Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 11 - 12 )


Hey gang:
There was yet another GREAT PBS Music Special that ran this weekend and will continue to run periodically for the next few weeks on PBS Nationwide, you need to check it out!
It's 60's POP, ROCK & SOUL (My Music)
Another T.J. Lubinsky incredible line-up of artists. It was hosted by Peter Noone (Herman Hermits) and Davy Jones (Monkees).
Here's the line-up of the two hour special, and a few thoughts ...
Daydream Believer - Davy Jones - Great rendition of the Monkees Hit and the "My Music Orchestra"  backed up beautifully as they did on every song.
Kicks - Paul Revere & The Raiders - Sounded great, however the only original member was Paul Revere, (who had to have plastic surgery), I've known him for years and never have seen him look so young! :-)
Turn Around, Look At Me - Vogues - Original members, and they sounded like the old days.
Somebody to Love / White Rabbit - Jefferson Starship - Original members Marty Balin and Paul Kantner and some woman that was a pretty good sound alike for Grace Slick. I know Grace has NOT aged well, but still heard that her voice was top notch. Why they didn't include her I have no idea, unless she is not doing well physically?  
Mr Tambourine Man - Roger McGuinn - This is the BEST I've heard Roger sound, PERIOD!!!  He was backed up by the house band, but his Rickenbacker 12 string was louder than I've heard it in years, it was ROCKIN'!!!  He was perfect, note for note on the RIC and again, his vocals were superb. Sounded just like the original. Of course, I was impressed!  Just too bad they didn't include at least one more tune, ala "Turn, Turn, Turn" or "My Back Pages".
Louie Louie - The Kingsman - It was the original group. (I did an extensive interview with them a few years ago while they were promoting their autobiography which was extremely interesting). The song itself sounded good, BUT THEY CHANGED THE LYRICS!!!! Hello??? It was not even close to the original lyrics and that was a real letdown for me!    
When A Man Love A Woman - Percy Sledge - Percy looked and sounded good, but like Michael Strahan, still hasn't fixed his teeth :-)
A Summer Song - Chad & Jeremy - This was one of the highlights for me, I have never heard them sing this song live, and their guitar work and vocals were impeccable!  
Devil With A Blue Dress (Good Golly Miss Molly) - Mitch Ryder - No Detroit Wheels, but the backup band did him right, sounded good!
Hawaii Five-O - Ventures - Excellent rendition, with video from the original TV Show starring Jack Lord.
Ooo Baby Baby - Miracles - No Smokey Robinson, but still good.
Knock On Wood - Eddie Floyd - Why they included this tune is beyond me, it was good in it's day but only reached #28 on the charts in '66!
I'm Into Something Good / I'm Henry VIII I Am / There's A Kind Of Hush  - Herman's Hermits -Peter Noone was indeed the star of the entire show. I've seen them perform live nearly every year and they are one of the BEST LIVE groups ever. His guitar player and back up singer Vance Brescia, also steals the show ... he's got the looks of a '60's  Hermits backup singer and when added to Peter Noone, is an INCREDIBLE showman and vocalist!
96 Tears - ? Mark & the Mysterians - Another song, I don't know why was included in this line-up ... HELLO?
This Diamond Ring - Gary Lewis & The Playboys - It looked to be the original band, and was refreshing to hear Gary Lewis. I know he also performed a number of other tunes included on the DVD / CD and some of them should have been included instead of the "96 Tears" and "Knock on Wood"! (Just my opinion) BTW, great story about Gary being signed by Liberty Records back in the day because he was Jerry's kid. And his voice was SOOOOO bad he had to have six months of voice lessons before they would allow him to record! (Of course this was NOT revealed on the show, just some inside info).
Hey There Lonely Girl - Eddie Holman - Great tune that went to #1 in 1970, and had everyone in the audience hugging and kissing! Smooooooooch!
Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) - Steam - Gary DeCarlo, the original singer was joined by every band member and back up singer ... t was fun and brought back a lot of memories!
Classical Gas - Mason Williams - This was the finale that all the credits rolled on, but was an incredible version, especially with the orchestra backing him up.
All in all, I would give this show a B+ and recommend you watch it. If you've got kids or grandkids, this would be a great music history lesson for them, especially for what was going on in the '60's and early '70's, check it out, you won't be disappointed.
"Wild" Bill Cody
It IS a great show ... we've watched it a couple of times now already and we HIGHLY recommend it to all our readers.  To comment on a few of your comments ...
Here is a case where the bonus DVD REALLY makes this show complete ... a 7-DVD Set for a $150 donation ... yeah, kinda steep ... but nearly ALL of these artists did MUCH longer sets than what they're showing on TV.  (Come on, Davy Jones hosting and only doing one song?  That doesn't seem right!  But the DVD features four more Monkees tunes ... and some extra Peter Noone material, too, including our recent "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature "Listen People", which they showed during one of the pledge breaks.)
Paul Revere and the Raiders performed a full set ... much more music from them on the DVDs.  They put on a GREAT show and honestly, I've seen Paul Revere up close and personal recently ... he looks FANTASTIC!  (More on Paul Revere and the Raiders below ... and be sure to check out Monday's Edition of Forgotten Hits for a very special, exclusive concert offer!)  
Kudos to The Miracles, too, who I thought sounded GREAT without Smokey ... I wasn't expecting that!  
Grace Slick officially retired a few years ago and said she wouldn't perform ANY of these songs anymore ... she felt that she was just getting too old to do it and wanted to take life easy and relax.  I don't know much about the new girl but she definitely can sing.  I thought she did a GREAT job on both of these Jefferson Airplane classics.  Ditto on Roger McGuinn ... Roger has done a number of these PBS shows and this was by far one of his very best performances.
Stealing the show for us was Eddie Holman ... man, that guy can sing ... and still hit ALL the high notes.  He sounded INCREDIBLE!!!  (On that same note, I didn't quite get the inclusion of Eddie Floyd ... or Percy Sledge either for that matter ... NO comparison to what Eddie showed us.)
Another favorite was Chad and Jeremy ... they were spot on and looked and sounded great!  (Honestly, they look EXACTLY the same, only older.  The DVD also features "Yesterday's Gone", one of MY personal favorites.  The short clip of this tune that they showed during the break sounded outstanding.)
I'm thinking that in all they years The Ventures have been performing it, "Hawaii Five-O" NEVER sounded so full and vibrant as it did with this "house band" ... a full orchestra and horn section, complimented with vintage television footage made this one of the highlights, too.  (Frannie and I are hooked on the new series ... one of the few reboots to actually connect and make it with a new audience.)
Speaking of great instrumentals, Mason Williams sounded great, too, backed by the "My Music" orchestra.  "Classical Gas" sounded as good as it ever has ... and, now that he's aged, Mason actually LOOKS like a classical composer, especially with the way he's wearing his hair!
You're always hit-or-miss with Gary Lewis ... (I doubt that ANY of those Playboys were originals but who knows!) ... but I think he sounded pretty good on "This Diamond Ring".  Several other of their selections appear on the DVD set and I'm curious to hear how they sound on those.
One of the big to-do's was the reuniting of The Vogues for this program ... and they sounded FANTASTIC.  (Almost a little TOO fantastic ... I wonder how much they were "vocally enhanced" in the editing process!)  They only performed "Turn Around, Look At Me" on the program ... but several other of their hits also appear on the DVD set.
I also really enjoyed Gary DeCarlo and all the back-up singers doing "Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye", a song I typically turn off the radio now due to oversaturation ... but it sure sounded good live in concert.
As for The Kingsmen. Mitch Ryder and ? and the Mysterians, they also sounded good but didn't add much to the overall flavor of the show.  (Although watching ? prance around the stage in what appeared to be his sister's outfit WAS kind of funny to watch!)
All-in-all, a GREAT concert.
PBS is also running "All-Time Great Duets", featuring videos of some EXCELLENT pairings, including Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Elton John and Kiki Dee, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, etc, etc, etc.  Nice to see some of these vintage clips again.  And the whole thing is hosted by a guy who knows a thing or two about singing duets, Kenny Loggins!  (We saw his former partner Jim Messina in concert last weekend!)  Catch this one, too, if you can.  (Last Sunday they ran these two programs AGAINST each other here in Chicago ... which made for a WHOLE lot of channel-surfing, trying to catch our favorite bits of each!)
And, thanks to this latest pledge drive (seriously, is it ever NOT pledge time???), we also saw a John Sebastian-hosted tribute to The Folk Music Era ... and a GREAT live concert by Paul Simon.  And, by the time you read this, the Buddy Holly "Listen To Me" All-Star Tribute will have started, too!  Some REALLY good '60's music on PBS this month ... again, check your local listings!  (kk)  

I asked FH Reader Mike Bush to share a few of HIS comments on this program, too. 

