Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Public Service Announcement

We don't normally do this sort of thing in Forgotten Hits, but when you see the names attached to this project ... and the good cause it represents ... you just may be inspired to get involved.

These folks risked their lives to protect ours ... and far too often never got the thanks and the respect that they deserved.  Perhaps now we can do a little something to give something back. 


Veterans Matter is an innovative grass-roots effort started in Toledo, Ohio by a formerly homeless man in an effort to house 35 local veterans.  From that homespun campaign and with the help of the entertainment industry, 20+ musicians, bands, actors, actresses, managers, publicists, writers, singers, individual and corporate donors, Veterans Matter has raised $800,000 and housed over 1000 veterans in eleven states.  

“There are over 47,000 veterans still homeless on our nation’s streets. Streets where they are being beaten, robbed, even killed. If this kind of thing happened while they were serving we would be outraged. The celebrity advocates who have come out to help this cause are really providing a voice for the voiceless,” said Ken Leslie, the founder and Advocate-in-Chief of Veterans Matter.  

Coordinated with the VA’s homeless outreach coordinators, Veterans Matter essentially passes donations, less very minimal program costs, directly to landlords to provide deposits which open the door to immediate long-term housing and case management. This partnership gives Veterans Matter an evidence-based 100% success rate in housing veterans in a program that has a 91% success rate in keeping them housed. 

Urged by music industry friends who wanted to help house homeless veterans in their home states, Leslie grew the Veterans Matter program and created an on-line cloud-based system to allow Veterans Administration coordinators to quickly access and secure deposits literally in minutes

Whether donating several minutes, several hours or several dollars, these supporters see the fruits of their efforts week by week, state by state. For example:

·    Operation Texas was started by Dusty Hill of ZZ Top when he convened a group of businessmen in Houston. The return for his efforts resulted in that group’s raising over $250,000 and housing nearly 500 Texas veterans. 

·    The same day John Mellencamp became chair of Operation Indiana, Veterans Matter received a $37,000 donation that resulted in 96 Indiana veterans being housed to date.

·    Operation Michigan was started by writer Mitch Albom who has donated $35,000 to house Michigan veterans. With additional funding raised or donated by Katy Perry, Kid Rock, and a compassionate corporation, over 150 homeless Michigan veterans have been housed to date.

·    Katy’s support also garnered the creation of Operation Mid-Atlantic which has to date raised $25,000 and housed a dozen veterans.

·    Many of these and other celebrity advocates have recorded national radio/video PSA's and provided social media support.   

Veterans Matter can help accomplish in minutes what can take existing programs two weeks to two months to accomplish. Services and resources are provided by the VA help many of these now-housed vets and their families to recapture their lives and return to domestic autonomy. 

The partnership with the VA gives the program a documented 100% success rate in housing veterans through a long term VA program that has a 91% success rate in keeping them housed. Depending on revenue, program costs are running 14% - 17%. 

Veterans Matter is a program of, a Toledo based non-profit which creates and funds new programs to house the unhoused. 

With the government set to release up to 10,000 more housing vouchers this year, the group is currently reaching out to agents, managers, publicists and entertainment industry personalities to ramp up the recruiting of additional celebrity advocates.  The hope is to raise at least $1.5 million to house another 2,000 veterans and veteran families this year. 

“Fans may forget that no matter the level of fame and achievement, these high profile people are regular Americans like you and me who simply believe that veterans matter and that we must take care of our own,” Leslie said.    

Current Veterans Matter celebrity advocates roster

Ann Heche
Ann & Nancy Wilson 
Big & Rich 
Darius Rucker
Darryl Worley
Dusty Hill and ZZ Top
Emerson Drive
Gary Sinise
Gene Hackman
Jennifer Nettles 
John Fogerty
John Mellencamp
Katy Perry
Kid Rock
Kix Brooks 
Mario Lopez
Mitch Albom
PJ O'Rourke
Stevie Nicks
Susan Sarandon
Willie Nelson

For more information or to get involved, visit


Friday, April 29, 2016

SWEET 16 - Motown 25

In today's special SWEET 16 Feature we'll count down the 16 Biggest Motown Hits, 1960 - 1985.  Songs are ranked by their overall chart performance at the time of their original release ... but ALL are Motown Standards.

