Paul Campbell grew up in Laurel, mostly, after being born at Fort George G. Meade. He started school at Saint Mary’s in first grade and spent the next three years in Germany, when the Army transferred his father. His family returned to Laurel, and he went back to Saint Mary’s and then graduated from Pallotti High School in 1965.
Like countless other teenagers, he started playing the guitar after seeing The Beatles and played bass in a few garage bands in high school. The best of those was a band named the Fabulous Notations, made up of students from Laurel, Pallotti and Arundel high schools.
In an interview, Campbell recalled performing at the Old-Fashioned Days at Laurel Shopping Center, dances at Pallotti and Laurel high schools, and teen club dances in Laurel and Fort Meade. Campbell was self-taught and confessed that he can’t read music.
After graduating from Pallotti, Campbell spent a couple years at the University of Maryland before joining the Marines in 1967, where he was trained to fix helicopters. He was asked to join a rock ‘n’ roll band with other Marines, called The Green Machine that played some songs written by a band member, along with an eclectic mix of Jimi Hendrix; Blood, Sweat & Tears; James Brown; The Animals; and others. The Green Machine started every show with the rhythm & blues song “Show Me” by Joe Tex. The two original songs produced by the band that received the most acclaim were “Stand and Be Counted” and “Hey Hippie!”
The Green Machine produced a 45rpm single record of two original songs while the band was based in North Carolina that sold about 1,500 copies. Feeling pretty successful, the drummer wrote a letter to Ed Sullivan about the band and sent him a copy of the record. Sullivan responded and asked the band to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in New York.
Once the proper authorizations were secured, The Green Machine traveled to New York City, where they met up with a lieutenant colonel who had been assigned as a chaperone. Sullivan paid all their expenses. The band had two rehearsals on the show’s stage, whereupon the chaperone informed Campbell that his orange bass guitar did not mesh with the Dress Blue Marine uniforms, which they would wear during their TV appearance.
Campbell called his old friend Dolph Scagliarini in Laurel. Scagliarini, a bandleader for many years, put a bass guitar on a Greyhound bus for Campbell, and it arrived just in time for the show’s live performance.
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Campbell was a longtime friend of the Scagliarini family, counting son Jay among his classmates at Pallotti. He recalled helping Dolph push the first Corvair automobile into his garage, triggering a decades-long obsession by Scagliarini, who became well-known for fixing and restoring the cars.
The band had a dress rehearsal the afternoon of the show’s taping. Campbell remembered that the equipment they used on Sullivan’s stage was top-notch, much better than what they were used to. His mother and sister traveled to New York City on a Greyhound bus to watch the show in the studio, using the two tickets allotted to each band member.
On Jan. 26, 1969, the band played “Stand and Be Counted” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Campbell recalled that Tommy James & the Shondells were on the show and that James lip-synced his song, unlike The Green Machine, which performed live. He also remembered that comedian John Byner was on the show that night and was gracious in offering the band some advice before going on stage. Ed Sullivan, Campbell said, was a really nice guy.
Sal Anthony, the lead singer for The Green Machine, went on to have a career in music as a singer, songwriter, and pianist. A video of The Green Machine’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” can be viewed on Anthony’s web site at salanthony.com.
After appearing on TV, The Green Machine band members were sent to Vietnam to entertain the troops, performing in places like the DMZ and China Beach. One performance was shut down when the area was shelled with rocket fire. They had to perform where they were told since everyone in the band was in the military. As Campbell put it, other “paid professional performers didn’t go where they would get shot.”
Campbell has fond memories of his bandmates, three of whom have died. He is convinced that Agent Orange was a factor in their deaths. He stopped playing music after his stint in Vietnam, except for an occasional jam with friends. He said his hearing was affected from the years working on Harriers and helicopters. Campbell retired from the Marine Corps in 1994.
Contact Kevin Leonard at 301-776-9260 or email@example.com.