Mike was there for three days while they were filming these shows in Pittsburgh!  
Thanks, Mike.  These shows are EXTREMELY well put together (and endlessly entertaining.)  Thanks to TJ Lubinsky for helping to keep this great music alive.  (And it's not even HIS music ... I'm not sure TJ is even 40 years old yet!!!  But he LOVES it ... and he loves bringing it to us!)  kk  

By the way, I talked to Tommy Scheckel, drummer for Paul Revere and the Raiders, and asked him if it's still exciting, after all these years, to film a show like that, knowing that during the course of a month of airing on PBS, literally MILLIONS of people will tune it to watch it.  He told me:  
Hey Kent,  
Yeah, it was exciting but a little nerve wracking as well. That show was filmed a year and a half ago and was only my second performance with the band. They put the whole band on one side of the stage and me all the way on the other. Showbiz … it’s never boring!

I stayed up past my bedtime to see the latest 60s special. I missed most of Davy's opening number, put I stayed awake thru the rest. Interesting to see that Gary DeCarlo has decided being associated with Steam isn't such a bad thing after all. He does Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye. Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets wants to know if that's Peter Noone's REAL hair, or a damn good toupee? If so, Peter ought to recommend the place to Elton John and others. Eddie Floyd sounded great as did FH reader Roger McGuinn. Also for those of us who do not celebrate Xmas, how about Hanukkah Rocks, by Gefilte Joe & The Fish?
Jack (waiting for the eight days of Hanukkah)  
It's his real hair ... and his real teeth ... and everything else.  Peter looks 20 years younger than he his and is in fine voice and GREAT shape.  (If you haven't seen him live lately, you owe yourself a concert ... by far one of the best oldies performers out there ... EVERY show is entertaining from start to finish ... and it's INCREDIBLE to see how many hits these guys actually had!)  kk

MICKY DOLENZ'S appearance on MY THREE SONS was rated a 2.8 (terrible) by
I'm pretty sure that's as high as
MY 3 SONS goes!
Mickey was no Ernie, but he did fine (for THAT show)

I also heard (through FH Reader Tom Cuddy) that on the 60's Pop, Rock And Soul: My Music special that is airing in New York (exclusively), Micky Dolenz and Gene Cornish (of The Rascals) also perform ... those clips have been edited out of the nationally syndicated version.  (Wonder why!!!  I had absolutely NO idea that they did that.  Obviously, the cut-aways to the pledge drive always feature local talent ... but I didn't realize that the performance ALSO differed from city to city!)  kk  
Gary Pig Gold brings Peter, Davy, Micky and Mike to the prestigious Rock's BackPages site, for your reading, reprinting, re-posting, quoting from and / or linking to, one and all ...

MICKY & MORROW AT PBS -- Last night, we were at the PBS studios at Lincoln Center to witness Monkees-icon Micky Dolenz appear on a fund-raising stint hosted by none other than Cousin Brucie (aka Bruce Morrow). Billed as PBS’ Rock, Pop & Soul package, PBS, which is mostly funded by its fervent listeners and supporters, had a series of performances taped earlier this year by the likes of, Jefferson Starship; Peter Noone; Percy Sledge; Mitch Ryder; Paul Revere and the Raiders; and, Chad and Jeremy.  
Dolenz, who was in a most affable mood said he’s working on a new album project which could be released as early as this February. “It’s a musical memoir of my life; there’s a bunch of surprise songs ... like a version of ‘Sugar Sugar,’ which was actually supposed to be a Monkees-single. My version is going to surprise everyone! It’s something I’ve been working on for quite a while and now all the pieces are coming together. Percussionist Alex Acuna is on it, as well as Bob Birch from Elton’s band. The project might be called Remember.” Also, at the PBS session was actress Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 from TV’s Get Smart) and Gene Cornish from The Rascals. As we walked out of the studio, Dolenz who was en route to the airport for a series of appearances in Montreal this week, we heard that so far, it was one of the station’s most successful events this year. Thanks to Micky’s PR-man David Salidor for inviting us down. 
 Micky with Cousin Brucie
Micky Dolenz with Barbara Feldon

Dear Friends and Fans of Television, Texas, and / or The World's Greatest RnR Band:
Gary Pig Gold's review of The 6 ED SULLIVAN SHOWS of THE ROLLING STONES
plus their SOME GIRLS LIVE dvd is now Up at the Rock And Roll Report.
Here is the url for all of you to read, reprint, re-post, quote from and Link to:

