SPAC offers night of golden oldies
By GREG HAYMES, Staff writer
Albany NY Times-Union
Friday, August 30, 2002

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- On Thursday night while the cream of the current pop crop -- from 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake to rapper Eminem -- gathered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, a quartet of former top pop stars took over the spotlight at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Frankie Valli, Jay and the Americans, Lesley Gore and Lou Christie garnered some smash hit records in their 1960s heyday, but none of them have scored a hit in the past quarter-century.

But, of course, the baby boomers who braved the cold, rainy weather weren't there to hear any new hits. No, they wanted to hear those golden oldies that formed the soundtrack to their youth, and that's exactly what the former pop stars delivered.

Tanned and in fine voice, the 59-year-old Christie was up first. During his half-hour show, he focused squarely on his soaring falsetto during hits like "The Gypsy Cried," "Rhapsody in the Rain" and "Two Faces Have I." He scored his biggest success, however, with his set-closing "Lightnin' Strikes," a classic gem of a three-minute pop nugget.

Backed by her four-piece band, the 56-year-old Gore was the most Vegas-oriented of the performers. She even launched her 35-minute show with an overture. Naturally, her hits "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn to Cry" drew the biggest applause, but her best efforts were the opening "Maybe I Know" and the bold, pre-feminist anthem, "You Don't Own Me," which closed her show. Her biggest misstep was an oddly up-tempo rendition of "I Who Have Nothing," complete with jazzy scat singing and a heavy metal guitar solo.

Led by 63-year-old vocalist Jay Black, Jay and the Americans were the surprise hit of the night. Black's voice sounded great, and the towering semi-operatic pop opus "Cara Mia" earned him the first of several midset standing ovations. Backed by a 10-piece band that included a five-man horn section, Black sang such hits as "Only in America" and "This Magic Moment," as well as dipping into the songs of Roy Orbison and Neil Diamond. Black also was the funniest entertainer of the night, and he could probably have a second career as a stand-up comic. He also took time during his 45-minute set to showcase his young son Bo on Orbison's "In Dreams" and join him for a father-and-son duet on "Crying."

The 65-year-old Valli was the headliner and clearly the crowd favorite. He also had the longest musical career on the charts beginning in the early 1960s with the Four Seasons and stretching into his solo successes in the mid-1970s.

Backed by a 14-piece band that included a quartet of male singer-dancers, Valli opened with the theme from "Grease" but quickly slipped back to the 1960s mode of the evening with the Four Seasons' classic "Dawn (Go Away)." Looking fit and trim, Valli's signature falsetto still is intact, and he put it to good use as he slid through '60s gems like "Workin' My Back to You" and "Save It For Me" as well as later solo hits, including the jazzy dance-floor pop of "Swearin' to God" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." He even tossed in a standard or two, taking a stab at Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin."

It was a night of nostalgia, plain and simple, and the crowd certainly got what they came for.


Featuring Frankie Valli, Jay and the Americans, Lesley Gore and Lou Christie

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Route 50, Saratoga Springs

Musical highlights: Valli's "Silence Is Golden," Jay Black's "Cara Mia," Gore's "You Don't Own Me" and Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes"

The crowd: About 3,500 to 4,000 baby boomers

Saturday, July 27, 2002
The Times Leader (Wilkes Barre, PA)



SCRANTON - In a summer concert series dominated by Eminem, Creed, Tom Petty and Aerosmith, the “Oldies Show'' arrived at Montage Mountain Amphitheater with about as much hoopla as an `“All In The Family'' rerun.

But what Lou Christie, The Association, Felix Cavaliere and the Rascals and headliner Frankie Valli did tote with them Thursday night was an enormous catalog of music, bursting at the seams with hit after hit.

These artists are often disparagingly referred to as “nostalgia acts.” But what’s so wrong with playing 3 hours of fun, feel-good music to an appreciative crowd of 5,000? Lou Christie, clad in a blazing yellow silk shirt, kicked things off with his shrieking falsetto doo-wop singing. Before “The Gypsy Cried,” a No. 24 hit in 1963, Christie, 59, told the crowd “you’re probably wondering if I can still hit those high notes.” He promptly nailed them all.

Other highlights of his six-song set were “Rhapsody In The Rain,” “Two Faces Have I” and the closing “Lightinin’ Strikes.” During the finale, the Pittsburgh native executed a leg kick and microphone toss and left the stage to a standing ovation.

Ventura County Star
January 10, 2002 Thursday
SECTION: News; Pg. B03
HEADLINE: Christie to replace Rydell in concert

Lou Christie will perform in a concert today with Frankie Avalon and Fabian at the Kavli Theatre at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Due to illness, Bobby Rydell had to cancel his scheduled performance in The Golden Boys concert.

Christie gained fame for his '60s hits, "The Gypsy Cried," "Two Faces Have I" and others. He continues to tour and record.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. at the Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. in Thousand Oaks.

For more information, ticket holders may call the box office at 449-2787.

Ventura County Star
January 9, 2002 Wednesday
SECTION: Life; Pg. E08
HEADLINE: Lou Christie to sub for Bobby Rydell

Lou Christie, who scored a No. 1 hit in 1966 with "Lightning Strikes," will fill in for an ailing Bobby Rydell when the Golden Boys tour plays the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Thursday.

Christie will join '60s heartthrobs Frankie Avalon ("Venus") and Fabian ("Turn Me Loose") on the bill. Rydell, whose biggest hit was "Volare,"has the flu and announced Monday he wouldn't be able to perform.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $32-$52 through Ticketmaster, 583-8700, or in person at the box office. Call 449-2787 for information.

The Bangor Daily News
Events planned all week at lobster festival

ROCKLAND - Following is a list of events scheduled today and Thursday in connection with the 54th annual Maine Lobster Festival. The festival runs through Sunday. Wednesday, Aug. 1 9:30 a.m. Merchants' Showcase, open juried art contest judging for awards: open juried art show, Main Street, Rockland. Noon. Gates open along with all exhibition tents, booths and vendors. All vendors must be in place on the grounds. Lobster serving begins and all exhibition tents (except art tent), booths, vendors and rides open. Noon. King Neptune arrives. Flag ceremony at the city float: King Neptune and his court, along with 2000 Festival Sea Goddess Kristin Saunders, raise flag and officially open the festival. Opening ceremonies take place next to the flagpole in front of the Chamber of Commerce building. 4 p.m. The Flips gymnastics demonstration. Main stage. 5 p.m. Chris Rogers Trio. Jazz. Eating tent stage. 5:30 p.m. Miller, Dowling & Johnson. Folk. Main stage. 6 p.m. Street dance for all ages. North tent. 7 p.m. Dream Child. Acoustic rock from Ireland. Main stage. 8 p.m. Gatlun. Rock. Main stage. 10 p.m. Festival closes for night. Thursday, Aug. 2 7 a.m. Pancake breakfast. Eating tent. 8:30 a.m. Merchants' Showcase open juried art show displayed in windows of Main Street businesses. 9 a.m. Gates open, including exhibition tents, booths and vendors. 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Open house at U.S. Coast Guard station, Tillson Avenue. Tours of facilities and vessels, including damage control wet trainer demo. 10 a.m. Trickster Fox. Juggling. Stiltwalking. Grounds. 11 a.m. Lobster serving begins. 11 a.m. Marine tent displays and demonstrations. 11:30 a.m. Dean & Yoder. Folk. North tent. 12:45 p.m. King Neptune meets Sargasso, the Evil Sea Prince. Main stage. 12:45 p.m. Chance to take photos with King Neptune and court near Main Stage. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. CastleBay. Celtic. North entertainment tent. 3 p.m. Dean & Yoder. Folk. North entertainment tent. 5 p.m. Harborside Harmony. Women's barbershop chorus. North entertainment tent. 5 p.m. Stan Catell Combo. Traditional jazz. Eating tent. 6:30 p.m. Down Home Bluegrass. North tent. 7:30 p.m. "The Sensational '60s Show," starring Mitch Ryder, The Shangri-Las, Mark Lindsay and LOU CHRISTIE. Main stage. 10:30 p.m. Festival closes for the night.

