Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Together, 2015

Saw the first Happy Together tour in 1984. Still have the program.  
Incredible to think that they've been doing this (and quite successfully, I might add!) for nearly thirty years now. (They did take some time off in between ... but, incredibly, some of the artists that toured with The Turtles back in the '80's are STILL making appearances with the band today within the context of this all-star show!)  kk   

With all the photos, videos and announcements I have recently received about this tour, I was surprised to realize that it has really just begun. It seems as though it has been touring a long time, but summer started just seven days ago. So hang on people! You have plenty of time to get to a concert far from you. Yes, I believe in musical road trips. If, however, you still work to pay your bills, (as do I) go to the closest venue. I traveled an hour and a half away, which only took me two hours and 45 minutes this weekend. Record time! (I really like using that phrase. Record Time! It is so vintage.) Westbury Music Fair has such a great history of presenting memorable performances that no matter what the current correct name is ... it is still The Music Fair to me.
I want to flip things around and start with the back-up band. Godfrey Townsend is the god guitarist and sometime keys player, Greg Smith is on bass (whenever there is not a lead singer playing bass), Manny Focarazzo plays two keyboards, and Steve Murphy is in the drum chamber. Yes, that would be the plexiglass guardall shield. Wait a minute. That prevents tooth decay. Anyway, Steve will be mentioned throughout this review as he is a hoot, and I don't want him to believe that sitting down behind a huge drum set makes him immune to observation.
While I am waiting for the usher to seat me (always a baffle ... do I wait for him to come back? Do I seat myself?) I hear a foursome ask another usher if Shannon is here. They have my attention. Is Shannon a first or last name? The usher replies, “No. Not yet.” and I hear the statement, “I know he's coming.” HE ... SHANNON ... lives and works in this area, so I am going to guess Scott Shannon. It would make perfect sense he would be here, but why is he expected to be here? And the answer is? They asked him to emcee the opening, although since this show travels with a pre-recorded emcee (NOT prerecorded performances) this is not easy. Thus after he introduces the concert and reveals his musical background, training, and love for the music he just gets to spend time backstage with the performers. ROUGH LIFE SS!! That alone was worth you showing up, I'm sure.
I mentioned that Greg Smith is not always on bass. This is the case when the first act up is THE BUCKINGHAMS! Paul McCartney has commented that it is not easy singing vocals and playing bass. Especially lead vocals. We have three groups who have singer / bass players tonight. This is just an example of the musical caliber presented. Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are original founding members of The Bucks. I love their music. I also love the stories that enhance the experience and connect me to a timeline of events. FIVE hits songs follow: 'Don't You Care', 'Mercy', 'Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)', 'Susan', and 'Kind of a Drag'. It IS kind of a drag when they have to leave, but with each act I am torn with wanting more and wanting to see the next one. Susan Cowsill comes out just before 'Susan' is sung to correct Nick's story about her. Nick said she had asked them if the song 'Susan' had been written for her. She wanted it made clear that she was nine years old when she asked. It wasn't as if she had asked yesterday. Although that was fun, the BEST time was watching Carl shake hands with the audience and melt the women. Yes, still melting women, and singing on his knees to them. It is beautiful. He did get caught, literally, when the woman in front of me pulled him down into the empty seat next to her ... and was not willing to let him go. Just as I thought I would need to whisper, “Please let go of my husband” (that usually startles them enough that they let go), she did release him so he could return to the stage. Wonder if the other side of the “round” could see what happened? Oh, drummer Steve has a large bag of drumsticks in his cubicle ... overkill?
THE COWSILLS! I have never before seen them in concert. I'm floored! Heck, there are only three of them (kudos to the Townsend Band for being the rest of the family) and they rock those songs and stir the memories. 'The Rain, the Park & Other Things', 'We Can Fly'. 'Indian Lake', 'Love American Style', and 'HAIR'. What makes 'Hair' the type of song that makes you want to jump up and dance? Ok, for me, I had dance choreography that took over my mind and brought me back to competitions and touring schools ... a few years ago. (cough, cough) BUT look at this crowd! Not only are they showing an itch to get up and fly (oops another song ... later) but some of them are actually up and dancing at their seats. The woman sitting next to me said this was the one song she came to hear The Cowsills perform. What a rush! Maybe because they are weighted down by guitars, Susan and Bob are calm visions at the mics while brother Paul is zooming around the stage, jumping in the air, directing the band wildly and still singing into the mic on key, and at the correct moments. If Paul Revere had not had the Cadillac keyboard, he would have been Paul Cowsill. Did you know that the song 'We Can Fly' was first done by Lawrence Welk? The Cowsills brought up the fact that it was not an ego boost going into school saying, “Yep, uhuh. Just recorded a Lawrence Welk song.” Way to popularity. Hmmmm, Steve the drummer put on headphones ... and he plays barefoot.
The first act ends with THE GRASS ROOTS! Mark Dawson plays bass and Dusty Hanvey plays lead for this set. Mark, you are looking much sleeker and trimmed down this year. And sounding great. A fan club leader for Frankie Valli asked me questions about the “lead singer” of The Grass Roots. They had seen him years ago and he had such a great personna on and off stage. BTW their favorite set in the first act was The Grass Roots! I felt tears coming down my cheek, and they became worried that they had upset me. It's ok. I have only wonderful memories of Rob Grill and pulled myself together to relate his story and how we will still be able to enjoy the songs we love from his group. Mark and Dusty, you did a stellar job representing the group. Someone else told me they thought Mark was better this year than last. He certainly was confident and self-assured. I loved it, thank you. As I was writing down your set list, I automatically wrote down 'Temptation Eyes'. I have no clue why. It was not the first song ... it was actually the 5th. They started singing 'Wait a Million Years', and I wrote down 'Temptation Eyes'. And we had 'Sooner or Later', a total a capella rendering of all five on stage singing 'Mother Earth' which segued into 'Live For Today'. Breath-taking. The 6th, and last song, has to be 'Midnight Confesssions'. You know ... this first act is a complete show itself.
