Then, in the mid-70’s, out of thin air so it seemed, a crooner from Long Island with a name that sounded like dessert appeared. And the name was his real name: Peter Lemongello.
Flash backwards, 1976: Memories of late night television advertising of that time and falling asleep in the rocker/recliner. But for those who could stay awake, a whole world of products beckoned even before the term “as seen on TV” was coined: Ronco slicers, dicers, and lighters, ginsu knives, and a singer!
A singer? Well, why not? What a novel idea. Introduce your pipes to people half asleep; how sweet the sounds. Peter had already tried the usual tricks like sending gifts (lemon jello) to DJ’s and record companies. And he had already achieved some short lived career highlights that failed to gain for him the recognition he craved.
But Peter was doing more than singing for his supper. He grew a distribution business. The product? Eggs. He took his profits and made savvy investments. Peter proved his sales, marketing, and business knowledge.
Going on 30, perhaps panicking about his desire to be a star but not giving up, his handsome looks and crooning charm made a perfect blend for soothing the ears of the late night crowd.
He found investors for his, at the time, “crazy” scheme. Close to $400,000, about $1.5 million in today’s dollars. And this is how a star is born (click here):
And, now, he gained attention.
At the height of his sudden fame, he was portrayed by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live as Peter Lemon Mood Ring.
Early 1977, Peter was picked up for his second album by Private Stock, a record label with Starbuck, David Soul, and later Blondie, in their stable. It whimpered.
Peter retreated to Florida shortly after the failure of his second album and became a home builder, something he had previously toiled at on Long Island. He ran into some troubles in 1982 regarding an arson case. Sigh.
R. Buckminster Fuller once said: "People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things."
Peter did just that. In 1976, long before the internet, there was television; remember it? Advertising on TV was a major avenue for a brand or product, but not in the way he used it. He put to work skills acquired in other industries, applied a new twist, and took a leap of faith. He convinced private investors to put their stock in and trust his instincts. The product (his pipes and looks) had little competition at the time and a target market (women) were there waiting for someone like him.
Did he do research beforehand? Don’t know, but let’s hope he did. Having hard facts showing the size of the audience would have been a strong driver for demonstrating his promising success to potential investors.
And February 11 is his birthday! Wishing him the best.
To see highlights of Peter Lemongello’s career, click here.