Saturday, September 14, 2013

Burton Cummings - Part Two

Former Guess Who Lead Singer Burton Cummings will be performing at The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, Illinois, on Friday, September 27th ... and we were fortunate enough to be able to talk to Cummings last week about the show ... and life in general. 

The concert will be a music lover's dream ... the warm-up act that night will be The Zombies, one of those GREAT bands that first touched our hearts during The British Invasion. 

We pick up our conversation here ...  

KENT KOTAL / FORGOTTEN HITS:  This show at The Arcada Theatre is going to be one hell of a double bill -- Burton Cummings ... with The Zombies as the warm-up act?!?!  That's a dream come true for a music fan.  Have you ever worked with these guys before?  
BURTON CUMMINGS:  No, I'm looking forward to that.  I hear that it's still the lead singer Colin Blunstone and it's still Rod Argent, the keyboard player ... and that's enough for me ... 'cause those are the two guys that really made the sound of that band.  The Zombies were GREAT ... they were really something!  I don't know how the harmonies will be because the other guys aren't there ... and I believe one of them died ... Paul White I think is gone ... but I know that Colin Blunstone was the lead singer with the very distinguishable voice ... he had a VERY distinctive voice and Argent was the one with the great keyboard parts.  So yes, I'm looking forward to hearing them, too.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The bass player was actually Chris White, who is still alive and well but no longer performing with the band.  It was guitarist Paul Atkinson who died a few years ago (2004).  The group has a new album out and are booked solidly for the next year, playing all over the world to rave reviews.  The current line (besides Blunstone and Argent) consists of Jim Rodford on bass guitar, Steve Rodford on drums and Tom Toomey on guitar.  You can check out their website here:  Click here: The Zombies : Official Website  

kk:  You're going to really enjoy this theater ... it's a very intimate setting and seats maybe 900 or 1000 people but it's a GREAT place to see a concert.  (More Arcada Theatre information here: Click here: Arcada Theatre | Oshows ... good seats ... hey, they're ALL good seats ... are still available!)
BC:  Hey, that's FINE with me ... I don't worry about the size of the crowd ... as long as they're into what we're doing.

kk:  Oh, you're going to have a VERY receptive crowd to this show ... my understanding is that this is a VERY hot ticket and that's one heck of a line-up.
BC:  Good, good ... that's excellent.  I just did a show with The Buckinghams ... and I don't know how many of the original guys are still with them ... I think it's two of the original singers ... but it sounded like the records and that was really cool ... that was great to hear those songs again ... so this will be a good night.
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  Forgotten Hits Readers already know that Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are continuing on with The Buckinghams' name.  While they do faithful renditions of all of their hits ... plus numerous other hit songs from this era ... performing to a very large and loyal following ... the original lead singer of The Buckinghams was Dennis Tufano, who is now performing as a solo artist.)
BC:  And we've been playing a lot so the show will be tight.  And we do all of the famous records. I'm not trying to shove a lot of new material down people's throats ... I really don't subscribe to that ... to that way of thinking.  I've always thought that man, it's hard enough to HAVE a hit record ... why not be satisfied to sing them for the rest of your life.

kk:  Well, the fans love 'em, that's for sure ... and this music has NEVER gone out of favor ... in all these years, your stuff has NEVER been off the radio.  The Guess Who are one of those fortunate bands that still get a ton of airplay and a good chunk of your catalog is well represented on radio.  This isn't the case with many of the artists of that era ... some are lucky to get one or two of their hits played on the radio today and MOST artists don't even get that ... but The Guess Who's material still holds up very well and gets a lot of airplay ... certainly here in Chicago anyway.
BC:  Well, here's the thing ... I'm 65 now ... I'm going to be 66 in December on New Year's Eve ... and I've said this a million times in interviews and it's SO true ... every time I can go out there and still sound like the records, it's SO special to the audience ... because they've had THEIR changes in their lives, too ... they may have sometimes lost a child or lost a partner or they've moved or been divorced or something joyous has come along ... we've all been through so many changes ... and EVERYBODY's life changes in a year ... every year when I go out and sing these songs one more time it is that much more special because the fans are growing older with me and their lives are longer and it just makes it more special.  Every year I find younger people in the audience again ... people that weren't born until LONG after these records were cut, and they're mouthing every word when I'm singing ... and that's really VERY flattering to me because I WROTE most of the stuff, ya know!  I know classic radio has been very kind to me and to my songs and my voice ... I mean, I hear the stuff all the time.

kk:  The concert line-up of The Zombies and Burton Cummings is one heck of a double-bill ... but we've also seen some odd pairings in the past.  A couple of years ago we went to a show that featured America and Jethro Tull ... two acts that would seem to be at opposite ends of the musical spectrum.  But I'll never forget one of the STRANGEST pairings I've ever seen ... and that was seeing a show that YOU did back in the day during the early solo years where Burton Cummings opened up for Alice Cooper!!!  How weird did THAT have to be for you?  (Especially after the whole "Glamour Boy" thing!!!)
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  "Glamour Boy", while not a big hit here in The States, was a #11 Hit back home in Canada.  In it, Burton takes a musical swipe at some of the Glam-Rock / Theater Rock that was going on at the time ... more specifically artists like David Bowie, The New York Dolls and ... well ... Alice Cooper ... although never actually mentioning ANY of them by name.)
BC:  Opening for Alice Cooper was an exercise in professionalism. The first few rows were always painted up like Alice, some of them carrying tomahawks and axes, and I'm out there singing "Stand Tall" … but eventually the band I had won over a lot of audiences.

kk:  As I mentioned earlier, I saw several of your solo shows in the '70's ... and "Stand Tall" still ranks as one of my all-time favorite songs.  You continued to record and release some GREAT solo albums but many of these never seemed to make it beyond the Canadian market.  US fans had to settle for a couple of "Greatest Hits" collections to get any idea as to the type of new music you were making.

kk:  Some of your music is completely out of print now ... we can't even get it.  I like to consider myself as having a pretty complete collection yet I'm still missing things that I would love to get my hands on.  In fact, in preparation for this interview, I just recently picked up the Live at "Massey Hall" release and the "Above The Ground" CD.  These aren't things that have been heavily promoted here in The States ... and it's apparently already too late to pick up something like "Sweet Sweet" and "Heart".  Do you have any new material coming out that we should know about?   
BC:  Well, both of these albums are currently planned to be re-mastered and re-released so hopefully they'll be available again relatively soon.  I've also got a brand new DVD series called "Ruff" ... R-U-F-F ... and Volume One is just about ready to go.  (Here it comes, folks … it'll be out in a few weeks, well ahead of Christmas.) It's even better than I'd hoped. It's volume one of what could be a dozen or so volumes. We have almost 13 years of digital video. We graduated from tape years ago, and now it's endless hard drives.  Lillian Sarafian, my videographer, has followed me with a camera for over a decade ... about the last thirteen years ... so much so, that we started calling her the "life capturer" … and capture she has … ALL this great stuff ... back stage, on the plane, on stage, off stage, in hotel rooms, in tour buses ... tremendous stuff.  From multi camera shoots at Massey Hall to the streets of New York City, to the streets of my home town of Winnipeg, to rehearsals and sound checks at the beginning of the century to a glimpse into so very personal events and places in my life. Soul is bared several times in Volume One. Pretty strong viewing in spots … pretty strong … beautifully assembled and edited by Lillian Sarafian, and all our post production audio was done at Blue Moon Studios, in Agoura Hills, California. The main sound engineer was Joe Vannelli, brother of Gino Vannelli, a fellow Canadian singer.  So, if you can imagine, now we've got thirteen years of archives, including rehearsals and sound checks ... stuff that fans never get to see.  Real "fly on the wall" stuff.  So we're putting all of that ... plus a lot of the stuff from Massey Hall, which was shot with eight cameras and edited ... together into one place.  It's called "Ruff" and volume one is coming ... it's wonderful.  We're planning a whole series of these and she's done a wonderful job and I'm kind of co-producing it with her.  
Also, my book of poetry ("The Writings of B.L. Cummings") is almost ready to go ... and that's going to have about the first fifty poems in it ... it'll be a very nice package on that.  But I have yet to make a dummy copy … run a real one and assemble it and hold it in my hand to see how it affects me. It has to be absolutely perfect. I don't take the poetry lightly. I'm not really overly concerned whether people like it or hate it, or say loudly that they "just don't get it" … don't write the poetry to impress ... I write it to make myself smile … or think. Period.
And I'm probably going to do another album with the same band.  You know, I have more than enough songs for this and I've REALLY picked the songs carefully for this so it's not like I'm scrambling to do an album ... I have MORE than enough songs so we'll see what happens.  
Right now we're focusing on the book of poetry and "Ruff" and I'm flying to Toronto tomorrow to take part in a very special thing this weekend ... it's a big march in Aide of The Women's Cancer Foundation" and the big hospital downtown ... I think it's the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in downtown Toronto has put together a very nice fund-raising event and the women ... I don't know HOW many thousands of women are marching ... ten miles or something ... and after the ten mile march, they're coming to the big center where myself, I'll be performing along with another performer ... it's a big, nice event this weekend in Toronto so I've been busy all summer.
(EDITOR'S NOTE:  The concert Burton is talking about took place on September 7th and, from what I understand, was a great success.  He performed with Johnny Reid and got great reviews ... and raised quite a bit of money for Women's Cancer Research.)
BC:  And then, of course, we're coming to your area and we're playing all around there and then a few more one-man shows including another one in Philadelphia ... so it's been a very busy time for me.  Ya know, I'm a pretty busy guy for 65!  

kk:  And all of this was probably a whole lot easier when you were 25 or 35 as opposed to 65, right?  (lol)  
BC:  It was a WHOLE lot easier when I was 21 'cause I had never even thought about running out of energy but I still love the two hours on spent stage ... it's just that the other 22 hours get a little bit tougher when you're 65.  But you know, people tell me that I still sound the same and that's the most important thing ... they're still saying I sound the same ... and as long as I hear that, I'm gonna keep going for a while.    

kk:  You really do ... I've watched a lot of the youTube clips and we've run some of these on the website ... and I've got to say that you still really look and sound great.  
BC:  We did a show with Steve Miller last year and he's over 70 ... and he's out there rockin' and there's 14 and 15 year old kids out there singing along with every word ... they could be his GRAND kids ... but they're rocking along with him ... so I see new evidence of older entertainers.  Gordon Lightfoot ... well into his 70's now ... and he's still out there.  Tony Bennett ... 900 years old and HE'S still out there ... what is he, 87 or something? ... and he still does a hundred shows a year.  So I think of myself right now as I've still got a long way to go yet.   