#16 - AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH - Diana Ross  (1970)

#15 - BEING WITH YOU - Smokey Robinson  (1981)

#14 - WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO - The Supremes  (1964)

#13 - WAR - Edwin Starr  (1970)

#12 - ABC - The Jackson Five  (1970)

#11 - I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU - Stevie Wonder  (1984)

#10 - HELLO - Lionel Richie  (1984)

#9 - LOVE CHILD - Diana Ross and the Supremes  (1968)

#8 - SAY YOU, SAY ME - Lionel Richie  (1985)

#7 - LET'S GET IT ON - Marvin Gaye  (1973)

#6 - THREE TIMES A LADY - The Commodores  (1978)

#5 - UPSIDE DOWN - Diana Ross  (1980)

#4 - ALL NIGHT LONG - Lionel Richie (1983)

#3 - I'LL BE THERE - The Jackson Five  (1970)

#2 - I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE - Marvin Gaye (1969)

#1 - ENDLESS LOVE - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (1981) 

Not quite the list you were expecting?  I have to admit I was a little surprised by the final results as well.

When I think of Motown, I think of the '60's ... HUGE groups like The Supremes, The Temptations (who didn't even make this list), The Four Tops (ditto), Stevie Wonder (only his 1984 hit "I Just Called To Say I Love You" qualified) ... as well as timeless tracks like "Dancin' In The Street", "Do You Love Me", "I Can't Help Myself", "Baby Love", "My Girl", "Just My Imagination", "My Guy", "Please Mr. Postman" and such.

But when you do a point-for-point evaluation, you find that everything is not as it seemed.

Lionel Richie's got his hand in FIVE of The Top 16 Motown Hits ... a full third!  Diana Ross outranks her fellow Supremes (who had an incredible THIRTEEN #1 National Hits, including a string of five in a row back in 1964/1965) with three of her solo hits to two Supremes tracks (which means she ALSO occupies a full third of this list!)

Only three songs in the countdown pre-date 1970 ... two of those are by The Supremes and the other one is Marvin Gaye's HUGE hit "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".

Now if I only took The 16 Biggest Motown Hits of the '60's, you'd find a far different picture:

#16 - I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Gladys Knight and the Pips  (1967)
#15 - I Hear A Symphony - The Supremes  (1965)
#14 - Please Mr. Postman - The Marvelettes  (1961)
#13 - I Can't Get Next To You - The Temptations  (1969)
#12 - Reach Out, I'll Be There - The Four Tops  (1966)
#11 - You Can't  Hurry Love - The Supremes  (1966)
#10 - My Guy - Mary Wells
#9 - Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross and the 
Supremes  (1969)
#8 - Stop! In The Name Of Love - The Supremes  (1965)
#7 - Come See About Me - The Supremes  (1964)
#6 - Fingertips Part 2 - Little Stevie Wonder  (1963)
#5 - Baby Love - The Supremes  (1964)
#4 - I Can't Help Myself - The Four Tops  (1965)
#3 - Where Did Our Love Go - The Supremes  (1964)
#2 - Love Child - Diana Ross and the Supremes  (1968)
#1 - I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye (1969) 

In this scenario "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" book-ends the countdown ... and The Supremes account for EIGHT of The Top 16 Motown Hits (that's HALF the countdown!!!)  And there are STILL so many GREAT Motown hits that fail to make the list.

Thanks to the way radio is programmed today, we all come away with a very distorted perspective of rock and roll history.  Based on airplay alone over the past twenty years, Marvin Gaye's version of "Grapevine" would probably be followed by "My Girl" by The Temptations (not on EITHER list!), "Baby Love", "My Guy", "Dancin' In The Street" (also not on either list) and "For Once In My Life" ... but Our Sweet 16 Countdown shows the way things REALLY went down at the time!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday This And That

LOTS of winners to congratulation today thanks to our recent CD Give-Aways sponsored by Eric Records and Jim Peterik, whose new release will be available next week for purchase.  (Forgotten Hits Readers got a chance to hear it before you could even buy it!!!)

