Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tuesday This And That

Sacred Cows: 
Hey Kent –
Thanks for the e mail. WOW, some response to the Bruce Morrow piece!!! Everyone has an opinion, not only of Bruce but of all of us who happened to be working in that golden era of radio the late 50's and 60's right up through the middle 70's.
But you have you know when it's time to step away at the right time ... and hopefully you get to make that call yourself.
I think back to the last time I played the hits and it had to be 1978 ... FORTY years ago! But for me, the timing was right and I moved on to Sports. I'm sure what I did at WHK in Cleveland, 1010 WINS in New York, KYA in San Francisco and here in Washington, DC at WWDC probably would not play in the climate we're in today. But that’s okay … things change and we move on. Like you said, guys like Bruce Morrow and Dick Biondi paved the way.  Hey, I'm just happy they are both still with us! 
Johnny Holliday
Well, you made both those to DJ lists, too, so your early work certainly didn’t go unnoticed. And you were able to spin that off into a far more lucrative and long-lasting sports casting career. Most aren’t so fortunate. (We’ve got a few former top 40 jocks working on television or as weathermen or sidemen on the radio … when you’re born with the gift and the passion it’s hard to step away.)
Sadly, with the sad state of radio today, kids are no longer inspired to pursue a career in broadcasting.  Think about it … how many stations even have live deejays anymore?!?
It’s a shame - and certainly not what any of us grew up with.  (kk)
I'm with you, Kent ... we could talk about it for hours.
I don't get it ... I got in the Biz when I had just turned 18 and loved every minute of it.  Today I enjoy it just as much as I ever did ... but in a much different way.
Anytime you want to discuss further, give me a call.
Keep up the great work.

As always, late to the party, but I had to comment re: Cousin Brucie gaffe and the subject of talking head radio DJs.
Growing up in the Dallas - Ft.Worth area, we did not have (as I recall) any real superjock radio personalities. Ron Chapman of KVIL reigned in the Adult Contemporary sound, John Labella and John Rody from KZEW were the class duo in the rock music scene. Perhaps the shock / supertalk came along later, but at that point I had switched to the oldies station KLUV, which did not have the intense on-air personalities.
Even if there had been more opportunities to hear that type of personality driven programming, I would not have chosen to do so. I love an informed, low-key presentation that showcases and enhances the music; knowledgeable commenting and sharing of accurate information and experiences.
The radio personality who is a master of this format is Bob Stroud of Chicago’s 97.1, The Drive. Stroud is perfection on the air: classy, well-informed, mature, professional. He makes the radio listening experience a real pleasure for those who truly love and appreciate music and musicians. It is a solid relief to know that in listening to a Stroud show, one will not hear prank calls, embarrassing “discussions” of inappropriate bodily functions, or insane cackling from some lame toady in the background.
I will always love Dick Biondi for his pioneering in radio broadcast and for the longevity he has deservedly had. He has an honorable legacy that no one can deny. I have no familiarity with Cousin Brucie, but when a radio personality is frequently passing incorrect information as fact or experience, it’s time to hang it up ... beloved or not. 
Mrs. kk / Frannie 

I enjoyed reading Allan Sniffen's support for Cousin Brucie. However, for Allan to suggest, or even equate him as an on-air DJ equal to The Real Don Steele is beyond absurd.  Steele had far more talent (his ad-libs remain the stuff of legend) whereas Brucie just eeee-i-eeee-i-o'd his way along for years, fumblin, bumblin' and stumblin', as Chris Berman would say.  Still, WABC fans ate it up.  Well, no accounting for taste!
The big difference between both DJs - unlike the famed Cousin, Steele NEVER took himself too seriously. He knew the whole presentation was all about doing a job and giving 110%, yet he knew when to turn off the schtick.  The man didn't carry his on-air perceived ego 24-7, whereas Brucie laser-beams it, projecting that 'better roll out the red carpet for me' kinda attitude to this very day. Steele was one of the most private individuals in the radio industry.  I found that out when, like a radio dork, I went to Los Angeles on vacation, circa 1986. While running all over the city airchecking stations and hitting the boss beaches, I had hoped to flag Steele down after his daily shift stop at KRLA and maybe chat for a few minutes in the parking lot.  Not happening, haha!  Hey, could you even imagine Cousin Brucie doing the role Steele played in "Eating Raoul"? Only Steele could pull that off, because of what I just stated.
A shout out to your followers, Kent, if I may - if anybody out there has board-quality airchecks from WAVZ New Haven, CT, circa 1972 - 1976, please let me know.  I already have everything that is available elsewhere, Reel Radio, etc.

Mike Markesich
I don’t think Allan Sniffen tried in ANY way to equate the talents of The Real Don Steele and Cousin Brucie Morrow … quite the opposite, in fact.  I took his comment to read more as “imagine the fans of The Real Don Steele, a TRUE radio pro, seeing Cousin Brucie elevated to anything near that stature.”
I’ll tell you what … listening to the vintage airchecks on Reel Radio beats just about ANYTHING that’s on the air today … but it sounds like they may be ready to close up shop.  The donations just aren’t coming in to keep them supported … and ever since they had to cut all of their airchecks to scoped versions, it just hasn’t been the same.  But anyone who hasn’t checked them out and wants to hear what Top 40 Radio REALLY sounded like back then, owes themselves a trip to this website.  (There is an annual subscription fee required before you can listen.  However, I just checked and it looks like they are not taking new subscriptions at this time … makes me wonder if this really is the end of this site.  Too bad if it’s true … HOURS of enjoyment to be found here on every new visit.)  kk

Hi Kent:
I was a fan of Cousin Brucie in the Heyday, at least through the 60’s. Living in Milwaukee, I couldn’t get him all of the time, but I  thought he was kind of nuts, which I liked. He had that classic 4 Seasons Intro song. It was good fun. Having said that, I think these mistakes modern shows make are kind of laughable. With all the staff and internet research at your fingertips, it’s amazing how much nonsense gets spewed out. It’s just laziness on everyone’s part that gaffs like that are made. It’s also true that probably only music geeks like us give a crap. Still, it’s kind of unprofessional and seems bogus that simple items like this are messed up. 
I’m with Mike Markesich, I will listen to all the great old airchecks and skip the mediocre retro oldies fodder of the day. 
He still plays that custom Four Seasons track on his Sirius XM Program today ... definitely one of the highlights of his show!  (kk)

