Friday, May 11, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers


>>>My husband (age 61) and his sister (age 63) asked me to find a song.  They think it was on the b side of a Ventures' record (???)  The song title is Midnight Sun and it was done with electric or steel guitars.  Any web link please.  (Rosetta Link)
>>>I don't see "Midnight Sun" listed as any of their charted singles (A-Side OR B-Side).  I checked a couple on online Ventures discographies, too, and don't see this title listed ... so I'm thinking that either the title ... or artist ... is wrong.  Let's see if any of our Forgotten Hits sleuths out there can come up with anything on this one.  (kk)

One of your readers wanted to know who did an instrumental called MIDNIGHT SUN. When I saw that song title, I knew it from somewhere but didn't know exactly. I am not sure but I believe it was done by a Ventures sounding group called the Five Whispers out of the
early 1960's. I believe the group in question, The Five Whispers, recorded for Dolton Records, the same label as you know the Ventures recorded for. Whether the Five Whispers were the same group as the Ventures, I don't know. I believe through the years at times an artist or group would make a record using another name other than their own.
I may have it on an album of mine but I will check later on.
And, speaking of instrumentals, Raymond Lefevre had an earlier record make our survey here in OKC back in 1961, on Atlantic records, an instrumental version of the Fleetwoods'
Wow, good call!!!  The Five Whispers DID, in fact, record for Dolton Records and "Midnight Sun" was as close as they ever came to a hit single back in 1962.  (It "Bubbled Under" on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart, reaching #115.)  According to Joel Whitburn's indispensable "Top Pop Singles" book, The Five Whispers were actual a brother duo out of California named Bobby and Larry Black.  Chalk it up to another Forgotten Hits conquest!(kk)

And, speaking of conquests ...

I've helped out a number of Forgotten Hits readers over the years, maybe you or one of your readers might be able to help ME out this time ...
A number of years ago on Top Shelf Oldies I heard Dave The Rave play a KILLER 45 on the Gail record label called Is It Right by the Conquests. I ended up buying a copy of the 45 on ebay only to find that it had a huge scratch in what was supposed to be a mint unplayed record.  I sent it back to the seller who offered me his only other copy of the 45, on what appeared to be an earlier pressing on a label that simply said "The Conquest". Of course I took it.
Well, the only information I could find out was that it was written by a guy named John Rooney. Interestingly, I looked up Rooney on the BMI website and came up with nothing under his name, yet when I searched for the song by title, it came up with his name. It showed a publisher listing as "Ticklish Tunes, Inc.". It also lists an address in Chicago and a phone number, though googling those, the address seems to have a phone number that doesn't match the BMI listing (and the address appears to be a multi-business address anyway), and a search on the phone number comes up with an unpublished listing. However, my initial guess upon first hearing this song was that it probably was recorded in 1965, and I found on one website a listing for a "dissolved" corporation called Ticklish Tunes, Inc. which was formed in September of 1965 (It does not list when the company was dissolved). The address it was registered at is the same address found on BMI and the person who formed the company was someone named John Tolbart (full name John Burgess Tolbart), who, from what my research shows, passed away in 2005 at the age of 93 (Tolbart had apparently recorded Ral Donner early in his career at his studio).
So my research has me at a dead end ... I have no way of contacting the songwriter, John Rooney, since the publishers information on BMI is clearly long out of date, or finding out any information on group members (assuming Rooney was one even of the group members, as Is It Right is listed as his only songwriting credit -- a damn good song to write if it's going to be your only one, if you ask me).
Perhaps you can "put this out there" and see if any of your Chicagoland readers might be able to come up with anything for me? I'm also sending you the song as I think you'd really enjoy it (for all I know maybe the record got played in Chicago or maybe the group did live gigs around Chicago and it might bring back memories for you or any other local residents).
Tom Diehl
Without question, there isn't a single contributor to Forgotten Hits who has solved more of our musical mysteries than Tom Diehl ... so here's hoping we can in some small way repay the favor with this one.
I checked all of our local charts and don't see anything listed for The Conquests on any of them ... so this wasn't a local hit ... and, listening to it, it's not at all familiar to me.  But maybe another one of our astute listeners can help to shed some light on this one ... (although, quite honestly, it sounds like Tom has already done some EXTENSIVE research on this topic!!!) 
Good luck!  (kk)   

