Friday, April 8, 2011

Is Chicago Losing Its True Oldies Channel?

It would certainly appear to be the case.

With new programming announced both in the press and on the air yesterday, WLS-FM claims they're going for a more "localized" feel to their broadcast day.  As such, Scott Shannon, who brought The True Oldies Channel to Chicago and literally SAVED the oldies format for The Windy City, is now being reduced to just a few hours on the weekend, paving the way for a full-fledged in-studio line-up that will include Tom O'Toole, Danny Lake, a new afternoon weekend "local host" still to be announced and John "Records" Landecker's syndicated "Into The '70's" program Sunday Nights.  Saturday Nights will continue to feature Danny Lake's very popular "Live '70's All-Request Dance Party" and Saturday Mornings will now feature rebroadcasts of Casey Kasem's popular "American Top 40" radio program from the '70's.  (I'm not quite sure what's "localized" about that ... in fact, by the mid-'70's, WLS wasn't even playing most of the songs on The National Top 40 List anymore ... they had 
cut their OWN survey down to about 15 tracks and many ... if not most ... of these were greatly "dated" by the standards of what was being played on the radio everywhere else in the country at the time.  It was truly a dark time for The Big 89, once the most successful AM Powerhouse Top 40 Radio Station in town.)

Truthfully, if a more "localized" sound was REALLY what they were shooting for, especially in the way of a "countdown" show, the station would have been FAR better served by bringing Ron Smith in on the weekends to do his Chicagoland Countdown Show, playing songs that were actually on the WLS Chart at the time but with the benefit of a "live", updated feel to the program.  (This guy literally wrote the book on the Chicagoland Music Charts!)

In fact, The "True Oldies" name seems to have disappeared from the station completely ... it now refers to itself as yet another "Greatest Hits of All-Time" station and / or "Chicago's Greatest Hits Station" ... about the ONLY time you'll hear "True Oldies" mentioned at all anymore is during Scott Shannon's shift, which has been DRASTICALLY cut to next to nothing with all these changes!

WLS President and General Manager Michael Damsky claims this new programming move will give the station "the chance to play songs that people would not normally hear during the week."  (Again, I'm confused ... isn't that pretty much EXACTLY what Scott Shannon's "specialty weekends" were all about?!?!?)

Immediate reaction has been overwhelmingly negative.  (This is taking NOTHING away from the fine jocks on board at WLS-FM, many of whom are regular Forgotten Hits Readers ... they're just playing what they're being told to play.  It's just that OUR idea of an "oldies station" has absolutely NOTHING to do with all the '80's and '90's music the station has been playing lately.  I fully expect to hear Katy Perry any day now!!!) 

In fact, I actually heard them play "Love Shack" by The B-52's the other day.  Now I don't know about you, but the very FIRST act I think of when it comes to oldies music is The B-52's.  (Some of you purists out there may guffaw at this comment and say "What about Elvis?  Or Chuck Berry?  Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis?  Rick Nelson? Fats Domino?  Nope ... sorry folks ... but artists like THESE have been missing from oldies stations for quite some time already now ... oldies TODAY consist of The B-52's, Bruce Springsteen and Sheena Easton.)

The BEST thing Scott Shannon could do is find another outlet for True Oldies here in Chicago ... because if and when he does, THAT station will TOTALLY kick the butt of every other station in town right now PRETENDING to be an oldies station.  (That means YOU, K-Hits and WLS-FM!!!)  With HUGE ratings scores thanks to the new People Meter, True Oldies leaped to the top of the ratings a while back ... but apparently Damsky wasn't paying attention or he wouldn't be "jack"-ing with the format.  (On a personal note, I'm going to HATE not being able to listen to Shannon's weekend programming unless I sit in front of a computer all day ... especially since we've helped to develop many of these specialty weekend themes.  I can't believe that I won't even be able to listen to some of my own handiwork in the car anymore!)

Shannon needs to re-think his True Oldies format and stop trying to mold it into what WLS wants it to be ... he's already been reduced to doing nothing more than giving the call letters during the week ... and now has to work even harder to record a program especially designed to air in the Chicagoland market.  Again, reaction has been universally negative ... listeners HATE it and want the OLD Scott Shannon back again.  Seriously, True Oldies on another station ... as long as Shannon remains "True" to the original True Oldies format ... would go over GANGBUSTERS here in town, where less and less and less '50's and '60's music is being played.  He needs to find another outlet here in town for such a station.  Yes, it'll be hard giving up the WLS flagship connection ... but they have TOTALLY destroyed your concept in the process ... and believe me, listeners are leaving left and right!

And this isn't just one man's opinion (although I would consider it to be a pretty valued opinion!!!)  Just check the posting board to Robert Feder's column where he broke this story yesterday:
In his own post, Damsky states:  What we are trying to achieve in this evolution is to make the station as local as possible, while preserving what many people enjoyed in listening to Scott Shannon’s “True Oldies Channel.” We’re very happy to have Scott continue contributing as long as the work load doesn’t interfere with his golf game. We’re also happy to give more airtime to the very popular Danny Lake and Tom O’Toole. As for Casey Kasem, PD Michael La Crosse and I think people will enjoy the unique historic perspective of hearing the context in which now-classic songs were first introduced. In any event, I believe people will appreciate the fact that we are still Chicago’s only “oldies” station.
Stay tuned, Chicago ... the shake-up ... and the fall-out ... has just begun!  (kk)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And, In Other Oldies News ... (Check Out These "Coming Up" Events!)

