Thursday, August 23, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers

It's been a while since we last ran a "Helping Out Our Readers" page ... 

Granted we were knocked out of commission for a couple of months there ... 

But this seems to be one of our readers' favorite features ...

So even though some of these responses are now a bit dated, let's clear the decks today ... and see what other kind of musical challenges you guys can come up with!

>>>I have a couple more songs that I'm trying to figure out if you want to give it a shot. I don't know the titles ... only a few lyrics of each song. I've listed the artist, too, if I knew who sang it.
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!

No. 1 is "Tonight I Won't Be There" by Adam Wade (1961)
No. 3 is "Who's Next In Line" by Nat "King" Cole (B-side of "Dear Lonely Hearts," 1962)
I don't recognize No. 2.
– Randy Price

Could Number one be "Tonight I Won't Be There" by Adam Wade?
Number three is "Who's Next In Line' by Nat King Cole.
Still researching number two ...

#1 is actually Tonight I Won't Be There by Adam Wade ... who sounded a lot like Johnny Mathis.  
And #3 is definitely Nat King Cole ... You used me for a stepping stone 'til someone better came along; Who’s next in line.

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)

Hey man,
I'm hoping with your expert knowledge on 60s music you might be able or at least have a go at helping me to name a song. I've been watching a clip on youtube and in the background in a 60s garage rock song. Usually I'll listen to the lyrics, google what I hear and bingo, but from the few words I can make out I'm getting nowhere fast, so thought maybe the ultimate father daughter team might be able to help.
Here's the clip ...
the song is from 1:39 till 2:20
much love xx
michael tighe
I can barely hear it ... but it sounds to me more like an '80's song than a '60's song. Being a British clip it may be something that didn't even receive airplay here ... but hey, let's let the readers have a go at it! (kk)

Can you help me to find a song of the 80/90's?
Its by a female singer ... and the last part just keeps repeating the melody that I've attached in a midi, singing.
(I recreated the song as much as I remember now ... I've sent an MP3)
Sorry for my English, too! :)
Today I spent about four hours listening to 80 / 90's songs ... but I haven't found it yet.
I posted in some other forums to try and find it ... but until now you were the only one that answered me.
Thanks for that!
I remember listening to it on the radio ... but by the time I started to pay attention and realized that I knew that song from somewhere, it was already over.
The last time I heard it before was maybe 10 years ago.
I only could hear the last part of the song, so I don't really remember anything else.
Hope we can find.

Once again, I don't recognize it at all ... but we'll let our listeners have a listen and see if it rings any bells with them! (It reminds me a little bit of "Mrs. Vanderbilt" by Paul McCartney ... but I know that's not it.) We'll do our best to get you an answer. (kk)

I've got a forgotten song from the '60s. A few lyrics are: "the path was deep and wide of footsteps leading to our cabin". I hope you can help with the name of this song and / or artist.    


Absolutely!!! (I haven't had an "easy one" in a long, long time!) This is "The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp", the break-through hit for O.C. Smith (who went right to the top of the charts with his next release, "Little Green Apples".) "The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp" snuck into The National Top 40 AT #40 in The Spring of 1968. Great tune ... so we're featuring it today. (kk)




First, P.J. Proby's version of NIKI HOEKY peaked at number 7 here in OKC in April of 1967. But here is the question I am wondering about.
The version you posted on your website today, is that P.J. Proby?
When I played it, my first inclination was that it wasn't the original sound as it came out on the original 45. I have played it no less than four times and it still sounds not quite the original to me. I even got out my copy and played it here at home and my original (Liberty) sounds a fraction different. If I were to vote on it now, I would say the version you posted was not the original as it came out on the 45.
Larry Neal
Well my copy came from a CD so it could be just about anything! It does sound pretty much the way I remember it 'tho! (kk)

And then ...

