Monday, February 14, 2011

Catching Up A Little

We found ourselves quite entertained (for the most part) during last night's Grammy Awards Ceremony. Surprise upset of the night: newcomers Arcade Fire winning the Album Of The Year award, leap-frogging over HUGE names like Eminem, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and big winners of the night Lady Antebellum. Their performance (to MY ears anyway) was pretty much pure noise ... although watching the bicyclist fly around the stage with the stroke-inducing strobe lights going crazy was pretty cool to watch.
After all the fuss, our boy Cee-Lo Green was completely shut out in the big awards with Lady Antebellum taking home both Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year award honors for their monster hit record "Need You Now". (Don't get me wrong ... it's a GREAT song ... and, quite honestly, probably the "perfect fit" in Grammy-dome. They played the heck out of THIS one last year, too ... and STILL do.)
Click here: YouTube - Lady Antebellum - Need you now (Official Video) Excellent QUALITY + Ringtone Download
For oldies music fans, there were a few highlights ... the ceremonies kicked off with an All-Star Diva Salute to the ailing Aretha Franklin, who appeared via video remote to thank The Grammy Association ... and promised to be back there at the ceremonies live next year. (What was nice about the tribute is that they performed a couple of Aretha songs that you rarely hear anymore instead of some of the more obvious choices ... when is the last time you heard "Ain't No Way" or "Spirit In The Dark" played on the radio???)
Mick Jagger strutted his stuff during his first-ever Grammy performance, part of the salute to our dearly-departed music heroes from last year. Jagger looked great singing "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love", the Solomon Burke classic that pretty much bombed with Burke first released it back in 1964 ... but became an R&B staple when The Blues Brothers covered it a decade later.
And we were even treated (?) to a live performance by Bob Dylan! (Now the nasally tone of Dylan's voice has always bothered me ... but add to that the complete raspy hoarseness of last night and it was damn-near intolerable!!!)
Even Barbra Streisand came out to sing "Evergreen (Theme from 'A Star Is Born')", introduced by her costar in the film, Kris Kristofferson.

Meanwhile, our mention of The Grammys in the Sunday Comments Page sparked a couple of your comments:

Being that I have never taken the Grammy's seriously on any level, I saw where
you said Eminem is up for 10 Grammys and some mess called "F*** You" is up for song of the year. I, for one, will gladly go back to the stuffy old fogies who
actually nominated music.

Aww, c'mon ... give it a listen ... and then judge it strictly on its musical merit ...
Vintage R&B never sounded this good!
(And, come on, don't you remember how we all laughed so hard we wet ourselves when Nilsson did the same thing back in 1972???)
I will concede it’s decent as far as modern black music goes. It’s better than all rap, but so is a good toilet flush. It uses cheap shock value to undermine the retro R&B style. In the 2000’s I guess it’s pretty good stuff. If it were 1964 it wouldn’t be in the top 1000 songs. Just depends what your standards are I guess. It has a sophomoric novelty appeal.
Listen to it two or three more times ... and I GUARANTEE you'll be hooked ... I've also sent you the "Forget You" radio-friendly version, STILL getting TONS of airplay by both Cee-Lo Green and Gwenyth Paltrow, who covered the song on "Glee". (In fact, Cee-Lo and Gwenyth performed the song together at the Awards Ceremony as a duet! Their appearance together on Saturday Night Live a few weeks earlier was ALSO a TV stand-out!)
Give it ten more minutes ... and I promise you'll be a fan ... it's damn-near inescapable!
And with "Forget You" you eliminate the "gimmick" ... but honestly, it just makes the REAL one that much more likeable!
(Trust Me!!!)

Kent -
I actually loved getting this week's Sunday Comments in an email -
We're looking forward to watching the Grammys tonight ... hope we're not disappointed.
Love ... and F*ck You rules!

