Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 13 - 09 ) : The Evening Edition

Better late than never, I guess ... here's what I was able to pull together for a Sunday Comments Page this afternoon!!!

This just in from Fred Vail ...
Eric Woolfson, co-founder of The Alan Parsons Project, has just passed ...
Click here: Eric Woolfson Death Notice: Eric Woolfson’s Obituary by the The Sacramento Bee.
BERLIN (AP) — An agent says Eric Woolfson, co-founder of the 1970s British progressive rock group Alan Parsons Project, known for the hits "Eye in the Sky" and "Don't Answer Me," has died of cancer. He was 64. Gallissas Theaterverlag, a company that represented Woolfson in Germany, said Thursday the musician died this week in London. Woolfson's Web site said he died early Wednesday. Woolfson was born March 18, 1945, in Glasgow, Scotland. Together with Alan Parsons he founded the group, whose music was popular in the U.S. and Germany. After the group disbanded in the 1990s Woolfson continued to work as a music producer and composer of musicals. His musical "Edgar Allan Poe" is currently playing in Berlin.
Not only did Woolfson co-found The Alan Parsons Project with Parsons, he also co-wrote the majority of their hits. (Woolfson typically contributed the lyrics ... and, in many cases, the vocals ... including MY personal favorite, "Time", a #14 Hit from 1981 that we just recently featured here in Forgotten Hits. (kk)

Kenny Dino passed on Thursday Morning at 1 AM
Jimmy Jay

Kenny Dino, who recorded the 1961 hit "Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night" (#24), died of a heart attack while driving on a Florida highway early Thursday morning (December 10) near his home in Cocoa, Florida. He was 70. Kenny was born in Queens, New York and grew up in Long Island. After a stint in the Navy he settled on a recording career, performing at one point in San Antonio, Texas with Doug "Sir Douglas" Sahm. Initial recordings on the Arrow and Dot labels were unsuccessful, but when Aaron Schroeder at Musicor picked up his recording of "Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night" -- a tune Kenny actually disliked -- he had his one-and-only hit. While Kenny was friends with songwriter Doc Pomus (he had recorded the demo for Doc's Elvis Presley hit, "Good Luck Charm") and wanted his own follow-up to be Doc's "Suspicion," Aaron insisted on "Rosie, Why Do You Wear My Ring." It and all subsequent recordings for Musicor and later Smash and Columbia Records, failed to chart. And "Suspicion" became a hit down the road for Terry Stafford. Despite this, Kenny never gave up performing. In fact, he was returning from two concerts in Melbourne, Florida when he died.
Ron Smith

In the Al Alberts R.I.P. Ron says that Al never charted after leaving the Four Aces. Nationally this is true, but in 1961 he charted on WLS with Heaven Needed An Angel, which you can find on the "WLS Only" CD's I made you.
Ed Erxleben
"Heaven Needed An Angel" spent two weeks on WLS' Silver Dollar Survey in 1961, ultimately peaking at #33 ... but it's pretty unlikely that anybody nationally noticed! (kk)

(Hmmm ... Apparently Not Even Forgotten Hits!!!)
Just like Chickenman, He's Everywhere! He's Everywhere! First three or four ... then half-a-dozen ... then 10 ... then 20 ... and now DOZENS of women have come forward to say that they've had a party in Tiger's pants ... he's made Wilt Chamberlain's claims of having slept with 10,000 women PALE in comparison ... Wilt The Stilt took an entire CAREER to achieve this feat ... it sounds like Tiger did that and more just last weekend!!! We've heard all the jokes ... he's not "Tiger" Woods anymore ... now they're calling him "Cheetah" ... and (one of the funniest), David Letterman complaining that Woods keeps calling him for advice! Enough already!!! I mean seriously ... does ANY man really need more than NINE mistresses?!?!? Beyond that it's just plain GREEDY!!! And shouldn't the oldies jocks have been all over this ... playing "Seven Little Girls Sitting In The Back Seat Kissin' And A-Huggin' With Fred" ... before it got TOTALLY out of hand?!?!?!! (kk)

Hey Kent...
"Sleepwalk" deserves it's rightful place at #1 on the list.
I had the good fortune to meet Johnny at a show we did together at The Poland Springs Arena in NJ a few years ago ... and bumped into him again this past November in NYC at our show at BB Kings.
Here's a backstage photo from our show together at The Poland Springs arena.
And ... I was honored to be a part of the Countdown.
Thanks to you and Phil Nee for a great great show!
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

And thanks to you, too, Mitch, for sitting in with Phil for a brief interview, talking about some of YOUR influences and instrumental favorites. (kk)

The only surprise on the top instrumental list was the "D'Oh" moment when I realized I hadn't included the Viscounts Harlem Nocturne on my list. Fortunately, enough other people remembered so that it made the cut.
Ed Erxleben
That's another one of my favorites, too ... it came in at #30 on our Top 50 Countdown. Have you had a chance to listen to Phil Nee's broadcast yet? He did an EXCELLENT job of counting down your 50 Favorites. The show is now archived on our "Forgotten Hits On The Radio" Podcast Page ... you can access it here: ... just type in "Instrumental Countdown" and 12 chapters will pop up for your listening enjoyment. (Start with Chapter One and you'll hear the countdown EXACTLY as it aired on Phil's WRCO Show Thanksgiving Weekend!) kk

More from our Marty Robbins biographer Diane Diekman ... as we pass another Robbins historical milestone ...