Dangerous Game
Byline (BY) Benjamin Svetkey With Allison Hope Weiner
Entertainment Weekly
Page (PG) 42+
Volume (VOL) Issue: June 22, 2001 No. 601

"Bonny," the voice asks, "did you ever stop and try to figure out why you're only attracted to famous people?"

Exactly why Bonny Lee Bakley decided to record this particular phone call is one of the mysteries of this case that may forever go unsolved. The 32-minute conversation is mostly dull verbal doodling-- about money, favorite bar drinks, even where to find the best pizza (New Jersey, it's decided). But just as the call seems to be winding down, the man on the other end of the line--apparently an old acquaintance of Bakley's who has not been identified--drops his bombshell of a question.

Bakley's answer tells us nothing about who put a bullet in her head as she sat alone in a parked car near Vitello's restaurant in Studio City on the evening of May 4. The tape offers no clue as to whether her husband of less than a year, actor Robert Blake, was involved in the killing (at this writing, police are calling him a witness, not a suspect). But it does reveal something darkly fascinating about Bakley herself--and about the town in which she lived and died, where a love affair with fame has claimed more victims than this one poignantly pathetic 44-year-old.

"Being around celebrities," Bakley answers her friend, "makes you feel better than other people."

Hollywood is filled with bonny Lee Bakleys, people who attempt to make themselves "feel better" by romantically pursuing the famous. They're not groupies: Groupies are merely overzealous, oversexed fans. They're not stalkers, either. Bakley's relationship with Blake wasn't imaginary--their year-old daughter, Rose, is proof of that-- nor is she known to have ever threatened him with physical harm. And although her past was hardly squeaky-clean (her record includes arrests for possession of stolen credit cards and passing bad checks, and she got in trouble for selling nude pictures of herself through the mail), she wasn't simply a grifter. What Bakley pursued with meticulous and methodical precision wasn't so much cash as cachet, the reflected glory of being with a star. Any star would do--even one like Blake, who hasn't shone for the better part of a decade.

There is no specific diagnosis for this disorder in the current psychiatric lexicon, but perhaps there should be, since celebriphilia, by any name, is a familiar enough condition to those trained to look for it. "Celebrities don't like to talk about it," says Det. Thor Merich of the Burbank Police Department's Criminal Intelligence division. "Stars are sensitive about it getting out, so a lot of times we bury it. But this happens a lot. The only thing that makes Bakley's case unusual is that she was successful. She married the guy."

"I've been in this business 10 years, and these sorts of cases have been a constant," agrees John C. Lane Jr., a former police officer who headed an LAPD celeb protection squad and now works for the Omega Threat Management Group, a private Los Angeles agency that provides security services to stars. "There has always been an undercurrent of inappropriate pursuit in the entertainment industry. Usually it gets dealt with behind the scenes."

Which is one reason why celebriphilia remains such a shadowy phenomenon. Only on those rare occasions when the afflicted themselves achieve a degree of fame--through luck or tragedy or sometimes even talent--is the disorder even partially bared to the public. Courtney Love may have once suffered a touch of it. ("Become friends with Michael Stipe," Kurt Cobain's widow supposedly jotted in a journal years ago, mapping her road to fame.) Some people think Kato Kaelin was infected (or maybe he was just a carrier, since he didn't actually pursue romantic entanglements with O.J. or Nicole Simpson--he just lived in their guest house). And certainly Whitney Walton--known around Hollywood as the mysterious "Miranda"--has something like it: She became infamous for charming her way into telephone friendships with Billy Joel, Warren Beatty, Quincy Jones, Richard Gere, and scads of other celebrities, and has signed a rumored half-million-dollar book deal with HarperCollins for her memoirs. The story has been optioned for a movie by another of her phone pals, Robert De Niro.

Bakley's compulsive attraction to famous men--and Blake, it's now widely known, was only one of many on her to-do list--has now made her something of a celebrity as well. The possibility that it may also have killed her is, sadly, a trade-off that some of those who knew her don't think she even would have minded.

"I hope wherever Bonny is that she can see all this," her friend Linda Gail Lewis said shortly before Bakley was buried at Forest Lawn cemetery (at a grave site overlooking three Hollywood studios). "Because this is what she always wanted--to be the center of attention.... She would love this."

Let me show you something," Harland Braun offers, opening a black binder in his office. "It's really disgusting."

As Robert Blake's attorney, Braun obviously has a truckload of self-interest in painting the sleaziest possible picture of Bakley. He maintains that her killer wasn't the 67-year-old actor--who's been all but tried and convicted in the tabloid press--but someone from Bakley's considerably shady past. Which is why he's showing off dozens of naked photos of his client's wife--pictures he asserts Bakley was still using as part of a lonelyhearts scam to fleece money from men she'd met through personal ads even after she married Blake. "This lady was completely wacko," he says, turning pages. "She was absolutely evil."

Even the attorney representing Bakley's family, Cary W. Goldstein, has trouble putting a happy face on her history. "In many respects, she was no different than the vast majority of American men and women who given the choice would love to marry a celebrity," he suggests. "She was just more aggressive about it."

Braun has other evidence, including a copy of Bakley's address book that contains listings for 17 celebrities, including Robert Redford's (disconnected) New York answering service, Sylvester Stallone's address (but not phone number), and comedian Chuck McCann's home number ("Holy Christ!" is all the comic can say when notified of the discovery). Braun is also the one who provides Bakley's taped telephone call, one of dozens of conversations he says police are currently examining for possible clues to her murder. Even more intriguing, he presents a copy of her "day log," the typed notes she kept on her progress pursuing various men, some famous, others simply rich.

"Send # to Gary Busey; Tulsa, OK, mother is Virginia will forward mail," reads one line in this astonishing document detailing Bakley's efforts to find a mate--or an easy mark for cash. Under the log's "old & rich" section, for instance, she prompts herself to write to a man in Oklahoma who "owns a 320 acre cattle ranch, if he finds a girl that is true, faithful & committed to him at his death she would be financial secure" ("Sylvia," she notes in parentheses at the end of the entry, apparently the name she used during their initial contact). In its "young & rich" pages, she reminds herself to send her number to former middleweight champ Sugar Ray Leonard (at a post office box in Alabama) and notes that she left a message for a man in San Francisco who "makes $170,000 a year, owns race horses & plays the stock market."

All of the above--the carefully collected celebrity addresses, the neatly typed notes, the taped calls--turn out to fit the pattern of celebriphilia. "People who follow stars often have the obsessive- compulsive trait," explains Los Angeles psychotherapist Donald Fleming, who adds, "They can fool almost anybody. They become so acute at reading how to meet another person's needs that they can pick up on their vulnerabilities and play them like a violin."

"The operative word here is resourcefulness," concurs Dr. Michael Zona, who profiles potential celebrity threats for Omega. "These folks are extremely resourceful and clever."

Not to mention persistent. Before marrying Blake last November, Bakley spent more than 10 years pursuing a relationship with Jerry Lee Lewis, who she once claimed was the father of her 7-year-old daughter, Jeri (Lewis' reps say DNA tests were conducted with no match). "She was all over us," remembers J.W. Whitten, the singer's former road manager. "She would always stay in the same hotels we were in. She popped up at one of his birthday parties. Once she offered me money to tell her where he was. She actually thought she had a shot at being Jerry's girlfriend." (She did end up befriending Lewis' sister, Linda Gail--the one who suggested Bakley would have "loved" all this posthumous attention--and once got him to pose with her for a picture, which she later turned into a Christmas card.)

Other celebriphiles take a more subtle approach. Sometimes they ensconce themselves in jobs on the fringes of the entertainment business--waiting tables in a studio commissary, for example--as a way to finagle proximity to the stars. "This isn't stalkers in Iowa," says Omega's Lane. "A lot of these people have access to the Hollywood social scene. They have the appearance of being legitimate and use that position to further their agendas."

Unlike stalkers and groupies, people like Bakley generally don't develop crushes on the stars they pursue--it's fame itself that flames their desires, regardless of whom it's attached to. Sometimes they don't even seem to like those they're chasing. While Bakley was attempting a relationship with Blake, for instance, she was also apparently involved with Marlon Brando's son Christian, who spent five years in prison for shooting his half sister's boyfriend, and at one time pointed to him as the father of her new baby (DNA tests proved Blake was the father, which is why, according to Braun, Blake married her). On the tape, Bakley talks about both men with all the unbridled passion of someone picking out a tie.

