Random Notes: ABBA for Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon?

If you were wondering how people like Bill Wyman, Ringo Starr and Todd Rundgren turned up on the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, which traditionally has spurned rock, the answer comes from Astrid Wyman, Bill Wyman’s wife. After watching the 1978 telethon, Astrid decided the show needed some rock & rollers. So she called Lewis, met him, and he hired her as a promotion consultant. “I’d been looking for a charity for a while,” she said. “I thought the way Jerry was doing his was a great idea, except he didn’t cover rock & roll and I thought that was all wrong. I was getting very bored with all the barriers between music styles and decided it was time for a change.” She started calling up people like ABBA, Peter Frampton, Journey, Paul McCartney, Kiss, Eddie Money and her husband’s band. Most groups were touring but agreed to furnish taped performances. Wyman himself decided to fly from France to Las Vegas for the live show and assembled a group with Dave Mason, Rundgren, Ringo and Doug Kershaw. Astrid was pleased with the results and said next year’s telethon will be “incredible.” She said Lewis was so happy with her efforts that she may book him for a European tour. She’s also started working with France’s leading promoter and moved to Los Angeles for a while to mull over the TV offers she’s now getting to produce rock shows. “It’s unbelievable,” she said. “I’d never worked before in my life. This has completely changed my life.” We asked Astrid, who has been with Bill for thirteen years, how he managed – unlike other Rolling Stones – to stay out of trouble. “Oh, Bill is very together. He doesn’t take any drugs or anything like that.” Then she was off to lunch with Rod Stewart and a meeting with Elton John to discuss future projects.

Rolling Stone (Australian Edition) · 18 October 1979 (Page 23)

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