Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

I've got to tell you, I'm beyond words when it comes to telling you how proud I am of the fact that we scooped all the "bigs" with our Rascals cancellation news.  We found out last Wednesday (right before Thanksgiving) and went to work trying to dig up details.  I didn't want to print anything until I had some form of verification ... and there was virtually NOTHING posted yet on the Internet.  We did find, however, announcements that tickets were no longer on sale and refunds were being offered to those who had already purchased their tickets to see the show at The Marquis Theatre.  There were comments made on Felix Cavaliere's Facebook Page expressing fan disappointment ... and a whole lot of speculation as to what may have caused this decision ... but nothing concrete ... and nothing in the way of a formal announcement or official statement made by any of the parties concerned.  I held off posting anything until our Sunday Comments Page because I wanted to be sure the news was factual ... and I wanted to check with our own sources to see if we could obtain a statement from any of The Rascals themselves as to what happened.
We were first in with comments from both Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish ... two and a half days later, the rest of the world finally caught up ... and announcements were posted (all featuring the same "official statement" issued by Steven Van Zandt, organizer of the whole reunion extravaganza) in all of the usual high-profile places ... like Rolling Stone Magazine, The Huffington Post (who simply ran an exact, word-for-word piece generated by ABC News, as did at least three or four dozen OTHER news sources that I found), Vintage Vinyl News, Both Sides Now, etc.  But Forgotten Hits readers learned it here first ... and, coming at exactly the same time as our 14th Anniversary, I couldn't be prouder again of all we've accomplished here.  Sad news to be sure ... and I am SO glad that we got the chance to see them when we did ... but also VERY gratifying to know that we scooped the music world with this one.
I am still hopeful that some kind of arrangement can be worked out that will allow the band to continue to perform together ... and for faithful fans to still have the opportunity to come out and see them.  The show now runs as a well-oiled machine ... I don't know that they really need Little Steven's contribution on a daily basis any more ... and we can only hope if they had as much fun doing it as the fans had seeing it, these guys will still find a way to keep the show going ... in some capacity.  Like Felix said, "We had a blast and made lots of people happy."  That you did.  (kk)  

>>>I had tickets for one of the performances of the Rascals on Broadway scheduled for later this month, but I just received notification that those shows have been canceled. I haven't yet found out the reason why.  (Randy) 
>>>Check out our Sunday Comments Page ... We had quotes from both Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish.  Apparently a money issue ... the high costs of putting the show on leaves nothing left for anybody else to get paid.  Funny that no "official" statement was ever released ... so I feel kinda proud that we got an "exclusive" from two of the band members ... even though it was bad news.  (kk) 
This was posted this morning on the Both Sides Now chat board:  
The show's producers issued a statement saying:
"Due to scheduling conflicts with director, writer, and producer Stevie Van Zandt, the New York run for Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals has been canceled at this time. The producers hope to reschedule when Van Zandt's schedule, which involves balancing the filming of the third season of his Netflix show Lilyhammer, and touring with Bruce Springsteen among other things, stabilizes."
– Randy   

Two concert series in a year on Broadway is apparently too much for The Rascals: The 1960s-era blue-eyed soul quartet has abandoned plans to play the Marquis Theatre this month. 
-- The Huffington Post   

The Rascals have cancelled their upcoming run on Broadway of their concert/multimedia event Once Upon a Dream. The show played earlier this year and was scheduled for a second run from December 16 to January 5.  
-- Vintage Vinyl News 
VVN then repeats the official announcement above.  In the same issue, they ALSO "broke" the story about Burton Cummings doing a headlining gig in Las Vegas ... you know, the same story WE told you about over three weeks ago!!!  Forgotten Hits ... #1 with a bullet.  (kk)  

Hi Kent, 
I was worried about whether or not Forgotten Hits would carry on after the big crash. I think all of us would have been plunged in to some sort of Oldies Freaks treatment program if you hadn't continued. No one in cyber land has anything close to what you do and I don't think we can tell you that enough. My bandmates probably roll their eyes when I quote bits of info picked up from Forgotten Hits. It's the Webster Unabridged, or the Encyclopedia Britanica. 
I've been addicted since the very first issue that I got in my Inbox somewhere around 2008. 
Thanks again for all you do. 
Believe me, NOBODY more than I felt "The Crash of 2012" may have done us in ... I'm SO glad we were able to rebound and get things back up again ... look at all the great stuff we would have missed!!!  And once again, we couldn't have done it without you ... the readers and the fans ... who pledged both well wishes and financial support to get things back up and running.  I will never forget it.  (kk)

