Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still Catching Up!


I am sure you and your readers know this by now, but it was in our paper today that pianist Roger Williams has passed away. It was a column longer than usual for our paper since most of the time they don't have anything in it concerning the passing of anyone in the music business unless it is someone of an icon. As you know, most if not all, of Roger Williams records made the top 40 charts and surveys. His music was not rock and roll but as I like to say it was a good representative of the "softer side" of rock and roll. Think I'll go get out BORN FREE later on tonight and play it.
Larry Neal
Actually, I hadn't heard that yet ... so I ventured over to Ron Smith's website to see what he had to say about it:
Pianist Roger Williams, who charted 30 times from 1955 to 1972, died Saturday (October 8) of complications of pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87. Born Louis Weertz in Omaha in 1924, he grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, before attending Idaho State University, Drake University and studying at the Julliard School of Music in New York. He was proficient at twelve instruments but loved piano best. Roger won Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts TV program in 1952, which led to a contract with Kapp Records. But it wasn't until "Autumn Leaves" (#1 for 4 weeks in 1955) that he fulfilled his potential. Other hits included "Near You" (#10 - 1958), "Almost Paradise (#15 - 1957) and "Born Free (#7 - 1966). Over the years he recorded more than 100 albums and played for nine American presidents. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.
-- Ron Smith
Well, we certainly have done our fair share of saluting the Summer Classics ... so it seemed only right that we honor Roger Williams with his 1955 #1 Autumn Tune ... and, as anybody knows who's had to rake the yard recently ... the "Autumn Leaves" are definitely upon us!!!  (kk)

Here are a few more recent passings as noted on Ron's site:

Donald Banks, original bassist for the Tymes, died Friday (October 7) of complications from a stroke and cancer. Donald helped form the group with Albert Berry, Norman Burnett and George Hilliard in Philadelphia in 1956 as the Latineers. Changing their name to the Tymes in 1960 (and adding George Williams on lead) they charted with such hits as "So Much In Love" (#1 - 1963), "Wonderful Wonderful" (#7 - 1963) and "Somewhere" (#19 - 1964). By 1969 the group found itself without a recording contract, playing clubs around Philadelphia for four years before joining RCA Records and releasing "You Little Trustmaker" (#12 - 1974). And while its follow-up, "Ms. Grace" only reached #91 in the U.S. that year, it was a #1 record in Britain. The group added two female singers but failed to chart again after Donald left in 1977. He became a manager of a fast food restaurant, but returned to perform with the group on the oldies circuit in 1980. The Tymes were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005.

David Hess, who wrote Pat Boone's "Speedy Gonzalez," Sal Mineo's "Start Movin'" and the Ames Brothers' tune, "Rockin' Shoes," died Saturday (October 8) after a heart attack at the age of 69. The one-time head of artists and repertoire for Mercury Records also appeared in several Wes Craven horror films, including "The Last House On The Left' and "Swamp Thing."

Bill Mack, who played bass in Gene Vincent's Blue Caps in 1957, died Wednesday (October 5) at the age of 78. Just last month, another Blue Cap bassist, Jack Neal, passed away as well.

re:  DOO WOP:
This link is for Doo Wop Nation. It's an on-line doo wop magazine (and it's free).   
If you love doo wop you will love this.
Here is a real treat!  This is a Johnny Maestro full concert that is on you-tube.
Johnny Maestro fans / this is a must.  It's fantastic
2004 summer concert!
By the way, don't forget my Sunday Night Doo Wop Party on
11 PM till 1 AM (eastern)
DJ Stu Weiss

Kent ...
Here's what I learned listening to Don K. Reed's Doo-Wop Shop:
Brooklyn Bridge = Of course nobody will ever replace Johnny Maestro.
It was Johnny's wish that the group carry on after his death. That's what they're doing.
Currently singing lead with the Brooklyn Bridge is Ray Michaels. He's from Florida. I've never heard him sing. I say lets give give him a chance. 
The Del-Satins = Are re-forming and making a come back. They backed up Dion on all his solo hits. They sang on Murray The K's Shows. Also were on The Clay Cole Show. They got their name by combining two of their favorite groups, The Del-Vikings and the Five Satins.
Frank B.

