Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Official Video Debut of “Little Something” by Carl Giammarese & Lisa McClowry

From the simplest sounds of a solo guitar can come the most powerful of unforgettable songs that stay on your mind long after you’ve heard them in the car, on your phone, or on other electronic delivery means. Just hearing two voices seemingly made to blend together can easily send the listener into creative mode, envisioning the scenes being sung about and adopting the mood that is conveyed by sterling lyrics.

Such is the song, “Little Something,” cowritten by Sting and Dominic Miller. Today marks the release of the Official Video of the song as performed by Chicago-based singer/songwriter Carl Giammarese and Chicago native, Lisa McClowry. Despite the scenes portrayed in the video, the duo was never in person during the making of the song, or of the official video.

However, the “together from far away” method of song and video production, today, is almost routine procedure that artists have taken to share music and be creative during the safe, sure, and confining times of the global pandemic of COVID-19. Fortunately for Carl and Lisa, Greg Bizarro of Jaffe Films was the “third talent” behind the scenes, who created the finished video. The perspective shows the duo together in all the scenes of “movie magic.”

It should be noted, though, that the original version of the song was done by Sting and Melody Gardot in exactly the same way—from two different venues altogether. Melody was in Paris fulfilling her final work on an album. She reached out to several star musicians in Paris who she knew were not working their usual schedules yet, to record the music, in a separate setting of their own, an unexpected blessing for the talented professionals waiting to catch a break.

In the magazine Soul & Jazz & Funk, journalist Charles Waring describes Melody Gardot’s voice as “instantly recognizable,” fitting into the distinctive group of Astrud Gilberto and Sarah Vaughn. Said Gardot of the "working at a distance" process: "Up until that point (when producer Jen Jis brought her Sting's track), I had never met Sting; we only met through the music. It’s quite funny, but beautiful in a way to work like this; all that mattered was the music.” The blend of Gardot and Sting seems made for each other, as does the pairing of McClowry with Giammarese.

It’s all about the blend, and clearly these artists have that same sound, in sync with the right feeling for the song. Carl has been a longtime fan of duos such as Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, Pink with Nate Ruess, and as he says, “anything Tony Bennett did with Lady Gaga.”

A quick listen to a few of these songs readily identifies why we resonate as listeners when two singers blend perfectly:

Marvin & Tammi — “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (written by Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson)

Pink ft. Nate Ruess —“Just Give Me a Reason” (written by Pink, Nate Ruess, * Jeff Bhasker)

Steve & Eydie —“This Could Be The Start of Something Big” (written by Steve Allen)

The song by Carl & Lisa, “Little Something” is the second pairing for the singers. In May this year, they released their remake of the first hit by The Buckinghams on Columbia Records, “Don’t You Care” (watch below)

Lisa has just returned from an extensive tour series with an ensemble group she’s performed with for several years. Carl is only now back on the road again leading The Buckinghams on a new concert tour, the first to emerge after proper planning made it possible to tour again under socially safe conditions and constraints. Music is making its way back into the forefront of entertainment for everyone. In the meantime, enjoy a “Little Something” from Lisa McClowry and Carl Giammarese.

Next Story Coming Soon — The Residual Singers

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Happy Birthday, Dennis Tufano

A Special Message from Carl:

“Today, all of The Buckinghams wish a very special birthday to founding member and original lead singer, Dennis Tufano. But today especially, I’m remembering all the birthdays we celebrated together in the early days, mostly while on the road. Our schedules were so busy it’s not like we could take our special night off. In fact, as I recall, we spent more holidays on the road away from home and families, particularly from 1966-1968 when we were booked for 300 dates a year."

"On August 31, at the actual ceremony for the Inaugural Class at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, IL, Dennis represented The Buckinghams in accepting the award for our being inducted into the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was hard to miss joining him for the event as we were performing in Hillside, IL, that night."

