Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jerry Ross Symposium - 'Hope For The Best (Expect The Worst)' b/w 'First Love' (1971)

In the early 1970s, record producer-promoter-song writer Jerry Ross tried on another hat, releasing a few records of lightly progressive pop and smoothed-out covers of rock hits, all crafted to be palatable for airplay on easy-listening radio stations.

This single release from early 1971 featured the theme from The Twelve Chairs, the second feature-length
Mel Brooks film, released the previous autumn.

In collaboration with his long-time 'house' composer John Morris, Mel's lyrics to the song are as timeless as ever...

Hope for the best, expect the worst
Some drink champagne, some die of thirst
No way of knowing
Which way it’s going
Hope for the best, expect the worst!

Hope for the best, expect the worst
The world’s a stage, we’re unrehearsed
Some reach the top, friends, while others drop, friends
Hope for the best, expect the worst!

I knew a man who saved a fortune that was splendid
Then he died the day he’d planned to go and spend it
Shouting “Live while you’re alive! No one will survive!”
Life is sorrow - - here today and gone tomorrow
Live while you’re alive, no one will survive - - there’s no guarantee

Hope for the best, expect the worst
You could be Tolstoy or Fannie Hurst
You take your chances, there are no answers
Hope for the best expect the worst!

I knew a man who saved a fortune that was splendid
Then he died the day he’d planned to go and spend it
Shouting “Live while you’re alive! No one will survive!”
Life is funny - - Spend your money! Spend your money!
Live while you’re alive, no one will survive - - there’s no guarantee



Hope for the best, expect the worst

The rich are blessed, the poor are cursed

That is a fact, friends, the deck is stacked, friends

Hope for the best, expect the – -
(even with a good beginning, it’s not certain that you’re winning,
even with the best of chances, they can kick you in the pantses)

Look out for the - - watch out for the worst!
Hey!


(The lyrics above are as heard during the film's opening credits. Not all of them are found on this Jerry Ross Symposium 45.)




(Note the title typo on the label!)





Listen to:
Jerry Ross Symposium -
Hope For The Best (Expect The Worst)

(Colossus Records 45, 1971)
(click for audio)








Jerry Ross (not to be confused with an older showbiz Jerry Ross, the musical theater composer of Damn Yankees and The Pajama Game) had been a DJ and radio & TV announcer in Philadelphia in the late 1950s before becoming a record promoter there.

Branching off into composing and producing records, he also discovered teenage singer Kenneth Gamble.
Ross managed Gamble's career and was instrumental in teaming him with keyboardist Leon Huff.

The three collaborated as songwriters for several years before Gamble and Huff went on to huge fame as a team, writing and producing records, and helping to pioneer the 'Philly Soul' sound .

Ross went to New York in 1965 when he was hired as an A&R man by Mercury Records, where he soon had great success with acts like Jay & The Techniques, Spanky & Our Gang, Dee Dee Warwick, Jerry Butler, Keith, and Bobby Hebb.

Ross had also founded his own small record label, Heritage, in the early 1960s, releasing music by some of his Philadelphia acts.
He revived the label in 1968 after leaving Mercury, and put out records by Bill Deal and the Rhondels, Cherry People and
The Duprees, among others.

When a distribution deal with MGM ended around 1970, Ross went abroad to seek European distribution for the now independent Heritage label. While visiting Amsterdam he was taken with the Dutch music scene, and was able to secure the North American distribution rights for several acts.

Upon returning to the U.S., Ross started his new Colossus label (named after his miniature poodle) and began releasing records by his new 'Dutch Invasion' groups; Shocking Blue, The Tee Set, and The George Baker Selection.

Never one to put eggs in one basket, one function of his
'Jerry Ross Symposium' records was to provide MOR cover versions of hit songs by artists on his labels.

See also:
- Fellow music biz maven Artie Wayne interviews Jerry Ross at Spectropop.

- Jerry Ross at MySpace.

- As of this writing, the second Jerry Ross Symposium LP (with arrangements by Claus Ogerman) can be found at fullundie.


Chuck Sagle was the arranger / conductor on this single. As a bandleader, Sagle released a number of 'space-age pop' records in the '50s and '60s, often under his 'Carl Stevens' alias.

The flip-side of the 45 has sort of a 'Washington Square' / 'Midnight In Moscow' sound, accompanied by a watery shadow chorus.

Listen to:
Jerry Ross Symposium -
First Love

(Colossus Records 45, 1971)
(click for audio)









The Symposium performs the sentimental theme to the 1970 film First Love, written by
Don Black and composer
Mark London, who'd previously collaborated on 'To Sir With Love' in 1967.

Oscar-winner Don Black was the lyricist on many successful movie theme songs - - He worked with composer John Barry on 'Born Free' and several of the James Bond themes, including 'Thunderball' and 'Diamonds Are Forever', and he wrote Michael Jackson's hit, 'Ben' with Walter Scharf in 1972.

- Follow link to the Official Don Black Website.

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