Henry Stone on Lew Chudd from Imperial Records: “I Never Wrote Anotha Letter!”

“I had a situation with Lew Chudd. I distributed his records for years. And uh, I did well. I did so well selling some of those Imperial Records that one day I did something that I don’t usually do, course now it’s being done a lot, but in those days I didn’t do it. I wrote him a thank you letter.

Most of the things that I did, I did on the telephone. If I wanted to call a guy a motherfucker, I called him on the telephone. I didn’t put it in writing.

“So, Lew Chudd, I wrote him a letter, not to call him a motherfucker, but to actually thank him. Whatever the reason, I don’t know, I never write letters. I sat down and wrote him a letter and told him how great the label was and how great I was doin’ with Ricky Nelson and Fats Domino. A couple weeks later I get a phone call from him, and he starts cussin’ me out!

I say, “What’s that all about? What’d I do?” Just some weird thing, man, out of left field, some songwriting bullshit he was mad at, I don’t even know.

At the moment it was very upsetting. What the hell did I do but write him a nice letter? Guy’s callin me back and dissing me yknow?

So about 10 years later I’m at the Fontainebleau pickin up some chewin gum downstairs and in walks Lew Chudd with a big cigar and says, “Henry how ya been? I haven’t seen ya in years!”

I says, “Yeah, Lew, great, man.”

I says, “Lew, you gotta solve a problem for me. About 10 years or 8 years ago somewhere I wrote you a letter on how great things were….”

He says, “Oh that’s the time I was havin’ a divorce with my wife. Everyone was a motherfucker. I don’t care who they were.”

So in the future I never wrote a letter. Now with this stupid email that’s all you gotta do is write and texting bullshit. There’s no more conversation. There’s no more talkin’. Everything so and so, send an email, send me an email, yaknow? Now it’s exceptionally bad cause I lost my eyesight so I can’t read and email. I have to depend on other people to read me the emails, and sometimes, not often, they’ll misread me that email and I get very upset. I do miss the telephone, man, cause to me it was a very important part of whatever I did, of how I worked, and how I did things.”

– From a January 2013 interview with Henry Stone


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