Is this a physical jukebox that sits in a business, such as a restaurant or club?
If so, the royalty situation shouldn't be too different from anything such a venue is (or should be) familiar with.
You'd think they'd index where a song might be on the net so it can be played promptly, as is usually the case with those devices.
Sounds like this is strictly an Internet thing ... and the complaint is that very few songs are available by a given artist ... and even some of those are not the original "hit" versions that you would expect to hear.  And, as I stated earlier, it also sounds like quite the rip-off.  For what you pay for a one-time listen, you can download ... and OWN the song everywhere else!  (kk)
You made a good point about downloading a song for $0.99 cents instead of playing the Jukebox. If you're sitting in a bar with friends, you only have two choices ... play the Jukebox or have no music. I want music.
Frank B.
Perhaps I misunderstood the premise of the Internet Jukebox ... I just assumed it was an online thing you did from home on your own computer.  If you're saying that most bars are now hooked up to this service, then that's a different story.  (Most of the places we go to have a conventional ... albeit CD ... jukebox ... if they have a jukebox at all.  I haven't seen The Internet Jukebox yet in a bar or restaurant.  That being said, when I DO see a jukebox, I cannot resist the temptation to check it out and play my favorite selections.  They've just become so rare and obsolete that these opportunities don't come up all that often! And I'm always curious to hear which tracks OTHER people in the establishment are picking, too!  I love when one of my choices comes on and the whole place perks up to listen.  (Yep ... that tells me that I've still got it!  lol)  kk   

 re:  LOOK FOR A STAR:  
>>>June, 1960, saw something that, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the oddest quirks of the Billboard Hot 100 pop music charts.  A British singer named Garry Mills entered the charts then with "Look for a  Star," a tune that had originally been used in the 1960 Donald Pleasance film  "Circus of Horrors."   At exactly the same time, an American singer  named Garry Miles also entered the charts, also with a similar-sounding version  of "Look for a Star."  Both versions climbed the charts simultaneously,  although the one by the American singer both outlasted and reached a higher  position than the British singer's.
Garry Mills -- Garry Miles.  Almost identically-named singers, each with almost identical versions of the same song at the same time.  What gives?  My suspicion is that the American, whose real name apparently was James "Buzz" Cason, changed his name to cash in on the popularity of the original British recording.  But is this so?  If this is the case, is there any record of this having happened before -- such as a group going by "The Beetles" to try to cash in on someone else's fame? Do any of your readers know the background of this?  It seems that Cason was at one time in Brenda  Lee's backing band.   (Henry McNulty)
>>>It was an unusual pair of releases ... and I'm sure these caused more than a little bit of confusion at the record stores ... more folks probably bought the wrong version than the right version (although both charted similarly ... now HERE'S a case where these records really SHOULD have shared the same chart position!!!)  For the record, Garry Mills' version reached #26 on the Billboard Chart and peaked at #13 in Cash Box Magazine.  It was released on the Imperial record label. Garry Miles' version (how many "Gary's" spelled their names with two "R"'s like these guys?!?!  All the MORE confusion!) peaked at #16 in Billboard and shared the #13 spot with the Garry Mills counterpart.  (kk)   

Here in OKC Garry Miles' version of LOOK FOR A STAR peaked at number 12 in August of 1960. Now on the survey, it shows an alternate version but this is Billy Vaughn's instrumental version. No listing of Garry Mills on survey as well as Dean Hewley who also had a version out on Dore records.
Larry Neal   

Kent ...
According to Billboard, "Young Love" was a hit for Sonny James and Tab Hunter in January of 1957. Both versions were on the Charts for 17 weeks. Both versions hit #1. Isn't that unusual? Both versions out at the same time make it to the top of the Charts?
Here's the part that shocks me. Sonny was #1 for one week. Tab was #1 for six weeks.
In my opinion Sonny's version is much better than Tab's version. The only thing I can
figure out is that Tab Hunter's popularity as an actor allowed him to sell more copies of 
this song. I don't see how any impartial observer can say that Tab sang it better than Sonny. Listen to both of them and let me know what you think.
Frank B.
Without listening to either version, I think MOST people out there would pick Sonny James' version ahead of Tab Hunter's ... simply because Sonny James is regarded as a singer and Tab Hunter is regarded as an actor.  Yet technically Tab Hunter had the bigger hit ... and "officially" only his was the #1 Record in the country.  (Sonny James' version topped Billboard's Disc Jockey Chart ... but NOT their Top 100 Chart or Best Sellers Chart, the true benchmark for this era regarding a song's popularity.  On these two key charts, James' version hit #2.  Tab Hunter's version, on the other hand, hit #1 on Billboard's Top 100 Chart for six weeks ... and #1 on Billboard's Best Sellers Chart for four weeks ... making it the unlikely, hands down winner in this battle.  (Sad but true!)
"Young Love" was a massive hit ... and still deserves to be played once in a while today, if only to remind folks of just how popular a song it really was.  Remakes by Lesley Gore, Donny Osmond and Ray Stevens all hit The Billboard Pop Singles Chart between 1966 and 1976 (with Donny Osmond scoring the biggest hit version when his record peaked at #25 in 1973.)  A third 1957 competing version by The Crew Cuts peaked at #24 on Billboard's Top 100 Chart (but reached #17 on both their Disc Jockey and Jukebox charts.)
This era of Billboard chart reporting has always been very confusing.  While they certainly published multiple charts during this pre "Hot 100" era, the tallies that counted were The Top 100 and Best Sellers positions ... so we tend to use those when reporting the peak position of a song from this era.  (kk)