JOE SIMON - BEFORE THE NIGHT IS OVER
In the UK, Joe's legacy of recordings has not enjoyed the true recognition it deserves, possibly because not many of his uptempo recordings, which are preferred by the soul fraternity were available until Southbound began to reissue his Spring catalogue.In the southern states of America, on the other hand, his reputation is undisputed. True to his roots, Joe came out of the gospel tradition. Between the ages of 15 and 24 he was signed to a variety of labels including Hush, Vee-Jay and SS7, recording gospel-tinged R&B before the Rifkind brothers and Bill Spitalsky signed him to Spring Records. At the time they needed an established name to help bolster the newly set-up label and Simon had already scored some minor hits and had great potential.Simon enjoyed over seven years with Spring. His greatest hits from the period are available on a 23-tracker on Southbound (CDSEWD 102). There are still many gems left and as part of our re-issue programme we are releasing the following original albums as 2-on-1s: this CD, followed by Love Vibrations/Happy Birthday Baby, and then The Power of Simon plus additional cuts. Easy To Love/A Bad Case Of Love are two albums from 1977 that show the two contrasting sides of Joe Simon. Easy To Love was recorded in Muscle Shoals with the Hood, Hawkins, Johnson and Beckett rhythm section. It was produced by John Richbourg, assisted by Joe Simon. A Bad Case Of Love, on the other hand, was made in New York with Teddy Randazzo producing.
JOE SIMON - BEFORE THE NIGHT IS OVER
Simon and Kirby split up in the late fifties when there was no available work for them as a team and contact after that was minimal, confined mostly to when one was involved with some project that required that they readdress the terms of the divorce. Finally in the early seventies, they got together at a New York comic convention for what was supposed to just be a brief dinner. It was cordial and a few outstanding points of contention were settled, though not nearly enough. There just wasn't time to talk it all out before Joe had to get back to Long Island or wherever the Simons were then residing. As it turned out, when Joe left the convention at 10 PM to head home, he found he'd parked in a lot that closed at 9. It was locked tight 'til morning and his car was penned inside. So he returned to the convention hotel where, as luck would have it, Kirby's room had a spare bed. They spent all night talking about the old days, discussing that which had earlier gone undiscussed and they became friends again. Still, they were friends who didn't communicate very often.
We debated that to no resolution but someone had told Joe what I'd said and we chuckled over it. I reminded him of the old Jackie Mason routine where he took stage and said, "Last week I played a club and the girl singer who was on before me was so bad that right in the middle of my act, they started booing her. They couldn't forget how lousy she was. Do you know that some people walked out on her while I was still performing?" Joe laughed and from that moment on, we were friends. He was a guy with pretty thick skin but the failure of Sandman had been a real emotional thing for him since it represented the finale of the Simon-Kirby team. And Joe was very proud of the Simon-Kirby team.
Simon saw the fruits of his labor relatively early in his career. About 20 years ago, he developed a business succession plan with three business partners. They were all in their early 40s. Within 12 years, one partner developed a medical condition, which required the other two partners to buy his share of the business. The succession plan, put in place so many years before, made the process simple and painless. Now, the first partner has recovered and the two partners, nearing retirement, have called Simon in to draw up a new succession plan. Simon adds that, while most business owners recognize the importance of a succession plan, only about a quarter are working to put one in place.
Headline Comics might contain the most overlooked Simon & Kirby material the team ever produced, and these issues are deserving of more attention. There are several Simon & Kirby issues of Headline Comics up for auction in the 2022 September 4-5 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122236 at Heritage Auctions. If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.
Though the issue seems benign to readers now, Simon and Kirby made a bold statement when they decided to use an American flag-clad hero to punch Hitler in the face on the cover. As vile as he was, Adolf Hitler was still seen as a legitimate world leader at the time; punching Hitler in 1941 would be tantamount to Captain America punching Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping in 2021. The American Nazi Party continued to send the duo death threats until the Mayor of New York City himself came to their aid. Fiorello LaGuardia admired Captain America and gave Simon and Kirby police protection, saying that "...the city of New York will see that no harm will come to you." The death threats ceased soon after. Once World War II began in earnest for America and war was declared on Nazi Germany, the American Nazi Party practically disbanded overnight.
Joe Simon had strong political opinions long before writing Captain America; he was an anti-isolationist who believed evil like Hitler should be fought, not ignored. Jack Kirby shared Simon's outlook and the fact that two Jews were openly critical of Hitler (in a country still rife with antisemitism of its own) should not be overlooked. Captain America came out of a desire to call out atrocities and fight them tooth and nail, even when that course of action isn't necessarily popular.
When I went to see Joe initially, I knew he already had an incredible reputation for working for the best outcome for his clients. Once things got moving on the case preparation, Joe and his staff, put 200% effort into making sure that we were prepared for trial. Joe worked tirelessly going over every bit of information relating to the case and submerged himself into understanding every little detail. We both would often laugh at how our "brains" hurt from all the information we had to go over. Joe was persistent in his continuing negotiations and his demand for discovery information. He would often call me after hours at night and meet with me on the weekends in order to have every bit of this case prepped. In the end, Joe was able to secure a complete dismissal in my case, even before the trial began. Joe's knowledge of the law is second to none and his passion for bringing out the truth only shows his commitment to provide the best legal services to his clients and to the criminal justice system. My family and I are forever grateful for his work and I would recommend Joe and his staff to anyone, anytime. You cannot go wrong. Truly cares about his clients.
Longtime Heroes friend Steve Saffel worked closely with the legendary Joe Simon to start bringing the many volumes of the Simon and Kirby archives back to the public. The Best of Simon and Kirby is a great overview of some of the legends classic works before they went on to create so many timeless characters for Marvel and DC. And The Simon and Kirby Superheroes reminds us just how relevant their early costumed heroes were for their time, and how influential they remain. These are great books by great people that any fan of comics history should want to include in their library. 041b061a72