"Who would you go for more if you were me--Blake or Christian?" she asks. "I'd probably feel safer with Blake because Christian could go off. Remember how wacky he was?" On the other hand, she reasons, "When I met Blake I kinda wanted him but I kinda didn't because he wasn't up to par [in] the looks department.... He wasn't what I was looking for."

Bakley cast a wide net in her search for famous lovers. The names in her address book range from Oscar-winning actors (De Niro) to pop stars (Prince). Most of the listings, though, have a certain shabby je ne sais quoi to them. Disgraced Pentecostal preacher Jimmy Swaggart is in her book, as is Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who received a note from Bakley last December ("Something like 'Hi, I just married Robert Blake, we need to get together,'" Flynt's assistant remembers). Dukes of Hazzard star James Best makes an appearance, as do comedians Pat McCormick and Will Jordan and singers Chuck Berry, Lou Christie, and Frankie Valli (whom Bakley claimed to have dated in her teens). Bakley had the late Dean Martin's number, too, perhaps scribbled in the book the same night she took a picture with him at Hamburger Hamlet in Hollywood, where the aging crooner occupied the same table every Sunday evening for the last decade of his life.

"I hate the word has-been," says Detective Merich, identifying the celebriphile's favorite prey, "but common sense tells you that the B- list people have more of a problem. They don't have handlers and can't afford top-notch security. And they tend to visit the same places over and over again, because people know them there and they still get the attention they crave. They leave themselves open to this problem."

Indeed, some may actually invite it. "You have to get into the psyche of the celebrity," Merich continues. "Because as much as they complain about it, these people like being famous. They like walking down the street and having people say, 'Oh, my gosh, that's so-and- so.' That's why they became a celebrity in the first place. And your B-list people aren't getting that attention anymore. So they're much more susceptible to groupies or hangers-on or somebody like this Bakley woman."

Oddly enough, the inside of a celebrity's psyche--as drawn by a Burbank detective, anyway--looks a lot like the inside of a celebrity predator's. Both yearn for attention, for validation, for the illusion of being special. The difference is that one gets it by pursuing a career and the other by pursuing the one pursuing the career. "Often these people have serious identity problems," says psychotherapist Fleming of the celebriphiles. "They lack a centered sense of self. They're usually people that have not developed any particular skills or abilities in life. They never developed out of their grandiose childhood wishes and fantasies to be important. The only way they can feel important or special or unique is through famous people being part of their life."

It's as if Fleming had read Bakley's mind--or listened to her phone calls. "Everybody hated [me] in school because I was poor and couldn't dress good and everybody always made fun of me," she confesses on the recording. "So then you grow up saying, 'I'll fix them, I'll show them. I'll be a movie star.' And when you can't become it yourself, when you figure it's too hard to become a star.... I figured why not fall for movie stars instead.... Because you want everybody that pissed you off growing up to be jealous of you."

It's a Saturday evening about two weeks after Bakley's murder, and Vitello's is packed. Customers are crammed into the entrance, waiting for an open table. Outside, a white Ferrari circles the block looking for a parking space in a neighborhood where $150,000 Italian sports cars don't normally clog the streets.

That this nondescript family restaurant in the San Fernando Valley has suddenly become such a happening nightspot is quintessentially L.A. Money may be in style in New York. Power is what puts you at the top of the pecking order in Washington, D.C. But in Los Angeles--a city where regularly scheduled programming gets interrupted by news bulletins on the breakup of Tom and Nicole--fame is the currency of the realm. Here everyone has celebriphilia--or at least has felt the symptoms.

And maybe not just here. Hollywood is the nexus of the entertainment-industrial complex, but the products it churns out-- celebrities--are selling better than ever around the world. Turn on a TV, tune in a radio, open a magazine, and you're awash in tours of celebrity kitchens, behind-the-scenes interviews, and 24-hour gossip channels. Question is, why do we care? What nodule in the human genome makes us turn in the street and say, "Oh, my gosh--that's so- and-so"? What psychological reflex compels us to be curious-- sometimes creepily so--about celebrities?

Dr. Meredith Small, an anthropologist at Cornell University who spent 10 years studying the social matrix of macaque monkeys, believes the answer is buried deep in our simian soul. "The alpha ape gets to sit wherever he wants, eat whatever he wants, sleep with whomever he wants, even have other apes groom him--just like a celebrity," she says. "He just doesn't get a limousine." During her years in the bush, Small even encountered what could be called an alphaphile ape. "I watched one female who was very low on the hierarchy schmooze her way to the top by totally ingratiating herself to the other monkeys," she says. "One day I saw her sitting next to the alpha male. I couldn't believe it."

Other scientists, however, theorize that celebrity is a completely modern, man-made phenomenon that's been injected into the cultural bloodstream like an untested drug--with a similar rush of disorienting results. "One of the things about fame is how incredibly new it is to human experience," explains Dr. David Giles, who's exploring a branch of research he calls "parasocial interaction" (the relationship between individuals and media figures) at Coventry University in England. "It started with mass communication, which is only about 100 years old. And the speed with which it's developed-- radio and then TV--has been astonishing. In an evolutionary sense, we may not have caught up with the phenomenon of fame as a species."

Whether fame is an ancient echo from our jungle roots or a fresh figment of our mass-produced imaginations, it clearly helped destroy Bonny Lee Bakley's life. What makes it all so sad--aside from the fact that Bakley did absolutely nothing so wrong she deserved to die- -is that there's a hint in her tape-recorded meanderings that she knew exactly what she was doing and precisely where her obsession was taking her. In fact, she even jokes about it.

"Marlon Brando, he's at the top of the list," Bakley's friend gushes about Christian's dad at one point in their conversation. "He's up there with Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, you know?"

"Don't remind me," Bakley interrupts, laughing loudly. "I'll be after him."

August 14, 1999
Burnzy's' Evokes Bygone Era

Film's TV Screening Prompts Cellsum Soundtrack

NEW YORK--When Uptown Horns co-founder Crispin Cioe was approached by a friend, screenwriter George Gilmore, to assemble a '60s-themed soundtrack for an obscure downtown film called " Burnzy ' s Last Call ," Cioe's first impulse was to license well-known songs that would give the viewer a sense of the period.

However, confronted with budgetary limitations that prohibited licensing tracks, Cioe came up with an infinitely more challenging and rewarding alternative: enlisting famous friends to help him write original music in the style of certain artists.

"When they showed me a rough cut of the film, I realized that there's a jukebox in the corner of the bar where the entire film takes place," says Cioe. "I figured that all the music should be coming from that jukebox."

A studio and road musician with a 20-year pedigree, Cioe had an impressive phone book from which to draw. He ended up enlisting LOU CHRISTIE, David Johansen, Deborah Harry, the Smithereens, Graham Parker, Evan Dando, Adam Roth, and others. The ploy is taken full tilt, with each artist given a stage name and a fake bio (except for CHRISTIE, who plays himself).

For instance, Johansen delivers the David Bowie/glam-rock caricature "Space Monkey" and the Louis Prima-styled "I Want To Be At My Own Funeral"; the Smithereens do their best Gene Pitney on the tune "Into The Mirror," written by group drummer Dennis Diken (who also collaborates with multifaceted musician Pete DiBello on the Four Seasons-inspired "What Will I Do With My Heart"); and Harry turns in a campy imitation of Mary Hopkin titled "So We Danced Again."

Elsewhere, Parker goes out of character on the love song "Childhood Sweetheart," which is reminiscent of an early British Invasion pop tune, while Cioe and Gilmore collaborate on "Waiting For The Pain," which is performed by Dennis Ray & the Uptown Horns.

" Burnzy ' s Last Call " stars Johansen, Chris Noth from "Law & Order," horror film actor Tony Todd, Sherry Stringfield of "ER" fame, and supermodel Frederique Van Der Wal as barflies at Eppie's, a fictional downtown haunt. (Actually, the movie was filmed in the real Eppie's, a now-defunct bar in Jersey City, N.J.) However, when "Burnzy's" was picked up by the Sundance Channel on cable TV, Cioe decided to take another stab at shopping the album.

He brought it to the attention of Albert Bouchard (of Blue Oyster Cult) and Bouchard's wife, Deborah Frost, who front a New York band called the Brain Surgeons and operate the independent label Cellsum Records.

