332 – Billy Vera – Harlem to Hollywood and “At This Moment.”

New Billy Vera autobiography from Backbeat Books

Billy Vera has spent his entire life in the entertainment business.  Although he is best known for his 1987 surprise #1 hit “At This Moment,” he’s also had roles in many movies and TV shows, and he’s written and performed some of the themes for those TV shows.  But, it doesn’t stop there.

Vera has had a long career as a voice-over announcer, so odds are you’ve probably heard him at one time or another.  He’s also an avid record collector and music historian who’s penned the liner notes to many collections and box sets, even winning a Grammy for his work on a Ray Charles set.  His twists and turns are documented in his new book, Harlem to Hollywood from Backbeat Books.

He talks about what he learned from having both of his parents in the entertainment business growing up, how the first song he ever got published became a hit for Ricky Nelson.  We also discuss what it was like winning over the hard-to-please crowd at the legendary Apollo Theater, getting signed to Atlantic Records, and writing a #1 hit for Dolly Parton.

Of course, we save room to get the story behind how the TV show Family Ties helped propel a six-year old non-hit of his to the top of the charts.