Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday This And That

Got this sad notice from a few Forgotten Hits Readers this week. Naturally every good radio station played "Chevy Van" in Sammy's honor ... of course the REALLY good radio stations have been playing it all along! I never grew tired of hearing this Top Five Hit ... which went all the way to #1 here in Chicago. (kk)  

Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Sammy Johns of Chevy Van Fame, Dead at 66 
Sammy Johns, who lit up the airwaves in 1975 with his hit Chevy Van, passed away last Friday in Gaston, NC at the age of 66.
Johns took up the guitar at the age of nine and had his own band called the Devilles while a teen. In 1973, he moved to Atlanta where he was signed to General Recording Corporation who released his first single, the minor hit Early Morning Love (1974/#68 Pop/#79 Country). It was during this time that he also recorded his story of a one-night stand in the back of a van, but the company chose not to release it.
Chevy Van finally saw the light of day two years later via GRC Records and it went up to number 5 in the U.S., giving Johns a gold record.
Johns continued to record for labels like New World Records and Elektra, but it was his songs and not his recordings that were key for the rest of his life. Among his many songs that were hits by other were Common Man (John Conlee), America (Waylon Jennings) and Desperado Love (Conway Twitty).
On a personal level, Johns had battles with both alcohol and drugs and was married several times. He is survived by a sister.

-- submitted by Tom Cuddy   

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The singer-songwriter who made "Chevy Van" a hit in 1975 has died. The Charlotte Observer reports Sammy Johns died Friday at the age of 66. A cause of death was not given. Johns recorded "Chevy Van" in 1973 but it was nearly 18 months later before it was released. It peaked at number five and sold more than 3 million copies. Johns had said the song wasn't about a specific woman. Johns never had another hit of his own, but he wrote "America" for Waylon Jennings and "Common Man" for John Conlee.
-- You probably saw this, however, I thought I would send you the A.P. story. I interviewed him about 10 years ago. I have attached a minute or so of our conversation about Chevy Van.  
Phil Nee - WRCO

Romeo's Tune??? You don't listen to any "Lite FM" stations, do you, Kent?  This sounds right down their alley.
True story: Back in the day I actually thought this singer was ... Eric Clapton. [blush]

I love it. Thanks Kent. Didn't know you had a connection there with Steve's bass player.
Be Well,  

Some GREAT new shows have just been added to The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, IL ...   

January 19th - Jim Peterik's World Stage (featuring Jim Peterik, Dave Bickler of Survivor, Jeff Adams of Starship, Toby Hitchcock of Pride of Lions, Leslie Hunt, The Ides Of March, Lisa McClowry and much, much more

January 25th - Jo Dee Messina

February 2nd - Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience

February 7th - Pat Benatar

February 16th - The Guess Who

February 22nd - Shirley MacLaine

March 5th - The Doo-Wop Project

March 9th - Artie Shaw Orchestra Big Band Concert and Dance

March 13th - Helen Reddy

March 23rd - War with Tower Of Power

April 12th - Boz Scaggs

April 13th - Rich Little

April 19th - Echoes of Pompei Pink Floyd Tribute Show

April 20th - Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy Show

May 3rd - The Everly Hillbillies (featuring Edan Donald Everly)

May 4th - Frankie Avalon

September 28th - Three Faces of the King (Elvis Impersonators Show)

October 12th - Rick Springfield

October 25th - The Amazing Kreskin's Search For Al Capone

December 8th - The Lettermen Christmas Show

More shows being added all the time

Be sure to check out the website: Click here: Arcada Theatre | Oshows

Quite a few interesting concerts on this list ... which inspired me to feature Helen Reddy's #5 Hit from 1975 as Today's Forgotten Hit ...   

I was just just informed by Nan Seidl that a former colleague, Wild bill' Cody passed away over theI was just I I was just informed by Nan Seidl that a former colleague, Wild bill' Cody passed away over the holidays. While we were acquainted with one another - we never worked together, but Bill was always very encouraging to our efforts with JST KLSX and a tremendous supporter of Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits from Chicago and a regular contributor. I am dismayed at his passing, and hope that some of his 'material' and former airwork will make it to the Airwaves. Rest in Peace Bill --- you were one of the ones who understood the problems of the radio industry and still did not let it bother you, as you always were reminding me to keep working toward a "new solution" and were always encouraging me to 'Keep doing what you're doing Mason ... it's going to work!" R.I.P my friend.
Yes, how sad ... I found out a couple days after he passed on Christmas Day. A great guy ... a friend and a true supporter of Forgotten Hits ... with a wealth of radio background and a true love for the medium. (I had always hoped you two guys would pair up! I always imagined great things you could have done together.) Too bad. (kk)

