Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Sunday Comments ( 01 - 24 - 10 )

It's strange to think of Teddy Pendergrass, Bobby Charles and Willie Mitchell dying at the same time -- mainly, because they all created songs for others to become stars by. They were mainly behind the scenes as unknown lead singers, writer, producers, label owners. YET, they were phenomenal enough to become well known in the biz. They will be missed.
Clark Besch

Hi Kent,
I couldn't help but comment on the passing of Bobby Charles. I grew up in the 50's, and remember the early 45s I purchased in those days. Actually, I thought Bobby Charles was a black Artist. Those things were not important to me then and they still are not important to me.
You really didn't elaborate on Bobby Charles' singing career. "Later Alligator" and "On Bended Knee" by Bobby, I thought were actually better recordings than the hit songs by Haley. His rendition of "Put Your Arms Around Me" was also very good.
But then such is peoples taste in music.
I really enjoy your "Forgotten Hits" site. Keep them coming.
Arnold Kirkbride

We also received a nice tribute from Forgotten Hits Reader Ken Voss, remembering some of the artists who have recently left us:
R.I.P. ...
Bobby Charles, a highly influential Louisiana singer and songwriter, died January 14 at age 71. Although the cause of death hasn’t been determined, his publicist, Karen Johnson, reports that Charles (nee Robert Guidry) had diabetes and was in remission from kidney cancer. Charles enjoyed a couple of R&B hits in 1956 (”Later Alligator” and “Only Time Will Tell”), but he enjoyed his greatest success as a songwriter. Even though he reportedly did not play an instrument, he was mighty prolific with the pen, writing “Walking To New Orleans” for Fats Domino. His own “Later Alligator” hit was covered more successfully by Bill Haley & the Comets (as “See You Later, Alligator”), and more recently, “The Jealous Kind” had become something of a standard, covered by Delbert McClinton, Etta James, Joe Cocker, and Chicago blues artist David Herrero. In the seventies, he relocated to Woodstock, NY, where he became friends with the Band and cut a self-titled cult-classic album in 1972 for the Bearsville label. He also performed at the 1976 concert that wound up being the Band’s final show. That show was immortalized in the concert film "The Last Waltz", but Charles’ segment was regrettably cut. Up until recent times, he had a long-standing rep as a musician’s favorite, attracting the likes of Willie Nelson and Neil Young to play on his sporadic solo records.
Charles even has a Chicago connection: several of Charles’ 1950’s records were waxed for the local Chess label. Although the firm was known for exposing Chicago-based talent like Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis, the label always maintained a contact or two in New Orleans. When label boss Leonard Chess heard the master tape, he had no problem welcoming another Louisiana native to the Chicago stable. Only one problem: Chess thought he was getting a black artist, as that is what Charles sounded like. When Charles showed up at the label’s Bronzeville offices at 4750 S. Cottage Grove, Chess nearly did a spit-take. “Motherfucker, you’re not black!,” he exclaimed. “I know,” responded Charles. Click on this to hear what Leonard heard back in 1955, “See You Later Alligator.” And this is an even better followup with a soundalike title, “Take It Easy greasy.”
More than 100 performances from artists like Marc Broussard, Sonny Landreth and Geno Delafose are on tap and free this April as part of the 24th Festival International de Louisiane to be held in Lafayette, Louisiana. The five-day festival in downtown Lafayette also features a tribute to Swamp Pop legend Robert "Bobby" Charles, who died Thursday near Abbeville. The tribute to Charles is part of the Rhythms and Roots series of the Festival and Blue Moon Saloon. It will feature members of Lil Band O'Gold with special guests. Festival International de Louisiane runs April 21 through April 25 and features a variety of music, art and cuisine from Louisiana and francophone nations across the globe.
The fingerpicked odyssey of guitarist Jack Rose ended as Rose died of a heart attack at the age of 38. Rose style was compared to that of John Fahey. But Rose reached down deeper than just the Takoma-label results, with a scholar’s ear for the detail and nuance of “anything that’s pre-1942: Cajun, country, blues and all that stuff.” His passion for minimalist composers Terry Riley and LaMonte Young also fed into his playing on both six-string and 12-string, scuffing the boundaries of experimental and traditional music. The Virginian began constructing loud, drone-like improvisations with the Richmond band Pelt in the 90s. Rose’s solo career began in 2002, with Red Horse, White Mule with other releases Opium Musick and 2005’s Kensington Blues. Rose also went under the nom de plume Dr. Ragtime and released Dr. Ragtime and Pals in 2008 and Jack Rose & The Black Twig Pickers in 2008. The final part of his self-styled “Ditch Trilogy” is Luck in the Valley, again featuring The Black Twigs, due for release in February. Rose died December 5 of an apparent heart attack.
Del-Fi label boss Bob Keane first saw 17-year-old singer and guitarist Ritchie Valenzuela playing a tiny movie theater in May 1958. He was “doing just a few riffs and a couple of songs, but I was impressed. The girls were going crazy, screaming.” Keane shortened his name to Valens, signed him to his Del-Fi label and guided his young charge to stardom with the hits “Donna” and “LaBamba”. Keane, who survived non- Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosed when he was 80, died of renal failure November 30 in an assisted living home in Hollywood, said his son, Tom Keane. "He was like the original independent record man in those days," said Tom Keane, a songwriter and record producer. "He was the guy going out and finding talent and developing it and getting it out to the masses." He was born Robert Kuhn on Jan. 5, 1922, in Manhattan Beach -- he changed his last name to Keen before changing it to Keane -- and started playing the clarinet at age 5. At 14, he was a guest star with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was leading his first band locally at 17 when he was signed by MCA, which promoted him as "The World's Youngest Bandleader." After serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II, he returned to Los Angeles and led his own orchestra. He later took over Artie Shaw's band and had his own TV variety show on Channel 2 in Los Angeles in the early '50s. A clarinet player who once led his own 18-piece orchestra, Keane briefly headed Keen Records in 1957 and released Sam Cooke's No. 1 hit single "You Send Me" before launching Del-Fi Records. Keane folded his labels in 1970 and later worked with his young sons, Tom and John -- the Keane Brothers -- as they launched their careers as performers. He revived Del-Fi in 1993 to issue new compilation albums by Valens and the Bobby Fuller Four.

