Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 19 - 13 )

A short but sweet edition of The Sunday Comments this week ...   

Not sure if you saw it, but Alan O'Day passed away Friday:
Singer / songwriter Alan O’Day, who recorded the #1 hit “Undercover Angel” (1977) and wrote Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” (#1 - 1974), “Train of Thought” (#27 - 1974) from Cher and the Righteous Brothers’ hit “Rock And Roll Heaven” (#3 - 1974), died of cancer at his Westwood, California home Friday (May 17). The Southern California native (though he also called Nashville home) was 72. He wrote over 100 songs for the animated “Muppet Babies” cartoon series as well as a song for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” All told, his songs were recorded by such varied artists as Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, Three Dog Night, Dave Mason, Johnny Mathis, the 5th Dimension, the Captain & Tenille, Tom Jones, Peggy Lee, John Travolta, Dusty Springfield, Bobby Sherman, David Clayton Thomas, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Paul Anka and Gene Pitney. One of his last projects was composing the theme song for the independent film, “You Don’t Say."
-- Ron Smith
Wow! No, I had not heard this.  This one REALLY hits close to home. Alan and I had become pretty close friends over the past few years ... I even featured one of his tunes in last week's "Ain't" special ... and we had talked about doing a radio piece together, too. Over the years he has been a good friend to Forgotten Hits, sharing demos with us (like HIS version of "Angie Baby" and "Easy Evil", a song later covered by John Kay after leaving Steppenwolf) and many of the stories behind his songs. We've given away numerous autographed copies of his CD's and even "sneak-peeked" a couple of tracks before they were officially released to the public.  
Just recently he appeared on stage with Helen Reddy, helping her out with "Angie Baby" after Helen forgot a couple of the lyrics! And, as Ron stated above, his latest work appears in the film "You Don't Say".  
Alan shared the news about his bout with cancer with me a few years ago after my brother passed away from pancreatic cancer ... at his request, I held this information in strictest confidence ... but he wanted me to know that he could TOTALLY relate to all that I was feeling, going through many of those same emotions himself at the time. Very, very sad news indeed. (kk)

Sad to report Alan O’Day died Friday.
Tony Waitekus

Submitted by FH Reader Gary Renfield ... a video walk down memory lane ...  

Did you see Frankie Valli perform on the American Idol finale?  He did a medley with the top five male finalists -- and it was actually pretty good.  (Makes me want to see Jersey Boys again!)
No, we haven't watched Idol in years now ... but my curiosity got the better of me for this one ... so here's that clip for the benefit of anyone else who may not have seen it.  Frankie looks and sounds great ... the man is pushing 80 and he's STILL got that great voice.  And it's not a bad medley either ... "Let's Hang On" / "Walk Like A Man" / "Who Loves You" by The Top Five Guys ... followed by two of Frankie's solo #1 Hits "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Grease".  In fact, Frannie said they should leave this in the act for this year's American Idol tour!  A top-notch performance by all parties concerned!  (kk) 

Truthfully, Kent, I would be happy if our radio stations played your "instead of this" collection ... we aren't even that cool! LOL   
I think radio would improve 3000% if they simply offered a mixture of BOTH!!! (kk)     

No contest. Your set made me believe there is hope for radio. On the other hand, I kept moving on to the next song of your "instead of this" list before the intros were completed.
Fun example for a Friday.
Exactly what I mean when I refer to these songs as "immediate button pushers" ... they seem to be playing non-stop. Just for fun, I counted how many times I heard each of those five songs and / or artists during my to and from commute to work on Friday ... now think about that for a second ... we're talking about 90 minutes TOPS, round-trip ... and yes, I pushed the buttons constantly trying to find something ... ANYTHING ... better on the radio ... yet I STILL managed to hear "Jack And Diane" twice (plus four other John Mellencamp songs), three different songs by Steve Miller (amazingly, "Jet Airliner" wasn't one of them ... but still, three Steve Miller songs in 90 minutes?!?!?), "Don't Stop Believin'" twice (as well as two other Journey songs), "Dream On" THREE TIMES (the full blown winner in this contest of pure torture) and "More Than A Feeling" by Boston twice. ALL in the same 90 minute period ... only to be repeated ad infinitively for the rest of our lives apparently. God, what an abuse of power! (kk)

Have some fun with these ... overlap the fades ... talk over the intros ... do all the cool things that deejays used to do!  Check it out and see how THIS mix floats your boat!  (kk)

All kidding aside ... why isn't radio playing ANY of these songs?!?!?  Can you honestly tell me that every single one of these wouldn't sound AMAZING coming out of your car radio every now and then???  (kk)

