John Madara's Greatest Hits
AT THE HOP
It all started with the DANNY AND THE JUNIORS' Hit AT THE HOP ... today we'll take a look at THREE of JOHN MADARA's Greatest Hits!!!
(NOTE: The published sheet music for AT THE HOP clearly shows ARTIE SINGER's name front and center as the principal songwriter on this tune! We've also got a copy of the original Picture Sleeve issued with the special ABC-PARAMOUNT Extended Play 45 RPM Release from back in 1958!!!)
There are many other stories to share with the other hits that we have created. I have also attached the link to my website. Check out all of the other recordings. Kent, I want to thank you for all of your Forgotten Hits E-mails. They have provided me with some wonderful information about the people who are so much a part of my career. I have not seen or had contact with many of them in years, but your E-mail brings them back into my life, and I always have a heartfelt smile for them. Please pass on a big hello to my friend, Freddie Cannon, who I have not seen in years. Also, Hal Blaine is one of my closest friends, and I have shared many, many stories with him and worked in the studio with him many times. He is truly THE greatest drummer I have ever worked with. Thank you.
Lots of love,
When our original series ran, John shared with our readers a number of rare and unreleased tracks ... you'll see some of these discussed below.
JOHN MADARA: With regards to the Danny and The Juniors two sides I sent you, "Little Doll," written by Madara and White and "My Dear, My Love," was written by Dave White, recorded in early '58, and both sides produced by me ... as to why these sides weren't released ... well, as a 19 year old boy, I can only say that "the adults" were making all of the decisions. Please pass along the link to my website so that other interested readers can check out some of the music that I've been involved with during the course of my career.
Thanks, JOHN ... you've got some interesting tales to tell for sure!!! DAVID WHITE, JOHN MADARA's long-time songwriting partner, was one of "THE JUNIORS" featured on these early record as well. Together they would go on to write and / or produce a number of hit songs from the early days of rock and roll.
Here's an early photo of Johnny Madara, circa 1957-1958, from his solo career:
Hi Kent ....
These two photos are the only pictures from 1958 taken in the studio with Danny & The Juniors. That's a young John Madara facing Dave White (in white tee shirt).
Thank you, Kent, for printing the truth about the hits.
The writing and production team of MADARA and WHITE were responsible for a number of hit songs from the earliest days of rock and roll. A quick visit to their website, THATPHILLYSOUND.com, shows a list of some of their chart hits. These include YOU DON'T OWN ME by LESLEY GORE, AT THE HOP and ROCK AND ROLL IS HERE TO STAY by DANNY AND THE JUNIORS, 1-2-3 and SOMEWHERE by LEN BARRY, BIRTHDAY PARTY and 442 GLENWOOD AVE by THE PIXIES THREE, KEEM-O-SABE by THE ELECTRIC INDIAN, THE FLY by CHUBBY CHECKER, PLAY THOSE OLDIES, MR. D.J. by ANTHONY AND THE SOPHOMORES, THE BOY NEXT DOOR by THE SECRETS, DAWN OF CORRECTION by THE SPOKESMEN, THE HUNGRY YEARS by WAYNE NEWTON, LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL / FEEL SO GOOD by BUNNY SIGLER and many more. JOHN MADARA was there when DARYL HALL (and later, JOHN OATES) first entered the recording studio. He worked with a very young LEON HUFF just prior to HUFF's teaming up with KENNY GAMBLE, with whom he would help to create THE SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA. MADARA worked with DENNY DOHERTY after THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS split up ... and the records that he helped to create have been used time and time again in movie soundtracks, television advertisements and TV programs. We are happy to salute their efforts in this very special FORGOTTEN HITS feature.
Even though we have sold over Two Hundred Million records and our songs have been in the biggest films and sound track albums, “Woodstock”,”Grease”,”Dirty Dancing”, “Hairspray" and “The First Wives Club" and over Thirty Five more films, and over Seventy Five TV shows and the over Thirty Million air plays around the world, our and my careers have never been documented ... and even though “At The Hop” by Danny And The Juniors is in The Walk Of Fame in Philadelphia, Madara and White are not, and they are not in the “Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame” either. Danny And The Juniors are in the “Vocal Group Hall Of Fame”. It would be nice to get credit for writing and producing some great records, and for my contributions to “Rock And Roll”. It is the one thing I have never cared about, but in the twilight of my life it would be nice to have the truth and the credit for your love of “Rock And Roll” since you were a boy, and all you ever wanted all your life was to make great records and give that next big talent a lift up. All my credits are on my Web Site http://www.thatphillysound.com/
Kent, thank you so much for doing this series ... it means a lot.