What's Eric up to these days? Still touring.
(Eric Burdon will be 70 on May 11th) 
"Presently I have more shows coming up in the US and Canada and a European tour this summer," he tells Ray Sasho of the St. Petersburg Examiner. "I just finished recording for a new album with a video about Bo Diddley (with the family's blessing, of course). More recordings and exciting projects are on the way but the fans and the world are just going to have to wait and see."
On living in California, Burdon states, "One of my reasons for living in California is that it’s close proximity to Mexico. The Latin influence is in every corner of the community. My love of Spanish music hasn't wavered since the 50's. I could hear the blues voicing from the Flamanco families and I always dig for inspiration in Latin music. I just got out of the studio after recording for my new album and a couple of the tracks that we laid down were heavily influenced by Latin music. The album is coming out later this year, so look forward to it."
Who are The Animals today? Billy Watts, guitar: Brannen Temple, drums: Red Young, keyboards; Terry Wilson, bass
Videos of the original Eric Burdon & The Animals:
"We Gotta Get Out of This Place" -
"House of the Rising Sun"
"When I Was Young"
Upcoming tour dates:
April 22 - Boulder Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
April 29 - 29th Annual Laughlin River Run, Edgewater Casino, Laughlin, Nevada
May 5 - Dixon May Fair, Dixon Fairgrounds, Dixon, California (with John Kay & Steppenwolf)
May 14 - Harrah's Lake Tahoe
June 8 - B.B. King's, New York City
June 24 - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California
July 17 - Snoqualmie Casino, Snoqualmie, Washington
After a 4 year hiatus, Tommy Roe is returning to touring with a brand new show: An Evening With Tommy Roe.
A bona fide international star, TOMMY ROE wrote and recorded six "Top 10" hits between 1962-69, more than any other solo American artist. 
To his credits he has 11 US Top 40 hits, 6 Top 10s, 4 Certified Gold singles, and 2 #1 Hits. He is a member of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Tommy Roe began writing songs at the age of fourteen, and his first recording effort yielded the international #1 hit ... Sheila. In 1963, TOMMY ROE headlined the now famous UK tour, in which a rising band called The Beatles were the opening act!!
An Evening With Tommy Roe is a new show featuring all his hits, plus less familiar tunes, and new material as well. The band is led by veteran guitarist / music director RICK LEVY (Herman's Hermits, Bo Diddley, Jay & the Techniques, Freddy Cannon, etc). The show features full band, unplugged and solo segments.
Tommy Roe will be performing on these dates in May 2011:
MAY 19 Century Casino, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
MAY 20 Casino Regina, Regina, SK, Canada
I guess after his recent appearance at Charles Rosenay's Beat Expo, Tommy's caught the performing bug again ... and we couldn't be happier.  (Would LOVE to see this guy in concert ... hope his travels bring him out Chicago-way sometime soon!)  And wouldn't it be cool to see a double bill with Tommy Roe and Robin Luke?!?!?  For the big final encore, they could both come out and do a live reprise of "Susie Darlin'" together!  (kk)
Music Legend Jon Anderson To Tour The US In Support Of Forthcoming CD Release, “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” 4/5/2011 – Asheville, NC - Much to the excitement of fans across the country, Music Icon Jon Anderson, best known for his work with Yes, Vangelis, Kitaro and other notable music artists, as well as his innovative solo efforts, is preparing to tour the US in support of his forthcoming CD release 'Survival and Other Stories'. Jon recently completed a successful European tour with former Yes member and keyboard virtuoso Rick Wakeman on the heels of their critically acclaimed debut album 'The Living Tree'. The upcoming Spring tour “An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” touts an exciting mixture of material from Jon Anderson's prolific solo career, collaborations with Vangelis and classic Yes songs, along with new compositions from his pending CD, and promises a magical and memorable evening of enchanting music for all who attend!
Most recently, Jon Anderson's vocals from the song "In High Places" featured on Mike Oldfield's 'Crises' album from 1983 (written by Anderson and Oldfield) are sampled on Kanye West's new track "Dark Fantasy" from his 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' CD, which has topped Billboard's chart as the #1 album in the country.
On May 24, 2010 Jon shared the stage with the 112 member Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra and 60 member student chorus in a mesmerizing performance that exudes joy and energy. The one night concert was recently shown on HDNet. For replay information visit Three weeks ago Jon sang with the wonderful San Antonio Youth Orchestra to several standing ovations adding a new ark to his luminous career.
Jon is featured singing on the upcoming CD release by US composer and producer Jonathan Elias called 'Prayer Cycle', which also includes guests appearances by Sting, Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Downey Jr. and via an archival recording Jim Morrison, amongst others. 
Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman's recent collaboration 'The Living Tree', the duo's debut studio release featuring nine tracks of original material, has been garnering rave reviews worldwide! Details and ordering information can be found at the Voiceprint website. You can also download The Living Tree on Jon's much anticipated forthcoming CD 'Survival and Other Stories” is scheduled for release in late Spring 2011. With themes about love, life, understanding, healing and survival, Jon's new CD has an inspirational message for all who will listen!
“An Acoustic Evening With Jon Anderson” tour dates:
4/23/2011 - Somerville Theatre - Somerville, MA
4/26/2011 - Havana New Hope - New Hope, PA
4/28/2011 - Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
4/30/2011 - B.B. Kings Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
5/02/2011 - Musikfest Cafe ArtsQuest Center at Steel Slacks - Bethlehem, PA
5/04/2011 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
5/06/2011 - Princeton University - McCarter Theatre - Princeton, NJ
5/07/2011 - New Jersey Performing Arts Center - Victoria Theatre - Newark, NJ
5/09/2011 - Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
5/11/2011 - Rams Head On Stage - Annapolis, MD
5/12/2011 - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium - Halifax, Nova Scotia
5/13/2011 - The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performing Center - Plymouth, NH
5/15/2011 - Bates College Olin Arts Center - Concert Hall - Lewiston, ME
5/18/2011 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH
5/19/2011 - Tupelo Music Hall - Londonderry, NH
5/21/2011 - Woodstock Town Hall Theatre - Woodstock, VT
5/25/2011 - Ellsworth Grand Auditorium - Ellsworth , ME
For more information visit Jon Anderson's new website:
And how cool is this???
Paul Simon's brand new album drops next week ... and he's giving everybody a chance to listen to it first before purchasing the LP!
Full details are below ...
Paul Simon's new album, So Beautiful or So What, will be available in stores on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 ... but you can listen to the full album right now on our special listening party hosted by Soundcloud. Just visit where you can stream the album, in its entirety.
We've included some special features on the page and you can listen to the music, comment on the songs, share on Facebook, Twitter and e-mail it to your friends and like the page on Facebook - help spread the word about this amazing album. 
Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So WhatListen to the full album now!
Paul Simon also has a number of tour dates set up in support of the new album (including a stop here in Chicago on May 17th).  For the complete itinerary, check out his website:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Couple Of Quickies ...

