CAROL CONNORS is one busy person. At 15-years-old, she sang on a #1 record; today, when many of her contemporaries have resigned themselves to being legends, she continues with a very active and successful professional life in songwriting (she contributed lyrics for two songs in the seven-times-Oscar-nominated film by Roman Polanski, The Pianist); charitable work and patriotic events. A list of her recent activities is featured at her website, http://www.carolconnors.com, including links to many photos. Carol is also a keen health enthusiast and cat fancier.
I am personally a great fan of the Teddy Bears' follow-up singles to their huge hit, 'To Know Him Is To Love Him', but despite many interviews with and articles about Carol, I found details about these records and Carol's Spectropop-era work to be missing from a first-person standpoint. Of course, Carol has 'led several lives' since then, but she was kind enough to take an hour to talk with me on February 22, 2003. I tried to guide our discussion to the time of particular interest to this group, acknowledging that while many readers will be students of this music and era, Carol was there and then 'moved on'. Nonetheless, she was very gracious and as thorough as possible in her responses.
PP: Thanks for talking with me today.
CC: Between Rocky, between this, between The Pianist, which I'm involved in now, and obviously Phil Spector, [the questions have been] just endless and it's not going to get any better anytime soon. So just know that I don't remember a lot about that time unless I were to give it massive amounts of thought. You went to my website, right?
PP: Yes, and I'll try not to cover what's already there. Have you looked at Spectropop at all?
CC: Not yet. Is it named because of Phil?
PP: It was coined for Spectacular Retro Pop, and it was designed to cover the era of which you were one of the first and then one of the continuing. In fact, I downloaded a listing of some of your solo work after the Teddy Bears.
CC: Oh-oh, I don't remember any of that.
PP: One of my favorite songs is on there, 'Angel My Angel', written by Barri and Levine.
CC: Isn't that funny? I don't even remember it; I know I did it. Go ahead, ask some questions.
PP: Back to the Teddy Bears - the mixes I've heard of 'Don't You Worry My Little Pet' are all really muddy. Was that intentional?
CC: I don't know if you know the story of all this. When I was in junior high school, Phil Spector was going with my girlfriend, Donna. He would come to school every day in his car and pick her up. I was her best friend - glued to her hip - wherever they went, I followed. And I used to sing all the time - at the ice cream truck, in the halls of school, I was singing. And Phil kept hearing my voice. One day he came up to me and said, 'Do you have ten dollars?' I said, 'Ten dollars? I don't have ten cents.' He said. 'If you have ten dollars, you can come cut a record with us.' I went to my Mom and Dad and said,
PP: She's still around?
CC: I freaked when I saw her, when they said 'This is Gogi Grant'. As a kid, I loved 'The Wayward Wind'; I loved the orchestration on it (sings a little of the arrangement). So this came out on Doré [owned by] Lew Bedell, who was a cousin to Herb Newman [who owned] Era Records. We had the deal from hell, as most young kids do. Phil was the writer of the song. For years, I've been correcting people because I went on to write some hits on my own, and everybody thought I wrote the song for myself. I didn't. In fact, Dateline started their whole show last night with me, I hear. They zeroed in on my face, I guess from The Dick Clark Show, and then went on to the Teddy Bears to say this is the first thing Phil ever did - that's what I said on a lot of the talk shows. And Phil was a little bit bizarre even in those days.
PP: I used to say that when I grew up I wanted to be a sane Phil Spector.
CC: [I think] he never was. His family was plagued by mental illness. His father committed suicide - 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' came off his father's epitaph, 'To Know Him Was To Love Him'. His mother was a little off-center, and his sister ended up, if I'm not mistaken, in an institution called Camarillo out here. She was our manager for about fifteen seconds. She was very difficult, very unruly, and took a lot of it out on me. I was about 16, and the boys [Phil and Marshall] were very, very protective of me. They must have been 18 or 19; they were three or four years older than me. They were already out of high school, and I was just going in. We were never in Fairfax at the same time.
