Friday, July 3, 2009

More On The "Local" Scene ... And Some VERY Cool WLS Stuff, Too!!!

Despite all our hype, we still couldn't keep the thunderstorms away ... and last Saturday Night's Jamez Band / Cryan' Shames reunion was cancelled due to heavy rains and lightning!!! (We joked with Jim Pilster about the on-going Shames' curse ... in 1967 the guys had a MAJOR article written about them in The Chicago Tribune Magazine ... which virtually NOBODY saw because of the 1967 Chicago Snow Storm that crippled the city ... in fact, the band was out in New York at the time and couldn't even get home due to the severity of the weather here in Chi-Town. Last Friday, Hooke was scheduled to appear on Jim Shea's Y103.9 Morning Show to promote the big reunion show ... and got bumped due to extensive Michael Jackson coverage! And now this!!! lol)

We can only hope that the event will be rescheduled ... the guys invested some SERIOUS time, money and energy into putting this whole thing together and it DESERVES to be seen and heard. Please know that as soon as we know something for sure, we'll let YOU guys know, too, so you can still check out this amazing show. Stay tuned to these pages for more details.

Hi Kent,
Just got home from the unfortunately rained out Downers Grove non concert featuring the Jamez Band, James Fairs from the original Cryan' Shames, and friends. We were all so looking forward to it, but the rain wouldn't let up. But at least we got to see James and talk for a bit, so that's always good. Maybe another night ... we can only hope.


I started working on another date for James about 5:30 on Saturday afternoon (about 4 hours before the gig) while watching the weather ... my road guys left me home and went to set up my shit. I couldn't do anything else. I just think James, and for that matter everyone involved in the Jamez Band project, but especially James, whom has put so much time, energy, thought, creativity, not to mention the $ and prayers, should be able to have it produced as close as possible as he invisoned it!!! I promise you I am trying to make it happen. Thanks Kent, again for all your great work.
P.S. All the living original Shames came on Saturday ... so I'm not the only one that must think like this.

Right before we went to press this morning, we checked again with Hooke one last time to see if there was any official word yet on the rescheduling of The Jamez Band Concert that was rained out last weekend ... unfortunately, nothing official to announce just yet ... but Hooke DID send me THIS little blurb about a couple of upcoming Cryan' Shames shows featuring some very special guests:

Hey KK,
Thanks again for making me seem like a 'Classic Rock God' last week. And I'm still working on a Fairs gig for this summer ... not the easiest thing I've tried.

I do have some extraordinary things I'm working on right now and you'll be one of the first to know when it happens, should it happen. (call me!)

If you want, you can plug the 'Chicago Gold Revue(t)' show w / the Shames, Dennis Tufano, Ronnie Rice, and today, Jimy Rogers told me he was going to really try to show up at Lisle's 'Eyes to the Skies Fest' at 7:00 on the 4th for a 2 1/2 hr. show ... and fireworks.

Also, in a completely different vain ... I heard today that Jim Peterik's father-in-law just died. We, all of us, all the friends of Karen and Jim, offer them are heartfelt condolences.


P.S. Just heard from Ronnie Rice and Dennis Tufano that they might all show in Morton Grove at our show ... Free to all !!!!!!!! COOL!!!

Check out The Cryan' Shames website for all the latest details:
Click here: The Cryan' Shames 2008 Events Schedule

Dennis Tufano, the original "voice" of "The Buckingham's" will be performing with The Cryan' Shames and Ronnie Rice July 4, 2009
WHO: Dennis Tufano, the original "voice" of "The Buckingham's" concert performance with The Cryan' Shames and Ronnie Rice.
WHAT: Dennis Tufano concert performance with The Cryan' Shames and Ronnie Rice.
WHEN: July 4,2009 - 5:00 PM ESTIMATE!
WHERE: Lisle Fest Evening Concert "Chicago Gold Revue" / 1825 Short St, Lisle, IL 60532 /
Links for Concert Schedule and Links for Directions Below:
Specifics: Dennis Tufano, The Cryan Shames and Ronnie Rice performance at Lisle Fest.
Finally,summer has arrived. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy a great concert!
For more info on Dennis Tufano:
Dennis Tufano BIO:
Dennis, a native of Chicago, was the original "voice" of “The Buckinghams”. The Chicago-based group scored with a string of five Top Ten hits in the late-sixties including, the #1 Hit “Kind of A Drag”, “Don’t You Care”, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, “Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song”, “Susan” and “Back In Love Again”.

