Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 29 - 11 )

Congratulations to our latest Forgotten Hits Contest Winner, John Blazier of Indianapolis, IN, who just won a copy of Ron Smith's new Rock And Roll Calendar Book "Eight Days A Week: Births, Deaths and Events Each Day In Oldies History."
Readers entered by submitting their birthday (it IS, after all, a calendar book!!!) and then Ron randomly (and anonymously) selected a date ... the person with the birthday CLOSEST to the date Ron selected was determined to be the winner. (For the record, Ron chose October 30th ... and John's birthday is October 17th.  Yes, Mike Martino of Chicago, IL ... that means YOU missed winning by exactly ONE DAY!!!  lol)
Meanwhile, you can order a copy here ... (and it sounds like quite a few of you already have!!!)
Thanks again, Ron, for making this another fun FH contest!  (kk)
Hi Kent;
WOW! That is GREAT news!!! You just made my day.
THANK YOU so much! Can't wait to see the book!
Have a good Memorial Day weekend and keep up the good work on FH's!

And, talking about new books ...
Here’s an exclusive for you!
Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon has agreed to collaborate on a book telling his life story.  The book, tentatively titled “Where the Action is,” will be written by author Mark Bego.  
Bego, as you might know, is a best selling author of books on top performers in rock and roll and show business.  By having more than 10 million books in print, Mark has been acknowledged as “the prince of pop bios,” and is the best selling biographer in pop and rock.  He’s written 54 books, two of which have been NY Times best sellers.  Mark has written bios on Elton John, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Leonardo DeCaprio, Barry Manilow, and soon ... Freddy Cannon.
Mark just met with Freddy in Los Angeles to record stories Freddy has collected from his 50-plus years in rock and roll, the artists he’s worked with, and the stories behind the songs. 
The book will also include many photos from Freddy’s private collection and the stars he’s shared a stage with or met backstage.  This list includes everyone from Elvis to Del Shannon to Jackie Wilson.
Most of these photos haven’t been seen by the public.  Additionally, Freddy will include a sampling in the book of some the artists he has sketched in recent months. 
Freddy’s drawings are available for purchase at:
Freddy will also draw any recording artist on request.
You can see some of the drawings Freddy has finished in the last two weeks now on his website.
Freddy and Mark hope to have the book finished by Labor Day and published late this year.
-- Tom Cuddy
Hi Kent ...
I hope things are good with you.
I have been getting offers to write a book on my life ... all the stories ... Artie Singer, Gamble & Huff, 
Hall & Oates, Tommy Mottola, Wayne Newton ... there are so many untold stories ... the truth about the music scene in Philly. It will be a real eye opener. 
Is there someone who you can suggest to get involved in writing the book?  I thought you would be the best person to ask. You are in touch with so many people from the music business world that I thought you may have some suggestions.  Please let me know your thoughts.

I can never say enough about the Forgotten Hits newsletter.  You have kept a lot of the people who
created all the great music you write about every week in touch with each others lives and for this I'm so grateful.
Lots of love,
John Madara
Thanks for the kind words, John!  I'm sure this would make for one HELL of  a book!  And there are probably several people on the FH List who would be perfectly suited to take on such a task.  Let's put the word out there and see what comes back.  If I hear of anything, I'll be happy to pass the information along and hook you guys up.  (Of course, I'd be happy to take a year off of work and do it myself ... any way you can talk them into a $250,000 advance?!?!?  lol)  Stay tuned ... let's see what we can do!  (kk)
Regarding cannibal songs, I'm sure many will come up with Toto (in the US, Total) Coelo's "I Eat Cannibals" ... but I wonder if Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Feast of the Mau Mau" qualifies ... I don't recall the lyrics precisely, but it must come close! "Shoot your mother-in-law!" Then there was the cannibal who wanted to be chief so bad he could taste it.
--- stolf
Our FH Buddy Carl Wiser interviewed Rupert Holmes for his excellent website ... although I've read numerous times that Florence Greenberg, head of Scepter Records, who released the track, claimed she had NO idea that the song was about cannibalism ... (c'mon now ... what are the odds of THAT?!?!?) ... and then later (when she discovered what the song was really about) reportedly issued the decree to promote the "Timothy was a Mule" concept ... Holmes says that there was NEVER any doubt in HIS mind as to what the song was about:
Scepter Records started a rumor that Timothy was a mule to try to get the taint of cannibalism out of the picture and try to make it a Top 10 record. Someone called me and said, 'Was Timothy a mule? You wrote it.' And I said 'No, what can I tell you, they ate him.'
-- Rupert Holmes
Despite being banned in a number of markets, "Timothy" went Top Ten (and even to #1) in several cities across the USA.  While researching this song recently, I saw several comments stating to the effect that you never heard "Timothy" if you lived in New York ... but this simply isn't true.  FH Reader Clay Pasternack, who worked for one of the country's largest record distributors, told us:
It was a very big regional hit in Buffalo and Rochester, and hit #1 on WNDR in Syracuse the summer of 1970. It was a national hit later, but we were very early on that record.
Attached is the third track from the 1968 eponymous debut LP by the group Gun (featuring the “Curtis” brothers, nee Gurvitz), an instrumental with a now-familiar chord progression, augmented by brass and strings.  And check out its title!  It’s all a coincidence, though, as Mr. Holmes informed me years later that he’d never heard this song until I mentioned it to him.  It's called "Rupert's Travels".
Over several years a lot of people asked Rupert Holmes if the song was about a mule.  His standard, point-of-fact reply: “No, Timothy was a man.  They ate him.” 
-- Michael Thom