Bob Keane, right, is credited with discovering and nurturing young Latino musical sensation

Ritchie Valens, left, whose life was cut short by a plane crash in 1959. (Del-Fi Records)

The Four Aces were formed from the ranks of the US Navy in 1950, where singer Al Alberts befriended fellow tenor Dave Mahoney. During his six-year stint with the band, Alberts scored a bag of hits in the early 50s including “Mister Sandman” and a brace of Hollywood film songs, “Three Coins in the Fountain” and “Love is a Many Spelndored Thing”. Both won Oscars for Best Song. Alberts left for a solo career in 1956, thought he enjoyed greater success as the host of the TV talent show Al Alberts’ Showcase. Stella Alberts said her husband had been ill for several weeks with circulatory problems in his legs but previously had been in good health. On November 27 at the age of 87, "All of a sudden, God took him," she said. His son Chris, a director for the New Candlelight Theatre in Wilmington, said the apparent cause of death was complications from kidney failure. While a singing star, Alberts changed careers to champion thousands of youngsters on his TV show Al Alberts' Showcase. Generations of Philadelphians knew him as "Uncle Al," a tuxedoed fatherly figure with a white pompadour, blinding smile and infinite patience, as he gave screen time to young singers, hoofers, and comedians on Saturdays. The program started on Channel 48 in 1968 and two years later moved to Channel 6. His show, which also toured local theaters, launched the careers of such performers as Andrea McArdle, Sister Sledge, Teddy Pendergrass, and Jarrod Spector.
When Teddy Pendergrass died Wednesday, January 13 at the age of 59, the world lost one of the greatest and most sensual of soul singers, a gruff-voiced bedroom balladeer to whom every R&B love man from R. Kelly to Usher owes a seducer's debt. Pendergrass, 59, died at Bryn Mawr Hospital of a protracted illness that followed a colon-cancer diagnosis last year. With his death, the Philadelphia music community mourns a man who rose from humble beginnings in North Philadelphia to become a global superstar. Pendergrass was the brightest solo light to emerge from Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records during the '70s, after years of scoring hits like "The Love I Lost," "Bad Luck," and "If You Don't Know Me by Now" with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the classy ensemble with which he started as a drummer. The pillow-talking soul singer brought fans to ecstasy with his Ladies Only concerts early in his solo career, imploring them to "Close the door / Let me give you what you've been waiting for." Later, he received ardent admiration for the way he conducted his life after the 1982 crash of his Rolls Royce on Lincoln Drive, which broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the waist down.



