Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Final Blast Of Christmas Cheer!

And the Christmas Hits just keep on comin'!!! Here's another batch sent into us by our readers!

My radio and TV friends, please listen to my attached latest Christmas recording, "PATRIOTIC CHRISTMAS" and if you enjoy it, please consider airing it sometime in the next few days. I've posted it as a free download on my site WWW.TRADEMARTINMUSIC.COM and I've got no problem if you'd like to do the same on your site. I also have a strong, short video on my recording, and I will e-mail it to you immediately if you request it.
Have a great Christmas and thanks so much!!!
and best regards,

Kent …
How ya’ doin’? I’m so excited, I thought must be one of the luckiest guys in the world to have co-written four tracks on three recently re-released Michael Jackson CDs, then I hear that just included “Little Christmas Tree” by Michael on a special Christmas compilation, with Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, The J5, and a dozen more classic artists!
I want to thank you and all my Forgotten Hits pals who’ve phoned and e-mailed me, as well as the Deejays, who added the song to their Christmas play lists …now I want to tell you the story behind the song.
“It’s summer of 1973 and Ed Silvers, President of Warner Brothers Music, is losing his patience with me. He thinks I’m spending far too much time trying to get our songs cut at Motown. Although I secure songs in our catalog by some of their biggest artists, they’re only album cuts. Ed is convinced that I’ll never get a single released by Motown.
I know at this point that the only way I could have a chance for a hit and escape the wrath of Ed, is to get a cover by the Jackson 5 or little Michael. There was only one staff writer at Warner Brothers music who could write in a classic R+B style, George S. Clinton, Jr.

I go to the two producers who love George’s writing the most, Jerry Marcellino and Mel Larson, who just had big hits with 12 year old Michael on “Rockin’ Robin” and “Little Bitty Pretty One” (which was my suggestion). They tell me that “Ben”, from the movie of the same name, is racing up the charts and Berry Gordy Jr., the owner of Motown, wants each of his producers to start recording new sides with him.
I sit with Jerry and Mel and we talk about what kind of song they should record with Michael. I suggest a Christmas song, one so commercial that it could be the follow up single to, “Ben”. When I see their eyes light up, I tell them that George S. Clinton, Jr. and I have started such a song! When they ask to hear it, I tell them we were still working on it, when in fact we hadn’t even started! I can’t tell them the title, ’cause there isn’t any! I do tell them, however, that it’s a true story of how my girlfriend left me out in the cold like the last tree in a Christmas tree lot, which is left unsold on Christmas Eve. They freak out and say they had to have the finished song by Monday. I say, “No problem”
I call George, who knows nothing about any of this, as soon as I get back to my office. He can’t believe I told them we’d have a finished song to them by Monday, when it’s Friday and we haven’t even started.
Saturday morning we meet at my office. It’s the middle of summer, about 90 degrees, but we have to get in a Christmas Mood. As I tell George about my break up with Diana last Christmas, then I start to throw Ivory Snowflakes around the room. Soon, we have the first verse and chorus.”
“Little Christmas Tree, looking sorta’ sad and lonely just like me
No one seems to care, they just went away and left him standing there …

All alone on Christmas Eve”
On Monday morning George does a piano voice demo, and I get it to Jerry and Mel that afternoon. They love it so much that they knock one of their own songs off the date and cut ours.
I’m almost in tears when I hear the finished record the following week with the news that it’s being considered for the follow-up to “Ben”, which had just hit number one! You can imagine how I feel a few weeks later when Berry Gordy, Jr. decides not put out any follow up to the Oscar nominated “Ben”, until the Academy Awards are given out … which is after Christmas! A few days later I come up with a plan and present it to Motown. I suggest that the company puts a double album's worth of previously recorded Christmas songs by each of their hit artists, along with “Little Christmas Tree”. The double album is called “A Motown Christmas”, which includes cuts by Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross, and it’s released just in time for the holidays.”

To hear the song and watch the new video on “Little Christmas Tree” by Michael Jackson.
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne from his forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Merry Christmas and regards,
Artie Wayne

Artie also sent us a special link for "Ten Holiday Videos That Don't Suck"!!! (lol) I especially enjoyed seeing the "Dick In A Box" clip again ... and that Elvis Presley / Martina McBride duet features some INCREDIBLE editing. Enjoy!

Kent ... How ya' doin'?

Tired of the same old videos? Here are TEN HOLIDAY MUSIC VIDEOS THAT DON”T SUCK! featuring WILLIE NELSON, Bruce Springsteen, UNCENSORED “DICK IN A BOX!”, Twisted Sister, U2, NEW BLONDIE!, ELVIS, RAD DUDES, NEW Michael Jackson, KILLERS, and Brian Setzer!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and regards -
Artie Wayne

Here's another favorite from last year ... Henry Gross and "What A Christmas"!

