Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 08 - 21 - 11 )

Only one week left to vote in the Labor Day 500 and I don't see a ballot from Kent or Frannie Kotal yet.  
I DO have votes from England, New Zealand and even the Czech Republic, so the list has some unusual things on it.
-- Ron Smith
Gotta get my act together here!!! (lol)  Of course Ron's talking about his Labor Day 500 Countdown ... and it's quite the online event, now running every other year on his website (so this makes it his twelfth such countdown.)  Just follow the link above and cast your votes for your favorites now.  (Hmmm ... I wonder how "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" is doing!!!)  kk

Did I tell you how much I appreciate your alerting me to this ("COME SOFTLY TO ME" featured in "THE GREEN LANTERN), along with emails of congratulations from many others?
Gretchen Christopher
PS:  "Come Softly To Me" is also featured on the CD, GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16), a Billboard Critics' Pick for 10 Best Albums of the Year!
(Hear Sound Clips at www. -  Thanks again!
It's great to see some of these songs being revived again so that a whole new generation of fans can discover them all over again.  Without question, "Come Softly To Me" is a classic ... and it deserves to be heard and live on ... and getting placed in a blockbuster film like "The Green Lantern" certainly helps to make that happen!  We've recently seen Freddy Cannon enjoy a revival thanks to HIS song "Palisades Park" being placed in the new X-Men movie ... and so many great early '60's classics appearing in the film "The Help" ... it's really encouraging to see film makers using this music to illustrate their films!  (kk)

Hi Kent! 
Congratulations on an excellent blog!
However, I must take exception to the following comment you made regarding "branding of artists" ...
>>>There isn't a radio station around that would even DREAM of playing a song by Pop Songstress DORIS DAY ...  (kk) 

I work for a live, local radio station that does play Doris Day along with a wide variety of other artists from almost every genre and time period. I only get behind the mic when someone else is sick or on vacation and that will happen this Wednesday and Thursday from Noon to 6 pm.
Keep up the good work!
Norman Henry Schmidt (Norm Henry)
Sales / Air Talent 
 1240 AM - Hagerstown MD
Well, your station is a rare exception to the "norm" then, Norm!  (The closest MOST stations get to mentioning Doris Day on the air is playing Wham's hit "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"!!!  lol)  But we're VERY happy to help spread the word.  Variety is the name of the game as far as we're concerned ... hopefully a few readers can tune in and listen this week!  (And give us a "shout out" on the air if you can!!!) Glad you're enjoying Forgotten Hits!  (kk)

Hi Kent ...
Because I'm a mom and nagging is my job, I'm just putting in a plea to you to rerun your fabulous series on Bobby Darin. 
Thanks heaps!
Jamie Ney
Frank B. put you up to this, didn't he?!?!?  (lol)  I thought I had a few days off coming up in the next week or two (but it looks like that may not happen after all now due to a heavy work load) ... but I haven't forgotten.  What I should do is rerun the series on the blog and then post each chapter (after it runs) to the Forgotten Hits Archive Site rather than try to recreate the whole thing from scratch again in an edited form ... but even THAT will probably take me 100 hours ... which I just don't have at the moment.  We WILL get around to it, 'tho ... eventually ... so please be patient ... and let all of the OTHER Bobby Fans out there know that as soon as it's available for viewing, we'll let you know.  Thanks, Jamie!  (kk)

Can you believe that we're STILL getting mail on our coverage of the old "Heaven Sent" commercials?!?!?  Unreal!!! That's because new people are discovering Forgotten Hits every day.  Chances are if you're searching for some long lost musical memory, this is where you're going to find it!  (Not quite sure I get the whole WLS tie-in 'tho ... more info please!!!  And is there actually a clip of the Heaven Sent commercial morphing into Billy Idol's "White Wedding"??? Now THAT'S something I'd like to see!!!  (kk)
Hi —
I am sending a follow-up to your post of December 11, 2009 (some very unfinished business).
I wanted to note to someone beside my wife that the Heaven Sent jingle has morphed into Billy Idol’s White Wedding. Did he listen to WLS in the 60s too?  

