Jerry Goldstein (producer)
|Birth name||Gerald Goldstein|
|Occupations||Record Producer, manager, singer songwriter|
|Associated acts||The Strangeloves, The Angels, Blood, Sweat & Tears, War, Sly and the Family Stone, Circle Jerks|
Over half a century since Jerry Goldstein’s co-write of the #1 pop hit “My Boyfriend’s Back” launched the then hard toiling Brill Building songwriter into pop culture consciousness, the legendary producer, performer, music industry executive and artist manager. However, the single word that best describes him is entrepreneur. Today, Goldstein has some key words to say about the unspeakable “R” word: “Retire? From what?”
The Brooklyn born maverick is in exciting whirlwind mode this year, spearheading dynamic new projects connected to three of the most prominent associations of his multi-faceted career—WAR, Jimi Hendrix and The Visual thing, Goldstein’s groundbreaking poster, tour book and album artwork company that became the prototype for all pop and rock merchandising over the past 40 years.
Goldstein, who has co-written and produced every album in WAR’s catalog dating back to Eric Burdon Declares ‘WAR’ in 1970 (which included the #1 worldwide hit “Spill The Wine”), is the creative force (with frontman/keyboardist Lonnie Jordan) behind Evolutionary, the classic L.A. band’s first recording in 20 years. The full length recording by the group Goldstein calls “the original jam band” features contributions from the famed comic duo Cheech & Chong and the USC Trojan Marching Band (on the lead single “That L.A. Sunshine”) as well as appearances by Tower of Power, Joe Walsh and spoken word artist Malik Yusef, a longtime collaborator with Kanye West who won a 2011 Best Rap Song Grammy for West’s global hit “All of the Lights.” WAR, which has performed at least 75 dates per year since their chart heyday, is currently in the midst of the Up In Smoke Tour, an integrated celebration of music and comedy that began last year with Cheech & Chong and included the taping of a popular PBS Special.
Evolutionary will be coupled with WAR’s platinum selling 1976 Greatest Hits collection, while there have been numerous "hits" packages have been released over ther years this is the first time "the original" has ever been on CD. The disc includes such Goldstein co-penned and produced Top Ten classics as “Low Rider,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, “The Cisco Kid” and “The World Is A Ghetto.” WAR’s Greatest Hits also features “Summer,” the first song that became a hit via inclusion as a new track on a Greatest Hits compilation.
Goldstein’s longtime company Far Out Productions includes a vast catalog that remains active and relevant. In addition to WAR and Eric Burdon & WAR, the catalog includes classic works by numerous artists he managed and/or produced during this time, including Robben Ford, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lee Oskar, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Ronnie Laws Redbone and Circle Jerks. After a nearly 20 year affiliation with Rhino Records, Goldstein in 2010 signed a new distribution deal with Universal Music Enterprises. They have since re-mastered and re-released various recordings, including a 40th Anniversary edition of WAR’s The World Is A Ghetto (1972), which reached #1 on the Billboard 200 and was named Billboard’s Album of the Year as the best-selling album of 1973.
In 2013, after 20 years, Goldstein moved his publishing catalog from Universal Music Publishing into an exciting new venture with the emerging music major BMG Rights Management. “Low Rider” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends” remain two of the top licensed songs (most recently heard in “Grand Theft Auto V,” the film “The Internship” and Pepsi commercials). A sample from Oskar’s “San Francisco Bay” is featured in the new single by Pittbull featuring Ke$ha “Timber,” which has achieved #1 status all over the world.
Goldstein is currently readying for release in 2015 the long awaited Jimi Hendrix concert/documentary film “The Last Experience,” whose existence is fabled among Hendrix aficionados. Goldstein, as filmmaker, chronicles a day in the life with his legendary friend. The centerpiece of the film is the concert performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience at Royal Albert Hall in 1969, acknowledged by those who were there and by the rare few who have seen the actual footage as Hendrix’ best concert ever captured on film. In this high quality production, Goldstein accompanies Hendrix from morning sound check to hanging at the guitarist’s apartment, then to the show and after party at London’s Speakeasy. After all these years, the public will finally experience the “holy grail” of Hendrix' performances.
Goldstein’s history with Hendrix extends back to Greenwich Village in the summer of1966, when the guitarist was playing as Jimmy James & The Blue Flames at Café Wha while The Druids, the band Goldstein was managing and producing, were performing as the house band at Ondine’s, then the hottest club in NYC. David Budge, the Druids’ lead singer, and Goldstein asked Hendrix to join the band and the guitarist electrified the place. Goldstein’s friend, bassist Chas Chandler of The Animals, asked him to come see the band perform their final show ever at New York's Central Park, and later Goldstein invited Chandler to see the Druids perform with Hendrix. Chandler was blown away and later took Hendrix to England, signed him and created The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix would later recall the first time hearing his future trademark songs “Hey Joe,” “All Along The Watchtower” and “Like A Rolling Stones” was when the DJ spun them at Ondine’s.
