Sunday, February 19, 2012

THE SUNDAY COMMENTS ( 02 - 19 - 12 )

Bonnie Rait and Alicia Keyes paid tribute to Etta James at the award ceremony last night. They did a very good rendition of her song "At Last."
Actually, they didn't ... singing "At Last" would have made perfect sense ... but instead they sang "A Sunday Kind Of Love", a song not necessarily associated with Etta James and covered by any number of artists over the years ... hardly a "signature tune" for Ms. James (or one that's typically associated with her.)  I don't quite understand why they did this selection ... even "Something's Got A Hold On Me" would have made more sense since it's been climbing back up the charts due to the Flo Rida sampling.  Not a bad tribute ... it just seems like they could have done something more universally connectable with the audience.  (And we were REALLY bummed that they skipped over Etta completely when they reviewed the music-related deaths of the past year!)  kk
Kent ...
Here's my take on the Grammy Awards:
-- I'm wondering why Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang "A Sunday Kind Of Love" in tribute to Etta James. As far as I know it wasn't one of her hits.
-- I liked "Don't You Want To Stay" by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldeen.  I see a duet CD in their future.
-- I don't know about you, but for a 50th Anniversary performance I would have rather heard the Beach Boys sing three songs by themselves ... without the two other groups.
-- Tony Bennett, always a class act, and Carrie Underwood sounded good together.
-- Touching Glen Campbell segment, as his career winds down.
-- What can you say about Paul McCartney? New song, Beatle song, old standard. It doesn't matter. He always does a great job.  He's all over the place. I say that he's over exposed. Then I find myself watching him and wanting more.
By the way, while you were watching the Grammy Awards, here's what you missed on the radio:  Click here: Dick Bartley’s Classic Countdown: The Best from January of ’71 and ’81
Frank B.
Honestly, I think I made the right decision ... one of the best Grammy Awards Shows EVER!!!  (See my notes above regarding the Etta James song selection)
We heard from a few readers who were disappointed by the way The Beach Boys segment was handled.  Honestly, I think Maroon 5 (who I really, really like) butchered "Surfer Girl", one of my all-time Beach Boys favorites.  Foster The People were OK on "Wouldn't It Be Nice" ... but it was odd to see these two contemporary groups ... BOTH nominated for their own outstanding efforts last year ("Moves Like Jagger" and "Pumped Up Kicks" respectively) perform Beach Boys classics rather than their own Grammy-worthy hits.  Still, I've got to believe (especially for Adam Levine) that these were career highlights, sharing the stage with one of their all-time idols.
I, too, enjoyed the Glen Campbell segment ... and thought both The Band Perry and Blake Shelton sounded outstanding.  Taylor Swift was another show highlight for me ... I love how she reworked the lyrics to include her "singing up here at the Grammys"!!!  Tony Bennett with Carrie Underwood?  Not so much.  They seemed totally disconnected.  And while several other readers complained that Adele was "over-rewarded", I think weighing HER performance (just wow-ing the crowd with the pure power of her voice) vs. other performances like Nicki Minaji's calculated theatrics and Chris Brown's light show (neither of which really constituted music to my ears) proves where the real "artistry" of this music lies. As I stated in my original review, there is quite a big difference between putting on a spectacular performance and simply putting on a spectacle.  (kk)
All publicity is not good publicity. That guy in Foster The People looked like a dork and sang even worse, I felt positively towards the act before, now I can see their talent is limited. As for Adam Levine ... If you can't sing, stay off the stage.
Less is more. Who made a bigger impression last night, Adele or Nicki Minaj? Who sold more records? It's about music. It goes in the ears, not the eyes.
Bob Lefsetz
Watching Glen Campbell and The Beach Boys Sunday night brought tears to my eyes.  My sister and I, too, hoped he'd sing "Wichita Lineman" or "By The Time I Get To Phoenix".  I absolutely agree that Rob Grill and Don Kirshner should have been included; their importance to the 60s generation is too great to overlook. All that was missing was Dionne Warwick getting up there to sing "Walk On By" or "Don't Make Me Over" -- I'd truly have lost it.  Whitney Houston left us too early.  Favorites by her (MHO) I'm Your Baby Tonight * Didn't We Almost Have It All * and One Moment in Time (obviously, I like original versions!!!!)  Special shout-out to The 5th Estate -- we love hearing from you groovy Goofin' Guys. 