Kent ...
Frank B.

Kent ...
Here's a link to the "1950's Radio In Color" review in today's newspaper.
Frank B.
I might have to pick this one up after all ... sounds pretty good.  Thanks, Frank!  (kk)


>>>When I got up for my nightly 3 AM pee, I started making lists in my mind so I thought I'd share them with you. Perhaps others would like to add their own short lists or comments.
1. Best voices in rock and roll (I excluded those who never made an uptempo hit so stars like Johnny Mathis, Adam Wade, Johnny Nash and Tony Williams were ignored)
In random order:
Jay Black
Sam Cooke
Roy Orbison
Roy Hamilton
Johnny Maestro
Jackie Wilson
2. Best rock and roll voices
Wanda Jackson
Eddie Cochran
Bob Seger
Jerry Lee Lewis
Who would you list?
Steve Davidson
Chicago, IL
>>>Tiny Tim didn't make your list???  I dunno ... some good ones on here for sure.  Others??? (kk)
You know Steve was just beggin' for one of those 'snubbed' replies  :)
But you'd have to include:
"The voice of an angel," Carl Wilson (along with his older brother, Brian)
"The golden voice of rock & roll," Ray Peterson
Peter Cetera
Buddy Holly
Alex Chilton
Fats Domino
Tina Turner
Johnny Burnette
Little Richard
Chuck Berry
Clyde Mc Phatter
and most certainly the great James Brown, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder -- you simply can't confine them to the r&b genre -- they crossed to rock on numerous occasions.
There are a number of others, but it's well after 3 AM in the morning here -- and I've not been to bed, so how can I get up and 'pee,' Steve? :) However, I was pleased to see that you had included Jay Black and Johnny Maestro on the list.
Second thought: One of the very first -- in fact, it may have been 'the first,' 'live' events I produced while a senior at El Camino High School (Sacramento, CA) -- was "The Diamonds." Dave Summerville was with 'em then, and is still with 'em now. My dear friend, the late Ray Peterson (see list above) worked with Dave a number of times, as he did another great (and often overlooked rocker, Bobby Vee).
Finally, a great pix of your daughter and my dear friend and hero, Brian Wilson. Glad you were able to take in his Saint Charles, IL show.
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
Music City, USA
Thank you, Fred, for helping us secure the backstage passes to meet Brian and Jeff Foskett before the show. It was definitely a night to remember.
For the record, I believe Dave Sumerville now works as a solo act, having sold the rights to The Diamonds' name some years back ... but he STILL sounds great and, as I mentioned the other day, his live CD is entertaining as can be.  You can pick it up from his website:  (kk)
re:  COVERS:
>>>How about trying to raise some interest in cover versions of pop and rock hits?  I don't necessarily mean original versions (Glen Campbell's "Turn Around, Look at Me," for instance, or Earl-Jean's "I'm Into Somethin' Good") -- but  simply other versions of well-known pop / rock material that also made the charts but are never played.  For instance, we all know Johnny Preston's "Running Bear."  But how often do you hear Sonny James' somewhat more rocking version?   Or his excellent cover of Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely"?  Radio stations might play the Hollywood Argyles' "Alley-Oop," but how about the  Dyna-Sores' version, which puts a nice R&B edge on the song?  Some cover versions are simply mediocre wannabes, of course.  But many have a charm of their own: The Sandpipers' "Louie Louie;" Johnny Rivers' "Cupid;" The Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Good Morning Starshine." None of these is going to eclipse the original -- but aren't they worth hearing once in a while?  Ditto with Ray Charles' or Aretha Franklin's versions of "Eleanor Rigby" or Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude." Something like ten versions of "Unchained  Melody" made the Billboard Hot 100, so why do we hear just one or two of them?  I know, I know --- it's hard enough to raise some interest in  genuine hits that have been forgotten, let alone forgotten covers.   But hey, I figure -- if Forgotten Hits can't do it, no one can.  (Henry McNulty)
>>>Unfortunately, we're having a hard enough time just getting radio to recognize some of the legitimate Top 20 Hits from the past 40-50 years ... no way they're gonna go for this idea!!!  (Sorry ... sad but true.)  Internet Radio might be interested in featuring some of these obscurities as a novel way to present a twin spin ... but by and large the reigns are SO tight on these play lists that there's no room to maneuver anything that hasn't made it past their "testing audience" ... which is why we keep hearing the same old / same old again and again and again.  Neat idea, 'tho ... maybe SOMEBODY on the list will give this some thought, drop us a line and let us know where and when to tune in and listen!  (kk)
>>>You might get to hear some of these listed songs on Topshelf Oldies, which strives to play not only the hits, but the lower charting records, and non-charting songs that sound like they should have been hits.

