Thursday, January 26, 2012

This And That Thursday

Forgotten Hits Reader Tom Cuddy just sent me this link for a rare Chuck Berry Profile / Interview running in the current issue of Esquire Magazine: 
FH Reader Frank B. points out that this is, in fact, The Chinese Year of the Dragon, 4709 ... so he suggests that our readers take a moment to view this clip:  
Click here: Peter Paul & Mary - Puff the Magic Dragon - YouTube

One of MY favorite songs from the '70's has always been "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum ... so I was especially pleased to see this news release the other day:
Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In The Sky Still Popular In 2012
1/23/2012 - Santa Rosa, CA - After 40 years, one of music's greatest gospel - rock hits 'Spirit In The Sky', penned by Norman Greenbaum, remains as popular today in 2012 as it did in 1970 when it rocketed to number #1 in the US and UK. While being named song of the year by Cashbox magazine, the track would go on to sell two million copies in 1970 and through the next four decades would be featured in 47 movies and dozens of commercial  ads and TV series. In addition, two British cover versions of “Spirit In The Sky” also made it to number one on the charts, making the song a three-time number one hit!
So the question remains, why does 'Spirit In The Sky' still resonate with the music listener today? Norman explains, “A few reasons: It's just a great song, with a terrific production that has stood the test of time, still sounding as vibrant today as 40 years ago. It also sounds great in the car, yep, car radio. When we mixed it, we made sure it sounded as great on car stereos as it did on home systems. It has an unforgettable opening musical riff, at times referred to as 'the heavy duty industrial fuzz tone'. It gives people chills listening to it. Plus, when it was included on Rock Band 2 it brought a new generation into the mix. Now that the song is aging in years, but not excellence, many fans have aged with it and now recognize it not only as a great song that reminds them of their life back then, such as taking their first date to my concert, 'Spirit' being the first album they ever bought, their parents screaming to turn the volume down, love making in the back seat to it and my favorite, naming their car 'the green-bomb', and as a song to take with them as we near the time to go up to the Spirit In The Sky. Because I answer my own e-mail, many people relate to me the circumstances of a loved one passing and how my song has brought them solace and each time they hear my song, either on the radio, in a movie or on TV, they are reminded that their loved ones are OK and looking down on them."
The story behind the song “Spirit In The Sky” is an interesting one. The original idea for the song came from Norman watching a performance on TV one night by country legend Porter Wagoner, who was singing about a preacher. This inspired Greenbaum to write a religious rock song. Although many have believed through the years that Norman, born of Jewish heritage, was a 'born again Christian', in truth, this is not the case. He made the decision to challenge himself to writing a gospel lyric, hoping he wouldn't flub it and meticulously crafted music that went on to surpass everyone's expectations. The guitar riff to 'Spirit In The Sky' undoubtedly is just as important to the song's success as the words and music. “My riff is a take on old blues riffs, common in the '20s and '30s,” Norman explains. “Although a few other songs have similar riffs, my riff really stands out, as I infused a few original notes and changes the others do not have. Plus, the fuzz just ripples your mind. It is a sound that has never been reproduced, another reason the song stands so well.”
Recently, Norman Greenbaum has redesigned his official website – and has made available his much sought after CDs from the '60s and '70s, along with T-shirts, hats, mouse pads, signed photos and other memorabilia! Although Norman has not recorded anything in recent years, he is very active with his new website, posting messages to his fans and making available rare photos for viewing. “Since my website has been redesigned it is much more efficient and compact, with photo viewers and better links,” says Norman. “It also has an improved store, where I have introduced a new product, Going-Greenbaum tote bags; the small-sized bag is made of cotton and the large-sized bag is made of canvas. The new site also has music clips of all of my songs available on CD and 'The Best of Norman Greenbaum' import is available again. I also will be introducing some new shirt designs soon.”
Much to the excitement of his fans, Norman will be making a rare live appearance in February! “I'll be doing a guest performance of three songs with the band Time In A Bottle at The Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa, CA on February 18th,” says Norman. “My original back-up singers The Stovall Sisters will be joining me, the first time ever this has happened on stage! Time In A Bottle is a local rock / soul band. The Stovall Sisters will also be doing a few of their own songs with the band.”
Finally, Norman has this to impart to aspiring songwriters everywhere: “Keep at it until it all fits, you'll know when. One song will stand out. Put all your effort into that song. Of course, 'catchy' helps.”
For more information visit Norman Greenbaum's official website at

"Spirit In The Sky" is one of those songs I've never grown tired of hearing ... I can't think of anything else that sounds like it!  We've run pieces on Norman Greenbaum several times in the past in Forgotten Hits so it's great to hear that he's still out there promoting his music.  (One fan even wrote in about how she shared a hot tub with Norman way back when!!!)  If any of our readers are able to attend Greenbaum's upcoming show in Santa Rosa, CA, please let us know ... we would LOVE to run a review!  (kk)  