I remember you published an interesting bit about Al Martino right after his sudden death. My mother's a big Al Martino fan, and I was going to send her a link to the blog entry that contains the story ... but I had trouble with the blog's "Search" feature, and couldn't find it. Could you please tell me, at the very least, what the date of the entry was?



We've covered Al Martino a number of times over the past year or two but the entires you're looking for are most likely the ones dated 10/16/09 and 10/25/09 ... probably anything else right around that timeframe might also contain a mention or two ... as this was right at the time of his passing.
Al was a sweetheart of a man ... when I featured his latest recording in Forgotten Hits, he personally called me on the phone to THANK me for doing so ... after all these years in the business, he still took the time to do that. A rare breed indeed! (kk)

Spring Doo Wop Cavalcade
American Music Theater, Lancaster, PA
Performance Date: 3/6/2010, 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Although it’s been a long time since smooth Doo Wop harmonies have echoed from high school bathrooms and street corners across NYC, Doo Wop music continues to resonate with its fans. AMT's latest line up of groups you’ll remember is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Appearing live onstage will be: The Happenings, Frankie Lymon’s Teenagers, Johnny Tillotson, The Excellents, Johnny Farina of Santo & Johnny, Kathy Young, The Eternals and The Fireflies.Saturday, March 6, 2010 -- 2:00 pm & 8:00 pm
I got tickets!! Johnny Tillotson ... I'm dying!!!
Ironically, Johnny Tillotson JUST quit The Forgotten Hits Mailing List last week!!! (But see what good sports WE are ... we're STILL willing to help promote his upcoming show!!! lol) Of course we heard from Johnny Farina a short while back (when "Sleep Walk" topped our "Favorite Instrumentals" Chart) ... and, at various times, we were SUPPOSED to be talking with The Happenings, too ... it just never panned out. Congrats, Eileen ... sounds like a GREAT oldies show!!! (I wonder if they're taking this out on the road to other cities, too ... I'm sure a number of our readers would LOVE to see THIS line-up!!!) kk

We are the producers of the BEATexpo, and this summer for the first time, we are producing "ROCK CON: The National Rock & Roll Celebrity Show."
It's like Chiller or some of those other celebrity autograph conventions, but most of the guests will be music people / recording artists. We'll draw thousands of fans, but the best thing about the event for the guests and celebrities is that they get to sell their CDs, DVDs, books and merchandise.
We are going to invite hundreds of rockers & musicians and composers, and hope to have the largest assemblage of music people ever -- for fans to meet, take photos with and get autographs.
We realize many of our favorite rock personalities read Forgotten Hits, so please consider this an official invitation. You don't have to be a frontman or an act that had a #1 hit or an inductee in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
We would be honored to have you join us July 30 - August 1, 2010 at the Sheraton Meadowlands. You could come one day, two or all three. Or if you have gigs at night, you could just stop by and set up a table to sell stuff for a few hours during the day.
It's going to be an historic event, and a must for lovers and aficionados of the rock & roll era.
Please let me know what you think. You could email me at or call me at (203) 795-4737 if you'd like.
Cheers, Charles F. Rosenay!!!
BEAT expo 2009
coming coon:
Actually, this sounds like a GREAT idea, Charles ... I could see this turning into an annual event! (Of course, now you've got to send me an airline ticket ... and book me a room at the Sheraton ... because I wanna come see it, too!!!) kk

And, speaking of GREAT shows, "The Troubadours Tour" is coming to Chicago, featuring James Taylor and Carole King ... man, what a GREAT way to spend a mellow evening ... and it's being set up "In The Round", too ... several dates are scheduled across the country. If you grew up listening to the soft-rock, singer / songwriter sounds of the early '70's, this is one of those shows you've just GOT to see. (I'm hoping that WE'RE able to score some tickets for this one!!!) kk