Yes, it's true that in retrospect, some Grammy winners through the years have been what we today would consider questionable or even ridiculous choices. However, the same is true of some Emmy, Oscar and Tony winners -- and inductees into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. So who's to blame for not recognizing the artists or works which, over time, would retain the most lasting value and importance? Keep in mind that in almost all of the contests noted above it was the collective PEERS of the winners who did the voting. The most noteworthy exception to that rule is the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame -- which has always been the most closeted, cliquish and secretive operation of them all. It has an excuse for sometimes nominating and electing absurd inductees -- especially now, when the only real criteria for induction is to be a personal favorite of Jann Wenner.
Regarding the Grammys, remember that the original idea of the awards in 1958 was to honor "quality adult music" (i.e., Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, etc.) over the increasingly better-selling rock material. That's why artists like Elvis Presley -- who personified the changing course of American popular music the Grammy founders found unsettling -- were deliberately ignored. (Elvis, of course, was only to eventually win for his inspirational work and never for his rock recordings.) Over time the Grammys slowly evolved and began accepting artists and forms of music closer to what was actually selling as opposed to what had previously been deemed by adults as higher quality. As originally conceived, the Grammy celebrated artistry (as the academy voters felt it) over sales.
Today the Grammys are a near total reversal of what it's founders had in mind. If you had told them, along with those who voted for the very first Grammys in 1958, that 53 years later not only would a mainstream record company actually release and score a radio hit -- plus earn a GRAMMY NOMINATION -- with a song entitled "F**k You" they would considered you certifiably insane.
Popular music has certainly EVOLVED a lot since 1958 -- but has it ADVANCED? I'll let you answer that question.
Gary Theroux
Kent ...
Did you know that the first Grammy Awards were held in 1959, at the Los Angeles Beverly Hilton?
Frank B.
Yes ... but did YOU know that our buddy Bobby Darin won TWO awards that night??? In fact, he was up against his idol Frank Sinatra ... and EACH won two awards! (kk)
OOPS ... MY BAD!!!
Darin won his awards at the SECOND Grammy Awards Ceremony ... recorded in 1959, he wouldn't receive the award until 1960 (which makes perfect sense in hindsight.) It was also the very first TELEVISED Grammy Awards Ceremony.
Here's a rare excerpt from our long-missing Bobby Darin Series covering this topic:
Despite all the advice he received to the contrary, Bobby went in and cut the standards album he wanted to make. With that thought in mind, "That's All", for all intents and purposes, may very well have been the very first concept album. Bobby wanted to show his versatility as an artist and when the unlikely pop / rock candidate "Mack The Knife" was selected as his next single, it blew the lid off EVERYTHING else that was out at the time. It shot straight to #1 and stayed there for nine incredible weeks. Besides several other previous chart appearances (most often as "The Theme from 'ThreePenny Opera'" or "Moritat"), Bobby made the song his the point that every "eek" he ad-libbed in the studio have now become permanently etched as part of the lyrics of the song ... you end up singing along with each and every one of them every time you hear it. Richard Weiss did an INCREDIBLE arrangement and the song took on a whole new life of its own. "Mack The Knife" was a radio SMASH, crossing over to ALL genres of music ... even the JAZZ stations played it!
Bobby was rewarded a few months later when he was nominated for four Grammy Awards. In the Music Industry's second-ever (and first televised) ceremony, "Mack The Knife" was nominated for Best Arrangement. (Richard Weiss lost to Billy May, who had done the arrangement on Frank Sinatra's hit "Come Dance With Me".) Darin and Sinatra (and the same two songs) faced off again in the Best Vocal Performance Male category and Sinatra also won THAT award. But then Bobby rebounded with the Best New Artist award and topped off the evening by winning The Record Of The Year Award for "Mack" (which just happened to beat Sinatra's "High Hopes" recording.) By now, the comparisons to Frank Sinatra had really started to escalate and would follow him for most of the rest of his career. (How ironic that these two crooners would go head-to-head in so many categories at that year's Grammy Awards!)
At the end of the evening, whether he was pumped up by the excitement of the day's events or overcome by his own massive ego, exhilaration and / or exhaustion, Bobby made a comment that would haunt him for the next several years. When pressed by UPI's Vernon Scott about challenging Sinatra in all four categories (and winning in two), Darin reportedly said "I hope to surpass Frank in everything he's done." Soon newspapers all over the country were talking about the cocky young kid with the big mouth, who was WAY out of line for even hinting that he deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as Old Blue Eyes ...
despite the fact that those same newspapers had been playing up the comparisons for months already.
While Darin would spend the next several years denying or down-playing the remark, Sinatra refused to comment. In hindsight, it seems to have been more of a feud fueled by the press than anything personal between the two artists. Photos circulated of Sinatra and Dean Martin using a Bobby Darin album cover as a dartboard .... but the truth is that Darin was close with fellow rat-packer Sammy Davis, Jr., most of his life. (In fact, the liner notes for Bobby's big crossover album "That's All" even reprinted a telegram sent by Sammy Davis, Jr. stating "I've just heard the dubs for your new album. What can I say? They're so good I hate you! But seriously, Bobby, I think the album's another step in a career that I feel will last a long time.") Bobby also remained on excellent terms with Sinatra's daughter Nancy and her then-husband Tommy Sands. There are even reports that suggest that after Sinatra broke away from Capitol Records to form his own record company, Reprise Records, Bobby was approached about jumping ship from Atlantic to record for Ol' Blue Eyes. (Darin reportedly turned down the offer, feeling he'd be the lost, forgotten artist amongst Sinatra's rat-pack pals also signed to the label ... in fact, Bobby signed with Capitol to record alongside his other idol Nat King Cole, hoping to fill some of the void left by Sinatra's departure!) Another well recounted incident tells that after one of Bobby's nightclub engagement, Jerry Lewis approached Darin and told him that he was all alone in the league ... Frank, Dean, Sammy and Jerry were all several years older ... and NOBODY else was doing what Bobby was doing ... he had the whole arena to himself. The only one who could louse it up for him was Bobby himself ... otherwise, there was NOBODY out there that could touch him. Bobby took the advice to heart.
The most-famous comment Sinatra ever made on the subject when asked what he thought of Bobby Darin was: "I sing in saloons. Bobby Darin does my prom dates." Darin called it "one of the greatest single lines of all time" and said that he was only too happy to play his prom dates ... until graduation!
ISN'T IT IRONIC?: Years later, Frank Sinatrawould cut his OWN version of "Mack The Knife", using a virtually identical arrangement to Bobby Darin's!!! In fact, on his 1984 album "L.A. Is My Lady", Sinatra added a lyric paying tribute to some of the previous "Mack" hit-makers: "Satchmo Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and Lady Ella, too ... Old Blue Eyes can add nothing new." (kk)