PP: On a European CD [of the Teddy Bears], ostensibly Doré 503, there's a live version of 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' that has a big band exploding in at the end. Was that The Ed Sullivan Show?
CC: We didn't do the Ed Sullivan Show. It was the Perry Como Show. We made a mistake and didn't do the Ed Sullivan Show, because there was a conflict with something. We did the Perry Como Show, and we did the Dick Clark Show twice - as it was climbing the charts and when it hit #1. Ray Charles was the conductor on the Perry Como Show - not the blind Ray Charles.
PP: The one with the Ray Charles Singers?
CC: Yes. I don't remember a big band explosion at the end. What I do remember is in the rehearsal, my voice cracked in front of Ray Charles, and Phil came up to me and literally was going to pounce me on the head. Remember, we were kids - but he said, (very deliberately) 'If you don't hit that note, you're going to destroy our lives, you're going to destroy me!' I was so horrified that when I went for that note - which I hit, Thank You God - the expression on my face was of such fright that I wouldn't hit it. It was right at the top of my range; what did I know? But I hit it. I hit it.
PP: Can I ask you about some of the follow-ups?
CC: Ask me anything you want; if I can answer, I will.
PP: Were there only four sides for Doré?
CC: Yes - 'Till You'll Be Mine', 'Don't You Worry My Little Pet', 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' and 'Wonderful Loveable You'.
PP: I've heard there's a bootleg CD of Teddy Bears session tapes out there that has a run-through, probably of a demo, of a version of a song called 'Where Can You Be', later released on Era by Tony and Joe. Do you know of any other 'loose demos' that are running around?
CC: No, I don't.
PP: Any idea who Tony and Joe were?
CC: I don't know - never even heard of them!
PP: Apparently on the same CD, there's a version of 'Don't You Worry My Little Pet' where you can actually hear the lyrics and the various parts.
CC: That's a miracle - because it was a mess! After the two singles, we left Doré, which was not the wisest move, and went over to Lew Chudd's Imperial [label], and we did our album based on 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'.
PP: Were they able to license that to Imperial?
CC: 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was never on the Imperial album. They would not allow us to do that. Lew Chudd was a very smart businessman, but he couldn't get those rights.
PP: The original album is almost all covers and mostly middle-road, except for 'Seven Lonely Days', which is pretty credible country.
CC: I don't even remember singing it. Did I sing it, or did the boys sing it?
PP: You traded back and forth.
CC: I remember Phil went into a very - well, 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was very uplifting, an exquisitely crafted young love song. Even General [James L.] Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe whom I'm very friendly with (I just sang at the Iwo Jima Memorial for the Marines), he said he grew up to 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'. Everybody grew up to it; it's considered one of the great rock and roll classics.
Remember, too, we were listening to music that was R&B. Hunter Hancock was the DJ that was very sort of 'Earth Angel'. And Donald Woods' 'Death of An Angel' was my favorite song - I used to love the scream. I'd listen at night with a little itty bitty radio to my ear. My mother would come in and say, 'Annette' - my real name - 'Annette, turn off that radio.' When I heard all the [later] songs Phil threw in my lap, the one thing I felt - and remember I was just a teenager - was there was a much darker feel to them than 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'.
PP: On those Imperial singles, there are some of the most exquisite compositions. I personally find 'Oh, Why' to be one of the great undiscovered gems.
CC: Maybe somebody will re-record it.
PP: Well, your reading of it is priceless.
CC: Thank you. I was so young; who knew?
PP: But you must have known something because it came through in your voice.
CC: I'd like to believe there was a sensitivity about myself, and I think Phil knew my voice better than anybody. He really understood my voice.
PP: Obviously, because there is at least one spine-chilling moment in each of the songs.
CC: He always wanted my voice to crescendo somewhere, or do something, because he felt that was one of the secrets of 'To Know Him...'.
PP: Exactly. For example, in 'If You Only Knew (The Love Have For You)', where there's a slight rise, and then you settle back in.
CC: (sings a couple of phrases) It's been so long - I don't even think of these songs!
