Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some Of Your Thoughts On A Tuesday

THE COWSILLS?  Got to see them on the STEEL PIER in ATLANTIC CITY one afternoon.
The reward for a year of being a 'PATROL BOY (or girl)' -- kid crossing guards at schools -- was a bus trip at the end of the school year for the 'patrollers' from all the schools in town to spend the day in Atlantic City.  The Cowsills were a bit on the downslide and were there doing 6 or 7 shows a day to (much) less than capacity crowds.
Hey ... we were kids ... what did we know?

The wind version of Hair that you featured today seems to be the one that I have been playing for years on my show.  The version that I have is from a cd released on Rebound Records through Polygram special products in New York.  This Best of the Cowsills was first put out in 1988.
P.S.  The song Poor Baby has been a popular request on my show over the years.  One of my favorite TV DVDs is from  the short lived series Music Scene.  It features a great clip of the Cowsills doing Silver Threads and Golden Needles.
I remember hearing The Cowsills' version of "Silver Threads And Golden Needles" in Chicago ... although it never officially charted here.  (Nationally it went to #57 in Cash Box ... nearly twenty points higher than its Billboard showing.)  "Poor Baby" actually made The Top 40 in Cash Box, too, peaking at #33.  (kk)  

I have always been a fan of the Cowsills and enjoy reading all the talk.  From "Rain, Park" and the even better "We Can Fly" through "Indian Lake and "Poor Baby" to "Hair" and beyond.  I was surprised by the uproar over "Hair's" follow-up "Prophecy of Daniel and John Devine".  I really had no idea what the lyrics were all about when I was 13, but it was ok as a song.  Yet, it was a career killer, so I guess they might have thought better to ask MGM if they thought THIS song should be a single and maybe have listened?  I think "IIxII" is a GREAT song and wished it had been a hit after first hearing it on Bandstand's "Rate a Record".
Sine the topic is on the late Cowsills era, might I suggest a CD I did some work on for a nice little label, Now Sounds.  The Cowsills recorded an album in 1971 "On My Side" and it is hard to come by, but Now Sounds has issued the LP on CD from master tapes with three bonus tracks.  Check it out and some of the other CDs which have a nice mix of forgotten artists' forgotten shoulda been hits. 
http://www.cherryred.co.uk/nowsounds-disco.aspI suggest "Book a Trip" for anyone after Capitol Records obscurities from the psychedelic pop era of 66-68.  You can find Chicago's Exceptions on it as well as some handy work from our own Artie Wayne on one track and check out the photo I supplied for the booklet of young Artie producing in the studio!  A set worth having if you want some cool 60's tunes you likely have never heard. 

Kent ...
Great work on the Bobby Darin story.  Interesting and informative.
You say that Andrea accepted Bobby's proposal. Did they ever get married?
Frank B.
Yes ... they were wed on June 25, 1973 ... and then 3 1/2 months later, Bobby filed for divorce.  All of those close to him say that he was not in his right state of mind near the end ... paranoid ... convinced all all of his closest allies had turned against him and were trying to betray him in some way.  A sad ending.  (Then again, Bobby rarely spared anybody's feelings when he was alive and healthy either ... so who knows!!!)  kk   

>>>Interesting and informative.  (Frank B)
But perhaps TOO much information according to another FH reader ...
I am totally bummed out after reading the saga of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee!
It left me feeling like some kind of "Peeping Tom" into their lives.
The ugliness of the sexual abuse and all the sordid details left me stunned and both of those children were victims of twisted people who used them for their own selfish desires and mentally ill depravities.  Both of them grew up bent.
"Valley of The Dolls" Tony Polar flashed while reading the synopsis.
And being someone who watched a young Sandra Dee as a child myself, I recalled being drawn to her innocent looks and hoping that Hollywood's fangs did not seethe into her just to find out her life was already so far abused that it could not be incorporated into any script as it would be too distasteful for even the academy to allow then.
Somehow this article made me realize we know too much of the private lives of others.
Connie Francis wrote a book titled "Who's Sorry Now" and I promise everyone reading this that if you read that book it is so full of her insights and wisdom that you will actually come away from reading it with a better understanding about your own self that if you reflect on her knowledge and prose it will foster such a positive change that you come away a better human with bolstered self esteem and a better outlook ready to conquer the day at hand with full steam ahead.  She has an excellent insight and intuition.
My heart goes out to two humans on earth that became larger than life but were actually just Alexandra Cymboliak Zuck and Walden Robert Cassotto when all the glitter was off but still far from plain old ordinary.