The band is back and the second act begins. Steve discarded the earphones shortly after I noticed them, but during 'Midnight Confessions', I annotated the reason for so many drumsticks. He had a pile of frazzled and frayed sticks sitting next to him that died a heroes death while in the service of their decade. And now ... THE ASSOCIATION! Jim Yester, Jules Alexander, and Del Ramos are the three appearing members on the tour. The introduction says that the group started out as eleven members, and is now the three you see before you. (plus the Townsend Band) If you wish to know the break-down of who, why, what and where, go to the book WHERE HAVE ALL THE POP STARS GONE? Volume 1 by Marti Smiley Childs and Jeff March. I do hear a few clunkers, but whether it is the sound system, which at times does almost drown out Carl Giammarese and Mark Lindsay, or some missed harmonies from The Assoication, I still truly enjoy my first concert viewing of them. Of course we need to get the audience going with 'Windy'. This is followed by 'Never My Love', (which Lou Christie uses as an encore frequently.) 'Everything That Touches You', 'Cherish', and Miss Controversial, 'Along Comes Mary'. It's about what? It says what? Until the dissection of the lyrics in the 80's, I never even wondered what the words meant on a subliminal level. I sang and danced along naively. Most of the songs from The Association are considered songs of love, or lost love. You played the 45 that fit your status at the moment. I also remember an 8-track in a station wagon full of teenagers that was playing the greatest hits while we argued over who had to be dropped off home first and miss the rest of the tape. Last night I also realized something I never picked up on before. I was watching Del Ramos singing 'Cherish' and saw him say the word 'Perish', at the beginning of the line: is the word when I realize that I am NOT going to be the one ... etc. Well, that makes a lot more sense! I always wondered why anyone would Cherish that moment. Jules says it is a very difficult song to sing. I am hoping I was focused more on that difficult melody. I just never took the time to really look into nor question that part of the song. Hmmmm, I just made myself vulnerable to criticism here. This is an audience that appreciates these people and these songs. There is always someone who wants to loudly exude their ignorance, but those two people here are just overshadowed by the love being shown.
Introducing MR. MARK LINDSAY! I am sitting next to one of Mark's longest-term fans. She has already told me about her extreme crush on him from the Raiders days, and has been regaling me with questions about what he looks like, where he lives, what he likes to do when not touring, etc. “I probably wouldn't know him now, if I ran into him.” Oh I think she would. I want you to experience Mark's set through her eyes, as I did. So everything in brackets is a quote I heard. I warn her that I do not want any rushing of the stage or throwing herself at his feet as I have come to hear him sing. She says, “With MY arthritis?” No wonder our 60's faves love us now. We are disabled and non-threatening. [LOOK! THERE HE IS!] And now we are 'Where the Action Is'. No, really. Mark starts out by singing 'Where the Action Is'. He talks about other concerts and being 'Hungry' to work them. [YES! OH MY GOD!] Everybody sings along with 'Arizona'. At least the chorus, as many in the audience never learned the verses. [I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS! IT'S HIM!] Which is just such a 'Good Thing Girl'. Now Mark is a bit resentful that this next song was knocked out of “most played single” by some kid named Michael Jackson singing about a Billy Jean. After a crude moon-walk attempt, he apologizes to Michael, allowing him the rights to his hit and also to the fact that he was a great dancer. [LOOK AT HIS SHOES!] “It's alright little buddy. I never could dance.” I have given you plenty of time to figure out that 'Indian Reservation' is the song to which Mark has referred. I LOVE it! We do amazingly well on the clapping in time part. And maybe someday men will learn ... a lot of things we really need to know. This is one of my favorite segues coming up, using lengthy keyboard chords that roll into the quick beat of 'Kicks'. [THIS IS THE BEST! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!] That over-the-top, over-the-head Lindsay leg kick throws us into sing-along, clap-along, dance-along mode. THIS song in concert is ever so much more than a recording. Awwww ... and we're done. [THAT WAS INCREDIBLE! I AM SO GLAD I CAME! HE LOOKS GOOD! OH WOW!]
Music and Mayhem. Comedy and Mayhem. Mayhem and Mayhem. Ah yes, it can only be THE TURTLES. Did reading Howard Kaylan's book change the way I view their performance? Nah! The music stands alone and stands up over time. It did however, put things on a time-line and I relate to this as each song is performed. I know what was going on during the writing, planning and recording of each and the personal trials and tribulations. Howard's book is not one I will ever read in my elementary classrooms or choose to read aloud at a book club. I would be blushing head to toe. It is not a bedtime fairytale, but to get a handle on the time of The Turtles, read it. Ok, while I was thinking about all this in Westbury, Olaf appeared on stage and started singing that Turtles number 'Let It Go'! Say what? Olaf aka Mark Volman is using Elsa's voice to start this segment off. This is not 'Gagnum Style'. Go see the show to figure it out, but eventually Howard is wearing a blonde Elsa wig and we hear that 'She'd Rather Be With Me'. I understand at least one show featured chicken costumes? Wait, Steve Murphy is now wearing a baseball cap in reverse position. Steve is an obvious driving factor at this performance with the rotating stage bringing him into view front to back again and again. No one can hide at The Music Fair. Don't worry! I didn't miss a beat (har-har) of the music and am now into
'You Baby'. I did miss the disrobing of Olaf and Elsa though, probably they were opposite me. Now there is only Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan running around the circle of the stage and singing, 'It Ain't Me Babe'. 'Elenore' and 'Happy Together' finish the set, and if I have typed this well, you feel as if you were just hit by a tornado and are a little winded. That is the feel! Six songs and comedy rolled out as a cloud-burst of fun. It seemed so fast. Howard Kaylan's words that this was so much fun, “I think we should do it all over again.” agrees with the audience. No matter how old we are, we COULD do our part again, Howard. But ... we'll give you a break and settle for a knock-out finale.
Musically, The Happy Together Tour finale always needs work. But it is not meant to be all the groups in a rehearsed production. It is meant to sound like my classroom when I ask them to sing their favorite songs from the 60's. Love and enthusiasm are all that is required. BRING BACK THE BUCKINGHAMS, THE COWSILLS, THE GRASS ROOTS, THE ASSOCIATION, MARK LINDSAY, and THE TURTLES.
My first summer concert this year. Summer: the season of promise.
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
I don't know the names of the Belmont students, but I know everyone else ... found ya'll ... right Professor Volman?
For the past few years Professor Flo (as I like to call him!) has taken some of his Belmont University students with him on the road to help out with The Happy Together Tour ... and experience first hand all that goes into putting on a show of this magnitude.  It's a great learning experience for these kids ... and helps keep things moving for all the artists as well.  GREAT group shot this year!  (kk)
Here's another very cool report from Examiner columnist Jim Bessman ... seems EVERYBODY is loving the line-up this year ... and The Cowsills seem to be winning over brand new fans on a daily basis!  What a GREAT addition to the show!