I have just played above said record for the umpteenth time since I saw it on your website today. Right now I am 99.999% sure it is the original as it came out on the 45, but there is still something about it which I feel is different than the original 45. Don't know what it is. It is buggin' me.
Obviously! (lol) This is the part I just can't seem to get across to some readers ... and some of the deejays on the list. We really DO remember what we heard way back when ... this music had SUCH a HUGE effect on our lives growing up, it has stayed with us for nearly half a century, as fresh as when we first heard it way back when. (kk)

Wow, I must have missed that one! Wonder if anybody has a copy to share! (kk)

>>>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. (Bill)
>>>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. (Hey, maybe this will show up as part of rebuilding our archives!) kk

Niki Hoeky was written by the Vasquez Bros., Pat and Lolly. They are better known as Pat and Lolly Vegas, or "REDBONE". I believe P.J. Proby recorded it first, and subsequently other artists followed suit. Lolly Vegas was an awesome guitar player, and his group was the house regulars at Gazzari's nightclub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. RIP Lolly.
Alex Valdez

As part of another series we did way back when officially disproved the oft-repeated rumor that Redbone was the only all Native American band to score a hit record on the American charts ... the then "disappointing" revelation was that the Vegas Brothers were of Mexican decent ... but dressed in Indian garb to help promote the myth. They ALSO played as part of the house band on Shindig way back when! (kk)

Our Redbone piece first ran as part of our month-long "Honest Injun" Series back in 2005. Despite our research proving to the contrary, the Indian myth continues to be perpetuated by MOST rock historians ever since. On the plus side, Joel Whitburn has since modified his biography of the band in all of his research books ... and a few years ago we also pointed this out to deejay Bob Stroud when he featured "Come And Get Your Love" on one of his Rock And Roll Roots compilation CD's. We hope the correct information continues to get out there, even if it's just little by little ... but, as Al Kooper recently told us, it rarely does ... people just keep referencing the same wrong, erroneous sources!
Here's our original 2005 piece ... from the newly reconstructed FORGOTTEN HITS ARCHIVES:

REDBONE are described in JOEL WHITBURN's TOP POP SINGLES Book as an "American Indian Swamp-Rock Group," formed in Los Angeles in 1968. They are considered unique in the music world as being the first (and only) authentic American Indian Rock And Roll Band to make the charts. They performed on stage dressed in what can best be described as ultra-stereotypical Indian fashion: buckskins, moccasins and full Indian headdress ... yet only ONE member of the band was truly born a Native American Indian. (Here we go again ... another thirty-year old myth is about to be debunked today in FORGOTTEN HITS.)

Brothers PAT and LOLLY VEGAS were the backbone of
REDBONE, but their musical roots date back even further. PAT and LOLLY first hit the rock and roll scene back in the early '60's when they were backing up pop star JIMMY CLANTON. In truth, they were Mexican-Americans, born with the last name of VASQUEZ. When they decided to split off from CLANTON to concentrate on studio sessions and club work, they were taken under the wing of famed musical manager BUMPS BLACKWELL (SAM COOKE and LITTLE RICHARD), who suggested that they change their last name to the more "politically-correct" / "user-friendly" VEGAS. Soon, as PAT AND LOLLY VEGAS, they were recording as a duo with PAT on bass and LOLLY on guitar, trading off lead vocals. They landed a gig on the popular teenage music television series SHINDIG, performing as both up-and-coming recording artists as well as part of the "house band," backing other artists who were appearing on the program. They continued to do a fair amount of studio session work (in fact, that's their fretwork you hear on the hits LET'S GO by THE ROUTERS and OUT OF LIMITS by THE MARKETTS! They also sat in on recording sessions with the likes of studio session whiz kids GLEN CAMPBELL, JOHNNY RIVERS and LEON RUSSELL in the mid-'60's before each of THESE artists went on to have significant solo recording careers.) Along the way, they even took a crack at songwriting, placing material with artists like BOBBIE GENTRY, TOM JONES and ARETHA FRANKLIN. Their biggest pop hit was recorded by P.J. PROBY ... the previously featured FORGOTTEN HIT, NIKI HOEKY.