Following his success in the Buckinghams, Dennis was part of the song-writing duo "Tufano and Giammarese" and recorded three albums with Lou Adler's custom label, Ode Records. Appearing as guest vocalist he went on to co-write with renowned composer and musician Tom Scott. With Scott as composer, Dennis performed the "original title / theme song" for the long running "Family Ties" television show. (First 13 episodes)
Dennis also wrote the music and performed with Bernie Taupin, Elton John's lyricist, on Taupin's album, "He Who Rides The Tiger". Subsequently he teamed again with Taupin to co-write, co-produce and perform the Farm Dogs album “Last Stand In Open Country”.
Back on the road, Dennis joined Olivia Newton-John on her hugely successful tour and was featured, with her on the HBO Special in two dramatically inspired duets.
As an actor, Dennis has appeared in theater productions in Los Angeles and has worked in film, television, radio and commercials. He was also one of the founding members of an improvisational voice-ensemble called the “L.A. Mad Dogs”. This group of actors performs on hundreds of movies and numerous television shows and have produced and performed seven "live" radio dramas, three of which Dennis directed, for KMPC RADIO THEATER in Los Angeles.
Dennis produced, directed and shot a documentary in Chicago, "Major Hall: Therapy Tuesday" and is currently preparing it for release. He has just returned from taping a performance for, “PBS Music Series the ‘60s”, which will air in Spring 2008, and will be included in the award winning PBS-DVD series.
-- submitted by Linda Matlow

And this just in from Ray Graffia, Jr., of The New Colony Six ... sounds like a real fun time ... the St. Viator gig is actually supposed to be a '60's-Style Sock Hop, just like the good ol' days!!! (I don't know if that means that they'll be performing in the school gym ... or out in the parking lot ... but it sounds like a lot of fun ... and the money goes to a good cause. Hope to see some of you out there!) kk
While I know that some of you to whom I sent this note are more than a bit distant, I just wanted to let you know that we're still out there performing and, with this event (see attachment) being a fundraiser for St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, at least wanted to make you aware of the concert. For those close enough, we also have our final outdoor (freebie) performance of this summer a month +/- earlier, on 7-26, a Sunday evening, in Lake Zurich at their Alpine Fest. I believe you can Google for additional details but we are scheduled to begin the show at 7 PM and the location is Lion Fred Blan Park in Lake Zurich. Hope to see a few of you at one or both - until then = Peace!

P.S. Look who opened for us recently; I thought he had passed away more than a few years ago but he still looks pretty alive to me! Hmmmmmmmm ...

We are VERY fortunate here in Chicago in that, this Fourth Of July Weekend, we have the opportunity to see nearly ALL of our Local Heroes performing ... in addition to The Cryan's Shames show in Lisle on The Fourth of July (which will feature guest vocalists Ronnie Rice, formerly of The New Colony Six, Dennis Tufano, formerly of The Buckinghams and Jimy Rogers, formerly of The Mauds), we will ALSO be treated to performances by The Ides Of March and The Buckinghams (featuring Carl Giammarese) at Elmwood Park's Freedom Fest on July 3rd!!! Come on out and show your support for these artists who gave us so much musical magic back in the '60's!!! (kk)

I am actually amazed that SO MANY Chicago heroes are performing for us all still! You should be ecstatic, for not many old locals perform regularly in most cities. I put the question to Gary Loizzo yesterday about any Breed reunion possibilities. We'll see if he answers. I mentioned to him that last week while listening to WGN's Nick Digilio show, I heard a jingle for "Terry's" and I knew it was him on lead singing. He responded that I had a good ear and that Terry had gotten a lot of mileage out of the jingle as he recorded it in 1977!!! WOW!!
Clark Besch

Wow! I thought you were half asleep when we were talking the other night! You did a GREAT job on that Cryan' Shames piece on the website this week ... and the song sounded really good, too. I like how you worked in other artists like The Buckinghams and The Ides Of March and The New Colony Six, too. You do a really good job with what you do and believe me when I say that ALL of the Chicagoland artists appreciate your efforts and the attention you give us.
Jim Pilster / J.C. Hooke / The Cryan' Shames
Thanks, Jim, I appreciate it ... and, as we talked the other night, do NOT be dissuaded by any negativity extended your way in regards to keeping The Chicago Gold Artists up there on stage with you guys and working ... believe me, the FANS love and appreciate it ... and those are really the ONLY folks you have to answer to!!! (kk)

You guys just don't know how good you have it, being able to see some of these bands in person once again right there in your neighborhood. It was great reading Ray's story about his "Peeping-Ray" days. These stories help make FH the very best music community online. Kent -- do you have a copy of Ray's solo remake of "I Will Always Think About You"?? I had it around here somewhere .....

