Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some Of Your Instrumental Comments

I agree much more with your readers' list than his!!!

You've got to keep in mind that the READERS' list has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight ... Randy's list is the most accurate representation of how these songs really performed on the charts at the time. As usual, you can blame radio for a good part of this ... how many of these songs have remained in rotation for the past 40-50 years??? MOST of the titles on Your Favorites List are immediately recognizable ... because THESE songs have continued to receive airplay. When is the last time you heard "Autumn Leaves" by Roger Williams or "Canadian Sunset" by Hugo Winterhalter or anything by Les Baxter or Lawrence Welk or Billy Vaughn or Henry Mancini on the radio? Yet these songs were HUGE hits at the time, often occupying the top spot on the charts for weeks ... if not MONTHS ... on end! That's what makes THIS particular poll so interesting ... you get to see, side-by-side, the biggest all-time instrumental hits as well as your personal favorites. Consider that "Sleep Walk" (which just so happens to be MY all-time favorite instrumental, too!) only ranked #23 in the OFFICIAL Top 50 ... yet scored enough votes to leave ALL of the competition behind in our "Favorites" poll! (kk)

Kent ...
I like our list better than the Billboard List. Only two songs I'm not familiar with: #36 = Soul Coaxing and # 41 = Jessica.
Frank B.
"Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band ends up being one of the most "current" songs on the countdown ... yet it is already 35 years old!!! While only reaching #33 in Cash Box Magazine in 1974 (it stopped at #65 in Billboard!), it has been an FM Classic Rock staple ever since. And "Soul Coaxing" (aka "Ame Caline") is the one that seems to have REALLY gained in stature since it first peaked at #36 back in 1968. We're featuring BOTH of these instrumental favorites today ... I'm guessing that you WILL recognize them once you put the melody with the title. (kk)

Well, the only thing that's missing is "Red River Rock" by Johnny and the Hurricanes, and it's my own fault for not sending my list in. Great choices! And, just in case I haven't said it lately ... thanks for all you do with Forgotten Hits - it's truly amazing!
Thank you for the nice compliment! Yep ... you forfeit your right to bitch if you didn't vote!!! (lol) Actually, "Red River Rock" did very well all on its own ... 83 votes ... just not enough to make the list. (EVERY song that made The Top 50 received at least 100 votes ... in fact, to include ALL of the songs that hit the 100 Vote Mark, we would have had to count down the Top 58!!! Again, this just helps to confirm how ACCURATE this list really is ... the REAL favorites rose head-and-shoulders above the rest to make the list.) kk

>>>Any Surprises??? Let us know what you think about the final results! (kk)
Yes, I found a couple of surprises ... the Ray Anthony version of "Peter Gunn" making the list instead of the Duane Eddy version ... and the Vince Guaraldi version of "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" making the list instead of the Sounds Orchestral version.

Only a few titles earned more than one nomination ... but you just hit on the two biggest. The "Peter Gunn Theme" earned votes for the Ray Anthony version, the Duane Eddy version AND the Art Of Noise version (which ALSO featured Duane Eddy on guitar, by the way!!!) When all was said and done, however, it was the Anthony version that earned the most votes ... 135 in all ... better than TWICE as many as Duane Eddy's take (57 votes) and TOTALLY eclipsing the Art Of Noise version (7 votes). As for "Cast Your Fate To The Wind", THIS is the title that came CLOSEST to making the list TWICE. The Vince Guaraldi original version scored 121 votes ... and the Sounds Orchestral remake earned 109 ... putting it just TWO VOTES SHY of making The Top 50!!! Amazing! (kk)

Also interesting to note that some of the biggest instrumental artists of the era ... people like Henry Mancini and Herb Alpert ... were barely noticed on the final countdown ... yet an act like The Allman Brothers Band, not particularly known for their instrumental recordings, MADE The Top 50. Perhaps again another reflection on how the absence of this music from the regular playlists have helped us all to forget just how significant some of these artists truly were at the time. (kk)

There are only 6 1/2 songs out of the fifty that are in my golden era of 1964-71; 13% of the songs and 32% of the years. No wonder I don't like many instrumentals!
My favorite two "No Matter What Shape" and "Embryonic Journey" probably did not come close.
Dwight Rounds
"No Matter What Shape" (by The T-Bones) earned 62 votes ... I don't think "Embryonic Journey" was even nominated!!! (But that one wasn't really a "hit" either!!!) On the radio countdown, we DID draw attention to "No Matter What Shape", "Music To Watch Girls By" and "The Dis-Advantages Of You", as all three songs started life as a television commercial ... although I, too, would consider these '60's Classics, NONE of them earned enough votes from the "masses" to make the final list. (Speaking of the radio countdown, keep watching these pages for news as to where you can listen to the podcast re-broadcast of the ENTIRE Top 50, as played on the air by WRCO DeeJay Phil Nee last weekend!) kk

Hi Kent ...
I thank you for the top 50 instrumentals plus all the work you did to collaborate the votes. I noticed that the "Bonanza" theme song was not on the list and a little ditty called "Washington Square" by the Village Stompers also missed this list. I was surprised. I tend to agree with the survey though. Thanks again and I love Santo and Johnny's Sleep Walk too as my all time favorite instrumental.

