Vancouver’s Ross Michael Pink caught up with music historian Tom
Locke to discuss his colorful and interesting new music book, entitled,
Moments in Time.
Moments in Time book cover
Photo courtesy of the author's web site
What triggered your lifelong musical interest?
TL I grew up in
the fifties, the son of young parents who always had the radio on. Hence,
I guess you could say that I was weaned on the music from this era. In
fact, on the day I was born, the number one record on the charts was “Music!
Music! Music!”by Teresa Brewer. However, what really got me to focus
on music initially as a hobby was my grandfather. In the early 70s, he
was in decline and could no longertinker around the house or change the
oil and sparkplugs in his car. On the sports front, he gave up on the
Toronto Maple Leafs who were also in decline and he didn’t do much
reading. In short, he had nothing to focus his attention on. I realized
then and there that I needed hobby/interest that was not dependent on
What is your personal favorite music concert attended live?
The year was 1973. The place was Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Rock &
Roll was going through a revival. On the bill were The Crystals (“He’s
A Rebel”), Roy Orbison (in a white suit!), Bill Haley & His
Comets, Dion & The Belmonts (my favourite Doo Wop group of all time),
and Chubby Checker doing the Twist, the Pony, and the Hucklebuck with
clogs on! Everyone was at the top of their game that night.
Cite 3 musicians that have the most impact on you
TL First and foremost
was Jackie Wilson. He was known as Mr. Excitement and if you ever saw
him on stage, you would know why. He was one of Elvis’ favourite
performers. The next one that comes readily to mind is the late, great
Bobby Darin. He was extremely versatile. He could sing pop and swing like
Frank Sinatra, he could do Rock & Roll (“Queen Of The Hop”),
he was successful doing country, sounding much like Marty Robbins (“Eighteen
Yellow Roses”) and he even had a folk hit with “If I Were
A Carpenter.” Last but not least was the “General” Norman
Johnson, a singer/songwriter who scored big with the Rock & Roll anthem
“It Will Stand” while fronting The Showmen. He subsequently
went on to form and lead the Chairmen Of The Board and had a number of
big hits, including “Give Me Just A Little More Time.” All
three have passed on but their contributions to the music scene will never
As an entertainment professional, how has the music industry changed
over the past generation?
There are two significant changes that I have seen. In the formative years
of Rock & Roll, you toured to promote and sell your records. Today
you put out music with the hopes of getting recognized and subsequently
going on tour as that is where the money is. Secondly, thanks to social
media you can create your own excitement and following for your music.
However, two things remains the same – you must have good material
and the talent to get noticed.
How are readers reacting to your new Book. Amazon ratings?
My book went live on Amazon worldwide on November 11 last year and has
garnered numerous 5 STAR reviews with a number to follow. What the readers
like about the book is the fact that it is about the music they grew up
with – music that put a smile on their face and became a part of
who they are. Secondly, they like how each story is only two pages and
written in a way ala the uncovering of a mystery. The third and most unique
thing about the book that has received mass appeal is that it is interactive
– at the bottom of each two page story there is a QR code that provides
a link to the song featured in the story – instant gratification.
There is no music book in the marketplace today like it.
What was surprising about making the book?
The surprise about making this book was the support and encouragement
of my friends, colleagues, and listeners of my weekly online radio spots
on Treasure Island Oldies that I have been doing for 20+ years. Subsequently,
the journey in promoting and marketing my book has been both fascinating
and gratifying. During my journey I have been able to hook up and interview
a number of artists who I have talked about in my book – an example
of this is my phone call and conversation, during a live on-air interview,
with Little Peggy March who was the youngest female singer ever to have
a #1 hit - “I Will Follow Him” (1963).
What do you want the reader to learn after reading the book?
TL This book became
a reality thanks to COVID-19. With my travelling and physical interfacing
with clients dramatically reduced, I was able to move this project from
the corner of my desk and dedicate the appropriate amount of time required.
However, my motivation, was to put smiles back on people’s faces
and what better way than the tunes we grew up with in the 50s, 60s, and
70s. Also, I was confident that the featured songs, as they were being
heard by the readers, would conjure up unique memories of past experiences
– in a sense the book became a platform for‘theatre of the
List your all time favorite musical band and why.
TL This is tough
question. However, if I would have to pick one it would be The Rascals.
Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, they had three
number one hits and epitomized blue-eyed soul of the mid-to-late 60s.
I have four of their songs on my jukebox.
The book has many lively stories, can you describe 3 memorable ones?
TL In terms of
most memorable, here are three that immediately come to mind:
- "Save The
Last DanceFor Me” – the lyrics to this song were written
on the back of a wedding invitation on June 28, 1957. I saw this invitation
on display in the Rock& Roll Hall Of Fame. The song became a number
one hit for The Drifters in 1960.
- “Mony Mony”
– This was a big hit for Tommy James & The Shondells. A hit
that didn’t have a title until James walked out on a balcony and
saw The Mutual of New York building.
- “I Love Rock
‘N Roll” – This number one hit for Joan Jett &
The Blackhearts in 1982 was actually a remake of a song by a group called
The Arrows who wrote and recorded it in 1975 as an answer to the Rolling
Stones’ tongue in cheek 1974 hit “It’s Only Rock ‘N
Roll (But I Like It).”
What’s next on the musical road for Tom Locke?
TL Now the fun
begins. I have just completed my 2022 marketing and promotional plan for
the book that includes accumulating more 5 STAR reviews, doing some more
online radio interviews, partnering in the marketplace with organizations
and charities that have a similar demographic and creating a seminar on
the “Music That Made Us Who We Are.” I am also considering
creating a program for aspiring self-publishers on how to market and promote
your book prior to, during, and after the writing period. And yes, there
will be another book with more of these stories down the line.
I am so glad to have self-published this book. I learned a lot about the
publishing game – talk about life-long learning. Assisting me along
the way was The Self Publishing Agency (www.theselfpublishingagency.com)
– their guidance and expertise proved to be invaluable.
You can learn more
about Tom's book 'Moments In Time' by visiting his website at mitstories.com.
2022 Ross Michael Pink