Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some Of Your Recent Christmas Comments, Questions And Suggestions

The Christmas Mail has been pouring in ... and we'll get to as much of it as we can before our Twelve Days Of Christmas expires here in Forgotten Hits.

Here are just some of the goodies that we've received in the past few days:

Hi Kent,

Wow! I was surprised by all the humbuggers out there. I'm a Christmas fanatic. I watch all the sappy Hallmark movies and even buy a few of them. I love the music. I own gigs of it and buy new stuff each year. I do find that though new stuff gets recorded each year, most of it is not great. Some is OK, but I haven't heard a new classic this year yet. Favorite Christmas albums in the not so recent past are the James Taylor Christmas disc, and the Chuck Negron album. As far as the top 20 list goes, I drag them out and play them but not as much as others. Radio can even ruin a great Christmas tune.
Yes, it can ... which is why we keep suggesting mixing it up a bit ... sure, there are certain favorites we want and expect to hear each holiday season, but you don't have to beat it into our brains the way you do.
(By the way, I heard Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas" two more times today ... and I was only in the car for 45 minutes this time! Great tune ... but why not play the brand new America version one of those times ... they're a PROVEN oldies artist that still fits your format ... and helps to mix things up a little bit!)
Truth is, there are PLENTY of great new tracks that deserve a shot.

(Here's an idea ... if you're an oldies station, how about doing a twin spin here and there ... what a GREAT excuse to feature something you might not otherwise feature! Spin "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee and then follow it up with "Break It To Me Gently" ... play "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Andy Williams and then come back with "The Hawaiian Wedding Song" ... run ANY one of the Johnny Mathis Christmas songs you're going to play anyway, but THIS time play it back to back with one of Johnny's Top Ten Hits like "It's Not For Me To Say" or "Wonderful! Wonderful!" ... or even "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late", a #1 Smash Duet he cut with Deniece Williams in 1978 ... when's the last time you heard THAT song on the radio??? And it was a #1 Hit!!!) This holiday season provides you with SO many GREAT opportunities to feature a surprise here and there and actually mean " ... where you never know what you're going to hear next" for a change!!! Wouldn't "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" sound great running right into "Imagine"? "Feliz Navidad" into "Light My Fire"? Or how about ... (insert your OWN favorite here!) Give it a shot ... you just might be surprised by the results! (Creative Programming 101) kk

Great stuff so far! I love it!

Personally, I don't mind all the Xmas music that gets played. I enjoy it, even when it's played to overkill. "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" still makes me smile. "Last Christmas" by WHAM! is also a favorite of mine. "Step Into Christmas" by Elton John, also - very Phil Spector-ish production. What do you think ol' Phil will be doing in prison for the Hollyday Season? Maybe teasing up his hair again so the other inmates can hang ornaments on him?
Happee Ho-Ho-Ho! Later.
Ed Pond

Hi Kent,
This is a Detroit favorite and don't know if you have heard it in Chicago or other states. It's a real toe tapper and gets me in the Christmas spirit every year. Karen Newman is a local but she can really sing. She's done numerous commercials and she is best known for being "the voice" of the
National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, regularly performing the national anthem before the team's home games at Joe Louis Arena.
"Christmas Eve on Woodward Avenue"

Hi Kent -
Some other good Christmas Tunes:
Phil Spector Christmas Album circa 1963 (All good songs)
Run Run Rudolph (Original by Chuck Berry, but I think there's a better version by Dave Edmunds)

Yep, the Phil Spector Christmas Album is CLEARLY a list favorite ... it's come up SEVERAL times already.

I find it interesting how many people prefer the cover versions of Chuck Berry's songs to the originals ... I've heard the same thing about Buddy Holly's tunes ... which I just KNOW is going to get me ALL kinds of hate mail again this week! (lol) kk

Kent -
Thanks for the heads-up on Santa's Bag. I've heard it before but had not been able to find it.
Best place to get it is on the "It's About Christmas Volume II" CD we told you about the other day ... you'll find all the ordering information you need right here: It's a great track ... and it's also my brand new favorite so far for this year! (kk)

Wow, I really like "Santa's Bag" ... and you're right, it definitely has a Beach Boys feel to it. I think this could be the next big Christmas hit ... if radio will only give it a shot.

lol ... I had a good laugh seeing my xmas radio comments on forgotten hits ...the guy that wrote that has 'problems' ... it doesn't look as crazy on RIP Renfield ... by the way, I did find a solution to radio choices ... I put 40 or 50 xmas songs of MY choosing on my mp3 player, eliminating the over-played and multiple versions of the same song ... about the wildest I get is George Strait singing Frosty, the Snowman. So far, so good ... (and I can always skip one when I've had enough).