While at the Monterey Pop Festival, as a thank you for putting Chandler and Hendrix together, Hendrix was the first artist to sign an exclusive merchandising agreement with The Visual Thing, Goldstein’s rock music merchandising company (driven by cutting edge photography driven posters, tour books and album covers) that became one of the most successful of its time – and proved to be the prototype for the now multi-billion dollar merchandising industry. Some of the artists who signed exclusively with the company include Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Blind Faith, Bee Gees, Sly & The Family Stone, Joe Cocker, Cream, The Beach Boys, Burdon, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Steve Miller Band, Donovan and Frank Zappa and most of the rock greats of that era.
Goldstein recently made a deal to bring back The Visual Thing (whose original years of operation were 1968-1972) as a contemporary company, run by Goldstein, his son Jeremy Levine and longtime business colleague Glenn Stone. Its first projects will be including reproductions of an original Led Zeppelin tour book in the new re-issue package of Led Zeppelin II, producing a coffee table book featuring the company’s best artwork and photography (by famed rock photographer Ron Raffaelli) and putting classic rock posters as well as fine art photography up for sale.
Jerry Goldstein’s wild scattering of music industry successes in many different arenas rolls like a joyfully schizophrenic romp through rock history. The glorious, era defining hits he wrote and/or produced (many in collaboration with Bob Feldman and Richard Gottehrer) include “My Boyfriend’s Back” (The Angels), “I Want Candy” (The Strangeloves), “Hang On Sloopy” (The McCoys), “Giving Up On Love” (Jerry Butler), “Ten Lonely Guys” (Pat Boone), “I’m On Fire” (Jerry Lee Lewis), “I Can’t Stop” (The Osmonds), “Come On Down To My Boat Baby” (Every Mother’s Son), What Time Is It” (The Jive Five) and “It’s Nice To Be With You (The Monkees). Forming FGG productions, Goldstein, Feldman and Gottehrer became highly in demand music producers and their songs have been recorded by everyone from David Bowie to Dion and The Belmonts and George Thorogood & The Destroyers. Between 1962 – 1967, Goldstein and his collaborators put 65 records on the hot 100 chart.
Chart success aside, Goldstein can also measure his life by the anecdotes attached to that early-to-mid 60s era. Like the ones with Neil Diamond, who stored Goldstein’s drum kit in his parents’ basement, then later—when the trio was on staff with Roosevelt Music--did a demo for “Ten Lonely Guys” that was essentially Diamond’s first gig in the business as demo singer, songwriter and guitarist. Another classic story is the way Goldstein and his partners (two guys from Brooklyn and one from the Bronx) made up a whimsical fictional story for The Strangeloves when they wrote and recorded the Top Ten hit “I Want Candy,” pretending to be three musical brothers raised on an Australian sheep farm. While on tour with the Dave Clark Five, The Strangeloves discovered The McCoys in Dayton, Ohio, brought them back to New York and recorded “Hang on Sloopy.” Both groups went on tour that summer, starting with The McCoys supporting The Strangeloves; by the end of the tour, “Sloopy” had reached #1 and The McCoys were the headliners.
While living in San Francisco during the Summer of Love era, and helping Chet Helms at the Avalon Ballroom create a mail order poster business called The Family Dog, Goldstein was hired by MCA Records in Los Angeles to help start their Uni Records label. While working as the Head of Production, he opened his own poster company (with the retail rights from The Family Dog) in the back of the office on Sunset Boulevard. His time with Uni was brief but eventful, as the label signed Diamond, The Osmonds, The Foundations, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Elton John, Hugh Masekela and Marcia Strassman (later known as an actress on “Welcome Back Kotter”), who recorded a song whose title defined an era: “The Flower Children.” Goldstein and his DJ friend Tim Hudson have been credited with coining the terms “Flower Power,” “Flower Children,” “Flower Music” and “The Flower Generation.”
