Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday This And That

Kent ...
Talk about your Oldies but Goodies!
Here's a list of The Top Ten Oldest Living Rock Stars!
Frank B.

While surfing the cable stations on Sunday, I just happened to come across a GREAT documentary profiling Glen Campbell's farewell tour that also served as an overview of Alzheimer's Disease in layman's terms that made things very easy to understand.  I wasn't aware that two of Glen's children are performing with him on stage for this last harrah ... and it was GREAT to hear him perform SO many of his hits up on stage, including many of those that WE consider to be The Forgotten Hits of the '60's.  Glen seems to be in fine voice and most at home when he's performing.  I didn't see any upcoming broadcast dates for this listed, but check your local listings to see if it'll be showing in your area.  A nice way to spend an hour with a guy who gave us SO much great music over the years.  (kk)

>>>Paul Peek had at least two records which made our local survey, WALKING THE FLOOR OVER YOU in 1959 on NRC and PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY in 1966 on Columbia.  (I've got to get that one out again and refresh my memory how it goes. Interesting to know if it charted in your town.) Larry Neal
I've also got an acetate 45 of an unreleased version of Pin The Tail On The Donkey by Ray Stevens (they all knew each other down in Atlanta) but it's not as good as Paul Peek's version (maybe that's why it was left unreleased). I'll put that one up on youtube one of these days.
Tom Diehl
If you haven't already beaten me to the punch, Tom sent along a copy of Paul Peek's version to share.  Not a bad tune, really, for this era.  Peek charted twice in Billboard ... first with "Brother-In-Law" (#84, 1961) and then with "Pin The Tail On The Donkey" (#91, 1966.)  I don't show either of these tunes charting here in Chicago.  (kk)

Hey Kent ...
Just wanted to respond to your comment about the song,  "American Pie" , and how it immortalized Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.  I listened to a very interesting segment on Talk Radio the other day and was introduced to a whole new take on that song.  I mean, this guy analyzed almost every line and the realization was that this song also had a whole lot to do with the problems with our country and government over the years.  I will have to see if I can come up with all of the "hidden messages" ... but it was very interesting!  
I'm sending a link to the closest thing I could find to that program.  Gives you something to think about, huh?  Good job with FH!  

“American Pie” explained by Glenn Beck: What does “The Day the music died” mean? – Glenn Beck                                  
Unfortunately, I think the over-analyzing of "American Pie" greatly contributed to turning me off to the song all-together.  Dating all the way back to 1971 when it was first released, I think I've heard every take and every spin on what each line of lyric means that it took the enjoyment of listening to it right out of the mix.  A favorite of many, to be sure ... but it's become an immediate button-pusher for me!  (kk)

Kent ...
Dion likes this song off his new CD.
His Facebook friends like "Ride's Blues" and "Bronx Poem".
I like "Bronx Poem". 

Frank B.

>>>Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits are doing a Valentine's Day Show in Fairfield, CT, at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield UniversityIf you get a chance to catch this show, DO IT!!!  You will NOT be disappointed ... Peter Noone continues to be one of the most entertaining oldies artists on the circuit!  (kk)
You must have suspected I would be there?  ;-)
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
No point in asking you what you thought of the show ... I'm guessing I already know the answer!!!  (lol)  Thanks, Shelley!  (kk)

Kent ...

Here is an article on my longtime friend and occasional collaborator Toni Wine (“CANDIDA”, “A GROOVY KIND OF LOVE”) I hope you enjoy it! 
Artie Wayne

Have you been watching American Idol?  I was very impressed by the song choices on Thursday night.  I am sure that my good friend Bobby Vee has to be pleased that 'The Night Has a Thousand Eyes' was performed.  'Make It Easy On Yourself',  Í Only Have Eyes For You' ... whoever was responsible for the song list deserves a standing ovation!  There are some good candidates this year.  How bout that Phillip Phillips?  What an awesome name.
Philip - WRCO 
Actually, we've completely tuned "Idol" out this year ... been watching more and more of "The Voice" ... better singing talent and FAR less drama.  The show also moves along at a very brisk pace whereas Idol was really starting to drag for me.  I enjoy Stephen Tyler but he almost seems "scripted" these days ... "and now ... playing the part of the lecherous, dirty old man ... Stephen Tyler!!!"  Sounds like an interesting song choice line-up, however ... and certainly NOT what you'd expect by a younger group of contemporary singers vying for a spot on the program.
And while Phillip Phillips may be a cool name, let us not forget that Phil Phillips scored a #2 Smash Hit back in 1959 with "Sea Of Love"!!!  (Now had they had Phillip Phillips sing "Sea Of Love" on the program ... perhaps while holding a Phillips Screwdriver ... well THEN I might have been impressed!!!  lol)  kk

