Looks like most of today's entries seem to involve Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits in some fashion again!!! (lol) Here's the latest:
>>>Hy Lit books Mick Jagger & The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits and a half dozen other groups for a major stage show in Philadelphia. Toward the end of the show, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards inform Hy that if they don't close the show ... and perform after Herman's Hermits ... they will not perform at all. Moments earlier Herman's Hermits gave Hy the same ultimatum. Frank Rizzo, the Chief of Police at the time, was also backstage. Frank immediately placed managers of both groups under arrest on a disorderly charge for attempting to incite a riot, and after assuring them they would all be spending the next few days in Philadelphia, the feud between the two groups was quickly settled. After a coin toss, Herman's Hermits played second to last and Mick and the gang closed the show. (Sam Lit)
>>>GREAT story!!! I asked Peter Noone what, if anything, HE remembered about this night. Here's a little background twist that makes it an even BETTER story!!! (Talk about your perfect punchlines!!!) kk
>>>I don't recall the whole evening, but I know we knew that PHILADELPHIA had a CURFEW then, and at least 70% of the crowd would leave at a certain time, which was about 10 minutes into our set or the Stones' set. So we conveniently didn't mention it and a coin toss is so un-English. We were not being mean-spirited as we all loved the Stones (especially Brian and Charlie), but we all thought it was a HOOT and it is still fondly remembered as one of those fun nights when we got one over on the Stones.
That night in Philly has been written about so many times, that even I have lost total recall, but I think if you check with the cops in Philly, you will find there was a curfew that year and I stood at the side of the stage with Andew Loog Oldham to watch Mick's face as the crowd left during their 5th song. Fun night!
Great story! In fact, I read it and discussed it on last night's "Remember When"! And, as absurd as it may seem now - Herman's Hermit's closing a show with The Stones on it - wasn't entirely nuts. At least not in May of 1965, anyway. At that time, Herman's Hermit's were huge and had a slew of hits and were - in record sales, anyway - comparable to The Stones. Go figya. Good stuff!
Steve Ross / WPHT 1210 in Philadelphia / "Remember When"
*Listen to the Steve Ross 'Remember When Show'
Saturday Night 11pm - 1am on 1210 / WPHT Philadelphia
Next to The Beatles ... and ONLY The Beatles ... Herman's Hermits were the biggest group to come out of The British Invasion initially ... The Dave Clark Five would have probably ranked third ... and The Rolling Stones, by May, 1965, standards anyway, was a little ways down on the list. Their biggest '60's hit, "Satisfaction", would change all of that forever a month later ... but way back then Herman's Hermits were considered headliners and even The Who at one point was their opening act! (kk)
I was at that concert. I was in the front row and Mick Jagger took off his coat, folded it and was handing it to me. And Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five (also performing that night) asked for my number and we chased him through the halls! I have really nice memories. Sam's Dad Hy Lit spoke at our Synagogue. He was the best.
- Jeanne Feldman Coren
Hy Lit was QUITE the Philadelphia Radio Legend ... if it was happening, you can bet Hy Lit was in some way involved. Here's another cool shot of Hy with Herman's Hermits, circa 1965, courtesy of his son Sam. (kk)
I WAS ON THAT SHOW IN PHILLY IN '65. I HAD THE 'ACTION' RECORD OUT AT THE TIME FROM THE TV SHOW ... AND WHAT I REMEMBER WAS THAT NOBODY LEFT THE BUILDING!
THE STONES ROCKED THE HOUSE AND STOLE THE SHOW!
I WAS WATCHING FROM BACK STAGE AND I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES!
THEY WERE FRESH AND NEW AND THE KIDS WERE WAITING
FREDDY "BOOM BOOM" CANNON
Meanwhile, the Herman's Hermits / Jimmy Page / Vic Flick / "Silhouettes" controversy continues!!! Read on:
>>>Jimmy Page of 'Led Zepplin' fame was actually the session guitar lead for most of Herman's Hermits hits. In fact, that guitar intro for "Silhouettes" is a riff that Jimmy used as a warm up exercise, and when Mickey Most heard it, he built his arrangement for the recording around it. (Jim Pritchard / aka Jim Southern)
>>> From our Forgotten Hits / Peter Noone Interview:
FH: So, can you confirm then, once and for all, if Jimmy Page is the one who played the guitar riff on your original version of "Silhouettes"?
PETER NOONE: Jim played on Silhouettes and Wonderful World and, once Karl Green faded, he was replaced on ALL the recordings by John Paul Jones, who also arranged almost everything and was our genius.