Hi Kent -
I thought the Black Eyed Peas Half Time Show was fantastic!!!
That's all I can say!!
I agree ... but from the looks of things, that makes two of us!!! (lol) kk

Kent -
Great piece from WLS Clark on Beatles / Black Eyed Peas.
A few other quick comments ...
I can't wait to see Joel Whitburn's new book, spotlighting the local and regional breakout hits. But I wish he'd list ALL of the hits, not just the Number Ones -- or the ones that didn't eventually make The Top 100! This would be a GREAT way to document what was popular in various parts of the country.
Originally, Joel told me that this new bit of research was going to be a separate book all by itself ... and maybe it still will be some day ... but he was SO anxious to get this new information out there that he incorporated it all into this new 13th Edition of Top Pop Singles instead ... which in and of itself is quite surprising, in that he has NEVER done back-to-back update books so quickly before, only a year apart. We're all hoping that this will turn into a popular enough feature that Joel may go back to the boards at a later date and put together the ultimate "regional" chart book. (kk)
Joel Whitburn's newest book states that The Kit Kats "Also Recorded as New Hope", but it seems that they also recorded as The Pablo Ponce Four and The Tak Tiks (on Guyden Records). It's also interesting to read that "Let's Get Lost On A Country Road" was recorded as an instrumental, issued twice!!! The new book says it did well in Philly, but I never heard it on the air! Never knew that! But since I was there, their Biggest Hit was "Let's Get Lost On A Country Road", locally!
Billboard only reported what the local radio stations and record stores reported. Personally, I would LOVE to see a "Top Ten" or "Top 20" list from half a dozen major cities, presenting a "local slant" to the charts from various regions around the country. (LA, New York, Chicago ... Philly, Detroit, Cleveland ... Dallas, Miami and maybe a few others to REALLY put things in perspective as to just what was popular where.) Here in Chicago, my own personal chart collection dates back to mid-1956 ... I would LOVE to see local chart information dating back even further! Again, let's just hope that this new feature catches on and Joel decides to expand its coverage in a future volume. But for right now this is a HUGE new addition to his already massive Music Bible of Information! (kk)
We're winding things down on this topic now ... but I think we've proven the point that these programs DESERVE to be heard again. Anybody out there thinking about putting something together??? (kk)
Regarding Shannon Peterson's (WDRV) comment about The History Of Rock & Roll ... KDWB got into Fargo (or did), but 630 Khz is out of St. Paul.
T. Michael Jordan (aka: Tom Nefeldt), one time KDWB jock circa '67,'68.
>>>Chuck Riley's delivery does have more energy ... and it would have been great if he hadn't mispronounced so many words in the copy. (David Lewis)
That was a particular quirk of Chuck's. Sometimes I think he did it on purpose just to get a rise out of me (or to see if I was paying attention as we recorded). I know Warren Cosford, in directing Chuck for the Evolution of Rock, had similar problems.
Chuck used to drive me crazy with his pronunciations. For example, it was like pulling teeth to get him to say Bee Gees correctly. He always said 'Bee JEEZE' with the emphasis on JEEZE.
I worked with Chuck at CHUM on CHUM's original History of Rock in 1969, then The Beatles Story in 1970 as well as many CHUM promo sessions. Later, in 1989, after I'd moved to LA, I hired Chuck to be the promo announcer for John Candy's weekly two hour radio show, "Radio Kandy" that ran on a couple of hundred stations in the U.S. Our offices and studio were in Brentwood, Chuck lived in Groucho Marx's old house in Studio City at the time (not that far over the canyon), but he always insisted that he couldn't drive to our studios as he needed to stay close to Hollywood because he was under contract to CBS for network promos and for three hours a day, he needed to be close to CBS at Fairfax and Beverly, so we always recorded Chuck at a studio in Hollywood called Prism.
