Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sunday Comments ( 04 - 21 - 13 )

Wow ... it's really been quite a week, hasn't it?  

Between Boston bombings and new threats from Korea ... poison letters to Obama and torrential raining and flooding throughout the midwest (including some crippling instances right here in Chicago) ... man, this was one for the books. 

Hopefully we can help relieve a little bit of the stress with some musical memories this weekend. (Relieving by reliving ... hey, I kinda like that!)  

For starters, here's Neil Diamond performing "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway Park in Boston ... talk about raising some dampened spirits! Enjoy! (kk)  

Kent ...  
Here's the Song of the Week.
This is
one time I don't mind seeing a Brooklyn Boy wearing a Boston Baseball Cap.
Frank B.
Click here: Baseball Video Highlights & Clips | KC @ BOS: Neil Diamond sings 'Sweet Caroline' at Fenway - Video | Mu


In honor of their 60th Anniversary, TV Guide has been coming up with all kinds of Top 60 Lists this year. This week, they pick the all-time greatest television theme songs! 
I've always been a collector of these and have featured several over the years.  
In the brand new edition available now, they rank the Top Ten ... and then alphabetically list the 50 "Runners Up".

Counting down The Top Ten (and I have some difficulty with this as I think some FAR better songs fell short of the list ... or didn't make it at all!) are:

#10 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (wouldn't have made my list at all! In fact, I couldn't hum it if you asked me to!)

#9 - Sesame Street (seriously?  Ten best?)
#8 - The Jeffersons (catchy as hell)
#7 - Route 66 (with the upcoming Route 66 Radio Tour coming up ... more info on that below ... we featured Manhattan Transfer singing this a while back)
#6 - The Beverly Hillbillies (clever and cute ... but one of the ten best ever?)
#5 - Friends (and a huge #1 Hit to boot!)
#4 - M*A*S*H (things that make you go "hmmm???")
#3 - Hawaii Five-O (another radio smash)
#2 - The Mary Tyler Moore Show
#1 - Cheers
Listed amongst the "also-rans" you'll find "The Addams Family", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (another one we featured a week or two ago), "The Andy Griffith Show", "All In The Family", "Batman", "Bewitched", "The Brady Bunch", "Car 54, Where Are You?", "Dallas", "The Flintstones", 'Gilligan's Island", "The Greatest American Hero", "Green Acres", "Happy Days", "I Love Lucy", "Mission: Impossible", "Mr. Ed", "The Monkees", "The Odd Couple" (try and get THAT one out of your head once you hear it!), "The Patty Duke Show" (identical cousins!), "Peter Gunn", "The Tonight Show" (talked about recently in tandem with Paul Anka's new book) and "Welcome Back Kotter".
Surely you must have your own favorites ... we'd like to hear them. In fact, if we get a good enough response to this, we just may compile our OWN Top 50 List of Television Favorites ... as voted on by The Readers Of Forgotten Hits!!! (kk)

re: THE IRS 104:
Did you get a chance to listen to any of the countdown last weekend?
Well, Rich Appel has posted the entire list (along with each song's rankings in years past) ... and you can check it out right here:
This year's I.R.S. Top 104 ...

Last Sunday we told you about some great up and coming shows ... but the inevitable question remains ...
How do I go about getting a good ticket to one of these shows I really want to see?

Ever wonder why you can't ever seem to get that great ticket to the concert you've been dying to see? Tom Cuddy sheds some light below:  
Wanna rock 'n' roll all night? Sorry, sold out
Written by Jayne O’Donnell USA TODAY

The easiest way to get tickets to a hot concert is to “get to know a rock star -- or a rock star’s mother.”

Nothing quite compares with options offered by Mark Campana, co-president of North American concerts for LiveNation, Ticketmaster’s parent company. But there are other ways to increase your chances.
Advocacy group Fan Freedom says odds are against consumers hoping to get good seats, or any seat, when tickets go on sale to the public. Up to 90 percent of seats may already be sold.

Many tickets are allocated to pre-sales outlets, including the artist’s fan club, radio station listeners, certain credit card holders and season-ticket holders at concert venues, says Fan Freedom spokesman Chris Grimm. Pre-sales typically occur the week leading up to the public sale.