Brian Wilson / Love And Mercy

Here is my take on today's revised review. 
To make a movie that is commercially successful in today's world, the movie has to be about two hours long. Just like a hit song in the early to mid 60s that had to be between two and three minutes tops.
Brian's life is so complex that in order to tell the entire story that you feel should have been included in the film would easily take a four hour epic film and in today's market that movie would have failed.
Your comments about Landy ... and that they did not talk about all the good things he accomplished with Brian ... do have some validity.  However, when you consider the fact that Melinda was a main contributor to this script, it is understandable that the final product shows us a Landy character that emphasized all his faults.
I think the movie was brilliant in what it did show. I tended to agree on your Cusack complaint but a few weeks ago I watched a TV special from Hawaii showing a Beach Boys concert from the 80s.  I looked at Brian and his weight at the time and his hair style and his facial expression and I now think Cusack did a wonderful job in recreating the Brian of that era.
I am not an expert here, just a big fan and I respect your view but don't agree on some of your points.
Mark, GoHawksGo 

I don't think it would take four hours to tell this story if you simply stuck to the key highlights of Brian's life.  Again, I cite the "American Band" documentary as an example ... and that takes on the burden of covering the whole band.  With Brian as the driving source of the band's success, I think there's a way to show the key points through his eyes ... and still tell a more vivid story of his own life experiences as well.  

How would I do it better?  To give a truer picture of all that encompasses the complicated life of Brian Wilson?  OK, just bear with me here for a moment or two.  

(Preparing for MY "movie pitch" to the major studios!) 
The film opens with 300+ pound Brian lying in bed in his infamous blue bathrobe.  (Maybe The Barenaked Ladies track is playing in the background over the opening credits ... or maybe just a montage of The Beach Boys' Greatest Hits.)

Brian is rambling on ... in a semi-coherent narrative that will drop in and out as needed throughout movie.  He flashes back to the early days and the film becomes the visual of all of Brian's memories ... the good (telling the story of how the band first used the money their parents left them for food to rent instruments and record their very first track, "Surfin'") ... the early days of their surf-sensation ... recapping tsome of the live shows and television appearances (much like the current film does, but sticking in chronological order.)  The competition with The Four Seasons and The Beatles to stay on the cutting edge of pop music ... the pressure of Dad Murry trying to control their recording sessions, striking Brian in the ear as "fat Brian" tells about his hearing loss ... Brian's mental breakdown on the plane (heavy narrative here as he describes all the emotions he was feeling at the time ... all leading up to his decision to quit the touring band and stay behind in the studio creating his masterpieces) ... the incredible progression of this music from the simple Chuck Berry riffs of "Surfin' USA" and "Fun Fun Fun" into the complicated, almost symphonic opening to California Girls ... how he used The Wrecking Crew for the recordings so that the band could stay on the road and he could capture all of the wonderful sounds he heard in his head by way of cracker-jack musicians who could translate those thoughts into revolutionary music ... firing his father (and Murry ultimately selling the rights to all of Brian's songs) ... the inspiration of "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" to create "Pet Sounds".  (I wouldn't change a thing about the "Pet Sounds" sessions ... just show more of what led up to this era) ... but I WOULD show how the rest of The Beach Boys thought he was off his rocker for abandoning "the formula" ... and even Capitol Records hedged their bets by releasing a Greatest Hits Album to compete with the much more avant-garde "Pet Sounds" LP.  Thn into the aborted "Smile" album (great footage in the current film that captures some of this) that ultimately pushed him over the edge (drug usage, drinking, living life to the excess, etc.)

