Anka and Al


That podcast is among the best things I have ever listened to! I didn’t want it to end. And you know me. I can be the ADHD poster child.  But I sat enraptured and inspired through the entire interview. Paul and I have bumped into each other a few times at events and we have some very dear mutual friends, and I’ve always thought I would love to get to know him better. But this podcast makes me want to buy a ticket to LA this afternoon and go hang out at his house! You did a masterful job of interviewing him – and of picking up on the little jewels he would drop from time time and making him go back and delve deeper into those revealing stories.

You’re right about him being totally in tune with what is going on around him and clearly this was always the case. He’s a brilliant sponge, uniquely talented and worldly wise too which makes him a triple threat; the ultimate warrior. I’ve always respected what he does and what I know of him as a man, but this interview moved him to the top of the pantheon for me. Viva Anka!

Thank you for doing this. I think I’m going to go back and listen again!

Bob Ezrin


Bob Nice Day!  Enjoyed the podcast along with so many of your fans and  listeners. In 1983 Paul  released an album on Columbia  Records called “WALK A  FINE LINE.” At that time Paul was more of a star in Europe THAN THE U.S. So Columbia, wanted, and Paul wanted to promote the album in Europe so Anka called me and wanted me to go  with him on a 30 day tour  doing  TV appearances  We flew the Concorde to Paris and stayed at the Plaza Athenee…. Everyone treated us like royalty like a huge rock star..everyone on the streets of all the major cities knew him and called him “PALANKA.” We did  TV shows all over Europe  Sweden, Paris, Belgium, Cannes doing live interviews and singing songs from the Columbia album. We flew in private jets and had police escorts in almost every city…Paul was the ultimate professional..complaining but doing what had to be done.   We were having breakfast at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes and heading to Belgium that morning for a TV show..Paul decided that he didn’t want to go…I said we are committed he said OK .. When we got to Belgium it was pouring and cold we were going to stay over night but Paul wanted  to leave right after the show. The  Hotel had given us the entire presidential floor for the night with rooms full of beautiful flowers but Paul was determined to go back to Cannes so we chartered a private jet to take us back the poor hotel manager was flabbergasted!!!!

On the return flight to New York (Also Concord ) He asked me to be his manager I felt that was ’cause we had such a great time together and said ”I’m not a manager” (and don’t want to be ) but we can be friends”… The 30 days was the highlight of my 35 years in the record industry…again thank you Bob for rousing such great memories (And thanks to Paul Anka )…Macey Lipman


Thanks for sharing these and making sure we listened. This is like an audio historical document.

Alex Skolnick


I worked for (Jerry ) Weintraub when Management lll was the Rolls Royce 300 pound gorilla in the room. I saw first hand, or heard, many of the “future” stories. Norman Weiss, a gentleman and mentor to me, recruited me from an  agent at  ICM, to a manager at Management lll. I heard many a Paul Anka stories directly from Norman. He beamed  with pride and fatherly love about Paul and his stories were always filled with action.
Your Anka podcast was beyond fascinating and interesting, it was edge of the seat what came next suspenseful. His openness, humIlity, and honesty was inspiring.
Your knowledge and guidance of the big picture intimate details was award winning.
When’s the next episode??
Michael Brokaw


Honestly, it was one of the best things you’ve ever done. And like he said, “No one has the balls to say what you do!” Keep saying that shit!

Adam Franklin


How about that Paul Anka podcast?! Truly an amazing conversation!

Tim Brunelle


Yeah, Paul Anka, maybe your best. He’s always been sharp. Your last 30 minutes with Suzi Quatro you hit a groove with your questions.

Harold Bronson




Kenn Kweder


Found the time yesterday…2 hours went like that…last half hour in a steady downpour which Maui needs…riveted to my backyard chair…coulda listened to another hour…you crushed this one Bob..

Tom Clark on Maui


hi bob,

great anka interview.

I took my mom (who is now 89 now) to see him live,

pre covid. she loved it! I was happy when he played

a mini acoustic set and included “it don’t matter anymore”

(the song buddy holly recorded).