Another great Christmas edition, Kent!
Chris Rea ... wow! Talk about Forgotten Hits!
Not just Driving Home For Christmas, but other songs of his not in the over played Top 200! He's always been on MY playlist.
Love Fool (If You Think It's Over), then there was On the Beach and If You Were Me with Elton John ... so many great songs from yet another talented artist often passed over by traditional radio. My favorite track, probably heard rarely, if ever, on the air is Julia. Have to turn the volume way up and grab either drumsticks or a dance partner when I hear this one!
I'm listening to Chris Rea right now and forgot to mention the killer bonus track "Three Little Green Candles" on the "Best of Chris Rea" album ... amazing guitar instrumental! You never hear this on the radio either! BTW it's not even listed on the outside package. If you haven't read the liner notes where it was added at the last minute, you're completely surprised as you think you've heard the last track, then suddenly there's MORE!
One of the things I love about Forgotten Hits is that every once in a while we hit on a topic or an artist that makes you guys dig out an old CD, album or 45 and listen to it again, inspired simply by something that we've covered. That's the power of music!
I hadn't heard "Driving Home For Christmas" until this past week ... but it's already received over three million YouTube views so I guess I'm pretty late to the party! Great track, though ... listening to it again as I'm typing this! (In fact, they just played it AGAIN on the Comcast Holiday Music Channel, too! Yep, I like this one!) kk

YouTube - BOBBY DARIN ~ Christmas Auld Lang Syne ~.wmv
Kent ...
This is my favorite Christmas Song. What's Yours ?
This is not a reminder to re-run your Bobby Darin Special. I know you're too busy with Christmas. But I'm warning you it might show up as one of your New Year's Resolutions.
Frank B.
Bobby's 1960 Christmas single got enough airplay to chart BOTH sides ... "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" went to #50 and "Child Of God" reached #95. There's another great holiday twin spin for you ... if not both sides of the record, then how about "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" going right into "Mack The Knife"? Those two would sound GREAT together and show a much deeper profile of the artist than is typically acknowledged on the radio today. Or, how about a twin spin featuring one of the great loves of Bobby's life ... Connie Francis' hit "Baby's First Christmas" (a #26 pop hit in 1961) spun right into the A-Side of that record "When The Boy In Your Arms (Is The Boy In Your Heart)", a #8 smash that probably hasn't been played on the radio in 40 years!!! (Connie also scored a 1964 hit with "Blue Winter", a #16 Hit ... it doesn't HAVE to be a Christmas song to qualify ... wouldn't Connie's "Blue Winter" sound great running into Tommy Roe's big hit "It's Now Winters Day"???) Be creative! Give it some thought and I'll bet you can come up with a dozen more that not only push the envelope a little bit but also fall into the whole "Songs of the Season" profile. (kk)

This is a great Christmas song for Paul Anka fans ... "It's Christmas Everywhere"

Now THERE's an oldie but moldy for you! The title track from Anka's 1960 Christmas album ... yet it charted as the B-Side to his version of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", which "bubbled under" in Billboard but went all the way to #54 in Cash Box Magazine that year! (kk)

I will admit to being old-fashioned and I will admit to having a love of Doo-Wop, but for the life of me I cannot understand how or why the Drifters' classic version of White Christmas does not seem to appear on your lists. That a Nat King Cole's Christmas Song may be two of the greatest Christmas songs ever. I appreciate the fact that political correctness has not penetrated Forgotten Hits because the Holiday is Christmas and all religions can celebrate it with us if they so desire. SO Merry Christmas everyone!

PS Send In The Calvary (off Dr Demento's Holidays In Demetia Christmas Album) is also a favorite of mine.

