The Life And Times Of Joey Paige
From Dickie Doo and the Don’ts, To The Everly Brothers and The Rolling Stones, Joey Paige not only witnessed rock and roll history, he lived it.
The growing bedroom community of Santa Clarita attracts many home buyers seeking a refuge from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Los Angeles, In doing so, they may encounter a real estate agent that’s just a bit hipper than most. Even still, in the line of duty, he maintains that professional demeanor to most who have just met him, and little do they know what a fascinating and storied life Joey Paige has actually lived.
It might even take some prodding from someone else who knows him a little better. “Oh yeah, Joey used to be in the music industry. You should ask him who he played with.” Typically the conversation starts off very modest. He’s a musician, he plays the bass guitar…He toured with the Everly Brothers at the height of their success. Wait…what did he just say?
What he doesn’t always talk about up front is his solo career, or his deal with Vee-Jay records, or the Phil Spector-penned song he recorded that Sonny Bono produced, or that Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones would stay with him every time he came to Los Angeles. “Oh God, did we ever have a good time,” Paige recalls his days hanging out with the Stones. “They’d come to town and we’d hit every night club that was available.” He then added casually, “Of course, sometimes we’d have to leave because they’d cause a riot just because they were there.”
Musical Roots and the City of Brotherly Love
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Paige remembers listening to Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis on “radio stations you weren’t allowed to listen to when I was a kid.” After learning to play the upright bass, Paige was one of the first musicians in Philadelphia to buy a Fender electric bass and rig, and began shopping himself around town as a Fender bass player. He caught wind that one of Dick Clark’s protégé groups, Dickie Doo & The Don’ts were auditioning for a guitarist. “I was hanging out with the band and he [Dickie] came in just to hire a guitar player, and I said to myself ‘I’m going to get the gig playing bass with him, even though he doesn’t want a bass player.” Paige was determined, and won the gig, getting word the next day by phone. “There’s not a whole lot of money here, but Dickie wants you to play bass.”
Joey moved to New York City, home base for where Dickie Doo & The Don’ts, touring and backing up bands such as Freddie Cannon and different working acts of the time. The Everly Brothers were planning a world tour and were looking for a band to back them up. For Paige, it was a no brainer and, at age 19, became the bassist for the number one performing group in the world.
Introducing…The Rolling Stones
It was on tour in the U.K. where the Everly Brothers headlined a series of concerts with Little Richard closing the first act, and featuring Bo Diddley as an opener for the second, where Joey Paige befriended one of the English groups that joined the tour. “This was before anyone outside of the U.K. knew who they were,” Paige recalls his early encounters with the Rolling Stones. “They were big in some areas, and virtually unknown in others.” Accommodations were very scarce in those days, especially for the lesser known acts. Most of the time the tour consisted of 30 to 40 one-nighters in a row. Paige continued about the Stones and their living conditions. “The whole band lived out of a van. Finally, Bill [Wyman] came to me one day and said, ‘Joey. Can you do me a favor? Could we use your bathroom to clean up?'” From there, Joey and the Stones became fast friends. Joey subsequently opened for The Rolling Stones in San Diego and Long Beach on one of their early U.S. tours.
Joey Paige: Pop Star
Coming off of tour, Joey had made connections that led him to Vee-Jay records, who showed interest in him as a solo artist. He recorded several pop singles, including
a version of Roll Over Beethoven and Dream For Sale, written by Phil Spector and produced by Sonny Bono. He had a few sizable hits in Good Night My Love and Daddy’s Home. Gigs at Disneyland and local fairs led to broader exposure on shows like Shindig and Hollywood A Go Go. “I got my first shot on Shindig, which was the biggest show around at that time.” He says, recalling his climb to pop stardom. “I did the Shindig tour and was signed for two more shows, and I thought ‘Wow. This is going to be great.'” Not long afterward, Joey received a call from his manager than Shindig had been cancelled. Undeterred, Paige continued in the music industry as a songwriter and performer for several more years.
Joey Paige Today
Having been in the real estate business in Southern California for over 20 years, Paige still keeps his hands in the music business. He has publishing deals that provide him with income from his past work, but he looks to the future as well. “I’ve got some songs that I’ve written, and I’m working on getting them incorporated with someone who’s got interest in them.” He is also working on a book that will detail his past and connections to the world of rock and roll.