The GREG TOPPER Story
CLASSIC PHOTOS BELOW!
Topper was born in Los Angeles and started playing the piano by ear when
he was eight. He knows over 500 songs and has never had a single music
lesson. His specialties are Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little
Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. His song list, however, spans
from the 50’s right through the 70’s.
His first real gig was at The Tamasha Club in Anaheim in 1961 with his
band called The Crescents. Ever since, he has played continuously (and
primarily) in Orange County for 46 years!
He has played his rock ‘n’ roll show at The Red Onion (1 year),
Isadore’s (1 year), Sheraton Newport (2 years), Sheraton Anaheim (6
years), Airporter Inn — now The
Atrium (14 years), The Crazy Horse (28 times), The
Village Inn (8 years) and currently at the Pierce Street
Annex (3 years).
The long-extended engagements are testimony to his success at keeping a
high volume of bar business.
He is most proud of all the charity events he has performed to help
raise money. He has done galas for Alzheimer's, Cystic Fibrosis, Lupus
and many more. He is also the Founder and President of The Orange County
Musicians Foundation, Inc., which raises money for local OC musicians
and their families who have no medical insurance and have catastrophic
has also played twice in Hawaii for extended periods as well as Las
Vegas. He also performed in the Warner Bros. movie ‘HOOPER’ with
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field.
also recently produced a sold-out show featuring one of his
all-time-favorites, Jackie DeShannon. He also played with The
Associations in OC.
has performed with such greats as Roy Orbison, The Righteous Brothers,
The Turtles, Jose Feliciano, Charlie Daniels, Little Richard, Jackie
DeShannon and Dick Dale.
this story on the Newport Beach early Daze
of my friends from the good old days have been asking about my
been to at least 50 of my shows, we've body surfed 50 times and
he has been my houseguest many times back in the 70's and 80's.
We've been together at 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, three
Grammy Shows and countless Rhythm & Blues Foundation shows http://www.rhythm-n-blues.org/ (of
which he's a founding board member) ..........It was great
to see that record conglomerate of no less than fifteen
major labels and foundation grow under his tutelage.
Through all these years and shows I've had the pleasure of
meeting, dining and jammin' with the likes of Tina Turner,
Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, Bob Seeger, Robert
Palmer, Vince Gill, Clint Black, Delbert McClinton, Donnie
Osmond, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Jackie
DeShannon, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, The
Association, Darlene Love, April Stevens and Nino Tempo, Paul
Simon, and non-musicians like chef Emeril Lagasse, Jay Leno,
Michael Douglas, and many more. What great fun we've had.
a treat this friendship of 40 years has been. Jim is alive and
very well, living in Colorado. I talk to him all the time. Three
beautiful daughters and grand kids.
many of you who met and remember him, just thought you'd
like to know he's doing great !
is not meant to be a journey to the grave in a pretty & well
preserved body...But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly
used up, totally worn out, & loudly proclaiming:
Adolescent and Teenage Years Growing Up in Jamaica, West Indies
have been a huge life-long fan of Winston Churchill. His daughter
Lady Sara, (good friends with my mom) had her estate called
"Content" right next to our family estate, called "Drambuie" in
Reading, Jamaica, just outside Montego Bay, whe, and my brother and I attended a strict boys English boarding school
called Munro College. It was called "college" even though it
was only junior high through secondary school, what we here know as 6th
-12th grades). Many of Munro's alumni are now captains of industry
in Jamaica, such as Billy McConnell, my bunk bed mate at age eleven !!
it to say I have very fond memories of my life and times in Jamaica....I
gotta write an autobiography !!!
out my Mom's house that we lived in while her Half Moon Resort was being
a bad little place to be a teenager and have parties!
father, George Topper, Jr. was born in 1917 and spent his
early days after the war working for Fox West Coast
Theaters........run by my grandfather, also named George
Topper. After that he went into commercial real estate management
downtown Los Angeles-based R.A. Rowen & Co., later Wagenseller
and Durst overseeing some of L.A.'s biggest buildings,
including the Franklin Life/Wiltern Theater(at Wilshire and
Western Aves) and B of A Cooper Building downtown, among many
grandfather George purchased all the theaters from founder William
Fox, and was Auditor-General and Treasurer of 600 Fox West Coast
Theaters, later sold to the Mann family in the early
1960's.. He worked for two very successful Greek brothers, Charlie
and Spiros Skouras. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyros_Skouras .
