Friday, June 14, 2013

Helping Out Our Readers

Quite by accident, I came across your post of Wednesday, October 27, 2010, regarding the captioned tune.   
I know I’ve heard the Homer and Jethro version of this song.  However, I wanted to tell you that my ex-wife’s father was a survivor (now gone on to his reward) of the D-Day invasion at Normandy.  He claimed that the lyrics of this song were allegedly inspired by a less humorous poem, written by another D-Day survivor, commemorating the mind-numbing horror of the invasion, shortly after the experience.  

That poem goes like this:  

‘Twas on the beach at midnight,  
Not a streetcar was in sight.   
The rain and snow fell gently,
For it rained all day that night.

‘Twas in that summer snow storm,
When the rain fell down like glass 
That a barefoot boy with boots on
Stood sitting on his ass.  
Knowing the context puts a different spin on the words.  

I have no way of knowing whether that story is true, but maybe someone else out there does.  It seems totally possible to me that someone put together the “Be kind to your web-footed friends” chorus from summer camp or Cub Scout sing-alongs with a sanitized version of the above poem and came up with one of those versatile, well-written tunes that no one ever forgets. 
Meanwhile, the heroes of D-Day are gone, but never forgotten. 
Wil Coté 
Buffalo, NY 
It wouldn't surprise me at all that somebody took this clever idea, expanded on it, added a catchy chorus and ... whalla ... invented a brand new tune.
I've told this story a couple of times before hoping SOMEBODY out there could corroborate it ... and to this day, nobody ever has ... but I saw and heard this with my own eyes and ears and it has never left me. 40+ years ago I was working with a guy at a small printing company in Oak Park when "American Pie" came on the radio for the very first time ... by that I mean the song was brand new ... they may have been playing it for a week or so ... but the guy I worked with (a guy named Earl whose last name escapes me now) didn't listen to Top 40 music ... he was a country guy all the way ... so HE was hearing the song for the very first time ... and halfway through the tune he said "I can't believe they did that ... made a song out of that." 
Because this song was so new (and all the in-depth discussions about all the song's hidden meanings and symbolism hadn't really come into focus yet) I knew he must have heard something ELSE that triggered this reaction.  I asked him what he meant. 
"We used to sing this up at the hunting lodge all the time" ... and he proceeded to sing along with the chorus verbatim ... "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie ... took my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry ..." the WHOLE deal! 
I have always wondered in Don McLean was also familiar with this sing-along chorus and built his whole song around it.  If so, I've never heard him reveal it ... but the reaction of my coworker was genuine ... there's got to be SOMETHING to it!  (kk)

Hey Kent, 
This past Saturday (6/1) I tuned in to the Rewound Radio air check from 1963 with Dick Clark. Who says you can never go back! Two and a half hours of radio paradise. The energy, the variety of music,  the jingles, the voice of a “Live” DJ. Unbelievable entertainment and all you had to do was turn your radio on. Remember this was Pre-British Invasion. Once the “Brits” landed, these bands took radio to a whole new level. As a nine year old, I couldn’t wait to hear another new song by another new band from across the pond. “Sorry”, got off track a little. Anyway, about one hour and thirty five minutes into the broadcast they played a song (with a female lead singer), unfortunately I missed the song title and name of the group. However Dick did say, “How’s that for arrogance”, referring to the song title. Hopefully one of the readers could help me out. “Thanks” so much for taking me and all your readers back to a wonderful time and place when radio and the music that was played actually mattered. 
I didn't hear that particular broadcast ... but I'm betting somebody else on the list did ... or maybe Allan Sniffen himself can answer this one!!!  Alan???  (kk) 
Wow! That was my first impression when I found your site. Finding you is like ... well, finding a Forgotten Oldie. I am compiling my list of the Top 200 Instrumentals of all time. I am using Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual, 8th Edition book. So far I have 162 songs which takes me through Instrumentals that Charted 16 or higher. I am using the same point system that Joel uses. Do you know if such a list already exists? I would like to do a comparison. 
Keep up the great work. 
(Mr. O.B.G.) Oldies But Goodies 
Randy Price put our list together based on chart information he collected while compiling the Super Charts, a consensus of all of the chart collecting information at the time ... but we didn't do 200.  (Hopefully you DID see our Top 50 List!)  
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979  
(If you're using a larger target base than 1955 - 1979 ... a 25 year period ... I'm not sure how much this list will help you ... but it should be good for comparison's sake if nothing else.) 
Randy is also the genius behind the new series of CD's being released featuring EVERY charted Instrumental Hit of the '60's.  They're being released one year at a time and are as complete and comprehensive as can be.  If you're a fan, you'll definitely want to check these out.  (Visit for more information.) Meanwhile, if any other chartaholics out there have some lists to share, let us know and we'll connect you with Larry.  (kk)  

Here's one we never solved ... maybe somebody else out there knows???   
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
Kind regards,
Ian Bell
We ran this inquiry about six months ago ... I even forwarded a copy to Jocco of The Youngtones, who has participated with Forgotten Hits in the past, but never heard anything back.  Maybe some of our astute readers can help us out with this one???  (kk)  