As to last night's Grammy telecast, I loved the salutes to my buddies, The Beach Boys and, of course, Glen Campbell. Ironically, The Beach Boys never won a Grammy. In 1967 -- "Good Vibrations," the very song that was saluted on Sunday's telecast -- was beat by The Mamas and Papas' "Monday, Monday".  In 1989, their last #1 hit single, "Kokomo," was snubbed by The Manhattan Transfer! Sorry, don't recall the Transfer's song title but I can assure you it was NOT #1! So it is in corporate Grammyland.
Fred Vail / Treasure Isle Recorders
Music City, USA 
Boy did the Beach Boys ROCK tonight or WHAT?
Wild Bill
Sent in anonymously (for obvious reasons!) comes this report from backstage at The Grammy Awards Ceremony: 
I have it on good authority (according to a friend of mine, who was at the Grammy’s last weekend), the reason the Beach Boys looked so glum and uninterested was due in part to the fact that the electric piano wasn’t plugged in.
Seriously .......... long pause .......... is there ANY true Beach Boys fan out there who would be shocked by this revelation???  But JUST as honestly ... we don't care!!!  We just wanna see 'em!!!  (kk)
More cool Beach Boys stuff here ...
And for a REALLY cool, Beach Boys exclusive release, check out what David Beard has put together for Endless Summer Quarterly!  (kk)
Tickets for The Beach Boys' Reunion Tour ain't cheap ...
Here in Chicago they start at $45 and go up to $250 ... and that's FACE VALUE (before any service charges and fees are added!)  That means scalpers ... oops, I mean "ticket brokers" ... will be commanding up to $1200 per ticket once this show sells out.
And this doesn't even take into consideration the V.I.P. Packages that are being offered.
If you're one of those out there with more money than you know what to do with ... (yeah, right!!!) ... then the V.I.P. Package is for you!!!  Backstage passes, "Meet and Greet", preferred seating, an invitation to the sound check, and much, much more ... all these "perks" are available for the right price.
You'll find more details here at V.I.P. Nation ... 
Between touring, merchandise and the re-release of their entire catalog, The Beach Boys stand to earn MILLIONS from this reunion this year.  (I guess you can get along with just about ANYBODY when the stakes are THIS high!!!)
Meanwhile, these exorbitant prices are pissing off even their most loyal of fans ...
I don't think Carl Wilson would have done it this way  :) 
Looks like another Live Nation -- Stub Hub 'screw the real fans' type of deal. What's missing here are the big -- and I mean BIG -- venues like Central Park, NYC, Golden Gate Park, SF, Hyde Park, London, Sydney Harbor, Australia, Capetown, South Africa and the like.
Make those events FREE and have HBO or Showtime pay big sponsorship dollars to film the events. Let Coke or Levi's or Chevrolet pay additional big bucks to sponsor the stage, etc. Let the big events be either free or a nominal ticket charge ... 'the boys' will make a small fortune (millions) off of merchandise -- to say nothing of the sponsorship dollars. Plus, no doubt Capitol Records will record the whole thing for another 'live' album. After all, if I recall, the first one -- 49 years ago -- did pretty good. Their first #1 album and first Gold album.
What has been the defining difference in The Beach Boys survival is the undeniable loyalty of their fan base. I am certain that a lot of those same fans -- some of which literally go back to the beginnings of the group -- are being snubbed directly, or indirectly -- with these VIP packages. 
These prices are not for the weak of heart ... I think that the upscale ticket costs for this tour will deter even some of the most loyal fans.  Even "Meet and Greets" appear to have a price tag. I have never paid for a Beach Boys concert and don't intend to begin now  :) 
I am also saddened that there has been little to no references to Denny and Carl Wilson during all the pre-tour hoopla. If it has been there, I've missed it. I hope at some point they honor them with a visible tribute or dedication of the tour to their fallen band mates -- even include them in the official tour logo.
Also, I am still hoping that someone (either Brian, or the families) include Dennis Wilson's son, Carl, and Carl Wilson's son, Justyn, in the major shows -- a Wilson on drums and a Wilson on guitar -- along with their Uncle Brian -- would be the greatest tribute to their fathers I could imagine. And the real fans -- the ones who have stayed so faithful over all these years -- would finally be repaid for their loyalty.
Fred Vail