Have a prosperous New Year

Sweet Dreams

Charlie Fraser

What you're referring to as "our lists" aren't really OUR lists ... that list is an actual tally based on radio airplay over the past nine years. Truthfully, I, too, was appalled that The Drifters' version of "White Christmas" didn't make either list ... which is why I featured it on the website via the video link ... a great version and a very novel (noel?) way to present it. (kk)

Click here: YouTube - White Christmas


Thanks for the post and review of my Christmas album.

Merry This and Happy That to you!

Davie Allan

Dear FH -
When I think about Christmas Turkeys, “Christmas Time Is Here Again” by the Beatles comes to mind. When you hear the first verse, it is kind of cute. By the time you get to the 50th verse (“same as the first”) you start fantasizing about shooting reindeer. Well at least I do.
Happy Festivus.
Dave Frey
The Villages, FL
The "music only" mix that came out in conjunction with The Beatles' Anthology CD's is, indeed, quite redundant. But as originally issued (as part of their 1969 Fan Club Only Christmas Record), it made for a pretty catchy interlude to all the other goofiness that was going on. Because I'd been familiar with it for so many years, I guess I was just used to it by the time the Anthology CD Single came out ... but I, too, thought it was just a TAD monotonous!!! (No question that McCartney can ALWAYS come up with a "stick-in-your-head 'til it drives you insane" melody 'tho!!!) kk

Hey Kent,

Long time no communicate, but I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that I'm lovin' the "Christmas Turkeys"!
Alan O'Day

Kent ,
The menopause song you posted is not the one I was talking about. Your pick was pretty awful. Mine pick is kind of cute. Once again it is by Cahal Dunne. He's Irish and it is a parody of Here comes Santa Claus.
Anybody out there got access to a copy of this one? We've been looking and asking around ... and actually found it listed for sale on ... but if somebody has a copy in their private collection, we'd sure love to hear it! (I even hit up Dr. Demento again, thinking that HE might have a copy to share with us!)
Thanks! (kk)

Well, at least SOMEBODY liked the one we posted!

Hey Kent,

I got a good laugh from that Menopause Christmas song you sent out.

I had forgotten about the guy that did that song. John Valby aka Dr. Dirt, used to play the clubs around CT. 3-4 times a year throughout the 70's. A friend of mine was a club DJ back then so we saw him many times and I can tell you that he would pack every club he played and the crowd, especially the ladies would absolutely roar with laughter. The cruder and more x-rated he got, the more the crowd loved it. By the way, the guy was a pretty darn good piano player also, lots of fun FOR ADULTS ONLY, LOL!!!



Orange, CT

Loving the Christmas countdown!
David Lewis

>>>A song that I have played every Xmas for the last 25 years on the air is a song called "I Found The Brains of Santa Claus", I'm not sure who did it. I have it on a DAT Tape only, but over the years, I think I've had more requests for that one song than any other. ("Wild" Bill Cody)

>>>Well, I've never heard it before ... but we can generally find JUST about anything ... and Tom Diehl came up with this tune as recorded by Jason and the Strap-Tones. Not sure if this is the one you aired on your program ... but I've gotta believe it captures the mood and spirit of the song ... in a "Now that's sick and depressing" sort of way! (lol) Here you go! (kk)
You found it!
Isn't that a killer tune? I swear, if you listen to it about 3 or 4 times you won't be able to get it out of your head, you'll be humming it all day.
A favor please ... could you possibly send me an mp3 of this?
Thank you so much KK and Happy Holidays.
Hey gang:
Forgotten Hits is a great Oldies newsletter and blog and I recently wrote in about my all time favorite Xmas Song ... it's by Jason and the Strap-Tones, a little ditty called "I Found The Brains of Santa Claus". I've played this on B96 Chicago, WYGY Cincinnati, KFRC SFran, KRXY (Y108) Denver, KWNZ Reno and the list goes on.
Anyway, put away Bing Crosby's "White Xmas" and all your other yuletide favorites ... I guarantee, if you listen to this tune 3 or 4 times it will run through your head for days!
Enjoy and Happy Holidays,
"Wild" Bill Cody
The MP3 is on its way ... not sure how many other folks out there will call this one their "all time favorite Christmas song" ... but hey, different strokes for different folks. (Who said that anyway?!?!? Sly and the Family Stone ... or Gary Coleman?!?!?) Enjoy! (kk)

