Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 14, 2013

SINGER: Managing the stars of summer

Niagara Gazette — Summer’s the time for concerts galore around here, and Elvis impersonators or those inspired by Sinatra will doubtless be coming to the fore. What the King and Frank had in common, besides being iconic, is an agent who took on both in the latter stages of their careers. With initial underestimation in place, I reluctantly bought Jerry Weintraub’s autobiography (“When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead”), thinking he’d be some superficial guy puffed up about trivialities (and hey, there are such types around).

The book, however, turned out to be fascinating pretty well all the way! Weintraub has Bronx-reared guts, a certain nobility, and the improvisatory genius you’d expect from someone who pushed a balky Colonel Parker into giving him a piece of the King.

Which then led to a phone call from someone claiming to be Frank Sinatra, wanting some of Weintraub’s promotional magic for his own career of the early ‘70s. At first Weintraub thought it was some kook on the line; once he got off the floor, so to speak, and started speaking to Mr. Sinatra, as he called him, he kept being chided–the name to be used was Francis, always Francis, OK? And meetings with the Rat Pack Chairman were when he called them, i.e., now.

What the book shows in a tasteful way is this super agent going from one adjacent opportunity to the next, rather as golfer Greg Norman did in his later business career. It helped that Weintraub wouldn’t take no for an answer. And that he brought out the best in people. And that he married the glamorous singer Jane Morgan (of “Fascination” et al.), becoming part of a power couple.

Even George H. W. Bush was taken with him (they met in Maine), and in turn, Weintraub had the independence of mind to value Bush, Sr., becoming his friend and seeing his potential for high office. (Not all people in Weintraub’s trade obviously this ecumenical!) Mainly, the super agent loved scouring New York or LA for new talent, and rightly, gets credit for “breaking” (his term) John Denver, finding him working for peanuts in Greenwich Village and soon plastering the world with billboards for the folk singer who made “Country Road” and other big hits of the ‘70s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Ortt jumps on drive to repeal the SAFE Act It was a no-brainer for North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, a Republican candidate for the 62nd Senate District seat, to join the forces to repeal the state's SAFE Act.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verplank: Turn back the clock at the Porter Cup

    July 24, 2014

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Tourists attracted here by history, beauty, politics As my friend and colleague, writer Don Glynn has so artfully portrayed over the decades, "For many years after the dawn of aviation, U.S. presidents visiting Western New York started at the Niagara Falls Airport. The reason: The main runway here was longer than that of the Buffalo airport and could easily accommodate Air Force One, the presidential aircraft."

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

    Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page