In the summer of 1972, my bandmate/songwriting partner, Joe Gallo, and I decided to record some of our originals to pitch to industry professionals. In a six-month period, we home-recorded 20 songs by using two quarter-inch tape machines, ping-ponging back and forth, layering to get a multi-track effect. My younger brother, Alan Michael Smith, played drums and percussion on many of the tracks. All other tracks feature a more acoustic style with selected percussion added.
Once the tapes were completed (fall of ’72) we shared our songs with one of our local music heroes, Jamie Browning. In 1972, he was a published songwriter at Criterion Music with Bo Goldsen. Jamie listened to the tapes, gave his critique, and wished us well. Next, we visited another one of our musical heroes, Emitt Rhodes. Sitting in Emitt’s original garage studio (his parent’s home in Hawthorne), he listened to all the songs. His main concern was that we had over-produced some songs that should be simple demos, but overall, he gave us the thumbs up.
Within several weeks we were lucky enough to set up a meeting with a well-known publisher, Al Gallico at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Bobby Vinton, who waved to us from the adjoining room, had his leg in a full cast from a tennis accident. We had to bring a tape recorder with us for Mr. Gallico to hear the songs. Al put on head phones and he listened to a few songs. Then, he handed the head phones to his teenage daughter, Gail, who got a smile on her face after listening to one song. Al was one of the founding farther within the country music industry, but he also had some rock n’ roll hits with the Zombies/Argent. Mr. Gallico told us that he was impressed with the recordings and he asked us to meet him at the Brown Derby restaurant in two hours to meet a record producer from Capital Records.
We met Al and a producer, Joe Saraceno, at the Brown Derby. Joe had discovered the Beach Boys. From there, we went to Joe’s office. He told us he would evaluate our songs and get back to us. While we sat there, Al took out an acetate (45 demo record) of one of his soon-to-be-released county songs. We heard, prior to its release, “Most Beautiful Girl” by Charlie Rich.
To make a long story short, two weeks later, Joe Gallo and I met Mr. Saraceno at his Capital Record’s office where we told we did not have a hit song and needed to bring him more songs. Rejected, we returned to our apartment where we had all our equipment set up. At that time, Joe and I were performing as a duo (Jolly Ox, Marty’s, etc.) We wrote and recorded “Sitting At My Piano” the next day, drove it up to Joe’s office and received our second rejection.
I would like to say Joe and I gave it our best shot; however, if we would have been a bit more committed to songwriting, we would have probably studied the technique of song revision, tenacity, and persistence! As fate would have it, soon after our experience with the “record business”, Joe Gallo and I split up to pursue different career paths.
We hope you enjoy our Gallo & Wayne originals.
Joe Gallo: Lead and background vocals,
electric (Rickenbacker) and acoustic guitar
(Martin D-28), grand piano,
Vox organ, and percussion.
Mel Wayne: lead and background vocals,
B-3 organ, Vox organ,
grand piano, Fender piano bass,
acoustic guitar (Gibson J-45),
accordion, and percussion.
Alan Michael Smith:
drums (Pearl) and percussion.
Don Arnold: steel guitar
01 To Love Again (by M. Wayne)
02 Live Your Dream (by M. Wayne)
03 Don’t Awake Me (by J. Gallo)
04 Miss Merica (by M. Wayne)
05 Great To Be Back Again (by J. Gallo)
06 Speaking Of The Time (by M. Wayne)
07 Here Tomorrow (by J. Gallo)
08 Never Go Where You’re Never Supposed To Be (by M. Wayne)
09 Baby Blue (by J. Gallo)
10 Let Me Be (by M. Wayne)
11 Today (by J. Gallo)
12 Factory Windows (by M. Wayne)
13 I’ll Never Be Alone Again (by J. Gallo)
14 I See You When (by J. Gallo)
15 Evil Woman (by J. Gallo)
16 It Meant A Lot (by J. Gallo)
17 Ballad of the Olive Hotel (by M. Wayne)
18 Then You’ll Break Down (by J. Gallo)
19 Sitting At My Piano (by M. Wayne and J. Gallo)
20 Down The Road (by J. Gallo)
NOTE: Please excuse the quality of some of your photographs and recordings. The summer of 1972 certainly turned out to be a low-budget recording project and, as for the Instamatic camera shots, they are now famous for having a “unique” look. 🙂