In the late '60's, they formed a new band called THE CRAZY CAJUN BAND and, after a series of other players who came and went, spinning through the proverbial musical revolving door, added ANTHONY BELLAMY on guitar and PETER DE POE on drums. TONY BELLAMY was ALSO a Mexican-America (real name TONY AVILA) but had an Uncle who was a Navajo Chief. PETER DE POE was the ONLY native born American Indian in the band. Given the Indian name "LAST WALKING BEAR," DE POE (from the Cheyenne tribe), was the ceremonial drummer on the reservation where he was born prior to discovering rock and roll and joining
REDBONE. With a slight change in musical direction (along with a quick name change ... REDBONE was a "wink-wink," tongue-in-cheek selection ... it is reportedly Cajun and Indian slang for HALF-BREED), LOLLY and PAT VEGAS now claimed they were descendants of the Yaqui Indians (who were, coincidentally, based out of Sonora, Mexico). Soon the gimmick (and the legend of REDBONE) was in place. (Ironically, after reaching chart success, it was Native American Indian PETER DE POE who became the first member to leave the band, being replaced by new drummer BUTCH RILERA, another Mexican-American ... however, HE claimed to have had a great-grandmother who was an Iroquois / Seneca Indian princess! RILERA had previously played for THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS.)

Quite honestly, their musical inspirations were as varied as their own backgrounds ... Cajun, Mexican-American, Indian and Latin influences can be heard throughout their recordings. But it nearly didn't happen ...

Their first two chart singles bombed when they were released the first time around ... in 1970,
MAGGIE hit #80 and THE WITCH QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS never charted at all. Remarkably, a year later MAGGIE was revived by the record label and this time it just missed The Top 40, peaking at #45 in early 1971. When THE WITCH QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS (with what was now their trademark Native American backing rhythms and chants) became an International Smash, (Top Ten in Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Great Britain and Singapore!), it was quickly re-released here in the States, too, and this time it went to #19 in Cash Box Magazine (and was a #3 smash here in Chicago.) Their next release became their biggest hit ... COME AND GET YOUR LOVE soared to #5 on both of the national charts and went all the way to #1 here in Chi-Town ... and then, mysteriously, at the top of their game, it was all over. (No official report as to whether or not they later sold or donated their stage costumes to that guy from THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.)

The hits may have stopped coming, but today
REDBONE is highly regarded as the premier, authentic American Indian band, staying true to their musical roots while bridging the gap to rock and roll ... even if that's not quite EXACTLY the truth!!! (LOL)

>>>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)
>>>Several months ago we ran the original Judd version vs. Tommy's #1 Hit release ... but this is apparently something different yet again. I ran this by Tommy Roe to see if he could shed any 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)

The first thing that strikes me about the Youtube posting of the other Sheila version is the sound is way too good for somebody's first 45 in 1962. I just don't buy that that's a recording from a 1962 recording. Possibly if he used some great restoration software, but ... I don't have a way to access the hit single version, but I don't think it's the same lead vocal. Seems to me that there are some subtle differences.
There are definitely differences ... read through some of the comments and the posters documentation of the original vinyl pressing he bought. Seems like the real deal to me. What's amazing is that Tommy Roe himself has no recollection of this version! He wants us to let HIM know if we find out any details! (kk)

Years ago I had an album called "Machine Rock" by TeeVee Records of Canada. It had a version of "Sheila" by Tommy Roe that is vastly different from the one you usually hear on the radio. More instruments, and a faster beat. It's on a cassette I taped for my Mom, I got rid of the album years ago. It also had a different version of "Rhythm Of The Rain" ("Listen to the rhythm of the falling rai n...") It doesn't sound AT ALL like the version played on the radio now. Later.
Ed Pond
It's "Buyer Beware" in this day and age when SO many "original artists" are re-recording their hits for various TV reissue campaigns. Be sure to read the fine print ... yes, it IS the original artist ... but quite often it is NOT the original hit version. (kk)

