How I Got to Madison Avenue. And beyond.

As with life, this blog is developing and changing. It began with a lot of stories that occurred on my career path from Albany to Madison Avenue and back.

There were some similarities to the AMC series "Mad Men," and then I went even farther back in time with a somewhat fictionalized version of growing up in Troy's Little Italy.

And now, a new development. As my free lance advertising and marketing career winds down, I'm becoming more interested in the theatre arts that my father and his 3 brothers helped instill in me as I grew up.

As a result, I've volunteered to help promote the Theatre Institute at Sage, and now, to continue a long-interrupted desire to be behind the proscenium, I've joined the newly formed Troy Civic Theatre, and was actually fortunate enough to appear in their first production.

So, I hope you'll enjoy the new stories that will develop from this latest turn.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Stan Applebaum

For a guy who began his writing career at a rock 'n' roll radio station in 1959, it's probably a sin for me not to have known the name Stan Applebaum until 21 years later. The innovation he brought to pop music was a big hit that very summer that Boom Boom Brannigan was playing it on Albany's WPTR.

Not only did I learn Stan's name, I got to work with a true legend in the business, although to be fair to myself, Stan's contributions weren't common knowledge to anyone not intimately connected with the music business.

I like to say that my generation created rock 'n' roll, and while it was borrowed from a lot of cultures that stretch back long before us, we did what every generation does – add some of this and that, and make it our own. Stan added more than most.

I was working with another writer, Milt Schwartz, on musical commercials for Air France back in the early eighties, and Stan Applebaum was the right guy at the right time to write and arrange the music for our words.

Stan, whose career as an arranger and composer began in the big band era, is a New Yorker who was in the right place at the right time – he's the guy who first added strings to R&B, and began a sound that still, today, is an integral part of the musical genre.

Stan arranged the Drifters' hit, “There Goes My Baby,” by the immortal team of Lieber & Stoller. Here's a wonderful thing -- you can hear it anytime you like. Like right now.

You can read Stan's bio here. And here's another wonderful thing – you can still work with him like I did, as well as with his arrangements, and his commercial music.

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