buy an original, mint 1972 vinyl of Paul's LP Twice Upon a Rhyme
Growing up in New York City - the Bronx - in the 1950s,
Paul had an abiding
interest in rock 'n' roll - as a fan, of course, but also as a singer and
songwriter. As a kid he put together a doo-wap group called
"Little Levie and the Emeralds" and he had a succession of
such groups throughout his teens including "The Transits" and "The New Outlook"
(who later recorded a few songs as "The Other Voices"), singing
on Bronx street corners, at local venues, and around the city. Here's an old
publicity photo circa 1966 of "The New Outlook" featuring
Ira Margolis, Stu Nitekman, and Paul Levinson in matching turtlenecks,
singing their three-part harmony for the camera.
By the late 1960s to early 1970s Paul pursued his interest professionally, as a
songwriter, singer and record producer, and was fortunate to work with music
business greats ranging from Ellie Greenwich to Murray the K, Jimmy Krondes,
Boris Midney, Herb Abramson, Wolfman Jack and others,
writing songs solo and with partners, recording, producing, singing.
His songwriting career
featured recordings on Atlantic, Columbia, Reprise and other major record
labels by various artists -- including the hit group The Vogues. Here's how
happened: when The Vogues signed with Reprise Records in 1967, they and their
producer, Dick Glasser, were looking for new material. Glasser heard
Paul's song, "Unbelievable (Inconceivable You)," and thought it could
work for them. The Vogues
recorded "Unbelievable" on one of their first sessions for Reprise. But
they also recorded "Turn Around, Look at Me" on that session, and
Reprise decided to release that first. It was a big hit, and took
The Vogues in a different direction -- a bigger pop, softer, Lettermen-like
sound. "Unbelievable" was never released. But you can listen to it here...
One of the people Paul occasionally wrote songs with
was an unknown young writer named Linda Kaplan - Paul and Linda wrote a
handful of songs, with Paul writing lyrics and Linda writing music. Paul
was one of the first to notice Linda's songwriting talents - she went on, as
Linda Kaplan Thaler, to become a prominent, award-winning force in
advertising circles, including writing the Toys 'R' Us jingle ("I don't want to
grow up, I'm a Toys 'R' Us kid...") and creating memorable ad campaigns
including the squawking AFLAC duck and Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo ("Yes,
through her own
very successful ad agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group. One of Paul and Linda's
1968 was a song
called "Not Yet Ready to Say Goodbye" which
later appeared on Paul's 1972
LP record album, Twice Upon a Rhyme.
Twice Upon a Rhyme
with Ed Fox and Peter Rosenthal
released 1972 HappySad Records
Twice Upon a Rhyme was recorded on and off for two years, from 1969
to 1971, and it includes all original material by Paul writing solo and with
collaborating writers. Paul is the featured artist, with Ed Fox and Peter
Rosenthal, and the album was produced by Paul Levinson and Ed Fox. Released in
1972 on HappySad Records, Twice Upon a Rhyme was a small pressing,
distributed around the country, occasionally receiving some
airplay, but not really breaking out. Thirty years later, however, much
to Paul's delight, the album began showing up
from time to time on cult collectors' lists of 1960s music, with copies even
appearing on eBay occasionally, and fan mail coming in from European and
But then the July 2002 issue
of Japan's Record Collectors' Magazine featured Twice Upon a
Rhyme in its roundup of American 1960s "Psychedelic Movements". The
reviewer, Taro Miyasugi, said, "It's human mystical pop music... wonderful
songs." This unexpected tribute led to more interest from a new generation of
Japanese collectors, and Paul has been happy to hear from some of these fans.
The album is also listed in the legendary Hans Pokora's 4001 Record
Collector Dreams, Vernon Joynson's Fuzz, Acid and Flowers: Comprehensive Guide to American Garage, Psychedelic and Hippie Rock (1964-75), and in Patrick Lundborg's The Acid Archives.
This classic 1972 original 13-track record album is now available for digital download on iTunes,Amazon and eMusic -- individual tracks, or the whole album... This follows the reissue in South Korea by Big Pink-Beatball Records and in Japan by Vivid Records of a CD containing the complete original 13-track album plus three bonus tracks. Copies are available - read all about it!
By the early 1970s, Paul's music interest led him to other means of
expression - writing. In 1971 he had his first article published, in
the Village Voice, called "A Vote for McCartney," disagreeing with a
sniping review by Voice critic Robert Christgau of one of McCartney's
early solo albums. He sent it in as a letter to the Editor, but
the Voice liked it so much they published it as an article. The next
summer, 1972, the legendary disc jockey Murray the "K" returned to New York
City radio. Paul was always a big fan of Murray's, listening to him from the
late 1950s on WINS and later WOR-FM. Murray left New York radio in 1967 when
WOR-FM changed format, to the sadness of his legions of fans.
Murray returned on the July 4th weekend of 1972, with a great show on WNBC-AM.
Paul and Tina listened
to it all weekend, and loved it. Paul wrote an article about Murray's
return which was published in the Village Voice in October of 1972,
and the editor titled it "Murray the K in Nostalgia's Noose" -- it was actually
a much more positive piece than that would imply. When Murray read it, he
it and asked Paul to work with him on the radio show -- helping
put together some of the "sets" of music which were long one
of Murray's trademarks. Paul
wrote and recorded "Murray the K's Back in Town"
time - you can hear Peter Rosenthal on guitars in the demo. Murray played it
on his show as a theme song from time to time. Working with Murray the K was
one of the highlights of
Paul's music business experience. And the thrill of having those articles
published led to his long writing career.
and don't miss Paul in an hour-long radio interview that aired in June 2006, talking
with Patrick Rands on Boston's WZBC Radio about his music career...
including 13 recordings of Paul's songs and featuring a live performance of his
new song, "Lime Streets"!