>>>I'm guessing that "Please Please Me" never officially charted in the Cleveland area in 1963. (A Top 40 Survey would help us to narrow down a more specific date ... as would the dates of the crippling snow storm!)  Anyone on the list has WHK Cleveland charts for January, February and March of 1963, we'd love for you to check them to see if this song is mentioned at all.  (Sometimes radio station surveys would list "extras" at the bottom of their Top 40 lists.)  kk
I have the Christmas, 1962 WHK chart, a Top 50 with no Bobby Vee or Beatles songs on it.  No extras listed on WHK surveys.  I have the 2/4/63 chart with "Night Has 1000 Eyes" at number one, but no Beatles charting.  I have a 3/25/63 chart also with no Beatles, even tho this might be best timeline for the Vee Jay release to be on it. 
As for Johnny Holliday, he was a top DJ on WHK along with future Chicago stars, Ron Riley and Ron Britain in 1964!  By early 1965, however, KYW was battling to win the ratings war in Cleveland with Ken Draper taking the helm and hiring Jim Stagg, Jerry G, Jim Runyon, John Wellman AND Ron Britain (from WHK) --- ALL to go on to major success in Chicago at WCFL battling WLS!
Johnny Holliday can be heard best by checking out the 1964 edition of the album Cruisin Series.  That's his WHK presentation on the 1964 album! 
Clark Besch
Christmas '62 would be too early ... "Please Please Me" hadn't even been released in England yet at this point, much less here in the States.  I had hoped that their chart might list "extras" or "up 'n' comers" or something of that nature which would conclusively prove something timewise.  It seems that if Holliday were truly in the running for being the first (or, at the very least, ONE of the very firsts), we would have seen his name connected in some way over the years.  (Let's face it, those Washington D.C. jocks and the KRLA guys who played "From Me To You" certainly got some attention for it ... Dick Clark spinning "She Loves You" to a mixed reaction on American Bandstand ... even the Biondi story has been circulating for YEARS now.  Sam Lit, (Hy's son), has long maintained that his father was the first to play a Beatles record because ALL new potential hit records were always premiered in Philadelphia first.  The same argument could be made for Cleveland I suppose ... and the fact that Vee Jay Records was virtually walking distance to WLS' studio builds a good case that "Please Please Me" was hand-delivered to the station on the day of its release.  (Vee Jay was hot at the time thanks to all the recent success of The Four Seasons.)  All interesting food for thought, to be sure ... but we need some sort of DOCUMENTED facts before we change our findings.  At least we can PROVE what we state at this point.  The offer still stands:  if someone else can conclusively PROVE otherwise, we will modify our article immediately!  (kk)
You can buy Johnny Holliday's biography with all his Beatles info in it, but I don't think he takes any credit for playing the Beatles first.  His biography sold at:
Having talked to Johnny at length the other night, I can state with all certainty that he does NOT take any credit or lay any claim to being the first to play The Beatles here in The States.  In fact, he recalled a much later timeframe.  Read on!  (kk)
>>>Cleveland Radio Station WHK had a guy named Johnny Holliday who played the top 40 songs every day as a count down in mid day in the early 60's. WHK also had a pick hit of the week. This was a song the DJs and General Manager chose to promote as a potential Hit.
Well, in early 1963 (January / February)  there was a huge snow storm so, for at least 7 days, there was no school. This storm crippled the whole area so most schools were closed. WHK must have decided to try something different because all the kids were home listening to the radio. Instead of a pick hit of the week, they decided to have a Pick Hit of the Day. And they let the public vote for it.  They played five songs, and asked the public to vote for their favorite. At the end of the week, 5 out of the 25 songs played were pitted against each other ... then the pick hit of the week was the winner of Saturdays vote. I believe it was either Monday or Tuesday they played Please Please Me as a potential pick hit.  We voted for Please Please Me. I remember that harmonica intro. I thought they said Beagles though. The song was beaten by The Night Has 1000 Eyes by Bobby Vee. It also won the Saturday vote beating the daily winners of the other songs. It received a lot of airplay and later hit number 1 on the charts. If that song had not been played, perhaps the Beatles would have won, and Cleveland could have broken the Beatles in the States. The song was not heard again until after their Ed Sullivan appearance.
I wish I could find the exact dates of that snowstorm in 1963, but it seemed to be right after Christmas vacation. We were off ten days for that ,then again for the snowstorm. I remember the close proximity of the storm and Christmas. I have tried looking up weather record web sites, but I cannot verify the exact day WHK played it. They may have preceded the Chicago and New York stations that played it.  If you know when Vee Jay issued promos, perhaps it would prove that Cleveland was the first.  Unfortunately, Cleveland area listeners chose Bobby Vee over the Beatles.  (Larry M. Smiley)
>>>Since it wasn't picked as the "Pick Hit Of The Day", I'm guessing that "Please Please Me" never officially charted in the Cleveland area in 1963. (A Top 40 Survey would help us to narrow down a more specific date ... as would the dates of the crippling snow storm!)  Anyone on the list has WHK Cleveland charts for January, February and March of 1963, we'd love for you to check them to see if this song is mentioned at all.  (Sometimes radio station surveys would list "extras" at the bottom of their Top 40 lists.) And if anybody knows if deejay Johnny Holliday is still with us, we'd LOVE to talk with him.  (Maybe some of the jocks from this era can point us in the right direction on this one.) kk
I assume this is the same guy:
He was born John Holliday Bobbitt ... and I've sent you contact information under separate cover.  Good luck! 
We sent Johnny a note referencing both of our articles.
I got this back:
Kent -
I noticed someone asked ... maybe it was you ... is he still around? I think so!!!!!
Johnny Holliday
And then I had the chance to talk with him on the phone!
I had NO idea all the things this guy has been involved with!
(OMG, check out his resume ... it's unreal!!!)
Johnny and I had a GREAT conversation.  (I'm hoping he'll check in with us from time to time ... what a GREAT resource of information he'll be from this rock and roll era.)
A few things came up during our conversation that throw some wrinkles into Larry Smiley's timeline of events.  For example:
Bobby Vee's "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" was released in December of 1962 ... by mid-February of 1963, it had already peaked at #3 and was working its way back down the charts ... no way it would have been up as the "Pick Hit Of The Week" against "Please Please Me" ... it had already completed the majority of its chart run!
Johnny also didn't remember playing any Beatles record that early on.  In fact, he was under the impression that WWDC in Washington, D.C. was the first, due to the well-circulated story that they were the first to jump on "I Want To Hold Your Hand".  While he recalled hearing that Dick Clark played "She Loves You" on American Bandstand in 1963, he had no recollection of playing ANYTHING by The Beatles earlier than that on his program ... or, for that matter, until Beatlemania burst wide open in early 1964.  (He also didn't remember a city-crippling snowstorm in February of '63 either.)
Johnny only spent the first month of 1964 in Cleveland, leaving in February for New York and WINS where he broadcast alongside Murray the K.  Of course at that time, WINS was "Beatles Central" when it came to exclusive Beatles radio content.  He told me the story of how Murray flew down to Miami to interview The Beatles (this was during their second Ed Sullivan Show appearance) and Johnny had to broadcast TWO shows a day that week ... his own plus fill in on Murray the K's show (while Murray called in from Florida with exclusive Beatles interviews.)  When the New York fans heard The Beatles on the air, the flocked to the studio and lined the streets, screaming loud enough for Johnny to hear inside the building up on the second floor!  (They apparently didn't realize that The Beatles were being beamed in from Florida!)
Two years later, Holliday was on the air on KYA in San Francisco ... and MC'd the last live show The Beatles ever did at Candlestick Park.  (Of course no one knew at the time that this would be such a history-making performance.  In fact, Johnny said they all sat around in the dugout just relaxing and drinking Cokes before The Beatles took the stage.)  The Beatles performed at second base that night ... and nobody took into consideration how cold it got on an August night in San Francisco.  The wind was blowing out that night ... pushing the sound right out past where all the fans were sitting!  You literally couldn't hear a thing!
Johnny also recorded the 1964 Edition of the "Cruisin'" radio series, a VERY popular collection of Top 40 jocks recreating their programs from the Golden Top 40 Days of Radio.  Holliday was also the announcer on the "Hullaballoo" television series as well as "The Roger Miller Show."  He shared some great memories of both of these programs with us.  (I'm hoping to do an extended feature with him on all of this in the near future ... he's a GREAT storyteller and a VERY entertaining speaker!)
Based on this "straight from the horse's mouth" perspective, I'm sticking with my Dick Biondi story until somebody out there can prove conclusively otherwise.  (Johnny couldn't believe that Biondi is STILL on the air, broadcasting every night on WLS some 50 years later!  When I told him that Dick had just done a 13-hour marathon show for the 21st annual Toy Drive he simply said "More power to him!"  lol)
By the way, speaking of The Beatles in pre-Beatlemania America, George Harrison's sister Louise says that she's going to write a book detailing the TRUE story of The Beatles and her brother George as a way to finally set the record straight on a number of points.  We can't wait.  Louise is 80 years old now and has kept mum for the most part about these days.  (She has done some radio shows and Beatlefest appearances ... but this is the first time she's committing to putting the whole story down in print.)  Since George's visit to his sister in Benton, Illinois, in 1963 was a key part of our Beatles story, this should prove to be some enlightening reading!  (kk)

>>>TWO of The Dave Clark Five's B-Sides are amongst my personal favorites ... I believe either one of these songs could have been major hits on their own ... and both were ballads much in the same vein as "Because."  "Hurting Inside" was the flip side of 1965's "I Like It Like That" ... and "I  Miss You" (kind of a "This Boy" clone) backed up "At The Scene" in early 1966.  (kk)  
"I Miss You" is indeed totally underrated, even if "At the Scene" is even MORE underrated!  
I have spoken with many about the ending of "I Miss You" and the extended cymbal sound!  The DC5 could put a special sound on songs often.  That final strike is just kinda cool to hear when the beginning of the other side STARTS with a cymbal hit too!
BTW, when we were on the subject of Freddy Cannon recently, I meant to mention how his music also MUST have influenced the DC5 a lot.  The power and big sound of his records can directly translate to the DC5 sound and his use of the sax is one thing that makes his songs AND the DC5 stand apart from their contemporaries!! 
Clark Besch
BIG Dave Clark Five fan here ... I think (as successful as they were at the time) they are still grossly underrated when it comes to this (or any other) era.  Mike Smith had one of the best voices in rock and roll history and the band presented a polished look to the whole new genre of British Rock.  (Yes, a lot of what they did was feed us back the very same American rock and roll that we grew up with ... but they did it in a whole new way that made it all sound fresh and exciting all over again!)
"At The Scene" certainly qualifies as a Forgotten Hit ... it's a GREAT, long-over-looked track that went all the way to #13 back in 1966. 

And, speaking of Freddy Cannon ...



