Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 06 - 12 )

Hey Kent,
Here is the interview with the Beach Boys, on CBS Sunday Morning, in case you missed it. I can't wait to get my hands on their new CD!
- John
I heard about this from several readers but missed the program.  Lots of great press about the new tour ... 42 songs ... 2 1/2 hours of music ... with nice video tributes to Dennis and Carl, too.  Wish we were going to get to see them when they hit Chicago later this month!  (kk)  

WOW, looks like March is going out like a lion with FH, Jim Peterik and the Ides of MARCH co-writing the great new Beach Boys tune!!

I've not had an opportunity to see The Beach Boys' Anniversary Show yet -- and Nashville is not currently included on their tour schedule -- but I will definitely see them at some point. I've read some glowing reviews -- and a number of Beach Boys fans have e-mailed or called me. The approximately 43 song set list has been well received and I'm glad they have included a few of the more obscure songs -- along with the obvious major hits. I'm a bit disappointed that thus far, I have not seen "Add Some Music To The Day" in any of the reviews. The song is as timely today as when it was released as a single in 1970 -- the first single from the often overlooked, but outstanding album, "Sunflower." 
The stage band is a combination of members of Mike's touring Beach Boys and Brian's band, featuring The Wondermints and musical leader Jeffrey Foskett, who has had some well deserved praise from reviewers and attendees alike. Among other highlights has the inclusion of short video clips of Dennis performing "Forever" and younger brother Carl, performing his magical "God Only Knows." Both were backed up by 'live' vocals featuring the other members. A nice touch.  
In fact, my only regret is that Dennis Wilson's son, Carl, and Carl's son, Justyn, were not invited to fill in on drums and guitar, respectively, as they are both excellent musicians -- having performed as "In Bloom" for the past twelve or more years. 
Great reviews for the most part ... I have read about shows in Tucson and Dallas ... and a friend attended the concert in Atlanta. I believe they also played the New Orleans Jazz Festival last week but have nothing about it.
They did CBS Sunday Morning but I heard about it after the fact. Also, QVC is doing a special on them 'hawking' the new album, which will include a 'bonus' CD of 'hits.' It will be Wednesday, May 16th at 7 Eastern, 4 PDT. From what I can gather, they will be doing a live set. Doubt if they'll do all 43 songs
Here's to a great summer!
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
Music City, USA
Brian has included "Add Some Music To Your Day" in his stage show for several years now, so I'm a little surprised he didn't want it featured as part of this reunion show, too.  (Maybe they'll mix things up a little bit as they go along.)
We don't have tickets either ... would have LOVED to see them in Chicago (and even considered a road trip up to Milwaukee) ... but as tight as money is right now (and the high price of a good seat, especially if you want to buy FOUR tickets!) just made it impossible.  Thankfully, we were able to see Brian last year on his solo tour ... and it was a GREAT concert!
Glad to hear the good reviews.  I've read several, too, all saying the guys sound in great form and really seem to be having fun fun fun up there. 
I heard about the CBS Morning Show after the fact ... but another reader sent in a link to the interview so I've included it here ... simply scroll up to the first Beach Boys posting.  (kk)
Yes, those tix prices are a bit over the top. Wish they were doing larger venues to hold prices down a bit. I have a theory on that decision but it's just a hunch. Better sound is one of the reasons -- some of these smaller theaters have great acoustics -- but I believe there is substantially more to it than that.