PP: And 'I Don't Need You Anymore' is just beautiful.
CC: I remember I liked that one.
PP: 'You Said Goodbye' is, too. Which brings up another question: On the single of 'You Said Goodbye', the mix is exquisite - beautiful, subtle, all kinds of 'room to move'. There is also a mix that omits the second part of the verse, and is mixed very loud and rough. I don't know if it was from the same session, or was an alternate take. Do you have any information about it?
CC: I don't remember. Phil produced that, as you know. I remember vaguely that Lew Chudd was ready to tear his hair out because he wanted a record out there, Phil wanted perfection, and I was caught in the middle. I was going to school, so I would just go in and do my part, usually the lead on most of them, and then split. And then Phil, if I'm not mistaken, would go in and redo everything for a century, and Lew Chudd would be screaming, and I'd just be trying to get back to school!
PP: So there were bunches of overdubs on these afterward?
CC: Might have been.
PP: 'Wonderful Loveable You'...
CC: I loved that song!
PP: Me too. It reminds me of another favorite Phil Spector song, 'I Really Do' by the Spectors Three.
CC: I don't remember that one.
PP: I was wondering if you were involved in it at all; 'Wonderful Loveable You' sounds like the predecessor to that.
CC: Predecessor - 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was the predecessor of the Paris Sisters. I remember the day I heard 'I Love How You Love Me'. I was driving in my car, and for one split second, I thought I had sung it!
CC: It was not a laughing matter. I wept, because I realized - I knew even before I looked at the credits that it was Phil; I knew that someone had copied the sound of my voice, or the feel of what 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was about, and I knew it would be a #1 record, and it wasn't me!
PP: It should've been you.
CC: Well, I loved her voice - her voice was 'taller' than mine, and I loved the Paris Sisters - they were one of my favorite groups. My voice had a little bit more emotion to it. [Phil] kept hers in a 'mono' thing. I don't think she had the range that I had. But when those violins, arranged by Hank Levine, came in in the second verse, it was one of the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard. That was one of Phil's masterful tricks; he always did that when he was doing songs like that. He kept it pretty simple in the beginning - I'm not talking about 'Da Doo Ron Ron' - but like on the Paris Sisters, come the second verse, there would be an explosion of beautiful sound. He used Hank Levine - that was his arranger.
PP: Hank Levine did a record called 'Image Part 1' which I found out was a radio jingle in LA. I used to use it as my talk-over music when I was on the radio. And there's a fellow now on WFMU [Bob Brainen, Saturday 7-9pm Eastern Time] who uses it as his theme song.
CC: How did the Glenn Jones interview on WFMU go?
PP: I thought it went great. [The interview is archived under the program heading Jonesville Station at http://www.wfmu.org].
CC: We were only going to do 30 minutes, and we wound up going for 50.
PP: Glenn's interview was much more general than some of what I've been asking, because it was for the larger radio audience. This is going out to fans who are familiar with a lot of your work and eager to know more, a somewhat different audience. One of them compiled a list of singles you had done over the years after the Teddy Bears, and I wonder if you have any comments. Most of these I haven't heard, so I'll confess my ignorance.
CC: I probably didn't hear them either (chuckles); go ahead!
PP: Staring in 1960 on Imperial  as Annette Bard, 'Alibi' and 'What Difference Does It Make'.
CC: I don't even remember them - I couldn't sing them to you if you had me in front of a firing squad!
CC: Actually, I vaguely remember them. Lew Chudd loved the sound of my voice, too. The Teddy Bears broke up partly because of the sister, and partly because Phil went to New York, and I'd had a very bad car accident - went off a cliff in a car - and that ended the group for a while.
PP: I remember in the Glenn Jones interview you said you'd also been thrown from a horse.
CC: Yes, that was about eight years ago. I've been very much a sports enthusiast, a water skier and a scuba diver. I was on the cover of Skin Diver magazine, - Barbi Benton, who's one of my best friends, and I were sent over to Fiji to do a layout - but I never got on a horse again after that; it was just the most awful experience.
