Ron worked with the boys for a week or two
and they came up with a nice groove. Ron set up studio time.
H.B. was hired by STAR REVUE to put down the melody onto the
lead sheets and to help with the other musicians that would
be used on the session. Ron was in the sound booth and two
tracks were laid down entitled Stick Shift and Cruising.
Ron, right away had ideas about making this "A" side "Stick
Shift" even better. He asked H.B. for help putting the idea
together and H.B. said, "This is your session. You can do
it. I have to go."
Ron recalls: "After the session, the engineer
and I were in the studio mixing tracks, playback after playback,
again and again. We had a great song about a car, but no car!
"Stick Shift" needed something to set it off…but what?"
In the mid 1950’s while recording
for L.A. based Dootone records, Ron remembered singing with
the vocal group "The Medallions," thinking about Vernon Green
who sang lead on "Buick 59." The way he started that song
sounding like a car came to my mind and how the audience went
wild when he did it. Vernon used his voice and the microphone
to make car sounds like the motor racing, the tires screeching
and the audience loved it! That’s when the light came
on in Ron’s head. A car! That’s what I need.
A car! Ron asked the engineer if he had a sound
library. He said, "Yes here’s the catalog."
Ron listened to car sound after car sound. Porsche, Ford.
Then he heard this HOT SOUND! He wasn’t sure what kind
of car it was, but that was it! That was the sound! So he
put this car sound in the beginning and then brought the music
up. He felt it sounded great but needed a finish. The engineer
said, "What about a crash ending?" Ron replied, "No. We don’t
need a crash." "I’ve got it!" Ron said., "What about
getting stopped by the cops?" "That’s it! That’s
what we need!" Now we’ve got a hit record!" Ron searched
and found the perfect police chase sound effects. He put the
sound effects together, edited the works and had the records
pressed on his Star Revue label.
Copy of original Star Revue release of Stick Shift 1961. Courtesy of Ron Barrett.
Ron and STAR REVUE needed help in promoting
this new product that he had just completed. His first promotion
of The Duals and Stick Shift was at Wallack’s Music
City in Hollywood, the largest record store chain in the Los
Angeles area in the early 60’s.
He made an agreement with the owner to give them 200 copies
of STICK SHIFT. For everyone who purchased the 45, The Duals
would autograph it for them and pose for photos. Hollywood
High School and all the major high schools in the area were
targeted with flyers for this event. It was a big success.
But he needed to get this song on the radio.
Hot Rods and street racing was hot! It was the summer of 1961
and this song needed airplay. How do you go about getting
a record on the radio? Ron was introduced to a nice guy by
the name of Sonny Bono a few years prior and recalled that’s
what he did. Ron called him up and they had lunch. They hit
it off instantly. Not only did Sonny love STICK SHIFT, he
said that he would be very happy to help Ron promote the record.
For three weeks or more, Ron and Sonny worked
every radio station from Bakersfield, California to San Diego,
California. With the help of Sonny the song received immediate
airplay. The record was off and selling. It wasn’t long
thereafter that Sue Records came calling. They were very interested
and wanted STAR REVUE's first artist – The Duals
and Stick Shift to go national on their label. Part 1 of Two
Boy’s dreams came true.
Ron Barrett has been quoted saying, "I will
be forever grateful to Sonny Bono for all of his unconditional
support, kindness and friendship."
Music Historians from this Hot Rod/Surf
Music era all agree that the screeching tires throughout the
song and the memorable police car chase pullover at the end
made this song a hit and this is what is remembered by almost
everyone who listened to the radio that the time. Ron Barrett
should have been added as co-writer on the single Stick
Shift for what is clearly a contribution that made the
song a hit and part of Hot Rod music history that will never
To this day, street racing, hot rods and
police pursuits continue to be a big part of America’s
fascination and entertainment.
Top - Johnny Lageman
Bottom - Henry Bellinger
Two Boys, One Dream - Part2
The timing in recording " Stick Shift" was brilliant!
