Here's the latest on The Wrecking Crew Documentary ...
Hello Wrecking Crew Family and Friends -
Things are picking up very quickly. Over the last month or so, we've screened the film around the country including Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in Brooklyn where we were honored and thrilled to have a special musical guest introduce the film, Ronnie Spector. One of the highlights of making this film in the 15 years was Ronnie staying for the screening and then leading the audience into a wonderful verse of "Be My Baby" -- 200 people became Ronettes.
On Sunday, Los Angeles had one of the worst rain storms we've ever seen, but we still filled two rooms at Vitellos in Studio City. Bass legend Chuck Berghofer and Studio Saxophone master Gene Cipriano joined us for a great Q&A.
It looked as if we overbooked our S.I.R. Screening for today, Sunday, March 27th, but a special thanks to Ken Berry of S.I.R., who is opening their doors up for another screening that will start at 1 pm. The 4 pm is no longer available but we are now screening at 1 pm as well. Another special thanks to Jim Turner of A&S Cases, who has helped put this event together. Fanita James of the Blossoms will be my guest this Sunday.
Click here for more information:
Below are some other screenings that are coming in your direction:
March 25 - Carlsbad, CA - Museum of Making Music, 7 pm
March 27 - Los Angeles, CA - S.I.R. Sunset, 1 pm
April 2 - Meiner Oaks, CA - K'hilat Ha Aloneem, Jewish Community Center, 7:30 pm
April 3 - Long Beach, CA - Art Theatre, Long Beach - 12 noon
April 9 - Newington, CT - Connecticut Vintage and Custom Drum Show, 7:30 pm
April 13 - Las Vegas, NV - NAB Show, Las Vegas Convention Center, 6 pm
April 16 - Dallas, TX - 34th Annual Dallas International Guitar Festival, 1 pm
April 17 - Dallas, TX - 34th Annual Dallas International Guitar Festival, 3 pm
May 5 and 6 - Seattle, WA - details to be announced
May 7 - Portland, OR - details to be announced
May 27 - Big Sur, CA - Henry Miller Memorial Library, 8 pm
If ANY of these screenings are in your area, do yourself a favor and see this film!!! You'll be glad that you did. (kk)
re: ON THE RADIO:
Boy, I have to tell you all, this man is one of the big reasons why I chose a career in radio broadcasting which has lasted more than 35 years and is still going. I grew up listening to Hal "Baby" Moore on KIMN in Denver as a kid. In fact he actually did some "sock hops" at Cathedral High School back in the 60's with another favorite of mine, Jay Mack. Then, later on, he teamed up with Charley Martin to form the "Hal & Charley" Show on KHOW, which was the #1 show for many, many years in Denver. He is now the Morning Show Host on KRWZ Cruisin' Oldies 950 in Denver, a station I hope to get hired on part time. It's a true 50's and 60's format that you won't find anywhere else in the nation! Hal "Baby" is 71 years young and kicks butt to this day! This "retrospective" will blow you away!
"Wild" Bill Cody
One of your readers said that Scott Shannon's show is all voice tracked. I have a feeling that a majority of his listeners in other markets, those associated with not working in radio, probably don't know what voice tracking is. During the past few months, I have had one or two people say to me that Scott Shannon must be the hardest working DJ in the world since he appears to be on the air all the time. I really don't say anything about whether his show is voice tracked or not.
I always thought the concept of Shannon being on the air 24 / 7 was overly ambitious ... but he really pulled it off. (Lately he's been taking more and more time off and letting Blake handle some of the air shift time ... but quite honestly NOBODY does it better than Shannon when it comes to this stuff. And, just as honestly, I'd prefer Scott on 24 / 7 here in Chicago, too, over what we've got in the way of local programming.)