Tom Diehl
>>>What would be REALLY cool would be if somebody could take this idea and make it the "theme" of one of their shows ... and devote the whole program to "covers" and alternate versions like these.  Now that would be something we could get behind and help promote the heck out of.  Anybody interested?  (kk)
Of course there are GOOD covers ... and there are BAD covers ... as illustrated by this list put together by Rolling Stone Magazine ... who just recently named The Ten WORST Covers of All-Time!!!  (kk)
Kent ...
OUCH! Here are the ten worst cover songs ever according to Rolling Stone Magazine.  Please note that Britney Spears made the list twice!
Frank B.
Of this list the only one I take exception to is the Alien Ant Farm version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" ... I always thought that was kind of an interesting interpretation!  (kk)

After we ran FH Reader Bob Rush's request for songs our readers would like to see their oldies band The Way Back Machine add to their live, in concert set list, we got a number of suggestions ... and, apparently, so did he! (kk)
If you see that guy who writes for The Beat, tell him I'd like to add "Come On Down To My Boat" to his set list! Tell him to do a nice job on and prolong the opening!
Jersey John

Wow, Kent - thanks!  You da man!  "Boat" is a terrific song to do!  Falls right in perfectly.
And thanks so much to New Colony Rick for an amazing song list!
All the best,
Dr. Robert (Bob Rush) 


I have got VIP tix to see Johnny Rivers tomorrow night! I can't even tell you how excited I am!! Full report after the concert ... I promise!!
Please do!  I recently suggested to one of our local area promoters on the list that Johnny Rivers would be a GREAT act to bring to Chicago ... I honestly can't even remember the last time he played here.  If you happen to get the chance to meet him after the show, please tell him about Forgotten Hits ... would LOVE to add him to the list of "celebs" who participate!
Thanks, Eileen ... have a great time at the show ... and be sure to file a full report!

Kent ...
From Ron Smith ... check these 1966 prices.  I think I'll go for the expensive seats.
Frank B.
Imagine seeing a line-up like that ... for about six bucks!!!  Those were the days, my friend!  (kk)


I must have played "One Night Stand" about 12 times in a row. What a great song! I have the 45 but it is a poor copy, it is nice to hear a copy as clear as I remember it from my senior year in high school. Magic Lantern's recording of "Shame, Shame" is also in my collection and is nearly as good. 
"Shame Shame" has got to be one of my all-time favorite records ... I just LOVE this tune.  (Guess I should vote for that one on Ron Smith's Countdown!!!)
It pre-dates Albert Hammond's involvement with The Magic Lanterns by about three years, I believe.  I wasn't familiar with "One Night Stand" until a reader sent it in.  Albert's done some amazing work over the years.  (I was just reading the other night how, after Hal David split with Burt Bacharach, he went to Albert Hammond with his lyrics for "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", which then became a HUGE hit for Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson back in 1984.  (kk)


Checking this with, the article was tagged there as 'satire'. There's even a picture there of 'Mr Spears.'
The idea of someone donating anything to a Walmart is just ridiculous. If the CDs were still in good shape, he'd try to get something for them.
The incident would have made for great television, tho.
Even knowing it was a joke, I just loved the idea that somebody was passionate enough about the music they loved to share it with the next generation ... even if it WAS being done in a forced and under-handed way!  (lol)  kk


