Monday, December 24, 2012


Our buddy Alan O'Day has a brand new Christmas tune that we couldn't wait to share with you ... and it's a good one! You can check it out here:
Hey Kent,
Thanks for sharing this new song and video through your website with as many folks as possible before Christmas.
If anyone would like to purchase a digital audio download it's available on CDBaby now: and iTunes,too.
I'm glad to see Forgotten Hits so healthy.
Thanks for your support, & Happy Holidays!
Happiest of Holidays to you and your family,
Alan O'Day
Have a very Merry Christmas and Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year!!
Ken Evans and The Fifth Estate  

C'mon Kent!
What about PERRY COMO? Christmas ain't Christmas without Perry! His "Home for the Holidays" actually was a Top 40 Hit back in 1954. You remember 1954, DON'T YOU? :-)   
Here's a video from the 60s, that brings it all back, when the world was a little nicer.
Christmas, 1954? Hmmm ... let's see ... I had just turned one ... honestly, I don't remember much other than my diaper being a little snug that day ... but my Mom sure loved Perry Como. (Everybody's Mom loved Perry Como, right???) Merry Christmas Everybody! (kk)   
One of my favorite '70's performers was singer / songwriter Jim Croce. I was fortunate to have seen Jim perform live in concert half a dozen times before he was taken from us ... including twice at The Quiet Knight referred to in one of these articles. (In fact for one of these performances it was Jim with his guitarist Maury Muehleisen as the opening act, followed by Jackson Browne, performing completely solo, at the piano!) This was in early 1972 ... later that year, both artists would have their breakthrough hits with "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" and "Doctor My Eyes" respectively ... it was an AMAZING show put on by two soon-to-be superstars who, at the time, were still one step away from national recognition.) The last time I saw Jim was just a few months before he died when he performed at Ravinia to a sold-out show.
Forgotten Hits Reader Bill Hengels recorded a live performance of Jim's at Harper College and then was later able to sell those recordings to Jim's widow Ingrid for commercial release. Here are two recent articles he sent us regarding not only these recordings but a brand new book put together by Ingrid Croce and her new husband Jimmy rock profiling the life and career of Jim Croce.
Attached are two files about Jim Croce. One is from The Chicago Sun Times Dec. 17th, 2012. Ingrid Croce was coming to Chicago for a book signing but became ill and had to cancel. The second article is a CD review from All Music's web site. It reviews the CD Have You Heard Jim Croce Live. In it, it talks about my recording of Hard Time Losing Man song that I recorded and sold the concert to Ingrid back in 2003.

A review of Jim Croce's Have You Heard Live CD from All Music web site
It talks about Hard Time Losing Man, a song that I recorded at Harper College and sold to Ingrid back in 2003

Release date January 31, 2006
Duration 46:43
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Shout! Factory's 2006 CD release of Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live is a companion piece to their 2003 DVD of the same name. That DVD collected 13 live television performances, taken from shows like The Old Grey Whistle Test, and Underground, all of which were quite rare, since there isn't much footage of Jim Croce live on television. Not only was the music rare, but it was also quite good, some of the best live material he recorded, so it made sense that Shout! Factory would spin it off into an audio-only release. And that's exactly what this CD is -- the audio portion of those 13 TV performances. The two photo-collage montages on the DVD -- set to "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" and "Time in a Bottle" -- have been cut, since they weren't live concert performances to begin with, and a version of "Hard Time Losing Man", recorded live at Harper College in Palatine, IL, is the one exclusive cut on this collection. None of these performances loses anything heard as a mere audio track, and the collection is sequenced nicely, flowing as if it were an actual concert. That said, this doesn't offer anything new: if you have the DVD, you have this music, so this may not be a necessary purchase. But for dedicated Croce fans looking to enjoy these performances as music only, this is a welcome release.





