And look ... Mindburger is selling a copy of the "Can't You See Me Cry" record and picture sleeve on eBay!
Click here: New Colony 6-Can't You See Me Cry 45 pic sleeve - eBay (item 250449448687 end time Jun-28-09 18:00:00 PDT)
Described as follows:

New Colony 6 - Can't You See Me Cry / Summertime's Another Name For Love picture sleeve 45 on Mercury Records ... Cool shot of the band in era garb. Both disc and sleeve vg++. Sleeve has 2 or 3 tiny edge tears at top, few light creases, sticker stain over Ray Graffia (sorry, Ray, I didn't do it). Back of sleeve has file sticker in blank white area, so nothing covered up.

Yes, a GREAT track. (Ray Graffia, Jr. told us last week that it was one of Bob Sirott's NC6 favorites, too ... well, I remember one of the last broadcasts done by Larry Lujack and Tommy Edwards on the old Real Oldies station when Tommy slipped in "Can't You See Me Cry" ... and about an hour later Larry said, "What was that New Colony Six song you played last hour? That was a really good song. I don't remember that one ... think we can play it again?" And then they DID!!!) It's surprising to me that Larry didn't remember this tune ... it was, after all, a Top Ten Hit here in Chicago ... and many of you might recall that it was Lujack himself who told the band they were plugging the wrong side of their NEXT single ... and when they flipped it over, "Things I'd Like To Say" became their BIGGEST national hit! (kk)Here's Ray's "solo" (actually released as "Junior") version of The NC6's OTHER Top 25 National Hit, "I Will Always Think About You".

Kent -
Thank you, my Summertime Friend!
As always, my appreciation goes out to you and your site! I'm sure I speak for all of us ""Local guys", that what you do for music is exceptional. Thanks for the listings of Summertime Concerts and your POV on "bad feelings" amongst the former innocents. Life should just go on in peace and harmony.
Hope to see you this coming summer at one of the shows.
Peace ~
Dennis Tufano
Thank you , Dennis, I appreciate that. Sometimes it's like walking a tightrope here trying to remain on friendly and supportive terms with ALL our Chicagoland Local Heroes ... but I love ALL you guys and the music that you gave us ... and, in the perfect world that exists in my head and in my heart, there IS a reunion concert of unbelievable magnitude looming somewhere in the future. (kk)

As a kid in North Dakota I envied you guys that could hear WLS all day. Our local Stations that played R & R did it after 6 PM mostly. The odd thing in looking back however is the fact that there are a lot of tunes that were big in our area that weren't as big in other areas.Gloria by the Shadows of Night is the first one that comes to mind. It was probably big with the LS crowd, but most folks I know remember the Van Morrison version. That one wasn't even on my radar. The Harlem Shuffle is another one. The one that I remember was by the Fabulous Flippers out of Lawrence Kansas.In high school we got our first full time Rock station and Styx were hot in our area when Styx 2 came out. Long before they were big in most places.I sure miss local music directors.

The Shadows Of Knight topped our Chicagoland charts with their version of "Gloria", a song suggested by WLS Jock Clark Weber as one that would be a sure-fire hit if recorded in a "cleaner" version. He was right! I don't recall the "Them" version every being played here in the '60's ... and it's The Shadows' version that has now become the definitive take on this song. Styx was real popular here, too, before they caught on nationally ... we probably heard "Lady" for a good year and a half before it charted anywhere else. Radio was a bit more interesting then because you never knew what the programmers were going to slip in next. Now it's a regimen of these 200-300 songs ... and ONLY these 200-300 songs ... day in and day out in every major city in America. Doesn't matter where you travel, you're going to be force fed that same play list. The good news is (as discussed elsewhere in this week's comments pages), we ARE starting to push the envelope just a little bit further and throw in some of those songs that many folks out there had completely forgotten about. (kk)

