We love hearing from friends we have visited over the years.
If you have a story you would like to share, go ahead!
Email it to us. We'd love to share it with othe Dovell's fans around the world..
All The Best-The Dovell's
I recently started writing down anecdotes and memories from the old days in the Brill Building and more. I thought you would enjoy this one from my very beginning in the business. I will be printing out a lot of these and give them to you to enjoy. So far, the stuff is great. A lot of hillarious memories. Enjoy! Billy Terrell
I had to leave school at 16 to work to help bring money in to feed my two brothers and two sisters or we would be looking for each other today on Unsolved Mysteries. It was awful. It was worse trying to find a job because I looked like I was only 12. I had to resort to raking leaves, scrubbing floors, shoveling snow and any other odd jobs I could find. No one would hire me.
I had terrible teeth too which really worked against me. No one would let me work where people could see me. This went on for several months and then my dear Aunt Laura, rest her soul, stepped in, took me to live with her back in Newark and paid to fix my teeth. It took many months. The day I had my last visit was the day before my 17th birthday, November 13th,1961. I felt like a million bucks for the first time in my life.
I was so happy when I got back to my Aunt's house I started singing along with the radio. The song was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens. From that moment all I thought about was music and felt a confidence I had never experienced. I moved back with my family in Bradley Beach and got the first job I applied for at Howard Johnson's Restaurant on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. It was only as a dishwasher but it meant the world to me just to be accepted.
The restaurant was right next to Convention Hall where all the big live shows, wrestling and boxing matches took place. One day in the summer of '62 a big rock and roll show was next door featuring Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, The Dovells and The Orlons. All Cameo/Parkway Records artists. The Dovells came in for lunch in their matching suits. I couldn't believe it. I was a huge fan of their music...especially The Bristol Stomp.
I remember collecting their place mats, asked for autographs and was so inspired I ran out and bought their new album and a shirt that matched the ones they were wearing on the cover. Totally blown away. I went out and bought a $40 Kay acoustic guitar and a Melbay chord book and practiced every minute I wasn't washing dishes. For months in my mind I was a Dovell. I even combed my hair like Jerry Gross and took a photo with a similar pose.
In the early 70's I pitched songs all the time to the Tokens at BT Puppy Records in 1697 Broadway and became good friends with Dave Appell who was running their publishing company. Dave was,and is a great writer/producer from Philadelphia who co-wrote many of the songs that inspired me in 1962. Songs for The Dovells, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell The Orlons and many more. I remember seeing his name as a writer on the records I used to buy...Kal Mann and Dave Appell.
Today, Dave is like a big brother and mentor to me. Still a great inspiration. I stay very close to him, we have lunch all the time and great conversations. Dave has recently said he would like me to have the upright piano from Cameo/Parkway Records that's been in his basement for over 40 years. To have the piano the songs were written on that changed my life is UNBELIEVABLE! As if that isn't enough, I have been working as a comedian for over 10 years on and off with The Dovells. Jerry Gross and Mark Stevens are great friends today. ONLY IN AMERICA FOLKS!!!!!