Frost recalls, "When Crispin first brought this to us, we loved it. Albert and I just felt the music was too much fun. It was music that seemed to belong to an alternate universe and evoke other eras."

Distributed by Ripe & Ready Music--a New York company run by Mike "Mango" De Urso--through Big Daddy Distribution, the album is scheduled for release Aug. 17. There are no plans for a concerted radio promotion campaign, given the project's budget constraints. However, at retail, the album will be featured in Tower Records listening posts nationwide from late August through the end of September, according to De Urso.

He says, "The listening posts are our primary means of exposure. The record will be in the soundtrack section, which is good, because it's a bit of an older demographic. If it's up on the wall, people can listen and get an idea of how this is a soundtrack within a soundtrack."

Because 23 cuts were recorded for the project but only 13 were used on the soundtrack, Cioe has a wealth of unreleased material he plans to post on his Web site (crispinmusic.com). The first is a track by Smithereens guitarist Jim Babjak, who uses the pseudonym Leaves Of Grass. Other planned Internet downloads include the Cioe-Johansen tune "Spook Dogs" and the Cioe-Gilmore co-write "Cotton Candy."

In addition, Johansen plans to host an Internet chat about the project on the Trans World Entertainment site, according to De Urso.

The Fresno Bee
July 25, 1999 Sunday, HOME EDITION
BYLINE: Cathy Fini

Thurs.-Aug. 11 -- Jackie Mason, Lou Christie, MGM Grand.

July 20, 1999
Rock & Roll Legends Live!

RKO/Unique has signed more than 40 major recording artists for their Rock & Roll Legends Live! Series of CDs, DVDs, and television programs. Legendary artists such as Mark Lindsay, LOU CHRISTIE, Chris Montez, Mitch Ryder, Brian Hyland, and Chuck Jackson have had their major hits recorded by RKO in digital audio and digital video for the series.

"One hit wonders" like Jean Knight, Merrillee Rush, Ian Whitcombe, J J Jackson, Donnie Brooks, Jewel Akens, Robert Parker, Ernie K Doe, and Mel Carter have also signed on. Also included on this list are the lead singers of major groups such as Jim Yester (Association), Bruce Belland (Four Preps), John Gummoe (Cascades), Len Barry (Dovells), Pete Rivera (Rare Earth), and Chuck Rio (Champs).

Legendary groups that have recorded for the program include the Miracles, Iron Butterfly, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Moby Grape, Sweetwater, Grass Roots, and Cannibal & the Headhunters.

Also included in the project are notable artists such as Lenny Welch, Spencer Davis, Al Wilson, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Kim Weston, and Frankie Ford.

Rock & Roll Legends Live! will be available on CD and DVD via national independent distributor City Hall Records, first hitting the stores in [ July ]. The television series is currently in post-production and will be available for airing in January 2000.

The Fresno Bee
July 18, 1999 Sunday, HOME EDITION
BYLINE: Cathy Fini
July 29-Aug. 11 -- Jackie Mason, Lou Christie, MGM Grand.

PR Newswire
July 13, 1999, Tuesday
SECTION: Entertainment, Television, and Culture
HEADLINE: RKO/Unique Signs Major Artists for Rock & Roll Legends Live Series
RKO/Unique has signed more than 40 major recording artists for their Rock & Roll Legends Live! Series of CDs, DVDs, and television programs. Legendary artists such as Mark Lindsay, Lou Christie, Chris Montez, Mitch Ryder, Brian Hyland, and Chuck Jackson have had their major hits recorded by RKO in digital audio and digital video for the series.

"One hit wonders" like Jean Knight, Merrillee Rush, Ian Whitcombe, J J Jackson, Donnie Brooks, Jewel Akens, Robert Parker, Ernie K Doe, and Mel Carter have also signed on.

Also included on this list are the lead singers of major groups such as Jim Yester (Association), Bruce Belland (Four Preps), John Gummoe (Cascades), Len Barry (Dovells), Pete Rivera (Rare Earth), and Chuck Rio (Champs).

Legendary groups that have recorded for the program include the Miracles, Iron Butterfly, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Moby Grape, Sweetwater, Grass Roots, and Cannibal & the Headhunters.

Also included in the project are notable artists such as Lenny Welch, Spencer Davis, Al Wilson, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Kim Weston, and Frankie Ford.

Producing the audio for the series is RKO/Unique Music Director Ron Dante, best known as the producer of ten platinum Barry Manilow albums. Dante also performed in the series, singing his hits from the Detergents, the Archies, and the Cufflinks.

Rock & Roll Legends Live! will be available on CD and DVD via national independent distributor City Hall Records, with the first hitting the stores in July. City Hall Records is the exclusive national distributor of RKO Records. The television series is currently in post production and will be available for airing in January 2000.

RKO/Unique is located in Palmdale, CA, about 40 miles north of Burbank.

The Plain Dealer
July 10, 1999 Saturday, FINAL / ALL

Opening the show was Lou Christie, best known for "Lightnin' Strikes" from 1965 and "Two Faces Have I" from 1962.

Christie definitely had his share of fans in the audience, judging from the moon-eyed women silently singing and swaying along with every song.

He can still hit some of the best falsetto high notes this side of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. To put anyone's mind at ease, Christie demonstrated that he still had it with the first song, "I'm Gonna Make You Mine."

Christie sang a few cover songs, the Association's "Never, My Love" and Mel Carter's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me," time warped from the mid-'60s. His up-tempo version of Tom Waits' boozy, bluesy "Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night" was criminal.

Christie's performance is sometimes a bit over-the-top in a schmaltzy, Vegasy sort of way. But it's clear that he really does enjoy his work and the adoration of fans. Nice work if you can get it.

The Plain Dealer
July 9, 1999 Friday, FINAL / ALL

The Four Tops and Lou Christie comprise an unlikely duo of oldies acts. Rock Hall inductees the Four Tops formed in the '50s and were one of Motown's top groups throughout the '60s, with a gruffer, more portentous style than their colleagues. They perform today with the same lineup, minus Lawerence Payton who died in 1997. Christie had only a handful of major hits in the '60s, which were memorable for his yelping falsetto. Palace Theatre. Tonight, 7:30. $29.75, $35.75

Amusement Business
May 31, 1999
BYLINE: Waddell, Ray

The Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, also booked by Triangle, has Def Leppard/Moon Dog Mane (Aug. 12); Brooks & Dunn/Trace Adkins (13); Rock & Roll Reunion XX with Little Richard, Johnny Rivers, Lou Christie, and Leslie Gore (14).

Daily News (New York)
May 28, 1999, Friday

6/4: Jackie Mason; $ 42.50

The Independent (London)
May 24, 1999, Monday

What is your passion?
Psychedelic music of the Sixties.
What was the last CD you bought?
The Best of Lou Christie.

Peoria Journal Star
May 13, 1999
Byline: Clarence Moore
It'll be like stepping back in time this Friday when"Lou Christie's Classic Rock 'n' Roll Show" comes to the Peoria Civic Center Arena at 8 p.m.
Scheduled to perform are golden-age rockers Christie, the Shirelles and Dicky Lee.
Christie is best known for his falsetto-laced hit "Lightning Strikes," which reached No. 1 in 1966. More than 30 years later, "Lightning Strikes" remains a staple of oldies rock stations and has been covered by a variety of new artists.
Christie first struck the charts with a 1962 million-seller, "The Gypsy Cried," which was followed quickly with another million-seller titled "Two Faces Have I." In addition to recent international re-releases of some of his classic albums, some of Christie's most famous songs can be found on numerous greatest hits packages and other collections. His music was featured on the soundtracks for the films "Rainman" and "Barcelona."

The New York Times
April 4, 1999, Sunday
SECTION: Section 14NJ; Page 9; Column 1;
New Jersey Weekly Desk
RESORTS CASINO HOTEL Leslie Gore and Lou Christie. Tomorrow at 7:30 P.M. Tickets: $25 and $30. Superstar Theater, 1133 Boardwalk. (609) 340-6830.