>>>I mentioned that I had just gotten in 48 surveys. I just had a chance to look at these surveys from WINW 1520 AM Canton, Ohio, all from 1967 / 1968. I gotta tell you that for a relatively small station, they played a lot of local artists as well as a lot of other stuff that never made it in Chicago. I tell you the more of these out of town surveys I get, the more it seems that WLS had absolutely no influence nationally. It just confirms your comment that the average listener has no clue about oldies music. They were force fed the same songs incessantly in 1967, and it's still the same oldies 42 years later. On a survey dated 12/15/67, you'll notice that Bend Me Shape Me, by the American Breed is #1. It wouldn't be #1 in Chicago for another month. In fact it debuted two weeks earlier in Canton, Ohio, than it did at WLS and the American Breed was a Chicago band. The more I look at these surveys, the less sense they make. (Jack)
>>>The American Breed's record doing better in Ohio than it did in Chicago ... a whole month SOONER ... makes absolutely NO sense at all!!! (kk)

I disagree with Jack on WLS' influence. #1: Who says Billboard charts told the truth? Also, songs peaked in different places at different times (as you mention with the Breed), so national peaks mean nothing in some instances. The Breed "got around" and were a nationally popular band more than most Chicago bands. You may note that their 45's charted well nationally, but little in Chicago. Yes, they played Chicago, but they were more of a national band. I don't hear most of those songs these days, but maybe you do on radio? Also, 1967 was a great year for music, so this chart's music SHOULD be heard more still.
Clark Besch
I know that The American Breed got a fair amount of national exposure through television appearances ... and "Bend Me, Shape Me" was a Top Five National Hit. I like some of their OTHER hits, too, like "Step Out Of Your Mind" (#24, Billboard; #9 Chicago) from 1967, Ready, Willing And Able (#77, Cash Box, #27 Chicago, 1968) and "Anyway That You Want Me" (#77 Cash Box, did not chart in Chicago ... although I remember hearing it for a couple of weeks on a fairly regular basis.) It still strikes me as odd that a record by a local Chicago-area band would break SOONER out of state. As for WLS' impact on the national charts, I've questioned this for years ... how does "It Could Be We're In Love" top the WLS Chart AND the WCFL Chart for four weeks ... and only rise to #85 in Billboard? WLS was heard across the nation at night by literally MILLIONS of listeners. (We've gotten into the issue before that simply because you HEARD a song on WLS down in Texas or out in Wyoming didn't necessarily mean that you could BUY that record in these other states ... typically records by local acts like The Cryan' Shames, The Ides Of March, The American Breed and The New Colony Six got much heavier distribution here in the Midwest where their record reps were working the market. Yet the pre-Columbia Records Buckinghams were able to top the charts with "Kind Of A Drag" before they made their move to the big time. The fact that three records in a row peaked at #85 for The Shames in Billboard has ALSO always seemed a bit suspicious to me, especially since they all achieved different peaks here in Chicago. I almost wonder if there was a "cap" of some sort that dictated the MOST points a record could earn based on its chart position on any given major Top 40 station.) More on this from WLS Jock Clark Weber below!!! (kk)