As you may know, Marty Robbins also did "18 Yelllow Roses". I believe he recorded it circa '76.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
I always thought it sounded a lot more like a Marty Robbins song than a Bobby Darin song ... but I DO like Bobby's recording.  (This one especially hits home with a daughter getting married in a couple of months!)  kk  

Hi Kent,
I read your article on Bobby today. Is there any way to read the rest of your articles on Bobby? Being obsessed with all things Darin, I'm always eager to read as much as I can about him.
He was such a true renaissance man of the arts. He succeeded at everything he did. It's a shame that most people weren't broad-minded enough to appreciate his gifts when he was still alive. He led the way and it's always difficult to be a trail-blazer, isn't it.
Anyway if there is anyway you could share your work with me I'd appreciate it deeply.
Susan Cote
Sorry, Susan, but the rest of the article hasn't been posted yet.  (We ran a month-long series on Bobby Darin several years back ... and, due to popular demand, have run assorted excerpts from it since ... but still haven't gotten around to posting the whole thing yet.)  The response is ALWAYS good, however, so what we MAY do (and hopefully, this'll make it a little easier on me, too!) is to reveal it one chapter at a time again on the other Forgotten Hits website (www.forgottenhits.com) so that, once we're finished, the entire piece will be permanently posted.  Biggest thing is finding the time to do so.  Even resurrecting a piece from the archives takes a TREMENDOUS amount of time ... and we just haven't had any to devote to this.  But please stay tuned ... as I think a LOT of people would like to see it again.  Meanwhile, thanks for the kind words.  (kk)  

I think you're great and I loved the whole series.  I think there might be a few inaccuracies in this most recent piece.  For one thing, I don't think Darin was always a player .... and I think that's one of the reasons why he checked out after three years with Sandy, 'tho they didn't divorce 'til '67.  Sandy's age is wrong, too, although you certainly can't be blamed for that because that was so often reported the way you have it.  I don't think even Dodd knew it until her death, or near that time.  She was actually two years older.  Not very important but ....   Anyway, I love the whole Darin series and hope you rerun it. Thanks so much for being such a cool fan and on top of it all ... OOOO
Everything that appears / appeared was based on the information available at the time this series was written.  Even reworking the "edit" was challenging because Sandra Dee was still alive when our series first ran ... so we had to change a number of references to "past tense".  We didn't update any "new" information ... just pulled it from the archives and cleaned it up a bit for "rebroadcast" if you will.
I know that you (and all of "Bobby's Girls") were very supportive of our efforts when this piece first ran ... and it was SO cool to get Dodd's endorsement, too.  Eventually, we will rerun the whole piece ... and perhaps at that time and little bit of "updated editing" would be in order.  Thanks, Jamie!  (kk)  

