This blog contains articles about our 4o-plus years of touring as the Neil Diamond band. Some of the material is taken from the pages of the Arch Angel Post-Bugle Intelligencer, an on-tour newsletter which I wrote for 30 of those years, and have since updated to make them hopefully relevant to 21st-century readers.

The Diamondville Chronicles

Now THERE'S a drummer! 

Last week I was in a Zoom meeting when I got the message that Ron Tutt had left us. I was asked not to post anything right away on social media, leaving that to the family. I waited even longer, reading the tributes posted online by the many who knew and loved Ron, until I almost felt I didn’t need to add anything. 

I was especially moved by Bill Cinque’s pieces, since he had only joined our band a few years ago, but seemed to know more about Ron than some of us who’d known him almost a lifetime. I’m grateful that Bill appeared for our last few tours, because by 2014 I had tired of writing my daily newsletter and was thinking of giving it up. With Bill on board, I knew that every issue would have at least one well-written piece, and he showed up again at this hour of our need,

From looking at the tributes that appeared, It seemed that every aspect of Ron’s life and career had been covered. But I’m jumping in now,  because I have a little bit to add, so here goes: 

In 1960, I was a student at the Kenton Clinic, a summer gathering of aspiring jazz players in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. I was fortunate to get some lessons from a brilliant Boston pianist named Ray Santisi, and did some jamming with a lot of folks that I would run into repeatedly over the years. 

Towards the end of the Clinic, Ray actually recommended me for a gig, and I was excited about it, although he was a little vague about the details. I ended up flying to Cape May, New Jersey (not a nonstop, for sure), a musty east coast beach resort, to try out with a group called Ronnie Tutt and the Preludes. I was told they wanted “a pianist who could sing a little.” 

When I arrived, I discovered that the Preludes was a vocal/instrumental group (think Four Freshmen), and they instead wanted a singer who could play a little piano. 

If you’ve ever heard me sing, you probably know the fallacy of that expectation. 

Still, we all met up and played together, and I valiantly tried to produce an occasional sound. The band was worried that I was too heavy, and discussed sending me to the steam room to lose some weight. But Ron and I bonded, for the first of many times, before I went back to Indiana to pursue my own destiny, and Ron carried on being Ronnie Tutt. 

Ten years later, I had moved to LA, and was beginning to do studio work, where Ron and I met again. One day, my wife and I went to Ron’s house in the hills above Studio City, where he was, for some reason, selling turquoise artifacts, including a Bisbee turquoise ring  we bought for my wife (see photo, left). A side note: Ron got a good start in the studios by living close to Hollywood, where he was available every time Jim Gordon failed to show up for a session. (Hint: it happened a lot.) Plus, he was a great player and could read. And, dating back to the Preludes, he could sing. 

One day, on a break, Ron confided in me that he had never worked in Europe, due to Elvis’s manager’s visa issues. 

I filed away that comment, and a while later, when I was asked to rejoin the Helen Reddy fold (I was Helen’s first musical director when she came to America) for a live album in London, I asked if they needed a drummer. They did, and Ron was available and enthusiastic, so we had another chance to bond. 

Fast forward a few more years and the Neil Diamond band was deciding on a drummer, and I joined the chorus of those recommending Ron. He got the gig, one which lasted the rest of his life. We all lucked out.

Ron changed the feel of the band, which is not to say that we sucked before he arrived, but a fresh interpretation brought new life to a lot of the songs in our repertoire. Every time a new song from the bullpen was pulled up, there was excitement in the studio to see what we would do with it. 

i’ve had the good fortune to play with great drummers since I was a kid. Many of them are gone now, and Ron has joined that list. Damn. I just have to celebrate the opportunities I’ve had to try to keep up with them. When I start to make a list, I get almost to a Spinal Tap kind of feeling. Here are a few of the greats whose sticks have reverberated in my vicinity. Some you may recognize, others not, but they're all giants: 

Jim Steele, John Von Ohlen, Jack Gilfoy, Stan Gage, John Guerin, Jeff Porcaro, Carlos Vega, Dennis St. John, and now Ron Tutt… 

Having played with all those stars, you’d think my time would be better by now. Take it, Ron...