Yep, we're STILL getting response to this one ... clearly one of our most popular series EVER!!! Check out the other Forgotten Hits Website for HUNDREDS of other memories! (kk)
My first 45 was Dizzy by Tommy Roe. I remember seeing him on American Bandstand performing it (the lip sync version), and I used to play it non-stop. I recall some others from that era. My cousin's first was a song called Israelites by Desmond Dekker. A refugee from eastern Europe who was living with us bought Spill the wine by Eric Burden and War and In the Year 2525 by Zaeger and Evans. I see Dennis Zaeger sells custom guitars these days. Nice stuff. He used to play them non-stop along with When I'm 64 by the Beatles.
Stephen Apple

I know that "borrowing" songs or parts of songs happen all the time in the music business, either intentionally or subconsciously. I really feel bad about George Harrison being taken to the cleaners, because I know he didn't try to rip off "He's So Fine". Several years ago, I worked with the local opera company, and discovered that many orchestral passages in some operas, written centuries ago, sounded VERY close to that of the "Spaghetti Westerns" soundtrack compositions, by Ennio Morricone. I'm sure he studied opera at some point, but I don't think Verdi or Puccini can sue him right now! When I was in high school, I came up with specific music themes in my head, and two years later, they appeared in the song, "MacArthur Park"! Maybe there IS a human link or "connection". Maybe composers are on the same "wavelength"!
Thank you for sharing my comments on your site!
- John LaPuzza
To this day I don't believe that George Harrison intentionally copied "He's So Fine" when he wrote "My Sweet Lord". They called it "subconscious plagiarism" ... but if you've seen the recent Martin Scorsese documentary "Living In The Material World", you'll hear both George and Billy Preston discuss the origins of "My Sweet Lord" ... and there is NO way he was copying ANYBODY ... but rather looking for guidance on how to write a gospel song.
But there have been TONS of rip-offs over the years, too. Again, I highly recommend the Timothy English book "Sounds Like Teen Spirit" ... you'll find DOZENS of examples of sound-alike songs ... many of which were ultimately resolved in a court of law. (kk)

Purely by coincidence (again!), after our column ran about similar-sounding songs, Bob Lefsetz also did a piece, citing Steve Miller as a notorious offender. (I remember Joe Walsh being particularly upset with this at the time when Miller copped his "Rocky Mountain Way" riff ... and let's face it ... isn't the beginning of "Rock'n Me" pretty much also the beginning of Free's "All Right Now"??? 

Read on ...
I had the world's worst case of mononucleosis.
At first I didn't think it was that bad. I had a sore throat and I went to the University of Utah infirmary under Al's name. That's what you do when you're a starving ski bum. Cut corners. And they did the test and said it came back negative. But when I got to the point a couple of weeks later that I could not swallow, and walking to the end of the block was tiring, I called my dad for some cash and went to see a real doctor. Turns out there are two tests for mono, and they did the cheap one at the U of U. Oh, I had it, bad. And after recovering for two months on Al & Jimmy's couch I got in my car and drove back east, which was incredibly stupid, because I was still so sick, hell, six months after that, nine months after infection, my blood test still came back as bad as it could be, but ... that's just the kind of family I come from, being sick is illegal.
Anyway, to fuel the ride, I went down to Main Street and bought six cassettes at Odyssey Records. Which I never did. Buy cassettes, that is. Because you could roll your own better at home. Buying some high quality Maxell and recording in real time. But I had no tape deck, other than Jimmy's 8-track, and I had a Blaupunkt cassette machine in the car, and it was a multiple thousand mile ride, so ... I broke down and bought 'em.
One of the cassettes was Joe Walsh's "You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind", which was a live album I'm sure was concocted to fulfill his ABC commitment. But I was a huge Joe fan, and this album was a bit disappointing, but there was one cut I kept playing again and again, that got me through ...
I didn't have the original, from "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get", Joe's breakthrough album from a few years before. That's how it was back then. Of course I knew the single, "Rocky Mountain Way", but not the rest, you had to own it to know it, and that cost money. So, this was a surprise.
And this take of "Meadows" is so great, I immediately went out and bought "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get" to hear the original.
And I vividly remember playing "Meadows" on Vail Pass, where they have the snow fences. On a warm spring day, early June.
But it was before that I realized ... I'd heard this song before. It was "Woman From Tokyo" ...
"Woman From Tokyo"

