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"Bethlehem Steel - The Story Behind The Song"
Life is a little nuts.
You never know what it's up to.
After knocking around every bar in the Miami area,
from luxury hotels to creepy back street dumps,
Misty and I lucked into a pretty good job
at El Bolero Steak House.
El Bolero was a Coral Gables supper club,
and our band played dance music for the classy clientele...
me in black mohair suit and silver tie,
and Misty in evening gowns.
We stayed there about three years,
which beat our previous record
by about two years and eleven months,
but we were going nowhere, careerwise.
We had bought our first new car...
a little Plymouth compact,
and moved into a V.A. home.
The government gave us a forty-year mortgage.
They didn't know us.
I wrote and directed the music
for a short movie about the Everglades.
As a result, artists started asking me to produce for them.
I commuted to Nashville for two or three years,
as a producer for other artists,
before Misty and I ever got to record together.
We lost the house and car,
and rented a smaller home around the corner.
Things were going down hill.
and we needed a BIG change, soon.
We worked out an image for ourselves,
which was the exact opposite of the old suit and gown.
I stopped getting haircuts,
got some radical sunglasses,
bought a bunch of wild clothes,
and a pair of English riding boots
which I wore outside the tight pants.
I looked a like a hippie Captain America.
Misty went with micro-mini skirts and boots
which got us tossed out of a couple of snooty restaurants.
I wrote some new songs for duets.
The first one was "Bethlehem Steel",
a composite of the Buffalo factories I'd worked in.
Misty changed her name to Misty, from Maryanne.
I think she was the world's first Misty.
The millions of Misty's today
have no idea where it started.
We booked a gig at the Gold Coast Lounge in Key West.
and thought everybody would laugh at the way we looked,
but they didn't.
They thought we were born weird,
and they ate it up.
I sang in my new rough voice,
which is now the only one I have,
and we opened with "Bethlehem Steel".
The crowd, mostly sailors, went wild,
and the place became packed every night.
This was a huge surprise to us.
We were doing almost all original songs,
we sang country with a touch of rock and blues,
which was a new thing in those days.
Misty sang her strange harmony,
and we looked freaky,
but it worked!
In just a couple of weeks we were offered a recording contract,
and went to make our first Jack and Misty recording in Nashville.
Our first single release "Bethlehem Steel",
got a "Pick" in Billboard,
and went about half way up the chart.
There were two more singles,
and then "Tennessee Birdwalk".
The record company called one morning and said this:
"We're selling over fifty thousand a day!"
Things moved fast after that.
Over the years we've had a lot of people ask
why we don't put it out again,
so now, three decades later,
"Bethlehem Steel" is our latest single release
on Stardust Records.
I wonder if my old Captain America suit still fits?
© July 4, 2003 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.