The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America
July 26, 2016Posted by on
We all remember them. The songs we heard in the summer when we were 15. The tunes we loved cruising to as we abused our Dad’s car. The tracks we put on our favorite mix tapes and CD’s in high school. Those were VERY impressionable times. I mean, our hormones were running wild! And that music we listened to as we “came of age” is forever emblazoned in our memories…and connected to the experiences we had at the time. I still can’t hear Tower of Power’s “What is Hip” without drifting back to the packed dance clubs in college – baggy bellbottoms, wedge heels and all.
Yet many of us remain locked in those times, still only listening to the music that resonated for us back when we were teenagers. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still great music – whatever the artist, style or genre was at the time. And it speaks to the intense, indelible and emotional connections that music created for us.
But … do we still wear those bellbottoms? De we still wear the acid-washed jeans and turned up collars on pink polo shirts? Of course not! So why do we still listen to the same old music?
There is a HUGE treasure-trove of music out there yet to discover! Older stuff – back to Billie Holiday, Bix Biederbeck and Benny Goodman – incredible music from wonderfully gifted artists. And wow … is there a huge variety of newer stuff out there! Rap, indie, metal, pop, folk, jazz … go ahead – pick your poison. (except for opera. You just can’t pick opera. Trust me on this one. Ha!)
So just get on Apple Music, iTunes, Groove Music, Spotify, or SiriusXM … you’ll discover an INCREDIBLE range of great music right at your fingertips … much of it capable of being the new soundtrack to the wonderful experiences you are NOW having in your life. Just open your ears, mind and heart to older and newer artists. This music can be the creative bookends to the tunes that you listened to as a kid. Exposing yourself constantly to new music can re-inspire you, get you out of a rut, and bring newly-found excitement to your life! Sure … keep listening to that music that inspired you when you were younger. But do yourself a favor. Explore the vast array of newer and older music that will create new, emotional and indelible memories for you – for years to come!
July 12, 2016Posted by on
Summer is such a beautiful time for TV folks … and for the music people that support you. In the Spring we’re all busy prepping for & executing the May book. June is conference season – I went to four! And then many of us take much needed breaks in July. These breaks are really important to catch up on sleep, eat well, get outside, and enjoy some tunes!
Music is the emotional shortcut to your soul. As part of your mid-summer “reboot,” rediscover and play your favorite music you haven’t had time for. Download new music that can inspire and excite you. Pick up that instrument that’s been in the closet the past few years and re-discover the passion you originally felt to play it in the first place. We need these breaks to allow us to come back to the office or studio inspired and productive.
While colleagues are out and the office or studio is a little quieter, it’s also a great time to clean off your desk and organize your electronic life. Wouldn’t it be great to have a clean desk and an empty inbox again? Even if it only lasted a few weeks? Or hours? That’s what I’ll be doing this month anyway. Recharging my creative energies and getting organized again. Happy July everyone! I hope you are all having a beautiful summer.
June 28, 2016Posted by on
Well, this year’s PromaxBDA Station Summit was a rousing success! Besides the many meetings we had with dozens of clients, we had our Guitar Gods Giveaway, the Battle of the Promo Superstars session with our own Dave Baumann, an open suite party (complete with impromptu jam session) and, of course, our 6th Annual SAM Jam.
Wednesday night’s open suite was a first for us. We decided to open up the doors and see who showed up … and I think that ended up being pretty much EVERYBODY, including our SAM Jam superstar Byron Bordeaux. Now when you get Stephen, Byron, and some guitars in a room together, a jam is just gonna happen. And thankfully, we didn’t get shut down by security this year!
Also on Wednesday was Dave Baumann’s session. In this first Battle of the Promo Superstars, five TV stations from different ownership groups were presented with the same news story. They were:
Leila Stilwell – KGTV San Diego (Scripps)
Steve Rifkin – WESH Orlando (Hearst)
Adrianne Anderson – KTLA Los Angeles (Tribune)
Drew Fowler – KXTV Sacramento (TEGNA)
Mike Hansen – WSYX Columbus OH (Sinclair)
They were given 48 hours to produce a full suite of TSR (targeted special report) promos, including a social media posting. They were not allowed to use any outside resources. From the results, it was clear that they approached the problem from different angles and arrived at a wide range of creative solutions. It was illuminating to see that while their efforts varied widely, all promos were seen as effective in attracting an audience.
