Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last Blast Of Summer

It's The Official Last Day Of Summer ...
Here are some of your Summer Countdown Comments that we received after last week's feature ran on the website.

(By the way, you'll now find ALL of our Summer Countdowns posted on the OTHER Forgotten Hits Website: www.forgottenhits.com!)

>>>Incredibly, here in Chicago, "Shut Down" was the higher charting side of thissingle, NOT "Surfin' U.S.A."!!! (kk)
More draggin' than surfin' in Chitown!
I don't know about that ... "Surf City" and "Wipe Out" both finished in The Top Ten here, too! (kk)

Thanks for printing the lists. It's fun and sure takes me back! I was amazed by how many local 1964 hits weren't on the national list. I was also amazed by how few songs on the 1963 list were ones I want to hear today. I would say there were only 15 I still want to hear. I think part of it is because the songs were actually pretty awful but I also think that I don't want to hear many of them because they've been played over and over again on oldies radio. I especially think this because when I looked at the ones that only made the local chart I said to myself "Wow, I haven't heard that one for a long time!" and would love to hear them again on the radio.
Frankly speaking, I rarely listen to oldies on FM anymore except for the weekends when Scott does his forgotten oldies or fantastic remake shows. I listen now to XM / Sirius, whose playlist must be at triple the FM stations and include lots of songs that I haven't heard for 40-50 years or never heard at all.
Thanks for keeping the oldies alive Kent!
Steve Davidson
Chicago, IL

Hi Kent:
Just curious how "I Will Follow Him" by Peggy March would qualify for a Top 50 hits of Summer when it comes out in March? Nothing wrong with the song, but it's not from the Summer!
Another curious choice that makes me wonder what the criteria is for a “Summer” Song? Curiously “A Summer Song” by Chad & Jeremy doesn’t even make the list even though it’s probably one of the top late summer classics of ’64, and “Hello Dolly” by Louis makes the list even though it’s released in January!! I don’t get this.

The lists were compiled based on points earned during the months of June, July and August ONLY for each given year. On a national level, all three major trade publications were consulted ... Billboard, Cash Box and Record World ... thus creating, in effect, our "Super Chart" that we have talked so much about these past few years ... I don't know that there could be a more accurate ranking of this music other than a compilation of these three sources ... at least on a national level. Locally, depending on the year in question, we used the surveys distributed by our two AM Radio Giants, WLS and WCFL or (in the case of 1963, 1964 and 1965, which was BEFORE WCFL became a Top 40 Radio Station), a widely circulated "street sheet" called simply Top Tunes Of Greater Chicagoland. Assigning points to each Top 40 Record on each list, we then calculated each record's strength based solely on its performance during the Summer Months of June, July and August.
In the case of "I Will Follow Him", yes, it first charted in late March of 1963 ... but it stayed on the charts for 14 weeks ... so any points accumulated in June would have been from the end of its chart run ... and apparently that was enough to make our national list. (Quite honestly, it didn't chart very high ... it was the #50 Song of Summer '63!) Notice, too, that it didn't make our local list.
Louis Armstrong's version of "Hello Dolly" may have debuted in February of 1964 ... but it stayed on the charts for 22 weeks! That's nearly HALF A YEAR!!! So it certainly WAS still earning points during the summer months. (It peaked at #1 on May 9th ... but stayed in The Billboard Top 40 for 19 of its 22 charted weeks!) Chad and Jeremy's summer classic "A Summer Song" was and is, indeed, a summer favorite ... but it didn't even debut on the charts until August 15th ... which means that, at best, it had two or three weeks to accumulate points during the eligibility period as dictated by our countdown. (See, there really IS a reasonable explanation for everything! lol)
What's significant about these countdowns is that they accurately reflect the popularity of these records at the time based on their actual chart performance. While we all had and have our favorites and associate certain songs with certain summer memories, the charts don't lie, especially with the benefit of 45 years hindsight. Let's face it ... you (just like everybody else) probably turned off the songs you didn't like, changing the channel or whatever, making the songs you DID like seem even MORE significant in your memory. (I, for one, HATED Barbra Streisand's recording of "People" ... I can still barely get through it ... and couldn't understand what THIS song was doing taking up time on my favorite rock and roll radio station ... in my mind, it just meant that something that I DID want to hear wasn't getting played so that this dreck could get on the air instead ... and it drove me mad! I wanted my British Invasion music ... and Motown ... and The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons!!! As such, the WORST summer memory I have of 1964 was being at some hotel restaurant with my parents that summer and somebody playing "People" over and over and over again on the jukebox ... I'll bet they played it at least eight times in the short while we were there (which I'm sure in hindsight only fueled my hatred of this song!!! lol) But something like "She's The One" by The Chartbusters I could listen to 14 times in a row and STILL not get enough! And, I still love that track today! (This is why a track like Barbra Streisand's "People" is PERFECT for Scott Shannon's "Cheezy Easy Listening Song Of The Day" Feature ... it had absolutely NO place on our Top 40 Radio Stations back then yet STILL became a major chart hit!) kk

