Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

re: ALICE:  
We got a GREAT response to one of yesterday's Forgotten Hits, "Living Next Door To Alice" by Smokie. Astute deejays on the list that are actually paying attention might do themselves well by featuring this one of their program ... evidently a forgotten fan favorite.   

Here are just a few of the responses that we received ...  

Thanks for sharing "Living Next Door To Alice" today. It's a wonderful track that's almost totally forgotten. Did anyone else comment that the version you posted sounded too fast? Here's another Smokie track you may have never heard. It sounds a lot like "Alice" and should have been a hit here in the States. Loved the other "smoke" songs today too!
David Lewis  

I'm not familiar with this other Smokie song.  "If You Think You Know How To Love Me" must have been more of a "regional" thing.  It was a very minor hit in 1975 on MCA Records ... it peaked at #96 in Billboard (and took three weeks to get there!) Also, they were apparently calling themselves "Smokey" on this recording (or it's a record label misprint) ... by the time they hit RSO (and The Top 40) the following year, they were spelling it "Smokie". (kk)
Of all your "smokey places" songs, "Living Next Door to Alice" was the only song I knew ... and you are right ... back when I first heard it I thought it was "Dr. Hook".  

Living Next Door To Alice ... have NOT heard that in a looooong while. 
Totally agree with the 'Sylvia' connection. Hey guys ... you snooze, you lose. 
But what do you think happened with Sally? 
Hmmm .... I guess we can only let our imaginations run wild. (Should we have segued this one into "Lay Down Sally"?!?!?) kk    

Hi Kent,  
The comments on Boyce & Hart (and the Alice Long clip) and Dave Edmunds remind me of a couple of things.
I heard a song last summer by Boyce and Hart that I hadn't heard in over 40 years; "Out and About". Cool tune by a couple of guys who got more money writing than recording but should've recorded much more than they did. They were pretty good recording artists.
As for Dave Edmunds, I have heard the song only once, but his guitar version of "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" ranks him, in my estimation , as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

We featured "Out And About" a while back ... it was their first chart hit as a singing duo. (#30 in 1967) Another personal favorite of mine is "Goodbye Baby", which failed to make The Top 40 in 1968 but one that I always thought had kind of a Beach Boys feel to it. (Read the complete article and you'll see that Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys agreed ... at one point, he approached Boyce and Hart about producing the next Beach Boys album ... sadly it never happened ... one can only imagine what that might have sounded like!)
I was fortunate enough to have seen Dave Edmunds play at a small club here in Chicago several years ago ... a GREAT entertainer, sadly only known and remembered for his big hit "I Hear You Knockin'" (#3 1971). Dave did a number of classic remakes over the years. I tried to find a YouTube clip of him performing "Flight Of The Bumble Bee" but came up empty ... anybody got a copy of this track? (kk)   

Later on tonight I'll play your five choices you listed as "smokey" songs. Things that immediately came to my mind were that Bill Doggett had a version of SMOKIE 2 also. With these selections today, it might make one to SMOKE SMOKE SMOKE his or her cigarette. Undoubtedly if one does this, SMOKE will be GETTING IN THEIR EYES.
One final thing I happened to think of. There was a song out of 1966 I believe called SMOKEY JOE'S LA LA by Googie Rene on Class Records.
Larry Neal
I thought about going full-bore "smokey" today ... and even considered featuring BOTH of your suggestions ... but I figured five were enough for one. day. (Besides, I might have been tempted to feature the up-tempo Blue Haze version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" ... because I've done that before! lol) I think it's amazing that the original tune "Smokey Joe's Cafe" only went to #79 ... but was inspiration enough to name the Leiber and Stoller musical after it four decades later! (kk)

One of the last CD's I bought was ROSEMARY CLOONEY's 70th bithday celebration. It wasn't totally great, but had a keeper or two. She dueted with various artists. Her duet with Keith Carradine was worth the price of admission ... TURN AROUND (my favorite version)

Trust me on this. Would you believe a couple of days ago I thought of and played THIS OLD HOUSE by Rosemary Clooney as well as Stu Hamblin. Hamblin was also an actor of sorts.