As a big AM-DX'er in the 60's, me and my brothers could spin that dial just 10 KC often to get a station with a song we wanted to hear.  What kept us mostly tied to WLS and CFL often WAS the great DJs.  Like you, I was late for Biondi at WLS and only heard him in REAL time when he returned to CFL late nights in late 67.  Even then, he seemed a bit out of place with the hip CFL sound of Barney Pip and Ron Britain coming before him at night.  It was SOOOO hard to choose what DJ on each station was the one to listen to.  Luckily, it was only a 110 KC flip of the dial to go from 890 to 1000.  Biggest obstacle was Larry Neil's OKC stations.  Living in Dodge City, Kansas, WLS and WCFL were clear channel stations who had big drawbacks in my area.  890 was also home to KBYE and 1000 to KTOK, BOTH in OKLAHOMA CITY!  I have tapes of both stations with the OKC stations fading in mentioning the call letters during a song I obviously wanted to tape from Chi stations.  Making it even more odd, was that OKC was home to two great Top 40 stations, WKY at 930 and KOMA at 1520!  930 was also home to LA's great KHJ and we even got it at night and taped it one night in 68!
Now, about Cousin Brucie.  WE were in 7th heaven when WABC came in over another troublesome station.  770 was clear channel WABC, but also housed KOB Albequerque, who was ALSO 50,000 watts like WABC!  Ugh!  We only got WABC (and many other greats) at night, so we heard Brucie, Charlie Greer and Harry Harrison and just knowing about those guys and the station made them stars to us.  It wasn't until I met Ricky Kaufman when he was co-DJ with Larry Neil at KOMA in the 90's that Ricky sent me tapes of Dan Ingram on WABC.  After hearing Ingram on WABC tapes, I found him every bit worthy of praise that Ron Riley and the WLS / CFL jocks got.  To me, Riley and Dex Card and Jim Stagg were the perfect top 40 pro sounding jocks of their times. Ron Britain and Ingram and Big Jack Armstrong were the most crazy and fun guys to hear with great funny wit.  Pip was the trumpet master and unique in every way and his opposition, Art Roberts was the amazing calm story teller that we all loved.  It was just amazing radio.  Clark Weber had his great humor, but being a morning jock (after 63), I seldom heard him in real time, as I was getting up for grade school then.  Those guys have had a lasting effect on me all my life.  Lujack?  He was with me so much longer from 67 - 87 and then for a time in the 2000's, so it's tough to compare, but he was awesome IMO.  So many greats could be mentioned.  We heard Chuck Buell as early as 1961 on KIMN Denver and Fred Winston on WKYC Cleveland in 68.  It was a great time!
Your synopsis is pretty right on, I think.  I appreciate Biondi more NOW than I did then, mostly for his artist help and his controversial radio-speak vs. the powers.  Indeed, he was of the same cloth as the Geater, Brucie, but with the outspoken views of a Bob Crane (yes, HOGAN!) in LA on KNX at the time.  Biondi deserves his legendary status and altho I have changed views of some DJs like Brucie or Jimmy O'Neil, who was a star on TV and KOMA and in LA but was really a line bumbler more often when at KOIL Omaha in the 70's.  STILL, I agree that they are legends and I'd go back and listen to them all if I could.
As for Mike Markesich's nice words, that guy carried the BOSS RADIO flag brilliantly when he first took on radio in the 80's when no one much knew about airchecks.  He was young, but was wise beyond his years as far as 60's radio and music went.  Both Sides Now's Mike Callahan and I had traded tapes and basically, I knew no one else at the time but youngsters like Mike and FH'er Stu Shea were very astute and have carried the flag for decades since.  Both have written books on bands and garage rockers that should be read.  Look them up for some cool reads!  I hope Mike won't mind me sending along a short aircheck of his youthful radio days in Connecticut on Boss Radio WQAQ in the early 80's (?).  I helped supply some vintage edited jingles to fit WQAQ and Mike provided the KHJ format and great DJ patter of 60's Boss radio with obscure tracks long before we had CDs and the internet to find these artifacts.  Pretty nice work dealing with cassettes and 45s and 8 track PSAs like we all did back in the days. 
Great to read Ron Dante's take on writing "Band in Boston" too.  Thanks, Kent!!!  You rule when getting to these guys with obscure questions!  As for Jim Peterik congratulating Paul Shafer on his new show, I hope Paul fixes a big mistake whgile he was Letterman's sidekick.  GET JIMBO on your show.  You played "Vehicle" almost monthly on the show, yet never got Jimbo on to sing and play with the band.  Why?????
As to the Graham Nash / Allan Clarke controversy, I think TONY HICKS is the mastermind of the Hollies.  If you read the great Hollies biography, "Long Dark Road," you might agree that through all the leaving, coming back, leaving, etc, TONY HICKS was the guy who kept the whole thing together and picked many of the hits to record from demos, while Nash and Clarke (both great) get all the applause and accolades.  
Clark Besch

Tony Hicks has never received the credit he deserves for his contribution to The Hollies.  He was the one out there finding a great selection of music for the band to record … and his third harmony helped give the band their distinctive sound.  Again, check out that “Look Through Any Window” DVD … it’s outstanding!  (kk)

I read this, then was really relieved that it wasn't about me!
>>>Cut him some slack… others who have NEVER cared for him in the first place and have always found him to be highly overrated … and then those who say, "yes, he's gotten older … and he's not what he used to be … "  (kk)
James Fairs
LOL … thanks, James, you made my morning!  Great to hear from you!  (kk)

On The Radio:
Some more good news on the local radio front … Me-TV-FM’s ratings are up AGAIN … I got an advance notice over the weekend from Neal Sabin, who couldn’t be happier.  (And with less competition on the dial these days, they should continue to rise … and more folks discover the wide range of variety that can be found here, all on one station!)

