Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 07 - 17 - 11 )

Lots more goodies this week ... enjoy!

Hi Ya Kent ...
WOW! ... the article about Bill Haley was ... chilling to say the least.
I never realized what a tormented soul he was in his later years.
Doesn't it seem like there's a pattern for some of these rock and roll icons from the fifties?  Unhappiness, alcohol, and drugs ... a terrible cocktail.
I remember where I was the day Haley died, and when I heard it on the news ... it was almost in the same place I was when Elvis died. 
I remember thinking to myself how ironic that was.
Anyway, I'm loving your continued excellence in FH, and I look forward every Sunday morning to your email.  It brings back great memories from my many years in radio, and as a nightclub and party DJ.
Great Work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Keep it goin'!!!!!!
Yes, yet another Rock And Roll Tragic Hero, I'm afraid.  Sad ending for a guy who never REALLY got his due ... although "Rock Around The Clock" seems to forever be the benchmark for the beginning of The Rock Era.  Haley is another one of those '50's artists whose popularity never waned overseas ... so many of these artists fill their schedules with tours there to this day.  Haley was never deemed "sexy enough" to become the poster boy for rock and roll here in The States ... and Elvis fit that bill perfectly ... so without question he stole a lot of Haley's thunder.  At the very least, he should be recognized as one of The Founding Fathers of Rock And Roll.
(The part I STILL don't get is that the family kept this sad, sad secret locked up for all these years, whether it be for reasons of embarrassment, family shame or personal privacy, all the while maintaining the "front" of Bill Haley's love and contribution to rock and roll.  Why divulge it NOW ... and in such away as to paint such a sad and pathetic portrait? I guess the truth hurts sometimes ... MOST times, actually ... but there's one hell of a bio-pic in this story should somebody choose to make one!)  kk

Kent ...
The fact that Tommy Allsup is willing to take a lie detector test and Dion isn't says it all. I agree with you - Tommy should attack Dion's character, not his music.
Frank B.

Great issue today!
Man, I was knocked out by the Winter Dance Party poster. Are reprints of that available anywhere you know of? I've seen it many times before but the sadness really hit me this morning, as well as the beautiful memories!

I played next to Tommy Allsup at The Lone Star Cafe party for Paul
McCartney's Buddy Holly show years ago. Garry Tallent and I sang a Buddy song and it was a big thrill to be on the same stage with the great McCartney as well as a slew of other marvelous talents. When I watched Mr. Allsup play the guitar part on "Maybe Baby" that I could never quite master, it was a revelation. So simple but so completely brilliant! Ah, those were indeed the days! 
As for Dion, I love him ... he's one of the greatest singers ever in pop! 
Dion has always been a musical hero of mine ... and I met him when I played guitar on his single "The Heart of Saturday Night" ... all I can tell you is that he was a super guy.
Henry Gross

Hi Kent ...
Thanks so much for your marvelous website.  I am Tommy Allsup's wife and I appreciate your comments about Dion NOT once mentioning his "coin toss" in all these years.  Thanks so much guys!
Since I'm not on Facebook, I asked our FH Buddy Tom Crowe to drop Tommy and Nicole and line and let them know about all of the recent discussions going on on our website.  And who knows, maybe we'll even get an interview out of all of this!!!  (kk)

Hi Kent!
Doing my part to get the interview with you and Tommy Allsup. This would really be great for you and for all of us fans. I can't think of anyone else that would bring such insight into what became Rock and Roll ... before, during and to this day. This interview and your writing would just flow and be fantastic. I have a feeling the interview would go on for hours.
Tom Crowe
Here's a copy of the email I sent to Tommy and Nicole Allsup:
Dear Tommy Allsup and Mrs Allsup,
I am a huge Tommy Aullsup fan ... for fifty years. I  have a friend request in on your Facebook page and would really appreciate the privilege of being accepted to your Facebook page. I also am working with a fantastic sight called Forgotten Hits.  The owner of this sight is Kent Kotal.  
I have posted your passionate letter about Dion on his sight. Kent's extensive members list, I believe, would be of great exposure and interest for you and your book. Forgotten Hits goes all over the world. Kent would also like to do an interview feature on Forgotten Hits.  You being at the beginning of Rock and Roll and your body of work is a fascination to all fans. 
Tom Crowe
Thanks, Tom!  Let's see if we hear anything back!  (kk)

