The late Herb “Herbie" O’Mell was responsible for the biggest scoop of my career so far. He told me Bono and U2 were going to record at Sun Studios. This was Nov. 29, 1987.
Like many others, I was a big fan of the genial O’Mell, who was a music promoter and manager. He always asked me, “How’s Little Red?” — referring to my old red Toyota Tacoma truck. I’m also a fan of O’Mell’s wife, Laura, and their son, Michael.
I ran into O’Mell near Beale Street while I was on my lunch break that November day. I was working at The Commercial Appeal at the time. O’Mell told me U2 would be at Sun Studios.
I somehow got into Sun’s waiting room late that afternoon.There were other people there. We could hear U2 performing in another room.
After a while, U2’s road manager came in. He asked us if anything was going on in Memphis that night, which was a Tuesday. I told him Linda Gail Lewis, Jerry Lee Lewis’ sister, was performing on Beale Street.
He thought that was so intriguing he brought me to Bono and said, “Tell him what you just told me.”
I told Bono about Linda Gail. Then Bono began to expound on Memphis, why he loved it and what he thought about Memphis music. I turned on my tape recorder, which I had with me, and got a great interview. Bono talked almost non-stop.
My story was on the front page the next day. Tom Busler, who was at the CA at the time, took the photos. He also took one of me, which he gave to me, showing me interviewing Bono. It was on my desk at home for years.
U2 cut three songs, which were featured on their Rattle and Hum album and their U2: Rattle and Hum documentary film, over a four-day period.
As far as I know, I was the only reporter at Sun Studios that evening. No other news organization was there. This was a dream come true. This was my story.
And I got the scoop because of the kindness of the great Herbie O’Mell, who died last week at the age of 82.
Raise your glasses. Wine Town for BizTown was a success. About 100 attended the fund-raiser, a new event for Junior Achievement of Memphis. It was held June 15th at Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South at 307 Madison Avenue.
This is how it worked: Teams of one, two, or three people brought three bottles of wine to the party. Two of the bottles were blind tasted and voted on by guests. The remaining bottle was set aside as the winning wine owner’s grand prize.
The event also included a silent auction, food, prizes, and giveaways.
Proceeds benefit K-12 students throughout the Mid-South who participate in Junior Achievement’s educational programs.
“I could not be more proud,” says the organization’s president/CEO Larry Colbert. “And that’s the honest to God’s truth.”
The event was “extremely successful,” Colbert says. “For a first-time event, it’s one of the best things we’ve done. It’s a great seed we’ve planted. Everybody who was there indicated they wanted to return. It was nothing but fun.”
And, he said, “We had a number of people who even sponsored kids for our program.”
The event was held throughout “JA BizTown,” which Colbert says, “is a replica of a real city with 15 different businesses. It’s a curriculum-based program for fifth graders. For kids learning how to run their own business, learning how to run their own city, learning how elections work. They’re introduced to banking for the first time for most of them. And they’re taught how to manage their own banking accounts.”
During the party, those businesses included wine at their storefronts. “All 15 businesses had multiple bottles of wine for the blind judgings. People went through with their sipping glass and sipped and voted.”