That makes it sound a bit less impressive when an artist such as Justin Bieber sells out, say, Madison Square Garden in a matter of minutes after the public sale starts.
Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 reported that the public sale for Bieber’s summer concert there included only 1,001 tickets of almost 14,000 issued. The station also released documents it got through a Freedom of Information Act request from Bridgestone Arena showing Bieber’s tour sold at least 17 close-in seats on Ticketmaster’s resale site, TicketsNow.

A spokeswoman for Bieber did not respond to a request for comment.

Eyebrow-raising ticket activity is hardly limited to the artists. Resellers, known pejoratively as scalpers, aren’t only seedy-looking types lurking outside arenas. Some resellers use software tools known as “bots” to buy large blocks of tickets while making it look like a bunch of individual purchases, Campana says. He notes ticket prices in the resale market are tracked as if on a stock exchange.

Ticket companies, in an effort to clamp down on scalpers, are increasingly making it tough for ticket holders to sell or give away their own tickets. Paperless tickets often can’t be used by anyone other than the buyer, or at least, the buyer has to show up with identification and the credit card used to buy the tickets.

A coalition of consumer groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, joined Fan Freedom recently in asking federal and state officials to clamp down on electronic tickets that prevent consumers from freely transferring or reselling them. 
The Federal Trade Commission hasn’t commented on that practice, but did reach a settlement with Ticketmaster and TicketsNow, in 2010 about what it called “bait and switch” practices in ticket sales for Bruce Springsteen concerts. The companies told people who went online for the public sale that none were available and steered them to TicketsNow, the FTC said. Ticketmaster agreed to pay refunds to those who bought tickets for 14 Springsteen concerts through TicketsNow, and “to be clear about the costs and risks” of buying through its reseller sites. Ticketmaster also failed to tell buyers that many resale tickets advertised on didn’t exist -- even though it often took money for them, the FTC said. A red flag for any ticket shopper: Watch out for anyone selling tickets who can’t say exactly where the seats are.

It’s possible to prevail in the world of concert shopping. If you can’t beat the system, the best advice is to get in on the pre-sales and read all the fine print before making your purchase.

Artists, not surprisingly, reserve a chunk of tickets for fan club members, some of whom have to pay to join. Membership can also include advance notice of upcoming tours.
“Fans who are not a member of the fan club have no clue if they’re competing for only 1,000 or 2,000 tickets available,” says Grimm.

More to keep in mind:

- Other pre-sales: Credit card companies, especially American Express, often get the second-biggest chunk of early tickets. Citibank and Mastercard, as well, often have special deals for cardholders. Radio stations that have pre-sale tickets can alert listeners to check their websites to get a code to order tickets. Several independent websites offer pre-sale codes, often for a fee, but Grimm warns against using them.
- Standing in line: It can still work, Campana says. Venues that open their physical box offices will often count the people in line -- if it’s a reasonable number -- and take that number out of public sale.

- Additional options: Tickets can surface in the days and weeks before a concert. People sometimes return tickets, or seats become available because credit card payments are declined, says Campana. Tours may release additional seats, sometimes a day or two before the event, when stage plans change and there’s room for more seats. 
- Watch out: If there’s a chance you may not be able to use tickets, make sure you can sell or give them away. As with any expensive purchase, there are impostors out there.

- Don’t get mad at the ticket seller when you can’t get tickets. The musicians and their tour managers control much of what goes on with ticketing, says Campana. The tour selects a concert promoter, who selects the venue, and that determines who’s selling the tickets, because of contractual relationships.

“They can allocate however they want; we just want them to be honest,” Grimm says of artists, ticket sellers and concert venues.   

Meanwhile, you can ALWAYS get a great ticket at a great price to a great show at The Arcada Theatre ... and, even nicer, they're available through the more "conventional means" ... and Ron Onesti has some major acts coming up ...

