T.J. Lubinsky, whose musical pledge specials have brought in some $300 million for the pubcasting system, “is not a trained musician,” reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the paper in his adopted hometown. “He doesn’t play an instrument and can’t sing very well, but he has a keen, almost supernatural ear for music.”
One example is a 3 a.m. recording session of Phil Spector’s “Be My Baby” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.” To Lubinsky, the castanets just did not sound authentic. And he was correct, because the castanets Spector used were made from ebony and used by flamenco dancers. “We found an instructor at Carnegie Mellon who had the real ones for teaching flamenco,” recalled producer Paul Brownstein. “To make the sound more authentic, T.J. then paid for another session with the musicians to record the song again with the right castanets. So, it’s making it the best he can, as opposed to ‘that’s about it, we’re moving on.’ “
Lubinsky’s latest special, My Music: ’60s Pop Rock and Soul premieres tonight (Nov. 27) on PBS.