You Didn’t Know You Know This Man [VIDEO]
Kenny Laguna has long been a part of the soundtrack of your life, playing and singing on more than 50 Billboard Top 40 hits by 1972. Today he is with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts as co-writer, co-producer and keyboard player. Last night, before playing for the crowd at their concert for Cheyenne Frontier Days, we continued a conversation begun earlier this week.
Kenny and Joan Jett threw in together after The Runaways broke up in 1979, and the two have had a very successful relationship since. After our initial interview on the phone, we both wanted to meet up when he got to town. We are different politically in many ways, but found mutual respect and much common ground in our support of those who serve our country.
You won’t hear about it from them, but he and Joan Jett have entertained our troops around the world 61 times, They don’t do it for the publicity, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. When I thanked Joan for do her part, she seemed surprised that I mentioned it.
Kenny got Jett a solo record deal after The Runaways, co-produced her solo albums, created Blackheart Records with Joan. But also works on a number of projects including film.
Kenny’s work goes way back, If you heard Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” you heard Kenny’s skills. Same for the Lemon Pipers “Green Tambourine,” “Gimmee Gimmee Good Lovin” by the Crazy Elephant, “This Magic Moment” and “Walkin’ in the Rain” by Jay and the Americans. He played with 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Ohio Express, and with Tommy James & The Shondells, including on ”Mony Mony.”
BTW, if you thought Mony was a girl, you’re wrong. The title came from the lighted sign on the top of the ‘Mutual Of New York’ building during a break in the writing process. The cadence just fit the song. That and other Tommy James songs were released by Roulette Records, a front for the Genovese crime family in New York
If you turn up “I Love Rock ‘N Roll,” it’s because of Joan Jett AND Kenny Laguna. A very warm and talented man. But I found the whole team around Joan are more than good at what they do. Julie and Ed, I can’t thank you enough for your help in connecting our listeners with tickets, CDs, Meet & Greets, and interview. You are consummate professionals all.
Oh, and there’s one more project Kenny was instrumental in bringing to you. A song that was shut down by Led Zepplin.
It’s a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, rewritten with the lyrics to the theme of the television show Gilligan’s Island. Released under the name Little Roger and the Goosebumps, they were threatened with legal action by Led Zeppelin’s lawyers and copies were destroyed. Eventually it reissued in 2000 on Laguna Tunes.
Enjoy “Stairway to Gilligan’s Island”