavenly Ski Resort. You can't make this stuff up.
Sonny did it all. What are you waiting for?
As for this month . . .
You want Features? We don't got to show you no stinkin' Features! But we will. First up is a new edition of Mike's Mix Tape. On Side 3 he takes on summer. Then if you've ever wondered what #322 is on the all-time Top 1001 songs list, wonder no more . . . we've got the complete list courtesy of the defunct oldies station WCBS-FM.
Ray "J.D." D'Ariano