Friday, April 26th - Michael McDonald

Saturday, April 27th - Dennis DeYoung (and the Music of Styx)

Saturday, May 4th - Frankie Avalon

Saturday, May 11th - The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots 
Friday, May 31st - The Heart And Soul Of The Band Chicago (featuring former members Bill Champlin and Danny Seraphine along with original Buckinghams vocalist Dennis Tufano)

Sunday, June 2nd - Dave Davies ("A Night Of The Kinks")

Friday, June 7th - Nazareth

Sunday, June 9th - Kenny Loggins

Friday, June 28th - Bachman and Turner

October 5th - America

December 8th - The Lettermen Christmas Show  
And, after we put out the notice about Freddy Cannon's upcoming show in Long Island, we got this from FH Reader Tom Diehl ...
Interesting to see the Knockouts still listed on this May 4th concert promo as they have been dropped from all of the artist listings for this concert online.... in fact i was going to go to this concert until i learned the Knockouts were going to be performing at this concert instead, which I will be at:
and have now built other plans around going to this Sands concert. 

Obviously, ALL concerts / venues / participants are always subject to change ... tough part there is buying your tickets in advance.   

We also just heard that Three Dog Night (or I guess more accurately 2/3 of Three Dog Night) will be appearing at a free concert in Elk Grove Village on July 30th ... can't wait to see that one ... especially since Chuck Negron will be coming to town just a few weeks later as part of this year's Happy Together Tour! (kk)  


TOMMY ... just off his SIXTH TOP TEN HIT ... and biggest of all time ... DIZZY!!! 
While most American singers and songwriters were wiped off the charts in the 60s with the BRITISH INVASION, TOMMY ROE THRIVED >>> WRITING and RECORDING SIX TOP TENS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER AMERICAN SOLO RECORDING ARTIST OF THE  DECADE ...
23 CHART HITS, 11 TOP 40, 6 TOP 10, 4 GOLD, 2 NUMBER 1  
RICK LEVY MGT 904 806 0817  
BOOKING>>> JOHN REGNA 201 394 5944

The KKFH branch is open until midnight. You could have played Take The Money & Run by Crosby & Nash. Unless you plan do it later.
What ... and pass up an opportunity to feature the rarely-played Steve Miller Band? Not on your life! I like that ... KKFH Branch ... member of FDIC (Forgottenhits Done Incredibly Cooly!!!) kk  

What a way to make a tough day more fun! We've been enjoying the money songs all day. (Well, most of them.)
And I agree with you about Van Morrison's money track. It received enough airplay that you'd think it would appear on any collection of his stuff.

Kent ...
WCBS-FM played money songs in the Hall of Fame on Monday, too.
I guess great minds think alike.
They even threw Eddie Money into the mix.
Thursday was a tribute to Dick Clark & American Bandstand.
It's already a year since his death.
Frank B.
Hey, we featured Eddie Money ... and Johnny Cash, too! (lol) I guess The Loop did a money theme here in Chicago, too. (And here I thought I was being so clever!!!)
Hard to believe it's been a year already since Dick Clark passed away. I was a bit surprised to see The Drive (of all stations!) honor him on Thursday Morning. (I know this because I was stuck in traffic for three hours trying to get to work amongst all the flooding.) In fact, Bob Stroud had to come in and do the morning shift because nobody else could get to work that morning either. It truly looked like the end of the world Thursday Morning. (And with a weather forecast predicting 40 Days and 40 Nights of Rain and Flooding, I may not be too far off the mark on that one!!!) kk  

Enjoyed your Monday salute to Money long did it take you to come up with that one???
One thing this clearly showed was how much the quality of music has deteriorated these last several years. The unbleeped versions of the Notorius B.I.G. and Bruno Mars songs attest to that.
Not that long ... putting the whole day together in advance like that takes a while 'tho! 
Yeah, we ran the full gamut with this one! But I kinda like the Bruno Mars song ... and I will be the first to admit that I, too, wanna be a billionare so fuckin' bad!!! (kk)  

re: DATING, 1961:  
-- BOB FRABLE     

I checked out all the records I was not familiar with.  Great article on pre 1950 rock and roll.  