Daily News (New York)
April 02, 1999, Friday
SECTION: New York Now; Pg. 69
BYLINE: BY Phil Roura
Leslie Gore and Lou Christie are at Resorts tonight, tomorrow night and Monday night taking off Sunday to mark the holiday.
RESORTS. Boardwalk and North Carolina Ave. (609) 344-6000. Superstar Theater: Leslie Gore/ Lou Christie. Shows: Fri. & Sat. at 9 p.m., no show Sunday, Mon. at 7:30 p.m. Tix: $ 25

The Plain Dealer
April 2, 1999 Friday, FINAL / ALL
Lou Christie wound up the Majic Moondog Coronation Ball Saturday night when headliners, the Temptations, had to leave early. Christie has become the liveliest performer in the Coronation contingent, with as much vitality as any young singer of the mosh-pit generation.

Asbury Park Press (Neptune, NJ.)
March 28, 1999, Sunday
RESORTS (609) 340-6830 Tonight: Shecky Greene; Tuesday-April 5: Lesley Gore and Lou Christie

Daily News (New York)
March 28, 1999, Sunday
SECTION: Showtime; Pg. 27
BYLINE: By Phil Roura
Leslie Gore and Lou Christie bring their look back for a nostalgia show at Resorts on Tuesday

Daily News (New York)
March 28, 1999, Sunday
SECTION: Showtime; Pg. 26
The show is a double-bill with an old friend, one-time rock idol Lou Christie. It is something they've been doing now for a while now. The idea came to them "about 10 to 12 years ago ...

The New York Times
March 28, 1999, Sunday
Leslie Gore and Lou Christie. Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 P.M.; Friday and Saturday at 9 P.M. Tickets: $25 and $30.

The Gazette (Montreal)
March 25, 1999, FINAL
SECTION: Entertainment: The New Music; D13
Lou Christie.
Lou Christie/ Strikes Again

The New York Post
March 18, 1999, Thursday
SECTION: All Editions; Pg. 050
Lesley Gore and Lou Christie
Resorts International
March 30-April 5

The Plain Dealer
March 5, 1999 Friday
Other artists scheduled for the Ball: Lou Christie ("Lightnin' Strikes"), the Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), the Chiffons ("He's So Fine"), Frankie Ford ("Sea Cruise") and Youngstown's the Edsels.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 25, 1999, Thursday &
March 4, 1999, Thursday &
March 11, 1999, Thursday &
March 18, 1999, Thursday &
March 25, 1999, Thursday &
April 1, 1999, Thursday &
April 8, 1999, Thursday
April 10
Solid Rock 'N' Roll with the Four Tops, The Turtles, Lou Christie, Percy Sledge, The Tokens and Chris Montez, 7:30 p.m., Kiel Center, 622-5435

Chattanooga Times and Free Press
February 19, 1999, Friday
HEADLINE: Today In History
BYLINE: The Associated Press
Singer Lou Christie is 56.

The Detroit News
February 19, 1999, Friday
SECTION: Front; Pg. Pg. A2
HEADLINE: Newsmakers
Today's Birthdays
Lou Christie, singer: 56

The Florida Times-Union
(Jacksonville, FL)
February 19, 1999 Friday, City Edition
HEADLINE: Newsmakers
BYLINE: From news services
Singer Lou Christie, 56

February 19, 1999, Friday FINAL AM EDITION
HEADLINE: People Watch
BYLINE: Staff and Wire Reports
Singer Lou Christie is 56

The Houston Chronicle
February 19, 1999, Friday 2 STAR EDITION
HEADLINE: Snippets
SOURCE: Staff and wire reports
Light the candles
Today - Singer Lou Christie is 56

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 19, 1999 Friday Final
SECTION: News Pg. 8 Celebrities
HEADLINE: Celebrities
SOURCE: Journal Sentinel wire reports
Today's birthdays
Singer Lou Christie is 56

The News and Observer
(Raleigh, NC)
February 19, 1999 Friday, FINAL EDITION
HEADLINE: Quotables
Singer Lou Christie is 56.

The Spokesman-Review
(Spokane, WA)
February 19, 1999, Friday, SPOKANE EDITION
The birthday bunch
Singer Lou Christie is 56.

The Gazette
February 11, 1999, FINAL
SECTION: Entertainment: The New Music; C13
Lou Christie.
Lou Christie/ Strikes Again

Daily News
(New York)
January 29, 1999, Friday
SECTION: New York Now; Pg. 70
Lou Christie has somehow kept that remarkable voice, and it's safe to say the Tokens will sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."
GRAPHIC: STILL STRIKING: Lou Christie, falsetto of "Lightnin' Strikes" fame

Perfect 10
(Winter 1998; Volume 1, Issue 6)
featured a Lou Christie interview
and daughter Bianca pictorial and interview.

January 19, 1999 Tuesday CITY;HOME EDITION
HEADLINE: 40 lightning bolts zap county, but spark no blazes
FISHERS, Ind. - Fishers had more lightning striking than a Lou Christie record.
Sunday night's spring-like thunderstorms brought bolts of lightning - serenaded in Christie's No. 1 hit.

Various Artists
The Roulette Story
Westside 305

This three CD, 84 track box set brings together the hits and rarities from Morris Levy's New York indie label that stayed in operation until 1977, a 20 year span that ran the history of rock'n'roll's ascendancy to the top of the charts. Starting off with two million sellers in their first two releases (Buddy Knox's 'Party Doll' and Jimmy Bowen's 'I'm Sticking With You'), the label also made inroads in the folk and pop fields with the success of Jimmie Rodgers ('Honeycomb,' 'English CountryGarden') and artists like Valerie Carr ('When The Boys Talk About TheGirls'), Georgia Gibbs ('The Hula Hoop Song,' 'The Hucklebuck') and Pier Angeli('Torero'). The label also released some of the very best in rockabilly,doo-wop and rock'n'roll with Ronnie Hawkins' 'Forty Days' and 'Who Do You Love,' Tiny Tim and the Hits' 'Wedding Bells' and Jimmy Lloyd's 'Rocket In My Pocket' also being accounted for. But Roulette was much more than just another indie rock'n'roll label as the second disc amply proves with stellar jazz offerings from Count Basie, Joe Williams, Woody Herman, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Stitt, Dinah Washington, Maynard Ferguson,Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington peppering the catalog. The third disc picks up the pop-rock story from the early 1960s to its demise in the late '70s with hit worthy selections from LOU CHRISTIE ('THE GYPSY CRIED'),

the Hullabaloos ('I'm Gonna Love You Too'), Tommy James ('Hanky Panky,' 'Mony Mony,' 'Draggin' The Line') and Alive And Kicking ('Tighter,Tighter'). The label also knew a good novelty record when it heard one as all three discs are proliferated with items like 'Beep Beep' by the Playmates, 'Leader Of The Laundromat' by the Detergents, Larry Storch goofin' his way through Fats Domino's 'I'm Walkin',' even Count Basie doing 'The Basie Twist,' for God's sakes. But for true surrealism, one is directed to Jim Nabors doing a rock'n'roll version of 'There's No Tomorrow,' an early stab at what Elvis later turned into 'It's Now Or Never.' Excellentnotes, stellar sound, this is one great label overview that tells the story of rock'n'roll and its place in the pop music scheme of things in microcosm. A well done little set.
(Westside Records, West Heath Yard,
174 Mill Lane, London, NW6, 1TB, England)
-- Cub Koda, Discoveries, January 1999

Oldies are golden // '60s theme helps raise big money for Northwestern cancer research
Chicago Sun - Times, Dec 9, 1998
by Mary Cameron Frey

For its 13th benefit, the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation decided on a '60s theme for "A Toast to the Cure!" and rounded up musical legends Lesley Gore, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Bowzer and the Stingrays, Lou Christie and the Shirelles with Doris Jackson to perform.

The 700 guests who gathered at Drink! on West Fulton were asked to wear attire they deemed "easy elegance" and, for the most part, no one disappointed chairmen Ellen Beda, Barry Stagman, Dalia Ratner and Carol Beitler.

Cocktails, a buffet dinner, a terrific raffle and a silent auction brought in big money: Calvin Patterson paid $1,400 for a baseball autographed by Sammy Sosa; Elliott Bercovitz paid $2,600 for two first-class tickets to Las Vegas on American Airlines; Jim Nasios won a $5,000 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus, and Chris Beda won a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle.

