Gary James' Interview With
Ed Rambeau

His songs have been recorded by The Four Seasons, Engelbert Humperdinck, Diane Renay and Frank Sinatra Jr. to name just a few. He recorded for both Sun Records and Dyno Voice Records. He's appeared on Shindig!, American Bandstand and Where The Action Is. He is also an actor, a painter and a photographer. Who is this multi-talented man you ask? His name is Ed Rambeau.

Q - Ed, you're painting these days?

A - I do a lot of digital photography now. I'm more into digital photography than anything. Since digital came into the scene I really got into photography because prior to that we had regular film, and the precessiing of film you never knew what you're gonna get. With digital it's great because if you don't like it, boom! Zap it and it's chow bambino, you know? (laughs) So that's why I like digital because it's so easy and it's also much better. The quality is sensational. On Facebook I've been doing a lot of promoting of my photography and people have been buying my prints.

Q - Are you still writing?

A - Yeah. I still occasionally write a song. The last thing I did was a CD which is kind of an innovative CD because if you listen to any song on the CD it's a song by itself, but if you listen to all twelve of them in sequence they tell a story. It's kind of a cool concept because it's never been done before where a CD tells a story.

Q - I almost forgot to ask, what kind of prints are you selling?

A - Well, I've taken photographs from all over the world and then I specialize in flowers. Some of the flower shots I've done are just out of this world. People are flippin' over my flower shots because they're very innovative and different. Just "Friend" me on Facebook and then go to Photos and you can see all my work.

Q - Where dd this last name of yours, Rambeau come from?

A - I was named by Frank Slay. He wrote with Bob Crewe in the early days. They wrote "Silouhettes" and "La De Da" and many, many hits together. Those were primarily their two biggest ones. Then they split up and Frank went to Swan Records. I was first signed by Swan Records. They thought my last name, which was Fluri, didn't have any pzazz. They also thought people might pronounce it wrong. So they decided to come up with Rambo. I said, "Well, how about Rambeau." They loved it. So, that's how it came to be.

Q - Just think, if you had taken that last name of Rambo. You would have been ahead of Sylvester Stallone.

A - I did a play with Sylvester Stallone called Score right before Rocky. He kept pretty much to himself. He was a quiet kind of guy. He was in the process of writing Rocky while he was doing that play with me.

Q - That was in the early days!

A - Yeah. That was way back. Many, Many moons ago.

Q - I've always wondered how an unknown actor got William Morris as his agent.

A - They wanted to buy his script, but he was a nobody. He wanted to do it. Hollywood was saying no, you can't do it. We need a star! So he hung in there. He wouldn't sell it until somebody eventually bought it allowed him to do the part and the rest is history. As a matter of fact, then he went on to do Rambo. I think he liked my name but he didn't know how to spell it. (laughs)

Q - You were on Swan Records right around the time The Beatles released records on that label. Did you hear about The Beatles?

A - Actually Swan released "She Loves You" and it bombed. It was a big bomb. Then Capitol (Records) started to release "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and all the other things. They had three or four in the Top Ten. That's when Swan decided to re-release "She Loves You". Well, after they re-released it, it just skyrocketed. They closed their doors. They made their money. That was it.

Q - Did anyone at Swan say to you, "Look at these guys? Listen to this"?

A - No. Never heard their name come up until I discovered "She Loves You" was on Swan.

Q - Before Swan, were you part of a cover band or an original band?

A - No. I was always a solo act. I had a manager that was from my own hometown. He was like thirteen years older. He suspected I had talent. He used to play the piano. So, we worked together. We would do local record hops. I did a record hop for a guy named Jim Ward at I think WBRE Radio in Plymouth. He said the reaction I got with just piano and voice he'd never seen before. He had people like Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell lip synch to their records and get an equal reaction to what I got singing 'live' with piano. He said, "I want to see if I can do something for you." So I said, "Knock yourself out." He called Swan Records 'cause he had an in with them and Swan set up an interview with me. I went down and Bud and I put together a medley of all different songs, maybe twenty or thirty songs linked together to show the various types of vocal ability I had. When I finished the audition Frank Sly turned to Bernie Binnick and Tony Mammarella, who were the record owners, Frank Slay was the A&R man, and said, "He's great, but what do we do with a white Johnny Mathis?" (laughs) That night they wanted to see how I'd sound on tape. So they said, "Can you come back later?" I said, "Sure." My father drove me down and Bud Rehak, the manager I talked about and piano player, we went to dinner. We came back to Swan Records' little office and we went upstairs. They had a small recording studio. They put me on this song called "Tony", which ended up being the B side of my first record. It was a horrific song. (laughs) One of my least favorite of all time. But, after I recorded it they signed me and that was it.

