Donald Clark Kirshner
(April 17, 1934 – January 17, 2011
Known as The Man With the Golden Ear, was an American music publisher, rock music producer, talent manager, and songwriter. He was best known for managing songwriting talent as well as successful pop groups, such as The Monkees, Kansas, and The Archies
Kirshner achieved his first major success in the late 1950s and early 1960s as co-owner of the influential New York-based publishing company Aldon Music with partner Al Nevins, which had under contract at various times several of the most important songwriters of the so-called “Brill Building” school, including Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, Phil Spector, Howard Greenfield, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Jack Keller.
As a producer-promoter, Kirshner was instrumental in launching the careers of singers and songwriters, including Bobby Darin, with whom he collaborated on a number of advertising jingles and pop “ditties” – their first was called Bubblegum Pop. He was also responsible for finding Neil Diamond, Carole King, and Sarah Dash of Labelle, as well as discovering the occasional rock act, such as Kansas.
Jimmy Ray Dean
(August 10, 1928 – June 13, 2010)
Was an American country music singer, television host, actor and businessman. Although he may be best known today as the creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand, he became a national television personality starting in 1957, rising to fame for his 1961 country crossover hit “Big Bad John” and his television series, The Jimmy Dean Show, which also gave puppeteer Jim Henson his first national media exposure. His acting career included a supporting role as Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever. He lived near Richmond, Virginia, and was nominated for the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, although he was formally inducted posthumously.
Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge
(or simply The Brooklyn Bridge)
is an American musical group, best known for their million-selling rendition of Jimmy Webb’s “The Worst That Could Happen” (1968).
Born Johnny Maestro
(born John Mastrangelo
aka Johnny Mastro aka Johnny Masters;
May 7, 1939 – March 24, 2010)
began his career in 1957 as the original lead singer of the Crests, one of the first interracial groups of the recording industry.”
By 1967, another New York vocal group called the Del-Satins——were looking for a new lead singer to replace original lead Stan Zizka.approached Maestro with the offer to join the group.
In 1968, Sperber, owner and founder of the talent management and booking agency Action Talents in New York City decided to combine the talents of Maestro, the four Del-Satins, and The Rhythm Method. The new group’s name came about after White made the off-handed comment that “it would be easier to sell the Brooklyn Bridge” than book the proposed 11-piece act.
Appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Della Reese Show, and other programs helped to bring the group to the national stage.After its heyday, the Brooklyn Bridge downsized to a five-man group, The later version of the Brooklyn Bridge released a Christmas EP in 1989 and a greatest hits compilation in 1993, re-recording Maestro’s hits with The Crests
Recently, the Brooklyn Bridge was featured in one of PBS’s biggest fundraising events ever, “Doo Wop 50”, performing both “16 Candles” and “The Worst That Could Happen”; the entire program was released on VHS and DVD. In 2005, the Brooklyn Bridge released a full concert-length DVD as part of the Pops Legends Live series. They continue to tour and in 2004 released a CD on the Collectables label titled Today, featuring more re-recordings of their hits and versions of other groups’ songs of the 1950s and 1960s.
On May 9, 2012, Johnny Maestro was honored by the House of Representatives of the United States of America. Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, whose district includes the neighborhood where Johnny was born and raised, and where he began his music career, introduced an Extension of Remarks in the House of Representatives. In June 2012, a 40th Anniversary DVD was released by the Brooklyn Bridge. The DVD includes a full concert and interviews with group members, recorded on May 6, 2006 (38 years after the group formed).