Friday, April 1, 2011


We haven't done a "Helping Out Our Readers" feature for a while ... so here are some of your most recent inquiries ...

Hi Kent,

I found this on youtube and was very surprised to see the gals of Love Unlimited singing vocals to “Love’s Theme”, which is one of my all-time personal favorite instrumentals!! I don’t recall ever hearing ANY vocal version of this song! Was there an album cut or B-side with vocals that I wasn’t aware of? Does anybody know anything about this? I would greatly appreciate any info on this. Even better of course if someone has an MP3 to share.
Thanks for your help!
Eddie Burke

Orange, CT

Honestly, I've never heard a vocal arrangement of this song either ... (although I can't honestly say that I like it!!!) Sorry, but on THIS one, I think the instrumental version rules!!! (kk)

KK -

I have a question for you or FH regarding Neil Diamond.

I believe Solitary Man was reissued in 1970. Is that version that actually made Top 40 the same as the '66? release?

It's the same recording per se ... but enhanced with more orchestration and instrumentation.

When "Solitary Man" was first released back in 1966, it became Neil Diamond's first charting single, peaking at #55 on the Billboard Chart. Three months later, Diamond's career took off when "Cherry, Cherry" went to #6 ... and six more Top 40 Hits recorded for Bang Records followed.

Then, in 1968, Diamond signed with Uni Records. His first release for the label, "Brooklyn Roads", although one of my favorites, failed to make The Top 40. When follow-up releases "Two-Bit Manchild" and "Sunday Sun" ALSO missed The Top 40, Bang decided to start re-releasing some of their Neil Diamond back catalog, usually with some type of music enhancements and new mixes. Soon Neil was competing with himself on the charts.

Finally, in 1969, Neil scored three straight Top 20 Hits ("Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show", #13; "Sweet Caroline", #3 and "Holly Holy", #4.) Meanwhile, Bang Records was able to capitalize on Neil's new-found success and watched "Shilo", "Solitary Man", "Do It" and "I'm A Believer" all climb the charts alongside Neil's latest releases.

"Solitary Man" reached #20 in its re-released format. (It went to #2 here in Chicago!) But they are the same recording with different instrumentation. (Give a listen!) kk


Is there a possibility that there are two versions, single or album, of the Guess Who's Star Baby? This has been driving me crazy for years as the current versions you hear on the internet just don't sound right. I remember the version that WLS played to death was noticeably faster, more energetic. But then, wasn't one of the Chicago stations accused of speeding up the songs so they could have more room for commercials?

Hoffman Estates

"Star Baby" was a HUGE hit for The Guess Who here in Chicago, where it went all the way to #3. (Nationally, it peaked at #30 in Cash Box Magazine and #39 in Billboard.) MOST of their hits did better here in Chicago ... where the band often came to record in the late '60's and early '70's.

It wouldn't surprise me to find out that there are different album and single versions of this tune ... "punched-up singles" were pretty much the norm back then. (And you're right, at various times, WLS and WCFL were BOTH accused of speeding up their records to not only squeeze a little more music in but to all sound a little more "high intensity" on the air.)

For this one, I went to our resident Guess Who Expert, Dan Hudelson. Here's what he had to say:

Hi Kent,

As long I've been mingling with the Guess Who fans online, discussing all manner of minutiae, this subject has never come up. Although I never bought the 45 (did play it and its "Musicioné flip on the jukebox in various establishments), I certainly heard the song enough times on Chicago radio (was living in Bellwood at the time), as well as on the ROAD FOOD LP, and never noticed there to be a difference of tempo or pitch that would result from speeding it up (don't actually remember if we listened to WCFL or to WLS).

I certainly would have expected this subject, were it true, to have come up during the past ten years that I've been in contact with Guess Who fans online.