Hi Kent. 
Watch for the February Chicago radio ratings out tomorrow.  MeTVFM will be the story I believe.

According to the latest stats, Me-TV-FM jumped from 21st place to 6th in the latest ratings poll!   (That’s an increase in listener share from 2.4 to 3.6 … or 50%!!!)  This is ESPECIALLY encouraging after reading all that radio bankruptcy news over the weekend.

Sabin told Robert Feder:

“We continue to break many of the old ‘radio rules’ by playing thousands of different songs in a strategically balanced manner that span many decades, genres and tempos.”

I was also extremely pleased to see She-FM (100.3 FM)’s Brooke and Jubal program finally break into The Top Ten.  (This is the show that I listen to every morning on the way to work … just as entertaining as hell with a nice mix of music from the ‘80’s, ‘90’s, 2000’s and today … a nice break from my otherwise constant diet of oldies music and classic rock.

With K-Hits (they flipped to all Hip-Hop) and The Loop (now Christian Rock) out of the picture, stations like Me-TV-FM, She-FM and The Drive are enjoying a new influx of listeners looking for more of what they like best on the dial.

To that degree, NOBODY can touch the variety offered my Me-TV-FM.  (I was surprised to read that they’re now ranked #2 during mid-days … since they don’t stream, how is it that people are listening to them at work???)  I still say this is the key missing element that could propel them over the top … by being accessible 24/7 through not only streaming devices but also those areas that still have difficulty picking up their weak signal.  (When I had Me-TV-FM in the car, I never experienced any difficulty … we would often drive 140 - 150 miles outside the city and still get clear reception.  Sooner or later I’ve just GOT to get my car in to see if they can do a radio software upgrade.  Honestly, between Me, She and The Drive, I could easily give up Sirius XM again!)

Congratulations to Neal Sabin, Rick O’Dell and Bill Cochran on your continued success!  (kk)

Clive Topol

This And That:
>>>Are you kidding me???  We’ve featured “The Monkey’s Uncle” a whole bunch of times before in Forgotten Hits!  In fact, I remember playing it one time on Jim Shea’s morning show and making the comment that if they remade this movie today, it would probably star Miley Cyrus, Maroon Five and Snakes On A Plane! (Definitely a better song than a movie!)  kk
I've got that clip of you and Jim ... love it when it hits my shuffle list ... great "updating" of a 60's classic (Annette/Miley. Beach Boys/M5. Monkey/Snakes ...on a plane no less ~ Great fun!),
Really?  Would love it if you could send it to me.  (Actually at the time I think I said Britney Spears … but Miley seemed even more timely today!)  Thanks, Phil!  (kk)
Great bit with the two of you!
Are you still in touch with Jim?
Totally off the cuff … and older than I remember since I referenced Disney’s OTHER “it girl” at the time, Lindsay Lohan … but that makes Miley Cyrus an even better updated choice! 
We hear from Jim every now and then … he’s still on the list and checks us out when he can … working as a podiatrist these days I believe!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
THANK YOU SO MUCH for featuring “MARY  LOU"  by the Great Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks!
He would be in his 80's and I think he is still around. One of our legends.
Glad all your readers had the chance to listen to it.
Hawkins was born in 1935 so he just turned 83 this year.  (He may be more famous for helping to form The Band than for his own work as an artist.)  He formed The Hawks in 1952 … YEARS before people were talking about anything called rock and roll!  (And DIDJAKNOW that he’s also a first cousin to Dale Hawkins of “Susie Q” fame?  (kk)

>>>As to the recording of THE (real) McCOY by the Ventures, I did not know that the instrumental was on the flip of WALK, DON'T RUN. However, and I went to double check since I have the 45, THE REAL McCOY came out in 1959 on Blue Horizon records with a flip called COOKIES AND COKE. Now the song THE REAL McCOY was written according to the record by Wilson and Bogle. The tune THE REAL McCOY is an instrumental with an occasional word or two spoken by a Walter Brennan sound alike. There might be a discrepancy here somewhere but I don't know.  (Larry Neal)
>>>So obviously "The Real McCoy" is a totally different recording that "The McCoy" then … now I'm curious to hear it!  (Especially since it predates The Ventures' hit status!)  kk

Harvey Kubernik’s new book on The Doors, “The Doors Summer’s Gone” is available now …
and check out this awesome cover!

FH Reader Tom Cuddy shares the good word about the revamped edition of one of his all-time favorite bands, Chicago ...

kk …
I went to shows like this one in my younger days,
Frank B.

Can you even imagine seeing a show like this, all on one bill?!?!  Crazy!!! (kk)

And, speaking of great shows, The Arcada Theatre is doing a special live concert television taping of Ann Wilson’s show on Wednesday, April 11th.  (Man, we can’t WAIT to see this one!!!)
Ann will be performing hits from the Heart catalog as well as some new material and soul favorites.  The whole thing will air later in the year on PBS … but you can see it LIVE if you act now.
Complete details can be found below …

St. Charles, IL:  Ann Wilson, the lead singer and songwriter for the superband, HEART, will record her live concert special on Wednesday, April 11th, at the intimate Arcada Theatre. The exclusive performance will air on PBS later this Fall and will include all of the songs that make up the essence of Ann - songs from her solo work as well as the unforgettable hits of HEART. For this special, Ann will also perform iconic soul stirring covers from her upcoming album, "Songs for the Living, Vol. 1," a collection honoring late artists who have greatly inspired and influenced Ann and popular music, set to release this Summer.  
President and CEO Ron Onesti announced the television taping after learning of how quickly Ann's first show, scheduled for Sunday, April 8, sold out. "For me, Ann Wilson truly represents the power of rock and the music of the era," said Ron, "As powerful as it is, even her ballads command rockin' respect."
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees and sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson first showed the world that women can rock when their band, Heart, stormed the charts in the ‘70’s with hits like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Straight On” and so many more. For her Arcada appearances, Ann will be joined by special guests and backed by a band of 'true artists.' “Ann Wilson of Heart is what I have been preparing for all my life” said the singer, “The time is right, and I’m ready.”
Tickets for the 7:00pm performance are $75, $95, $125, $150 or $175 and are available at oshows.com or by calling 630-962-7000.
The Historic Arcada Theatre is a 900-seat Vaudeville-era theatre that hosts over 300 live concerts annually.