Hi Kent;
I read the comments from Jack “Rock & Roll Never Forgets!” concerning the “American Breed” record “Bend Me Shape Me” He raises some interesting questions as why the song hit #1 in Akron, Ohio, before it made #1 on the “WLS Silver Dollar Survey” He also asked why the Akron station was playing a wider variety of songs by lesser known groups? That was due to the competition factor, however first things first.
Thanks to Ron Smith’s excellent book, “Chicago’s Top 40 Charts” it shows the “Breed” on the survey for 13 weeks starting November 17, 1967. It reached #1 on January 15, 1968 and only stayed in that position for one week on both WLS & WCFL.
At that time I was the WLS PD and my staff surveyed 25 record stores in the greater Chicagoland area every Monday to determine the best sellers. We had to take into consideration that some stores tilted their sales numbers at the behest of record companies from time to time. Dishonest record companies??? Oh say it isn’t so!!! Weeding out the hype resulted in some fairly accurate sales numbers week after week. There was also the “Fan Factor” that would result in a certain store selling the daylights out of a certain record or kids flooding a station's record hot line. That may have been the case with the Akron station.
In answer to his question about shorter playlists; in 1967 LS and CFL were going toe to toe for rating numbers and you didn’t want to stray to far from the big hits. If you did, you suffered from the tune out / tune in factor. Kids were constantly shifting back and forth looking for their favorites and when you came out of a commercial stop-set you wanted to hold those listeners with a big hit record. It took quite a leap of faith to put an unproven record on the air.
As to whether WLS had any effect on other stations following suit on a new record, I would say yes. Record promotion men knew that if LS was on a record, it would have a huge impact nationally on both the exposure and sales figures.
Jack, I hope that answers your questions.
Clark Weber
WLS, 1961 - 1969
Thanks, Clark ... I sent your comments to Jack prior to running today's piece ... which, of course, inspired some more comments of his own:
I know you hear this all the time, but first of all let me say what an honor it is to have someone whom I listened to on a regular basis as a DJ and talk show host, address some of my comments. (You were even gracious enough once to let me interview you in regards to your hobby as a pilot). Let me say I'm well aware of the shenanigans record companies pull to get their artists on the air, having worked for record distributors in the mid 70s and into the mid 80s, as well as working in radio. Sure it's a leap of faith to go with an unknown artist, however the Beatles were an unknown artist in 1964 when I Want To Hold Your Hand debuted at #40 and jumped to #10 the next week. They still hadn't performed on Ed Sullivan yet. Prior to that you could count on one hand the number of UK performers who had hit in the states and even less that had more than one single. Although WLS wasn't a pop music station in 1956, someone had to take a chance on Elvis. Initially WCFL took a chance on the Jackson Five, charting their first Steeltown single for two weeks in 1968. It makes perfectly good sense to go out of a commercial or news break with one of the top songs of the day. Your job depends on the average listener not turning the dial. However you don't give yourself enough credit. I tended to listen to the personalities rather the music, and I know many others did as well. To be honest, I preferred listening to you more than Jim Runyon and later Jerry G. Bishop at WCFL. But then later on, when Larry Lujack took over your morning drive spot, I preferred listening to him. It came around full circle in the mid 70s when I listened to you host Contact on WIND. In regards to WINW, I was just musing how a 1000 watt directional daytime station charted the American Breed two weeks before it appeared in their hometown. Sure, there's more money on the line in Chicago than Canton, Ohio, but back in 1966 / 67, both WLS & WCFL were falling all over themselves trying to play as many local hits as they could. Clark, you probably hosted more of those dances and hops in which bands like the American Breed played at, than you care to think about. Especially when you didn't get home until the wee hours of the morning and you're back at work at 6 AM. We were so much younger then. However after years of collecting top 40 charts, I see an amazing amount of discrepancies between the Billboard charts and the WLS chart. Putting aside the obvious bias toward regional acts, I always wondered how songs reached the upper reaches of the chart nationally, yet were never heard in what was the #2 market in the 60s? That's what sparked my comment that perhaps WLS didn't have the influence on the national charts that one would think. I remember one record rep in the early 80s, when I was the singles / LPs buyer at MS Distributors, telling me that WLS no longer played any new music until it was proven to be a hit on Billboard's chart. I know you were long gone by then. Actually after almost 43 years of collecting these @#$%! surveys, I'm fairly convinced there is no rhyme or reason. Perhaps the top 15 or 20 were solid, but after that it was your guess is as good as mine. Sort of like the office football pool. There's tons more questions I have, because as one who deals with these charts, I have customers asking me, what's the rhyme or reason behind the chart positions. I learned a long time ago that it's not sales. I wonder how different it would have been had Soundscan been available then. Thanks for your time and the great memories.

And, speaking of WLS-related questions, I've got one. (I think this was first posed by Clark Besch way back when, but I've heard it from several other Forgotten Hits readers and WLS fans since then.) Did WLS REALLY give out Silver Dollars to their contest winners??? And, if so, where'd they get 'em all?!?!? Inquiring minds want to know!!! (kk)
Hi Kent;
Believe it or not, that’s the first time I’ve ever been asked that question! Yes, we did actually pass out silver dollars. We would apply clear plastic covers with the WLS logo on the coins and hand them out at various events when we found listeners tuning in to WLS. They were extremely popular along the lakefront during the “WLS Super Summer Beach Patrol” promotion. On Friday and Saturday we would announce that the “Beach Patrol” would be active that weekend ... however we wouldn’t tell which beach. We ranged from as far north as Waukegan. The assigned dj’s went out in pairs usually on Saturday afternoons and each one was given 50 silver dollars which we purchased at the Wrigley Bank in the Wrigley Building. I always had a couple hundred dollars worth of the coins locked up in my office. It’s hard to imagine but in those days the guys were not worried about being held up for $100 in coins. They were more concerned with eye strain from looking at the bikinis! The guys on beach patrol used to joke that between the “star status” of WLS and the silver dollars, even Ron Riley could attract women!
Once the word spread on the lakefront that the “Beach Patrol” was around, every radio from North Avenue Beach to South Shore Beach was tuned to WLS and all it cost us was $100.

