Monday, November 8, 2010

Helping Out Our Readers

Clearly THIS feature has really taken off!!! This just may be the
biggest HELPING OUT OUR READERS PAGE we've ever done!!!
Read on ...

I know your stomping grounds are in Chicago, but maybe you can help me find out about an old TV show in Boston. My memory on this is somewhat fuzzy, since it was about 45 years ago, but as best as I can recall this would be circa 1965.
Back in the 60's, my band, Bobby & the Galaxies, worked every Saturday night at a local amusement park dance hall, in Dartmouth , Ma., called the Lincoln Park Million Dollar Ball Room. It was an immense place for us. We packed in 3500 kids every Saturday night. We had a featured guest each week, which my band usually backed up, unless they were a guest band. We backed up Freddy Cannon, Lou Christie, Jerry Lee Lewis and Dion, to name a few.
One week we were approached by friends of my ex manager, Ribbon Record's owner and song writer Jimmie Crane (If I Give My Heart To You, Come Back, If I Ever Needed You I Need You Now, Hurt, etc,), from Providence, R.I.. They had an idea to do a weekly half hour TV show, from this venue. They wanted to film it on Tuesday nights and charge the kids admission, to help fund it. It was to be an American Bandstand type show, but with all live music, showing the kids dancing to the music. My band would be featured opening and closing the show, playing the theme song, (Bill Dogget's "Hold It") and featured for one song during the show. The rest of the songs would be played live by guest stars.
It was a big opportunity for us. We filmed 4 episodes which aired on a Boston TV station, but since we never drew as many kids as we did on Saturday nights, the producers said they ran out of funds, and asked me to tear up my contract, with promises of future ventures. Since we did get paid for each of the episodes we filmed, I did, and never heard from them again. This was not an uncommon experience back in those days.
I believe the shows aired on WBZ TV, but I'm not sure. The show was called Jamboree. I do remember that one of the featured guests was the Beau Brummels. I believe others included Lou Christie, B.J. Thomas and The Sir Douglass Quintet, but again my memory is fuzzy on this. We did work with these acts, but it may have been at the regular Saturday night gig. Any chance you can find copies of these TV episodes, or steer me in the right direction? Any information from your readers, to fill in the blanks, would be a great help to tracking down the episodes, if they still exist.
Bob Hughes
Well, we've got a ton of East Coast Readers so let's see what turns up. Unfortunately a program that only aired four episodes (and on a local station at that!) is going to be tough to find. A lot of these tapes were ultimately erased and used over and over again and, in the days before home video taping are now lost forever. (But hey, there's an old 1966 kinescope of The New Colony Six performing "I Lie Awake" on the long-defunct "Kiddie-A-Go-Go" Show, filmed here in Chicago, so who knows!!! All we can do is wait and see if anybody responds. (If nothing else, we'll probably hear from a few readers who either remember the program ... or partying-down with Bobby and the Galaxies on Saturday Nights! (kk)
Click here: YouTube - Kiddie A-Go-Go - New Colony Six
(I just love these shots of these little kids dancing! Cracks me up EVERY time!)

... and, on a related Rock TV note ...

Hi there,
Just wonderin' if anyone remembers the show from the 60`s called Pop Gear????
I remember seein' it on AMC cable channel. Just saw one show and was wondering who hosted it and if there were more shows???
i love the dc5 (Joe)

I've seen this once or twice, too ... kind of a British Invasion television marathon, featuring artists like The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Animals, Peter and Gordon, The Spencer Davis Group and more. I checked AMC's program schedule and this one isn't even listed as something that might be coming up on the cable network. A brief sonopsis can be found on Wikipedia:
Click here: Pop Gear - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Originally titled "Go Go Mania", you can pick up a copy through Video Beat ... they specialize in ALL kinds of obscure and long-out-of-print vintage music programs like this.
Click here: POP GEAR (GO GO MANIA) 1965 - Movie on DVD! - 60s British Beat - POP GEAR