Hey Kent,
Thanks for the nice plug you gave Santa's Comin' Here! As a result of your positive comments we received a number of new hits on the YouTube site. I really appreciate your support of not just the oldies, but new music as well!
Thanks again and have a great weekend!
Dick Eastman
Glad to do it. It's a GREAT song that deserves to be heard. The GOOD news is that some of the jocks on the list have been featuring our Christmas "specials" during the course of this series ... so somebody WILL play this on the radio and folks will get the chance to hear it! (kk)

Well Kent, for the record: I played the Youngsters' "Xmas in Jail" every year since forever, plus cowboy Xmas songs, "Uncle Johnny's Glass Eye" by Dr. Elmo, plenty of Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, Gayla Peevey, B-sides to famous 45s on the theory that kids who bought them listened to BOTH sides, all those great "Santa in Outer Space" tunes from the late 50s, "Hang up your Stocking" by the Chipmunks, Andrews Sisters up the Yuletide Ying Yang, and on and on ... those days are over, but what the hey? Oh yeah, lots of Louis Armstrong too ... and Louis Prima while I'm thinking of it ... and "Father Xmas" by the Kinks.

BTW, one thing I learned in 36 years of radio is that even the most common songs to "us" can be long-forgotten by listeners, and when helping them remember, I never let on I was amazed they'd forgotten ... and every once in a while I discovered something I should have known about for 40 years, but it somehow escaped my attention ... there's just so much, everybody can't have heard it all!

-- stolf

Exactly! Which is why slipping in a "brand new surprise" or two a few times each holiday season is such a great idea ... NOBODY can keep up with it all ... but it provides an opportunity for EVERYBODY to discover something fresh and new. (Just thought of another recent "modern day classic" ... radio jumped on The Barenaked Ladies' version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" a few years back and it's now become the "accepted" version of this tune ... which is pretty surprising considering that radio ignored the largest portion of their "regular" output! Great version 'tho ... and I'll admit to it being MY favorite version, too! (kk)

Thank you, I appreciate the promo, it certainly helps. You have a great site ... very informative ... and everyone I talk to loves it.
The Buckinghams appeared at the Potowatomi Casino December 9th, 10th and 11th and will be appearing at the Beverly Arts Center for a Christmas show on the 18th. And yes, I am happy to say there will be a 2011 Happy Together Tour!
I just want to say thank you again to Forgotten Hits. We appreciate all the mentions and write ups you gave the tour throughout this past summer. I know our fans visit your site regularly and enjoy how informative and accurate it is.
We definitely had a winning combination of talented artists on the bill and The Buckinghams were proud to be a part of it. It all made for a great summer, and there are so many cities we didn't have a chance to perform in ... so we are really looking forward to doing it again in 2011!
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Carl Giammarese

Happy Christmas to you and yours ... and to ALL The Buckinghams extended friends, fans and family ... may 2011 be an ever better year for all parties concerned! (kk)

Here are two great Christmas songs on a CD called Ultimate Christmas by Collectables:

Oh Holy Night by Lou Christie ... Lou just nails this song ... it's hard to believe this is sung by the same guy that sang Ligtning Strikes and Rhapsody in the Rain and All I want for Christmas is you by the All Star Group of Johnny Maestro, Larry Chance, Bobby Jay and Joel Katz ... great song, great performance by the guys Mike De Martino / Lovejoy Music Club

"Oh Holy Night" has grown on me year after year to the point that it's now one of my holiday favorites ... so I'm happy to spin Lou Christie's version today.

