4.25.2011

IT'S WHO YOU KNOW!

Anyway, I'm wondering if you can identify the guy in these photos. I couldn't have 3 weeks ago and then I saw a documentary about him on Showtime called "Mayor of the Sunset Strip (2003) a look at the history of fame in the world through the eyes of pop star impresario, Rodney Bingenheimer. The story of Rodney's rise to fame is told by one huge industry name after another, all extolling the virtues of knowing Bingenheimer as mountains of photos flicker against the narratives.

Actor Sal Mineo gave him the nickname of "Mayor of the Sunset strip", he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (around the 700 block) and these photos only scratch the surface of famous people he knows personally.

Along the way Rodney Bingenheimer managed to touch the lives and careers of enough famous people to choke a horse. He's been a household name to people like Sonny and Cher and Andy Warhal for decades and in some circles, he still is. A DJ at KROQ-FM Radio since the 60s, Rodney's claim to fame was picking hit records.

For years he was a constantly evolving fixture as rock fan, journalist, promoter and club owner. In short the guy is well connected. A connector of people, the guy who gets things done for other people, the go-to guy for just about anything a rock star or artist could want in Hollywood. Sonny Bono liked him so that for a while he invited Rodney to tag along with him where ever he went and Andy Warhol loved having him around too.

But do you see something sad about Rodney in the first photo? me too, and it comes through in "Mayor of the Sunset Strip". They filmed a visit with Rodney and his parents who proudly walked the crew through the house pointing out family photographs. You hear a voice off-camera ask: "where are your photos of Rodney?" His parents looked blankly at each other, then the Mother piped up and asked the Father to go fetch the album filled with Rodney memorabilia in the other room. The Father came back a few minutes later with a letter sized envelope which held a couple of old newspaper clippings and one childhood photo of poor Rodney. It was a sad moment but you didn't see him flinch, he just walked through the moment as if he'd lived it a million other times.

He still has a radio show on KROQ-FM but it airs in the middle of the night. Some speculate that KROQ-FM is afraid to let Rodney go for fear they'll rock the boat and alienate his influential friends. The fact that Rodney hangs on is evidence that he may not have the juice he once did, and I'm not sure the documentary shows him in the best light, but any story about a sweet, awkward, unassuming guy in the midst of a movement that literally "rocked" the world seems worth telling.

Rodney with John & Yoko














Rodney with Bob Dylan












Rodney with Jimmy Hendrix















Rodney with Andy Warhol

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for the history post :-)

    I still have NO idea who this fella is; but now I will look at music history with a little more insight. Thanks for sharing!

    ~Val

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  2. I am still stuck on the fact his own parents barely have much of his personal effects??? Sad. I have known a few people who are name droppers, their whole lives revolve around knowing famous people, maybe because they live through them? Not sure, just a guess...

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  3. wow, great post...I hadnt really heard of him before, but sounds like a interesting character...thanx :)

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  4. interesting Bubba Gump type post-




    Warm Aloha from Honolulu


    Comfort Spiral

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  5. Cloudia, yes, they call me Bubba. LOL

    David, did you get my comment?

    Chef E, Did you get my email?

    Owls Nest, what's for dinner?

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  6. I tried to visit sandwiches. I could not go to there.

    It was sad.

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  7. I love visiting your blog. I learn something new everytime I come here.
    I'm not going to pretend like I know who he his, but I will definitely look into it further. He has such an interesting, sad face.

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  8. Hi Keri, thank you for the visit and following.. I am returning the blog-luv. I dunno know who he is but he seems to be a nice guy.

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  9. I guess I'm not the only one who's never heard of Rodney, but what a great post Keri, very enlightening! A sad commentary though, on his parents.

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