Little wonder board chairman Larry Dubin beamed as he announced more than $400,000 had been raised for research and treatment of breast cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Chicago Tribune, Nov 19, 1998
by Amanda Barrett Hamel

They did the watusi, the twist, the hand jive and every nostalgic dance short of the hustle at Saturday night's 13th annual benefit for the Lynn Sage Cancer Foundation.

"A Toast to the Cure" at DRINK! was a paean to the past with Jon "Bowzer" Bauman of Sha Na Na fame acting as host and introducing such golden oldies as The Shirelles, Lou Christie, Leslie Gore and Little Anthony and the Imperials, all of whom trotted out their hits to thunderous approval.

People of note attending included Christie Hefner and Billy Marovitz; foundation chairman Larry Dubin; Northwestern Memorial Hospital President Gary Mecklenburg; and Yale Sage, husband of the late Lynn Sage, who called the evening "a real tribute to Lynn's memory, and also to the board members who have worked so hard to make this evening happen."

The Post - Standard; Syracuse; Nov 20, 1998;
Mark Bialczak Staff writer

Lou Christie easily remembers the reason why he first raised his rich baritone voice to the startling falsetto level.

"I had to get their attention. And I said, "This will get their attention.' So I raised my voice and said, "Let's go. You've got 15 seconds for the disc jockey to get it."'

The guards of radio play got it. So the song "The Gypsy Cried" rose to No. 24 on the Billboard charts in February of 1963.

The native of Pennsylvania followed that up with "Two Faces Have I" two months later. That went to No. 6.

And in January 1966, Christie got his No. 1 song. You still can't listen to an oldies station for an hour or so without hearing his voice raise the roof on "Lightnin' Strikes."

Christie will sing those hit songs as part of the multi-act tour that hits the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse on Saturday night. You can call it an oldies show, but Christie has a present and a future, too.

"My records started back there in that period," says Christie, 55. "But I don't live in the past."

Christie's songs were used on the soundtracks of the hit movie "Rainman," as well as "Barcelona," "A Home of Our Own," "Before Sunrise" and "Dutch."

Last year, he released a new disc, "Pledging My Love." Billboard magazine included it on its Top 10 list of momentous 1997 moments, in the category "most impressive comeback."

"I'm an entertainer, I can say, like anybody who does music from that period, like Diana Ross," Christie says. "But I've been fortunate to keep going with songs and movies and the new CD."

Christie wrote four of the songs on "Pledging My Love."

"I wanted to do songs that I like," he says.

"I never did try to make hit records like everybody else. I tried to make records that turned me on. Nice songs. I'm from a place that likes melodies and harmonies. That was one of my big features in the old days."

Of course, many of the fans that go to watch Christie perform now also recall those old days, when he was famous as a hunk as well as a great voice.

But lots of young people show up too, he says.

"It's amazing. We have kids from 10 years old to 60 years old," Christie says.

"It's amazing that the kids know this music. I guess all the cities have an oldies station and a classic rock station. These records don't die. It's been 37 years, and we're still on the planet to tell people about them."

Touring, he says, keeps him young.

"Performing is more fun than it's ever been for me," he says. "I can relax. The musicians behind me are better. The show is better. You mature like good wine.

"Music to me was always a wonderful escape," he says.

"I didn't necessarily like reality too much. I always wanted to be somewhere else. Entertainment, that's what it does. It takes you out of reality and places you someplace else."

The details

What: WSEN Holiday Rock'n' Roll Spectacular, featuring Leslie Gore, Lou Christie, Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon, The Orlons, Merilee Rush and The Outsiders, featuring Sonny Gerace.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St., Syracuse.

Tickets: $25.50 and $27.50, available at the Landmark box office, TicketMaster outlets and by phone charge at 472-0700.

Caption: PHOTO Courtesy of Lou Christie LOU CHRISTIE hit the charts in the'60s with tunes such as "Two Faces Have I" and "Lightnin' Strikes."

Chicago Sun-Times
November 13, 1998, FRIDAY, Late Sports Final Edition

Charity toast: Those who thirst for a cure for breast cancer can lend a helping hand
Saturday at a benefit at 6:30 p.m. at DRINK!, 702 W. Fulton.

"A Toast to the Cure" boasts a lineup of entertainers that includes Lou Christie, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Bowzer and the Stingrays, Lesley Gore and the Shirelles with Doris Jackson. Tickets are $ 300 and include a buffet dinner and open bar. Call (312) 926-9413.

Knoxville News-Sentinel
Friday, September 18, 1998

Lou Christie Sounding Better Than Ever

By Wayne Bledsoe

Lou Christie is best known for his piercing falsetto and his lusty three-minute rock 'n' roll teenage dramas. His "Lightnin' Strikes," "Rhapsody in the Rain" and "Two Faces Have I" are some of pop's most distinctive songs.

This makes it just a little hard to picture him standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1974 singing a tribute to old-time music greats Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper.

Christie, who will perform his hits Saturday at the Tennessee Valley Fair, made a foray into country at a time when only a few brave pop artists were dabbling in the genre.

Surprisingly, Christie says he was actually "getting back to his roots." "I was into country music when I was like 7 years old," says Christie, in a phone call from his New York apartment. Christie grew up in Glenwillard, Pa., where he says a neighbor would play country music. "She used to play these big old 78 Hank Williams records and I used to listen to her sing: 'I got a feeling called the bluuuues!' And I loved it."

Christie recalls being taken with Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours, Martha Carson, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper and others who represented "country before it was sparkled and glamorized up."

It was Christie's meeting with songwriter Twyla Herbert, though, that was pivotal to his success.

The two had known each other since 1957 and Herbert's daughter was a member of the Classics. Yet, it was when Christie and Herbert wrote the song "The Gypsy Cried" that things began to click. "She was this classical pianist and here we are playing four chord rock 'n' roll," says Christie.

Christie decided to sing falsetto to set the song apart. It became a national hit and Christie and Herbert became inseparable songwriting partners and friends. Christie was a teenager and Herbert was a very worldly woman in her 30s.

"It was a unique experience," says Christie. "If you only knew ... I was like a farm boy. I was raised sort of like on Walton's mountain, innocent with stars in my eyes and then I met Twlya and it was just like 'My God!'"

The farm boy was wooed by Herbert's open-mind and free-spirit. "We always knew we had something different," says Christie. "We saw the world a different way. Every time we wrote a song it was like a soap opera. And our lives were like a soap opera. I'll never have that experience again."

The two wrote nearly all of Christie's hits, including the make-out classic "Rhapsody in the Rain." Innocent sounding by today's standards, the suggestive song caused Time magazine to accuse Christie of "corrupting youth" and radio stations and "American Bandstand" insisted its lyrics be altered. "But when we changed the lyrics it just sounded worse!" says Christie, chuckling.

By the beginning of the '70s, Christie's style of pop was out of fashion and his record company didn't quite understand his and Herbert's concept albums. In '74, he recorded a country album, which included a version of "Beyond the Blue Horizon" and led to his appearance on the Opry.

Christie moved to England, where he married and fathered two children.

When he returned to the United States in 1977, he found that he was broke. He and several other artists (including Badfinger) had entrusted money to a business manager that Christie says "walked off with our money."

Christie says that while he is writing a script about his life and the incident, he's never enjoyed talking about the bad things that have happened in his life. "I always thought that you should present the good side of yourself or the side that would make people feel better or music that would make people feel good about themselves. I felt that my life was my music and performing was to get out there, look the best you can, polish your shoes and get on the stage and present magic to the audience."

Christie's magic is obviously still working. In 1997 he released a new album "Pledging My Love," which received good reviews. Rhino Records recently released an album of Christie, Lesley Gore and other '50s and '60s artists covering the songs from "Grease."

Taragon Records has just released "The Complete Co & Ce/Roulette Recordings," which features all of Christie's earliest solo recordings.

"His voice is stronger than ever; he sings in the same key and he sounds even better than the records," says Harry Young, who wrote the liner notes for the "Co & Ce" collection and formed the Lou Christie Fan Club in 1977.

And, Christie, now 55, says he is a long way from finished. "I want to do another country album. I want to do a standards album, do a couple of Italian songs, all kinds of things ... And I am NOT ready to hang up my rock 'n' roll shoes."