Chuck was a wonderful guy, a major curmugeon, and an incredible story teller. Chuck and Jack Armstrong (who worked together at WKYC in Cleveland) were similar in that way. Having a meal with Chuck was ALWAYS an adventure. He'd send things back at the drop of a hat. Once in Toronto, at the local greasy spoon near CHUM, he sent back toast. You could always count on the fact that at some point in every meal, Chuck would send something back, He also loved hot, spicy food. Chuck didn't consider a Thai or Indian meal a success unless he was sweating profusely while he was eating.
But what a talent.
Doug Thompson
re: FIRST 45's:
As more and more people discover The Forgotten Hits Website, we continue to receive several of your "First 45's" memories. Please check the site often to see if YOUR memories have been posted ... and, if you haven't sent yours in yet, just email them to ... like THIS guy did!!! (kk)
My first record was Tom Dooley by the Kingston Trio. I was only about 7 at the time and originally had the 78. I remember it clearly though because I put it on the chair one
day and my dad sat on it and broke it. I cried so much that to shut me up, my mum made him go out to buy another copy and he came home with the 45.
The B side was Ruby Red, another great song which I finally found on CD about two years ago.
The first record I actually bought myself was Let's Jump The Broomstick by Brenda Lee. I was lucky enough to meet Brenda on my first visit to the States in 2006 and was surprised to learn that although the song was a big hit in England, it did nothing in the U.S. Most of the 45s I bought later are long gone, but I still have these two and whenever I hear them they remind me of the days when music actually meant something
Nick Gordon
Hey, Kent,
I, too, am enjoying the daily Forgotten Hit feature. It's a shame that most early '60s (and before) songs aren't even possibilities, given the realities of so much Oldies programming, but that said, it's always fun seeing what you come up with.
To that end, I was wondering yesterday (Saturday) what song you'd pick for Valentine's Day and was trying to "read" your mind and see how it works -- no easy task! I'm sure you've already chosen the song, so let's see how far off I am . . . I'm guessing you'll pick Leapy Lee's "Little Arrows" for Cupid's Day. If you didn't, you should have -- hah! It got up to No. 16 in 1968.
Don Effenberger
Honestly, I hadn't even considered a Valentine's song for Monday ... but it's a great suggestion ... so I bumped "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Jerry Lee Lewis to a later date! (lol) Betcha never would have thought of THAT one for Valentine's Day! (kk)
That sounds great, Kent. I hope you didn't overlook Valentine's Day in "real life," or there might be hell to pay at home!
And I certainly would NOT have thought of the Jerry Lee Lewis song.
The following Monday, of course, is Presidents Day, if you choose to observe it.
There are all sorts of Forgotten Hits in that category, too -- from JFK 1962 songs (such as the really forgotten PT 109 --a Top 10 hit for Jimmy Dean -- to the really obscure novelty song My Daddy Is President).
Not to mention Chicago's Harry Truman and all the one-time-is-enough Dickie Goodman "sample" songs -- including Energy Crisis, Watergrate and 1974 and '81 versions of Mr. President).
Keep up the great work.
Or "Snoopy For President", I suppose ... or even "Alvin For President"!!! I've tried to stay away from the "themed" songs but you know what, if it means more deejays will play these on the air, I'll go with the flow ... just ask ... I'm pretty flexible! (lol) We've saluted a couple of "Birthday" artists already ... and I have a few more planned ... plus we'll salute this year's inductees into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame pretty soon, too. As I said, I'm receiving DOZENS of suggestions from our readers for this new feature ... proving once again that there absolutely IS a home for this on the radio. C'mon, Scott Shannon ... let's give it a whirl! And you can even launch it with another one of those True Oldies Channel / Forgotten Hits Weekends ... "One You Know ... And One You Didn't Even Know You Forgot!" (kk)
Again a great collection of articles this week.
