Robert Hazard and the Heroes played a lot of bars around Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore. I first caught them at Red's in Margate (aka White House) before making the big time, and at the strip joint on the side road to the Black Horse Pike in Pleasantville afterwards.
I was in Philly when the Stones played JFK, with Journey and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers opening for them, and hooking up with Kurt Loder there, along with 100,000 other people.
The old stadium, where Dempsy fought Tunney in the 20s, was in its last days, and none of the toilets worked, there was an inch deep water and piss and girls were using the men's room.
The press box was up in the massive girders that made you think you were in a Zeplin.
I didn't enjoy it very much, never got close to the Stones, as I had been at the Spectrum twice and later in Atlantic City for Steel Wheels.
I do recall hooking up with Loder, and he too was pretty disguested with the whole scene.
The last thing I recall was leaving him in the parking lot, and I think he walked off with David Fricke, to go to Center City to Dobbs and have a beer, while I got my car and drove back to the Shore. The rest of that night is now part of Robert Hazard's history.
Year's later, after Robert had his flash in the pan on the Big Time circuit, he landed in Cape May, where we were neighbors for a few years, me living in Cape May Point and him and his wife running an antique shop (Rocking Chair?) in West Cape May, that I had to ride pass a few times a day.
When I was putting together the 75th Annivesary Party for the Flanders, I got an entertainment budget from Jim Dwyer which allowed me to book some bands from different generations, which included Mike Pedicin, Sr. ("Shake a Hand" and still alive God Bless Him), Dick Richards Boccelli and the Original Comets ("Rock Around the Clock") and Robert Hazard, who brought three guys to back him.
When the sound system started to fuck up, Robert said it was no problem, and he put away the electic guitar and pulled out the acoustic guitar and toned down the set a bit, but put on a great show.
I got Michael Tierson (of MMR fame) to be the MC. I hear MT every Friday night on WBBC - Burlington County College, and on Sirus, doing classic themes for each show, and I'm sure he will soon do one on Robert Hazard. [Give me some advance notice Mike].
It's interesting that Robert is the son of a Philadelphia Opera singer, who now lives in Strathmere, N.J.
Cyndi Lauper was in Berlin for Roger Walter's The Wall production, circa 1991, where I talked with her backstage for a little while (with Shenade O'Conner). Cyndi was also at the album release party for the Wall soundtrack and video at the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier in NYC.
When I told that to Robert, that I had seen Cyndi in Berlin and New York City, he said to me, "Next time you see her tell her I have another song for her."
Will do, Robert, will do.
AP Obits in the News:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Robert Hazard, a songwriter and musician from Philadelphia who wrote the 1983 Cyndi Lauper hit "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," has died. He was 59.
Hazard died Tuesday after a brief illness, his record label, Rykodisc, said in a statement. His wife, Susan, told The Philadelphia Inquirer her husband died unexpectedly after surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Hazard, born Robert Rimato, led the band Robert Hazard and the Heroes, a fixture in Philadelphia clubs through the mid-1980s. In an online posting a few years ago, he recalled how he got his big break when music journalist Kurt Loder, who was in town to review a concert, happened to stop into a bar where he was performing.
That led to a 1981 article about his band in Rolling Stone, and his song "Escalator of Life" became a hit soon after.
Recently, he played country music with a band called The Hombres. His latest album, "Troubadour," was released in October.
In recent years, Hazard and his wife ran an antiques shop near their home in Old Forge, N.Y.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1981 Cyndi Lauper)
Escalator of Life (1982)