Hey Kent,
Been enjoying the readings lately. I'm part of an online discussion board about radio, and naturally, the topic of "tune-out" was brought up on a Classic Hits thread. Anyway, I thought you might be interested in some of the comments.
Of course, the corporate "know it alls" showed up and brought their testing with them, but essentially it is the debate that outlines our issue as listeners -- why we "can't" hear the good stuff. A few good folks take our same stance in that oldies radio is too narrow minded, but it is the stubbornness of the industry people that really irks me.
Anyway, it's an obnoxiously long 50+ pages of reading (I know you got plenty of other stuff to do) but thought you might be interested in seeing this.
If you have any problems with the link, try this:
-scroll down past the "markets sections"
-at the bottom of the formats category is "60s/70s/80s Classic Hits"
-The Title of the thread is "Which is the bigger tune-out factor"
For the Cause!,
Anybody listening to radio today KNOWS what's wrong with radio ... and the worst part of all is that they give you no incentive to stay tuned in by playing the same cycle of music over and over again.  (We used to listen to the radio for HOURS ... we couldn't get enough ... today's programming is designed for about a ten minute attention span ... what a waste of resources!)  We keep hoping SOMEBODY out there in terrestrial radioland will DO something about it ... and make things interesting again. Meanwhile, it sounds like most of the people who really LOVE music have already sought out (and found) alternate sources to enjoy it. Too bad ... the radio consultants are so focused on what they THINK we want to hear that they didn't even notice their core audience disappear. (kk)

I'll be presenting my next YesterYear Countdown show this Sunday, January 13, at 7 PM Eastern Time. I'll be counting down the Top 25 hits as they were on the second weekend of January in the year 1950, 63 years ago.
Here's the link to the page with all the information about the show. It includes easy access to it as well as a sneak preview consisting of nine sound bites from the show.
Hello. Picked up a last year (2012), Special Edition copy of Billboard magazine at a local deli. Honestly, it looks more like a female-related magazine, with bra and panty ads and with Disney's, Justin Beaver boy on the cover! :)
Anyway, just experimenting here with various audio players. The page takes a bit of time to load, but, once loaded, all snippets should play in their entirety.

Some rare alternate and stereo mixes can be found at this link ... check it out!
Yes, Billboard and Rolling Stones don't even seem to be about the music much anymore ... years ago, after months and months of covers featuring nothing but scantily-clad women, Rolling Stone put a picture of The Beatles on their cover. I had to write them and point out ... "Wow ... nary an erect nipple in sight ... if I didn't know any better, I'd swear this issue of Rolling Stone was actually about the music again ... like it's supposed to be." Evidently I hit a nerve ... because they ran my letter in their next issue! (kk)

Lots a press this week because of what would have been Elvis Presley's 78th Birthday. It seems that Billboard Magazine is going out of its way to disassociate itself with all of Elvis' hits before the official start of "The Hot 100.Radio has already all but abandoned The King Of Rock and Roll ... you're not likely to hear ANYTHING before "Suspicious Minds" anymore ... now Billboard wants to eliminate Elvis' first 32 chart hits,too. Think about that for a second ... how many artists had 32 hits in their entire career?!?! And this track record represents just a little over 20% of his total chart output! 
And look at some of the titles that "don't count" anymore: Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel, Heartbreak Hotel, Teddy Bear, All Shook Up, Love Me Tender, Blue Suede Shoes, Love Me, Jailhouse Rock ... these are hit songs that other artists would have KILLED to record ... and some of the biggest rock and roll hits of all time.
It's bad enough that the music of the '50's has completely disappeared from the terrestrial radio airwaves ... but this is just sacrilege!!! In the eyes of far too many people in power today, Elvis is now just part of a by-gone era ... like Bing Crosby in the '30's and 40's ... Frank Sinatra in the '40's and '50's ... or Valentino in the '20's ... except none of THOSE artists revolutionized the way music was made.  None of THOSE artists influenced the next four generations of rock and roll to come.  
Rock and Roll Music is the longest-lasting musical art form of modern times. Every artist today was in some way influenced and fashioned in the image of the rock and roll music that took the world by storm in the 1950's. Now they may be seven degrees of separation apart from it ... but every sound influenced every new sound and so on there after ... forever more ... and now we want to pretend that NONE of this is significant anymore ... and that's just WRONG!!! (kk)
Here's a place for some great Doo Wop happenings!
And it's free! - Food available!
You can contact me for any info you need.
DJ Stu Weiss

