Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 01 - 14 - 18 )



SHORT BUT SWEET THIS WEEK ... 

Howard Kaylan announced last week that, due to health reasons, he will not be able to perform on the 2018 Happy Together Tour.  Our long-time FH Buddy Ron Dante (who toured last year for the first time as part of this package) will be filling in, teaming up alongside Howard’s long-time partner, Mark Volman, to perform the hits of The Turtles (and, I’m sure, The Archies as well.)  Other acts on the bill this year include Mark Lindsay, Chuck Negron, The Cowsills, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and The Association, all of whom have done the tour several times before.  (kk)

FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano also sent us the news, along with a post from Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams, who have also been long-standing members of The Happy Together Tour line-up …

Kent,
This is from Carl’s FB page ... just came through and helps explain the “short” Turtles’ participation in 2017. Both Howard and Mark have had their health battles in recent years. BTW … Howard is VERY active on his Twitter account ... still alerting the masses to injustices he wants to bring to light and not afraid to be vocal about it. 
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

We just found out that our dear friend Howard Kaylan will not be performing on The Happy Together Tour this year for medical reasons. We hope and pray it is not too serious. Howard is the heart, soul and voice of that tour. The Buckinghams have been proud to be a part of Happy Together many times through the years. Howard, we hope and pray to see you back on the tour soon in good health.

Carl Giammarese

Both Howard and Mark have participated with Forgotten Hits for many years now and we wish them both the very best in health and happiness.  (We’ve plugged every Happy Together Tour they’ve ever done … and often have posted “Reports From The Road” filed by some of the different artists participating each year.
It looks like they’ll be back at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora in August (an annual event for YEARS now) … hopefully The Genesee Theatre will scoop them up again, too!  (kk)

Talking about upcoming shows, a few weeks back we told you about Jim Peterik's upcoming World Stage Show at The Wentz Theatre in Naperville.
Well, the big event happens next Saturday Night (January 20th) and we can't wait.  (Believe it or not, I've never been to one before!  And Jim has been kind enough to invite us to this one so … root canal be damned … we're planning to go!!!)

And you should, too … check out this year's line up …

Hi Kent! 

Really looking forward to World Stage 2018 - this is the 19th consecutive year for the brand I launched back in 2000. 

Through the years I’ve featured just about all of the people I’ve had the pleasure of touring and songwriting with. This year is no exception featuring yours truly along with my very special guest, Mark Farner -  lead singer / guitarist / songwriter behind the iconic rock band, Grand Funk Railroad.

Also, my friend and special guest, Dave Bickler, Survivor’s original lead singer and vocalist on the multi platinum smash Eye of The Tiger. Dave will also be premiering a track from his soon to be released cd. The song is called Hope and it’s a killer.
 Joining us, too, is Toby Hitchcock of Pride of Lions -  a staple in the show's line up.  He always brings his A-Game.

The Fabulous Ides Of March will be onboard as always with our harmonies and brass featuring a surprise and unadvertised guest.  Also featured will be Colin Peterik, premiering a great new song. Our other two backing singers ,Riley Pettrone and Yvonne Gage, will be performing a sizzling duet together.
The uber fiddle talents of Andy Ohlrich will be adding his magic to various songs including All I See Is You from the latest Pride of Lions cd, Fearless.  Video screens by Greg and Jon Bizzaro will be showing associated footage with every act.

 This show will be a sell out so please get 'em now! 

Hoping to see you there. 

Rock steady

 Jimbo

More ticket information here:

kk -

Listed on your 1968 survey was the song "My Baby Must Be A Magician" … brought back some DJ memories.

Back in 1968, I was working for the Long Island Rail Road as a bookkeeper, at the Flatbush Avenue Ticket Office.  While sitting at my desk working,  I was listening to the old WCBS-FM.  DJ Bill Brown was on 9 AM to noon.  I listened to his whole show -- five days a week.

Kent, I could've easily filled in for him when he went on vacation. I'm not saying I was as good as he was ... I'm saying I knew all his routines. For example , every time he announced the Marvelettes song, he'd say "My Baby Must Be A Magician" - "I told him I was pregnant and he disappeared ."

