Richard Gottehrer, whose accomplishments include co-writing “My Boyfriend’s Back” and “I Want Candy,” producing “Hang on Sloopy,” as well as Blondie’s, Richard Hell’s and the Go-Go’s first albums, not to mention founding the preeminent digital music distribution company on the planet, among many other things (which you can read about in the Noise column, regaled a packed house at the Tip for two hours this past Friday night with his funny, warm, and generally inimitable tales of an incredible musical life. He even sat down (but just barely) at the vintage upright to bang out a dead-on homage to Jerry Lee Lewis, playing “I’m On Fire,” a tune that the songwriter composed at the tender age of 16 and that was later recorded by the Killer himself.
Richard talked about his many hits and the artists that covered them, about working in the famed Brill Building (alongside such songwriting titans as Lieber & Stoller and Goffin & King), and about one amazing should-have-been hit — an infectious Byrds-like number called “Beat the Clock” that bombed in the US (and everywhere else), but topped the charts in Finland, ultimately becoming something like that nation’s second national anthem.
The premiere of Duncan/Channon’s monthly Toast of the Tip speaker series, it was nothing less than a masterful performance from this veritable legend and concluded with a well-deserved three-minute standing O. And while more Toasts of the Tip are on the way, it’s clear that the bar — like the agency’s penthouse lounge (not to mention some of its patrons) — is now exceptionally high.