UK Rock Legends SWEET Revisit Hit Album 'Desolation Boulevard'
With New Live CD
London, UK - Hot on the heels of their recent critically acclaimed album release 'New York Connection', UK rock legends SWEET have released a new live CD only available by digital download. Performing the band's most famous and influential album from 1974 'Desolation Boulevard' live, SWEET's 'Desolation Boulevard Revisited' recaptures the album in concert with all of the raw energy that can only come from a live performance. Originally titled 'Sweet Fanny Adams' in the UK, the 1974 US release of the album, re-titled 'Desolation Boulevard', was a turning point for the band featuring, for the first time, more of a hard rock sound. The album yielded classic hits such as 'Ballroom Blitz', 'Fox On The Run' and 'The Six Teens', catapulting the band to international stardom!
Says original member Andy Scott, “SWEET's 'Desolation Boulevard' album was groundbreaking back in 1974 and proved to be a major influence on soon to be famous rock bands such as Kiss, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and many more. The album was a tightly produced collection of Power Pop Heavy Rock Radio Friendly tunes that still sound great today. This was the album that accelerated SWEET into a Major Headlining Touring Band in the '70s, a testament of anyone who saw the band 'live'. Several of the songs from the album have been covered by other artists which pays true homage to a great band. Now in 2013 we have 'Desolation Boulevard Revisited'. A 'live' album release, almost 40 years on from the original but sounding as fresh as the day the songs were conceived. This is a 'must' for SWEET fans everywhere!”

Without The Sweet there would not have been a Kiss”

“Mötley Crüe wanted to be The Sweet”

“The Sweet are the band that I wish I had been in”

With worldwide album sales of more than 55 million copies, SWEET have notched 34 Number One smashes across the globe as part of a run of timeless hits that includes ‘Blockbuster!’, ‘Hell Raiser’, ‘The Ballroom Blitz’, ‘The Six Teens’, ‘Action’, ‘Fox On The Run’ and ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’. Seen on Top Of The Pops on what felt like a weekly basis throughout the 1970s, their über-harmonious, multi-tracked guitar work and layered production was to provide inspiration to other acts such as Queen, the Electric Light Orchestra and, in later decades, Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and The Darkness.
SWEET are a National Treasure, British at the core and a rock music phenomena that has taken every continent by storm for more than four decades. The golden thread that links the past through to the present and into the future is Andy Scott. His determination to maintain high standards with the band's musical legacy and touring is legendary. The band today has an illustrious pedigree recreating “live” the high energy and soaring vocals associated with the SWEET sound that is the band's trademark. SWEET are Andy Scott – guitar and vocals, Pete Lincoln – lead vocals and bass, Bruce Bisland – drums and vocals, Tony O'Hora – guitar, keyboards and vocals. 2013 sees SWEET commencing their 'NYC World Tour' in support of their latest smash studio album 'New York Connection'. The tour kicks off in Europe in March 2013, with more dates in other territories to be announced soon.
To purchase SWEET – 'Desolation Boulevard Revisited' (digital download only):
For more information:

