Friday, March 22, 2013

Today's Forgotten Hits

Top Ten ...

55  Years Ago Today:

Having spent the day on Catalina Island several years ago (and nearly being stranded there overnight due to heavy fog for our return trip), this song now holds a special meaning for me.  But then again, it's ALWAYS been a great song!

50 Years Ago Today:
No denying this bossa-nova beat.  If it doesn't make you want to get up and dance, it'll surely have you tapping your foot before it's over ... and my guess is, will also be haunting you for the rest of the day, playing over and over again in your head!

45 Years Ago Today:
The other day I mentioned a couple of Aretha songs that always get me going ... and this is certainly one of them!  The Queen of Soul hit The National Top Ten an incredible nine times in 1967 and 1968 alone!

40 Years Ago Today:
A bonafide Top Three smash, you rarely hear this one on the radio anymore.  While not REALLY a "One Hit Wonder", this IS the song you're going to remember Canada's Edward Bear for.

35 Years Ago Today:
How dominating were the sounds of Barry Gibb and The Bee Gees 35 years ago today?
Four of America's Top Five Singles were written and produced by Barry ... including this one by baby brother Andy.  You'll hear "Shadow Dancing" and "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" ... but "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" ALSO went to #1 ... and, in my opinion, is stronger than EITHER of these two mega-hits.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday This And That

You may be asking yourself: "What's Love Got To Do With It" after reading this article. (Then again it seems that you can always count on Mike Love to put a damper on any positive Beach Boys news.) On the bright side, it sounds like Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks will be doing some shows together later this year ... as will the "Mike and Bruce Show" who has the rights to The Beach Boys' name.  

This from Endless Summer Quarterly Publisher David Beard:  
Mike Love says "Que Sera Sera" to the Beach Boys Future
Today marks the 72nd birthday for The Beach Boys frontman Mike Love. He is now touring with his bandmate Bruce Johnston, but many longtime fans of the group had hopes that the group had put their differences behind them. It was not to be. The major difference that exists today is what makes each member the most comfortable. That’s the plain truth. It might be boring, but it’s true.
In late September of 2012 the news broke that Love was booking more show appearances with Johnston as The Beach Boys. Love immediately fell under heavy criticism, and was accused of having fired his cousin, Brian Wilson. The fact was he couldn’t. Love does not have the authority. Mike did however, have full control over his options. One option was to continue to book shows with the band configuration used for the Beach Boys 50th Anniversary tour. He chose to go back to his smaller group consisting of John Cowsill, Scott Totten, Randell Kirsch, Tim Bonhomme and his son Christian. This was publicly regarded as a betrayal by Brian, Al Jardine and David Marks (although Jardine and Marks never publicly voiced this). As a result, Mike sent a letter to the LA Times that appeared in circulation on Friday, October 5. Four days later — at the request of the LA Times — Brian sent in his rebuttal.
Today, Love, along with Johnston, are in full swing of their 2013 tour. This time without bandmates Wilson, Jardine and Marks. The perception is Mike does not want to work with the others. I think there may be some truth in this statement, but not for the reasons that most perceive. Love has grown very accustom to traveling with his configuration. Mike calls it, “streamline.” In other words, he knows everyone will be where they are supposed to be when they need to be … No worries. And at 72, who needs to worry? 
You'll find the whole story (and an exclusive interview) here:
And, speaking of The Beach Boys, here's an interesting article about an INCREDIBLE Beach Boys collection, submitted by Frank B by way of Ron Smith's website:    
The Beach Boys' songs of youth and romance won a worldwide audience and fame to rival the Beatles. Now an archive of material, spanning the first two decades of their career and revealing how some of the songs were created, is to be auctioned in London next month.
Discovered in a storage facility in Florida, the material is thought to be one of the biggest collections to be put up for auction and represents thousands of pages of manuscripts, covering more than 150 songs. It consists of recording contracts, sheet music, photographs and handwritten lyrics and letters.
Such is the vast size of the archive – revealed here for the first time – that a reserve of $10m (£6.6m) has been set. It will be one of the largest amounts paid for a single collection of rock'n'roll memorabilia if the asking price is achieved.
The collection was discovered during a blind auction at a storage facility in Florida in 2000 and later sold to a private company as part of a larger sale after several years of prolonged legal disputes.
Alan Boyd, Beach Boys archivist and expert, said: "This historic collection, containing many of the Beach Boys' own publishing documents along with assorted handwritten musical pieces, vintage legal papers, and various promotional and personal items from their early years, presents a priceless look into the inner workings of this legendary group.
"Historical artifacts like Brian Wilson and Mike Love's signatures on the original songwriter agreements for their 1968 classic 'Do It Again', for example, or the original publisher's lead sheet for 'Help Me, Rhonda', and even the Beach Boys' own copy of the Library of Congress copyright certificate for 'Good Vibrations' – these take on a significance that the people who generated them could scarcely have dreamed of back in the early 1960s."
The Beach Boys themselves confirmed knowledge of the sale, but declined to comment further. It is understood they are unaware of how the vast archive of material came to end up in the storage unit, where it is thought to have languished since the early 1980s.

