To this day, he remains in my personal Top Five list as one of the most gracious, polite and punctual stars of any medium that I've ever had the privilege to meet. Not only an acclaimed and celebrated pop/rock music legend, he was a true gentleman.
I was on VH1 from 1987 to 1990. Humorist Henry Alford was a VH1 host in the 1990s and wrote about his experience in the memoir Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt To Claw His Way To The Top. In the book, Alford wrote that all the VH1 veejays in the 1980s were all stand-up comedians like Gallagher. Wrong. Imagine my surprise after I'd purchased his book and read that section.
I was the first African-American talent to be a prime time weeknight celebrity talk show host on VH1. And I was the first African-American talent on VH1 to do an exclusive interview with Paul McCartney. In London, no less.
Henry Alford went on to write for The New York Times and be a contributor on National Public Radio. If you know him, show him this blog post.
Here's my first segment with Paul McCartney on that VH1 special. Right under this post, you'll find the third section of our interview. That was my favorite part. He talked about the film role he turned down and why Lennon & McCartney did not take their songwriting talents to Broadway.
When South L.A. was called South Central L.A., I grew up there. I graduated from a high school in Watts, a Watts trying to rise from the ashes like a phoenix after making national headlines with over a week of summer riots fueled by racial frustrations in 1965.
I'm proud to have grown up in South Central L.A. I still can't believe I went from there to London to meet a Beatle. I still count my career blessings. I didn't even have a broadcast agent and there I was on national television. Utilizing fine arts knowledge I got during my high school days back in Watts. As you watch Sir Paul and me, keep in mind that it was the late 1980s...and I was very nervous. But tried not to show it.