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Opus 1 - A Symphony
By Jerry Corbetta © 1998
"Opus 1 - A Symphony" (660K)
Former lead singer, keyboardist and founder of the melodically and lyrically oriented "Green-Eyed Lady" group Sugarloaf. Jerry has garnered notice ever since 1954, when as a feisty six year-old drummer, he was dubbed "a pint-sized Gene Krupa" by the Rocky Mountain News.
Fifteen years later, already a consummate virtuoso keyboardist, singer and songwriter, he formed Sugarloaf.
Besides the often heard today, much praised "Green-Eyed Lady", the group found gold with
"Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" in February, 1975. Life after Sugarloaf was just as artistically
lucrative, with a solo album and a co-authored for Grace Jones hit "On Your Knees".
He co-produced Frankie Valli's critically acclaimed album "Heaven Above Me", then
was asked to join The Four Seasons for their Twentieth Anniversary Tour.
He continued to write, perform and tour as a full member for four years, supplying much needed keyboard color
to the act and working hand-in-hand in the total production with Four Seasons mentor Bob Crewe. While
working with The Four Seasons, Jerry also struck gold with the
Roberta Flack / Peobo Bryson number "You're Lookin' Like Love To Me".
The summer of 1991 found Jerry performing as feature guest star, with the "30 Years of Rock 'N' Roll Show",
before hundreds of thousands of classic rock devotees.
Where Are They Now?
Forty-six and still on the road.
More than 20 years after "Green Eyed Lady" topped the pop-music charts, Jerry Corbetta is still playing the key-boards
and singing. The band members along side him are different, but former Denver musicians still plays about 170 dates a year - mostly state fairs and festivals.
Corbetta, a graduate of Mount Carmel High School, and his metro-area friends started a band
called Chocolate Hair in 1969. The name was later modified to the more mainstream - sounding Sugarloaf
and went on to score with two Top 40 hits: "Green Eyed Lady" and "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You." The band broke up in 1978.
"It's like a young marriage," he said, "although you are married to four people instead of to one. And what
works for you when you're 19 doesn't necessarily work for you when you are 28. We all had different visions of what
we wanted to do with our lives."
After the break-up, Corbetta wrote songs, then went on the road with Frankie Valli as a member of the Four Seasons.
Somewhere along the way he met a woman named Casse in a coffee shop. While visiting Boulder,
he asked her to marry him.
"I figured the altitude would get her," he said.
They married in 1986. Their son Kyle was born in 1990. The kid is already playing the drums.
Corbetta hadn't performed in more than three years when a call came from someone wanting him to tour with a group
celebrating the 30th anniversary of rock and roll. Joining him were Mickey Dolenz, formally of the Monkees, and Tiny Tim.
He ran into Mike Pinera, formerly of Iron Butterfly.
"We realized the average age of the people coming to the fairs we were playing were our age - baby boomers. They
loved the do-woppers, but they really started rocking when Mike did "In A Gadda Da Vida". When we play that, people started standing up and giving peace signs. So I thought, let's make a band like the Traveling Wilburys. The lead singers of our band are key members of bands that had hit records in that classic rock era from 1966 to 1974 or 75."
Joined by Spencer Davis, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group, and Peter Rivera, formally of
Rare Earth, the Classic Rock All Stars started touring in 1990.
"It's fun. Absolutely fun," he said. "The fact that all four of us are playing, I think it's kind of got to be in our
blood. We're lifers. I'm not going to start selling insurance. I've had a lot of success. There were a couple of times
when I wasn't sure."
His wife doesn't travel with him, but catches up with the group when they have one-or two-week engagements.
"When Sugarloaf started, we bought a bus. Everyone went along. I was the only one who wasn't married. Everyone had wives,
kids and dogs," he said. "We're flying now."
He says the experience is still "a happening."
"When we are playing in front of thousands of people and they are standing up, it's exactly like it was when we were
all big back in the '70'," he said. "One guy said, 'It made me feel exactly like it did when I still had hair on my
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