Nick Lampe's full name is Nicholas Lampariello. He is a New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, whose musical career goes back to the mid-50s, when he first appeared in the doowop group The Bop Tones on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.
Out of those early TV appearances came the release of a Bop Tones single on Ember, I Had A Love (an original by the four group members) with the B-side (Be My) Pussy Cat (1958). The Bop Tones toured with Alan Freed, the original rock’n’roll disc jockey who put on shows packed with current singing stars.
(Brian Lee, at doowop site ColorRadio.com, tells me The Bop Tones were from the Bensonhurst-Coney Island section of Brooklyn and the other members, apart from Nick Lampariello, were Bob Kutner, John Ench and Dave Antebi.)
Later, in the 60s, Nick Lampe appeared at The Improvisation and The Scene in Manhattan, in off-Broadway shows, and on the Steve Allen and Pat Boone TV shows. Among his friends and colleagues at this time were Richard Pryor, Richie Havens and two of his mentors, Kenny Rankin and Dion Di Mucci, both credited as spiritual advisors in the notes to Nick's 1970 album It Happened Long Ago.
After heading for Los Angeles, where he appeared at The Troubador, Nick tried his luck with local record companies and was signed to Atlantic. In 1970 he recorded his solo album of original songs for the Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama. Flower Garden was the opening track, and it was the single that charted in Melbourne, released in Australia on Atlantic through Festival Records (above).
Nick left the music business for a mixture of artistic and personal reasons.
He had complained to Atlantic chairman and producerArmet Ertegun when he heard the finished version of his album, which added strings and chorus to his six-piece studio sessions. Nick believes his “art had been bastardized with bubblegum”, but that’s how it was released.
In the end, Nick and his first wife moved to the mountains of Northern California with their young son (he appears with Nick on the album sleeve of It Happened Long Ago, right). At this time, Nick’s wife was attempting to recover from the devastating effects of marijuana that had been covertly laced with PCP. During this period, Nick supported his family by playing in bars and on street corners in San Francisco, and later at Lake Tahoe, the Californian ski resort.
Eventually, Nick Lampariello remarried, moved to British Columbia to study for his BA in Psychology, and became a counsellor to victims of abuse.
Nowadays Nick works with disabled children in New York, helping them to develop essential life skills. He says: I don't make much money but I get a lot of love… I'm called Uncle Nicky by some 150 individuals who at one time may not have been able to speak: can't put a price on that. Musically I lead worship for three ministries and consequently I am always involved with music.
I still have my guitar, an old Martin D-18. It's about forty years old and is my love...
(Source: Nicholas Lampariello, by email.
Thanks also to Robert Thompson)
Thanks also to Robert Thompson)