kk:  Seriously, who would have ever thought ... I remember when we were growing up and it was that whole "Don't trust anybody over 30" thing.  I remember back in the mid-'60's when The Beatles were all the thing and then all of a sudden Frank Sinatra had a #1 Record with "Strangers In The Night" and we all thought "What's HE doing on the charts?!?!?  He's ANCIENT!!!"  And he was like FORTY at the time!  (EDITOR'S NOTE:  Actually, he was 51)  But to us, he was ANCIENT!!!  Seriously, as a kid of 21, who EVER thought that you'd still be doing this at 65 ... and that there'd still be an audience for it!  And now you've got somebody like McCartney going out and still doing two-and-a-half and three hour shows to sell-out audiences all around the world!
BC:  Well, McCartney did The Hollywood Bowl and apparently sang 37 songs!  Holy God!!!  I do TWENTY and I'm pattin' myself on the back!  And he's got five or six years on me!  I'll tell you, it's not so much the age as keeping yourself in shape to hit the notes.  And I sing a lot at home, pick up a guitar or I'll sit at the piano and I'll sing a bunch of songs and I think that's the main thing ... I still keep doing it, ya know.  Hopefully for another long time yet!   

kk:  And it's great to hear that you're still writing, too ... still coming up with new material.  A lot of artists give up on that so it's nice to hear that you're still writing new material, too.  
BC:  Yeah, I still write songs all the time.  I don't schlep them together ... if they come together quick, that's fine and if not, I move on to something else.  I haven't change my mode of operation too much since the early days ... since the '60's and '70's ... haven't really changed the way I create songs very much at all.  It's just that the world around me has changed.  I'm still a musician first and foremost ... I still spend ungodly amounts working on my library.  I've got almost a terabyte of music now ... almost 180,000 MP3's ... so I've built a world-class library of music and I spend a LOT of time doing that. Mostly listening to classic stuff.     

kk:  So who do you listen to?  Do you mostly listen to the older stuff or do you keep up with the current trends?  
BC:  I listen to EVERYTHING, really and truly ... I just finished compiling ALL of the stuff by David Crosby from when he was with The Byrds and without The Byrds ... I still listen to a lot of Fats Domino 'cause that really inspires me ... he was a huge influence when I was first starting out ... I just found a new remastering of "The Wall" ... the entire thing with a third bonus disc ... I'm listening to a lot of classic jazz.  I just watched that AMAZING documentary on Ginger Baker called "Beware Of Mr. Baker" ... phenomenal!  And that spurred me into going out and finding EVERYTHING by Cream ... everything that Cream had ever done.  I'm listening to Stan Getz, Val Waldren, to Paul Chambers and John Coltrane and David "Fathead" Newman ... a lot of jazz stuff ... a lot of early Ray Charles, before he was a star ... I listen to everything ... absolutely everything.  Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans ... just TONS of stuff ... I really am a music junkie.   

kk:  I've heard that you're quite a Bobby Darin fan.  We once did a month-long series on Bobby for the website that picked up the endorsement of his family and his fan club ... and doing that turned ME into quite a Bobby Darin fan, too.  I discovered so many things that he did beyond the hits that I was never fully aware of.  
BC:  HUGE Bobby Darin fan ... and he left us so young ... he was only 37 and look at the legacy he left.  He made about twenty five movies and God knows how many albums ... tremendous ... tremendous piano player, tremendous writer ... I mean he really knew how to swing with an orchestra.  He was incredible   And I listen to a lot of Georgie Fame, too. I like Georgie Fame very, very much. And he's still going ... and he rocks!  So I like a lot of the survivors ... the guys who are still going and have kept it going after all this while.   

kk:  And quite honestly this depth of variety and openness to exploring different musical styles has to have influenced you as a songwriter and a performer ... your library of songs, your writing style has taken on SO many different genres over the years that, as a listener, I love the fact that you kept yourself open to so many different influences because we as listeners were able to reap the benefit from that.  
BC:  I was lucky, VERY lucky to have been able to get with a guy like Bachman ... in '66 and '67 ... before we had the hit records, we were playing each other EVERYTHING.  Randy was the first one that turned me on to Georgie Fame and I got him more than mildly interested in The Doors.  We were "ying and yang" to each other ... ya know, he was religious and he had a wife and kids already ... and I was out doing acid with the crowd ... and yet we fed each others opposites ... and I think that's why it worked so well ... for a while anyway.  We were listening to everything and between the two of us, we had such eclectic tastes ... and he turned me on to a lot of early Bo Diddley stuff and I was listening to the west coast experimental band put together by Frank Zappa and then we kept playing each other all this stuff that each other hadn't heard and it was GREAT learning with a guy like Randy and that's why our stuff has stood up, I think, because it was influenced by so many different areas.  EVERY kind of music.  I was just at Amoeba Music the other day, the one in Hollywood, which was recently, by the way, voted online as the #1 Record Store in the World ... on Planet Earth ... and I was just there the other day and I found all kinds of imports from Japan with the OBI strips still on the sleeve and I'm finding stuff there all the time that I don't have in my collection, so it's still a matter of learning for me.  Still to this day, at age 65.   

kk:  And let's face it, there aren't that many record stores left these days!  
BC:  No, there really aren't ... and that's one of the things that makes Amoeba so great, because it's really got the LA market cornered now and you can find ANYTHING there.  If it's been released, you can pretty much find it there.  It's a great place for a collector.  I know a lot of traveling musicians that come to LA only a couple of times a year and the first place they go, if they're any kind of a collector, is to Amoeba Music.  
Click here: Amoeba Music | The World's Largest Independent Record Store   

More Burton Cummings tomorrow ... EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten Hits.

But first ... 

Just a few of the musical styles Burton Cummings has explored over the years ... 

From the hard-rocking, almost Aerosmith-sounding "Heartbroken Bopper" (a #26 Hit in 1972) ...

... to the '20's / jazzy sound of "Your Nashville Sneakers" (from the same LP, "Rockin'") ...

... to some heart-wrenching country (convincing enought that it actually charted on Billboard's Country Chart back in 1979.)

Friday, September 13, 2013


Two weeks from tonight we'll be going to see Burton Cummings, performing live at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL, and, from what I understand, this is a VERY hot ticket. 

Complete ticket information here: 
Click here: The Arcada Theatre  

As a life-long Guess Who and Burton Cummings fan, it truly was an honor to have the opportunity to talk with Burton this past week about not only the up-coming show, but life in general.  

KENT KOTAL / FORGOTTEN HITS:  Burton Cummings!  In Los Angeles?!?!  
BURTON CUMMINGS:  Yes, in L.A. ... I live here now ... I still have a place on Vancouver Island ... but I'm here most of the time ... in Los Angeles. 

We kicked around a couple of ideas as to how to do the interview ... either by phone or via email ... and, when all was said and done, we did a little bit of both.  Turns out Burton is a bit of a "blogger" himself and regularly updates his own website and Facebook page with first-hand, hand-written news!  (He's also a bit of a night owl ... so he spends a fair amount of time online.)    

Click here: Burton Cummings

BC:  Yeah, I do some of that ... I'm an insomniac ... I don't sleep ... so I spend some time online ... actually, I do a lot of that.
kk:  I recently interviewed Al Kooper and he told me that he only sleeps about three hours a night ... and that's all he CAN sleep ... so the rest of the time he's up workin' on stuff, lookin' for something to do.
BC:  Well, they say that short naps are better ... I wish that I could go to sleep like some people ... it's eleven thirty at night or eleven o'clock and night and they say "Well, I think I'll go to sleep" and then they just lay down and go to sleep!  But I've NEVER been able to do that ... even when I was a little kid, I couldn't do that!
kk:  And I'm sure it's very different when you're up playing music all night, too ... I mean you're on such a high once the show is over that you're really not READY to just lay down and go to sleep.  There's got to be some time to unwind after a big show.
BC:  And that's really it ... I mean since really very early on ... even as a teenager ... I was in a band ... and that's where that whole cycle began.  You play at eight o'clock at night and, now that I'm older, sometimes even later ... now we have shows where I don't even go on until ten o'clock at night ... so by midnight or twelve thirty, you're really not ready to go to sleep ... so you end up ... really ... upside down from being in show business.  Because your work night starts at about eight or nine or ten at night and then you're upside down.  

kk:  You've been doing both solo shows ("Up Close and Alone" with just you at the piano) as well as shows with a full band.  (We'll get to see Burton backed by The Carpet Frogs at The Arcada Theatre on September 27th).  Obviously, you have to prepare differently for each of these kinds of settings.  Even the material presented has to change based on the musical back-up and surroundings.  What are the personal joys for you as a performer in each of these environments?  
BC:  We have a lot of shows coming up ... some are one man shows and some are with the band.  The band is tremendous ... we've been playing together for over ten years now with the same core of guys so it's pretty tight ... and they all sing well ... and you know, I've always been a stickler for that ... so we're doing justice to the records I think.  But you're right ... I do shows both ways now, some with the band and some with just me up on stage all alone with a piano.  I did a couple of solo shows recently right in Manhattan and I was a little nervous, all by myself you know, but the reception was tremendous.  It's a COMPLETELY different show than with the band ... you can't be sitting alone at a piano singing "American Woman", you know ... it's not that kind of a deal ... so the one man show is completely different ... it's just me at the piano and I did a hundred minutes in New York and it seemed to work ... everybody was quite pleased.  

kk:  It definitely did ... I've seen some of the clips on YouTube and, of course, I have the CD from a couple of years ago ... and it's a very entertaining show.  