Speaking of Freddy Cannon, Ron Smith's website is promoting a new book on Freddy ... you can check it out here:

Ron describes it thusly:

I recommend "Where The Action Is!" by Freddy Cannon and Mark Bego. Like Freddy's songs, it's fast-paced & entertaining.
-- Ron Smith
I asked him to write a little review for Forgotten Hits.  Here's what he sent me:
Reading Freddy Cannon's autobiography, "Where The Action Is!" (Publish America, ISBN: 978-1-4626-3973-1) is a lot like listening to one of  "Boom Boom" Cannon's hits - it's fast-paced, breezy and fun.
Though not overly-long (227 pages, 18 of which form a very complete discography), it gives enough information to let you feel afterwards that you know the man behind the image; including his bouts as a child with both rheumatic and scarlet fever, the early struggles of his now 57-year marriage and of course, his love for his mother, who actually wrote his first hit, "Tallahassee Lassie."
While the book basically runs from hit record to hit record (and the stories behind those tunes), it never reads as " … and then I did this and then I did that," thanks largely to the efforts of co-writer Mark Bego, who does his usual bang-up job of research here (though Chuck Barris is once mistakenly referred to as "George" Barris, probably because George Clooney played him on film).
Along the way, Freddy paints a fascinating picture of the early rock 'n' roll scene - appearing on "American Bandstand" and in "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars" (in fact, Dick wrote the foreword for the book). He tells of Elvis climbing twelve flights of stairs up a fire escape to party with Freddy, of starving in Frank Sinatra's restaurant (until the Chairman of the Board gets him service) and of his love for Bobby Darin that goes back to Bobby's days as a songwriter. Freddie also dishes the dirt on Dionne Warwick and Cher. But none of it is mean-spirited, which is what you would expect from the man who once urged us to put the fun back in rock 'n' roll.
Towards the end of his story, he makes his case for inclusion into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, stating that, although he was marketed as a teen idol, what set him apart from others was the "raw energy" in his recordings. That raw energy is evident in Freddie's book, as well, and it makes for enjoyable reading.
Thanks, Ron.  I take issue with only one line in your review.
As anyone who reads Forgotten Hits already knows, Freddy Cannon doesn't "paint a fascinating picture of the early rock 'n' roll scene" ... Freddy draws them in charcoal!!!  Thanks again! (kk)

And you can't talk about Freddy Cannon and not mention American Bandstand!!!
If you think your readers would like this interview, please post it at your convenience.
Eddie Kelly
American Bandstand Dancer (1959-1961)
Happy to do so, Eddie!  Thanks for sending.  (kk)

Hi Kent -
Ken Evans of the Fifth Estate here.  Saw you mention anyone having Christmas records out to maybe mention them here.  Well, our new album TIME TUNNEL is out and, while it is not strictly speaking, a Christmas album, it nevertheless is out at Christmas time!!, if you and all our good reader friends here get my drift.
It was a complete gas for us to do and with the help of some immensely important people from the original 60s pop / rock scene working with us, such as Shel Talmy, Mr. All Day and All of the Night and Mr. My Generation himself, and then Joe LaPorta of The Lodge in NYC, who did the mastering for the most recently Grammy nominated album Wasting Light by the Foo Fighters as well as our TIME TUNNEL album for us.  With people like these, we feel we have truly created a very interesting blend of THEN and NOW - a true musical time tunnel in a sense.
The songs are all new - although they sound older.  AND the band, we are all older although we sound NEW - we hope!!
At least we tried. 
Actually we didn't ... we just played the way we play and the album is what came out.  Maybe some will give it a listen on our website above.  Try "Things Change" for a bit more of a ballad easier listening tune and great song with Bob Klein singing, or try Supreme Confusion with Ricky Engler and all of us singing, which is a lot more pop / rock, rock and roll with some philosophical and somewhat political content in the lyrics.
I have some interesting stories about doing the recording, but that is probably for another time and would be more interesting for folks once they maybe become a little more familiar with the songs and the album.  But the one thing I do want to say is that it took us considerably longer to finish than we had planned.  A lot of it had to do with Bob being called out to LA quite often
for many of the singing and voice over parts he does there in Hollywood.  So for some of the folks who sent in very early for the album in September and October, we plan on putting something a little "extra" in their stockings when they receive their album CDs.  They
will start being mailed out next week. 
Ken Evans
The Fifth Estate
Can't wait to hear it, Furv ... we've been highly anticipating this one for quite some time now!!!  (kk)
Dion’s Tank Full of Blues Coming 1/24 From Blue Horizon
The legendary rock ‘n’ roller Dion (DiMucci) will release his new album, Tank Full of Blues, on January 24 via Blue Horizon.  Tank Full of Blues is his 38th album and the third album in the trilogy of recordings that Dion began in 2006 with the release of Bronx in Blue. Unlike Dion’s two preceding blues albums, however, his latest release is composed almost entirely of original, newly written songs.
Although the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee is often thought of as a rock pioneer, the blues has long provided a context for his creative flow. It is fitting then that Tank Full of Blues will be released via Blue Horizon, the legendary blues label best known for discovering bands like Fleetwood Mac and Chickenshack.  The imprint was re-launched in 2010 by Richard Gottehrer and Seymour Stein. At its inception in the late 1960s, Blue Horizon was the sister label to Sire Records, the home of such noted artists as Madonna, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Depeche Mode and, likewise, founded by Stein and Gottehrer.
Nine years ago, Richard Gottehrer happened to catch Dion on a broadcast of NPR’s Fresh Air during which the singer discussed his life-long personal relationship with the blues.  Soon thereafter, Gottehrer suggested that he record the album that would be released as Bronx In Blue through The Orchard, the company that, today, provides Blue Horizon’s distribution platform.  A true fan, Gottehrer recently observed of Dion, “The history of rock and roll is all right there in that voice.”
Bronx In Blue was nominated for a Grammy in the Traditional Blues category as well as a Blues Music Award from the Blues Foundation. Two years later, it was followed by another country blues collection from Dion, entitled Son Of Skip James.
While true to the blues idiom, Dion took a more unique approach with Tank Full of Blues, which was inspired by a comment that rock critic Dave Marsh made during the course of the taping of an oral history project for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Marsh opined that Dion is the only artist from rock’s first generation who remains relevant and creative in the present day.  The comment momentarily flustered and embarrassed Dion who protested the unsolicited accolade but it certainly got him thinking and writing.  “Dave really inspired me,” Dion admits. “His comment stirred something in me and I wouldn’t have made this [record] if I hadn’t felt that.  All of a sudden these songs started coming and I do, in fact, feel more relevant today than I did when I recorded all my hits records.  I have a lot to say and I enjoy taking people on a trip – especially a good trip – with the blues.”
Dion’s given the matter much thought and has even come up with his own soulful definition of the blues. “The blues is the naked cry of the human heart hoping to be whole or at peace with one’s self.” 
To be sure, Dion has his temporal blues heroes. The album track “Ride’s Blues” is a tribute to Robert Johnson and Jimmy Reed, who hold a special place in his heart and mind.  “I wouldn’t be sitting here and playing music right now if it hadn’t been for Jimmy Reed. He made the world make sense to me,” enthuses the man sometimes also known as ‘The Wanderer.’
While Tank Full of Blues is indeed blues album as advertised, it’s much more than that.  It represents a new level of achievement and fulfillment by a true disciple of the blues.  Dion doesn’t mince any words about it: “It’s the work I consider the crown of my career. It’s work I couldn’t keep inside. It’s work that was burning in me till I got it out.”
-- Bob Merlis
Dion is also working on a play / musical that will tell his life story.  (Hmm ... I wonder if the infamous coin toss will make the final cut!!!)  Forgotten Hits Reader Frank B sent us this clip about Dion (and playwright Charles Messina) scouting locations in The Bronx right now!