 

Cycle of Fourths 

Ater the holiday I'm remembering a lot of Fourths of July from my checkered past. Here are a few. May the Fourths Be Witchoo 

1957 or so—I played at the Bloomington (Indiana) Country Club. It was an unpleasant evening. climaxed by a very drunk woman who persistently threw lit firecrackers under the already-out-of-tune piano I was trying to play. I made a silent voe never again to play at that country club—and, true to my word, I never set foot in the joint again. 

1976 — We played in Las Vegas for the grand opening of the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts. We went for the weekend and took our kids along. Our friend Missy came along to baby-sit. While we were there, Richard and Tina were married, the ceremony taking place in Neil’s suite. We watched fireworks from the roof of the Jockey Club. When it was time to go home, Missy wouldn’t let us pay her, because she had won so much money playing poker. “After playing in Gardena,” she said, “These Vegas games are easy.”  

1986 — Liberty Weekend. It was the centennial of the Statue of Liberty, and the reopening of it after restoration. It was an all-star televised event. All the celebrities' limos were parked in Red Hook and after the show, the stars were to be taken by ferry across to Red Hook. The ferry was delayed, resulting in a scrum of impatient stars, each off whom was the most important one there, battling to be first on the ferry. I'll tell the whole story sometime. 

1996 — We had a show on the 3rd, in South Bend, Indiana, and then rode our trolley to Chicago, where we spent the 4th at the Sutton Place Hotel. That stay was distinguished by our Patriot Game: throwing balsa wood airplanes off the roof of the hotel, followed by our security personnel taking an elevator to street lever and rushing out on to Rush Street to pick up the aircraft and send them back up the elevator to Hosty for another round. On the 6th we flew to St. Louis, where we did our show.  

2009—We appeared with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade. It was televised, with Craig Ferguson as the host. His trailer dressing room was next our trailer dressing room, and we sat around for a while swapping tales about Glasgow—his former home, an a site of one of our shows, where the audience was seriously drunk.  

There are more, but those are the ones that came to mind on this Fourth of July. Still not planning to return to the Bloomington Country Club unless they really make it worth my while.

What I've Been Up To 

Okay, the last year and a half have not been exactly normal for most of us. The Diamondville crowd got a bit of a head start on that, since our leader had to retire at the beginning of 2018, so the shutdown didn't shoot us down mid-project. I decided to spend my now-ample free time rooting around in my archives, and experimenting with making videos for the various things I found there. And in the process, I uncovered a lot of strange relics that invited me to do a lot of rethinking and occasional recategorizing. And some brought back long-forgotten or long-neglected stories. This is one of them.

When I first arrived in LA, I was hoping to get into the recording studio game, and it happened for me fairly quickly. The very first session I did in LA turned out a surprise hit record, and it's one you might even recall, if you're old enough and perverse enough. The artist called himself Daddy Dewdrop, and the hit was "Chick-a-Boom." You may even recall a bit of the lyric: "Don't you just love it." It was a top 10 record, at a time when the charts meant something, and its success led to an album. Daddy Dewdrop, or Dick Monda, as he was legally known, included a song I had written back in Indiana and recorded as a demo once I got to LA. The album didn't do as well as the single, but I loved his version of my song, and I loved the idea of playing on a hit record. For a while, I believed it happened automatically.

Flash forward fifty years, and I find my song, as performed by Daddy Dewdrop, in my archives. I wondered whatever had happened to Daddy Dewdrop, a question that was easily answered by a bit of internet searching. Turned out he's still alive and active, still writing and recording, and living not far away.