This week marks the anniversary of when we lost Faron Young and Marty Robbins. Marty died of a heart attack on December 8, 1982, at age 57, and Faron died of a self-inflicted bullet wound on December 10, 1996, at age 64. Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story was published in 2007 by the University of Illinois Press, and the publication goal for Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins is 2012.
Faron and Marty both participated in a history-making concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on November 29, 1961. Although Opry artists had performed onstage before, this was the first time an entire package show appeared there. Roger Miller, who played drums for Faron at the time, quipped "If they ever decide to have another world war, they can have it here." Eight of the forty performers rated star billing: Faron, Marty, Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones, fiddler Tommy Jackson, and headliner Jim Reeves. The show was a fundraiser for the Musicians' Aid Society of New York, which supported needy classical musicians. Dorothy Kilgallen, famed newspaper columnist and television personality, seemed not to care about the purpose of the show. She said if anyone in New York planned to take a vacation, now would be a good time, because all the hillbillies from Nashville, Tennessee, were coming to "our" wonderful Carnegie Hall. Organizers responded by reserving a front row seat for her, but she did not appear, and the seat went to a paying customer for the sold-out show.

The graves of Martin David Robinson (Marty Robbins) and Marizona Robinson

The "Faron Young Memorial Garden" next to Johnny Cash's house, leading down to Old Hickory Lake, where Faron's ashes were scattered on the water by his family.

Bobby Braddock writes, "I remember Marty saying that when 'El Paso' was hot that it was President Eisenhower's favorite song."

Mike O'Neill says, "El Paso was a favorite song of the disk jockeys. The song play time was 4 min, 44 sec. They could go and order food and get back before the song ended. I like the El Paso City song. How many artists could write a song about a song? Marty was one of the best writers and performers."

Thanks to Kent Kotal in Chicago, Illinois, for talking about Marty Robbins and for allowing me to post a short article on his Forgotten Hits site:

Michael Thom writes from Oklahoma City, "So glad to see on the Forgotten Hits site that you are writing a book on the great Marty Robbins. A friend of mine and I are huge fans of his, and we were fortunate enough to see him perform in 1980 and then to conduct a long radio interview with him (for an oldies show we were doing on a college station) in early 1982. I asked why he left Columbia to sign with Decca in 1972. I could tell it was a tough question, but Marty replied, 'It was just a bad decision. The money was good, but Decca just never properly promoted me.' We broadcast the entire interview which, as I recall, ran 30-45 minutes. I'm sure you are familiar with Donnie Jennings, from Blackwell, OK, one of Marty's biggest fans.
Response: Bill Johnson sent me the package Donnie put together, and it's been a great research help to me. Thanks for letting me know that Donaleen Jennings died March 30, 2008, shortly before her 86th birthday. I wrote her several letters without response.
Larry Banton in Lynchburg, Virginia, says, "Always enjoy your newsletters. I go to almost every night and watch videos of Faron and Marty. I would like to thank the great country music fans that make these videos possible. Looking forward to your book on Marty."
-- Diane Diekman
Washington DC, USA

Hi Kent -
I enjoyed the blurb on "Your Hit Parade". I remember as a little boy staying up to watch it but I didn't remember it lasting that long. When rock and roll hit the airwaves, Your Hit Parade became a comedy show as the singers were incredibly bad at singing these songs. But even worse was when "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" hit the charts. It was #1 for at least five weeks and on the charts for approximately three months. Having to sing it even once was an inane chore for them but with each passing week they had to come up with another way to present it. Frankly, my poor old dilapidated memory recalled that this song was the death blow to the show but since it came out in 1955 I guess I was wrong.
Steve Davidson
Then you'll REALLY enjoy THIS clip!!!
Click here: YouTube - GISELE MacKENZIE sings The Ballad of Davy Crockett - 1955
"The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" was a MONSTER Hit, topping Billboard's Best Sellers Chart for five weeks, too. Bill Hayes had the #1 Hit and covers by everybody from Fess Parker to Tennessee Ernie Ford to Walter Schumann also made Billboard's Pop Chart ... but this was definitely NOT a hit (nor SHOULD it have been!!! lol) for Gisele MacKenzie!!! Here is HER take on the Coon-Skin Cap Classic ... an actual "real deal" television clip from "Your Hit Parade", circa July of 1955! Enjoy! (kk)