Some of the seats have been in the $180 to $300 range. Can see that for one of those VIP packages -- a friend saw them in Atlanta this past Saturday. His tickets included a sound check, a tee-shirt, a laminate, and photo opt with the five boys. I believe it ran him $500 or so for a pair.
My feeling is, for every $200 or $300 ticket, they should have twenty to fifty $40 or $50 tickets. The average fan just can't afford these high prices. Not with unemployment over the top and everything like gas, utilities, food, continuing to go higher. (Note:  gas just started to drop here in the past week -- paying $3.699 a gallon).
But keep in mind that one of the main reasons the tix are so high, they are simply not playing large arenas and amphitheaters. Many are small 2,200 to 2,800 houses and you have to scale the houses substantially higher to make any decent money. Ticketmaster further rapes the buyer, which is something I didn't have to contend with in the early and mid-60's. I would make deals with record stores and music stores -- advertise them on the poster and on radio spots. They would handle the advance sales for 'free.'
At one point -- around '64 -- Russ Solomon said, "Fred, I'm taking quite a risk handling these tickets for free. I appreciate the store traffic you're bringing in, but I still have to pay you for any ticket I can't come up with the funds for (i.e. shrinkage). Can I have a small handing fee?"
I knew he sold a lot of tickets for me, and I felt the 'squeeze' was on:) But I agreed. I said, "Russ, what do you have in mind?" He said, "How about five cents ($0.05) per ticket?"  Boy, was I relieved 
I said, "Sure, Russ ... that sounds fair to me." He was not tacking it on to the purchase price, I was giving it to him out of the face price. Still -- all-in-all -- it was a win-win for both of us. By the way, this was Russ' first store, Tower Records #1 -- Watt Avenue, Sacramento.
The merchandise for this tour will be phenomenal. I would take a lesson from Garth Brooks in the 90's -- he kept the seats affordable, in the $30 range, which would probably translate to $50 or so now -- but made up for it with a quarter or half million (or more) in merch each night 
Just found the BB's are playing the old "Pine Knob Amphitheater"  in Troy / Michigan Hills (Detroit) on Saturday, June 30. I may go up there. Could not make Atlanta work this past weekend. Would have been a heck of a lot  closer  :)
Glad your daughter -- and new son-in-law -- are going to the Chi-Town show. Glad you saw the last one -- Brian Wilson, Jeffrey and company. That was a great tour. The band and The Wondermints are so talented -- and so loyal to Brian and the music. Always a pleasure to see them.
$3.69 per gallon?!?!!  Ours just "dropped" to $4.29.  At an 18-gallon fill-up, you're saving almost $11.00 over the prices here ... so count your blessings!  (lol)  I say you should buy a $10 lottery ticket with the savings and then, if you win big, fill up my tank for a year for making the suggestion! 
My guess is that VIP Pricing was more like $500 per ticket, not per pair ... I've seen it as high as $1200 per ticket (I wanna say that's what Paul McCartney charged for a similar package last year when he was here ... but it also got you preferred seating in the first ten rows.)
The Brian Wilson show in St. Charles was outstanding ... Frannie and I were fortunate enough (with a little help from you know who) to catch that show ... with our daughter and her now-new-hubby ... and he put on a great show.  (Brian Wilson that is ... not her new hubby!)  However, in all these years ... and literally dozens and dozens of Beach Boys concerts ... I have NEVER seen Brian on stage with The Beach Boys ... that's the one Beach Boys thrill I've missed ... so that's a HUGE part of what would make this concert so special for me.  Guess I'll have to just live vicariously through the reviews.  (But honestly that makes it even tougher ... especially hearing about what a great show it is!!!  lol)  kk 