I’m emailing you not to post, but perhaps you

could let the anka camp know the following:

after listening to the interview, I went to amazon

prime to listen/purchase his new album “making memories.”

there is an album cover and a link to listen to the album.

however, no cds or vinyl were available to purchase, so I clicked to listen,

and there was only the title track attached to a

different album cover. usually if one track appears,

a release date is given to hear (or purchase) full album.

not the case.

keep up the great work bob.

thank you.

marvin etzioni

president of regional records


Bob, I’ve had the pleasure of reading (and listening) to you for years.  I book & produce corporate entertainment dates.  Prior to that I was an agent at William Morris & also ICM where I was one of Paul Anka’s agents.  And I loved this podcast.  Brought back some really great, fond memories.  Anka has always been smart & his live show was always in a league of it’s own – he is the epitome of a true performer.  He also totally represents a part of showbiz that unfortunately no longer exists.  His stories are real, he’s always been humble, and he is still relevant after all these years.  Great job to you both.


Mark Felix


Dear Bob,
EVERY kudo so well deserved for this Homerun!

Dennis Brent


Bob – you’re right about the podcast! Gotta tell you a story.

When I was a kid in Italy in the late 50s, I was staying at a hotel and across the street, there was a big party in the local Italian communist party building. Of course, that was the 50s, and I had been taught that communists had cloven hooves and ate children. But this lady came to the window, saw me, and gestured to come on over. The music that was blasting out was Paul Anka’s “Diana,”  which was/is one of my favorite songs. My takeaway was that if that was the kind of music that communists listened to, they were probably okay 🙂

Craig Anderton


My wife and I have been solid Paul Anka fans for a while now.

Please tell your readers that they should check out Paul’s album, “Rock Swings”. It’s Paul’s swingin’ big band arrangements of rock hits.  It’s so good you’ll forget who did the originals.

Jim Cuomo


Another Paul Anka story,

Some years ago, I recorded Paul’s vocals on some material he was readying for release.  He was truly wonderful to work with; enthusiastic, dedicated and very personable, as well.  During our sessions, the subject came up about kids, and we shared stories about our daughters.  On the last day of the sessions, as things were wrapping up, Paul snuck up behind me and slipped a $100 bill in my pocket.  I told him that tipping wasn’t necessary in any way, and he said, “Go buy something nice for that daughter of yours”.  He went on to say that if my family and I were ever in Las Vegas, give him a call and he’d get us a room at the Golden Nugget.  For a man of his stature, and with his entire career to navigate daily, I’ll never forget his thoughtfulness.  I’m still touched by it.

John Van Nest


Late to the party. Your session with Paul Anka was fascinating! My ex-wife’s great grandfather-in-law was a guy named Moe Gale (aka Moshe Galinski). He ran the Savoy Ballroom in the ’20s-30s, discovered the Ink Spots, managed Chick Webb, and palled around with  and booked Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella, etc…He also became a music publisher and according to Gale family legend, years later, Paul Anka pitched “Diana” to them. Unfortunately, Moe was busy, so his son Richard met with him, and after hearing the song said something like “it was the worst song he’d ever heard.” Needless to say, when it became a huge hit Richard realized the music biz was not in the cards, so he embarked on a career as a college philosophy professor.

Chip Lovitt




In 1968, when I was 17 and a junior counsellor at the summer camp I’d been going to since I was 11, I came under the influence of some older counsellors. Their tastes in music were naturally ahead of mine. This counsellor Bobby made me listen to BS&T’s first album, Child is Father to the Man. I was stunned. It became my favourite record that year. Along, of course, with the White Album. Near the end of camp, I read in a Toronto newspaper that there was a new club opening up called The Rock Pile, located in the old Masonic Temple. And their first act would be Blood Sweat & Tears! I was beside myself. I took my new camp girlfriend to the show. The band came on stage. And lo and behold, no Al Kooper! Steve Katz from the old Blues Project was on stage but no Al. How could this be? Instead, on stage was a menacing presence, David Clayton Thomas, a singer who had been kicking around Toronto in various band incarnations. I have to say that by the end of the show, I was pretty impressed. But I couldn’t get over my disappointment of not seeing Al Kooper. Of course we all know what happened now. Jump ahead a few decades and I’m working at BMG Canada in the early 90’s as the VP of Business Affairs. Someone, I can’t remember who, brought Al Kooper by my office. He was promoting a live album. This was not your normal hi/bye. Al and I got into the past, into music, I can’t remember  it all, but he was so friendly, so genuine – he even insisted I go to lunch with the rest of his BMG handlers – that I remember it as the most pleasurable moment I’ve ever had with an artist. The word is mensche. I know you think the same. I’ve always treasured the autograph he gave me that day.