Flash to Brian in bed again ... he describes the torment of "Smile" being shelved ... that was the last straw ... the band would have to soldier on without him ... they'd have to find their own way because he could no longer participate in a positive fashion.  "Rolling Stone" Magazine calls Brian a "genius" and he breaks down again ... he can't handle the pressure of all that this entails.

The Beach Boys fall out of favor with the music scene of the early '70's ... and then their career is completely rejuvenated with the release of "Endless Summer", a #1 Album that puts them back on top of the charts ... all of a sudden, they're selling out shows from coast to coast ... MAJOR tours with Chicago and the whole "Brian Is Back" campaign.  "15 Big Ones" ... and then the beginning of the intense regimen to make Brian healthy again.

Brian continues to narrate ... he's confused and distressed ... they hook him up with Dr. Eugene Landy who acts as both psychiatrist and disciplinarian ... again Brian remembers through voice-overs as we see scenes unfold of both a tormented ... and healthier ... Brian Wilson.  We see ... and feel ... his pain.

Again, more voice overs ... Landy has taken control of his life ... moved into Brian's house ... started adding his name to new compositions ... has drawn up papers giving him executor control and huge monetary gains.  All this unfolds simultaneously on the screen.

Brian meets Melinda.  (Quite honestly it's difficult to accept that Brian, in his current state of mind, can feel ANY emotion, much less love and romance ... and this all comes across as very awkward in the film ... nor does there appear to be any reason why Melinda would be attracted to him in his current mental state ... but obviously it happened and together with his brother Carl and his mother Audree, they wrestled control away from Landy so that Brian could start living his own life again.)  Show some of the music that was created during all this turmoil along the "comeback trail" ... show Brian's recovery and inspiration to put a band together and start performing his music again ... plus all the new music that has come since.

Show Brian coming to terms with the brilliance of "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" and performing them IN FULL in concerts around the world, celebrating his musical career highpoints in spotlight performances.

Final scenes show Brian in bed today ... different bed ... different bathrobe ... photos of Melinda and the kids on the walls ... healthy, thin, but older and wiser ... he talks about what he had to go through to get to this point ... the loss of his brothers ... after a couple of clips of solo Brian in concert, fade out to the 50th Anniversary Tour of The Beach Boys with subtitles explaining how that, too, fell apart at the end ... but today Brian is back out on the road with Al Jardine, David Marks, Blondie Chaplain, etc.  His latest album "Pier Pressure" is a contemporary hit, reaching a whole new audience.  He is still in many ways socially dysfunctional ... but he's living his life on his terms and creating brilliant music again.

NOTE:  No Manson ... no frivolous lawsuits ... this is BRIAN's story and should be told as such.  (In the unlikely event that somebody someday should want to make a story about Mike Love's life, they can get into all the other craziness that encompasses The Beach Boys ... but the truth is Mike Love may just be the luckiest man alive ... he just happened to have the right cousin who brought him into the band ... that Love is such an egomaniacal blow-hard today is beyond my comprehension ... this man should be thanking his lucky stars on a daily basis for all that he has reaped over the past 50-some years thanks to his mega-talented cousin. ... but that's fodder for a different film ... perhaps a cartoon.) 

Just read your latest "Love And Mercy" review ... I think your readers  are gonna disown you! LOL

You have the BEST, MOST interesting way of keeping everybody up to speed on all the topics we care about.  
This extensive report you wrote on "Love and Mercy" is to me an "essential" read for anyone who wants to discuss and learn more about Brian's life.  He was invisible and almost mythical for many years, but to the Beach Boy 60s fans he was "there" undeniably in both our minds and our musical core through his writing and singing on songs in our personal collections like "Don't Worry Baby", "In My Room", "Surfer Girl", "409", and the list is amazing, unending.  
It's difficult to actually write what I mean to say about his writing "essence", but it has something to do with his ability to put his words to his music and making it OUR words and OUR music, OUR thoughts, OUR experiences, OUR Age of Innocence, taking us through our First Date, or our First Car, or our First Love, or our dreams of someday actually going to California or Hawaii and surfing our First Big Wave.
Younger listeners should take the time to explore the Beach Boys 60s catalog.  I believe they will find the same "Vibe" in that music that WE did.
When you say that you sometimes get "emotional" about the feelings The Beach Boys still generate through their incredible talent combined with Brian's songs and arrangements, I "KOTALLY" understand. 
Thanks for creating Forgotten Hits,
Van Dorn
Thanks, Veeder ... I appreciate it.  Not trying to sway anyone's opinion ... some of this stuff you just have to experience yourself ... but I've always felt that there are many sides to the same story ... you've just gotta pick the ones that work for you.  That being said, you can't simply discount the OTHER things that factor into the overall picture ... or you never GET the overall picture.  Thanks again.  (kk)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday This And That

re:  Chet's Top 200 List:  
You and Chet on the radio?  Now THAT would be a song!  Your version needs to be 'Me and Chet and the radio'. If I can get that station, I would listen.  You  need some sort of buzzer/gong to stop each side when time is up.  Debate it!
WRLR streams worldwide and offers up a wide variety of oldies music, including a few import shows from the UK.  You can check 'em out here ...
Bish Krywko, President of the Station, has been trying to get me to do a show for years ... so this would be an easy sell.  (In fact, he's already invited us to let his station host a program just like what I suggested the other day.)  Hardest part (as always) is finding the time to do it.  But stay tuned ... we've been promising Forgotten Hits Radio for years now.  Those of us lucky enough to live in Chicago and enjoy Me-TV-FM now have a glimpse of what radio COULD sound like once you knock down those preconceived walls that the listener only has the capacity to digest a maximum of 200 songs by 30 artists ... but we can now bring this concept to the world!!!  (kk)   