As for "All I Want For Christmas" by Santa's Doo-Wop All-Stars, look no further than the email below for the full scoop on this one. Thanks, Mike! (kk)

>>>All I Want For Christmas (Is You) (1993) Vince Vance & the Valiants; Lisa Layne, vocal -- Vince Vance & the Valiants initially gained fame in 1980 with their "Barbara Ann" parody entitled "Bomb Iran." Best known as a comical, highly theatrical goodtime live band, in 1993 Vince helped write "All I Want For Christmas (Is You)," the perfectly straight pop / country love cry of a lonely lady at Yuletide. Although never released on a major label, this track has become the most requested Christmas song at country radio stations for years now. Find out why. (Gary Theroux)
For what it's worth, Vince Vance and the Valiants weren't the original singers or writers of All I Want For Christmas Is You. Larry Chance, Johnny Maestro and Bobby Jay sang this doo wop Christmas song.
And then, just a few minutes later ...
YouTube - All I Want For Christmas Is You - Johnny Maestro
Kent ...
Add this to your Christmas File.
YouTube - Heaven - Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge
Johnny got his wish.
Frank B.
OK, folks, here's the scoop ... it looks like Vince Vance and the Valiants first recorded this song back in 1988 or 1989 ... the songwriting credit that I found lists Troy Powers and Andy Stone as the composers. According to Wikipedia, it is the most-played Christmas Song EVER on Country Radio.

(It's also a GREAT Christmas video):
Click here: YouTube - Vince Vance & the Valiants - All I Want For Christmas Is You [HQ]
While Johnny Maestro (and several others) have SINCE recorded the song, it was Vince Vance and the Valiants (with Lisa Layne on AMAZING lead vocals) who recorded it FIRST and brought it to the public's attention.
Although they first recorded it back in 1989, it didn't catch on with a radio audience until Christmas of 1993 ... but has charted nearly every year since, ultimately crossing over to the Pop Christmas Charts, too.

(Hmm ... this sounds like one of those "Lonely Christmas" stories!!! lol)
Maestro's version first appeared on the "Ultimate Christmas Volume 3" CD in 1996 ... many years AFTER Vance's recording first hit the airwaves. Billed as "Santa's Doo-Wop Helpers", the song featured Joel Katz, Johnny Maestro, Larry Chance and Bobby Jay on vocals ... and it's actually Joel Katz who's handling the LEAD vocal on this track and NOT Johnny Maestro as is so often eroneously reported (and assumed).
While it SOUNDS like a much older song (the melody feels somewhat familiar ... "You Belong To Me" by The Duprees and "My Heart Belongs To Only You" by Bobby Vinton immediately come to mind!), it is, in reality, a modern-day classic ... which is why we lumped this one with the identically titled Mariah Carey tune the other day.
I forwarded your email to Gary Theroux, who wrote the liner notes to the brand new "The All-Time Greatest Hits Of Christmas" CD and put together this great compilation. (It was Gary who wrote the bit about Vince Vance co-writing "All I Want For Christmas Is You"). I wanted to get HIS take on this ... but most of his information reiterates what I've written above.
Over the years, there have been multiple songs entitled "All I Want For Christmas Is You" -- the two most prominent being one written in part and sung by Mariah Carey and the other -- composed by Troy Powers and Andy Stone --made famous by Lisa Layne as lead singer of Vince Vance & the Valiants. The latter recording was made in 1988. The following year the same song was recorded by Santa's Doo Wop Helpers, who were Joel Katz (singing lead), Johnny Maestro, Larry Chance and Bobby Jay. Although Vince Vance is not officially listed as one of the song's writers, he is often credited as contributing to the song. As for Mr. Maestro, whom I was lucky enough to both interview and introduce on stage several times, Johnny also cut "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on his own (presumably later) and his version can be found on YouTube.
-- Gary Theroux
So there you have it ... even though it SOUNDS like a Christmas song from the '50's, it is, in fact, from the 1980's ... and was done FIRST by Vince Vance and the Valiants, featuring Lisa Layne on lead vocals. (kk)

Time for just a couple more!!!

YouTube - Christmas Food Court Flash Mob, Hallelujah Chorus - Must See!
Kent ...
Don't know about you - but when I'm having lunch at the mall, I always feel like bursting into song.
Frank B.
We're seeing more and more of these "musical outbursts" ... and they're always fun to watch the reaction of the unsuspecting audience / crowd around them. Thanks, Frank! (kk)

Numerous mentions of Andy in today's FH, Kent. Coincidental, since today (December 3rd) is Andy's 83rd birthday.

