WHERE DID BILLY JOEL COME UP WITH

"ALLENTOWN"

FOR THE TITLE OF HIS 1980's SONG ABOUT THE EXPORTING OF AMERICAN JOBS YOU ASK ?

I can't really speak for Bill, but I'm pretty sure this incident from 1968, played a part in it

 

From The Forthcoming Book "If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets" by Ken Spooner

 

Chpt 7 Mrs. Murphy's Basement

..... We wound up working at Danny Mazur’s club again. This would be the fourth band he saw me in. By this time The Hassles already had their first album out and were planning a second. Billy Joel was doing most of the writing for it. Well Danny must of liked the idea of the girls ‘cause he offered me a management / recording deal right away. Danny was a very short, loud, and aggressive man. Robbie didn’t want any part of it and dropped out overnight. He left a pretty big hole. The first time we played with the Hassles, I recall Billy Joel coming up to me after and saying he really dug the way we did “I Am The Walrus” that was Robbie’s doing. We wound up going with Mazur Management, which was Danny and his son Irwin. Danny did what he said he would, he brought record people out to see us. He brought Tommy Kaye.

 

 

THE HASSLES CIRCA 1967

Front: Howie, Little John, Richie Rear: BIlly , Jon

 

Allentown

Now Mazur had a really loud voice, he did not need a microphone, but he had one off stage and his own PA to introduce the acts. It was a Saturday night, the place was packed as the Hassles were a big draw on Long Island. As we were taking our places on a darkened stage Danny’s voice cut through the night ... LADIES AND GENTLEMEN... MY HOUSE IS PROUD TO PRESENT ... THE NEWEST GROUP ON THE UNITED ARTISTS RECORD LABEL. THEY WILL BE PERFORMING FOR YOU TONIGHT AS A PRE KICKOFF TO THEIR UPCOMING TOUR WITH THE HASSELS AND VANILLA FUDGE THAT STARTS NEXT WEEK IN ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA! .. SO HERE THEY ARE, PERFORMING THEIR ORIGINAL MATERIAL FROM THEIR FORTHCOMING ALBUM ...MRS. MURPHY’S BASEMENT !


Now not only was this news to the audience. it was a big shock to us. As we were hearing it for the first time too. Maybe he thought it would jazz us even more. But the biggest shock came when Danny threw on the stage lights. There, for all the world to see, was Mickey Milton, our roadie... all 260 or so pounds of him, bent over fixing an amp and doing the original Norge Repairman Bit, ten years before Dan Akroyd would. I wonder if Dan was in the audience that night? Mickey’s pants were riding low and it was definitely a full moon. I was behind the organ and didn’t get to see the whole effect, but sure got to hear about it as the whole band got chewed out in the dressing room after the show. “JESUS CHRIST!... Danny was Jewish to boot ... I BREAK MY ASS TO BUILD YOU UP AND WHAT DO I SEE? ... WHAT DO I SEE FOR IT? ... A BIG ASS STARING EVERYONE IN THE FACE, MY CUSTOMERS, THE LABEL, AND ME! ... THIS HAS GOT TO STOP RIGHT NOW! Danny went on for 10 minutes just ranting and raving. Tommy Kaye on the other hand, laid low and was very soft spoken. I never mentioned to Tommy that we had met before.

 

From Delaware County Daily Times July 1968

THE CONCERT THAT WASN'T ....

It was never explained by Mazur to us why this show did not happen. I'm not sure if the Fudge appeared or not as they were managed by Phil Basile, who ran the Action House in Island Park. I would surmise that if the Fudge did not appear in Allentown, it would be totally Phil's decision as you did not refuse what Phil, a reputed member of the Luchese family, asked you to do. But don't take my word for it, Google Phi Basile and read for yourself

 

.... Well big ass or not, everyone including Mazur, was glad we had Mickey to help lug my Hammond up the narrow and steep stairway that led to Studio 3. It was located a few doors away from Carnegie Hall, in a building that was probably built around the same time. I had an A-100 Hammond and what that was, was a B-3 in a home style console cabinet that had the extra weight of a built in amp, three twelve inch speakers and the speaker enclosures. The catalog said it weighed 413 lbs. There was no way to grab hold of it, other than with the piano dollies we had. It took six of us ( Danny & his son Irwin helped ) to get it up the first flight and that probably took twenty minutes of straining. Then it was too long to make the turn on the landing, for the second flight of stairs. So we had to pass it across the two flights risking it falling twenty feet down, if someone slipped. It was a Kodak moment but no one had a camera.

BILLY AT MY HAMMOND ORGAN IN STUDIO THREE NYC 1968

I'd find out recently. in the new BIlly Joel bio book by Fred Schruers, that Studio Three was originally Tonight Show Orchestra Leader, Skitch Henderson's place . In 1968 it was a dump.

 

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