Being a Float in the New York Yankee Parade.
It was fall and Ira Hersher came to me with an idea. He, and his girlfriend at the time, Eleanor Radzivillover, wanted to make a Salsa song and release in time for the Yankees to win the World Series. The problem was The Yankees were far behind in the pennant race and who knew if they would even get into the World Series. Added to that was the fact that the song wasn’t even recorded yet. With just a few weeks in the pennant race left ,The Yankees began to climb up out of their loosing streak. The Yankees had far to go, but we started to record the song, “YANKEE FEVER”
It was recorded one track a time. Ira played everything, first the piano, then the congas, then the bass, on and on. We got the song finished in short order. We mixed it down and a second song too for a flip side. Of course we realized there was no way to have the song mastered and pressed in time, but I had a plan.
I went out and bought 12 really inexpensive cassette machines. Then re-aligning them all myself, so they made a pretty fair, better than normal cassettes, full fidelity, cassette copy. This was especially true since we used the actual master for feeding the 12 machines. In a few days I cranked out a couple of hundred (1200) cassette copies.
As we worked the Yankees got closer and closer to winning the pennant. The stress of every game was maddening. The pressure to make it all happen “in-time”, grew. Then the Yankees won the pennant. And soon after, the Yankees won the World Series. We were racing toward the day of the Yankee parade in lower Manhattan.
With that day almost upon us, I called my cousin Eric Yavneh. He took his van, threw a big white sheet over it, covering it from side to side. Then, on the white sheet draped over both sides of the van, he drew (with a sharpie) pinstripes, and two giant NY Yankee logos.
I had taken the van’s car radio/cassette player and rewired it so that its output fed a very large
Altec Lansing, A-7 speaker. We placed this 4.5 foot tall speaker on the roof of the van, and bolted it on. Those A-7 speakers are very efficient so with the few watts of cassette machine power, we were able to generate a screaming sound level.
With 1200 cassettes in the van and others there to help, Eric drove down town. We of course played YANKEE FEVER. I didn’t see the route or where we ended up as I was inside this van with no windows. Then somehow, Eric just drove us and the van onto the end of the Yankee Parade. We looked like we belonged with our giant pinstripes and our Yankee Fever blasting. The other trucks (supposed to be floats but just as hastily assembled) were in no better or more decorated shape. Nobody checked the permit for the Yankee parade. We were in.
So here we are rolling down the street with, or should I say in, the Yankee Parade.
The parade stopped and we started to sell cassettes. Baseball is an American passion but there are so many Latin baseball players in baseball, that you might call it a Latin American passion. And here we are with a Salsa tune, in Spanish, extolling the virtues of the Yankees. “Tu sabes con Yankees” as the song begins. It was really a hot salsa tune.
People went nuts for the song. First we sold the cassettes for 2 dollars but they were selling so fast that we raised the price to slow the sales down. It didn’t slow down anything. The cassettes were selling so fast that my compatriots were just throwing the money in the van. My job was just to jump around inside the van, and just pile up the money. We sold out so fast I went back to the studio to make more.
Very soon after I left, the police got wise to us. NO peddlers license, not officially part of the parade, no licensing agreement with the Yankees for use of their logo. It was over.
I have attached the song here for fun. Enjoy Jankee Fever.