PP: Back to that record - Lew Chudd loved your voice, and wanted to see if he could keep the magic going?
CC: Right - but obviously, we needed Phil. It just didn't work without Phil.
PP: The next one on the list is on Dunes [45-2005, 1961] as Carol Collins.
CC: Collins? Maybe it wasn't me. What's the name of it?
PP: 'Dear One' and 'Johnny Oh Johnny'.
CC: I think that was me, but don't ask me why I used Collins - I never was Collins.
PP: 'Dear One' wasn't the same as Larry Finnegan's hit of the same title?
CC: I don't think so... My God, maybe it wasn't me. Maybe I've had a memory lapse - and I pride myself on my memory.
PP: On Columbia [4-41976, 1961] as Carol Connors, 'You Are The Answer' and 'My Diary'.
CC: That one I remember, because that climbed the charts. I think I wrote it. 'My Diary' started to make some noise.
PP: Then again in 1961, 'Listen To The Beat' and 'My Special Boy' [Columbia, 3-42155].
CC: Yes, 'My Special Boy' was one of my most favorite songs I ever recorded in that genre, very 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'-ish. I was very friendly with Steve Barri at the time, who went on to do many wonderful things at ABC and Dunhill with the Grass Roots and more - Steve and P. F. Sloan, we all became really good friends. They worked at a little record store named Norbye's, a very famous one on Fairfax. I'd go in there and we'd all hang out, and if I'm not mistaken, we became very friendly at that time. They both went on to do wonderful things. I also really liked 'Listen To The Beat' (sings a phrase) - it's real emphatic.
PP: Next, we have on Columbia [4-42337, 1962] 'What Do You See In Him' and 'That's All It Takes'.
CC: I only remember that I did them. They didn't set the world on fire.
PP: On Era  in '62, 'Two Rivers' and 'Big Big Love'.
CC: Those I think I really was involved with.
PP: Did you write these?
CC: Some I wrote and some... I think I was involved with Steve and P. F. on those. I really don't remember a lot of these, not that I don't want to - I think I need some sodium pentathol - and I don't even take an aspirin! (laughs)
PP: Well, you've had several lifetimes between then and now.
CC: There are parts that just weren't that interesting to me, because they weren't the caliber of the Rockys and everything. People ask me questions all the time, and I'm just dumbfounded that they're so interested in it. I'm not even aware of so much of it.
PP: In my own case, for example, 'Angel My Angel' [flip: 'Never', Capitol 5152, 1964] - I know it's not the most perfect song, but there's something about it that's magic despite the fact that my copy plays like Rice Krispies - snap, crackle and pop. Do you remember anything about the session?
PP: You collaborated with Steve Barri again on one done by The Storytellers on Dimension, 'When Two People' and 'Time Will Tell'. He sings the verses and you lead on the choruses. Did that that hit at all? I know I played it on the radio...
CC: I think it hit a little, but not very much.
PP: There was another on Era [3096, 1962], 'I Wanna Know' and 'Tommy Go Away'...
CC: Geez, I don't even remember the flip side. I remember the title of 'I Wanna Know', but I just remember that I went in and did it.
PP: Moving to 1964, we have Carol Connors & The Cycles, 'Yum Yum Yamaha' [NTC RJ80, one-sided].
CC: I did that for Yamaha, because I was doing a project for them. I went over to Japan and posed on a Yamaha. I still have the pictures. I got very into the car and motorcycle stuff...
PP: ...with the Rip Chords...