We were nearing the end of the shutdown when I called him up and asked him if he'd be interested in lip-syncing "Five Card Stud" for my own devious purposes. It turned out thought that was a fine idea, so he came over, my first post-pandemic visitor, and we caught up on many decades of friends and other stuff, great and small—and he turned out to be a great lip-syncer, a view underscored by Daisy Press, after seeing the video:
"Wow... Daddy Dewdrop is an incredible lip-syncer and knows how to improvise the smoothest moves. He knows who he is in every way. And knows how to wear his beard." If Daisy says so, it must be so. You can judge for yourself by watching the video.

Five Card Stud is a song about poker, which is one of the things we liked to do while we were on tour, which made it a natural fit with the songs on my Taking America to America album. Coincidentally, one of my goals during this time was to make videos for all the songs on that album. Will I succeed? Who knows? Have I done more? You bet I did, and I'll be showing them off around here, so bookmark my site if you care to keep up and see more. Why have a pandemic if you can't have a little fun?

500 Miles From Home, Again 

The Indianapolis 500 is
(a) a really big band,
(b) a protest group soon to go on trial, or
(c) almost three dozen autos driving around in a circle for a few hours.

If you answered (c) then you are familiar with what they used to call "the greatest spectacle in racing." These days, my favorite spectacles are any which enable me to read, and the 500 isn't quite what it used to be, either.  

For one thing, all the cars look the same. Fortunately, the drivers don't, since these days, some of them are women. It's hard to tell with all the safety gear they have to wear, but I am pretty sure they are, indeed, women. Brava, bravi. 

Then there was that nasty split in the racing community a few years ago, and the rise of NASCAR. No offense, NASCAR fans, but I don't get it. They seem to race all the time. What's special about that? When I was growing up in Indiana, the 500 was the major event of the year. People's lives were planned around it. NASCAR is like a bus. You miss one, there'll be another one along in a few minutes.

Despite my enthusiasm for the big race, I didn't actually see one until 1949, when I witnessed it on television. "Wait a minute," you doubtless say, "They didn't televise the race in those days." Aah, but they did, that one time only. The winner was Bill Holland, and my family watched at the home of a friend who worked for RCA. WFBM-TV had three cameras in the main stretch to cover the action, but we were excited nonetheless at the sheer black-and-white spectacle of it all. 

Still, I never actually attended a race in person until the 1970, just before we moved from Indianapolis to LA.  

Somehow I had acquired an annual plum gig of playing in a big band for an hour, on the racetrack itself. The leader was a man named George Freije, who was something of a Hoosier legend himself, a drummer whose day gig was as a pharmacist. He used to introduce himself by saying, "Hi, I'm G-g-george--or a r-reasonable fat Syrian." It was a good enough gig that he got the best musicians in town to show up. Even expatriates like drummer Benny Barth, were known to come back just to play Frieje's gig. 

Decades later, during our 2005 tour, I sat in a bar near our New York hotel, comparing George Freije impressions with trumpeter (and ex-Hoosier) Lee Katzman, his son Theo, who's become something of a legend himself, Lee's wife and a couple of our band members Larry the K and Don "The Don" Markese. Everyone who knew George tried to mimic him, because even a bad impression of George Freije could be pretty amusing. But I digress.  

The race was at its peak of popularity in the 1960s. The Indianapolis nightlife calendar was based around it. It sprang to life immediately after the Kentucky Derby—when, I learned from a more sybaritic clubgoer, all the hookers came up to Indy from Louisville and the clubs remained hot until after the race, at which time I assume everyone moved on to the 4th of July celebration in Port Hope, Michigan, or somewhere like that. How would I know? But, while it lasted, the month of May provided work galore for Indianapolis's burgeoning Muzoid community, thankfully including my starting line big band gig.  

I vividly remember my annual arrival at the Indianpolis Motor Speeway The racegoers were lined up for miles around the race track, in the town of Speedway, but we Muzoids were taken down a secret back route by a multi-motorcycle escort. It was a bit like a high-speed pursuit, except in reverse: the perpetrators were chasing the police. And a few of the honored escortees were puffing weed in their cars all the way. l confess that the thought of it still makes my sense of irony tingle.

