Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Helping Out Our Readers

Another quick round of "Helping Out Our Readers" ...
Can YOU shed any light on the topics below?
Have a question of your own you'd like to put out to The Oldies Nation at large?
Then just drop us a line at forgottenhits@aol.com ... and check back to these pages to see if our army of oldies experts can help you solve your rock and roll mystery!
I have a question that I hope one of your many readers may help with.  It may be too "pop"-oriented and not "rock 'n' roll"-oriented enough for  Forgotten Hits, and if so, fine.  Just thought I'd ask.
In the late spring / early summer of 1965, an instrumental called "A Walk in the Black Forest" by German jazz pianist Horst Jankowski made it to No. 12 on the Billboard pop chart.  I have since noticed that this same tune -- no question, it's the identical melody -- appeared on at least three episodes of  the "Perry Mason" TV show as background music.  (They are "The Case of  the Missing Melody" from September 1961; "The Case of the Absent Artist" from  March 1962, and "The Case of the Potted Planter" from May 1963.)
So -- how / why did this tune show up on "Perry Mason" long before it was a hit here?  Was Jankowski shopping the tune around for years?  Did  someone from the show hear the melody and buy the rights?  Was it a hit in  Europe before it was a hit here? I have checked the Horst Jankowski fan website (yes, there is one!), but this question doesn't seem to be addressed  there.
Henry McNulty
Old Saybrook, Connecticut
Hi Henry!  Yes, I'm VERY familiar with Horst Jankowski's recording ... had the 45 at the time and have featured it as part of Forgotten Hits a few times over the years.  (It recently made our "All-Time Favorite Instrumentals" List and we also included it in our very special "Walk ... Don't Run" Marathon Weekend a couple of weeks ago!)  In fact, I seem to remember even running photographs of the original sheet music for this tune for some reason or another!  But I was NOT aware of any Perry Mason tie-in, so let's put this one to the list and see what they come up with.  "A Walk In The Black Forest" was a #3 Hit in Great Britain ... but that was in 1965, too ... so that doesn't seem to be the reason.  Anybody else out there got any ideas?  (kk)
There is a song that I am trying to find.  I believe that it was released in the early-to-mid '70s.  The singer sounds a lot like Judy Collins, with that mezzo soprano voice. And yet, it could be Chicago folk singer Bonnie Koloc. The only lyrics I can recall are, "Sixteen years old ... January's Child, trying to get  to the _______"  The last note is high and extended.  
Thank you for researching this.
Joanie Baker
I'm blankin' on this one ... do these lyrics ring a bell with any of you out there?  (kk)
>>>A while back I saw a video on youtube of my favorite DJ, Mr. Dick Biondi.  A song is played for a few seconds in the video (it sounds very 80's) but I can't tell what song it is.  I was wondering if you or one of your site members would be able to help me identify the song.
This is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLd-_-nl6U0  The Song Plays from 2:10 - 2:16.  It sounds very 80's.  It might be a big hit, that somehow I just don't recognize in the clip.  I've tried searching the lyrics but found nothing.  I hope you can help!  (AJK)
>>>I listened to it a couple of times and don't recognize it.  In fact, my first reaction was wondering if it was not a song at all but rather a commercial ... especially since Dick was spinning the oldies at that time ... not likely he'd be playing something as current as the '80's back then.  But hey, let's open it up to the readers and see if we can narrow something down for you.  Stay tuned!  (kk)
Regarding the "song" on the Dick Biondi video? You're right. It's a commercial.
Ron Smith
Thanks for the help!!!  I don't know why it was driving me crazy so much!
Well, that's quite a catchy commercial! :)

I checked my Wind 45 last night and it does list Wind on both sides.  I also dug out the Wind album and found that the track (Groovin') was not on there.  Joan Jett did a good version of 'Make Believe' on one of her albums about 10 years later.
Phil - WRCO
Hey Kent,
For Larry in Oklahoma City:  Here's the clip to Bert K.'s "Someday We'll Be Together".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohZ1CC5CAGMFrom his 1970 album.  Not bad, deserves some airplay.  But, being a huge Supremes fan, their version will always be my favorite.
AJK - The Youngest Oldies Freak Around
I've never heard this version before ... and you're right, it's not a bad recording ... I just don't hear the "hit potential" when The Supremes' version was so big.  (kk)
Yesterday, on CBS news, I heard the commentator speak about the ceremony commemorating Sam Cooke, who he described as a pioneer in Soul music.
I know classifications in music are vague at best, but I never considered Sam Cooke, whose music I love, a Soul music artist, let alone a pioneer. Am I wrong?
You Send Me, Twisting the Night Away, For Sentimental Reasons, Wonderful World, Cupid, Chain Gang, Another Saturday Night ... Soul Music?
Sam was a pop / R & B / Gospel singer in my book, and a great one. I know his roots as the singer with the "Soul Stirrers", and have all his recordings from that early era, but this was Gospel music, not Soul music. Many would argue that Gospel music is the root of Soul music and I would agree, but that doesn't make Gospel, Soul music. Water is the root of snow, but water is not snow.
The closest song I think he recorded close to a Soul song, would be "It's Alright". To me, artists like  James Brown, Sam and Dave, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett are the pioneers of Soul music. Memphis' Stax Records,  Muscle Shoals,  Booker T and the MG's, etc., are the pioneers of Soul Music..
It really irks me when a national media reports it wrong. The younger generation, who don't know what Soul music is, will be ill informed and history will be re-written.
Now I appreciate all types of music, with a few modern day exceptions, but to me Doowop and Soul music were the greatest in the long varied history of modern music or rock and roll.
I always felt that the Beatles killed Soul music and Doowop, and I never forgave them for that. Don't misunderstand me, I liked the Beatles and much of the British Invasion that followed, but not near as much as Soul and Doowop.
I am 69 and a performing musician, four nights a week. I play mostly for seniors over 55, and I very rarely get a request for any Beatles music or British Invasion songs. I do get lots of requests for Elvis, Motown, Soul and Doowop. I know it's not an unbiased sample, but it does show what my generation prefers. Let's not let a national media, who did a poor job of researching this piece, muddy the waters of musical history.
If I am wrong, I would like to know. What say you?
Bob Hughes
Ocean City, MD
I've seen Sam Cooke referred to as "The Man Who Invented Soul" many times ... in fact, if I'm not mistaken, there's even a CD Box Set available with that very name!  While artists like James Brown and Wilson Pickett were certainly innovators of a new genre of black music, I think THEIR material falls more into the Rhythm and Blues ... and maybe even "funk" category. 
(Of course, Brown is ALSO referred to as "The Godfather of Soul", so who knows!!!)
In reality, it's ALL soul music ... and these are just "labels" attached to certain artists. 
Sam's gospel background certainly helped him once he started writing and performing his own material ... and this new music touched your very "soul" ... it was SO smooth sounding compared to much of what else was out at the time that it conveyed that sexy "getcha in the bedroom" feeling ... and nobody did that better than Sam.  (kk)