Bill Buster of Eric Records donated three copies of each of his company's hot new releases ...
HARD TO FIND JUKEBOX CLASSICS, 1960 - 64  (30 AMAZING STEREO HITS) and THREE DECADES OF CLASSIC NOVELTY HITS (featuring 28 great songs hard to find on CD).

Winners of these brand new CD's include Tom Apathy of Parma, Ohio, and Ed Salamon of Nashville, Tennesse, each of whom won copies of the HARD TO FIND JUKEBOX CLASSICS, 1960 - 64 CD ... 

And Colin Donahue of Waukegan, Illinois (a brand new Forgotten Hits Reader who first heard about our website at the Tommy Roe concert at The Arcada Theatre a few months back) and Stuart Weiss of Staten Island, New York, each of whom won copies of the THREE DECADES OF CLASSIC NOVELTY HITS CDs.

We also had a winner of BOTH CD's ... this honor goes to Andy Boyer of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, who went to the Eric Records website and purchased three CD's, which qualified him to win copies of BOTH of our special CD give-aways 

Jim Peterik's new CD, "The Songs", features brand new arrangements and reimaginations of some of his best known songs.  Winning copies of this hot new release are Wayne Calhoun of Bethel, Ohio, and Clark Besch of Lincoln, Nebraska.

All these CD's should go out in the mail by this weekend.  Congratulations to ALL of our winners ... and thanks to everybody who played along.

Meanwhile, there is absolutely NO reason why you can't still pick up copies of these great new releases for your own collection, simply by visiting the website for each ...

Eric Records Most Popular CD's
The results are in ... after many of our readers visited the Eric Records website and let us know which three CD's they'd be most likely to order, we tabulated all of the votes and came up with this list of the twenty most popular titles.  (When all was said and done, votes were cast for 52 different CD titles)  Again, please use the link above to visit the site and order copies for your own collection!

1 Hard To Find Jukebox Classics, 1960 - 1964 
2 Three Decades of Classic Novelty Hits 
3 Amazing Early '60's  Box 
4 Dick Bartley Presents Classic Oldies, 1965 - 1969 
5 Hard To Find 45's on CD - Volume 12 - 60s and 70s Pop Classics 
6 Hard To Find 45's on CD - Sweet Soul Sounds, 1963 - 1971
7 Hard To Find 45's on CD - Volume 5 - Sixties Pop Classics 
8 Complete Pop Instrumentals - 1960 
9 Complete Pop Instrumentals - 1959 
10 Complete Pop Instrumentals - 1961 
11 Hard To Find 45's on CD - Pop and Country Classics
12 Hard To Find 45's on Cd - Volume 11 - Sugar Pop Classics
13 Hard To Find Jukebox Classics, 1964 
14 Lettermen - The First Four Albums and More
15 Teen Time: The Young Years of Rock 'n' Roll Vol. 2 
17 Complete Pop Instrumental Hits, 1962 
18 Hard To find 45's on CD - Volume 14 - 70s and 80s Pop Classics
19 Hard To Find 45's on CD - Volume 7 - More Sixties Classics 
20 Hard To Find Jukebox Classics 1957: Pop Gold 

Eric's new "Hard To Find Jukebox Classics, 1960 - 1964" is a listening delight ... crystal clear sound on every track ... and the variety of song selection allows the listener to enjoy several genres of music that made the music of the '60's the exciting experience it was. 
You've got "The Girl Group Sound" of The Ronettes, The Chiffons and The Dixie Cups ... British Invasion classics by The Kinks, The Zombies, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and Marianne Faitufull ... Instrumental Hits by The Viscounts and The Ramrods ... Folk Rock by The Rooftop Singers and Peter, Paul and Mary ... Good Old-Fashioned American Rock And Roll by The Kingsmen, The Rivieras, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Rick Nelson, Chubby Checker and Ray Charles as well as undefinable hits like "The Girl From Ipanema" by Getz and Gilberto, "Ringo" by Lorne Greene, "Danke Schoen" by Wayne Newton and "Yeh Yeh" by Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames.
Head over to the Eric Records website and listen to these sound samples for yourself.  (kk)