Glad to do it, JOHN ... let's introduce some of the BIGGEST oldies music fans out there to some of what they may have missed.
We've had quite a bit of discussion in FORGOTTEN HITS this past year about the new documentary WAGES OF SPIN, a profile of the early days of Philadelphia Rock And Roll, DICK CLARK and AMERICAN BANDSTAND. Since then, we have introduced JOHN MADARA to SHAWN SWORDS and PAUL RUSSO, the Executive Producers of this film. Hopefully, they will interview him further regarding the true historical accuracy regarding their song AT THE HOP. (Ironically, the very first trailer released for WAGES OF SPIN features ARTIE SINGER talking about how HE had to give half of the songwriting and publishing credit to DICK CLARK in order to get CLARK to feature his record, AT THE HOP, on AMERICAN BANDSTAND. SINGER describes it as truly a "Catch 22" situation ... if he DIDN'T agree, the record might never have been played ... by cutting DICK CLARK in for half of the publishing, CLARK pushed the record like crazy ... and AT THE HOP quickly topped the charts and has gone on to become regarded as an early rock and roll classic. SINGER ... who passed away just a few months ago ... admits that he'd still make the same deal today. One cannot help but wonder if he added HIS name to the songwriting credit to make up for the portion he was forced to give away when first making his "Deal With The Devil" to get his hot new DANNY AND THE JUNIORS single played on the air!!! On the other hand, one could argue that with CLARK's contribution of the title ... and the INCREDIBLE amount of clout he had with the recording industry at the time ... his name almost DESERVED to be included in the songwriting credits!)
I asked JOHN MADARA what he thought about my theory ... and how he first crossed paths with ARTIE SINGER ...
I met Artie Singer when I started taking voice lessons from him. Understand that at this time Artie Singer and Bernie Lowe had been partners in the vocal coaching business, and of course, Bernie went on to start Cameo. So Artie was always wanting to be Bernie Lowe. One day when I walked into the office for a lesson, Artie played me a song, "Be My Girl," taught me the song and really liked the way that I sang it. So he says to me, "If you can get the money together, we'll go into the studio and record the song." The record went on to be picked up by PREP Records, a subsidiary of Capitol. It went on to be a local hit and made the national charts and went into the 90s. During that period, I met Dave White and his group, The Juvinaires. Dave and I became friends and started hanging out together. I came up with the idea to do a record called "Do The Bop," kind of in the style of Jerry Lee Lewis' song, "A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." Dave and I worked on it for several days and the end result was us going to Artie Singer's office, with Dave's group singing background and me singing lead. I thought that this would be a good follow-up to "Be My Girl." So we went into the studio and recorded "Do The Bop" with "(Sometimes) When I'm All Alone," again with me singing lead and Dave's group doing the backgrounds. This session again was not financed by Artie but by my ex-father-in-law. Upon completion, "Do The Bop" was played for PREP Records. They didn't care for it, and they already had me scheduled to record with a producer whose name was Sid Feller, who at the time was producing the Paul Anka records for ABC Paramount. After finding this out, the record was then played for Dick Clark, who suggested at the time that THE BOP was not happening around the country, but he thought the record was terrific and we should change the subject matter from THE BOP to what the disc jockeys were having at the time -- record hops. So "Do The Bop" became "At The Hop" with very minimal lyric changes. At this point, I don't recall the reason why Danny became the lead singer of "At The Hop," but I seem to remember that it was because I was under contract to PREP and they had already turned "Do The Bop" down. Dave White remembers that the group insisted that they record the new version, and that's why Danny sang lead. I really don't remember the chain of events. At the time, Dave's group was the Juvinaires. I came up with the name, The Juniors, because there was The Four Freshman and The Seniors, so I said The Juniors and took Danny's name and they became "Danny and The Juniors." I produced their first three records, "At The Hop," "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay" and "Dottie." I was involved in the later recordings, but to a much lesser extent. Now, with regards to why Artie put his name on the song, he did contribute the title, WHICH CAME FROM DICK CLARK, but creatively, Artie had nothing to do with the production and the arrangement and the whole concept was my idea. Artie's contribution was minor. Did he deserve to put his name on as writer, take the publishing and the production royalties? I don't think so. At the time payola was very common. All the radio stations had a key disc jockey who was receiving something. Dick Clark received half of the publishing on "At The Hop," but I truly believe