Our downbeat was at 6 am, the moment the gates opened and the crowd of 4.5 Gazillion spectators began flowing into the stands. It was a curious sight, more than a dozen musicians swinging away on the starting line, playing for an audience which initially consisted of exactly nobody, but grew larger and larger as the hour went along.  

At seven, we knocked off. George handed each of us a small wad of cash for our efforts, and after that we were free to stay and watch the race from anywhere within the immediate area, which included the entire starting area of the track.  

I enjoyed milling around and tried to look like someone who knew what he was doing and why he was there, which veteran observers will recognize immediately as a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, I heard second-hand from a friend in Japan that I was actually observed pushing a car out to the starting line one year on NHK, so my ruse apparently worked.

As the start of the race neared, I would find a place to hover. In those days, there was a wagon stationed next to the track from which photographers were allowed to cluster to get their first-lap photos, and I figured the view should be optimal from there and planted myself, holding easily the cheapest camera of anyone present.

A month after the race in 1970, we moved to Los Angeles, requiring me to give up an assortment of various Muzoid jobs: playing in a 7-piece band for a daily TV show, leading the house band in a night club, a semi-thriving jingle business...but I eventually found work in LA and didn't look back.

Until the following May, that is, when race time rolled around. The 1971 500 was to first to be televised on the same day, albeit on a tape-delayed basis, since the one I'd seen in 1949. I felt pretty nostalgic for my Hoosier roots and sorry about having to miss out on one of my favorite gigs of the year. 

Even though Tivo had not yet been invented, I did the Tivo mental workout that day, making sure that I didn't receive any prior information about the race before the taped telecast. So, with a delicious sparkling beverage handy and some sinful snacks at the ready, I settled in to watch the beginning of the race. 

If you're familiar with the 500, you know that the lap before the race officially begins is called the pace lap, and it is led by a consumer automobile designated as the pace car—an honor awarded, after what must be munificent negotiation, to a local automobile dealer—who then could paint up dozens of replicas and sell them on the lot to race fetishists. 

An Indianapolis Dodge dealer had achieved the honor of driving the pace car in 1971, but as he completed his lap and prepared to veer off out of the way of the now-unfettered racers, somehow something went very wrong, Although the pace car looked lovely, he somehow managed to lose control of it and slam it into the photographers stand, injuring a number of people, some of them rather seriously.

As I watched, I realized that he had crashed that handsome pace car into what appeared to be the exact spot where I had crouched a year earlier to watch the start of the race. 

Suddenly it occurred to me that perhaps departing from Indianapolis had been a very good idea, after all.  If I had been there this year, I could have...well, suffice it to say that I wasn't there. A year later, the race instituted the tradition of having Jim Nabors sing "Back Home Again in Indiana," which he continued doing until 2014. Neil and I did a version of that song during a show in Indianapolis during that time, and there was some talk from some fans about Neil taking over for Jim Nabors, but that was not going to happen, let me assure you. 

Many years have passed since then, and George Freije is, sad to say, no longer with us. Nor is Lee Katzman, nor is Jim Nabors. But I will be loyally watching the 105th annual Indy 500 mile race this Sunday, May 30th, once again from the comfort of my living room.

Bluegrass Moment  

Here is a snapshot from April,1962. If your vision is keen, you can spot me hidden behind banjo player Neil Rosenberg with my bass. It’s a performance by our group, the Pigeon Hill Boys at the Ann Arbor Folk Music Festival in Michigan. 

Franklin Miller is playing mandolin and Chuck Crawford is on guitar. They were new to me, and subbing for the regulars. We were part of a Saturday night hootenanny, when all of the festival performers did sets. We were preceded by a fellow from New hatYork who called himself “Bob Dillon.” He changed the spelling later. He began his act with a harmonica clipped to his guitar. When he blew into it, the harmonica dislodged from its holder and skittered across the stage, causing much amusement for the audience, and for us. It turned out that was part of his act. Who knew that Bob Dylan, as he later became known, did such schtick? Tomfoolery was more my department, as is traditional in bluegrass bands. 