CC: Yeah, as you know, I wrote 'Hey Little Cobra' with my brother. Actually, he didn't write very much of it - I wrote most of it. It's considered probably the most important hot rod song ever written because of what it did for the Ford Motor Company. Lee Iacocca was head of racing for Ford at the time when Carroll Shelby came up with the concept. It was the forerunner of the GT40 which went on to win Le Mans - which I went to, by the way. [It was] Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston; and, if I'm not mistaken, Brian Wilson and Jan Berry were involved in singing it. I was not at the recording session - I was in Mexico scuba diving - but I took the record to Terry Melcher who was head of A&R for Columbia, and he loved the concept of it. I wrote it because Carroll Shelby asked me to write it. I'd smashed my ex-boyfriend's car in the front - it was a Bristol - he wanted to see if they could put a Cobra front on a Bristol back, as they were basically the same design, [but] they couldn't do that. And Carroll said, 'If you write a song about my car and it goes to #1, we'll work something out, you'll go to Le Mans.' It did, and the rest is history. I had a Cobra. Actually I had three of them. My car today would be worth over half a million dollars, but I don't own it anymore.
PP: How about Carol & Cheryl, 'Go Go GTO' [flip: 'Sunny Winter', Colpix CP 767, 1965]?
CC: Cheryl's my sister. We did a couple of things together. I wound up getting a GTO, which I gave to my father. Stu Phillips produced that. In fact I bumped into him a year ago.
PP: He's on the Spectropop list, by the way.
CC: Yes, I saw his name. The reason I did it was because I knew I had a formula about cars, because I knew Carroll Shelby. So we did it, and I got the GTO and gave it to my father as a gift. I left town to go to Mexico - I love Mexico - and when he went to pick it up it had a red ribbon around it. He was the title-holder, I never was.
PP: What was the flip side, 'Sunny Winter'?
CC: I vaguely remember it. I used to love that song, but I don't remember why.
PP: There's one more single on this list: 'My Baby Looks But He Don't Touch' and 'Lonely Little Beach Girl' [Mira 219, 1966].
CC: I loved the song - it was beautiful. I think Steve Barri wrote that. I think I wrote it with him. And there was a [picture sleeve] cover. It's the first time I ever had a picture of me on a cover of a 45 that I thought I was really pretty. I think I have a copy somewhere in the house, but I'm not going looking for it! I remember thinking, 'Is that me?' Since then I've learned how to pose in front of a camera - as you can tell by my website.
PP: Let's talk about movies for a moment. You wrote 'Hot Rod Roaster' from Swingin' Summer, which Spectropop member Brian Chidester called the best song the Rip Chords ever recorded. Do you remember who was in the Rip Chords on this track?
CC: No, but I was part of Swinging Summer and Girls On The Beach. I wrote songs for them; I think I wrote 'Swinging Summer' if I'm not mistaken.
PP: Can you tell us anything about a movie called Red Line 7000?
CC: Yes. Thanks to Howard Hawks, who absolutely fell in love with me when I used to drive in with my Cobra, I wrote two songs for it: 'Wild Cat Jones', for which I wrote music and lyrics, for the lead, a lady named Gail Hire, who was one of Howard Hawks' finds. James Caan was in that, and Skip Ward, and I was in the film with Cissy Wellman - she was [famous Hollywood director] William Wellman's daughter. I ended up in the film because Howard Hawks said to me, 'You're so pretty that I want to put you in the film.' I said, 'I can't act,' and he said, 'Neither can anyone else! You're in the film, or I won't use your songs!' The reason he wanted my music was because I'd just come off [the big hit] 'Hey Little Cobra'. So I'm in the film; there's a scene of me dancing - I play a waitress. Also I wrote 'Waiting For You' - although I don't remember if that's the exact title - with Nelson Riddle. I wrote most of the song, but Nelson took some of the credit because 'he had to' - but that was okay with me. And that's a cult film today, by the way.
PP: I saw a reference on a movie review site to Catalina Caper, in which you sang a song called 'Book of Love' in front of the Cascades. Did you write that?
CC: Yeah, I believe so. I did a couple of those movies. For Girls On The Beach, I think I'm in the promo in a bikini, dancing like a maniac, because the director thought I was cute as a bug's ear and I still thought I was hideous at that time. I remember that one or all of the Beach Boys were in one of those films. I had just gotten my Cobra, and Dennis [Wilson] and I used to not drag the cars, but he couldn't believe that a girl had a Cobra. I think I was the only one who ever owned one in my own name - there was no husband attached to it! And I'm so tiny. I have a Rolls now, and when I drive it everyone makes fun of me cause all you see is this little pompadour of hair - my Elvis Presley hairdo, as I call it - and you don't see a human being driving the car, because I can barely reach the pedals anyway!