Hey Kent,
Not to many people realize that “What Now My Love” is about a guy that "offs" himself ... Listen to the lyrics carefully. The world is over for him anyway.
Gary Pike  
You mentioned (and I didn't know this) that the late Jimmy McCracklin wrote the song TRAMP. Pretty decent hit here in the OKC area for one Lowell Fulsom.
Actually, that little tidbit came from Ron Smith's excellent website. Turns out "Tramp" (a #18 Hit for Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967) was cowritten by Jimmy McCracklin and Lowell Fulsom. Their cover version outperformed Lowell's original version, which peaked at #51. (kk)
It’s good to see “I’ll Cry Instead” getting some props. Cynthia Lennon called that song “a cry for help” from John, and certainly one where his paranoia was expressed in his lyrics. (He’d soon top himself with “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, one of the most paranoid songs ever.) Inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin’” album, Lennon was determined to write more from the heart, and less from what was perceived as a typical “hit record”. To me, the line “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet” is one of the most amazing lines ever – two neuroses in a single line! How many writers in the 1964-65 time period could fuse a line such as Help’s “my independence seems to vanish in the haze” into the context of a pure pop #1 record? Whenever anyone tries to tell me that the Beatles were lightweight, or not deserving of their status, I tell them to stop listening to “Hey Jude” or “Love Me Do”, and dig a whole lot deeper.
Jeff Lemlich
Here's a recent Tommy James article / interview sent in to us by FH Reader Tom Cuddy ... 
Tommy James: Rocker’s Story Headed for Hollywood
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Verona-Cedar Grove Times
It's a winding, sprawling kind of story, filled with tales for every vice – music, love, drugs, crime and the list goes on. It's the kind of story that, at times, seems too improbable – too wild – not to be a work of fiction.
For Cedar Grove's Tommy James, however, it's simply life.
The platinum-record-selling rocker recently put his wealth of memories to the page with his 2010 autobiography, "Me, the Mob, and the Music." Hollywood is already knocking on the door to tell James's story, with Universal Pictures and noted film producer Barbara DeFina ("Goodfellas," "Casino") slated to bring James's meteoric rise to fame and personal struggles to the big screen.
In an interview with the Times, James dished on all of it and more.  
So young, so fast
In 1966, James was a teenage dad whose dreams of making it big seemed to be fading. By 1968, he'd find himself sitting beside presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey on election night. Three years later, he was a rock star looking over his shoulder, fearing the mob.
Today, he's still touring, still writing and still enjoying life. How can one person experience such highs and lows over a short span? Where do the dots connect? That's a story that was never supposed to be told, says James.
His book, which he co-wrote with fellow Cedar Grove resident and author Martin Fitzpatrick, was originally titled "Crimson and Clover" – a nod to one of his hit singles. It was going to be a fun, little book about his rise to fame – no mobsters, no drugs, no infidelities. Eventually, he reconsidered.
"It's like I'm telling on myself," James says of the book's candid approach. "You don't think of it so much as a story when you're living it. It's not a story. It's my life."
If one were to look for the initial domino that fell in James's story, his first love — music — is the most logical catalyst. Turning the radio on was how his mother would stop him from crying as an infant. It was why he slicked his hair back to look like Elvis Presley, learned Chuck Berry tunes by ear and – at the age of 12 – was already playing dance hall gigs with older boys.
By the time he was in high school, his band, the Tornadoes – later the Shondells, had two small recording contracts and were playing at local colleges. James was flying high, partying and had legitimate dreams of stardom.
Life had other plans. Tommy's long-time girlfriend, Diane, was pregnant and the two rushed to marry.
"I was married and a father as a senior in high school," recalls James. "Of course, I did everything earlier than I was supposed to."
So young, so fast is an apt way to describe most of James's career. After the original Shondells disbanded, James toured the Midwest with The Koachmen as a way to provide for his family. After a two-week engagement fell through, James was forced back home fearing that his career was already regressing.
What James did not know on his car ride home was that a single he recorded in high school, "Hanky Panky," had been bootlegged in Pittsburgh and ascended to top of the charts.
The 19-year-old kid from the Midwest was headed to New York to become a superstar.  
Of politicians and mobsters
James's prolific music career is well documented. "Mony Mony" followed "I Think We're Alone Now" which followed "Say I Am" and the list goes on and on. As Roulette Record's golden boys, Tommy James and the Shondells churned out single after single to the point where, by the age of 22, James was already coming out with greatest hits albums.
After just a year in New York, James recalls feeling a disconnect with his family back in Michigan, as if they all spoke with accents. By the following year he and the band gained influence, enough to be selected by presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy to play at a few rallies in New York. The band was originally asked to play that June night in Los Angeles where Kennedy was assassinated but had a previous engagement in Dallas.
In a self-described "funk" for weeks after the assassination, James and the Shondells eventually joined the Humphrey campaign – serving as a lead-in for many of his rally speeches.
The two were friends until the day Humphrey died and were so close that Humphrey actually had the band with him on election night.
"I can't tell you how we felt," James says of the honor. "It felt like being at the center of the earth. He actually sat us down and asked us what we thought. I was 21-years-old that year. He was going to have a national referendum (for the Vietnam War.) He was going to 'save 20,000 to 30,000 lives and show them what democracy really was.' That night he lost and it all went to the wayside."
While able to see the madness of his sudden fame now, James says that had no time to reflect on it while living in the moment. Roulette Records and its head, Morris Levy, often cracked the whip – making sure the next hit single was never too far away.
"Life became very, very hectic," James recalls. "Here we are, trying to have a career in rock 'n' roll with a dark and sinister story that we couldn't talk about."
The story is that of Levy, a known mobster who used Roulette as a front for a variety of other operations. In the lion's den
How does a teenager from Michigan forge a relationship with a main cog in the Genovese crime family? Most of it was Levy's doing.
That first day in New York in 1966, James had offers from a host of major labels – Atlantic, RCA, Capitol.
He went to bed set to sign with CBS.
The next morning each and every offer was rescinded with no explanation. After pleading with an executive at Atlantic, James found out what had happened.
"Levy had called the other labels – 'This is my record, back off,'" James says while trying to imitate Levy's husky voice.
In speaking with the Times, James begins describing his relationship with Levy as "love/hate" before quickly switching to "dysfunctional father-figure."
As the months and years wore on, the shroud covering Levy's true intentions slowly fell.
Royalty money, tens of millions of dollars worth, was impossible to secure.
At one point, it seemed as though every time he'd meet somebody in Levy's office, he'd see that same face on the news the following week – handcuffed and being lead out of some warehouse in New Jersey.
James describes the lunacy of his situation as "almost funny," that was until the mob wars of 1971 when some believed James could be collateral, a target for Levy's enemies.
The fast-paced lifestyle eventually caught up with James. Long dependant on amphetamines to keep himself going, and liquor to even-himself out – James was arrested in 1986 for firing a gun at his home pool. Inebriated, James says in the book that he did not recall what he had done.
In his interview with the Times, James described his subsequent six weeks at the Betty Ford Center as "the best thing I ever did for myself."
"They call it hitting bottom – that's what I did," James recalls. "I hit bottom. I made my mind up – I got rid of all the chemicals."
He's been sober ever since.  
From Jersey to Hollywood
"Once you're here, you're here," says James of New Jersey – where he's lived since 1973.
Originally in Clifton, James moved to Cedar Grove following Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The proximity to it all, the airports and the city, has kept him here.
What, nearly 50 years after his big break, keeps Tommy James going today? The same thing as ever — music.
James still tours throughout the continent regularly and has, over the years, released a variety of CDs out of his own Aura Records – including a live album and Christmas compilation.
By far his biggest project at this point, of course, is his the book and the subsequent film adaptation.
"It's a really crazy feeling," he says. "I don't know how I'm going to feel actually watching this thing."
The whole process, the writing, the interviews, the working on the film, has allowed James to finally sit back and take stock in his trials and adventures.
Asked for the one moment of his career he'd like to relive, he cites his first appearance on the "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1968, having grown up with the program as a youth.
Anything he'd like to do over? James said that he'd have liked to be a better businessman and a better family man, but he says that he lives now with few regrets.
"There isn't much I'd change," says James. "If you weren't the person you were then, you wouldn't be the person you are now."
On the Times's last question, who has the chops to portray him in the movie, the boy who grew up perhaps too fast, perhaps too soon finally leaves a decision up to his elders.
"I'm staying away from that one," he says with a chuckle. "I'm going to let the grown-ups decide that one."