I think the way it looks right now ... it's looking more and more like 'cash in;' not like a performance celebration of their music for / with their fans, new and old.
I'm with you, Fred ... I don't think Carl would have wanted it this way. Plus in Tampa they are going to play in a 2600 seat venue. How are you going to be lucky enough to get a seat there?
I don't get it. 
It not only feels like a snub but an insult ... and yes, I have seen no word or image of Carl Wilson or Dennis Wilson during all of this.
John Dial 

Thanks KK! I've never seen Brian Wilson with the Beach Boys either but hey ... at least we saw Dennis!
Boobie VanHouten

Yes, we've seen Dennis numerous times before ... always a case of "for better or for worse" when Dennis was onboard!  Sounds like close friend John Stamos will be handling the drums for much of the reunion tour ... and he clearly has his own fan base when it comes to these things.  The one I'll miss will be Carl Wilson ... for me, he was always the heart and soul of the band ... and we loved him.  (kk)

Hey Kent,
Great feature on the Beach Boys. I was hoping they'd announce all the dates and I'd find something closer to home. Now I'm tempted to get tickets for Red Rocks ... always wanted to see a concert there. But the day after I buy tickets for Colorado they'll announce a show in Omaha. That's the way it always works.
Since you had never seen a show with the "boys" and Brian, I thought I'd share one of my prized photos with you. I took it sometime in the 80's when Brian toured for a short while. The picture wasn't focused the best but with Brian at the piano and a couple of the others in the pic, who cares. I'll attached the other pics I got at the show also. You can imagine my disappointment when some of the negatives and pics came back with a green shade over half the pic. A few were so bad I didn't even keep them. You'll see it's on the one of Carl, which is now even more disappointing. But I was at the show so maybe that's all that really matters.
The show itself was at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The boys were really not getting along at the time and we began to wonder if the show would go on as it appeared the band wasn't even there at show time. Eventually they arrived. You could see separate limos pulling up behind the stage ... they wouldn't even ride together at the time. I think the show finally started about 45 minutes late.
Steve Hotvedt
A couple of vintage, cool shots here, Steve.  (Apparently Brian is at one of the keyboards in a black T-Shirt with his back to the camera so we never really seen a clean shot ... but don't Bruce, Carl, Al, et al, look GREAT in these photos!!!)


Billboard Magazine and iTunes are reporting HUGE increases in sales for Whitney Houston's catalog in the days following her death.  iTunes had her Greatest Hits album at #1, knocking Adele's "21" out of the top spot ... ironically the week after "21" passed Whitney's "The Bodyguard" soundtrack with total weeks at #1.  Billboard showed the same Greatest Hits CD at #6 in its return week to the charts, reporting sales of 64,000 copies in the 24 hours immediately after her death.
They're also reporting about how Sony Music jacked the price up $2.00 per CD, anticipating the strong increase in sales.  (Ah, The Music Business ... it never really changes, does it?!?!)  Several days later they admitted "an error in judgment" ... but by then the fans were already incensed with anger.  Nothing like cashing in on the misfortune of others, right gang???  (kk)
Whitney, of course, was laid to rest on Friday ... here's a short remembrance from our FH Buddy Artie Wayne:
Kent ... 
My condolences to Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick, their family and friends on the passing of Whitney Houston, who was laid to rest today. Includes video of the entire funeral ... as well as highlights.
Artie Wayne  