You have to understand, Deep Purple was the band that did "Hush", on Tetragrammaton Records, Bill Cosby's label. Sure, they got some ink thereafter, but even casual readers of the rock press knew it was a different band, what we called heavy metal, when Led Zeppelin pioneered that genre, before it was taken over by speed metal, before it became the music without melody metal is today.
And the band had no traction in the U.S. until the summer of 1973, when the live take of "Smoke On The Water" invaded the radio and stayed there, for decades.
And with the public's acceptance of "Smoke On The Water", radio went back and embraced the album it came from, "Machine Head". Kind of like after "Back In Black" broke through they played AC / DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap".
And at this point, "Machine Head" is seen as Deep Purple's masterpiece. Containing not only "Smoke On The Water", but "Space Truckin'" and "Highway Star". But "Woman From Tokyo" came from the studio follow-up to "Made In Japan", whose take of "Smoke On The Water" was the one we knew best. And the album "Who Do We Think We Are" was entirely forgettable, maybe the band was spooked by its newfound success, but the opening cut was ..."Woman From Tokyo". And lo and behold, it's the same damn song as "Meadows". Only "Woman From Tokyo" came first.
"The Stake"

Unfortunately, "Book Of Dreams" is not on Spotify. If Steve Miller had a clue, he'd put not only this on the service, but my absolute favorite, "Brave New World", which has not only the original "Space Cowboy" and the title track, but the absolutely infectious "Kow Kow" and the incredibly beautiful "Seasons". But I guess he'd rather have them go unheard.
Yes, these acts are all living in the past (thanks Ian!) If you're waiting for someone to buy something to hear it, you're dreaming. In the old days, there were many fewer records, the labels were the gatekeepers, now anybody can play. It's a different game. Used to be if you got any traction, somebody would buy your album. Now you're starting at ground zero, nobody knows, you must make it easy for them. "Brave New World" is too good to be forgotten, but that's what Steve's trying to have happen.
Anyway, "Book Of Dreams" was the follow-up to "Fly Like An Eagle", which was a surprise hit. Steve was already a faded has-been when he hit in '73 with "The Joker". Sixties acts were already forgotten by '76. But Steve was now bigger than ever. And if you don't love "Jet Airliner", the Paul Pena cut opening the second side of "Book Of Dreams", you're a perennially depressed Goth dressed in black.
And on that same second side, was the curious cut "The Stake". Which sounded so similar to "Rocky Mountain Way", anybody would see the connection. And you have to know, "Rocky Mountain Way" was one of FM radio's staples. It was a classic just one notch below "Stairway To Heaven" and "Free Bird". You would have thought Miller would have heard it ...
P.S. I'm including a live cut of "The Stake", which is on Spotify, but you'll get the idea ...
P.S. I'm also including Allen Toussaint's 1972 cut "Soul Sister" which is so similar to "The Joker" ...
"Rocky Mountain Way"

Frampton burned out the voice box, not that that was his intent, overplaying of the version of "Show Me The Way" from "Comes Alive" did that, but Joe Walsh had ubiquity with that sound first. And I can live without hearing "Rocky Mountain Way" for a few more years, because I know it by heart, but I've never burned out on it, it's that good.
"Surfin' U.S.A." / "Sweet Little Sixteen" 

