Friday, April 10, 2009
>>>Flautist and alto saxophonist Bud Shank passed away Thursday (April 2) at the age of 82 at his home in Tucson. Bud will always be remembered for his haunting flute on the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'." (Ron Smith)
Regarding Bud Shank's flute solo on the Mamas and Papas "California Dreamin'" ... Denny Doherty once told me that when they were recording that song, they wanted a solo, but didn't want the usual guitar solo. John Phillips walked out into the hall of the Hollywood recording studio they were at and Bud Shank was in that hallway as well. John grabbed him and brought him into the studio. Shank listened to the hole he was supposed to fill and nailed it on the first take.
It's sad to hear of his passing. Now he can play again 'up there' with John Phillips, Denny & Mama Cass.
The Mamas and the Papas had sung the background vocals on Barry McGuire's version of "California Dreamin'" just prior to recording their own take of the song. On Barry's version, that hole was filled with a harmonica solo!!! Other than that, however, the instrumentation and vocals are IDENTICAL to the chart-topping hit released under their own name a few months later. (In fact, a while back we circulated a mix where you could hear Barry's voice come in just before Denny's, buried DEEP down in the mix during a not-so-thorough erasing session!!!) kk
The Mamas and the Papas' version of "California Dreamin'" is one of those RARE instances where a song absolutely gave me chills and goosebumps the very first time I ever heard it. This doesn't happen very often ... but this record didn't sound like ANYTHING I'd ever heard before ... and I immediately fell in love with the group. They had a VERY unique (and quite amazing) sound ... and it all continues to hold up very well today. (Can you even imagine this song WITHOUT the flute interlude?!?!? Barry McGuire's version, featured above, almost comes as a shock to the system!!!) Several big name artists (The Beach Boys and America among them) have recorded this song since ... and have really done the song justice ... but NOBODY will ever top the version by the group that created it. (Hmmm ... which, I guess, brings us back to that same old question ... did The Mamas and the Papas actually COVER their own song??? Barry McGuire did it first ... and then, when the group decided to record it on their own, they asked him not to release his version as a single so that they could release THEIR version without fear of competition from an already-established recording act. Similarly, at virtually the very same time, The Mamas and the Papas' version of their song, "Go Where You Wanna Go", was pulled off the shelves to focus on "California Dreamin'" instead, paving the way for The Fifth Dimension to have THEIR first chart it with the song a few months later. Jeez, Scott Shannon could have a FIELD DAY featuring THESE two Mamas and Papas tracks on his next True Oldies Channel Remake Weekend!!! Now throw in the fact that The Fifth Dimension were the first artists to record The Brookly Bridge's biggest hit, "The Worst That Could Happen" and you've got one hell of a feature!!!) kk
AND DON'T MISS "THE I.R.S." WEEKEND:
We've got a COUPLE of them going this weekend ... Scott Shannon's playing "The Incredible Records of the Sixties" on The True Oldies Channel ... and Rich Appel is playing The Top 104 (according to YOUR votes) "It Really Shoulda ... Been A Top Ten Hit") ... details below from Hz So Good. (kk)
The Top 104 songs you filed with Hz So Good’s I.R.S. – as in, you felt for each that It Really Shoulda been a Top 10 hit – will be, as promised, revealed this Eastaxover weekend. Here’s what’s going on.Friday morning @ 735am EST, I’ll be on with Jimmy Howes and Greta Latona on WGHT’s morning show
(listen here: www.ghtradio.com) to talk about the I.R.S.
Spoiler alert: we’ll most likely reveal the Top 10.
Friday evening @ 6pm EST, I’ll be Bob Radil’s guest on WNHU’s Friday Night ‘60s and ’70s Show (listen here: http://www.wnhu.net/?dest=home) as we count down the Top 104, playing as many songs as we can fit into what’ll probably be a 4-hour show.
Later this weekend, the new Hz So Good comes your way, featuring the entire Top 104 counted down, with your comments and picks, plus links to most every song online. Even if you didn’t get to file, you still might enjoy the results. But whatever you do this holiday weekend, whether or not it includes Hz, make it a great one.
