2017-06-16 / Letters

A principled man

To the Editor:

In the early 1980s I worked with Delite Records in New York City and this is a story that I’d like to publicize.

All over the country, there were both black and white radio stations. I was hired by a record company called PIP - Pickwick International Presentations to record and produce “hits”. We could not compete with the major record companies moneywise.

So I decided to work with the black radio stations and backed Delite Records, who were promoting a black group called “Kool and the Gang.” Also, you may recall there was Reynolds, with a menthol cigarette called “Kool” menthol cigarettes.

I went to them and made this deal - if and when we ever had a hit being played by both black and white radio stations. They would print what was called a “bounce back” on the top of every carton of cigarattes. It would say “Buy this carton and get $1 off every Kool and the Gang LP”.

We considered this a million dollar deal. Well, it did happen. We had “Funky Stuff”, “Jungle Boogie” and “Celebration.” Wow!

I received a call from Reynolds cigarettes to come in and sign a contract. They explained that the whole world is smoking their cigarettes and we might have our recordings sold everywhere.

Here’s the “punch”: I called Robert Bell, Kool, who was, I believe about 17, and asked to speak with his father. We talked and he thanked me for all I had accomplished.

Then he explained, “Mr. Bower, we are Muslims and we don’t drink or smoke.” I said they were turning down a million dollar deal. He hung up.

Every day I see Muslim people so this story will always be on my mind.

Thanks for listening.

Dr. “Bugs” Bower

Return to top

What the heck?

What the heck?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.