Saturday, November 26, 2016

17 Years Ago Today ...

... the very first issue of Forgotten Hits went out via email to a select list of 35 members of the AOL Oldies Music Chat Room.  

Earlier that week I had asked, "If I sent out an occasional newsletter spotlighting some of the songs and artists that were VERY big at the time but are completely overlooked by radio today, would you read it?"  These 35 folks ... all AOL "roomies" ... said they would ... and Forgotten Hits was launched.

The very first song and artist ever featured?

"Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers (which we have featured nearly every year on our anniversary since.)

Max Frost was really studio singer Paul Wibier ... although in the movie "Wild In The Streets" (from which it came), Frost was played by actor Christopher Jones.  (Frost, a rock singer / idol of sorts, basically won over the hearts of the youth movement by eliminating everybody over the age of 30 ... a GREAT political platform at the time of so much unrest in our country ... until HE turned 30 himself, of course!)  The tune (a #16 hit nationally ... but only #22 in Billboard ... however HUGE here in Chicago, where it peaked at #3) was written by the legendary songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

I had no idea at the time how often I'd be sending something out in this new venture (although the frequency increased almost immediately, especially once others wanted to be included in these emails.)  I certainly didn't think I'd be doing this for more than five years and mentally already began preparing for that expiration date.

However, the content soon expanded to far more than just these neglected songs and artists.  (At the time, most radio stations had a playlist of about 200-300 songs, that were just played to death ad nauseum again and again and again, day after day after day, to the point that we were finding ourselves hating songs and artists that we have loved our entire lives, due to this excessive saturation.)  Along the way we found thousands and thousands and thousands of kindred spirits who felt exactly the same way ... so we next targeted deejays, asking them to "push the envelope" a little bit more and feature some of the songs and artists we were spotlighting.  Many jumped on the bandwagon and as a direct result, Forgotten Hits continued to grow due to this new exposure.

By 2008, the list became so large that I started the website you are now reading.  I'd have to say oldies fans (and radio) has been listening ... we are just about to pass the four-and-a-half million views mark this month and programming variety has increased!  Several landmark series and interviews have taken place over the past eight years, which the whole world can now view thanks to the website.  (I can't help but think about all I would have missed had I really shut things down after just five years!)  You can find some of the best here:

We continue to grow thanks to your ongoing support and good word of mouth.  (One thing I've learned over the past several years is that you just never know WHO is reading Forgotten Hits.  I've received emails and met people during this time that I never would have dreamed of knowing were it not for our little "oldies newsletter".)  And one thing that has NEVER changed is that I am still ... first, foremost and always ... a fan first.  I genuinely LOVE this music and I believe that passion comes through with every new posting ... and that will never change.

Next year we've got the biggest, most ambitious project I've ever put together ... trust me, you're not going to want to miss a day ... 

Please help us spread the word as we recreate, in day-by-day fashion, the events of "50 Years Ago Today" ... 1967 ... my favorite year in music ... and a pivotal year in SO many ways.

In addition to our daily website coverage, we will also be sending out regular emails featuring updates, comments and news of current oldies events ... so please subscribe NOW if you wish to receive these supplemental features.  (Even if you're already a Forgotten Hits Subscriber, you MUST send in a notice asking to be added to this list as we are building a brand new list for this very special event.)  You'll no longer receive "reminders" about special postings, but rather all new postings that run side-by-side with our on-going 1967 feature.

Simply send an email to either or and ask us to put you on The 67 List and you won't miss a thing!  (Do it now while it's fresh on your mind ... 'cause we're all getting older and we tend to forget stuff!!!  lol)  Then again, that's EXACTLY what Forgotten Hits is all about ... treasuring and reliving those memories ... so please participate from time to time as we love hearing from you.

Do I have another 17 years in me?  I dunno ... perhaps our 1967 Series will make for the perfect swan song ... we'll have to wait and see.  (Then again my most recent personal goal has been to wrap things up In The Year 2525, just so we can evaluate how closely Zager and Evans called it back in '69!!!)