Click here: Up Close & Alone: Music
... a MUST for any music collection

kk:  I think it's great that you can DO both types of shows and, fortunately, you've got the depth of a catalog that allows you to do that sort of thing.  
BC:  Yeah, you know my manager ragged on me for YEARS to do that one man show and I fought him on it 'cause for a long time, I just really didn't want to do it ... and finally in the '90's, we did it and I did some corporate shows, you know, meaning private functions more for parties and events, not with tickets for the public but I always kind of found it a little bit shallow ... more boring ... not I guess "boring" but shallow, but I've come to realize over the years that that's what people LIKE about it ... is the "bareness" ... just a guy, sitting alone, and when I explain the situation ... I mean I do some pretty famous songs, like "These Eyes" and "Laughing" and even "Share The Land" ... and I do those alone at the piano and I kind of explain to people that this is how they sounded at home when they were being written, you know, before they became records ... and what went into writing some of these songs ... and in many instances ... in MOST cases ... I'm finding that that's enough for most people ... so that's thrilling for me to know.  If I can hold people's attention all alone with just a piano, it's thrilling for me know at this stage of my life.  

kk:  Well, it's gotta be thrilling for you to get that sort of reaction with just the piano and the voice, but one thing that I've learned over the years is that when you can strip the song to just the bare elements, the "nakedness" of it all, it shows how strong the material is ... now it's just you and the song, no special "sweetening" in the studio ... and it shows you just how good a song it really is.  
BC:  Yes, I think when we first clicked, Randy and I, we faithfully tried to write songs ... we faithfully set aside song-writing sessions as such, when we weren't touring.  Man, it was SO long ago that I was still living at home with my mother and my grandmother and every Saturday morning he would come over with a guitar and we would sit at my mom's piano and that's where we banged out "These Eyes", you know, and a lot of those early songs that really clicked ... "No Sugar Tonight" and stuff that we refined in the very early days ... that was all stuff that was done just sitting at home on my mom's piano.  It was so easy working with Randy that it was never like work.   

kk:  You have often thanked your Mother for forcing you to take piano lessons as a child.  I know you lost your Mother recently and I've heard that she was a very big part of your life.  How did she react to your success and your musical dreams?  Obviously she encouraged you ... but early on were there also moments of "I didn't pay for all of these damn piano lessons so you could bang out boogie-woogie rock and roll"?!?!?
BC:  My Mother forced me to take piano lessons. A lot of times I remember hearing all the neighborhood guys out on the street playing soccer or baseball, and I had to sit and practice piano. I didn't like it at first. At about age ten or so, I started to be able to pound out some of the hit records of the day on the radio, and suddenly I had different status at school. I'd play a bit of "Bumble Boogie" or "Runaway" at Luxton School and kids thought it was pretty cool. My mother didn't really react too badly when I dropped out of school. She was pretty good about my thinking about show business.    

kk:  So prior to hooking up with Randy had you already been writing some stuff on your own or no?  
BC:  Oh yeah, I had a band called the Deverons in Winnipeg and we had achieved a pretty good level of stardom on a local level in our home town ... we were thought of as one of the better bands in town.  And there were a lot of bands in Winnipeg ... there were well over a hundred bands, all functioning and playing ... and for a city of half a million people, that's an awful lot, ya know.  But part of the thing was the drinking age was still 21 ... so you could have these functions at schools and community clubs and even churches that had dance halls ... you could have those functions all the time without alcohol because the 18 and 19 year olds would still come.  Now that the age is down to 18 all that has disappeared.   

kk:  The story I've always heard is that you were making quite a bit of noise with your group The Deverons and Randy Bachman happened to hear tell of this wild man who was doing all kinds of crazy and obscene things with his piano ... he came to check you out ... was bowled over ... and then asked you to join The Guess Who.  (Of course I also heard that at first you jokingly turned him down, saying that you had just received an offer to join The Beatles!  lol)  The Guess Who had enjoyed quite a bit of local fame with their recording of "Shakin' All Over" with Chad Allan on lead vocals.  Were you already a fan of theirs by this point?  Had you been out to see them (or were you too busy with your own band?)  Did you know any of the guys?
BC:  The Deverons were becoming more and more popular in Winnipeg, and by 1965 we were playing pretty well every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.  There were rumors that Chad Allan was going to leave the Guess Who, even though he'd sung their hit "Shakin' All Over" … he was going back to University. One night, both the Guess Who and the Deverons played on the big show at the old Winnipeg Arena with Gerry and the Pacemakers … it was 1965 and Beatlemania was in full swing. That night the older guys in the Guess Who watched our band, and I guess they liked me as a singer. I was a harder singer than Chad and I was doing stuff like Eric Burdon, which Chad never did. Weeks after that show, I left high school, and when they heard that, they asked me to join their band. The day of that meeting I was still seventeen.   

By now I'm sure that we've all heard the story about how the record company changed the band's name from Chad Allan and the Expressions to The Guess Who when "Shakin' All Over" first came out as a single in the hopes that a disc jockey or program director might be curious enough to give that record a spin instead of throwing it in the reject pile.  The song had already been a big hit in England for Johnny Kidd and the Pirates and Chad Allan's version definitely had a British feel to it.    Perhaps thinking that the ambiguous prospect that this MIGHT be a brand new, as-yet-undiscovered British band, the record company gambled and changed the band's name on the record label to read "Guess Who" ... and, before you knew it, "Shakin' All Over" became a huge Canadian Hit ... and then three other records followed it into The Canadian Top 40.  It crossed over to become a Top 20 Hit here in The States, too.)

When Burton first joined the band, it was as the keyboard player, as Chad Allan was still onboard as the lead singer.  After a while, Allan elected to leave the band and Burton Cummings took over the lead vocals, a role he never relinquished for the next ten years.  During that time, The Guess Who placed an incredible 24 hits on the U.S. Charts, including six Top Ten Hits and one #1 Single.  (You'll find the complete Guess Who / Burton Cummings Hit List at the end of our interview.)
Before making it on their own, The Guess Who became the featured "house band" on a Canadian television show called "Let's Go", recreating hits by other artists every week ... including (coincidently enough!) "Time Of The Season"  by The Zombies, the band who will be opening for Burton Cummings at The Arcada Theatre on the 27th!

Randy Bachman has stated that working on this show really developed the band's song-writing skills, as they now had a spotlight forum every week to showcase their own material ... and out of that opportunity came "These Eyes", their first experience at international fame.

Although we all know that it doesn't really happen this way, once "These Eyes" became a hit, The Guess Who became an "overnight success".  (Forget the fact that by this point they had already been playing for literally THOUSANDS of hours trying to nail down the sound that would make them stand apart from the rest.)  However, corny as it sounds, there is no denying the fact that their lives changed literally overnight. 

In true Canadian form, it all "snowballed" from there ... the hits just kept on coming.  Without question, The Guess Who were TRULY in the zone at this point ... 12 US Top 40 Hits spread out over the next 3 1/2 years.  Plus 12 that went into The Top Ten in Canada during that same stretch.  In fact, there was a period there of about three or four years where The Guess Who outsold ALL of the other Canadian recording acts COMBINED!!!  That had to be some pretty heady stuff at the time. 

And then, right at the peak of this success, with "American Woman" sitting on top of both the album and singles chart,
Randy Bachman quit the band to do other things, eventually forming Bachman-Turner Overdrive and carving out his own niche in rock and roll history.  (In fact, he and Fred Turner have been touring together recently, recreating some of those great songs again.)  

Since then, Cummings and Bachman seem to have had an on-again, off-again relationship over the past couple of decades.  I was fortunate enough to see a few of their reunion shows and there is no denying that a genuine, mutual love and respect for one another comes across during those shows.  

kk:  There was some hope  a few years back of better things to come when the Bachman-Cummings Band recordings came out.  Have you guys actually tried to write together again after all these years?  One cannot help but wonder what kind of magic that might generate.
BC:  Randy and I don't really have a burning desire to write together again. For one thing, all the stuff we did years later after the Guess Who was gone, was always measured up against These Eyes and American Woman and stuff … you can't live in that kind of a shadow and not have it affect you when you try new songs … but we did some good ones together in 1987 for the Thunderbird Trax disc.    

kk:  After Randy left, The Guess Who soldiered on ... and continued to amass a great string of hits.  Did you go through a period of time where you thought, "OK, this is it ... the dream is over?" and actually considered throwing in the towel?  Obviously, this put a lot of extra pressure on you at the time, not only as a performer but as a songwriter now saddled with having to carry the band.  
BC:  After Randy's departure, we immediately got Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw who were both very good players. For the first time, the Guess Who had two lead guitar players. The band got tougher by the time we did  the Share the Land Album. We toured more, too. And Kurt and I became co writers almost instantly. He brought Hand Me Down World and Bus Rider to the first practices he attended, and I knew immediately that fate had led me to another writing partner.   

kk:  It's funny in a way because the focus has always been on the song-writing dynamic of Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman ... and I don't mean to diminish that magic in anyway ... but my two personal favorite Guess Who albums remain to this day to be "Share The Land" and "Rockin'" ... and Randy was long gone by this point.

kk:  I would imagine that Chicago holds some special memories for you ... most of The Guess Who's early hit material was recorded here, correct?  
BC:  Chicago is VERY special to us ... we recorded "American Woman" there and we recorded "Share The Land" there and some of the biggest records we did ... "No Sugar Tonight" ... these were hits all over the world and these were all recorded right there in Chicago.  Right on North Wacker Drive, right downtown, across the street from The Opera House, there used to be a building and RCA had the 12th and 13th floor and way up 13 floors high, there was a recording studio ... and we lived in that studio for about two years.  There was a LOT of time spent in there.   

kk:  Why Chicago?  Certainly there were studios in Canada ... was this more of a Jack Richardson thing (EDITOR'S NOTE:  Richardson produced all of the band's early hits) or what?  
BC:  Honestly, it was RCA ... I mean, we were contracted to RCA and part of the contractual obligation was that we record in their studios.  And we didn't like the ones in New York because they were old ... and the microphones were old ... and the engineers were outdated ... and they had worked with Bing Crosby and Benny Goodman and guys like that ... but they hadn't kept up with the times, whereas Chicago and L.A. back then, say '69 and '70, back then RCA Chicago and RCA L.A. had much hipper guys and better studios ... they had advanced more than the old New York studios.  So, once we did a couple of albums in New York ... particularly an album called "Canned Wheat" ... it didn't sound that great to us ... so we moved from there to the Chicago studios and we did a lot of recording there.  We spent a lot of time in your city ... we would stay at a hotel called The Executive House and it was right by the river, right downtown, and we would walk along that river, right where those big Marina Towers are ... those twin towers ... and walk along the river and then turn left on Wacker and then there we were!  Every day for weeks and weeks.  I know that area very well.   

kk:  So this is a little bit of a "homecoming" for you to come back here now and do this show at The Arcada.  
BC:  Well, it is ... and I still have a lot of friends in Chicago, too ... and we spent those days ... I mean THOSE days were the absolute zenith point of The Guess Who's career.  Those best days were spent there in Chicago because we were recording those records and we thought we were in pretty good with the guys at RCA.  In fact the guys from New York RCA used to fly into Chicago to hear how our sessions were going ... so it was a pretty good time for us in Chicago.  

kk:  And ironically, during that same era The Buckinghams were recording in New York instead of in Chicago!  (EDITOR'S NOTE:  Ironically Burton brought up The Buckinghams later in our interview, having just done some shows with them.)  
BC:  Well, you know what ... it all depends on where you're comfortable ... what studio you get comfortable with ... and I think we were VERY comfortable in Chicago.  And you know the climate was the same for us (lol) because we came from Winnipeg ... so we knew all about cold winters!  And mind you, it's much colder in Winnipeg than it is Chicago, but we know about winter and snow and ice and that so we felt very at home in Chicago.   

kk:  Were you a bit of a studio hound back then ... spending a lot of time in the studio, analyzing every note, nit-picking this or that?  Kind of a real "hands on" artist?  
BC:  I was the most, I think ... what would the word be ... fastidious ... of us during the sessions ... and I always stayed till the very end of the mixes ... although I wasn't really credited as a co-producer, I sorta was, I guess, because I was the lead voice, so I always was concerned with the mixes.  And most of this material was stuff that I wrote or co-wrote ... so I always hung around until the very end of the mixes ... and 98% of the time, I was the only guy.  Peterson, our drummer ... he never bothered with the mixes too much ... I think he figured that I would be there speaking up for the band but there's no way I was going to just turn it over to Richardson and Brian Christian, the engineer, so I stayed right till the end always so yeah, I guess I was a bit of a studio hound ... I always loved seeing how it was done, how the mixing was done and then the EQ, all of which led me later to produce my own records.  That's how you learn.   

kk:  I remember when you did your first solo album, you were VERY complimentary to your producer Richard Perry, who is considered one of the geniuses in the studio of that time.  
BC:  Oh, he was terrific ... absolutely terrific ... you know, he had had SO many hit records so I kinda felt lucky to have my first solo record being done by a master like that.  He had already done records like "You're So Vain", which was a #1 Record all over the world. He had done a LOT of stuff ... a lot of different stuff ... everything from Tiny Tim to Barbra Streisand to that group Night from England (they were tremendous) ... Richard worked with SO many big people.  I always thought "You're So Vain" was a classic, classic record, you know ... just one of those records that stands out in your memory.  And here's a bit of trivia that a lot of people might not know ... but I think a lot of people DO know ... that the harmony on "You're So Vain" is Mick Jagger ... you can hear it if you listen to it carefully enough ... you can hear him singing along with Carly Simon.   