>>>Love your Forgotten Hits page. Hope you can help me find this forgotten hit.
I am tying to locate a song. I need the artist and title (mp3 if possible). The song is from the 50's I think. A kind of doo wop slow ballad. Words are:
"We met in a dream ... your arms open wide ...and there in that dream ... what a sweet surprise." Does this ring a bell? Thanks for your help.(Vinny B.)
You had a question in the latest edition of Forgotten Hits about a Doo Wop ballad that starts "We met in a dream".I think the song is Eddie Fisher's "Song of A Dreamer". It was released in August of 1955 on RCA and was on the charts for 8 weeks, peaking at #11.(reference The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits 5th edition).
The 1st couple of lines are: We met in a dream, you walked by my side And there in that dream your arms open wide ...
It can be heard on You Tube.
Click here: YouTube - Eddie Fisher - Song Of The Dreamer.wmv
The reason I managed to come up with this answer is that I compile Oldies crossword "Rockwords" covering popular music that charted from 1955 to 1979, and I had the 1st line of the song in my database.
Keep up the great work.
Mike Ogilvie
Mississauga, ON
Well, the lyrics certainly seem to match up ... although I don't think ANYONE's ever accused Eddie Fisher of being a Doo-Wop singer before! (lol) Maybe this was covered by some other doo-wop artists of this era ... but I'm guessing at the very least we've helped to identify the song. Now maybe Vinnie can narrow down his search! Thanks, Mike! (kk)
P.S. Vinny, try THIS one!!! It's by The Roomates!
Click here: YouTube - Roomates - Song Of The Dreamer

A friend sent me an email regarding a concert next week here in Nashville featuring soul singer Clifford Curry, age 77.This is one of those big local hits that barely made it into Billboard's Top 100 at number 95 in 1967. It was a huge hit all across the south, but since it only made it to 95 nationally, I'm curious if it was ever heard in Chicago. Nope, never heard this one before ... Curry didn't chart here in Chi-Town. Incredibly I have a copy of this song (and didn't even know it!) It was on Rhino's "Box Of Soul" CD collection a few years back ... a GREAT collection of '60's Soul, by the way. (kk)

Hi Kent --
Maybe YOU can help, seeing Ron Dante reads FH ...

Barry Manilow - Can't Smile Without You (1977)

Produced by Barry Manilow and Ron Dante
Re: "Alternate First Take" - from the 1993 (UK release) CD, "Hidden Treasures".
As you may know, I question why alternate versions began to disappear about the early '70's, since I focus my attention collecting them. I chalk it up to recording technology offering greater possibilities than in the past to build a song. Knowing how hungry record companies are to offer unreleased material and seeing that Ron Dante helped produce this, maybe you can have Ron shed some light on this particular release. The second half of this version blossoms into what appears to be the hit version, but impossible for me to believe it is a first take, fully orchestrated and all. Could the first half, especially the "tap dance solo", just happen to be on the many tape tracks and never used, but used to fabricate / mix a "First Take"? There is no Master Number mentioned, not even a recording date, making me even more suspicious ... 54 second snippet:
Thank you!
Jersey John
Actually, I kinda like it, the whole "soft shoe" bit ... not something you'd typically release on a "commercial" recording ... but kind of a neat outtake / variable to a song already so familiar to so many of us.
I asked Ron Dante if he could give us any insight into this. (I thought that maybe this was something they worked up for one of Barry's television specials???) kk
Hi Kent.
The Tap Dancing version of Can't Smile Without You was a first idea that Barry had.
He and I decided that is was way too campy for a pop single so it was never to be used ever. Don't know why it was released. We never for an instant thought is worked.
I mixed the version that came out in 30 minutes and it was just a reference mix.
Goes to show that you don't have to spend hours and days mixing songs to make it a hit.
Ron Dante

>>>I remember this song (L. David Sloane by Michelle Lee) being played on WIND in Chicago in the 60s when I was but a wee lad (like 7 or 8 years old). I seem to remember it being a different voice, though, more like Brenda Lee or Lulu, but the memory of a 7 year old can be a bit off, I guess. Always wondered who sang this song, and what the title was ... thanks for solving my mystery!
Do you happen to know if there was another version of that song, perhaps an earlier one? (R. McPatrick)

>>>None that I'm aware of ... at least not as a "hit" single ... of course, that's not to say that some other artist didn't cover this as an LP track or something ... but this is the best KNOWN version. (kk)
I have a version by the Electric Junkyard on RCA, which was the flip of “Garbage Can Ballet,” written by Nilsson for the film “Skiddoo.” I’m sure it’s not the version the reader is remembering.
There were also versions by Atlantic Sounds (on Atlantic) and a release on UK Pye by Kay Garner. The Atlantic Sounds 45 is on eBay and the scan shows it is an instrumental. The Kay Garner version is comped on the 2005 CD, “It’s So Fine – Pye Girls Are Go!” ... I just checked and found I have the Kay Garner version. It’s attached. This is from the “Pye Girls Are Go!” CD, which is out of print.