Steven Ehrlick


One of my favorite things about Al Kooper is his pioneering use of the Ondioline, which is an early electronic keyboard instrument, Al’s solo voice on that instrument is some of the finest rock keyboard soloing of all time. If you have him on your podcast sometime, could you ask him about the ondioline. You’d recognize the sound from “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, and I think “Runaway” but Al took it to another level and it foreshadowed the mini moog and arp odyssey lead synth sounds that would become prevalent in the ’70s. Also the great song he wrote “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” is such a classic and I love the original version on that first Blood Sweat and Tears masterpiece album, it’s one of my favorites to play at the Atlanta airport where I play piano although it is usually recognized as being by Donny Hathaway who as you know did an amazing version, lastly, for now, my brother Jefferson Graham recommended your Paul Anka Podcast and it’s another great one, Your podcasts are my favorite to listen to on the way to and from my airport gig. I still have some catching up to do and am looking forward to the Rod Argent one next. Best from Ga.

Jez Graham


Thanks Bob:

Was 8 years old when I first heard I Stand Alone – laughing, protest chants, screams and – POW, the overture. For the first time I realized popular music didn’t have to be two guitars, a bass and drum kit. It could be everything and anything – orchestration, rock, soul, blues, backup singers “testifying,”….it blew me away and still does.

Forty years later, I’m driving my daughter to 4th grade and we’re singing at the top of our lungs “Toe Hold” and “Western Union Man” and “Right Now for You.” She’s growing and I’ve grown older, but on our drives I Stand Alone always finds it way through the speakers.

Be well

dee joseph


Hi Bob, while walking to  class one day  at SF State college in 1966, I heard some cool jazz/rock music floating through the fog.  There was a little outdoor stage on the lawn and commons area in front of the cafeteria.  I stopped to watch and listen to the Blues Project playing to about  20 or 30 students sitting on the lawn listening to ” a flute thing” I think that was the title?  It planted a earworm in me and gave me a “toe hold” to Al and eventually Blood Sweat and Tears who also  played about a year later for free, but in the Gym to a much bigger stoned crowd with David Clayton Thomas vocals, Kooper and Bloomfield blowing our minds.

Great music and  the 60s were inseparable.

alan segal


Thanks for mentioning Ellen McIlwaine,she lived in Calgary since the early 90s‎.Sadly she passed away this summer from cancer. She was active on the festival scene but also spent her later years driving a school bus. Greatly appreciate all you do Bob. Dave Edmonton Canada


Great record.  I’ve worn out the vinyl.  After hearing Super Session I started buying Al’s records and this one is the best.  Somewhere, probably on his website, he mentioned that more than a few Viet Nam vets have told him this record got them through their time there.  And the personnel on it!  Charlie Daniels (“Big Charlie Daniels” in  the liner notes) on guitar and The Blossoms on backing vocals come immediately to mind.

His originals on this record are first rate as well.  The title cut and I Can Love a Woman stand very well on their own.

Doesn’t get much better than this.

Dave Thorn


‘Toe Hold’ – Sharon Tandy (Capricorn / Atlantic)

Patricia Van Blerk


as the kids say OMG!  I still listen to the first Al Kooper record regularly to this day and although I love it all my two favs are Toe Hold and Western Union Man (btw the original Jerry Butler version has a killer bass line).  I’ve even got an obsessively large playlist on Spotify entitled Sixties Horns filled with Electric Flag, Blood Sweat and Tears , Butterfield with Horn section, Sons of Champlain, D&B and on and on. Anyway  great call and I hope lots of people go and listen to all the tunes, covers and originals they won’t be unhappy if they do.

Peter Roaman


Great article Bob.
I was hoping you would mention New York City.
A great great Kooper album

Richard Mazzei


Gotta mention Al Kooper’s 2005 album, Black Coffee.  One of the best from that year, maybe that decade.

Russ Paris


Thanks for the Al Kooper shout out! One of the truly great guys, and, from what I’ve read, a mensch. He’s been asked many times over the years if he isn’t owed more for his contribution to “Like a Rolling Stone,” and his answer has always been the same: “It’s Bob’s song.”  I knew a record dealer who tracked down some LPs for him about 20 years ago, and Kooper was, according to him, generous and grateful. And he’s done as much as anyone to make sure Mike Bloomfield is not forgotten. Yet another reminder that giants walked among us during the 60s and 70s. One very cool thing Kooper did when he was an A & R man for CBS Records: Insist that Epic records release “Time of the Season” by the Zombies as a single.

