'Echoes of the Sixties' makes music, memories come alive

November 28, 1999
Elisabeth Sherwin -- gizmo@ dcn.davis.ca.us

Jeff March and Marti Smiley Childs know how to throw a good publication party as they showed when they put one on recently at the Hard Rock Cafe in Sacramento.

But before they could have the party, they had to write the right kind of book. March and Childs chose a book that lends itself to partying.

Their book, "Echoes of the Sixties" (Billboard, 1999, $19.95), takes a look at the music and the musicians of that decade. They focused on 12 groups and soloists in a collection of 43 mini-biographies and then-and-now-photos of Iron Butterfly, Country Joe and the Fish, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Lovin' Spoonful, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, The Beau Brummels, Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues, Peter and Gordon, The Angels, The Tokens, Gary "U.S." Bonds and The Fireballs.

Barry Melton of Country Joe, Sal Valentino of The Beau Brummels, Pinder of the Moody Blues, and Gordon Waller of Peter and Gordon were among the musicians who attended the Sacramento publication party in mid-November. Valentino and his band provided the musical entertainment for the evening, starting with the hit "Laugh, Laugh." And Pinder recited his signature poem "Breathe Deep...." from the Moody Blues platinum album "Days of Future Passed" and it looked like attorney Melton, sitting with friends, was just itching to jump on stage and play.

As an added bonus, anyone who bought a book could have it signed by the authors and the artists at the Hard Rock that night.

March said that he and Childs, who own a marketing communications firm in Davis, got the idea for the book when they were driving someplace listening to an oldies station on the radio. Inevitably, they began to wonder whatever happened to the groups that were so important in their formative years of the '60s.

But when they decided to actually track down these musicians, they realized it might be difficult to get some of the artists to open up and share their lives. Country Joe refused to speak to the two because he apparently is working on his own forthcoming book.

Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon, who is now a music business executive in Los Angeles, opened a lot of doors for the two by agreeing to be one of the first interviewed.

"In some cases performers were reluctant to talk to us because they'd had bad experiences with the press or had been out of the public eye for a long time," said March. "They didn't want their private lives disturbed. So we disclosed only what they wanted to talk about."

When they contacted musicians and told them they'd already talked to Asher, that was usually good enough to get the conversation started.

"This book may seem like it's very far afield from what we normally do, but it really isn't," said March. "We treated these (mini-biographies) as business profiles but just had an awful lot of fun with them."

What happened to the money these young performers made? Childs said that about half of the people they talked to lost, spent or squandered the money they earned as musicians in the '60s.

"A lot of them ended up with very little money," agreed March. "But all of them, bar none, said they would never trade those experiences, which opened other doors and gave them life experiences that they would have never had otherwise."

Peter Asher was probably the most successful moving directly from a singing career into a career in the record business discovering new talent. One of his first achievements was discovering a young folk singer by the name of James Taylor.

Childs also points out that many of the groups are getting back together now and performing their old hits.

March and Childs are now working on a second book that will look at other musical groups, like The Kingston Trio, The Association, Herman's Hermits and The Zombies.

"Both of us are hoping that we can continue to do both, work with business clients and write," said March. For more information, go to their Web site at www.editpros.com.

March and Childs will be the live in-studio guests on KDVS radio, 90.3 FM, at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 on "Printed Matter on the Air," a show that features interviews with local authors and writers. Music from groups profiled in "Echoes of the Sixties" will be played.

And, hopefully, when the second book comes out there will be another publication party at the Hard Rock Cafe.

To inquire about ordering any of the above mentioned books from an independent bookstore,
Bogey's Books at discounted prices [ Click Here ]

To Order "Echoes of the Sixties" from Amazon [ Click Here ]

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