At this point I had to smile a little bit because I think the whole WORLD knows by now that that was Mick Jagger singing in the background on "You're So Vain" ... and most of us probably knew this the week the song was first released back in 1972!  Funnily enough, when Cummings first mentioned sharing a little piece of "You're So Vain" trivia, I half expected him to say that he bet I thought this song was about him ... so I had to kid him about it later ...  

kk:  Oh ... and see, I thought you were going to reveal that she wrote it about YOU ... after all those years of people wondering who the song was actually about ... I thought maybe it was YOU and you were finally ready to tell the world, right here in Forgotten Hits!  (lol)  
BC:  No, no, no ... (laughing) ... I hear it's about Warren Beatty ... but I don't know for sure ... but that's the rumor that I heard in Hollywood ... that it was Warren Beatty ... but who knows, man.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Carly Simon has NEVER officially revealed the source of inspiration ... but Beatty was a leading contender for years ... as was (ironically enough) Mick Jagger, who then would have been singing about HIMSELF when he harmonized with Simon!  The most recent speculation pins it on record mogul David Geffen although DOZENS of names have been thrown in the hat over the past four decades.  Apparently, however, Burton Cummings was NOT one of them!  (lol)

BC:  I gotta tell you, though, GREAT song, GREAT hook ... and, on Richard's part, a great record.  And then Richard did all those big Pointer Sisters records and he worked with SO many people ... he worked with The Manhattan Transfer ... SO many big people ... he really has cut some GREAT records through the years.    

kk:  Well, he did Ringo's biggest album, too ... and then years later you found yourself performing as part of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band.  
BC:  Yeah, Richard did all of Ringo's solo hit records like "You're Sixteen" and "Only You" ... stuff like that ... he's very, very good in the studio.  I think he's semi-retired now ... lives with Jane Fonda.

kk:  Is that right?  I did not know that!
BC:  Oh yeah, they've been together quite a while.  

kk:  Wow ... well that's interesting! 

More with Burton Cummings tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... don't miss it!

Two personal favorites ... first up, Burton paying homage to his former partner with a little tongue-in-cheek (but absolutely stunning) arrangement of one of Randy Bachman's post-Guess Who hits ... and then another one that literally brings a tear to my eye EVERY time I hear it!  (kk)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday This And That

Playing some MAJOR catch-up here today ... trying to find some of the comments we missed during our Top 100 British Invasion Hits Countdown that are still semi-relevant!!!  Plus, we've still got one other REALLY BIG SURPRISE planned for later this week ... so let's get right to it, shall we???   

re:  THE '60's
Thanks for posting the chart action of "Blues' Theme".
The Billboard peak was #37 but it spent four months going from city to city ... hence the low peak. Along the way, it hit #1 in many southern California cities plus #1 in San Francisco, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Hawaii and others. In L.A. it hit #2 on one station and #3 on the other.
Davie Allan  

Yep ... and #3 here in Chicago, too, where it was a VERY popular tune.  We saw that a lot in the '60's ... a record would take off regionally and then slowly start to catch on in other parts of the country ... unfortunately quite often AFTER it had already peaked where it started and was now working its way DOWN the charts.  Sometimes it was a distribution problem ... I know with WLS people would hear some of our great local acts like The New Colony Six and The Cryan' Shames all over the country because of the 50,000 watt channel ... but then not be able to find these records in their local record shops in Wyoming or Kansas or Texas or Tennessee.  The potential number of records that COULD have been sold (had they simply been available) is staggering.  But once again you'd find that a record that peaked here in August would just first start climbing the local chart somewhere else five or six weeks later, thus never earning enough cumulative points to have a significant impact on the national charts.  And back then records fell off the charts so quickly (typically around eight weeks or so) that these great hits never really had a chance to catch on ... because something brand new had already replaced it on the airwaves and on the record store shelves.  (kk)   

Enjoyed the posting of the eleven songs on Tuesday. At the beginning you asked when one heard these legitimate hits on the radio. Would you believe I heard them just a few days ago.  However, the radio I was listening to was in my "dreams".  

Incidentally, your last posting reminded me of another version of the song WALK RIGHT IN by a group called the Moments on Era. Same year, same version played at the
same time. I kind of liked their version somewhat better than the Rooftop Singers.  

I remember The Moments' version ... in fact I think I may have bought that one by mistake instead of the hit Rooftop Singers' version way back when.  (Personally, I prefer the established hit ... The Moments peaked at #82 while The Rooftop Singers topped the charts with their folk classic.)
As for your other comment, I seem to ALWAYS find the music playing in my head to be FAR more entertaining than the music playing on the radio.  Man, what's wrong with THAT picture!!!  (kk)

Hi Kent, 
Very nice set in your "Just Plain Folks" piece.  Judy Collins' version of Someday Soon is timeless as is Baby the Rain Must Fall.  Can't see how they don't fit into radio today.  Some of the other songs might sound a bit dated but you can't fault the performances in any other way.  And "Walk Right In" was the perfect way to end this retro set. 
To be totally honest, I wasn't a big fan of folk music.   (I mean I tolerated it ... but if given the choice today, I'd rather spend a couple of hours watching "The Mighty Wind".  lol!)  But despite my personal feelings, there is no denying the impact this music had on our country ... yet today radio has chosen to ignore this entire genre of music ... and that's just wrong.  No, it doesn't all fit ... but right now it's like it never even existed's been wiped from the map!  There has to be a spot for some of these songs once in a while, if only to help mix things up ... and play the unexpected.

Hey Kent,   
A big THANK YOU for featuring my favorite part of the sixties music, the folk era. What a mix of songs! There were truly some great vocalists back then, and what fabulous harmony! I know there were many music icons from those days, but it really was the Kingston Trio that kicked open the door, for all the great music to follow, just as The Beatles did it for the British Invasion. And, you're right. With the exception of Dylan, today's radio stations have long forgotten about that genre. It's nice to hear Judy Collins' recording of Ian Tyson's (of Ian and Sylvia) "Someday Soon". I also love Suzy Bogguss' rendition.
- John LaPuzza 

Damn!  I got my first guitar in late 1963 in the midst of the folk music boom. It is truly a genre of music that has been forgotten by oldies radio. Listen to the Kingston Trio's version of Hoyt Axton's Greenback Dollar. 50 years ago the word damn would not fly on AM radio, so you don't hear it in the first line of the chorus (I don't give a ... about a greenback dollar).  However almost exactly six years later to the day, Judy Collins' cover of Sylvia Fricker's Someday Soon, contains the line, he loves his damned old rodeo. That did get played on the very limited amount of radio stations that played the song. Of course nowadays that's tame compared to some of the stuff that goes unedited, not that it should get edited.
Last week Yahoo came up with a list of their "Ten Most Annoying Songs of the '70's" ... "Disco Duck" didn't make their  list because "it was not available on Spotify due to international hate crime treaties."  
Crap that did?  "Musktrat Love" by The Captain and Tennille:, "Midnight At The Oasis" by Maria Muldaur, "Run Joey Run" by David Geddes and several others that seem to fall into the "love 'em or hate 'em" category.  You can catch the whole list here:  Click here: Top 10 Most Annoying Songs Of The 1970s - Yahoo! Music   

FH Reader Paul Urbahns gives us the latest lowdown on "The Jersey Boys" movie.  Ready in time for Christmas?!?!?  How on earth can they do that and still do the film justice?  Read on ...  
I am honestly looking forward to the movie. Early comments was the Eastwood wanted to have the film ready for Christmas ... wouldn't that be a great present for fans!
I do some fan writing (as a hobby) for an entertainment site, which is read by some of the industry professionals. So if you have comments, hopes, etc., about the new movie, leave your comments in the spaces below the article.Have a great week! 

I guess some of our early favorite rock and roll artists DIDN'T travel in limos all the time!  FH Reader Frank B. sent in this link ... with a VERY rare photo of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, circa 1957 ... taking the subway to a gig!!! Click here: Photos from Roland Johansson's post in Fabulous Fifties (50s Rock'N'Roll, Doo Wop And Rockabilly) | Facebook

And, speaking of Buddy Holly ...
Kent ...
Big Jay takes us back in History ... back to the Day the Music Died
Frank B.

From Tom Cuddy ... a Motown vet wants his cut ...  

For a Classic Motown Song About Money, Credit Is What He Wants  
Barrett Strong, a pianist and singer, was the first to record the song “Money (That’s What I Want).”   
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times   
Published: August 31, 2013    
DETROIT — On the lawn outside Motown Records’ former headquarters here, a historical marker honors the pivotal role that the song “Money (That’s What I Want)” played in building the Motown empire. With its hypnotic piano riff and unabashedly materialistic refrain, “Money,” recorded in 1959, was the first national success for the label that came to be known as “Hitsville U.S.A.,” giving the fledgling company credibility and a vital infusion of cash.  
Mr. Strong’s name was struck from copyright documents for “Money," Motown’s first national hit. 
Over the years, “Money” has generated millions of dollars in publishing royalties. It was recorded by both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, has been widely used in films and advertisements and is now featured in“Motown: The Musical” on Broadway. But the pianist and singer Barrett Strong, who first recorded “Money” and, according to records at the United States Copyright Office in Washington, was originally listed as a writer of the song, says that he has never seen a penny of those profits. 