Thanks for posting Ronnie's Snippets on Demand new website. I just spent some thirty minutes on it. I did get 29 in a row right before I quit. I tried it several other times as well. According to his instructions, I am eligible to be entered into his Genius Hall of Fame. Kent, a genius I am not about this music that we love.
I try to think, however, that my knowledge is maybe a little bit above average. Incidentally, I picked the music of the early sixties to test.
One final thing. In the past two weeks here in OKC, I have heard versions of HAND JIVE by Johnny Otis, QUIET VILLAGE by Martin Denny, LET THERE BE DRUMS by Sandy Nelson that I have never heard before on the radio. It was re-recordings by the artists themselves. In fact, the Sandy Nelson instrumental wasn't even a close second as to sounding like the original. In fact, it wasn't even in the ballpark.

Also, while looking at Ronnie's website Snippets on Demand I noticed something that I did not know. Maybe you had this information in FH last month and I just missed it ... but apparently last month we lost Emilio Pericoli and Don Shirley. Emilio Pericoli had the 1962 song AD-DI-LA. Don Shirley had two songs here in the OKC area. His 1961 instrumental WATERBOY went to number one. I also enjoyed his followup DROWN IN MY OWN TEARS.
P.S. I don't know this for a fact but I'm sure you will tell me, but someone told me years ago that WATERBOY went to number one also in Chicago.
Most folks are finding Ronnie's new "Snippets On Demand" game quite addictive. And there are SO many different categories to choose from. (I typically stick with the five second snippet to challenge myself and have done ok with this the few times I've played.)
Your comment about the re-recordings ties in nicely with the piece we ran the other day, submitted by FH Reader Don Effengberger ... here it is again in case you missed it:
>>>Same Old Song? Not Exactly. Many classic hits are secretly re-recorded. Can this be stopped?
Ironically, I was just having a similar discussion with Bish Krywko, program director at WRLR about the necessity and importance of having good, clean original copies of the music they air ... they're actually reviewing their music library right now to insure that the music they're broadcasting is of the highest standards ... not always the easiest thing to accomplish when you stray from the "tried and trued" (aka "beaten to death") playlist and venture into some "uncharted" territory.
As for "Waterboy", I show it peaking at #7 on the WLS Chart ... and it was his only chart hit here in Chicago. It looks like nationally it went to #40. (kk)

Just announced ... another "Wrecking Crew" screening ... this time in Daytona Beach, Florida ... on June 10th ... at the Paragon Oceanwalk 10 Theater ... 250 N. Atlantic Ave. Producer / Director Denny Tedesco will be on hand for a brief Q & A after the show.
Denny also tells us:
On Sunday, June 9, 2013, the day before the screening, hippies of all ages will descend on Daytona's Peabody Auditorium once more to celebrate peace, love and happiness. This annual summertime event has grown to become one of the Peabody's most popular shows -- indoors and out. I will have a booth. Please come and say hello.
Later that evening, there is a concert at 7:00 pm -- "Happy Together" Concert Tour which includes:
• The Turtles, Featuring Flo and Eddie
• Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
• Gary Lewis and the Playboys
Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night
Mark Lindsay, formerly of Paul Revere and the Raiders
If you want to win tickets to the Film Screening in Daytona
send your name/phone/email
If you are in the Orlando / Daytona area and you want to sponsor seats, please look below for details and click to see how we've
highlighted our past sponsors at screenings.
This is how we've been financing travel to various cities.
We still have room for additional sponsors for the Daytona Beach screening. Email Denny at for details.

Hey Kent,
I do know of one Kingston Trio recording that was almost prevented from making it to the airwaves ... "Greenback Dollar". The song was the first cut of their "New Frontier" album. When it was decided to release the song as a single, the nervous record execs interrupted the trio's tour, and made them come in to the studio, to record ONE guitar chord. The chord was then inserted into the song, in place of that terrible word "damn". Of course, fans who wanted to hear that "word" would have to buy the album.
- John LaPuzza 

Hey Kent ...
Greetings again from hot and sunny Laughlin, Nevada, where Tony Orlando appeared over Mother's Day Weekend. His nearly sold-out show on Saturday night was his first in the two year-old E-CENTER at the Edgewater Hotel, with over 2,500 in attendance.