Clark Weber / WLS
LOL ... what a GREAT marketing campaign!!!
(Talk about more bang for your buck!!! What a GREAT return on your investment!!!) More of what is sorely lacking in radio today ... the whole "fun" element of listening!!! I've heard from SO many readers over the years who shared in the excitement of growing up with AM Top 40 Radio ... and, as Clark stated earlier, we were VERY fortunate here in Chicago to have TWO major AM Top 40 Stations. Back then, we wanted to hear our favorite songs ... and / or brand new releases ... as often as possible ... and we would switch back and forth CONSTANTLY between WLS and WCFL trying to catch the latest Beatles or Monkees or Beach Boys or Rolling Stones or Tommy James and the Shondells or Turtles release ... or hear that week's hot new #1 Record. It seemed like EVERY new record back then took music in a brand new direction. Thanks, Clark, for sharing more fun radio insight (kk)

Hey Kent -
KUDOS to you for writing about the The Chicagoland "Local Guys" in today's Forgotten Hits edition (6/25/09) ... It is quite amazing to me that there are so many of the Chicagoland 60's groups still out there performing to this day. You virtually have just about ALL of the well-known and loved local groups
and or / their now solo members continuing to give us hard-core music lovers the fantastic music that each created so many years ago ... I really envy you, because, for as many incredible local 60's Detroit-area bands that evolved from here in the Motor City, few to none still exist to perform. You folks in Chi-Town still have the opportunity to go and see your cream of the crop 60's groups (New Colony Six, Cryan Shames, Buckinghams, Ides, Shadows, etc ..) on a seeminly non-stop basis during the summer months. - How COOL is that??
As for the topic of "animosity" or "hard feelings" that might (and in some instances, DOES exist between members of your local 60's groups, I'd suggest to those who might be caught up in such counter-productive nonsense to bury the hatchet once and for all. We're ALL getting older, and there is no promise as to just how much longer the various groups or their now-solo members will be able to perform, or ... How much longer WE, the lovers of this great era of music, will be around to listen ...
I can't speak for any of the other Chicagoland "Local Heroes" groups, but YOU, YOURSELF witnessed the fact that at the New Colony Six reunion at Ray Graffia's house in April 2008, there was absolutely NO animosity or bad feelings among the five original members of the Six ... And these guys hadn't even
been together in the same room for 40 years! The five guys (along with the presence of Ronnie Rice), even ran through an impromptu set of a vast array of their songs with nothing apparent but laughs and smiles. Just one reason why the New Colony Six will ALWAYS be #1 in my book!
The bottom line is ... Time waits for no man, so with the proverbial clock clicking away, how's about ALL of the Chicagoland "Local Guys" making peace, and banding together to do one big "ALL-STAR" show where we, the die-hard lovers of their music, could see and hear ALL of our musical heroes on one big stage??
Kent, one last thing ...
It is LARGELY due to your never-ending dedication to constantly make Forgotten Hits happen, that the music continues to live ... not only for us regular die-hard music fanatics, but to the many "new" subscribers, as well as the "younger generation" fans who are just learning about this wonderful music that you support and promote. I sincerely hope that you never hang up doing Forgotten Hits for good ... That would be a devastating day for all of us who look forward to every new FH installment.
You are the keeper of the musical flame within all of us!
Jerry Schollenberger
Thanks, Jerry, that means a lot. Every time I think about hanging things up here, I'll hear from a few of you out there that REALLY appreciate what we do ... and believe me, it really does make all the difference in the world. If I can stray once again for just a minute to the Bob Greene book "When We Get To Surf City" ... (Jeez, Bob, how much does your REGULAR publicist get paid for singing the praises of this book?!?!? lol) ... there are SO many passages in this book that apply to our OWN love and appreciation of this GREAT music that we all know, love and grew up with ... but there is ONE passage in the book that has stayed with me now since the first time I read it nearly a year ago ... in fact, it comes to mind nearly each and every day ... and sometimes many TIMES a day ... almost haunting me in the process. With SO many of these '60's and '70's artists now on our list ... still out there performing for the fans at each and every opportunity ... I can't help but wonder how THEY feel about this, too ... if, after all these years, they are still able to keep and hold this same perspective. In the past few weeks I've done some soul-searching of my own ... and shared some of my thoughts with our readers regarding moving forward with Forgotten Hits. I've spoken to some of the deejays on the list about this, too ... questioning whether or not it's REALLY worth it, trying to keep Forgotten Hits going ... trying to figure out if we're REALLY serving any kind of real purpose here ... keeping in mind that there is really no PERSONAL reward in any of this other than the occasional "thank you" email stating that we somehow "made your day" ... or a note like a couple of those shown above letting us know that our efforts are, in fact, appreciated.