Sounds like a couple of movie / film projects have already fallen through ... so now they're taking the "Jersey Boys" approach ... think about how much great music will be in THIS soundtrack!  (kk)

Charlie Gracie "Fabulous" 5th Anniversary Edition now available for The Holidays:

Plus new interviews with: Chubby Checker, Tommy James, Freddy Cannon, Little Anthony, Len Barry, Dennis Diken, John Jackson, Ceaser Berry, Joe Tarsia and others. Plus new musical contributions from Graham Nash, Peter Noone, Quentin Jones, Richie Scarlet and Gary Lefkowith.
Also, available at .
Available retail outlets early 2012.
-- Shawn Swords
And let's not forget Charlie Gracie's brand new CD, too!  We've been listening to it this past week and it's a whole lotta fun!  (kk)

I am not sure if this book has ever been addressed to you all before, but I am going to plug it now.  Don Worsham's book, "Hits Between the Hits," is what I would describe as the BIBLE on jingles through history.  If you are like me and collect radio ID jingles and wish you knew more, this book is for you!  Although originally published in 1996, it was updated and a second publication made in 2004.  I just read the book for the first time in the past month and picked up my own copy this week. 
I grew up on Top 40 radio and over many years of realizing there were OTHER people out there who loved radio jingles, I learned of and met many of the people in this book.  The thing is, I NEVER connected them!!!  I have been friends with Peter Kanze, Richard Kaufman, Sandy Jackson, Bob Hummel, Dusty Rhodes (WSAI, WLW Cincy legend), Ron Britain, Frank Merrill, Ken R, Tom Konard, Bob Moomey, Barney Pip, Chris Abercrombie, Richard Fatherley, Dick Bartley, Deane Johnson, Joe Meyers and others over the years and many are still good friends today.  Most of them are mentioned in this book!!!  Then, I have reels of TM tapes, CRC 45, Jingle mill 45 and many other things that are all tied together so nicely in this book. 
I NEVER knew much of the stuff even about the guys like Ricky the K and Peter Kanze that are mentioned even though I have talked, written to or emailed each of them many a time!  I was even on a radio show with Ricky, Barney Pip and Bill Meeks one time.  PAMS jingles were always amazing to get from varying sources.  I spent a fortune with Ken R about 10 years ago, and now I know all of that story too!! 
There have been many subjects in this forum in past years that are addressed in the book, such as what jingle sessions were like, who sang for which companies, how each company became successful and the demise of many, Gold discs, Drake-Chenault success, TM, PAMS, JAM, and many many companies I did and did not know anything about.  The story of Top 40 radio and its' affect on jingles companies is addressed.  The book even comes with a CD of jingles including an amazing 1942 14 minute set that is believed to be the oldest ID jingles still existing today!
The added CD to the book makes the price seem a bit high at $37, but the info is just priceless!  It delves into all the stories mostly in a chronological process that helps the reader tie the whole thing together. 
If you love jingles and want the WHOLE story behind all the companies and even the individual numbered series sent to stations, it's all here!!  A must read!  You can get the book from Media Preservation Foundation at or just google the book title and it will get you there.  The book's author has several items on Reel Radio site as well. 
A great Christmas present if you need one for the jingle lover in your life! 

Christmas is coming ... there's no avoiding it!  (Note the fat geese!)
Our Twelve Days Of Christmas Countdown kicked off last week and we've already made it through The Fifth Day Of Christmas.  (Local Forgotten Hits Readers will want to be sure to check out Monday's installment ... we've got a VERY special announcement about how YOU can go see a GREAT holiday concert ... for only $25 bucks!!!  Stay tuned ... and be sure to check the website tomorrow!!!) 
Meanwhile, Thursday Night many of the theaters who broadcast the special Chicago Christmas Concert Special last week will be hosting a special encore performance.  Check the website for more details (and to see if your favorite theater is on the list!)  We didn't hear from anybody who checked out this film ... would love to know what you guys thought!  (kk)  
Click here: Chicago Presents an Evening of Holiday Music and Greatest Hits
And for the first time EVER, I have both the cds you are featuring today:  A Very V Christmas and The Joy of Christmas.  I highly recommend adding them both to your homes this Christmas / Holiday Season.  
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano 
And we heard from Vance Brescia, too, after we ran his tunes up on the site!
Hey Kent,  
Thanks for remembering me on Forgotten Hits.  Always glad to share my music with the Forgotten Hits fans. 
The holidays are upon us again and as Andy Williams sings, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year".  
Click here: Andy Williams Most Wonderful Time of the Year - YouTube  
I can't start the season without recalling the annual Andy Williams Christmas specials. Talk about timeless music! 
My holiday greetings go out to everyone out there celebrating holidays this time of year ... whatever the holiday might be.  
Groovy Holidays to ALL! 
And the same to you, Vance ... Happy Holidays and Thank You for the Music!  (kk)

On the 12th day of Christmas my true K gave to me ... 10 Years After
No 9 be a sayin
8 Days a week payin
7th sons a River
60's be a playin
50's be a swayin
4 your loves or hatin'
3 Dogs a Night
2 Turtles be a playin'
and One loneliest number!!!!
It's bad, but it's the thought! LOL!
Thanks, John.  By the way, don't quit your day job!!!  (kk)
Loved the Groovy 12 Days of Christmas on youtube ... I have never heard that before ... very cool.
KENT ...
YOUR 12 Days of Christmas
brought to mind something from the 60's ...
Terrible having a mis-spent youth in front of a tv ... and a memory that kicks-in at the oddest times ...
I remember seeing this ... and I guess it stuck with me ... and YOUTUBE had it!
Paul Anka on I'VE GOT A SECRET doing an 'assisted' 12 Days of Christmas like you've never seen ... from December 26,1966!
It IS pretty lame (and I think it's every bit as much Steve Allen's inspiration as Paul Anka's!) ... but it WAS kind of a cool idea ... it just goes on WAY too long.
Anka released a Christmas album back in 1960 and a both sides of the single got a little bit of airplay and chart action, "It's Christmas Everywhere" / "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".  We featured "It's Christmas Everywhere" a few years back in our Twelve Days Of Christmas series. Cool to see this ... thanks, Gary!  (kk)
Kent ...
WCBS-FM is doing the Ho-Ho-101Countdown this weekend: from the King to Bing.
#42 = "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
One of your favorites? LoL!!
Frank B.
And up on the website they've got the Chubby Checker / Bobby Rydell version of "Jingle Bell Rock" featured ... which is pretty cool because normally radio only plays the Bobby Helms original and the Hall and Oates remake.  We're going to do a special Christmas "Today's Forgotten Hit" salute the week before Christmas ... feature some songs that were legitimate Christmas hits at the time yet are ignored each year when the stations pull out their holiday bag of tunes.  Got a suggestion?  Drop us a line and we'll see what we can do!
As for "Grandma" ... really cute and clever the first twelve times I heard it ... the 13 million times since ... not so much.  (kk)

Staten Island, New York, just held a street-naming ceremony in honor of the late, great Johnny Maestro ... Click here: Video of the unveiling of "Johnny Maestro Way" - YouTube
Meanwhile, we're still waiting for The Forgotten Hits Driveway!!!  (kk)
Kent ... 
From time to time, Steve O'Brien does fill in duty on WCBS-FM.
He calls himself the biggest S-O-B on the radio.

I don't know him that well. Guess I can't argue with that description.
Frank B.

Hey, I don't know him at all ... but he's never lied to me before!  lol  (kk)


I see Chuck Soumar is no longer with the Ides of March.  Any idea what happened to him?


No.  I asked a couple of people, who had also heard he was gone ... and then asked The Ides if they'd like to make a public statement ... but nobody ever got back to me ... which makes it all sounds like a less than amicable parting of the ways.  (We'd just rather print the truth than have everybody out there speculating on their own!)  kk

Hi Kent,

It is true and I'm trying to find out what happened - they're being very tight lipped about it.  
I'll let you know if I find out anything, but it may not be for publication.
I think it's a big loss, especially with the recent death of trumpeter and long time member John Larson.  Just not the same old Ides!
Evidently they're not ready to say anything "for publication" ... but the fans want to know.  Chuck Soumar's been a member of The Ides since they picked up the horns back in 1969!  And he just may have been the second most visible member of the band ... so people expect to hear SOMETHING when a change like this happens.  (kk)
And this is kinda cool ...