More and more press about this new Cowsills documentary ... and their live gigs.  This just in from FH Reader David Lewis:
re:  ELVIS:
I really enjoyed yours and Frannie's Elvis stories. My Mom died in 1990 at the ripe old age of 57. She loved Elvis. She asked that we play "My Way" (his version) at her funeral. I never understood why she was so taken with him. Once I told her that I didn't get why she so admired a man that died as a result of his own bad choices. She said he was just a young, naive country boy that was taken advantage of by so many. Everyone wanted a piece of him.  Now I understand a little how she felt because I felt incredibly sad when Michael Jackson died. For weeks I couldn't get his songs out of my head. They were playing there all of the time. Michael and my Mom shared the same birth date ... August 29th ... and he died on the same date as my Dad ... June 25th. It's strange how the passing of people you never knew can impact you so much.

>>>Little know fact ... You had to live in Chicago in 1969 to know that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley completely banned the Elvis Presley record "In The Ghetto" (about the slums in Chicago) from airplay and only the flip side "Any Day Now" could be played.  (Bob Kurtz)
>>>Sounds like urban legend to me ... I DID live in Chicago in 1969 (still do as a matter of fact!) and both WLS and WCFL, our two big 50,000 Watt AM Powerhouses, played "In The Ghetto" all the time.  A quick check of Ron Smith's books shows "In The Ghetto" peaking at #4 on the WLS Chart (during an 8-week run) and topping out at #6 on WCFL during a 7-week run.  All I can say in hindsight is that if Mayor Daley DID try to prevent the record from being played here in Chicago, he wasn't very successful in his efforts.  (kk)
1968: "Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ordered local radio stations to not play the Rolling Stones' single "Street Fighting Man" during the National Democratic Convention in anticipation of the rioting that did occur during the convention. The ban gave the song huge publicity, air play and sales."
Jersey John

And a great Elvis interview between Jeremy Roberts and Marshall Terrill can be found here:

>>>I probably got more inspiration and encouragement from watching Elvis than I ever did from my own father.  A sad thing to say ... but completely true.  Three years later we would lose John Lennon.  That's the one that hurt the most.  Such a senseless death.  Nothing ever touched my soul as much as the music of The Beatles ... again, there's always been more of them in me than my own true blood. Nothing else has ever had as profound ... or long-lasting ... an impact.  I can honestly say that I grieved deeper ... and longer ... for Elvis and John Lennon than I did for my own parents when they passed away.  Now that's tough to type ... and I had to pause for a few moments afterwards to digest what I had just written ... did I really want this to go out like this?  Did I really want this to go out at all?  But again, the statement is completely (and perhaps all too brutally) true.  What does that say about me?  What does that say about them?  The truth is at the hands of my parents I probably felt more in the way of discouragement and / or ridicule for what I felt was important ... for what touched me ... and I was often told that I was simply wasting my time ... go out and do something MEANINGFUL.  I'd listen to the radio constantly and absorb every new sound.  I'd collect the records and the Top 40 Charts and play imaginary radio shows in my head when I wasn't listening to the real thing.  It's the one constant that's stayed with me ... and mattered ... my entire life.  In a million years I could never hope to convey in words just how much it all meant ... but perhaps in baring my soul today, you now have some small idea.  (kk)