Hi Kent,  
I have just stumbled across your web site.  For thirty years I have been searching for a song from my childhood.  I thought it was from the very early 60s and I thought it was called "I've Got A Doggie Named Reno.  Now I think it must be called "A Doggie Called Leroy" by Tom Paxton. However, I still can't find the song. Can you help?  
I couldn't find anything on this one ... so let's put it out there.  My guess is that SOMEBODY will know it.  (kk)  
You know, googling around a bit, this song apparently has come up in Forgotten Hits, several, several, several times ... mostly in December of 2009. And, in one instance, you DID post the song (though the link is no longer active) ... as well as a promotional ad for the record. As far as I can determine, Tom Paxton never recorded the song in this variation ... however it was cut by Norma Tracey & The Cinderella Kids and was simply titled Leroy.
Strangely enough, the record label says the song was written by Billy Jackson (who did a lot of work with the Tymes and other Cameo Parkway artists) and Jimmy Wisner, and I'd bet if other versions of the song exist, Jimmy Wisner would know.
Tom Diehl
LOL ... I just LOVE it when I'm searching and googling for something and Forgotten Hits comes up as the source!  (lol)  I can't tell you how many times this has happened.  Over the years it seems like we've covered EVERYTHING at one time or another ... literally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of topics ... no way I can possibly remember them all (especially something that wasn't all that familiar to me in the first place!)  Hopefully this is it ... I sent a copy of the track to Brent ... let's see what comes back.  Thanks, Tom!  (kk)  
Yes this is it!  Thank you so much.  
I will make a karaoke sing-along, once I have worked out all the lyrics.  
Thanks again -   

Here are a couple of rarities ...   
1) "It Was A Sad Day" -- R Stones  
2) "She Got A Nose Job" -- flexible 45 inside a Mad magazine!  
Rich Fairbrother    
Portsmouth NH  

The Mad Magazine Flexi-Disc I most remember is "It's A Gas"!  (We've featured that one quite a few times before!)  kk  

>>>Talking about bizarre, rare novelty songs, here's one I haven't featured in ages ... a #23 Hit here in Chicago in 1967 by Bent Bolt that never even charted nationally ... "The Mechanical Man"!  (By the way, although the WLS Silver Dollar Survey showed the artist for this song as "Ben Bolt" for a least a week or two ... and Ron Smith's book lists him as the same ... the ACTUAL 45 was released by BENT Bolt (and the Nuts) ... another clever "mechanical" tie-in.  Here's a copy of that rare picture sleeve, part of my collection for YEARS!!!)  I've read in a couple of places that the artist who recorded this song was actually Teddy Randazzo, who had already placed a few records on the WLS Chart under his own name ... perhaps helping his cause in getting this oddity aired at the station.  (The fact that this single was released on the MGM Record Label helps lend some credence to this supposition ... although it's still kinda hard to believe that the guy who wrote classics like "Goin' Out Of My Head" and "Hurt So Bad" for Little Anthony and the Imperials would also come up with this bit of dreck!  lol)  kk  
As far as I know, that Bent Bolt And The Nuts single is definitely Teddy Randazzo (and if it's not, he had a hand in its creation either writing or producing it).  There's a different Mechanical Man record I like by a guy named Jack Merlin, and the last time I played it on my show, I segued into Automated Man by Artie Wayne on the Smash record label ... two more great songs. 
Tom Diehl  
I was too lazy and pressed for time to pull the record out last weekend ... but now I had to see for myself if the label mentioned anything about Teddy Randazzo's involvement.  The A-Side ("The Mechanical Man" says "Produced by C.L.C.L. Productions for Teddy Randazzo Productions but does not credit Teddy in any way as the artist or songwriter.  (Songwriting credit goes to C. Astone, C. Mastren, L. Burgio and M. Gartman)  However the B-Side of the record is a song called "Sweet And Sour" and shows the artist as Teddy Randazzo, so I'd have o agree that Teddy had involvement in SOME fashion.  
As for your suggestions, I really like that Jack Merlin track ... it's got a fun, sorta rock-a-billy feel to it.  (Artie's song I already knew of course!)  But all this talk inspired me to dig out the Jerry Mathers' track "Wind-Up Toy".  (Jerry, of course, played Beaver Cleaver on the old "Leave It To Beaver" television series!)  kk

I've been trying to find "Sweet Mary" by Brewer & Shipley.  I can only find a couple of their disc online, and that song isn't on there.  I heard it in the movie "Grass".  Hope all is well- have a great day!  
Ed Pond  
I don't know "Sweet Mary" by Brewer and Shipley ... but right around that same time they were hitting the charts, there was a song with title that became a big hit for Wadsworth Mansion.  (I'm guessing that maybe it's the same song???  And maybe the reason you haven't had any luck tracking it down is because you're searching for it under the wrong artist!)  Give a listen to this and let me know.  (kk)  
Duh!  Now I remember.  Wadsworth Mansion.  Thanks!    

Wadsworth Mansion was a one hit wonder band out of Los Angeles, CA, consisting of brothers Mike (drums) and Steve (keyboards, guitar and lead vocals) Jablecki along with Wayne Gagnon (lead guitar) and John Poole (bass).  "Sweet Mary" climbed all the way to #7 in Billboard Magazine right as winter was turning into spring in 1971 ... and they pretty much disappeared after that.  (It performed even better in Cash Box and Record World, peaking at #5 in both publications ... yet, despite its Top Ten status, you rarely hear "Sweet Mary" anymore ... and that's a shame because this is a REAL catchy tune.)  Here in Chicago it went all the way to #2.  (Here's hoping we've inspired a jock or two on the list to feature this one today ... a GREAT Forgotten Hit!)   

I have a question regarding Sonny Geraci.  Is he still in coma or out of it or what?  I have not seen anything on the Internet and I was just wondering have you heard anything,
Stephanie Campbell, a fan
We haven't had an update in awhile now ... but last we heard, Sonny was doing great!  Making a REMARKABLE recovery after a couple of major brain surgeries.  His daughter shared the news with us by way of Dennis Tufano ... but you're right, we haven't heard any news in quite a while ... so I guess we'll have to ask for an update ourselves!  (kk)

We've got some traveling to do this weekend so we'll be out of pocket for a few days ... but will catch up with all of you next week. 


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