Experience Hendrix LLC & Legacy Recordings Celebrate 70th Birthday Year of Jimi Hendrix with March 5 Release of People, Hell and Angels (A New Album of Unreleased Studio Material) and Mono Audiophile 12" Vinyl Editions of Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love  
New Jimi Hendrix Single, "Somewhere," From People, Hell and Angels, Premieres on on Tuesday, January 8
Experience Hendrix LLC and Legacy Recordings launch a year long celebration of the life and music of Jimi Hendrix (who would've turned 70 November 27, 2012) -- with the simultaneous release of People, Hell and Angels, a new album of twelve previously unreleased studio performances, and newly-struck mono vinyl editions of Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love on Tuesday, March 5.
"Somewhere," a previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix Studio track providing a first taste of the forthcoming People, Hell and Angels, premieres on Tuesday, January 8, and will be available as a single on Tuesday, February, February 5. Recorded at New York's Sound Center on March 13, 1968 and mixed Eddie Kramer, "Somewhere" features Hendrix on guitar and vocal with Stephen Still on bass and Buddy Miles on drums during the artists first session in America where he assumed the mantle of producer alongside performer. While still performing in a trio context, Jimi explored new musical possibilities in "Somewhere." The sixth and final take from reel two, this newly available master is wholly different from previously available version.
"Somewhere" will be available as a digital single, a limited edition vinyl single (available at independent record stores) and a CD single (available at Walmart). The b-side of the vinyl single is a previously unreleased studio recording of "Power of Soul" by Band of Gypsys, mixed by Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Kramer in August 1970. The CD single features the b-side, "Foxey Lady," a previously unreleased Band of Gypsys performance recorded live at the Fillmore East in January 1970. Both the vinyl and CD versions of "Somewhere" will be struck in limited, numbered editions.
People, Hell and Angels will be showcased in a pair of hour-long special broadcasts on the NPR series "World Cafe." The album is also slated for a profile on "Elwood's Bluesmobile," the Dan Aykroyd-hosted radio series airing on 180 commercial stations across the United States, Canada and the Armed Forces Network.
An essential new album premiering twelve previously unreleased studio recordings completed by guitarist Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels showcases the legendary guitarist working outside the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio. Beginning in 1968, Hendrix grew restless, eager to develop new material with old friends and new ensembles. Outside the view of a massive audience that made him (and the Experience) rock's largest grossing concert act with two albums in the US Top 10, Jimi was busy working behind the scenes to craft his next musical statement.
These twelve recordings encompass a variety of unique sounds and styles incorporating many of the elements—horns, keyboards, percussion and second guitar—Jimi wanted to incorporate within his new music. People, Hell and Angels presents some of the finest Jimi Hendrix guitar work ever issued and provides a compelling window into his growth as a songwriter, musician and producer.
With an album title coined by Jimi Hendrix, People, Hell and Angels reveals some of Hendrix's post-Experience ambitions and directions as he worked with new musicians--including the Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, Billy Cox (with whom Hendrix had served in the 101st US Army Airborne and later played on the famed R & B 'chitlin circuit' together) and others--creating fresh and exciting sounds for the next chapter in his extraordinary career.
A musical companion piece and successor to 2010's Valleys of Neptune, the critically acclaimed album showcasing the artist's final recordings with the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, People, Hell and Angels offers tantalizing new clues as to the direction Hendrix was considering for First Rays of The New Rising Sun, his planned double album sequel to 1968's groundbreaking Electric Ladyland.
People, Hell and Angels is co-produced by Janie Hendrix, Eddie Kramer and John McDermott.
Concurrent with the March 5 release of People, Hell and Angels, Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings will release 12" vinyl editions of Are You Experienced (both US and UK versions) and Axis: Bold As Love, newly struck on 200-gram audiophile vinyl. Each of these albums is individually numbered and features original artwork and sequencing.
Taken from the original monaural mixes created by Chas Chandler, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Kramer in 1967, with all analog mastering by Bernie Grundman, these much-sought-after mixes of Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love have been unavailable for decades.
Are You Experienced, the mind-blowing debut from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, is arguably the most fully-realized first album by a "new" artist and is inarguably one of the most influential, significant and enjoyable rock albums of all time. There are, however, two distinctly different editions of this cornerstone in the rock pantheon. The original version, prepared and sequenced by Jimi and producer Chas Chandler, was issued throughout Europe In May 1967 and excluded the group’s first three UK singles ("Purple Haze," "Hey Joe," "The Wind Cries Mary"). While there has never been a mono release of the UK version of Are You Experienced in the US, the classic US version--with the iconic fish-eye cover--was only available in mono for a brief period following its original release in August 1967. The original monophonic mixes for both the UK and US editions for Are You Experienced have been transferred to disc from the original master tapes by noted mastering engineer Bernie Grundman. Grundman’s all analog mono mastering process preserves the integrity, while projecting the vitality, of the original recordings.
Axis: Bold As Love, the sensational sophomore release of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, showcased the artist's expansive musical experimentalism while acknowledging his early R&B and soul music influences. Remastered from the original two-track mixdown master tapes, Axis: Bold As Love’s 13-songs capture the rapidly evolving trio nearing the apogee of their career with a string of seminal classics including “Spanish Castle Magic,” “Little Wing,” “Castles Made Of Sand,” and “If 6 Was 9,” the classic Easy Rider anthem. The original monophonic mixes have been transferred to disc from the original master tapes using Grundman’s all analog mono mastering process.
The dozen previously unreleased Jimi Hendrix performances premiering on People, Hell and Angels include "Earth Blues," "Somewhere," "Hear My Train A Comin'," "Bleeding Heart," "Baby Let Me Move You," "Izabella," "Easy Blues," "Crash Landing," "Inside Out," "Hey Gypsy Boy," "Mojo Man" and "Villanova Junction Blues."   