I wan’t much of a player, but I fulfilled the first requirement for playing bass in a bluegrass band: I owned a bass. I couldn’t do the slapping and spinning required of big-time bassists, but I could find my way through a three-chord song in G, D or E. 

My main memory from that day is that during a lengthy break, I walked down the street in Ann Arbor and found a jazz club where an afternoon jam session was going on. I walked in the door and checked out the scene. The players were good, but not intimidatingly so. After a while, I went over to the bandstand, and uncharacteristically asked if I could sit in. 

I was dressed in my full bluegrass mufti, including cowboy hat, checked shirt and jeans, and I enjoyed the look of horror on the musicians' faces at the thought of a hillbilly sharing their bandstand, but they were good sports and didn't kick me out. There was palpable relief when it turned out that I was somewhat credible in their genre. Many years later, Charlie Haden made it perfectly okay for jazz players to dabble in bluegrass. 

The real star of the Pigeon Hill Boys was Neil Rosenberg. He played banjo the way you expect to hear it in a big-time outfit, and he wrote the book on Bluegrass. Literally. His book Bluegrass: A History (as well as his others on Bill Monroe and other aspects of the music) are required reading in ethnomusicology departments everywhere. You can read more about this and other bluegrass moments in his book Bluegrass Generation.

Day After Dyngus 

I meant to post this yesterday as an observation of Dyngus Day, but I'm a day late. So sue me. Actually, I haven't posted anything here lately, but there's a reason for that, and it's not a sad one, I'm happy to say. But more about that on a subsequent day.

I want to take a moment to reflect on Dyngus Day, which I'm sure you all know is the day after Easter. Here's what I wrote about it in the PBI in March of 2015, after we had played a show in Buffalo:

If you bothered to pick up and peruse the mini-brochure at the Hyatt Regency’s concierge desk, you know all about Dyngus Day, and are excused from reading the rest of this story. If not, you are probably unaware that we are leaving Buffalo not long before the biggest event of the year for Buffalopians with a Polish background. 

Dyngus Day is the day after Easter, and Polish-Americans use it as an excuse to drink, go nuts, and par-tay ALL day long. But even before that, on Easter Sunday itself, the whoopee begins at Salvatore’s (see separate story). At 7:30 pm is “The ORIGINAL ‘Blessing of the Instruments’ Ceremony.” From that point on, it will be possible to polka till you puke at various locations, including the Millenium Hotel, where they will feature special guests, including the Dyna-Tones’ Larry Trojak and “Scrubby” Sewerynial, as well as the Chopin Singing Society. 

Unfortunately, on that evening, our instruments will be on their way to Pittsburgh, so any blessing of them will have to be done en route—although we’re pretty sure we can find a polka in Pittsburgh. We do have access to an accordion player or two. 

Those polski folks have their own kind of Easter, even their own Palm Sunday. Californians use palms for everything (including laxatives—with fronds like that, who needs enemas?), but the Polish tradition, it says here is to bless pussywillows. The PBI doesn’t know much about pussywillows, so we asked King Errisson for some help, and he replied, “Willows?” 

The Polish Easter greeting is “Wesolych swiat Wielkanocnych,” and we could all say that, although it would be easier if we could buy a vowel or two. The great thing about Dyngus Day is that it combines Christian and pagan rituals in a rather harmless way, using rites of cleansing, purification, courtship and fertility, so what could go wrong? (It is also associating with driving out the “money-changers,” so we may wish to participate by ceremonially kicking our accountant out of Hosty for a few minutes.) 

The Dyngus Day fun includes lots of drinking, water-splashing, Chodzenie, or Easter trick-or-treating; and a certain amount of śmigus, which involves striking people (usually girls) with willow branches. That does sound like fun, possibly, and it certainly answers a lot of questions while raising others, doesn’t it? Something tells us that our women may balk at lining up for a bit of celebratory śmigus. 