Always interesting news and comments - Thanks Kent!
An FYI that might be of interest to a few Beach Boys fans: The new issue of Endless Summer Quarterly includes my article on Break Away, a turning-point single in Beach Boys' history.
Have a blessed Christmas,

Thanks, Phil ... happy to pass this along ... "Break Away" is one of OUR all-time favorite Beach Boys songs, too!!! (kk)

Please enjoy this trailer from a brand new film, 1974: On The Road With The Beach Boys
More details in a few days!
Billy Hinsche

OK ... so you just know that EVERYBODY's gonna wanna know the details on THIS one!!! Please keep us posted, Billy! (kk)

If you want to hear 'the boys' in their healthier, pre-drugs, nervous breakdown, and "TM" days, you only have to listen to a few of these gems from the early 60's, including "Ten Little Indians," "Salt Lake City," "Amusement Parks, USA," and "Farmer's Daughter" to get a feel for the excitement and energy the group brought to records and to their 'live' concerts and dances.
Thanks to Randy Hutchison in Indy for sending this gem of an article along. Wow. What memories. After a weekend of remembering my dear friend and 'brother-in-spirit,' DW, on what would have been his '65th' birthday, having the chance to relive some the group's 60's recordings was just the reminder I needed of just how incredibly blessed I have been to hang out, let alone work, with "America's Band" over the past nearly 47 years.
I spoke to a class of music business students at Trevecca-Nazarene University last Thursday afternoon and one of the students asked if anyone had any idea just how 'big' The Beach Boys would become? And, as I've said so many times in the past, 'nobody' could have imagined the success -- nor the 'impact' -- the group would achieve over the past 47 years. To think that at any given moment, on any given day, 24/7, someone, somewhere is singing along to a BW/Beach Boys song, is staggering.
However, on somewhat of a more reflective note, it's still painfully hard for me to think of 'the boys' without thinking of DW and CW, who we will celebrate on December 21 -- and while this article includes a somewhat odd assortment of songs up to, and including, the John Stamos 1992 version of DW's wonderful ballad, "Forever," (in my opinion the perfect epitaph / tribute to his life), it's the earlier, more exuberant songs inter-dispersed in the article, that shows us just how incredibly blessed we were to be the beneficiaries of these great musical moments.
So, for the next few minutes, let's turn back the clock to another era: 1962 to 1965, and celebrate a far happier time in the group's evolution.
"And now, from Hawthorne, California, to entertain you tonight with great songs and great memories, the fabulous Beach Boys!!"
Fred Vail / Nashville, TN
Click here: “Give me some root beer!”: 17 particularly peculiar Beach Boys songs Music Inventory The A.V. Club
Some pretty rare (and wild) stuff on here ... but I actually like the last two ... I thought "Problem Child" SHOULD have been a hit ... and (although I recognize that I'm in the minority), I kinda like the way John Stamos handled "Forever"!!! It's a CLASSIC, deserved-to-be-heard Dennis Wilson song that went virtually unnoticed until "Uncle Jesse" started singing it on a semi-regular basis on "Full House"! (kk)
Take a look at KRWZ-AM (Cruisin' Oldies 950). They are tied for 10th place in Denver. From Spring '09 to Nov '09 they went from a 1.3 to a 3.5!!! They had the BIGGEST ratings jump than anyone in the top 10 in Denver. Look out!!!! Oldies (and AM no less) is alive and well!
No one would listen to me in Ft Collins at Oldies 102.9 when I begged them to play the music of the 50's & 60's ... nope, they had to go the way of KOOL 105 (late '60's to '89) and lost their A**!!!
I predict Cruisin' Oldies will surpass KOOL 105 next book ... mark my words.
If you havent checked it out yet, check out Cruisin' Oldies 950 AM ... you'll be glad you did. And check out the website, especially Hal Moore's website with his "Chatting with Charley" segment, it's Hal & Charley all over again. Just great memories!
Happy Holidays everyone,
Wild Bill
It's great to see the ratings for these oldies stations improving ... proving once again that not only are there still a fair amount of us baby-boomers out there still listening to the radio in droves (despite what the advertisers may think!), but also that the younger generation is discovering these great songs with melodies that stick in your head and lyrics you can actually sing along to (without bleeping out at least one word from every line!!!), too!!! We recently received word that oldies are up in several other major markets right now, too ...
In Los Angeles, CBS's oldie station, KRTH-fm has captured the #1 spot in the November ratings with a 4.9. In New York, CBS's oldie station, KCBS-fm is rated #2 with a 7.4 in November. In Philadelphia, CBS's oldie station, WOGL-fm is #4 with a 5.5. (kk)