The more I read, the more I realize, the less I know. Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano 

I'm surprised that I don't see the Delta Rhythm Boys mentioned more when folks talk about Doo Wop influences. They were great.
This was most definitely the "condensed" version of Ed's piece ... we could probably run a full week of examples ... and just may if there's another interest there to do so.  (Certainly this is an "acquired taste" ... not for everybody out there ... but here in FH majority rules, so let us know what you think.)  kk  

I'd love to see the full piece run, or at least be able for us to all get a copy. 
Regarding what I've read at your site today, and from what I knew of Rock's History before. 
I agree. Rock & Roll didn't start in the 50's, but it was the 50's and young America that made it possible for all of it to be accepted as an art form--you know, time and place. 
Many recordings before that have a rock and Roll feel, but it was the acceptance by DJ's who could bring all those great recordings to the radio where both the kids and other musicians could hear them. Then the sounds can become even more homogenized. 

Hey Kent -
This past Wednesday on American Idol one of the top five finalists, Amber, sang the song Without You. Everyone kept giving credit to Mariah Carey for her song. Even though it only went to number 3 here in the states, it was mentioned that it was one of her biggest hits over the entire globe. At the end of her critique of Amber, Mariah mentioned that she needed to thank Harry Nilsson for writing such an amazing song. I am a bit surprised that she is not aware that even though Harry Nilsson was an amazing songwriter and is associated with making that song a number one hit, he did not write that song. Tom Evans and Pete Ham of Badfinger wrote it.
Phil - WRCO
Don'tcha just love it! So basically she just misinformed about 12 million people that night ... and that's the kind of thing that's wrong with the way music is handled and presented today. (Hopefully she'll come back and make a correction to her erroneous statement ... but I doubt it!)
Several years ago we traced "Without You" from its humble beginnings (the Pete Ham home demo) to the Badfinger version to Nilsson's #1 Smash through Mariah's remake. For me, NOBODY could ever top Harry Nilsson's version ... he heard something in that Badfinger track that I never heard ... truth is I didn't pay too much attention to it when it first appeared on their "No Dice" album ... I thought it was one of the weaker tracks on that LP. But in the hands of Harry Nilsson and Producer Richard Perry, they transformed the song into one of the most powerful tracks of the '70's. This is one of those rare ones that has never grown old or gotten stale for me.
As an artist, Mariah should know better ... especially since she's cowritten quite a few of her own hits. But she may simply be ignorant of the song's true origins. (Then again maybe she thinks The Jackson Five wrote "I'll Be There", too!)
Like I said, hopefully she'll offer a public correction ... but somehow I doubt it. (kk)  

Dear Kent,
Thanks for your terrific web site!
There's an audio file attached to this email I think you'll enjoy.
At this page of your blog:
Joe Klein mentioned a promo Ken Levine produced for "Septic Singovers."
While doing some disk-to-digital transfers for a friend, I came across an electrical transcription of this promo and I've attached an mp3 of it to this email.
I hope you enjoy it!
Dave Berges
WQAM 1971-1979

While we've featured some of these custom intros over the years I wasn't aware of a campaign to make them atrociously annoying!!! (lol) It's a bit of a lengthy clip ... but also shows you to what lengths they went to in order to get radio stations to buy into this idea. And, it's a part of radio history ... so we're happy to share today! (kk)  

When I told him what you sent me ... and let him know that we were planning to run it on the website ... Joe Klein sent me this little blurb on Septic Singovers ...   

Hey Kent.
Glad you caught up with me. Hell, we haven't communicated in many months (since just after your big hard drive crash last year)!
Regarding SEPTIC SINGOVERS, as I believe you know, this was a parody of the Joey Reynolds package that took hold for a short time in, like 1969 or 1970 to the best of my recollection.
Ken Levine and a couple of his pals produced it. I helped with a bit of editing and post production and then had the "rainbow colored" discs pressed up for Ken. Hell I hadn't even graduated from high school yet!
I think I have one or two records left, probably in mint condition, but god knows what box they are buried in. I bet Ken still has the original analog tape master. You may want to contact him and find out.
Let's try and talk soon and catch up, if that is possible!
Take care.