Here is a typical Dyngus song: 

Your duck has told me 

That you've baked a cake 

Your hen has told me 

She's laid you a basket and a half of eggs 

Your sow has told me that you've killed her son 

If not her son then her little daughter 

Give me something if only a bit of her fat 

Who will not be generous today 

Let him not count on heaven.

Where were we 40 years ago? 

Four decades ago, we were working hard, puttling together a piece of moviemaking titled "The Jazz Singer." There are a lot of stories about the making of the film, and many of them are true. But here's my favorite clip from the finished product, a scene where Alan Lindgren and I are playing a duet of a song called "On the Robert E. Lee." There were lots of hits on the soundtrack album, and this isn't one of them, but it remains my favorite, because it's so doggoned much fun to play. It's a song you couldn't do today, because parties are illegal. Enjoy!

RIP Mr. Simon Stokes 

Sadness today, at news of the passing of veteran troublemaker Simon Stokes. Google him if you're not familiar with the name. I'm including a video I completed recently of a track we recorded together some years ago. Working with Simon allowed me, REQUIRED me to stretch way beyond my usual limits. This song is a fine example of what Simon brought to the table.We met through our mutual friend, guitarist Richard Bennett, but I had actually heard Simon's Black Whip Thrill Band at the Artists and Models Ball in 1970 or so, shortly after we arrived in LA. We later inexplicably became golfing buddies, and the first time we went to dinner at Simon and Maria's Hollywood home, I was astonished to find a copy of my Masters of Deceit album in his record collection. We recorded a lot of rather naughty songs together, which must have broadened my base. We did a tribute to Simon a couple of years ago, and it was the only time my name ever appeared on a poster next to that of Jello Biafra—and a bunch of other wild folks, too. My condolences to his family, especially his wife Maria, ever sweet and patient.

A Couble Order of You —words and music by Simon Stokes and Tom Hensley © 1990 Your Name Here Music (BMI) and Scoundrel Music (ASCAP)

Saxophone, Don Markese

 

A Medley of Memories 

It was nice to be confronted with this memory from 1986. Alan Lindgren and I were co-musical directors for the CBS special, which was done at Television City, at Beverly and Fairfax. I arrived early one afternoon for rehearsal, just as a tour group was being shown around the building. As I came in, Carol was arriving at the same time. She saw me and came over and gave me a big, enthusiastic hug. The people touring the building observed that taking place, and I'm sure they all asked each other, "Who is that woman hugging Tom?"

 

Glenda the Good 

During our final tour, in April of 2017, we played Fort Lauderdale, Florida, never one of my favorites, but it's not my tour. And we weren't staying in Ft. La-di-da, we were up the road in Hollywood. Yes, there's a Hollywood everywhere, even in FLorida. 

\While scanning the local press for interesting day-off activities, I came across mention of a performer working at the Tropics Piano Bar & Restaurant in a place called Wilton Manors, and the name connected immediately. 

It was a singer named Glenda Grainger, who was “performing songs from the Great American Songbook.” I recalled having backed Ms. Grainger in 1965 at the Embers supper club in Indianapolis, where I led the house band. Shows at the Embers invariably featured a singer and a comic. Over the course of 14 shows a week, I generally learned the comic’s act and formed an opinion of the singer. 

The performers were usually somewhere mid-arc in their careers, headed up or headed down, but it was hard to peg Glenda. She sang pretty well, and had a record out that seemed to be getting some attention, doing talk shows and an occasional film, but wasn’t really well-known, and she was opening for the comic, an odd duck named Poncie Ponce, who came to national attention in 1959 as the wise-cracking cab driver Kazuo Kim on the Warner Bros. detective series Hawaiian Eye, which ran for four years on ABC.

