The 13th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show

Andy Kim 2015 crop

The 13th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON (Canada), on 6 December 2017. Begun in 2005 by the singer-songwriter (“Rock Me Gently,” “Sugar, Sugar”) for whom it is named, the Andy Kim Christmas Show has become an annual Toronto tradition, with proceeds benefiting various charitable organizations. Several years ago, Kim began adding a second holiday show in his birth city of Montreal, QC; this year’s event will be held at the Corona Theatre on 16 December 2017.

Proceeds from the Toronto show to benefit The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Gifts of Light program.

Proceeds from the Montreal show to benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation.

To make a donation to either of these organizations, click on the link(s) above.

See also:

Andy Kim Facebook page

Edit 11/18/17—Andy Kim on The Morning Show, AM640, 15 November 2017 (audio only)

Edit 11/25/17—Andy Kim on The Stafford Show, 24 November 2017 (audio only)

Edit 11/25/17—Andy Kim discusses lineup for annual charity show on CP24 (video)

Highlights from a few past Andy Kim Christmas Shows

2008:

2009:

2010:

2011:

2013:

2014:

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It’s Decided: Andy Kim Releases New Album

Andy Kim

Montreal native Andy Kim, who shot to fame in the late 1960s-early 70s with tunes such as “Baby, I Love You” (singer), “Sugar, Sugar” (composer), and “Rock Me Gently” (both), has just finalized work on his newest album. Written and produced with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, It’s Decided is scheduled to hit the streets in February 2015.

While just a teenager, Kim joined forces with legendary Brill Building songwriter and producer Jeff Barry. Signed to Barry’s label, Steed Records, Kim was a steady presence on the charts for several years, beginning in 1968 with his first Steed single, “How’d We Ever Get This Way.” More hits followed—remakes of The Ronettes’ “Baby, I Love You” (which earned Kim his first gold record) and “Be My Baby,” and originals such as “So Good Together,” “Rainbow Ride,” and “Shoot ‘Em Up, Baby.” The latter has been re-recorded for Kim’s newest album, with a fantastic new arrangement; you can listen to this glorious new version by accessing the player below.

During his years with Barry, Kim collaborated with his producer and mentor on several tunes to be recorded not just by Kim but by other artists as well. One of these, “Sugar, Sugar,” by The Archies (studio singers Ron Dante and Toni Wine), sailed to the top of the charts, earning a gold record and becoming the RIAA Record of the Year for 1969. The band’s follow-up single, “Jingle Jangle,” also composed by the Barry/Kim team, didn’t do too badly either, hitting the Top Ten and garnering a second gold disc for the group. In 1974, Kim earned a second gold disc as a recording artist with the self-penned classic “Rock Me Gently.” After the success of this single and an eponymous LP released on Capitol Records, Kim laid low for a few years before re-emerging in 1980 under the name Baron Longfellow; “Amour,” his first single under his new moniker, enjoyed chart success in his native Canada.

Having returned to using the name Andy Kim in the 1990s, the singer teamed up with Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson for the single “I Forgot to Mention” in 2004. Kim’s first album in 20 years, Happen Again, was released in 2010. Now, in conjunction with Kevin Drew and Arts & Crafts Productions, Kim is presenting his newest collection of contemporary music—which, if the track samples are any indication (and they are), promises to appeal to old and new fans alike. The beauty of Kim’s voice remains unchanged; time has not altered its clarity, strength, or captivating nuances. It’s Decided is available on Amazon.com as an MP3 album (release date 24 February 2015); preorder now and enjoy an immediate download of “Shoot ‘Em Up, Baby.”

See also: Andy Kim artist page on Oldies Connection

Edit (26 January 2015): “Longest Time” by Andy Kim, from the forthcoming album It’s Decided

Ain’t It Good, Ain’t It Right: Ode to a Classic

Andy Kim 1974

Forty years ago today (September 28), Andy Kim‘s enduring classic, “Rock Me Gently,” hit the top of the U.S. charts. Of course, back then the song wasn’t yet a classic, enduring or otherwise. The track had just been recorded a few months earlier, and the single was released in June, when it began its steady climb to the #1 position. For disc jockeys and program directors, it was little more than business as usual; records hit the streets, get included on radio playlists and loaded into jukeboxes, garner radio play, are purchased at retail outlets, and (hopefully) ascend the charts, with the lucky ones going all the way to the pinnacle. An everyday occurrence and nothing to get worked up over. For Andy, however, the process was nothing short of a miracle.

When Andy Kim finished composing “Rock Me Gently” in February of 1974, he knew he had come up with a winner. He could feel it in his very heart, through which the melody and lyrics had flowed with sublime ease during a ten-minute session on guitar. So convinced was he that this was the song that would mark his return to the music charts that he carefully put his guitar down and proceeded to do a hand-spring across his living room, followed by a return hand-spring back to his instrument and the window through which he’d been gazing as the poetry residing in his soul was made manifest. It was the sort of moment we all live for, when everything comes together and the less athletically inclined among us pump our fists in the air—”YES!” A moment of joy when our grins all but split our faces in two, and we feel at one with the Universe. For some people, this happens only a handful of times in a lifetime.