Unbeknown to Mr. Strong, who also helped write many other Motown hits, his name was removed from the copyright registration for “Money” three years after the song was written, restored in 1987 when the copyright was renewed, then removed again the next year — his name literally crossed out.   
Documents at the copyright office show that all of these moves came at the direction of Motown executives, who dispute Mr. Strong’s claim of authorship. Berry Gordy Jr., Motown’s founder, declined requests for an interview, but his lawyers contend that the original registration resulted from a clerical error, and that Mr. Strong passed up numerous opportunities to assert his claim.  Mr. Strong said he learned of the alterations only late in 2010 and has been struggling ever since to have his authorship officially reinstated. At stake: his ability to share in the lucrative royalties from the song’s use. But his efforts have been blocked by a provision of copyright law that says he relinquished his rights by failing to act in a timely fashion to contest Motown’s action. 

Mr. Strong’s predicament illustrates a little-known oddity in the American copyright system, one that record and music publishing companies have not hesitated to exploit. The United States Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress, does not notify authors of changes in registrations, and until recently the only way to check on any alterations was to go to Washington and visit the archives personally. 

“For 50 years, I had no idea about any of this,” Mr. Strong, 72, said in an interview here, in which he acknowledged his lack of business acumen. “It was hidden from me. So how do they expect me to have acted to protect myself? It’s crazy and unfair.” 

The long and complicated tale of “Money” begins, in Mr. Strong’s telling, with a simple but mesmerizing piano riff that came to him more than half a century ago as he was working as a session musician in a recording studio here. He was 18, a Mississippi native who had grown up in Detroit dreaming of a music career and had just been signed to a contract with Mr. Gordy, who was both his label president and his personal manager — an arrangement unthinkable today because of its inherent conflict of interest, but not unheard-of at the time. 

“We were doing another session, and I just happened to be sitting there playing the piano,” he recalled. “I was playing ‘What’d I Say,’ by Ray Charles, and the groove spun off of that.” 

As Mr. Strong was polishing the riff, the recording engineer, Robert Bateman, recalls becoming increasingly animated. “And when I get excited, the very first thing I do is call Berry,” Mr. Bateman said at an event at the Hard Rock Cafe in 2010. “ ‘Whoa, Berry, you’ve got to hear this, you’ve got to hear this, you’ve got to hear this.’ ” 

“Anyway,” Mr. Bateman added, “it all emanated from Barrett Strong.” 

The guitarist on the “Money” sessions was Eugene Grew, who recalls taking musical direction from Mr. Strong. “We sat there, practicing, and Barrett said, ‘Do this,’ and, ‘Do that,’ ” Mr. Grew said in an interview here. “It’s a real simple figure, over and over. Barrett showed me what to play and then Berry came by.” 

Once the instrumental track was recorded, Mr. Strong said, Janie Bradford, who had written songs with Mr. Gordy for Jackie Wilson, helped on the lyrics. But Mr. Strong said he also contributed words. 

On Nov. 12, 1959, Motown’s new song-publishing company, Jobete Music, of which Mr. Gordy was the sole owner, registered “Money (That’s What I Want)” with the United States Copyright Office. That filing, bearing Ms. Bradford’s signature, designated Mr. Strong as an “author of words & music,” with Ms. Bradford also getting a credit for words and Mr. Gordy for words and music. 

Early in 1960, “Money” was issued under Mr. Strong’s name. It rose to No. 2 on Billboard’s rhythm and blues chart, peaked at No. 23 on the pop charts and eventually sold nearly a million copies. 

Then, in August 1962, Jobete filed an amended copyright on “Money,” instructing the copyright office to remove Mr. Strong’s name. Under procedures in place at the copyright office then (and still in effect today), Mr. Strong had three years to contest that filing — which he said he would have done had he only known of it. 

Mr. Strong’s case may stretch back decades, but the potential for other artists to find themselves in a similar bureaucratic limbo remains written into copyright law. The copyright office has begun digitizing its vast archive, which includes handwritten filings dating back to the 19th century, and that should improve access for all copyright holders. But the process has been proceeding slowly. 

“I think he’s got an uphill battle,” said June M. Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at the Columbia University School of Law. “It’s really a statute of limitations issue. He could be depicted as someone who did not conscientiously pursue his rights.” 

In a letter, Barry Langberg and Deborah Drooz, lawyers for Mr. Gordy, wrote that Ms. Bradford had “erroneously listed Mr. Strong as one of ‘Money’s’ co-writers” in 1959, because “she was inexperienced and confused about the ‘authorship’ section’ ” of the copyright form, and that “when the mistake was discovered, it was rectified.” They enclosed a recently executed affidavit from Ms. Bradford to that effect. 

In a separate letter, Nansci LeGette, the director of one of Mr. Gordy’s production companies, noted that Mr. Strong later signed songwriting agreements with Jobete and Mr. Gordy in which he failed to assert authorship rights to “Money.” Those “multiple transactions conducted by Barrett Strong over the years indicate that without any doubt, he did not himself believe that he was a co-writer” of the song, the letter stated. 

Mr. Strong, however, said that he repeatedly asserted his rights as a writer directly in conversations with Mr. Gordy when “Money” became a hit. In retrospect, he said, he believes his name may have been removed from the songwriting credits because Mr. Gordy had come to see him as a troublemaker. 

“I wasn’t getting any statements, so I started asking not too long after the record came out,” he recalled. “You couldn’t ask too many questions back then, because they’d say: ‘You’re being a bad boy. You’re getting smart.’ But I kept inquiring, and Mr. Gordy told me, ‘Don’t worry about statements and things, you’ll make your money on the road.’ On the road to what?” 

Unable to generate a follow-up hit and sensing that Motown’s future resided with emerging stars like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Little Stevie Wonder, Mr. Strong concluded he had to look elsewhere to make a living. “I had to take care of my kids,” he said, “so I went and got myself a job at Chrysler, on the production line.” 

In the mid-1960s, Mr. Strong returned to Motown as a staff songwriter at the urging of his friend, the record producer Norman Whitfield; he rushed over to the studio every afternoon when his shift at the auto plant was over. Together, Mr. Strong and Mr. Whitfield wrote a string of hits that led to them being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Just My Imagination” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” among them. 

Mr. Strong’s coauthorship of those hits has never been altered at the copyright office, and he said he had received some royalties for them. A few years ago, he said, he relinquished future royalties from his later songs to a third party for a $2 million payment in what he thought was a fixed-term licensing agreement but which turned out to be an outright sale; he invested that money in a recording studio project that has since failed. 

Music royalties are generally divided into two categories, one for the performance of a song and the other for the composition itself. Sales of recordings may have plummeted since the late 1990s, but the songs themselves — or snippets of them — have increasingly become the soundtracks for TV shows and movies, advertisements and ring tones. Broadway can provide yet another revenue stream: Besides “Money,” the Broadway show “Motown: The Musical” features more than 50 other songs from the label’s catalog, and a two-CD soundtrack has been released.  In 2009, Mr. Strong had a stroke, limiting his ability to play the piano and sing. He now lives in a retirement home here, and hopes that by recouping rights to “Money” he will more easily be able to pay his medical bills and residence fees. But he also wants his accomplishments properly remembered. 

“Songs outlive people,” he said, with a mixture of sadness, resignation and anger. “The real reason Motown worked was the publishing. The records were just a vehicle to get the songs out there to the public. The real money is in the publishing, and if you have publishing, then hang on to it. That’s what it’s all about. If you give it away, you’re giving away your life, your legacy. Once you’re gone, those songs will still be playing.”

Wow!  If this is all true, this deserves some attention ... and outrage over the treatment of Barrett Strong, although I know some variation of this was a common occurrence throughout the industry.

This has the added intrigue of the weird copyright law issue of no notification of parties involved when authorship changes are made.  
Don Effenberger 

This wouldn't be the first instance of an artist saying he was ripped off by the powers that be at a big record company ... and Berry Gordoy and Motown Records in particular.  Amazing thing is, Motown was just a start-up venture back then ... but it's happened before.  Check out the story WE uncovered a few years back regarding the Marv Johnson hit "You Got What It Takes", later covered by The Dave Clark Five! Click here: Forgotten Hits: You Got What It Takes
It's been a running joke for years.  but I couldn't help wondering how Rolf Harris made out in Ron Smith's Top 500 Labor Day Countdown ... I didn't see his big hit "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" listed ... but I guess he's been busy with other things.  
Click here: VVN Music: Rolf Harris Charged With 13 Counts of Indecent Assault and Making Indecent Images of a Child

And, speaking of Labor Day Countdowns ...
Hola Kent,  
I am a great fan of your website I am a Boston guy and especially love LABOR DAY TOP 500'S Cape Cod is one of the great Labor Day venues and super place to lay around in the sand and enjoy all that The Cape has to offer. 
I am intrigued by this year's listing, surely it is biased toward older baby-boomers, as I 'mature' in my musical tastes I have come to appreciate the songs of Billy Joel who expresses life's experiences in his songs brilliantly (yet not cracking the top 500?) and as a retiree I have expanded my 'songbook' to include the Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker, and some of the newer offerings perhaps influenced by we baby-boomers. These songs kind of cater to the more relaxed status of we retirees. It will be interesting going forward to see if any of these newer offerings enter the Top 500 list in the future. 
Have a great weekend,  

Listening again for the second time to the Sirius / XM Labor Day Countdown as I read your blog.  No surprise ... or maybe just happy to see ... that The Beatles hold number one.  I cannot overstate the importance that the British Invasion had on my past and present.  It woke me up, kicked me into puberty (I really didn't want to go there.  I was happy to be 'in the music' while maintaining my childhood) and opened me up to all the varieties, American and British, that were to come along.  It even encouraged me to back-track to the origins of songs that I heard for the first time, but were actually remakes from others.  Which now brings up 'House of the Rising Sun'.  Keep going back in time ... Leadbelly had sung this song in the 1920s.  I don't think he recorded it until the 1930s or even later.  (Sorry, my notes are packed away in the trunk of my car following my transfer to another school).
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Geez, does every countdown have to end with " I Want To Hold Your Hand"?  :-)
-- Ron Smith     
Truth be told, it took a little bit of finagling to get The Beatles to #1 ... but by mutual agreement all three of us (Dann Isbell, Lou Simon and myself) felt it HAD to rank that way.  What bigger '60's debut was there than The Beatles?!?!
As such, we went through several "rough drafts" of The Top 40 Debuts.  On one version, Bobby Lewis would have held down the top spot for "Tossin' And Turnin'", a HUGE #1 Hit from 1961.  It actually scores ahead of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in Dann Isbell's book "Ranking The '60's".  But how do you rank that one song, a virtual "One Hit Wonder", ahead of the biggest sound that DEFINED the '60's???  
We felt that the ONLY fair and accurate way to come up with a list that MEANT something was to first compile a list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade ... then evaluate THOSE debut hits in order to compile our countdown.  (See, this is all the "behind the scenes" things you don't see as to what goes into putting together a radio show!!!  lol)
Unfortunately, using this formula, several other really big first hit #1 Records were also eliminated ... including "The Letter" by The Box Tops, "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry, Dion's first solo record (he had already been charting for YEARS with The Belmonts, so I didn't feel too badly about that one!  Suffice to say he lost the coin toss!) and a couple of one-hit wonders or in-studio creations. Of course, we weren't totally happy with THESE results either ... those are some pretty big hits to ignore ... but once you develop the criteria, you've pretty much got to go with the results of this decision. Ultimately, we all signed off on the content ... and that's the countdown you heard on Sirius / XM.  (kk) 