Kazuo Kim was known for his trademark straw hat and ubiquitous ukulele, as a occasional informant for the detectives, or as he idly plucked the uke while leaning against his cab waiting for a fare. The show's intro showed Kazuo Kim floating in the ocean on an inner tube, wearing the hat and plucking his uke. His comedy wasn’t much, as I recall, but he grabbed the crowd with what we described as his “Sophie Tucker Hello God” medley, a closer which concluded with him playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” as a small American flag popped out of his ukelele. 

Poncie was a bit grumpy by that point in his career, and I remember that he got into an argument with my bass player, which nearly escalated into a mini-fistfight, over an issue I can’t remember. 

On the other hand, nobody had any argument with Glenda, a buxom, attractive English girl with decent pipes and a genial nature. 

The thing I remember most is that a week or so after her stint at the Embers ended, I got a lovely, handwritten note from Glenda, thanking me for accompanying her so beautifully, and ending with a request for me to help her reach some radio stations with her new record. 

Now, fifty years later, Poncie is deceased, but Glenda was still going strong at age 80, as I learned from the Florida Jewish Journal in an article which neatly filled in the many blanks in my knowledge of Glenda, of whom I knew little when she played the Embers: 

Grainger was born in England as Gitell Goldberg. As a child, she remembered many fearful nights worrying whether she and her family would be able to withstand the attacks on England from Nazi Germany. 

"Those years helped solidify the importance of family as well as the importance of being Jewish. It also gave me confidence to pursue my dreams of singing by age 18," said Grainger. 

"I changed my name to Glenda Grainger not because of any negative feelings for being Jewish, but because I wanted a marquee name to get hired in show business, as was the custom in those days." 

She had hit a record in England in the late 60’s with one of the songs from the James Bond movie Thunderball (the one in which King Errisson starred), called “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” She appeared in a classic French Film Noir called “Deux Hommes Dans Manhattan,” and numerous films in Mexico, and was featured in the movie “Hook, Line and Sinker, where she played a lifeguard who gave Jerry Lewis CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation, a nasty job but somebody had to do it. She eventually decided to reside in the United States and Florida in the 1960s, mainly as a singer in cabaret shows. The positive reviews to Grainger's performances in Las Vegas, New York and South Florida earned her appearances on the of Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas and Merv Griffin shows. 

In South Florida, Grainger sang at prestigious hotels, such as the Fontainebleau Hilton, Marco Polo and Sheraton Bal Harbour. 

“As much as I fondly remember my years acting, it is singing that keeps me going, wanting to perform as often as I can," said Grainger. 

And I also learned about Glenda’s life away from the gig: 

Outside of show business, Grainger had a happy private life. She was married to show business promoter Lenny Miller from 1962 until he passed on in 1994. 

"Lenny and I had so much in common. We both loved show business, we both were Jewish and I loved him so much that I decided at one point to retire from singing so that I could help Lenny with his business. I have wonderful memories of my life with Lenny." 

In 2000, Grainger met Jerry Cohen, an Orthodox Jewish man, whom she married and moved to Harrisburg, PA to be with him until Cohen died in 2009. 

"Love is about caring, sharing and making sacrifices. There was little opportunity for me to sing in Harrisburg, but Jerry wanted to be there, so I went to live in Harrisburg because of love." 

"I have been lucky to have been in love twice in my life and would not want to change anything in my life even if I could," said Grainger. 

I really thought about going down to the Tropics Restaurant & Piano Bars, described as “a warm, friendly place where you can enjoy fine dining, cocktails and live entertainment. Patrons can relax in one of our three dining rooms or three full-service bars. Proudly serving South Florida’s gay and lesbian community for over 20 years, we’re known by regulars as a place where good friends convene and memories are made. Tourists remember us for quality dining, entertainment and a welcoming atmosphere unique to this establishment.” 

It would have been nice to say hello after 50 years to Glenda, but it would have been a 30-45 minute trip each way, and it seemed more prudent to use the day off to remain inert, and save my convening and memory-making to my own gig. And I could tell PBI readers all about it almost as if I’d been there.