Yet Andy’s euphoria was quickly followed by a strong dose of reality: He had been without a record label since the previous year, and if his new creation was to see the light of day, he had to get that little dilemma solved. And fast. Though only in his twenties, he knew that time waits for no man; all we have is the present in which to act. This was a life and work ethic to which Andy held fast. He had had a run of success as a songwriter and recording artist on Jeff Barry’s Steed Records from 1968 to 1971, recording eleven singles and three albums for the label. Five of those singles, including his first effort, “How’d We Ever Get This Way,” hit the national Top Forty; his remake of “Baby, I Love You,” which has come to be as identified with Andy as with the group that originated it, The Ronettes, made the Top Ten and earned Andy his first gold record. After Jeff Barry discontinued Steed Records and relocated from New York to California, Andy was signed to Uni and recorded an eponymous album for the label, in 1973. The Montreal-born singer of Lebanese extraction was accustomed to moving forward; he hadn’t become a successful singer/songwriter by resting on his laurels or sitting on his ass. There was work to be done, arrangements to be made, music to record. Details such as booking a studio and finding a record company willing to press and release this new creation of his had to be seen to, as well as getting all of the promotional ducks in a row. Andy enlisted the help of his older brother, Joe, to help with the business end of his chosen profession; then he raided his piggy bank for the funds needed for studio time. The record wasn’t going to cut itself.

Andy Kim, 1970s

For a time it looked as if the record wasn’t going to be cut at all. But Andy was nothing if not resourceful, and he decided to bring Muhammad to the mountain, so to speak, by founding his own label, Ice Records—a fitting name for a Canadian-based company—and proceeding with the studio work on pure faith. After getting the track laid down to his satisfaction and with the remaining session time down to minutes, Andy made the decision that, rather than his recording another song as a “B” side for “Rock Me Gently,” its flip would be the instrumental backing track (which would be entitled “Rock Me Gently [Part II]”). Actually, the decision was made for Andy by his newly svelte piggy bank, which vetoed the idea of paying for another session.

Andy had done all he could. Things were now in the hands of the gods … who came through with flying colors when the folks at Capitol Records heard “Rock Me Gently” and decided to sign Andy to a record deal and to release the single, with its instrumental counterpart on the B side. Andy was on his way, and the song itself was on its way to attaining hit status.

The rest is musical history. “Rock Me Gently” began a steady climb to the top of the (U.S.) charts and would reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 28, 1974. It would go on to hit the #2 spot on the U.K. Singles Chart two weeks later, on October 12, 1974, and subsequently garner a second gold disc for Andy (which was intercepted and informally presented to him by John Lennon at the Capitol Records building!). In the years since, the song has stood the test of time and become a pop standard. It remains in constant rotation on classic rock radio stations and is probably being played somewhere on the planet at just about any given moment. It’s even been used in commercials. And, in 2012, Andy Kim himself good-naturedly recorded a parody of the song, entitled “Mock Me Gently,” for Toronto radio station CHBM-FM (Boom 97.3)’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.

Andy Kim - Gold Record

“Rock Me Gently” came into being at the perfect time. First of all, it’s a wonderful dance tune, so it’s fitting that it became a hit as disco was emerging as a musical genre. Second, and perhaps more important for reasons of longevity, the song is classy; it makes perfect sense that it became a classic. “Rock Me Gently” is both romantic and sexy, without being blatantly sexual or using explicit lyrics of any sort; the physical intimacies are hinted at rather than baldly spelled out, with whatever may have been taking place between the sheets laying between the lines. It’s the perfect song for amorous couples to listen to during romantic nights in front of the fireplace, and in fact the track has shown up on more than one CD compilation of love songs. It’s safe to say that Andy Kim’s financial investment has paid off many times over—and his personal and emotional investment continues to pay off, with  multiple generations of music lovers reaping the dividends. Thanks to the dream and vision of Andy Kim, “Rock Me Gently” has become part of the world’s DNA.

Videos

Andy Kim – “Rock Me Gently” (official video):

Live Performance of “Rock Me Gently” by Andy Kim on Top of the Pops (UK, October 1974):

TV Commercial for Jif Cleaner (UK):

2008 Jeep Liberty “Pouring In” Commercial feat. “Rock Me Gently” (US, 2007):

Andy Kim (with Blair Packham) performing “Mock Me Gently” for Boom 97.3 FM’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest (Toronto, 2012):

Distinguished Artists: Interview with Andy Kim (2009):

Andy Kim is Happening Again (CD review)

Andy Kim - Happen Again

Imagine, just for a moment, that you are Andy Kim.
 
Make believe that you are a singer/songwriter who left your native Montreal as a teenager in the mid-60s, traveling to New York City where you met your musical idol, Jeff Barry; teamed up with him to record several Top 40 hits (“How’d We Ever Get This Way,” “Baby, I Love You,” “Be My Baby”) for his record label and to write a song that would sell in the millions, and become Record of the Year for 1969 (“Sugar, Sugar”); and composed, produced, recorded and released what would become your signature song and an international hit in 1974 (“Rock Me Gently”).  Pretend that your songs and recordings endure to this day, continually being discovered by new generations of fans.  And imagine that there’s probably not an hour that goes by when at least one of your songs isn’t playing somewhere in the world.
 
Now – if you were Andy Kim, what would you do to top all that?
 
Here’s a little secret …

(To finish reading my review of singer-songwriter Andy Kim’s new CD, Happen Again, please click on the link to visit my Andy Kim Fan Page.)