\\\ JK \\\

When the radio stations started acquiring CD's and dumping their vinyl, I, too, was upset, as it was clear that some of these CD's did NOT have the original 45 versions. Maybe someday a list of 'missing masters' might be interesting to compile? Some are pretty close to the original 45's but others are REALLY bad!! I've noticed lately that "Chapel Of Love" is really awful but yet I do seem to remember hearing this remake version only in the last few years so maybe the original master is still out there somewhere. I was disappointed many times in the late 80's, when the last wave of vinyl came out. Many were 'live' versions or album issues. 'Solitary Man' is an interesting one also as for years on CD it was another version (album) that was always on CD but finally the original Bang version was put out but that song wasn't really a hit in '66 (#55) but after Neil left for UNI, Bang released it again in 1970 and it became a hit #21 but yet most DJ's said "a hit from 1966" but it really wasn't! Another interesting topic; re-released songs that became hits after the artists changed labels!
John Evanich III

We keep telling you about the upcoming Route 66 Radio Tour ... Ron Smith just sent us this photograph of the vintage studio that they'll be broadcasting from down in Pontiac, Illinois ... and what an interesting shot it is!!! (lol)

Here's the studio Lane Lindstrom has put together for the British visitors at the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac, Illinois. Note the album next to the turntable? 

Too funny! (Heck, that's worth a trip down to Pontiac right there!) kk 

I had the occasion to be in the car for upwards of three hours twice last week, giving me the opportunity to listen to a little more radio than usual. What a complete disappointment to hear ... in the span of three consecutive hours ... the same songs played twice ... a total of NINE TIMES!!! 
Nine different songs ... yet each one came on twice during that three hour span. Again, with 10,000 songs to choose from, why should this EVER happen?!?! Yet it continues to happen repeatedly. (I had to laugh as one of the new promo clips played on WLIT has a woman saying that she likes the station because it offers "more variety than playing the same five songs over and over again". How true, how true. Even the most casual listener is fed up with it. And now that we've pointed it out, not a week goes by when we don't hear from at least three or four people complaining, "Do they really have to play 'Margaritaville' twice a day, every single day?" Or "You can set you clock to it ... they are going to play a Billy Joel song EVERY day between 2:00 and 2:30." Or "Tiny Dancer ... AGAIN?!?!? I used to love this song!" And the list goes on and on ... yet the guys who program radio seem oblivious to it ... or, worse yet, insist that they're giving the public EXACTLY what it wants.  (Boneheads!)
So today we start a new feature in Forgotten Hits ... it's called "KUDOS TO ..." and each week we'll salute the stations who stepped outside the box for just a moment and played something that we haven't already heard twenty other times this week.
First award goes to The Loop ... who played "The Story In Your Eyes", a #14 Hit for The Moody Blues from 1972 that NEVER gets played anymore.
Wanna make the list? Then impress me!!! Play me something that'll surprise me ... something I haven't already heard a dozen times on yours and every other radio station this week ... and EVERY week.
Knock my socks off and we'll let the rest of the world know about it, too. (kk)

Kent ...
This may come as a shock to you ... I listen to WCBS-FM (101.1) everyday.
Lately it feels like the Billy Joel channel.
For the last couple of weeks they've been playing "Only The Good Die Young" and "Scenes From An
Italian Restaurant" - too many times.
"Only The Good Die Young" was a #24, 1978 Billboard Hit. I can understand that. As far as I know, "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" was an album cut ... never released as a single.
Why do they keep playing it?
Bottle of Red, Bottle of White. Now they got me doing it!
Frank B.
They keep playing them because radio STILL hasn't learned that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing!!! It's radio as we know it, circa 2013. Frannie complained the other day about hearing "Your Love" by The Outfield about twenty times this past week. Now I personally happen to LOVE that song ... always have ... and it's another one of those rare ones that I never turn off ... and it was a #6 Hit in 1986 ... and the simple fact is "oldies" radio spends a LOT of time in the '80's lately. Regardless of how much I like the song, however, I STILL don't believe that it should be beaten to death, ruining it for others. There is SO much great music to choose from ... why do they insist on hammering us over the head with the same 50 or 60 tracks??? (kk)