I was just young enough to believe that "Surfin' U.S.A." was a complete original!
Yes, there are cuts that share the same riff, that sound the same, but don't share credits. Then there are songs that are truly the same! But since I heard "Surfin' U.S.A." first, I always liked it better. Then again, I think it IS better! The sound of the guitar, and the chorus works a bit better. Credit Brian Wilson's production skills. Chuck Berry's track sounds rudimentary, the Beach Boys' is a force of nature, a veritable tour de force that heralded the sixties youthquake.
"Sidewalk Surfin'" / "Catch A Wave"
Turnabout is fair play!
Joe Walsh ripped off Deep Purple and then HE was ripped-off by Steve Miller! The Beach Boys eclipsed Chuck Berry with a remake / cover of "Sweet Little Sixteen" and Jan & Dean had the hit with a remake / cover of "Catch A Wave", in this case known as "Sidewalk Surfin'".
"Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin' with me"
Skateboarding was huge in the midsixties. But we didn't call it that, we called it "sidewalk surfing" ... And then the trend died out, because of the steel wheels that gave little traction and a rough ride, but was reborn with better wheels a decade later and has never left us.
For a long time, I liked Jan & Dean more than the Beach Boys. Sure, there was a connection, but Jan Berry was a great producer in his own right. Just listen to the sound of "Surf City"! And "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" sealed the deal. Jan & Dean had a sense of humor to go with their hooks.
But years later, when I finally got "Surfer Girl" as a birthday present, a used copy from a girl I had a crush on, I heard the original. And in this case, "Catch A Wave" is superior. IT'S THE HARP! Played by Mike Love's sister, Maureen, it's unexpected but oh-so-right ...
"Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world"
Ain't that the truth. Some sports just deliver that high whose only competitor is sex.
And you combine the aforementioned harp with Brian Wilson's falsetto and the carousel organ and you've got a masterpiece, which sounds like the sixties preserved in amber.
-- Bob Lefsetz
Joe Walsh was none to happy with Steve Miller for a VERY long time after he heard his "Rocky Mountain Way" rip off. ("Rock'n Me" does a pretty good job of ripping off the opening riff of the Free hit "All Right Now", too, while we're at it.) There were others, too, that were surprisingly "familiar" when we first heard them on the new Steve Miller album. Kinda funny that Miller's commercial success finally came around around this same time (although most of the songs in question were not the ones released as hit singles.)
This has been an on-going topic for quite some time ... HUNDREDS of other examples could be cited. For the DEFINITIVE look at similar-sounding songs, their origins (and some of the lawsuits that transpired as a direct result of these similarities), you've GOT to pick up Timothy English's book "Sounds Like Teen Spirit". He has made it his mission in life to expose these "rip offs" ... and done an incredible job of doing so. You can order a copy here (kk):
And, to subscribe to Bob Lefsetz's newsletter (where he takes on the music business on pretty much a daily basis), click here: Click here: Lefsetz Letter


After checking the "Helping out Our Readers" edition today I revisited the Top 50 Instrumental Hits page.
I noticed in the National version that both Fly Robin Fly and TSOP are listed there.
What is the criteria for listing something as an instrumental?
Both those songs have vocals in them so how can they be listed as instrumentals?
When this series first ran, we consulted with Chart Guru Joel Whitburn to determine what is and isn't an instrumental. s I recall, he told us that if at least 75% of the song was instrumental (and the lyrics that did exist didn't amount to much more than singing the title) he considered it to be an instrumental hit. We used his guidelines when determining our list. (kk)
I shot Joel a quick note to see if I had remembered this criteria correctly ... and here's what I got back ...
Hi Kent,
Yes, I did answer this question several years ago, at least it seems that long ago. However, you hit it right on the head. If a
song is approximately 75% or more instrumental, then I consider it as an [I] instrumental.
Using your reader's two examples:
“TSOP” by MFSB is a 3:32 song. 2:56 is instrumental with only :36 of actual vocal. That calculates out to it being 83% instrumental which easily falls into the [I] category.
“Fly, Robin, Fly” by Silver Convention is a 3:50 song. 3:02 is [I] with only :48 of actual vocal. That’s 79% [I].
It also won a Grammy award for R&B instrumental that year, so that supports my calculations.
Thanks, Kent!