I should have told you in my email last night that Keep Rockin' won't be in the bookstores until Monday, 1/25/10. Sorry you had to run around for nothing. I can send you a copy tomorrow. You are mentioned in the book review that Dawn Lee Wakefield did. I forgot about that. Once we finish one issue, we move right on to the next one so sometimes I can't remember what we just did!
Thanks for the mention. I haven't logged on to your site yet, but will in a little while.
Liz Harris / Keep Rockin' Magazine
LOL ... I went to both the Schaumburg Barnes and Noble AND the Schaumburg Borders trying to pick up a copy without success ... Barnes and Noble didn't have it at all and Borders was still displaying the LAST issue (with Bill Haley and the Comets on the front cover.) Looking forward to checking this one out, Liz! (Great articles on The Beatles, David White, The Skyliners, Carl Bonafede, The "Truth In Music" Movement, a review of our oft-talked about Bob Greene book "When We Get To Surf City" and lots, lots more! Apologies to anyone else who did a little bit of running around this past weekend after we mentioned "Keep Rockin'" on the website in The Sunday Comments!!!) kk

Hi Kent,
I thought you might enjoy this site. Loads of great old TV stuff
Orange, CT
Click here:
We told you a couple of weeks ago about the unexpected firing of Jonathan Brandmeier over at The Loop here in Chicago ... and then sent you a link to his scathing music video about this very happening. Well, former Chicago Sun Times Radio Columnist Robert Feder is now reporting that Johnny B. is now THISCLOSE to signing a deal with WGN, which would put him back on the Chicago airways. Will we be hearing "Johnny In The Morning" real soon again??? Stay tuned! (kk)

In OTHER local radio news, kudos to The Lite ... this is the station that typically quadruples its ratings by playing nothing but Christmas music during the holiday season (which I think now unofficially runs from about July through March if I'm not mistaken!!! j/k) Anyway, they're back to their regular "soft rock" playlist now ... but with a twist. Part of their new promotion states that "You'll hear 1424 songs this week on The Lite between Monday and Friday" ... a pretty impressive playlist to say the least. (Sure, they'll play those same 1424 songs NEXT week, too, but hopefully in a different order so that we all get to hear something a little bit different each and every time we tune in.) My point is, in a day and age where many radio stations have cut their playlists down to 200-300 songs, The Lite is taking the OPPOSITE approach ... and pretty much insuring no repeats during the course of the work week. Great idea, guys!!!

The Drive achieves a similar result whenever they do their "A to Z" specials ... or throw in something like "Album Sides Thursdays" ... a GREAT way to break up the monotony of the same old / same old, day in and day out. (A typical "A to Z" special will run about eight or nine days without a single repeat ... and we're talking about the VERY best in Classic Rock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week!)

We recently told you about Hit Parade Radio, too, which will be offering a 3000+ song playlist. They hope to be broadcasting full-time by February. (And, speaking of Hit Parade Radio, this year's Hit Parade Hall Of Fame Inductees are expected to be announced next week. We can only tell you that it's a stellar cast of artists ... and quite a few more than the five that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induct each year. Watch these pages for more details in the days to come ... along with the complete list of 2010 Inductees!)

And finally, MAJOR kudos to Jeff James and the crew over at Y103.9 who are CONSTANTLY amazing me with the expansion of THEIR playlist. They truly ARE living up to their moto of playing "The Greatest Hits Of All-Time" ... I'm hearing things that I haven't heard on the radio in DECADES ... and we're talking legitimate, MAJOR hits, too, that have simply been ignored by the other so-called oldies stations for years and years and years. It's fun listening again because now you truly never DO know what song might be coming up next!!! (kk)

Hi Kent!

I've got to tell you about my Freddy Cannon Interview Show.

Freddy is, purely and simply, one of rock and roll's most exciting and memorable recording stars and has been one of my musical heroes since the day that I first heard him back in 1959. The sound of his hit records is truly unique and I personally have never tired of any of them: to me, they represent the best elements of good time 50s and 60s rock and roll that I loved back then and still do.