The Onesti Entertainment Corporation
105 East Main Street • St. Charles, Illinois 60174 • 630.962.7000 •

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 03 - 18 - 18 )

Cousin Brucie:  
As expected, my Cousin Brucie commentary on Friday sparked a series of responses.  Folks seem split into a few different camps on this one … those who say "cut him some slack … he was one of the best there ever was" … others who have NEVER cared for him in the first place and have always found him to be highly overrated … and then those who say, "yes, he's gotten older … and he's not what he used to be … but he was there for the dawn of it all … and if you weren't there with him, you probably won't get him at all now." 

And I can relate to that … if only by using our own Dick Biondi again as an example.  (I'll probably get crucified for some of this but there are a lot of parallels here, so here goes!) 

Biondi was revolutionary for his time … outspoken, outlandish … speaking out against the establishment by criticizing his boss and WLS Management on the air … he immediately established a unique bond with his audience and they LOVED him for it!  He was recording music parodies while Weird Al Yankovic, Steve Dahl and  Jonathan Brandmeier were still wearing diapers. 

Remember, rock and roll was brand new then … nobody knew how to handle it … because for the first time in pop music history, it was the KIDS who were dictating the hits … this music spoke directly to them … so even though most of these jocks (like Alan Freed and Biondi and Cousin Brucie and Wolfman Jack and Jerry Blavat and Hy Lit and all the others) were considerably older than their audience, they inspired these kids to “bring out the crazy” and enjoy this music … using whatever tactics they could come up with.  And it worked. 

But by and large the game changed once The British Invasion hit … jock patter became more sophisticated … they HAD to know about the music because there were new artists on the scene every week … names that would live in infamy forever more.  And these guys … this new crop of jocks … were there to make you feel part of the scene.  Perhaps the nationally most famous was Murray The K, who attached himself to The Fab Four as "The Fifth Beatle."  Here in Chicago it was people like Ron Riley and Art Roberts at WLS and Ron Britain and Barney Pip at WCFL that pushed the envelope, raising the intelligence level a notch by challenging the listeners to keep up and participate … and that worked well until the next wave of jocks came along and revolutionized our listening habits again forever more.  Guys like Super Jock Larry Lujack and John Records Landecker … before giving way to the Steve Dahls and Howard Sterns and Mancows who seemed to be there only to derive some type of shock value with their comments.  It wasn’t even about the music anymore.

I can only speak for Chicago here (and honestly, Biondi's golden time with WLS ended before I was even listening to the radio ... and I would have been too young to get most of it anyway) ... but there was a time when EVERY teenager was listening ... there really wasn't anything much in the way of competition back then for Top 40 Rock And Roll ... WLS was it ... and anything that Biondi said or did was heard by ALL ... and repeated and talked about the next day within those circles.  (It was like that with Lujack in the '70's and '80's ... all you had to do was start a sentence at any time during the day with, "Did you hear what Lujack said this morning?" and it was an automatic, resounding "Yes" ... because EVERYBODY was listening ... everybody heard it and those conversations continued to spark throughout the day because we were all joined as one and hung on every word to hear what he was going to say next.) 

The simple fact is, hard as it may be to swallow, that guys like Biondi and Cousin Brucie really haven’t been relevant since 1963.  That’s taking NOTHING away from these guys … they’re broadcasting LEGENDS … and had such a HUGE impact on the lives of MILLIONS of teenagers growing up that those same fans will tolerate a sub-standard performance today just because of who these guys were and how much they meant. 

Chicago LOVES Dick Biondi … he’s an institution … we've named a street after him here! ... we’re doing all we can to help raise funds to make a documentary on his life, a documentary that NEEDS and deserves to be made to celebrate a life worth celebrating … but the plain and simple truth is that he hasn’t done a show entertaining enough to be worth remembering since the ‘70’s.  

Still, he LIVES to be on the radio … he's actually told me that he wanted to die on the air … it’s all he’s ever done … it’s all he’s ever known … radio is the love of his life and he has dedicated every minute of his life to it … but just like every other fad that comes along, it comes with an expiration date.
Bruce Morrow’s passed decades ago.  The difference is he still tries to speak with some authoritative relevance.  While he was still on the air, Biondi would reminisce about those early day … GREAT stories … and many of the artists would even call in or come on the air to reminisce with him.  Dick (and ONLY Dick) could get away with deviating from the play list and spin some of the records he played on WLS back in the early '60's because there was usually a great story behind them ... or a lifetime loyal listener request that just couldn't be denied and had to be honored.

Health issues have kept him off the air for awhile now ... and he really should have gracefully retired 25 years ago ... but he just loves it too much ... and his audience loves him ... so radio has provided a "permanent home" until such time he simply can't do this anymore.  (Much like Morrow, I imagine, what radio programming director would EVER want it on his epitaph that HE was the guy who fired Dick Biondi for the last time?!?!)   

Every major artist from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s owes a HUGE debt to Dick Biondi for the boost he gave their careers … if only by playing them and talking about them on the air.  I guess in that respect, Cousin Brucie deserves the same … but then up your game a little bit if you want to stay in it.  The old schtick doesn’t work in 2018.  Go ahead and rest on your laurels while you still can … and bask in the adoration of the fans ... but then shut up once in awhile and play some music!!!  (kk)
Check out these two cool ‘60’s DeeJays links that I found … you'll find Cousin Brucie and Dick Biondi listed on BOTH of these … Biondi's even listed at #1 on one of them.  They truly changed the game in a revolutionary way ... but then never really changed again with it to keep up with the times ... thus never really developing their original connection with any type of a new audience.  The diehards who were there remain true ... but can anybody name ANYTHING that either Dick Biondi or Cousin Brucie have said or done on the air that's been worth repeating since 1975???  

One reason I enjoy following your efforts - you ain't afraid to "Say It Like It Is," even if I find you to be misguided in rare instances ("It Must Be Him" by Vicki Carr will always be Puke City, USA to me).  