The New York Post
September 16, 1998, Wednesday
SECTION: Neal Travis' New York; Pg. 011

The joint'll be smokin'

THE first test of whether cigars are still socially acceptable, post-Monica, comes tonight, when Lauren Hutton (hot off the Studio 54 movie) helps artist Michel Delacroix unveil his special Montecristo limited-edition box at Axelle Fine Art Galerie in SoHo. Stogie lovers like NY1's George Whipple, Julie Hayek, LOU CHRISTIE and Tama Janowitz will light up the joint before heading uptown to puff some more at Carnegie Bar & Books on West 56th Street.

Amusement Business
August 31, 1998
HEADLINE: Illinois State Fair Thrives Under Saputo's Tenure
BYLINE: Muret, Don


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois State Fair continues to flourish in the late 1990s under the leadership of Manager Joe Saputo. Attendance increased for the third consecutive year to 826,648, up 28,000 over the 1997 total. Dates were Aug. 13-23.

Illinois State Fair

August 23, 1998: LOU CHRISTIE, Fabian, Bobby Rydell and Gary Lewis & the Playboys. Grandstand performance attended by Illinois Governor Jim Edgar.

Triangle Talent booked the grandstand concerts. The total gross was $ 693,063.

'98 ATTENDANCE: 826,648
'97 ATTENDANCE: 798,799
DATES: Aug. 13-23
MANAGER: Joe Saputo

The New York Post
August 23, 1998, Sunday
SECTION: Neal Travis' New York; Pg. 013

Singing painter's praises

BACK in the '60s when Lou Christie was a pop sensation via hits like "Lightning Strikes," he didn't have much time for art and the finer things of life.

But Christie's now enjoying a revival on retro radio and in the clubs and is using his renewed fame to plug the Russian-born painter Dmitri Strizhov.

Lou just hosted a party at Carnegie Bar & Books to celebrate the release of Dmitri's coffee table book of paintings. Among those listening to Christie sing his old hits were Lorna Luft, Tama Janowitz, Julie Hayek, Jay McInerney, Jaid Barrymore and Linda Blair.



rpm CD 330

Thursday, March 8, 2001
Lou Christie was Lugee Sacco to local singer
By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

Gretchen Wagner never was a big fan of the Beatles.

She admits her opinion is not based solely on the Fab Four's music. Like so many fledgling singers and established groups, Ms. Wagner's vocal trio, the Tammys, was passé overnight when the Beatles changed the listening habits of America.

"The drawback for us was the week our first [second, Ed.] record was released was the same week the Beatles released 'I Want to Hold You Hand,' " the Hermitage woman said. "I never was a big fan of them, consequently."

But the Tammys have a place in regional music history thanks to the ongoing attention of fans of Lou Christie, the singer of such hits as "Lightnin' Strikes," "Two Face Have I" and "The Gypsy Cried."

Christie, who performs March 21 in Brookfield, got the Tammys a recording contract, gave the group its name, co-wrote most of the songs the trio recorded and used it to back his mid-'60s platters.

Ms. Wagner -- the former M. Gretchen Owens -- and her sister, Cathy, formed the trio with Linda Jones. The Owens sisters are from Oil City.

"My mom was an opera singer and my dad was a drummer," said Ms. Wagner, 56. "That leaves me an alto."

The trio was thrown out of an Oil City restaurant for singing along with the jukebox, and enjoyed the irony when the owner eventually had to buy Tammys records for the jukebox.

Known as the Charnelles, the trio made its first public performance at a talent show on March 31, 1962, in Pleasantville. The singers lost to the Gyantwachia Indian Dancers.

"We used to change our name every weekend and sing backup for whoever they brought to these record hops in Oil City," Ms. Wagner said.

Ms. Wagner met Christie when he played a Moose Club date as Lugee and the Lions. Christie's family camped near Tionesta and a friendship was struck between families. Even when Christie adopted his stage name, the Owenses still called him by his real name, Lugee Sacco.

Ms. Wagner's group sometimes backed Christie, and was managed by Christie's sister, Amy Sacco.

"We just sort of hit it off," she said. "He said, 'If you ever get discovered, call me.' We said the same thing."

When "The Gypsy Cried" took off, Christie had the girls in New York recording with acclaimed producer Jack Gold.

"Take Back Your Ring," the song the Tammys are probably best remembered for, was released in August 1963 by United Artists. Ms. Wagner was 18, her sister 16 and Ms. Jones 17.

"The only reason any of it worked was I had a job," said Ms. Wagner, noting that the other two singers were still in high school. "I would save up my money and buy matching outfits."

Ms. Wagner was a bank secretary.

The song was given four stars out of four by Billboard, and Cash Box said it has "a very pleasing blend on a pretty teen plaintive. Could get around after much exposure."

The song got pretty good exposure in 1963 at a dance at the Reimold Auction Barn, Pymatuning Township. The Tammys supported Christie.

"That was his biggest appearance in Mercer County," Ms. Wagner said. "Our single had just come out. It was just packed. There were hundreds of people there. People still come up to me and tell me they were there."

Ms. Wagner said the group's sound was often compared to the male trio the Innocents, which had hits with "Honest I Do" in 1960 and "Gee Whiz" in 1961, and backed Kathy Young on "A Thousand Stars" in 1960.

"They used to call us the female Innocents," said, Ms. Wagner, who, with her husband, Ken, has four children and five grandchildren. "We had a real tight bond. Sibling harmony is always real natural. The sound that we had was different enough for the time."

But it wasn't the Beatles.

The girls did pretty well regionally, where the Beatles were not readily accepted by radio programmers. They appeared on Clark Race Bandstand on Pittsburgh television station KDKA, and performed in lounges, school dances and for service organizations in Buffalo, Erie, Greensburg and New Castle.

The follow-up single "Egyptian Shumba," released in January 1964, was equally touted in Billboard and Cash Box.

Two months later, Veep Records, a subsidiary of United Artists, released "Hold Back the Light of Dawn." Although it was named an ABC Radio hot prospect of the week, the song was overshadowed by its B-side, "Gypsy," which received more airplay.

The group backed Ritchie and the Runarounds, led by Del-Vikings singer Kripp Johnson, on the January 1964 Ascot release "Lost In the Crowd"/"Don'tcha Backtrack" -- both written by Christie and partner Twyla Herbert -- and Christie's Colpix singles, including "Make Summer Last Forever," "Backtrack," "Guitars and Bongos" and "Big Time," which broke the national Billboard 100 in 1966.

The Tammys continued until the late '60s, when Ms. Wagner's sister got married.

In 1978, Ms. Wagner and her sister recorded a couple of disco sides that Christie cut but were never released.

Ms. Wagner, recipient of the first Shenango Valley Foundation Humanitarian Award, continues in music at a local level. She is music and liturgy coordinator for Notre Dame Church, Hermitage, and is a member of the Notre Dame Folk Group, which performs at events such as weddings and has released a compact disc to raise money for the Prince of Peace Center, Farrell.

"I love my job and staying in music," she said. "I'm surrounded by music. I still have the same energy and passion. It's channeled in a different way."

Ms. Wagner and Christie keep in touch, and Ms, Wagner said she'll probably end up singing with him at the Brookfield concert.

"I'm glad that we still maintain a relationship," she said. "I don't know if that's ordinary. Most backup musicians are just that and you don't have the friendship that includes the extended family. It didn't start out as a professional thing."

Christie's show at Tiffany's, Brookfield, is a benefit for the Shoe Our Children program, which buys shoes for children in preschool through 12th grade who qualify for free or reduced lunches in Mercer County and Brookfield. Gary Lewis and the Playboys of "This Diamond Ring" fame also perform. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the music begins at 8 p.m. Tickets: at the Shenango Valley Foundation office on Chestnut Street and on the fourth floor of the Winner building, both in Sharon.

Thursday, March 15, 2001
‘Lightnin’ Strikes’ Lou Christie’s lady fans when he sings old hits
By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

Lou Christie steps on stage to sing hits such as "The Gypsy Cried," "Lightnin’ Strikes" and "Two Faces Have I." He struts, he prances, he plays to the crowd, he hits the falsetto notes with gusto --and the females in the audience go nuts.

But this scenario isn’t pulled from the mid-’60s when Christie was at the top of the charts and those females were teen-agers screaming over the latest teen idol.

