Billboard magazine


Tony Camillo, the creative force behind numerous soul, R&B, funk, rock and disco hitrecords in the 1960s and ’70s, died in Hillsborough, New Jersey, on Aug. 29. He was 90.  

Camillo is best known for arranging, producing and recording “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, which won the 1974 Grammy Award for Best R&B vocal performance by a duo, group or chorus. His recording credits also include songs released by Stevie Wonder, Freda Payne, The Supremes, Martha Reeves, Dionne Warwick, The 5th Dimension, Grand Funk Railroad, George Clinton, The Chambers Brothers, Barry Manilow and The Isley Brothers.

Camillo made a name for himself in Detroit in the ’60s, first at Motown Records and then with the legendary songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, arranging a number of hit songs, including “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne, “Want Ads” by The Honey Cone and “Give Me Just a Little More Time” by Chairmen of the Board.

In 1971, he built his own state-of-the-art recording studio in his Hillsborough home. He formed TC Productions and established his own label, Venture Records. It was during that time he met Tony Orlando, who was producing a project with a not-yet-famous Barry Manilow. For the arrangements, he turned to Camillo, who also introduced him to a group of young women who would later join Orlando as his backup singers, Dawn. The two Tonys became lifelong friends.

“I loved this man,” says Orlando. “He was the most multi-talented, musician, arranger, producer. He was one of the best on the planet. He was a game-changer. But Tony was greater than the songs he produced. His smile spread for miles; his heart was too big to be measured.”

Soon after, Camillo was introduced to Knight, who had also recently left Motown and signed with Buddha Records. Following “Midnight Train’s” massive success, Camillo co-wrote and produced Knight’s “I Feel a Song,” which JAY-Z and Kanye West sampled in 2011’s “Why I Love You.” In 1975, he wrote, arranged, produced and recorded “Dynomite,” a Top-10 hit by Bazuka.

After a tour of duty in Germany with the U.S. Army, Camillo attended Juilliard and graduated with a degree in trumpet and composition. From there, he earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in composition and conducting at Columbia University under the tutelage of Leonard Bernstein and Erich Leinsdorf. Camillo was, however, attracted to popular music and took his classical symphonic training to that industry.

He formed a partnership with engineer Tony Bongiovi, a talented engineer who had a recording studio in Raritan, New Jersey. The two soon built a recording studio, which they called Venture Sound, in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Within a year, Venture Sound merged with a 12‐track New York studio, Apostolic Sound. Shortly afterward, both Camillo and Bongiovi were off to Motown, which proved to be the launching pad for both of their careers. Bongiovi recalls working with Camillo and Holland-Dozier-Holland at an exhilarating, whirlwind pace. “I remember we cut ‘Band of Gold,’ ‘Give Me Just a Little More Time’ and a few other songs in a couple of days.”

Camillo is survived by ex-wife, Millie; his sister, Kathryn; two daughters, Allaine Kasmi and Toni Codd; four grandchildren and one great grand-daughter.

Ian T. Shearn is Camillo’s son-in-law.

The Rockefellers take on Exxon

Fighting Over A Dynasty’s Soul

June 22, 2017

David Rockefeller, the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, was laid to rest during the first week of April in Westchester, N.Y., after a private funeral. He was 101. His obituaries extolled his banking career, his global accomplishments and, of course, his wealth. Most likely the last high-profile member of one of America’s most fabled families, the former chairman and chief executive of Chase Manhattan bank exerted influence in the corridors of power around the world.

But David Rockefeller’s lasting legacy may well be more about philanthropy than his business and geopolitical exploits. He gave $1.8 billion to charity, according to Seitel, more than any of his brothers—John, Nelson, Winthrop or Laurance.

Some of that philanthropy, however, has fomented a family insurrection and led to a fierce and very public battle with ExxonMobil, the direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company. At the center of this skirmish are two family charities: the Rockefeller Family Fund, created in 1967 by David and his siblings to encourage their grandchildren to become involved in philanthropy, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, created in 1940 by David and his four brothers. The research and reporting financed by these two funds led to groundbreaking reports in 2015 that ExxonMobil knew decades ago, from its own research, of the causal connection between the consumption of fossil fuels and climate change.

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Gov. Christie, NJ government get a ‘D’ in State Integrity investigation

chrischristieIn 2012, Gov. Chris Christie was on top of the world. NJ loved his tough, no-nonsense style and his presidential ambitions were promising. NJ ranked No. 1 in the nation, with a grade of B+, in the first State Integrity investigation conducted by Global Integrity and the Center for Public Integrity.

Now, in their second report, NJ dropped more than any other state, earning a D, No. 19 in the nation. Much of  this fall from grace can be traced directly to the office of Gov. Christie.

And the media reaction: 

When We Were Hela, a short film about ExxonMobil in Papua New Guinea

Hela doc foto

                                             Click the image to view the documentary.

There are some disturbing facts buried in the debris of ExxonMobil’s $19 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, which was funded in part by a U.S. government loan. In 2012, a landslide from an ExxonMobil quarry there killed 27 people — a disaster ExxonMobil and the government of Papua New Guinea declared to be an act of God.

Other evidence, however, paints a very different picture — and also reveals the entire project is fueling civil unrest that may be approaching a boiling point.

ExxonMobil’s New Guinea Nightmare

How a US government loan enabled an environmentally destructive project plagued by lethal landslide, police repression and civil unrest.

This report appeared in The Nation in April 2014. It was produced in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute with additional support from the H.D. Lloyd Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.  bio fototumbi

                                                                 By Ian T. Shearn

,January 23, 2012, was a routine day for 15-year-old Jackson Piwago. Like every other weekday, his father met him after school, and the two walked hand in hand back to their home in Tumbi, a small village in the remote, mountainous Hela Province of Papua New Guinea. There, at the foot of the Gigira Mountain Range, Jackson went about his chores: looking after the family’s pigs, collecting firewood, fetching water and cooking sweet potatoes. He chatted with some of his father’s nine wives, as well as his many brothers and cousins. As on most evenings, dinner was boisterous and joyful.

Then, just as he did every night, Jackson fell asleep alongside his father, using his dad’s arm as a pillow. Jokoya Piwago, a prominent Ware tribal chief, recalled that night vividly in a recent conversation. He remembered his son imploring him, “Please, Daddy, buy me the bicycle that I need to go to school and come back…. Buy me a bicycle tomorrow.”

Jokoya paused and said, “That’s the last word that he spoke to me.”


Read the rest at The Nation.

Extreme weather, extreme costs

A Special Report: The true financial impact of Superstorm Sandy fon New Jersey.


                                                 Click the image to view the report.