A quick correction from Phil at 
FYI department: for Chet and FH readers -
It's Murry (not Murray) Wilson 
So noted. (I missed that one!) kk  

And this, too, from David Beard:  
Head over to Facebook and "Like" the new group, The Bamboo Trading Company, and / or follow them on Twitter.
The self-titled albums set to be released on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
The Bamboo Trading Company is a new musical journey that takes the listener from Kitty Hawk, NC, to Surf City, CA.
The Bamboo Trading Company are:
Gary Griffin
Randell Kirsch
Matt Jardine
Philip Bardowell
Chris English
Miami Dan Yoe
Special guest appearances form Dean Torrence, Probyn Gregory and Alan Boyd. Mastered by Mark Linett.
SOUNDCLOUD — To listen to the group theme song from the upcoming album of the same name.  

Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon recently spent some time in a Los Angeles recording studio writing and cutting a few tunes. He collaborated with a popular California based band called the Gears. 
I asked Freddy if I could give you and your readers an exclusive sneak peak of what he’s working on. So please find attached a copy of “Moving on Over,” to get a taste of what Freddy sounds like in 2013. He’s rocking harder than ever as this cut demonstrates!
Tom Cuddy

Yep, Freddy's still sounding great after all these years. (Here's another guy I'd love to see come to Chicago!) Ironically, Freddy emailed us himself a few weeks ago about this very tune ... a Hank Williams classic ... that HE thinks sounds an awful lot like "Rock Around The Clock". (Listen closely and you'll see that he's absolutely right!) kk


"I Only Have Eyes For You" is one of those songs that is so good it almost can't fail. EXCEPT when the Flamingos put out a later album, which I bought, that had the song on it but in an updated chalypso type feel. (For a brief moment back in the day there was a reference to Chalypso, which stood for the sound of calypso with the appropriate dance treatment of the cha-cha.) PISSED is an understatement. I frisbeed that album so hard it probably made it to Chicago. I may be full of hot balloon juice, but maybe some other older readers can back me up on this. It may have only been indigenous to the west coast for all I know but it is out there in the ether. (Alex Valdez)  
Ah, I believe Alex is right ... in fact, Chalypso found it's way in to the lyrics of At the Hop if I'm not mistaken.  

I asked our FH Buddy John Madara (who just happened to WRITE "At The Hop" with his songwriting partner David White) about the use of the word "chalypso" in their #1 Hit as recorded by Danny and the Juniors ... 

Dear Kent,
As per your email regarding the lyric of the first verse of At The Hop, I can confirm that the word Chalypso was in the lyric of At The Hop. The word Chalypso is a portmanteau of the word Cha Cha and Calypso. This was a dance the kids were doing on Bandstand a combination of the Cha Cha and the Calypso.
Though no one ever gets the lyrics correctly, the lyric is:
You can rock it, you can roll it, do the slop and even stroll it at the hop
When the record starts a spinnin, you Chalypso and you Chicken at the hop
Do the dance sensations that are sweeping the nation at the hop
I hope this is helpful. If you need any additional information, please let me know.
Always your friend,
John Madara 
Thanks, John ... a little before my time and, with all the dance crazes we've seen and heard about over the years, this one must have blown right by me. (Anybody got some Bandstand video to share of The Chalypso???) kk  