>>>Is there a possibility that there are two versions, single or album, of the Guess Who's Star Baby? This has been driving me crazy for years as the current versions you hear on the internet just don't sound right. I remember the version that WLS played to death was noticeably faster, more energetic. But then, wasn't one of the Chicago stations accused of speeding up the songs so they could have more room for commercials?
(Dave / Hoffman Estates)
>>>"Star Baby" was a HUGE hit for The Guess Who here in Chicago, where it went all the way to #3. (Nationally, it peaked at #30 in Cash Box Magazine and #39 in Billboard.) MOST of their hits did better here in Chicago ... where the band often came to record in the late '60's and early '70's. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that there are different album and single versions of this tune ... "punched-up singles" were pretty much the norm back then. (And you're right ... at various times, WLS and WCFL were BOTH accused of speeding up their records to not only squeeze a little more music in but to all sound a little more "high intensity" on the air.) kk

Regarding WLS speeding up songs so that they could squeeze more songs in a given hour, it didn’t happen while Sam Holman, Gene Taylor or on my watch as program director. I seriously doubt that it ever did happen as it would have changed the pitch of the music.
Clark Weber
There was quite a bit of press at the time (and for awhile thereafter) that WCFL was speeding up their records by half a pitch, not only to squeeze more music into each hour (what's the most it could have possibly amounted to, one song?!?!?), but also to convey a certain "energy" / "intensity" to the music that you didn't hear on their biggest competitor's station. I'll betcha if you asked a few of the 'CFL jocks that were there at the time, they'll admit to it freely (now that the statutes of limitations has passed!!! lol) And they weren't the only ones ... ANYWHERE where a major city had any kind of serious Top 40 competition, there was talk of this practice going on. (I'm kinda surprised you hadn't heard this before ... I wonder if I'll get any other responses / testimonials on this!!! lol)  kk

Never during my time as Program Director did WLS alter any of the music programmed.
John Rook

Hi Kent;
I asked Bob Dearborn if this story rang any type of bell with him ... perhaps his info will finally shed some light on this story.

That was the practice at WCFL for several months in late 1974 / early 1975. The story has been exaggerated so often in the re-telling that I see from Kent's question that it now encompasses "the 1960s and 1970s." Not so. That's way out of proportion.
The idea was to make the music sound brighter, more energetic on 'CFL. It was hoped that dial-switchers, and you'll recall there were many, would find the music sluggish on WLS by comparison.
I've read some accounts that this was done to make it possible for us to play more records per hour. Maybe ... one very short extra song per hour, tops.
Many of us on the inside complained that cheating in this manner was no way to win the ratings battle, but at that point, with the ratings in free-fall just a couple of years after it was the BillBoard Radio Station of the Year, the people running the show were ready to try anything, even deceit. Speeding up the records was just one of the unfortunate practices going on at WCFL at the time.
WCFL stopped speeding up the music when word of it leaked out to the press. This was the Watergate Era and it seemed like every newspaper guy in town envisioned himself as the next Woodward or Bernstein. It seemed like every week during much of this era, there were several newspaper stories written by local "investigative journalists" about the unsavory things going on at the Voice of Labor. It was an unhappy, embarrassing time for most of us.
By spring of 1975, a new program director was trying to right the ship with an honest, creative and somewhat edgier approach. But again, it was too late. The damage had been done. Although all of the trickery ended before 1975 did, by then the damage to the station's image and reputation had been done. Once you lose people's trust, it's next to impossible to regain it. Then on March 15, 1976, Super CFL was no more.
Bob Dearborn

I was quite surprised that Clark Weber wasn't aware of any of this going on as I seem to remember (even as just the average listener) there being quite a bit of press about it at the time. (kk)
While this CFL incident in 74 / 75 was taking place, I was at WMAQ and more or less out of the loop concerning the LS / CFL war.

