Eric Burdon

Who knew that a little boy born to a lower middle-class family in England, who grew up with asthma and put up with teasing from his classmates, and like to smoke by the time he was aged 10, would grow up to become one of the world’s greatest rock singers?

That’s kind of the short version of the life of Eric Burdon, who in 1962 joined a quartet that soon became known as the animals. Burdon was their lead singer.

As a leading member of the British invasion, the animals produced a number of hits.

In 2002, Eric Burdon wrote an autobiography, a book called. Please Don’t let me be misunderstood. And that’s when I have a chance to talk with him by phone. So here now, from 2002, Eric burdon.

Eric Burdon is 81 mpw/ Amd still making muisc.

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Graham Nash

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Louise Mandrell

She began singing professionally in the 1970s, as a solo artist and together with her older sister Barbara Mandrell and younger sibling Irlene Mandrell.

She’s proven to be an enduring and popular country musician.

I met her in the summer of 1993, when she was promoting a series of books she had written for children, commemorating a dozen or so major holidays.

So here now, from 1993, Louise Mandrell.

will be 68 in July

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Gloria Gaynor

Photo: Rob Mieremet / Anefo

Gloria Gaynor began her professional music career in the early 1960s, when she was barely out of her teens. She was recording by the time she was 22, and had a couple of albums by the time she was 30.

But her songs and albums didn’t really have great success- until 1978, when she went into the studio and recorded a song that became a defining moment in pop music.

“I Will Survive” became a smash Hit, and inspired millions.

But, of course, Gloria Gaynor’s life was more than just one hit song. In her 1997 autobiography, also called. I Will survive, Gaynor told her life’s story, with all of its ups and downs.

So here now, from 1997, my conversation with Gloria Gaynor.

Gloria Gaynor is 78 now. Her most recent album was released in 2019, and won the Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album.

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Otis Williams

It was around this time in 1961 that a group of five young men formed a singing group called The Elgins. They were good, so good that Berry Gordy signed them to a contract at Motown. Trouble was, there was already a group called The Elgins, so Gordy asked them to find a new name.

That’s when they became The Temptations. Their leader and founder was baritone Otis Williams.

And over the next five decades, the temptations establish themselves as one of the most popular and most enduring soul music acts.

Otis Williams in upper right

In 1988, Williams wrote a book that was part memoir, part story of The Temptations. And that’s when I had the chance to meet him .

So here now, from 1988, Otis Williams.

Otis Williams is 80 now. He still performs occasionally with the Temptations.

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Michael Feinstein

Photo: Lepestate

In the mid 20th century, brothers George and ira Gershwin produced many of the songs that have lived in America’s heart for decades.

With George’s melodies and Ira’s lyrics, tunes like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You,” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” have endured for decades.

In 1977, a young cabaret singer named Michael Feinstein went to work as Ira Gershwin’s personal archivist.

For the next six years, until Gershwin’s death, feinstein worked closely with him, gathering insight, inspiration, and some great stories about Gershwin and his contemporaries like Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Irving Caesar, among others.

In 1995 feinstein wrote a memoir, called Nice Work if You Can Gt It. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1995, Michael feinstein.
Michael Feinstein is 65 now. He is artistic director for The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana.

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Judy Collins

Songs recorded by Judy Collins have become some of America’s most enduring favorites.

With a debut album in 1961 at a debut concert about a year later and then a number one single shortly after Judy Collins became a fixture in American music, particularly the folk music genre.

But with a musical upbringing that included everything from classical to country to folk to pop. Judy Collins resisted labels

She in fact learned to trust her heart. That’s why she called her 1987 autobiography. Trust Your Heart and that’s when I had the chance to meet her.

So here now. From 1987. Judy Collins

Judy Collins is now 82. She lives in New York.


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Mel Torme

Does this song help put you in the Christmas spirit?
That song was written by Mel Torme. He was born and raised in Chicago. He first sang in public and at age 4, wrote his first song at age 13, and was an actor in a radio show by his teens.

From the 1940s through the 1990s, Mel Torme established himself as one of America’s favorite and most popular singers, songwriters, and the Rangers.

He acquired a nickname: The Velvet Fog. In 1988, when he wrote his autobiography, he actually called o. Ot Wasn’t All Velvet. And that’s what I met him.

So here now, from 1988, Mel Torme.

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Mel Torme died in 1999 at age 73.

Tony Bennett

He had his first number-one song in 1951, a tune called “Because of You” — and Tony Bennett has never slowed down since.

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Over his seven-decade show business career, Bennett has proven to be as popular today, among all age groups as we was when he was just beginning his rise to stardom.

In 1998 Bennett finally wrote his autobiography, a book called “The Good Life.” That’s when I met him, and yes, I was hugely starstruck.

So here now, from 1998, Tony Bennett.

Tony Bennett is 93 now. And still making millions happy with his music,

Beverly Sills

Any list of the greatest operatic singers of modern times will include, somewhere near the top, the name Beverly Sills.

The statuesque soprano was an audience favorite for decades. Time Magazine once dubbed her :America’s Queen of Opera.”

By the late ‘60s the singer whose nickname was Bubbles had also become a very popular TV talk show guests.

But she also struggled with personal crises.

Her daughter Muffy was deaf and suffered from multiple sclerosis. Her son Bucky, born two years later, was severely mentally disabled.

In 1988 Sills wrote her autobiography. And that’s when I met Bubbles.

So here now, from 1987, Beverly Sills.

Beverly Sills died in 2007. She was 78. Her daughter Muffy died in 2016, at age 57.

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Photo: Donovan (r) with Bill and Hi;llary Thompson

The people of Scotland and Ireland have a centuries-old tradition of song, poem, and story.

In the early 1960s a young poet, Storyteller, and songwriter emerged, and uickly captured the imagination of millions.

His name is Donovan Leitch, but he has always been known professionally as simply Donovan.

His more than 200 songs included ,amu mpw-classic ‘60s tunes.

But in 1970, still only in his mid-twenties, Donovan walked away from it. And he explained why, in a 2007 book that he called “The Autobiography of Donovan.”

I interviewd him when he visited the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC that January.

So here now, from 2007, Donovan:

Donovan is 75 now. He lives in County Cork, Ireland.

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