Here's more:

 "Don't It Make My Bill Brown Eyes Blue"

Here's a song about a "Bill Brown Eyed Girl " 

He never said Mamas & Papas … It was always " Cass - Michelle - John & Denny." 

Great music + Great DJ personality ... Perfect recipe for Great Radio.
FB
Yep, radio sure has changed since then (corny as some of that may sound today!)

This weekend featured "The Billy Joel Take-Over" on The Beatles Channel on Sirius / XM … 
Billy did a seven hour special (run repeatedly throughout the weekend) where he played EVERY single track IN ORDER from The Beatles' US Albums, "Meet The Beatles" (1964) thru "Magical Mystery Tour" (1967), commenting on each one (and often singing and playing little bits of pieces on the piano as he moved thru the list), talking about how each track influenced his life … and the lives of ALL of us who grew up with this music, there, at the time … and the American releases, because (as I've always stated) that's the way WE heard them.  Fascinating stuff.
Terrestrial Radio wouldn't dream of airing a special like this … because it would prove to be interesting and entertaining, something radio today rarely is.  Why would any radio station want to go down THAT road???  To break out of the box and be interesting, entertaining and informative again … and FORGET about infusing a little personality!!!  We all know that'll never work!!!
That's why we used to LOVE the countdown shows … the syndicated specials like The History Of Rock And Roll, where you got the stories behind the music, often from the artists themselves.
It was a different time.  (And yet we wonder today why nobody listens to the radio anymore!)  kk

1st TAKE:  I haven’t heard the whole special yet … it runs about 7 ½ hours and, for some reason, it seems every time I turn it on it’s during the “Magical Mystery Tour” album … which I’ve now heard for the THIRD time!  I’m anxious to hear some of the others, especially Billy’s commentary on the first impact of The Beatles and the “Meet The Beatles” album, as well as two of my favorites, “Beatles ‘65” and “Beatles VI” which are essentially “Beatles For Sale” as resequenced for the American market.  (I’m also curious to see how Billy handles “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Something New” since several of these tracks are duplicated between the two LPs.)  Billy cut a GREAT version of “I’ll Cry Instead” several years ago, which we’ve featured a few times before in Forgotten Hits.
I did hear him play up the whole “America was down in the dumps after the Kennedy assassination and The Beatles came along at the right time to brighten all our spirits again,” a philosophy I’ve shot holes in many times before over the years.  While there may be some element of truth to this, it certainly wasn’t happening at the 11-14 year old teenage girl level … sure, they were shocked that our President could be taken from us … but it didn’t put them in a state of mind that only the sounds of The Beatles could draw them out of.  It’s a bit of an extreme theory in my mind.
Then again, I DO have to agree with Billy’s assessment of The Beatles’ #1 Single “Hello Goodbye,” which I have always deemed as probably their least-deserving #1 based on the standard that they had set for themselves.
Billy says something about Paul’s simplistic lyrics (especially when compared to John’s incredible job on the B-Side with “I Am The Walrus”) and implies that, hot on the heels of the revolutionary success of the “Sgt. Pepper” album, The Beatles may have been testing us … “we could release an album of all of us farting and you’d still buy it” sort of thing!  (Then he goes on to say that those analysts who considered themselves to be completely “in the know” probably spent hours trying to find the TRUE meaning of “You say yes … I say no” … “You say goodbye and I say hello” … wait a minute … yes, I’ve got it … I get it now … it’s all so clear … I see what they’re really saying!”)  SURE you do!!!  (kk)

Speaking of The Beatles …

I love the Beatles timeline video you featured the other day – very well done.
Tom