While by Bob's own admission, NOT his proudest 'CFL moment, WCFL SURE gave WLS a run for their money for about ten years here in Chicago ... probably the most exciting time in "radio wars" that we ever experienced. As Bob points out below, too often the "bad" outweighs the good ... when the truth is BOTH stations gave us COUNTLESS hours of pure enjoyment during that entire time. (kk)
Thanks, Kent.
I was there for six years, 1970-1976, and proud to be a part of it for almost every minute. The relatively brief period when we resorted to speeding up the records as a desperate attempt to get back to being the #1 Top 40 station in town is not something I like to remember, but it's impossible to forget the embarrassment it caused the majority of us who were working there at the time.
It's a shame that human nature leads us to recall a comparatively short negative time instead of longer stretches that were quite the opposite. There are some people who talk about "the fat Elvis" as if he'd been overweight for most of his 23-year career instead of just the last couple of years of it.
Instead of focusing too much attention on the short time we went astray, I would ask people to remember the many good things they heard from "The Men From Ten" over the years, the fun they (and we) had during the days when 'CFL really was Super.

BY THE WAY:  "Star Baby" spent April, May, June and July of 1974 on the WCFL Chart (where it peaked at #3) ... could it have been "sped-up" on the air?  Quite possibly so, I guess, if Bob Dearborn's timeframe is off by a month or two.  It's a great song either way ... so let's feature it here today!  (kk)

For the past twelve years, Forgotten Hits has prided itself on presenting "The Most Accurate Truth" to our readers. FAR too often, erroneous stories are repeated so often that the actual facts soon become blurred ... often to the point that the fiction BECOMES the truth. Not unreasonable, I suppose ... if you've seen it in print SO many times, it MUST be true, right??? Whenever we can, we try (most often with the help of some of the folks that were there) to set the record straight ... our purpose isn't proving somebody wrong or calling somebody a liar ... but rather to get the REAL facts out there in the hopes that the media will pick up on the truth and start circulating THAT for a change!!!
So I was quite disappointed to see that when we printed The Daily Herald article last week remembering the recently passed Ray Herr, one-time guitarist / bassist for Chicago's Ides Of March, the article claimed:

"Herr played guitar with the Ides of March pn their biggest hit, “Vehicle.” The single rose to No. 2 on the national charts and broke ground for its use of a brass section in a rock band.
“Vehicle” became the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros. Records' history. It wound up selling more than 1 million copies, and led to an album by the same name, as well as extensive national tours.
The Ides recorded their second album, “Common Bond,” and one of its singles, “LA Goodbye,” stayed on top of Chicago's charts for five weeks.
Herr continued to record with the Ides, including their other major hit, “L.A. Goodbye,” which reached the top of Chicago charts, but he left the band after that and never looked back.

Far be it from me to speak ill of the dead ... and certainly NONE of this is Ray Herr's fault ... but The Daily Herald reporter should have done a little bit of fact-checking before publishing his story. "Vehicle" did, in fact, reach #2 on Billboard's Chart (after topping the charts here in Chicago.) Although it was a HUGE hit (and still gets played at least a couple of times every single day), I don't show any record of this single ever officially selling a million copies, however.
Meanwhile, despite what The Daily Herald article tells you, "L.A. Goodbye" NEVER made it to #1 on the Chicagoland chart (let alone spent five weeks there!) ... it peaked at #2 ... and nationally petered out (or would that be Peterik-ed out) at #72 in Cash Box and #73 in Billboard. Although it certainly DESERVED to be a much bigger hit, it simply didn't happen.
Worse yet, there is SOME speculation as to whether or not Herr played on the track at all. He's not pictured on nor mentioned in the band personnel on the back of the LP cover ... and some have suggested that he left the band between "Vehicle" and "L.A. Goodbye".
By us simply referencing and quoting from The Daily Herald article only helps to fuel the myth, so we felt obligated to set the record straight. Great guitarist, yes ... one-time member of The Ides Of March ... yes. Everything else??? Maybe ... or flat out "no"! (kk)

A LITTLE MORE RESEARCH: It looks like the extent of Eileen O. Daday's Daily Herald article was a quick look at Wikipedia ... here's what I just found on the Wikipedia website under The Ides Of March:

Having secured a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records, in 1970 the band released the track "Vehicle," which at the time became the fastest selling single in Warner's history.[citation needed] The song reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the corresponding Cash Box listings. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc in November 1972.[1] The following album, Vehicle, reached #55 nationally.
In 1971, the band released their second album Common Bond. The featured single was "L.A. Goodbye". The song was at #1 on regional charts for five weeks, #2 on WCFL Chicago, #5 on WLS Chicago, but only #73 on the Hot 100.