John also shared with us a very special note he received recently from the legendary Leon Huff, one half of "The Sound Of Philadelphia". John discovered Leon and got him his first job in the recording studio, playing piano on various sessions. Sounds like Leon has never forgotten. (kk)  
Thank you, Johnny. I thank God that I met you and Dave. I had a wonderful time. I am seventy years old and still ROCKIN. Still Love To Play The Almighty PIANO. 
Leon A. Huff   
Amazing. That's REALLY gotta warm you heart after all these years. John Madara and David White were instrumental in the start of so many careers back in the day. (Now if only Hall and Oates would write!!!) kk

>>> There's been quite a bit of buzz about John Records Landecker's new book ... we received several emails about it this weekend. (kk)  
Hi Kent,
Just want to let your readers know that our morning show, Lepek & Company with host Paul Lepek, will be interviewing John Records Landecker on Friday, April 5th at 8:30 AM.
- Bish
WRLR 98.3 FM
The book's official release date is March 28th. I can't wait to pick up a copy! (kk)    

A brand new HBO Movie portraying the life (and trial) of Phil Spector premiers on HBO this weekend. Al Pacino takes on the lead role (and admits "I thought the wigs could do a lot of the acting for me ... like an accent or a limp.") And wait till you see the wigs! (kk)

Hi Kent -
St Patrick's Day on Lakeshore Public TV, TJ Lubinsky had his latest show, hosted by Peter Noone (different shows from the old Hullabaloo series from the 60s). Some were in black and white and some in color A lot of groups featured like The Kinks, the Zombies, the Raiders, Herman's Hermits, Wayne Fontana, the Byrds and much more ... probably will pop up again on public TV. T J Lubinsky came thru again with a great show of great memories!!!!
Is it true that the Zombies made an appearance at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn on St. Patrick's Day?
When in doubt, ask the master ...
We'll have to watch for this new special. And, as tipped here a few weeks ago, look for old episodes of "Hullabalo" to start popping up on PBS real soon, too.
I heard a number of rumors about The Zombies appearing at Fitzgerald's but could never nail down a confirmation for sure. I know they're in The States because they're appearing at the South x Southwest Music Festival down in Austin ... so I thought there was a real good chance they might show up here, too ... but I could never get an official confirmation from anybody ... and we didn't see anything at all about it on the Fitzgerald's website. Near as I can determine, it didn't happen ... but man, that would have been a cool show to see, eh? (kk)

UPDATE:  And, according to the band's official website, they're not even IN The States anymore ... a quick look at their touring schedule shows The Zombies performing this week in Jamaica ... and then headed back to The United Kingdom for a long stretch of dates.  (kk)

Hi Kent -
Here are a couple or responses to your recent postings ...
1 Voice Drop of Steve Cropper


2. Picture of Paul Carrack after our interview this year

Tony Burrows has been on my radio show ... so if readers want to hear interviews with Tony Burrrows, Steve Cropper, Paul Carrack ... or 925 others, they are all available on my website ...


Geoff Dorsett 

And, speaking of uncredited "guest" vocalists ...
A few uncredited vocals that I can think of include:
Joey Levine - Kasentz / Katz Bubblegum songs and Reunion - Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me).
Tony Orlando - Wind - Make Believe
Greg Munford - Strawberry Alarm Clock - Incense and Peppermints
Robert Spencer (of the Cadillacs) - Crazy Elephant - Gimme Gimme Good Lovin.
The guys who sang for Milli Vanilli.
Those are just a few I can think of. Maybe more later.
Phil - WRCO  

This should be an interesting show ...  
News from Tom Cuddy about a brand new Carole King Broadway Show! (kk)  
Click here: LA Times - Carole King's life and songs headed for Broadway in 'Beautiful'  