Blue Road has put together another little video tribute to the late Jimy Rogers, who passed away last December.  This time, they perform The Mauds' big local hit "Hold On", accompanying a video of Jimy singing his hit while the band plays the track live.  You can check it out here:

A VERY sad week for musical losses this past week.  On Monday, we lost John Jeremiah of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah, local heroes thanks to their classic rock staple "Lake Shore Drive".  Although the band was originally formed in West Allis, Wisconsin, they kind of adopted Chicago as home in the early '70's.  (In fact, we even opened a show for them once ... at a time where we were nowhere near ready or deserving of such an honor!)
Jeremiah came up with the intriguing piano part that drives the whole song.  Last year we featured a Forgotten Hits customized version of their hit put together by founder Skip Haynes exclusively for Forgotten Hits.  (In fact, CNN columnist Bob Greene picked up on the story and ran it in his column, letting the rest of the world know how ANYONE can get a customized version recorded through Skip Haynes' website!)
Then on Tuesday we got word that Dobie Gray had passed away.  Gray scored a #13 Hit with "The In-Crowd" in 1965.  Eight years later, "Drift Away" went to #5 (and it's never been off the radio since!)
Wednesday Morning we found out that Barbara Orbison, wife of legendary Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Roy Orbison had left us on Tuesday as well ... on the exact anniversary of her husband's death 23 years earlier!
And we certainly can't forget the senseless murder of John Lennon, 31 years ago December 8th.  (OMG, has it REALLY been 31 years?!?!?)  A few of your comments and memories follow:
I'm sure by now you've heard that John Jeremiah of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah passed away.  Here's a YouTube video of John playing the song in his most unusual way at a small club in Southern IL recorded a couple of years ago. the way, I didn't know Hoyt Axton's "Jeremiah" was a shout out to John.
David Lewis
It's long been speculated that Axton named his bullfrog (from the #1 smash hit "Joy To The World") after John, but I've never actually heard that he confirmed this.  (Looking at your YouTube Video 'tho, it's interesting to see that John named his group The Bullfrog Band!)
And how cool is this?!?!?  Watch these two young girls having SO much fun "acting out" to this song all these years later!  (kk)   
Click here: Jeremiah was a Bullfrog - YouTube

Barbara Orbison, widow of Roy Orbison, dies in LA
DENISE PETSKI | December 7, 2011

LOS ANGELES — Barbara Orbison, widow of rock n' roll pioneer Roy Orbison, died Tuesday on the 23rd anniversary of her husband's death, a family spokeswoman said. She was 60.
Barbara Orbison died from pancreatic cancer at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center surrounded by her sons, said publicist and family spokeswoman Sarah McMullen. Orbison had been hospitalized since May.
Since the 1980s, Barbara Orbison devoted her time to managing her husband's estate and keeping his legacy alive.
With her son, Roy Kelton Orbison Jr. she co-produced a four-CD box set of her husband's 107 recordings. "Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock and Roll" was released in 2008 and contains all of his hits and 12 previously unreleased tracks.
The package marked the first all-inclusive body of Roy Orbison's work from his earliest recordings to the Traveling Wilburys' debut album, "Mystery Girl" and his last live performance. Roy Orbison died in 1988 at the age of 52, in the midst of a comeback with The Traveling Wilburys.
Actor Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Swayze, said her heart out goes out to the Orbison family. "Patrick and I always had a warm connection with them both. Now we have lost this wonderful lady," Lisa Swayze said. Patrick Swayze died in September 2009 of pancreatic cancer.
In 1998, Barbara Orbison issued "Combo Concert" on her label Orbison Records, a collection of previously unreleased live recordings from Holland and France made in 1965, according to Roy Orbison's official website. That same year, Barbara Orbison accepted the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award on her husband's behalf, which honored his contribution to the recording industry.
In January, 2010, Barbara Orbison accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on her husband's behalf.
Barbara Orbison's Nashville, Tenn.-based music publishing company Still Working Music was recently awarded BMI's 2010 Song of the Year for Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me".
Roy Orbison paid tribute to his wife on his website. "I've spent my lifetime trying to figure love out. Love ranges from just fascination to something almost spiritual. In the case with my wife, Barbara, it just keeps growing all the time," he wrote.
Barbara Orbison will be buried next to her husband at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles, McMullen said. A Celebration of Life will be held at an undetermined future date in Nashville, Tenn.
Barbara Orbison is survived by her sons Wesley Orbison, 46, Roy Kelton Orbison, Jr., 41 and Alexander Orbison, 36.
Kent ... 
What are the odds? That Roy's wife would die on the exact same day as her husband ... and 23 years later!
Frank B.

Barbara Orbison, the widow of Roy Orbison, died Tuesday in Los Angeles, 23 years to the day after her rock ‘n’ roll husband passed away in Tennessee. Barbara was 60 and had pancreatic cancer, the Associated Press reports. She had been hospitalized since May.
I'm sure you've probably heard the news, but how ironic that Roy's wife left this earth exactly 23 years following Roy's death? I had kept in touch with her periodically, and of course she was busy promoting a Roy Orbison Official Stamp from the post office, (that to my knowledge, never came to fruition). But I do know, she was never the same after Roy's passing. She was extremely nice to me and answered all my correspondence, and she will be missed!

I am sooo convinced she and Roy are finally reunited in heaven forever with God, so thankfully now there will be no more "CRYING"!
Wild Bill

I saw the story break on the news wire this afternoon ... I was not aware she was ill. Cancer has taken so, so many great friends and family -- my Mother included. Ironically, Barbara, who will be buried in Westwood Village Memorial Gardens next to her husband, Roy, will not lack for company.

I have visited Westwood on a number of occasions. I know the hallowed grounds well. It is also the final resting place of another great singer -- and, as the inscription on his tombstone states: 'the voice of an angel," my dear friend of thirty-five years, my 'brother-in-spirit,' Carl Wilson (who also passed of cancer). CW's Mother, Audre, and his father-in-law, Dean Martin, are also buried there, along with brother Dennis' former wife, Karen Lamm.
Westwood Memorial is a relatively small cemetery. I'm not sure if it's more than a few acres. It is the final home to a number of music and acting 'giants:' Mel Torme, James Coburn, Rodney Dangerfield (may he find eternal 'respect'), the incredible songwriting team of Ray Evans and Jay Livingston ('Silver Bells,' 'Que Sera, Sera,' 'Buttons and Bows,'' 'Mona Lisa'), the equally incredible songwriter Sammy Cahn ("High Hopes," 'Love and Marriage," "Three Coins In A Fountain," 'All The Way' -- 23 Oscar nominations and 4 Oscars for Best Song -- more than any other writer).
Add to that impressive list, Peter Falk, Merv Griffin, Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon -- the Odd Couple together again -- Don Knotts, Peter Lawford, Peggy Lee, Frank Zappa, Janet Leigh, Buddy Rich, George C. Scott, Farrah Fawcett, Natalie Wood, Jim Hutton, Carrol O'Connor, Burt Lancaster, little Ricky's older brother, David Nelson, Hollywood mogul Daryl F. Zanuck, and 50's pin-up icon, Bettie Page, are all together for eternity in Westwood Memorial, which is literally down an alley behind an AMC Theater off Wilshire Blvd. Oh, Ray Bradbury and Hugh Hefner have 'reservations' there.
RIP, Barbara -- sorry Roy's postage stamp never came out during your lifetime.
Fred Vail  
Fred, you forgot to list Richard Conte, Jim Backus,and the most famous of all, Marilyn Monroe!