Q - You helped write this song "Navy Blue" for Diane Reney. What was your contribution to that song?

A - I worked with the Bob Crewe organization for years in the publishing department and eventually they found out I was talented and Bob began to produce me. Prior to that Bob came flying into the office and said, "I need a song. I need a forth song for Diane Renay's recording session tonight." He said, "I got a germ of an idea." He dragged us in and started to sing "Blue, Navy Blue, I'm as blue as I can be" and the rest is history. The three of us just kind of collaborated together and we tossed out lines. A couple of lines are mine. A couple of lines are Bud's. Between the three of us we came up with this song which was recorded that evening at Atlantic Records downstairs.

Q - Frank Sinatra Jr. cut one of your songs. Did you ever meet Frank Sinatra?

A - No. I never did. The reason Frank Sinatra Jr. never had a hit was because when they asked him to do record hops he said, "I don't do record hops. I'm Frank Sinatra Jr." Well, that was the end of his career. (laughs) That was the end of him. You don't say that to a disc jockey.

Q - I actually saw Frank Sinatra Jr. at the New York State Fair in 1998.

A - He was good. He sounds an awful lot like his Dad. On the record you'd swear it's Frank Sinatra singing.

Q - When The British Invasion hit, did that help your career or hurt you?

A - Well, for me it hurt me because "Concrete And Clay" was written by The Unit 4 Plus 2, two of the members of the band. Bob Crewe went to England and found the song. The actual demo was released by London Records after mine came out about two weeks later and so there was a conflict. The British Invasion was big and because The British Invasion was big and they were on London Records with their demo of the song and I did a full arrangement with strings and the whole works, we got split airplay across the whole country. Many people don't know I recorded that song. If you lived in New York for example, New York I lost, but I got all of California. So California knows "Concrete And Clay" by Eddie Rambeau and the rest of the country is split depending on where you lived. If they played Unit 4 Plus 2 that's the version you know and you think was the hit.

Q - I never understood the name of that band, Unit 4 Plus 2.

A - Yeah, I know. There wasn't six of 'em. There were only four of 'em.

Q - As I remember, Diane Renay did not particularly care for The Rolling Stones.

A - It happens. I was on tour with The Beach Boys for a while and I wasn't too thrilled about them.

Q - Really?

A - Yeah. They kind of stuck to themselves and played the star role whereas people like Bobby Vee and Dion were really great. I'll never forget the story with Dion. Bobby Vee, myself and Dion were doing a series of seven different shows in seven different places. After the show ended of course we wanted to leave but you couldn't go out the stage door because there was a mob out there and they'd rip you to bits. So Dion said, "You wanna get out of here?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Follow me." So he walked out onto the stage, down into the empty audience, right out the front door, hailed a cab and took off. (laughs) Everybody's at the stage door. They never think the artists are going to come out of the front door of the theatre.

Q - Did you do those Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars tours?

A - I did his Teenage World's Fair in Chicago.

Q - I never heard of that one.

A - Yeah. I did that with him. He was a great guy. I loved Dick.

Q - You were on Shindig! Do you remember who was on the show with you?

A - Yeah. Tina Turner and of course Bo Diddley and Jackie De Shannon, Glen Campbell and Bobby Sherman.

Q - An all star cast!

A - Tina Turner was hot at the time. I think she just left Ike. I'm not sure. We did a big show down in Lake Pontchartrain, New Orleans. The stage was the actual roof of the mens and ladies room There was a sea of 100,000 people on the beach. It was just a sea of heads. An unbelievable crowd. They were saying Elvis might show for the show, but he never did. Fats Domino was supposed to show, but he never did either.

Official Website: Ed Rambeau Official Website

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