"Bonanza" by Al Caiola earned 66 votes ... it's one of MY favorites, too. "Washington Square" by The Village Stompers is one of those that JUST missed ... 87 votes (and an early favorite when the poll was first announced) ... a flood of votes for OTHER titles right near the end of the balloting kept it from making the list. Sorry! (kk)

As a very young DJ, I once commented on the air that our station was playing "the greatest hits of all time." After the broadcast, the GM came up to me with a grin and said, "All time, eh? So tell me. How many hits of the '40s do we play?"
I felt like an idiot -- because of course there were none. We were NOT really playing "the greatest hits of all time." We weren't even playing the greatest hits of our OWN time (in all musical categories). We were playing a selection of the greatest pop and rock hits of the past 20 to 25 years. From that point on, I have always been very careful to not overstate but instead accurately billboard things with a precision which adds clarity and credibility. As an example, while programming oldies at KRLA, I came up with the station slogan "The Heart and Soul of Rock 'n' Roll." That accurately described our programming -- and was a phrase I later reused when titling a CD box set.
It is always so patently absurd when someone slaps "all-time" status on a group of anythings all pulled out of the very same narrow time frame. 1955-1979 is hardly "all time." By that criteria, one could make up a list of "The World's Largest Selling Albums Of All Time -- but quietly restrict it to only those issued between February and June of 1962 in Bulgaria. The fact is, "all time" is all time. It's not 1955 to 1979 -- no matter how myoptic one's view of history might be. We don't want our kids to be oblivious to the music of OUR time -- the rock era. So why should we turn a deaf ear to hits prior to 1955? Should our kids, in turn, turn a deaf ear to music prior to 2005?
What the posted lists really consist of are two things:

a) "The Top 40 Instrumental Hits of 1955-79" (as determined by Randy Price's Super Charts) and
b) "The Favorite Top 50 1955-79 Instrumentals of Forgotten Hits Readers" (as of November 2009).
Gary Theroux

One of the most over-used phrases on radio today (when it comes to the oldies market) IS "The Greatest Hits of All-Time", as NO radio station is currently playing THAT kind of variety these days ... despite the fact that this would make for a VERY interesting format. However, I DO believe you can categorize an era of music ... and the instrumental titles shown on our countdown clearly reflect the list's favorites, circa 1955 - 1979 which, as we've learned, was the most fruitful period for instrumentals during the rock era. (It also just happens to be the timeframe we've ALWAYS covered here in Forgotten Hits.)
I think the misunderstanding comes in the phrasing ... when I use the term "all-time" I'm not doing it to define a time period as much as the individual tastes of the audience. Certainly you can name your all-time top ten favorite songs, which is about as open-ended as you care to make it. If I asked the names of your all-time favorite restaurants or your all-time favorite movies, no such restriction would apply. Our use of "all time" means the choices of any given individual PERSONALLY, and by qualifying a specific time period, I think we've narrowed it down pretty specifically! Simply put, we've asked you to name your "all-time" favorites (personal ... think "absolute favorites" or YOUR "cream of the crop") ... NOT your favorites of all time (FAR too open-ended ... which is why we ALSO defined a very specific time period, namely 1955 - 1979.) And, just for curiosity's sake ... 'cause now you'll have me wondering about this ALL day long ... what exactly ARE your all-time favorite albums issued between February and June, 1962 in Bulgaria?!?!? (kk)

>>>What a fantastic Joey Powers story - many thanks to Artie and everyone else who makes the effort to write down these marvelous bit of history. But now you've got me wondering about the story behind these slightly different mixes to "Midnight Mary". The backing vocal arrangement is substantially different beginning at about 1:50. The "cleaner" version I sent you isn't the version we heard on the radio in 1964. The version you posted is the one I clearly remember hearing on the radio. Not that I remember the layering of Joey's voice at the beginning, but because of the strong difference in the backup arrangement. Interesting ...... (David Lewis)

>>>So many of these stars have gone back and re-recorded their hits for various compilation albums over the years ... perhaps this is one of those (but it sure sounds true to the original recording ... as if it is from the same session.) I asked Artie Wayne if HE could shed any light on this ... was it, in fact, an "alternate take" that somehow has made its way into the public's hands? Or is it a remake recorded well after the fact? (kk)