In today's comments, you mentioned that some of Gary DeCarlo's singles were issued under the name of Garrett Scott of which they went nowhere on the charts. That name was familiar to me but couldn't really figure out where I had heard it before. Then it dawned on me. I turned the name Garrett Scott around and came up with Scott Garrett who had a song out of 1959 on Laurie Records called HOUSE OF LOVE.
I realize this has nothing to do with the writings and items on the Steam song but just the name recollection jarred my memory of a record I hadn't thought of or played in years.
We still seem to have a way of sparking these long-lost memories ... kind of what Forgotten Hits is all about. It doesn't look like the Garrett Scott single charted in Billboard. (kk)  

ROCK AND ROLL LEGEND GARY U.S. BONDS HEADLINES FIRST-EVER LIGHT OF DAY FOUNDATION SHOW AT HARD ROCK NEW YORK ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2013Concert at Hard Rock Cafe New York Features Additional Performances by Willie Nile, the Liza Colby Sound and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan
Rock and roll legend Gary U.S. Bonds and his band, The Roadhouse Rockers, headline the Light of Day Foundation’s first-ever show at the iconic Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square on Wednesday, January 16, 2013. Additional performances include Willie Nile, the Liza Colby Sound and Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan. Proceeds from the show benefit the Light of Day Foundation (, which funds research into possible cures, improved treatments and support for patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and other neuromuscular disorders. Proceeds from show will also go to Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The New York show kicks off an extended weekend of Light of Day concerts that include more than 20 events in Asbury Park, New Jersey from January 17 through January 21, 2013. Vincent Pastore, who played Sal Bonpensiero on the HBO hit show, The Sopranos, is hosting the Hard Rock Cafe New York show along with radio disc jockey Rich Russo, whose free-form show, “Anything, Anything,” airs weekly on 107.1 The Peak in Westchester County and 105.5 WDHA in northern New Jersey.
Bonds first rose to prominence in the early 1960s, when his song, “Quarter to Three,” released in June 1961, reached Number 1 on the Billboard chart. Bonds’ other Top 10 hits at the time included “New Orleans,” “School is Out” and “Dear Lady Twist.” He headlined a 1963 European tour, which also included The Beatles.
In the early 1980s, Bonds had a career resurgence when he collaborated with Little Steven Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen for the albums Dedication and On the Line. His comeback song, “This Little Girl,” hit Number 5 on the rock chart in 1981. Bonds has been a dedicated supporter of Light of Day for many years and has appeared at various Light of Day events in the U.S. and Canada.
Gary recently released a Christmas CD titled, Christmas is ON!, over the holidays and his new book, By U.S. Bonds: That's My Story is slated to come out early this year.
Singer-songwriter Willie Nile’s last three albums, Streets of New York, House of a Thousand Guitars and The Innocent Ones have received great critical acclaim. His hometown paper, The Buffalo News, called the three albums, “three of the finest recordings to ever straddle the worlds of singer-songwriter fare and good ol’ street-tough rock n’roll.” A long-time Light of Day favorite, Nile is known for his scintillating live performances.
Joe D’Urso is a singer-songwriter “blessed with one of those unmistakable whisky-tainted Asbury Park, New Jersey voices that makes the story in every song come alive,” according to a show review by Paul M. Sinclair. D’Urso and his band Stone Caravan have been part of Light of Day since its start 13 years ago. D’Urso serves on the board of directors of LOD.
Liza Colby formed her current band in 2009, combining her own original style with influences from the late 1960s, early 1970s and the British Invasion. Colby describes her sound as “rockin’ soul” that will make you get up and dance!
$25 for general admission and $75 for a seated VIP ticket, available through Ticketweb at
About Light of Day
The Light of Day concert series is now in its 13th year. What began as a single concert at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey has grown into 35 shows in 12 countries in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
This year Light of Day concerts in Asbury Park, New Jersey will take place from Thursday. January 17 through Monday, January 21, 2013. The nearly weeklong run of events are about to formally be declared as Light of Day Week by the Asbury Park City Council for the second consecutive year. The concerts have become a full-fledged festival.
The funds raised are donated to help the fight against Parkinson's disease and related illnesses by funding research into better treatments, cures and support for patients suffering from Parkinson's disease and related illnesses.
The Asbury Park shows in 2012 raised nearly $300,000. September of 2012 saw the release on DVD and VOD of Just Around The Corner. The documentary tells the story of Bob Benjamin and the Light of Day Foundation.
Light of Day fields a team in the annual Parkinson's Unity Walk in New York's Central Park. Over the last five years the Light of Day team has raised $80,000 which helped the Walk raise over $3 million for Parkinson's research.