Sy Retton made a leisurely lap of the New Year’s Eve party in his suburban Los Angeles home. The bartenders at all four stations were busy. All the right people had showed up – radio people, movie people, TV people, other music people – and were mingling nicely.
The fireplace was crackling along both for atmosphere and warmth as the evening started to get a little nippy. But Sy smiled, thinking about the frigid Wisconsin winters he grew up with. He had left the snow and the cold behind him, along with his birth name of Sylvester Rothahn and the slate of increasingly serious misdemeanors attached to that name. But hey! More than half the people in the room had pasts, many of them even more unglamorous and ill-spent than his.
Sy had found his new life writing music and had worked his way to the top of his profession. Movie producers, record producers, bandleaders – they all called him when they needed something new and special. He had always delivered, and that was why they were gathered in his beautiful home to ring in 1962.