Seasons Connections

The Lure Of An Era - A tribute to our past and our present


Ellie Greenwich remains a long lost star and was clearly a close friend of Bob Crewe. I have struggled for over a decade to get the song ‘Be My Lover, Be My Friend’ by Frankie Valli [and possibly the Four Seasons] released from the Motown Archive from a late 1972 session when I have proved it still exists on 16 track tape. It was written by Ellie with Bob and Steve Tudanger [formerly of The Four-Evers]. Bob Gaudio should have been sent the tape as part of the Snapper Music Box Set, but did not find it or approve it for some unknown reason. We continue in the meantime to Campaign for its release as well as other Bob Crewe songs like ‘Time Will Tell’….and it will….but whether anyone is still alive from when it was recorded will be down to Bob Gaudio. In the meantime my video tribute to Ellie and her backing singers Jean Thomas and Mikie Harris and some words from Ellie.

This article was written over two decades ago for some great people at WCBS-FM in New York City "Lure Of An Era" (60's Music) By: Ellie Greenwich [It remains ‘totally’ relevant today 20 more years on and post pandemic and with war in Europe and the Middle East]

It's 1963, and wherever you were, whatever you were doing, the radio was playing this song. (Drumbeat begins to Be My Baby, and the audiences went passionately wild...every time). This line opened my show Leader Of The Pack in 1984, and when the show is performed today at High Schools, Colleges and theaters, the reaction is the same...why?

I'll be the first to admit that when I first started writing songs professionally, in the early 60's, I never...not once, wondered what would be going on twenty-five, thirty years later. Oh, sure, I wondered how my marriage would be, how many kids I would have, where I would be living, and what I would be doing...but I never considered whether or not the music that was being created during this era would have longevity and survive.

Listening to the radio today, and seeing the number of revivals and "Oldies" shows, it's obvious that the music has lived and thrived. It has done that in spite of what would seem to be cultural changes and a more complex society. If you view the survival and prospering of 60's music from a somewhat psychological reference, maybe it's survival makes a lot of sense.

Being a grown-up...I mean a true fifty-ish/sixty-ish adult...who has had many cycles of good and bad times, illnesses, death of family members, etc., coming to terms with certain realities, and realizing and accepting that while we may feel eighteen and twenty years old, we are not, and we shouldn't try to be. Life today seems more violent, more complex, more uncertain and harder to hold on to than it was back then, especially the early 60's. Life was fairly simple and straightforward. There was a large degree of innocence, and flirting, courting and naiveté was the rule, not the exception. The music of that era reflected the simple life and easy times. It was a comfortable place to be, and people knew what to expect. JFK had people feeling hopeful. My generation was just graduating High School or College or moving on to the Trades or the Service. It was an exciting time, and people had a plan...or seemed to. There was something (intangible), to anchor yourself to. One of the biggest anchors was the music which was paramount in every waking hour of their lives...our lives...

Now, thirty years older, I believe that many of my generation have reached a new plateau and it's an interesting place. You can realize the fruits of years of hard work and you can watch your grown children slipping into the roles you are now leaving, but you also are painfully aware that you don't quite fit into society any longer. It's not the same world you knew. You are facing old age (oops!...I mean the "Golden Years"), and you really don't want to. It's a frightening time for many people. We feel somewhat scattered and directionless and we wish we were back in the 60's. We need to grab that anchor of stability once again, but can't find it...until we hear a familiar tune on the know, a song we listened to while our parents nagged and complained; a song we first-kissed to; a song we listened to with our friends while hanging out, sometimes pretending to be the groups themselves. And for those precious moments we can go back where we came from - go back to where it was fun, happy, safe, simple and comfortable. Need I say more?

And let's not forget the importance of the on-air personalities, none more prominent than Cousin Brucie. He is the reassuring figure you have always been able to latch onto...the older brother, the power that bridges the gap between yesterday and today; the person who keeps the music alive on the airwaves and in our hearts.

When you can squeeze hundreds or thousands of us into a hall or theater to see an "Oldies" show, there is a tremendous sigh of relief...of going home. Whether you experience the music live or hear it on the radio, the feelings are the same. These audiences are your friends and family. They are all as unsettled as you are, going through the same confusion, changes and pain, trying not to get pushed aside. Being together makes us feel better...more secure, almost back in our mother's arms. The music is the catalyst for bringing us together...and yes we do truly love it and can get excited and sing along and scream. We can all leave the show in our mini vans, station wagons, etc., and two or three couples go to the diner for coffee afterwards. We can talk about the show, how good or bad the groups were, etc. Many of today's youth are discovering, performing and loving this music now; it's in new movies and numerous commercials; and in speaking to the kids who have performed in many different productions of Leader Of The Pack, they all had fun - a taste of the innocence that we enjoyed - and a sincere yearning to know what it was like growing up and living in the 60's. Maybe their society has gotten too complex and confusing for them too. Maybe they're searching for what we had.

In any event, It's 2001, and wherever you are, whatever you are doing, the radio is playing this song. (drumbeat begins to Be My Baby, and the audiences go passionately wild...every time)...but the real reason for the success of the music will hardly be noticed. “

Not by us Ellie, and the Snapper Box Set proves it… what else can we achieve?

Ken Charmer


Photo of Bob Crewe and Ellie Greenwich courtesy of Mira-sound Engineer - George Schowerer






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