Anyway .... Hear! Here! regarding the incredibly lame legend NYC DJ, Cousin Brucie and his woeful, laughable Hollies comment. I'll go even further - people who grew up in the NYC area routinely champion and brag about 77WABC and their line-up of jocks. I personally am sick and tired of the incessant flag-waving for a station that was really BORING to listen to. 
For me, I was a little bit too young for their 1960's heyday. During the early to mid 1970s, I preferred my local stations over tuning in W-A-Bloated-C on the transistor radio. If I was somewhere, and WABC was playing on the radio, I'd flip the dial every chance I got. The weekly playlist selected by gestapo programmer Rick Sklar notwithstanding (they were always a month behind, charting hits that already peaked and were recurrents locally).  Of all their jocks, Brucie was thee worst.  His god-awful, idiotic "eeeyyyeeee" squeals were aural fingernails clawing a chalkboard. His delivery was totally goofy, and came across as someone who tried way to hard, in my opinion, to sound hip.
When I began collecting old 1960s radio airchecks in the mid-1980s, WABC was one of the stations often sent to me via trades with other collectors.  Upon careful listening, I reaffirmed my assumptions - the format was cluttered, the jocks rambled far too long, the songs were overplayed and late when compared to other competing stations.  I grew to be even more annoyed with the incessant gabbing of Cousin Bruce.  Whereas Ingram was tolerable, Brucie was just too damn annoying. If I lived in NYC, I'd be tuning into any other available Top 40 station, not WABC.
When I discovered the Chicago stations WLS and WCFL via old airchecks, thanks to my long time pal Clark Besch, I was immediately hooked.  Ron Britain and Barney Pip sounded and delivered a much more teen oriented attitude while sounding "with it", whereas WABC jocks were elders trying to be hip. And upon discovering KHJ! Wow!! Where have ya BEEN all my life?  Morgan, Mack, Steele, Riddle, Tuna, and Humble Harv ... Christ! These jocks kicked Top-40 ass round the clock!! That was exactly the kind of station I would've been hooked on 24-7 as a teenager during their heyday. Uncluttered on-air presentation, catchy short jingles, and rockin' weekly playlists that were immediate and happening. Naysayers of Bill Drake and Ron Jacobs can just stick it - those guys were like the Beatles of radio programming during the 1960s. I know WABC was the all-time greatest share-rated station during their heyday, but, so what? As a listener and fan of Top 40 radio, I have always been more concerned and interested in quality, not overall popularity.
Now, regarding Cousin Brucie's errant authoritarian commentary with Graham Nash - absolutely no excuse for that idiotic, uninformed assertion. I'll bet if someone like myself or you were able to tell him
right afterward about the comment, I'll bet any amount of money that Brucie's reply would be, "So what?  Nobody really cares about that stuff."
I'm not surprised, however, that this kind of rewriting history of rock and roll occurs regularly with Sirius programming - most of the people who work there think MTV was the first channel to broadcast rock and roll, support rap music artists as rock and roll hall of fame inductees (barf!) and certainly can't name five Chuck Berry songs, let alone identify him without having to look via their smartphone. The Sirius formats are impotent flops, especially when it comes to oldies.  The same, overplayed 150 songs.  The oldies jocks, like the esteemed Cousin Bruce, are boney fossils that should have been sent out to pasture years ago. There are far, far better options to listen to than Sirius for oldies  -  via webstream on the 'net, brought direct to you from people who operate their own internet stations.  They are passionate, they know rock and roll history, and jeez, you can actually hear something you may not know, or have not heard in eons.  There is no chart referencing program director telling you: "Hey, you can't play *that* song, it only peaked nationally at #22, it wasn't a hit." Is it any wonder the scant few oldies formats broadcasting on terrestrial radio are perpetually whirling around in the toilet before changing formats?
My late, former DJ friend had it absolutely right whenever we conversed about radio (almost always, as we had both been employed as DJ's on AM and FM stations for a time) - terrestrial radio has gone the way of the DINOSAUR.  Thank God the people who worked during the Top 40 heyday of the 60's and '70s kept tabs on the operation by recording the broadcasts. I'll listen to one of my 1,000s of airchecks anytime over some modern oldies channel or station. Folks like yourself, Clark Besch, and many others are the true behind-the-scenes kingpins keeping the spirit and fun alive, not the has-been Cousin Bruce's of the radio world.
Mike Markesich

You'll find some serious rebuttal by way of this perspective from Allan Sniffen who, by the way, I believe runs HANDS DOWN, BAR DONE, the best Internet Oldies Station on the planet, Rewound Radio.   
They help keep the spirit of Top 40 Radio alive by running vintage airchecks over the weekend and while tied to the past of WABC by nature, they also feature programming from Top 40 Jocks from all over the country including (somewhat frequently) many of our Chicagoland heroes who, I believe, raised the bar significantly when it came to entertaining broadcasting.

Here's his take on this whole Cousin Brucie thing …

Hi Kent:
As you know, I run the Musicradio WABC web site (since 1996) and program and DJ on Rewound Radio.  I grew up with Cousin Brucie and have chronicled his career on
Musicradio77.com and on Rewound Radio.  I saw your comments about his flubbing the Hollies song and I'd like to give you some perspective on Bruce Morrow.
I totally understand why you're not a fan.  If you didn't grow up with him on WABC, you'll never get him.  I will tell you that he was amazing as the nighttime DJ on the biggest radio station in the nation of that era (WABC).  He had a sixth sense for how to appeal to his young audience as a friend, "cousin" and confidant.  No one ... and I mean no one (yes, I'm including Dick Biondi) was as good at that as he was.  He really was sincere and in the process advocated his listeners do the right things.  He truly reached them through a small transistor radio stuck under a pillow.  His fan base will never lose that bond he created back then.
All that said, if you're not one of the millions of baby-boomers who became a fan at that time, you'll never get him now.  As an adult hearing him since about 1974, he sounds like a DJ with poor technical skills and goofy commentary who should talk less.  He's partially responsible because he's been riding his own coattails for so long he's become a caricature of himself.  It's like a TV sitcom when they exaggerate the past. 
Bruce messed up the Hollies / Graham Nash story because he doesn't know any better.  He was never really into the music as New York DJ's Scott Muni or Bob Lewis were.  What he wanted was to be a star and if the music got him there, he was cool with it.  As the years have gone by, he's tried to set himself up as a music historian because that's where the tide has taken him as his baby-boomer audience has aged. 
For the most part, he gets away with it as long as someone is ghost writing behind him and he stays on the script.  To those who love him, it's just "Brucie being Brucie".  They don't care if he's not perfect.  If anything, it makes him more endearing.  To those who don't get him, it's maddening.  I talk to radio people all the time who think I'm crazy for celebrating him.  I get why.  Imagine if you're a Real Don Steele fan!
I suspect Sirius messed up the segment and gave him an inappropriate song.  Then he didn't know any better and you heard the results.  Annoying as it is, his fans won't mind a bit.  
-- Allan Sniffen