A brand new Monkees collectible!  Check it out!   
The Monkees GREATEST HITS, the band's first compilation, was originally released in 1969, a year after the cancellation of their TV show. As a result, it has become one of the most sought-after vinyl collectibles from the group, with mint copies selling for big bucks. 
But now thanks to our friends at Friday Music, The Monkees GREATEST HITS is available once again on 180-gram vinyl - and only has 500 copies pressed exclusively on orange vinyl! That's right, we only have 500 units of this release on orange vinyl and once they're gone, they're gone. You can only get this version from, so order now. The Monkees GREATEST HITS features all the obvious favorites, plus some surprises like “Zor and Zam,” “Cuddly Toy,” and “Randy Scouse Git” which sound more amazing on 180-gram vinyl. Don't miss out on this second chance to grab an excellent Monkees collectible - pre-order now. This release begins shipping on 3/6/12.

Also available: 
A 180-gram vinyl version of The Monkees' Soundtrack "HEAD" ... and, through Rhino Handmade, a very special 3-CD collection of the "INSTANT REPLAY" sessions.  This deluxe edition is being offered as a limited edition and customers ordering early will also receive a special bonus 7" 45 featuring "I Go Ape" / "(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love".  Again, this is a limited edition ... and they are going fast ... so order your copy now at!
For much More Of The Monkees, check out this link below ...
Dear Friends and Fans of only the Best in TV Pop,
This is just a quick notice that Gary Pig Gold's overview on THE MONKEES and their grand new SEASONs 1 & 2 dvd's now appears anew at the virtual address below.   

>>>As I was perusing around your Forgotten Hits website / blog I came upon an idea for a series that I haven’t seen done yet.  How about one on the groups that have sort of the “big band” or “lots of horns and brass” sound?  (Pete Heger) 
Amen! Bring 'em on!!! :-)
Let's not forget, "Evil Woman ... " by Crow!
And Chicago's own Ides Of March ... and The Mauds ... and, of course, The Buckinghams, who James William Guercio "practiced on" before developing the horn sound in a big, big way with Chicago and Blood, Sweat And Tears!  (kk)  

re:  PETULA!:
Kent ...
Petula moves Uptown.
Frank B.  

Click here: 'Downtown' diva -  
Now THIS is a show that I would LOVE to see!!!
If you're able to catch one of these, I'd love to run your review.  (I saw Petula here in Chicago in "Blood Brothers", mentioned in this article.  She played Mom to David and Shawn Cassidy!!!)
I heard she was doing shows again (in fact, when I met with Tony Hatch a few months back, he told me she was performing in Spain at the time!)  Never got to see her live in concert doing the hits ... so I hope you get a chance to go!

Frank B. also tells us about an upcoming book by Burt Bacharach.  (Boy, if ANYBODY should write a book, it's THIS guy!!!)  Should make for some VERY interesting and enlightening reading.  (kk)
James, Otis, Larry Butler et al: We will miss you and your great contributions to the music we love.

Just missed US Top 40, but what does those white folks know about
music!? Scored very well, maybe #2, on the non white man controlled, R&B charts!!! What a voice! A very nice arrangement, too! Quality recorded, in Stereo! From her debut album, titled, can you guess?, At Last!!! ...
Jersey John :-)

Kent ...
Check out the Official Wild Wayne Website. 
Wild Wayne remembers Etta James in his clip of the week.  
He's got a link to Forgotten Hits ... and a Charlie Gracie link, too.
Frank B.  

>>>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.  (kk)
Not familiar? I have the two Sedaka demos on my site!!!
Check 'em out here:   
One was given to me (Kirshner owned), sounds like an acetate that was cut, found the other as a "demo", not sure it was ever released until later.  Rainy Day Bells (1970) - The Harlem Globetrotters. Nice song. [Special thanks to Tony and Marion for their help] Possibly only released on 45 / LP / CD in simulated Stereo. However, up pops an (unpublished) version in True Stereo, with one half the song writing team, Neil Sedaka (maybe a Demo), singing lead, followed by even yet another Demo version by Neil Sedaka and others ...

I think it's a great sounding record ... the more I hear it, the more I like it!  Can't believe this one never charted!  (kk)    

As part of our ongoing Reader Service, FH Regular Frank B. has the following suggestions for Super Bowl programming ...
Kent ...
"New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra = New York Giants.
"Weekend In New England" - Barry Manilow = New England Patriots.
"Eli's Coming" - Three Dog Night = Eli Manning, Giants QB.
"Brady Bunch Theme" - Brady Bunch = Tom Brady, Patriots QB.
"Backfield In Motion" - Mel & Tim = Both teams. Most penalties lose.
"I'm A Loser" - Beatles = Losing team.
"We Are The Champions" - Queen = Winning team.
Frank B.
P.S.  Don't forget February 3. Anniversary of the day the music died, 2/3/1959.
"American Pie" - Don McLean.