I'm not familiar with this version but it's not bad (you know, as far as bad songs go!!! lol) I don't show this as charting in the U.K. but you just never know what kind of goodies and rarities you're going to find on some of these compilation CD's. Thanks for sharing, Michael! (kk)

Think you have a good memory?
Enjoy a difficult challenge?
Okay! Here's TWO different endings, but the same song!!!
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to pick what one was the "hit" version!The 1st, the 2nd, Both, or Neither?


As always, GOOD LUCK!!!
Mr. Charming, Kent, will decide the Winner!!! :-)

Jersey John
Actually, you'll find this to be the case with nearly ALL of the Three Dog Night singles ... RARELY was the LP mix the same as the single mix. (This was true of MOST singles released on Dunhill Records for that matter ... radio hasn't aired the correct version of Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" in over 40 years!)
With Three Dog Night, "An Old-Fashioned Love Song" was a COMPLETELY different mix ... not only is the ending different but that whole goofy ad-libbed bit didn't appear on the album version either. (This really freaked me out when I heard the single for the first time as I was already familiar with the album cut ... and thought this "goofiness" added NOTHING to the quality of the song!)

"One" never had a "cold" ending (which is the ONLY way you'll hear that song today) ... the original single faded out. "Eli's Coming" and "Mama Told Me Not To Come" BOTH have totally different endings than their single counterparts ... but perhaps the MOST glaring snafu is the missing guitar solo on the LP version of "Joy To The World" ... yet THAT is the one MOST oldies radio stations played until we pointed it out ten years ago that they were playing the WRONG version ... I can't even begin to tell you how many deejays I've sent the single mix to over the years!
As I've mentioned SO many times before, music history is slowly disintegrating based on so many of the wrong versions circulating ... while you're more into these alternate takes, stereo mixes, studio chatter, etc, etc, etc., I want to hear the song the way I remember hearing it coming out of my radio way back when!
For YEARS now I've been pushing for a MAJOR undertaking ... re-releasing the COMPLETE single mixes of every charted Top 40 Hit (or more) ... an across-the-boards, multi-label project that would reinstate, once and for all, the OFFICIAL version of these songs as they were first released. Sure, you can still do the "bonus tracks" on artist anthologies or compilations ... but specify them as such ... now there's something for EVERYBODY! At least in this way we would have a documented history of the charts. (kk)

Reading the First Pressings book for 1951, I was surprised to see that Johnnie Ray did not have the first recording of Cry. The first was by Ruth Casey on Cadillac Records. I have been doing a retrospective of 1951 R&B on my show and would love to have this one! I'm a nut about original versions and covers.
KPOO's Autumn King, Charlie Miller
Johnnie Ray broke through in a VERY big way with his 1951 #1 Hit "Cry" ... it topped Billboard's Best Sellers Chart for eleven weeks ... and even crossed over to their R&B Chart where it ranked at #1 for a week! Four more Top Ten Hits came the following year: "The Little White Cloud That Cried" (#2), "Please Mr. Sun" (#6), "Here Am I, Broken Hearted" (#9) and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" (#6). Ruth Casey's version didn't chart on Billboard's Pop OR Rhythm and Blues Chart ... and I wasn't familiar with it until I received your email. Fortunately, the ever-reliable Tom Diehl was able to track down a copy for us to share. You should be able to play this on your radio program right from our website (but I've also sent you an MP3 just in case!) kk