>>>The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is FINALLY righting a couple of wrongs ... maybe more of these "oversights" will be corrected in the future, too, FINALLY allowing some of the great, over-looked artists to finally taking their rightful place in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.  (kk)  
>>>CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says six additional groups will be inducted this year after a committee determined they should be recognized with previously enshrined original lead singers.  The Blue Caps, the Comets, the Crickets, the Famous Flames, the Midnighters and the Miracles will be inducted at the April ceremony in Cleveland. The Crickets' Buddy Holly and the Famous Flames' James Brown were inducted in 1986. The Comets' Bill Haley and the Miracles' Smokey Robinson were inducted in 1987. The Midnighters' Hank Ballard was inducted in 1990 and the Blue Caps' Gene Vincent was inducted in 1998.  Previously announced inductees are the Beastie Boys, Donovan, Guns N' Roses, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Small Faces / The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns.  
Wow. The Rock Hall finally 'righting a wrong?' Amazing. FINALLY, my friends, The Crickets -- JI, Joe B and Sonny are recognized as the legitimate early influences and Founding Fathers they truly are. The Rock Hall only missed it by 26 years - -glad they're still alive to enjoy the honor.
Never realized that Smokey and Bill Haley were inducted individually even though their names are synonymous with the group's they fronted. The first two groups I presented in concert -- way back in '62 -- my senior year at El Camino High School (Sacramento) -- were The Diamonds and The Miracles. Wow. That was 50 years ago. I remember the concert vividly and meeting Smokey's wife, Claudette, and her cousin, Bobby, who were members of the group. In '65 the group would become Smokey Robinson and The Miracles but never the less--it's about time the Rock Hall right's the wrong. Now, if only they would honor the two or three dozen other deserving artists, producers and industry legends we all agree have been snubbed for far, far too long. 
Fred Vail
Another step in the right direction ... this just in from FH Reader Frank B:
Kent ...
Did you hear about this ?
Rock Hall launches plans for Cleveland Walk of Fame, to be unveiled during this year's induction ceremony. B.
Nice to see the "powers that be" mellowing a little bit in their old age here ... FINALLY acknowledging some of those who seem to have fallen by the wayside over time.  Let's hope it's a tradition that continues.  (We'll soon be assembling our updated list of The Top 40 Most Deserving And Denied Artists ... those MOST WORTHY of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction ... yet STILL overlooked for some inexplicable reason!!!)  kk
re:  THE I.R.S.:
The IRS, which was alluded to, is used here in OKC on certain weekends when the mainfeature is Incredible Records of the Sixties.
Larry Neal
That's a Scott Shannon / True Oldies Channel feature ... he's been doing it for a few years now.  Their '60's Weekends are the best!  (Unless, of course, he's featuring one of MINE!!!)  kk
And, speak of Rich Appel's I.R.S., they're still tabulating votes for this year's "It Really Shoulda" Been A Top Ten Hit Survey.  In fact, I'll be a guest on Rich's program next Sunday Afternoon for his "One Hit Wonders At One" segment.  (It airs, appropriately enough, at 1 PM Eastern, 12 Noon here in Chicago.)  You can "Listen Live" right here:
And cast your votes here:

A while back we flashed back on the music coming out of your radio in 1968 ... and commented about how, IN 1968, no one would have DREAMED about flashing back 44 years to listen to the music of 1924.
Since then, we received an interesting email from Gary Theroux, filling us in on what they were playing back in the '20's ... and now DeeJay Stu Weiss has sent us a streaming station that is PLAYING the music of the 1920's!  You can check it out here:
Here's something really different for when my station isn't broadcasting music.
And I got this from Big Jay Sorensen (by way of Mike Boyle) ...
Got this forwarded from a long-time friend, Mike Boyle.  
Funny. But sad.  