Freddy was born Frederick Picariello in Lynn, Massachusetts. He initially got his musical start by fronting a band called Freddy Karmon and the Hurricanes. But it wasn't until he met producer-songwriters Bob Crewe and Frank Slay that he changed his name and became an "overnight success" with "Tallahassee Lassie," a song written by his mom and originally called "Rock and Roll Baby." That hit, with the title about a girl "down in F-L-A" and produced by Crewe and Slay, zoomed to #6 on the chart.

All told Freddy had 23 top 100 entries including eight which made the top 40 and two, in addition to "Tallahassee Lassie", which made the top ten, both peaking at #3: namely "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans" and "Palisades Park." And, believe it or not, every one of his top 100 entries was uptempo!

During this show we play seven of those top 40 hits in their entirety (and an excerpt from the eighth one) plus some of his other charted records and Freddy shares the stories behind each of them. He has two personal favorite records among his top forty hits and one of them is "Tallahassee Lassie." Can you guess what the other one is?

And he reveals that there were certain records that, even though they became successful, he personally was NOT crazy about recording. However being a "good soldier" (doing what he was told) paid off. He also tells how his trademark "Whoo!"s andhis nickname "Boom Boom" came about. (The latter was NOT because of the association of "boom" with a cannon.)

It was such a joy spending an hour via phone with this delightful talented man whose last charted record (it's with the Belmonts and it closes the show) represents both his philosophy and mine as well: "Let's Put The Fun Back In Rock N Roll."

Following is a list of the tracks in sequence, including the two bonus tracks.

1 Opening (the beginning of Freddy's OTHER favorite recording -- referred to above -- plays underneath my introduction)

2 Ka-Ding Dong (excerpt) -- the G-Clefs

3 Tallahassee Lassie -- Freddy Cannon

4 Okefenokee (excerpt) -- Freddy Cannon

5 Way Down Yonder In New Orleans (excerpt) -- Frankie Laine and Jo Stafford

6 Way Down Yonder In New Orleans (excerpt) -- Al Jolson and the Andrews Sisters

7 Way Down Yonder In New Orleans -- Freddy Cannon

8 Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy (excerpt) -- Freddy Cannon

9 Jump Over -- Freddy Cannon

10 Humdinger -- Freddy Cannon

11 Muskrat Ramble (excerpt) -- Freddy Cannon

12 Buzz Buzz A-Diddle-It -- Freddy Cannon

13 Transistor Sister -- Freddy Cannon

14 For Me And My Gal (excerpt) -- Freddy Cannon

15 Palisades Park -- Freddy Cannon

16 Abigail Beecher -- Freddy Cannon

17 Action -- Freddy Cannon

18 Let's Put The Fun Back In Rock N Roll -- Freddy Cannon & the Belmonts


BT What's Gonna Happen When Summer's Done -- Freddy Cannon

BT The Dedication Song -- Freddy Cannon

This Freddy Cannon radio interview show was recorded exclusively for the "Jersey Girls Sing" website. The Home Page of that website is The following link will get you directly to my Radio Page, which is a part of the website and which contains this latest show and all of my previous ones.

Ronnie Allen

Thanks, Ronnie. As you know, Freddy Cannon is one of our Forgotten Hits favorites and he has participated with our newsletter any number of times over the years. Looking forward to hearing your show! (kk)

Anybody out there remember "I'll Be There" by Gerry and the Pacemakers? This was their last song together and my personal favorite.
Actually, no ... they had several singles come out after this one. (In fact, "I'll Be There" was the single that came out right before their Top Five Hit, "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey"! Their last charted hit here in The States was "Girl On A Swing", #28 in 1966.) "I'll Be There" is an old Bobby Darin tune (and one of MY favorites, too.) I actually got Scott Shannon to play this when we did our last True Oldies Channel / Forgotten Hits Weekend ... HE had forgotten all about it, too. GREAT track ... yet another over-looked gem! (kk)

