MENERGY ... THE FIRST HIT
Left: first success.
Right: Frank's brother, Frank Loverde, Michael Finden, Linda Imperial and Don Miley
In 1978 Patrick recorded an 16 minute long extended Remix version of the song " I Feel Love" performed by Donna Summer . Later, in 1981 , this Megamix was released by Casablanca Records. The Original 1977 version, which was composed by Giorgio Moroder , lasted 8 minutes . This work also would be a great success, specially among DJ's of whole world over.
His first great hit was single 'Menergy ', reaching the top of the charts at the end of October of 1981 as well as 'I Wanna Take You Home '. These first productions by Patrick were released at Fusion Records , but with Marty Blecman as associate producer, and later in the Megatone's first album.
Letter from Los Angeles, California to Patrick and Marty Blecman.
'Teen Planet ', the only song released with Patrick's original voice and 'Sea Hunt' were also released. To compose the latter one, Patrick was inspired on the TV series with the same name, starring by Lloyd Bridges (whom he admired) , Jo-Carol Block played some keyboards and sang the mermaid call vocals.
Another first hit released on Fusion Records was 'I Got A Line On You', Patrick Cowley's new version of the song that was performed by Randy California in the year of 1969. He aslo met Frank Loverde at The City Disco, for whom he composed the song "Die Hard Lover", which was released by Moby Dick Records, which in turn would have another version performed by Linda Imperial.
The new sound would later be known as Hi-NRG, and it would be the standard of “dance” music in the following years on dance floors all over the world.
Left : Patrick (31) and
Paul (28) , just before they worked on 'Right On Target' and 'Lift Off'.
Right : Amazing picture of Patrick Cowley.
Under the auspices of his partner Marty Blecman, he wrote the successful dance single 'Megatron Man' that opened the doors to the album of the same name, released on March, 1982. Editing, recording and mixing of this album were done at night.The sessions began at around ten PM and ended byl four o'clock in the morning.
This singular success called the attention of an important
dance music producer from New York, Audrey Josephs. By then, Patrick's
fame was remarkable, and many people called him "the great records
By then, Patrick's fame was remarkable, and many people called him "the great records seller".
THE PATRICK COWLEY SINGERS
1-2: Jo Carol Block (today Davidson, sadly passed away in
3: The Patrick Cowley Singers, Carol McMacken, Lauren Carter and Jo Carol.
4: Jo-Lo (Jo Carol and Lauren)
As an independent producer, Patrick Cowley counted on exellent singers
Lauren Carter , Jo-Carol Block and Carol McMackin.
Jo-Carol, born on May 13th , 1956 ,had moved to San Francisco a couple of years before and was 25 at the time she met Patrick.
Lauren , Carol and herself were singing in a 6 person jazz acapella group called 'Acapella Gold' with 3 guys. One of them was Michael Finden, who used to be in Sylvester's band playing B3 organ.
Michael Finden brought the 3 of the girls to Patrick's studio and the 4 of them sang on 'Menergy', then the 3 of the girls sang all of the songs after that on the 'Megatron Man' album. After Patrick's dead, Jo-Carol y Lauren would be known as 'Jo-Lo'. They really wanted to be like 'Hall and Oates' since they were both songwriters as well as keyboard players and vocalists.
Patrick loved their singing , he'd light up a joint, they'd have a few hits and then ...sing, sing. Although Patrick had ideas, he counted on them to come up with the harmonies and give him vocal ideas.
They also sang with Patrick at the Automatt Studio during 'Mind Warp' production.
"Singing at the Automatt was great...very profesional studio. Back in those days you had to sing everything ! There were no computers to fix things or copy parts. You had to get it perfect and it took time. We loved singing there and being in the studio. " (JO-CAROL BLOCK)
Jo-Lo (Jo Carol and Lauren)
“I’m impressed to see the music community of San Francisco honor Patrick Cowley after so many years. He was a wonderful human being and someone I’ll never forget. If there ever was a gentleman in this world, it was Patrick.
I met Patrick through Michael Finden. Michael and Patrick had toured with Sylvester in the ‘70s and Michael joined “Acapella Gold”, a vocal jazz sextette around 1978 or ‘79, of which I was a member. One night Patrick came to see the group perform at the Savoy Tivoli in the city. He was intrigued with the women in the group and asked us if we’d come over to his studio to work on some songs with him. I remember at the time I was impressed with his studio because it was clear he had invested in a lot of equipment, rented the space, and from what I could tell, did it all by himself. I also remember how genuninely sweet, charming and gracious he was. He definitely had the “boy next door” quality about him. Jo-Carol, Lauren & I were excited about recording with him and were intrigued by his volume of work. He had a number of tunes in process, and I remember being fascinated by his signature sound and thinking it took a lot of patience and dedication to create what he did. He was the quintessential modest whiz kid….! I’m not sure, but I think Patrick appreciated having us to bounce off of and offer feedback, because he was used to working solo much of the time. He also liked our energy, as we were always game to keep on singing until the sound was just right. We would tease him because he was very disciplined with his eating habits. While he would eat yogurt and health foods in the studio, we were ready to go out to Hamburger Mary’s! I cherish those times because they were full of life and laughter…..
