By DAVID PEPIN
The featured performer for this yearâs Summerâs End concert can boast of having spent the past 15 years working with a music legendâŠand having received his big break in show business from a boxing legend.
John Pagano, a Providence native whose repertoire ranges from pop chestnuts to rhythm and blues, will be performing with the R.I. Philharmonic at the townâs annual concert, to be held Friday, Sept. 2, at Eldredge Field. Rain date for the show is Saturday, Sept. 3.
Pagano, who began his career in the â80s as an R&B singer, has been a featured vocalist since 1997 with Burt Bacharach, the pianist and songwriter responsible for many entries in the canon of pop music standards over the past 50 years. Along with two female singers and an 11-piece orchestra (including his brother Vinny, its drummer), they have toured throughout much of the world, most recently a six-date swing through Italy.
âThe girls cover many of his hits, and I do all the male songs,â says Pagano, who usually performs âThis Guyâs In Love with You,â âWhat the World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love),â âRaindrops Keep Falling on My Head,â âAny Day Nowâ and âGod Give Me Strength.â
Now living in southern California, Pagano returns roughly every three months to visit his family, and tries to work in a shown or two while heâs in the area.
Before meeting Bacharach, and before recording a CD on MCA, however, came his âdiscoveryâ by that noted musical talent scoutâŠMike Tyson (yes, the former world heavyweight champion).
âI played in a band called Xpo around Albany with my brother. Mike trained about a half-hour away, and he came and saw us and took a liking to my band and my voice. He said I ought to sing the national anthem at one of his fights,â Pagano remembers.
In 1989, Pagano stood in the center of the ring as the Las Vegas Hilton and sang âThe Star-Spangled Bannerâ prior to Tysonâs successful title defense against Frank Bruno.
In the audience that night was an assistant to Irving Azoff, one of the recording industryâs giants, then chairman of MCA records.
âShe saw me in the elevator on my way to the afterparty, and I met Azoff two days later,â Pagano says. While he had been discussing a record deal with Warner Brothers at the time, he ended up signing with MCA, which led to his first encounter with Bacharach and his then-wife, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.
âAzoff took me over to see him because he was looking for material for my album, but Burt didnât have anything that fit,â says Pagano.
The MCA CD, he recalls, was âvery of the times, uptempo,â on which Bacharachâs more ballad-oriented tunes wouldâve been out of place. âI was the only white guy in MCAâs R&B division.â
Plans for a second CD never materialized, but in 1997, âI received a call from Burt out of the blue. He was getting ready to tour, but had never toured with a male vocalist before. I told him I was surprised he remembered me, and he said he had never forgotten my voice.â
NARRAGANSETTâThe trail begins at Annie Hoxsie Lane across from the Narragansett Town Beach, unassumingly sliding into the woods. The path is about six feet wide and winds along the Chafee Wildlife Preserve on Boston Neck Road. The underbrush is thick. The ground water gathers at places, saturating the ground. Nature abounds, yet without the work of the Narragansett Tree Society, headed by William Bivona, and Narragansett Boy Scout Troop 2, this trail would have never been accessible.
What a busy week it was in North Kingstown.
With the passing of several prominent local figures (Frank Knight, Rita Perry) and the emerging details for the future of two prominent local businesses (Gardiner's Wharf, Walmart), there's no question there was a lot of news taking place locally this week.
You'll find all of it in this week's Standard Times as we bring you the latest on Gardiner's Wharf Seafood's battle to begin serving take-out and the expansion plans of the Ten Rod Road Walmart.
NARRAGANSETTâThe town council briefly held its bi-monthly meeting Monday evening, and the two major discussion points were the approval of the Economic Development Plan and the ongoing debate concerning the problems associate with student rentals in Narragansett.
NARRAGANSETT â Surfing is one of those big bucket list moments that many dream of. While beaches like Huntingtonâs in California and Sunset Beach in Hawaii draw droves of surfers hoping to catch that big wave, Narragansett has its very own beach drawing local surfers, whether they are beginners or experts. With its commemoration of Environmental Day in Narragansett this Saturday, thereâs no better time to appreciate those ocean waves or learn how to catch that first big wave.
On Independence Day I watched most of two installments on the birth of our nation on the History Channel. Frankly, I had forgotten how contentious and rancorous the relations were between the founding fathers. Were it not for the commanding personality of George Washington and the presence of intellectual giants such as Benjamin Franklin and James Madison, we would probably still be singing âGod Save the Queenâ as our national anthem.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN- Olivia Rich has a singing voice well beyond her young 12 years. Dancing, singing and acting, the Curtis Corner Middle School student has performed in several performances and lit Old Mountain Field like the fireworks display that followed her with her talented voice singing the National Anthem on July 4.