Thanks again to everyone who has helped make this happen ... it has been a blast!  (kk)
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Sunday Comments / Happy Thanksgiving

It was mentioned today that the O'Jays at one time were known as the Mascots back in the early days of the 1960's. I don't know without checking how many records they made for King Records but the only one I have by them is from 1961. It was called (DO THE) WIGGLE b/w THE STORY OF MY HEART. I can't remember how the record goes nor could I find it on you tube. 
With all this O'Jays talk of late, it seems only fitting to feature THEIR Hit List in Forgotten Hits ... a pretty impressive list indeed!  (While their pop hits seemed to stop at the end of the '70's, The O'Jays continued to chart in a very big way on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues Chart well into the new century!)   

1965 - Lipstick Traces  (Billboard Pop - 48 / Billboard Rhythm and Blues - 28)
1965 - Let It All Out  (Pop - xx/ R&B - 28)
1966 - Stand In For Love  (Pop - 95 / R&B - 12)
1966 - I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Pop - 66 / R&B - 8)
1968 - Look Over Your Shoulder  (Pop - 89 / R&B - 27)
1968 - The Choice  (Pop - 94 / R&B - 41)
1969 - One Night Affair  (Pop - 68 / R&B - 15)
1969 - Branded (Pop - xx / R&B - 41)
1970 - Deeper In Love With You  (Pop - 64 / R&B - 21)
1970 - Looky Looky  (Pop 98 / R&B - 17)
1972 - Back Stabbers  (Pop - 3 / R&B - 1)
1972 - 992 Arguments  (Pop - 57 / R&B - 13)
1973 - Love Train  (Pop - 1 / R&B - 1)
1973 - Time To Get Down  (Pop - 33 / R&B - 2)
1974 - Put Your Hands Together  (Pop - 10 / R&B - 2)
1974 - For The Love Of Money (Pop - 9 / R&B - 3)
1975 - Sunshine, Part 2  (Pop - 48 / R&B -  17)
1975 - Give The People What They Want  (Pop - 45 / R&B - 10)
1975 - Let Me Make Love To You  (Pop - 75 / R&B - 10)
1976 - I Love Music  (Pop - 5 / R&B - 1)
1976 - Livin' For The Weekend  (Pop - 20 / R&B - 1)
1976 - Family Reunion  (Pop - xx / R&B - 45)
1976 - Message In Our Music  (Pop - 49 / R&B - 1)
1977 - Darlin' Darlin' Baby  (Pop - 72 / R&B - 1)
1977 - Work On Me  (Pop - xx / R&B - 7)
1978 - Use Ta Be My Girl  (Pop - 4 / R&B - 1)
1978 - Brandy  (Pop - 79 / R&B - 21)
1979 - Sing A Happy Song  (Pop - 102 / R&B - 7)
1979 - I Want You Here With Me  (Pop - xx / R&B - 49)
1980 - Forever Mine  (Pop - 28 / R&B - 4)
1980 - Girl, Don't Let It Get You Down  (Pop - 55 / R&B - 3)
1980 - Once Is Not Enough  (Pop - xx / R&B - 44)
1982 - I Just Want To Satisfy  (Pop - 101 / R&B - 15)
1982 - Your Body's Here With Me  (Pop - xx / R&B - 13)
1983 - I Can't Stand The Pain  (Pop - xx / R&B - 35)
1983 - Put Our Heads Together  (Pop - xx / R&B - 35)
1984 - Extraordinary Girl  (Pop - xx / R&B - 26)
1985 - Just Another Lonely Night  (Pop - xx / R&B - 18)
1986 - What A Woman  (Pop - xx / R&B - 38)
1987 - Lovin' You  (Pop - xx / R&B - 1)
1988 - Let Me Touch You  (Pop - xx / R&B - 5)
1989 - Have You Had Your Love Today  (Pop - xx / R&B 1)
1989 - Out Of My Mind  (Pop - xx / R&B - 11)
1990 - Serious Hold On Me  (Pop - xx / R&B - 9)
1990 - Don't Let Me Down  (Pop - xx / R&B - 2)
1991 - Emotionally Yours  (Pop - xx / R&B - 5)
1991 - Keep On Lovin' Me  (Pop - xx / R&B - 4)
1993 - Somebody Else Will (Pop - 104 / R&B - 27)
1997 - What's Stopping You  (Pop 73 / R&B - 21)
1997 - Baby You Know  (Pop - 76 / R&B - 34)