While continuing his involvement with WAR, Goldstein turned his focus being an artist manager and record executive while also producing new artists. He produced Tanya Tucker’s 1978 rock-oriented TNT project (featuring their co-write “I’m The Singer, You’re The Song”) and Tim Buckley’s Greetings From L.A. (1972), which featured two Goldstein co-writes “Move With Me” and “Make It Right.” One of the artists he signed was songwriter Linda Creed, well known for her hit collaborations with Thom Bell; Goldstein’s friendship with Clive Davis led to Creed penning (with Michael Masser) “The Greatest Love of All,” first recorded by George Benson, and later, more iconically, by Whitney Houston. During this time, working with then-Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, he helped produce the popular L.A. Street Scene music festival, which ran from 1978-85.
In the mid-80’s, Goldstein became Music Business guru and advisor to his good friend, Rick James. Together they built the Mary Jane Girls who successes “In My House” and “All night Long” are not only still heard on the radio today, but also have been sampled by prominent musicians including Jay-Z and the Black Eyed Peas. Jerry Goldstein and Rick James remained good friends up until Rick James passed away in 2004. Goldstein recalls Rick James being “as crazy as it gets and as talented as it gets.”
In 1989, Goldstein reconnected with old friend Sly Stone, whom he once helped negotiate one of the biggest recording deals in history. The two, along with Goldstein's colleague Glenn Stone (no relation to Sly), formed Even Street Productions to try to re-launch Stone’s career and catalog and clean up a huge tax problem. In 2002, they renegotiated his Sly and the Family Stone record deal with Sony which gave birth to a reissue of the catalog, a box set (The Collection) and Different Strokes by Different Folks, a remix and the all-star remix and cover album paying tribute to the music of Sly and the Family Stone. The version of “Family Affair” by John Legend, Joss Stone and Van Hunt won a 2007 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Also featured on the recording were will.i.am, Maroon 5, The Roots, Big Boi, Cee Lo Green, Buddy Guy & John Mayer, Isaac Hayes, Steven Tyler & Robert Randolph and Janet Jackson.
In the 90’s and 2000s, Goldstein once again showcased his ability for recognizing exciting new music trends and talent. While continuing to manage and produce WAR, he along with Glenn Stone and Bruce Garfield managed Isaac Hayes and they signed, managed and promoted the successful three man pop/rap group LFO (best known for their hits “Summer Girls” and “Girl on TV”). During this time, Far Out productions signed its distribution deal with Rhino Records, whichled to the launch of Avenue Records and the Avenue Jazz label. The Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy,” which had been a Top Ten UK New Wave hit for Bow Wow Wow in 1982, reached yet another generation via teen sensation Aaron Carter, who recorded it on his 2000 release Aaron’s Party (Come Get It). The song also appears on Carter’s 2001 DVD release Aaron’s Party: Live in Concert.
You never know where a hit will come from. In the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, and currently the rap world has embraced the WAR and Sly & the Family Stone catalogues. Hundreds of samples including artists like Tupac, Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar, Little Wayne, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Cypress Hill, J Dilla, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Method Man, Redman, Janet Jackson, Shaggy, Geto Boyz, and recently Pitbull’s number one world-wide hit, “Timber,” and the new Flo Rida single, “For Real” (just to name a few).
Not only have these iconic songs been sampled, but they have also been featured in many prominent movies, television shows, and can even be heard in popular video games such as “Dazed and Confused,” “The Internship,” “Up In Smoke,” “Rock N’ Rolla,” “Mean Girls,” “The Simpsons,” “Entourage,” “Family Guy,” “The George Lopez Show,” “Ellen,” “The Wire,” “That 70’s Show,” “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Rock Band 3,” and countless others.
“When I saw the movie ‘Forrest Gump’,” Goldstein says, “I related the main character’s experiences to my own, just the idea of magical things happening by being in the right place and the right time. After all these years, the joy of music continues to keep me going, more involved and excited than ever. It’s just in my blood and something very positive that I need to be part of. I like to say that I love the creative side of the industry and have been involved in the business side out of self defense, but all in all both aspects have made for a very interesting career. I love the good feelings I get making music, and it’s always been wonderful to realize that so many people have not only noticed my contributions but have been positively impacted by them. I’m most excited now about the new WAR album and Hendrix film, both of which reflect the enduring power of great music.”
Sly Stone, B.B Dickenson, Howard Scott Lee Oskar and Harold Brown are black men who made the best music of the 70s. Goldstein did not make the music. Today they are broke old men who have had their music and their names stolen. Decency is to give them the royalties from their music for the little time they have left. Jerry Goldstein got rich off these guys and it is really callous that he fights them now and refuses to let these old guys grow old and die with dignity. Taking advantage of Sly while was on drugs is wrong. When the world looks and has to choose between Sly and Goldstein, Goldstein loses. He is an embarrassment and a negative stereotype for his people.
Far Out Productions, Inc.
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