Dobie Gray died in his sleep at his Nashville home Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. 
He was 69.
R.I.P. Dobie Gray

Dobie Gray, born Lawrence Brown, has died. He was 71. 
Did I beat Ron Smith?
Nope!  In fact, even I beat you on this one ... of course people would actually have to READ "kk's corner" to see this stuff ... but we've been posting oldies news headlines for WEEKS now in the bottom right-hand corner of the web page.  So, after you check out "Today's Forgotten Hit" in the upper right-hand corner of the page, scroll down to see if we have any OTHER interesting tidbits up on the site!  (kk)  

Kent ...
Although I haven’t seen Dobie Gray in many years, I was especially saddened to hear of his passing. He was the kind of person you can’t forget.
I first met him in 1965 at the Goldbug, a night club in NYC’s Greenwich Village, where he was appearing shortly after “THE IN CROWD” became a hit. 
We spent a little time talking about the differences between East Coast vs. West Coast music, I gave him a demo of one of my songs, and then I left. About six months later I ran into him up at Billboard magazine, and was shocked that he not only remembered my name, but he remembered the title of the song I gave him!
As years passed, through “DRIFT AWAY”and beyond, we stayed in touch. The last time I saw him was when he opened at the WHISKEY-AU-GO-GO with his new group Pollution featuring Tata Vega. I thought he had a smash with “THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN”, but it was never to be.

I met first Dobie Gray in Los Angeles, circa 1963.  I was playing keyboard & singing in a 4 piece group called "The Archers", after it's leader, movie actor & guitarist Arch Hall Jr.  Dobie was coming off a successful single, "Look At Me", & was looking for a backup band.
We all became friends, and actually lived & worked together for a time at a business / apartment complex on Olive Ave in Burbank.  Our band backed Dobie at several venues, from a club called Shap's in Pasadena to Pandora's Box in Hollywood.  Those were wild, fun days. His talent was amazing & his personality was delightful & crazy, but always professional on stage.  And when he cut his next single, produced by Fred Darian, he used our band & sang one of my original songs for the "B" side!  "Funky Funky Feeling" was far from a hit, but my pal Dobie was the first major artist to record my work as a musician & songwriter.  All of this long before his biggest hit, "Drift Away" in 1973.  (Arch Jr. had recorded my tune "Yes I Will", with the "B" side "Wild Guitar Theme", & performed them in the 1962 movie "Wild Guitar", produced by Nicolas Merriweather, alias Arch Hall Sr.) 
Fast forward to the mid 80's: I re-connected with Dobie, who was now living in Nashville, TN, on a visit there. We picked up our friendship & stayed in touch through the ensuing years.  My wife Yuka & I began flying to Nashville together in 1998, where I would  co-write, record demos, & visit new & old friends, including the always warm & gracious Mr. Gray!  His success had continued as a songwriter, jingle writer, and more.  He'd sometimes share the new recordings he was working on, & we tried some co-writing.  He gave me a copy of his Christmas CD package.  And back in L.A. in 2003 we watched him on TV singing "Drift Away" with Uncle Kracker, and were proud & excited (read: slightly envious) about his career longevity.
In 2010, after years of flying back & forth from LA, Yuka & I bought a home in Brentwood, TN. From 1998 until the present, Dobie has been a loving touchstone in our lives.  He adored Yuka, & in Southern fashion christened her "Yuka Mae".
With his friends Bud Reneau & Robin Blakeney, Dobie attended my housewarming & birthday party that October.  He was a little frail, I think he mentioned an issue with gout.  A year earlier he had also visited my old friend Denny Martin's home for Denny's birthday "jam", & surrendered to requests to sing Drift Away.  Playing keyboard next to him at that moment took me back across the decades, & was an emotional highpoint of the year for me.
These last few months of 2011 were sprinkled with phone conversations, Dobie mentioning more health problems, then a long hospital visit, & him finally sharing about his liver cancer.  He never let on the extent of the illness, & I thought he was improving, or at least holding his own.  But there were a lot of mutual "I love you's" in those last few calls.  Friendships were precious to Dobie Gray, & his was precious to me.
There's a big hole in my life now.  Maybe in a couple of weeks, if I'm up to it, I'll put on his lovely Christmas CD.  And just kinda drift away. 
Alan O'Day
Alan even sent us the funeral information, should anyone want to pay their respects in some fashion: 
Dobie Gray, age 71, of Nashville, Tennessee, passed away on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  Dobie was born on July 26, 1940, in Simonton, Texas.  Dobie is survived by sisters, Vivian Jean Outley (H.L. - deceased), Arthurine Brown WIlliams (James) and Naomi Mason (Earl - deceased); brother, Lee Clifton Brown; and a host of nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews and other family and friends.  Friends are cordially invited to the Funeral Services at two o'clock the afternoon of Thursday, December 15, 2011 at Brentwood Baptist Church, 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN 37027, with escorted cortege to Woodlawn Memorial Park for gentle placement there.  Dobie was an award winning songwriter, producer and artist, whose music knew no boundaries. He will me missed by many loving friends whose lives he so profoundly touched, and will live on in the hearts of the millions of fans he reached through his music.  In lieu of customary floral tributes, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where Dobie will leave his gifts, or the Tennessee School for the Blind.  Friends are cordially invited to gather to remember Dobie at Woodlawn Roesch - Patton Funeral Home from Three o'clock until Eight o'clock the evening of Wednesday, December 14 or from Twelve noon until the beginning of services at Two o'clock at Brentwood Baptist Church on the afternoon of Thursday, December 15, 2011.  Woodlawn Roesch - Patton Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane, Nashville, Tennessee, 37204, 615-383-4754.Click here: Will Turpin remembers John Lennon on the 31st anniversary of his death - National Pop Culture |
Hi Kent,
Here’s just one of MANY videos from the show you talked about!  
Eddie Burke
I've watched several of these clips now (and you're right ... there are a TON of them!) and all I can tell you is that not ONE of them comes close to capturing or conveying how great these guys sounded at The Arcada Theatre last weekend.  It was an OUTSTANDING show.  (The Temptations, featuring the last surviving original member, Otis Williams, are performing a special Christmas Show at The Arcada next week on the 15th ... what a GREAT chance to see these Motown legends!)
If nothing else, these clips give you some idea as to the variety of material these artists performed.  We were truly blown away by Jim Messina.  (His voice cracked on a couple of the early songs in his set ... he attributed it to going through puberty ... again!!!)  Seriously, if you get a chance to see this pairing, GO!!!  WELL worth it!  (kk)
kk - 
Just read your excellent review of America and Jim Messina. Sounds like great show, I really wish I had seen it. I’ve heard that Messina is really good, I’ve got to make it a point to see him sometime. Always been a Loggins and Messina fan. 
I can only assure you that you will not be disappointed ... he puts on a great show ... and you sometimes forget just how much incredible music this guy was involved with ... Poco ... Buffalo Springfield ... Loggins and Messina ... most guys would kill to spend time with any ONE of these artists ... and Jimmy "sat in" with all three!!!  (kk)

Hey Guys:
I've always been a fan of Wolfgang's Vault, because they've released so much music from a plethora of great artists from the past, most especially material a lot of us fans have NEVER heard or had a chance to experience before AND it cost us NOTHING to enjoy and listen to! Well, the times, they are a changin!!!
Last night, I regrettably sent the latest info for easy access to Wolfgang's Vault's recording of two incredible, never heard before and extremely RARE concerts, one a Flying Burrito Bros / Byrds concert together at the Whisky A Go Go in L. A. and the 2nd,  a classic Byrds Concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London England  " this was sent out to many of my friends (and fellow Byrd Brothers), however, I also sent the email out as a CC:  (and after thought) to Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds / Burritos. Then I received this stunning reply from Chris ...
Wolfgang's Vault takes advantage of all the artist's music it offers ... We (Roger,David and myself)  have had many issues with these people and basically they're ripping everybody off of royalties due.  C.H.
I had no idea what was going on. It's really a shame (and sham)  because these musicians got screwed initially back in the day by the record companies for their entire careers making little or NO $$$ they were to receive and promised. Unfortunately, now DECADES LATER, they're getting screwed again. I can see how Chris, Roger and David sit back and are shaking their heads in disgust over the fact that they've been bamboozled their entire lives on the music they wrote, created and made, the same music that eventually translated to millions upon millions of dollars for the record companies!
And during that time, while we were teens and growing up, we (the listeners) thought these musicians, singers and songwriters were not only ROCK STARS, but received a ROCK STAR'S WAGE! The greed of American Music and Record Companies put an end to that and nipped it in the bud with the inception of records and big time radio. It seems like everyone else received the fruits of their labor, especially radio, advertising, TV and the companies that rolled out the music. There should be a congressional investigation and class action lawsuit into this entire thing (if not already done) ... the system went horribly wrong and continues to stay that way!!! Personally, I have seen way too many homeless or close to penniless 50's, 60's and 70's stars that have gotten STEAM ROLLED by the music industry, the way they were treated and the lack of benefits and royalties they were promised!
Your comments?
"Wild" Bill Cody
Hey Kent
I wanted to let you know I jumped on the Kickstarter wagon for The Standells new album back in July.
They reached their goal, but last I heard from Larry they never got any of that money. So all the prompts we were supposed to get for our pledge we have not gotten.
I know you have talked about this on your site I wanted to pass it along.
Mickey Cooksey
My understanding is it's all or nothing ... don't know much more than that (other than it because a real "buzz" for about three weeks ... after never even hearing of it before, I was inundated with mail about it for about a three week period, all for various music projects.)