(And there you have it ... right from the horse's mouth, as it were ... that IS Jimmy Page doing the cool little guitar licks on "Silhouettes"!!!) kk
>>>EDITOR'S NOTE: After this piece originally ran, it was brought to our attention that the on-going guitar riff that runs throughout Herman's Hermits' version of "Silhouettes" was actually performed by British Studio Guitar Whiz Vic Flick. Vic and Peter BOTH confirmed this new piece of information in later editions of our Forgotten Hits Newsletter. (At ONE point, there was even some speculation that Vic Flick had SHOWN Jimmy Page the repetitive riff that runs throughout the song ... and then later it was debated as to whether or not Page was present at the recording session at all!!!) Certainly memories fade after 40+ years ... but the general consensus when all sides were presented is that it was Vic Flick ... and NOT Jimmy Page ... who handled the guitar duties on the Herman's Hermits version of "Silhouettes".
>>>I HAVE to point out a correction regarding the Jimmy Page / "Silhouettes" story ... that story has been circulating for YEARS ... and we FINALLY put an end to it a couple of years back when we interviewed Peter Noone for Forgotten Hits. (You can find the entire interview here:
It turns out that while John Paul Jones (Page's bandmate in Led Zeppelin) arranged a number of Herman's Hermits records over the years, Jimmy Page only played on about four tracks ... and the riff on "Silhouettes" is NOT one of them. (Rumors abound on this issue ... in fact, we have had a couple of people state on the record that Page could not nail the riff properly so session guitar virtuoso Vic Flick was brought in for the session ... and that later he even taught Page how to play it!!! Can anyone even IMAGINE a time like this when a guitarist of Jimmy Page's caliber would need to be SHOWN a repetitive riff like this?!?!?) After much discussion back and forth between both Peter Noone and Vic Flick ... (both of whom are on our Forgotten Hits List ... and who even picked this topic up again when both musical legends were in Las Vegas) ... as well as Herman's Hermits Guitarist Keith Hopwood (who was there at the session), all parties concerned acknowledged FOR THE RECORD that it was Vic who played this famous lick, and NOT Jimmy Page as has been widely reported for years. (After our piece first ran, we issued a special "amendment" to the story which you'll see as part of the interview posted on the other Forgotten Hits Website.) In fact, if you do a bit of web searching now, you'll find Forgotten Hits credited on a number of sites as putting out the final word on this subject. You can read the whole interview on The Forgotten Hits Website via the link shown above. After careful consideration, Peter Noone stated that Jimmy Page only appeared on about FOUR of Herman's Hermits' recorded tracks, not "most" as has been widely circulated. (kk)
>>>It is amazing how many of these 'fantastic sources of background info' get things wrong. It is also amazing that people who weren't even born know more about what happened on recording sessions than the musicians who were actually there. I can remember distinctly playing on a few Herman's Hermits recordings and especially 'Silhouettes.' That title was recorded in Kingsway Studios, London and produced by Mickie Most. Peter Noone, bless his cotton socks, gets a few things wrong now and again - sometimes on purpose. I suppose he must think it sounds better to say Jimmy was on the track instead of me. I worked with Jimmy Page on various sessions and indeed helped him with some difficult passages as he couldn't read music. Most of the rhythm section guys realized Jimmy had great potential as a guitarist and as he was a good guy to get on with, we helped him, as we did others, as much as possible. Jimmy Page has also been credited with the guitar work on the James Bond Theme. I can assure all your readers, it was me. Elsewhere in your Forgotten Hits you mention Ringo's Theme (This Boy), the tune in the film A Hard Day's Night. That again was yours truly at the request of George Martin, but I expect someone will contest it. Very best wishes. (Vic Flick)
Now wait a minute. In the Herman's Hermits DVD, "Listen People", both Karl and Keith tell the story that Vic Flick was brought in to play the intro to "Sillhouettes". They claim that he could not play it and finally Lek just played it straight out. They now claim that it is his lead that is on the record. So much for everyone agreeing on that!
I saw the very same interview ... and cringed the minute I heard it ... all I could think was "Oh boy, here we go again!!!" This may be one we NEVER truly get to the bottom of. (Ironically, as mentioned above, Forgotten Hits has been credited by MANY web sources as being the ones who finally cracked this mystery! Strange, too, that Keith would say on camera something different than what he told me a few years back when he, too, confirmed that it was Vic who played on the session. There is SO much mystery surrounding one track! (kk)
From Keith Hopwood's interview with Forgotten Hits, circa 2008:
This thing has certainly generated some print hasn't it?
