Thursday, June 7, 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.
(Larry Neal)
>>>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)  

Or maybe not ... seems like Rosetta had the song wrong all together!  Read on!  
Thanks for helping but I found the song they were looking for it was by Santo & Johnny – Sleepwalk, 1959.
I do have a couple more if you want to give it a shot ... I don’t know the titles ... only a few lyrics of each song:
1.  Johnny Mathis - Don’t look for me to be waiting at the booth we always shared;
Don’t look for me to walk in the door ... I won’t be there.
2.  Jack Greene (????) - Once I stood as high as a mountain;
Like a giant I could see all around the world was mine because I found a love ...
but like a giant I came tumbling to the ground.
3.  Nat King Cole - You used me for a stepping stone 'til someone better came along; Who’s next in line
Good Luck!
I'll leave these to the readers to figure out.  "Sleep Walk", of course, was a HUGE #1 Hit back in 1959 ... and was recently voted your "All-Time Favorite Instrumental" by our Forgotten Hits Readers.  
(You can find the results of that poll here ... Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979 ... along with an actual mathematical ranking of the Biggest Instrumental Hits of the Rock Era.  (kk)

Hey Kent,
"Back in the day", I got interested in playing the vibraphone. The most famous player of the instrument, was Lionel Hampton. On my search of 45s, at a local used record store, I found "Midnight Sun", written and performed by Hamp. The label of the record was Glad-Hamp Records, Inc. His wife Gladys was his business manager, and co-producer of the recording. I found out that it was released in 1954, a year before Billboard Magazine came out with their Hot 100, so who knows how far it would have charted? For a song, at that time, it was very creative and listenable, and, of course, it was one of the first songs I learned to play on the vibes!
I really enjoyed listening to The Five Whispers' version of the tune. There's something about those surf-guitar songs that really make me smile. Speaking of guitar groups, I heard Davie Allan and the Arrows'  hit, "Blue's Theme" again, not long ago. Maybe they should be considered for "Best Garage Band". Makes you want get on your chopper and ride!
-- John LaPuzza

Even though The Hot 100 Chart hadn't started yet in 1954, Billboard has been charting popular music since the late 1890's ... so charts DO exist for the music of this era.  Sad to say that "Midnight Sun" is NOT one of the records to make those charts ... but Hampton DID have two other Top Ten Billboard Best Sellers ... "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" reached #9 in 1946 and, four years later, his version of "Rag Mop" peaked at #10.
As for Davie Allan and the Arrows, they earned quite a few votes in our recently completed Best Garage Bands Poll ... we're hoping to have the final results posted in a couple of weeks!  (kk)  

For those who may not be aware, I wanted to mention that "Midnight Sun" was written by Lionel Hampton, Sonny Burke and Johnny Mercer - a team of greats. It's a beautiful song, melodically, harmonically and lyrically, and has been recorded many times. (In the rock era it was also done by Santo & Johnny.)  It's probably the only song to ever use "aurora borealis" in a rhyme!  :- )
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
Looking at Rosetta's response above (and the reference to Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk"), I cannot help but wonder if her husband and sister were, in fact, familiar with the Santo and Johnny version of "Midnight Sun" and didn't even realize it.  Maybe they had it on an album or something(???)  kk
Of course, for ME ... being a connoisseur of the '60's and '70's ... when I think of "Midnight Sun", I think of the GREAT Badfinger album track ... so we've got THAT one for you here today, too!  (kk)

See? Us old guys still get a lot out of Forgotten Hits. Midnight Sun is one from the Great American Songbook.  
"Midnight Sun" (1954) was originally an instrumental composed by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke in 1947 and is now considered a jazz standard. Subsequently, Johnny Mercer wrote the words to the song. One famous recording of the song with the Mercer lyrics is by Ella Fitzgerald on her album Like Someone in Love (1957).
The Mercer lyric is poetry. The most famous recording in my memory was by June Christie. You can post this version or not. Might not appeal to anybody in the r & r era but one never knows.