Hi Kent,
I watched Why Do Fools Fall In Love for the first time over the weekend.
I thought it was a pretty good movie and was curious how accurate it was?
The first place I thought to check was Forgotten Hits.
The bits that I knew about Frankie Lymon seemed to be true ... drug addiction, not much life in the music biz after the Teenagers, etc. Hollywood bio pics aren't known for their accuracy, that's for sure.
One thing that cracked me up was in a scene where he is out in California with the woman who was formerly in the Platters and you hear James Brown's "Say it Loud" in the background. In the movie, it's around 1965 and I know that song hadn't been released yet.
The rights for Why Do Fools was certainly an interesting premice for a movie. The other thing I was curious about was his appearance on Hullabaloo. In the film he's lipsincing to an old Teenagers record. I wonder if that was what really happened on the show or did he perform live.
Still always enjoying the newsletter.
All kinds of "creative" and "dramatic" license come into play in these docu-dramas. Quite often, several characters are combined into one so that various aspects of the story can be told in a less confusing (and more budget-friendly) way. (They often do this for LEGAL reasons, too!)
I've watched "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" at least a dozen times and have always enjoyed it. The controversy between all of Frankie's wives over the royalty money being generated when Diana Ross decided to remake Lymon's biggest hit in the '80's is classic ... and was ALL over the news at the time. (Interesting, too, how Morris Levy was already earning his stripes back in the '50's, taking advantage of his artists and putting his name of song copyrights and such. Of course, Tommy James raked him over the coals in his book last year ... but, quite honestly, it was about the worst-kept secret EVER!!! Levy is LEGENDARY in this respect ... it's doubtful that he EVER signed an artist he didn't take advantage of!)
Let's see how many of these I can address:
James Brown's "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud" debuted on the pop charts in September of 1968 ... which was about seven months AFTER Lymon died of a drug overdose. I'm sure it was used more as a backdrop to indicate a turbulant time in America than anything else.
Lymon DID make a "comeback" appearance of sorts on Hullabaloo in 1965 I believe he simply lip-synced to one of his old hits (which seemed to be the only way he was allowed to perform at this time ... between the change in his voice ... and his erratic behavior due to "outside influences", this seemed to be the SAFEST way to present Lymon on television ... ridiculous, really, in that he was clearly MUCH older now than when he first recorded these tunes!) I believe Frankie's appearance is available on one of the Hullabaloo compilations videos or DVD's ... so if anyone on the list happens to have a copy (I don't!) and can confirm or deny this, please do!
Because Frankie Lymon is a little bit before my time (and in order to give you the most accurate answer possible regarding any other discrepancies), I did a quick web search to see what else was out there. Imagine my COMPLETE surprise when the #1 Google Search turned out to be MY Forgotten Hits article on Frankie from a while back. (I honestly had forgotten all about it!!!)
While it doesn't answer ALL of your questions, it DOES give you a pretty accurate picture of Lymon's career. You can find it here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits: Goody Goody
You'll also find some a few more discrepancies pointed out in the reviews posted on, including this one by FH Regular Gary Theroux:
Click here: Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998) - IMDb user reviews
Gary writes:
Zola Taylor was the best-known of Frankie's three wives, but she is portrayed following her run with The Platters as an in-the-money solo star headlining live shows with her giant hit "Only You." Are the producers kidding? Zola Taylor didn't even JOIN The Platters until AFTER "Only You" had become a million-seller! The Platters scored big as the most successful hitmaking singing group of the late '50s (1955-9), despite the fact that the "group" was really lead vocalist Tony Williams -- with the others as mere background singers. Zola only sang lead on a couple of minor Platters chart items -- and after leaving the act, immediately sank into near total obscurity. The Platters' golden era ended in 1960 after Tony left on his ill-fated solo career. None of The Platters really made much money at all -- as they were mere salaried employees of their manager, Buck Ram. Ram wrote much of their material, told them what to sing and how, produced their records, owned The Platters' name and (no surprise) kept nearly all of the loot himself.
-- Gary Theroux
(Sounds like Morris Levy wasn't the ONLY "mentor" lining his pockets at the time!!! lol) Sadly, this was probably true more often than not in the early days of rock and roll ... and, in some cases, still goes on today. Far too many teenagers that knew NOTHING about the ways of business were just happy that somebody liked and appreciated their songs and talent and did anything and EVERYTHING they were told to do in an effort to enjoy five more minutes in the spotlight. In hindsight, had he stayed clean, Lymon could have enjoyed a long and somewhat lucrative career playing the oldies circuit ... but that market didn't really exist yet when Frankie checked out in 1968. (kk)

Somebody is a liar, Fred Ebb says he was the voice of the little blue man and I heard Hugh Downs live on the air tell John "Records" Landeker that he was the voice of the little blue man. So what gives?
I have ALWAYS heard that it was Hugh Downs ... and, as such, have always reported it that way ... but I see now that in the latest edition of Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles" Book, he states that the voice of The Little Blue Man was done by Fred Ebb, the song's co-writer. (I, too, have heard Downs talk about his involvement with this recording in the past.) So I asked Joel when and why his description was changed (as he, TOO, had reported it as Downs for decades!) kk

Before my last edition of “Top Pop Singles” was published, I received an email from Betty Johnson’s agency, setting me straight on who was the voice of “The Little Blue Man”. Here is part of what they told me in that email:
“Betty’s squeaking suitor on “The Little Blue Man” was sung by songwriter Fred Ebb, not Jack Paar sidekick Hugh Downs as many have assumed.”
In fact, they have now published this same statement, almost word-for-word on their current web site:
No more assumptions. That should settle the issue forever.
Thanks for the note, Kent.