Hi, Kent.
Really nice article on longtime Minnesota resident Bobby Vee deciding to slow life down a notch or two. 
Over the years, he's been very active in the local community.  And I believe he's had a hit or two -- actually, 38 Top 100 Billboard songs, one No. 1, and five other Top 10 hits. All the best to Mr. Velline.
Don Effenberger

You mentioned Bobby Vee briefly the other day. I always remember when Leo Sayer came out with MORE THAN I CAN SAY, on more than one occasion I heard a DJ say words similar to this:  "That record was made years ago but I can't seem to remember who did it" or "I have heard that song before but can't remember where"
Larry Neal
Leo Sayer's hit remake actually got Bobby Vee's record played on the radio again.  (Sayer once commented that he was up late in his hotel room after a show when one of those TV Oldies Greatest Hits Infomercials came on ... and they happened to be spotlighting a Bobby Vee's Greatest Hits release.  When he heard the little four second snippet of "More Than I Can Say", he, too, was reminded what a great song it was ... and decided then and there on the spot to cut it himself.
When Sayer's remake hit the charts, it bested Bobby Vee's original.  Leo's version soared all the way to #2 in 1980 while Bobby Vee's version (originally the B-Side of his 1961 Hit "Stayin' In") peaked at #61.  In hindsight, it's amazing that Leo remembered it at all ... but (as mentioned in our Bill Haley comments above) Vee was MUCH more popular in England when Leo was growing up than he was here in The States.  In Great Britain, "More Than I Can Say" was considered the A-Side ... and went all the way to #4!  (kk)

What a sweet heart!
Stu Weiss

Hi Kent,
I thought you'd be interested in knowing that Duane Eddy sent me an advance copy of his upcoming album "Road Trip".  Fans of his will love all 11 tracks.  It was recorded in England.
The album gatefold packaging is first class and includes a CD of all the tracks.
My personal pick as a first single off the album is "Rose of the Valley".  It's a bit softer, but reminds me of "Because They're Young" with the strings and sax and a beautiful melody.  Other titles such as "Twango", "Curveball" and "Desert Song" are all great.
I'd like nothing better than to get Duane Eddy records back into my record books.
Duane said it has been released in England - distributed by EMI - and he's hoping to get it released in America ASAP.
Joel Whitburn
Ask Duane Eddy if he'd like to "sneak peek" a track here in Forgotten Hits ... maybe we can help to drum up some interest in the new CD and push for a domestic release!  (kk)

Kent ...
Check this out ... Goldmine Magazine picks the 20 Best Doo-Wop Groups.
My favorite group made the list ... The Platters.
Frank B.

Goldmine Magazine ALSO endorses two long-overlooked, deserving candidates for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ...

I would like to comment on a couple of things that I thought of while reading your FH comments for today.
Concerning songs associated with movies being used in the background, I always did wonder why in the movie E.T., that in the beginning the kids and family were having dinner in the kitchen with the radio going in the background. The Rivington's 1962 PAPA-OOM-PA-PA was playing. Why was this particular song picked of all songs to be picked?
Likewise, remember about 2 or 3 years ago, there was a commercial on television (I really can't remember but I think it was advertising some sort of cell phone) in which the background music was WOO HOO by the Rocketeens from 1959. If this wasn't the original recording used in the background, it was a very close second.
I happened to come home from work the other night to find Frannie and Paige watching "Kill Bill" (for what HAS to be the 200th time!!!) ... I sat down for a few minutes and heard "Woo Hoo" on THAT soundtrack, too.  Funny 'cause I had just received your email.  They both immediately blurted out "Oh, that's from the Vonage television commercial!" ... so there's your answer!  (And yes, it WAS for some type of cell phone service!  lol)  kk