HzSoGood’s I.R.S. Top 104 ... don't miss it!!!
We'll be making The Top 104 I.R.S. List available to OUR readers next week ... just let us know if you'd like a copy. Meanwhile, hope you can tune in and listen to some of these special features! (kk)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
>>>Highly-memorable lyrics to Freddy Cannon’s 1966 classic “Where the Action Is” included, “Dance, dance, dance, let your backbone slip — let’s go to the place on the Sunset Strip.” That was the wildly successful end result when legendary broadcaster Dick Clark commissioned Cannon to write the theme for Clark’s ABC-TV show of the same name. (Inside Radio)
>>>For the record, the theme song to "Where The Action Is", "Action", was written by Tommy Boyce and Steve Venet ... NOT by Freddy Cannon. Clark may have commissioned Freddy to SING the theme ... but NOT to write it. (kk)
I interviewed Freddy back in the 70s and he told me the first recording of "Where The Action Is" was recorded by Paul Revere and The Raiders (the show's house band). Freddy said Dick Clark played it for him but was not happy with the recording and did not want to use it on the air, so he ask Freddy to re-record it. The Paul Revere version runs about a minute and appeared on album and CD.
Yes, Paul Revere and the Raiders recorded it first ... and they performed pieces of it somewhat regularly on the program ... but Freddy got the official "theme" ... and had a Top Ten Hit with the tune. (Paul Revere and the Raiders also recorded Boyce and Hart's "Steppin' Stone" before The Monkees did ... so they had some history with the songwriting duo ... although THEIR version was never released as a single and therefore was not a hit. (kk)
NO, I DIDN'T WRITE THE "WHERE THE ACTION IS" THEME SONG. BUT I DID WRITE THE NEW THEME FOR "THE REWIND SHOW" WITH GARY BRYAN. AND THATS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. IT HAS THAT SAME FLAVOR AS "ACTION", BUT IT'S NOT "ACTION". NOW THE STORY IS STRAIGHT.
FREDDY "BOOM BOOM" CANNON
>>>Clark and Cannon are back at it with the latter having been tapped for similar responsibilities for United Stations Radio Networks-distributed “Dick Clark Presents Rewind with Gary Bryan.” The singer says, “It’s great to let people know I’m still out there and still rockin.’” Bryan, who does mornings on CBS Radio classic hits “K-Earth” KRTH, Los Angeles, adds, “Freddy’s driving beat and fun vocal presence is exactly what this show needs.” (Inside Radio)
That clarifies things a little bit better. (Wonder what Jimmy Jay thinks about the idea of the "Rewind" show ... hasn't he been using that name for YEARS?!?!?) Freddie also did a K-EARTH Jingle to the tune of "Palisades Park" a while back that we featured in Forgotten Hits ... here it is again in case you missed it (kk):
And here's Freddy's theme for the brand new "Rewind" Show with Gary Bryan!!! (Thanks, Freddy, for sending this to us ... he ALSO tells us ...)
IT'S ON ALL THE UNITED RADIO STATIONS. IT'S DICK CLARK'S OLD RADIO SHOW ... NOW ITS CALLED: DICK CLARK PRESENTS "REWIND WITH GARY BRYAN" ... THERE ARE OVER A HUNDRED STATIONS AS FAR AS I KNOW. HERE'S A COPY OF THE BRAND NEW THEME SONG!
If they ever do a Make A Wish for people who STILL love rock, I hope I get to meet Freddy Cannon & Bobby Rydell ... tell Freddy he has @ least one fan in VA that will never forget. They brought me so much joy over the years. I'd say Dick Clark, too, but I dunno if he sees people. All 3 of these guys knew what "entertainment" meant ... that it is to bring it to the fans & take them out of the humdrum for a little while. Many others did, too, of course, but we can't help who we love.
