Skip to comments.Retired Music Promoter Recalls Stars from Sinatra to The Beatles
Posted on 06/11/2012 6:39:01 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Bob Levine remembers the first time he met Frank Sinatra.
"I knew Sinatra before he was Sinatra," Levine said.
Levine, 84, would eventually become a promoter for Sinatra, but the first time he met Ol' Blue Eyes, he was just a 13-year-old kid cutting lawns in New Jersey.
Sinatra, who had not yet hit it big himself, was walking out of his house when he saw Levine and his buddies cutting the grass. Levine said Sinatra asked them what his wife, Nancy, was paying them.
Levine said one of them responded a quarter each. Sinatra then gave each of them a dollar bill and told them not to tell his wife.
"He said 'Don't say nothing,' " Levine recalls.
Levine recalled that story as he sat in his living room recently. His companion, an Irish wolfhound named Scruffy, rested on the floor nearby. Levine suffered a stroke several years ago, which has left him legally blind.
On the dining room table is a book about Glenn Miller and his orchestra along with stacks of papers, four prescription pill bottles, a blood pressure monitor and another machine to test blood sugar.
Glenn Miller was Levine's first break in the music industry. Levine got a job with Miller as a band boy.
"They get coffee to the orchestra. They shine the shoes. They run errands," Levine said.
Eventually Levine would work for Sinatra, who, by the way, told Levine he didn't remember the encounter with the kids mowing his lawn.
Levine also worked for the Beatles and came up with an idea on how to sneak them past the throngs of young female admirers.
One time, Levine had the Beatles' limo rendezvous with a fish truck on the highway. Then the fish truck drove the Beatles to the concert.
"The crowd separated for the fish truck. Not knowing they were in there," Levine said.
After the ride, the Beatles did not smell like fish.
"It was a clean truck," Levine said.
All these years later, Paul McCartney heard that Levine was having health problems and had lost most of his vision. McCartney sent him the Irish wolfhound to keep him company.
Besides the Beatles, Glenn Miller and Sinatra, Levine said he has also worked promoting and providing security to other performers, including famed guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
"He was very nonmaterialistic," Levine said of Hendrix. "With all the money he had he still lived very peasant-like."
Hendrix was reserved when the spotlight wasn't on him.
"Jimmy was shy," Levine said. "Once he hit the stage he wasn't."
He said it was important for him to give the stars their privacy during the 50 years he worked for them.
"Get your job done but don't be in their face that much because everybody else is in their face," Levine said. "Give them their privacy from my end."
"When you got to a city there was always one or two (radio) jockeys that were the biggest in that area and you invited them to dinner with Mick Jagger or Herman's Hermits."
Levine said that would prompt the disc jockeys to give the performer more air time.
"Then they go back to the station the next morning and whose records you think they are playing for the next few weeks" Levine said.
In some places, jukeboxes were big, so instead of disc jockeys, Levine said he would invite the owners of the juke boxes to dinner with the stars.
.Levine and his late wife, Kathy, moved to Palm Coast to help their daughter Caren Coles who was diagnosed with brain cancer. She lasted two years before the disease took her life. But then Kathy Levine had early onset dementia at 55 and after alternating between hospitals and nursing homes for three years she died, Levine said.
Then Levine had a stroke, which left him legally blind. He can only see a little out of one eye.
"So here I am, Palm Coast, OK," Levine said. "I don't like the climate. It's too warm too long."
Levine is left in Palm Coast with his memories. He listens to music through his Brighthouse cable service.
"I still like a lyric. What they are saying and all that," Levine said. "I like country now."
looks like Frank’s had a little too much blow.
Paul McCartney might just be the nicest guy in the world.
Remember his wisecrack at the Obama White House about President Bush? He's nothing but another smug Obama Commie Loving Liberal A Hole to me.
i guess i don’t judge people by their politics, esp if they show that they are human beings.
Coo coo cuchoo...
Adding to my previous Post, Sir Paul made the comment while he was a guest in the People’s House. Screw him.
Probably because most of the popular music now is awful.
Jimi had his own style.
Sinatra was a jerk. I play his LPs backwards just for s**ts & giggles. Cost a quarter each on eBay, too much IMO.
Are you saying that it is a patriotic duty to pay high taxes?
I met Sinatra.
Talk about jumping to conclusions.
How you came up with that idea is beyond my comprehension.
I was commenting about a Limey Bastard who was invited to the People’s House, given the Highest Civilian Honor by the fist Marxist President and then proceeds to personally malign former President Bush during his Acceptance Speech.
The fact that he fled England for the safer Tax Haven of the United States of America while promoting Politicians who would be orgasmic should the United States become a mirror image of European Socialism is rich in its irony.
FIRST Marxist President. Spell Check and bad typing skills strike again.
Fine. None of what you’ve now explained was in the text or subtext of your initial comment.
As non-materialistic as someone living in Mayfair can get...
London exhibition marks 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death (in Mayfair Handel House flat)
>”It wasn't Politics, it was a personal insult towards former President Bush by a Limey Bastard that moved here to avoid paying high Tax Rates in his Native Country.
Coo coo cuchoo”<
I have no idea what that has to do with your comment that I think Paying Taxes is Patriotic.
My issue is McCartney's hypocrisy and his bad manners.
Perhaps another FReeper can explain what I'm missing here.
I get your point, but the matter is not worth pursuing further .