Wikipedia take note: "Vehicle" didn't hit #1 in Cash Box either ... it peaked at #6. And a quick check of the official RIAA Million Sellers website does NOT show "Vehicle" attaining a million sales either. As to what "regional chart" showed "L.A. Goodbye" at #1 for five weeks, the ONLY major charts in Chicago at the time were the WLS and WCFL charts, the two Top 40 Rock Stations (both AM giants in 1970 / 1971). Since they correctly list "L.A. Goodbye"'s peak position on those two charts, I cannot help but wonder what "regional chart" they're referring to!
And, finally, as for whether or not Ray Herr was a member of The Ides Of March when "L.A. Goodbye" (or the "Common Bond" album for that matter) were recorded, we went right to the source on this one ... here's an email we received from Ides Of March Leader Jim Peterik:

Hi Kent!
You are correct. Ray did not appear on LA Goodbye or Common Bond. He had left the band well before we started that album.
All the best!
Keep rocking!!!

Now seriously ... how hard was that?!?!? (kk)

For those of you who may have missed it (#72 nationally?!?!?  For real?!?!?), here is an Ides Of March Classic ... "L.A. Goodbye"  (kk)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 04 - 03 - 11 )

Well, Happy Anniversary, Freddy!!! (Ironically I heard Scott Shannon play "Palisades Park" yesterday!) kk


Wow! I just found a fantastic site!

Talk about nostalgia!
DJ Stu Weiss

Last comment on the word "Oldies": 
The way I see it, there is no precise definition; an "Oldie" can be 100+ years old, but it can also be song released yesterday. I only say this because of what content is offered as "Classic Rock". Some of it is now defined as such, but was Pop music yesterday. That's why I object to name tagging music. Just like in Joel Whitburn's books, the phrase "Adult Contemporary" is used. However, those radio stations, if there were ones, no longer exist. Times change. Take for example, Herb Albert (& The Tijuana Brass). Some of his / their hits that scored better as Adult Contemporary are well known to most of us who never listened to such radio stations. On a last note, we have "White R&B" and just "R&B", besides "Soul". Maybe it'd be best just to call it White and Black music. It gets ridiculous after a while and will get worse with time.
Jersey John
One of the reasons I've held off with any more commentary on this subject is because I, myself, have mixed emotions about the right way to handle it. On the one hand, I feel like segregating music the way radio has for the past 30 years has completely destroyed any chance of listeners developing their own "likes" and tastes ... the mentality seems to be instead that if you listen to this station, you're only going to get THIS specific kind of music and ONLY this specific type of music ... and as far as I'm concerned, that's just wrong.  For me to spend a bunch of time dividing which songs SHOULD be considered "oldies" and which ones SHOULDN'T, all I'm doing is helping to promote this backward way of thinking. Most will argue that you can't be all things to all people ... but I think there are avenues out there that have NEVER been properly explored ... so we may take more of THAT approach once we're ready to comment on this again. (kk)

I have many many 45s that I figure are rare ... two piles about one foot tall each, I grab the top handful and get "I Love You More and More Everyday by Al Martino and "Doncha Think It's Time / Wear My Ring Around Your Neck by Elvis ... this is a British pressing and an original issue, because it is a different take than the one on "50,000,000 Million Elvis Fans CANT Be Wrong"; "Wild In The Country" (sung over the movie's opening credits); Pipeline by the Chantay's (would be 20+ years before finding out WHAT the term pipeline meant) -- surfing wave ... that encircle ... the surfer; World Without Love by Peter and Gordon; Saturday Night (at the Movies) by The Drifters; RARE ONE: Popcorn by Hot Butter; Tennessee Bird Walk by Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan; RARE AGAIN: Groovy Grubworm - Harlow Wilcox; Do You Love Me - The Contours (A ROLLER SKATING prize); RARE: Put a Light in the Window - the Four Lads; Up Town Girl - Billy Joel; My Dad - Paul Peterson; Scotch on the Rocks- The Band of the Black Watch; The AMERICANS by Gordon Sinclair (Gord was a newscaster and radio commentator with radio CFRB 1010 Toronto when he did this narration which he wrote himself for a five minute pre-newscast he did at 11:55 AM, Mon - Fri called LET'S BE PERSONNEL); Locomotion by Grand Funk; Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You - THE BEATLES; Everybody - Tommy Roe (Usually sand about a girl); Me and Bobby McGee/ If You Could Read My Mind - Canada's Gordon Lightfoot (one of the few songs he did that HE DIDNT WRITE HIS OWN SELF); RARE: Let's Go - The Routers (would become a chant at many local sporting events back then); RARE: Silence is Golden by The Tremeloes (if silence IZ golden, X must be on the SILVER standard); Could You Ever Love Me Again - Gary and Dave, Canadians; Waterloo - Ol' Stonewall Jackson; South Street - The Orlons; El Silenzio - Roy Etzel and Orchestra; What Will Mary Say - Johnny Mathis; White on White - Danny Williams backed with Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow - The Rivingtons on the SAME 45!
How much really good music and songs NEVER, for varied reason, got AIRPLAY at ALL???
Plus Two 45s by Elvis that I don't think were pressed IN the US: Shopping Around / Wooden Heart from G.I.Blues and Mean Woman Blues / Have I Told You Lately. Mean Woman Blues is from Loving You, but that is NOT printed on the label. Wonder if there aint more. These two were issued on regular RCA labels, so they cant be bootlegs.
One thing about lisening to the various radio stations I was able to get over there on Lake Huron: CKLW Windor, WBZ, WCFL. WLS, EEEEEEEEEEEEE T C ... In the early 60s you heard a cross section of STYLES OF music. Folk, C/W RnR, Bert Kaempfert, Perry Como, Al Hirt ... WE ALL LEARNED to appreciate many styles back then.
IZ it the same today?????????????