Thursday had two big events. First was our Guitar Gods Giveaway. Congrats to our winners!
And finally, the party everyone was waiting for, our 6th Annual SAM Jam! This year, we invaded Elton John’s Fizz in Caesar’s Palace. Byron brought along a great lineup this year, with William Shively (Boyz II Men) on bass and Alex Davis (The Family Stone) on drums. It was an incredibly fun night, with tons of folks jumping up to sing and play. I think my favorite moment of the night was when I realized that Byron and the band were all sitting out, while four attendees sat in and jammed out like they’d been playing together for years!
And if you’ll forgive a little self indulgence on my part
It was a blast getting to perform with such amazing musicians! We hope everyone had as much fun as we did. See you next year!!
June 15, 2016Posted by on
The summer is definitely heating up here in Texas, so naturally we’re sending anyone that can go to this year’s Promax events: PromaxBDA in New York City and, of course, our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for Station Summit! If you get a chance to attend either event, you’ve got to check out our “Guitar Gods” and “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” (Beatles) guitar displays – and be sure to drop your card in for a chance to win one of the 5 (yes, FIVE) guitars that Stephen will be giving away.
Now, you may ask yourself, “why does Stephen Arnold have so many guitars?” – which is a very good question. Or, like me, you may be asking “why in the world would you want to give away your own guitars???” – which is an even better question!
I can’t pretend to know why someone would want to give away guitars, but I can speak a bit as to why Stephen feels the need to give each amazing guitar a home whenever he sees it hanging in a guitar shop.
My grandfather once told me a story. He was trying to get his son out the door to school, and like many pre-teens, his son was obsessed with all things music – playing Beatles 45’s in his room and banging on his guitar – a cheap 1959 Sears Silvertone. My grandfather yelled up the stairs, “Hurry up – and stop playing those records!” to which his son called out “I’m not playing any records!” My grandfather replied that he was going to the kitchen to get his coffee and when he got back, his son better be ready to go – and NOT be playing records.
When my grandfather returned to the bottom of the stairs, he STILL heard music coming from his son’s bedroom. So he marched up the stairs, opened the door and said “I told you to stop playing those records!” His son was sat on his bed, guitar in hand and replied, “Dad, I told you – I wasn’t playing records!” He had been playing his guitar instead – and was already so good that his father couldn’t tell the difference between the recordings and his son’s playing!
Well, as you may have guessed, his son is my dad – Stephen Arnold.
And I have personal knowledge that the love of guitars has stayed with my father throughout his entire life. And he loves to share it with everybody, so it’s not surprising that he also loves to give away the thing that he loves – his guitars! It’s no wonder that the guitar is the unofficial symbol of Stephen Arnold Music.
Here are some of my favorites out of his collection:
June 3, 2016Posted by on
At the PROMAX Conference at the Midtown Hilton Hotel in New York City, June 14-16, Stephen Arnold Music (SAM) will again be conducting an exciting guitar giveaway. Be sure to stop by the Stephen Arnold Music kiosks, which will be prominently displayed at the Conference, to check out this year’s “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” selection of legendary Beatles guitars. To enter the raffle, just drop off your business card in the box near the display. You could win a replica of Paul McCartney’s famous Hofner Violin Bass guitar!
The drawing will be held at the SAM guitar display on Thursday, June 16th, around 4:15pm during the “Networking Break.” You must be present to win. So don’t miss it! You’ll get to see some cool guitars, learn a little something and maybe even win that Hofner bass!