Forgotten Hits has always been a "labor of love" ... and, most of the time, that's been enough to keep me going ... but with SO much else going on here lately ... and less and less time to devote to keeping up the website (and, as a result, fewer and fewer website visitors unless we happen to hit on a REALLY hot topic) ... there's rarely a day that goes by where I don't question whether or not I should keep this going or not. Putting this together takes up a HUGE part of my personal time, often leaving very little time for much else ... and I'll sometimes think, "Hey, you gave it a good run ... and if you're not happy doing it anymore, maybe you should move on to something else ... who knows, perhaps you'll come up with some other type of musical format that'll re-inspire yourself."
But then I keep coming back to this passage from Bob Greene's book ... and I wonder after ALL these years how MANY of us must feel the same way about what WE do ... and why we do it ... and just WHO we do it for.
So, if you'll indulge me just one more time, I'd like to quote the words that have been HAUNTING me for the past several months now ... from Bob Greene's hands-on account of what it was like touring with Jan And Dean:
There were nights with overflow crowds and there were nights when the turnout was dismal. But that had been the case for a long time. We were used to the pattern -- good shows, big crowds, interrupted by evenings that didn't feel so right. In Gaithersburg, Maryland, about four years after I started touring, the desolate view from the stage -- row upon row of empty seats, the few people present sitting on their hands, no one responding in a way that could remotely provide a flicker of encouragement to the band --- prompted Phil to walk over to me during the guitar break in 'I Get Around' and, maintaining his concert smile, nod toward the audience and say quietly to me "This is what the end looks like."
Perhaps so. But as we were departing that concert, Randell said 'We ought to always keep in mind on a night like this that the people in the audience are the ones who CAME. They deserve the BEST show we can give them --- they shouldn't be penalized for the people who didn't show up. There may only be a few people out there, but they're not the empty seats. They paid money for this.'"
He was as right as he could be ... this was the conscious choice the audience had made. In Randell's words, they weren't the empty seats. They were the ones who had come ... the ones who had paid for, and expected, carefree fun.
-- Bob Greene
I'd like to think that we HAVE made a difference. I believe that MOST (if not ALL) of the deejays on the list will admit to being at least in SOME capacity inspired and / or rejuvenated by something that we've written or some challenge that we've made. Many of them have even had us on the air to talk about a particular topic or two. I can't help but think sometimes that we've already done all that we ever set out to do ... that unless we can somehow elevate Forgotten Hits to some NEW level (and I'm not even really sure just WHAT that level is) ... our job for the most part is done here. But then I'll get some encouraging and inspiring emails from you guys and feel really good about what we've accomplished here.
I'm not really sure just WHAT the future holds for Forgotten Hits ... I believe that while there may still be more mountains to climb, there are simply fewer and fewer opportunities to do so.
As promised, we'll continue to post what we can, when we can ... please know that your words of encourage truly DO mean a lot to me. We've got hundreds and hundreds of readers now who have stuck with us for nearly ten years ... and thousands more have joined us along the way ... there isn't a week that goes by where a few more oldies music fans jump on the list ... certainly that must mean SOMETHING!!! (lol) And, despite all of our ranting and raving about oldies radio, our love for this music has never wavered ... all we've ever REALLY asked radio to do is expand their horizons a little bit to let even MORE of this great music out there and into our consciousness again.
So ... with that thought in mind ... and in the spirit of Bob Greene's haunting words ... TODAY's issue of Forgotten Hits is dedicated to ALL of you who came. Thank you. (kk)