# 3 & #56 (Animals, When I was Young) on Chet Coppock’s Top 200 list are also duplicates.
James B. Trawicki
Yep, several people pointed this out (even though I missed it.)  Maybe Chet liked it THIS much when he was young ... and now he likes it THIS much because it's gotten better with age!  (kk)   

Hi Kent and all, 
Given that Chet's list is based on favorite tunes rather than sales, it's hard to quibble.  Like you, Kent, I'd have a tough time nailing down 200 favorite songs so kudos to Chet for that. 
Here are my thoughts: 
There were a few that I had to check on because I didn't remember them by title, but oddly enough, I think there was only 1 that I'd never heard before. 
Magic Town has always been one of my favorite tunes, and always seems to be overlooked.  
47. Little Milton - Feel So Bad, I'd never heard this version, and it's way way cooler than Elvis's version. It's now a new favorite of mine, too. 
3. The Animals - When I Was Young
17. Aaron Neville - Tell It Like It Is
I think that Animals tune was listed a couple times on his list so he must really love it. Never did think that was one of the Animals' best.  Tell It like It Is? The Heart version Kicks Aaron's version to the curb very handily.
72. Dion - Little Diane?  Runaround Sue with a Cazoo. Actually I'd like it but that damn cazoo thing!  What, they couldn't afford the sax player?
James Brown - There Was a Time? Cold Sweat is much cooler. 
The other one in the list that didn't grab me at all was 181. The Dells - There Is.  I'm a big R&b guy but that one isn't memorable. Oh What A Night is their best IMO ... <grin>
A fun list to be sure. Nothing like a bunch of music freaks picking songs. 
Thanks Chet, and to you, Kent. 

First of all, like most, MY Top 200 would be different from Chet's quite a lot, because I would choose MANY more obscurities.  I like how Chet has done well being fair with black and white artists.  My list would be much more pop rock and less R&B than his, and thus, less black artists.  It's just how we all grew up hearing rock 'n' roll.  He has almost no country music (Patsy Cline is there), however.  I wouldn't have many either, tho.
Sadly, I don't see the Cryan' Shames' "Greenburg" in there, which is every bit as good as "White Room" from the same months of 1968. 
Anyway, some thoughts:
I like his Animals "When I was Young" at #3 and #56, but I'd choose "Monterey."
"Hey Jude"???  Sorry, I don't buy it as one of their best even if it was their biggest.  "Hey Bulldog" IS a good choice, however!
"Magic Carpet Ride" overrated -- "Born To Be Wild" is much better.
I like the oft-underrated choices of "Soul Sacrifice" and "Anyway You Want it" (possibly top 10 on my list?).
I don't get "Time Won't Let Me"'s popularity.  It's a good song, but it sure gets lots of props for a song that is "just ok."
"Na Na Hey Hey" NO WAY!  "Mr. Businessman" YES!!!
'Money Man" by Baby Huey would be my choice over Stones' version.
Otherwise, nice songs to choose there.  Not a bad list, just not enough obscure ones for me. 
Clark Besch   

May I say that this is an inspired list. Gimme Shelter at #1!  Better it, than Satisfaction, which has topped more than one list like this. But it's the #3 song, When I Was Young, by The Animals, which impressed me the most.
Kent is fond of saying how a song has disappeared from the airwaves. This one certainly has. I don't know that I've heard this song since it came out in 1967. 
On to the main topic of Harper Valley PTA. 
Tom T. Hall may be one of the most under appreciated songwriters in all of music. Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for story songs. I did not really appreciate Harper Valley PTA until I moved to rural America. (Wayne City, IL., population 1100. Just down the road a spell from Mayberry, IL. Yes Virginia, there really IS a Mayberry, IL). 
This song rings so true today. Far more so than 1968, given what our society has become in terms of political correctness. 
In the Chicago area there are apartment complexes with more people then this village has. I see the hypocrisy that Tom T. Hall was writing about every day in this town. There's a version of Jeannie C. Riley singing this live, on some program, on You Tube and who ever is playing guitar on it, kicks ass. In homogenized suburban Chicago, you don't see the song from the same perspective. It's not a top 200 song, but it should get a bit more respect. And don't get me started on Billy Don't Be a Hero. 
Jack Levin   

Kudos for Chet for even attempting this. I could never pick 200 tunes, I agree, Kent, 2000 would be easier. But really Chet really???? LETS LIVE FOR TODAY by the Grass Roots not on there? I am sure you forgot, but seriously a lot of great tunes on your list.  
Mike DeMartino   
LOL ... I looked for that one, too.  Years ago (in a TMI / over-share moment) Chet told our readers how he lost his virginity to The Grass Roots hit!  (lol)  Perhaps it wasn't a moving experience (???)  Certainly should have ranked in his Top 200 Memories of the '60's.  (But then again how many times have you heard the expression "If you remember the '60's, you weren't really there"!!!)  kk   

Ya gotta admit it, pal ... between the two of us, we gave 'em one helluva show! 