Hi Kent,
I know you are a Beach Boys fan as am I, so I thought I'd pass this along. I heard a clip of their show in Grand Prairie, Texas, and they sound pretty good ... but of course it's not just them, they've got some help to smooth over the rough spots. Can't wait to hear the album though.

And we've got another "up close and personal" concert review to share with you, too ...

The following is a review by long-time friend and record collector Ralph DeWitt of Lubbock, Texas, of the Beach Boys concert he went to this past weekend. 
-- Clark Besch  

The show was fantastic! 42 songs, 2 1/2 hours! They did all my favorites, except "I Can Hear Music" (Carl's song) and "Hawaii" (not a hit). Brian sang better than he has in 20 years, but still looks dazed and confused. They had to cue him a couple of times to sing. He sat behind a grand piano and "played", but I'm not sure if it was miked, cuz I never heard it, and I was sitting right in front of him, 10 rows back. Occasionally, Brian would just stop playing halfway though a song and you couldn't even tell. He never once smiled. Mike Love, who usually is "on" every show, seemed like he was coasting. Either he was holding back, to let the other Beach Boys have their time, or he is slowing down. He moved slowly and sang pretty low. He didn't "take over", like he usually does. Bruce Johnston is kinda like "Larry" of The Three Stooges (you don't really need him, but it wouldn't be the same without him.) Is "Disney Girls" the only song he ever wrote? He got to sing that one, but other than that, he kinda hangs on the side, singing backup and playing keyboards.  Seems like he would have written more songs for the band throughout the years. 
Now, for the good parts: The real "workhorses" on stage were Al Jardine, David Marks, Jeff Foskett and John Cowsill. Those guys carried the show, musically. Al seemed a little perturbed at first, because of monitor problems, but he never slowed down. When he sang "Help Me, Rhonda", the place came alive. He sounded just like 1966. He also sang lead on a couple other songs. I always thought he was their strongest singer, along with Brian at his peak. And David Marks still acts like he's trying to pass the audition. He sang backup on EVERY song and when it came time for a lead guitar break on one of the fast ones, it was Dave, not one of the backup guitarists. He was alive! Jeff Foskett has been with the Beach Boys for many years. He looks kind of unassuming, balding and chubby, but if you watch him, you realize he is leading the band, playing guitar, and singing all the high parts that the guys can't do any more. They could not do the show without him. And John Cowsill, whatta drummer! He looks like he's in his 20's, and plays his ass off! I never thought Dennis Wilson was much of a drummer. Looked like he never took a lesson, just sat up there and pounded. But I will say that Dennis was the only Beach Boy who had any balls. He really lived the rock n' roll life (it killed him, of course), but he was wild, handsome, crazy, and loved to piss off Mike Love. And then, he releases a fantastic album on his own. Go figure. Carl was "the glue", held it together all those years, easy-going, very talented and a good link from Mike and Al to the Wilson brothers. When Carl died, so did the real Beach Boys. They splintered and went their separate ways. When Dennis died, they ceased to be a rock band, they were a rock show. I sat and watched Brian the other night and thought, "Ya know, he is the reason we are all here tonight." Seemed weird because he looked like a stoic mental case, sitting there, but came alive when it was his turn to sing, then right back to a mannequin. Mike Love can say all he wants that he co-wrote those hits with Brain, but we all know the truth. Anyway, I've seen them six times now, and this was the best. If you get a chance, go see them. I'm pretty sure by this time next year, it will be the Mike & Bruce show again. 
-- Ralph DeWitt   

And here's another great Jeremy Roberts interview with noted Beach Boys author Jon Stebbins ... Click here: Biographer Jon Stebbins reveals how he became a true Beach Boys fan - National Pop Culture |

I guess all you Beach Boys fans out there will be thrilled to bits over this! It's from today's Daily Mirror.

We've been dissecting the new Beach Boys single ... it sounds SO familiar ... probably because elements of so many other songs can be heard within it.  It starts off sounding like "Silhouettes" ... then goes into a little bit of "Saving All My Love For You", the Whitney Houston classic ... by the chorus it sounds like The Beach Boys' own "Good Timin'" ... and, overall ... as Frannie pointed out ... it REALLY sounds an awful lot like "Midnight Cowboy"!!!  Listen to it again and see what else you can find!  (Consider this our "Where's Waldo" challenge of the day!)  Bottom line is once you mix it all together, it sounds GREAT!  Even Paige had to admit "The more I hear this song, the more I like it!"  And we do, too!  Really, the PERFECT lead-off single for the new LP.  (kk)

re:  THE MONKEES:   
I want this for my birthday!!!

-- submitted by Gary Renfield   

And here's another cool gift idea ...

Kent ...
I was thinking you might want your wife to find this one.  (Hint! Hint!)
Frank B.  