And, on a final note ...
We finally went to see the Carole King Musical “Beautiful” this weekend at The Cadillac Palace Theatre … it’s been playing in Chicago for a couple of years now yet somehow we never made it downtown to see it … now that it’ll be closing in just two weeks, we figured we’d better make the trip while we still had the chance!
It’s very well done (Frannie asked if we could see it again the following night!) … a very colorful, fun portrayal of the life of one of music’s most prolific songwriters.  (You can only do so much within the confines of a 2 ½ hour musical … so you get lots of great, light-hearted moments … a pretty glossed-over look at the ways of the world back in the days of The Brill Building when song-writing was a craft and employed some of the best in the business … until most of the recording artists started writing their own material) … and the need to cram in as many musical examples as possible within this tight timeframe.  Still, most of this music was SO powerful and SO influential that it was quite an emotional experience to watch it all unfold on the stage … we both got choked up several times knowing how much this music has meant to us and impacted our lives and the lives of so many others over the past 50+ years.
The actress playing Carole King (Sarah Bockel) was spot on and really captured the essence of King’s voice as well.  The journey covers a wealth of material cowritten by Carole and her then-husband Gerry Goffin … as well as several tunes written by their close friends (and fierce competitors) Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who also have a wide array of songs featured throughout the show.  (Honestly, being “The Carole King Story,” I was a little bit surprised by just how much Mann and Weil material was featured … but these two couples dominated the music scene for much of the early-to-mid ‘60’s … and the actors portraying them … Jacob Heimer and Sarah Goeke respectively … were absolutely outstanding.  In fact, if I had to pick a weak link, it would have to be the Gerry Goffin character as portrayed by Andrew Brewer, who was still quite good but didn’t measure up quite as strongly as the other leads.)
Along the way we meet young publishing entrepreneur Don(ny) Kirshner, Neil Sedaka, The Shirelles, The Drifters, Little Eva (in a very fun, light-hearted moment) and The Righteous Brothers (who brought the house down with their stirring reading of Mann and Weil’s “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”.)  We also saw the early inspiration for songs later covered by The Animals (Mann and Weil’s “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”) and The Monkees (Goffin and King’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday’).  Another powerful and stirring highlight for me was the evolution of the song “Walkin’ In The Rain.”
When the music’s this good, it’s hard to focus on very much else … but Carole’s sudden emergence as a solo star in 1971 with her incredible Grammy-winning album “Tapestry” and #1 Hit “It’s Too Late” was nothing short of breath-taking.  (HER big moment was also a big moment in my life as well as she ushered in the singer-songwriter era of the early ‘70’s.)
Highly recommended if it happens to be playing in your area. (Now they need to make THIS into a film for the ages … preferably without ANY Clint Eastwood involvement!!!)  kk

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Saturday Survey (January 13th, 1968)



1-7-68 WGH Newport News, Virginia 

Sandwiched between the James and York Rivers along the Atlantic Ocean lies Newport News, a city of nearly 200,000 today.  A 2016 inductee into the Soul Music Hall of Fame, Barbara Mason found early success with her "Yes I'm Ready."  Mason was one of the few female soul hitmakers writing her own tunes back then.  In the early days of 1968, her nice original "Oh How it Hurts" was attempting to make its mark nationally by breaking out here.  
-- Clark Besch



Aretha Franklin takes over the top spot on this week's Saturday survey, as we feature Virginia in our state-by-state journey through 1968.  (Why not ... last week West Virginia kicked off our brand new series ... and next week you'll see that we've gone in a completely different direction!)

Today's survey comes from Clark's own incredible collection of charts.  Back in 1968, you could hear Dean Martin played back-to-back with The Doors' brand new single.  (#28 and #27 on this week's countdown.)  You won't find ANYTHING near that kind of variety on the dial today!




THIS WEEK IN '68:

1/7/68:  Dionne Warwick appears on The Ed Sullivan Show and sings "I Say A Little Prayer" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".  (kk)

1/8/68:  Elvis Presley turns 33 ... he will end the year with an amazing NBC television special that will spur a tremendous comeback for The King.  (kk)

1/12/68:  The Supremes appear as nuns on an episode of Tarzan  (Ron Smith)

1/13/68:  Johnny and June Carter Cash record a live album at Folsom State Prison in California.  (Harvey Kubernik)