Hello Kent,  
Still going strong and getting better into 2012. 
Wow, good job.
I was always interested in Bobby Darin's 'conversion' to the peace movement with his song, "Come And Sing A Simple Song of Freedom" ... it was contrary to his Pop tunes and, in fact, some attributed the song to Tom Hardin, who did a cover because it was his style ... many people thought Bobby 'covered' it from Tim.
If you have ever see the PBS special featuring Bobby singing this song, he is very emotional, and near the end of the song, slyly gives the "Peace" sign by holding up his fingers in a V and then swinging his arm away. It is very noticeable that he was moved by this song and felt strongly about its message.
Thanks for all the postings,
Sweet Dreams  
Charlie Fraser
Bobby used to tell an interesting story about Tim Hardin covering his song when he performed it in concert.  (Here in Chicago, a group called Buckwheat scored a #11 Hit with their version of "Simple Song Of Freedom" in 1972.)
Darin had recently covered Tim's "If I Were A Carpenter" and it turned into quite a big comeback hit for him in 1966.  (#8 ... and Bobby's first Top Ten Hit in three years.)
In fact, Bobby's version of "Carpenter" has become known as the definitive version, released before Tim Harden even had a chance to properly record his own song!  That "injustice" was eventually re-paid a few years later.  Hardin's only real commercial pop chart success came in 1969, when he released his version of "Simple Song Of Freedom", ironically a song written by Bobby Darin ... but not yet recorded and released by its composer!!! (Now this was TRULY a case of "turn-about is fair play"!!).  Hardin's version eventually peaked at #47. (Bobby's version was never officially released as a single.)  Listen to this clip of Bobby Darin performing his song before a Las Vegas audience ... and telling pretty much the same story we just told you above!  (kk)
A bunch of us younger writers and singers were enjoying ourselves at the B&G (?) coffee shop at 1650 Broadway (As opposed to the Brill Building - 1619 Broadway - with its Jack Dempsey's restaurant where the older crowd hung out, and the Turf restaurant with its mixed crowd).  
I was facing away from the door, talking with Gerry Granahan, when the door opened, a cold wind blew into the restaurant, all activity stopped, all conversation ended and everyone, including Gerry, spun around to stop and stare as Bobby Darin entered the coffee shop, stood tall (as tall as he could) with legs spread and scarf flung around his neck.
He hadn't had "Mack The Knife" yet but it didn't matter.  HE was standing there.  And that's all it took to silence all.
Bobby had "it" and we all knew it wouldn't be long before everyone knew it!
Paul Evans  

You think the world has had enough of Paul McCartney, I look around and I see it isn't so, Oh no. Some people want to fill the world with Paul McCartney, what's wrong with that?


In an historic alliance, the renowned reissue label Sundazed Music has partnered with Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. to release a series of new 7" picture-sleeve vinyl singles featuring unique and hard-to-find vintage performances by Jimi Hendrix.  

The ongoing series launches in April with an initial release that combines a pair of historically significant recordings from two different Hendrix 1967 BBC sessions.  One is a raucous reading of Bob Dylan's "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?”. Hendrix recorded his version on October 17 for BBC Radio's Rhythm and Blues show.  Dylan’s original version, one of history’s most notable and enduring musical enigmas, wasn’t released on a legitimate album for more than 10 years after its first issue.  This Jimi Hendrix Experience version was a highlight of the BBC Sessions double album issued by Experience Hendrix/Sony Legacy in October 2010. 

“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” is paired with a fascinating, newly discovered take of the Hendrix original "Burning Of The Midnight Lamp," as performed on August 24, 1967 on BBC Television's Top of the Pops, just a week after the song's original studio version had been released as a single in Britain on Track Records. In keeping with strict Musician Union regulations, Jimi was to sing live atop the song's instrumental backing track. The Top Of The Pops presenter announced the Experience, but then ‘The House That Jack Built’ by the Alan Price Set began to play. A few seconds in, Jimi, ever polite, offered an apology, “I'm sorry man but I don't know the words ...” As panic no doubt ensued within the studio's control room, the program's flustered presenter apologized and implored Jimi to try it once again. 

Both sides feature the classic original Jimi Hendrix Experience lineup of Hendrix on guitar and vocals, Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums, and capture the band just as it was beginning to emerge as a major force on both sides of the Atlantic.
As with every release in the series, it will feature a color picture sleeve incorporating rare vintage Hendrix photos that capture the legendary artist's distinctive persona and pioneering spirit.