Other songs than "Timothy" with Cannibalism mentions include:  
"Stranded In The Jungle' by the Jayhawks on Flash (more successfully covered by the Cadets on Modern) has the line "I smelled something cooking and I looked to see, that's when I found out they were cooking ME"
The more obscure (but well played in my hometown of Pittsburgh) "Mama Ubangi Bangi" by the Four Sounds on Ran-Dee cautions  "Look out if she says you look good enough to eat"
I also include Rick Dee's "Eat me I'm A Danish" parody of Falco's "Rock me Amadaus", as Rick is far too clean cut for that to be a sexual innuendo, though I'm not as sure about the 1982 UK hit and US midcharter "I Eat Cannibals" by Total (or Toto) Coelo.
Ed Salamon

Phil Nee of WRCO Radio in Wisconsin ran our very special "Walk Don't Run Marathon" Radio Special this weekend ... six incredible hours of NOTHING but songs that include either the word "walk" or "run" in the title!!!  We're working on getting the WHOLE show up on our Forgotten Hits / Mevio Website.  (Ran into a few snags or it'd already be there!!!)  Stay tuned for more details ... this is a show you'll want to listen to ... it's a real keeper!!!  (kk)
>>>Here's the link to another great site dedicated to keeping alive the music we all know and love:   
Click here: Ultimate Oldies Radio - Songs from the 50's, 60's, & 70's
Bob Mathers (of above) is currently managing WTTR and the (one of two) station is owned by Pat Sajak!:
Wish I could borrow Bob's nice radio voice! ;-)

The reference to Ultimate Oldies Radio in your blog this morning prompts me to mention another site that I listen to a lot that is also keeping our music alive, namely:
Mike Ogilvie
Ontario, Canada
Kent ...
This weekend WCBS-FM is counting down The Top 500 Artists of All-Time.
We just got through the Countdown for the first time.
Here's the top 5.
1 - Twist & Shout = The Beatles
2 - Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting = Elton John
3 - Heartache Tonight = The Eagles
4 - Big Shot = Billy Joel
5 - Don't Stop = Fleetwood  Mac
You'll notice that this is an Artists Countdown, not a Songs Countdown.
When they go through it the second time, you'll hear the same artists singing different songs. No repetition.
I say good idea.  What do you think ?
Frank B.
They seem to consistently come up with new ways to present the music ... so I give them major kudos for that.  And be sure to check out OUR "Walk Don't Run Marathon" ... coming soon to The Forgotten Hits Mevio Web Page!  (kk)

Folks are still discovering our recent interview with '50's rocker Robin Luke ...
I'm an old rocker ... well I'm a 64 year old grandfather so the "old" is right.
When surfing the net I came across your site and I gather that you guys host a radio program in the States whereas I'm in Australia.  The very first record I bought was Susie Darlin' on 78 RPM when it came out in Australia in '58 and what a pity that I tossed out all my 78s and 45s years ago.  Anyway, I was really fascinated to read your blogs, particularly about Robin Luke but I've had no luck in tracking down the actual interview with him - is there a link or podcast or transcript?  Would really appreciate getting it.
Thanks for the memories.
Regards from down under
Not a radio show per se ... we've always presented Forgotten Hits as "radio you can read"!  (lol)  Here are the links to the two main articles we did on Robin last year ... scroll around for a couple more weeks and you'll see that his name has come up several times since.  Now a retired college professor, Luke is hoping to line up some live appearances again ... hope he'll let us know when and where he'll be appearing because it sure looks like he still has an awful lot of fans out there!  (kk)