In Monday's piece about the Magical History Tour, the line "It's getting better all the time" appeared. Every time I hear this track, I think it's sometime in 1969 - 72, and I'm hearing the intro to an ABC-TV program. Does anyone else feel such a strong connection between the song and a TV network? 
David Lewis

Of course in reference to The Magical History Tour, I'm sure it was more a case of "It's getting better all the time" from The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album ... but you're right ... this is a great, long-forgotten Cass Elliot song, too ... a #30 Hit for Mama Cass in 1969 ... and part of ABC's new season campaign, too!  (That's when you know the advertising agency did an incredible job ... that folks STILL remember this campaign some 40 years later!!!)  kk

The Huffington Post just named CHICAGO the most corrupt city in America ... CONGRATS!!!
-- Renfield
ps - I was rooting for Newark, NJ ... but ya gotta give credit where due!
Well, it's cool to be #1 at SOMETHING!!!  (kk)

Here's ANOTHER 50th Anniversary worth talking about ...

Just got this from FH Reader Dave Barry:
Tony Bennett's special SF Valentine's performance  
Carl Nolte, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tony Bennett is bringing his heart back to San Francisco on Valentine's Day to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of his signature tune.
The song, of course, is
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco," which Bennett first sang at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in the last month of 1961. He recorded it for the first time 50 years ago this week in New York and it became a surprise smash hit.
Neither Bennett nor the song has ever gone out of style and he will sing it again at a sold-out benefit concert at the Venetian Room on Feb. 14 to raise money for heart research at UCSF.
Protocol chief Charlotte Shultz, a friend of Bennett's, wants him to add another concert, in San Francisco's City Hall rotunda at noon that day, as a sort of valentine to the city.
"Our hearts are here," she said. "We should celebrate how great the ity is."
The City Hall concert is not yet on Bennett's calendar - "It's not confirmed yet," said Sylvia Weiner, the singer's agent - but the benefit for the UCSF division of cardiology is already a hit. The event, which includes cocktails, dinner and a show reprising the song that helped make the singer a household name, sold out almost as soon as it was announced.
Global appeal
One reason is "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" and the city itself are a perfect match.
"They love it everywhere," Bennett said of the song and San Francisco. "You'd be surprised how much they respect the city. I get it everywhere in the world. England, Paris, wherever I play. Internationally, it is the most respected city in America."
Bennett has been back to San Francisco many times since his first appearance here 50 years ago this winter. He's played at stadiums, at the Fairmont, at City Hall, for celebrations of everything from the cable cars to the Symphony.
Bennett's last appearance was at the opening game of the Giants' 2011 season at AT&T Park in April. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is both the city's and the team's signature song. It is played after every Giants home victory.
Bennett is 85 now, still at the top of a great career. He has been identified with San Francisco because of the song for 50 years. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" earned him his first Grammy Award for record of the year in 1962.
His career has never let up - he has been nominated for another Grammy this year for his album "Tony Bennett Duets II," which will be broadcast on PBS Friday. In this one, Bennett sings duets with Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Aretha Franklin, John Mayer and the late Amy Winehouse, among others.
Rose from obscurity
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" has a charming backstory. It was written by George Cory and Douglass Cross in 1954 and languished in obscurity for years. Cory and Cross had modest success as songwriters, and they gave the song to Ralph Sharon, who was Bennett's accompanist and musical director.
Sharon kept it in a drawer for years, but when the songwriters heard that Bennett was about to make his first San Francisco appearance, they reminded Sharon about the song.
Late one night in 1961, after a performance at the Vapors Restaurant in Hot Springs, Ark., Bennett and Sharon decided to rehearse the song.
In one version of the story, Bennett thought the song was "just OK." The bartender cleaning up was the only audience - and he liked it and said he'd buy a record of the song if they ever made one. In another version, future President Bill Clinton, then a 15-year-old Arkansas high school student, was peeking in the window and heard the first performance.
Bennett took "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" (an earlier title was "When I Come Home") with him to the Fairmont. Local audiences loved it.
He recorded the song a few weeks later. It was the B side of the record. The A side was "Once Upon a Time" from a Broadway show. Bennett thought that would be a smash hit. "A beautiful song," he called it.
But it was "I Left My Heart" that was the hit.
"A few weeks after it came out, a Columbia rep called me up and said, 'Turn the record over. 'San Francisco' is really catching on,' " Bennett said.
Fifty years later, Shultz believes "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is perfect for Valentine's Day in San Francisco.
"There has been lots of bad news lately," she said, "and it's time to celebrate how we left our hearts here and our love for the city."
Dave Barry's footnotes:
(1) "I Left My Heart" was not exactly a "smash hit." According to Joel Whitburn, the chronicler of Billboard's music charts, "Heart" peaked at #19.
(2) I have the 45 single of "Heart" (a reissue I must confess) autographed by the composers Cory and Cross.
While unquestionably and undeniably a "standard", "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" was NOT the run-away chart success one might expect for such a landmark tune.  Released in August of 1962, it only managed a #19 showing on Billboard's Pop Singles Chart.  It didn't even top Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart, stalling at #7.  But it did win a couple of Grammys that year and it is, by all accounts, a bona fide standard ... as well as Tony Bennett's signature tune.  (kk)