Hey kk,
I agree thoroughly with your nationally over-looked hits of the Chicago area bands.
I must add one New Colony Six song which was as good as anything they ever did and was also overlooked in Chicago. “Never Be Lonely” is my favorite New Colony Six song and I never even heard it until sometime around 2001.
“Roller Coaster” by The Ides Of March is also on my list.
"Never Be Lonely" is a GREAT New Colony Six song ... we've featured it several times before in Forgotten Hits. It was first released as the B-Side of their Sunlight Single "Long Time To Be Alone" ... but then when MCA picked the record up, they flipped the sides and pushed "Never Be Lonely" instead.
Have you ever heard the original version by The Boyz? Bob Wilson brought the song with him when he joined The Colony in the early '70's. (kk)

Attached is the survey you referenced featuring Del Shannon's version of From Me To You from June 21, 1963. Also attached is a survey, dated June 14, 1963, with Jan and Dean SUF City at #32! 
Bill Hengels

Hi Kent -
Thought you like to provide a link to my interview with John Cunningham of the Twintones, the originator of "Jo-Ann," which was a hit for the Playmates in '58. Here it is: so much! I'd love to see the Twintones get some of the credit they deserve.
Bruce Pollock

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you (I'm half Irish)!
As for the song "All Right Now," I still remember the first time I heard this song in 1970 long distance listening on my mom's car radio waiting her to get done shopping in Dodge City, Ks. I heard it on KLEO Wichita and through the distant static came this amazing song! It was instantly my fave song and still rides as my #1 song of the 70's. Then, I was getting DJ copies as records came out and here came this 45 a week later with the strange "2:70" time on it. The DJ 45 actually came with two different edits, neither of which was the LONG LP version! Both were mono on the DJ 45 I got.
Soon, I had the stereo 45. WOW, amazing sounds coming from the 45 that had this strange message on the label: "This recording employs the HAECO CSG System and can be played either stereo or monaurally." I had seen similar notations on other 45s such as Cream's "Anyone For Tennis" and "Goin Away" by the Fireballs, but they did not have this cool phasing sound. It was unmistakingly GREAT on this new song!
Later, I heard the fantastic LP "Fire & Water" version of the song ... I LOVED it too! Which do I like better? Depends on the day. I never turn either off, let me tell you that! The Lp does not have "the system" and thus sounds sparcer for seeming to be the same take basically.
The BONUS to all of this is to flip the 45 version over and hear the GREAT slow instrumental "Mouthful of Grass" in stereo using the CSG system! The bass is incredible and at the time, when amplifiers and pre-amps (remember those?) had oscilloscopes built in that would show stereo content, this recording is the only one I ever saw make a perfect circle! I guess that was my youtube video of the song back then! Just a fantastic SOUND and that last note using the CSG system goes on like "A Day in the Life"!! Just amazing sound! Hear it below. The bass overwhelms on youtube however.
I, too, fell in love with this song the very first time I heard it ... it was a whole new sound for '70's radio. I remember the premier band at our high school at the time (their name escapes me right now, but I know it was headed up by Ron Arturi) learned the song IMMEDIATELY and added it to their act ... and did a FINE job on it, too. (Amazing how I still remember THAT after all these years!) I honestly prefer the hit single mix, which we still hear every great once in a while in Chicago. Primarily it's the longer, LP mix that is featured. According to Pat Downey's book "Top 40 Music On Compact Disc, 1955 - 2003", the single mix can be found on Time Life's "Sounds of the Seventies" CD as well as their "Guitar Rock" CD. Nearly all of the other commercially available versions are the LP track.
Interestingly, Downey also addresses your promo 45 time issue: "DJ copies of this 45 were issued with times of either 4:13 or 3:12 ... the dj copies that ran 3:12 stated a running time of 2:70. Commercial copies were all 4:13. Reissue copies all state a running time of 4:14 but run either 3:32, 3:45 or 5:31." Makes perfect sense, right?!?!? The 2:70 running time reminds me of the Simon and Garfunkel hit "Fakin' It", which showed a label time of 2:74 ... my guess is that these were all ploys to get radio to play these back in an era where in order to have a hit single, it had to come in under three minutes! (lol) kk

