Al Hazan, best known for playing lead piano on B. Bumble and the Stinger’s hit record Nut Rocker, was also a prolific songwriter in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He wrote songs recorded and released by well-known artists such as Ritchie Valens, James Darren, Wanda Jackson, Johnny Crawford, Russell Arms, Roddy Jackson, Terry Melcher, Gale Robbins and Yvonne De Carlo. He also produced records and worked with Sonny Bono, Jack Nitzsche, Lou Adler, Herb Alpert, Phil Spector, Lester Sill, Glen Campbell, The Beau Brummels and Leon Russell.
In the middle of Al’s music career he was drafted into the Army where he spent two years serving in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1960, after being discharged, he formed his own group for Capitol Records called the Galaxies and performed as lead singer. When the group broke up, he continued writing and producing his songs independently and by 1965 he had produced and/or performed on 67 recordings and had more than 80 of his compositions recorded.
Al quit the business before he had time to record many of his favorite compositions. He is pleased to present here some of his never released demonstration records. His hope is that the young people of today’s generation will enjoy listening to them and perhaps some aspiring talent may want to record them after all these years.
For a complete look at Al Hazan’s career, check out his website:
All songs are published by Chemistry Music Co.
The story regarding how Al came to record Nut Rocker as B. Bumble of B. Bumble and the Stingers is rather unusual.
Here he tells the story in his own words:
“One rainy morning early in 1962, Rod Pierce, who ran Rendezvous Records, called me and asked if I would come to his office at noon and play piano on a recording session. There was nothing unusual about the phone call since I had done business with Rod before having recently sold him the first record I ever produced. I agreed to do the date that day, assuming he just wanted me to play piano background on the session. However, what was unknown to me at the time was Ernie Freeman, the musician who had played lead piano on 'Bumble Boogie,' the original hit for B. Bumble and the Stingers, was not going to play on the group's follow up record. For whatever reason, and without my knowledge, Rod Pierce had decided to use me as the lead performer instead.
When I arrived at the Rendezvous office a little before noon, I noticed that they had turned the place into a makeshift recording studio. Rod greeted me by shaking my hand with one hand and showing me a vinyl disc of the composition he wanted me to learn with the other. The disc turned out to be a vinyl demonstration recording of 'Nut Rocker.'
Although I felt a little confused by the whole thing at first, I don't remember asking anything further of Rod or the other musicians and simply sat down at the piano. Rod quickly carried a chair over to my side and placed a small portable record player on top of it along with the recording of Nut Rocker. At that point I figured I'd better begin trying to learn the piece they all expected me to play. I listened to a few bars of the demonstration record, memorized the small part I heard and simply repeated it on the piano. After I felt I had that much figured out, I replaced the needle back onto the vinyl disc for another few bars and continued to repeat the process until the end of the composition. I only had a half hour to memorize the whole thing, which wasn't really enough time for me.
I didn't know what the hurry was but, for some reason, Rod decided to start recording while I was still trying to practice the piece with the other musicians. Because I was so rushed to learn 'Nut Rocker' I was not happy at all with my performance on that first take. However, in spite of my asking Rod to let me do it over again, he said he liked it just fine the way it was. I knew that I had made a few mistakes and could have done it better but I couldn't change his mind. Rod later told me the reason he recorded it so quickly was because he heard exactly the sound he wanted while I was practicing and was anxious to get it on tape.
It was only a few weeks later that I began hearing myself play 'Nut Rocker' on the radio and it wasn't long before the record was on its way to selling millions, reaching number 1 in England and Top 20 in the States. I recall one local disc jockey saying as the record ended, "I heard that B. Bumble was spreading his stinger all over town". I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that but I thought it sounded a little risqué for those days. Soon many of my friends in and out of the music business began to refer to me as “Mr. B. Bumble” and other stupid nicknames like “Mr. B.” or “Mr. Bumble.” Friends would walk up to me and ask, "How's your stinger today, Al?"