Here’s some cool facts about the collection:
2005 Re-issue Gretsch G6122 Country Gentleman (George)
When the Beatles started to get famous in the early 60’s, George bought a 1962 Gretsch Chet Atkins “Country Gentleman” guitar. George can be seen using this instrument more than anything else on stage, but he didn’t use it as much in the studio. It’s interesting George would use this guitar, as he admired and was inspired by much of Chet Atkins’ work. In 1965, the original Country Gentleman flew off the top of their tour bus and was destroyed. As George recalled: “Fourteen of our guitars were strapped to the roof of our Austin Princess, and the only one lost was my Gretsch. It fell onto the road and into the path of the oncoming traffic. About thirteen lorries went over it before our chauffeur could get near it. Then, one of the lorries stopped and the driver came up with the dangling remains of it and said, ‘Oh, has this banjo anything to do with you?’ Some people would say I shouldn’t worry, because I could buy as many replacement guitars as I wanted. But you know how it is. I kind of got attached to it.”
1959 Gibson J160e (John)
John Lennon couldn’t quite afford his first Gibson J-160E in 1962, so he cajoled Beatles manager Brian Epstein into co-signing for the guitar. Epstein obliged, and ended up purchasing one for George Harrison as well. Both guitars ended up making rock and roll history with the Beatles, appearing on countless studio recordings, movies, and live performances. This is the acoustic-electric guitar John Lennon used in his initial songwriting with Paul McCartney, writing such classics as She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand, Please, Please, Me, All My Loving, From Me to You, and others. John’s original model was lost in 1963, but mysteriously re-appeared in Los Angeles in 2015 and was auctioned for close to one million dollars. Today’s Gibson J-160E replica features the same round shoulder body design, with a Sitka spruce plywood top and mahogany back and sides, producing a full-sounding, balanced tone with warm, rich lows and crisp, presence-laden highs.
1990 Rickenbacker 355 Limited Edition Signature, 148 of 2000 (John)
John Lennon had seen guitarist Toots Thielemans, of George Shearing’s Quintet, playing a Rickenbacker 325 in 1959. He immediately decided he had to have one. In Hamburg in 1960, John and George went to Steinway MusicHaus, where George bought a Gibson amp and John bought the “guitar of his dreams”, a Rickenbacker Capri 325 in natural finish. When recalling the purchase of the amp and the guitar, George Harrison remarked: “I think we bought them on “a knocker.” One pound down – and the rest when they catch you. I don´t know if we ever paid them off, but…” True to fashion, John soon had his Rick painted black, so as to appear different from the other garden-variety 325’s on the scene.
The 355 guitar is one of 3 Lennon models that Rickenbacker re-issued in the early 1990’s. The set included the ¾ scale 325 model like the one Lennon used live, on recordings and in the film “Help!.” The 355 model is like the 325, but in a full-scale length, while the 355/12 is the full-scale, 12-string model. All the pickups have that unmistakable “Rick” single-coil twang that made them synonymous with The Beatles, as well as the sound of the 60’s British Invasion.
Hofner Violin Beatle Bass (Paul) – GIVEAWAY
After bassist Stu Sutcliffe left the band in 1961 in Hamburg, Germany, Paul reluctantly stepped in as the Beatles bassist. Looking for an instrument, McCartney recalled finding himself in Hamburg’s Steinway Musichaus. “I remember going along there, and there was this bass which was quite cheap. I couldn’t afford a Fender. Fenders, even then, seemed to be about £100. All I could really afford was about £30, so for about £30 I found this Hofner violin bass. And to me it seemed like, because I was left-handed, it looked less “daft” because it was symmetrical. Didn’t look as bad as a cutaway, which was the wrong way. So I got into that.”
McCartney would soon become forever associated with this distinctive model. He used this bass on stage and in the studio through “With The Beatles,” at which point Hofner gave him a new model. So in 1964, he had his first bass refinished in sunburst and installed new hardware, after which it generally took a back seat to its newer brother. It appeared again in late 1968, minus the pickguard, for the “Revolution” video, and was last seen in footage from the film “Let It Be.” Soon afterward, it was stolen, most likely from a closet at Abbey Road studio. But Paul continues to play a Hofner violin bass guitar to this day.
PromaxBDA: The Conference is being held this year at the New York Midtown Hilton in New York City from June 14-16, 2016.