I must tell you, to get started today must be very difficult ’cause whatever it takes today is very tough. They have to invest a million dollars in a video just to see if you have a hit record.
To me, there is nothing better than me going into the studio with a live band and hearing those violins and that echo and that sound. I mean I loved it.
Times were changing. Clothes were changing. Morals were changing. We went from romantic loves songs like I used to do to rock ‘n roll. Now that has changed to rap. So, there’s always a new generation with new music.
Most of those takes were one take. I made those records in three minutes. I didn’t have time to get nervous or scared the first time I sang it. It was all ‘live’ and I enjoyed it so much.
I remember Mick Jagger asking me ‘hey, how do you guys feel about us coming over here and taking all the play from you guys?’ I said ‘Well, in a way, you have eliminated all my competition.
All around as a person, on right decisions, on holding your money, on doing your trade, a good education is a must. I don’t think I would’ve done as good without an education.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are stupid. They take drugs. They get drunk and do all the wrong things in life. I just played it straight.
When I owned the theater, I had the Glen Miller Orchestra. I had 20 girls singing and dancing. I had a cast of characters. It was a big group production, as well as ushers, ticket takers.
Hey, we’ve all been to high school We’ve seen the in-crowds. Most of us have been in the outer crowds, the people who weren’t in. Although I was never in, I was selling records and was very happy.
Session musicians kind of respected me because what I was talking about made sense. That all came from an education. Believe me, education does you more good. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve been around so long.
All my songs were solo voices. Just me singing. In fact, that was the gimmick – no gimmick. Just singing straight with not too much background.
Everybody goes through a stage where you have it. And, all of a sudden, you don’t have it anymore. You get older and the audience gets younger.
They said hey look, The Beatles deserve to be number one, not Bobby Vinton. We’re gonna cut your tires. Change that listing. They were dedicated at the time.
I was a schooled musician. When I made ‘Blue Velvet’, I told everyone what to do. I was an arranger. I learned music in school I told the band to play this. I told the guitar to do that.
I played Big Band jazz music. I wasn’t into rock and roll. I was just there because it was a living. I surprised everyone. I’m still surprising people.
I did have a big following in the upper New York area. I was at the New York State Fair a few times over the years. I have areas that I say are my areas.
I had a big troupe, a big army and it was a lot of fun. And, after 10 years of that, I just decided that I wanted to travel and do special dates. I go to Las Vegas these days.
To me, there was nothing greater than to play for an audience and to entertain people and that has stayed with me all these years.
Sammy Davis, I backed him up. I used to study him every night. I saw how great performers worked and was able to incorporate a little bit from the best.
The whole format of entertainment that I did seems to be fading away. The music business of today is completely different when you see the videos and the music.
I had been on tour with people like Roy Orbison. I knew Bobby Darin, Sam Cooke. So many great performers.
I would sell 2 million records, a million went to teenagers and a million went to the adults. So, when The Beatles became so popular, I lost a million to the teenagers, but I was still selling a million to the adults.
Everything they say about Elvis today is true. He was just one great guy. He wasn’t jealous of anyone. I would say Elvis was really someone special when you add it all up.
I saw an Elvis Presley movie Jailhouse Rock, where he gets out of jail and makes his own records and takes them to the radio stations himself. And then, he puts records in the store. After seeing that, I made records an put them in stores.
Today, you’re either very big or you’re playing stadiums or you’re not playing anymore. You’re either popular where everybody will go to a 20,000 seat arena to see you or they won’t go to see you at all.
It’s just different today. Nobody seems to last too long these days. I wouldn’t know how to get started today.