I bought the new Whitburn book using the special code he gave to FH readers.  NOW, I understand he is giving discounts also for Milwaukee making the baseball playoffs!  Next, will he offer discounts if the Packers beat the Donkeys this weekend??
I think you're the third or fourth one to tell me they ordered Joel's new book and took advantage of the 20% off discount.  Like I've said, it's a MUST HAVE at ANY price ... wait till you start really going through it ... you're going to be AMAZED!!! And Joel's cause for celebration ... ANY cause ... plays to ALL of our advantage ... so TAKE advantage and enjoy!!!  (kk)

Speaking of "Must Haves" ...

>>>We've been getting NOTHING but great mail about The Hollies since we announced the brand new Reeling In The Years DVD "Look Through Any Window" ... a MUST HAVE for ANY serious music collector of '60's / British Invasion music.  (kk)
A MUST HAVE for any serious 60's/British Invasion collector??
Had to respond to this one from my school email.  ANOTHER MUST HAVE???  I will "must have" myself out of my house and home.  But if I MUST, I MUST.
A comment from my two off-spring.  "We don't care about anything else, Mom; but who gets to keep the 60's stuff?"  Well, that alone will keep me around for quite awhile. :-)
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano

re:  FIRST 45:
My first record when I was 5 yrs old was He's So Fine by the Chiffons. My parents bought me a record player and I used to watch the red and white 45 go round and round and then play it again.
Although the song isn't really ever forgotten I just haven't heard it in many years. Appreciate you playing it again.
Daniel Viscarde 

You'll find tons more great "First 45's" memories here:

What an excellent choice for Thursday by having trio of the song RED ROSES FOR A BLUE LADY.  I didn't really know that Vaughn Monroe had an earlier version back in 1949. This reminds me that back in the fifties and sixties there were a lot of songs recorded which were new to us kids back then, but actually had been recorded earlier back in the thirties and forties. In other words, these were "oldies but goodies" to our parents.
One of my all time favorite instrumentals is IN THE MOOD by Ernie Fields, out of 1959. When it came out, to me it was new. I did not know until later that orchestra leader Glenn Miller had recorded it some 20 years earlier.
One final thing if I may. Speaking of Wayne Newton, in 1963 prior to Danke Schoen, he recorded a song called HEART (Capitol). Went all the way to number one here in OKC.
"Heart" was considered Wayne Newton's break-through hit despite the fact that it only reached #82 nationally.  I know that he continued to perform it for many, many years ... and it's not all that bad a tune.  (But #1???  I don't know if I'd go THAT far!!!  lol)  kk

You mentioned that the Joneses' 1974 record never charted in Chicago. I didn't really
know or remember if I had a copy of the record. I went and looked and sure enough,
there it was ... SUGAR PIE GUY on Mercury ... which tells me that it did chart here in
OKC on the weekly top 40 radio survey, but without checking, I don't know offhand
how many weeks it charted. To be honest, I don't even remember what it sounds like.

When I saw your selection for Wednesday's FH, IT'S UP TO YOU PETULA (clark), it made me stop and think what songs through the years have had girl's namesin the title which were somewhat unusual or ones you don't normally hear? For example, the 3 Friends had BLANCHE, (I have never known a girl or woman whose first name was Blanche), MATILDA (likewise).  Incidentally, Cookie and his Cupcakes
recording of MATILDA made it to number one here in OKC back in 1959. I really enjoyed Tuesday's FH as the Everly Brother's GONE GONE GONE is one of my all time favoritesby them.
Hey Kent -
Just preppin' this morning for my 3-7p Sunday show on 94-7 WLS.
Must say Forgotten Hits is my addictive choice along with a couple of cups of joe on a Sunday morning!
Keep up the GREAT work Kent -- Rock on Bro!
Danny Lake
94-7 WLS
The Saturday Night Party  -- 7-12 midnight
Sunday Afternoons - 3 - 7pm
Thanks for the kind words, Danny!  Love YOUR show, too!!!  (kk)