My long time friend Andy Kim sent me his latest Christmas recording a few weeks back. I forgot to pass it on to you and your readers.
Andy, who wrote several hits in the 60's and 70's, including "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, continues to write and has an album of all new songs that he also sent me - very strong material.
Attached is "Whatever Happened To Christmas"
John Rook
What ever happened to Christmas

What ever happened to you & me ...
The season is all over town
The meaning's not easily found
The hand that I used to hold is gone
Still my heart keeps holding on
What ever happened to Christmas
What of the child I used to be
What ever happened to Christmas
What ever happened to you & me
The shop windows flash in the night
The shoppers all go rushing by
The carols that you & I would sing
They used to mean everything
What ever happened to Christmas
What of the child I used to be
What ever happened to Christmas
What ever happened to you & me
I been wondering where you are
Wondering if you ever think of me
I been searching near & far
I'm not a wise man with a star or gift to bring
The hand that I used to hold is gone
Still my heart keeps holding on ...
Instrumental ...
What ever happened to Christmas
What of the child I used to be
What ever happened to Christmas
What ever happened to you & me
What ever happened to Christmas
What of the child I used to be
And what's become of forgiveness
What ever happened to you & me
Thanks, John ... a VERY nice Christmas song ... glad to hear Andy's still making music. (Tell him about what we do here in Forgotten Hits ... we would LOVE to have him come onboard!!!) kk

Kent ...
Re: Andy Kim's new Christmas song.
Here's an additional thought concerning Holiday music....
In the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's radio was responsible for introducing new Christmas and New Years hits that even today are programmed during the holidays. Where are the new holidays hits for the future coming from? What new holiday hit did radio introduce for this year? Or any recent year?
Last year Tommy James had a sensational Christmas record ... and this year, Andy Kim does. Unfortunately "oldie" radio doesn't seem to be aware they could offer some music excitement exposing a new holiday song each year.

We have been VERY fortunate here in Forgotten Hits these last three or four years in that many of these artists have chosen US to debut their new holiday music. We proudly post these on our web page and in our newsletter so that the fans out there can see that these artists are still creating new music ... and in the hope that some of the jocks on the list will pick up this music and feature it in their oldies programs. Tommy James' album is one of the best pieces of Christmas music I've ever heard ... certainly it deserves to be heard this time of year ... and it fits right along with all of the OTHER Tommy James music you're already playing. Andy Kim, too ... and so many OTHERS that we've featured over the past several years. This year alone we've featured holiday tracks by Michael Jackson, Tony Orlando, Henry Gross, Freddy Cannon, The Rip Chords, The Buckinghams, Danny and the Juniors and many others ... ALL of whom are oldies radio staples. What a GREAT excuse to play something a little bit off the beaten path by these artists and still celebrate the holiday season. (We don't need to hear "Mony Mony" eight times today ... nor do we need to hear "Feliz Navidad" eight times ... break up the monotony a little and feature some NEW Music by some of the established oldies favorites!

John raised ANOTHER excellent part regarding the programming of Christmas muisc:

With the holidays once again upon us, music radio has begun to discover the recording artists they neglect all year long. Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, the Carpenters, Brenda Lee, Andy Williams and dozens of others suddenly “fit,” played right along with a steady diet of rock performers.

You're right ... and as soon as the holidays are over, ALL of the music recorded by these artists will all go back on the shelf and the mentality will once again be that this music simply doesn't "fit" ... when, in fact, it fits just fine!!! (More on this in our next "Radio Segment".) kk

Meanwhile, speaking of Andy Kim ... and The Archies ... here's a track from Ron Dante's "Archies Christmas Party" from last year!

Hi Kent,
We love all the Christmas goodies on your site. I'm sure you know that all your hard work is appreciated.
I hope you and Frannie have a wonderful Christmas.
Carolyn Travis and Chris Gilson
Thanks, Guys ... and continued success in 2010 ... hopefully "Airplay" will be seen by the masses so that others can enjoy this fine piece of work. (kk)

Happee Hollydaze and a (hopefully) Merry Noo Yeer to everyone involved with "Forgotten Hits'! In this time of crisis and concern regarding our economy and Christmas in general, I'd like to impart a little wisdom by one Karen Walker of "Will & Grace". I think she sums everything up perfectly:
"Think about the Baby Jesus! Up in that tower, letting his hair down so that the three wise men could climb it, spin the dreidel, and see if there's six more weeks of winter!"
Love & Peace,

Ed "Don't Go" Pond

I love "All I Want For Christmas is You" by Vince Vance and The Valiants. I also love the version by Santa's Doo Wop Helpers (Joel Katz, Johnny Maestro, Bobby Van and Larry Chance. Katz sings lead and the other guys sing backup.