WCBS-FM Fan Frank B sent us THEIR Top 500 Labor Day Countdown List to compare with the one posted on Ron Smith's website ... here are the links for both:
FH Reader Frank B also sent us this new blurb -- which says that this new Johnny Cash documentary will come as a shock to everyone who bought into the whole "Walk The Line" image ...  
Click here: New info on Johnny Cash will 'shock and surprise,' documentary director says | Fox News  

Our FH Buddy John Madara tells us about a brand new release on "That Philly Sound" ... a very special Chubby Checker "Six Pack" ... six songs by Chubby, three of which have never been released until now.  Four of the songs on this CD feature musicians Daryl Hall (before he teamed up with John Oates), Tom Sellers, Tim Moore and Bobby Eli.  In fact, the great Hal Blaine performs on one of the  songs with members of The Wrecking Crew.  And it's only $5.95!!! You'll find lots of rare gems on John's "That Philly Sound" label ... be sure to check out their website for all the details.  (kk)  
Click here: Rock & Roll, Sound of Philadelphia, Music, 50s, 60s - That Philly Sound   

Kent ...
Here's one I think your readers will enjoy ... The Top 10 songs, each month, 1955 - 1985. 
Frank B.  
Click here:  
I have a book like this, that breaks down The Top Ten for every month ... then recaps with Billboard's Top 50 for the year as well as the top albums, too.  Always neat to have this stuff at your fingertips!  (kk)  

Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine all talk about the hot new collectors' release "Made In California" ...  
I still haven't picked up my copy of this hot new release yet ... but am hearing REALLY good things.  Anybody else have a review they'd like to share?  (kk)    

 Speaking of Brian Wilson, he's just added some very pretty background harmonies to a Jimmy Webb remake of his classic '60's hit "MacArthur Park" ... in fact, you'll find a pretty amazing list of guest artists on this new LP:

New Jimmy Webb Album Features Duets with Brian Wilson, Crosby & Nash, America & More


An all-star lineup of artists have lent their talents to Still Within the Sound of My Voice, the latest album by renowned pop songwriter Jimmy Webb.  Among the many artists contributing to the duets collection, which will be released this Tuesday, are Brian Wilson, David Crosby & Graham Nash, America, Joe Cocker, Art Garfunkel and Carly Simon.  

Still Within the Sound of My Voice sees Webb revisiting 14 of his memorable tunes, adding country- and folk-flavored arrangements to the songs.  The album was recorded in Nashville and features musical accompaniment from a group of respected Music City studio musicians.  
Among the interesting tracks are a rendition of “McArthur Park” highlighted by Beach Boys-inspired harmonies from Wilson, and a version of “Elvis and Me” that features Elvis Presley‘s famed backing singersThe Jordanaires
“Still Within the Sound of My Voice continues the sensual rediscovery of living through and fully realizing the potential joy in the recording experience,” says Webb in a statement.  “This is a brother and sisterhood of like-minded people sparing nothing for the love of the recording and passing that experience on to the listener.” 
The entire album currently is streaming at  Here is the complete track list of Still Within the Sound of My Voice, along with the featured guest artists:  
“Sleeping in the Daytime” (featuring Lyle Lovett)
“Easy for You to Say” (featuring Carly Simon)
“Elvis and Me” (featuring The Jordanaires)
“Where’s the Playground, Suzie” (featuring Keith Urban)
“Still Within the Sound of My Voice” (featuring Rumer)

“If These Walls Could Speak” (featuring David Crosby and Graham Nash)
“The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress” (featuring Joe Cocker)
“Another Lullaby” (featuring Marc Cohn)
“You Can’t Treat the Wrong Man Right” (featuring Justin Currie)
“Rider from Nowhere” (featuring America)
“Honey Come Back” (featuring Kris Kristofferson)
“Adios” (featuring Amy Grant)
“MacArthur Park” (featuring Brian Wilson)
“Shattered” (featuring Art Garfunkel

Last week we told you about Melanie's new book ... and now comes this clip (courtesy of FH Reader David Lewis) from Melanie herself explaining how she doesn't even get compensated for her own work anymore!  Pretty sad, really ... and this was a big, big hit song.  (In fact, Melanie scored half a dozen Top 40 Hits in the early '70's with great tracks like "Brand New Key", "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)" and "Ring The Living Bell".)  Check out this clip ... it shows you how today ... even some 40 years later ... successful artists continue to get screwed by their record labels and publishing companies.  Sad.  (kk)    
Click here: ? OFFICIAL MELANIE Brand New Version "Brand New Key" 2012 from Melanie - YouTube   

Yesterday we told you about a program running this weekend on WORT that'll feature some cool WLS '60's stuff, including The Cryan' Shames' #1 Local Hit "It Could Be We're In Love".  Sounds like host Joanie Baker has an interview with Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams coming up in a couple of weeks too!  (kk)
HI Kent -
The show this Saturday night is actually Rockin' John's show, not mine.  I produce an occasional show (maybe 4x a year, tops). I will be co-hosting his show on September 28th though.  I booked Carl Giammarese for an interview.  I'm sorry to hear that you'll miss the show this weekend, but I hope that you tune on for the Buckinghams one on the 28th!
Interesting that "All You Need is Love" was the song that inched its way up to the top, but never made it, while "It Could Be We're In Love" remained at that top slot, and was a steady #1 throughout August, as Toad told me.
You should join the group  created and host on FaceBook. Not sure if you participate in that sort of thing, but it would be great to have you there. You would be in good company.
I will tell R.J. the Beatles trivia for his upcoming show, this Saturday.
Kent, even if you miss the show this Saturday, there are always the archives, and you can get on the WORT website and pretty effortlessly listen to it (for two weeks afterwards, but I would recommend tuning in a lot sooner than that, because then it DOES become more difficult and complicated to find the show.
Best wishes, Kent!
Joanie B.

I sent my chairs on ahead so they were waiting for us in the first row when we arrived around 2:00 pm.  Other acts appear throughout the day and there is time to walk the fair, eat, visit with friends, eat, go on rides, eat, meet new people, and, of course, eat.  Oh, RAIN was added this year.  Covering the chairs up with plastic and the extra umbrellas, we seasoned concert goers took it in stride.  By 8:00 pm, when it was concert time, we were still there, now seated, fed, and waiting. 
What you said ... !!!
I will try not to be repetitive, but I loved the show, and so did you.  Don't you think that Gary Lewis still has a childlike wide-eyed wonder about him?  His performance shows this.  Maybe it's genetic from his father Jerry Lee? ;-)  The wait backstage must have seemed intolerable, because by the time Mark Lindsay came out, he claimed to be 85.  Great toe-touching and kicks at 71!  You needn't increase the age to get more respect from us, Mark.  AND I TOTALLY AGREE ... ROCK 'N ROLL KEEPS YOU YOUNG. And Kent, it is true ... you cannot sing along with Gary Puckett.  But given the heart and soul he is pouring into his interpretations, I'll just add the choruses.  Maybe he prefers that anyway.  Now Chuck Negron's girlfriend sat with us, and became the tour's photographer.  KUDOS to the Woodstock Fair audience for not following her lead, and jumping up to try their own up-close photo-ops.  Chuck had not slept for 23 hours and yet NAILED those vocals.  Frannie, I am with you:  'Eli's Coming' is a definite high point, BUT 'One' was running neck and neck last night.  And now for The Turtles.  'You Know What I Mean' ?  I was sitting in front of Mark Volman for most of their act, and the contortions, faces, and posing kept me in stitches.  The doctor says I should be fine by Tuesday.  You Know What I Mean' ?  Howard and Mark fly around the stage like nuisance gnats so how do they get the job done?  'You Know What I Mean' ?  Yes Kent, a short set, but a complete unit.  A*L*M*O*S*T ... Nobody sang 'You Know What I Mean'.  And Howard, since it was a shorter set you COULD have added just that one itty bitty song. (you know what I mean?)  
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano    

I got to see the Beach Boys on their 50th anniversary tour when it hit Saratoga, NY. We were way up on the field so it was more of a listening experience than a viewing one ... anyway, diagonal from us was this extremely loud family of three, an older lady, a younger girl and a younger boy ... just talking away as if they were listening to a CD in their living room (and, the way the Beach Boys sounded that night, I almost felt like I was just listening to a CD of theirs because they sounded so dang close to the original recordings, which is why I'm so sad that they couldn't [or wouldn't] continue performing as one big group). They talked through the entire first half of the show, and a little old lady next to them kept shushing them, to which they would tell her to shut up and keep talking ... well, they left to go get some beers during the intermission and when they returned the second half was just about to begin and they went at it again with their endless talking. Two songs into the second half, they shushed the old lady again and I decided I'd had enough so I yelled "SHUT THE F*** UP AND ENJOY THE CONCERT!" at them. Then the boy (who must've thought himself to be some kind of a tough guy) started yelling back at me, then I yelled back at him, the girl and the older woman yelled at me, I yelled back at them, and then all three of them started yelling at me at once, which got about eight people around me to start shouting at them to shut up and enjoy the concert. By this time obscenities were flying from their mouths at a furious pace. Their language did not settle well with a very large African American male who looked like he was a former marine, as he got in their faces and told them to stop swearing around his daughter (I assume he didn't hear the first one I had said, thankfully) ... they did not like him getting in their faces and so they got up and stormed off, leaving their blanket behind. I spent the rest of the show spitting on their blanket in between songs, hoping they would eventually come back for it. I have no idea if they ever did or not, but I had never been so angry at anything in my life. Those stupid people had no idea what a legendary show they were ruining for several people around them.
I can recall another time when my friend and i saw Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey in concert... there was a woman sitting directly behind us singing so loudly that she was drowning out the two singers on stage (I joked with my friend that she was trying to audition to be the next Mary, unsuccessfully). 