[Speaking of Elvis,] you know he was my first love. The reason was 'To Know Him Is To Love Him'. He loved the sound of my voice. When we finally met, I was brought up to the house, and the first question out of his mouth was, 'Why did you name the group The Teddy Bears?' I said, 'Because of you,' because we were kids, and he had a record called (singing) 'Just wanna be your Teddy Bear,' and we loved that song. So when we were going to name the group, that was the name that stuck. I ended up dating him for nine months. We used to harmonize together.
PP: He was a really amazing singer.
CC: Unbelievable, but so underrated at that time. They really didn't give him his credit at that time. He told me that he was supposed to do A Star Is Born, but Colonel Parker would not allow him to do it. In the film Barbra Streisand becomes the star, and he would have played the James Mason character...
PP: ...from the original, way back, which was Kris Kristofferson [in the Streisand version]...
CC: Right. [Colonel Parker] didn't want to put Elvis in that light, but Elvis felt that he really was a really good actor, and it broke his heart that he couldn't do that film.
PP: People have said that in general he was totally wasted on the screen with the exception of a couple of the early films.
CC: Yes, 'cause it was all puff and fluff - but he really had depth. His widow, Priscilla, lives right near me - the first film Priscilla ever did was called Love Is Forever. I titled the film and wrote the theme song with Lee Holdridge. I think it was also Michael Landon's last film; he swims the Mekong Delta to take the Cambodian girl out of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge. If I'm not mistaken, we got Laura Branigan to sing it. Anyway, it's so bizarre that Priscilla would become a friend of mine today. She's a very nice lady. I'm dying to hear Lisa Marie's new album, to see what she does. She's never going to be her father, but let's give her some slack.
You know, I tried and tried to do it on my own [as a singer]. Someone at the age of 15½ who has been singing since way before then - the one thing I wanted to do was sing! Phil did make that dream come true, but I realized as he went on to become that magnificent genius of rock and roll, it wasn't going to happen for me on that level. It really broke my heart; I went through a really bad time. I'm very, very strong and very determined, so I came in another door that opened for me: the writing.
PP: And you've certainly made it on that level.
CC: Yes.... I'd often rewrite 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' to sing to fit certain special occasions, although I don't know how I'm going to feel about that now. I've been asked many times now to sing the National Anthem, which I did at our President's inauguration and at the Iwo Jima Memorial. So in essence I am singing. I've sung it in front of generals and our servicemen, and people have cried in front of me when I do the National Anthem. But everybody hates [singing] that song.
PP: Well, it does cover and octave and a half.
CC: But I know the key to it: start low, sacrifice the third note if you have to, then you'll be able to hit the high note.
I wish I could be more helpful; I was such a kid at the time, and then after the accident, there was so much that I don't remember, but [there are] so many things that were so vivid to me. I remember a day in New York. We were in an elevator - Phil, Marshall and I - and who walked in but Fidel Castro; his brother, Raul; and Che Guevara; and their bodyguards - they had just come out of the United Nations on their way to leaving the country. And we're in the elevator making funny faces in back of him! Now I think, 'Were we nuts?' But we were still kids - what did we know? I remember that vividly, and yet I can't remember some of the songs I recorded.
PP: Is there any collection of your recordings post-Teddy Bears?
PP: Do you have the rights to it?
CC: Lots of it I do.
PP: Have you ever thought about putting together a CD of that era, or having somebody do it for you?
CC: I don't know - I just don't think of things like that. I'm so into the now that it's hard to go back.
I did one show with Kathy Young a little while ago - we were both on the same bill at the Greek Theatre - and people came up to me with the Teddy Bears album to get my signature, to take a look at me because of the way I look today, and to talk to me about the album. There were two pressings - one in stereo, one in mono - I never knew any of this!
PP: The original stereo pressing is worth a minor fortune.