Kent -
It's great to have you now uploading songs / shows to the internet. I look forward to being able to listen to them at my convenience instead of being restricted to hearing them only at a certain day and time.
I am especially anxious to listen to "The Flip Side Show" ... but when I went onto the website, there was no mention of the flipside show there. I even did a search for it and nothing came up. Will you be uploading the flip side program soon? That's one I know I would love to listen to!
Steve Davidson
It's there ... several other folks on the list have already written in to say how much they enjoyed this particular program. For some reason, the Mevio website doesn't display ALL of the tiles that we have uploaded ... likewise, it lists the 12 individual episodes of our Top 50 Instrumental Countdown BACKWARDS ... but once you get to the page ( all you have to do is type in either "Instrumental Countdown" or "Flip Side Show" into the search engine on my programs page and it WILL find these for you. (This is PARTICULARLY helpful on the countdown so that you can listen to it in order as it was intended to be listened to!!!) You have to sit through a brief ad first (seems like it's Mucinex every time I go there!!! lol) but then the program will begin to play. (I've also noticed ... and heard from others ... that it doesn't play as well when you access this through AOL for some reason ... so I've been using Internet Explorer ... and that seems to be working fine.) The good news is that the feedback so far has been VERY good ... so hopefully others on the list will check these programs out, too, as time permits. (kk)

John Rook, one of the biggest names in radio programming back in the '60's and '70's (and the guy behind the new Hit Parade Radio venture that we keep talking about) had a little announcement to make this week, too. Here's a copy of the official press release:
December 7, 2009
Earthworks Entertainment’s Hit Parade Radio Hires ABC Radio Network’s Liz Doyle Addison, TX - Earthworks Entertainment, Inc’s. Hit Parade Radio (HPR) today announced that Liz Doyle has been hired as its Vice President of Operations. Doyle joins Hit Parade Radio from the ABC Radio Networks in Dallas where she spent the last 15 years.
Earthworks CEO Steven Humphries made the announcement today and said “We are very excited that Liz has joined HPR as our VP of Operations here in Texas. Her vast experience in developing and managing radio networks will be a huge plus for the company as we move forward with the launch of our 24/7 oldies radio network”.
HPR President John Rook said “we’ve been looking for the right person to head up our Texas operations and Liz is the perfect person for the job. We are excited to have someone of her experience level to manage our network operations”.
Doyle departed ABC last month when the company announced that it would be terminating the “Timeless” format on over 80 radio stations throughout the USA in February 2010. The Hit Parade format is similar in demographic appeal to the “Timeless” format and hopes to attract those affiliates with their programming
Among the on air talent to be featured on Hit Parade Radio is Hall Of Fame inductee Larry Lujack and multi award winning radio personality and game show host Wink Martindale.
Hit Parade Radio is the creation of veteran programmer John Rook. Rook has been a top industry programmer for over 30 years having programmed stations such as WLS-Chicago, WCFL-Chicago, KFI-Los Angeles, KABC-Los Angeles and many others.

And here's some news on another name that was EXTREMELY big here in Chicago Radio (in a "behind the scenes" sort of way):
John Gehron joins Kurt Hanson’s AccuRadio as it looks for new investors.
Hanson’s “angel round” of early investors included Joe Gallagher and Bob Maccini, who founded Ando Media. Also Net Radio Sales, Interep’s Ralph Guild, and Canadian group owner Gary Slaight. Now it’s time to do the Series A investment round to find cash to build out the management and sales effort and do national marketing. As new management consultant Gehron puts it – “There are really only four meaningful brands of personalizable Internet radio – Pandora, Slacker, [CBS-owned] and AccuRadio.” John says "while the first three are great for early adopters and music enthusiasts, there's a big opportunity in the market for a brand like AccuRadio that's aimed at a more mainstream, mass-appeal listener base." I recently visited its Chicago offices across from the Merchandise Mart and it’s bursting at the seams. Now Gehron (“GEH-run”) brings his considerable expertise and charm to the enterprise as “lead management consultant.” If you’re not familiar with him, he’s done radio at every level, from PD (WLS, Chicago in its “WLS Rules” top 40 days) and WCBS-FM, New York to GM (WNUA, Chicago and WODS, Boston) to group executive (American Radio Systems, CBS) and market manager (Clear Channel-Chicago). His most recent job was starting up Oprah Harpo Radio. (Speaking of Harpo – don’t miss the Erik Logan item in today’s “Faces.”) In addition to presenting millions of pitches to investors, Gehron will be working with AccuRadio's Slipstream Radio project, helping terrestrial broadcasters build Internet radio services that users can customize. --from Taylor On Radio-Info
Since this is the season of giving, I wanted to pass this on to you and your readers.
I am a great lover of doo wop and the music you don't hear everyday. This has to be my favorite internet station. There are no dj's commercials or any id's just pure music . It's Doo Wop Wave from Tokyo Japan. All in English. To check it out, just follow the instructions to put this into i-tunes and give a listen.
Copy the following link:
open itunes
go to advanced
open audio stream
paste the url
enjoy and Merry Christmas
Vinny B.

