The year was 1964. It was a late summer afternoon and there I was at the Plaza Theater, third row back sitting smack in the middle. This day was special. Very special. It was the debut of The Beatles new movie, A Hard Day’s Night. I was flanked by two good friends who also loved the Beatles. My older sister, Joy, who was 14 at the time was sitting behind us with all her friends. The theater was packed tight with teenagers and the air we electrified! On that day, not a single one of us teenyboppers knew what was about to happen. We had no idea that our lives were about to radically change forever.
Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and the curtains parted amidst a few screams from a row of cute girls in the back row. A short commercial selling popcorn filled the screen for a brief 30 seconds and then it happened. I can remember that moment like it happened this morning. Suddenly, there on the silver screen appeared four long-haired young men running up the sidewalk, toward the camera, with hundreds of pretty young girls chasing them. One second later, a guitar strums one chord very loud and The Beatles first verse to A Hard Day’s Night kicks in and hits my brain like a sledgehammer. “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I been workin’ like a dog…”, and the theater erupts in screams like I have never heard in my life. I swear teenage girls were fainting and screaming everywhere.
Something happened to me on that lazy hazy crazy day of summer back in 1964 that would alter the course of my life forever. Seeing four long-haired young musicians singing the coolest songs ever, running from thousands of pretty girls, and having the time of their life, well let’s just say that experience planted a seed in my brain that would last a lifetime. A Hard Day’s Night opened my mind to the world of rock n’ roll like nothing ever has. I fell in love with long hair, rock music, and the idea of becoming a rockstar. I had never seen anyone having so much fun in my life. But not one, but FOUR dudes were having a blast and I wanted a piece of that pie.
From that day forward, my life was infiltrated with the Beatles music. Back then the proverbial 45 rpm (45 revolutions per minute) vinyl records were popular, each housing two songs, one on the front side and one on the back. Usually a musician had their hit song on side one and a wannabe song on the flip side. Record players were equipped with a special center spindle adapter that allowed you to load up a stack of 45’s that would play one by one. Once the needle on the arm of the record player finished one song, the arm came up, returned back to the outside of the revolving disks, while the next 45 dropped down and was in position for the needle to return back, drop down, and find the first groove. Perhaps that’s where the term “groovy” originated back in the mid-‘60s.
In the young G.O.P.’s household, you could often hear the latest Beatles number one song playing over and over again on the record player in my bedroom or my big sister’s bedroom. She Loves You, by The Beatles was one of the first hit songs that I recall hearing at least 40 times a day for weeks on end. And every time the song played it was enjoyed just as much as the first time. Even Elvis, The King, could not produce a song that had this magnitude of addictive power. Ladies and gentlemen, that was a very magical time for me and millions of other teenagers in America.
The Beatles opened the door to thousands of young musicians in America and England to write, play, and produce rock n’ roll. Groups like The Dave Clark 5, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and The Monkees emerged as the United States’ version of The Beatles. From Britain, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Seeds, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, and Jerry and the Pacemakers also emerged as a result of the massive popularity of The Beatles.
Then one day around 1965, the music industry shifted. To put it all in a nutshell, The Beatles dropped acid and became bored with singing silly love songs. So the music changed to appeal to anyone who was into smoking pot or taking psychedelic drugs like window pane, purple haze, and microdots, which were all versions of lycergic acid diethlamide (LSD). With your head in the sky, enter stage left The Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Arlo Guthrie, and Led Zeppelin. Toss in the Summer of Love in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969 and the stage is set for a nation that is eating a steady diet of rock n’ roll. “I know, it’s only rock n’ roll but I like it…”
SIDENOTE: The Jefferson Airplane got their name from the slang term for a “roach clip” made by taking an old-school paper match, splitting it in half by peeling if from the stem up to the tip of the match. Once the match is split, you place a half smoked joint between the two halves and pinch them together with your fingers to create a simple roach clip that allowed you to smoke your joint all the way to the end without burning your fingertips. When the joint is housed between the two halves of the paper match, it looks like a little airplane, hence it became known as a Jefferson Airplane. Not sure why Jefferson was applied to the name, though.