So, how'd you enjoy the concert? 
Oh man, it was GREAT ... I beat the shit out of EVERYbody!!!  (lol)  I just don't get it ... what do these people go to the shows for in the first place if they have no intention of watching them ... and then ruining the experience for all of those around them?  Just stay home ... or go drink somewhere else.  
We've seen it all over the years ... people falling down, fights breaking out ... I was there when a fan threw a bottle at the stage and hit Yvonne Elliman in the hand during an Eric Clapton concert ... and another time when somebody dropped a cherry bomb into the main floor seats at a Beach Boys / Chicago gig.  It truly has gotten insane.  (Hey gang, for the most part, these tickets ain't cheap ... and we REALLY want to sit back and enjoy the show.  At the Three Dog Night show a couple came in about two-thirds of the way through the concert and then stood right in front of us, COMPLETELY blocking our view of the stage.  We were there in chairs ... and had been since a couple of hours before the show began.  What would make them think that they earned the right to come in late and then block the view of another attendee?  I felt like getting up after one song and saying to them, OK, now it's OUR turn to stand in front of you and block YOUR view.  Idiots!) 
Yes, it's frustrating ... and truly takes away from the whole concert-going experience ... especially if you've shelled out big bucks to see the show.  (Hey dude, I didn't pay $89 to hear YOU sing this guy's hits!!!  And very badly, too, I might add!)  But it really doesn't matter WHERE the show is or how much the ticket price was.  I'm there to see, hear and enjoy the show.  If that's not the reason YOU'RE here, then please go somewhere else. 
One word of advice though, Tom ... after watching eight seasons of "Dexter", I can faithfully say that it's not a good idea to leave your DNA anywhere near the scene of the crime ... no matter HOW pissed off you get!!!  (lol)  kk   

I think the people that came late and stood in front of you and Frannie at the 2 Dog Night Elk Grove concert were the people that came late and stood behind us!   They were quite drunk and proceeded to squeeze 20 people in the space saved for 5!   And then they got mad at us for complaining!  They totally took over our space which we had saved for hours.  Thank goodness the concert was great and worth the admission!
I'm going to look for Chuck's sequel ... would love to read that too.   I, too, had to cringe when I read the "exploding penis" part ... what a survivor!  
Could've been the same people I suppose ... but nowadays these assholes seem to be at every show.  It's kinda like the guy who walks through a parking lot keying cars ... he gets all of his satisfaction out of ruining the experience for somebody else. Idiots! (kk)   

>>>Another one who really plays it up to the vets is Tony Orlando  (kk)

Yep - Every single show I have gone to! He honors everyone from WW1 
vets  to the parents and spouses of people currently serving now.

And then he sings his own version of Neil Diamond's "America".

Quite a tribute-and I never get tired of applauding for those who have

served our country!


I think it's a great way to salute those who served our country and 
protected our freedom.  And let's not forget that Tony's big hit 
"Tie A Yellow Ribbon" took on a whole new meeting during The Gulf War!  (kk) 

Jon Anderson To Guest Star In Raiding The Rock Vault In Las Vegas – Sept. 20-24, 2013

YES founding member and former lead vocalist Jon Anderson joins Raiding The Rock Vault At The Las Vegas Hotel Casino for five shows 9/20-24  
Las Vegas, NV – Jon Anderson, founding member and former lead vocalist of the definitive progressive rock band YES, will guest star in RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT, the Ultimate Classic Rock Concert Experience, Sept. 20 – 24. The co-writer and singer of cosmic classics, including “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Roundabout,” “Going for the One,” and “Close to the Edge,” whose time with the band spanned five decades, will sing in the show for five special performances.
“Jon Anderson is an icon,” said RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT creator, director and producer John Payne. “He is one of the biggest names in the history of progressive rock and I’m really excited for him to lend his voice to the show.”
The story of classic rock comes to life in RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT, which takes audiences on a magical musical journey, traversing the genre’s history from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. The hard-rocking show features classic anthems from The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Eagles, Queen, Van Halen, AC/DC, Journey, Free, Bryan Adams, Supertramp, Toto, Deep Purple, and more, truly boasting "The Greatest Set List Ever."
The show’s all-star lineup includes Howard Leese [Guitar] (Heart), Tracii Guns [Guitar] (LA Guns, Guns n’ Roses), Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor), John Payne [Lead Vocals and Bass] (Asia), Paul Shortino [Lead Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot), Jay Schellen [Drums] (Badfinger, Asia), Andrew Freeman [Lead Vocals and Guitars] (Lynch Mob, The Offspring), and Michael T. Ross [Keyboards] (Lita Ford, Hardline).
Ticket prices for RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT range from $49 to $125 (plus fees) for a special Rock Star Package (which includes tickets in first five rows, t-shirt, concert program, album, meet-and-greet and VIP pass). Special discount tickets for $39 are available for locals. For an up-to-date schedule or to purchase tickets, visit the LVH box office or log onto,, or Tickets can also be purchased by calling 702-732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361.
About LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino: LVH - Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, a world-class destination, offers a unique blend of amenities and excitement with all your favorite table games, hottest slots on the market, incredible restaurants, endless entertainment, more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space and the world’s largest race and sports SuperBook®.  LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino provides a range of culinary adventures including exhibition-style Japanese cuisine at the world-famous Benihana, fine steaks at TJ’s Steakhouse, Pan-Asian dining at 888 Noodle Bar, authentic Japanese sushi at Teru Sushi, a traditional buffet that features tastes from around the world, and more. LVH boasts a strong entertainment schedule led by world-class headliners in the LVH Theater, as well as a variety of on-going production shows in the Shimmer Cabaret. Its proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center and its designation as a Monorail station (connecting it to the Las Vegas Strip) makes it the ideal hotel for conventions and visitors alike.  For more information or to book accommodations, call toll free at (800) 732-7117 or log on to or connect with us on our social pages

We've been telling you about the upcoming Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert ... and here's a cool clip to tell you who'll be performing.  More info to come as it becomes available:
Click here: ? Celebration for Sonny Geraci | November 15/16 | Z-Plex - YouTube    
Just a reminder that the New Colony Six will be performing at the La Crosse, Wisconsin 
Oktoberfest on Sunday, September 29th.  
More details (although not many!) can be found on their website:  
Ray Graffia, Jr.  

Attached is a collage of photos taken of the four original Rascals performing last night (Friday) 

at the Mohegan Sun Casino Arena in Connecticut.  These are exclusive Forgotten Hits pictures 

taken by Stuart Hersh.

Since their show is a multi-media presentation, including many filmed pieces and photos, the set 
list has remained the same since the beginning of the tour. 
Here it is:  
1.     It's Wonderful  
3.     What Is the Reason  
4.     You Better Run  
5.     Carry Me Back  
6.     Slow Down  (Larry Williams cover) 
7.     Mickey's Monkey  (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover)
8.     Turn On Your Love Light  
9.     Mickey's Monkey (reprise) (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover)
10. Come on Up  
12. Too Many Fish in the Sea  (The Marvelettes cover)  
13. If You Knew  
14. Hold On  
16. Good Lovin'  
18. Groovin'  
20. Away Away  
22. Sueno  
23. Find Somebody  
24. A Girl Like You  
25. It's Love  
28. Heaven  
29. A Ray of Hope  
31. See  
-- Tom Cuddy
Wow!  What a GREAT set list!  Man, what a show this must be!!!  Still no official word as to 
whether or not they'll be taking it on the road ... but one can only hope!  Thanks for sharing 
with us, Tom!  (Awesome photos, by the way ... kudos to Stuart Hersh!)  kk
And this just in ... The Rascals' "Once Upon A Dream" multi-media event is coming BACK 
to Broadway in December!!!  (Man, I was hoping for a Chicago stop between now and then!!!)  kk
Realizing A 'Dream': The Rascals Conquering Broadway, One Concert-Theatrical Show at a Time By Phil Gallo
The Rascals will return to Broadway in December for a second three-week run, and if all goes according to plan, 
their next tour will be more week-long residencies in theaters than one-nighters in concert venues. It may also spur 
other veteran acts to explore this new hybrid of concert, theatrical show and film that balances stories about a band, 
its songs and the milieu of its heyday. 
"It's a completely new genre -- what could be the next evolution of the concert experience for the older artists," says 
E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who orchestrated the Rascals reunion, as well as directing and producing the show 
"Once Upon a Dream." "Concerts are going on now for 50, 60 years, so maybe it's time for a change, to start integrating the story. 
The idea [for "Once Upon a Dream"] was to integrate the stories with the songs, give the songs a context and make the whole night 
entertaining while retaining the integrity of the concert." 
"The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream" has toured the country this year, beginning with three nights at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., 
and will wrap in October with shows at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles and the Warfield in San Francisco. It has only had two multiple-night runs: 
14 nights (April 16 - May 5) at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theater, where it played to 94% capacity and grossed $2.2 million (according to, 
and a 10-night run at the 1,100-seat Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto (Aug. 13-25). 
The 28-song show is a mixture of hits -- the group had 13 top 40 records between 1965 and 1969 -- and obscurities ("See," "It's Love," "If You Knew," 
"Baby Let's Wait") performed against a backdrop of historic footage and actors re-enacting the Rascals' story. 
The production took three years to assemble, costing Van Zandt $2 million and 617 donors on Kickstarter another $123,000. Van Zandt says crowd-sourcing 
was done more to get a sense of the value of the project than to raise funds. Expenditures included three years of voice lessons for singer Eddie Brigati with 
Katie Agresta ("Jersey Boys," Bon Jovi), a 50-foot-long screen for the visual design work of lighting director/co-producer/co-director Marc Brickman (Roger Waters, 
Nine Inch Nails) and a full complement of musicians to allow the quartet to reproduce its work the way it was recorded. 
When "Once Upon a Dream" returns to Broadway the week of Dec. 16, this time at the 1,600-seat Marriott Marquis, its rock'n'roll cohorts will be 
three shows that are proving the durability of pop music catalogs on the Great White Way. "Jersey Boys," the music and story of Frankie Valli and 
the Four Seasons and the closest production to "Once Upon a Dream," recouped its initial investment nine months after it opened in November 2005 
and has grossed more than $425 million. The fictional '80s hard rock saga "Rock of Ages" has pulled in $102 million from 1,730 shows, and "Motown: 
The Musical" has sold out nearly every show since it opened April 14, grossing more than $16 million. (Producers supply figures to such websites as that keep running tallies.) 
Van Zandt and his wife, Maureen, got the Rascals to initially reunite in 2010 to perform at the Kristen Ann Carr Fund benefit. Van Zandt, who has worked with the band 
members individually, inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and championed the act on his radio show "Little Steven's Underground Garage," says he has 
been asked to get them back onstage since 1982. He and the band members all say money alone wasn't enough for a reunion and that the oldies circuit held no appeal. 
The historical show "gave them an artistic reason to reunite," Van Zandt says. 
"I was given confidence and trust; they treated us better than we have ever been treated," Brigati says, but Felix Cavaliere, the Rascals' keyboardist, singer and chief songwriter, 
had his doubts. He says he has turned down offers to do one-man shows that would be a combination of stories and songs, and he wasn't fully convinced "Once Upon a Dream" 
would succeed. 
"I must say that this was a surprise to me," he says. "I think this is a good idea for concerts in the future. You just have to keep the costs down."

Also coming up later this month at The Arcada Theatre ...
Burton Cummings with The Zombies as the warm-up act!!!
This is going to be one HELL of a show.  (Friday, September 27th) ... details on the OShows website:  Which leads us to our other big announcement ...

