He was ‘the wiz’ – Jimmy Wisner

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We’re off to meet the wizard, in the wonderful world of songwriting and arranging, and his name is JIMMY WISNER. For those of us who grew up during the 1960s of pop music, his credits are legendary, and his name appears on hundreds of records from such artists as Spanky & Our Gang, Len Barry,

Tommy James & The Shondells, The Cowsills, and many more. Being a classically trained pianist, ironically in 1961 he recorded an instrumental tune, “Asia Minor,” issued under the moniker Kokomo, and it became a Top 40 smash. 

Along the way, Jimmy penned a few hits as well, including “Somewhere,” by The Tymes, and “Don’t Throw Your Love Away,” which was done in 1963 originally by The Orlons, but became a Top 20 hit for british invaders The Searchers. In the 1970s, Jimmy became head of A & R for Columbia Records, and once said to me, “I had this artist Cliff Holmes, and I loved this song of we recorded, and I wanted to release, which our staff hated. My idea was to take the ‘calliope’ chorus, and place it at the intro of the tune, then it worked.” The song was “Playground In My Mind,” and it soared to #2 in June 1973, of course it’s success, can be attributed to ‘the wiz’ himself,  Jimmy Wisner.