A little less than two months from now — Oct. 7, to be exact — will be John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy's 5th wedding anniversary. Sadly, they are not here to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
But their wedding, on Cumberland Island, Ga., was one of the most talked-about events of the last decade. It was done with simplicity and in secret. Little was revealed about the events of the weekend of Oct. 7, 1996.
But this past weekend I happened to talk to a nice guy named Jodee Sadowsky. He and his wife run the World Famous Breakfast Club restaurant down in Savannah; they wound up doing the catering for the wedding at the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland.
Sadowsky, who described himself to me as a conservative who's running for mayor down there, wanted to tell me about the Kennedy wedding. He was impressed, by and large.
"The best moment for me was watching all the guys play touch football on the beach. I mean, they were playing their traditional game. Can you imagine?"
Of course, the whole thing is a bittersweet memory, now considering two of those "guys" — John Kennedy and his best man and first cousin Anthony Radziwill — are gone.
But Sadowsky says that otherwise the Kennedys — who are quite wealthy — were forced to really rough it all weekend. Their New England heartiness paid off.
"The Inn only has bathtubs. There's only one shower, and it's outdoors. So every morning everyone stood on line. Maria Shriver was right behind me in her fuzzy slippers."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sadowsky added, did not attend.
In the large communal kitchen of the inn, the family — including Sen. Ted — hung out and made turkey sandwiches. Ted, Sadowsky noticed, was very close to niece Caroline, who seemed to be running the whole operation.
"I was told she takes charge wherever she goes. She certainly did there," he said. Caroline's husband, Ed Schlossberg, was little in evidence. In fact, Sadowsky recalls that he never — not once — saw them together. "It was always Ted and Caroline, whispering to each other, eating together, plotting something."
Sadowsky was not all that wowed by the bride. "I would say of the 50 people she was the only one I didn't like. She was standoffish and seemed conceited."
The couple themselves didn't look particularly happy, although it could have been a case of nerves. "It seemed like they'd be happy for a short time," said Sadowsky, who was made to sign an agreement prohibiting him from making money off the experience.
"The morning after the wedding, they woke me up at 4 a.m. for breakfast. They wanted to helicopter off the island before everyone woke up. It was John and Carolyn and two other guys. They may have been bodyguards, I don't know."
Speaking of security, Sadowsky told me that even as a former military man, he'd never seen it so tight or sophisticated.
"They were everywhere and they were hard-wired. I mean, no cell phones or digital or walkie-talkies. They were hard-wired to each other. You never see that. And they managed not to get any press until the very end. The National Enquirer flew over with a plane and a photographer, and everyone gave them the finger. Of course, you didn't see that in the pictures."
Squeeze songwriter and leader extraordinaire Glenn Tilbrook may form a new supergroup with Tim Finn (formerly of Crowded House), former Pixies leader Frank Black and Lloyd Cole (minus the Commotions).
That's what Tilbrook told me when we spoke yesterday. He was just about to head out to Long Island for a show at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. Last Wednesday and Thursday he played two sold-out shows at the Mercury Lounge in Lower Manhattan. Solo.
That's right. Because Squeeze is over. After 25 years, Tilbrook and songwriting partner Chris Difford have called it quits.
Even though Tilbrook jokes about Squeeze not having hits, their sparkling repetoire included such gems as "Tempted," "Hourglass," "Pulling Mussels From the Shell," "Cool for Cats," and "Annie Get Your Gun." They leave on record-store shelves such classic albums as East Side Story, ArgyBargy, Squeeze: Play, and Domino.
So Tilbrook is off on his own, promoting a new splendid album on sale August 28 called The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook. You can find it on Quixotic Records. The album includes a couple of classic Tilbrook efforts —"Parallel World" and "This Is Where You Ain't." Plus Tilbrook recorded a cover of someone else's song for the first time ever, called "Other World," by Ben Jones. It's lovely.
If you don't know Tilbrook's work, he and Chris Difford had a moment when they were compared to Lennon and McCartney as songwriters. It was 1982, when East Side Story was released, featuring the biggest song of their career, "Tempted." But Squeeze was always a tad self-destructive, either by design or accident. On "Tempted," for example, the vocal is sung by guest player Paul Carrack. It was his one and only appearance with Squeeze, but remains their legacy. Go figure.
Many of the songs on Incomplete, Tilbrook confirmed for me, are about his 1996 divorce. Since then his wife has taken his two sons, ages 9 and 10, from England to Australia to be with her new husband. Tilbrook tried to stop her in the U.K. courts, then stopped when he realized the damage it was doing to his sons. Now he travels to Australia two or three times a year and they come to see him at least once.
"That's what 'This Is Where You Ain't' is about," he told me. "My kids are probably the only ones in the world who count Squeeze and Linkin Park on the same list as their favorite groups."
Performing live and solo, Tilbrook is extremely endearing and funny. He doesn't have a set list, but simply plays the songs he wants to hear. At this recent round of small-club dates he took requests from the audience. On Saturday night in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., this impromptu rendering of his huge song library almost got him into trouble.
"I forgot to play 'Tempted!'" he said. "I got off stage, I was completely done, and I realized I hadn't played it." "Tempted" is usually Tilbrook's signature song, the one he must play and audiences demand to hear at every show.
He combines songs in concert from the new album plus many from the vast and hummable Squeeze collection including "If I Didn't Love You" and "Some Fantastic Place," the latter his favorite of all the songs he wrote with Chris Difford. "And you know what?" he said. "No one missed it."
Well, I'm sure quite a few did. But we won't tell him that. Tilbrook, by the way, returns to the States for more shows in November. Don't miss him.
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