>>>The "Midnight Mary" mix you sent me is the one I did for the stereo mix of the album. (Artie Wayne)
What I find interesting is that Artie says the originally posted version posted was done for the stereo mix of the album ... if I recall correctly, the rest of the album is true stereo while Midnight Mary was rechanneled. The one you originally posted was mono and matches how my 45 sounds, so it's no wonder they'd use a rechanneled version of the single mix for the album while leaving the rest of the album fillers in true stereo (this was common in the 60's). The version David posted is definitely from the same session and may even be an undubbed take from the same take as the hit, but is still mono anyway. There's a person named Mark Mathews who takes undubbed mixes and sometimes alternate takes and can create stereo 45 versions of songs by syncing up tracks in separate channels and doing whatever he does to extract any audio that would make it not sound like a 45 version. One of the tracks he tackled was Midnight Mary and he took the undubbed take and had it coming through one channel and had the full mono single and had it coming through the other. I liked how it sounded but without being able to access my own computer at the moment, I can only go by memory that the vocal from the undubbed take didn't quite match up with the full mono version. Why the alternate version exists is that it is likely that Larry Uttal held on to the session tape after Artie turned the song over to him for Amy Records, or as Artie says, maybe it was meant to be used for the album but kept off in place of the actual hit version.
Here's a nice little piece of trivia for you ... because of Midnight Mary becoming an unexpected hit, Larry Uttal reactivated the Bell record label (which hadn't issued a single in a number of years at that point) and the label would go on to be the home of the Syndicate Of Sound, Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Partridge Family, Barry Manilow, and numerous others ... You can read more on the label's history here:
Tom Diehl

By the way, since a couple of people took the time to write in questioning Artie's timeline regarding the assassination of President Kennedy and the first playing of The Beatles' hit "I Want To Hold Your Hand" here in America, here is Artie's amended final word on the subject:

Kent ...

How ya' doin'?

After experiencing exhaustion and falling asleep often on late night cab trips from Manhattan to the Bronx, I obviously confused the trip I wrote about with one that happened at a later time.

Thanks and regards,

Artie Wayne

Like we said before, if you aren't 100% accurate on THIS list, you're going to get called on it!!! (lol) Something that's happened to pretty much ALL of us at one time or another over the past ten years!!! (kk)

Hi Kent!
Hope you and all the members of the class of Forgotten Hits had a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Congratulations on your tenth anniversary of providing news and information about the greatest era in pop music to your legions of loyal fans!
I am SO EXCITED to see the highly anticipated list of instrumental favorites! Many of my own fave raves were in the list, and I can't wait to download and listen to the podcast of Phil Nee's countdown show!
Speaking of instrumentals, part one of TRIALS AND TRUBULATIONS OF A SURF MUSIC LEGEND is now complete and ready to debut on the FORGOTTEN HITS blog, as soon as you have an opening to post it! It's written from the viewpoint of MERRELL FANKHAUSER, the writer of the original version of the surf instrumental classic WIPE OUT, released by THE IMPACTS in the fall of 1962. It really is a great story and I'm sure will be of interest to anyone in the FH class who are fans of the surf music scene of the early sixties!
In the meantime, I've already alerted you and the FH family about the stories I've posted about my friend of many years, RUSS TERRANA. He's the true "unsung hero" of Motown Records, who mixed NEARLY HALF of the label's #1 records and hundreds of other charted singles and album cuts during his decades-long career that lasted to the very end of Berry Gordy's reign on the label!
I had promised to post a comprehensive feature story documenting his storied career and, with the recent release of the new JACKSON 5 album I WANT YOU BACK! UNRELEASED MASTERS, I decided this was the time to release this previously untold story! PART ONE of BEHIND THE MOTOWN MIXING BOARD TIEH RUSS TERRANA is now online! It's a fresh, new read on the story behind the Motown hits of the sixties, seventies and eighties and loaded with lots of stuff that's never been published before!
Part One of this fascinating story is online now at my company blog, and can be accessed directly here!
Happy Holidays to all and, as usual, STAY TUNED!
Joe Klein
aka "New Media Joe"
Thanks, Joe ... LOTS of good reaction to the new Jackson Five reissue ... and Michael was ALL over the TV Screen this Thanksgiving Weekend, too ... "This Is It" is still doing big box office at the movie theaters ... and a couple of new Jacksons-related TV reality series are already in the works. PLENTY to keep our MJ Fans satisfied for weeks, if not MONTHS to come!!! As for Merrell's "Wipe Out" Story, THAT's coming up, too! (kk)

And, for MORE great reading, be sure to check out the Hy Lit web page newsletter here:
Read the HyLitRadio November 29th Newsletter
Sam Lit
President / CEO
Hy Lit Radio Technologies Inc.

Allison Martino has her own youtube channel ... and it includes a nice video photo collage to her father Al's song, "Daddy's Little Girl."