Proof again that gret minds think alike! (kk)   

I just saw your website with THE GREATEST GARAGE BANDS OF ALL-TIME!!!
Who decided what band ranked what position?
I am friends with Ray Graffia, Ronnie Rice and Jim Peterik personally and I think the order of position from #50 down to #1 is very wrong.  
#1 through #4 to me were nothing but 'One Hit Wonders' and should be way behind the Cryan' Shames and The Ides of March.
#5 - THE NEW COLONY SIX (at least made the top 10)
#34 - The Ides Of March (should have at least been in the Top 10)
#30 - The Cryan' Shames (should have at least been in the Top 10)
Your website is a very cool and informative website but I disagree with the order the bands ranked.
I'm 60 years old and I saw all of these bands make history starting from The Beatles.
Rick Kancilja
What determined the final pecking order was the 9008 votes that we received in this online poll. It had nothing to do with a specific number of hits but more of the "genre" of garage band music. Many argued that The Ides Of March (best known for their hit "Vehicle") and The Cryan' Shames (best known for their impeccable harmonies) weren't really "garage bands" at all. In fact, we could several letters after the fact saying the same thing about The New Colony Six (thanks to their two biggest hits ... both ballads ... "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say".) But the final tally is the way the fans voted and, with that kind of response, we have to accept their decision. (All we do is report the results! We let the music fans speak for themselves.)
Check out a couple of our other online polls and you'll find all kinds of food for thought there as well. Browse around the sites and see what you think. I think you're going to like it here! (kk)   

Hi Kent 
Was wondering when the Guess Who appear at the St Charles Arcada theater will that include Bachman and Cummings? It would be great if they all had a reunion together. When in doubt, ask the master!!! 
Unfortunately, no ... this is the Garry Peterson (drummer) / Jim Kale (bassist) version of the band ... and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the mainstays that most folks would recognize, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman. (Cummings is performing solo these days and Bachman has put together a mini BTO reunion with Fred Turner.) I debated whether or not to even mention / promote this show ... but Arcada owner Ron Onesti tells me that it's actually a very hot ticket ... and the band goes over quite well. Personally, I see no point in seeing them without "the voice" ... and some of those ticket sales MAY be attributed to Guess Who fans unaware that the guys who wrote all the hit songs won't be there. (Kind of like last year's Schaumburg appearance of Grand Funk Railroad ... without Mark Farner! I just couldn't see the point of going so, for the first time ever, we skipped the concerts this year. They also had "The Family Stone" without Sly ... wtf?!?!?) 
It's not really false advertising because Peterson and Kale were both key members of the band ... but certainly not the focal point by any stretch. (When you think of The Guess Who, your first memory isn't typically of the "nameless" drummer of bass player ... but it's Peterson who currently owns the rights to the name, much to the chagrin of Burton Cummings, who makes it a point to slam him during every concert appearance! lol) kk  
Click here: The Guess Who   

Kent ...
Just heard this on WCBS-FM. Bob Dylan said that Neil was trying to sound like him on this song. What do you think ?
Frank B.
Not sure I agree with that ... unless he means the use of harmonica throughout ... in that case, yes, I'd say so. This really is a classic performance ... just Neil alone, showing a bit of humor as he prepares to launch into his then brand-new song, soon a national chart-topper (and probably the song he's most associated with to this day.) VERY cool video ... and worth a watch. (kk)  

On The Pop Shoppe Friday the 18th and 25th I'll be doing a 1963 Whitburn countdown.
Songs 200 to 101 - The songs that didn't make the top 100 of that year.
Starting at 9 PM this Friday night.
This Friday part one, the following Friday part two.
DJ Stu Weiss

>>> Bob Seger is doing "The Rock And Roll Never Forgets" Tour?!?!? Passing this along to FH Reader Jack Levin ... maybe he'll help to underwrite the tour! (kk)  
I'd love to underwrite the upcoming Bob Seger tour. (I just heard about it last week as well). However I don't think the $160.00 I earned at the Chicago record show Sunday is gonna pay for much. But when you talk to Bob, because I know the two of you are best friends, tell him to have his people call me people and we'll work something out. Maybe he can play the local high school gym. Or maybe he can buy all my top 40 surveys that have his songs listed. Seriously, if your Detroit area readers have some old WKNR charts from 1967/8, you'll see some of Bob's really early 45s doing quite well locally.
Jack (Rock and Roll Never Forgets)
Actually, Bob Seger and the Heard earned quite a few votes in our Favorite Garage Bands Poll ... they definitely had a loyal, cult following at the time. I first discovered Bob as The Bob Seger System when "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" became a HUGE #2 Hit here in Chicago in 1968. Then we didn't hear from him again for nearly eight years until "Night Moves" hit The Top Five. I've never seen him live ... and while I complain about the over-saturation of his music on the airwaves, I really DO like his songs ... I just wish that hadn't been beaten into my head so often and for so long. (kk)   

