Saturday, April 21, 2012

MONTREAL Distinguished Artists Andy Kim

Name: Andrew Youakim, aka Andy Kim, aka Baron Longfellow

Age: 57 or 64, depending on who you ask

Occupation: Musician/songwriter

Bio: This dreamy Villeray boy can trace his desire to rawk back to when he was attending a local “boys only” parochial school called Holy Family and thinking music just might help deliver him the female attention he so yearned for. Splitting our backwater burgh for New York City in 1968 at the tender age of 16, the maniacally ambitious young ’un almost immediately hooked up with songwriting legend Jeff Barry, and by the end of the year, had scored himself a Top 40 hit, “How Did We Ever Get This Way?,” the first of what would be many hits over the course of his career. “I just knew, deep down in my heart, that I was going to be part of this industry, that I’d be that guy on stage singing songs having all the girls chase him.” Yet after a hugely successful career in the late ’60s and ’70s, one that saw him sell some 30 million records on the strength of hits like “Rock Me Gently,” “Baby, I Love You” and the Archies’ smash “Sugar, Sugar,” which he co-wrote, Señor Kim’s records were eventually relegated to the Where Are They Now file, with our hero universally regarded as an official has-been. Even after changing his stage name to Baron Longfellow in the 1980s and doing okay under that handle, by mid-decade, the former mega-hitmaker found he couldn’t even get himself arrested. Now, after a lengthy stint in relative obscurity which saw him write roughly “a gazillion new songs,” Andy is once again poised for the big time with the release of his spankin’ new record, Happen Again, and an ambitious Canadian tour this summer in support of it. He drives a way-cool 1969 Mercedes 280SL.

Is it safe to assume his early ambition to taste himself a heapin’ helpin’ of teenage beav was realized upon becoming a major pop star? “It’s not something I really talk about but… yes, it was wonderful… great. At the perfect time too, you’re a teenager, you’re somewhere else… yeah, it was really cool.”

Did much of the huge money Andy Kim generated ever filter its way up to him? Yes. “I own all of my publishing.”

Can he recall what he was doing when the immortal words “Sugar, ah, honey, honey, you are my candy girl and you got me wanting you” first popped into his head? “Sure, I was on the phone with Jeff Barry talking about what we could write for something like the Archies and I just started going, ‘Sugar, aw, honey, honey,’ sort of singing it and Jeff went, ‘Whoa, what’s that?’ and I went ‘What’s what?’ and then we agreed that it might be some sort of song. I realize now that it’s all inspiration, you can’t teach someone to write songs. It’s a moment in time where you’re there to grab what the universe is giving you.”


pauline garneau said...

pauline garneau said...

Andy Kim/Baron Longfellow - Amour (Only Audio)

Distinguished Artists: Andy Kim

pauline garneau said...

Andy Kim Rock Me Gently

Andy Kim: "Sugar Sugar"

Baby I Love You performed by Andy Kim

Les F said...

Never heard of this guy either

pauline garneau said...

VC to entertain and inform.

Guy Billard said...

Andy who ?
I like Gino the best.

Les F said...

Yes & that we do.....Cheers ! HF&RV - Les (I still haven;t heard of him ? ) at least not that I can recall & Montreal does have a lot of creative talent........oh well
filed under the learn something new everyday.....

pauline garneau said...

The Archies - Sugar, Sugar (Original 1969 Music Video)

pauline garneau said...

