Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday This And That

Hi Kent -  
Many thanks for including my photos. Your newsletter is great! So informative and shows great dedication.
Here are a couple more recent pictures ... first of me with Brian Hyland ... and then me and Chris Montez!
Regards -
Geoff Dorsett

In Paul Peters' comments to you about starting up the Fabuous 50's Show, he mentioned that in the control room there were no turntables, just CD's and music coming out of a computer. That's the problem nowadays (one of them). I have talked to a few people through the years who want to hear these songs you don't hear on the radio anymore, but a great majority of the stations here in OKC don't have turntables in their whole radio building, much less the main control room. 
About a year ago I was in a station here in OKC owned by the Clear Channel people. They just had one turntable in their facility, and it was in a production room which wasn't being used. The turntable didn't work as well.
In the business section of our local paper a few years ago, there was reference to how many songs you are not able to get nowadays on CD. Hence, playing them off turntables. Can't do that if stations have found them to be obsolete.
To me the perfect control room would have at least 2 turntables, a 3 cart machine, cassette player, reel to reel, However, not to be this day and time.

Grand Funk Founder Mark Farner recently underwent surgery to have a pacemaker installed!  
Here's the whole story ... Click here: Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner Gets Pacemaker
Kent ...
I read this in a book. It comes from Phil Silvers' daughter.
Phil Silvers (Sgt. Bilko) wrote one song in his life ... Nancy (With The Laughing Face)", made famous by Frank Sinatra.
Phil Silvers went to Frank Sinatra's house. There was a birthday party for Nancy Sinatra, Frank's little daughter.
Phil hadn't brought a gift. So Silvers and the composer, Jimmy Van Heusen ducked into a back room and when they emerged they had written this song, "Nancy (With The Smiling Face)", as a gift for little Nancy.
Frank Sinatra loved it and recorded it. Phil Silvers named his next daughter Nancy.
Here's what I'm trying to figure out.
If I write a song ... and it's good enough for Frank Sinatra to record ... I think I'd try to write a few more songs! Why didn't Phil Silvers do that ?
Frank B.

I think Frank Sinatra most likely liked it because of the immediate connection to his daughter, whose birthday they were celebrating ... it probably touched him in a very special way which, in turned, may have even inspired Phil Silvers to name his next daughter Nancy, too. (Let's face it ... it wasn't much of a hit, was it? ... but still a pretty cool and inspired birthday gift ... especially coming off the cuff the way it did!) You've heard the story about the song "Linda" (recorded by Jan and Dean, amongst others) being written about a very young Linda Eastman, right ... who went on to become a well-renown photographer (and Linda McCartney)! Again, not really a hit ... but a pretty cool story. (And how neat to be the inspiration for a song!)
Speaking of which, chew on this one ... Patti Boyd (and later Patti Harrison and Patti Clapton) inspired George to write "Something" and Eric to write both "Layla" and "Wonderful Tonight", three of the best-known love songs of our generation. (Gotta wonder what kind of magic SHE had going for her to so completely overwhelm these two rock guitarist superstars!) kk    

UPDATE:  I just looked up "Nancy (With The Laughing Face)" ... turns out this was a Top Ten Record for Frank Sinatra back in 1945.  Wow!  I've never heard of it ... and it's certainly not one of his better-known tracks ... but evidently an audience pleaser back in the mid-'40's!  (kk)      

Check out this clip - and just imagine all the music that was made in that room.
Thought you might be interested in this link about IBC Studios in London. So many legendary artists recorded there that are known world wide. Also, some interesting anecdotes about the recording techniques back in the good old days. This is the studio I recorded with the Bee Gees when they first came to England from Australia. Also recorded Lulu's hit recording, "Shout' at this studio.
Hope all is well
FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us a GREAT article on Burton Cummings ... who seems to be mellowing a little bit in his old age ... NOT!!! Burton turns 65 on New Year's Eve ... so he may cut down a little bit on his drinking and partying and smoking ... but he's still just as feisty as ever when the topic of his former bandmates comes up.
50 years on, a Jersey Boy arrives on Broadway
By Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY

October 20. 2012 - NEW YORK –
OK, so only one of the actual Jersey Boys was on stage.
When Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on Broadway began a seven-concert engagement at the Broadway Theatre Friday night, Valli himself was the sole representative of the original band that inspired that massively successful jukebox musical. But no matter: 50 years after the release of the Four Seasons' first recording, its 78-year-old frontman proved a perfectly capable host for this two-hour-plus golden-anniversary party.
At the start, Valli assured the crowd that he and the current incarnation of the Four Seasons would cover "as many of the hits as we possibly can," and he did not disappoint. The set opened with a buoyant performance of his last chart-topping smash, the theme from the 1978 film version of Grease; it then dipped back to encompass everything from early singles to disco-era classics and other Valli solo favorites, notably Can't Take My Eyes Off of You, which he dedicated to the audience.
There were a few passing references to the show that made Valli's late arrival on the Great White Way all but inevitable. After the bright-voiced, bushy-tailed younger men who currently make up the Four Seasons introduced themselves and gave shout-outs to their home towns, their leader quipped, "My name is Frankie Valli and I'm just a Jersey boy." He also noted that it was a special treat to appear just "around the corner" from the enduringly popular musical, and thanked fans for contributing to its success.
But the emphasis was on delivering the hits -- and not just Valli's own. One sequence was devoted to songs from his 2007 cover album, Romancing the '60s. An unabashed nostalgist, Valli segued from a mock excerpt of a modern-day pop song -- "Do people really make love to that music?" he asked incredulously -- to a string of tunes that, he quipped, were "stolen" from him, among them Call Me, Spanish Harlem and a medley of My Girl and Groovin'.
Though Valli predictably occupied the spotlight for most of the night, he gave gracious acknowledgment and solo turns both to his musicians and his current lineup of supporting vocalists. The latter spent the first half of the concert largely in the background, swaying and gesticulating in a carefully synchronized, old-school style -- snapping their fingers here, slicking back their hair in unison there.
But the singers -- Landon Beard, Todd Fournier and brothers Brandon and Brian Brigham -- later stepped forward, bouncing through an exuberant Who Loves You before each put his own flashy spin on the refrain in December 1963 (Oh, What A Night). Valli, his tenor impressively clean and tangy, held his own, and managed to please the crowd with a few falsetto flights.
The show ended with a steady stream of golden oldies -- among them Sherry, Walk Like A Man and Big Girls Don't Cry-- followed by an encore of Rag Doll and Let's Hang On, ensuring that Valli's fellow pop preservationists went home happy.    

Somebody first discovering the radio today and tuning in to the new "Classic Hits" format will discover that The Four Seasons were a disco band from the mid-'70's who had two hits:  "Who Loves You" and "December, 1963" (which they'll probably call "Oh, What A Night" because the deejay playing this song won't even bother to give them the correct name.)  Much like Elvis, (who "Classic Hits" has taught us was nothing more than a Vegas Lounge Act in the early '70's who hit the charts twice with "Suspicious Minds" and "Burning Love"), the entire "meat" of their career has been wiped out by this new format. 
When The Four Seasons first burst on the scene (yes, they, too, first rose to stardom 50 years ago!), they had a completely new and innovative sound unlike any other on the charts at the time.  As such, their first three records went straight to #1:  "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like A Man".  Other hits followed:  "Candy Girl", "Dawn", "Ronnie", "Rag Doll", "Save It For Me", "Let's Hang On", "Working My Way Back To You", "I've Got You Under My Skin", "Tell It To The Rain" and "C'mon Marianne" all made Billboard's Top Ten.
The Broadway Musical "Jersey Boys", which tells the story of The Four Seasons, has been an around-the-world smash for years now, playing to sell-out crowds everywhere it opens.  As such, at least three new generations have discovered and fallen in love with the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons ... which is why I find it nothing short of INSULTING that radio feeds us nothing more than their last two hits.  (Oldies Radio ... where you can find it ... plays more ... but even they don't cover all of the Top Ten's, much less some of their other best-known material.)
We've pulled a Forgotten Hits Classic out to share with you today.  It comes from a pivotal scene in the musical and, as such, I thought it might earn a little radio airplay as a result ... but you still don't hear this Top 20 Hit anymore.  Here's "Beggin'" from 1967.  (kk)