Continuing, he said, "Harder still, though, was it to realize that Jon-Jon and Marty were not present with us physically, but were there in spirit. As Dennis pointed out, they are always with us in our hearts. It’s a profound time for all of us, as we keep celebrating these birthdays. While we still feel very young in our hearts, those of us here continue to give thanks for every day of good health. Still, we have our memories."

After The Buckinghams broke up in 1970, Carl and Dennis joined forces and became a duo, aptly titled “Dennis and Carl”…easy to remember, easy to spell. They wrote songs together and they were strongly encouraged to pursue their performing and recording talents. They played acoustic guitars, had a soft, folk rock sound, and their voices blended well.

Former Buckinghams tour manager Peter Shelton and Bonnie Herman, his wife at the time, helped produce some preliminary demo tracks in hopes of finding them a label to produce an album for Dennis and Carl. That early belief in their talents as individuals and duos was so important back then. Peter, an accomplished photographer, even took promo photos of “Dennis and Carl.”

The duo had a close resemblance to brothers, as photos show. Except that Dennis would be the brother who could grow facial hair (His 5 o'clock shadow would arrive at 2 pm, and Carl couldn't buy chin stubble if he tried). It was also in the heyday of long hair, and while Dennis' grew in length, Carl's grew in height and width.

Above 4 photos and video below by Peter Shelton

During Peter’s retirement years, he returned to the UK and made this video of one of their early tracks along with b/w photographs that he took of the duo back then. Peter Shelton wrote several books, including “Rock-n-Roll Fever.”

When John Poulos got the duo a deal with Lou Adler’s Ode Records, the Grammy-winning producer rebranded the duo as “Tufano & Giammarese” (because it was so Easy to remember? Easy to spell? Easy to pronounce? One of those!) and the duo recorded three albums that were released.

The front and back covers are mirror images as a clever statement. One possible concept for this cover was to capture a similar vibe for Emerson, Lake, & Palmer's 1972 "Trilogy" album.

Sample songs that were popular at the time include: "Here We Are," written by Dennis Tufano

"Communicate," written by Dennis Tufano

"You're the One," written by Carl Giammarese

Dennis and Carl, renamed Tufano & Giammarese, performed on several tours, including opening for soft rock favorites, Bread, then the...unique pairing of Cheech and Chong...and then, they had one of the best and most synchronous pairings as the opening act for the R&B-heavy show band, The MOB. Two of the primary members of The MOB were, in fact, James Holvay and Gary Beisbier, wrote or cowrote six of The Buckinghams' songs that charted first in Chicago, then nationally. For one night only, May 22, 1976, that was history in the making at the club called B. Ginnings, a popular venue in Schaumburg at the time. By 1977, Dennis and Carl would eventually go their own ways to pursue different goals.

Dennis’ songwriting talents continued beyond Tufano & Giammarese. As just one example, he was a cowriter on many songs with Bernie Taupin and others on Bernie’s 1980 release, “He Who Rides The Tiger,” which can be found on YouTube. Watch at the link below:

Today, Dennis continues touring, and his schedule can be found on his official Facebook fan page here:

https://www.facebook.com/Dennistufanosings and on a website especially for fans at: https://www.tufanofans.com

Happy birthday, Dennis, and best wishes for the year ahead.

The Buckinghams Invite You to Support The Dick Biondi Birthday Bash!

On Sunday, September 19, you’re invited to Ron Onesti’s Arcada Theatre, in St. Charles, IL, for an unforgettable special event, all in celebration of Dick Biondi’s 89th birthday. The nationally recognized DJ was on WLS-AM 890 back in the days when Chicago groups were coming to national prominence thanks to 50,000 Watts of broadcast power and the power of his outstanding promotion and that of station executives.

Filmmaker Pam Pulice, founder of The Dick Biondi Documentary, close to completion, is supporting the event, together with host Ron Onesti at the historic Arcada Theatre. Several nationally acclaimed and Chicagoland musicians from our historic concert lineup over the past six decades will be present. Some groups will be participating in a bonus VIP experience as well.