I love these summer look backs.
It just so happens that I'm making my soon to be 18-year-old Son a disc of tunes from the year 1966. Thank goodness I still have my vinyl.
It's interesting to me that the midwest does seem to have a different taste than the national charts. When I look at the Chicago lists, they are much more reminiscent of what I heard growing up in North Dakota. Sting Ray was one that I heard a lot.
How do I find the archived summer charts for 1967 - 1969?

ALL of these summer charts can now be found on the OTHER Forgotten Hits Website: www.forgottenhits.com ... and, in addition to The Top 50 Summer Charts we recently ran from 1963 - 1970, you'll ALSO find "The Best Of The Rest" ... Summer Top 10's for 1955 - 1962 and 1971 - 1980! It's all just a click away! (kk)

Thanks for these lists -- they bring back great memories.
I certainly was cut from a different cloth though, as I was buying not only Beatles, Four Seasons and Beach Boys, but lots of Motown, Little Anthony, tons of R&B (Irma Thomas, Jimmy Hughes, Drifters, Gene Chandler, Major Lance, Impressions, Soul Sisters, Exciters, Tymes, Garnett Mimms, James Brown, Sapphires, Willie Mitchell, Jerry Butler, Solomon Burke, B.B. King, Jackie Ross, Ovations, Lenny O'Henry, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Tams, Bobby Bland, Chuck Jackson, Rufus Thomas, Walter Jackson & Otis Redding), any Phil Spector stuff, still buying Elvis and even Gloria Lynn, Frank Sinatra and Los Indios Tabaharas.
Believe it or not, by the end of '64 I already had about 10,000 records of which about 1,500 were albums. By the end of the 60s I was up to around 60,000. I hit my peak in around 1995 with almost 155,000.
Thank God I never fell for 8-tracks!
Keep up the great work -- this sure has mushroomed for you, hasn't it?
Wow, by 1964 I hadn't even really started buying my own 45's yet! I had a few ... remember those old 45 cases you used to buy through the Sears catalog that had the little number stickers on 'em? I didn't have enough singles in my collection yet to play a Top 40 ... which is how I discovered B-Sides!!! (kk)

Hello Kent,
Great Herman's Hermits write-up that you added to the top 50 for 1965.When my students listen to Harry Champion singing "Henry the 8th" at the beginning of the 20th Century and then listen to Herman's Hermits singing it, they invariably ask, "How did the second verse become the same as the first?" I tell them the story that you are probably aware of:
Peter Noone learned the song from his Grandfather who sang it while standing on the piano at family do's. As you can imagine, the state that created his confidence to sing / stand on the piano also created an inability to remember more than one verse.
Therefore, Peter only fully learned the first verse.Which, in 1965, didn't matter because the "second verse ... same as the first" gave the song notoriety and my father a headache, every morning hearing it on the radio while driving to work.

Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
People sometimes forget just how HUGE Herman's Hermits were here in '65 ... The Stones hadn't REALLY made a major impression until "Satisfaction" topped the charts here in The States that summer. (In all fairness, The Rolling Stones had five Top 40 Billboard Hits prior to "Satisfaction" reaching #1, the biggest of which had been "It's All Over Now", which hit #6 in 1964. In that same timeframe, Herman's Hermits also hit The Billboard Chart six times ... but FIVE of those hits made Billboard's Top Five ... and two of them topped the chart!)
Once "Satisfaction" paved the way, there was no stopping The Rolling Stones (and let's face it, a rolling stone gathers no moss!)
By the time the '60's ended, Herman's Hermits had scored 18 straight Top 40 Hits in Billboard ... that's exactly the same tally The Rolling Stones had accomplished ... but FIVE of those Rolling Stones' hits went all the way to #1. (Peter Noone does a spot-on imitation of Mick Jagger by the way!!! I think part of the bit involves the admission that Mick is his father!!! lol) kk

One of the biggest songs of summer, 1964 was "First Night of the Full Moon" by Jack Jones ... with a tune, large portions of which, were appropriated from Pearly Shells, of all things.