>>>In regards to local top 40 DJ's that came out with their own record, I decided to check the ones here in OKC. Of course none of these made the national charts and needless to say, none were played on a competing radio station.  (Larry Neal) 
Larry, I think you missed one of the WKY "hit" records by DJ Don Wallace with his record, "The Square", which went top 20 on WKY and no charting at KOMA.  Here's his 45 featured on the WLY survey from May 13, 1965 which coincides with when I was in OKC and visited KOMA's tower site!  "The Square" had dropped to #46 from #20 that week. 

As for Chicago DJ records, Landecker's "Press my Conference" and "Make a Date With the Watergate" and Lujacks' "Madstreaker" and Dahl's several records go along with Biondi's 45 "Pizza Song" and his Mom song both from his album.  Art Roberts had an LP of his Hip Fables, and earlier had a 45 "Terrible Ivan" b/w "Give Her the Axe, Max".  Joel Sebastion had a 45 while in Detroit.  Jerry G Bishop had a 45 as well as a Beatles interview LP.  Ron Britain had a 45 "Are you Going to Wail, Tulus", Barney Pip did a 45 with the Rovin Kind, Steve King did a 45 of the Carpenters' B side "I Kept on Loving You."  Johnathan Brandemier had a 45, Jim Stagg made 45s of his syndicated "Stagg Star Beat" programs, then there's the "Chickenman" on LP and 45s.  Clark Weber did not make a 45, but Carl Bonafede did a breakin 45 FOR Clark Weber's show.  There are probably more, but it is late and I am tired!!  :)
Clark Besch
And let's not forget about our DJ Buddy Scott Shannon's attempt at a recording career with a remake of "Here Comes Summer", a minor hit for a band called Wildfire in 1977!  (kk)

Congratulations to Adele ... whose latest album "21" just logged its 17th week at #1 on The Billboard Hot 200 Albums Chart.  While not consecutive weeks, that is the longest stretch an album has spent in the top spot since 1993.  Last LP to do it???  The soundtrack to "The Bodyguard", featuring Whitney Houston (truly at her prime at the time).  "The Bodyguard" topped the charts for 20 weeks.  (Adele's 17th week pushed her ahead of the "Titanic" soundtrack, #1 for 16 weeks in 1998.)
Greatest number of weeks at #1 ever???  What's your best guess?
"Thriller"?  "Rumours"? "Saturday Night Fever"?  "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"?  "Dark Side Of The Moon"?  Something by Elton John or The Eagles?  "Tapestry" by Carole King?
Nope!  None of the above.  Despite spending over 15 years on the chart, "Dark Side Of The Moon" only spent ONE of those weeks at #1.  "Sgt. Pepper" topped the charts for 15 weeks in 1967 ... that's one week shy of Carole King's "Tapestry" album.  The "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack (and Prince's "Purple Rain") both spent 24 weeks at #1.  "Rumours" sat on top for 31 incredible weeks ... and Michael Jackson topped that with a 37-week run at the top with his "Thriller" album.
But the BIGGEST #1 ALBUM EVER belongs to the movie soundtrack to "West Side Story"!!!  It spent an INCREDIBLE 54 weeks on top of the charts ... that's OVER A YEAR at #1!!!  It spent an additional 52 weeks in The Top Ten and a total of nearly 200 weeks on the chart overall.
So while congratulations are certainly in order for Adele ... (and it's a GREAT album!) ... she's still got a LONG way to go before she hits the record books!  (kk)


I want you to know that Buckwheat's version of SIMPLE SONG OF FREEDOM was also very
big here in OKC. In fact, most if not all of Buckwheat's records here in OKC were big. Probably
the biggest they had was I'VE GOT TO BOOGIE (London).
"Simple Song Of Freedom" was their only charted it ... and it only got to #84 in Billboard ... (it fared better in Cash Box, who placed it at #69) ... but here in Chicago, WCFL played it all the way to #11.  Surprised to hear that they had multiple hits in Oklahoma City as they seemed to vanish after this one everywhere else! (Not a bad rendering 'though ... I always liked it!)  kk

Did you catch our recent Christopher Cross concert review, courtesy of FH Reader Tom Cuddy?  Not only did he send us a photo from the show (taken by Brad Joblin) but also an EXCLUSIVE video from the concert, featuring Chris performing two of his biggest hits, "Never Be The Same" and "Sailing". (Scroll back to Monday's posting if you missed it ... it's AWESOME!) Now comes word that we'll soon have ANOTHER FH Exclusive ... this time featuring one of my all-time favorites ... 
COMING SOON TO FORGOTTEN HITS: A review of a rare NY concert last weekend by Guess Who lead singer Burton Cummings, with photos and an exclusive video from the show.  Burton, a huge fan of Freddy Cannon’s music (Burton can recite Freddy’s B-sides and albums cuts!), just finished reading Freddy’s new book and loved it.  Here’s Burton holding up the book backstage at the Tarrytown Music Hall, before he packed it in his suitcase for the trip from New York to L.A.  Freddy’s new autobiography,” Where the Action Is,” written with famed rock biographer Mark Bego, is now available in paperback at, as well as digitally through the Kindle and the Nook.
-- Tom Cuddy