Having gathered his material, Nicolson writes an opening paragraph and then has the performers tell their story in their own words. Only they don’t. They repeat Nicolson’s questions (“What is the highest spot in my musical career?”, “Am I a religious man?”, “Did I get all my royalties?”) as if reminiscing with themselves. Sometimes I found myself guessing at the question to make sense of the answer. The most curious example comes in an interview with the Kalin Twins. Nicolson has them speaking in harmony (“We don’t think our success changed our relationships with our family and friends”), but then we have “The fact that Herb was married didn’t affect our relationship”, so Hal must be saying that bit. These pieces read like a homage to the ghosted interviews in US fan magazines of the 50s.
Nicolson is reluctant to probe and so Tommy Sands only repeats what he has often said about marrying into the Sinatra family. The interview with Herb Reed of the Platters starts with him saying, “Forget about personal questions: I am not interested in baring my soul to the general public.” Johnny Farina of Santo and Johnny says, “I don’t know what Santo is doing now and have no comments to make on why we broke up or when we last spoke.” This interview sleepwalks in more ways than one as Farina can’t remember details.
The interviews are poorly edited. Phil Phillips tells us over and over that he saw no need to improve on his original lyric for ‘Sea Of Love‘ but surely it would be worth asking him if the short song needed another verse. Nicolson should have asked him about the muffled sound of that hit recording – was it deliberate? It defies belief that Phillips didn’t know Marty Wilde had a UK hit with his song.