Kent -
Here's a link to one of the best ever interviews with MICKY DOLOENZ ... it's from Kevin Pollak's Chat Show - and it's absolutely brilliant. Please feel free to post - everyone will enjoy this; almost two hours long but brilliant!
While I've always liked Kevin Pollak in his acting roles, I find his "stand-up" material (and interviewing technique) to be more of an "acquired taste". I nearly gave up watching during the first 30 minutes ... Pollak took forever getting to the interview (most of that time was spent on what can only be described as a self-serving mission) ... and then I felt bad for Micky once he finally got on ... he has GOT to be dead-tired of repeating those exact same stories, virtually word-for-word, while promoting this new album. Don't get me wrong ... it's a good CD ... but for all the hype, I don't feel it's anywhere near as strong as his "King For A Day" / Carole King tribute album he did about a year ago with Jeffrey Foskett, which he didn't promote quite as vigorously.  And while many of these songs seem to have a real personal connection to him, I just wish he'd mix it up a little bit in the retelling of these already worn-out tales. I love the guy ... and I suppose in all fairness there are still some people out there that haven't heard these tales ... but as a MAJOR fan who DOES follow Micky's career quite closely, I've found the whole thing rather redundant. He's such a talented guy who could really "improv" his way thru these things ... and probably have a WHOLE lot more fun doing it. (You'll find glimpses of this further along in the interview).   THAT'S what I want to see and hear. (kk)

A couple more Micky links ... between his new CD and the upcoming Monkees Reunion Tour, Dolenz is all over the media right now ... this is almost like the M-TV Monkees boast from back in the '80's! (kk)


re: JIM HENDRICKS:  Interesting to see the Johnny Rivers videos today. Summer Rain was written by local guy Jim Hendricks, and was in the Mugwumps (also mentioned on Friday). He also wrote "Long, Lonesome Highway". How often do you hear that on oldies radio?  
David Lewis

There is a well-known tale that has gone around for years and years about Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
The album came out in Great Britain on the First of June in 1967 ... and took England (and the rest of the world) by storm, due to its revolutionary techniques.
Two days later John and Paul were at a club (maybe The Bag Of Nails???), where Jimi Hendrix was performing. Hendrix took the stage and opened his show with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and blew the audience (and the two one-time mop-tops) away. The song had only been out for a couple of days and Jimi had already learned it!!!
Flash forward about four months and Johnny Rivers' brand new single is premiered on the radio. "Summer Rain" features the classic line about "and the jukebox kept on playin' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" ... so imagine MY surprise when, as a 14 year old kid I pick up that single and see that the song was written by "J. Hendricks". Naturally, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that Jimi Hendrix (who was probably writing under his REAL name "Hendricks") had written the new Johnny Rivers song! It was SO different than the other music that Hendrix was playing ... I was blown away!
Of course I was also 100% WRONG!!! J. Hendricks was James / Jim Hendricks who, as David just told us, was part of The Mugwumps ... a pre-Mamas and Papas folk band that also included Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty ... as well as future Lovin' Spoonful bandmates John Sebastian and ZalYanovsky. (How THESE guys never made it is unthinkable ... but the world is a better place musically because instead we got TWO superstar groups in the '60's!)
"Long Lonesome Highway" by Michael Parks is a GREAT, overlooked #13 hit from 1970. We featured it recently as part of our "Today's Forgotten Hit" column. (I mean why would anybody play THAT one when you can squeeze in "Jet Airliner" one more time today instead?!?!?) kk

re: JIM HOLVAY:  With your mention of James Holvay's induction into his high school Hall of Fame, it reminded me that James asked me to write something for this a couple years ago. They cut what I wrote by quite a bit and changed the wording completely, but the music part DID get conveyed. Anyway, I asked James to elaborate on his story on the writing of "Hey Baby" after hearing WLS' Art Roberts using it on his radio show that Larry Neal commented on.  