re:  Now That's A Lu-Lu!:  
Just now scanned today's FH before I leave for the day. Would you believe yesterday for some reason I started singing in my mind DOWN AT LULU's. When that record came out, it was number one with a guy by the name of Tubby. (Get it) ? Always did like it.  
I want you to know that you lost your bet. Not only did I sit through DOWN AT LULU's once, but I did it more than once. Really one of my all time favorites by the Ohio Express. I said by the Ohio Express, not one of my all time favorites overall. I enjoyed perusing Chet's top 200. There were some two or three songs I really wasn't familiar with, but they were album cuts I presume. Well, got to go now. I have to play DOWN AT LULU's again for the umpteenth time. (LOL).
No, I actually, I WON my bet!!!  I said that you couldn't sit still for all two minutes of "Down At Lulu's" without being inspired to move, tap your foot, sing along, get up and dance, etc, etc, etc.  The fact that you played it again and again and again only proves my point.  (So why isn't any OTHER deejay on the list giving this one a spin today?  Because YOUR audience will react the very same way!  Guaranteed!!!)  Scott Shannon ... Rise to the Forgotten Hits Challenge ... and play "Down At Lulu's" on your program today!!!  The oldies fans will love it!  (Besides, a daily dose of the "real good, feel good song" will pick up and perk up your audience ... once they learn to "expect the unexpected!!!)  kk   

Hey Kent, 
I was going to wait until I looked up a couple of songs from Chet's list that I didn't know, but I couldn't ... just had to weigh in on Down At Lulu's. 
I don't know why, but I still like it. 
Even when it was out, I knew it was pretty light weight, but it just so reminds me of being a kid that I just smile when I hear it. 
The Union Gap stuff? Nah, doesn't hold up for me. He had a great voice, but it's calculated dribble to me now. 
I love, love, love these lists, though! 

re:  The Wrecking Crew:  
Just thought I'd let you know who I had on this week's radio show ... Jimmy Webb and Micky Dolenz. 
Both guys were fabulous on the interviews and so complimentary about working with Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew. 
I am meeting Denny Tedesco tomorrow in London for the Wrecking Crew movie.  I am truly excited. 
Both Jimmy and Micky are on the youtube trailer for the movie. 
Thanks as always. 
Regards -   
Geoff Dorsett 
Radio Presenter   

Hey, Kent,
Regarding Hal Blaine and other Wrecking Crew members, the first time I saw their names in print was the liner notes of the Mamas and the Papas' first album, "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears".  Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborn on bass, Larry Knechtel on keys.  I loved Blaine's playing so much, I would stand for hours in record stores looking for him on liner notes.  It was easier to listen for him, and before long I could tell his signature drum sound, his approach to a song and his distinctive drum fills. I knew it was him on the 5th Dimension's hits the moment I heard them. He's a little harder to pick out on Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night", and on Herb Alpert's "Taste of Honey", but that's him alright.
Rick Barr,
New Colony Six/ Shadows of Knight

re:  This And That:  
I first heard about Joe Bennett's passing from FH Reader Mickey Cooksey, who put us in touch with Joe Bennett a few years ago.  Joe even participated with Forgotten Hits on a couple of occasions.  He also sent us a couple of really cool Sparkletones links.  (kk)
He also sent us this GREAT clip from the old Nat "King" Cole television show, which featured Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones in action ...
Click here: YouTube - The Sparkletones 1956 on The Nat King Cole Show   

Here's Joe's original message to his Forgotten Hits fans from June 24, 2011 ... almost exactly four years ago to the day of his passing ...

Hello Forgotten Hits and all your fans.  
I'm Joe Bennett from Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones. Thanks for having us as your guest today. 
All the original members of Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones are still alive and performing.  We just performed The Viva Las Vegas Show at The Orleans in Vegas, April 22, 2011.  
I am a guitar teacher at Roper Music in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Drop by to see me if you ever come this way.   
Hope you get a chance to visit my web site and drop me a line.  
The biggest highlight of my Air Force career was meeting and performing with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead.  He became and still is a great friend for over fifty years now,  and is one of the world's greatest and most knowledgeable percussionists.
One of the greatest moments of my Sparketones touring was when Elvis Presley attended our show in Vegas at the Royal Nevada Hotel.  After our show he came back stage and knocked on our door.  He came in for a visit and a photo shoot with us.  Another great moment was during a visit to my manager, when I was an artist for Paris Records.  I got to meet Buddy Holly and get his autograph in the waiting room because we shared the same management agency in New York City.
Black Slacks, our biggest seller, was featured in Disney's Rescuers Down Under.  My wife just recently purchased a DVD copy of it at Wal-mart for our grandchildren!
We started our Sparkletones career as major label artists with performances on The Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour,  ABC Parmamount Movie Tour, thirteen weeks in Las Vegas, which included The Nat King Cole Show, a recording session in LA, The Ed Sullivan Show Twice, Alan Freed Tours, American Bandstand several times, and numerous other shows throughout US and Canada. 
The most recent overseas tours included England twice and Germany.
Joe Bennett
Joe Bennett, leader of the Spartanburg, South Carolina, rockabilly band, Joe Bennett & the Sparkletones, died Saturday (June 27) at the age of 75.  The quartet (including Howard Childress, Wayne Arthur and Jimmy Denton) formed at Cowpens High School in Spartanburg in 1956. They were spotted by a CBS talent scout who was impressed enough to leave his job and becomes their manager, signing them with ABC-Paramount Records. Their first recording, written by Joe and Jimmy, was "Black Slacks" (#17 - 1957).  It was recorded in the same studio and right after label-mate Paul
Anka's "Diana" (Paul stuck around to watch them and joined in on background vocals). The follow-up, "Penny Loafers And Bobby Socks" only made it to #42 that year and, when four subsequent singles failed to chart, the Sparkletones were dropped by ABC. Moving to Paris Records, they did manage to "bubble under" the charts with "Boys Do Cry" (#105 - 1959) but three other songs fizzled and the group disbanded. Joe went on to work in music publishing and as an air traffic controller and was a much sought-after music teacher. "Black Slacks" was used in the 1990 animated film, "The Rescuers Down Under."
-- Ron Smith  