Now this sounds like a scam ... but there were some MAJOR artists attached to this.  I'd certainly tell them to investigate, particularly if they are 100% certain that they reached their goal.  (kk)

It is all or nothing ... and they made their goal.  If they didn't, we were supposed to get a refund. I had never heard of it till Larry told me about it he is the original keyboard and vocalist for the Standells. After all is said and done I think it's a scam too and the artist are unaware of it.


What a great selection for Monday's FH. I always did like MAGIC TOWN as also the other
one you listed THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY. Incidentally, MAGIC TOWN was always
number one with a guy by the name of Houdini.
You mentioned the Coke commercial that started the ad campaign ... I'd like to teach the world to sing ... I'd like to buy the world a Coke.
Back in the sixties Coca Cola ran a contest ... $50,000 to the person or persons that completed the slogan ... "Things go better at the fair and all across the nation, when you have Coca Cola there ..."
My parents entered several different catchy phrases like ... For pause and stimulation. But the definitive one was ... "Things go better at the fair and all across the nation, when you have Coca Cola there, the universal salutation. Needless to say ... they didn't win and yet doesn't that sound just like what they are saying when they say they would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony ... they would like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company? I'm just sayin' ... $50,000 back in the sixties ... that might have come in handy.
$50,000 in the 2010's would still come in handy!!!  Heck of a campaign 'tho ... EVERYBODY was singing this song back then!  (kk)

You and I have at least one thing in common. I, like you, like David Cassidy's COULD IT BE FOREVER as my own personal favorite of the songs he recorded. Now I realize that some of your readers may not remember this song, or as the expression goes "it doesn't ring a BELL with them".
Well, nobody seemed overwhelmingly surprised by this year's inductees.  (Gee, what a surprise!)  Here are a few comments we picked up along the way (as well as from some other sources):

Guns 'N Roses: Don't overthink this, don't worry about this being their first year of eligibility. If GNR doesn't get in on the first ballot we should occupy Cleveland and demand they shut the Hall down. GNR made one of the greatest debuts of all time, one of the two best hard rock records ever (the other being "Back In Black"), and although the "Illusions" were overbaked, they still stood heads and heels above almost all of the dreck out there.  As for Axl being insane ... the good thing is nobody can have a vendetta against him, we don't hold grudges against the mentally ill.
Laura Nyro: How David Geffen made his first million.  The fact that she ain't in is criminal, just as bad as keeping Alice Cooper out for eons. Nyro had it all, she could write, sing and play. The Prince of her day, not only did she have a solo career, her songs were hits for so many others. Let her in and bring her back. I still play her albums, doesn't anybody else?
Heart: Won't get in, but should. Forget the eighties MTV hits, go back to the seventies. They broke ground, they were the Billie Jean Kings of music. It was the Wilson sisters' band. And Ann had pipes that were staggering, so pure in an era where it couldn't be faked.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Give me a break. So she had a couple of hit singles, incredible, but she didn't even write "I Love Rock 'n' Roll". And despite all the press, the Runaways were not very good. Not everybody gets a trophy. Joan's a journeyman (woman?). She deserves some respect, but not an award.
Eric B. & Rakim: Is it the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame or ...?  I don't want to pass judgment on Eric B. & Rakim, definitely a memorable act, but what exactly are the criteria for induction again?
Should get in according to me:  Guns 'N Roses; Laura Nyro; Donna Summer; Donovan; Heart
Will get in:  Guns 'N Roses; Donna Summer; Beastie Boys; Freddie King; Donovan
But you know how this works, right? Individuals champion acts, bludgeoning others on the nominating committee. There's more corruption in the Hall than there is on K Street. And methinks the voting machines are made by Diebold (wink, wink!)
But it's all irrelevant. You don't have to be in the Hall to be great. Thunderclap Newman will never be inducted, but "Something In The Air" never dies. Hall & Oates were incredibly good and commercially successful, but somehow that doesn't count.
So have fun with it, but don't take it all too seriously.
-- Bob Lefsetz
The Grammy's and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ... Why don't you write about Soundscan too ... that way you'll cover the trifecta of things that don't matter to anyone under 40!
Mike Bailey
Lamest class ever?
-- Ron Smith
Don't we say that EVERY year?!?!?  (kk)
Well, a new batch of R&R Hall of Famers.
Beastie Boys!! Chili Peppers!!
Can we please shut this down before it’s too late!  
Rod Stewart is on his way to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to reunite with The Faces.  He was unable to attend his 1994 induction ceremony due to an earthquake!
Frank B.
The only other thing I will say on this subject (as we can't change the inevitable, no matter how much we may disagree with it!) is that I believe we built a VERY solid case for the inclusion of Ed Sullivan in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during our lengthy Ed Sullivan series.  This guy brought rock and roll into more homes than ANYBODY else previously enshrined yet he's never even made the ballot.
I think next year we'll build a brand new list of The Top 40 Most Deserving And Denied Artists ... update our list from several years ago.  (Actually, several of those artists have since been inducted.)
Let's wait till after the new induction ceremony and then we'll open the polls again.  Stay tuned.  (kk) 

Hi Kent ...
Congratulations on your Twelfth Birthday! Forgotten Hits is something I look forward to reading every Sunday.  I have every issue going back to the 60s shop.
On your Twelfth Birthday I want to thank you for Forgotten Hits and all the wonderful information you provide for us Rock & Rollers, keeping us informed on so many things that are going on from the past and the future.
I want to thank you for all the stories you have featured on Forgotten Hits on my career. Kent, you are a very special man!  I hope things are good with you!
Lots of love,
John Madara
Thanks for the kind words, John.  I always enjoy talking with you and doing our series was a real pleasure ... I learned so much in the process.  (John tells me that noted writer Bill Dahl will be telling his whole life story in a new book ... gee, John, I would have done it myself for a $250,000 advance!!!)
Best holiday wishes to you, my friend ... it's always a pleasure!  (kk)
Love your website and music!
I'd love to give you a Xmas gift to recognize the great work you do on
your Forgotten Hits web-site, but can't think of anything right now.
However, I believe your wife Fran likes to do the occasional crossword
puzzle, so in lieu of a gift to you, I've attached by latest Rockword that
hopefully she will enjoy.   This is a themed puzzle with most, but not all,
the clues and answers related to the theme.  
I wish you and all your family the best of wishes for the holiday season. And, as always, keep up the good work.
Mike Ogilvie
Thanks, Mike.  Several of our readers have expressed an interest in doing your puzzles, which can now be found on Ron Smith's website here:

And thanks for the kind words about our site.
As for a gift for me, I have found that, when in doubt, CASH will always do the trick!  (lol)  Actually, Ron sent me an import CD of Janis Martin, "The Female Elvis", which I've been listening to in the car these past few days. So far the mix of music seems to run the full gamut of "not too bad" to "man, that's really awful"!!!  I still don't get how she was singled out to wear such a title ... but she DOES have a really good rock-a-billy voice and these arrangements are pretty much textbook perfect for this era. (kk)