Click here: Deluxe Edition Of Martin Scorsese’s HBO Documentary “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” Out Today    
Actually, I think I was supposed to get this for Christmas ... then they pushed it back to George's birthday in February ... and then back again to the May 1st release date.  I'm dying to see this ... supposed to be VERY well done.  And there's a companion CD available now, too, featuring many of George's early demos dating back to his "All Things Must Pass" album.  (I don't need the "deluxe" edition with both a DVD and BluRay version ... we're nowhere NEAR that sophisticated here!!!  lol  I just want to be able to enjoy the whole documentary and listen to the CD in the car!)  kk

>>>What do you think would have happened to American popular radio, or pop radio around the world, had John Lennon not formed The Beatles?  (John LaPuzza)  
Hey Kent,
I guess I shouldn't have given John Lennon ALL the credit for completely revolutionizing popular music ... if Ed Sullivan had not seen The Beatles at the airport in London, and quickly booked them on his Sunday night variety show, they would have just been another recording band from England, and not the trailblazers of the British Invasion, don't you think?
- John  
No, I think your question was pretty much on the money ... it was John Lennon who formed (and led) The Beatles in those early years.  Ed Sullivan seeing them at the airport and booking them on his show certainly helped to push things over the top here in America, but you've got to remember that the U.S. was EXTREMELY late to the party on this one ... The Beatles had already made a name for themselves all over the world before we here in The States first discovered them.  Sullivan simply witnessed the result of that while in London ... so odds are they would have made it here eventually in some fashion.  (I have always maintained that their breakthrough hit should have been "She Loves You" ... a far catchier and more universally appealing tune than "I Want To Hold Your Hand", THIS is the one that should have popped things wide open.  Instead, "She Loves You" remained in the shadows of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on the charts here, ultimately making it to #1 ... and endearing "Yeah Yeah Yeah" into Pop Culture forever ... but it SHOULD have been even bigger.) 
I took your question to be more of "What if The Beatles had never been formed?" than "What if The Beatles never exploded here in America?"  Two different scenarios, to be sure ... but still all speculation as we'll never really know.
Let's face it ... it was the explosion of American Rock And Roll in the mid-'50's that caused literally hundreds and hundreds of skiffle groups to pop up overnight in Great Britain, all trying to emulate their brand new rock idols ... if John Lennon had decided to stay in Art College ... or write poetry instead of music ... would another British band have risen to the top, eventually crossing over to our shores?  (Think of all the great music the world would have never heard had Lennon not pursued his muse ... or invited Paul McCartney to eventually join his band!)
What would have happened with music here in The States?  Maybe the folk music movement would have lasted longer ... maybe the surf craze would have been even bigger ... maybe "The Motown Sound" would have had the lasting significance that "The British Invasion" had ... again, we'll never really know.  Would anywhere near as many U.S. bands have been formed, based around three guitars and drums, were it not for The Beatles' influence here?  Would the careers of hugely successfully late '50's and early '60's artists like Dion, Neil Sedaka, Rick Nelson, Paul Anka and countless others carried on for another five to ten years?
Keeping in mind that 1963 ended with the blandness of The Singing Nun and Bobby Vinton's "There, I've Said It Again" at the top of the charts, could a group like The Kingsmen have kicked off a whole new revolution here?  Maybe the "Garage Band Sound" would have been the next big thing, were it not for The British Invasion!  ("Louie Louie" did, after all, make it to #2 on The Billboard Chart.)  Early 1964 monster hits like "California Sun" by The Rivieras and "Fun Fun Fun" by The Beach Boys may have insured the surf sound would have taken a more domineering role.  How about The Four Seasons?  Or could the opposite have happened?  If America accepted "Dominique" and Bobby Vinton as the new standard for a #1 Hit, could the "Cheezy, Easy-Listening Song" genre have set music back 20-30 years instead???
Reviewing all of these options, I can only say (again ... for the gazillionth time!!!) ... Thank God For The Beatles!!!  (kk)  