RIP Tandyn Almer, and very sorry to hear of Rich Grunke's passing, and condolences to Clark. Rich gave me the opportunity to download a long-missed record - "Curfew Lover" b/w "What Did I Do?" by Anita Humes & The Essex.

Congratulations to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who has just been inducted into Vintage Guitar Magazine's Hall Of Fame.
And check this out ...
Before reaching superstardom with ZZ Top, Gibbons was in the band The Moving Sidewalks ... and the original members of THAT band are reuniting (for the first time in 44 years!!!) to perform at B.B. King's Club in New York City on March 30th as part of CAVESTOMP! 

Here's a brief article from The New York Times, sent in by FH Reader Bob Merlis:   
Tuesday, January 1, 2013  
The Return of Moving Sidewalks  
Hi Kent - 
Your latest newsletter had a lot about The Sweet. They were on my radio show recently and I was at their latest gig in the UK. Thought I would share some bits with your readers.  
Regards -
Geoff Dorset

Here's another great Forgotten Hit for you.  Sure, "Fox On The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz" may have had more staying power ... but "Love Is Like Oxygen" went all the way to #8 in 1978 ... yet you rarely hear this one anymore.  (kk)

David Beard of Endless Summer Quarterly sent us some recent postings about Jan and Dean ... STILL ignored by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (but up-coming inductees into The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame!!!)

In today's comments, it was mentioned of Paul Leka and some of his "would be top 40 hits". One of the groups mentioned was Salt Water Taffy. Brought back memories of a record I haven't heard in years. Their 1968 song FINDERS KEEPERS LOSERS WEEPERS made our local survey in May of 1968. Was on the survey for a little over a month, starting out at the bottom as the "Pick Hit of the Week"
Your bonus FH was a good one. From the sound of the artist's voice, IT MUST BE Vikki Carr.
The group the Strangeloves were mentioned in the garage band section. I am not sure but a group called the Sheep had a tune out in 1966 called HIDE AND SEEK on Boom Records. Done originally I believe by Bunker Hill earlier in 1962. You may know this, but it seems I remember hearing that the Sheep and the Strangeloves were one and the same.
Former host of the weekly television show Shindig, Jimmy O'Neil was mentioned. Back in the late fifties, he worked as a DJ here in OKC for top 40 radio station WKY 930 AM.
And finally, one of your readers wrote in about the illness that Joe Bennett is currently experiencing. The first record I remember buying was Joe Bennett's and the Sparkletones 1957 BLACK SLACKS. What a rock and roll group that was.
In order ...
Salt Water Taffy "Bubbled Under" on the Billboard Chart with "Finders Keepers" for four weeks in May of 1968, peaking at #105. It fared a little bit better on the Record World Chart, where it peaked at #84.
Yes, that WAS Vikki Carr and her 1967 #3 Smash "It Must Be Him". When I heard it the other day I just HAD to share it with the readers. (Yet another legitimate Top Five Hit that has fallen by the wayside ... slipped between the cracks and destined to be forgotten.) It's funny but when I listen to it now, it almost sounds like it came from a musical, especially with the phrasing. Vikki Carr was one of the more "dramatic" singers of the '60's ... VERY emotional on stage ... I don't know if I ever saw her make it through "With Pen In Hand" without a tear. (I fell in love with the Billy Vera version of that tune, a #35 Hit here in Chicago in 1968, a year before Carr charted with her version. Most people out there first became aware of Vera when his 1987 Hit "At This Moment" went all the way to #1, thanks to being featured on the hit comedy "Family Ties" ... but I think he did a KILLER version of "With Pen In Hand" that never quite got the recognition it deserved. While it missed The Top 40 in Billboard, it DID go to #25 on the Cash Box Chart.)