The best word to describe Tony's current show is ... eclectic. Tony really is a wild and crazy guy and his show is a zany musical romp! I've seen Tony perform in Laughlin twice before (at Harrah's Hotel's outdoor amphitheater) and he gets a little crazier with each show.
He opened the show with his own version of the Neil Diamond hit "America" as a tribute to veterans from WW2 up to Afghanistan. He asked each different group of vets to stand and be recognized and then sang a verse of the song with lyrics changed to be about them. Kind of a strange way to begin a set, in my opinion. (I felt it could have been more effective placed later in the set.) Still, it was a very nice gesture and well-received by the audience, even if they weren't prepared for an extended patriotic segment at the beginning of the concert.
From there the show was a wild ride! Of course Tony performed his hits, and it was amusing when he showed great relief and satisfaction that the audience "still remember" the 40 year old songs. I have to admit that I never thought of Tony as a stellar vocalist in the same league as the more legendary pop singers of the fifties, sixties and seventies. With all due (and deserved) respect, Tony's renditions of his and other classic hits were not all that memorable. But, that being said, what Tony may lack as a vocalist, he MORE than compensates with his skills as an overall entertainer. The two-hour show (long by casino-hotel standards) went by very quickly, while still leaving the audience fully satisfied. The concert was energetic and tons of fun. Tony truly connected with the audience throughout and kept everyone in great spirits with his jokes and self-effacing shticks.
Tony introduced a few friends sitting near the stage, one being former heavyweight champ LEON SPINKS (who was mobbed for photos after the show), and the other was old friend JACK HAKIM, who Tony credits with helping him get started in the music business in the early sixties. Jack moved to Bullhead City, AZ (across the CO River from Laughlin) many years ago and has been the city's mayor for over ten years now! Few here in the area (or anywhere, for that matter) knew of Jack's connection to Tony Orlando until 2009, when the Bullhead City mayor presented Tony with a key to the city. Here's a rare video of that event:
For me, the best parts of THE TONY ORLANDO REVUE were the routines with Tony and the different individual members of his band. These guys (and one lady, songwriter Toni Wine) are great artists and performers in their own right and Tony makes full use of their individual talents. There were excellent performances from them all, which included great impersonations of classic rock and country superstars performing legendary hits and terrific instrumental routines. At one point, Tony encouraged his drummer to begin beating on the legs of a stool while leading the musician around the stage like a lion-tamer! This ten-minute long routines ended with an extended drum solo ... played on the floor of the stage! Toni Wine was introduced by Tony and asked to sing a verse from her classic pop song GROOVY KIND OF LOVE, which turned out to be a very heartwarming and emotional moment. A real nice touch ... until a huge dragonfly that had made it's way into the venue landed on Toni's shoulder, giving her a momentary scare!
After the show I had a chance to speak with Toni Wine (who was married to a friend of mine, the late GENGHIS COHEN restaurant founder ALLAN RINDE, for ten years). Toni has performed with Tony Orlando for decades. I asked her about the spontaneity and loose format of Tony's show and she commented, "No two shows are the same with him! There's a set list, but it serves as more of an outline. We never know what to expect from Tony or where he'll take the show next. So we just roll with it. We used to get caught off guard from time to time but, through the years, the band has learned just about every song he knows, so it's very rare for us to be unprepared, at least from a musical level!" Toni isn't just a great talent, but very sweet as well, and I appreciate her taking a few minutes to speak with me. Here's a great little video interview Tony did backstage before their performance at Harrah's Hotel in 2009:

All in all, it was a very enjoyable couple of hours last Saturday night and I highly recommend seeing this rollicking "revue" if it passes through your area! I was hoping to record and share a few video highlights, but video recording was not allowed at this performance and I'm not about to disrespect the artist's or management's requests. But I am sure you can find videos of Tony's recent performances online.
This weekend features a double bill of Joan Jett and Steve Miller at the newly-erected Laughlin Amphitheater ... I can't wait to see Saturday night's show!
COLLECTIVE SOUL appears at Edgewater's E-Center Memorial Day Weekend and the weekends that follow will see a couple of great classic rock headliners. FOREIGNER comes performs at the Riverside Hotel's outdoor roof-top amphitheater on Saturday, June 1 and on Saturday, June 8, REO SPEEDWAGON will be rockin' the river at the E-Center.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Just added to the summer lineup of visiting acts is an appearance by THE SPINNERS at the E-Center on Saturday, August 3.
Here on the river, the hits just keep on comin!
Stand by for more in the weeks and months to come.
-- Joe Klein'
As Joe told us a few weeks ago, Laughlin has become a music haven for many of our favorite oldies artists ... seems that somebody is ALWAYS appearing there that we'd like to see! Thanks, Joe! (kk)