CC: Copies of 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' - I'd get them at the pressing plant and I gave them away. I literally have one copy [now] - the gold one on the wall.
PP: How's Kathy Young doing?
CC: Really well - she looked really wonderful. I saw her at a thing at Charlie's I was at - part of the restoration of Hollywood. I'm also on the Board. We talked for a couple of seconds, and then we were both whisked away somewhere. But I sang her a couple of bars of 'A Thousand Stars', and she sang a couple of bars of 'To Know Him'. That's as far as we got. I'm sure people who follow this would have loved to have heard it!
PP: I'm sure. With The Spectropop Group, it's not that we want to go back and live in those days, but the sounds and the spirit resonate.
CC: Do you have pictures of the Teddy Bears and all that?
CC: I gather you have my stuff from the internet. What do you think of my website?
PP: You certainly do know a lot of famous people, and sometimes you seem to namedrop a bit, but of course those are the kind of people you know when you do what you do.
CC: But I do namedrop, because that's who I hang out with! They are my friends as I am their friend. I remember when I went with David Janssen a lady came up and said, 'Oh, Carol, you're so lucky to be going out with David Janssen,' and I looked at her and said, 'Excuse me - David Janssen is lucky to be going out with me!'
I'm now learning how much people are caught up in things like the 'To Know Him' era - and I span all these eras - but I think they'd love pictures, and I've got to get more of pictures up there.
By the way, you do know that I co-wrote probably one of the most important love songs of all times...
PP: 'With You I'm Born Again'...
CC: It's one of my favorite songs of all times.
PP: I haven't gone to stuff that was covered on your website, or was out of this particular era.
CC: Just as a little history, I wrote it for my love affair with Robert Culp. I was going with him at the time, and I wanted Robert to feel that way about me - and he did - and I felt that way about him. It was from a film called Fast Break, the Gabe Kaplan film; it was just a little melody in the film that David Shire wrote. In fact, 'Halfway Home', which is on the new Maureen McGovern record, was a song David and I wrote for the last William Holden film, The Earthlings. We both wrote music and lyrics for that; on 'With You I'm Born Again' I wrote the lyrics. Suzanne DePasse [from Motown] - Berry Gordy dumped the project in her lap because the album was on Motown - so we did. On a New Year's Day, we recorded it with Billy Preston and Syreeta. Incidentally, Suzanne and I are being honored together by the Israeli Cancer Research Foundation on June 25th .
CC: Thank you - I just got the letter last week. You know that Syreeta was Stevie Wonder's ex-wife, and did most of the demos for Diana Ross. She's had a tough life - you'd think she would have kept it together - but we all have our demons.
Did I send you the Army Archerd column?
[Carol had forwarded this note from Variety, 2/20/03, Archerd notes 'the subject of The Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, wrote more than 500 songs, some of which will be published in songbook form with English lyrics by Larry John McNally, David Batteau and Arthur Schlosser and Oscar-nominated (theme from Rocky) Carol Connors. Her songs are titled 'Handle With Care' and 'Lost Inside My Dream'.
PP: Yes, you did.
CC: Can you believe this break? Not just for me, but for Roman Polanski and the film...
PP: I hope the film does really well.
CC: I hope it wins.
PP: All the buzz is very positive on it.
CC: It's a masterpiece. When you see The Pianist, you'll be weeping... it's just exquisite.
Starting with a number one record and continuing through her musical contribution to a multiple Oscar contender, Carol's busy life is a whirlwind of activity she obviously enjoys. In an e-mail dated February 28, 2002, she noted:
'I am leaving for Jackson Hole next Thursday for Connie Stevens' ski extravaganza. Her CES Foundation, of which I sit on the board, raises money to help put people back into society.'
Again, Spectropop thanks Carol Connors for her time and her music.
Visit the Carol Connors website: http://www.carolconnors.com
Illustrations supplied by Martin Roberts, Mick Patrick and Carol Connors
Presented for Spectropop by Simon White, Phil Chapman and Mick Patrick