And another one, profiling the rock group Chicago!

On heels of holiday release, Chicago revels in success   

Monica Hortobagyi, USA TODAY, 10a.m. EST December 21, 2012

USA TODAY caught up with Jimmy Pankow and Lee Loughnane, two founding members of Chicago, to discuss their latest release, life on the road, holidays with their families, and the surprise of 45 years of success.

Welcome to Chicago: 
Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, second row, far left; 
Jason Scheff, Keith Howland, Lou Pardini, Walt Parazaider, 
James Pankow, bottom row, second from right; Tris Imboden.
(Photo: Shore Fire Media)
Applying their signature horn accents to the classics of the season, the band Chicago has compiled every holiday song they've ever recorded – 34 of them, including Winter Wonderland, White Christmas and Jingle Bells – into a double-disc release called Ultimate Christmas Collection, available in stores and online.
USA TODAY caught up with Jimmy Pankow (trombone) and Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals), two founding members of the band, to discuss their latest release, life on the road, holidays with their families, and the surprise of 45 years of success. 

Q. What is it about the Christmas genre that speaks to you?
Pankow: It's a special time of year. We're blessed with the opportunity to arrange these songs in a way in which we've been affected creatively. Not unlike Mannheim Steamroller, we personalize the song with our sound; we change the tempo and introduce instrumental departures, but the songs remain intact.
To be able to record songs that we grew up with in our way and share them is really a fun thing. 