Sorry, but I've no intention of becoming embroiled in a slanging match about who played on what. I'm sure Peter's list is more or less correct. Suffice to say we did not play on all our records, for whatever reason. Oh, and yes, it was Vic Flick who played on Silhouettes. And yes, I would have been a lot more unhappy about it all if it were my songs he was using the session guys on.
By the way, Vick Flick's published biography, "Guitarman: From James Bond To The Beatles And Beyond" also credits my brief interview with original Herman's Hermits Guitarist Keith Hopwood for confirming that it was, in fact, Vic who played the guitar lick that runs throughout The Hermits' monster hit "Silhouettes"! Glad I could help!!! You can pick up a copy here:
Click here: Amazon.com: Vic Flick, Guitarman (9781593933081): Vic Flick: Books or from Vic's website: Click here: Vic Flick - The Official Website (kk)
Thanks for the heads up on 'Silhouettes.' Amazing how this song's controversy is still going on.
I always look forward to the Forgotten Hits. Keep up the good work.
Just got THIS email from Mike Melfi of The Princetons, who recorded one of MY favorite mid-'60's songs, "Georgianna" ... seems like we got their bio information all wrong on the website a while back:
JUST READ YOUR COMMENTS ON THE RECORDING OF "GEORGIANNA" BY THE PRINCETONS. THE BAND WAS BASED IN BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN, AND FOLLOWED UP "GEORGIANNA" (WHICH WAS ON THE COLPIX RECORD LABEL) WITH ANOTHER SONG AFTERWARDS CALLED "YOU'RE MY LOVE" ON THE PHILLIPS RECORD LABEL.
FOR THE RECORD, NOT ONE OF THE GROUP ATTENDED PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. IN FACT, THREE OF THE GROUP WERE COUSINS FROM THE SAME AREA IN SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN. I KNOW ... BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF THE THREE COUSINS!
JUST WANTED TO SET THE "RECORD" STRAIGHT. *LOL*
I COULD ALSO TELL YOU A FEW INTERESTING STORIES ABOUT THIS GROUP, AS WELL AS HOW MUSICAL HISTORY DID THEM WRONG IF YOU'D EVER LIKE TO LISTEN.
HAVE A GREAT DAY.
I would LOVE to listen, Mike ... send me what you can. (There is virtually NO information on The Princetons anywhere to be found on the web so this would be a great chance to spotlight the group, who earlier hit the Chicagoland charts with their version of "Roll Over Beethoven" ... recorded as The Princeton Five ... right at the height of Beatlemania.) We are ALL about "setting the record straight" so please get back to me ... would love to do a spotlight feature on The Princetons and share some of this music that we were fortunate enough to enjoy back in the '60's! (kk)
and, The Critters' original version ...
While Jimmy Czak was an engineer on the Lovin' Spoonful session at BellSound, he was not the keyboard player on "Summer in the City". I must have mixed that up for something else he played on. Sorry for the mistake. Kudos to whoever did play the part; it was a great hook.
Don (Young) Albano
According to Fred Bronson's book "The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits", everybody's All-Time Favorite Summer Song first saw life as a poem written by John Sebastian's brother Mark. John decided to set the poem to music ... he LOVED what ultimately became the chorus but he didn't think the beginning of the song was "exciting" enough ... it needed a "grittier" sound to kick things off. Sebastian said, "We hired an old sound man, obviously from the radio era, and he had old acetates of traffic jams and car horns. We listened for hours and selected the ones we wanted. We even found a pneumatic hammer to provide the payoff for that section and put it all together."
The opening piano riff came from Lovin' Spoonful bassist Steve Boone (who, along with the two Sebastian brothers, also shared song-writing credit on this track.) It came from a piece he had written for piano before but which hadn't really fit into any other song the band was working on ... so it was adapted and incorporated into THIS track. Obviously, it all worked ... and "Summer In The City" went straight to #1 in August of 1966 ... and stayed there for three weeks! (The book doesn't say if Boone played the piano part he had written on the record or not ... and with studio musicians so prevelant back then, I'm not even going to speculate ... if we hear something back from John Sebastian, who has participated with Forgotten Hits in the past, we'll let you know!) kk
Then this very similar story written by John Sebastian himself for the liner notes of the Rhino "Lovin' Spoonful Anthology" CD:
That song was co-composed by my brother, Mark Sebastian, and I. He'd written a song called "Summer In The City" with a chorus that went, "At night, it's a different world." I said, "Mark, that chorus is a monster, but it swings so free. Let me write something with a whole bunch of tension in the front part so that when we come to the chorus, it's going to be like falling off a cliff." I wrote the piano intro and the verses and added them to Mark's chorus. Then there was another little piano figure that Steve would play in rehearsals. We still didn't have a bridge, so we played that, and it sounded great. That line reminded me of Gershwin's "American In Paris", th esection that tries to give the mood of a city and represent traffic. So I said, "What if we actually overdub some traffic on it?" Well, Zally, as the comedic and radical element in the band, went into fits of delight over this. We found this funny old radio soundman who came in with records of car collisions, horns and traffic, and we'd pick out horns from those records. To us, it was like a radio drama: you close your eyes and imagine one nerdy guy starting this off with his Volkswagen and, of course, the response is this incredible barrage of horns.