According to the Joel Whitburn book, you are correct ... Sheep was a "studio band assembled by producers Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, who also charted as The Strangeloves." Their biggest hit, "Hide And Seek" went to #53 in 1966 ... and cracked The Top 40 here in Chicago, peaking at #38.
Jimmy O'Neill did a number of radio gigs before and after hosting "Shindig" ... one website I found lists KRLA, 1959-62; KFWB, 1963-67; KDAY, 1969-71; KRLA, 1984-85 and 1990-93 ... and those are just the Los Angeles stations!!!
In his own mini-biography, O'Neill remembers:
I started my career at the age of 15 as a disc jockey for KGWA & KCRC in Enid, OK, (my home town), then moved to WKY and KOMA - Oklahoma City, WTAE - Pittsburgh, PA, KRLA, KFWB, and KDAY, in Los Angeles, PBS -TV-Los Angeles, KOB - Albuquerque, NM, WOW & KOIL in Omaha, NE. When I reached 19, I was the number one rated radio DJ in Los Angeles (KRLA), a very exciting landmark in my career.
Today I’m a 72 year old happily retired radio / tv personality. (Never thought I’d last this long) My past credits include developing and hosting America’s first live weekly network rock / pop music series, ”Shindig!”, which aired on ABC-TV in the mid 60′s. I was 24 and totally blown away by the opportunity of meeting and appearing with the top music artists of the era. (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, The Everly Bros., The Four Tops, Sam Cooke, Patty Duke, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles , Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Mickey Rooney (Jr and Sr), Dino, Desi and Billy, (Lucille Ball was in the studio audience to support her son, Desi Jr. She refused a front row seat because she “didn’t want to upstage Desi”.)
You'll find a TON of Shindig clips on YouTube, featuring The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Turtles and many, many more.  (More on Jimmy O'Neill below)
And finally, yes, it's sad to hear about Joe Bennett. We corresponded recently when we did our Salute to The Ed Sullivan Show. You can read Joe's personal memories right here:  
Click here: Forgotten Hits - FORGOTTEN HITS REMEMBERS THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW ... From Both Sides Of The Screen
We were on the Ed Sullivan Show twice - first, in November of 1957, when we performed Black Slacks ... and then again in March of 1958, performing Cotton Pickin' Rocker.
The 1957 show came after a 13 week show in Vegas. The Ed Sullivan Shows were the highlight of our career. We were greatly honored to be on them. Our manager, Bob Cox formally a CBS Talent Agent, surprised us with the bookings on the Ed Sullivan Shows. Ed Sullivan was a perfect show host and treated us with great respect.
On the 1957 Show we performed along with other great stars, Paul Anka and Jimmy Rogers. On the 1958 show, we appeared with the Everly Brothers and Jo Stafford.
-- Joe Bennett
Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones
(I'd like to add your "Black Slacks" story to our First 45's feature ... care to elaborate a bit more???) kk

How very, very sad.  We had prepared the above piece on Sunday and were holding it until the next Comments Page.  In the meantime, I had planned on contacting Jimmy to see if he might have an interest in participating in the up-coming Historic Route 66 Radio Tour and Documentary.  I thought this might be a GREAT way to wrap up his long-standing career (and immortalize himself one more time on film.)  As mentioned above, there are TONS of "Shindig" clips on YouTube ... and Jimmy was also animated for a few appearances on "The Flintstones", something he was VERY proud of.  (We ran one of those clips, featuring The Beau Brummelstones, in our recent Favorite Garage Bands series.)  
Something else that he was VERY proud of was the fact that he was clean and sober since 1981.  Jimmy would have been the first to admit that he "lost his way" after all of his early success ... but he ranked cleaning up his act as amongst his greatest achievements.
Now comes the sad, sad news that Jimmy has passed away.

I just got this from FH Reader Tom Cuddy:  

Jimmy O'Neill dies at 73;  
L.A. deejay hosted TV's 'Shindig!'  
O'Neill emceed the ABC prime-time show that featured frenetic dancers and showcased such acts as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Righteous Brothers. 