Jim Peterik:  The Songs:

The promo information supplied regarding the new Jim Peterik CD is a little bit misleading ... it stresses the bluegrass / early Americana feel of these reimagined tracks but the truth is that this really only comes into play sporadically throughout he new CD.
The vast majority of these tracks are simply "unplugged" versions, many with new stripped down (and slowed down) arrangements.  As might be expected, some work better than others.
Standout tracks for me include "Caught Up In You", with its staccato string arrangement (some say similar to the styling used on The Beatles' version of "Eleanor Rigby" ... I point this out because The Ides Of March ALSO cut a version of "Eleanor Rigby" on their "Vehicle" LP that took on more of a Vanilla Fudge type feel); "High On You", which takes on a bit of a Jamaican feel (which I really like's hands down my album favorite) and the two brand new tracks, "Miracle At Ground Zero" and "The Same Muse", both of which are solid tracks and hold their own in the only arrangement we know them for.
I must also say that Jim is in excellent voice throughout the CD and the musicianship of these "Nashville Cats" assembled to back him up are outstanding as well.
Some of these new send-ups are a bit too familiar ... "Is This Love" takes on sort of an Extreme / "More Than Words" feel, "Hold On Loosely" sounds like it came right off of an early '70's James Taylor album (which I'm sure was exactly the intent ... I like the way this arrangement gives you some sense of what things must have sounded like when Peterik and .38 Special contributors Jeff Carlisi and Don Barnes sat around Jim's kitchen table throwing around ideas the night they wrote it), while "That's Why God Made The Radio" sounds more like the theme to "Midnight Cowboy" than ever with its stripped down, piano-driven arrangement.  It is also missing the harmonies that made the song an immediate Beach Boys classic.  (It just doesn't sound right with the high end missing completely ... this song NEEDS voices to convey its passion ... and deserves better than it gets here.)  This is probably the track I was most looking forward to hearing ... a chance to get Jim's take on the song he helped compose with Brian Wilson ... so as such, it's a bit of a disappointment.
Speaking of piano-driven, the new arrangement of "LA Goodbye" also doesn't work for me ... the beauty of the original guitar work is what helped to make the track so powerful in the first place ... I don't know that this core sound needed to be replaced in order to be reimagined ... augmenting that driving force with some of these new instruments being brought into play on this cd (especially the strings) would have made this a far more effective track in my opinion.  Once again, so would some strategically placed harmonies.  (If it's one thing this CD is lacking, its the use of background and harmony voices ... Jim's voice drives every track, as it should ... but so much of his unique sound over the years has been built around the blend of voices that they are noticeably missed and sorely missed in many of these sparse arrangements.  There's more to "reimagining" than just slowing the tracks down and stripping them down to the basics ... a perfect case in point would be Eric Clapton's reimagined version of "Layla" from his MTV Unplugged performance.  BOTH versions are absolutely standout arrangements ... so much so that it's hard to pick a favorite.  The same can be said for The Eagles' live "Hell Freezes Over" acoustic performance of "Hotel California" ... you're as likely to hear EITHER version on the radio today ... and you don't really care which one they play because BOTH versions are outstanding.  I wish a little more thought and care had been given to a couple of tracks on this CD as I think the overall end result would have been considerably stronger ... and more radio-friendly. Which brings us, of course, to the two most familiar tracks of all, "Vehicle" and "Eye of the Tiger" ... and therein lies a big part of the problem ... these tracks have become so much a part of our collective DNA in their classic rock arrangements, that it's almost impossible to accept them in any other fashion.
Jim's "fiddlin' around" with "Eye Of The Tiger" is the stronger of the two and works a lot better in this new arrangement, especially with the reintroduction of the familiar riff brought in at the end of the song by the strings ... a nice effect and a welcome surprise, as is the banjo used throughout the track.  This one is, at the very least, interesting to listen to as it moves forward to achieve just short of full hoe-down status.
"Vehicle", on the other hand, is not.  Slowed down and stripped down to basically a low-key electric piano, I kept waiting for the song to build into something ... and it never does.  I think this arrangement would have been a GREAT way to start the song ... but then each subsequent verse should have added more instrumentation and voices to build into a more powerful (albeit quieter) version of the song we all know and love so well.  (I've heard any number of arrangements of "Vehicle" over the years, many by Jim himself as he adapts it to whatever venue or music genre he may be performing it in at that given moment ... some of his "blues" performances of this song have been among his best ... but I feel that as powerful a track as it is, this song deserves more than this new arrangement allows for.  As Jim himself has said thousands of times before, this truly IS the vehicle that got him here today .. it deserves a better fate.)  Being performed at dirge level, as it is here, almost makes that "friendly stranger in the black sedan" seem a little bit creepier.
Review in a word:  "Unnecessary" ... there's nothing here that improves on the original recordings we hold so dear to our hearts ... but I also understand Jim's need to continue to grow and experiment, so I grant him that for being adventurous enough to do so.  I love the fact that he's able to take a fresh look at this material and play around with it a little bit.  Slipping in one of these new arrangements in a concert setting would probably be a real treat ... but as an entire album, it's just a little bit too much.  On a scale of 1-10, I've got to give it a 3 1/2.  (kk)