Hi Kent,
I'm pretty sure that familiar melody you mentioned on Pet Clark's "The Road" is a PD melody. Perhaps the 1st lyric (or at least an early one) was as "Do Lord" before the same melody was used for "Gotta Travel On." 
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem 

Kent & Ron ...
Ron - Page 327 of your book tells me that these two Rick Nelson songs, "Stood Up" and "Waitin' In School" were both recorded on 11/18/1957.  
Also this live show was in Chicago. 
I'm not going to ask Kent if he was at this show, 'cause he's going to tell me it was before his time (and make me feel old).  
Ron, were you at this show?
Frank B.
Well, in November of 1957, I would have been four years old!  But those clips you sent are from 1985 ... and I DID see Rick Nelson perform several times here in Chicago in the '80's ... everywhere from a 25% filled pizza parlor in Berwyn to a jam-packed show on New Year's Eve at The Park West ... all the more ironic since Rick's last show ever just happened to be on a New Year's Eve.  (I probably saw him six times in all ... just loved the guy ... one of my all-time favorites.)
I can't speak for Ron, of course, but he may have been even younger than four back in '57!  Sometimes I feel like, next to you, Frank ... and, of course our buddy Hil, I must be the third or fourth oldest person on the planet!  (How old???  
I went to kindergarten with God!!!)  kk  

>>>Just following up on my request for images of KRLA and KJR (Seattle) charts from the summer of 1967 that list Beatles songs from Sgt. Pepper. This would be for June, July and possibly August of 1967.  I know that KRLA had “A Day In The Life” at number 2 behind the Doors “Light My Fire” for two weeks in July 1967, based on the one chart image (low rez) I came across.  Hopefully someone out there in your circle has some charts.  Please let me know if any of your followers that specialize in local radio charts have any of these charts. Or you can put me in touch with them if that is easier.  As always, your assistance is appreciated. (Bruce Spizer)  
>>>We ran this request a few weeks back and never got a response from anyone ... I even did a bit of searching on my own but couldn't come up with anything online.  With all the chart collectors on our list, is anybody able to help with these?  Please let me know if you might have some high-quality scans to share.  Thank you!  (kk)  

If Bruce needs some KHJ and KRLA charts, check out ARSA.  I saw at least nine from KHJ and two from KRLA. If I have any, ARSA probably has the same ones. 
I'll be seeing the Shadows Of Knight Saturday.  
Hopefully I'll get a review in for your Monday post. 
Unfortunately, he's looking for some very specific charts ... and a lot of the ones shown on these sites are originally printings but rather retyped lists.  We'll keep digging 'tho!  Thanks, Jack! (kk)   

Wow, I wish that I had my surveys (extras) in some kind of order.  Looking for KJR's might uncover four of five KJR's from the general era (but none from any needed criteria with Beatles album cuts), but could take me thirty hours to find, as I have thousands of extras.  At that time so many surveys were coming in that, in order to keep from being buried, I was simply getting rid of "surveys that nobody will ever need."   
As such, nobody was ever going to "need" a KJR survey ... and at the time, *ALL* of our network of collectors were going for STATIONS (AND SOMETIMES "RUNS" as well).  But nothing like "a random loose week of KJR" for any of us.  
The cheap mimeo Top 20 list from WHHL in Holly Hill, South Carolina (or something like that) was eminently more tradeable and wanted than KJR, KFWB, WQXI, etc. surveys.
Frank Merrill  
I figured you were likely my best bet for these ... but I've heard from a couple of other pretty serious survey collectors and they, too, seem to be lacking in this area.  Sorry, Bruce ... but we'll all keep digging on your behalf!  (kk)  