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Jimmy O'Neill, an Oklahoman barely out of his teens when he became Los Angeles' top-rated radio deejay and only 24 when he catapulted to national celebrity as the host of "Shindig!," one of the earliest rock 'n' roll shows on prime-time television, died Friday at his West Hollywood home. He was 73. 
He had diabetes and heart problems, said his son, James O'Neill. 
In 1959, O'Neill made radio history as the first voice heard on KRLA-AM (1110) when it dropped its country-western format for rock music. It quickly became a powerhouse in rock radio and launched O'Neill into television in 1964 as the winsome emcee of "Shindig!" 
Compared with "American Bandstand," the afternoon music-and-dance show for teenagers helmed by Dick Clark, "Shindig!" was a blast of hot air that featured frenetic dancers (including a young Teri Garr) and mingled black and white musicians in an era when much of the country was still segregated. Each episode showcased a dozen of the biggest names in pop music, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Bobby Sherman, Leon Russell, Darlene Love and Billy Preston were also among the regulars. 
"It was a phenomenal experience," said Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, who performed on the first telecast of "Shindig!" with Cooke and the Everly Brothers. "We were like 23, 24 years old and on national television. This was like the coolest thing in the world. And Jimmy was just the perfect guy to host that show. He wasn't slick … he never tried to be too hip. He was just the perfect guy to hold all that together." 
O'Neill opened every show with the same rousing welcome: "Howdy-hi, Shindiggers … we've got a 'Shindig!' for you that's so far in it's out of sight!" 
The show, broadcast on ABC, lasted only 15 months, but it made its emcee so famous with the underage crowd that it inspired a character named Jimmy O'Neillstone in the 1960s "Flintstones" cartoon series. The episode was called "Shinrock-a-Go-Go."  
O'Neill was born Jan. 8, 1940, in Enid, Oklahoma. His parents divorced when he was a toddler and he was raised by his hairdresser mother. At 15 he took a high school class in broadcasting and, as one of the two top students, won a chance to have his own two-hour show on the local radio station. "The program director hired him on the spot," his son said. After he graduated from high school, the director helped him land a deejay job at KQV in Pittsburgh. 
He stayed in Pittsburgh for only a year before he moved to a bigger market, Los Angeles. In 1960, he became "the youngest deejay ever to be rated No. 1," radio historian Don Barrett said Monday. 
He also ran nightclubs for teenagers, including one called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip and hosted a youth-oriented TV talk show, "The Jimmy O'Neill Show," on KCOP-TV (Channel 13). 
He was deejaying at KFWB when producer Jack Good enlisted him to develop a rock 'n' roll show for TV. The pilot was called "Young America Swings the World," but no one wanted it until O'Neill showed it to Chuck Barris (later of "Gong Show" fame), then a programming executive at ABC. Getting the Beatles on the show in 1964 was an experience that O'Neill said he would never forget. The British rock sensations were too busy to travel to Los Angeles, so the "Shindig!" crew went to England. 
"I have two vivid recollections from those two days," O'Neill told interviewer Gary James. "One, I nearly had my clothes torn off by the British fans as I tried to enter the studio.... They heard my American accent and asked me if I was appearing with the Beatles. I made the mistake of admitting that I was. Off came my jacket, my shirt, it was practically ripped to shreds before I got the security guard to let me in." 
When the network canceled the show in early 1966, after experimenting unsuccessfully with more mainstream musical guests, it sent O'Neill into a tailspin. His marriage to songwriter Sharon Sheeley collapsed. "I went crazy," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. "I tried to burn my house down. Literally set fire to my house. I was 26 years old. I had never had a bad break before. I drank and drugged my way through my life savings." 
He eventually sobered up and returned to radio, working at KDAY from 1969 to 1971. Later he returned for two more stints at KRLA, in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. 
In 1991, Rhino Home Video released a compilation of "Shindig!" broadcasts that revived interest in the show. 
"One of the funniest things he ever told me," said Mike Wagner, the KRLA program director who hired O'Neill in the 1990s, "was that by the time he was 24 he had peaked already. He said 'My career was front-loaded.' But he didn't have any regrets. He was an eternally young, Midwestern happy-go-lucky type. He always had a smile in his voice." Married three times, he is survived by his son, James, and daughter, Katherine O'Neill, both of Los Angeles; two stepchildren, Megan Rhode of San Pedro and Robin Finklestein of Pasadena; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.