The subject of so-called oldies station playlists got me thinking about great songs that never get played on these stations. The station here in Detroit doesn't even call itself an oldies station, it just says it play the hits from the 60's-70's-80's, but in reality, it doesn't play much 60's music except Motown (of course) and Beatles. What it does play over and over is an endless stream of Billy Joel and Elton John hits.
I've included my list of those forgotten hits, most of them Top 30 when they were out, that I'd love to hear these stations play.
Suspicions - Sidekicks
Whispers(Getting Louder) - Jackie Wilson
Things I'd Like to Say - New Colony Six
The Push And Kick - Mark Valentino
Kick That Little Foot - Round Robin
Heavy Makes You Happy - Staple Singers
Misdemeanor - Foster Sylvers
Birds Of A Feather - Joe South
Sit Down I Think I Love You - Mojo Men
Selfish One - Jackie Ross
Let's Pretend - Raspberries
Little Black Egg - Nightcrawlers
Did You See Her Eyes - Illusion
S.O.S - Edwin Starr
Gene & Debbie - Playboy
Thee Prophets - Playgirl
Shout Shout - Ernie Maresca
And that's just the ones that come to mind.
Jim B
Readers are lovin' our new feature ... not a day goes by where we don't receive a dozen (or two!) suggestions of songs to feature. Actually, we've already compiled quite a list ... and several of your suggestions are already on the list ... but keep 'em coming, folks ... just in case we miss one here or there! (kk)
Hi Kent,
I've been meaning to send this email for quite a while now. I just want to say how much I'm enjoying your blog - it's informative and I often hear tunes that I'd "forgotten" about. Somehow you've managed to make Forgotten Hits an interactive community, with lots of people contributing and responding with feedback - it's wonderful!
I've sadly just closed down my own music blog because I was only receiving comments from a handful of loyal readers as compared to the large number of people who were accessing the site (and the music). I may continue with it as an invitation only blog - would you be interested in taking a look if I do so in the near future?
I hope you don't mind too much my asking (you probably have your own good reasons for not doing this already), but would you consider activating the comments feature under each post so that it would be possible to comment right on the blog?
Also, would you please add me to the Forgotten Hits 'Sunday Comments' email subscription list?
Thanks very much, Kent, and great work!
Thanks for the kind words ... and welcome aboard!
We used to allow comments to be posted right to the site but then we have to constantly monitor them ... somebody is always trying to post their own agenda (usually links to buy drugs in Canada it seems ... or other unwanted messages of a more sexual nature) ... so I finally had to eliminate it.
Besides, folks seem to LOVE reading The Sunday Comments .... it's our most popular feature (plus it allows us to edit the content as to what gets posted.)
This week we had ALL kinds of technical difficulties with the website ... so The Sunday Comments went out via email.
Please feel free to share your comments and memories with our readers ... it's really what Forgotten Hits was all about. And, if you do decide to get your site back up and running again, I'll be happy to run a link so others can check it out, too!
Thanks again!
I understand completely about the unsavory comments. I not only enjoy reading the Sunday comments feature, but also check each day to see if there's a regular posting up. Something about your site just captures the magic and the innocent joy of the music and the times.
Up until a couple of days ago, I had a link on my blog to Forgotten Hits and I was glad to see (through Feedjit) that a lot of visitors jumped over to it.
All the best,
Your web site is great and fits my complaints about so-called "oldies stations"
(with their 300-song playlists) to a T.
Please put me on the mailing list.
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, CT
Welcome aboard, Henry! Research be damned ... your listeners are tuning out because there's not enough variety on the menu!!! Oldies Radio needs to start beefing up the play list if they want to survive in this day of iPods and such, where folks can carry their 10,000 favorite songs around with them wherever they go. The same two or three hundred just AIN'T gonna cut it no-mo'!!! (kk)