I have just learned of the passing of Mr. "Black Slacks", Joe Bennett, this weekend.  I am proud to say that Joe and I were good friends, that we hung out together years ago and I listened with total fascination as he would tell the stories of his rock-star days.  He was a good man, relaxed, friendly, talented and active in his Church.  I was aware of his failing health and knew his time was near, but I still feel the loss deeply.
Jim (Southern) Pritchard

Just a comment or two about Monday's FH. First, I hadn't heard the Raiders' version of LOUIE LOUIE in a long time ... always did like it though. Hadn't heard CAST YOUR FATE TO THE WIND by Steve Alaimo in a long time as well. Liked the instrumental version by Sounds Orchestral better. Didn't Shelby Flint also have a vocal version as well? Whenever I think of Steve Alaimo I think of his 1963 hit EVERYDAY I HAVE TO CRY SOME which was big here in OKC. The songs that stuck with me on KEWB's survey were SOUL SAUCE by Cal Tjader (#16) and Eddie Hodges' #24 NEW ORLEANS. Finally, I don't really remember Little Esther Phillips' AND I LOVE HIM making the survey here, but I do have a copy of it. Incidentally, I am not sure, but I believe by this time she or her promotional people had dropped the word Little before her name.
Old habits are awfully hard to drop. To this day I still refer to her as "Little" and sometimes I still refer to Stevie Wonder as Little Stevie Wonder. Little Esther Phillips' 1962 RELEASE ME ... man,
what a record.
Several artists took a crack at "Cast Your Fate To The Wind", the two biggest hits both being instrumentals.  (The biggest was by Sounds Orchestral, which reached The Top Ten three years after the original version by The Vince Guaraldi Trio charted.)  Shelby Flint did release a vocal version in 1966.  "And I Love Him" (#39 for a week here in Chicago) was the first Esther Phillips chart record after dropping the "Little" from her name.  (kk)

LISTEN: Here is a great radio ad for CHARLIE GRACIE's latest CD: ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER, featuring DEE DEE SHARP on Lanark Records Click on the Mp3 File and ENJOY! 
Fresh Charlie Gracie and Paul McCartney pics coming soon!  When Sir Paul's people send us the official photos (in a month's time, as we were told) I'll forward them to you should would wish to share them in your blog.
I still can't believe I met him myself! He was very down to earth and extremely respectful of my dad and mom. He loved my dad's autobiography: ROCK AND ROLL's HIDDEN GIANT (Alfred Music  Publishing ) and held it up high in the photos that were taken.
Of course, Sir Paul contributed to the Foreword in my dad's book. He covered one of my dad's late 50's hits 'Fabulous' back in 1999 as part of his Run Devil Run cd series.
My dad is certainly one of the privileged and pervious few in the USA, to have a direct musical link to Paul -- which dates back to the very beginning!
When my dad headlined the Liverpool Empire Theater in 1957, Paul and a couple of the boys were in those audiences taking it all in.
Paul delights in recounting the story of watching my dad, Charlie, Sr., performing his uniquely rapid-fire version of Guitar Boogie. It left quite an impression. There's a live version by my dad on YouTube performed at a Bowser show which has close to 300,000 views. It's always a show stopper. He also played it at an appearance this past Friday night!
So thanks very much again -- and stand by for an update and photos.
My dad heads off to Great Britain July 1-8 to headline the Wildest Kats In Town R&R Festival in Suffolk. He returns to the UK again in November for a extended show tour.
Best wishes,
Charlie JR. 

As a long time Emitt Rhodes fans, I was happy to receive this email from Clark Besch the other day:  
Why has this great talented man wasted his life away since 1973?  What a shame.
Thanks, Clark ... your email prompted me to seek out this elusive documentary ... and while I didn't find it, I DID find this rather lengthy interview from 2010 ...
Amazing interview.  Love & Mercy Part 2!  Just like with Love & Mercy, thanks, I'm glad I heard this.  AND yet I feel so sad.  His new songs aren't bad at all, unlike what I expected them to be.
If anybody out there has the means to get me a copy of the "One-Man Beatles" / Emitt Rhodes documentary, I NEED to see it!!!  Please email me privately.  Thank you!  (kk)
Speaking of documentaries (Rock Docs???), the one profiling The Seeds will be showing in Oregon later this month.  You can check out all the details here:

Here's some unfortunate news about someone fans of 1960's radio might remember. 
I used to like to flip between WLS and WVON.  Some great music you didn't hear anywhere else.
Ed Erxleben
Former WVON personality Lucky Cordell, daughter critically hurt in South Shore fire     

The "Satisfaction" Countdown continues, courtesy of Bob Merlis ...     