Sprios' brother Charlie ran all the Fox Theaters, while
brother Spiros was President of 20th Century Fox Motion Picture
Company, produced all the movies of that era. Remember this was
back before television or income taxes !!!
grandfather, Walter K. Tuller,
was great friends with Herbert Hoover. If memory serves, my mom said
there I was raised most
of my life as my mother ( at only age 34 !) built the 400 acre beach
front Half Moon Hotel: http://halfmoon.rockresorts.com/default.asp in
1950y first met as opponents in a Cal Berkeley vs. Stanford football
game, and stayed friends and colleagues for life. To fast forward,
my grandpa became personal attache to Gen. "Blackjack" Pershing in
WW I and fought Pancho Villa..... and then went on to be a partner
in O'Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles; and Hoover had his sights on
The White House.
Upon becoming President, Hoover retained my grandpa. I still have
one of grandpas cards titled, Counsel to the President. I have a
rare two-volume work entitled "The History of O'Melveny & Myers"
(not for sale to the public) given to me ages ago by Maynard Toll,
who was president of the firm circa 1971. It is scrumptious reading
if you're a history buff like me. Further, about nine years ago, I
bumped into Warren Christopher in a restaurant and even HE, to my
amazement as a member of the firm, had heard legendary stories about
My mother was raised in the house
on the north west corner of 5th and Lorraine in Hancock Park. In
1935 my grandfather sold the house to Los Angeles Times publisher
Norman (and Dorothy) Chandler.
Allegorically, recently the movie
"There Will Be Blood"? Well, it was based on a book by Upton
Sinclair called "Oil."
Daniel Day-Lewis was actually portraying real-life Edward Doheny,
who was one of several indicted in the Elk Hills oil
scandal....otherwise known as the "Teapot Dome" during the Harding
era. Doheny was the only one who was acquitted, (even though I'm
sure he was guilty like all the others). His defense attorney? My
granpa. Walter K. Tuller !! http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/8124.php
In 1970 I was a partner in a conservative educational think tank and
mass media program based in La Jolla, Ca., in a nutshell; to give
college students the other side of the story they weren't getting.
Injecting some rational sense into the madness. Remember it was a
time when the left was taking over student governments and student
newspapers, rioting and cutting off funds for athletics.
traveled all over the U.S. and raised more seed money from
face-to-face meetings with, among others, people like:
JOHN FORD / Legendary Movie Director
DE WITT WALLACE / Founder, The Readers Digest
SOLOMON PRICE / Founder of Fed Mart and Price Club (Costco)
CHARLES THORNTON / Former Chairman, Litton Industries
FOREST SHUMWAY / Former Chairman, The Signal Companies
which included Signal Oil, Mack Trucks, Garrett Air Research, Mark
C. Bloome Tires
CLAIRE GIANNINI HOFFMAN / Daughter of A.P. Giannini, Founder
of Bank of America;
and Board Member of The World Bank and Bank of America
JUSTIN DART/ Former Chairman Rexall Drugs
ARNOLD O. BECKMAN / Founder, Beckman Instruments
MILTON SHEDD / Founder, Sea World
NEWTON MINNOW / Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
HEARST / University of California Board of Regents
RANDOLPH HEARST / The Hearst Newspapers
L.A. “PAT” HYLAND / Former President, Hughes Aircraft Corp.
PATRICK FRAWLEY / Founder of Paper Mate Pen, Technicolor, Schick
J.B. NETHERCUTT / Founder of Merle Norman Cosmetics and legendary
Nethercutt Museum in Ca.
FRED HARTLEY / Former President, Union Oil Co.
PHILLIP JOHNSON / Former Chairman of Pennzoil Co.
ALF LANDON / U.S. Presidential Candidate who ran against Franklin
LORNA MILLS / Founder, Laguna Federal Savings
R.C. & C.H. HOILES / Founders of The Orange County Register
DAVID THRESHIE / Former Publisher, The Register
CARL KARCHER / Founder, Carl’s Jr.