-- John Sebastian
My very first 45 was "Summer In The City" by the Lovin' Spoonful. I remember buying it at Montgomery Wards Dept store in Daytona Beach where I am from. It was 1966. I remember walking home carrying my prized 45 rpm treasure and then playing it on my little record player in my bedroom. I was 13. I still remember the bright orange / yellow label with the harsh black wording. My 10 year old sister and I sat on my bed and listened to that song over and over and over until we had memorized every word. We especially were proud of ourselves when we figured out the lyrics "hotter than a match head" !!
We both played the autoharp and loved the fact that John Sebastian played an autoharp riff at the end of the song. I cried when my little 45 became cracked some years later during a move to Georgia.
Summer in the City remains my all time favorite song of summer. How cool is it that it is also now the all-time favorite summer song as voted on by the Forgotten Hits readers ... and that I got to count down the top 40 favorites on my radio program!
Thanks for sharing the memories!
This JUST in from our FH Buddy Carl Wiser, who does that awesome Songfacts Web Site:
Hope the 4th of July weekend was good to you.
We got a note from Bruce Johnston explaining his thoughts on "I Write The Songs," which, it turns out, was NOT written about Brian Wilson. Here's what Bruce told us:
"The Captain & Tennille were the first artists to record my song 'I Write The Songs.' I never wrote 'I Write The Songs' about Brian Wilson. I wrote it about 'where music comes from' (for me, music comes only from God). My song has nothing to do with Brian! I admire Brian Wilson's great melodies and, as a member of the Beach Boys, I'm singing these fantastic songs in concert year after year."
By the way, I was on the Chicago airwaves last week talking to Bob Sirott on WGN about the most misinterpreted songs of all time. Here's the audio:
The Captain and Tennille knew Bruce Johnston through their years of touring as part of The Beach Boys' back-up band. While they included the song on their first A&M album, it was never released as a single and, therefore, wasn't a hit. The first artist to actually hit the charts with "I Write The Songs" was David Cassidy, who went to #11 in The U.K. with his 1975 rendition. (In fact, Bruce Johnston should remember this ... he produced Cassidy's recording!) The story goes that Arista Records President heard David's record and thought it would be the PERFECT vehicle for his new up-and-coming artist Barry Manilow to record. From what I understand, Barry was reluctant to do so ... in fact, he found the song somewhat egotistical! (Honestly, I always have, too!!! lol And it's one of my LEAST favorite Manilow recordings.) Nevertheless, it still climbed all the way to #1 on the pop charts and has become one of Barry's signature tunes. Bruce Johnston would finally record his OWN version of his pop classic for his 1977 solo album "Going Public" ... with The California Boys Choir on background vocals!!! (To quote Billy Joel, "Don't Ask Me Why"!!!) kk
I asked Ron Dante, who co-produced Barry Manilow's version, about their version of the song ... and here's what he told me:
I Write The Songs came through Clive Davis.
I don't know which version he heard but I think we heard the Captain & Tennille's version. Right away Barry and I knew it was a hit song for us.
Barry's arrangement was perfect and so was his voice.
We sang all the backgrounds together and did well over 50 vocal overdubs.
As co-producer I worked on all aspects of the production from arrangement to lead vocal to mix. Michael DeLugg was the engineer on our projects and did an incredible job with sound for us.
This was one of the first times we used Barry's road band to play on an album.
Sid McGinnis on Guitar, Steve Donaghey Bass. Alan Axelrod extra keys, Charlie Brown Guitar, Jimmy Maeulen on Precusion and Lee Gurst Drums.
Over the years Barry has caught some flak about the title but the song and our recording has outlasted the critics, I'm happy to say.