Monday, August 30, 2010

Helping Out Our Readers

Hi Kent,
My name is Murray Walding.
I'm a writer from Australia and I'm doing some research on sixties night clubs in Melbourne, Victoria. I'm trying to find out anything about a really obscure track that got minimal airplay out here around 1965. I don't even know the title but its refrain went along the lines of - 'We're not movie stars, We're just the boys with the big guitars.' (Ka-Chang!!!)
I always felt that it might have been a Boyce and Hart song ... does it ring any bells with you?
Kindest Regards,
Not off the top of my head ... but let's run it up The Forgotten Hits Flagpole and see what comes back. Thanks, Murray! (kk)

Thanks Kent...
Maybe I'm looking for something that's so obscure that its only in my memory banks, however I recall the song as being sung by a duo with a name reminiscent of Boyce and Hart. I do recall talking to other kids at school about the track and there was a general consensus that it would be a hit. Guess we were wrong about that. There also may have been a clip shown on local television in Melbourne Australia, and again my guess is around 1965. Any info would be great.
Also, are you aware of the Bill Cosby track- Little Old Man ... a reworking of Stevie Wonder's Uptight? My guess is that it was recorded on the west coast ... I'm trying to find out who the session players were.
Regards and thanks for your reply.
Murray Walding,

"Little Ole Man" was a HUGE hit here in The States ... #4 nationally and #2 here in Chicago (where it still gets played from time to time.) The musicianship on this record is outstanding ... in fact, it sounds JUST like the Motown record (which makes ME wonder who's on it, too!!!) Any ideas out there? Proof??? Let us know. Thanks! (kk)

>>>One of my listeners on The FLip Side sent me an email to ask if I recognized a song. It's not the normal "cheek to cheek" song by Fred Astaire. I don't have the record, so I'm hoping one of your forgotten hits members will recognize it. See below, and thanks! (Mr. C)
>>>I have been searching desperately for a song that was a flip-side of a 45 back in the early 60's (around 1962 or 63). The name of the song is "Cheek to Cheek" and the lyrics I remember are:
Cheek to cheek, I want to dance with you. Arm in arm (or could be "hand in hand") Just like we used to do. Day by day, (day for day?) There's no reason for this broken heart.
It was done by a girl group. I thought perhaps it was the flip side of "Tell Him" by The Exciters, but that's "Hard Way to Go" ... so now I'm stumped. Can you help? Thanks! (Liz)
>>>Have at it, readers ... let's see what you can come up with! (kk)
The version Liz is seeking might well be the flip side of "What Are Boys Made Of" by the Percells on ABC-Paramount from 1963. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy to share. Perhaps another FH member has the 45?
– Randy Price
And then, literally SECONDS later ...
My pleasure ... Thanks for asking me ... (or not) ... this was on ABC-Paramount 10401-B in 1963.
Tom Diehl

More from legendary deejay Bob Hale on this one (courtesy of Clark Weber):
It was "S'Wonderful."
I began using it in Mason City having heard KTHT in Houston late-nights using it as bumper for music and news. They did a non-DJ all-night show called "Downbeat." And bumpers and announcements were tagged with snippets of Ray Coniff.
"On we go with our musical show. More music on DOWNBEEEEAAAATTTTTTT"
(S'Wonderful cut for about 10 secs.)
I adapted it for East of Midnight.
It lasted one week. Sam (Holman, WLS Program Director at the time) said, "Hale, kill the theme ... we don't need them. Get to music!"
"Right Sam!"
End of theme!
For someone to recall that brief period is a wonder! Good listener, I'd say!
Bob Hale

Hiya Kent,
While researching "Back To School" Songs for Mystery Lyrics next month I came across this ...
"Graduation Day," Stark Whiteman and the Crowns ... Certainly the rarest of the items on this list, this classic 45 isn't available on CD anywhere that your Guide is aware of. Recorded by an obscure New Orleans outfit, this sad Fifties ballad was a hit in the region but never made the charts. It's one of the best odes to the day in question, expressing a real, tangible sadness at the idea of leaving your friends behind forever.
This has intrigued me so much that I wondered whether any of the Forgotten Hits readers had any more information about this song and maybe a sound file to go with it?