This is what I read on it. I personally like Gerry and the Pacemakers' version better than Bobby Darin's although Darin's version is played much more on the oldies stations than Gerry and the Pacemakers. Carrie
Although the group's sole UK album revealed a penchant for R&B, their singles often emphasized Gerry Marsden's cheeky persona. The exceptions included two excellent in-house compositions "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (1964) and "Ferry Cross The Mersey' (1965), the theme song to the Pacemakers" starring film. A follow-up release, "I'll Be There", was the quartet's final Top 20 entry and in 1967 Gerry embarked on a solo career.
Looking at The British Charts, this is a true statement ... in The U.K. "I'll Be There" came out AFTER "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" and peaked at #15, making it their last Top 20 Hit. ("Walk Hand In Hand" charted after that in the U.K. but stalled at #29.) Gerry and the Pacemakers had three straight #1 Hits back home in Jolly ol' England when "How Do You Do It", "I Like It" and the old standard "You'll Never Walk Alone" all reached the top spot on The British Charts in 1963. Their next British Hit, "I'm The One", stopped at #2 in 1964. It was followed by "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (#6, 1964), "It's Gonna Be All-Right" (ANOTHER long-overlook Pacemakers gem that reached #24, 1964) and "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" (#8, 1965.) Here in The States, the order (and success rate) was somewhat reversed. Their first U.S. Chart Hit was "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (#4, 1964), followed by "How Do You Do It" (#9, 1964); "I'm The One" (#82, 1964); "I Like It" (#17, 1964); "I'll Be There" (#14, 1965); "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" (#4, 1965); "It's Gonna Be All-Right" (#20, 1965); "You'll Never Walk Alone" (#48, 1965); "Give All Your Love To Me" (#68, 1965); "La-La-La" (#87, 1966) and "Girl On A Swing" (#28, 1966). "You're The Reason", "Walk Hand In Hand" and a reissue of "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" in 1970 all "Bubbled Under" on The Billboard Charts. Surprisingly, in hindsight, (despite all their success in The Mersey Beat Polls back in The U.K.), Gerry and the Pacemakers seem to have had a more successful recording career here in The United States! Oldies Jocks would do well to give a spin to tracks like "I'll Be There", "It's Gonna Be All-Right", "Girl On A Swing", "I Like It" and "How Do You Do It" once in a while, as their audience certainly WILL remember these tunes! (kk)

Is this serious?
WOW, I do not need one more inch of footage to teach my classes, but lack of need will not stop my interest here. Maybe we can convince the school board to opt for "music all-nighters sleep-overs".
Shelley / CT
I can't wait to get MY hands on these hot new British Invasion DVDs either!!! It'll be neat to see all this stuff again ... and in pristine shape, too! (kk)


Classic album covers can now be had on British postage stamps:

-- submitted by Ken Voss

Kent ... I just got this from my friend Patti Dahlstrom, who's living in the U.K.. If any of Forgotten Hits readers is interested, I'll be happy to pass the information along.

Hello! My friend, Shel Talmy, producer of The Who, Kinks, Manfred Mann, Pentangle, Easy Beats, Amern Corner and many more is interested in doing more production and would like to work with a solo artist or band with a deal who could use his expertise. If this is of any interest to you, please contact me and I'll pass it on to him.

Thank you,

Patti Dahlstrom



Happy to pass this along, Artie ... and don't be surprised if we get some "takers" on this!!! (kk)

Let us not forget Ringo's album of the same name released back in September of 1976.
And a pretty AWFUL album it is, too!!! (lol) Actually, I had meant to mention this last week and completely forgot! Thanks, Scott! (kk)

I'm sure you've seen this on American Idol, but America has taken General Larry Platt's song "Pants On The Ground" to heart.
You gotta love it. It's now my favorite tune. I guarantee you, if you watch this, it's all you will be singing
Wild Bill
I think American Idol REALLY missed there mark with this one. They saw Larry's audition six months ago ... they could have had this record all ready to come out the day after this episode aired ... it is ALL people were talking about the next day ... on virtually EVERY radio station ... millions of hits on YouTube ... SOMEBODY should have made a KILLING on this. (Would have been nice if General Larry had reaped some of that benefit, too!!!) It's a VERY infectious tune ... and Bill's right ... if you haven't seen this yet and watch it, you'll be singing it all day long!!! (kk)

>>>I don't remember which NY stations played this song ("So Close") but I heard this song a TON when it was released in 1970. All of us 10-11 year old kids who were into top 40 (and that was a large part of my 6th grade class) all loved this song. I have no idea why it was not a bigger hit. And, IIRC, this song was "mistakenly" played on an AT40 in 1970. Thanks for playing this song! (Rich)