It is a myth that a song had to be 2:30, but the label had better show that as the length, if you wanted air play on the big stations, like WABC in New York.
WABC program director Rick Sklar mandated that all songs aired had to be 2:30 or less. If they were not, they were edited to shorten the version played on Music Radio 77.
The early records of "Rag Doll" show 2:33. It was really 3:01. Other examples exist, but that is the one I remember so well.
Jim Hicks
Yes and a number of stations (including WCFL here in Chicago) used to speed the records up a little bit, too, when they played them on the air ... it allowed them to maybe get one more song in per hour ... PLUS the feeling was that it gave the station a little more "pep" than the other guys in town! (kk)

Speaking of which, I asked John Rook (who programmed both WLS and WCFL in their hey-day) about the rumors of playing these sped-up recordings ... apparently NOT a rumor at all!!! Check THIS out!!!
I think the idea came out of San Diego with Buzz Bennett, who was the PD at KCBQ-am in the 60's. Those programmers who bought into the idea did it to make the music sound "hotter" ... over an hour's period of time it did allow a station to claim they were playing more music. While I was at WLS, WCFL claimed to play more music but in fact was terribly cluttered with long jingles and features. Before my arrival at WLS in 1967, WCFL had beaten WLS in both Pulse and ARB. This was largely because WLS had ignored most black music, including the nations #1 Aretha Franklin hit, "Respect." Within two weeks of my arrival I named Art Roberts Music Director and, with his help we took advantage of the "music excitement" concept and by reducing the clutter and programming the actual hits, WLS was back on top in the ratings within three months time where it stayed until WCFL brought me into to consult that station in the early 70's.

Billboard has named Daniel Powter, whose song "Bad Day" topped the Billboard charts for five weeks in 2006,
the one-hit wonder of the decade. The magazine defined a one-hit wonder as any act whose second song didn't reach the top 25. To be fair, it only considered the years 2000-2007, because last year's hit-makers might still have another one up their sleeves.
Read Full Blog>>>
Remember when a One Hit Wonder meant "The Top 100" ... and then it became "The Top 40" ... now we're down to The Top 25 ... ahhh, must be inflation!!! As we've all learned, limiting an artist to a seven year stretch isn't really fair either ... artists have come back after 20+ years to have their second hit (so there's still hope for you yet M, Taco and Daddy Dewdrop!!!) "Bad Day" WAS a great song (and its use in an entire season of "American Idol" certainly didn't hurt its popularity either!!!) kk

Speaking of great recent hits, who amongst us hasn't spent a fair amount of time with Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" stuck in their head this past year?!?!? Here's a really cool video of a little kid doing HIS rendition of this song ... clearly he spent a lot more time learning the chord progressions than he did the lyrics ... but it's still a REALLY fun watch! (kk)

Click here: YouTube - I'm Yours (ukulele)

And, from One Hit Wonders to the BIGGEST Hit Albums of the Decade!!! (Can you believe we've already reached the end of the first decade of the new millennium?!?!? Unreal!!!)
Anyway, since the start of the decade, The Beatles' "1" album has sold about 11 1/2 MILLION COPIES, putting it on top of the best sellers list according to Nielsen Sound Scan!!! Incredible, considering that The Fabs split up nearly 40 years ago now!!! And ALL of their remastered re-issued CDs just blew the doors off the sales chart when they were released back on 9-9-09 ... proving once and for all that SOME music truly IS timeless!!!
Top overall sales for the decade go to Eminem who has sold a combined total of 32.2 Million CDs (with TWO albums placing in the decade's Top Ten: "The Marshall Mathers" LP was the fourth biggest seller of the decade with nearly 10.2 million copies sold and "The Eminem Show" was fifth with almost 9.8 million copies sold. For the record, The Beatles came in second in TOTAL sales with just over 30 million.)
According to Rolling Stone, only two other albums crossed the 10 million sales mark: *NSync's "No Strings Attached" with 11.1 million and Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" with 10.5 million sold.
Rounding out The Top Ten in Total Sales For The Decade:


1. The Beatles, 1 (11,499,000 copies sold)

2. *NSYNC, No Strings Attached (11,112,000)
3. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (10,546,000)
4. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (10,204,000)
5. Eminem, The Eminem Show (9,799,000)
6. Usher, Confessions (9,712,000)
7. Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory (9,663,000)
8. Creed, Human Clay (9,491,000)
9. Britney Spears, Oops! … I Did It Again (9,185,000)
10. Nelly, Country Grammar (8,461,000)

I'll sheepishly admit to owning SIX of the decades Top Ten Best Sellers! (kk)