>>>TODAY APRIL 1ST IS MY 50 YEARS IN THE ROCK AND ROLL BUSINESS. I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT THAT I WOULD STILL BE DOING THIS AFTER 50 YEARS. JUST THOUGHT I WOULD LET YOU AND THE ALL THE TRUE ROCKERS OUT THERE KNOW THIS IS WHEN IT ALL STARTED ... TALLAHASSEE LASSIE CAME OUT ON APRIL FOOLS DAY, 1959. I WANT TO THANK EVERY D.J. WHO EVER PLAYED MY RECORDS! WITHOUT THEM I WOULD NOT STAYED AROUND THIS LONG! (FREDDY "BOOM BOOM" CANNON)
Congratulations to my old friend, Freddy Cannon. Wow. 50 years!! You could knock me over with a feather. It doesn't seem that long ago we were listing to all those great 50's-60's 'classics.' Merely calling them 'oldies' simply doesn't seem quite appropriate. I remember "Tallahassee Lassie" front to back, along with his other two major singles, "Palisades Park" and "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans." Two were Top 5 and "Lassie" just missed the same mark by one chart position.
What's interesting is that Freddy had a number of other great singles and while they did not have the good fortune of going into the Top 10, they were great records just the same. There were three T-40 stations in Sacramento when I was going to high school during the years 1958-1962: KRAK, KXOA, and KROY. While they usually played the same records, sometimes one of them would take a chance and add a single that was not already high in the charts, hoping to scoop the competition.
Also, there were often singles that would be 'big' records in one region of the country and almost unheard of in another. So, for me, I remember "Okehfenokee," "Abigail Beecher," "Transistor Sister" and "Buzz-Buzz A-Diddle It." And all of these singles, with the exception of "Beecher," had been well received in Sacramento when I hired Freddy to play an 'appreciation show' I was producing for the KXOA "Good Guys" on September 6, 1963. The lineup was to have been The "Explosive" Freddy Cannon, Johnny Burnette, The Righteous Brothers, The Rivingtons, The Merced Blue-Notes, The Challengers, and Paul Peterson, a 'hot' teen idol because of his weekly appearances on the "Donna Reed Show.". About two weeks before the show, Peterson pulled out, opening up a slot.
Ray Peterson, who would become a lifelong friend--and who worked many a gig with Freddy--completed the lineup. He had a single out at the time, which, again, was not a major national hit but a solid favorite in Sacramento and many other markets. The song was "I Forgot What It Was Like."
Watching Freddy and Ray mesmerize the crowd with their God-given talent, personality and professionalism was a sight to see. Both were solid entertainers--not just hit singers. In retrospect, I think there was a bit of a 'competition' (one upmanship) going on between the two of them, but we'll never know. The audience went wild for them both.
Congratulations, Freddy! 50 years in this industry is not only a milestone, but a major accomplishment as well. I'm looking forward to seeing you down the road. Keep rockin.'
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
"Music City, USA"
Freddy's records always did pretty well here in Chicago ... in fact, the aforementioned "Action" went all the way to #4 here in Chi-Town, bettering its national showing of #13 in both Billboard and Cash Box. Tallahassee Lassie (written by Freddy's mother!!!) hit #5 here locally and peaked at #6 on the national charts. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans and Palisades Park both hit #2 in Chicago and #3 on the national charts. Other Top 40 Hits (or near misses) include Okefenokee (#41, 1959); Chattanooga Shoe Shoe Boy (#27, 1960, and #12 here in Chi-Town); Jump Over (#24, 1960); Happy Shades Of Blue (which hit #19 in Chicago in 1960 but failed to make either of the national Top 40 Charts); Muskrat Ramble (same deal ... #34 in Chicago but only #48 in Cash Box); Buzz-Buzz-A-Diddle It (#35, 1961); Transistor Sister (#31 in Cash Box but a #18 Hit here in Chicago); For Me And My Gal (#24 in Chicago but only #56 in Cash Box); Abigail Beecher (#16, 1964) and The Dedication Song (#41 in Billboard but #25 here in Chicago). A pretty impressive chart run to say the least!!! (kk)
Courtesy of Fred Vail (and with VERY special thanks to George Van Win) here's a copy of the poster used to promote The Freddy Cannon Show that Fred talked about in his email:
As you know, Freddy just completed a couple of shows in Las Vegas with his sons ... here's a review he sent us from The Las Vegas Newspaper ...