Joe Taylor


Great piece Bob – excellent that you laud I Stand Alone. One of my favorites of all time as well. As soon as I heard the title track on WNEW FM in NY I was sold – went right out to Sam Goody’s on 49th street and bought it for $2.99 (It was a “special sale” pick. The sight of Al’s face on the head of the State of Liberty – CLASSIC. I mean having The Blossoms singing backup, all those incredible Nashville Cats? They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

Best Regards
Marc Offenbach


Thanks for the terrific column on Al Kooper. Been following Al since The Blues Project.

I Stand Alone, my favorite too. Good playlist, though I’ve added John the Baptist and New York City, You’re A Woman.

Always find your POV interesting.

Cheers peter donato


I don’t know anyone on planet Earth who knows I Stand Alone. For me it’s Western Union Man and the Overture off the top, so awesome. It’s also an interesting bridge many young artists crossed who have the ambition to try and show everyone how much they can arrange/ execute/ produce. McCartney’s I or Kanye’s The College Dropout  – same league of song creativity.

bob wiseman


Great article on Al Kooper, one of the most underrated musical of the past several decades.

bill powell


I have a huge desert island list, but Projections (Flute Thing!), Child is Father to the Man (hated BS&T thereafter), and Super Session are all on it.

Dave Wood


Most important to me? He produced the first Tubes album which I love.

Take care.

Sam Schauer


This started yesterday with the Spotify horn playlist you emailed that had some fantastic AL Kooper tracks from the original BS&T which is by far a masterpiece of incredible genius that seriously…words cannot describe. All my life I have listened to Al’s music and totally related to why he was always so pissed off at the music industry that never really gave him his true credit. He was a major major innovator, incredible songwriter, and do I even need to say producer?  (Free Bird anyone!)

The first Blood Sweat & Tears album created a whole new genre for rock n roll- horns! And the songs were incredible. I Can’t Quit Her, I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know, and Something Going On!!  It friggin changed my life…I never dreamed someone could create at such a high level. It gave me inspiration forever! And that Overture!

That record reminded me of the Zombies” Odyssey And Oracle in that they were both of the most incredible quality, but were relatively unnoticed until many years later.

It seemed that Al wanted so desperately to be a soul singer but he was just a Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but his voice was vulnerable and so sincere and he pulled it off somehow. I love him and still do.


I ran sound at a small venue in the suburbs of Philly around 2001 or so…100 seat amazing venue….called The Point…not the original Main Point, but it was an awesome club a few doors down on the same block from where the original Main Point used to be, with great people coming through…I’m at the sound board one night and AL Kooper plays there solo….I could barely run the board I was so excited. After the show AL needs a ride to his hotel in the next town over, I drive him over, carry his bag, he ignores me totally…I carry his bag to the room, and he grunts a thank you and I swear to God I was high for 3 years!  It was AL Kooper….holy shit….I still love him. And I was a grownup not a kid  The man is a musical God…deserving of so much more credit than he ever received….He brought incredible beauty into my life for which I can never repay him.  Thanks Bob for bringing him up, and thank you Al !

Leigh Goldstein


Al comes one zip code (11427) away from me in Hollis Hills Queens (I am Bellerose 11426.).

Love his live CD Soul of A Man

And his song, A Brand New Day.

Some incredible shows at The Bottom line, BB Kings and The Irridium.

Corey B. Bearak, Esq.


Don’t forget Al Kooper’s 2nd LP ” You Never Really Know Who Your Friends Are” ! In my mind the better album of the two.

I got them both at the same time as “cut outs” when I was 12-ish and loved them not even knowing who he was and what he had done at the time. Still hum tunes from 2nd LP, love Al Kooper his attitude his creativity and his musicianship he is the real deal!!


Tom Gillam

Austin Texas


Al is legend. How can he not be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his  contribution to the music

And he launched and produced one of the greatest rock bands  of all time – Lynyrd Skynryd. C’mon, Hall! Call Al!

Larry Mollin


Would never have known about (let alone listened to) all the other ‘versions’ of Toe Hold but for you.  Thank you.  Al Kooper stands up there with John Lennon and Jerry Garcia as being the foundation for my music journey.




Al’s ear is still impeccable. In a recent interview he named Sunderland, England’s Field Music as the best thing going.

…And they absolutely are. Best brother harmonists since Phil and Don, and song craft that can only be compared to the giants.

Prince was a fan as well.

Dial up their latest, Flat White Moon — it’s a masterpiece.

Thanks Al!

Steve Lindstrom

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