DONN TATUM / Former Chairman, Walt Disney
LON V. SMITH / Industrialist /Philanthropist
JOHN MC CONE / Former Chairman, Mobil Oil; former Director, CIA
HERB LEO / Former President, MCP Foods
BILLY CASPER / Legendary PGA Golfer
After graduating from CSUF,
and some graduate study at UCLA, (prior
to college I was decorated Vietnam vet) I spent a year studying under the
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) based in New York
at Irvington-on-Hudson. Then we took the whole "crew" for
two weeks of intense libertarian ideological and economic
"alignment" to the-then-brand-new Silverado Inn and Country Club in
evolved into mass media communication to college students
at then-troubled U.S. colleges being "taken over" by leftist radical
students and faculty, SDS, Weathermen et al. The program consisted
in part of millions of sinfully creative and colorful direct mass
mailings to students nationwide by zip code. We strictly focused on
troubled areas like Berkeley, Columbia and campuses having riots
like UCSB). Also, we bought near-campus Foster-Kleiser highway
billboards, and paid radio spots that The Wrecking Crew was coming
The mailings were not
nature. The students would have seen right through that. Rather,
the mailings were extremely subtle, in content and
graphics, with a palatable 'between the lines' alternative message
of the true meaning of the virtues of free market economics vs.
socialism. After we had created a fever-pitch with all this mass
communication, we'd appear to packed houses on campus, and man we
felt like hemophiliacs in a razor blade factory.
together a college lecture tour of scores of U.S. college
campuses.......the lecture "crew" included luminaries
like William F. Buckley, Jr., Al Capp, Nobel Prize winner
(Economics) Milton Friedman, Earnest Van De Haag, Jeffrey Hart.
road, if hotel rooms were scarce, I roomed with Al Capp. You talk
about priceless memories! The first night he took off his trousers
to don his jammies, I saw he had a wooden leg, never even having
been aware of it! I can imagine the look on my face! You might be
too young to remember but he spent the lion share of his years
penning the legendary "L'il Abner" cartoon strip, and had been a
devout ultra-liberal Democrat most of his life. But in his last
years, alas, 'he saw the light, and came over to the right'. Oddly
enough, as there's nothing so refined as the reformed, he became the
most ardent conservative vocalist from the podium!
He told me he was run over by a
train as a kid, (his real name was Albert Caplan.) He joked that it
was fine living with the wooden leg as long as he oiled it every
five hundred miles. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
With all of them actually. Buckley was with me the night my son was
born and tried to persuade me to name him William F. Topper. We
wrote each other often for years. Bill instantly became one of my
all-time heroes; right up there with Dutch Reagan, T.R., Hop-a-long
Cassidy, John Wayne, Ayn Rand and Elvis, to name just a few. (Boy
it's not too often you'll see Ayn Rand and Elvis in the same
After working for near-slave-volunteer
wages at this for three years, in 1974, I returned to politics. I was
born into it. My mom was recruited by Ike to pick him a V.P. mate
for the ticket in 1952. He didn't like Nixon but my mom convinced
Ike that if he wanted to win, Nixon would push the ticket over to a
win. Mom then went on to follow Bob Finch as Executive Director of
Republican Associates in Los Angeles. After that, she went on, at
just 34 years old, to build a 400 acre beachfront hotel in Montego
Bay, Jamaica. What a gal.
I had previously worked a 1962
Republican U.S. Senate campaign for Lloyd Wright..... run by old
shenanigan-prone Murray Chotiner; ......Chotiner even worked for
President Hoover in 1932
But I gotta tell you as a teenager working with these guys, I
learned so much. So much. I was in the thick of it. Out-of-work
actors like Ronald "Dutch" Reagan and Fred MacMurray would come in
and hang out with Chotiner in the campaign office on Wilshire, then
they'd go over and drink and listen to Red Nichols & His Five
Pennies at The Zebra Room in the Sheraton Townhouse. Ah, the
Then I ran a successful second-term
campaign from home in Newport Beach for California State Attorney
General Evelle Younger. Then I closed my
political advertising/public relations firm and went into, of all
things, night club performing. To wit:
www.gregtopper.com . Talk
about a 180. Well, sorry for all my blathering.
"What this country
needs is a re-privatization
Greg has been instrumental through his performances in raising
Ferragamo's Special Olympics
$65K San Diego
$80K Orange County
$4K Los Angeles