Unfortunately, The Buckinghams will not be able to be part of the VIP experience for this event, so please purchase your VIP tickets for others who indicate they will be present at 12-2 pm, but The Buckinghams are not. They will, however, be part of the full concert experience that begins at 2pm.

To check out Bruce August’s promo video click here (not the image above):

On the performing bill are:

The Buckinghams

The Ides of March

New Colony 6

Jimy Sohns of The Shadows of Knight

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals

Rosie & The Rivets

Hall of Fame Drummer Merle Perkins

Tickets are selling well, so don't delay to get yours today. Click this link here for more info and tickets.

As always thanks to all of you who have supported this film project in the past and we welcome you to help Pam reach her goal to be able to complete the final stages of licensing and clearances for broadcast and distribution.

Happy Birthday, Dennis Tufano!

Photo courtesy of Jack Mongan

Today, all of The Buckinghams wish a very special birthday to founding member and original lead singer, Dennis Tufano. From the beginning of the band in 1965, they ultimately celebrated several birthdays together, mostly while on the road. Their schedules were so busy it’s not like they could take their special night off just because it was their birthday.

The first performances of The Buckinghams found them in matching suits, mostly acquired from "A Man at Ease" and other Chicago favorite men's stores, with Carl Bonafede working great deals for the band to advertise their couturie:

These gold dinner jackets...stylin' and profilin' to be sure, even matched the liner curtains around the stage. At the time, it was true. The matching blue-grey suits were a little more coordinated.

At that time, having "the look" was just as important as having a sound. Suits made the man, as they say, and their hair was just about to be reshaped from the greaser looks of the 60s to the Beatles' styles, courtesy of Nick Fortuna, who went to beauty school after high school, learning to be a barber (the fall-back job in case music didn't work out). Dennis had taken commercial art classes as well.

In the best days of The Buckinghams, they were known for some of the best-looking matching suits. One of their outfits came from the MGM wardrobe group. Perhaps this inspired Dennis to use his strong art talents to design other suits for the band. Ultimately, the suits Dennis designed were the most frequently photographed for PR purposes by Columbia Records.

It was one of those suits that Dennis had saved back and it made a special appearance at the Hall of Fame. Jack Mongan's photo of Dennis and the suit coat, which he donated to the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum in Joliet, Illinois, shows part of the culmination of Ron Romero's dream of many years coming to fruition thanks to numerous sponsors and enthusiastic music fans across the state and nationally. As the museum is nearing construction completion, the event took place at Joliet's beautiful Rialto Square Theatre.

The night of the induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jack Mongan took some exceptional photos, which he generously shared:

The Buckinghams were well represented that evening for the inauguration of the first class in the Illinois Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

To express personal messages, reach out to Dennis on his fanpage on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Dennistufanosings. For more information on his touring schedule, check out his official fan website at: https://www.tufanofans.com Happy birthday, Dennis!

Previous Story: https://thebuckinghamsconcertblog.blogspot.com/2021/08/dennis-tufano-representing-buckinghams.html

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dennis Tufano Representing The Buckinghams at Illinois R&R Hall of Fame Induction

Tuesday, August 31, marks the exciting long-awaited opening of musician Ron Romero’s dream: the Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s located in the heart of Joliet, IL, at 9 W. Cass St. "On behalf of the entire Buckinghams band, original lead singer and founding member Dennis Tufano will be representing in the formal Hall of Fame induction ceremony," announced his friend and longtime fellow Buckingham, Carl Giammarese.

"It’s poignant and so important that Dennis be there just as he was in the very beginning. The founding member we all considered the “heart” of The Buckinghams, John Poulos, and early founding member George LeGros as well as final founding member, Marty Grebb, are no longer with us. Dennis will share memories from his heart and will be wonderful in representing all of us from the beginning. He’ll also sing a few songs that evening," said Carl.