It's very healthy for you to put it out there, Kent. Confronting it, processing it, and moving on past it is so much better than keeping it suppressed. We baby-boomers had parents who had been kids during the great depression and had struggled / fought through WWII, so their view of the world was to work, work and work to achieve the American Dream and rise to a better place than they came from. Many from that Greatest Generation just couldn't imagine a kid having a passion for music, or whatever. Some were more tolerant of their kids' interests than others. Psychologically, they had no understanding that projecting their values so firmly on their kids could hurt so much. They had no idea how damaging their disparaging remarks may have been at times - but this music thing grabbed a lot of us and resonated with something that was there before we were even born - and today we still enjoy it after many changes in our lives. The fact that you put so much into FH is testament to the deep impact this stuff has had on your life, Kent. It won't happen again. Today's youngsters have nothing that comes close.
David Lewis
I will say this ... that work ethic was instilled in me from a very early age ... and still exists today ... something that I see sadly lacking today when I observe the current work force nearly everywhere I go ... where they'll ignore a customer to chat with their friends or be texting or surfing the Internet during their paid work hours.  (Maybe we just didn't have those distractions when we were growing up ... but I still believe that the ethics enforced by our previous generation were far greater and more influential than those being passed down to the kids today, who just don't seem to take much of ANYTHING seriously anymore.  As such, we're a much weaker society ... and I'm not just saying that as an old fogie ... it's apparent everywhere I go.  In fact, OUR generation must have dropped the ball somehow because the end result is a direct result of the children that we helped raise!)  
In hindsight, I do remember a few times my dad really surprised me with something SO out of left field it completely blew me away.  My two younger brothers were CONSTANTLY getting in trouble, whether it was at school or otherwise.  As such, they always seemed to be the ones who got the most attention.  Maybe my dad could relate to them better because of his own rough childhood, growing up fatherless in the '40's, I don't know ... but I guess I've always kind of been the "white sheep" of the family ... doing everything by the book ... getting good grades, finishing high school, holding down a good job, raising a family, being responsible, etc, etc, etc.  One time my dad and I had been out shopping and I absolutely fell in love with this guitar ... I just HAD to have it.  I begged for the money, promising to pay back every penny each week until I had paid for it in full ... but my dad told me that it was simply too much money and we simply couldn't afford it.  Several weeks later (must have been my birthday or something), I came home to find this brand new guitar case sitting there waiting for me.  The anticipation to open it was killing me ... I just couldn't believe that he had got me that guitar!  I opened up the case and it was empty ... what he had gotten me was just the case, to be used with my OLD guitar.  I guess the look of shattered disappointment covered my face when he told me, with a tear in his eye ... one of the few times I saw my dad emotional ... "I wish I could have gotten you that guitar ... but we just can't afford it."  That is when it finally sunk in ... and I honestly believe it hurt him as much as it hurt me that I couldn't have it.
Another time, I was playing for a week at this dive country bar, sitting in with another band.  We played five straight nights from 9 PM until 5 AM the following morning ... EIGHT HOURS straight without a break.  What we would do is take turns grabbing lunch ... each musician would run out for a half hour, grab something to eat, while the remaining musicians carried on.  (Talk about your sweat-shops!!!)  Anyway, one night it was finally MY turn to take a break ... at 3:00 in the morning no less!!! ... and I walked out into the audience and there was my dad, sitting there at a table, with a sandwich and drink for me.  Blew me away ... that he would even by UP at 3:00 in the morning, let alone be out coming to see how I was doing and bringing me food.  That one moment ... that one gesture ... ranks as amongst the most memorable of my life ... it completely blew me away.  So thank you, doctor ... what time is our next session???  (kk)


Kent -
Thanks for all the Brian Wilson content!
Below is a media release that includes Chuck Girard, lead voice on the Hondells "Little Honda" and other Gary Usher studio groups plus a member of the Castles. Back in that era, several "Jesus People" performers released some very contemprary material on major lables (Capitol, Warner Brothers): Larry Norman, Michael Omantian ...
I enjoyed your story about Brian Wilson's new album due in October, and that picture on the cover is a gas ... the vintage woodie sitting at the beach with the "Micky Mouse" sundown over the sea ... WOW ! !   Brian sure has a sense of humor. 
Veeder Van Dorn
The Denver Moonrakers


>>>I am a little surprised ... but then again maybe not ... that me in England has to inform the readers of Forgotten Hits, an American publication, about one of America’s finest artists getting a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Well, here is the full story:

(Rockin' Lord Geoff)

>>>Perhaps even MORE shocking is the fact that it took them THIS long to recognize this guy!!! (kk)
Since Buddy Holly is being mentioned, I thought this might be of interest: the artists page: ... attached is an MP3 of the tribute song my wife (Janine) and I wrote right after I was picked as one of the guitar recipients. The song is on my latest CD titled "Retrophonic 2: The Home Demos". Snippets of that album (all home demos from the 60's up to 2010):,
Davie Allan

Thanks, Davie, I love it ... love the whole "tribute to Buddy" sound of this track.  Thanks for sharing this one with our readers!  (kk)