A reader posed a question the other day about if the music would have been different had there been no Beatles. I just read an article the other day on the Beatles coming to America and it shed some important light on how the Beatles and the British Invasion happened here. Up until late 1963, American artists weren't allowed to perform in the UK and UK artists didn't perform here, all due to some disagreement dating back to the 1930s. (I don't have my source material in front of me). Anyways it wasn't dully solved until just before the Beatles landed here in February 1964. It paved the way for the Kinks, Animals, Gerry & the Pacemakers, rolling Stones and countless others. 
I'd like to see that article ... because it simply isn't true.  (Actually, I'd like to see the guy who WROTE that article strung up by his pinky toes for flat-out falsifying history!!!)  I mean think about it ... American artists toured Great Britain all the time!  The Beatles themselves appeared on the bill as the opening act for such rock and roll luminaries as Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, Little Richard, Tommy Roe and countless others!  As teenagers they saw early rockers like Gene Vincent, Bill Haley, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Charlie Gracie live in concert.  Heck, Jerry Lee Lewis was booted out of England during his tour in 1957 when it was revealed that he had just married his 13-year-old cousin!  Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran toured Great Britain together ... that's where they had their car accident that killed Eddie ... so to suggest otherwise is nothing short of preposterous!!!  And American artists have continued to play to sold-out houses and loyal, adoring fans for the past six decades!  Simply ludicrous ... and pretty damn irresponsible journalism, too, I might add!  (kk)    

re:  BOBBY VEE:  
Hi Kent and Fran, 
I found this on you tube and thought it was really funny. This guy analyzed Bobby Vee's records so good and thought you guys might enjoy it.  
I think even Bobby would be tickled by this clip.  In light of his current situation (which has depressed SO many of his fans), it's nice to watch this, hear some great Bobby Vee music, and smile again.  Thanks for sending!  (kk)    

If you missed the recent Entertainment Tonight piece on "Wages Of Spin" (as I did!), here's a limited chance to catch it, courtesy of Producer / Director Shawn Swords.  This is a "Must See" film for anyone who grew up during the Dick Clark / American Bandstand era ... more timely than ever with the recent passing of Mr. Clark.  (kk) 

Hi Everybody!
Here is the clip of The Entertainment Tonight Interview for Wages of Spin - 
National Public Television info for "Wages of Spin" and "Fabulous" and Rock and Roll Hall information for both.
File to pick up:  ET DICK
File will remain active for:  14 days
Link to file:  

File too big for email?  Try YouSendIt at  
Compelling Trailer "Wages of Spin": <> 

 The Wages of Spin" and Charlie Gracie "Fabulous" have been added to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives/Library. Both documentary films are available thru <> < <> >

and are going to be exhibited on National Public Television TV affiliates (U.S.) thru NETA starting in May.
Charlie Gracie “Fabulous” Special Edition: <> 

 “Wages of Spin”: <> 
 The "Wages of Spin" has already been archived: <> ... 

And "Fabulous" will be added within a few days.

The other day we told you about some summer shows featuring Bob Lind with Danny O'Keefe, both of whom have participated with Forgotten Hits in the past.  Sounds like one heck of a double-bill.  Also on tour together this summer ... Kiss with Motley Crue ... and Santana with The Allman Brothers Band!
Kent ...
I want a Black Magic Woman named Sweet Melissa.
Frank B. 

CHARLIE GRACIE will perform for one of the original NASA-7 Astronauts:  SCOTT CARPENTER ... on the 50th Anniversary of his Orbiting the Earth in 1962 -- only the 2nd American to do so!  Charlie and Scott met this past March when Charlie performed at a conference of entrepreneurs in Vail, Colorado.  Scott is a fan of Charlie's music and hired him to play on the occasion of this historic anniversary to be held at the PLAYER'S CLUB at Gramercy Park-South, NEW  YORK CITY on May 23rd!  WHO KNEW???
-- Charlie Gracie, Jr.   