Here's one other interesting statistic (which also helps to put the current musical sales situation into proper perspective): The Beatles' "1" album sold over 11 Million Copies in 2000 alone ... THIS year's biggest selling LP is "Fearless" by Taylor Swift, which currently stands at 2.53 million copies sold. One could say the music business just ain't what it used to be ... and is going through the same difficult financial times we ALL are ... but the fact is, popular as she may be, Taylor Swift AIN'T The Beatles!!! (kk)

The interview with Joel Whitburn on Ronnie's Radio page was quite informative. I was especially amused at his statement that Billboard had tried to publish a Top Pop style book prior to Joel's efforts, but gave up because their charts were so full of errors. This tradition continues at where the archive charts are so full of errors and omissions to be almost worthless. Some weeks are completely missing (whatever happened to January 13, 2001?), some are obviously the wrong chart, and many have errors in total weeks, peak or last week entry. I used to inform them when I caught a mistake, but they ignore me.
Regarding the revised album charts, Billboard doesn't compile the charts for us music lovers, they compile them for the tradespeople, to show them what records they should be stocking ... or playing. Back when records competed for shelf space, a chart loaded with old "catalog albums" wasn't very helpful, so popular albums that had been around for a while were pulled off the list. In the digital age or the "age of the long tail" as they call it, this is not a problem. Catalog can compete with current releases. Digital downloads are one of the best things to happen in music ever. I can download a song for 99 cents, the same price I used to pay for a 45 rpm single back in the fifties.
Today (December 12) the longest charting album ever, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, returned to the charts for a record-breaking 742nd week. Billboard did not give it credit for the weeks that it was relegated to the catalog chart. At that rate shouldn't every man woman and child in the United States own this album by now? Who are these people who decide after over thirty years that they have to have this album? It's not like it's being promoted or used in a movie or anything.
Is it dated to say "album"? How else to distinguish it from a CD or digital "single"?
Ed Erxleben

It will ALWAYS be an "album" for me ... and I'm pretty sure the artists consider it this way, too. But you're right ... here in the digital age of being able to pick and choose which single tracks you want to download, regardless of whether or not it's the one that the record company thinks should be the "new hit single" or your own favorite album track, the method in which we measure music popularity has forever been changed. How many people download an entire album anymore ... and, with the ability to sample 30 seconds of each track in advance, without having to shell out the money to buy an entire album that COULD be rounded out with a bunch of "filler", this truly has become the record buyer's dream. Although I personally don't download much new music (I'm one of those old fashioned guys who wants to be able to hold the product in his hands ... look at the packaging, read the liner notes, carry it around with me wherever I go and listen to it in its entirety the way the artist INTENDED it to be heard), it certainly IS the way of the land, musically speaking, these days. As for "Dark Side Of The Moon", I don't think it's really fair to reduce its chart-life to just 14 years when it's been selling enough copies to consistently make the list for all 36 years that it's been available ... honestly, how is THIS not the biggest selling album of all-time? We keep hearing how Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and The Eagles' original "Greatest Hits" LPs were the ones constantly changing places at the top of the All-Time Best Sellers List ... but these two haven't sold enough copies on a consist enough basis to stay on the catalog chart for that duration, have they? They may have sold bigger numbers INITIALLY ... and certainly "Thriller" sold millions more after Michael Jackson's passing ... but I cannot help but wonder where "Dark Side Of The Moon" stands in the total scheme of things ... anybody know for sure??? (kk)
BTW: Alan Parsons was the engineer on both The Beatles' "Abbey Road" LP and The Pink Floyd classic "Dark Side Of The Moon". Don'tcha just LOVE it when all this stuff ties together?!?!? (kk)

A couple of months back we showed you a German website that was taking our newsletter, translating it to German ... and then translating it BACK to some hysterically broken English. Now comes word that we're being read in Indonesia, too!!! Only THIS time, they're providing links to our REAL website ... along with a "Best Of" weekly recap of the articles that they found most interesting, which they're calling "Forgotten Hits: Take Two"!!! (Hey, who knows ... maybe some of our boys fighting overseas are enjoying the oldies through Forgotten Hits these days!!! Do we have any troops in Indonesia?!?!?) Hard to be upset about it ... and at least these guys ARE giving proper credit to our efforts ... but it's really pretty amazing to think that some folks out there who are putting their lives on the line every day may be reading these very words I'm typing this evening in the comfort of my own home ... and underwear!!! (lol) Pretty cool indeed! (kk)

And, speaking of our Forgotten Hits Readers all over the world ... WE DID IT!!! We OFFICIALLY passed 100,000 visitors to The Forgotten Hits Website this weekend!!! Thanks again to EVERYBODY for their continued support!!! (kk)

LOTS more coming up this week (as time permits) ... we have to be REAL careful with what we promise is "Coming Up" these days as our "Real Life" Schedule has DRASTICALLY impacted our Forgotten Hits Schedule lately. In fact, read on ...