Billy Paul:
Hi Kent,  
Just heard the news that Billy Paul passed away on Sunday (4/24) at the age of 81. 
I was only six going-on seven years-old when I heard “Me And Mrs. Jones” for the first time.  I didn’t understand exactly what the lyrics meant, but it helped turn this little white kid from suburban Minnesota into a huge soul fan. 
Growing up in Minnesota, I was also fortunate to catch on to Prince’s talents early on.  We heard how he recorded his albums pretty much by himself, playing all the instruments.  His live shows around the Minneapolis area were also attracting attention.  I loved “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” “Controversy,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “1999”.  By the time the Purple Rain movie and album exploded in 1984, we felt that the whole world had finally caught on to what we’d known for years … this Prince dude was a true musical genius.  He was a very private person, but he shared his gifts with the world and he will be missed.  BTW, we’ve compiled a pretty exhaustive list of those musical artists we’ve lost so far in 2016.  You can check it out on the right-hand side of our homepage here:   
One song that I don’t think was mentioned yet in the “they don’t say the title in the lyrics” category is “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.  I can also shed some light on “Strawberry Letter 23.”  According to the song’s writer, Shuggie Otis (son of the legendary Johnny Otis), the song is about a series of letters between lovers.  The singer is so delighted with “Strawberry Letter 22” that he writes the song in response and this becomes “Strawberry Letter 23”.  At least that’s the story I’ve always heard.  
Paul Haney 
Record Research
"Suite Judy Blue Eyes" definitely made our list.  I always assumed that, since The Brothers Johnson kept talking about "Strawberry Letter 22" they must be writing down those thoughts in "Strawberry Letter 23" ... but they sure left it up to the fans to figure that out.  (I'll bet more than a few folks went into the store asking for "Strawberry Letter 22" back in the day!)
We ran The Record Research List on the site yesterday ... and will continue to add to it as the year progresses ... unfortunately, I'm afraid this is far from over.  Thanks, Paul!  (kk) 

PHILADELPHIA – Legendary Philadelphia International Records co-founders and R&B pioneers Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff released the following joint statement today as they mourned the passing of Mr. Billy Paul, legendary recording artist best known for his smash hit, “Me and Mrs. Jones.  
"We are very saddened to learn of the sudden death of our good friend and Philadelphia International Records recording artist Billy Paul. From the time we saw Billy performing live, and then signing him to our PIR/TSOP label, we immediately realized that we had discovered and launched one the most unique voices in the music industry. Billy's voice combined both Jazz, R&B and Soul vocals, making him one the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide. Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’ In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. Billy was one of the first artists to help launch the PIR/TSOP brand, and he will forever have a special place in music history.”  
“We send our very sincere and personal condolences to his wife Blanche and the rest of his family. Billy Paul will truly be missed.