Fellow Lincoln-ite, Rich, is correct. I have the AT40 where Casey tells Jake Holmes' story and lists it as new on Billboard's Top 40, when it NEVER made it above 49!! This happened a couple of times, I believe. Very strange! Did Casey like the song that much?? Did his pre-release chart say this and then get corrected before press time? It's a nice song they played here in Lincoln. Here's a scan of Jake's first 45 on Tower in February, 1967, shortly before our Artie Wayne would get one of his songs onto a Tower 45 and have a feature mag article written about himself and his producing of the new talent, Tim Wilde. The Larry Weiss song, "Popcorn Double Feature" was recorded by many and never a hit. Artie wrote the B side here, "Too Many Questions", with Mark Barkan.
Speaking of Artie, he seemed to ALWAYS be around everything going on in the music biz. I had the pleasure of talking with Artie and we brought up how artists who went from gospel to mainstream pop had their lives affected. We talked about the Edwin Hawkins Singers and how the FH article about the splitting of the group into two factions was just one of many such affects of the gospel to pop music trend. I attached a photo of the female voice heard on "Oh Happy Day", Dorothy Morrison, who signed with Elektra in April, 1969.

Hi Kent:
I thoroughly disagree with you on Madonna belonging in the R&R HOF. She does not belong there at all. She is not Rock!! She is not Roll! She did 80's Pseudo Disco & Dance Music. Personally, I think it's almost all worthless crap, but nevertheless very popular. It is still not Rock n Roll Music! She herself said she did not know why she was there!! How can she be in & not Connie Francis? The first Queen or Princess of Rock. It's just nonsense, and Madonna making it in just shows how stupid & meaningless this whole mess isgetting! Popularity alone should not get one in or keep one out. Why not put in Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw?? They made very popular Dance Music as well! It makes just as much sense as having people of Madonna's ilk in. If they ever have a Pop-Dance music HOF then by all means put her in.
You can't let Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw in for dance music until you let Chubby Checker in!!! He set off a dance craze that ignited teenagers AND their parents across the nation and remains the ONLY artist during the rock era to reach the #1 Spot with the SAME song TWICE ... yet Chubby's not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame either!!! (But he IS still making music ... or RE-making music as the case may be ... read on ...) kk
Hi Kent ...
The Chubby Checker new recording of "The Fly" is getting great air play and selling. It is in the top five on a lot of stations (and number one on this week's Indie Play List!)
I enjoyed our conversation last week. Thank you for your support.
Lots of love,
John Madara
Great to hear that Chubby's getting some mileage out of his remake, a song that FIRST hit the pop charts back in 1961. Thanks, John! (kk)

And here's one for the books ... ELVIS MEETS KISS!

"Elviss Simmons and the Memphis Strutters". The band leader, Elviss Simmons, is the product of a night of ill-advised celebrity genetic experimentation by a group of drunken renegade genetic engineers. The cloning process left young Elviss with an unfortunate birthmark on his face that looks alarmingly like Gene Simmons' make-up. His other "daddy" left him with hair that spontaneously forms itself into a permanent pompadour. This distinctive appearance made it nigh-impossible for young Elviss to get (much less hold) a normal job, so he took the only paths left open: rock stardom and tech support. Frankly, he wasn't bright enough for tech support, so now he's your problem.
Onstage, Elviss is neither smart nor perceptive, but has an ego that fills the room. Ergo, he has no idea that his band actively despise him giving rise to highly entertaining on-stage antics. The band mercilessly abuse Elviss and he remains gloriously oblivious. Meta: Please don't spoil the joke be telling him. Don't worry. Elviss won't read this. The management put together a separate web site just for him. Besides, he's not much of a reader. As Elviss likes to say, "If the internet has a use besides clown porn, I don't want to know about it."
Elviss' backing band, "The Memphis Strutters", is composed of a rhythm section (guitar, drums and stand-up bass), a horn section (tenor sax, baritone sax and two trumpets), and a trio of female backing singers. The music is as much a train wreck as Elviss himself: rockabilly lounge versions of Kiss songs and heavy guitar versions of classic Elvis songs. In a nutshell, it's a Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love Gun. (
-- submitted by Ken Voss