Friday, July 18, 2008


When I was growing up, dad was always bringing home extra copies of 45 r.p.m. records from the radio station. I loved them all, no matter what genre. I don't remember the first record I ever played on a turntable. I wish I could remember that. I remember playing records by the Beatles, Elton John, Jim Croce, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and others. I remember playing Spiders and Snakes by Jim Stafford and Ringo Starr's Your Sixeen over and over and over and over. I wore out two albums; Progressions by the Five Americans, a Texas-based rock band in the 1960s, and Psychotic Reaction by the 1960s California garage rock band, Count Five. I not only loved the music, I also loved dissecting the songs; how each song was structured and what instruments were being used. There was one instrument in particular that I would always listen for.

I remember that one day in the fall of 1970 when dad brought home a record by Jerry Corbetta and Sugarloaf. It changed my life. The song was Green Eyed Lady and the reason it changed my life was because of the organ solo that Corbetta played in the middle of the song. Dad was a master guitar player and he tried to teach me to play, but what I really wanted to do was play the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. It didn't help any that dad's friend, Cecil Pryor, played the piano like Jerry Lee Lewis. I was almost 11-years-old when dad brought that record home to me. Earlier this summer, nearly 38 years later, I had the opportunity to meet Jerry Corbetta backstage at a concert by his Classic Rock All-Stars group, which consisted of Corbetta and Mike Pinera of Blues Image and Iron Butterfly, Dennis Noda of Cannibal and the Headhunters and the great Peter Rivera from Rare Earth. I heard they were going to be in the area and I arranged for a backstage pass. My one and only purpose for going, aside from getting to hear some great music, was to tell Jerry Corbetta that he changed my life. When the big moment came, I shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you. You changed my life." He said, "Really?" And, then for some strange reason, my voice no longer worked. I got his autograph though. It was a big moment for me and it all began with that 45 r.p.m. record.

I recently wrote Jerry Corbetta, relating pretty much the same story as I have told here. Here is his reply:


Thanks for the nice email. I grew up in a house of music. we had a Piano and an organ. I would Listen to the Tv and play along with the music on tv. I loved music from the time I was 3 years old.

I was 6 years old when I saw Elvis on the television .Something clicked inside me . I asked my father to buy me a piano and get me piano lessons. He did . I often think about the time I saw Elvis,I think that he inspired me to be a musician .



  1. Now I know why I never could find that Count Five album at the station!

  2. Randy, what a blessing your Dad was to you, in more ways than you could ever put on paper, er, uhm, on-line??

    "Green Eyed Lady", oooo, that is such a good song.

  3. Randy, I really enjoy these posts you have! Love reading them, keep them coming! I wish I could have met your Dad.

  4. Randy i remember my sister having a record player and i listened to them a lot.It seems like the ones we grew up with is the singers we like the most.Like The Fleetwoods, Elvis, Bobby Rydell Fabian, Pat Boone. I could go on and on about the songs and the artists. One song a girl and i did up in lexington, the skaters waltz was the song and Pat Boone had it out LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND. We won first place . I'll never forget them days either , or the songs

  5. I'm still collecting old albums....anytime I hit a yardsale or flea market I'll look for old records.yeah they are scratchy and my old record player ain't the best but there is something about having this big album that a CD can never replace.The crazy thing is people are practically giving old records away! 25 cents or 50 cents or at most a buck.50 cents for an Ink Spots album last summer at the 127 sale and I've played it over and return on 50 cents ever? Most certainly.


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