‘Unchained Melody’ lyricist Zaret dead at 99
Song was one of the most frequently recorded of the 20th century
Hy Zaret died at his home Monday, about a month shy of his 100th birthday, his son, Robert Zaret, said Tuesday.
He penned words to many songs and advertising jingles but his biggest hit was “Unchained Melody,” written in 1955 for a film called “Unchained.” It brought Zaret and Alex North, the composer, an Academy Award nomination for best song.
Zaret refused the producer’s request to work the word “unchained” into the lyrics, instead writing to express the feelings of a lover who has “hungered for your touch a long, lonely time.”
The song was recorded by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Lena Horne, U2, Guy Lombardo, Vito & the Salutations and Joni Mitchell, who incorporated fragments into her song “Chinese Cafe / Unchained Melody.”
An instrumental version was a No. 1 hit in 1955 for Les Baxter, while a vocal version by Al Hibbler reached No. 3 the same year.
But most baby boomers remember the song from the Righteous Brothers’ version. The record, produced by Phil Spector, reached No. 4 on the Billboard chart in 1965, and was a hit again 25 years later when it was used on the soundtrack of the film “Ghost.”
In all, it was recorded more than 300 times, according to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which listed it in 1999 as one of the 25 most-performed musical works of the 20th century.
Among other songs Zaret co-wrote were “My Sister and I,” a hit in 1941 for Jimmy Dorsey; “So Long, for a While,” the theme song for the radio and TV show “Your Hit Parade”; “Dedicated to You”; and the Andrews Sisters’ novelty song “One Meat Ball.”
“He had some big, big hits,” said Jim Steinblatt, an assistant vice president at ASCAP.
In later years, Zaret had to fend off the claims by another man, electrical engineer William Stirrat, who said he wrote the “Unchained Melody” lyrics as a teenager in the 1930s and even legally changed his name to Hy Zaret. Robert Zaret and Steinblatt both said the dispute was resolved completely in favor of the real Zaret, who continued to receive all royalties. Steinblatt said Stirrat died in 2004.
-- submitted by Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
How weird that this would happen now in the midst of so much discussion of this tune in Forgotten Hits!
(By the way, Bill Medley told Forgotten Hits a few years ago that HE produced the original Righteous Brothers' version of "Unchained Melody" and not Phil Spector because Spector couldn't be bothered to oversee the B-Sides!  "Unchained Melody" was the original flip side of The Righteous Brothers' single "Hung On You" but quickly surpassed the intended A-Side on the charts, ultimately peaking at #4 in Billboard in 1965, eclipsing "Hung On You"'s #47 chart showing.  Much like the proper songwriting credit, the dispute as to who really PRODUCED this song has also raged for years ... as Phil Spector ALSO claims ownership of this production!)  kk

I found a source that had a nice clean copy of the flick "Unchained".
It's not bad, but it's not great. The melody plays on and off throughout, and there are interesting appearances by Jerry Paris (of Dick Van Dyke fame), Barbara Hale (youngest I've ever seen her), and a young Tim Considine.
Musical highlights are Todd Duncan's vocal and a nice instrumental at the close.
David Lewis
Hil's review was less than flattering ... but it IS interesting to see where this song got its origins.  (kk)