Two early shots of The Pulsations turned The Buckinghams during the early days of WGN-TV's "All Time Hits" broadcast.

The inaugural class of 2020 (delayed due to COVID-19) will usher in some of the state’s most prestigious, beloved musicians, DJs, and radio stations that really propelled iconic musicians and powerful bands from the Windy City forward with signature momentum that have found their popularity only growing with each year since they found garages and basements to plug their instruments in for the first time.

Originally it was hoped that all The Buckinghams, who are among the groups being inducted this first year, would all be able to attend the event at the Rialto Square Theatre. As schedules would have it, the band had been booked already for Tuesday evening to play one of their favorite concerts, the City Festival at Hillside, IL.

However, on Thursday, newly elected Hall of Fame Ambassador Carl Giammarese, founding member of The Buckinghams, said, “The genesis of The Buckinghams, of course, began as The Pulsations, when Dennis and Jon-Jon (Poulos) plus founding member George Le Gros invited me to join them. The original lineup then was different than the group that would find national acclaim and build a following over the past 56 years. We are so appreciative that Dennis is flying in from California to represent everyone who’s been a part of our band over the years, including original manager, Carl Bonafede.”

The Pulsations would change three band members over a year’s time to ultimately become known The Buckinghams. Check out this early photo and note the snappy dinner jackets that would soon be returned to the tuxedo shop in due time.

"During the “All Time Hits” TV show, in week 4, we lost lead singer George LeGros and bass player Curtis Bachman left to join another band.” Giammarese suggested they invite Nick Fortuna and the guys agreed. Both Nick and Dennis Miccolis were with the band all through the recordings at Chess Studios that would ultimately be released on USA Records. The band recorded James Holvay's "Kind of a Drag" and two more Holvay compositions for that contract: "Makin' Up and Breakin' Up" and "Love Ain't Enough."

Not long after USA Records released “Kind of a Drag,” Dennis Miccolis left the band to enter college and study chiropractic medicine, but he was the original keyboard player on all USA Recordings. He's featured in this early promotional picture of the band.

After Miccolis, songwriter Larry Nestor filled in on keyboards. Nestor is pictured on the sheet music for "Kind of a Drag," having arrived fortuitously in time for the photo sessions!

About two months later, Marty Grebb would be recruited by the band to join them, thus rounding out the group of future Columbia/Sony recording artists and touring musicians who are the five best-known founding members of The Buckinghams from 1966 until such time as two of them would eventually go on to other bands.

The Buckinghams quit performing as a band in 1970. Dennis likes to joke, "We were a 60s band, and when it was the 70s, we had to break up!"

“All this history is part of the story of our careers, which I’ve been compiling and writing for some time now,” said Carl. “The most important thing to remember is that Chicago, Illinois, is the hometown of the heartbeat of The Buckinghams. It was here where we all got our start.”

Talented Chicago native and photographer Jack Mongan snapped this picture of Dennis and Carl during a benefit concert for Pam Pulice's biopic "The Dick Biondi Film," soon to be completed. Of course Dick Biondi and WLS-AM will be honored in the inaugural Class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Continuing, Carl said, “It was thanks to the relentless energy of Carl Bonafede, the Screamin’ Wildman, and the “Wild Itralian” himself, Dick Biondi of WLS-AM, and Sheldon Cooper of WGN-TV’s ‘All Time Hits’ that we became introduced to national audiences. We appreciate so much Dennis’ representing all of us on an amazing historic evening that Ron Romero has put his heart and soul into to make his vision a reality.”

Carl and Nick are in Colorado this weekend with two Happy Together concerts (rescheduled from 2020). They will return to Chicago for Sunday’s Cornerstones of Rock show at Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre with The Buckinghams, The Ides of March, and a host of others before Tuesday’s Hillside date.” Rock and roll is alive and kicking in the Windy City and live music is returning to stages and festivals at last.

The Buckinghams are part of the Cornerstones of Rock concert on Sunday at the Arcada Theatre.