To make a long story short and sweet, since that day in 1964 when I saw A Hard Day’s Night, my life has certain been heavily infiltrated with rock music. A list of some of my favorite rock groups are Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Arlo Guthrie, The Kinks, Steppenwolf, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Animals, The Temptations, The Who, Ten Years After, Santana, Mamas and the Papas, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, Humble Pie, Uriah Heap, Rush, Savoy Brown, Foghat, James Gang, The Cowsills, The Turtles, The Yardbirds, The Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Styx, Def Leppard, and Golden Earring, just to name a few.
Fast forward to April 3, 2020. On that day, the idea for a song came to me. The song’s name was Hang Loose, and I could hear in my mind the drumbeat behind the words to this song. So there I was, sitting at my desk at or beach offices in North Palm Beach), and the urge to write the lyrics to my song Hang Loose was overwhelming. I am a writer, but never before had I written a song or had the urge to write a song. But today was a new dawn for me. What I was about to do would change my life forever.
The unique feature of the songs written and produced by me, The G.O.P., is that almost every song I write has a deeper meaning. Hang Loose is about letting go, releasing your tight hold on your fake self, so you can hang loose in life. Millions of people in America seem uptight, and my song is a simple, fun, and powerful reminder to get the chill on and hang loose. My song, Who Am I, is about enlightenment (finding your true self) through very deep meditation. It tells of my journey within, what it felt like along the way, and what it was like to awaken suddenly to realize I had spent my entire life living as an imposter who was not the real me.
My song Magic Bus is about cruising around the tropical town of North Palm Beach in my chopped and dropped custom built 1974 VW Bus that has been equipped with an electric Tesla motor. The message that is between the lines in my song Magic Bus is that being chill is the way to live. It also suggests that tropical living is the easiest way to get the chill on. In my song Rockstar, it is directly telling you that you are a Rockstar, and ya just don’t know it, so I remind you of who you really are!
In my heavy metal rock song, Yippee Ki Yay (which to date is one of my top three favorite songs), I point out that the secret to happiness is to forget about yourself and focus on other people, offering what you can to help them. In other words, like my lyrics say, “Set yourself free and really start livin’, treat your brothas and ya sistas to from freestyle givin’!” And the chorus line, delivered in Alice Cooper style tells you to:
Makin’ their day,
All your love,
Give it away.
It’s not about you,
hear what I say,
Let your ego die hard,
Yippee Ki Yay!
My hard-driving song FREEDOM helped round out the line up on my HANG LOOSE album. The song is simple, delivering one very powerful message in the Chorus line:
Freedom, gotta want it
Freedom, gotta have it
Freedom, gotta love it
When my album Hang Loose was nearing completion, I needed one more song that had some real punch. I also realized that I needed a calling card for me, The G.O.P. and my Hang Loose Peace Movement. So one day, I sat down at my computer and within a few hours had written most of the lyrics for one of my all-time favorite songs, The G.O.P. that invited everyone to join me on this journey as reflected in the Chorus line:
‘Cause ya know…
I’m the Guru of Peace
Enlightened, oh yeah, got peace in my pocket
When I come to your town, get ready to rock it!
Time to join hands, with the man on a mission
Overhaul your mind and your inner transmission
Always lovin’ life, livin’ carefree
Ride my Peace Train, I’m the G.O.P.
I am a successful businessman, an accomplished writer, motivational speaker, TV show host, seminar host, health educator, and spiritual guru. And now I am a singer/songwriter. Heck, ya might even call me a Rockstar. But most importantly, I am the G.O.P. (Guru of Peace) and I have come here to plant the seeds of peace and love across the land through my Peace Movement, website, songs, clothing line, merchandise, protein powders, Hang Loose Festivals, our peace and love online gift shop and by just bein’ me.
Peace and love,