Maybe he hasn't left the building yet ... 
From Elvis Week on David Letterman:
Kent ...
He does look like young Elvis.
What do you think ?
Frank B.
If you were, or are an Elvis fan, IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS !!!!!
First European To Win The Ultimate Elvis Impersonator ...
Ben Portsmouth and his band, Taking Care of Elvis, present an amazing tribute to the King of Rock and Roll, with his looks, style and fantastic voice which will set hearts racing and feet taping.
In the blink of your eyes you'll be taken back to what it was like to see, hear and experience the young and sexy Elvis when he first burst on to the U.S. Music scene in 1954 right through to 1977.
Ben Portsmouth's stunning outfits, all U.S. Custom made, span the black leathers of Presley's comeback in 1968 to the white jumpsuits of the later Las Vegas shows, all costumes are exact copies of the originals.
Not only is Ben Portsmouth a natural showman but he is also an extremely talented professional singer / songwriter, a dedicated musician who sincerely goes that bit extra in all his performances, in doing so he leaves his audience craving more!
In 2006 Ben Portsmouth was awarded the title of Best Festival Elvis at the annual Porthcawl Elvis convention in Wales which is the biggest of its kind in Europe. He took the audience of assembled Elvis devotees by storm with his remarkable voice and stage presence. In 2007 he was awarded the Gold Lame (Jacket) Award for his 50's set and in 2008 he was voted best '68 Comeback Special. And now he has won the "The World's Ultimate Elvis Presley Impersonator" .
In my opinion it doesn't get better than this.
Click here and turn up the volume....
He's good ... but honestly I've seen better. I DO wish I had known about Elvis Week on The David Letterman Show, however ... would have been fun to tune in for that! (kk)

>>>The VH1 Classic show, For What It's Worth, is not off to a great start. You can't spend 10 minutes or less with a guy like Michael Ochs. His music photograph collection could be the most extensive of anyone's. What good are millions of records to a viewer if they're all boxed up? Millions of out of work media personalities and these are the best two they could come up with to host the show? Hire Chet!--Jack
Jack, I cannot agree with you more. I was SO excited to hear I would get to see a show showcasing Michael Ochs' photos, especially when I have been privileged to work on so many CDs with parts of my collection in them. Then I saw it was only a half hour show. Bummer. Then, I SAW the show and saw the hosts being REAL jerks and picking thru Ochs' photos as if they were at a flea market bending photos and showing mainly RUSH photos they already knew of. STUPID show, IMO. They should have spent much more time with Ochs and showing his entire system instead of one artist the host liked, as we will never be able to pick what WE want to see from his collection. Lousy show. I can see why its ratings are bad. It could be a great show for collectors, but really is nothing but bad hosting. 

Clark Besch
Maybe we can get them to come to Chicago and do a show featuring the photographs of Michael Bush ... I have seen some of his collection ... and it is nothing short of INCREDIBLE!!! Then they could come by one of the Record Collectors Shows and talk to the REAL fans and collectors out there. Now THAT might be worth watching ... 'cause I'm having a real hard time bothering to tune in now the way the show is currently structured. (kk)  

