Ajobo is a witty acronym for Allison Johnelle Boron, a freelance writer and music industry maven based in New York City. She enjoys photography, collecting vinyl, and traveling. She dislikes writing bios in the third person. (more?)
Blog design by the incredible Sara Greene.
Plucked from the same incubator as the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Searchers, and others, Billy J. Kramer, along with his Dakotas, quickly became a household name in England and, later, America during the first wave of the British Invasion. His hits largely drew from songs provided to him by arguably the most famous and successful British songwriting team of the day — Lennon and McCartney –including 1963’s “Bad to Me,” which reached #1 in the UK. More recognition followed in the form of songs like “I’ll Keep You Satisfied,” “From a Window,” and “Little Children” (which, interestingly, was not a Lennon-McCartney composition).
After the British Invasion peaked, Kramer turned to cabaret and television, even hosting a variety show in Manchester, England. Though he’s recorded sporadically throughout the years, he returned to the studio in 2012 to record I Won the Fight, his first proper album in 30 years. Starting next week, he’ll also appear on the 50th anniversary British Invasion tour, alongside Chad & Jeremy, Denny Laine, Mike Pender, and new-addition Terry Sylvester of the Hollies. (Sadly, Gerry Marsden dropped out last week due to illness. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery!)
Kramer and I chatted during a photo shoot in August (which produced the gorgeous cover photo you see above!) in Long Island, NY — his home for over 25 years.
An interview I did with Billy J. Kramer for REBEAT!
To Americans, he’s half of ’60s British musical duo Chad & Jeremy. Meanwhile, back home in England, Jeremy Clyde is an established actor, with over 50 years of credits ranging from the West End to Broadway, from film to television. In fact, most Britains have no idea that Clyde — together with partner Chad Stuart — put seven Top 40 singles on the US charts between 1964 and 1966, including classics like “Yesterday’s Gone” (the only Chad & Jeremy tune to squeak onto the British charts at #37) and “A Summer Song.”
My latest article for REBEAT!
Fifty years ago, a musical charge led by the Beatles opened the floodgates to many of their British mates. The barrage of English talent in America was coined the British Invasion, and new artists arrived from across the Pond in waves throughout the decade and, really, ever since.
Few artists, however, can claim to have been hot on the heels of the Fab Four in 1964. The Searchers were a fellow Liverpool group that also paid its dues in Hamburg, Germany, as well as at local Beatles haunts like the Cavern. America’s hunger for the Merseybeat sound drove the band’s smash track “Needles and Pins” up the charts in March 1964, making them the second English group to have a major hit after the Beatles.
My latest piece/interview for my new digital magazine, REBEAT!
"I eat a lot of pizza" might be one of the greatest things an interviewee has ever said to me. Mike Pender is a lovely guy with a lot of incredible stories!
The names Boyce & Hart are typically viewed as mere subscript on 1960s hits, especially for The Monkees. But songwriters are finally getting their due.
My latest piece for Goldmine magazine about the incredible new documentary on Boyce & Hart. I spoke with Bobby Hart and the film’s director, Rachel Lichtman, about the process of making the film, and the dynamic duo’s history.
If you’re in SoCal, check out the LA premiere of Boyce & Hart: The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em on August 7 during the Don’t Knock the Rock Film and Music Festival.
It’s official!! REBEAT magazine has launched!! Go check it out!
Really excited to announce the launch of my ~super secret~ project for the past few months: REBEAT magazine. Covering music, culture and lifestyle from the 1950s-1970s (primarily, anyway), the goal is to feature new voices, perspectives and ideas, as well as good ol’ interviews, reviews and columns. I’m stoked that it’s finally launching, and I’d love it if you all could check it out and “like” the page if you feel so inclined! INSANELY cool things are coming up in the next few months… I can hardly wait!!
Many girls I knew idolized Penny Lane, the golden-haired “band-aid” who enchanted the rock stars. They wanted to be her. Me? I wanted to be William Miller.
I wrote this article for xoJane about being a chick rock writer and my experience a few weeks ago when a piece I wrote about the Monkees went viral. For the record, I didn’t write the headline and there’s no man-bashing involved (because I truly love my wonderful male colleagues!).
But I’m really so grateful and humbled that a lot of women are digging this piece. There are so many of us in traditionally male-dominated industries that are great at our jobs, and that deserves to be celebrated, not questioned!
I became a Monkees fan at age 11 after binge-watching their hit TV show on Nick-at-Nite’s Block Party Summer. Its..
With my favorite pair of brothers, Mark and John Sebastian, last Saturday night at the Cutting Room in NYC, celebrating the release of Mark’s newest record, THE REAL STORY.
It was such a joy to help organize and plan the event; Mark performed an amazing set, and featured John on a few numbers. John’s son, Ben, even joined in on an all-Sebastian version of “Summer in the City.” Truly amazing. Magnificent people; best night ever. Thanks to everyone who came out!
On May 4, 1970, four Kent State University students were killed and nine injured when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire during a demonstration protesting the Vietnam War.
Being a native of the Kent State-ish area, personal remembrances are all one hears growing up. Folks use phrases like, “It’s terrible what they did to those kids,” like it happened hours, not decades, ago. It rings fresh, especially when Kent is a popular choice for college; a lot of my friends reading this went to Kent. I almost did, myself. It makes this historical event that much more real.
I’ve always had a morbid fascination with the shootings. In college, I did a term paper on them, and interviewed my junior high school English teacher. On May 4, 1970, he hitchhiked to Kent State in his Army uniform for an afternoon meeting at Taylor Hall (basically right beside where the famous John Filo photo above was taken). His appointment ended just as the Guard ascended the hill; he was at the edge of the parking lot when shots were fired. He immediately dropped to the ground and shielded himself behind a car. He remembers watching people around him falling under the volley of gunfire. His eyes filled with tears, scrolling through Google images of that day, especially of former Ohio governor James Rhodes, a despicable character to many eyewitnesses. Like most survivors, inside him is an intense cocktail of anger, hatred, sadness and still confusion, even all these years later.
The Filo photo has always piqued my interest. Mary Vecchio’s horrified expression, yes, but I’ve always wondered about the students in the background. Particularly the girl in the white t-shirt who looks like she’s casually walking to class. She looks like Every College Student. For me, that, not Jeffrey Miller’s dead body, is the most disturbing part of this image. Lots of kids in that parking lot (including Sandy Scheuer and Bill Schroeder, who died) were innocent bystanders; even the instigators of the protesting weren’t super guilty of any harm to the Guard. The worst they did was throw rocks that didn’t reach the soldiers. Most of the insanity leading up to the shootings was led by out-of-town rabble-rousers who’d rolled into the area the weekend before, inciting riots and violence and, probably, burning down Kent’s ROTC building. The students you see in these photos? No guiltier than the girl in the white shirt.
So, on this 44th anniversary of this national tragedy, remember the Four, the injured, and the others for whom May 4th isn’t about Star Wars, but about being thankful that they survived, when others, mere feet away, did not.
"Flowers are better than bullets." - Allison Krause
Kicking off Monday morning hanging out with my 1960s teen music mag buddies! We’re working together on a special project… stay tuned!