Jack Stanizzo of the Contrails (who had the 1967 hit, "Someone") and guitarist Paul Lowe are returning for their third year with Taste of Brookline.

Jack Stanizzo – Contrails “Someone” 

Groups in the sixties knew how to write a love song. Some of them could even come up with a good unrequited love or "love gone wrong" tune. But when you can come up with a breakup song that's still spinning 45 years later, now that's one memorable ballad.
Jack Stanizzo of Mt. Washington and Dick Engel of Mt. Lebanon, writers and performers for the Contrails, did just that when they teamed up to pen "Someone," a song that hit the charts in 1966.

The Contrails originally released the song "Someone" on Odell Bailey's west coast Reuben label (#711), backed by the instrumental "Mummy Walk" in the fall of 1966. The Pittsburgh band cut the master at Gateway Studios above the old National Record Mart in Market Square, and Bailey himself was from Beltzhoover. But there was a reason they pasted a Los Angeles label (Reuben's only release, as far as Old Mon can tell) on their purely local wax. Bailey and The Contrails thought the tune had a better chance of getting airtime if they weren't competing with the heap of local songs already stacked up in front of the region's radio and hop jocks. The plan worked to perfection. "Someone" broke here and was then picked up by NYC's Diamond label (#213).

It took off, especially in Western Pennsylvania, where it became a Top Five song and stayed on the area charts for 15 weeks. The dance hall jocks couldn't spin it enough, and Clark Race pushed it hard on KDKA.

Jack at the Civic Arena circa 1969

The Contrails scored a couple of more hits with "Why Do I" (1966) and "Make Me Love" (1967), both Stanizzo-Engel compositions. The Contrails opened or shared a stage with some of the eras great acts like Smokey Robinson, David Ruffin (The Temptations), Three Dog Night, The Marcels, Gary "US" Bonds, The Sweet Inspirations, The Brooklyn Bridge, Sonny & Cher, The Yardbirds and The Grass Roots. But in 1969, the Contrails run came to an end. Then Stanizzo formed a band called Thy Brothers Blood in 1969, and that band spent the next decade plus touring and playing at clubs and venues like the Civic Arena and Syria Mosque, where they opened for acts like Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, Blood Sweat & Tears and Janis Joplin.

For the past decade plus, Jack has and continues to collaborate with accomplished area guitarist Paul Lowe, performing at events in the Tri-State area. Stanizzo and Lowe recently released the CD "Heart of the City," a collection of soulful, jazz-influenced ballads on his Ozzi Nats label (OZN - 1911). You can catch a couple of tracks at Jack's MySpace page. (In 2006, Jack released the Contrails 40th anniversary CD with the old hits and some unreleased cuts.)  

Stanizzo came about his love for music honestly. His uncles, Fred and Art, were accomplished jazz guitarists, and he learned some of his earliest licks from local jazz icon, Joe Negri, using a guitar he bought with his First Communion money (proof that not everyone in Pittsburgh still has it squirreled away.) He cites as influences performers like Louie Prima, Little Richard, Earth Wind and Fire, Chicago, Santana, and Sting. 

Jack and his wife Lois live in the city's South Hills. He earns his daily bread in construction and design now, with a list of professional certificates as long as your arm.  

And that proved our original point, too. A good breakup song outlasts even a broken heart…


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