Gone But Not Forgotten 
Good morning Kent, 
I just wanted to point out that Otis Clay wrote Tryin' to Live My Life Without You, which some years later turned in to a big hit for Bob Seger. 
Don't know why his version wasn't a hit, but glad bob rescued it from obscurity. 
Yes, and then The Eagles took it note-for-note, added some new words and called it "The Long Run"!!!  (lol)  kk

Several years ago I was having a yard sale (in the suburban L.A. area) and I had some music related items. One guy started talking about music and said he had been in a vocal group back east. I asked him the name and he said the Tempos. I said, "The Tempos that did 'See You In September'?" and he said "Yes" and was surprised that I knew that. He said he had left shortly before the record and they didn't take him back when he tried to rejoin. 
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem

Thanks for the sad but informative posting from Joel Whitburn.  I know what he's talking about!  
Last year, we lost (among others - you probably know more) Curtis Lee, Lesley Gore, Percy Sledge, Ben E. King, B.B. King, Lynn Anderson, Cilla Black, Frankie Ford, Billy Joe Royal, Cory Wells, Allen Toussaint, P.F. Sloan, and Natalie Cole, as well as less well known performers such as Andy Fraser (bassist with Free), Brian Carman (guitarist with the Chantays), Eddie Hardin (Spencer Davis Group), Martin Beard (Sopwith Camel) and Preston Ritter (drummer for the Electric Prunes).  Joel's lengthy 2016 list just adds to the losses.  
I have seen comments on blogs that, for some reason, express surprise at all these deaths.  I think there's nothing to be surprised at -- at all.  The 1960s saw a ballooning of the number of pop music acts, many of which had several members -- and they're all aging out.  Sir Paul is 73.  Mick Jagger is 72.  David Crosby is 74. Graham Nash is 74. Bill Wyman, for heaven's sake, is pushing 80, and has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Petula Clark is 83.   And let's face it, some of these guys did not lead an exactly healthful lifestyle.  Dozens upon dozens of pop groups, now in their senior years. 
When they die, I am very sorry to see them go.  But surprised?  Not so much.
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Connecticut 

You're echoing a point I meant to make in our posting ... MOST of these artists had some pretty bad habits when it came to burning the candle at both ends ... drugs ... alcohol ... heck, Prince was partying like it was 1999 as early as 1982!  (This is why I am always amazed when I read these rock star biographies ... how can they possibly remember MOST of what they went through when they were in an altered state the majority of the time?!?!?) 
To make it to 74 and have led the lives that many of these folks did is actually quite amazing.  But it's still sad every time we lose one who touched our lives.  Thankfully their music lives on forever (as long as somebody keeps playing it!)  kk

Jimy Sohns:
We were quite sad to hear that Jimy Sohns is going through a rough patch right now ... but if ANYBODY can come back from this, it's Jimy ... he's already WAY ahead on his rehabilitation ... and it's my guess that Jimy Sohns will be leading the audience in many more choruses of Rock And Roll's Greatest Anthem, "Gloria", real soon!  (kk)

Crushed to hear the sad news about Jimy Sohns, a bona fide rock animal. Jimy will fight back ... he always does. He will remain as he says ... that guy your old man just doesn't want his daughter to date.  The cat will bringing "Gloria" and "Shake" when he's 80.
Chet Coppock

Hi Kent,  
THANK YOU for the info on Jimy Sohns' stroke. I sent him an email to wish him a speedy recovery.   
He is the true "Bad Boy of Rock and Roll" and I would pay any price to see him perform.  
All his tunes are great, but when he does "Shake" and "Little Queenie," he  rocks the house down.  
Please keep us informed on how he is doing.  
Love You Jimy!!!!  

From Jimy Sohns ...   

On Wednesday evening, April 13th, I was admitted to the hospital with numbness in my foot and leg. I suffered a stroke that I am gladly recovering quickly from. I am currently attending daily rehabilitation for my foot, leg, and speaking voice. While I am shaky and I will be giving my body time to recover, my singing voice has not been harmed and neither has my mojo ... I'm giving my nurses something they'll never forget ... lol
Rock on!

