The Amusement and Music Association of New York celebrated another successful year at their nearly sold out Gala on May 10. The annual event paid tribute to TouchTunes’ Executive VP of Sales and Corporate Marketing, Phil Cohn, alongside Tony Orlando, the association’s choice for “Jukebox Artist of the Year.”
TouchTunes CEO Charles Goldstuck put the spotlight on Cohn, one of the night’s guests of honor. He spoke in glowing terms of his EVP, applauding Cohn’s leadership and countless contributions to the company. Cohn, moved by the presentation in front of his wife, children and parents pointed to the invaluable mentoring he received from many operators and distributors throughout his tenure with TouchTunes.
Orlando, the other guest of honor was also sincerely moved by the appreciation from the AMOA-NY, saying, “During my 55 years in entertainment, what the AMOA-NY has done for me this evening is truly meaningful to me.”
That means a lot from a man who’s had more than 30 hit recordings and has starred in movies and TV!
AMI’s John Margold was enthralled with the story Orlando told the AMOA-NY crowd. At age 14, John recounted, Orlando had gone into the neighborhood diner and looked at the names on its jukebox, saying he was going to have his own name on a record in it one day. Two years later, after meeting Carole King and Don Kirshner, Tony Orlando made his first recording, Halfway to Paradise, which became his very first hit.
“He took his mom to the diner and there on its jukebox was his very own 45 rpm record. She was so proud,” Margold said, relating Orlando’s story. “He told the group: ‘She passed away three years ago and today is her actual birthday. I know she is here with us tonight. You can give this award to other people in other years, and they’ll be good musicians and entertainers with great jukebox hits, but no one you will give this award to will ever be able to say the jukebox means more to them than it does to me.’ ”
AMOA-NY president Ken Goldberg gave an example of Orlando’s unparalleled loyalty to jukebox operators and especially the association by showing a full-page ad in an AMOA-NY Journal from 1976 Orlando had placed.
“Tony Orlando has always been a first-class act who has offered steadfast, unwavering recognition about the importance and value of jukeboxes,” Goldberg said.
As the guests enjoyed filet mignon and cocktails, Goldstuck unveiled a final surprise for the night: a performance by American Idol star Haley Reinhart.
Look for more in the June issue of RePlay.