You don't hear ANY Jack Jones on the radio anymore these days ... but the guy had a GREAT voice ... one of my all-time favorite Forgotten Hits is his 1965 version of the George Jones Hit "The Race Is On"! (kk)

The biggest hits of summer, 1965 and no "Liar, Liar" on the list? Sheesh!
"Liar Liar" peaked at #12 in late October of that year ... so no, you're NOT going to find it on any of The Biggest Songs Of Summer lists! (kk)

Kent -
Your observations on the 1963 summer charts are very informative and quite accurate. Shut Down by the Beach Boys was a big hit in a LOT of cities and charted high in many markets. Del Shannon's From Me To You also had a lot of airplay. The other songs you listed, such as Hootenany by the Glencoves (Select Records, part of Joy), Sting Ray by the Routers (WB), Tamoure by Bill Justis (Smash) and I'm Afraid to Go Home by Brian Hyland (Am-Par) were all played in a lot of markets including WKBW in Buffalo. The flip of the Brian Hyland song is "Save Your Heart For Me", which is the 3rd big hit for Gary Lewis & the Playboys (still have my white promo copy after all these years).

Clay Pasternack


Kudos goes out to you and to the others who helped you compile the top fifty songs for the Summers of years in the 1960's. What I found interesting and was looking at mostly, was the top fifty for Chicago. I was interested in seeing what records were big during the Summer locally there as opposed nationally. Personally, I always went by what a record did locally here in OKC than what it did nationally.
For example, the year 1970: the Pipkins, Miguel Rios, Watts 103rd Rhythm Band, just to name a few. These are, of course, records I remember with the Pipkins record being the bigger of the three here in the OKC area.
In 1966, you had Evol Not Love, Day For Decision, Land of Milk and Honey (one of my alltime favorites by the Vogues). In 1964, you had Farmer John by the Premiers which was recorded live. (Did you ever stop to think that all records were recorded live?) Whether in a studio or club. The Grateful Dead excluded.
I have got to be honest with you. From 1963, Bill Justis' record of Tamoure on Smash was not played here. Correction! It didn't make the weekly survey. I was told years ago that just because a record didn't make the weekly radio survey didn't mean it wasn't played on the air. Now in the back of my mind, I knew that Bill Justis recorded for Smash records, but had forgotten all about it. In fact I had to go online and find a video of it to hear it. New one on me.

Finally I checked a while ago and you alluded to this in your paragraphs on the top 50 of Summer in Chicago. In the mid seventies, WKY radio here in OKC cut their weekly radio surveys down to just 20 records. Period. There might have been, I repeat might have been, maybe 4 or 5 listed at the bottom as extras. I understand a record had to be a powerful hit to be played and to make the top 20.
Some final notes while I am thinking about them. Without going in and playing the original 45 of Hitching a Ride by the Vanity Fare, it seems to me that through the years the radio version's ending is different than the original 45. Likewise, Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride. Also, I could be wrong, but in your comments on Bill Justis, I believe you misspelled his last name wrong.
We've been told by a number of radio people over the years (many of whom were program directors during Top 40's Hey-Day) that it was really only The Top 20 Records that mattered ... this is where the REAL research was exhausted ... everything else were records that either the station was trying to push or the listeners were calling in to request. That's why it just seems so ridiculous to me today that oldies radio continues to ignore so many of these LEGITIMATE Top 20 Hits in favor of playing the same 200-300 songs over and over and over again instead ... I just don't get it. If it MADE The Top 20, people remember it ... and would most likely enjoy hearing it again. (Other than "People" by Barbra Streisand, of course !!! lol ... but that's just me!)

Far too many of the songs being circulated on CD today (and in many oldies radio station libraries) are NOT the original single versions of the songs we all grew up listening to back in the day ... and this is a REAL shame. I have campaigned for YEARS now for somebody to release the ORIGINAL SINGLE MIXES for all these tunes once and for all, label by label, so that we can all add these to our collections. (Dunhill was NOTORIOUS for always having a different single mix than album mix ... this is true of ALL of their big-name artists! VERY frustrating if you're a collector ... and I liked an awful lot of Dunhill acts!)
And finally, for the record, Bill Justis spelled his name JUST like you see it here ... so if it was spelled wrong on the web page, I apologize! (kk)