Speaking of which, lately Scott Shannon has been preparing a special "localized" edition of his True Oldies Show for the Chicagoland market ... and most of us HATE it!!! Shannon was FAR more entertaining with his "generic" show and regular features like "The Cheezy-Easy-Listening Song Of The Day" and less commentary TRYING to sound like the show originates in Chicago when the whole city KNOWS that it doesn't. They really should have left well enough alone ... and this seems to be the message coming across on most of the posting boards I've read. (Shannon simply giving the WLS call letters three times during every break ... and sometimes three times in a single sentence!!! ... DOESN'T make it a "local" show!!! And it's pretty damn annoying!) I (and apparently many others) wish they would just go back to the way it used to be ... Shannon knows radio better than ANYBODY and this "local spin" just ain't working. (kk)
Here are just a couple of other comments in that regard:
Please … Scott Shannon will NOT be doing the kind of “Chicago show” that a native broadcaster like Fred Winston would do. A reference to Lake Shore Drive over the intro of a Grassroots record is not the same as having a local personality sharing regional knowledge. I’d be very interested in seeing you (Robert Feder) follow-up on Shannon’s promise of customization and see what that content looks like. Anyone who has listened to Scott Shannon knows his “show” is nothing more than a collection of generic drop-ins. These are pre-recorded from his home outside New York City or from his Citadel studios in Manhattan. There could be some customization with the music but playing a Buckinghams record in place of an Archies oldie isn’t the essence of localization.
I am SO disappointed with the change in WLS 94.7 FM midday weekday format. I, for one do not care if the broadcast is local or syndicated. In fact, I loved Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel syndicated format and miss it greatly. It is the only time of day I listen to radio and that syndicated format was a bright spot in my day – I loved the format with all of the features Scott does, be they “generic” or not, that are now missing from the so-called “Chicago” broadcast. In fact the new “Chicago broadcast” that Scott is now doing sounds phony and unrealistic – Scott sounds disgruntled, like he’s doing something he doesn’t want to do – it sounds “forced”. WLS FM 94.7, you’re pretending Scott’s in Chicago, when, in reality he’s not and everybody knows it!!!! It doesn’t sound spontaneous, like a true local broadcast would sound. Believe me, the syndicated format worked and should have been left alone. If something is not broken, why try to fix it???? Also, the way WLS 94.7 FM “snuck in” the new Chicago broadcast is shameful – couldn’t the regular listeners of the syndicated midday weekday format been given a “heads up” that the “True Oldies Channel” midday format was going to change??? What’s up with that – didn’t they think we would notice???? They have the Chicago format at the time I would say it counts – evening and morning rush – why did WLS have to mess with midday??? I, for one, am one very disappointed listener. Bring back the syndicated format at midday, WLS 94.7 FM, and can the “Chicago” one – you’ve taken Scott Shannon out of his element and forced him into a format that certainly does not sound “Chicago” – no matter how much you, WLS 94.7 FM, pretend it is!!!! I’m sure I’m not the only Chicago area listener who feels this way!!!! Bring back Scott Shannon’s TOC @ midday weekdays!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!
This week I am posting the B sides of the 11-20-61 chart positions at the B side. http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Bside45/ If any one is interested in checking out these 50 year old songs, you are welcome to do so.
WLS SILVER DOLLAR SURVEY
CHICAGO'S AUTHENTIC RADIO RECORD SURVEY
MARCH 25, 1961 (Song Positions 11 - 20):
TW / LW ARTIST - TITLE (WKS)
11 / 12 Steve Lawrence - Portrait Of My Love (6)
12 / 4 Jorgen Ingmann - Apache (9)
13 / 17 Mark Dinning - Top Forty (4)
14 / 16 Kathy Young - Happy Birthday Blues (4)
15 / 3 Buzz Clifford - Baby Sitting Boogie (7)
16 / 8 Johnny Tillotson - Jimmy's Girl (7)
17 / 26 Johnny Cymbal - The Water Was Red (3)
18 / 19 Bobby Vee - Staying In (4)
19 / -- Marcels - Blue Moon (1)
20 / -- Mina - This World We Love In (1)
Interesting to see the Buzz Clifford version of "Baby Sittin' Boogie" on the list ... although the Buzz Clifford record was a HUGE national hit, peaking at #6, (and going to #3 here in Chi-Town), we, instead, remember being treated to the version by Ralf Bendix, who sang the song in GERMAN!!!!! (Go figure?!?!?) A quick check of the charts shows that Bendix's version came out a year later and went right back into The Top Ten, ultimately peaking at #6 on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey. (It never made the national charts.)
