Thursday, December 10, 2009


Two weeks ago, Not Lame Prez Bruce Brodeen shared the sad news with me that pop singer/songwriter and pop music archivist Jeff Glenn had recently passed away. Ironically, this news came a week after I had mentioned Jeff and his band the Retros in my most recent “Jangle On!” column. Like many of the other pop artists that I have come to know, Jeff was a talented, sweet and unselfish individual who believed that music is meant to be shared. And, like many of the other pop artists that I have grown to be long-distance friends with, I never met Jeff in person. We corresponded on numerous occasions via snail mail and email, and we even chatted a few times over the phone. The closest we came to meeting each other was August 2005, when Jeff hosted a Buffalo Springfield tribute show at the Mint in Los Angeles. I had airline tickets to fly to Los Angeles for a long weekend, but something came up and I never made that trip. I remember calling Jeff to let him know that I wouldn’t be able to attend the show, and in spite of his disappointment he let me know that he understood my circumstances. Come to think of it, I don’t believe that I ever heard Jeff express any ill will or convey negative thoughts toward others. The indie pop world was truly fortunate to have him as an ambassador for all things that are pop related.

I’m not sure how Jeff and I first “met” – but Jeff was kind enough to share the recordings of his band – the Retros – with me. The CDR that contained the Retros’ original songs and several cover songs blew me away. The songs had a crisp, jangly pseudo-60s sound, and the group’s harmonies on tunes like “Girl” and “Hey, Don’t Go Looking For Love” were terrific. The group synthesized the sounds of two of my favorite 60s bands – the Beach Boys and the Byrds – in a magnificent manner. I found it hard to believe that an indie label hadn’t released the band’s material on CD, and I began a decade-long campaign with Jeff to release the Retros’ original songs on a commercial CD. I was equally impressed with how well the band covered classic pop tunes from the Beatles, Byrds and more obscure 60s artists’ catalogs.

Although I never succeeded in my efforts to encourage the release of the Retros’ recordings, Jeff and his band mates were kind enough to record three wonderful cover tunes for each of the three tribute disc projects that I have been involved with. The Retros contributed “Long Time” (originally recorded by the Rose Garden in 1968) to the two-CD Full Circle: A Tribute to Gene Clark that was released by Not Lame in April 2000. Jeff and the Retros recorded another chestnut – “We’ll See” – for the Five Way Street: A Tribute to Buffalo Sprinfield that was released by Not Lame in May 2005. Last but not least, the Retros contributed a beautiful choir-like version of “He Was A Friend Of Mine” to the four-CD Timeless Flyte: A Tribute To The Byrds set that was released by RRO Entertainment in 2007.

Jeff also contributed regularly to my own music library by sending me 240 Jeffrey Glenn’s Lost Jukebox CDR compilations. Each CDR contained roughly 30 songs from the 60s, and the CDR color graphics displayed a 45 label from one of the featured songs. Many of these compilations had themes – ranging from Beatles knock-offs to name songs to holiday songs to novelty songs. Nearly every one of the 240 CDRs had a jangly nugget within the featured tracks. Jeff was an avid collector of vintage 60s pop, and I suspect that his vinly collection exceeded 50,000 records. Jeff also volunteered to convert material in my own vinyl collection onto CDR for me. When I asked him to do a compilation of obscure Phoenix-area bands and he listened to the records I had sent him, he asked me if he could incorporate this material into his Lost Jukebox series of discs. Needless to say, I was flattered that he asked! Jeff also sent me eight Under The Covers at Hawthorne High CDRs – which included numerous covers of Beach Boys songs done by artists around the world.

For those of you who had the pleasure of seeing Jeff and his Retros band mates perform at one of the Los Angeles International Pop Overthrow shows … or at a car show or at a party or at a wedding, you should count your blessings. You had the good fortune to see one of the nicest pop artists in his generation. Now, more than ever, I regret the circumstances that kept me from meeting Jeff in person four years ago. But every time I hear a Retros song, and every time that I play one of the many compilation discs that Jeff sent me, I will smile. Although my feelings may be melancholic, my day will be brightened by the musical legacy that Jeff has left all of us. Long may you run with your peer Spirits in the Sky, Sir Jeff!