Speaking of polkas, these were a popular staple of the WJJD surveys of the fities and sixties. Here are my entries for your "Most Popular Polkas" survey. All of them appeared on the WJJD surveys.
1. Liechtensteiner Polka - Will Glahe (instrumental) or Lawrence Welk (vocal)
2. Who Stole The Keeshka - Matys Brothers
3. I Got a Wife - Mark IV
4. Gotta Have Something In The Bank, Frank - Bob Jaxon
5. Stashu Pandowski - Russ Carlyle
Ed Erxleben
Believe it or not, Will Glahe's "Liechtensteiner Polka" actually earned ten votes as one of your favorite instrumentals ... listening back to it now, how did we ever consider this one to be an instrumental candidate??? Actually, as far as polkas go, it's not a bad track ... and made it all the way up to #11 in Cash Box Magazine ... and #9 here in Chi-Town! This is one of those records that my Mom used to play around the house all the time ... and I will admit to giving it a few spins on my own, too! (I remember the 45 having a deep purple label ... maybe that was part of my fascination with it!!!) kk

Hi Kent
How about a survey listing the top 50 best musical voices? While perhaps not rock n roll, Johnny Mathis, Adam Wade, Johnny Nash and Roy Hamilton had beautiful voices. In R & B there was Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson and in rock there was Roy Orbison, Jay Black, etc just to name a few.
Steve Davidson
We've received close to two dozens suggestions as to what the next "Special Forgotten Hits Countdown" should be ... time will see if ANY of these ever see the light of day, but thanks to everyone for their suggestions! (By the way, I heard a Jay Black Christmas Clip on The True Oldies Channel the other day, wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas ... and reminding them that his Greatest Hits CDs make for GREAT stocking stuffers!!! lol) kk

How cool! Last night the President, et al, saluted Bruce Springsteen, Robert DeNiro, Mel Brooks and Dave Brubeck, ala the Kennedy Center Honors. This baby airs on the 29th and is MUST SEE TV!!!
Congrats to the winners ... all some of my favs.
Best wishes to you all and God Bless....
Wild Bill
I'll watch just to see Ben Stiller walk out on stage and become totally overwhelmed at the sight of Bruce Springsteen, only to then turn to President Obama and acknowledge him as "Nobel Peace Guy"! (lol) Should be an entertaining show. Thanks, Bill. (kk)

Did you ever do the Pirate Radio update? I have more 60's articles. In a related matter, ReelRadio ( just added 3 new Pirate radio listeners who want to know how it REALLY was. You must be a member to listen to the radio greats of the past -- there's a small fee, but it's WELL worth it!! Also, watch (listen?) for my Soupy Sales tape in its' entirety from 1986 on WNBC around January 8, when ReelRadio will celebrate Soupy's birthday!
No ... our previously hyped Pirate Radio piece has never run ... nor have several other pieces we've been working on ... my "Real Life" schedule has greatly taken over the majority of my free time lately ... in fact, it's one of the issues we wanted to address today:

We've "promo'd" a couple of features lately that have yet to hit our pages ... most notably a week-long look at the new film "Pirate Radio" (which I think may have already run its course in movie theaters ... it didn't do very well) ... and a well-researched piece by FH Reader Joe Klein regarding the history of the song "Wipe Out" that's run into a few "historical snags" along the way due to Joe's exhaustive and meticulous research and attention to detail ... as well as another look at this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees ... along with three or four OTHER pieces that we had planned to run (or had already been working on) which haven't quite seen the light of day yet either. As explained numerous times in the past, the amount of "free time" available to devote to Forgotten Hits just isn't what it used to be and, as such, we've had to let certain features slide because we just haven't felt that we were doing proper justice to them. Some of these may pop up again in the future ... but for right now we're going to limit promoting our "Coming Up" features until we actually HAVE something ready to run!!! (lol) In the meantime, we're doing our best to keep feeding you the kind of articles you enjoy the most and thank you for your patience and participation.

