From the Limeliters to the Smothers Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, and even Gallagher, Ken Kragen is a legendary manager and one of the main drivers behind “We Are The World.” Listen to hear his history, as well as the tale of that legendary charity project.
Now there was a point in this podcast where my heart started beating faster, where I got excited, when I remembered what once was, when Ken started talking about the seventies and eighties, the glory days, when music drove the culture and a performer was as rich as anybody in America, it’s gone, but it was thrilling.
And Ken started telling his story, about promoting shows at his high school in the fifties, and I was stunned how I didn’t know one of the singers’ names. That’s what seems to happen, you’re famous in your era and then you’re forgotten. The landscape is littered with superstars the younger generations do not know. Hell, once the boomers die, certainly the Gen-X’ers, will anybody remember Johnny Carson? It was kind of like growing up and hearing my mother lionize Sid Caesar, who eventually came back a bit, his old writer Mel Brooks featured him in “Silent Movie,” but you’re here today and gone tomorrow.
Kinda like the business titans too. You’re on top of the world and then a footnote. Ken’s not gone yet, but hearing about his lengthy career it reinforced a recent feeling…that it won’t be long before I’m on the scrapheap too.
P.S. If you’re only interested in “We Are The World,” it’s the last fifteen minutes or so.