I don't know if it is still in print, but look for "Everybody Loves a Good Time! - The Best of Major Lance", a two-disc set of the hits and non-hits (featuring the nifty answer song "Mama Didn't Know" and the killer "Too Hot to Hold"). It also has liner notes that recap Lance's life and career.
-- MF Ping
I actually HAVE this CD set ... and have never listened to it.  Yeah, we can probably cop a bunch of Major Lance info from the liner notes ... but I was hoping somebody on the list might be interested in taking on the challenge of telling his story!  (kk)

Kent ...
Don't panic. I'm not going to bug you about re-running his series.
I just heard from Jamie Ney, who promised to give us a report on Bobby Darin's 75th Birthday celebration.
Frank B.
Yes, thanks, Frank ... we just got a really nice note from Jamie!  (kk)
Hi Kent ...
Thanks so much for your great site and blog. I especially love your stuff about Bobby Darin.  Frank Buorngervino thought you might be interested in the fan gathering we had to celebrate what would have been Darin's 75th birthday. Below is a little write up of the event.
Bobby Darin fans from coast to coast gathered for four days in Carmel By The Sea, California, on the weekend of May 14, 2011, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this legendary entertainer's birth.  Fans walked in Darin's footprints in the sands of Carmel and Pfeiffer beaches, and the redwood forests of Big Sur, serene and contemplative places that meant a great deal to him during his brief but meaningful lifetime.  Yellow rose petals were tossed into the Pacific in tribute to Darin, as his rendition of Beyond The Sea murmured in the breeze. Trips to local attractions such as the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carmel mission rounded out the weekend's day travels.
The Darin fans ranged in age from 18 to almost 80 and came from all parts of the country. They exchanged thoughtful Darin-themed gifts such as goodie-filled tote bags, jewelry, imprinted Wayfarer style sunglasses, and decorative bottles in which to collect Pfeiffer beach sand. Because Darin escaped to Big Sur in the late sixties to reprioritize his life and ponder his work as a peace and civil rights activist, many of the items featured peace symbols.
On what would have been Bobby Darin's 75th birthday, the fans had a celebratory dinner in a private dining room at Il Fornaio restaurant in Carmel, a nod to Darin's Italian heritage. During cocktails, fans had their photo taken with a mock Bobby and during dessert they were treated to a beautiful flute concert. The night concluded when a lovely poem, written especially for the occasion, was read by its author.
Bobby Darin wrote that Big Sur was "a brief and fleeting vision of the hallowed halls of heaven", which made it the perfect place to celebrate his life. He once said that he would like to be remembered as a "human being and a great entertainer.". On this weekend especially, he was.
I'm going to repost a link to your site on our chat site, just in case some have misplaced it. Thanks for fanning the flame! 
Jamie Ney
Thanks, Jamie ... good to hear from you.  Wish we could have been on hand for this very special celebration.  (I think we last met at the Walk Of Fame Star Presentation Ceremony at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas a few years ago.  GREAT to see that Bobby is being remembered in such a highly regarded fashion after all these years ... his music truly IS timeless.)  And I really AM going to get around to reposting our month-long Bobby Darin Series on the website one of these days ... honest I am!!!  (kk)

