Tag Archive: American Bandstand

I had the exceptional honor of interviewing Ms. Leslie Gore, who was born as Leslie Goldstein, in her suite at the Hilton hotel on Avenue Of The Americas in the spring of 1992. She was in town for performances, of course, and I got wind of it and reached out to her.  Oh…my..God!, she granted me this talk maybe because I was jocking the seven pm until midnight shft at an oldies station, WXNJ 94.3 in Avalon, New Jersey at the time. It is one of the highlights of my life as a radio on-air talent! I mean, this was a real recorded interview on a cassette tape and if I can ever get my life together again and retrieve it/process and reproduce it, I will share it again with the world via YouTube, maybe!

Known for the smash, “It’s My Party”, Leslie Gore’s body of musical work encompassed many more Top 40 hits with bullets [to number one status]. I didn’t know until recently that she was produced by the legendary Quincy Jones and that she had turned “femenist/gay”. Yet even those personal choices, from her music, it did not sway me. That is rare for me, an “old school G”. Many have been burnt and mischaracterized by that kind of mentality – including family members.

from Wikipedia I read, “The lyrics of “She’s a Fool” tell of a romantic triangle.[5] The singer is upset that the boy she likes is being treated poorly by his current girlfriend.[6]Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger believes that the success of this song was crucial to Gore’s career because it was dissimilar lyrically and musically from the two singles with crying themes that preceded it, and thus she was able to avoid being typecasted”.

Whateva. I had no hint that she was gay. I think she even flirted with me. It is all so silly and confusing with that shit. lol
Leslie was a great interview and I think that if I’d been brave enough to ask her out for a post-interview drink, she would have said “yes!” with enthusiasm. I always hear her music in my mind from time-to-time, or randomly sampled on some commercial, as they do these days in the twenty-first century of media advertising.

I began this post upon the news of her death in February of 2015. I am sorry that I let it lay dormant in my “drafts” until now. Please forgive me, Ms. Gore. When I think of my old transistor radio that I would keep under my pillow, so that my parents could not hear me listening to MusicRadio77 WABC when I should have been asleep on school nights, I cannot help but hear you singing, “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry If I Want to…”

By the way, for more of my musical musings, check out my burgeoning music-only blog, https://achilliadsmyvinylrecordshoppe.wordpress.com/

[This post, I had to let marinate for about a week because of the subtle-but-knowing/understanding shock of Mr. Cornelius’ move and because the subject is so haunting]

So…I am not so crazy as those American Generation Xers, who would have every person who’d ever had a depressing thought subjected to some stranger “analyzing” them into true lunacy, eh?!
OR ~ I am just as crazy as most other under-appreciated, under-funded, underemployed Black American men are…
OR ~ The option is always open for some Don Cornelius-style self-deliverance from the “Sooooul Train” of the physical world!

My honesty, which comes from almost six decades on earth, plays to what I think people need to hear upon the news of the suicidal end to the life of the Father of the U.S.A. TV show, “Soul Train”, Don Cornelius, on the second day of February 2012. The first great “loss and tragic death” of this new year in entertainment.

“Soul Train” was the black answer to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” during that time in American television history. It caught-up with me when I was in college during the mid-1970s, and not a ‘sleep-in Saturday’ went by that my dormitory roommate and I didn’t wake up, turn it on, get back in our separate bunk beds bed to watch it, and maybe learn or validate some of the latest party fashions and dance-floor steps!

But back to suicide and Black American men for a moment. I recently read from the Chicago Tribune http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-05/news/ct-oped-0205-page-20120205_1_highest-suicide-rates-hispanic-women-native-american-men, to the Root to Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mood-swings/201008/revolutionary-suicide, where the prevailing noting has been that “Black American men do not commit suicide, or it is a ‘taboo’ or diluted because of that ‘Mandingoness’ amongst us”. Nothing could be more ridiculous! That tells me that this is yet another mis-characterization and perpetuation of the stereotype Black American that those white Americans who were/are uncomfortable with people who look different than they do propagandizes. It goes along with “those ole Negro fairy-tales from slavery days” that we are somehow, because of that subjugation, less-likely to want to end it all? That is illogical and means subtly that “those people” are less than human, in-reality than those who would assume such assassinity. Don’t believe the hype, world! To do so says that Black Americans do not have the same ups and downs, peaks and valleys that the rest of mankind does! I am writing this to put to bed, once and-for ALL-times, this bullshit! To dispel the myth! What does this chart tell you about it?

I can testify…and I “ain’t proud to” admit that I’ve considered self-deliverance several times. Most recently when I was unemployed for an ungodly long time due to NO fault of mine with so much life-experience that nobody wanted to pay me for, as I continued to grow older, day-by-day! I’ve thought about it a couple of days before I wrote this post because, in a moment of panic, I thought I’d never hear from my suddenly, mostly-silent fiancee`, Nina again!! “And so…?” as my Ukrainian [it] would say. Don and I have the same “good eye” for Slavic women, I see! ;-*)
When you are faced with eviction, food banks, injury and denial of benefits; having to ask for Welfare or any kind of social safety net public assistance after having gone to the University, and lived the “right way”, hailing from a “good and “stable” family” (bullshit for another post) with two parents who were married for over fifty years and never getting into criminal trouble, often the edge of the abyss…is the engraved invitation to ending it all by ones own hand if things do not improve exponentially.

I most-often have felt suicidal due to the callousness of a lying romantic interest who got my heart “open”, just to break it. “Damn, some women!” :-j
It may sound silly but, I bet something similar that pushes your suicide button would sound similarly to me! To each their own poison (“oops!”) and I guess I’m at small risk to ever actually “do it” because, as I’m sure a few who are really close to me know, I’ve mentioned it as an option open to me from time-to-time during tough-and-lonely/depressing/unfulfilled times; the odds pundits of human behavior say, “Yee who talk about it will not really DO it”. http://tabangsendong.xu.edu.ph/index.php/the-news/185-indicators-of-suicide-risk, but my deep-seeded optimism that I will be comfortably rich soon always carries the day. When that happens, you won’t be able to get me outta here with a crowbar!
It must be that forlorn, walled-in Black Cat, beating-under-the-hard-wooden floorboards, Telltale Heart “Edgar Allen Poe” in me.

I dare you to now admit your suicidal thoughts, whatever your exterior skin color is, in our ‘comments’ section below! As the really old radio show used to say, “The SHADOW knows“…look in the mirror!

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