Cousin Brucie is the most miserably boring jock in radio history. He once dared at an oldies concert I attended at Madison Square Garden around '95 to declare that rock 'n roll had been invented in the men's room at the high school he attended in Brooklyn.
He is the primary reason I am closing my subscription to Sirius. Book it, the Drive 97.1 has a better overall play list that this satellite crap. Wow, I feel better already.
Chet Coppock
New book: "Chet Coppock in Pursuit of Chet Coppock" due out in July

Hi Kent: 
Sorry to hear about Cousin Brucie's faux pas regarding Graham Nash. I'm one of those Brucie fans dating back to when I was about six years old in northern New Jersey, and an avid listener of WABC. Brucie has always been somewhat eccentric, with his rapid-fire talk and almost stream-of-consciousness patter (evident on his airchecks from the '60s and '70s, preserved on the web site www.77musicradio.com). I don't have satellite radio, so I haven't heard him on Sirius or anywhere else in quite some time, but I agree that he should have taken at least a moment to double-check himself before presenting the wrong song to demonstrate Nash's wonderful singing. In his defense, I could only speculate that it was a case of Brucie having had the song in his head for the past several decades, always attributing the vocals to Nash, even though that wasn't the case. Lord knows the man must have such an overstuffed musical database in his brain that a glitch is bound to happen once in a while. I'm sure I've done that myself many times, unwittingly crediting one artist for something that another had recorded. I understand your point that a professional of Brucie's experience and stature should not make such a glaring mistake, and, to be honest, I'm surprised that he is still going strong at his advanced age. Those who aren't fans of his might argue that it's time for him to hang-up the ol' headset, but his genuine enthusiasm for what he does can't be denied. So, while it was an embarrassing (or, if you prefer, inexcusable) mistake for him to make, I personally would give him a pass this time. His intentions were good, in praising Nash's work, he just screwed up by choosing a song he thought was a Nash vocal, but simply wasn't. I'm sure it's been pointed out to him by now. Oh,well. We're all human. Anyway, keep up the good work!
--Garry Berman

I didn't hear the "Cousin Brucie" Morrow gaffe, but I'm not the least bit surprised.  To put it bluntly, at age 82 Bruce Morrow is past it.   He was big-big-big in New York 50 years ago, but these days he's just a shadow of his former self.  His SiriusXM show is an embarrassment ... constantly calling everyone "cousin" and basically babbling, when listeners want to hear music.  It is indeed sad when people "age out," but sadder still when they don't realize it and continue to pretend they're still as good as they used to be. 
Henry M / Connecticut

Hi Kent,
Oh, you’ve touched on a pet peeve of mine too!!  That’s not the first time I’ve of the Graham Nash / ”Long Cool Woman” comment from a deejay.  This happens a lot with many bands these days and I’m yelling at the radio that the deejay is a moron!
Yes, Cousin Brucie does seem more interested in talking than taking any interest in the music he’s playing.  Seems to me at this point he’s been doing it for so long that he’s fairly confident about what he says, details be damned.  But the Hollies one is a great mistake that many have made.  I’ve also heard Diana Ross mentioned with the Supremes as they’re about to play “Up the Ladder to the Roof” or “Stoned Love”, both hits with Jean Terrell on vocals after Ross left.  If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t tell us who’s singing.
Sirius XM music stations are constantly frustrating to me.  The 60’s channel is better than most “oldies” stations but still plays songs that made the top 10 and rarely go much deeper.  Very frustrating.  And the Volume channel … oh my!  A music talk channel is an excellent idea but most of what I hear on this channel are former deejays (or veejays from MTV who are now legends I guess) talking about some of the most inane topics or some of the most inconsequential “artists” like Bieber or some other passing pop star that matters not.  The Debatable show is, on occasion, interesting if the deejays could stop trying to impress us with how much they know.  There are some great interviews with some legends sometimes and there is the occasional half hour interview with some unique performers or music related players.  Just not enough of this overall.  A lot of filler it seems to me.
The Eddie Trunk on Volume show is all heavy metal 90% of the time even though he says it’s not about that.  I listen in to see how long it takes for him to mention Kiss on any given day.  It rarely takes very long.  Still, I like his enthusiasm and knowledge of his genre as he is genuine and truly loves his music and the people that make it.
The Deep Tracks is quite good as it plays album tracks that you may remember or not but it’s much better than hearing the same old stuff.  My only frustration here is how many times they play “hits” that we’ve heard many times and aren’t, um, deep tracks!
The Rascals news is indeed fascinating and wonderful to hear about.  I’m one of their biggest fans from back in the day and know every song and album by heart.  They made some amazing, soul-filled, rock and sounded like no other. 
I did see the “Once Upon A Dream” show (twice) and thought it was quite good.  They played the hits as well as some deeper tracks which was really nice to hear.  Hopefully this will happen with the new incarnation.  Frustrating that Dino won’t be involved as he is a fantastic and underrated drummer and truly should be playing on these songs.  My fear is that Carmine might overplay as he can do, although he is an amazing drummer also.  These guys all go back to NY / Long Island scene of the 60’s and I’m guessing have known each other from way back then.
Try as I have, I’ve never gotten the whole scoop on the breakdown of the Rascals and why it is so hard for them to get together.  40 years passed before the “Dream” tour and it was amazing to hear that they were getting together again and so great to see them together making music.  Felix always infers that Eddie leaving during the “Search and Nearness” sessions was as the core of their distance.  He seemed very bitter when he did talk about it in interviews and laid the end of the Rascals on Eddie’s leaving but I suspect there are two sides to this one like everything else.
I also saw a Facebook post from Dino a couple of years ago where he said that if the Rascals were to get together again that there would have to be contracts signed and everyone getting the same share of the pie.  Not sure but it sounds like he might have been bitter about the “Once Upon A Dream” situation and how things played out there.
As much as I love this band, I saw Felix’s show last year and was quite disappointed.  He sounds great but seemed like he was just going through the motions ... played the hits and was gone after about one hour and then a two song encore.  Why travel from city to city and play as little as you can?  I never understand this with bands.  “Here’s the hits you came to hear with a guitar solo thrown in here and there, good-bye.”   Oh well.
AXS-TV is a highlight on the vast wasteland of music on tv, agreed!  Some great concerts and interviews.  The Dan Rather interviews are really quite good (even though Dan wouldn’t be my first choice for this) with some important musicians.  This coming Tuesday he’ll be interviewing John Densmore and Robbie Krieger from the Doors.
Bubble Puppy vs. Balloon Farm … tough call!  I was a big fan of “Question of Temperature” back in the day. 
Thanks, Kent, for all you do.  You got me thinking today!!
Jim House