Robert Black
No, it sure isn't ... and that's been one of our biggest beefs here in Forgotten Hits for YEARS now. Back then, we were all exposed to ALL different kinds of music ... and we grew up loving all of it. There was NEVER a second thought given to the idea that "this music doesn't belong with that music" ... it was ALL good music ... and somehow it all fit and nobody ever questioned it ... which CONVINCES me that this format could still work today. (If nothing else, this "new" way of thinking would certainly stand apart as the ANTI-Programming of today's rampant music segregation!!!) I believe that if a radio station embraced this concept of programming, it would quickly develop the biggest audience possible. I've said it before and I'll say it again ... every single one of us grew up listening to, loving and / or being exposed to ALL of this music over the course of our lifetimes ... we had '50's rock and roll played side by side with the crooners and the hot instrumentals ... we had The British Invasion played with songs from the folk movement, the Motown Sound, The Beach Boys and the underground / psychedelic movement ... and then, as FM progressed, we all became accustomed to hearing more album rock ... we've seen each and every one of the trends come and go ... and while we may not have loved and embraced every single one of them, we grew up listening to it all. A station dedicated and devoted to playing ALL of this great music side by side would stand head and shoulders above every other radio station on the dial ... it would HAVE to succeed! But that means you've got to play it ALL ... you have to believe and dedicate yourself to showing ALL of the facets of popular music over the past 50-something years!!! Not just showcasing 200-300 of the same tunes over and over and over again ... but run the full gamut of musical styles and genres. I wish we could get just ONE struggling station to take us up on this agenda and give us the chance to prove to the rest of the world that we were right. (Watch how fast the others follow suit in this "copy cat" radio world we live in!!!) kk

Hi Kent!
I did not know about Leon Russell and the Playboys (that has a nice ring, don"tcha think); I'm bettin' a lot of these okies don't know that, and Leon is an Okie; but here's one you probably know, but people that ain't oldies nuts like us don't know, that Glen Campbell sat in as a drummer for Buddy Holly and the Crickets? (I heard that years ago from The Master, Casey Kasem!!!) P.S. When I was a kid, I used to stay up way past my bedtime so the "skip" would be right, and then I could tune in WLS, Chicago !! I was in Birmingham, Alabama!
Alabama Mike

re: I PITY THE FOOL ... :
>>>For the past few years Scott Shannon has been featuring songs on April Fool's Day with the word "Fool" in the title.  (kk)
Don't forget Brook Benton's song from 1961, FOOLS RUSH IN.
Rick Nelson's version of this songs is one of my all-time favorites! (kk)

I forgot to mention in my previous e-mail that years ago there was a debate on the radio station of whether Susan Christie was related to Lou Christie. I don't remember how that debate turned out. The song by her was big here in OKC. I guess you could ask the question, "What ever became of her?"
One final thing ...
Thank you for helping me decide what to have for dinner tonight.
I am going to have I LOVE ONIONS (fried of course) with a CHEESEBURGER IN PARADISE through the courtesy of Jimmy Buffett and I am going to top it off with a large chocolate SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! by Jackie Wilson.
Have a great weekend.
For years and years and years it was reported that Susan Christie was Lou Christie's sister. (In fact, Joel Whitburn's books said as much for quite some time!) But the truth is, Susan's REAL name was Beatrice Hill (and Lou's real name is Lugee Sacco), so I'd have to say no, NO relation at all! (I think Chicago and Oklahoma City must have had pretty similar hits ... "I Love Onions" went to #30 here in Chi-Town back in 1966.)
What, no "Mashed Potatoes" and "Gravy" with that dinner??? (kk)

"Fool If You Think It's Over" is one of my all time favorite songs, thanks for featuring it.

A few weeks ago we told you about the upcoming Billy Joel biography, "The Book Of Joel" ... now it sounds like we're never going to get the chance to read it! (In fact, I heard Scott Shannon say that Joel has to give back the Three Million Dollar advance he got for agreeing to write the book!) kk
Forget reading the autobiography of the Piano Man this summer. Billy Joel announced Thursday (March 31) he has cancelled plans to publish his life story. "The Book of Joel" had been due to come out in June, but Billy says, "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music."
-- Ron Smith


One of our most popular features (and one of Rock and Roll's greatest mysteries) surrounds Texas-born '60's pop star Bobby Fuller. (The circumstances surrounding his death may never really be known for sure ... but that hasn't stopped the Hollywood Folks from trying to capture it on film. With a stand out cast that includes Dexter's Michael C. Hall and recent Academy Award Winner Melissa Leo, this should really be something to see! (kk)

James Marsden, Michael Shannon, Michael C. Hall & Melissa Leo Head Up A ‘Dead Circus’ > The Playlist
Filming will begin this summer on an adaptation of the book, "The Dead Circus," a fictionalized account of an investigation into the death of Bobby Fuller in 1966. James Marsden and Melissa Leo are among the announced cast with Adam Davenport directing.