People, Hell and Angels, an essential new album premiering twelve previously unreleased studio recordings completed by guitarist Jimi Hendrix, has debuted on the Billboard 200 best-selling albums chart at Number 2 and is rolling onto the nation's Top Current Rock Chart and the Hard Music Chart at Number 1.  
A testimony to the abiding vitality and importance of the trailblazing American musician, People, Hell and Angels marks Hendrix's highest-charting album since Electric Ladyland spent two weeks at Number 1 in 1968. Jimi's last conceptually-curated from-the-vaults studio album, 2010's Valleys of Neptune, also on Legacy Recordings, debuted and peaked at Number 4.  
People, Hell and Angels achieved #1 debut sales numbers at a variety of the nation's retailers, both online and traditional brick-and-mortar. Many of the nation's indie retailers are also reporting Number 1 positions for the album, a newly curated album of 12 fully realized studio cuts, more than a hour's worth of previously unheard Jimi Hendrix music.
"Somewhere," the first single from People, Hell and Angels, earned a Number 1 Billboard chart ranking, according to a segment on the album airing on CBS Early Show. "Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942) died in 1970 at the age of 27," said Charlie Rose, "but his influence on music continues to this day. 'Rolling Stone' magazine called Hendrix the greatest guitarist of all time. Now his new album is coming out ..."
Heralded as an essential addition to the artist's musical canon, People, Hell and Angels has triggered a resurgence of interest in the legendary guitarist, who would've turned 70 last November. In the wake of People, Hell and Angels success, several Hendrix catalog titles -- including Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, South Saturn Delta, Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love -- are moving up on this week's Top Catalog Albums charts.
The Wall Street Journal's Marc Myers observed that, " ... Jimi Hendrix had a secret side. With the release of "People, Hell and Angels" (Legacy), due Tuesday, the long-form soloist is heard experimenting with Stax, Wall of Sound and even jazz motifs. Recorded between March 1968 and August 1970, the CD's 12 previously unreleased tracks feature Hendrix test-driving concepts for an unrealized album project. Though many of the new tracks are alternate renditions of material issued posthumously on several LPs from the '70s and '80s, and CD releases from the '90s, Hendrix's attacks and arrangements here are bolder and more exotic."
Rolling Stone concurred in its Four Star review, in which David Fricke stated simply, "Hendrix left us so much, but in precious little time. Every shred counts."
To kick off a year long celebration of the 70 years of the life and music of Jimi Hendrix, Gap has launched a line of limited edition t-shirts. Hendrix’s latest album of previously unreleased tracks, People, Hell and Angels, provides the artwork for the super-soft crew necks. Available in a limited run for girls and guys, the shirts will hit Gap stores on March 15th.
Emerging artist Janelle Monae has been turning in career defining performances of Jimi's classic "Little Wing". She will appear on the Jimmy Fallon Show with The Roots on April 1, 2013 to pay homage to Jimi.

Longtime Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer and producer John McDermott sat down for an in-depth analysis of Hendrix and his music this week on Rockline, Wednesday, March 13.

People, Hell and Angels will be showcased in a pair of hour-long special broadcasts on the NPR series "World Cafe." The album is also slated for a profile on "Elwood's Bluesmobile," the Dan Aykroyd-hosted radio series airing on 180 commercial stations across the United States, Canada and the Armed Forces Network.
People, Hell and Angels showcases the legendary guitarist working outside of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio. Beginning in 1968, Jimi Hendrix grew restless, eager to develop new material with old friends and new ensembles. Outside the view of a massive audience that had established the Experience as rock's largest grossing concert act and simultaneously placed two of his albums in the US Top 10 sales chart, Jimi was busy working behind the scenes to craft his next musical statement.
These twelve recordings encompass a variety of unique sounds and styles incorporating many of the elements — horns, keyboards, percussion and second guitar — Jimi wanted to incorporate within his new music. People, Hell and Angels presents some of the finest Jimi Hendrix guitar work ever issued and provides a compelling window into his growth as a songwriter, musician and producer.
With an album title coined by Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels reveals some of Hendrix's post-Experience ambitions and directions as he worked with new musicians--including the Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, Billy Cox (with whom Hendrix had served in the 101st US Army Airborn and later played on the famed R & B “chitlin circuit” together) and others -- creating fresh and exciting sounds for the next chapter in his extraordinary career.
People, Hell and Angels is co-produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott. Kramer first met Hendrix at Olympic Studios in London in January 1967. Hendrix developed a unique rapport with Kramer. As a result, Kramer engineered every album issued by the guitarist in his lifetime and recorded such famous Hendrix concerts as the Woodstock festival in August 1969. Since 1997, Kramer has teamed with Janie Hendrix and John McDermott to oversee the release of each Jimi Hendrix album issued by Experience Hendrix. 

DeeJay Stu Weiss hosts a special tribute to the late, great Johnny Maestro on his program Friday Night.
Running on Oldies Your Way (link below), this special segment will air from 9:00 - 10:30 pm Eastern Time.  (Stu's Pop Shoppe program airs from 7 pm - 3 am Eastern Time).

