Monday, February 4, 2013

Helping Out Our Readers

I don't see either of these titles listed in iTunes ... but that doesn't mean that our readers can't help find them for you. Have you checked YouTube, too, to see if they may be posted there? (kk)  

I was unable to find the Turtles Pepsi ad but am very interested in finding all the 60s era Pepsi ads featuring pop artists of the time.. I have CDS of coke ads.
We've actually run this one a few times before ...
Evidently the link we received in that email was bad. (kk)
Thanks. Here's a Pepsi commercial done by Del Shannon.

>>>I came across your website when trying to find information about the Youngtones. I'm very impressed and added you to my favourites for a definite look back later in the week. I have a track credited to the Youngtones entitled Come On Baby but can find no sign of it mentioned in any discography I have seen on the band. Do you have anything that you could help me with? I'm
researching for my weekly radio programme and thank you for any assistance you may be able to offer.
Many thanks and kind regards. (Ian Bell / TD1 / Scotland)

>>>We heard from one of the original Youngtones after our piece first ran. I tried to locate him again in an effort to gather more information on this record ... but, as of right now anyway, still haven't heard anything back. Then again, somebody on the list may already know ... so let's throw this one out to the list and see what comes back. Glad you're enjoying Forgotten Hits! (kk) 

One of your readers, from Scotland, wanted to know if you knew anything about the group the Youngtones. I don't know that much about them if anything. For some reason, I have two of their records: COME ON BABY / O TELL ME on Brunswick Records out of 1958 and PATRICIA / BY THE CANDLEGLOW on X-TRA Records, also out of 1958. Don't really remember how I got them or why I have them. Without checking, they must have made our local top 40 radio station's weekly survey.
Also, people were writing in suggesting songs that football player Manti Te'o could relate to. The first record that came to my mind was IMAGINATION out of 1961 by the Quotations on Verve.
Larry Neal
Sounds like you've got the same track our Scottish reader is looking for ("Come On Baby"). Still haven't heard back from Jocco, one of the original members ... anybody else have any ideas on this one? 
As for the whole Manti Te'o deal, the more I hear about it, the more I think the ONLY song appropriate would be "What A Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers. (kk)  

re: THE SEEDS:  
A friend wants to contact the Seeds ... do you have any contact info for them?
Fred Glickstein  
Sky Saxon, leader of The Seeds, passed away a few years ago ... he participated with Forgotten Hits a couple of times many years ago. Is there someone in particular that he's trying to reach? I'm more than happy to post your request. Thanks, Fred. (kk)  
Any members of The Seeds would be good. 
Let's run it up the flagpole and see what comes back! (kk)  