Checked his web site last night and the good news is that Burton Cummings will be appearing at two venues close to us.
1) July 4th Frontier Days Festival | Arlington Heights, IL

2) July 5th
Summerfest | Milwaukee, WI
As far as I recall Frontier Days is free. I am hoping to be there at Arlington Heights.
Yours in music
Mike De Martino
President of the Lovejoy Music Club
This is EXCELLENT news, Mike ... thanks for sharing.  We've been to Frontier Days before ... a nice set up.  Somebody just asked me the other day if I had heard anymore about Burton "cumming" to Chicago ... so this is GREAT news!!!  (kk)    

Eagle Glenn Frey will be touring (without The Eagles) to support his new solo album, "After Hours", due out next week.  Yet another album of standards (in this case, love songs that his parents grew up with ... as well as love songs that HE grew up with), Frey has several dates lined up this month ...
05.09.12 | Town Hall | New York City, NY
05.14.12 | Warner Theatre | Washington DC
05.17.12 | Bergen PAC | Englewood, NJ
05.18.12 | Sands Events Center | Bethlehem, PA
05.20.12 | MGM Grand at Foxwoods | Mashantucket, CT
05.26.12 | The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA

Meanwhile, Frannie and I can't wait until Friday Night and The Drive's 11th Birthday Party Bash ... talk about your great live music ... The New Invaders (with special guest Jim Peterik) , kicking things off in the lobby ... followed by Dave Mason ... and then The Doobie Brothers!  Any other Forgotten Hits Readers going to this show???  (kk)

Well, THIS is awkward!!!
A short while back we gave away a couple of copies of Irene Brody's book "Sixteen Candles Shine Forever In Memory Of Johnny Maestro".  I can only tell you that Irene was the sweetest lady to talk to and humble as can be regarding all of the attention that her book was receiving.
Now I personally haven't read the book ... Irene was going to send me a copy, but I never received it ... so imagine my surprise (and disappointment) to receive three negative reviews about the book we were working so hard to help promote!
Now THIS is a Forgotten Hits first!!!  To say that Johnny Maestro fans (and there are MILLIONS of 'em out there!) are disappointed by the book seems to be an understatement.  I think fans feel a bit cheated and short-changed ... they were expecting more than a 10-15 minute read (especially at $11.95 per copy!)
So in fairness to our readers, we felt obligated to run three "warning" reviews ... sorry, Irene, but these come from MAJOR music fans out there who were left wanting more ... and feeling just a little ripped off!  (kk)    

I noticed that you are giving away a copy of the book by Irene Brodsky about Johnny. Have you read it?
I immediately bought this book as I had never seen the picture of Johnny that was on the cover of the book.
Unfortunately, that was it. This is the worst excuse for a book that I have ever, ever seen. Not just bad but pathetic. I am dumbfounded as to how a college professor could think that this garbage constitutes a book. Other than the cover picture, there is absolutely nothing positive about this. It took me seven, that's right, seven minutes to read it and it was a wasted seven minutes.
What a bad joke.

Nice tribute to a great performer but I was looking for a biography about his entire life from birth to the end. I read the entire book in about 15 minutes.

I would advise people not to buy Irene Brodsky's book, unless you're a die hard Johnny Maestro fan.
The book is 49 pages long. Most of it - better than half - are pictures, illustrations and thank-yous.  It does contain statements from Johnny's wife and niece. It will take you about 15 minutes to read this book. I would sum it up as a short biography and a short revue of his music career.
Frank B.   

And, speaking of new books ...

Kent ...
I think I already told you about this book.  JD Davis, author, was just interviewed on the "Imus In The Morning" radio show. This book is about three cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggert and Mickey Gilley, from Ferraday, Louisiana.
Jerry Lee Lewis = His father recognized his talent. He mortgaged the family home to buy a piano for Jerry to practice on. Jerry was playing in Honky Tonks as a teenager to help the family.
Jerry and Jimmy are double cousins.
Jimmy Swaggert = He was probably one of the most popular preachers in the country. He met a hooker on the Airline Highway.  You know the rest of the story.
Mickey Gilley = He had his first #1 Hit at the age of 38. Wound up with 17 #1 Hits. His big break came with "Urban Cowboy".
The title of the book came from a game they use to play as kids.  
Conquered, Unconquered.
All three men had close relationships with their Mothers.  The last time the three of them were in the same room together was over 20 years ago.
Sounds like an interesting book.
Frank B.