Hang in there, Jimy!  Can't wait to see you up on the stage again!  (kk)

The Mamas and the Papas
Me-TV just ran an interesting piece on collectible music-related toys and dolls from the '60's and '70's ... and I saw something I'd NEVER seen before ... but it ties in PERFECTLY with our recent Mamas and Papas series so I wanted to share this with you.
Does ANYBODY remember "ShowBiz Babies"???
Looks like you not only got the doll but also one of those 33 1/3 flexi-discs of a brief biography followed by a Mamas and Papas track!  (I wondered what these things are worth today so I checked on eBay ... a complete set is priced right around $1000!!!  Now I wonder how many of these they sold back in the day!)  Check 'em out.  (kk) 

This And That: 
After much delay and many email inquiries, I finally received the DVD that I ordered. Actually I received two, but that’s a whole other story.
I had ordered the $100.00 package immediately after the televised show on WTTW. My question is this ... I was under the impression that the DVD that I ordered was going to be the entire performance and not the edited version that was aired during their “begfest”. For example, reviews on your site indicated that The Cryan' Shames performed five songs at the performance, but only three appeared on the edited televised show. When I opened my package, the credits on the back of the DVD booklet indicate only three songs by The Cryan' Shames and not five.  In fact, the credits only list the songs performed on the edited version by all of the groups. In addition, there is no indication of the group “Louie Louie” performance which appeared at the end of the edited televised show.
In your column you indicated that you had opened and watched your DVD. What exactly is on that DVD? Is there more than one version of the DVD? I do not want to play mine until I am sure it is the correct one that I thought I had ordered in case I have to return it.    
I really enjoyed the edited version that I saw on WTTW and thought the performance was extremely well done. But, from the start, the entire promotion, as handled by WTTW, was rampant with mis-information and I thought that the handling of the orders was very poorly done.  
Robert Campbell
After all the time I waited for this to come (and numerous inquiries of my own), I still have NOT watched the DVD.  (I'm a little amazed by that myself as I was so looking forward to receiving it ... but after seeing the televised version several times I guess I just never felt the urgency to watch it again.  After all the delays, I, too, was a little disenchanted by the time the package finally arrived.)
My understanding is that the DVD was supposed to include bonus footage not aired during the televised program ... but as to what "extras" might be included, this was never really made clear (other than the fact that interviews with many of the artists were supposed to be spliced in.)
After talking to most of the artists who performed that night, they, too, were disappointed that their full performance had been edited by at least one song for broadcast purposes ... so while expecting to see the full show in its entirety on DVD may have been something we all hoped for, I don't know that WTTW ever explicitly stated what would and would not be included.  (This was kinda mishandled from the beginning ... the end credits during the broadcast referred to a tribute to the group Chase, but this segment was never televised.  I believe it IS on the DVD, however, but again I haven't watched it to confirm as such.)
Between the defective manufacturing of the original DVDs and the delay this created in getting them to the subscribers who donated big bucks to PBS, it's been a rather unpleasant experience overall.  However, BOTH shows announced during the taping (first at The Arcada and then again this weekend at The Skokie Performing Arts Center) were complete sell-outs ... and another show has been added at The Arcada for September 3rd ... so this has proven to be a VERY hot ticket and the local fans are turning out in big numbers to support our Local Heroes ... which is all a VERY good thing.  (Sadly, a lot has happened since the original taping, including the death of American Breed lead singer Gary Loizo and now Jimy Sohn's stroke ... Dennis Tufano missed the first Arcada concert because of a previous commitment ... so we never really know for sure in advance just who we're going to see up on the stage on any given night.  They are still promoting "many surprises and special guests" so it'll be interesting to see just who turns up.)
I've yet to see any of the live shows (although most of these artists DID perform at The Marty Grebb Benefit Concert earlier last year.)  We had planned to go to the Skokie show on Sunday (May 1st) because we had never been to this venue before but now that this one has sold out, too, I guess we'll have to miss it.
As far as I know there is only ONE version of the DVD ... so open it up and enjoy it.  As you said, it was GREAT seeing all these guys performing together again, some setting aside YEARS of differences to do so.  If nothing else, the recent circumstances surrounding Marty, Gary and Jimy prove once again that life is just too short to hold grudges ... to ALL of the participating musicians, go on up there and do what you enjoy most ... and give the fans something to cheer about one more time.  (kk)

From FH Reader Frank B (by way of Wild Wayne) ...