Good day!
I was just intro'ed to your site by a search I did (yahoo) for The Cryan Shames. You guys were very helpful, thanks.
So I was half-right, there was a band by this name, but I cant remember what song it was that I heard of theirs in the 60's. (I was living in Alabama then)
I thought it was "Shame, Shame" but apparently not. Do you remember this song? I think the chorus went:
"Shame, shame, we had a good thing goin', shame, shame ..."
That's about all I remember of it ...
Could I trouble you for a few more questions?
Me and my buddy listen to the True Oldies Channel WZLS at work and have questions:
Fred and the Playboys (Judy In Disguise) ... is this the same Playboys that Gary Lewis (son of Jerry) had? (Sealed With A Kiss = one of my faves!)
Was Lindsay Buckingham in The Buckinghams, Buckingham Nicks and Fleetwood Mac?
And was the "Nicks" Stevie Nix? (still beautiful!)
Damn! I'm only 62 and my rock and roll memory is trying to elude me!
It sure helps to listen to the True Oldies Channel!!
Any help you could give would be appreciated.
The Cryan' Shames were HUGE here in Chicago in the mid-to-late '60's (and they still perform around the area today.) Their BIGGEST national hit was "Sugar And Spice", a cover of The Searchers' song ... but here in Chi-Town "It Could Be We're In Love" went to #1 and stayed there for four consecutive weeks, even holding The Beatles ("All You Need Is Love") and The Doors ("Light My Fire") out of the top spot at the time! (They were finally dethroned by Bobbie Gentry's monster hit "Ode To Billie Joe", which Jim "Hooke" Pilster tells me he STILL hates to this very day for that very reason!!! lol)
"Shame Shame" was by The Magic Lanterns ... and is one of MY favorite songs from this era, too. (It went to #17 nationally but was a Top Five Smash here in Chicago, too!)
As far as John Fred and his Playboy Band and Gary Lewis and the Playboys goes ... nope, different Playboys. (By the way, Didjaknow that Leon Russell was one of Gary Lewis' Playboys for a while?!?!?)
Lindsay Buckingham wasn't in The Buckinghams ... they were yet ANOTHER Chicago band that hit it big in the '60's. (They're still out there touring, too, and soon will be back out on the raod again as part of The Happy Together Again Tour, 2011, along with The Turtles, The Association, The Grass Roots and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders.) But as for Buckingham and Nicks, it sure was ... Lindsay and Stevie worked first as a duo and then joined Fleetwood Mac together several years later.
We work closely with Scott Shannon and The True Oldies Channel ... so don't be at all surprised to find that he may feature a couple of these tunes and dedicate them to you, too! (In fact, this weekend Scott is running the very popular Rock And Roll Remakes Weekend ... and you'll probably hear Forgotten Hits mentioned once or twice along the way!)
Thanks again for your letter ... and please feel free to ask your oldies questions at any time!

Didn't you do the top 50 or 100 instrumentals of all time? I looked on your website & can't find it ... HELP!!!
We actually have TWO sets of Instrumental Charts on our website ...
The first chart is a mathematical calculation based on these records' actual performance on the national charts.
Then, we polled our readers to vote for their all-time favorite instrumental hits ... we were curious to see which ones, after all this time, still made their lists.
You can find BOTH charts here (on the other Forgotten Hits Website);

Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979

Just a few more tidbits we received this week ...
Hi Kent.
This Saturday I will be playing guitar for the Chantels and the Duprees in Jackson, New Jersey. I do not know who else is on this show, but I will give you an up-date.
Don "Young" Albano

Please do, Don ... we've got a TON of New Jersey readers who might like to catch this show! (kk)

I have another fantastic Friday planned for you in "The Pop Shoppe".
My show is on every Friday night from 7 pm till 3:01 am (Eastern) on
This week, from 9:00 - 10:00, I'll be doing a phone interview with Big Bopper, Junior. we will learn about his career plus that of his famous father. Some of my listeners have had the pleasure of seeing him in person as he performs some legendary material. Don't miss this one!!!!! (In fact, give us a call and say "Hello Baby!")
Then, from 10:00- 10:30, I'll be remembering Alan Freed ...
We go back to the 50's for one of Alan's shows. Some great memories here!!!!!
From 10:30 - 12:00 AM, let's doo wop!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have 90 minutes to sing along and dance to some of those classic doo wop melodies.
Last Friday when I did my Johnny Maestro tribute I played a Vito Picone show where he had the reunion of The Del-Satins. The response was so good that I will be featuring more of Vito's shows in the near future. Also, I'd like to thank Fred and Les for that fabulous interview we had about Johnny and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Looking ahead I am set for one week from this Friday when I will be talking on the phone with Peter Altschuler who is the son of Murray the K. That will be followed by a special remembrance of folk singer Phil Ochs.
If you missed last week's show (and the Johnny Maestro tribute), the entire four hours are on the site which includes Vito's show. I look forward to seeing everybody this Friday night so that I can play "The Greatest Songs That Ever Lived".
Stuart Weiss / DJ STU