We were all so amazed when the first song we recorded “Menergy”, on an 8 track tape mind you, started hitting the clubs and taking off. Then “I Wanna Take You Home”, “Thank God for Music” & “Get a Little”. After that life sped ahead of us at a clip that was phenomenal. We ended up dissolving “Acapella Gold”, because we were invited to sing at clubs all over the U.S. It was an amazing and magical time of our lives and I, for one, am so grateful to Patrick.
In October of 1982, we just had come off a tour and I found out that Patrick was sick and in the hospital. I went to visit him and was stunned because of his grave condition, and baffled as to how he could be in intensive care. This was before anyone knew about AIDS. I spoke to the doctor on the floor about his condition and he guided me toward an article in the New England Journal of Medicine that had just been printed that month. I wandered into the hospital library and read a very long article about a mysterious fatal disease that was affecting immune systems in homosexual men living in New York and L.A. I started crying and couldn’t fathom how poor Patrick was susceptible at such a young age, and especially since he took such good care of himself. A few weeks later he was gone, just at the peak of his career.
After his memorial, I’ll never forget meeting Patrick’s father, Kenneth Cowley. He stayed in San Francisco for a couple of days after the service and Jo-Carol and I went out to dinner with him. It’s funny how I remember that night so vividly, because of course, no surprise, Patrick had a loving father, and Jo and I wanted him to know what a lovely son he had and how much we appreciated him. Grateful to Patrick Cowley . Patrick remains in my heart to this day. “ (Carol McMackin, one of the Menergy singers)
(2002) John Hedges - Leo Frappier - Jo Carol (one of her last rehearsals)
PATRICK COWLEY' S PROFILE
Right: Original painting of 'Megatron man' (Mister X) created by Dean Motter.
He looked handsome and youthful. He was rather short and blonde, he always wore a moustache and sometimes, a light beard. He liked to wear leather motorcycle jacket, jeans and white running shoes. He was quite interested in observing people, and proving his sociability. Engaging, with a born instinct for leadership, while also being very rebellious. He never bragged, although he would very offhandedly tell some very outrageous stories, but not to show how wild he was, but because there was something funny in the story itself.
Patrick never had a long term love relationship with a person; there was always someone special in his life, but it was usually with music in mind that a relationship would grow.
Buffalo newspapers the day after Patrick died.
"He was a very quiet man. He was actually a very dedicated and creative workaholic but when he was stricken by inspiration, he quite often ended up exhausted. He was a sweet, talented, unassuming person who was driven by music; very dedicated and very prolific. He really didn't have much of a social life. He loved music , and the world's music, he loved the many percussive sounds that were out there but Americans couldn't hear. His life was practically music and 'baths' only. That´s probably how he got sick. He constantly was in the studio all day long and he'd get out real late when there wasn't much to do." (FRANK LOVERDE )
PATRICK AND PAUL PARKER
Left: Paul singing at 'The Saint', New York.
Rignt: with Lauren Carter
Patrick Cowley lived in The Castro, the area in San Francisco that developed into Gay Mecca. He met Paul Marion Parker through a mutual friend. Paul had two demo songs that a friend, another songwriter, had composed, and Patrick invited him to come over to his studio to try singing a few songs he had finished, and they became close friends immediately.
Patrick Cowley original writing.
Paul , born in
"Patrick was fun. He was funny and never too serious. At the time he was very into his Masculine Music trip. We often talked of doing these great gay records about hanging around in deep dark places doing these nasty and wonderful things." (SYLVESTER)
But from the songs that Patrick Cowley composed and produced , the one that undoubtedly left a fire mark in Paul Parker's career was 'Right On Target' , which reached the top of ' Billboard’s Disco charts', on july 31, 1982, remaining there for two weeks, only five months after he did it with 'Megatron Man'.
" Patrick had already created the track for 'Right On Target', and the basic chorus and words for the written verse. We had somewhat grown apart at this time, as I had moved across town and gotten a steady job. I had already given up on the whole idea of singing. However Patrick told me to drop by and just sing, and to use a blues style just like some of the black singers had done when he had worked with them. So I adlibbed for several hours. A few weeks later, I performed the song at a local bar during the disco night. I realized that night how 'Right On Target' should be completed, and went to Patrick's studio to sing again." (PAUL PARKER )
Left : DJ Glenn Rivera and
Paul Parker with his gold hit "Right On Target".
Center: John Hedges, Paul Parker and Ken Krivello.
Right: Paul Parker.
The final singing was already made. This song was actually one of the first ones to be completed, even before 'Menergy', 'Wanna Take You Home', and some others. It gave Patrick and Paul a clue of how to actually write a song and complete the lyrics and the melody.
Most of their songs before 'Right On Target' had been demo material only, but never saw the light of day.