KENT ... LOOK AT THIS ... I DID TWO NIGHTS IN LAS VEGAS WITH MY SONS' BAND ... THIS IS THE WRITER FOR THE LAS VEGAS NEWS PAPER.
FREDDY "BOOM BOOM" CANNON
I did get to see the one and only Freddy Boom Boom Cannon this weekend, and what an amazing show is was (Actually saw both nights - it was wild!)
I took my Tallahassee Lassie with me and we were off to see the veteran rocker and fellow Massachusetts native rocking the room at the Eastside Cannery along with his two talented sons (Billy on guitar and vocals, and Johnny pounding the skins and adding vocals) leading the 4 piece band (which included a bass player and a 23 year old girl on keyboards who wasn't even born when Freddy's songs were racing up the charts. She told us later she never heard his music before she was hired for the band, but now loves it "because its the root of rock music, isn't it?" she remarked ... yep.
A real rock and roll icon, Freddy had the place eating out of his hand from the moment he stepped onto the stage until he finally walked off to a roaring standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
What a night. Lots of good time rock and roll, including, of course, all of his hits, and funny stories in between, joking with the fans up front, (including Jan and I) and having a good 'ole time with the band and the wildly enthusiastic crowd.
The show opens with the band taking the stage, less Freddy. They perform a couple of rock numbers to showcase their talents and set the stage for the arrival of the man. Then, with the crowd primed, they finally introduce Freddy and the place goes wild as he struts out onto the stage with that famous smile and no attitude. He thanks everyone for coming before launching into Tallahassee Lassie , thanking his mom for the song and for putting him on the path. "Without her, I would never be here on this stage", he says.
He played all his hits and then some, his next song, after some welcoming remarks and thanking the crowd for showing up, it was Way Down Yonder In New Orleans, then more stories, and introduction of his two boys, Johnny and Billy. Imagine how proud he is, to have his sons grow up watching their dad perform on TV and on stages all over, and then suddenly find themselves on stage with their dad, playing his music for enthusiastic crowds.
What a kick, and it was obvious that not only was Freddy proud of his sons, they are clearly proud of their pops, and love being a part of his music, respectful of the legacy of Freddy Cannon and his place in music history.
I couldn't possibly remember every song, but some of the highlights, in addition to the first two hits, included Transistor Sister, Palisades Park (clearly the crowd favorite, he even did it twice, which was a welcome surprise for all of us) Abigail Beecher, Action (Oh, baby come on ...) and then a few classics that belong to others.
He stopped halfway along the show to open up the room for questions, a unique twist on the rock and roll show format, and a delightful treat for the roomful of fans.
He patiently answered questions from around the room, told stories from his long career of almost 50 years, and joked with everyone. Here's a man without an ego, a warm-hearted man who enjoys singing and spreading joy, as much now as when he first began.
Then he sang some more, ending with two smokin' Chuck Berry songs that had the whole place on their feet, dancing in the aisles and singing along with Freddy.
After, in his dressing room, he was bubbly and still having fun. Told us he did "Bandstand" so many times because he lived near the studio and whenever a guest couldn't make it, for weather or schedule problems, he'd get a call to come over and sing one of his hits again.
"I was just lucky to be living nearby", he humbly adds.
He invited us back for his second show, and how can you say no to Freddy Boom Boom, right?
So, Saturday night was the closing night, and both Freddy and son Johnny told us we need to come back, "It is going to be wild, the first night, we had a lot of rough spots, was a long day, driving in ..."
I never detected a rough spot, but I can understand that the second show is always better than the first show. You settle in and relax and know the room, which makes the energy flow with electricity. Hard to explain, but trust me, it's nearly always true.
If you missed it, be sure to read Frank's article on Freddie here.
Oh Baby, Come On .... -- Steve Dacri
Sounds like one HELL of a show!!! (So when are you comin' to Chicago, Freddy?!?!? We'd LOVE to see ya!!!) kk