Hi Kent,
I ran across your website while searching for a copy of "Shades" by the Capes Of Hope. (
You seem to be the only person in the world who has a copy of that song. I am wondering if I can persuade you to send me a copy. It would be much appreciated! It reminds me of the days of Super 'CFL and the Men From Ten.
I see that I am going to be spending a lot of time on your site. Wow! What a wealth of info you have compiled!
Thanks for any help that you can offer with "Shades".
Keep up the great site. Love it.
Bill in the burb of Hanover Park
Thanks for the kind words, Bill. (Actually, you're practically a neighbor of mine!) An MP3 is on its way to you. (kk)

What are the odds that I'd get TWO emails on the same day about The Capes Of Hope ... from two COMPLETELY different states ... about an article that first ran THREE YEARS AGO?!?!? But that's just exactly what happened! Read on! (kk)

You have a great site and I enjoy reading it. Back on December 26, 2009, you had posted the song Shades by The Capes Of Good Hope. For some reason it is no longer there. Can you re-post it? I would love to hear it again. Thanks.
Rich from Cleveland
I'll do you one better, Rich ... a copy of the MP3 is on its way to you, too! (kk)

Who sang a song called "Chickawa Chickawa wa wa"? Not sure the spelling is correct.
Wow ... can't find a listing for that one. Anybody out there got any ideas??? (kk)

Good morning,
I am not sure if you can assist me in my quest. Back in 1958 Miss June Webb won Billboard's “Most Promising Female Country Artists” award. I am trying to get a picture of that award to hang in my den next to Miss June’s picture. This is my own private collection of pictures, etc. I have sent emails to Billboard but received no response. I have sent an email to June Webb’s site and she has sent me back an email saying it was destroyed years ago. Do you know of anywhere that I might be able to get that picture? I live in Toronto, Canada, and due to health reasons I am not able to travel. Otherwise I would go to Nashville myself to try and locate this.
I would appreciate a reply whether it be yes or no to any assistance.
Thanking you in advance for your time.
I put your request out to a couple of folks on the list who would be most able to help you ... I figured that if nothing else, they could at least locate the article you're referring to. Between Joel Whitburn (who wrote the Bible on the Billboard Charts), Randy Price (who has an ENORMOUS collection of Billboard, Cash Box and Record World Magazines) and Clay Pasternack (who has helped supply photos and information for numerous CD reissue compilations), I figured we'd at least get a pretty good idea as to exactly what's out there and available to pick from.

Here's what I've gotten back so far ...

Good Morning, Kent,
I found an article with a small photo of June Webb and a ranked list of the Top Female Country Artists in a November, 1959, issue. That's the only photo I could find of her - nothing showing her getting the award.
Do you think that would interest the Canadian reader?
Please let me know.
Joel Whitburn

Hi Kent -
I believe I have found the info you were looking for. I scanned it as the full page reduced in size, then scanned the part you wanted in a larger size. They are all attached as one pdf.
Funny: she was touted as most promising, but Decca never ran an ad on any release, and the only top 40 single on the country chart she had was on Hickory!
I'm hoping the article(s) below will suffice ... although the quality is pretty rough.  (Click to enlarge photos)  I don't know if we're going to find an actual picture of the award (or the presentation of the award) ... but all of this certainly seems to fit the timeframe in question.  Let's see if we get any other response from our reader.  (kk)
I agree with WLS Clark Besch that "I'm Goin' Your Way" by The Warner Brothers (of Peoria, IL) is a great tune. I have the "Please Mr Sullivan" 45. I gave a listen to "Is It Right" by the Conquests - never heard it before as far as I can recall, but my guess would be 1966. Excellent quasi-Beatlesque arrangement with some Buckinghams and NC 6 influence (if they happened to be Midwesterners).