that Dick did not ask for it, but Artie offered it to him, because he was desperate to have a hit record, because Bernie Lowe was having many hit records that were all being played on Bandstand. Artie had nothing else going for him at the time and here was a chance for Dick Clark to start playing a record he really liked. And, of course, Dick Clark's show had gone national. That was definitely another reason why "At The Hop" became such a huge hit. Knowing Dick Clark as well as I do for fifty years, I find it hard to believe that he would not play a record if he did not own a piece of it. How Artie Singer can say it was akin to making a deal with the "devil" is absolutely ludicrous. Dick Clark loved the record, and this was a chance for Artie to get it exposed on a national level. All I can say is that after knowing Dick Clark for this amount of years, there would have never been an "At The Hop" without Dick Clark playing it, along with the many other records that never would have been hits because of the heavy NATIONAL exposure that he offered. Without Dick Clark, the explosion of Rock and Roll music would not have had the same impact. So, again, how Artie Singer could ever put down Dick Clark is beyond me. If you want to talk about the devil, Artie is the one that Dave and I had to sue to collect our royalties that were not being paid to us accurately, and Danny and The Juniors also were not being paid accurately, I never received anything from "At The Hop" except for my 1/3 writers' royalties, from a record that was my whole concept, and you will notice that Danny emulates my phrasing and performance that I did on "Do The Bop" on "At The Hop." Like I said in one of my earlier letters, Kent, I don't have much respect for Artie, but he did open that initial door for me. But for Dick Clark, I have more respect than I can put into words. He has been a good friend, and most important of all, a HUGE force in the birth of Rock and Roll. So again, who's the devil here? David and I went on to write and produce many classic hit records. The sales of our records are over 200 million, and Artie Singer remained a vocal coach. Not trying to be egoed out, but that's just the simple truth. Kent, I really look forward to your series ... and getting the truth out there once and for all.
Lots of love,
And it's not over yet!!! We learned just prior to going to press with this series that JOHN MADARA recently had to confront original JUNIOR (as in DANNY AND THE JUNIORS) JOE TERRANOVA (JOE TERRY), who now claims (on his "Official" DANNY AND THE JUNIORS Web Site) that the BAND wrote their first hit, AT THE HOP!!! (Here we go again with this "Selective Memory" bullshit!!!) You may still be able to check it out here for yourself! (Hopefully, JOE has since CORRECTED his site to more accurately present the TRUE chain of events!!! JOHN shared his email correspondence with our FORGOTTEN HITS Readers):
Hi Joe ....
Are you having memory problems? Every time I read anything about “At The Hop”, you fail to mention my name, that I wrote the song with David, that I recorded “Do The Bop” first, that I discovered you and that it was my idea to do it like “Whole Lotta Shakin Gone On” ... that I named the group Danny And The Juniors and that I was the one who was in the control booth producing the record. And the thing that you never knew, that the money that Artie spent for the session was financed by my ex-father-in-law, and that my recording of “Do The Bop” was played for Dick Clark and that HE suggested that we change the title to something about record hops. It would be nice if you told the truth regarding how this record came to be. Danny even emulated some of my performance from “Do The Bop”. It would be nice to read the REAL story. Artie even put out “Do The Bop” later and did not put my name on as the artist, but put on Danny And The Juniors instead of mine. Joe, I think that if the roles were reversed, you would not feel good about it. So, the next time you do an interview, my name is spelled John Madara.
What a shame!!! Can't DANNY AND THE JUNIORS just be proud of the contribution THEY made to The History Of Rock And Roll??? Without having to EMBELLISH it with more and more FALSEHOODS?!?!? Apparently not ... and that's too bad, because if you GO to their website and listen to their newly recorded track, HOUSE ON FIRE, it's NOT a bad track at all!!! In fact, I think it's REAL catchy!!!
FORGOTTEN HITS: Who is this guy, JOE TERRY, and what's the deal with his recent web postings?
JOHN MADARA: Hi Kent .... Joe Terry is part of the original group, he owns the name, has an ego the size of a truck and even takes credit for doing the "O Babies" on “At The Hop” when it was actually Danny moving closer to the mike to do that part and then backing off to do the lead. Reading Joe Terry's account of At The Hop is like reading Science Fiction!
FH: Here's another one for you ... the JOEL WHITBURN Book says that DANNY AND THE JUNIORS first released DO THE BOP on The SINGULAR Record Label (Catalog Number 711) back in 1957 ... in fact, he values it at over $300!!! I thought DO THE BOP never saw the light of day and was re-recorded as AT THE HOP!!!