>>>Unchained, a 1955 low budget movie, is about a man imprisoned. I have seen the movie and I have it on DVD and VHS but neither is a copy to make a fuss over. It is blurred and shaky. I bought it from one of those online "hard to find" movie places, mainly to get the song. The movie stars Chester Morris, a tough guy type from early 30s films and into the 70s. He plays a warden trying to create a model prison where the inmates are treated decently with the hopes of rehabilitation. The focus is on an inmate played by Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, a football player with Hollywood ambitions that never materialized. The theme is by Alex North, on of Hollywood's finest composers, whose work can be heard in such movies as Viva Zapata and The Long Hot Summer. While the theme is played throughout, the song is in the hands of one of the most cliched characters in movie history, the black prisoner with a guitar. Here he is played by one time Porgy actor Todd Duncan. In the movie itself it is sung without the famous bridge beginning with "Lonely river flows ... ". It was nominated for Best Song Oscar and lost to the highly popular but not long-standing "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing". Time and countless artists recordings have demonstrated over time which is the better song. Here's an mp3 I made. You now have the original version of Unchained Melody. Take my word for it. It is a classic song. It is NOT a classic movie. I feel its low budget, lack of star power and absence of any studio push kept the song from winning an Oscar.
Link to the movie for more information is below.  (Hil)
There are reportedly over 300 known recordings of "Unchained Melody", making it one of the most recorded songs in pop history.  Joel Whitburn's latest "Top Pop Singles" book also says it's the song with the most charted versions:  13 at last count!  (kk)

And how about a commercial for Forgotten Hits???

Kent ...
Another great issue of Forgotten Hits.
I think you should take that Glen Campbell song, cut it off after
K - E - N - T ... and then use it for a Forgotten Hits Jingle.
Frank B.
Actually, our FH Buddy Jimmy Jay ran a custom Forgotten Hits commercial on his program a while back ...

And here's something we threw together several years ago after taking about a month off!  (kk)

And, speaking of commercials ...

I've seen it twice but didn't note the product ... and I can't google the youtube. 
LOUD MUSIC, older couple ...
Grandpa goes to 'supposedly' quiet-down his grand-daughter's female rock band.
He demands her guitar, she hands it over, and apologizes for the noise sheepish-ly ...
but instead of 'anger', grandpa rocks out with some equally LOUD Steppenwolf 'power-chords'

(grandma's groovin' in the background)
to the delight of the girl band members who should be starting to 'jam' as the commercial ends.GRANDPARENTS ARE A 'YOUNG' mid-60-ish(?)...VERY COOL CONCEPT!
Reminds me of a younger guy at work
who was amazed that I was pretty up-to-date on most 'current' music, still having dislikes, of course!
I asked him ... "WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO STOP LISTENING TO AND ENJOYING NEW MUSIC?  WHAT AGE?" ... pointing out how sad it is to be stuck in ONE certain era and never evolve out of it!You don't have to love everything, but if you take a look, there's usually something worthwhile!

It's funny ... I was reading your post today and it reminded me of the first radio station I ever worked at.  It was Top 40 WJLY-FM in Virginia Beach, Va, in early 1976, doing afternoons and, of course, we were spinning records.  So, as you know, back in the day the record companies would send you a 45 that was stereo on one side and mono on the other. Well, we were an FM Stereo radio station, but we never really got too many copies of Top 40 songs. And, we had live jocks 24/7 playing the hits incessantly. Again, you had to cue up every record and we had a night guy that used to cue burn the beginnings of a buttload of songs. (That just pissed me off). So I'm cueing up something like "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and you know how soft the intro and outro is on that song ... well, it sounded horrible on the stereo side, and come to find out it was our last copy, so I just turned it over and played it in mono. I just thought it sounded better than all that cue burn crap at the beginning of the stereo side. AND dare say if any records ever got a scratch on them, it was S.O.P., you were forced to do the same. And of course I'd lie to the listening audience and comment how great this music was in stereo! :-)
Was I the ONLY guy that was forced to do this back in the days of turntables?
"Wild" Bill Cody

All of us old jocks also have memories of starting a 45 record on 33 1/3 and then changing it while the record was on the air. When I was on the Air at WROD Daytona Beach,Herb Albert had a song out called "Rise". 
If you play the 33 on 45, it actually sounds better. I did that by accident one time ... we had a few calls of people who like the song ... so the night clubs started playing it on 45 as a dance record. And of course Top 40 in those days meant we were playing 40 records
-- Kevin Fulton
KUSI-TV 9/51
Creative Worldwide Media

