Mike Mills and Marilyn Carino: “I’m Your Puppet”

When I was growing up, I loved AM radio. I listened to my little Sinclair Dino the Dinosaur transistor radio everywhere: riding my bicycle, playing baseball, even under my pillow at night. My life’s soundtrack began with songs like The Monkees’ “Last Train To Clarkesville”, Brenton Woods’ “Gimme Little Sign”, and Petula Clarke’s “Downtown”. Later, in high school, I even hung out with my friends (including Bill Berry!) at the local Macon, GA, radio station, WNEX-AM. It was a little brick building, just like the one in American Graffiti where Wolfman Jack howled out the names of the hits. At ours, Kerry Sandifer and other DJs would play Aretha’s “‘Til You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight At The Oasis”, and the O’Jays “Love Train”. These songs all have one thing in common (besides feeding my musical jones)–the performers never saw a dime from all the radio play they received.

Today, there exists a group of musicians dedicated to correcting this injustice. The Content Creators Coalition was formed to lobby on behalf of the many musicians who provided American terrestrial radio (AM/FM) with their playlists, helped generate their profits, yet were never compensated for this work. To help bring awareness to this project, I played a song with singer and songwriter Marilyn Carino (visit her website) at a rally for the CCC. We performed “I’m Your Puppet”, a song made famous by James and Bobby Purify, who, like the other artists named above, saw no money from the repeated radio plays of their record.

We think this version turned out nicely, and hope that any enjoyment you receive from hearing it will remind you of the continuing inequality perpetuated by American terrestrial radio, and perhaps even inspire you to join, or help, in any way you can, the CCC and other musicians who are fighting for artists’ rights.


Check out the video for “I’m Your Puppet” here

P.S. For more detailed information about this issue, please see this fact sheet from an excellent group I have worked with over the years,The Future Of Music Coalition