Annual NAA Party Features Beach Boys, Turtles, and Hermits

By: Jennifer Saba At times during the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention in San Francisco this week -- for example, when publishers picked up a baseball bat or jock star Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared -- it felt a bit like high school (though admittedly with a much richer class).

And what's high school without a prom? Last night, MediaNews Group and Knight Ridder hosted a party at the Fairmont featuring none other than a Beach Boy, the Turtles, and Herman's Hermits.

It ended with two CEOs, Dean Singleton and Tony Ridder, joining the Beach Boys on stage to sing the '50s classic "Come and Go With Me."

Co-host Singleton, CEO of MediaNews, organized a bash like this at the 2003 convention in Seattle, with different oldies acts, namely the Four Tops and Three Dog Night, and he told E&P he relished everything from choosing the bands to listening in on the soundchecks. Newly appointed NAA Chairman Jay Smith said that Singleton would love to be a concert promoter.

The Beach Boy in question this year was Al Jardine, though he was backed by many longtime Boys' band members.

One of The Turtles, most famous for ?Happy Together? and a later incarnation as Flo & Eddie, good-naturedly pointed out they were nominated for a Grammy for the "Strawberry Shortcake" theme song. Another quip: "When you're 58, you're glad to be anywhere.? They also joked that Dylan wrote "It Ain't Me, Babe" for them. Along with many acid references, they claimed they had been kicked out of the Fairmont back in the late 1960s, when they played the Cow Palace with Herman's Hermits.

It only took the band one song before attendees headed for a soon-crowded dance floor as they turned and twisted their way to a cover of "Gimme Some Lovin'." The dance floor stayed busy all night. According to one source, who stayed until the end, a casually-dressed (for this group) Gary Pruitt, the McClatchey chief, danced the night away.

Overall there were only a few complaints about the NAA conference as it ended, one being (from some biased quarters) the after-party Parade gift on Sunday night, a Coach makeup bag for the ladies.

But perhaps the most disappointing aspect was the lack of gossip, complained one attendee, grumbling about not even hearing a whisper about a merger or acquisition.


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