Cool ... let's see what we get back on this one. Thanks, Dave! (kk)

>>>Kent ...WOW! How do you go from "Lullaby Of Birdland" (1952) to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (1961)? (Frank B.)

While George David Weiss is a songwriter of note, one song he did not write was The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The song dates back to the 1930s in South Africa, exported to England and then the U.S. I recall reading somewhere that the writer's decendants were presented with a very tidy sum not too many years ago for back royalties. Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

While you're MOSTLY right, there's more to the story. Check out our '60's FLASHBACK below for a short piece we did on the history of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" a few years back in Forgotten Hits. The song DOES date back to the 1930's ... and prior to landing in The Tokens' hands, had already been recorded with a fair amount of success by The Weavers. But Weiss was brought in to write English Lyrics to the African tune, thus making him one of the writers of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" ... previously, the tune had been known as "Mbube" and then "Wimoweh". Check out our recap below ... along with the way they addressed it in the New York Times obituary.


The origin of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" dates back to 1939, when a South African singer named Solomon Linda first recorded a Zulu chant called "Mbube". Thirteen years later, The Weavers got ahold of the tune and recorded it (with a few new lyrics) as "Wimoweh", and scored a #14 Pop Hit in the process back in 1952. When Record Producers Hugo and Luigi learned that "Wimoweh" was actually a song about a lion hunt, they recruited songwriter George Weiss to write new English lyrics and, for the first time, the song became "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", which went on to top the U.S. Charts ten years after The Weavers' Top 20 single. (The following year, that same songwriting trio penned one of Elvis Presley's biggest hits, "Can't Help Falling In Love", this time inspired by an old FRENCH tune!!!)

The Evolution Of A Song: On first listen, you'll see that "Mbube", a 1939 recording by Solomon Linda, is really not much more than a Zulu chant. In 1953, The Weavers took it to another level when they added a few lyrics to the African beat and released it as "Wimoweh". When The Tokens auditioned for RCA Records with their rendition of "Wimoweh", producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore liked it enough to call in songwriter George Weiss and commissioned him to write a complete set of English lyrics, taking the song to its final state. In hindsight, it's truly amazing to think that each enterprising new producer heard enough of a magical melody in the previous rendition to push it to another level ... but "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has stood the test of time ... it truly is a rock and roll classic! (kk)

George David Weiss, of ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight,’ Dies at 89 - Obituary (Obit) -

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (1961), based on a South African Zulu song first recorded in the 1930s, was given a reworked melody and new lyrics (“In the jungle, the mighty jungle / The lion sleeps tonight”) by Mr. Weiss, Mr. Peretti and Mr. Creatore.
Their adaptation, which kept the refrain — “Wimoweh, wimoweh” — popularized in a 1950s version by the Weavers, became a million-selling hit for the Tokens. Widely recorded since, the song has been used in many motion pictures, including “The Lion King” (1994).

By the way, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" returned to the top of the charts in 1972 when singer Robert John cut a version ... produced by none other than The Tokens, Hank Medress and Jay Siegel! Recording a very faithful (and similiar) version to The Tokens' own hit, it peaked at #2.

It's one of the songs that was just featured on Scott Shannon's "Rock And Roll Remakes" Weekend on The True Oldies Channel ... which got another GREAT response by the way. (I'm telling you ... music fans really LOVE "The Stories Behind The Songs"!!!) kk
Scott -
I don't know where in the world you obtained all that info on the remake weekend but it was both informative and very entertaining. Please do this again often. This one ranked right up there or perhaps even higher than the forgotten oldies weekends.
Steve Davidson