Q. When did you first record some of the singles?
Pankow: We were in the studio in L.A. in March 1998. It was 90 degrees out, the palm trees were swaying and we made the studio into the North Pole: Christmas lights, Christmas trees, fake snow – the whole nine yards. People were stopping by – engineers, executives, artists – to absorb some of the North Pole vibe. 

Q. Do you have a favorite single off the album?
Pankow: All of the writers grabbed songs they were particularly fond of and brought them to life musically in the arrangements. 

Q. What Christmas albums do you listen to?
Pankow: I'm an old-fashioned guy. Bing Crosby's I'll Be Home for Christmas, Nat King Cole's Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (actual title The Christmas Song) are favorites.
These songs have become a part of people's lives. The work is already done. For us to be able to jump on a song that's already embraced and do our own thing with that is really cool.

Q. How has your fan base changed since the founding days?
Loughnane: It's expanded. When we started, we had the teens and 20-somethings. As our core audience has grown up, they've gotten married and brought their kids to the show. Then they've grown up and (chuckling) brought their kids to the show. Young kids, not even 10 years old yet, are in the front row singing our lyrics. Their parents and grandparents are standing behind them.
We've brought forward songs that struck an emotion in people, regardless of their age.
Pankow: We certainly don't take success for granted. In fact, we scratch our heads at the fact that our music's become a universal thing. Even in countries where English isn't the language, they're singing the songs. They may not know what it means but they know the words phonetically and they're singing louder than the band.
Loughane: During our Asia tour, every audience was singing our songs.
Pankow: Can you imagine how it feels to be standing on stage, hearing an audience sing as loudly as you are? Swaying and lighting their lighters. It's just magical; it's really awesome. We're living the dream.
Loughnane: It's not necessarily the American dream, it's the musical dream.
Pankow: Every artist would dream of this. Give that to One Direction, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry; let them have their time and enjoy it. But to still be doing this today …
Loughnane: For us to have songs that are playing, that people refer to as standards, we could have never guessed that that would happen.
Pankow: It's really something when you hear your music in the bathroom at the airport, or at Home Depot, or at the dentist. My wife will go to the grocery store and hear our music and she'll say, "everywhere I go I hear that damn music." I tell her, "be grateful, that puts food on the table."
Loughnane: You don't get used to it. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. 

Q. How do you manage staying true to the Chicago sound while incorporating new bandmembers?
Pankow: It's about what each guy brings to the table. A song doesn't come to life until each guy brings something to it and that's when it becomes a Chicago song. We encourage everybody to flourish on their own level as long as the principle focus always remains this band. Chicago is the nuts and bolts of why we've been able to enjoy a career for so many years. If these individual agendas become all-important and override the band, then we have to sit down and talk about it.
Loughnane: It's never been work for us. I've never felt like I've had to look for a job. I warmed up for this interview by playing because I feel different when I do.
Pankow: It's a cure-all. It's not only individually therapeutic, but it's the catharsis of doing something that you then share with others. They call it playing music, not working music. That's what makes living out of a suitcase worth it.

Q. Do you tour with your families?
Loughnane: I met my wife 12 years ago. She loved traveling until she came out on the road with me, since there's no staying overnight and sightseeing the next day. She picks her moments to come out and see the show.
Pankow: If we're in New York, it's nice for our families. But 25 cities in 40 days is not a joyride. We come home after 7 months of slamming it out and the wives and kids wanna go on vacation and we want to sit on our butts. But those family trips are fun because they're leisurely. 

Q. What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Pankow: (laughs) Putting charcoal in my kids' stocking. I'm kidding.
I sit in the big chair and read The Night Before Christmas and the kids drink hot cocoa. A lot of people think that's corny but I don't care. It's the stuff that I did when I was little and I want to maintain that.
My 10-year-old daughter is starting to ask questions about Santa. She may know that he doesn't exist but she's going to apparently allow me to be Santa. Her mother and I will enjoy this last time. You try and preserve it, because that's the magic. On the other side is the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus and on that level it's even more meaningful. You go to church on Christmas Day and say "happy birthday, baby Jesus" and a lot of people have forgone that but we try to embrace that because that's the goodness we strive for. It's all of the above. And the music celebrates all of that.

Q. What's the most memorable fan gift you've gotten?
Pankow: Walt (Parazaider, founding member of Chicago) wears crazy socks with designs of martini glasses, cards and dice. Now, every holiday, fans send him weird socks. That's about the only regular gift occurrence. Usually it's harmless mementos – a picture, a card during the years.
Loughnane: It's really cool to have so many people come up and say they enjoyed their time with us. So many times you hear about artists not being nice with their fans, and fans remember that.