Carl said, “Jim Peterik and I have been on the radio the past few weeks talking about this exciting event. We’re so appreciative that Ron Romero and his team have been so warmly received across the state as we inaugurate this historic museum.”

The renovations and opening of this historic Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum are made possible through support by those who’ve believed in Ron Romero’s dream from the beginning: First Midwest Bank, Rendel’s, Complete Crewing, Firefly, and Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. They deserve your thanks and your continuing business support.

Photo of Ron Romero courtesy of Sheryl Davis.

Music fans—you still have a chance to join the museum as a charter member today. Visit https://www.roadtorock.org/ and donate by PayPal or safe credit cards, however you can. Keep our music history preserved forever and as soon as you can, please visit the museum. It’s absolutely spectacular and you'll find some Buckinghams' memorabilia there, too.

Tickets are still available to the grand opening evening at the Rialto Square Theatre, in Joliet, starting at a very reasonable $33.50. Doors open at 6 and the show begins at 7pm. There’s already a huge crowd coming so don’t wait around on getting your seats. For a list of all the inductees, click here.

You know what they say about big events —you never want to miss anything that happens only once in a lifetime!

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Buckinghams Join Up with Happy Together Tour for 2 Nights in August

Fulfilling a commitment made in 2020, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna traveled to beautiful Colorado for two shows along the Happy Together Tour this weekend. Due to Covid-19 causing cancellation of all 2020 scheduled shows, this was the first opportunity for audiences to enjoy their favorite 60s traveling road show, now in its 37th anniversary year.

On Friday night, audiences in Denver will fill the Paramount Theatre to hear the music of The Turtles, The Association, The Classics IV, The Vogues, and The Cowsills. For this show, The Buckinghams are substituting for Chuck Negron. Earlier today, Carl had a chance to tour beautiful Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, courtesy of longtime friend Lisa Hill and her family.

Sharing a few scenic photos and video he snapped this morning:

There's something really majestic in this venue.

Tonight’s concert starts at 8pm at the Paramount Theatre, located on Glenam Place, near Denver’s 16th Street Mall. It was designed by architect Temple Hoyne Buell and built in 1930. Part of the fun of the Happy Together Tour each year is visiting historic, scenic venues with beautiful surrounding vistas.

On Saturday, the tour travels 243 miles to Grand Junction, Colorado, as the Happy Together Tour visits Las Colonias Park on Aug. 28. More road trip photos coming soon.

Remembering Booking Agent Charlie Davis

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22: Trip Brown, Bob Birk, Charlie Davis, Lee DeWzye, Jim Lenz, Lori Otelsberg, and Howard Silverman backstage during the IEBA 2013 Conference - Day 3 at The Omni Nashville Hotel on October 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)

Today our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Charlie Davis, our Paradise Agents booking agent who passed away Wednesday, August 25, in his home. Charlie was an important part of our many tours that include casinos such at the South Point Casino, Sun Coast Casino in Las Vegas, and the Golden Nugget clubs across the country.

A brief summary of his career is found at celebrityaccess.com (Click here).

A second obituary on Pollstar notes that he worked with music icon Chubby Checker as his manager for over 30 years, and in his early 20s, he started out at road manager for Peter Frampton (see story here).

His local newspaper featured a most happy photo of Charlie, enjoying driving a boat on some well-deserved time off:

Full story located here. The family requests: “In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made in Charlie’s memory to the Schuylkill Haven School District Music Department located at 501 East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA, 17972.”

Photo-- NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 22: Moderator Charlie Davis of Paradise Artists, Inc. speaks at the Breakout Sessions Let's Talk Casino Entertainment during the IEBA 2013 Conference - Day 3 at The Omni Nashville Hotel on October 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)

When The Buckinghams perform at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas on Friday, October 8, we will definitely be thinking of him and we'll always remember him fondly. Godspeed Charlie, Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, and all The Buckinghams organization.