Hi Kent -
I found this Chart Watch Extra Column on One Hit Wonders - and thought you and your readers might enjoy it.
Stacee McDermott
>>>The offer came last Friday for me to become part of this new venture.
I was thrilled, but I had to turn down CBS / NBC / ABC.  Join me Friday nights.  Here is the link: go, Stu! And as Kent always says, this is OUR music, and the songs, we "love 'em"!!! So, don't forget my dedication!!! :-)
Jersey John

Kent ... 
Stumbled on this site researching CASEY JONES & THE GOVERNORS.  Thought it might interest you ...

RENFIELD  (lol) 
No, actually, this is a pretty cool site ... and I think he'd like OUR site, too ... why don't you drop him an invite ... and let him know that I just plugged his site in The Sunday Comments Page!  (kk)

Kent ...
HBO will show "George Harrison: Living In THe Material World" in two parts, October 5th & 6th.
Frank B.
George Harrison Documentary, Directed By Martin Scorsese, to Make Its Debut on HBO

Thanks for posting the Rose Garden tune today.  I'd completely forgotten about that one but I was pleased to hear those first few notes - truly a "forgotten hit."
I've actually been thinking about discontinuing the "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature for a while ... it just doesn't seem to be generating the reaction I had hoped for ... both between radio support and fan support.  I'd be curious to know how many of you out there check the website out every day, Monday thru Friday, to hear this new feature.  And maybe there are a few more jocks out there who would like to incorporate this feature into their daily programming?  Let's hear your thoughts ... meanwhile, I have prepared another week of Forgotten Hits gems so stay tuned!  (Actually, I think we've got a real kick-ass selection picked out for you this week ... so give us some feedback, OK?  And Jocks ... PLEASE play some of these on your program ... it's a built-in, "Wow!" conversation maker just waiting for you on The Forgotten Hits Website every Monday - Friday Morning!!!)  kk

(aka "WHAT'S IN A NAME"???):
Hmmm ... maybe it IS time to start calling this "Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits" after all!!!  Check this out:

Steve's Forgotten Hits
Steve Randall's Forgotten Hits is coming soon to Andover Sound ... so if there's a Top 20 hit from the last 40 years that you never seem to hear on the ...
All I know is that I've been calling it "Forgotten Hits" since 1999 ... so that oughta count for SOMETHING, right?!?!?  (kk)

The tribute to Rob Grill was done well, and with consideration for all, however I wish the motivation for doing it did not exist.  I also want to thank Forgotten Hits for the tributes they do to our living performers.  We should spend more time sending our accolades and admirations to people while they are still here so they can realize how much we have treasured their participation in our lives.
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
And thank you for sharing YOURS!!!  (kk)

A toast to Rob Grill -
Very well done -

Very late notice, I know, but I will be on WEEF / 1430 AM Sunday Morning (the 17th) from 6 to 9 AM to pay tribute to Rob Grill.  Besides the major hits, I am hoping Ivan will give me time to play stuff from his solo album and the 1985 Grassroots Album which MCA never promoted. Sorry this is such late notice but I hope a few of you can tune in. If you are on the North Side of the City or NORTH / NORTHWESTERN BURBS, you should be able to pick it up. (Most of the time it is ethnic stuff on this station ... so this is a special rock and roll treat!)
Mike DeMartino 