Joe Klein asked me to run an "Open Letter To The Forgotten Hits Readers" regarding his "Wipe Out" article ... and wrote a nice piece explaining (if you'll pardon the pun) the Trials And Tribulations of Trying To Put Together A Detailed Article For Forgotten Hits ... I mean, let's face it ... we've got a pretty tough audience out there that scrutinizes every single word for historical accuracy and let's us know each and every single time a single hair is out of place ... (talk about your tough crowds!!! lol) But that ALSO makes us a better publication ... over the years, Forgotten Hits has built its reputation by becoming THE place to go for what we call "The Most Accurate Truth". Fact is, a number of these "key players" simply aren't with us anymore ... and SO many "legends" have been repeated and embellished over the years that much of what is circulating is suspect at best. (The credo truly has become "When truth and legend collide, always print the legend ... it's FAR more interesting"!!!) We've taken the opposite approach ... we'll put the most-researched version of the story that we can out there ... LIST some of the discrepancies we found along the way ... and then open up the forum for feedback analysis from our knowledgeable readers, many of whom WERE there at the time and can often shed some new perspective on some long-told (and quite often) tall tales. Please know that this is ALWAYS done with the best of intentions ... it is NOT to point out flaws but rather to let us ALL arrive at The Most Accurate Truth possible ... so PLEASE don't take offense if and when it happens to you ... it happens to ALL of us!!! (Jeez, the LAST thing we want is for our readers to be afraid to respond to our postings for fear of being placed under the giant Forgotten Hits Microscope!!! FH has ALWAYS been THE place to share your thoughts and memories ... that very interaction is what makes FH work! And, if we ALL learn a little something along the way in the process, all the better!)

In any event, as a courtesy to Joe, his letter follows ... please know that we will continue to bring you what we can, when we can ... and that your own thoughts, comments and memories are ALWAYS welcome here! (kk)

Greetings of the season once again to everyone out there in the land of FORGOTTEN HITS!
It's with a great deal of regret that I have to inform the readers of the FH blog and newsletter that I must postpone the release of the highly touted and teased story THE TRIALS, TRIUMPHS AND TRIBULATIONS OF A SURF MUSIC LEGEND.
As can often be the case in a complex or controversial story (especially ones that address "historical" facts and events occurring decades earlier), there have been some issues that have that are now requiring a further postponement of the story!
I have spent many dozens of hours researching, conducting interviews, writing and editing this compelling story. As I researched the facts, more facts presented themselves or were uncovered. Then, other facts that seemed inconsistent with those already known reared their ugly heads! It's gone on this way for weeks!
In the last couple of weeks alone, I discovered additional recordings and releases of the song WIPE OUT, and even found a few other recordings of strikingly similar songs from other bands using the same or similar names!
The story became like a puzzle with more pieces being added even as the existing pieces were being assembled.
Time after time, I thought I had the first parts of the story done, only to have something else present itself. A phone message returned, a new piece of information happened on by accident, and so on.
Merrell himself got caught by the bug and even began doing a bit of research of those days himself, something he says he's never done in the decades since he left THE IMPACTS back in the fall of 1963!
I must admit it has all been quite interesting and quite the learning experience for me about a period in the music business that preceded my entry into it, and what's been written so far is really great stuff!
What was going to be a three part story chronicling MERRELL FANKHAUSER'S fifty years in the music business turned into four parts just about his early days in the business through 1963 and the story about the song WIPE OUT as told from his point of view.
In recent days, since the death of Del-Fi Records founder, BOB KEANE, even more new information has been presented. (The WIPE OUT! album by THE IMPACTS was released on Del-Fi in November of 1962.) Further interviews with Merrell, in which I attempted to sort out a few details and fill in the last remaining blanks of the surf instrumental period of his story, raised a few more questions not previously pondered or answered.
As accurate as I have tried to be in reconstructing and recounting the events of 1960-1963, I now realize that there still may be a few inconsistencies and maybe even a misstatement or two in the story as written so far. But that's just part of the process of putting together a "historical" story of this kind! It's all that much more sensitive with so many of the "players" involved in the story no longer being around to respond or defend themselves, including Bob Keane, who passed away a little over a week ago in Hollywood.
I want this story to be fair and even-handed, and the only way to accomplish this is to make sure it's as concise and ACCURATE as possible!
I learned my lesson well with the stories I posted on my own company blog over the last few months about the new JACKSON 5 album. Through no fault of my own, my postings ended up containing misinformation that needed to be corrected. No real harm done, but, I must admit that being put into the position of having written articles that were less than accurate was embarrassing and uncomfortable. Of course I ponied up to the errors and wrote about the whole experience in a post a couple of weeks ago, which can be found here:
Wanting to avoid a repeat of the Jackson 5 debacle, I feel it best to postpone the rollout of Merrell Fankhauser's story until such a time that the remaining questions can be fully answered and blanks fully filled in! With the holidays now approaching fast, the chance of having these final corrections made before year's end does not look very promising.
I know how disappointing this must be to you, Kent, and the readers of FORGOTTEN HITS that may have been looking forward to this most interesting story for the last several weeks. But I will not let you all down. The story will roll out, and, when it does, it will be as true and accurate as I can possibly make it!
I apologize once again and very much appreciate everyone's understanding and, once again, wish everyone all the best for the holidays and the new decade to come!
May the sixties live on forever!

All of that being said, we really DO have the best intentions of bringing you some more amazing Forgotten Hits Pages in the weeks to come as we wind down 2009 (including a few more Christmas tunes later this week) ... so please check back often to see what we've got going on. Till then ... thank you for your patience ... and support! (kk)