Pop Archives

Mr Lee Grant - Opportunity (1967)

(Warren Joyner - Robert Harshman [Bobby Hart] - John Marascalco)
New Zealand New Zealand
#1 New Zealand

Single on HMV (NZ), peaked at #1 in June 1967. Also released on Columbia in Australia (1968) with his next NZ hit Thanks To You as the A-side.

This was the first of six New Zealand hits 1967-68 by popular New Zealand singer and TV star, real name Bogdan Kominowski (b.1945). He charted highly in NZ: they went 1, 1, 2, 1, 5, 6. Thanks To You followed Opportunity to #1 three months later. See also: Why Or Where Or When.

Adopting Mr to avoid confusion with an actress of the same name, Lee Grant became a pop superstar in New Zealand largely through his residency on the TV show C'mon 67. In 1968 he went to the UK, where he recorded some singles as Lee Grant (and one under his real name), but he eventually concentrated on acting. As Bogdan Kominowski he has been seen on stage (Phantom of the Opera), on TV (he had a continuing role in Brushstrokes) and in films (A View to Kill, Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit): see his filmography at IMDb

Further reading: 1. "Mr Lee Grant's Opportunity to Wed", The New Zealand Herald, 26 May 2013 (thanks to Terry Stacey). 2. Mr Lee Grant page at Bruce Sergent's NZ Music site.

Jason Dene - Opportunity (1966)

(Warren Joyner - Robert Harshman [Bobby Hart] - John Marascalco)

Single on Parlophone, produced by the prolific British songwriter-producer Tony Hiller: see the Mega-discography at his website.

Who was Jason Dene..? Anyone..? No..?

Peter James - Opportunity (1966)

(Warren Joyner - Robert Harshman [Bobby Hart] - John Marascalco)

Single on Reprise. The biography of the artist is a mystery. That vacuum has been filled a little by speculation that Peter James may have been P.J. Proby. There are slim circumstantial clues in its favour, and the voices do have their similarities, but I don't buy it.

Peter James released three singles on Reprise 1965-66, notably the Jackie DeShannon song You Won't Forget Me YouTube. There were also Peter James singles on Silver (1960; see below), Liberty (1963) and Warner Bros (1966) which I haven't researched.

Further reading: 1. Thread at Spectropop, 2002, Peter James Proby? 2. Late-1950s rocker Wes Bryan is quoted in a blog post: Peter James is a real person. He is not P.J. Proby or someone else, recording under a fake name. I met him working with Jerry Capehart at American Music… More here. This makes sense: Silver was Capehart's label. It would be good to confirm whether this was the same Peter James who recorded on Reprise later in the 60s.

Walter Jackson - Opportunity (1963)

(Warren Joyner - Robert Harshman [Bobby Hart] - John Marascalco)
Original version

Single on Columbia by highly regarded but lesser known soul singer (1938-1983).

Other songs by John Marascalco (b.1931) include the Little Richard hits Good Golly Miss Molly and Rip It Up, both written with Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell, and he wrote Fats Domino's hit Be My Guest with Domino and Tommy Boyce.

Marascalco wrote Johnny O'Keefe's 1960 hit Don't You Know (Pretty Baby). Surprisingly, Lonnie Lee's 1962 recording with that title was a different song. Marascalco did write another song that was an Australian hit for Lonnie LeeStarlight Starbright. He also co-wrote We've Got Something Going (Booka Hyland), and Opportunity (Mr Lee Grant).

Co-writer Robert Harshman (b.1939) was better known as Bobby Hart, one half of late-1960s singing and writing duo Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart.

Boyce & Hart had some success with their own records, including I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight (1968, #8 USA) and Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend) (1968, #27 USA), and they worked on The Monkees' TV series, notably as the composers of (Theme From) The Monkees and Last Train To Clarksville.

See also Baby Let Your Hair Down (1965), a Bobby Hart record and co-composition covered in Australia by Graham Chapman.

Further reading1. Review of Walter Jackson's Greatest Hits by Andrew Hamilton at All Music. 2. Biography of John Marascalco at All Music Guide. 3. John Marascalco by Dik de Heer, archived from Shakin' Stacks. 4. Boyce & Hart Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger at All Music. 5. Boyce & Hart official website. 6. Boyce & Hart Discography at Wikipedia.

Jewel & Eddie - Opportunity (1960)

(Eddie Daniels - Jewel Akens)
Red herring

Same title but not the same song as ‘Opportunity’ by Mr Lee Grant.

Single on Silver by Eddie Daniels and Jewel Akens, associates of Eddie Cochran and his manager-advisor-collaborator Jerry Capehart. See Wee Bit More Of Your Lovin’, a product of the same operation. Akens had a solo hit in ’66 with The Birds And The Bees.

  Opportunities for Red Herrings. There are numerous different songs entitled Opportunity (try this search at 45Cat.com). Here are some just from the 60s:

Freddy CannonOpportunity (H. Hunter)
USA 1961
Single on Top Rank, B-side of Buzz Buzz A-Diddle It.
Chris ConnorOpportunity (Brown)
USA 1962
Single on Atlantic.
The SoulettesOpportunity (C. Dodd)
UK 1965
Single on Ska Beat.
The PersuasionsOpportunity (Ray Evans, Randall Stewart)
UK 1966
Single on Columbia, B-side of La, La, La, La, La.
The MandalaOpportunity (Don Troiano)
Canada 1967
Single on KR
The JewelsOpportunity (Ray Evans, Randall Stewart)
USA 1964
Single on Dimension by female vocal group; same song as by The Persuasions [UK]