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Stellar Sidemen

June 07, 1998

I can't afford to take out a full-page ad in Billboard, I have not spoken with Ahmet Ertegun, nor do I have a high-profile legend like Keith Richards to champion my cause, but I commend George Turek and Chuck Berry for trying to "do the right thing" by campaigning for Johnnie Johnson's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Pop Eye, May 31). The hall should not hesitate to add a category for rock 'n' roll sidemen.

Pioneers like Little Richard's Upsetters, the first real rock 'n' roll outfit (think "Keep-a-Knockin'," with that driving drum intro by Charles Connor, which inspired Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and Eddie Cochran's "Something Else"), should not be forgotten. Also L.A.'s legendary studio band "The Wrecking Crew" (including rock's most recorded drummer, Hal Blaine), Cosimo Matassa's famed New Orleans studio band, the guys behind Elvis, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.

Please give these unsung heroes a place of recognition while some are still alive to accept their long-overdue reward of respect.

ROBERT LESLIE

Los Angeles

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