Two things came to my mind immediately after reading Monday's Comments.
First, the child prodigy  playing the piano and supposedly being Little Richard ... well, you
could have fooled me!
Second, whenever I hear THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE or somehow see the title in print, it always reminds me of the time it made its film debut here in OKC. Outside on the marquee sign it said, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY BALANCE.

>>>I have had a song recorded off KOMA since 1960 that I have never been able to get a 45 copy of and am wondering if you have an MP3 to share of it.  The song is a pop teener by Jimmy Darrow (I think it was anyway) called "Johnny Blue".  It was not a GREAT song, but I have had it SO long on tape and still one I would like to locate in good quality.  (WLSClark)
>>>The song in question you are asking about is JOHNNY BLUE. It was recorded in 1960 on the UBC record label. It was recorded by Johnny Hughes who was 12 years old at the time. (said so on the label.) The song was produced by Bobby Boyd and written by (Crutchfield - Nelson). The flip was called PRETTY LITTLE GIRL written by (Joe B. West). The record label number was 1018 for JOHNNY BLUE and 1017 for PRETTY LITTLE GIRL. That is the only song I have that I know of with the title of JOHNNY BLUE. (Larry Neal)
>>>If anybody else out there is able to track this one down, please let us know.  Clark Besch has certainly provided US with all kinds of great music over the years ... would love to be able to pay him back with this one!  (We're looking for "Johnny Blue" by Johnny Hughes)  kk
We received this link from several Forgotten Hits Readers after the above comments ran.  Thinking that this has got to be the song ... not a GREAT copy ... but certainly enough to identify (and, hopefully, satisfy a memory or two!) kk
And this from Clark and Larry ...
Would you believe early today before I went to work I looked on the internet and found this youtube video and was going to e-mail you tonight, even though I thought others might find it.
Same record. I have done some minor research here at home and have come up with absolutely nothing on a Jimmy Darrow. This has got to be the song in question that that Clark is inquiring about. Johnny Hughes also had another song called JUNIOR HIGH DOLL.  (That record of JOHNNY BLUE is probably a promo copy. Mine is red in color like JUNIOR HIGH DOLL.)
In regards to the readers talking about beatniks, would you believe last night I played BEATNIK BLUES by Huey 'Piano' Smith from 1960.
Thanks, Kent.  Now I need to find time to make an MP3 of it.  It is cool to see the record label.  The song is pretty good for a 12 year old, I'd say.  Not great quality, but my static laden KOMA tape from 1960 is much worse, ha-ha.  Actually, the record may not be much better quality judging by the record label.  Thanks again.