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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dick & La La

La La Brooks told a very interesting and heartfelt story about her relationship with Dick Clark to her "Facebook Family" of Friends. La La was one of the original vocalists of The Crystals, working with Phil Spector in the Sixties. La La is an amazing, accomplished singer with an electric stage presence. She will be at Iridium in September (dates to be announced). Writes La La:

"I know you, my friends know by now about the passing of Dick Clark. As some of you may or may not know, I worked with Dick on many of the Crystals' tours. These tours were called the 'Caravan of Stars.'

"You may not know this, but I was very close to Dick Clark. When I was on tour with him in the 60's, Dick would always call me to ask if I could cover for any of the artists who got sick and couldn't perform; I would fill in for those artists and still do my show with The Crystals. One day the Dixie Cups' singer, Barbara Hawkins became ill and couldn't sing, so Dick asked me, "La La, could you fill in for another artist?" And so I sang "Chapel of Love" with Rosa Lee Hawkins and their cousin Joan. Another time I filled in for the singing duo, Paul and Paula. This was a White couple and when Paula became sick, Dick asked me to fill in for her. I thought it was crazy!! I didn't know how people were going to accept me as the Black Paula!! But I did it and I made it through. I remember that the audience was laughing when we came out on stage to sing. But somehow we made it work. After our set, Dick gave me a big hug and said, 'Wow! You made it!' He always could count on La La to fill in for the sick singers.

Years later when I was living in Vienna, Austria, my son called me from New York saying that he saw Dick Clark in a restaurant on 72nd street. My son ran in there and approached Dick and said, 'You know my mother!' Dick asked, 'Who is your mother?' When my son told him who I was, Dick remembered me and asked where I was and what I was doing. My son said that I was living in Vienna and Dick responded by mentioning that he and his wife were going to be vacationing in Vienna in a few days. What a coiincidence! He said that each year he and his wife traveled abroad to different countries. He asked my son for my number and said that he would call me when he got over there. My son called me and told me what had happened and I said, 'Yeah, right. Dick Clark isn't gonna call me. He's too busy and I haven't seen him for years.'

Well, one day in Vienna, my phone rang and it was Dick Clark. I was shocked! He asked me to meet him and his wife for dinner. I met them at their hotel, we went to a restaurant and strolled down memory lane for hours. He remarked as to how good I looked and suggested that I come back to the States and get work. I told him that I was afraid and unsure as to whether I'd be able to find any work there. I had recorded a CD in Austria, 'La La Brooks & Friends, which I said that I would send him so that he could hear how I sounded now. But I was still apprehensive and fearful about returning to America.

"Shortly thereafter, Dick wrote me two letters insisting that I return home; he said the CD was THAT GOOD. He told me that if I came back, I should call him. Eventually when I did return I phoned him and he said that he was happy that I was back and that if I needed him for any assistance, I should call him. I said that I didn't want to trouble him and that I was just thankful that he had been so persuasive in getting me to have the courage to come back to America. And over the years, I would keep in touch and call him just to see how was doing. So it's all because of Dick Clark that I returned home and I'm here today.

"So I want to thank Dick for believing in me and may he rest in peace. He was such a good guy."

La La and The Crystals on American Bandstand:


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  2. Fitra: Thank you so much for your kind words, and feel free to comment any time.