Jimmy Wisner
I am so sad today to have lost my great friend, Jimmy “The Wiz” Wisner, who passed away March 13th. He was my arranger, co-producer, and songwriting partner for 52 years. Our first record together was "I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW" in 1966. Our latest collaboration was two songs on my soon to be released new album ALIVE! ... he will be terribly missed! Our prayers go out to Jane, his wife, and Matt, his son.
Tommy James

Hi Kent. 
I was so saddened by the passing of Jimmy Wisner.
I worked with him on so many record productions.
His production of Bob Dileo's "Band In Boston" was so cool.
I wrote the song with my writing partners Bobby Feldman (who was one of The Strangeloves and co-producer of The Angels and The McCoys.) The other writer on that song was my longtime writing partner Gene Allan, who was originally in The Tempos, who recorded an early version of "See You In September".
Jimmy Wisner did an incredible job every time I worked with him.
Truly a legend of his era.
See you this summer when I take over as the lead singer of The Turtles on the "Happy Together Tour".
Rock on bud,
Ron Dante
Looking forward to it.  Thanks for the insight on "Band In Boston," a pretty cool undiscovered track!  (kk)

Don't forget Jimmy "The Wiz" Wisner's own Top 10 hit, "Asia Minor," which he recorded under the name "Kokomo" because he was afraid his peers in the classical music field would look down on him for cutting a pop record!   "Asia Minor" -- a rocklin' adaptation of Grieg's "Piano Concerto in A Minor" -- soared to #8 in the spring of 1961.
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"

On the passing of Jimmy Wisner, musical producer, arranger, songwriter, nothing was said but isn't this the same Jimmy Wisner who, in 1961, had a record with a catchy little tune called ASIA MINOR on Felsted records? He recorded it under the name of Kokomo. This was not mentioned maybe because it might be considered one of the least of his accomplishments.
Larry Neal
Double-mentioned now for good measure!  (kk)

This And That: 
Eagle Rock Entertainment will be releasing Days Of Future Passed Live by The Moody Blues on DVD, Blu-ray, 2CD and 2LP next Friday on March 23th.
Filmed in high definition, this title captures the incredible night when the band performed Days Of Future Passed live in its entirety with a full orchestra.
The Moody Blues’ classic 1967 album Days Of Future Passed  is regarded as one of the foundation stones of the progressive rock genre. In 2017, the band headed out on the album’s 50th Anniversary Tour, including this stop at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto, accompanied by a full orchestra. The concert begins with the band by themselves performing a selection of classic Moody Blues tracks before they are joined by the orchestra to perform Days Of Future Passed in its entirety plus a couple of fantastic encore tracks. The bonus feature, entitled ‘Remembering Days Of Future Passed’, delivers brand new interviews with Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge discussing the making of this classic album.
The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward (guitar, vocals); John Lodge (bass, vocals) and Graeme Edge (drums, percussion) are joined on stage by Norda Mullen (flute, guitar, percussion, vocals); Julie Ragins (keyboards, percussion, guitar, saxophone, vocals); Alan Hewitt (keyboards, vocals); Billy Ashbaugh (drums, percussion) and Elliot Davis (musical director, conductor and co-arranger). The live show also features the voice of Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons on the two spoken word tracks Morning Glory and Late Lament.
Days Of Future Passed Live is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 2CD and 2LP and can be ordered here.

Hi Kent!  
Great column jam packed with great nuggets!  
Thanks for posting the clip from Paul Shaffer’s new show on Sirius XM. Looks great. Paul is a old friend and I called to congratulate him. Wanted to thank all our friends for the well wishes yesterday on our day -  the Ides Of March! 
We are busy getting ready for our two set show at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights on Mar 23rd.  The two set show will start out unplugged ... and then the second set will feature full brass jacket, including a couple of songs we haven’t done in decades and a newer one we never play called Who I Am from our box set. 
You can also catch The Ides at City Winery May 3rd. If you’ve never been there, you will love this venue. 
And don't forget the next Cornerstones show at the Arcada on Sunday, April 29th. It'll be a matinee show with a few surprises!  Tba soon!
Thanks again, Kent, for keeping the music and the memories alive. 
Rock steady.