Meanwhile, MAJOR MAJOR kudos to Rewound Radio for their wide selection of music. I sat transfixed for hours this weekend as I listened to songs I haven't heard played on the air in ages ... and in some cases, decades! And in crystal-clear sound, too.  (This is EXACTLY what Forgotten Hits Radio would sound like if it existed ... the only thing I would do differently is have live deejays doing more of the vintage "deejay patter", a few more jingles and mix in a few more of the most popular hits ... it's the mix of ALL of this music together that keeps it interesting.  I've never said REPLACE the music you're playing now ... I've simply endorsed a better mix and more variety ... something to keep the listener tuned in.)
And I can tell you that Rewound Radio did EXACTLY that ... I probably listened for about ten hours spread over the past two or three days. 
You can check them out here:  
Click here: Rewound Radio

Yeah, I like the concept of Turntable Tuesday ... but this one doesn't impress me much ... I still hear "Lonely Too Long" fairly often.

Wanna play a Rascals track that'll blow me away? Then how about "Carry Me Back" or "You Better Run" or "A Ray Of Hope" or "See" or "Heaven"? Each one of those records was a Top 20 Hit. Now tell me the last time you heard ANY of them played on the radio!!! (In fact, you're more likely to hear Pat Benatar's version of "You Better Run" than The Rascals' original ... and Pat Benatar's version didn't even make The Top 40!!!) kk

Maybe I missed you posting this, but in case you did not post it, here you go!
Clark Besch

Nope, I've never seen or heard this before ... although I will admit to being just a little bit suspicious as to the authenticity of this clip. Clearly it DOES show Biondi playing The Beatles' WLS charted hit "Please Please Me" ... but there's a very crude edit right before the song comes on ... while the rest of the clip plays seamlessly. I'm also not quite sure I buy the timing ... the clip starts with Gene Pitney singing "Mecca", a song that wouldn't debut on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey until March 22nd ... two full weeks after "Please Please Me" and as much as a full month later than this program reportedly aired. Hard to believe that a song would take four weeks to chart by such a major artist. The Steve Lawrence track featured ("Don't Be Afraid, Little Darlin'") premiered on the WLS chart the week after "Please Please Me" ... and Johnny Cymbal's "Mr. Bass Man" made the chart for the first time the same week that "Please Please Me" did. It just strikes me as odd that Biondi would play four brand new tracks in a row on his program, none of which were even officially "hit bound" yet at this point in time.

On the other hand it proves conclusively that Biondi played "Please Please Me" on the air, regardless of what date this originally aired ... and the recording is especially clean and clear, too ... so quite enjoyable to hear. Thanks for sending! (You know what a hot topic this has been for the past 14 years in Forgotten Hits!!!) kk

Forgotten Hits Reader Dave Barry has sent us some very good press about a brand new documentary that I think our readers will really enjoy.
It's called "The Cover Story" ... and it explores some of the great album art of our generation.  
Check it out below:

[From the April 10 North Bay Bohemian. I believe I've mentioned this once before that Mr. Robinson was the News Director of KRCB when I was working there.] -- Dave Barry 

New doc uncovers the stories behind classic album art by Bruce Robinson
Despite the old maxim about books, we're expected to judge a record album by its cover. By careful design, these 12-inch squares meld art and marketing in iconic images and photographs that often make the LP a work of visual, as well as musical, creativity.
Many have come with unknown but fascinating backstories, nuggets of cultural history that Marin filmmaker Eric Christensen mines in his new documentary The Cover Story.
"Some of the stories behind the albums I knew—they're legendary—but with many, I uncovered stories of what it took to take the photograph or do the artwork," he explains. "
One of the really interesting ones is the Doors album cover that Henry Diltz did for Morrison Hotel, how they had to sneak into the hotel and take one shot and that was it."
Along with photographers, graphic artists are the stars of The Cover Story, including several who are "intrinsically linked" with specific performers, among them Roger Dean (Yes), Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd) and Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley (the Grateful Dead). They naturally welcomed the chance to discuss their work, Christensen says, but musicians, too, were happy to contribute. "They sort of lit up when asked about how the artwork links with the music, and what went into the decisions" about their covers, Christensen says.
The stories behind other album art, like Nirvana's Nevermind, took considerable digging. The swimming baby seen underwater is now a young adult, who seems rather bemused by the whole thing.
More intensive detective work was required to identify and locate the then-11-year-old girl seen topless and holding a model spaceship on the original cover of the lone album by 1970s supergroup Blind Faith.
Even though the photographer refused to help, Christensen found her—and persuaded her to tell her story on camera. "She was a young girl and had no compunction about posing for it," he recounts. "The way she feels now is she's glad that people talk about it and are interested in it."
Blind Faith was quickly repackaged with a standard band-photo cover in the United States, making it the second high-visibility case of what Christensen calls "banned covers." (The first was the Beatles' hastily recalled "butcher" cover for Yesterday and Today.) "There's a funny one where the Mamas and Papas, fully clothed, are in a bathtub, but Dunhill records put a sticker over the toilet, 'cause the toilet was dirty and they thought that was too gross," the filmmaker notes. Several others are also featured in the film.
"A lot of these have become collectibles," he notes, and "have a certain place in the history."
'The Cover Story' screens April 13 at the Sonoma International Film Festival and April 15 at the Rafael Film Center.