I read that Mickey was able to provide some Shindig footage that was requested. I'd like to put this out there in case someone has what I'd like to have. A few years ago I mentioned this but had no luck. Since your readership has grown, maybe the right individual is on board now.
The "Upbeat Show" out of Cleveland had many episodes and I can't help but believe somebody has this information on tape or film. My Yellow Balloon appearance was in August of 1967. Others taping that day were The Outsiders, Van Morrison, Bobby Goldsboro, Evie Sands, The Vogues, Bunny Sigler and The Guess Who. How they were sequenced into shows I never knew, as I never saw the airing.
For years I had tried to get my bands appearance on American Bandstand but was always told that it didn't exist due to tape being expensive, and, as such, it was used over and over. Well, there is a trivia God and I now have our entire performance with Dick Clark interviewing me at the tail of the jam. Talk about cool. So I would venture to say that someone could sic me onto The Upbeat stuff, I'm just sayin!!
I would very much like to have that performance, so if anyone can't hook me up, I'd be mighty beholding.
Alex Valdez
I'm happy to put it out there ... but I'm not sure it exists. We have tried several times over the years to find footage from "Upbeat" and always come up empty. (Same problem with Lloyd Thaxton's "Showcase" program ... although on that one I think Lloyd may have had copies in his private collection.) Right before Thaxton died, he was working on a deal that would have seen the release of a series of volumes from The Lloyd Thaxton Show. As I understand it, "Showcase" was not part of that deal ... but, had the other series been successful, it wouldn't have surprised me to see Lloyd dig a little deeper into his archives. Unfortunately, he died before ANY of this material ever saw the light of day. I have no idea if his widow has any plans to release this material now. It sure would be great to see again.
Back in the '60's, we had a wealth of music television programs to draw from ... local versions as well as national versions ... imagine the video collection you could put together with some of these vintage clips today. (Sadly, the audience that would most appreciate seeing this stuff again is dwindling ... anybody holding the rights to this programming would do themselves well to release it NOW before that audience disappears completely!) As I said, "Upbeat' has come up numerous times over the years ... but you just don't see this stuff. Even on YouTube, where so many of these great clips have surfaced. But we're happy to ask. (All these "holding companies" that have the original footage from shows like "The Mike Douglas Show" and "The Hollywood Palace", etc, etc, etc ... how about releasing a vintage DVD Series through Forgotten Hits??? Imagine the love and care and attention we would pay to have this material available for viewing again!!! And Dave The Rave: here's a special appeal to you ... talk to Lloyd Thaxton's widow and see what it would take to get these programs released as some sort of music series or box set!!! (kk)
Oh, I know it exists, because about 15 years ago I saw an ad in some bullshit magazine that had them for sale. Of course my dumb ass, knowing that they would always be there, didn't act on the moment. Not long after I saw the ad, I saw another ad claiming that he couldn't sell them because his hands were slapped by someone related to the show. I'm just hoping that things have changed.
Well, it's a pretty safe bet that legal, commercial copies do not exist ... but I, too, seem to remember a website where you could pay a licensing fee (for private use only, NOT commercial use ... and a pretty significant fee at that) to obtain a copy of a specific performance. I know other bands who have done this with other shows ... so I say go for it ... but be prepared to pay for it, too! (kk)   

Click here: Upbeat Television Footage Archive: Otis Redding footage, Eric Burden & the Animals footage, Yardbirds footage, Uri  

Wow, Kent, thanks a lot. There are shows on there I had forgotten about!
Yes, it's an absolute treasure trove of vintage material ... why they won't consider putting together some compilation DVD's to share these with the public that would enjoy them most is beyond me ... they're generating absolutely NOTHING sitting in a vault! (kk)  

It is SO cool having some of these artists on the list that can share the REAL behind-the-scenes stories with our readers. Very special thanks to Gary Pike for his response to a recent inquiry about the lack of Lettermen reissues on CD.  (kk)  >>>Regarding the Lettermen: I note your disappointment at how short Jim Pike’s book “My Letterman Years ... The Journey To Hell And Back!" is. Unfortunately, it seems to be in keeping with their level of CD reissues. The best was issued by EMI as part of their Capitol Collector series in 1992. Significantly, the accompanying booklet did not feature any career perspective. There were neither bio details nor any mention of the group’s history. (However at $10, it’s still a great buy!). Since then, there have been budget issues and some compilations emanating from the Philippines, where I believe that the group has the type of popularity experienced by the Ventures in Japan. Collectors Choice began reissuing the Lettermen’s LPs as 2-fers but that project ended after the first two albums appeared on CD. Strange when, as you mention, the group put 33 albums on the Billboard chart! On the bio side, I cannot recall any collector magazine featuring a career overview together with a discography. I’m not sure what but “there is something going on here”. Given their output and their successes in the 60s, the Lettermen are one of the most underrepresented artists in terms of CD reissues. We need a double CD of their hits and best LP cuts (and there were many) with great packaging. In addition, the 2-fer project needs to continue, so that all their albums are available again. As for the Lettermen’s recordings, a few questions come to mind. Why did they not record any Beach Boys’ songs, particularly when they shared the same label, Capitol? Same goes for the 4 Seasons (except for “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”), Jay & The Americans etc. Maybe they did not want to risk losing their identity. However they did record some Beatles and British Invasions songs. Their versions of Gerry’s “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” and Herman’s “Listen People” are amazing. (Mike Edwards)  >>>I sent a copy of your email to Gary Pike to see if perhaps he knew about any future reissue plans through Capitol ... or maybe some foreign releases that better capture the complete Lettermen catalog. I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I hear something back. (Now I want to hear their versions of "Listen People" and "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying"!!!) kk  