Kent ...
Got this one from Ron Smith.
Maybe we can start that old suicide vs. murder debate again.

Frank B.
I don't think there was anything suicidal about it! Here's a piece we've got posted on our other Forgotten Hits website ...
But the idea that Charles Manson was involved?!?!? Where the heck are they going with this thing?!?!? (kk)

hey kk -
Thanks for the good words - - I try to KEEP MYSELF entertained mornings -- heck just played the YOUNG HOLD UNLIMITED 45 - - " Just Ain't No Love" from my Brunswick 45.
At least I play a better variety over anyone else - including the killer Saturday Night Live @ the 70's - - man that show just gets better and better - who else will play these 45's:
Movin' - Brass Connection
Birdland - Weather Report

Running Away - Roy Ayers

Rock of All Ages - Badfinger

A Nice Girl - Intruders

You Keep Me Dancing - Samantha Sang

Sally Goodin - Steve Martin

Show Biz Kids - Steely Dan

The Relay - Who

Down to the Station - BW Stevenson

I Ain't Never - Mel Tillis

Among many others -- for a suburban station, I keep it rockin!!!
And my pd is awesome also!!!
Let's see a big city station pull this off --
Later gator!

Jeff James / Y103.9

>>>Tommy Edwards is back on the air in Chicago as CBS positions WJMK to challenge WLS-fm in the “oldies” race. Under Dan Mason’s leadership, CBS virtually owns this format nationally. I’m betting Tommy will be on the winning side of this battle.  (John Rook)
Now if they can only get Lujack, Ron Riley, Dex Card and have Biondi move over, THEN it would be a great station. Maybe WCFL-FM?

I just heard Scott Shannon give you a special shout out during his Rock And Roll Remakes Weekend!
Yep, I heard one today, too! SO cool that we can help out with a feature like this ... and we have ALL of our readers to thank ... so keep unearthing these little-known gems so we can do this again real soon! (kk)

Hi Kent-
I read the posting about Marmalade. I am a fan of the the groups mid 70's release, Falling Apart at the Seams. It is a great song that sounds like the Four Seasons or the Tremeloes from a decade earlier. It might be a good one for your featured track of the day.
Phil - WRCO
Good song ... but not one that most of our readers will recognize. (This one peaked at #49 here in The States, despite a #9 showing in The U.K.)
I've been thinking about putting together a series of songs that peaked somewhere between #41 and #50 on the Billboard Charts ... these would primarily consist of more of these "regional" hits that just never gained enough momentum on enough radio stations at the same time to climb any higher on the national charts ... yet still spark a memory or two depending on whether or not they were played in the area where you were growing up. (A recent example of this was your other suggestion, "It's A Cryin' Shame", by Gayle McCormick, which garnered quite a few positive comments ... yet we NEVER got to hear this song here in Chicago. Another goodie is "Pretty Lady" by Lighthouse, a song introduced to me several months ago by DeeJay Big Jay Sorensen ... but that one only reached #53, so it wouldn't even make our special list! But a great song nevertheless!) kk

You're always looking for non-Top 10 material, right?
Anyway, my own excitement began when I began (2006) to cheer-lead (internet / usenet) the song "Westbound #9" (1970), by the The Flaming Ember, and Jerry Plunk (their drummer) responded!!!! Who needs radio!? :-]  Thought a black group (only had the 45), but white (when I saw / had the LP cover) !!!! 
The Flaming Ember - Mind, Body And Soul (1969) Charted #26
Certainly recognizable from radio when it charted, but the one below was a greater regional hit. Bit of French here, I think ...

The Flaming Ember - Westbound #9 (1970) Charted #24
My favorite! I personally applauded this song elsewhere, that's when Jerry Plunk (drummer here) heard me and wrote on 09/13/2006, "Stumbled on this by accident. This is so cool. Will send you an email at home tonight".
That is certified genuine, Mr. K'!!!
The Flaming Ember (Westbound #9, Mind, Body And Soul). Not sure who is correct, Wiki or Whitburn, but it APPEARS Jerry Plunk is both lead singer and drummer of these two Top 30 hits!!! Joel never responds to me anymore. Sent an e-mail off to Jerry; hope he'll respond with definite information; it's been a while!!! Thanks, Kent, you're Wonderful!

And here's the response John received from Jerry's wife:

Hi John -
Jerry's wife, Julie here -
I've copied Jerry on this email so you can have his personal email address. I'm sure he will want to answer this himself, however, I am curious how this "rumor" started about Jerry not being the lead singer? If you get a chance, listen to "I Won't Hurt You Anymore" by Jerry Plunk on Youtube - a VERY old song before the Flaming Ember days. You'll see that it is indeed his voice on all the Flaming Ember songs (which I also can attest to since he STILL sings to me). This song has just been released in the UK on Sonic Wax records (which is pretty cool when you think about it). There was a guy on Youtube who wrote a few things about it being his dad who really sang on the songs, but this was either a terrible misunderstanding between father and son, or a lie ... and since his dad has passed away, we'll never know which. Jerry addressed this on Youtube and the guy went away. Also, Jerry is on facebook if you'd like to connect.
Julie Marinko Plunk

I always liked "Westbound #9, a #21 Hit here in Chicago back in 1970. Flaming Ember hit The National Top 40 a total of three times: "Mind, Body And Soul" went to #19 in 1969, "Westbound #9" hit #23 in 1970 and "I'm Not My Brothers Keeper" reached #22 in 1970. (All peaks are Cash Box chart positions.) kk

One more ...