David Lewis
Thanks, David. I tried this one a couple of different times and couldn't get it to play ... but I DID find some awesome links to some live Paul McCartney videos there!!! Maybe some of our list members will have better luck than I did. (kk)

>>>In regards to your comments on long versions of late 60’s early 70’s tunes, I had to laugh. “Crimson and Clover” long version is my favorite ever. I admit the song sounds complete without it, but I love every extended section as the guitar takes on new sounds and attitudes. Fuzz, wah-wah – I love it! A good example of one I don’t like much is “And When I Die” by B, S &T. That rodeo-style solo breaks up the mood created in the song.Fun stuff to talk about. Keep up the great site. (Greg F. / Renditions)

Honestly, I like BOTH versions of "And When I Die" and "Spinning Wheel" ... it's always interesting when these songs start playing on the radio, trying to guess which version they're going to play ... kinda like watching the opening of The Dick Van Dyke Show and screaming out "Trip" or "No Trip"!!! (lol) I think both versions of these stand alone just fine as complete pieces. There are TONS of "shortened" single mixes from back in the pre-FM Radio days when record companies thought the listeners' attention span didn't go past three minutes ... as a result, we got "punched up" hit single mixes on many of our favorite tunes. (I remember being particularly disappointed when I'd buy the 45 in the store and hear a much LONGER version than what I was accustomed to hearing on the radio. "Reflections Of My Life" by Marmalade and "Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself" by The Bee Gees immediately come to mind.) We previously mentioned things like "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" by Elvin Bishop and "Crimson And Clover". I think the short version of "All Right Now" by Free has more "kick" to it than the longer, LP version ... but that doesn't necessarily mean I don't LIKE the LP version ... same with "Green Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf or "Black Magic Woman" by Santana ... it's nice to hear BOTH of these mixes from time to time. We could certainly do a whole series on this topic as there were many, many others. Maybe we should start to build a list for a future piece??? What do you guys think? (kk)

I love it. I think Green Eyed Lady by Sugarloaf had a shortened single version. The long 6:51 version had only 1:36 of vocals. Other than that, and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, do you know any other songs which have such a low portion of vocals?
There were shortened singles versions, but it was a myth that singles had to be 2:30 or less, which lasted until at least 1969.
Did Susie Q have a shortened version?
Here are some 3+ pre-1969 minute singles:
House of the Rising Sun (was there a shortened single version?); The Last Time; Satisfaction; Ticket to Ride; Hey Jude; Like A Rolling Stone; McArthur Park; Good Vibrations; Sunshine Superman; Strawberry Fields Forever; Turn Turn Turn (was there a shortened version?); 19th Nervous Breakdown; Paint It Black; Jumpin' Jack Flash; Let's Spend The Night Together; Eight Miles High; Hello, Goodbye; Cherish; Monday Monday;
You've Got Your Troubles; Ruby Tuesday
I just found out recently that 45s cannot hold over about 7:00 of music on each side. That is why American Pie was on two sides.
Dwight Rounds
"Susie Q" most DEFINITELY had a shortened version released as a single (actually, I think the song was split on BOTH sides of the 45 as Part One / Part Two, if I remember correctly.) And I wish I could FIND the shorter version of "House Of The Rising Sun" ... it hasn't been played in so long, MOST people have forgotten that it even existed! Songs like "MacArthur Park" and "Hey Jude" are probably just as well known for their unconventional length at the time as their hit status, finally dispelling the theory that a song HAD to be under three minutes to be a hit. (Incredibly, there was some consideration at the time to split "Hey Jude" into both sides of a single, with the "Na Na Na" finale tacked on to the other side of the record!!! Can you even imagine?!?!? Thankfully, common sense ultimately prevailed ... this was, after all, THE BEATLES!!!)

Some of these other titles sure didn't beat the three minute mark by much! It was a different time, to be sure. Back then, artists were releasing as many as THREE albums a year and as many as four or five singles, too! Radio airplay competition was at an all-time high ... and songs only stayed on the charts for about 6-8 weeks! There was SO much new, innovative music coming out, you had to change with the times literally overnight ... all of this contributed to making this the most exciting time in music history EVER! (Nowadays, songs stay on the charts for over a YEAR on a regular basis!!! And there is far LESS innovation going on.) Hard to describe this particular era of music in words ... you kinda had to be there!!! (kk)

Kent ...
Maybe you can pass along my Happy Birthday wishes to Freddie " Boom - Boom " Cannon. His Birthday is Friday, December 4th. Thanks for all the great music. Keep rockin'.
Frank B.

Happy Birthday from ALL of us here at Forgotten Hits, Freddy!!! #70 ... and STILL rockin' like the old days!!! WTG, Freddy!!! (kk)