Back in the 80's, I think 1982, I was in a band called Johnny Holm and the
Traveling Fun show. They are still around and still do great business around Minnesota and North and South Dakota. We got the chance to warm up for Three Dog Night on their reunion tour, one night in Duluth, MN. The night before we were in Hartford, Wisconsin, warming up for The Grass Roots.
At that point they had an album out and were on the road promoting it. Rob Grill was the only original as I recall. He came up to me at the end of the night and said, "hey I hear you guys are playing with Three Dog Night tomorrow night."  I said that we were. He then told me that Cory Wells was a old buddy of his and would I mind taking something to him. Of course I was thrilled since I was trying to find a way to meet Three Dog Night anyway. He handed me an envelope and I must have gotten a funny look on my face, and he said "Don't worry, it's legal." He then told me that he and Cory were old fishing buddies and that the envelope contained a fishing lure. I cracked up, of course, and we got to chat a bit. He couldn't have been nicer. I did knock on the dressing room of Three Dog Night that next night in Duluth. I don't think I'd have had a chance to talk to any of them, but I told the guy at the door that I had something for Cory from Rob Grill.  I managed to get my Three Dog Night autograph after all. Thanks, Rob.

I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Rob Grill. It sounds like he suffered quite a bit at the end and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
The Grass Roots came to Rochester a number of times and our group quite often opened the show. One year their appearance coincided with the LPGA Tour's appearance at the Rochester International, now a tour major known as the Wegman's Classic. Rob, an avid golfer, was also a huge fan of the women's tour and I was an announcer at the tournament, so I took him out in the afternoon and introduced him to many of the golfers, many of whom also were happy to meet him. He was like a kid in a candy shop and he got all sweaty when he met his favorite, Jan Stephenson from Australia. The only trouble was, she didn't have a clue who he was, even after I explained about his group and all their record sales. He was still very happy to have met her and went home with a visor full of autographs of the ladies.
Great memories and I will always enjoy the music of the Grass Roots.

Danny Guilfoyle

>>>I tried to find an official online statement from Creed Bratton, original Grass Roots lead guitarist (and now, for the past seven years, a regular, hysterical fixture on TV's "The Office") ... but was surprised not to see one.  Reading through some of his web pages, Creed seems to be a bit partial toward Warren Entner more so than Rob Grill.  Anybody know anything about that?  Did they have a falling out at some point?  I know Creed left the band around 1970 / 1971.  (kk)
You'll find Creed Bratton's comments on the passing of Rob Grill on the Rolling Stone website:
"He was a damn good singer ... We were in a good-looking pop group in the Summer of Love. It was pretty cool.”
-- Creed Bratton
-- Tom Cuddy

Wow!  Nice of Creed to say a whole 23 words on the subject.  (Like I said ... I kinda get the impression that there's no real love lost here!)  kk
Kent -
My best memory of the Grass Roots is when I was in high school I had a birthday party. Everyone knew that I was a huge fan of the Grass Roots that I received 7 copies of their Greatest Hits album. Just like a wedding gift that you get 7 pieces of the same appliance!
Bill (WLSsurvey)


>>>Tell the truth ... how many of you girls out there made those crazy gum-wrapper chains back in high school ... raise your hands!!!  (kk)
Guilty!!!!!!!! This memory is just too funny. The reason for the gum wrapper chains was to make one as tall as your boyfriend. I remember my boyfriend at the time was 6'2" and needless to say I didn't make one that tall. lol
We went to see the Dave Clark 5 in Boston. I made a gum chain for Mike Smith. You had to make them the height of the boy you liked! They were performing in a theater, not like the huge venues artists perform in these days. I had an usher bring it up on the stage, and before the concert Mike held it up and said "I'd like to thank Eileen for this, it's just lovely!" Needless to say, I was just in my glory! And people at school were all talking about it the next day!

lol, Kent ...
I admit I made gum wrapper chains in high school!!!
What do I win????????????
Donna ...

And, just in case you've always been wondering ...

Since March 11, 1965, Gary Duschl of Virginia, USA, has been making a gum wrapper chain which measures 19,363 m (63,527 ft) long and consists of 1,500,000 gum wrappers, 3,000,000 links and weighs 400 kg (882 lb), as of March 11, 2010. 

Whoa!!! Sounds like a WHOLE buncha cavities to me!!!  But that is OFFICIALLY The Guinness Book of World Records' record!  (kk)