When you go to this site you will be directed to select the player of your choice.  (kk)
Some sad news from Tom Cuddy:
Robert "Bobbie" Smith, lead singer for the Spinners, died Saturday in Orlando, Fla., of complications from influenza and pneumonia, according to his son, Ron Smith of Detroit. He was 76.
From The Detroit News:

And finally, have you watched that new show "Bates Motel" yet? It's kind of a modern day, reimagined prequel take on the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Psycho" ... and the first episode was actually pretty good!   In any event, it certainly inspired TODAY'S FORGOTTEN HIT!!!  (kk)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Historic Route 66 Radio Tour, 2013

It's been a while since we've given you an update on this landmark radio tour ... so we wanted to bring you up to speed this morning. (We've heard from several Forgotten Hits Readers and Disc Jockeys who are hoping to join in along the way ... for more information, be sure to check the link at the end of today's article!)   

Things have been scaled back a bit since we last talked about this ... in fact, the tour will now never leave Illinois ... which means that many of our local and midwest readers will have a chance to get in on the fun while some of you "out-of-towners" will have to wait for the second leg before you can tag along 

Everything kicks off on Thursday, June 6th ... (get it ... 6/6) ... at the corner of Adams and Michigan in downtown Chicago. WRLR 98.3 (US) Morning Man Paul Lepek and Forest FM 92.3 (UK) hosts Paul Peters and Geoff Kemp will all be on hand to kick things off with a live broadcast from 6:06 am (as in "six:six") - 9 am. In fact, both stations will be broadcasting live updates and interviews with surprise guests, '50's and '60's radio fans and former deejays throughout the tour. (Music from the '50's and '60's will be featured throughout the tour!)     

From here we'll head over to Lou Mitchell's Restaurant around 10:00 for brunch and more interviews. Then, at noon, we'll hit the road, headed down to Joliet where several of the participants will make Harrah's Casino and Hotel their "home away from home" for the next couple of nights. While in Joliet, they'll do another live three hour morning broadcast, followed up the next day by a live broadcast from the Joliet Area Historical Museum. (Friday, June 7th, from 7 am - 10 am)    

The tour then continues south down Historic Route 66 from Joliet to Pontiac, Illinois, where legendary Chicago DJ Clark Weber will join the broadcast. While in Pontiac the team will broadcast live from the Pontiac Route 66 Museum from 9 am - Noon on Saturday, June 8th.  The museum features a wonderfully recreated 1966 studio that uses actual working vintage broadcasting equipment!     

Then, after a couple of days in Pontiac, the crew hits the road again, this time headed down to Atlanta, Illinois, where Route 66 Radio will broadcast live from the beautifully restored Palms Grill Cafe, right across from the Bunyon Giant, on Monday Morning from 10 am - 1 pm.  

On Tuesday Morning (June 11th) the guys will do another live broadcast, this time from The Atlanta Museum ... before departing again on Wednesday Morning to head back to Chicago. 

If you'd like to join us for this exciting adventure (or any points in between), contact for more details and information.  Meanwhile, we would LOVE to bring some more jocks onboard ... so please drop us a line soon so that you can get in on all the fun!  (kk)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today's Showgram

I mentioned that I was going to the Chicagoland Record Show last weekend and wanted to share a couple of interesting experiences I had along the way.  

The first room I walked into had a back wall display of "Whipped Cream" album covers! Along with the original Herb Alpert LP were a few of the parody LP tributes on display ... already a good sign that this was going to be a fun show! (I ran into Forgotten Hits Readers Jack Levin and Ron Smith later that morning at the show ... and both commented that they thought the display must have been MINE when they first saw it! lol Wonder where on earth they ever got THAT idea from!!!) 

As for the show itself, the place was PACKED!!! Dealers in two rooms, spilling out into the hallways ... I don't ever remember this kind of turn out back in the days when I was selling at the shows! And it was great to see a WHOLE lot of younger folks there buying vinyl, too! (Two girls, probably about 21 years old, with abundant facial and body piercings and multi-colored dyed hair were carefully examining Frank Sinatra albums, taking the records out of the sleeves to check out the overall condition. It was incredible!)  