Last night, I finished reading "The Wrecking Crew." 
While I knew records used studio musicians for sweetening and such, I never was aware of the extent it was done as this book exposes. I feel it's something I should have known about, but apparently I was not alone.  I mean, if Dick Clark didn't know it was going on then, I don't feel so bad!
While part of me feels a bit deceived, another part of me appreciates the construction of all those songs, and when I disregard what I now know, I still love the music.  Simply put, they did a helluva job!
Now, here's a video you might find interesting, if you haven't seen it already.
After you've read that, click on the "Q&A with Portland-based Kent Hartman" for some additional videos further down that page.
Then, when you Google," The Wrecking Crew," you'll get that and a few more links of possible interest.
Your Rock 'n' Roll Buddy,
Chuck Buell
(played in part throughout my life by me and my many different personality traits!) 

Rick Wakeman Biography 'Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman In The 1970s' with Foreword by Elton John Now Available!
5/3/2012 - London, UK – Gonzo Media Group has just released 'Caped Crusader, Rick Wakeman In The 1970s' by veteran author, broadcaster and journalist, Dan Wooding, with a foreword by Elton John.
The book, the authorized biography of Rick Wakeman, who is arguably the world's greatest rock keyboardist, is lavishly illustrated with dozens of photos from Wakeman's extraordinary career which includes the time his career took off when he joined the folk group, Strawbs, in 1969, and played on three of their albums.
But the ultimate accolade - the biggest break of Rick's career at that time - came shortly afterwards when a giant picture of Wakeman filled the front page of the Melody Maker in London, England, with the headline, "Tomorrow's Superstar?"
The article said: "This is the man Keith Emerson hired a box at London's Lyceum to hear. Since the twenty-one-year-old keyboard virtuoso joined the group [Strawbs], along with Ford and Hudson, [and] they've evolved into one of the most exciting bands of the folk-rock scene."
Wooding's book also includes fascinating descriptions of his several excursions with the British super group, Yes, and his many themed solo albums, including The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974) and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (1975).
Richard Christopher Wakeman (born May 18, 1949), was trained at the Royal College of Music in London, where he also went on to feature on songs by artists including Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, T. Rex, Elton John and Cat Stevens.
Wakeman has produced over 100 solo albums that have sold more than 50 million copies.
Elton John, in his foreword for the book, said, "Rick's mastery of electronic instruments only adds to his abilities, and I think it is fair to say he was one of the reasons I stuck to the piano. I also admire his attitude to stage shows - always willing to take a gamble, but never sacrificing his musical ideals. Just as important, never losing his sense of humour and his sense of the ridiculous. Anyone who can put on an ice show at Wembley must be all right. I must add that Rick loves cars and is a fanatic when it comes to soccer. Therefore, he and I have an unbreakable bond.
"It has become fashionable to knock musicians who have been around a while, and who are still determined to persevere in what they believe in. It is very easy to be misunderstood along the way, but it is vital to ignore trends and get on with what you want to do. Rick will always do this because, quite simply, he's that much better than everyone else."
Wooding, 71, founder of ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service (, and the author of 45 books, was the first journalist to ever write a story about Rick Wakeman. It occurred more than 40 years ago while he was working on a local newspaper in Ealing, West London.
"I was looking for stories for the paper and had just called in on a shop called the Musical Bargain Centre in South Ealing Road, and it was then that I heard someone playing amazing keyboards at the back of the store," said Wooding. "I waited until he had finished and then talked with him. That person was Rick Wakeman and he told me that he was then a student at the Royal College of Music in London and was also doing sessions with different musicians. He told me had had just played piano on and arranged Morning Has Broken for Cat Stevens and also played Mellotron on Space Oddity for David Bowie. Both went on to become number 1 hits both in the UK and the USA.
"Rick told me that he had never been interviewed before, so I wrote up the story for the paper and we became best friends. He invited me to his home in Northolt and I sat there spellbound as he played for me on his home piano. I had never heard anything like it.
"I shared with him a little about my background, explaining to him that I was born of missionary parents in Nigeria, and it was then that Rick told me that he was also a Christian and had been baptized at South Harrow Baptist Church and, at that time, was also a Sunday School teacher there.
"As his career blossomed, I went on to write his authorized biography,  and this latest one, which contains some updates, has been reissued along with Elton John's foreword, and the three of us even had our picture taken together at Brentford F.C. for the back cover of the book."  Wooding, who now lives in Southern California, added, "Rick and I have remained close friends for all these years and he has also performed several concerts for ASSIST in the United States. 
"I am delighted that his incredible story, or at least the earlier part of it, can be told again for those in this new generation, who possibly don't know too much about the 'Grumpy Old Man' that they see on British TV, will be able to learn about his incredible talents as a keyboard player, composer and songwriter."
Why the title? Wooding says it comes from the fact that the blond figure of Wakeman would wrap his glittering shimmering cape around his giant frame and head on stage at arenas around the world to start another incredible performance on his battery of electronic keyboards.
And, even today, the "Caped Crusader" continues to push back the limits of music with his extraordinary talents.