Here's James' response:
Thanks Clark. I forgot that I had asked you to write something for the Hall Of Fame. Thanks again.
The story on “Hey Baby” is the following:
In the early days of The MOB, we bought an old Brunswick Bowling truck that had a 100,000 miles on it and these racks in it. Apparently, the guy would deliver new bowling balls and pick-up the old ones.
Anyway, we converted it to something that we could all fit into as we barnstormed the Midwest. This was pre getting into the Nevada circuit and the “show room supper club circuit”, where we would make more money and afford to fly to the gigs.
Over a weekend, we ripped all the racks out of the truck and put in 7 seats, the 8th seat being the
driver. That took up about 2/3rds of the truck. Than we put a plywood wall up which separated us and the balance of the truck. This is where we put all the instruments. (B3 organ, 2 Leslie speaker cabinets, guitar amp, bass amp, drums, horns, guitars, bass, conga drum and, reel-to-reel tape recorder, a few record players and everyone’s luggage and suit bags.
There were no windows in the van, just 1 sliding door in the front and man did it get hot in the summertime.  Now that I think about it, it kinda looked like a UPS truck.
So we’re driving along on some highway in Omaha or Iowa somewhere, headin’ to a club gig. We had a radio in the truck and were still within range of WLS and had the station on. Art Roberts comes on and says, “Hey baby, they’re playing our song …” and went on with his schtick. And I thought, "What a great title for a song."
Most songwriters carry a composition book around with them, where the write ideas down for songs. So, I wrote that down.
I don’t know how far after along it was, after I’d initially gotten the idea that I wrote the tune.
In that we (The MOB) were on the road at that time 52 weeks a year, I assume I wrote the song in a motel room. Gary contributed some of the lyrics and he also wrote the horn arrangement.
After "Don’t You Care” was a hit, Guercio hunted me down on the road somewhere, called me and asked if I had another song for The Bucks and I said, “Yes.”
Guercio was a songwriter but was smart enough to continue to go to the well. If you notice, The Bucks LP’s contain a lot of his songs and only the hit from Holvay-Beisbier. We always complained to him why he didn’t let us write more songs for their albums. But he would never respond. He was greedy and wanted to be a songwriter.
Anyway, we also carried a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder with us. Gary, I and my $10 acoustical guitar I bought in Tijuana, sat in a motel room somewhere in the Midwest and sang “Hey Baby” into the recorder. The next day I found a post office and mailed the little spool of tape, the lyric sheet and the horn charts to Guercio.
Next thing we know, we’re hearing it on the radio a few months later. Gary and I went to a record store to check the record label and sure as shit, Guercio had put his name down as one of the writers. *&^%$#
I was a big Motown fan and I originally heard “Hey Baby”, kinda like a 4 Tops tune. Like “I Can’t Help Myself”. More of an R&B soul groove to it, similar bass line.
When I heard what Guercio had done to it I wasn’t that excited about it. That’s what’s weird about the record business. You can write a song and have a certain arrangement in mind and you give it to an artist or a producer and it comes out sideways but becomes a hit, which is what you want anyway.
I can’t tell you how many people asked me why The MOB didn’t record any of the hits I wrote for the Bucks. I said if we did, with Big Al singing and us making them into soul songs, they probably wouldn’t have become a hit.
Back to “Hey Baby”, Bob Pruter asked me if I’d gotten the idea from a song with the same title that a guy named Maurice McCallister wrote for the Art Roberts show. I never heard it.
Thank God I didn’t, because if I did, I never would’ve written the song and The Bucks wouldn’t have had their 3rd hit.
Thanks for asking to set the record straight. (ha, ha)
Jim Holvay 

>>>Art Roberts' theme song for the show (Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song) was done by Chicago's own Maurice and Mac from the local group, the Radiants! Art would then go on to inspire my buddy James Holvay to get permission from Art to write the 1967 hit of same name for the Buckinghams!!!

