96 Tears Pt. 2 - Spelling Is Important
- Category: Dr. J's Blog
- Published: Friday, 07 October 2011 13:46
- Written by Gary Johnson
Before he died in in 1983, I wonder if Art Schiell ever heard the old saying "I don't care what they write about me as long as they spell my name correctly"? If ever there was a man in Rock and Roll history who got the shaft by having his name misspelled, it was Art Schiell. Granted, Schiell's place in the story of Rock and Roll is a very small one. He ran the Schiell Recording Studio at his home at 405 Raymond Street in Bay City, Michigan, for nearly two decades. His only claim to fame outside of Bay City was the fact that he recorded "96 Tears" by Question Mark and The Mysterians there in the spring of 1966. The song went on to become a # 1 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 that same year.
Unfortunately, Schiell's last name was misspelled as 'Schield' somewhere along the line, and the mistake has been perpetuated in some important printed material regarding Question Mark and The Mysterians' recording of "96 Tears". I only found this out while I was researching Schiell and his studio as part of a project to get the location designated as a historical landmark by the State Historical Preservation Office in Lansing, Michigan.
I was looking through Bay City Directories and phone books from the 1960's for information on 'Art Schield', and I couldn't find anything at all. Finally, I checked the street address at 405 Raymond Street, and that is where I discovered the spelling error. It was Art Schiell, not Schield.
I had already inadvertently contributed to the continued misspelling of Schiell's name a year or two earlier when I put up the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends display at the Bay City Motor Company on Water Street. I had framed one of the original Pa-Go-Go 45's of "96 Tears" along with a brief explanation of the historical importance of "96 Tears" being the only # 1 hit ever recorded in Bay City, Michigan. I also wrote that the song was recorded at "Art Schield's" studio on Raymond Street. I then made the same spelling error in my 2006 biography of Question Mark and The Mysterians after they had been voted into Michigan Rock and Roll Legends.
So how did I manage to get it wrong twice? I found the misspelling of Schiell's name in what I thought were two very reliable sources. The first was a 2005 book on the early history of Michigan Rock and Roll called Grit, Noise, and Revolution by David A. Carson. On page 85 of his book, Carson wrote about the "recording session at Art Schield's studio at 405 Raymond Street in Bay City". Carson, according to his notes, got that information from a web page biography of Question Mark and The Mysterians written by Tom Simon at www.tsimon.com/mysteria.htm. Simon has since corrected the spelling error on his site.
The second source i used was the CD booklet for "The Best Of ? And The Mysterians" Cameo Parkway 1966 - 1867. I the booklet, it states the "96 Tears" was recorded at "Schield's" Recording Studio, Bay City, Michigan.
The mistake was relatively easy to correct on both my display and on my web page. But how do you correct something that has already been printed in a book or in CD liner notes? The misinformation has already been spread and will continue to do so. In addition, the mistake can still be found on the above web address.
I doubt if a great number of people will read the facts here on Dr. J's Blog, so all I can do is write the above parties, inform them of the spelling error, and hope that it will be corrected on future printings and immediately changed on the web site. (Note: Tom Simon corrected the spelling error on his web site after I contacted him.)
I'm also hopeful that the approval of the State Historical Preservation Office for the designation of the site of the Schiell Recording Studio as a historical landmark would publicize the story and therefore do the most good in straightening out the facts in this matter. Only time will tell if the S.H.P.O. will consider a Rock and Roll site "important" enough to be worthy of recognition.