Hey, not a bad little article.  Thanks for the reprint and I hope your readers enjoy it.
I'm in the process of interviewing Jerry Shirley, drummer of Humble Pie who I met through Andrew Loog Oldham, who I also interviewed.
Stay well my friend! 
The question today:  to cheese steak or not to cheese steak  ???!!!
Glad we could finally get this one out there.  Managing Forgotten Hits' schedule is sometimes like perfecting a juggling act ... there are often nine balls in the air trying to figure out some rhyme, reason and order ... but with the release of Kent Hartman's new Wrecking Crew book this week, this seemed like a good time to go for it.  Plus it gave me a chance to present Carol Kaye's views, our original reviews and an update from Denny Tedesco regarding upcoming screenings of the film.  (Would LOVE to host a screening here in Chicago for some of our readers!  This is a film that needs to be seen!)  kk
I've bought the book -- it hasn't arrived so I can't comment:
Ron Smith
Seeing the plug on your website is what prompted me to run The Wrecking Crew piece this week.  I haven't seen the book either ... but I hope it's an accurate portrayal of what these guys did ... and hopefully with some credits to the amazing list of music they brought to life.  It's a fantastic film, too, that really needs to be seen.  (Again, would LOVE to host a Chicago-area screening if we can make that happen.)  kk
Hi Kent,
As you know, I was not a  member of "The Wrecking Crew" but I did sessions with them including the soundtracks for many 60's movies such as "Devil's Angels", "The Glory Stompers", "Thunder Alley" plus sessions for various artists including Jerry Naylor.
By the way, the new look is great.
Davie Allan
Hi Kent,
Carol HATES that film.  Virtually every single day on Facebook she rants against it.  She tells people to stop calling them "The Wrecking Crew" because she claims they were never called that until Hal Blaine made it up for his book that came out in the eighties.  She also says Hal is lying when he tells the story about the older studio musicians (those who did movie and TV work primarily) calling the younger studio musicians by that name.   Every time someone uses "The Wrecking Crew" name for Carol or any of the musicians, she claims that's an insult and asks them to stop calling them that.
Below is a recent post by Carol Kaye on her Facebook page in response to someone:
Carol Kaye speaks out on Wrecking Crew movie: 
I have un-friended Billy Hinche, who would rather be "friends with Denny and allow misogyny be shown in that film, and let Denny Tedesco pocket his money thru his phony charity then go with the truth ... he's gotten 2-3-400,000 dollars already from showing a film which we were tricked into appearing in ... this from him who promised us it would be about "us".
Instead, it is full of lies, slander, misogyny remarks as well as Tommy (who called me a dumb cunt ... and got sued for it ... and I won monies from that lawsuit too!).  Many, many times I forgave that ... finally but not for other things, hurting Howard Roberts who appears in this film in a negative way ... and Hal dissing the movie musicians with his lies, too, all that out of jealousy and greed. PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT THIS STUPID CLOWN FILM!
Carol Kaye
(Billy Hinche NOT a friend of mine anymore, he seems to go with PR influences)
Chuck Britz always said that Brian "was the Beach Boys", he sort of helped Brian learn how to produce a little bit here and there, mentoring him ... no-one else did that, tho' Hal is quoted on NPR interview that HE mentored Brian, told him what to do ... (shaking my head here!) ... all Hal did was do cross-word puzzles and say the count-off ... HE NEVER MENTORED A FLY!
I would suggest that if you are on Facebook, become one of Carol Kaye's friends and you can communicate with her about this topic directly.  She answers frankly to anyone who writes to her.  She's very open, but also straight forward about her opinions on this.
Almost obsessively so, it would seem!!!  (Too bad really ... she just seems to be an incredibly unhappy person!)  Again, the part I don't get is why not just enjoy the glory?!?!?  A whole new generation has been introduced to the part The Wrecking Crew played in creating this incredible musical legacy ... and Carol was very much a part of all of that.  WHO CARES who coined the name ... or when they started using it (or becoming known by it).  What counts is the MUSIC ... the INCREDIBLE music they created!!!  Lighten up and enjoy your legacy.  Far too many artists never get this recognition in their lifetimes ... embrace your past and your contribution to the greatest music ever made!  (kk)