It could not have been released at a better time. At that
time the street scene, the teenage action was all about cars
and wheels. Then roaring down the highway was " Stick
Ron Barrett, the owner of Star Revue, really had faith in
" Stick Shift". He and his good friend Sonny Bono
went up and down the coast of Southern California to every
radio station they could find to promote this album. In addition
to that Star Revue, through its Southern distributors, sent
this record to some of the hottest stations in the south.
This record really turned the corner on two wheels. It had
received good promise from many stations to be played at the
top of their play lists. This attracted the attention of Sue
Records of New York City. A deal was struck for the amount
of 10% for Star Revue and 8% for Henry and Johnny! No money
was paid up front and Sue Records was to be the national distributor
of the Duals and there " Stick Shift". Not a great
deal, but a good deal for that day and time. The master recordings
were turned over to Sue Records which at that time was owned
by Henry "Juggy" Murray.
Sue Record was hot behind this record and sales really took
off! Sales in America and abroad grew tremendously. This was
a hit! What made this record so special was the genius
of Ron Barrett mixing car sound effects to this instrumental. "Motors
racing" "screeching wheels" and a police
chase at the end! With driving cars, racing, and burning
rubber the teenagers went wild!!! What made this record so
special was that the teenagers driving these late model 50’s
and 60’s cars and they loved to hear the sound of burning
rubber. The international sales proved outstanding! How can
you tell when you’ve had a hit? Ask yourself this question…
After decades is there still an appeal for your record? "
Stick Shift" is a legitimate collectable item to this
This is when this musical dream stared to resemble more
of a nightmare! Three months into Sue Records contract with
Star Revue the first check was cut. There was a lot of excitement
in our Hollywood office when this envelope was delivered by
the postman. The letter was opened, and there was a beautiful
site, a check for $10,000! Needless to say we where ecstatic!
Even more exciting was the fact that this check only covered
the very first sales of the record with much more to come!
A call came from Sue records and they wanted the Duals to
perform on the Dick Clark show and the Apollo Theater in New
York. In amongst all the excitement of receiving the check
and the invite to perform, a mistake was made. No one went
to cash the $10,000 check! Was Star Revue in favor of these
invites? No. Maybe the Dick Clark show but definitely not
the Apollo Theater. The debate took precedence and the $10,000
check fell in between the cracks.
Much to Star Revues disapproval the Duals went to Philadelphia
and New York to perform. The check was not found. When it
was found Star Revue attempted to cash it. But the bank said
that a new check needed to be issued. Sue Records was called
and said they would not reissue a check and that they will
add the $10,000 to the next check they will be sending in
3 to 6 months. To make a long story short, there has never
been a next check.
The years have passed and now Star Revue is going back into
the studio to record the Duals 2000. Of course being the type
of company Star Revue is they want the original Duals to be
a large part of it. So Johnny Lageman was contacted and gave
his expressed permission to make him apart of any future ventures
of The Duals and also represent him in collecting monies due
for his work. What about Henry? Henry has since deceased.
What about his mother and father? They too are deceased. How
about surviving brothers or sisters? There must be one! The
search is on…
Many months later, a surviving brother, Donald Bellinger
was found. How elated Star Revue was to find him! Star Revue
expected Donald Bellinger to be as excited as they were. To
our amazement Donald comes to Star Revue with his legal council
stating, “Who are you people? What do you want with
my client? How much dose he have coming? How do I know I am
going to get what’s entitled to me? You should immediately
turn over all paperwork to me!” and so on.
Star Revue thought they had reassembled the team once again.
They have been promised by EMI back royalties from their successful
" Stick Shift" hit. Could they be missing the important
member of the team? Is Donald Bellinger going to listen to
a person who could benefit from litigation at his expense
or to Star Revue whom his brother trusted and his mother respected
and get more of the residuals he is entitled to!
Star Revue is delighted to announce that the team is assembled
- lawyers are in place - we have acted in accordance with
all requirements that EMI has stipulated, the next move is
up to EMI. They have already gotten what they haven’t
paid for, so now there is the promise, to pay or not to pay
- there really is no question!
“Happily we will expect to get credit as well as back
pay where $$$$ are due. Ahhh, hope springs eternal.
As a philosopher once said, “Finally the big fish is
going to assist the little fish, instead of eating it alive.”