Here's Andy and Claudine's Christmas video:
Do you remember how Andy and Claudine met one another?
David Lewis
I just LOVE these "happy coincidences"!!! Like yesterday, we sent out the brand new song Karel King song "Come Home For Christmas", and the opening line says "It was the 14th of December ... " ... which it actually WAS yesterday when we first posted the tune!!! Couldn't have planned it any better!!! (NOT!)

I don't know that I ever really knew how Andy and Claudine first met each other ... but since I did just recently read his biography (a GREAT book, by the way, if you're an Andy Williams fan ... and who didn't grow up loving this guy!!!), I can tell you that they met when Andy pulled over to offer her roadside assistance when she was experiencing car trouble in Las Vegas. She was 18 and he was 32 ... but they fell in love immediately and married a year later. One of those "cute meets" that you see in the movies all the time ... except THIS one really happened! (kk)

And, speaking of Andy Williams, here's the latest from the "house band" that performs regularly at Andy's "Moon River Theatre" down in Branson, Missour!


Hey Kent,
Thanks for the nice plug for our Christmas show, you're a great guy.
We just wrapped up the show for the year last weekend in Branson but we're going to be playing it extensively on the road next year. We already have the show booked in Chicago at the Rosemont Theatre on December 17th, 2011 with Gary Puckett opening.
I'd love to hear Gary do a couple of big Christmas ballads with that great voice, not sure what he has planned. We'll see him this January on the Caribbean Oldies Cruise we're doing with him and Chuck Negron, I'll ask him what he'll be doing.
Just a side note - we took Thanksgiving week off from Andy William's Theatre in Branson and played the "Rockin' Christmas" show throughout Canada and 2 shows in Iowa. Talk about the Great White North, snow everywhere and one day it got down to -27F in Calgary. The tour bus froze so badly at one point that we bounced our way for about 300 miles with no shocks. One of the biggest laughs I've had in years was waking up to see Paul trying to get back into his middle berth at 3 am. He kept getting tossed back out, hitting his head, feet lifted off the ground, swearing. He's such a naturally funny guy to begin with, I laughed so hard I was crying and couldn't stop. I love a good laughing jag, best moment of the tour for me. We had a blast playing the show to audiences outside of Branson and the response was just great. Hey, no hosers.

Merry Christmas and Rockin' Holidays to you and your readers from Paul Revere and The Raiders!! (Pumpkin Twinkies on us)
Paul Revere, Darren Dowler, Ron Foos,
Tommy Scheckel, Danny Krause and Doug Heath
Wow! Next year's Christmas Show already booked a year in advance at The Rosemont Theater!!! How great is that?!?!? (And what a great spot for you guys to do a concert ... BEAUTIFUL place with excellent sound!) Be sure to put us on the Guest List for THAT one!!! (lol)
Happy Holidays to ALL of The Raiders ... make 2011 a GREAT year! (kk)

And one more New Release:



That Philly Sound is proud to announce that our newest CD, WAYNE NEWTON -- CHRISTMAS IN LAS VEGAS has just been released and is available for the first time on CD to purchase through CD Baby.
WAYNE NEWTON -- CHRISTMAS IN LAS VEGAS features 8 beloved Christmas songs and 4 new Christmas songs sung by Las Vegas entertainer and superstar, Wayne Newton.
Just in time for Christmas, this CD will make a wonderful gift for your family and friends. Or buy one just for yourself. This is a CD that will be treasured for years! Order now!

Click here to preview and purchase this CD and individual songs
Please go to THAT PHILLY SOULD to purchase other rare CDs, and learn more about the artists and people behind the Philadelphia music scene.
Click here to go to THAT PHILLY SOUND.
THAT PHILLY SOUND is presented by songwriter / record producer, John Madara, who co-wrote and co- produced with partner, Dave White, such timeless classics as AT THE HOP (Danny and The Juniors), ROCK AND ROLL IS HERE TO STAY -- Producer (Danny and The Juniors), THE FLY (Chubby Checker), 1-2-3 (Len Barry, who also co- wrote the song with Madara & White) and YOU DON'T OWN ME (Leslie Gore). These and countless other hits helped to make up "The Sound Of Philadelphia."
Thanks for your support!