I'm sorry to say that in all that I've read regarding Carol Kaye's comments on anything having to do with the Wrecking Crew she just strikes me as a terribly unhappy person.  I agree with you -- embrace your musical legacy and know that you were part of a magical moment in time that very few can lay claim to -- and leave it at that.  Instead she seems content (and almost pleased) to present a miserable, disappointed view of these very special times -- and I'm with you -- I just don't get it.  While I've yet to see the film, I'm sure it is everything you say it is and more -- hopefully there'll be more screenings (or, better yet, a DVD release) so that we can all enjoy this tribute to one of music's best-kept secrets.  I, for one, can't wait to see it -- and, if it would help to please Ms. Kaye, I'll be happy to fast-forward thru all of her screen time and leave her out of it!
Steve K.
Hi Kent,
Good to read about the 'Wrecking Crew' in the 'Whole New Look' Forgotten Hits.  A great thing about living in Las Vegas is you get to see many artists and acts doing their thing just up the street.  Judy and I were guests of Denny and Damon Tedesco at the recent showing of 'The Wrecking Crew' in the Riviera Casino on The Strip.  Denny and I talked about how similar the two music scenes were even though separated by thousands of miles.  I got quite emotional during the film as the situations and working conditions were so alike, it was like being transported back 50 years on a musical time machine.  I wish the publishers and record companies would give the film a break on paying for the music licenses.  After all, if it wasn't for the musicians on the recordings there wouldn't be much music to publish or produce.  Denny deserves all the support he can get.  Reading the itinerary of the Magical Mystery Tour advertised in this issue of Forgotten Hits reminds me of my touring days with the John Barry Seven.  No 'luxury coaches' or 'full English breakfast' for us, back then.  Memories of rattling around the English country side in a Ford 8 van, grabbing a meal in a road side stop or one of the very few Chinese restaurants, digs in minus four star houses are still fesh in my mind. Now, that would be a real Magical Tour.  I expect Peter Noone can tell the same stories of those Golden years!
There's an excellent article by Pete Prown about '007' and my Clifford Essex guitar in the latest Vintage Guitar Magazine.  Worth a read.
As always, an excellent issue of Forgotten Hits.  I don't know how you do it.
Thanks, Vic ... ALWAYS great to hear from you!  (And if ANYBODY knows the life of a studio musician, it's THIS guy!!!)  kk
Oddly enough, speaking of Gene Pitney in your 'Sound Advice' column the other day, Turner Classic Movies during its February - into - early - March "31 Days of OSCAR®" film festival (it only takes one nomination for an Academy Award® to be eligible for this event) showed "Town Without Pity" during a block of films set in Germany (this was back on the 8th of this month).  Only the title song, by Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin, got a nomination.
Poor Gene got cheated on his "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" track, too, back in 1962.  Only in THIS case, he wrote the song AFTER seeing the film, so it was too late to include it.  Nevertheless, it still turned into a #4 Hit for him.
People tend to forget just how popular Gene Pitney's music was in the early '60's.  Between 1961 and 1968, Pitney put together a string of 17 Top 40 Hits ... and four of those made it into The Top Ten. I was very happy to salute Gene on his birthday last week!  (kk)
Frannie sent me this one with the caption "Made Me Laugh" ... me, too!  (lol)  kk

And she sent us "The Clip Of The Week", too ... check out a VERY young Little Richard Penniman (guess he really WAS "little" Richard back then) ... who was clearly a child prodigy. (A while back we ran an early pre-teen clip of Billy Preston that was out of this world ... I think Young Richard blows that one away here!!!)  kk
I may not be a Little Richard fan, but I must say, this is pretty awesome.
For those of you that are old enough to remember him ... Little Richard!!!
You have to see this! Watch how he uses his fists and elbows and doesn't even look at the keys when he sings! This is amazing to see. It's Richard Wayne Penniman (aka Little Richard) about fifteen years before "Tutti Frutti, Oh, Rudy ... A-whop bop-a-lu bop a-whop bam boom."
Here is some very rare footage of "Little Richard" as a child, when he was just starting out in the music biz' ... from a movie with Van Johnson.