Hi Kent -  
Great tribute to Leon Russell!  
Since he wrote quite a few songs for Gary Lewis & the Playboys, did he write "Save Your Heart For Me"?  One of my favorites.  
When in doubt, ask the master ...  
Gary Lewis' chart hits co-written by Leon Russell include "Everybody Loves A Clown", "She's Just My Style", "Paint Me A Picture" and "The Loser".  (He was probably more actively involved as an producer, arranger and session musician than he was as a song writer ... but he DEFINITELY contributed to the overall hit sound of Gary Lewis and the Playboys.  In fact, I'll be talking with Gary this week about this exact subject!)  
Gary's first chart hit, "This Diamond Ring", was co-written by our FH Buddy Al Kooper, who always (and to this day) HATES the Gary Lewis version of the song.  He always imagined it as more of an R&B piece, originally intended for The Drifters.  
As for "Save Your Heart For Me", that tune was first cut as a Brian Hyland B-Side a couple of years before.  If you've never heard it, it's a nearly identical version ... and really should have been (at the very least) a two-sided hit for Brian.  Give a listen.

(Gary also later cut a version of Brian Hyland's big hit "Sealed With A Kiss" ... there's really NO comparison on these two ... even Gary admits it's one of his very worst recordings!)  kk)

I’m glad you mentioned Leon Russell and the Shindogs (the group). I almost forgot, so this prompted me to get into my time machine for a moment.  
Not very good quality, but there are a number of Shindig (the show) clips on YouTube where we can see Leon just jammin’. My favorite among these is this one where he’s just knocking it out of the park with none other than Glen Campbell, among others:   
Also good is this CBS Sunday Morning piece where the Leon Russell / Elton John connection is explained:   
Bill Fortune 
That Shindig clip is priceless!  Thanks so much for sending.  Who could have EVER imagined back in 1965 where a couple of these guys would end up!!!  (And Leon sounds EXACTLY the same!!!)  kk

kk -

First of all let me apologize for not thanking you for the Bobby Rydell book. I have finally finished, a great read! I am glad his drinking problems are over with. Funny how many big stars can not escape the claws of drugs and alcoholism! I am glad I am old, dumb and broke!
Second of all, too many rock legends are dying off.  I guess it reflects our age, even thou I try not to think about it.
Last, my life has dramatically changed in the last few years. BUT THE ONE CONSTANT has been your news letter (sorry I don't know what else to call it). I salute you, Kent, for your love of music and for sharing it with us. You make my life more enjoyable.  
Thank you,  
Mike De Martino
Wow, thanks, Mike ... I appreciate that.  (And with our 17th anniversary now less than a week away, I've been thinking a lot lately about how Forgotten Hits has changed MY life, too.  We really are a "collected bunch" ... folks to whom this music has meant everything throughout our lifetime ... and it's SO cool to be able to present a forum where all can share both those memories and that love of all this great music that has touched us for so many years.  
Bobby Rydell's at The Arcada Theatre on Saturday Night (the 26th) ... hoping to see several of our Forgotten Hits Readers there at the show.  (kk)


Forgotten Hits is taking a few days off to work on future projects this week ...  

But will return on Saturday, November 26th.  

In the meantime, have a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.


Finally, enjoy another one of those precision-timed dance videos sent in by FH Reader Frank B ... who asks ...

Kent ...
Can I add this to my resume as another "Clip Of The Week?"
Frank B.

Sure, Frank, you got it!  (LOTS of our favorites featured in this clip!)  Have a Great Thanksgiving!  (kk)