The penultimate installment of our weekly countdown chronicling the march up the charts of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is upon us.  
As we’ve been telling you, it was the very first Rolling Stones’ record to get to #1 in the US and that happened in the issues of Billboard, Cashbox dated July 10 and in the issue of Record World dated July 3 — there were three competing music biz trades back then.  If you were anywhere over that July 4th holiday 50 years ago you would have heard “Satisfaction” on hundreds of transistor radios at the beach and from un-airconditioned cars blaring out from rolled-down windows. 
We found the Cash Box Top 100 from the week of July 3, 1965 which, like Record World the previous week, had it poised to depose The Byrds’ folk rock take on Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” from the top slot.  It knocked out The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself” to get to #1 in Billboard. 
See below for more information about ABKCO’s 50th anniversary limited edition 12”, 45 rpm release of “Satisfaction” that’s out on July 10th to commemorate the milestone.  We’ve added a shot of the record that shows the label which replicates the art seen on the original London Records’ pressing. 

Released during the first week of June in 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones proved to be a monumental single, not just in terms of airplay and chart position (their first U.S. #1), but also in terms of shaping popular music. The song that, according to Newsweek, contains the “five notes that shook the world” has proven itself timeless. A half-century later, the Rolling Stones played the song as their finale on the opening night of their Zip Code Tour of North America 2015.    
The idea of writing a song around a riff (a repeating sequence of notes), rather than a vocal melody or chord progression, though not unprecedented at the time, had yet to take rock music by storm. “Satisfaction” was the storm. Over the course of the next several years, the shift in focus towards the riff took hold, and can be still heard in popular music today.   
On July 10, ABKCO Records will celebrate the golden anniversary of “Satisfaction” by releasing a limited edition, numbered 12-inch version of the single on 180-gram vinyl. While the smash hit comprises the entire A-side, the B-side consists of both original U.S. and UK “Satisfaction” flip sides: “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man” and “The Spider and the Fly,” respectively. The record is housed in a sleeve featuring award-winning photographer David Bailey’s shot of the group, recreating the original 7-inch single artwork.  Mastered by Carl Rowatti at Trutone Mastering Labs and cut from the original mono master tapes, the 45-rpm 12-inch format makes this a true audiophile pressing, allowing for wider grooves that yield louder levels, broader range, deeper bass and better high frequency response.  
London Records (the Stones’ U.S. label at the time) released “Satisfaction” in the first week of June, less than a month after the track was recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA on May 12, 1965. By June 12, the single had entered both the Billboard and Cashbox charts. Over the course of the next month, “Satisfaction” shot straight to the top, hitting #1 in Record World on July 3, where it held its position for three weeks; Billboard and Cashbox followed suit, declaring it #1 on July 10, where it stayed for four weeks. Sales-wise, “Satisfaction” was an unparalleled success – it became the group’s first RIAA-certified gold record on July 19, 1965.  
The UK version of the “Satisfaction” single, released by Decca on August 20, 1965, would become the band’s fourth #1 single in their home territory. The track made its LP debut on July 30 of that year, when it was included on the U.S. version of Out of Our Heads. ABKCO Films’ much-lauded documentary The Rolling Stones Charlie is my Darling – Ireland 1965 features the band’s first ever performance of “Satisfaction” to a paying audience, played Dublin’s Adelphi Theatre on September 3 of that year. (See link below)  
The iconic guitar riff that opens the song was composed by Keith Richards who recorded the sequence of notes on a home tape recorder while in a dreamlike state in the middle of the night when the band was on tour in the U.S.  After listening to his own recording and devising the song title “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” he played the riff for Mick Jagger by the pool at the Gulf Motel in Clearwater, FL in early May, 1965. Jagger immediately composed the lyrics.   
Having scrapped a version of “Satisfaction” that was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago on May 10, the group re-recorded the song at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA on May 12. It was this version that would take over the airwaves and shoot up the charts the following month.  
Textured by the aid of a Maestro Fuzz-Tone pedal, Richards’ riff was originally intended to be replaced by a horn section, but the recording sounded complete to producer/manager Andrew Loog Oldham and engineer David Hassinger. Jagger’s lyrics, simultaneously expressing sexual frustration and disdain for consumerist messages, would strike a nerve with the mostly young, rock ‘n’ roll buying public. Ironically, the only two people in the Stones’ camp who were initially against turning “Satisfaction” into a single were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  
“The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” credited to Nanker Phelge (a pseudonym used on compositions written by the entire band), is a lighthearted jab at George Sherlock, an employee of London Records at the time, who accompanied the group on their first U.S. tour. The Stones saw Sherlock as a vain, toupee-topped, seersucker suited music biz flunky who was ultimately harmless. In later years, Sherlock expressed pride in having been the subject of the song. Loosely based on Buster Brown’s hit “Fannie Mae,” it is the lyrical content that gives the tune historic importance; the prodding of authority figures through song was almost unprecedented at the time. In the UK, Decca decided to instead use the country-blues composition “The Spider and the Fly” (also by Jagger/Richards) as the B-side to “Satisfaction,” the company assuming that the abundance of American references on “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man” may have gone over the heads of British listeners.  
Pressed by Quality Record Pressings in Salina, KS, and limited to 10,000 numbered copies in North America, ABKCO’s “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” 12-inch single will be released a half-century to the day after the landmark song dominated U.S. charts and helped transform the course of pop music history.  
Pre-order link:   

And, speaking of The Rolling Stones ...   

Dear Musical Friends, 
As the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band again hit that road, Gary Pig Gold looks back at a couple of their DVD's and compares/contrasts accordingly …