A couple of really cool background stories on some of The Doors' biggest hits ... cool videos, courtesy of FH Reader Dwight Rounds:
Light My Fire ... the first song Robbie Krieger ever wrote.
Here's the story of their first single release, Break On Through, which did not chart.
Thought you might be interested in this:
Jimi Hendrix wasn't murdered by his manager, says former business partner
US rep disputes claims in recent Hendrix book
"Jimi Hendrix was not murdered," says Bob Levine, who was the US manager of the late guitarist at the time of his death in 1970. "Despite the allegations that have recently been made, I need to set the record straight once and for all. Jimi died an accidental death, but he definitely wasn't murdered – not by Michael Jeffrey, his UK manager, and certainly not by anybody connected to him. The whole thing is one giant lie."
Levine's statements counter a claim made by Hendrix's former roadie, James 'Tappy' Wright' in his 2009 book, Rock Roadie, that Jeffrey drunkenly confessed to him in 1971 that he murdered the guitar icon by stuffing his mouth full of pills and then washing them down with bottles of red wine.
"Tappy wrote that Jeffrey was afraid that Jimi was going to leave him for a new manager," says Levine. "He also said that Jeffrey had taken out an insurance policy on Jimi that was worth a couple of million dollars and that he wanted to collect on it." (Jeffrey would die himself in a place crash in 1973.)
"All of which is ridiculous," says Levine. "I was Jimi's US manager, and Michael Jeffrey was Jimi's UK manager. Michael also oversaw a lot in the US, but he was involved in other business enterprises. Michael wasn't always Jimi's manager – Chas Chandler, who was in The Animals, was managing and producing Jimi at first. The three of us, in fact – myself, Chas and Michael Jeffrey — all saw Jimi together in 1966 at the Café Wha in New York City. You could tell he was going to be a huge star even then.
"After a few years, Chas and Michael had a split," says Levine. "They broke up Chandler-Jeffrey, and it was decided that Mike was going to run the UK office and I'd look after things in the US. Tappy Wright worked in the office for Mike Jeffrey. He did a variety of things, among them acting as a roadie for Jimi. He did some roadie work for Ike & Tina Turner, too."
Regarding Wright's claim that Jeffrey murdered his star client, Levine says it was all cooked up to sell books. "I used to talk to Tappy every day," says Levine. "I've known him since the early '60s. He told me he was putting together a book about his years in the rock world. That's fine – everybody has a right to do a book if they can. But he told me, 'Bob, I need a hook for the book. I need a handle.' He needed something that would be a grabber. Well, saying that Jimi was murdered is a grabber; saying that Jimi was murdered by his manager is an even bigger grabber. But it's certainly not the truth."
According to Levine, the night before he died, Hendrix was out on the town in London. "He did a bit of clubbing, and then he went back to his hotel to get a few hours of sleep because he had to catch a plane to Germany the next morning.
"He was with a girl who did give him some sleeping pills – Jimi always had a hard time sleeping, so he'd take pills to make him sleep. He had some wine, too, and went to sleep. But when it came time for the wine to come up – he had to vomit – he was literally knocked out by the pills, so he choked on his vomit."
Hendrix's body was found in a room at the Samarkand Hotel, west of London, on 18 September 1970. Although the room was listed to Monika Dannemann (who died in 1996), Hendrix was alone at the time. There is no record of who called the ambulance crew that discovered the body. "People weren't very good at keeping such records at the time," says Levine. "The actual death certificate from Scotland Yard read: 'Accidental Suffocation.' That was signed by the medical examiner."
All of which makes Wright's assertions, in Levine's words, "pure baloney. He says that he called the retired medical examiner in Australia, who told him that Jimi didn't die accidentally, that it was a result of 'foul play.' Now, come on, that's right out of a Stephen King novel or something. An 80-year-old medical examiner suddenly changes his mind after 40 years and tells some guy who's writing a rock star tell-all something like that? Totally ridiculous."
"I told Tappy, 'What are you doing making up this story? So you want to sell books – why do you have to print such lies?' And he said to me, 'Well, who's going to challenge me? Everybody's dead, everybody's gone. Chas Chandler, Michael Jeffrey, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding…they're all gone. Nobody can challenge what I write.'"
In Levine's view, "Jimi Hendrix died by accident. He was a happy guy, looking forward to making music. And Michael Jeffrey didn't have it out for Jimi in any way. I talked to him the day before Jimi died. He had major plans for Jimi. The future was very bright at the time. The whole thing about Michael taking out a life insurance policy and wanting to collect? That's in Tappy's imagination, too.
"Michael signed an insurance policy on Jimi that the record company took out, and Jimi was aware of this. But that's standard. Frank Sinatra was insured by Reprise for millions of dollars. That's how business is done. Record companies take out insurance policies on major artists all the time. But it was nothing ruthless or dastardly on Michael Jeffrey's part. This is Tappy rewriting history."
Now retired in living in Florida, Levine says that he's saddened that Wright's story might have found a way into Hendrix folklore. "It's totally unfair to Jimi," he says. "It's unfair to everybody who was around at the time. I just think it's really unfair to the fans, to anybody who ever loved Jimi Hendrix. Yes, he died a tragic death, and he died much too young. But spreading these lies that he was murdered? It's utter crap, and I've been silent about this for much too long." 
-- submitted by Bob Merlis

