KANE AND ABEL
- Kane: “Little Artie” Herrera (born: October 28, 1943)
- Abel: “Big Al” Herrera (born: March 17, 1941)
- Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
The money man Joe Defrancesco, who financed the Kane & Abel session and worked with Jimmy Peterson, also known as James Butler, a singer, songwriter and pretty creative guy in general. Jimmy Peterson formed the group the Chicagoans along with Gary Beisbier, Jim Holvay, Bobby Ruffino, Chuck Russel and Larry McCabe. Being the salesman he was, Peterson convinced Ed Cody at Stereo Sonic Recording in Chicago, into giving The Chicagoans free studio time. In exchange, The Chicagoans would provide the musicians, artists, songs, etc. and become a “Motown” and split 50/50 with Ed Cody. Joe Defrancesco, a local promoter in Chicago, found a lot of the acts that the Chicagoans produced. Among them was an R&B group from Milwaukee called Little Artie and The Pharaohs. Artie and his brother Al Herrera were Kane & Abel. Later, they became the lead singers for The MOB.
Recruited were four string players from a high school music department, a rhythm section (average age 18), and three female vocalists. One of them was the engineer’s girlfriend, who happened to stop by the studio that night. They barely had enough money to pay the musicians: $20 each. The string players wanted more: $25. Only three hours studio time was booked. Gary Beisbier wrote the arrangement, played piano and baritone sax. Jim Holvay played the guitar parts. Before the session started, the 45 of the Righteous Brothers’ “Just Once In My Life” was played to the engineer with instructions, “This is the sound we’re trying to get.” He listened to it intently four or five times and said “I got it. I know what they’re doing. Let’s go, the clock is running.” “Break Down And Cry” was done in about three or four takes, but the playback didn’t sound that great.
Everyone started to pack up when suddenly the engineer came over the squawk box and said, “Nobody move. Everyone sit back down. We’re gonna roll tape and you’re going to play the exact parts you just played, along with the take you just did. Are you ready?” Spector used the same recording technique. Maybe there was even a third overdub that made the playback satisfactory.
“Break Down & Cry” was cut on a Tuesday night and they were playing the acetate on the soul station WVON, on Friday. That was the way it was back in the day. The Destination label, along with USA, Twinight & Daylight Records, were all handled by a big indie distributor called Allstate Distributors. They distributed all of the Motown, Chess and other indie R&B labels, so they were wired into the black stations. The promo guy, Howard Bedno was the man when it came to getting your record on the air. Howard told the jocks at WVON that Kane & Abel were the black answer to the Righteous Bros. The station loved it and jumped all over the record until they saw their pictures.
The next year, Holvay was out on the road as the guitar player on a Dick clark Caravan of Stars tour, the record was re-released as “He Will Break Your Heart” on George Goldner’s Red Bird label. Joe Defrancesco had an established relationship with Goldner. Unbeknownst to Holvay, Joe had brought in Jimmy Peterson to change some of the lyrics and re-record Kane & Abel’s vocals.
A few years after the single was released, The Righteous Brothers came into the lounge at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas to see The MOB perform. They came backstage after the show. Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield fell out laughing and related this story. They said they were on tour in the Midwest, when Kane And Abel came on the radio. The Righteous Brothers had cut a lot of tracks with Spector but couldn’t remember cutting that one. They said they both sat there in the station wagon, scratching their heads saying, “Did we cut this? I don’t remember recording this?”
The song still plays in countries like Europe.
Fun Fact: “Break Down & Cry” was originally titled “A Man Ain’t Supposed To Cry”.
Kane And Abel – Destination 607 (1965)
- 4844-01A) Break Down And Cry (J. Holvay) 2:40
- 4330-01B) Twist Is Back (F & J DeFrancesco) 2:45
Kane And Abel – Destination 619 (1966)
- M-6203-01B) Life Of The Party (Holvay) 2:22
- x) Tuff City (x)
Kane And Abel – Red Bird RB 10-059 (1966)
- LS 1188) He Will Break Your Heart (Holvay & Peterson) 2:40
- LS 1189) The Twist Is Back (J. DeFrancesco & F. DeFrancesco) 2:45
Various Artists Compilations
- 1991) The Red Bird Story – “He Will Break Your Heart”
- 2003) Phil’s Spectre: A Wall of Soundalikes – “He Will Break Your Heart”
- 2005) Phil’s Spectre II: Another Wall of Soundalikes – “He Will Break Your Heart”
- 2016) Phil’s Spectre – A Wall of Soundalikes – “He Will Break Your Heart”
- Little Artie and The Pharaohs
- Artie and The Pharaohs
- The MOB
- Copyright, United States Copyright Office RE0000627412 (EU0000893783)
- Holvay-Beisbier-DeFrancesco Production
- Destination Record Company / Destination Music | BMI
- King George Music | BMI
- Stayvesant Productions, Inc.