Now how fucked up is this?  Alan Freed's ashes, previously on display at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, have been "evicted" ... and now reside in their new final resting place.
Check out this article ...

Saturday Night Live had an interesting tribute to Prince, of which the best clip was:  
Clark Besch   

And check out this performance of "Purple Rain" by Adam Levine and Patrick Monahan ... posted less than a week ago and already over fifteen million views!  (kk)

We've been talking about Bobby Rydell's new biography, due out on May 4th. (Still waiting for our advance copy ... the plan was to read the book and do a Forgotten Hits interview with the teen idol ... not likely to do that before the release date anymore but still hoping we get a chance to talk with Bobby as I hear he's one of the most genuinely nice guys in all of show business.)
Here's an article sent in by FH Reader Frank B ...
Forgotten Hits regulars Scott Shannon and Tom Cuddy went to a special reception honoring Bobby last week ... hoping will get a first hand account of that event as well!)  kk

Have you seen the Tower Records Documentary that's been running on Showtime?
Pretty good stuff, profiling one of the absolute "bigs" of the industry ...
But once again showing how the music industry did everything possible to shoot itself in the foot and ultimately destroy life as we knew it.
Check it out if you get a chance ... well worth seeing.  (kk)

Check out the incredible schedule put together for Ravinia this summer!
Sunday, June 12th - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Friday, June 17th - The BoDeans
Saturday, June 18th - Paul Simon
Wednesday, June 22nd - Seth MacFarlane with Katharine McPhee
Thursday, June 23rd - Patti LaBelle with The Commodores
Friday, June 24th - Bob Dylan with Mavis Staples
Saturday, July 2nd - The Steve Miller Band
Friday, July 8th - Duran Duran
Monday, July 19th - Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris
Sunday, July 24th - Kenny Rogers with The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band
Wednesday, July 27th - Diana Ross
Sunday, July 31st - Buddy Guy with Jeff Beck
Sunday, August 7th - Dolly Parton
Thursday, August 11th - War with Los Lonely Boys
Saturday, August 13th - Tony Bennett
Sunday, August 14th and Monday, August 15th - Don Henley
Thursday, August 18th - Judy Collins
Friday, August 19th - The Go Gos
Thursday, August 25th - John Fogerty
Saturday, August 27th - Train
Sunday, August 28th - Seal
Thursday, September 1st - Lauryn Hill
Friday, September 2nd - Marty Stuart with Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters
Saturday, September 3rd - Bonnie Raitt

Diggin' Forgotten Hits 
In the Honda jingle the words are "200 miles per gallon and a rugged trail machine" … not “sale machine” ... they were referring to the Trail 50 / 55 / 90 group of bikes.  
Love your site ... a big thanks for doing it. I am 67 and used to sing this since that was all I could do, not having the money to buy an actual bike, which I finally did when I turned 16.  
Mike Baker

Kent -
Just a note to say how much I enjoy the reviews submitted by "Field Reporter" Shelly Sweet-Tufano and sixties / doowop lover Tom Apathy. Having attended  my share of concerts, I find Shelly and Tom's pieces to be spot-on and highly entertaining ... keep 'em coming!
ALL our readers are encouraged to send in their own concert reviews and photos ... we can't promise we'll run them all ... but we do run what we can.  (And hey, it gives ME a day off once in awhile, too!  Lol)  kk

And, speaking of Shelley's review, she just sent along some more photos that she took at The Fest For Beatles Fans in New York ... so now you get to see Chad Stuart, Jeremy Clyde, Peter Asher, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender of The Searcher and Mark Hudson in all their glory!  (Thanks for sharing, Shelley!  Can't wait to see them at the Chicago show in August!)  kk

I found out about your blog during the Tommy Roe concert at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles a couple months ago and I've been checking it out ever since. You do a great job!
- Colin Donahue 
Thanks, Colin ... and welcome aboard!  (kk)