Janie Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix L.L.C. commented:  “When the Jimi Hendrix Experience first burst into the world’s collective consciousness, it was through vinyl 45 rpm singles.  Our vinyl single release program with Sundazed honors that brilliant history and, even expands on it in a very real way.  It is traditional yet innovative, as Jimi certainly was.”
Bob Irwin, President and CEO of Sundazed Music, Inc., commented: “We are thrilled and highly honored to be partnering with Experience Hendrix on this wonderful series. I’m positively elated that my most favorite musician of all time will now be a part of Sundazed.”
In a recording career that spanned only three and a half years prior to his tragic death in 1970 at the age of 27, Jimi Hendrix revolutionized the role of the electric guitar, and radically altered the face of contemporary music.  He became rock's first guitar superstar, with an effortless charisma that matched his visionary talent and intense performing style.  His overwhelming influence continues to live on in virtually every electric guitarist who has followed him, yet none have ever equaled Hendrix's talent and imagination.
ABOUT SUNDAZED MUSIC INC.:  In its 22-year history, Sundazed Music has earned an international reputation for its painstaking preservation of vintage rock, garage, soul, surf, R&B and country sounds on vinyl, CD and digital download, consistently maintaining unmatched quality standards for mastering, packaging and pressing.  The current Sundazed catalog encompasses over 800 titles, including timeless classic recordings by such artists as Jeff Beck, Booker T. & the MGs, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Albert King, Wes Montgomery, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Velvet Underground and hundreds more.
 Founded by James ‘Al’ Hendrix, Jimi’s father, in 1995, Experience Hendrix, has been managed since its inception by family members personally chosen by Al during his tenure as Chairman. It is the official family company charged with managing the music, name, image and likeness of Jimi Hendrix. As a part of its daily operations, under President and CEO Janie Hendrix, Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix oversee Jimi’s timeless legacy on a worldwide basis.  In connection with its mission, it produces the continuing Experience Hendrix tour of all-star musicians.
Kent -  
I agree with you that "You're So Vain" is based on a compilation character, not a specific guy. Some notes: 
Carly has changed her story over the years. Digging through some archives, we found a 1974 interview where she said, "That song is about a lot of people ... It's not just about one particular person." As it became clear that the mystery of the song was a huge sell, she started playing up the idea that she had a specific guy in mind - and a famous one! In a 2008 promotional interview for her album This Kind of Love, she said, "When I had the line 'You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you,' that was definitely about one person." 
Carly remains an active musician, but as many artists have found out (including another famous Simon), opportunities are far more limited for more seasoned singers. The best way to publicize new material is to lump it in with discussions about the older stuff, and Simon uses "You're So Vain" as the carrot - Howard Stern isn't likely to ask her about her '00s output, but is more than happy to hear the secret of the "Vain" mystery man. Keep in mind that Simon made a deal with Starbucks to distribute her album in 2008, and it ended up in a lawsuit with Simon claiming they didn't promote it properly and Starbucks saying there just wasn't much interest.
We also heard from a lecturer at the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh, who explained that the lyrics, "Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun" refer to a famous eclipse on July 10, 1972, which could best be seen in Nova Scotia. Simon wrote the song before this event, which indicates that she was making up this story. 
The song is filled with captivating images and is a brilliant piece of songwriting, but I don't buy that it's about a specific guy. Here's the Songfacts entry with some more details:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

>>>Here in OKC, just the 'A' side version was played or the version some four minutes long. Later on somebody decided to combine the two sides to play on the air, just like in 1959 when SHOUT - Part I was the 'A' side of the record, later on to be combined with Part II and heard now on oldies stations.  (Larry)
>>>We heard both the long and the short versions here in Chicago ... because every deejay in town wanted to put his own spin on what the lyrics REALLY meant, they typically played the full eight-minute version in order to do so.  I remember at least half a dozen newspaper articles covering this ad nauseam, too.  (kk)
And then there was the edit found on the promotional 45 ... this is the version I recall hearing on oldies radio while growing up in the 90's ... gads!
Tom Diehl  


Charlie Gracie, hot again with his #1 Philly single "Baby Doll" and a brand new CD release, can now be found on home video, too!  Shawn Swords put together a Charlie Gracie biography video a few years ago ... and this release is now available through both PBS (who aired it) and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (Lots of new features, too!)  More details below ... 
Hi Everybody! 
Charlie Gracie "Fabulous" Special Edition Documentary Available thru ShopPBS.orghttp://tinyurl.com/7y2n289  
And "Must Have Music Home Page:  http://tinyurl.com/86v4ukh   
Charlie Gracie "Fabulous" is also being added to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives/Library.   
Plus new interviews with: Chubby Checker, Tommy James, Freddy Cannon, Little Anthony, Ceaser Berry, John Jackson, Joe Tarsia and others. Plus, new musical contributions from Graham Nash, Peter Noone, Al Kooper, Charlie Gracie, Quentin Jones and Gary Lefkowith.
Featuring Charlie's new hit single: "Baby Doll":   
Also available thru ShopPBS.org --"The Wages of Spin":  http://tinyurl.com/4l8sh5p   

Be sure to tune in to The Flip Side Show with Mr. C. tonight on Radio Free Nashville.  (You'll find the "Listen Live" link on the right-hand sidebar of The Forgotten Hits Website ... right below our "Sound Advice" column.) Tonight Mr. C. will honor the great Sam Cooke with the two-sided hit we featured over the weekend, "Bring It On Home To Me" / "Having A Party" from 1962. 