Q. What's behind your success?
Pankow: There's no smoke and mirrors; it's talent. When we're on stage, people can tell how much fun we're having. We bring the crowd in. It's a communal thing, it's a give and take. People walk away fully entertained.
Loughnane: I want people to say when they leave a show, "man, they sound good." And in order to do that, you have to put the horn to your face because these songs don't get any easier. You have to put the time in.
Pankow: People ask "how do you play Saturday in the Park every night and enjoy it?" It's a different crowd every night. Usually, there is someone there who's never seen us. We try and do the show the best we can do it every night, and if you're focused on playing the music as good as it can be played that night, you're too busy to be bored.
People say, "we grew up with your music" and we say, "so did we." I was 20 years old for God's sake, and now I'm on Medicare!

Q. What's next?
Pankow: The songwriting process continues. Although the record industry is gone, music is alive and well. Now we have the joy of writing whatever we want to write and making it available to our fans instantly on the web. So we are the record company of note now.
There's always more that you don't know and the music continues to evolve. We'll never be satisfied to rest completely on the laurels of what we have done. As we evolve as people and our perspectives deepen, so does the music.  

Hi Kent ,
I have found some of the best songs after hearing a snippet of them in various commercials. I am sure a lot of people do. One example would be from a few years ago. A Nivea commercial. The song was "Love Show" by Skye ... pretty song. Anyway, my newest favorite is the song on the Zales commercial. It is called "If It wasn't For You" by Various Cruelties. They are a British group. For me the song has a little John Lennon feel to it.
Merry Christmas
During one of the football games which I watch Sundays, there was a commercial I had never seen before this year. If it had been shown before, I don't know how I missed it. I can't remember the product offhand, but the music being played in the background was the song TRA LA LA (I'M SO HAPPY). It was the original song by Lewis Lymon and his Teenchords, later remade by the Ducanes in 1961. Can you believe it?
OMG, an advertiser stepping outside the box for a second to feature a song that might actually grab a viewer's attention?!!? What a CRAZY concept!!! (kk)  
Received The Fifth Estate CD in the mail Thursday, really appreciate getting the chance to win it.
It's awesome. Thank you so much my friend (especially love the Italian version of Ding Dong)..
Keep up the fabulous work,
Just returned home after being away for a week and much to my surprise there was the 2 disk Fifth Estate CD in my mailbox!
Thank you so much. Can't wait to listen to it.
Steve Davidson 
Hi Ken,
Thank you for the Fifth Estate CDs.
Its ironic that I won them, because the Fifth Estate is the reason that I stopped playing music.
At the time "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" became a hit, I was in a band in Pittsburgh. I was going to college and the other guys in the band had menial jobs (gas station, fire extinguisher filler) that they could easily leave if our band got a break. A promoter saw us and offered as a tour of the midwest, opening - so he said- for The Fifth Estate. I wouldn't leave college to go on the road, and the band broke up as a result. I was afraid the same thing would happen again if I got in a new band, so I gave up playing. Instead, I wound up getting into radio to stay around music, and that worked out well for me.
Ed Salamon  
Hi Kent
Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas. And may 2013 be another Great Year for Forgotten Hits!!!!
My favorite Christmas song was "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes!
Some of my favorite tunes you NEVER hear on the radio:
Mountain of Love - Harold Dorman
The Watusi - The Vibrations (From Jim Lounsburys Record Hop Show!)
This Time - Troy Shondell
Once Upon a Time - Rochelle and the Candles
Keep up the Great Job!!!
Hey Kent,
Even though I'm kind of partial to driving, energetic, arena-rock, I also like to sit back and take in some easy listening pop music now and then, too. I ran across two Top 40 Hits in my case of 45s the other day. They have a couple things in common. They were from the year, 1978, and both were one-hit wonders. "Falling" was from the Massachusetts duo, LeBlanc and Carr, and "My Angel Baby", by the Texas band, Toby Beau. Two more songs you never hear on today's radio stations. Thought you might want to feature them.
- John LaPuzza
Both personal favorites of mine as well ... and actually we've featured both tunes in Forgotten Hits before. In fact, there's a running joke between me and Dave The Rave because I'm always trying to get him to play "My Angel Baby" on his Relics And Rarities Show! Good suggestions to be sure. (kk)  
We plan on keeping this feature going throughout 2013 ... it seems to have really caught on ... and if any of the deejays on the list would like to incorporate these suggestions into their daily or weekly programming, please let us know so we can pass along "listen live" links to our readers! (kk)