Don't miss our EXCLUSIVE Interview with Burton Cummings, former lead singer of The Guess Who!!!
This one's so big it'll take three days just to fit it all in!!!
It all kicks off tomorrow EXCLUSIVELY on The Forgotten Hits Website ...
So don't miss it!     

Last weekend we lost one of our own ...
From Ron Smith's website: 
Joe Kelley, bassist and later lead guitarist with the Shadows of Knight of "Gloria" fame 
who went on to become a renown blues guitarist as a solo artist, died of cancer Sunday 
(September 1) in suburban Chicago. 
Sad to say that the guitarist who gave us those classic lead guitar licks in the Shadows of 
Knight's versions of "Oh Yeah!" and "Gloria" passed away this weekend.  EVERYONE will remember 
those sounds, even if many will say Bo Diddley and Them's originals are better than the covers that
became hits for the Shadows of Knight in 1966. 
Of course, Joe Kelley's Blues Band formed by 1967 or so and it has toured for decades, often visiting 
Lincoln's own Zoo Bar.  Sundazed music issued this note:  "We're very very sad to report that our good 
friend and Sundazed artist Joe Kelley of the amazing Shadows of Knight passed away earlier today. 

We also lost noted British talk show host David Frost on September 1st.  Most of the obituaries I read stated 
that it was Frost's interview with disgraced US President Richard Nixon that catapulted him to worldwide 
fame ... as if prior to that he was one of Great Britain's best-kept secrets.  But Beatles fan remember when 
The Fab Four selected Frost's program to debut their brand new single live in the studio ... "Hey Jude" ... 
which brought up most of the audience to the stage for the grand "Na-Na-Na" ending.  (By the way, if you've 
never seen the Frost / Nixon movie it's DEFINITELY worth checking out.  Having lived through that experience 
it was great to see it created for the silver screen a few years ago.)  kk
I see that Paul McCartney DID comment on Frost's passing:
What I find especially entertaining about this interview is the fact that A) It's got to be one of the very first (if not 
THE very first) interview McCartney did on his own without the rest of the band.  (The Beatles were always interviewed
as a group back then.)  B)  By "back then", I mean Summer of 1964 ... as "A Hard Day's Night" is just about to come out.
And C) A couple of times during this interview (circa 1964), McCartney mentions "retirement" ... this year ... 2013 ... some 50 
years later ... he's saying that he will NEVER retire ... and, in fact, shows absolutely NO evidence of slowing down ...
In fact, if anything, quite the opposite seems to be the case.
But the line that TOTALLY cracked me up was that WAY back in The Summer of 1964, David Frost says "Well, at THIS rate you 
probably won't be ready to retire until around the year 2010."  Who would have EVER believed this to be the case for this 
"flash-in-the-pan", "highly-overrated" band?!?!?  (lol)  kk
Happy Labor Day and many thanks to you for all the labor and love that you put into Forgotten Hits! 
You continue to amaze me with your ability to get informative information from artists and former 
and active radio personalities, as well as insights from the general public, the lovers of R&R.
How you find the time is beyond me but please keep up your great work!  

Danny Guilfoyle  


OLDIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ISSSS there anything else??????

Long time orrr, not long enough?  Robert Black here (MANY question THAT)

YEARRRRS back first song playin
g at the Kincardine arena for roller skating, "Can't Buy Me Love" ... 
NEVVVVer connected the title to, their first words, which I thought was hearing, Cant BOBBY LOVE.

One of the first things I did once I got on to this laptop was look up the words to the Johnny Horton 
version of Battle of Bull Run.  "We said we'd run 'em to Atlana, and  to" ... need my lap top to READ 
what he was saying.
Might make a neat list from readers,   "IZ THAT!!! what ??? was saying!!!"
Johnnny was doing what Elvis did,  putting the emPHOSES on the sylABLES!
According to a trivia note I read somewhere,  Elvis'  LP "FOR LP FANS ONLY"  was first LP of any label, 
to be issued minus the artists' NAME on front cover.
Hoping this BLOG (?) or whatever it is, continues for some time.
Robert Black,  (age 65)  
Kincardine n Willowdale


"Another year older, and deeper in debt." Looks like you owe your soul to the company store you sexagenarian.
You're in good company with others now 60: Susan Dey, Pat Benatar, Patti Scialfa, Alex Lifeson, Phoebe Snow, 
Robert Cray, Alex Van Halen, Karla DeVito, Robin Zander, Geddy Lee, Sharon Osbourne, Chaka Khan, Cyndi 
Lauper and Michael Bolton.
Ken Voss
Well, you got the "deeper in debt" part right ... man life was SO much easier when I turned 40!!!  Not bad company 
though to turn 60 with. 
Ken even sent me these pictures to rub it in ...

(Of course I looked a little different in the '70's, too!!!)


Hi Kent,
Happy 60th Birthday to you.
It is only a number. Keep your spirit young and keep up with your love for the Forgotten Hits!!!

I hit the Old People Barrier last year. There is indeed life after 60, if not necessarily hair. 
(You've done much better there than I have.)
The thing I miss most about Sixties music are novelty songs. It was a novelty song that led 
me to pop radio when I was 11. The kitchen radio and my dad's car radio were always tuned 
to old-people station WGN.  Music at our house was either what Wally Phillips played or else
classical records on the RCA Mark XII stereo. Back in 1963, I began hearing a silly song on WGN 
about a guy with a kangaroo that needed tying down. It came up in playground conversation 
at school, and my friends told me they were hearing it a lot on WLS. WLS? Never hoid of it ... 
but then I bummed a portable radio from my grandfather and tuned in
to WLS. Good-bye Beethoven. Hello Lesley Gore. My mother (who was the one playing the classical LPs) 
was heartbroken.
That wasn't the first novelty song I ever heard. My dad had actually bought the Playmates' 45 "Beep Beep" 
in 1958, because we owned not one but two Nash Ramblers at the time. Wally Phillips would also play 
"Monster Mash" around Halloween. And I had heard Vaughan Monroe's "In the Middle of the House" and 
"Who Stole the Kishka?" at my cousins'. So I was primed.
"Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead," "The Leader of the Laundromat," "Martian Hop," "My Boomerang Won't 
Come Back," "Crazy Downtown," "Thank You Very Much," "I Love Onions," "Go Go Radio Moscow," 
"Chick-a-Boom," "Gimme Dat Ding," and all the rest. They sure don't make 'em like that anymore.
Welcome to 60. We knew you'd get here sooner or later.
-- Jeff Duntemann
   Colorado Springs CO
You don't hear much in the way of novelty tunes (or instrumentals either for that matter)  anymore
these days ... it's a different "landscape" out there for music ... nothing to "lighten the mood" seems to fit.
I've always been a novelty fanatic, too ... and, purely by coincidence, you tapped into TWO artists 
I was working on this weekend ... Rolf Harris and Lesley Gore ... both of whom, apparently, have 
had a thing (at one time or another) for little girls.  My tastes in music haven't changed much overall ... 
I still maintain to this day that NOTHING beats a good, catchy pop song ... and while I've expanded 
my horizons over the year to include somethings off the beaten path, it still ALWAYS comes back to 
a good, catchy melody that stays with you.  Sadly, this has been missing more and more from popular 
music these past few decades, which is why a song WITH one today stands head and shoulders above 
all the rest. (kk)  

Again, I hope you had an excellent happy birthday and I want you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed 
today's comments. I always like to see surveys from other radio markets and to see what records were 
played that weren't played here in OKC.
On the survey from KFJZ top 60, I noticed in the King Z Klimers was a song by the Last Word, CAN'T 
STOP LOVING YOU on Atco. Haven't heard that record or thought of it in years. I got it out just now 
and played it as they say "one more time". It was a big record here in OKC, in fact, I just checked and 
it peaked at #2 in November of 1967.
Enjoyed hearing SUNDAY AND ME, always did like that one by Jay & the Americans.
I also got out another record I hadn't heard or thought of in years. You made reference to it in one of 
your notes as being a "good news week". Love those Hedge Hoppers Anonymous.
This if FYI. Here in OKC on the date of your birthday, the #1 song was THE LETTER by the Box Tops and 
at the bottom of the survey in the Pick Hit of the Week position was the song by the Lemon Charade, 
One final thing about your hitting the big 6-0. I discovered a few years ago after I hit the big 5-5 that 
when I go to certain restaurants, one gets a discount on certain items.  These items may be what you 
get to drink, dessert, a certain  percentage off your entree, etc. As singer Brenda Holloway said, EVERY 
P.S. Hope you had a great BIRTHDAY PARTY on your day. Where are those Pixies 3 when you need them?
Yeah, I LOVE looking at other surveys and seeing what "local hits" we may have missed ... but then I wanna 
hear 'em!!! (lol)  That's why I'm still hoping that we can drum up enough interest to put together another 
edition of "Show Me Your Hits", a series put together by the readers showing some of the songs that were 
big hits in their areas growing up yet somehow never made their way to the national charts. 
I've never really "cashed in" on the senior discounts ... have always hated to share my age with the wait-staff ... 
but I'm getting to the point now where hey, if I've got it coming, then I want it!!!  Hell, I've hung in here THIS 
long ... might as well get what's coming to me!  (lol)  Thanks, Larry!  (kk)

I'm with you -- I think 1967 was the best year for music.  No season beats the Summer of Love!  1964 comes 
close, when The Beatles changed music forever. But all of those years had great music.  I'll not disagree with 
anyone who says 1966, or '65, or '68.  Unique times culturally, and our music was an integral part of it. 
We still reference things with the music of that era.  When I woke up this morning, I looked at my calendar 
and started singing, "It was the 3rd of September, a day I'll always remember..." Thank you, Temptations! 
I hope you enjoy your 60s as much as you enjoyed them the first time around.  I know I do!
Dan Cabtree
Wheaton, Illinois 

i Old Timer,
The blog excited me today.  A New England group, The Fabulous Farquahr  with a really great writer Doug 
Lapham (check out Ral Donner's 'She's Not You' and 'Girl of My Best Friend') wrote a song named "A Child of 
the Fifties" They never hit the Big Time but anyone who summered on Cape Cod or wintered in Vermont from 
the late 60's right up until the earl 90's would consider them a Top Rate Saloon Band, so from my 'private 
collection' and for your edification: 
This is from a live show at Toad's Place, 1996, in New Haven, Connecticut. They were a truly great group 
they just didn't break through they did record for Vanguard and others, The Kingston Trio did a couple of 
there 'Happy Hour' songs in Vegas in '76 and they have an album on iTunes and some tributes on Youtube, 
well worth a look.

re:  WHAT THE HECK?!?!?:
Hmmm ... it seems that even Amazon has got my M.O. down pat ...
I just received this email this morning ...

Kent Kotal,
Are you looking for something in our Oldies Pop Music department? 

If so, you might be interested in this item. 

Whipped Cream & Other Delights
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Price: $9.95