Could this be the original to the Burton Cummings tune?
This was on Burton's first solo album.
I never thought about where it might have come from at the time. I think I just assumed he wrote it since I had never heard it before.
I figured I needed an expert for this.
Hope you don't mind.
Sure is ... P.J. Proby scored a #23 Billboard Hit with "Niki Hoeky back in 1967.  I wasn't familiar with it either when I first heard it on Burton Cumming's first solo LP ... because it never charted here in Chicago. 
(I have heard it several times since, however ... so maybe Burton's rendition helped to make it popular again!)  This one kind of reminds me of a Billy Joe Royal tune as it sounds like something HE might have recorded.  Proby became a HUGE star in England (and I remember doing a Forgotten Hits profile on him many, many years ago ... unfortunately, it's no longer in our archives or I'd share it with you now.)  Instead, let's just feature the song!  (kk)


In order to free up space for another site, I plan to take down my Tide Records Story (which includes the Larry Bright Story). If any of that material is of interest to you, it's probably best to visit the site by June 15 or thereabouts. 
I'd also be happy to hear from anyone with an interest or additional info on the label or any of its artists/releases.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem

>>>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. It showed a publisher listing as "Ticklish Tunes, Inc.". 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).  Additional 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
I think both sides of the Conquest 45 are nice. I may have gotten Dave his copy, but I'm not sure. It’s a 45 I push when I find one. I believe it is from 1967 though. That’s the info I got at one time years ago.
Once again in my haste to get this out there, I neglected to post the tune!  Here it is in the event that it rings a bell with any of our "local" listeners out there.  (kk)

Hey Kent,
One of your readers is not exactly keen about Freddie and the Dreamers' version of "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody".  You know I'm a huge fan of the group, but I have to admit that the song is not one of my favorites, either. I mainly like the way the group choreographed it. What a hoot! What I understand is that the recording is a carbon copy of the way The Beatles played it in the cavern pubs, as Freddie and the boys witnessed. The harmonica intro really reminds me of John Lennon's stylings. When the The Beatles found out about it, they were livid, but this is the incident that made them want to leave their cover band status behind, and begin to record their own compositions. Soon after, the two bands became pretty close.
- John LaPuzza
I couldn't find anything on The Beatles doing this track ... but I DID find a Freddie and the Dreamers video ... man, I think we've already given them more press in Forgotten Hits lately then they got back in 1965!!!  (lol)  kk

Any truth to the rumor that Somebody New was actually sung by Bobby Whiteside and not the Rivieras?  Sure SOUNDS like Bobby Whiteside.  Play it back to back with Say it Softly.
That could easily be true.  Whiteside was very prolific in the short Destination Records era and without searching hard, I believe one of his B sides, "I'm Goin Your Way" was also a 45 side for the Warner Brothers "I'm Goin Your Way" single.  USA and Destination were always doing goofy things with B sides / A sides.  They even did a Dickie Goodman type 45 that included Beatles songs and was actually sold in stores, as it made a Top 40 radio chart I have.  I doubt the Beatles would have allowed such for the really bad 45 this was.  

re:  SHEILA:
What's your take on this? Have you ever heard this, which sounds like a remake but apparently really isn't? (And why hasn't this guy posted this as his first 45 on FH?)
David Lewis
LOL ... I love all the back-and-forths on the comments on this one!  Anybody know for sure what's going on here?  (I sent this to Tommy Roe to see if I could get his take on all of this!)  Several months ago we ran the original Judd version vs. Tommy's #1 Hit release ... but this is apparently something different yet again.  Hopefully he'll get back to us with some details!  (kk)
I really don't know about this one ... it sounds like a different mix of the original hit in 1962, but I'm really not sure. If you find out where this came from, let me know. A Rock "n" Roll mystery. 
Tommy Roe   

With all the jocks on the list, hopefully this will be an easy mystery to solve ...
Kent ...
I like to call this one "WCBS-FM Mysteries" ...Inquiring listeners want to know!
Mystery #1:  Bob Shannon is normally on the air, Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 3 PM.
He hasn't been on the radio for at least two months.  Everyday, whoever takes his place announces -- "So & So, filling in for Bob Shannon."  He couldn't be on vacation for that long a period of time. If he quit or got fired, they wouldn't be mentioning his name 
everyday. If he's sick, why wouldn't they say so?  So what's REALLY going on with Bob Shannon?
Mystery #2:  Joe Causey is on Saturdays from 7 PM to Midnight with "Saturday Night Seventies".  The rest of the week, he's on from Midnight to 6 AM. For the last month and a half, he's only doing his Saturday Night Show. The rest of the week, the DJ says his name and says he's filling in for Joe Causey. We know Joe is there 'cause he does the Saturday Night Show ... but there's been m
o explanation as to why he not on the rest of the week. When I ask, nobody seems to know what's going on.
Any ideas?
Frank B.
Well, as of this morning, both jocks are still listed on the website and have their pictures posted ... so maybe somebody out there in radioland can fill us in on this one!  (Let's face it ... the deejay world has always been one of "musical chairs" ... ask the same question a week from now and you might get a different answer!)  kk  