When Christie steps on stage today, he gets the same response as he did in 1965 when "Lightnin’ Strikes" was at No. 1. It’s just that the women are middle-aged mothers and businesswomen, many in attendance with their husbands.

"It’s amazing, isn’t it?" he chuckled, calling from his home in New York City.

The response shows music’s ability to pull up memories and create associations with key events in someone’s life, he said.

"The music for these people is the soundtrack for their lives," said Christie, who will perform Wednesday at the Shoe Our Children concert in Brookfield.

"When you hear it, you just revert back to where you were then."

Christie, 57, was 19 years old when "The Gypsy Cried" became a national hit in January, 1963. He marvels at the marketing savvy behind today’s teen stars, which didn’t exist when he was taking "The Gypsy Cried" to Pittsburgh radio stations and begging them to play it.

"It was different then," he said. "It was new. It was the first time we had this whole teen-age idol thing. It was all trial and error. Today, it’s all thought out before the record comes out. There are millions of dollars spent before they even launch you."

The Glenwillard, Pa. native learned singing from his parents.

"I thought everybody sang," he said. "My sister and I would sing doing dishes."

His sister, Amy, sang backup on some of his early records.

Born Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco, Christie loved his parents’ collection of Italian music, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, church choral music and the music that came along as he was growing up, from country and rockabilly to rhythm ‘n’ blues and pop.

"I was just into every facet of music," he said.

Christie also wrote songs but it took a partner to help craft the tunes that made him famous.

That partner was a classically trained musician 30 years his senior, Twyla Herbert. He was initially struck by her looks after seeing her at an audition.

"She looked so glamorous. She looked like Susan Hayward. I thought she was from New York."

The next time Christie saw Ms. Herbert, he was working in his family’s pizza shop. He spotted her getting off a bus and he ran outside to talk to her. Although disappointed to learn that she lived in Coraoplis and not New York, they started writing together. Their first collaboration was "The Gypsy Cried."

That song launched a 20-year writing relationship that Christie stuck with even as other, potentially lucrative, offers came in.

"Paul Anka asked me to write with him. I wouldn’t do it because we were so loyal. No one else sounded like us."

The uniqueness of the songs was carried by Christie’s falsetto, which remains as strong as when he was a young man, he said.

"I still sing these things in the same key we recorded them in," he said. "It’s just there. I never worked on it. It’s like breathing to me."

The singer said he works to take care of himself physically, which has kept his voice strong.

"It’s sort of the radio to my soul," he said.

Christie equates his hits, which included "Rhapsody in the Rain" and "I’m Gonna Make You Mine," to his children, and he wants to perform them well every show. But he is not interested in trying to write more songs like them. He has recorded the country album "Beyond the Blue Horizon," music for movies and is writing a variety stage show.

"It’s not just I-yi-yi," he said, referring to the hook in "Two Faces Have I." "I’ve done that."

When he performs longer shows, Christie likes to throw in his lesser known material and ballads, to try to show people there’s more to him than his teen-idol heyday.

"I try to sprinkle in things to remind people that we are in reality," he said.

A fan of Broadway and friend of Broadway directors and producers, Christie takes cues from the Great White Way in preparing his stage shows. Lights, costumes, pacing and stage presence are carefully planned.

"I like to see how you can move people by more than just singing."

Christie’s latest project focuses not on himself but on one of his idols, Abbie Neal. She had a group called Abbie Neal and Her Ranch Girls, which started on Pittsburgh television.

Christie found the rockabilly singer, fiddler and steel guitar player living in Reno about five years ago and talks to her regularly.

Christie is assembling a compact disc of Ms. Neal’s recordings, which will be sold on his Web site:


Christie’s show at Tiffany’s, Brookfield, is a benefit for the Shoe Our Children program, which buys shoes for children in preschool through 12th grade who qualify for free or reduced lunches in Mercer County and Brookfield. Gary Lewis and the Playboys of "This Diamond Ring" fame also perform. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. and the music begins at 8 p.m. Tickets: at the Shenango Valley Foundation office on Chestnut Street and on the fourth floor of The Winner building, both in downtown Sharon.

Los Angeles Times
April 7, 2000
SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 9; Zones Desk

Back in the early '60s when even AM radio was cool and your parents were trying to be, the two-minute pop song was the standard measure of success. Between doo-wop and the British Invasion, teen idols of both sexes ruled the airways.

Several of those performers, including Leslie Gore, Little Eva, Brian Hyland, Lou Christie and Sam the Sham, will sing their hits during a Saturday night Rock & Roll Revival show at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Lou Christie and his speaker-threatening falsetto voice had a string of hits, including "The Gypsy Cried" and "Two Faces Have I," while Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs are forever linked to "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Wooly Bully."

Rocky Mountain News
Feb 22, 2000
Socialite Cindy Schulz threw flowers on stage.

The very proper Faye Washington shook her couture-clad tail feathers to The Twist.

Nancy "Neiman's" Husted swooned, "I touched Fabian."

Real estate queen Edie Marks screamed, "The truth is, we're all groupies."

Well put, Edie. The crowd of very correct social sceners, sports team execs, and buttoned-down business types just lost it Saturday night at the "2000 Denver Heart Ball."

Picture 1,000 or so aging baby boomers practically drooling over equally aging rockers Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Lou Christie. The three former teen idols didn't disappoint the black-tie crowd gathered at the Adam's Mark Hotel.

"For all the younger people in the audience, this entire show is a history lesson," Fabian said. And what a wonderful walk down Memory Lane.

Christie sang his hits including Two Faces Have I, and Lightnin' Strikes in his signature quavery falsetto. Fabian, sans the greasy kid stuff but still a pretty face, sang Johnny Be Good and I'm a Man. And Avalon killed the crowd with Venus, Beach Blanket Bingo and Beauty School Drop-Out (from Grease).

After the trio's set, Bobby Vee performed on a stage on the other side of the room. He warbled Rubber Ball, Come Back When You Grow Up, Girl, and One Last Kiss (from Bye-Bye Birdie).

Seen shaking it were: Neiman's boss Christel Dikeman with husband, Steve; Nuggets Coach Dan Issel with wife, Cheri; Avalanche honcho Pierre Lacroix; dancer-diva Cleo Parker-Robinson with husband, Tom; real estate agent Diane Huttner (in vintage Valentino); United Airlines' Tom Renville; dry-cleaner moguls Warren Toltz with wife, Ruth; socialite Martha Kelce; and attorney Tom Alfrey with wine woman Barb Simmons.

Denver Post
Feb 23, 2000

It was just like the old days when Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Lou Christie got up to sing their million-sellers from the 1950s and '60s at the Denver Heart Ball 2000. Nine hundred fans greeted them with a standing ovation and squeals of delight.

Cindy Schulz plucked a rose-colored tulip from her table centerpiece and tossed it on stage; others waved their napkins in the air and sang along to such vintage chart-toppers as 'Venus,' 'Two Faces Have I' and 'Johnny B. Goode.' Each of the eight dance floors was filled, and those who couldn't squeeze onto the parquet used the carpeted space between the tables.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Feb 11, 20000


If your Valentine thinks all the good rock 'n' roll happened before those long-haired boys came over from England, tease up your hair and steer your roadster toward Montemurro's in Sharpsburg where a Pittsburgh pop icon once again will pump up that falsetto. Lou Christie will make one of his rare appearances, bringing back memories with hits like "Lightning Strikes," "Two Faces Have I" and "The Gypsy Cried." The show is Sunday at 7:30. Tickets are $29. Call 412-781-6800.

Lou Influence?
Hartford Courant
Mar 16, 2000
Michael Penn
Epic Records
"MP4" partly explains why singer-songwriter Michael Penn and pop songstress Aimee Mann wound up married. It seems they are remarkably close, kindred spirits when it comes to music. Just like his wife, Penn enjoys creating musical contrast by writing alluring pop music laced with acidic lyrical content.

The Beatles and Badfinger are an obvious influence when it comes to the guitar-pop sound of "MP4," but Penn is far less subtle than either of those pop legends when it comes to expressing anger lyrically. Penn's messages may be tart, but he can't resist some of the soothing musical tricks used during pop's golden era, especially when he delivers a delightful burst of falsetto vocals on "Beautiful" that seem lifted from an old Lou Christie record.