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The deal was done. There was a single released, Jukebox Saturday Night, written by J.C. Crowley and Peter Beckett. The flip side was Love Is Where You Find It. Needless to say, the single didn’t chart. At that juncture, the band became pretty difficult. Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley were not consummate live performers. On the other hand, I was. During one road trip, set up by the now-defunct Bob Ellis and Associates taken over by the Palmer Roswell Company, we were sent off to perform a live show somewhere in Texas, I believe. I remember sharing a hotel room with a leaking roof; but the anxiety over the Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley situation was just too much for me to handle. Things continued to deteriorate, and both Peter Beckett and J.C. Crowley decided in their own minds that I was no longer in the band. I recall walking to SoundLab Studios, where Gary Wright had just finished recording Dream Weaver. We were finishing up some songs. Through the studio glass, I saw Peter and J.C. at the piano in the studio along with Lambert and Potter, our producers, repeatedly doing the melody of the tune Baby, Come Back. I had a creepy feeling at that time, since this was going on behind my back. I remember walking out into the parking lot and saying to myself, “I think this gig is up.” Peter had gotten his way. That evening, my wife Patty and I were at home, sitting around the dining room table. Paul Palmer, who was part of the Palmer Roswell Management Company and a good man who I really admire a lot to this day, informed me that J. C. Crowley and Peter Beckett had decided my services were no longer required for the band. I said to Paul, “Tell them both good luck; they’re really going to need each other.” Then later I got angry. At that point, Player was over. Patty and I separated some time later.

Gold record presented to Reed by Paul Palmer of Palmer Roswell Management Team

Reed and Broadway Beatlemania

Like a savior, my ex-wife Patty called me and said, “Radio station KROK has been promoting a show called Beatlemania. That show holds a strong potential for going to Broadway at the Wintergarden Theatre in New York. They’re coming to Los Angeles to audition Beatle sound-alikes; but most important, the hardest role to fill is Paul McCartney.” Patty continued, “You’re a dead ringer for this. Go for it.” To this day, I thank Patty for getting me out of the Player nightmare and helping me move on in life. I listened to KROK intently to find out where and when auditions would be held.

Auditions were held at Studio Instrument Rentals (SIR), the number-one rehearsal spot in Los Angeles at the time. I showed up on the designated day. It was very hot day in the mid afternoon. I walked to a very large, dimly-lit rehearsal room. I noticed more than a dozen people in the room at the time. I thought to myself, probably due to lack of confidence at that time in my life, “Hell, I’m not going to get this.” Then I started witnessing and hearing some of the so-called Beatle sound-alikes. I decided, “I think I got a shot here.” I walked up to the music director, Sandy Yaguda. Interestingly, I found out that he had been one of the background singers for Jay and the Americans. Sandy had a good relationship with Steve Leber, part of the successful management team known as Leber and Krebs. At that time, they were managing the successful group Aerosmith. Upon talking to Sandy with regard to what this was all about, he told me it was a show developed from a small stage show somewhere in Texas. The show had been brought to Leber and Krebs by the somewhat-famous lighting designer Jules Fisher. Sandy said, “The goal is to bring the show to the Wintergarden Theatre on Broadway in New York.” The time frame was such that Beatlemania would be next in line after Fiddler on the Roof closed. I said, “Sounds like fun,” and asked what songs were planned for the show. Sandy had a list of about 50 tentative songs. He showed it to me and asked, “Are you familiar with Beatle songs? You have a youthful look and could be perfect for the McCartney role.” I said, “That’s precisely what I’m here for. I’m a big Beatles fan.” Looking at the list, Sandy asked, “How many of these Beatle songs do you know?” I rephrased his question, “I’ll give you a buck for every song I don’t know.” In true New York fashion, he said, “Kid, get your ass up there, and show me what you can do.” I looked at him, smiled, and walked up to a grand piano on the stage. I thought to myself, “Let’s put this in high gear and really give him some McCartney.” I proceeded to belt out Maybe I’m Amazed in true McCartney fashion. Upon completion, the whole room burst out in applause. Nobody else had received any applause. I glanced over to Mr. Yaguda, who was pacing back and forth at a very nervous pace. I knew what he was thinking. Patty was right, I nailed it. There were voices in the gathering calling out for more. Some contenders actually walked out the door. Without any further hesitation, I proceeded to perform Long And Winding Road. Then went on to do Let It Be. After that, Sandy said, “That’s enough. Fine. We’ve got to talk.” As I left the stage, two guys approached me. One of them was named Randy Clark. He had a striking likeness to John Lennon, but was much taller. He was auditioning for the Lennon role. The other guy, Bobby Taylor, was trying out for the Ringo part. One said, “Man, you just nailed it. Hopefully we’ll get to work together.” The other agreed, “You know what, man? I know you’re in.”

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