Clark Besch

The Radiants??!!! Hold On! Love it! Big in Philly, if that's the song!http://www.angelfire.com/empire/abpsp/images/holdon-s.mp3
Chicago could come up with a great song, now and then! :-)
Yep, that's them ... "Hold On would peak at #68 in Billboard in 1968 ... prior to that the "bubbled under" a few times ... and had their biggest hit in 1965 with the #51 Hit "Voice Your Choice".  Incredibly, these records made no noise at all here at home! (kk)


A couple of things on the deaths of B.B. Cunningham of the Hombres and "Bo" Fortson of the Rivieras. First, both of their national hits were just great, IMO.
The Rivieras did indeed record and release many more 45s than most garage bands of their era. Despite the great successes of Chicago bands following the New Colony Six's "I Confess" breakthrough 45, the Rivieras were one of a handful of very few bands that played Chicago constantly in '64 and '65 with Chicago's WLS DJs. Many times, WLS ads for dances mostly included the Rivieras (apparently without their lead singer?) or the Crestones.
The Rivieras did record their version of "Hanky Panky" and release it before the Shondells 45 became big in 1966. The Rivieras' version came out on their 2nd LP in 1965, but this was AFTER the Shondells' 45 had been RECORDED and released. It was just not a hit yet. Still, it could well be that the Shondells learned the song from seeing the Rivieras play live in '64. After all, as mentioned, they were the biggest local band on the scene at that time.
As for the Hombres, their hit in Chicago was bigger than it was nationally, reaching #2. When they came to Chicago in 1968 to promote their concert and new 45, Barney Pip was allowed to use the backing track of "Let it Out" to record his own vocal over it. It's pretty funny to hear and you can finally figure out all the lyrics!! Not only that, but they were here (Chicago) when they were to release their rare fourth single, "Take My Overwhelming Love". To promote it on CFL, they let Barney also record his own version over their track again. As far as I know, that was the last 45 the Hombres recorded, and maybe the last time Barney recorded as well!! However, he would still make his listeners "turn into p-nut butter" for years to come.
Here's a memory of the Hombres that covers "many bases" so to speak! We have been discussing Dex Card this week at WLS and the attached recording is about the time WLS started coming in in the afternoons in 1967 as the summer solstice was ending and the survey countdown could be heard in Dodge City. To my surprise, a new jock Larry Lujack had replaced Dex as the "survey administrator". His delivery was much the opposite of Dex and took some listening to this new guy's VERY loose delivery before I decided ... HE WAS ALSO GREAT!
My brother Bill will appreciate this cut, as he is currently flying to St. Louis to catch tonight's Cardinals playoff game vs. the Giants and hoping they will again be in the World Series. Attached, you'll find (THIS tape is courtesy FH member Stu Shea, who will always be my great Chicago friend) Larry Lujack in his first months at the Big 89 playing the then #10 Chicago (Oct 6, 1967 chart) hit "Let it Out." Just months earlier, Lujack had moved to WCFL in Chicago as the overnight jock before Gene Taylor hired him away to do afternoons at WLS in July, 1967. He had only come to WCFL in April, I think, having come from Boston's WMEX where he had apparently become a Red Sox fan. Obviously, he had money riding on the Red Sox against the Cards in the 1967 World Series. In 44 years, some things have not changed, I guess. The Cards are gunning again, albeit this was almost 44 years ago to the day when they were in the Series before all these divisions and wildcards came to be.
By chance this was also my brother's most prolific period of 45 collecting, as an 8 YEAR OLD!! We learned young in the Besch family.
Also, you will note that WLS had had a DJ strike recently via ABC and the jocks were finally back on the air. They had filled in with "robot" automated DJ recordings and secretarial staffing to some extent!
Enjoy the game and the song and remembering WLS. Also attached is the survey Lujack counted down. For brother Bill, BB Cunningham passed away this week. He was the lead "singer" of the Hombres.
Does anyone hear the opening guitar licks to "Let it Out" in the opening licks of Nils Lofgren and Grin's great 45 "White Lies"????
Clark Besch

I much prefer the Hombres' last 45, Take My Overwhelming Love (And Cram It Up Your Heart).
Tom Diehl
Yep ... that's a good one! Shouldn't that song be standard Valentine's Dayo radio fare???  You know ... as part of The Greatest Love Songs of All-Time??? (lol) kk