With our wide array of knowledgeable readers across the country, we're batting right around 95% when it comes to solving some of these musical mysteries.  Here's one perfectly crafted for Larry Neal of KOMA in Oklahoma City to answer! 
I grew up in OKC in the 60s and listened during the day to KOMA and on clear nights could get  WLS in Chicago.
But I saw regional hits mentioned and I have one that I have been trying to find the name of the band that did it.  
The song was I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, and it was a local OKC band I think and it was song by a guy instead of a woman.
Would anyone know the band ?
Thanks in Advance,
Kim Winfrey
More than happy to oblige. The song in question is ROSE GARDEN, the Joe South composition, recorded by Lynn Anderson on a bigger national scale. The group that did it here in OKC was known as the 3rd Avenue Blues Band. It came out in 1969 on Revue Records, a division of MCA, Inc. The flip side was COME ON AND GET IT written by H.D. Rogers. Incidentally, H.D. Rogers first name was Harlan, who happened to have the lead vocal on said record.
A year earlier in 1968, they had an even bigger record here in OKC called IT'S GOT TO BE LOVE, which was also written by H.D. Rogers. Trust me, if you were living in OKC back in the years 1968 - 1969, you most definitely would remember these songs, if not who actually recorded them.

This sounds like it might be the one. I was in the hospital with the lead singer for a week or so and the band came in and saw him during that time.
They gave me a copy of the 45 but I lost it when I moved to the east coast about a year later. Have searched in vain for another copy.  
Thank you for the information.  
Your newsletter is awesome ... I don't know how many subscribers I have sent your way!
Thanks again,
Kim Winfrey

Hey Kent,
I was just driving home, listening to the radio, when "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers came on, to re-kindle my anger, as it did in '79. If you listen to the bridge of the song, it is a carbon copy of Bread's "Lost Without Your Love", a hit, three years earlier. Do you know if any legal action came about over the two similar sounding songs? Did David Gates go after the composer of Rogers' hit? The biggest lawsuit I can remember was when George Harrison was clobbered by the producers of the Chiffons' "He's So Fine" (do-lang-do-lang). That and other copyright contentions could be an interesting subject in the future to dive into.
- John LaPuzza
I'll agree that there are some similarities between the two (but I don't think it's any more "borrowing" than The Beach Boys do with their new track, "That's Why God Made The Radio" and "Midnight Cowboy.")  
I remember a couple of years ago when Lady Antebellum won the "Best Song" Grammy for "I Need You Now" and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles commented that he couldn't believe this song won the top honor ... since Alan Parsons had already written it several years ago as "Eye In The Sky"!  So many songs "borrow" from others it's hard to keep track sometimes.  I checked Timothy English's book "Sounds Like Teen Spirit" to see if this is one of the titles he mentioned as being remarkably similar, but I don't see it listed. (I also dropped him a line to see if he thought this pair might qualify.)
As for "He's So Fine" and "My Sweet Lord", I just never bought into the whole thing ... and now that I've seen the remarkable Martin Scorsese documentary, I believe more than ever that ANY plagiarizing going on was done subconsciously ... especially after listening to Billy Preston talking about how they started playing around with gospel chords and backgrounds.  Jonathan King had some fun (at Harrison's expense) however with this tune ... so we'll share that one again for you all.  (kk)

I have a song recorded on a cassette that is about shot and discarded most of our vinyl years ago (not smart) I think it may be sung or written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and have researched them and Andy Kim as after this song is the song I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight which I have on the LP Andy Kim, How'd We Ever Get This Way, no date on LP, but think it was purchased around late 60's.
Here are the words as near as I can remember them, hope you can help!
Girl I('ve) heard the words you said, those two simple words I dread to hear you speak, then say good-bye, then you tell me not to cry, well how can I hold back these tears, when you just wiped away the years, oh what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do with all of these memories, with all these - what am I gonna do with all the "mumbled", what am I gonna do without you, what am I gonna do if I don't have you ... ooh ooh hoo ooh ooh
Don't let me stand in your way, you've said the things you've come to say, this don't you think what I've just lost this conversation has just cost me, everything that's tragedy now girl you've got to answer me oh what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do, if I don't ave you, ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ... musical refrain fades out            what am I gonna do?????????? softly
missing my old songs ...
Shannon Sherrer
Sorry, but I don't recognize it ... but I'll betcha somebody else on the list will.  Stay tuned!  (kk)