Al Wilson - The Snake (1968) Charted #27 Never knew Al Wilson was a drummer! Wonder if he plays drums on this song?
Never heard it before; found it on a UK Soul compilation. Cool song.
The audio quality needed some attention. The song seemed to gain a fair amount of applause elsewhere. Don't think females would like it (snakes), but males would!
This one has been a favorite around our house for a LONG, long time ... we LOVE it!!! And it didn't do too badly on the charts ... #27 in Billboard and a #17 hit here in Chicago. Al Wilson, of course, went on to bigger success with his #1 Hit "Show And Tell" a few years later. Sadly, we just lost him a couple of years back. (kk)

It was sad to hear of Ray Herr's passing. He was quite a talent. You can hear just a bit of his greatness in this live track recorded several years ago. He was a "rock 'n' roll star."

(Here's a picture of guitarist Ray Herr from The Ides Of March's "Vehicle" album, circa 1970) kk

FH Reader Eddie Burke sent us a few more pictures to share with our readers. (You'll find others on The Forgotten Hits Website in the "Scrapbook Memories" section!)
Got a photo of one of your close encounters with our musical heroes?Drop us a line and we'll put your picture up on our Scrapbook Page! (kk)
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Scrapbook Memories

Here's Eddie with former Beatles drummer Pete Best ... and then (below) with Young Rascals founder Felix Cavaliere!
Hi Kent,
As you know there is a pleasurable, plentiful and perspicacious plethora (whew!) of interesting books about the bands and music industry of the 60's. Finally, musicians, recording engineers, etc, are speaking out and giving us a taste of what it was like behind the scenes. I've read some amazing books, among them Bob Spitz's Beatles: A Biography, Vic Flick's Guitarman: From Bond to The Beatles and Beyond, Phill Brown's Are We Still Rolling?, Mick Brown's Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Andrew Loog Oldham's Stoned and 2Stoned, and so, so much more. (I've recommended these to my readers at THE BEAT, and I learned about several of them from other THE BEAT columnists. I highly recommend all the ones I listed to readers of FORGOTTEN HITS.)
Here's why I'm writing: I only found one book about the American acts of the British Invasion Era, Childs and March's Echoes of the Sixties. In fact, it was the first rock book of this genre I read. It's very good, but I want more. Any suggestions from your readers for books about the 60's American acts?
I've been fortunate in my career as musical director / bassist for The Rip Chords, Billy J. Kramer and Ron Dante / Andy Kim, to have shared stages, limos, hotels, backstages and so on with so, so many of my then-idols, many of whom are now friends. I've heard a lot (I wish I could share some of the juicier stories with you, but I'm afraid the better parts of friendship and discretion don't allow me to) but I want more!
So, if anyone has any suggestions, they can reach me at .
And, I thank you!
As always, Kent - keep up the great work!
Your fan and friend,
Bob Rush, DC (a/k/a Dr. Robert of THE BEAT magazine)
(Note: Kent, attached are two photos your readers may [or may not!] enjoy: the first is my daughter, Devyn Rush, known on American Idol as "the singing waitress." Her career has taken off even more since her appearance on AI. Here she is this week in NYC at the American Theatre Wing for the Jonathan Larsen Foundation, where she performed.
Also attached is a photo of my dear friend Billy J. Kramer, moi and Liberty DeVitto at a show Billy did in New Jersey several months ago. (Liberty now plays drums for Billy. Do I have to get back in that band now, or what??!!! : )

One book I've been waiting to read was written by Hoss Amans, roadie to the stars back in the '60's. (Sounds like this guy worked with just about everybody, most notably Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Puckett, and many, many more.) His book is called "Where The Action Was" and is available online here:
There have certainly been others. (A failsafe is always Chuck Negron's book "Three Dog Nightmare" ... betcha can't put THAT one down ... and you'll be laughing ... and crying ... for days!!!) We've been recommending this one for as long as it's been out ... MUST reading for any fan of their music ... or music in general. (kk)

Thanks for your online photo album; nice to look through!

Oh, oh! ... Mr. K's been is missing in action!! Call the dogs out!!!
I need my fix of (fresh) FH! (Obama will redirect the troops to make sure
Mr. K' is OK!!!) From your front page: Johnny Nash: This remix made it to #54 in the UK in 1989!

No worries ... just needed some time off ...and since Blogger hasn't been cooperating anyway, I figured what the hell! We post what we can, when we can ... but nice to know we were missed! (kk)

Have you submitted your suggestions yet for our new "Best of the Pre-Rock Era" poll?
We're looking for the songs that YOU feel had the greatest impact on what came to be known as Rock And Roll ... and, once we tabulate your votes, we'll recap the list's favorites.
So drop us a line and cast a vote for YOUR nominees now! (kk)