I’ve always believed Graham Nash receives WAY to much credit for the success of the Hollies. Allan Clarke was the voice of the group, with Nash AND Tony Hicks providing back-up vocals and parts of the great Hollies three-part harmonies. Nash seems to get way too much reciprocal Hollies credit because of his Crosby / Stills / Nash membership, while Clarke gets way too little. Even Nash, at the Hollies’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, called Clarke one of the greatest lead vocalists in rock history.
Bob Verbos
I would agree that Allan Clarke has one of the greatest (yet under-appreciated) voices in rock history … he was a key part of The Hollies' sound … but it was their incredible three-part harmony that won the band their greatest accolades over the years … other groups aspired to be just like them.  (Here in Chicago nearly all our Local Heroes were first inspired by the incredible vocals The Hollies demonstrated … themselves HUGE fans of The Everly Brothers.)
This goes to one of my greater on-going points about The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame … (oh no, there he goes again, off on another RRHF tangent!!!)  But the WHOLE point of this organization was to recognize the artists who moved the genre of rock and roll forward into new directions with new ideas and inspiration.  Back then, artists influenced each other … and egged each on to newer and greater heights because of the extreme amount of competition for airplay and fan base.   So you had The Everly Brothers inspiring The Hollies (they ultimately cut an album together … can you even IMAGINE what that must have felt like for The Hollies to be there in the studio working with and producing perhaps their favorite artists of all time!!!) … and then The Hollies inspired other artists all over the world to strive for better harmonies and finding that third and fourth part.  Who the heck did Bon Jovi inspire?!?!  We can see who inspired THEM … but what have THEY done to move the genre forward?  (OK, stepping off the soap box now!)
If you haven't already done so, read Graham Nash's biography … it is a glowing tribute to the vocal abilities of his oldest and dearest friend, Allan Clarke.
And by ALL means pick up a copy of The Hollies DVD "Look Through Any Window" … it is an absolute MUST HAVE for EVERY music collection, INCREDIBLY well done, spotlighting the true talents of ALL of the members of the band.  (You'll find our review here, along with a few other comments and a look at Graham Nash's book.)
Meanwhile, you've inspired me to run this clip again, too!  (kk)

Now granted, it IS Graham who takes the lead on this one (pointing that out for Cousin Brucie's sake, too, in case he wasn't sure!) but this is just SUCH a cool clip I had to feature it again!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Great info on Graham Nash, especially with "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" (one of my favorites!).
A singer of the past, Ronnie Hawkins (& the Hawks) how amount some insight on him?
One of his best songs was  "MARY  LOU" (cool lyrics for the day: "I had a '55 Ford and a Two Dollar Bill and when she took that it gave me a Chill...")
I don't know that we've ever done any type of feature on Ronnie Hawkins (although I know he has come up a time or two … but I wouldn't know where to begin to find it!!!)
"Mary Lou" was a #24 Hit back in 1958 … so the least we can do is feature it!  (kk)

Have you ever printed a Disc Jockey countdown like this one? 
March 15, 1958.

No, but this is exactly the type of chart I was talking about from back in the day when Billboard ran multiple pop hit charts in their publication.  This continued until 1958 when everything was finally consolidated into The Hot 100 Chart, which is the way these records have been ranked ever since.  (kk)
And, since we're stuck in 1958, let's feature this one, too!
WE thought it was a BRILLIANT move … but apparently not everybody felt the same way.  (On the other hand, back in 1975 we couldn’t understand why on earth The Eagles would want to bring Joe Walsh on board … or why he’d want to stay there!)
But Vince Gill seems to be fitting in just fine … and it sounds like everybody’s happy all the way around.
FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us this clip of Gill talking about this:

Hey Kent -
I did an extensive interview with Bill Champlin, who was with Chicago from 1981-2008. He's the guy who suggested they use producer David Foster, which ended up both invigorating and fracturing the band. Bill explained that it wasn't just the horn section that felt marginalized - Foster brought in studio musicians (often the Toto guys) to play, which made the band feel like an upscale version of The Monkees. It became all about Peter Cetera, which was rough not only on the band, but on the fans who heard Chicago go from "25 To 6 To 4" to "Hard To Say I'm Sorry."
Before Chicago, Bill was in a great San Francisco band called Sons Of Champlin. They were right there musically, but couldn't break through because of (as Bill explained) their youthful stupidity. He also co-wrote Earth, Wind & Fire's "After The Love Has Gone" and George Benson's "Turn Your Love Around." Fortunately, he didn't hang up on me when I asked why the girl in that song was "charging by the hour" for her love.
Here's the interview:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

Carl also did a recent interview with Andy Kim, which can be found here:  http://www.songfacts.com/blog/interviews/andy_kim/

And so did WRCO's Phil Nee, who sent us this clip to share:

It was exactly 50 years ago today that The Beatles had a song on the charts titled LADY MADONNA.
Five months later they would release the follow up single -- HEY JUDE.
Question:  Did Paul McCartney have a thing for Biblical names?
Could be … Mother Mary came to him a couple of years after that!  (And let's not forget Gideon's Bible in "Rocky Raccoon"!)  kk

As to the recording of  THE (real) McCOY by the Ventures, I did not know that the instrumental was on the flip of WALK, DON'T RUN. However, and I went to double check since I have the 45, THE REAL McCOY came out in 1959 on Blue Horizon records with a flip called COOKIES AND COKE. Now the song THE REAL McCOY was written according to the record by Wilson and Bogle. The tune THE REAL McCOY is an instrumental with an occasional word or two spoken by a Walter Brennan sound alike. There might be a discrepancy here somewhere but I don't know.
You say you are going to have a special feature on Easter Sunday, April 1. Looking forward to that. Are you going to be posting I WANNA BE AN EASTER BUNNY by the Singing Reindeer? (lol)
Larry Neal
So obviously "The Real McCoy" is a totally different recording that "The McCoy" then … now I'm curious to hear it!  (Especially since it predates The Ventures' hit status!)
Sorry, no … no Singing Reindeer for Easter … but a more in-depth look back at the '50's than we typically do in Forgotten Hits.  Stay tuned … I think you'll enjoy it!  (kk)


I’m not sure I understand the relevance of these two Annette Funicello links I got today … but here goes!

kk …
Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman) talks about Annette.

And then …

You probably don't remember this movie.  It’ a fun song.

Are you kidding me???  We’ve featured “The Monkey’s Uncle” a whole bunch of times before in Forgotten Hits!
In fact, I remember playing it one time on Jim Shea’s morning show and making the comment that if they remade this movie today, it would probably star Miley Cyrus, Maroon Five and Snakes On A Plane!  (Definitely a better song than a movie!)  kk