Every Sunday from 2 to 4 PM Eastern, I catch Dave The Rave's "Relics and Rarities" Show.
He plays loads of forgotten oldies ... everything from surf, bubblegum, Philly and Chicago soul, and great garage rock! Here's a link to the WIBG site: http://www.wibg.fm/index.html 
Give Dave a listen ... it'll be the best two hours you ever spent!Happy days!
Yes, Dave's been doing this show for a while now ... kind of a "commercialized" version of his Saturday Night "Relics And Rarities" Show that airs on Top Shelf Oldies ... not quite as many obscurities and "should have been a hit"'s ... but still plenty of rarities and surprises, mixed in with all the great music you'd expect WIBG to play.  Definitely worth a listen!  (kk) 

Dick Biondi has a VERY loyal following here in Chicago who constantly challenge him to play the songs we remember that don't typically show up on your standard playlist ... and because Biondi has been around PLAYING these hits for 50 years now, he knows exactly what his audience is looking for.  As I stated on Sunday, at the very least, they should have left his Friday Night All Request Show intact ... but they didn't even do that. Too bad ... because Dick ALSO regularly did live appearances in and around town that always drew big crowds and helped to draw attention to the station.  A pretty short-sighted move in my opinion.  (kk)  

I am very seething mad about Biondi's slot moving down, if only because I was used to listen to his show driving home from events at night.  How can they do this to the one Chicago dee jay who has done so much to keep the pop music of the 50s and 60s alive?  
Sad, sad, sad.  
Best - 

In a piece that ran on Monday (in his "Time Out Chicago" column) Dick Biondi told Chicago Media Columnist Rob Feder, "I’m going to go into the new show and give it everything I’ve got.  I hope that management will allow me to still be the crazy Dick Biondi.  I’m thankful that I’m still on the air. There’s no place else in the world that I want to work except Chicago ... I still want people to listen and like me.”

Feder reports that after he broke the story last Friday about the WLS-FM line-up change, comments on his blog, radio message boards and Facebook pages quickly filled with jabs at the station for what was perceived as a slight to its legendary superstar and his fans.  (We experienced much of the same result here in Forgotten Hits ... where, after 60 years on the radio ... MOST of which were spent right here in Chicago ... Dick Biondi is nothing short of a radio icon.)  Was this simply the station's way of easing Biondi out?  (Despite turning 70 this year, most feel Biondi would prefer to breathe his last breath live on the air than retire from radio.)  We hope that these new adjustments work out best for ALL parties concerned ... and that means the radio station AND the seasoned broadcasters whose shifts have been affected by this latest move.  (Personally, as I've stated before, I would have preferred that Biondi be allowed to keep his Friday Night All Request Show, as I know that this is when his most loyal listeners tuned in.  The weekend salute to the Glory Days of WLS will be fun ... but I have to believe that SOMETHING could have been worked out to start Dick's shift earlier on Friday Nights ... and I don't believe that John "Records" Landecker would have minded one bit!!!)  kk

And Forgotten Hits Congratulations go out to Citizen Bill at Fun 92.7 FM in Huntsville, Alabama ... this past Sunday he broadcast his 500th Edition of "Remember Then" for the station!  (Stay tuned ... Bill may be doing some of our Forgotten Hits Twin Spins in the weeks to come!)  "Remember Then" airs Sunday Nights from 7 - 8 pm (Central Time) ... and you can "Listen Live" here:   

Citizen Bill also played a "Forgotten 45" that I wasn't familiar with ... but absolutely LOVED!!!  It's called "Rainy Day Bells" by The Globetrotters ... and it turns out that this soulful piece was cowritten by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield!  Although this one never officially charted, it certainly deserved to.  Check out this YouTube clip (and a little bit of the back-story behind this song!)  kk