Now I think if you searched hard enough (which is probably not all that hard at all!) you could probably find a couple hundred thousand people who said (about the #1 Hit Record "You Light Up My Life"), "If I have to listen to that song one more time, I'm going to kill myself!!!" ... but I don't think any one of them seriously would have done it ... much less suspected that the composer of that song would take his own life all these years later ... but then again composer Joe Brooks has hardly led the glamorous life in the 34 years since Debby Boone took his song to the top of the pop charts ... and kept it there ad nauseam for ten straight weeks!  In fact, Brooks has developed the reputation of pretty much the ULTIMATE scumbag ... read on ...
'You Light Up My Life' composer kills self, police say
By Alan Duke, CNN
May 22, 2011 7:31 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- The man who composed the pop hit "You Light Up My Life" ended his own life Sunday, New York police said. 
Joseph Brooks, 73, was facing charges on 11 alleged rapes and sex assaults, New York Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. 
The Oscar-winning songwriter was found dead on a couch in his Manhattan home by a friend with whom he was supposed to have lunch at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Browne said. 
A plastic dry cleaning bag and a towel were wrapped around his head, with a tube connected to a helium tank attached, he said. A suicide note was found nearby, he said. 
Brooks' son, Nicholas Brooks, was charged in January with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. 
The bruised body of swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay, 33, was found at a chic New York hotel last December, police said. 
The song, which was written as the title track for a movie, won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for Brooks. 
Debby Boone's recording of "You Light Up My Life" was the number one song of 1977 on the Billboard pop chart. 
-- submitted by David Lewis

Kathy Kirby
20 October 1938 - 19 May 2011
From her official website:
We are very sad to announce the passing of our much loved Kathy Kirby. She has died at the age of 72 after a short illness. She will be greatly missed. May her music play on in our hearts.
She was one of my favorite britpop singers,along with Helen Shapiro.  I'll miss her greatly.
Kathy Kirby never had the success here in The States that she did in England.  Her only U.S. Chart Hit was "The Way of Love", a #88 record in 1965 ... and even THAT song would become better known when songstress Cher cut her version seven years later and took it into The Top Ten.  But across The Pond, Kirby had five Top 40 Hits ... and "The Way Of Love" wasn't even one of them!!! 
Her greatest U.K. success came with a cover version of "Secret Love" which peaked at #4 in 1963.  More details can be found here:
I know you’re a fan of the band Chicago.  Earlier this month, the comedy website, (owned by actor Will Ferrell)  put together a video parody starring all the members of Chicago. 
Tom Cuddy
New York, NY

Kent -
Thanks for my making my Sundays  special with Forgotten Hits!
Kent -
Today's forgotten hit by Roy Hamilton was one of EPIC proportions not like the one recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1979.
I couldn't agree with you more, Larry ... I couldn't STAND the Isaac Hayes version of this song ... yet it STILL managed to climb into The National Top 20 in 1980!!!  (Imagine what a GOOD remake could have done on the charts!!!)  kk
Back in 1969 my boyfriend at the time joined the Army ...
Honestly, some men will do anything to get away from me!  
The night before he left for basic training we were together at my parents' house and of course it was all sad and teary and" When I Die" came on the radio. We made it our song and we called the radio station ... KWTO ... and asked the DJ for an encore performance. The DJ said they don't do that but made an exception after we told our story.
Whoa ... that sounds a lot like the movie "Frankie and Johnnie" ... but I promise ... it really happened.
Now I have this song on my Ipod. Good Memories
>>>I'm curious to see how many of our readers remember this song.  (kk)
Yes, I know No ... but no, I didn't know who dun ... I mean did it.
Not to criticize, but one or two of these artists, since the last FH update, has passed away! Been a long time, you know! :-)
Clearly, we've got you hooked!!!  Postings have been a bit more sporadic lately due to the conflicts that 'real life' has been throwing my way of late ... but, as always, we'll continue to post WHAT we can WHEN we can ... and hope that you guys will continue to check out the site for updates and our Monday - Friday "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature.  We've actually got a couple of really cool things in the works right now ... so please check back often.  (kk)