"The Water Was Red" is an old Larry Lujack favorite ... he'd sneak that one in all the time, whenever the mood struck him, on the old Real Oldies 1690 station ... so we'll feature that today, too ... along with a recap of Chicago's Top Ten Tunes that week. (Please Note: Back in 1961, our local charts were being tabulated by both WLS, still fairly new to the Top 40 / Rock And Roll scene, as well as a service known simply as "Top Tunes Of Greater Chicago". As such, we've listed the positions for BOTH of these charts in this special Top Ten recap!) kk
MARCH 25th, 1961: WLS TOP 10 (TOP TUNES CHART POSITION)
1. WALK RIGHT BACK - The Everly Brothers (1)
2. WHERE THE BOYS ARE - Connie Francis (3)
3. SPANISH HARLEM - Ben E. King (6)
4. DON'T WORRY - Marty Robbins (11)
5. DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE - The Shirelles (7)
6. SURRENDER - Elvis Presley (5)
7. ASIA MINOR - Kokomo (12)
8. THE TOUCHABLES - Dickie Goodman (2)
9. LAZY RIVER - Bobby Darin (8)
10. PONY TIME - Chubby Checker (17)
APACHE - Jorgen Ingmann (12 / 4)
PORTRAIT OF MY LOVE - Steve Lawrence (11 / 9)
BABY SITTIN' BOOGIE - Buzz Clifford (15 / 10)
Now is that a KILLER Top Ten or what?!?!? And how many of these songs do you still hear on the radio today? About half, I'd have to say! (kk)
Tommy Edwards is back on the air in Chicago as CBS positions WJMK to challenge WLS-fm in the “oldies” race. Under Dan Mason’s leadership, CBS virtually owns this format nationally. I’m betting Tommy will be on the winning side of this battle. How long will it be before Chicago returns to hearing Larry Lujack? He is still Chicago’s best known radio personality. A magnet for the demo that grew up as Superjock Lujack first introduced the hits that became today's "oldies" to Chi-town.
Gotta disagree with you on this one, John. Unless K-Hits revamps their entire formula (which right now sounds like oldies radio on speed ... it's virtually unlistenable!), they haven't got a chance. (They're trying WAY too hard to create the magic of the glory days of B96, which was a "Hot Hits" station ... this formula simply doesn't work with an oldies audience ... I've found it almost IMPOSSIBLE to listen to. Worse yet, the deejays don't seem to have any connection to (or affection for) this music ... seriously, unless a MAJOR overhaul is on the way, I think they're doomed.
Right now Scott Shannon has the oldies game down to a science. On the other hand, if K-Hits SHOULD decide to bring back some of the most famous voices from Chicago Radio's past, then ANYTHING could happen. As you well know, (better than ANYBODY else), a little friendly "competition" can be a really good thing. The old WLS / WCFL wars made for some of the best radio this city has ever heard. Each station was constantly trying to "best" the other ... and it was a REAL treat for the listeners' ears. With these newly declared "Oldies Wars", ONE of these stations is going to have to push the envelope just a LITTLE bit further to get noticed and stay ahead of the pack ... because if they're BOTH simply playing the exact same songs from the '60's, '70's and '80's, what's the point? Then it'll all boil down to personality ... and giving the listeners a REASON to listen. And THAT could get VERY interesting. (If you've followed our "What Is An Oldie?" Series, you already know what we think about that!!! And, quite honestly, Chicago does NOT want '80's music played on our so-called oldies stations!!!) kk
P.S. The station left out in the lurch ... but with the MOST to gain here ... is Y103.9 ... they play ... without question ... the best variety of oldies music in our city ... but their weak signal is KILLING them. It should be THEIR name being featured in all these debates as a contendor to the oldies throne ... instead they're coming in as "also rans". Imagine what a strong signal ... a killer on-air line-up ... AND Y103.9's playlist ... could do for this city! (kk)