Did you see our recent Q & A with author Mark Bego regarding his newly updated Aretha Franklin biography?  Scroll back to Friday's post to read all the details.  (I'm actually reading this book myself right now ... a VERY interesting and enlightening read.)
You can order your own copy here:  
Click here: Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul (9781616085810): Mark Bego: Books

And we are REALLY excited about THIS one!!!  Sworn to secrecy by Joel Whitburn months ago, I've been busting at the seams waiting to tell the rest of the world about Record Research's newest publication.
For the first time, Joel strays from the Billboard charts and publishes the complete pop history of The Music Vendor / Record World Charts!!!  And I can't wait to have it!  More details on his website (along with a very special limited time $10 off offer.)  
All of the details ... and sample pages ... can be found here:

Thank you for featuring "Since You Been Gone" by Rainbow.  My next-younger brother was a HUGE fan of Rainbow! (but of course this WAS the late 70s :-/)  Not sure if the local classic-rock station (Allentown PA) still plays this, but there's always college radio, and any number of folks on the net!
Easton, PA

Kent ...
My niece Sophia came home with an assignment.  
She had to ask ten people:  What's your favorite Season?
I was happy to help.
My answer was Frankie Valli.
Do you think I made the right decision?
Or -- should I have gone with Bob Gaudio?
Frank B.

"If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody" was their British Chart debut ... and a #3 Hit in the U.K. ... two years before we ever even heard of them here in The States.  (Sorry, but this one just doesn't do it for me!  Their other hits are SO much stronger!  To quote Simon Cowell, this one just sounds "a little too much cabaret" to me!)  kk

Kent ...
Interesting story behind this song. Let me take you back to 1968.
The night before Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Concert, a preacher friend of Johnny's brought him this song on tape.
Greystone Chapel is the Chapel at Folsom Prison. It was written by Glen Sherley a
prisoner at Folsom Prison. Johnny learned the song and sang it the next day. Glen Sherley was sitting in the audience and had no idea that Johnny was going to sing his song. 
1971 = Glen Sherley was released from Folsom Prison.  Johnny Cash gave him a job.
1971 = Eddy Arnold recorded a song that Glen Sherley wrote - "Portrait Of My Woman".
5/11/ 1978 = Glen Sherley took his own life, by shooting himself to death.
Here's Glen singing the song he wrote.
More Glen. He really was a talented writer.  That's his daughter. 
And here's Eddy Arnold singing a song written by Glen Sherley.
Glen talking to Johnny from prison, for "This Is Your Life" 
Frank B.
Sad ending to what SHOULD have been a new beginning for this guy ... especially with this kind of "star power" behind him.  Wonder what happened? Do you know?  (kk) 
I heard that he was a career criminal and couldn't change.  Johnny eventually had to fire him, cause he started threatening people. I think he couldn't handle fame or being out of prison. 
Frank B.