A friend of mine is looking for Al DeCarlo, can anyone help?
Her name is Debra Yurica and her email is
Fred Glickstein
(Here's a copy of Debbie's original note):
Hey Fred!
I have a favor to ask of you. Any chance you could check in with some of your rock n' roll pals and find out if anyone knows how to get in touch with Al DeCarlo from Bangers Flying Circus and Medura? I'd love to get in touch with him if possible.
Love from a pre-monsoon Varkala,
Happy to run this by our readers (many of whom were part of the music scene back in the day) to see if we can help. (kk)

Hi all,
I recently purchased an unusual record. It's on the Rider label (out of NY) and the artists are listed as The Scramblers (not the current alt-rock group), but obviously a studio musician group. The sound is somewhere between Hugo & Luigi, Lawrence Welk and The Champs. The two titles are DROLL STROLL (the B Side ... and rightfully so) and the A Side is THE EGG ROLL (which is kinda catchy). Anyone know when it was put out and if it ever charted anywhere?
Murry Slapp
Chalk up another one I don't remember! (lol) Anybody out there able to help out on this one? (kk)

Hi -
I have a question ... a few years back I got into collecting records because of my mom. She gave me her music collection and I have been adding more and more to it.My question is: you said you had a rare Johnny Hughes 45 titled "Pin The Tail". Was this released on a 45 or a cd? I know you said "Johnny Blue", but wasn't "Johnny Blue" the flip side of "Pretty Little Girl"? Or is there another hard to get 45 with "Pin The Tail"? And by any chance do you have a sound clip?
I would love to hear it. Plus if you know of any cd it's on, please let me know. I would love to buy it.
Actually, it wasn't me that had a copy. As I recall, the subject came up because we were talking about broadcaster Johnny Holliday, NOT Johnny Hughes ... and a reader wrote in wondering if Johnny was the SAME Johnny Holliday that released a few records. Unfortunately, no, he's not ... but I'll betcha somebody out there has a copy of "Pin The Tail" to share! (kk)

I would love to hear the flip side of Paul McCartney’s “My Love”. It was a great song, but I can’t remember the name of it. Bruce
It's a great little track called "The Mess", recorded live during Wings' first European tour in 1972 and never officially released on a McCartney LP. (It did show up on the CD reissue of "Red Rose Speedway" many years later ... but is a long-forgotten cut.)  Another live side "Soily" suffered a similar fate.  It seems that if radio is going to play anything live by McCartney these days, it's most likely to be "Maybe I'm Amazed" from the Wings Over America Tour a few years later. Happy to feature this one today! (kk)

Randy Price (thanks to a WHOLE lotta help from Joel Whitburn ... thank you, Joel!) has made some SERIOUS headway in his Record World / Music Vendor chart search. In fact, he's down now to just a few issues and a few charts needed to complete his collection.
He has sent along a list of the missing gaps in his collection ... and if ANYBODY out there can help us fill these last few voids, it would be VERY much appreciated.

I now have all of the Music Vendor / Record World chart data that we need with these few exceptions.
The only ones we're still looking for are:
Music Vendor 1/05/1959 "100 Top Pops," "Beat Of The Week"
Music Vendor 6/27/1960 "Beat Of The Week"
Music Vendor 2/01/1964 "100 Top Pops," "Looking Up"
Music Vendor 4/11/1964 "100 Top Pops," "Looking Up"
Record World 4/18/1964 "Looking Up"
– Randy Price