Hi Kent,
I’ll take Mike’s questions one at a time and answer them the best I can.
The Lettermen catalogue re-issues stopped some time ago through CEMA, which is their re-issue venue. There was a 3 CD set with 36 tunes called “Best of the Lettermen, All-Time Greatest Hits”. It was released in 1993 and pops up on Ebay all the time. During our stint with Capitol we were contracted to do three albums a year. It totaled to about 45 albums not counting the re-packaged stuff and that’s quite a few songs.
The year before “The Best Of”, 3 CD series, in 1992 on the Capitol label they released the “Collectors Series”, which Capitol did with all their major artists. Mike complains that there was no bio information included in the booklet and with this CD he is right, and I’ll explain why.
When Capitol was putting the CD together they called each one of us and we sent them the accurate information about the group's formation and history. Everyone was happy with what Capitol put together except Tony Butala. But now here’s the back-story!
You have to remember that this was 1992, long after Jim Pike had sold his rights to the Lettermen name to Tony in 1976. Through the years since then, Tony had put his spin on the formation and history of the group in the bio, so naturally he was afraid of the truth being published in this high profile release. He got so excited about this he threatened legal action against Capitol. We told Capitol, "Hey! You have the testimonies of all of us ... he doesn’t have a leg to stand on." Capitol said they just didn’t want the hassle and was going to cancel the release of the CD. We didn’t want this so Jim told Capitol to just make it very generic and just give a special thanks to all involved and add a lot more pictures and that’s what Capitol did. They only mention individual names in the booklet in a special thanks to: Jim Pike, Bob Engemann, Tony Butala, Gary Pike, etc. But, I’ll never figure how Bruce Belland of the Four Preps got his name included! The Preps had their own collectors series. We were also disappointed that my younger brother Donny, who Jim used on several of the Capitol albums and even had his picture on the last album we did for Capitol and toured with us as a Letterman, was never mentioned. We discovered this after Capitol had already pressed them up.
Collectors Choice a while back did release the first two albums together that you could order out of their catalogue and I bought one on Ebay. Sad to say I was quite disappointed ... the Capitol masters have degraded so much that the tape hiss is horrible. The only CD’s that are any good are the ones released through Capitol that have been digitally cleaned up. The other masters they sell to budget sellers are just copied direct from the original tapes and are all junk. I have gone through the entire Lettermen catalogue and have digitally cleaned up all the songs. I feel like making copies and taking everything down to Capitol and saying, "Here you go, these are on me ... and please don’t send out any more junk."
Mike asked why we didn’t do any Beach Boys songs ! Well, here is an interesting story.
We share a mutual love of the Four Freshmen with Brian Wilson. Brian knows this and has talked about the Freshman with us. One day Jim asked Brian to write a song for us and he said he had a great idea about a Surfer Girl. This was about the same time Brian’s dad, Murray, was jumping all over Brian about sharing his talents and song ideas with other artists. The next thing you know Capitol releases “Surfer Girl” by the Beach Boys. We’ll have to ask Brian if he originally intended to give the song to us ... I don’t know.
For some reason station program directors didn’t like the Lettermen doing original songs. This was reported to us by the Capitol promo men, even though we released some dynamite originals. A lot are posted on youtube. They would say, you guys should do only standards.. Mike asks about doing other groups' material and we covered a host of them. We had a real modest hit with “She Cried”, which is one of my favorites. We did an original song called “Girl With the Little Tin Heart” which was really Four Seasons-esque. Early on, there was some good folk stuff on our albums ... and you can ask Tom Diehl about that. I think we have quite a variety of songs out there.
As far as repackaged Lettermen songs now days, they pop up once in while repackaged with other artists in late night Time / Life infomercials ... also the Christmas stuff. I think Capitol may be a little reluctant to release another all Lettermen Best Of or Greatest Songs because of the fiasco with the Collectors Series ... even though it’s been over ten years they might be a little gun shy, I don’t know. Also, there have already been about three best of’s, a couple greatest hits, a couple all time greatest hits, plus the budget stuff that’s been released and it doesn’t pay to beat a dead horse.
I forgot to mention that in our group “The Reunion”, we have recorded all the hits and most popular Lettermen songs on several CD’s ... AND, you can get them through our web site at: (One g between singing and group)
I hope I’ve answered all of Mike’s questions and as far as Jim’s book not being long enough, well, he was worried it would bore people to death, that’s the way he is. Humble Jim Pike.
Thanks, Kent, for the space.
Lettermen / Reunion, Gary Pike
Here are links to a few of the Lettermen tracks you and your readers may be interested in:
Lettermen 1964
Reunion Singles 2013 from the album It Must Be Love
I really like the "The Way You Look Tonight / Lady In Red" Medley ... VERY nice ... and I've gotta say you guys STILL sound fantastic!!! Thanks, Gary!   (kk)