Hi Kent,
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday season,
Mick / The 1910 Fruitgum Company

Warmest Holiday Wishes from San Felipe, Baja, California MX.
Denny & Sandi Flannigan
PS Sandi is doing well after the breast enhancement and the green Christmas tatoo. It's really cool if you can't find a blouse ... HO HO HO

Sandi & Denny ... beachin' it in San Felipe ...

And remember last year when Veeder Van Dorn from The Moonrakers (Denny's old band) sent us his remake of The Beach Boys' classic "Little Saint Nick"???

Hope you'll post "Riu Chiu", the Christmas song the Monkees sang on their Christmas show from the second season. It's beautiful!
Debbie in PA
We've featured this one a number of times in the past ... and even played it on Jim Shea's Radio Show last year when we featured "Forgotten Christmas Hits" ... but we like it, too ... so here it is again!!! (A special treat for all you Butch Patrick fans out there, too!!! lol) kk

And, speaking of The Monkees ...

I recently received an email from a guy named Mark Kleiner, a freelance writer from Saskatoon, Canada, who is putting together a piece documenting the career of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce And Hart. (Mark happened to see our Boyce and Hart piece on The Forgotten Hits Web Page and contacted me to see if I would share some of my personal memories of seeing DJBH at their premier performance at Six Flags Over St. Louis back in 1976.) Naturally, I obliged ... I was a HUGE fan of ALL these guys ... and thought it might be neat to see if any of our readers would also like to share some of THEIR memories. (Who knows ... you just might make his article!!!) So, as a favor to Mark, let's open this up to The Oldies Community out there and see what comes back. And, if you haven't read our piece yet spotlighting The Music of Tommy Boyce And Bobby Hart, you can check it out here:
(You'll also find our exclusive interview with Bobby Hart on the same site!)

Dear Kent,

My name is Mark Kleiner and I am a freelance writer from Canada. I have greatly enjoyed your internet pieces on Boyce and Hart; stellar work.

At the moment, I am putting together an extensive article on the career of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart, due out next summer to coincide with the 35th anniversary of their debut at Six Flags. Would you be willing to email me some more reminiscences of your experience of those concerts? They would be of tremendous value for this piece.

For example, when you mention the minimal amount of press, what press was there? What was the vibe in the park like? Why do you think St Louis was such a big DJBH center (along with Disneyland, the site of their most concerts -- three different stints)?

Thank you for your consideration, Kent. And all your great work on the Forgotten Hits site.

Remembrin' the feeling,

Mark Kleiner

Saskatoon / Canada

Before you go Runnin' Back To Saskatoon, let me show you guys what I've shared with Mark so far ... again, we welcome your input and memories for this special piece.
Hi Mark!
I remember the feeling ... of going to that very first Dolenz, Jones, Boyce And Hart shows down at Six Flags Of America / St. Louis back in 1976.
As I recall, there was VERY little promotion for this show ... but having been a life-long Monkees fan, the minute I heard about it I convinced a friend to make the drive down there with me.
I remember that they couldn't use "The Monkees" name at the time ... so they billed themselves as "The Guys Who Sang 'em And The Guys Who Wrote 'em" ... and it was a VERY enthusiastic crowd ... a record-breaker (at the time) as I recall. I never had the chance to see The Monkees during their hot period ... and since Davy and Micky pretty much sang all the hits anyway, it was a REAL treat to see these guys in action. (Boyce and Hart thrown in on the deal only helped to sweeten the pot!)
I thoroughly enjoyed the show ... by December, they were back in Chicago doing some sort of "Toys For Tots" benefit show or something, where you had to bring a new, unwrapped toy and that was your ticket into the concert. They did pretty much the same show we saw down in St. Louis, but that was OK. (I remember, too, being VERY disappointed at the "live" album that was released from a show they did in Japan ... in fact, I can't believe they let it out ... it was about as unflattering a performance as I've ever heard!)
Anyway, not sure if that's what you're looking for or not ... I've seen probably a dozen Monkees reunion shows since then (never with Mike, however!) and seen them play everything from a packed outdoor theater where you couldn't even see where the crowd ended to a small theater in Indiana where there probably weren't 30 people in the entire audience (Micky and Davy ... "Just Monkee-ing Around") ... but that Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart concert was the first. (By the way, their Capitol album just may be one of the most under-rated, overlooked gems of the decade ... and "I Remember The Feeling" should have taken them back to The Top 40. Incredibly, ten years later M-TV relaunched their career and the 20 year tour, 25 year tour, 30 year tour and 35 year tour have all successfully followed. Yep, I'm a fan!!!)
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits



(We'll see you all back here over the weekend! Have a Very Happy Holiday!!!)