I received this email from Ides Of March keyboardist Scott May earlier this week:
It's with regret that we announce the passing of a member of the extended Ides Family. Ray Herr, who played Rhythm Guitar, Bass, and Sang with the Ides during the late sixties and early seventies passed away yesterday after a long battle with Cancer.Ray played on the "Vehicle" album.
There will be no funeral. A Memorial service is planned for the spring in Arlington Heights. Please share our thoughts and prayers for Ray and his family in their time of grief.
-- Scott May

Several readers wrote in as well ... and provided a link to an article published in our local Daily Herald newspaper:
Ray Herr played his guitar at restaurants and clubs throughout the Northwest suburbs, but his claim to fame stretched back to 1970, when he played guitar with the Ides of March in their biggest hit, “Vehicle.” The single rose to No. 2 on the national charts and broke ground for its use of a brass section in a rock band.
Herr continued to record with the Ides, including their other major hit, “L.A. Goodbye,” which reached the top of Chicago charts, but he left the band after that and never looked back.
Herr died Tuesday from esophageal cancer. The Hainesville resident was 64.
“Ray had that certain star quality that just lit up the stage,” said Jim Peterik, lead singer of the Ides of March who now lives in Burr Ridge. “When he was part of the Ides' lineup, there was never a dull moment. We had to keep up with Ray.”
Herr grew up in Arlington Heights and was among the first four-year class to graduate from St. Viator High School, in 1965. During high school, Herr played in the bands Second Story and The Orphanage at the Cellar, a popular teen venue in Arlington Heights that showcased local rock bands.
He auditioned with the Ides of March in 1969, and was part of the band's rapid rise to national fame, when “Vehicle” became the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros. Record's history.
It wound up selling more than 1 million copies, and led to an album by the same name, as well as extensive national tours. The Ides recorded their second album, “Common Bond,” and one of its singles, “LA Goodbye,” stayed on top of Chicago's charts for five weeks.
Ray Graffia, lead singer and guitarist with New Colony Six, another popular rock band in the late 1960s, remembers his band vying with the Ides of March for radio time.
“At the time, there were six of us sharing the charts, the New Colony Six, the Cryan' Shames, the Ides of March, the Buckinghams, American Breed and the Shadows of Knights,” Graffia says. “It was friendly competition.”
When Herr broke away from the Ides of March in the early 1970s, he returned to play in the Northwest suburbs. Friends say he played regular solo gigs at the Banana Boat in Rolling Meadows, P's & Q's in Palatine and Mrs. P and Me in Mount Prospect.
By the 1980s, he joined with friends in a band called the Ron Showboat Show Band, that played at the VIP Lounge in Mount Prospect.
More recently, Herr was an active member of the Sons of the American Legion, based at the American Legion Post 208 in Arlington Heights. He joined members there in a band called the “208's,” and he helped to organize an open mic night, that gave a venue to up and coming musicians to perform.
Herr often played with them, providing backup guitar and bass, and lending his star power to young performers.
“He was something of a celebrity around here,” says John Jarosz Jr. of Rolling Meadows, commander of the Sons of the American Legion. “He was a real draw.”
Herr also played at many of the American Legion events, including its summer car shows, during Frontier Days ever summer, and on Thanksgiving, when the post hosted Navy recruits from Great Lakes Naval Base.
He even served one term as commander of the Sons of the American Legion and helped further its service project, which was raising money to ship musical instruments overseas to military troops.
Herr was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Elsie. He is survived by his wife Debbie.
A memorial service will take place at 6 p.m. April 9 at American Legion Post 208, 121 N. Douglas Ave. in Arlington Heights.

And this, from The Ides Of March Website:

To modern Ides fans, he is best known for his grainy black and white picture on the back of the "Vehicle" album, but back in the classic days, he was front and center, sharing the spotlight with Jim. We're very sorry to report that Ides Alum RAY HERR passed away on Tuesday. March 29th.

Ray came to the band in 1968, after playing with a very popular local band, The Second Story. Ray was the rhythm guitarist (Larry at the time, played keyboards) and played bass on the brass songs, when Bob went over to sax. Ray was there for the wild days when "Vehicle" was brand new, and toured extensively with the band, until he resigned in 1970. Ray continued to play in bands, and as a solo artist, enjoying wide popularity in the Northern Suburbs. Ray also very active in the American Legion. No Funeral will be held, but a memorial service is to be conducted April 9, 6 p.m.. at American Legion Post 208, 121 N. Douglas Ave. in Arlington Heights.