While I was there, I picked up two vintage airchecks from Jack, both circa August, 1967 (the same date in fact), each featuring 45 minute segments of both the Ron Riley and the Art Roberts programs on WLS. It's sometimes hard to remember that this is what radio sounded like back then ... and we couldn't get enough! (Of course this was back in the day when WLS offered "personality radio" ... and actually allowed their jocks to talk on the air!)  

However, I was surprised by a few things ...  

I constantly gripe about the repetiveness of radio today yet in both one hour shows I heard "Gettin' Together" by Tommy James and the Shondells and "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. (ONE of these songs is still grossly overplayed today ... the other has faded into virtual obscurity.) In fact, Ron Riley did a brief interview with Morrison on his program ... and it can only be described as horrible!!! Truth be told, it's COMPLETELY falling apart ... and probably less than four minutes long. (And Van had to travel live to the studio downtown to do it!) 

I was further surprised by how little music each of these guys played in their respective hours. Maybe four or five songs ... and that was it. The rest of the time was filled with commercials (TONS of those!), on-air banter and lengthy news and sports updates. Both guys were also promoting a live show that weekend featuring The New Colony Six, The Shadows Of Knight, H.P. Lovecraft and The Riddles. In fact, Ron Riley played both "Love You So Much" by The New Colony Six and that week's #1 Song on The Silver Dollar Survey, "It Could Be We're In Love" by The Cryan' Shames during his program. Both hours also featured ads for the brand new Bobbie Gentry "Ode To Billie Joe" album ... and some of those great, classic WLS jingles.

One of the highlights of the hour was hearing a Dusty Springfield "Great Shakes" commercial. (We always hear about those Coke and Pepsi ads that the pop stars of the day did ... but they also hawked any number of other teenage products, too. In fact, there was a Thom McAn ad for Monkee boots, too!

Click here: Dusty Springfield-Great Shakes (Radio Ad) - YouTube  

It was fun to listen to two of my all-time favorite jocks again ... but in all honesty if I took BOTH programs and edited them into a "highlights" reel, I'll bet those two hours wouldn't run more than 15 minutes ... the rest was all "filler" ... and that is NOT the way I remember radio sounding back in the day. The proof, however, is in these programs. And yet back then we just couldn't get enough. 

I'll never forget the first time I mentioned going to sleep with the radio under my pillow in Forgotten Hits some thirteen years ago. All this time I thought I was the only one ... but was soon bombarded with emails from others out there who did exactly the same thing. Didn't matter what your bedtime was ... 9:00, 10:00 ... we just couldn't get enough. So after the lights went out and the parents thought we were asleep in bed, we'd be listening to guys like Art Roberts until their programs went off the air with the radio hidden under our pillow and volume turned just loud enough to allow us to hear a few more of our favorite songs one more time before drifting off to sleep. 

Radio was IT back then ... and we couldn't get enough. 
(Are you sensing a general "theme" here???) 

Today the radio philosophy seems to be "Why bother ... nobody listens for more than 20 minutes anyway" ... and this is just accepted across the dial ... rather than giving ANY consideration or taking any initiative to actually giving the listener a REASON to stay tuned in longer. 

And then, to make matters worse, they insult and punish their audience even further if they DO tune in longer (like the large number of folks who have their radios on during their eight-hour work day) by playing the same songs and artists relentlessly day after day after day. They've FORCED us to make radio the background noise of our day ... rather than programming something that people might actually listen and pay attention to. What a waste of such a powerful medium. 

Radio today appears to offer two sure things ... and they seem to be Steve Miller and "Jack And Diane". What a shame! Back in the day, listening to the jocks was almost as much fun as listening to the music. Today we're lucking if the disc jockey gets off four sentences an hour above and beyond the call letters, time and temperature. If you're going to make it "all about the music", at least program some variety into that music. Personally, I've already HEARD all of the music ... sure, it's the main reason I tune in ... but I'd much rather hear a humorous anecdote or a related experience to a given piece of music from the jocks once in a while ... something to show that they're alive and breathing and relate to this music, too. Otherwise we're simply stuck with narrowcasting robots ... and it's the same on every station. Will somebody PLEASE step up to the plate and make radio interesting and exciting again??? (kk)