So there you have it ... NO idea why it's been so widely reported (by Downs himself!) that he did the voice on the record but Betty Johnson has now OFFICIALLY set the record straight. Thanks, Joel! (kk)

>>>Vehicle demo? Bring it on!!!! (John)
>>>I was SO happy to obtain a copy of this ... thanks again to Clark Besch for his diligent research work ... we consider this "find" our most recent coup de grace! (kk)
>>>For years we had been telling the story that it was Disk Jockey, the late great Art Roberts, who suggested adding the vocal answers to "love you, need you!" to "Vehicle". Our managers told us if you add those, WLS will add the record. (Jim Peterik)

Same thing, sort of ... maybe ...
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing
Released in the US on Big Tree Records.
It is written that it was an (unknown) American DJ who flipped the 45 RPM record over and spotted its potential. How he was able to persuade Producer Mickie Most abroad, to modify it and reissue it is also unknown.
It is certainly a different "mix" with a noticeable rhythm guitar, in long form, clocking in at 4:00, with double tracking on lead vocals in spots. Some verses (heard here) were later edited out in the US Hit version ...
Hard to tell ... this simply could be a case of the extended album mix vs. the punched-up hit single mix ... that sort of thing happened all the time, especially if the single was pulled from the album AFTER pressure to release it. That being said, I don't know that anyone from Big Tree Records (or American radio for that matter) had to convince anybody to release "You Sexy Thing" as a single ... it debuted on The British Singles Pop Chart a week after it premiered in Billboard here in The States. It peaked at #2 in its U.K. showing and reached #3 (for three weeks!) in Billboard in early '76. (It also peaked at #2 on the Cash Box Chart.) Listening to it this morning makes me kinda wanna watch "The Full Monty" again!!! GREAT scene in that movie!
By 1976, Hot Chocolate had already racked up nine British Top 40 Hits, so they were no strangers on the charts. Here in the States, "Emma" (#6, 1975) and "Disco Queen" (#21, 1975) were already proven hits before "You Sexy Thing" first hit the charts. Again, an established chart track record would indicate that they knew EXACTLY what song to release as their next single.
The band got their start with The Beatles' Apple Records label when they cut a reggae version of John Lennon's Peace Classic "Give Peace A Chance." (Story goes they wanted to change part of the lyric and, when they approached Lennon for permission, he suggested that they simply cut the record for Apple Records and be done with it. You'll find this rare cut on the newly released "Best Of Apple Records" CD we've been telling you about lately!)
Click here: Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records: Various Artists: Music

A year later they were signed to Mickie Most's RAK Records label, earning their first British Top Ten Hit with "Love Is Life" (#36, 1970). Early Hot Chocolate recordings of '70's hits like "You Could Have Been A Lady" and "Brother Louie" went on to become bigger hits for April Wine and Stories respectively, but they would earn a total of 13 Top Ten British Hits under their own name between 1970 and 1987 (including a remix of "You Sexy Thing" that went to #10 in 1987.)
Having checked a number of reference sources, I can't find ANYTHING stating that it was an American deejay who prompted the success of "You Sexy Thing" (or its release as a single) ... as I said, Hot Chocolate had already scored two U.S. hits prior to its release on Big Tree Records. Honestly, I think by this point they were pretty well recognized as world-wide hit makers. (kk)

BROTHER LOUIE: It was a #1 Record for Stories here in The States ... but the song was written by ... and first recorded by ... Hot Chocolate over in The U.K.

For those of you wondering why THEY didn't have the hit here, too, one quick listen should give it away ...

(I'm guessing that spoken narration like "I don't want no HONKY in my family!" or "I don't want no SPOOK in my family!" PROBABLY had something to do with it!!!)

Incredibly, despite the COMPLETE "political incorrectness" of all this, Hot Chocolate scored a Top Ten Hit with their version in Great Britain ... three months before Stories covered this tune (and, thankfully, cleaned it up) on their way to a #1 U.S. Hit. Unfrickin'believable!!! (kk)

(Hmmm ... wonder if we can get Scott Shannon to play THIS one on his next
True Oldies Channel Remakes Weekend?!?!?! It'd probably have to be one of those "Truth Or Dare" situations!!! lol)