JM: Artie Singer released “Do The Bop” during the eighties on his label Singular, under the catalog number of S-711X, but again he did not put my name on it, just showed it as Danny And The Juniors. (What a lying sneaky thing to do!!) That was Artie Singer. That record was not released in 1957. The only Singular Record released in 1957 was “At The Hop”. I must say that not getting credit for the records you made or the people you discovered really hurts!!!! All I ever wanted was to make great music. I’m sorry he has passed away, but Artie was NOT an honorable person. I do not mean to be insensitive ... in reflection, Artie did open that original door and for that I’m grateful. May he rest in peace.
FH: I may have mis-spoken ... a look at the latest JOEL WHITBURN Book, TOP POP SINGLES, 1955-2006, states (under the entry AT THE HOP): "Song originally written as 'Do The Bop'; first released on Singular 711 in 1957" which could ALSO imply simply the song's original title and the fact that the ORIGINAL release of AT THE HOP was through ARTIE SINGER's SINGULAR Record Label ... prior to the master being sold to ABC-PARAMOUNT. Meanwhile, record authority JERRY OSBORNE (who's written COUNTLESS Collectible Record Price Guides over the years), tells me that a NUMBER of dealers have tried to misrepresent the 1980's pressing SINGULAR "DO THE BOP" single as MUCH older vintage and have taken advantage of unsuspecting buyers ... therefore, I apologize IMMEDIATELY if I presented this information incorrectly earlier in this article. (kk)
Meanwhile, here's a copy of the '80's pressing, released by SINGER (using JOHN MADARA's original vocal, but crediting the artist as DANNY AND THE JUNIORS!!!)
1, 2, 3
Here's a copy of the ORIGINAL sheetmusic for 1, 2, 3 ... showing JOHN MADARA, DAVID WHITE and LEONARD BORISOFF as the songwriters ... after BERRY GORDY's 1965 lawsuit, future publications would also list The MOTOWN Songwriting Team of HOLLAND, DOZIER and HOLLAND in these songwriting credits.
After scoring five Top 40 Hits with THE DOVELLS, LEN BARRY decided to pursue a solo career. In the liner notes of his Greatest Hits CD, here is how he describes the excitement of 1, 2, 3 becoming such a HUGE chart success:
"When we did '1, 2, 3', we got to where I was trying to go since 1961. I was really at home with that. I was a Motown act as far as I was concerned. It was the second take. We did it live in the booth. There were no overdubs, no punches. It was great! It had never sounded like that --- ever! I said to myself, 'The Man upstairs is hearing me.' If you listen to '1, 2, 3', I have sung better, but I have never communicated with the public like that, ever. Because on that song, the vocal is total desperation. I was saying to the public, 'Look, I'm 22, let's get serioius because I don't know what I'm gonna do if you don't buy this record.' That desperation was in the performance."
About the song itself, BARRY had this to say:
"I didn't write that for me. I wrote that for the Pixies Three. They had '442 Glenwood Avenue' and such. That's why it had numbers. I don't know why they didn't do it, but they didn't do it --- and I should be grateful."
JOHN MADARA: With regards to writing 1-2-3, you told me that Len Barry had said that it was written for The Pixies Three. That's not correct, because by 1965 we were not producing anything for Mercury Records anymore. I remember clearly that we were set to have a writing session at the office for Lenny's recording session, and I walked in with the melody and a title of "1, 2, and 3". Lenny said, "Let's make it 1-2-3." So we sat and wrote the song ... with no help from Motown.
BARRY's last DECCA single was cowritten with and produced by KENNY GAMBLE and LEON HUFF, two OTHER figures who would later feature prominently in the career of JOHN MADARA. One of MY personal favorite LEN BARRY records is his take on SOMEWHERE, from the Hit Musical WEST SIDE STORY. (It hit #17 on the CASH BOX Chart in 1966.) This was another song selected and produced by the team of MADARA and WHITE, much to the disdain of LEN BARRY ... especially when they arranged it to sound similar in style to his two previous hits, 1, 2, 3 and LIKE A BABY. BARRY felt pigeon-holed by the sound.
LEN BARRY: SOMEWHERE I didn't even want to do ... I wanted to throw up. The drummer must have died from repetition.
Well, personally, I really LIKE this version!!!
For more on BERRY GORDY's penchant for lawsuits, you might find our BOBBY PARKER / YOU'VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES article interesting ... you can still find it posted on The FORGOTTEN HITS Blog Page here:
You Don't Own Me
For a GREAT clip of LESLEY GORE performing this song live, be sure to check out this YOUTUBE performance:
(You'll find a pretty cool DUSTY SPRINGFIELD version of the song there, too!!!)
Copyright Kent Kotal / Forgotten Hits, 1998 - 2017 ... All rights reserved