Dave remembers ...

1) Just a week or two ago, I read in a book or magazine (Record Collector?, Goldmine?) the story behind the front cover of the LP known as "Morrison Hotel" but which is officially listed by Elektra Records as "Morrison Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe." What timing!

2) The dual packaging for Blind Faith. Since Tower Records at Columbus and Bay in San Francisco sold the "banned" cover and the "replacement" cover side-by-side, I had assumed that the LP was deliberately issued with two covers, with hopes that record collectors would purchase both.

2a) I bought the "banned" "Yesterday and Today" cover from John Goddard at Village Music in Mill Valley many years ago. I had offered him $50 for the "peeled off" "butcher" cover but he said he had gone to too much trouble to remove the replacement "trunk" cover pasted over the original to want to sell it. Instead, he offered me the "butcher" cover LP (mono) with the "trunk" cover still pasted over it for $20. I bought it and never tampered with it. Some time ago I read that because most people removed (or tried to remove) the pasted cover, there are very few of the original configurations left (both "butcher" and "trunk" covers left intact) and so those are much more valuable than the LPs with just the "butcher" cover left on them. Like to the tune of $1,000. Okay, I'm a little skeptical of the $1,000 price tag but haven't done any research.

3) The first two Mamas and Papas LPs had the group identified as "The Mama's and Papa's." I wrote to Dunhill Records asking what they were possessing. When their next LP was released, the inappropriate apostrophes had been eliminated from their name. I have no idea if my letter is the reason for the correction -- but I'd like to think so -- as Dunhill never acknowledged receipt of my letter.

More on this ... sounds like EXACTLY the kind of program we'd enjoy seeing!

