Born George Louis Motola, 15 November 1919, Hartford, Connecticut
Died 15 February 1991, Los Angeles, California

Producer, songwriter.

George Motola (often misspelled as Mottola) started his business career as a used car dealer, but soon found out that music was his real interest. By the mid-1950s he was working as a producer at Modern Records in Los Angeles, where he supervised acts like Jesse Belvin, Young Jessie, Jimmy Beasley and many others. His most famous composition is "Goodnight My Love", which was originally recorded by Jesse Belvin in 1956 (# 7 R&B). Subsequent versions by the McGuire Sisters (1957), Ray Peterson (1959), The Fleetwoods (1963), Ben E. King (1966) and Paul Anka (1969) all made the Billboard Top 100. The writing credit goes to George Motola and John Marascalco. When I had a conversation with Gaynel Hodge last year, he claimed to have written the song with Jesse Belvin, who sold it to Motola and Marascalco behind his back. I take this with a grain of salt. The official version seems to be that Motola had written "Goodnight My Love" as early as 1946, but had never been able to finish it. Belvin provided the lines for the bridge that completed the song, but asked for $ 400 instead of co-autorship credit. Motola didn't have the money, but John Marascalco did, paid Belvin and thus became listed as co-writer.

Motola was instrumental in the creation of The Shields, a group he formed with the sole purpose to cover "You Cheated" by the Slades for his own Tender label. The group included Frankie Ervin (lead singer), Jesse Belvin and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Sold to Randy Wood's Dot label, "You Cheated" became a # 12 pop hit. However, the other side, "That's the Way It's Gonna Be", co-written by Motola, is far more interesting. For the story of the Shields see: In 1960, Motola produced one of the wildest rock 'n' roll recordings ever made, the utterly berserk "Rockin' This Joint Tonight" by Kid Thomas (real name Tommy Louis). Motola himself was too busy to do anything with the record, but he pointed the Kid in the direction of one Brat Atwood, who promptly took one-half writer's credit and issued it on his TRC label. Just as Thomas was all set to do some television appearances and start promoting the record, Atwood got into some unspecified problems and the label folded.

Motola was a prolific songwriter, with 120 entries in the BMI database. Among his compositions is "Shattered Dreams", recorded by the Johnny Burnette Trio, and he co-wrote "Here Comes Henry" for Young Jessie (with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller), both sides of the Ernie Fields 1958 single "Annie's Rock"/"Strollin' After School"(Jamie 1102) and "Lou Be Doo" far Sanford Clark. Most of his co-writing was done together with his wife, Ricky Page, their best known composition being "Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie" (Eddie Cochran and others). Ricky Page was a recording star in her own right, with releases on Liberty, Dot, Zephyr and Rendezvous. Last year, her 1957 recording of "Wee Willie" (Liberty 55094, co-written by George Motola and Hal Winn) was included on the CD "Liberty Rock & Roll" ; Eddie Cochran may be playing guitar on this track, according to Tapio. The vocal group The Georgettes, which included Ricky Page, may have been named after George Motola. Their record "Love Like A Fool"/ "Oh Tonight" (Ebb 125, both sides Motola-Page compositions) got a release in the UK on London HL 8548. Ricky Page was also involved in several other groups (sometimes with other female members of her musical family) : The Bermudas (who recorded for Era), Joanne & the Triangles, The Majorettes and Beverly and the Motorscooters. Motola and Page also ran Troy Records, the original 1964 outlet for "He's My Boyfriend" by Becky and the Lollipops, yet another name used by the Page clan.

Motola died in 1991. Page still seems to be active in the music business.


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