Kim, Andy
Andy Kim (b Andrew Jouachim or Yoakim; also known as Baron Longfellow). Songwriter, popular singer, b Montreal 5 Dec 1952. Andy Kim attended school in Montreal and recorded his first single, "Give Me Your Love," for 20th Century Fox. He left Montreal for New York in 1967 to concentrate on his dream of entering the pop-music world. There Kim was signed by songwriter Jeff Barry to his new label, Steed Records. The two became a phenomenally successful songwriting team, beginning with Kim's recording of their "How'd We Ever Get This Way," a major hit in 1968 in both Canada and the US. There followed a string of ten hit Kim recordings, most co-written with Barry for the teen market, including the million-sellers "So Good Together" and "Baby, I Love You" (the latter by Barry with Phil Spector). Kim had equal success co-writing with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich for The Archies and their televised cartoon series. One of these tunes, "Sugar, Sugar," released in 1969, sold over 13 million copies. His "Shoot 'Em Up Baby" fared less well in the US, being mistakenly associated with urban unrest.
In 1974 Kim moved to Los Angeles, returning frequently to Montreal. A career downturn ended when in Montreal Kim and his brother Joe (his manager) formed Ice Records and released the album Andy Kim and his composition "Rock Me Gently." This recording signalled a more mature sound in Kim's songwriting than his earlier "bubblegum" or "teenybopper" style. The single reached the number one position in Canada and the US and was very popular in the United Kingdom and abroad.

1980s - 2005
Following "Rock Me Gently," Andy Kim maintained a low profile until Gordon Mills, manager of Tom Jones, signed him and recommended he adopt the name Baron Longfellow to distance himself from his teen idol image. In 1980 Kim-Longfellow released the adult contemporary single "Amour," nominated for Juno awards at home and popular in Europe. He enjoyed moderate success as Baron Longfellow, through the 1980s and 1990s continuing to write, record and occasionally perform, but remaining largely out of sight until he reappeared with yet another single, "I Forgot to Mention" (co-written with the Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson), and the 2005 release Powerdrive. These late successes demonstrated Andy Kim's longevity as a songwriter over almost four decades.

Recognition and Awards
Andy Kim appeared on North American television (eg, the Dinah Shore show in 1975) and on German television. His tours include a world tour in 1974, and performances in the 1980s in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Europe. He received 1969 Juno award for top male vocalist the, and numerous other Juno nominations, and performed at the 1975 Juno ceremony. In 2005 he was named Canadian Independent Music's favourite solo artist. His songs have received several BMI awards and have been recorded by Michelle Wright, James Last, the Monkees, Sha Na Na, Bobby Goldsboro and Tom Jones; "Sugar, Sugar" was used in the film A Very Brady Sequel (1996). Andy Kim has been compared in sound to Neil Diamond, and in career path to the earlier teen idol Paul Anka.
Author Betty Nygaard King

"Canada's top male vocalist - Andy Kim," RPM Weekly, 24 Feb 1969
Melhuish, Martin. "Andy Kim," RPM, 11 Jan 1975
"Stardom only a hit away for Andy Kim," Ottawa Journal, 25 July 1975
Melhuish, Martin. Heart of Gold (Toronto 1983)

Lorraine Beaton said...

Hi Fellas,
Well let me tell you something about Andy Kim. In my mid-teen years, I was a very active participant at the Dawson's Boys & Girls Club on Woodland Avenue. In those days I was really into dancing and would watch all the "new stuff" on American Bandstand on our little black & white TV and learn all the latest dance steps to show my friends at school and at the dances at the club. My cousin who lived in an area just St. Laurent but North of the Metropolitain also liked to dance and was into music. One day he called me to tell me about a friend of his who was getting into the music business and he was looking for places to showcase himself. It was Andy Kim. so I arranged for Dawson's Boys & Girls club to invite Andy Kim to come to one of our Friday night dances to perform for the boys and girls, most of whom came from either the protestant high school or the nearby English catholic high school. So when he came to perform, I got to meet him and introduce him to everyone. That's how I knew about Andy Kim.

pauline garneau said...

What a great story Nonigirl. You helped to launch his career!!! Good for you. Wonder if he’d remember that Friday night in Verdun?
I liked all of his hit songs especially Amour that he recorded under the name Baron Longfellow....... Pauline

Les F said...

That is a cool story Lorraine, I don't know why I don't know this name ? The more I see it I 'think' it sounds familiar,but I just don't recall that. So another Montreal talent .good stuff,,,.I do recognize that Archie's song (it was played agazilliontimes) but I didn't know of the Montreal connection to it..
Cheers ! HF&RV - Les