From the January 21 San Francisco Chronicle:
When the Beatles released "Yesterday and Today" in 1966, with its cover of the boys holding mutilated baby dolls, San Francisco teenager Eric Christensen grabbed a poster of it before the album art could be pulled from the shelves.
Forty-five years later, Christensen was a documentary filmmaker in need of a project. So he went downstairs to the vinyl room of his Mill Valley home and looked at that famous "butcher" poster, framed in the center of the wall. Then he looked at the rows and rows of records on either side of it - 10,000 of them, alphabetized by artist. Then his next project was obvious: "The Cover Story: Album Art," which receives its world premiere Saturday.
It was all on the wall in front of him so he started at letter A, and didn't need to go past B before he found the dramatic device that would carry the picture. Just past the Beatles he saw another scandalous cover, the topless preteen holding a model airplane on the cover of the original Blind Faith record, released in 1969.
"Who is this girl?" says Christensen, who is 64 but still boyish when it comes to his records. "I knew if I could find her and get her to talk about posing for the cover, I would have a centerpiece for a documentary about album cover art."
The spoiler alert is that Christensen, without even a name to go on, sleuthed out the girl and a tale of intrigue that involves a wrecked Rolls-Royce, a horse, the London subway and an international reunion of sisters at a Big Sur retreat. That episode is worthy of its own short film, but instead it gives the mystery to a long one.
"The Cover Story" debuts at Sweetwater Music Hall, which is the right place to give the film a push. Opened a year ago by Bob Weir and friends, the made-over Masonic Hall, off the Mill Valley town square, is a safe place for hippies. Hang around the bar, and you will find people still listening to LPs and studying the art in the gatefold, probably for several hours that same day.
Access to musicians
There are Sweetwater regulars in front of the camera and behind it. These include Christensen, who has been in the scene since he was at Lowell High School, with an after-school job mailing out records for "Big Daddy" Tom Donahue, the godfather of FM underground. Now a retired KGO TV producer who also made films for Bill Graham, Christensen had no trouble getting access to performers.
"A lot of musicians are tired of getting the same old rock 'n' roll questions," he says, "but very seldom are they asked about their album covers."
The DVD ($25 at used record stores) runs almost two hours, mainly because Christensen felt he had to get in everybody who gave him their time. Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Bob Weir, Steve Earle, John Mellencamp, Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis, Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Mark Volman of the Turtles, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick. Those are just the people who appear in the first five minutes.
Joni Mitchell turned him down, but Yoko Ono did not. To hear her describe what compelled Ono and John Lennon to pose naked, front and back, for the cover of "Two Virgins," he was willing to fly to New York, even after he'd had to eat the ticket when she canceled their first meeting.
Ono made up for it by volunteering to discuss her album cover for "Season of Glass," which displayed the bloody lenses removed from Lennon's face the night he was shot to death.
"She was the most expensive part of the film," Christensen says, "but that story made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck."
He had to book a studio for that interview, but other great visual artists were at Christensen's disposal. They all have time.
Doors, Nirvana covers
In the film, photographer Henry Diltz describes how
the Doors couldn't get in the door of the Morrison Hotel, on Los Angeles' Skid Row. So they waited outside in the smog until the desk clerk, who had refused them, went up in the elevator. They had the cover shot and were gone before the elevator came back down. In celebration, they hit the first bar they saw, which happened be called the Hard Rock Cafe. On impulse, Diltz shot the name painted on glass for the back cover.
"Jim wanting a drink starts the whole Hard Rock Cafe empire," he says of Doors singer Jim Morrison.
Spencer Elden, who was the naked baby reaching for the dollar bill in the swimming pool, on the cover of the Nirvana album "Nevermind," has talked before. Now 22, Elden wants to be paid for it, but Christensen got around that by agreeing to buy some of his paintings.
To finance that purchase and the film in general, Christensen had to sell some of his vintage posters from the Fillmore and Avalon era. That diminished his poster supply to just under 1,000. He's been around since before the Summer of Love, picking up home movies and concert footage, which he stores in his basement, near the posters. Some of his tape made it into his previous documentary, "The Trips Festival Movie," which came out five years ago.
"I call myself an accumulator rather than a collector," he says. "I just get things that come my way."
He has sealed copies of records he's bought for the cover and never played. One is "He's Able" by the People's Temple Choir, photographed at Portals of the Past in Golden Gate Park. "Our inspiration," reads the back cover, "is a lifestyle demonstrated by our pastor James W. Jones."
Reduction of artwork
You won't find that on CD, a format that the illustrators who appear in the film - Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, R. Crumb - wish had never been invented.
"Calling it a jewel box is rubbish," says Roger Dean, who designed the otherworldly covers for Yes. "It's a tack(y) box."
Victor Kahn, who designed covers for the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, has to stop and compose himself before he will even address the concept. "Oh, my God. Excuse me. I hate CDs," he says. The illustrators can't find words to describe the further reduction of their artwork onto a tablet or a phone. So Huey Lewis does it for them.
"All of this is precluded by iTunes," he says. "Forget the album art. They don't even listen to the album."
"The Cover Story: Album Art" screens at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. Tickets: $10 at the door.
Sam Whiting is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail Twitter: @samwhitingsf
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Maybe you can judge an album by its cover --  
Please forward this album cover to Eric Christensen ("Record collector scours his vinyl for stories behind images," Jan. 21) if you can. ... The music is bad, just Tijuana Brass copies by a studio group (hey, Herb Alpert's TJ Brass already was a studio group, composed of members of the famous L.A. "Wrecking Crew"), but this album cover is priceless!
Kent Kavasch, San Lorenzo
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Great to see this cover again ...
Unfortunately, I ruined my copy of this album by playing it while eating a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken ... got grease all over the vinyl and it just never played right again after that! (lol)  kk