Monday, May 10, 2010

Helping Out Our Readers

We've Got A Special Edition of "Helping Out Our Readers" Today!!!

Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets and I were discussing teen idols today and the question came up as to just who coined the term?
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

Oooo ... I just LOVE the easy ones!!!
Believe What I Say when I tell you that "Life Magazine" first used the phrase to describe Ricky Nelson when they featured him as their cover story in the issue dated December 1, 1958 ... four years later, Ricky would score another Top Ten Hit when he recorded the tune "Teen Age Idol", which soared all the way to #5 on The Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The term "Teen Idol" has been used ever since, usually describing the latest flavor of the week in terms of pop music. (Rarely does this tag signify a long lasting career ... but there HAVE been exceptions.)

In 2009 AOL published THEIR ranking of The Top 50 Teen Idols of All-Time ... and the guy who many referred to as the OTHER "Little Ricky" came in at #5. Here is part of how they justified his ranking at the time:
LIFE magazine actually coined the phrase "Teen Idol" to describe Ricky Nelson and the frenzy surrounding his fame in music and on television starring in “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet”. Ricky Nelson would later go on to sing about his teen popularity landing a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 in 1962 titled “Teenage Idol”. Ricky Nelson is the only artist to have a number one song "Poor Little Fool" - number one movie "Rio Bravo" and number one TV show "Ozzie & Harriet" all in same week.

You can check out the entire AOL Teen Idols list here:
America Online’s TOP 50 TEEN IDOLS.
(Let the debate begin!!!)

Forgotten Hits saluted The '70's Teen Idols several years ago (2005 to be exact!) and, in fact, Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets not only inspired the series but was a hearty contributor as well! The '70's Artists that we profiled that week included David Cassidy (also AOL's #1 Pick), Donny Osmond, The Hudson Brothers, Bobby Sherman and John Travolta ... although several others also garnered your votes. (If I can find all the vitals in the archives, this might be a good series to revamp for the website so that others can discover it, too!)

Meanwhile, here's a list of Rick Nelson's Top Ten Billboard Hits:
1957 - A Teenager's Romance (#2)
1957 - I'm Walking (#4)
1957 - Be-Bop Baby (#3)
1958 - Stood Up (#2)
1958 - Believe What You Say (#4)
1958 - Poor Little Fool (#1 ... and the very first record to top the brand new Billboard Hot 100 Chart!)
1958 - Lonesome Town (#7)
1958 - I Got A Feeling (#10)
1959 - Never Be Anyone Else But You
1959 - It's Late (#9)
1959 - Just A Little Too Much (#9)
1959 - Sweeter Than You (#9)
1961 - Travelin' Man (#1)
1961 - Hello Mary Lou (#9)
1962 - Young World (#5)
1962 - Teen Age Idol (#5)
1963 - It's Up To You (#6)
1964 - For You (#6)
1972 - Garden Party (#6)
That's an incredible NINETEEN Top Ten Hits!!! In addition, he also hit The Billboard Top 40 another fifteen times.

As you can see, Ricky was hardly a blink of the eye / fly by night sensation ... his string of Top Ten Hits reached from 1957 all the way to 1972!

Always one of my favorites, Rick eventually lived down his Teen Idol image and was taken seriously as an artist when he helped to launch the country / rock movement of the late '60's and early '70's with his Stone Canyon Band, paving the way for other groups like The Eagles, Poco and others to reach a whole new audience. (By the way, Rick's twin sons Gunnar and Matthew had a #1 Record, too, when "Love And Affection" topped The Billboard Chart in 1990, five years after their father perished in a plane crash on New Year's Eve, 1985.) kk


Have you ever wondered what records might show up on a guy like Joel Whitburn's Want List? I mean, here's a guy who has collected a copy of EVERY record that has EVER hit ANY of The Billboard National Charts!!!

Now granted he's devoted an entire lifetime to his hobby / obsession ... but just imagine what a complete and comprehensive collection this truly is.

Still, I cannot help but wonder ... surely there must be at least a few things he's still looking for ... or, maybe like the rest of us, he simply wants to improve the quality of the copy he currently has in his collection.

This is one of the topics I'm hoping to discuss with Joel for a future Forgotten Hits piece. Meanwhile, I got THIS "Want List Request" the other day that I promised to circulate amongst ALL of our FH Readers ... ANYBODY out there able to help out with this one???

Hi Kent,
This note goes out to all of your readers in CLEVELAND.
I’ve always enjoyed collecting unusual novelty records, however, there is one that has eluded me for over 55 years. At the end of 1954 a record titled “Otto The Staggering Drunk” enjoyed a brief stay among the top selling records in Cleveland. I believe that the record was an import on the Polydor label and that the artist was “Crazy Otto”, “Happy Otto”, Der Schrage Otto” or simply “Otto”. I’m offering $150 to the first person that gets me this 45 rpm record. If anyone has a copy or may know of an old Top 40 station in the Cleveland area that may still have a copy, please send me a note at
Thanks to any reader in Cleveland who will finally end my 55 year search!
Joel Whitburn

Good Luck, fellow collectors!!!

Hi Kent,
Dick Biondi's Anniversary Show was GREAT!! I enjoyed all the singing stars and the fans and their stories. He also played a lot of good oldies you do not here anymore.
When in doubt ask the master: Do you remember the song "Mr Dieingly Sad" by the British group, The Critters??? It is one of my favorites from my favorite music period, The British Invasion, (along with our Chicago Group Invasion ...).
What ever happened to The Critters? Were they one hit wonders?

Where do I begin?

Well, for starters, The Critters were NOT a British band ... they actually hailed from Plainfield, New Jersey!

The original lineup included Don Ciccone on vocals and guitar, Jimmy Ryan on guitar, Chris Darway on organ, Kenny Gorka on bass and Jack Decker on drums.

"Mr. Dieingly Sad" was their biggest hit, reaching #14 on The Cash Box Chart in 1966. Everybody I know LOVES this song ... and, at #14, SHOULD be considered a major hit ... yet typically you only hear this one referred to as a "Forgotten 45" (and that's if you hear it featured at all!)

The Critters had a couple of other minor hits you might remember. Their first chart record was their version of The Lovin' Spoonful track "Younger Girl", which peaked at #21 in Cash Box (but failed to make The Top 40 in Billboard, stopping at #42.) That's probably because it competed for airplay with a very similar-sounding recording by The Hondells, released at exactly the same time. (The Hondells' version went to #38 in Cash Box and hit #52 on the Billboard Chart.) The tune first came into our consciousness as a track off The Lovin' Spoonful's debut album and it, too, deserves an oldies spin now and again.

After "Mr. Dieingly Sad", The Critters hit the charts a couple more times, first with "Bad Misunderstanding" (#55, 1966) and then they snuck into The National Top 40 one last time with "Don't Let The Rain Fall Down On Me" (#39, 1967).

Singer Don Ciccone later joined The Four Seasons and, although for years the story has been circulated that it was Don who was singing the lead on The Four Seasons' #1 Hit "December, 1963", it was actually drummer Gerri Polci who handled that honor.