I'd not heard the "Surfer Girl" story before ... and was a bit surprised ... although the timing DOES coincide with Brian giving away "Surf City" to Jan and Dean, who then went on to top the charts with it, infuriating his day Murry Wilson, who then made the infamous comment about not giving away anymore hit songs to other artists. But I've always considered "Surfer Girl" to be too personal a song for Brian to ever consider giving it away. It was his first REAL solo composition, inspired by hearing "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Walt Disney's "Pinocchio" ... listen closely and you'll see how Brian reworked that melody into "Surfer Girl" ... plus it was written about his first real girlfriend ... so I can't imagine him ever really seriously considering giving the song away to anyone else to record other than himself. (kk)  

I asked noted Beach Boys expert (and former manager ... and FH Reader) Fred Vail if HE had ever heard any rumblings about Brian considering giving away "Surfer Girl" over all the years he spent with the boys ... and he pretty much concurred with my assessment. Read on ...  

Greetings, Kent ... and Happy New Year, 2013!
I hope it's a good one for you and yours. Now, on to my recollections of "Surfer Girl." I have never heard that story -- that Brian mentioned it might be a good song for The Lettermen -- but it is possible, as it was written in late '61. It was Brian Wilson's first composition and he wrote it by himself. It was inspired by the Disney classic, "When You Wish Upon A Star," which was a single by Dion and The Belmonts at the time. The 'boys' recorded it in February of '62, but that version was scrapped and it was re-recorded in June, '63, less than a month after my first concert with them.
The Lettermen sure could have used a 'hit,' as after their '61 recordings of "When I Fall In Love" and "The Way You Look Tonight," they were pretty 'cold' (we used to say: 'cold as a witches' tit') until 1965's "Theme From A summer Place" brought them back into the Top 20.
Brian was entering one of his most prolific periods and the June recording of "Surfer Girl" along with the "B" side, "Little Deuce Coupe," went to #7 and #15 respectively. During that same period, '62 to '65, when The Lettermen had only one Top 20 song, "Summer Place," Brian and 'the boys' had 10 Top 10 songs, including two #1's and two #3's. Many folks may find this hard to believe, but "Surfer Girl" also went to #18 on the Billboard R&B chart! Maroon 5 performed the song at the Grammy Awards 50th Anniversary salute to The Beach Boys last year.
'And now,' as Paul Harvey used to say, 'you know the rest of the story.'
Treasure Isle Recorders
Music City, USA  

And, as long as I had his attention, I also asked Gary Pike about the period when he first joined the group ... he was no sooner onboard when the hit the charts in a very, very big way with their "Goin' Out Of My Head / Can't Take My Eyes Off You" medley ... followed shortly thereafter by another smash remake of Little Anthony's "Hurt So Bad". Boy, timing is everything, isn't it Gary?  (kk) 

Having a hit at a transition period of personnel is the best time ever and Goin’ Outa My Head had the biggest impact in the music world of any of our hits. We were nominated for a Grammy with that one. One reason Jim wanted me in there was he knew the fans would accept a brother sooner than someone else, and besides they always asked if Jim and Bob were brothers. This time a little nepotism paid off!

Gary Pike

Here's that killer version of "Hurt So Bad" one more time ... radio should be playing this one once in a while!  (kk)