Dear Kent ...
Congratulations on your 15th year of Forgotten Hits! I started reading The 60s Shop and look forward to every issue of Forgotten Hits.
Thank you for all the hard work you do to keep us informed on what is going on with the music business, past and present.
Best Regards,
John Madara

And this from Time Square Gossip ... wow!  VERY cool to see Forgotten Hits mentioned in the same piece covering the triumphant return of Damien Lewis on "Homeland", the un-retirement of Phil Collins and the death of Paul Walker.  That's some pretty impressive company indeed!
15 years of Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits ... amazing. Kent's encyclopedic-like knowledge of legacy bands and artists is beyond reproach. The daily sheet is chock full of information and his very, in-depth interview with Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, was stunning. Check them out here: Good luck Kent!

Got this from FH Reader Dave Barry ... a wealth of material to choose from ... just in time for Christmas!   

Badfinger Legend Joey Molland To Release Highly Anticipated New Solo Album 'Return To Memphis'  
London, UK – Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, Joey Molland, best known for his work with the now legendary English band Badfinger, will be releasing his highly anticipated 4th solo album 'Return To Memphis' on December 2, 2013, on UK's Gonzo Multimedia! The new CD features 10 new Molland compositions recorded at the world famous 'Royal Studios' in Memphis. 
Says Joey, “I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there ... I also made a lot of friends.” 
Signed to the Beatles' Apple label in the late '60s, Badfinger would go on to score four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come And Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What”, “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue”. In 1971, a cover of the Badfinger song “Without You” by Harry Nilsson became a number one hit on the Billboard charts. Surviving member Joey Molland has continued to keep the Badfinger flame alight through concerts and recordings over the past 30 years. And now he is back with a fantastic new album 'Return To Memphis', which was produced by Carl 'Blue' Wise. 
Says Joey, “The album is quite a departure for me and the sound is very different, the treatment of the songs, the song content, and Carl's production and Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach. I wrote all the songs and they have a lot of meaning to me ... I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them. There are no real Badfinger power chords or anything like that. No real jamming guitars ... well ... maybe a little bit, and I do play some slide on it ... Carl had four girls come in to sing 'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies which was great, and I played with a three-piece Memphis rhythm section. So it's a really simple sounding record and I'm just hoping that people will like it.” Originally from Liverpool, Joey now resides in the US, where he continues to perform with Joey Molland's Badfinger. Along with Joey on guitar and vocals, the current lineup features Mark Healey (bass / vocals), Steve Wozny (keyboards / vocals), Mike Ricciardi (drums). For updated tour information check Joey Molland's official Facebook page at Joey's new CD comes hot on the heels of the major buzz surrounding the Badfinger track “Baby Blue” being played during the finale of A&E's hit TV series 'Breaking Bad'. The song became the number one download in the world the week of the final episode! 
To purchase Joey Molland 'Return To Memphis' CD:   
For more information:

The other day we told you about the upcoming ten-hour holiday special that FH Reader Gary Theroux put together for Envision Radio Networks that will count down The All-Time Top 100 Christmas Hits (along with TONS of extras and exclusive interviews.)  I couldn't help but wonder how we could be sure to tune in and hear this very special event.  What stations was it airing on?  Were any of them streaming?  Which of our coast-to-coast readers would have an opportunity to pick this up on their own radio dials. 
Here is what Gary sent me back:  
Hi, Kent - 
Count down to Christmas with The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time, the award-winning ten-hour radio special hosted by beloved TV game show host Wink Martindale! The latest affiliates include: WEXR-FM/Meridian, MS; KATQ-FM/Williston, ND; KHVL-FM/Houston, TX; WNKZ/Dushore, PA, WLHH-FM/Savannah, GA; WXKQ-FM/Mayking, KY; WAZL Wilkes-Barre, PA, WJPA-AM and WJPA-FM/Washington, PA; KRWZ-AM/Denver, CO; WKJT-FM/Teutopolis, IL, WESI-FM/Louisville, KY; WINC-FM/Winchester, VA; KWVF-FM/San Francisco, CA; KIWA-FM/Sioux Falls, SD, KKIK-FM/Horseshoe Band, AR, WWOD-FM/Lebanon, NH, WISR-AM/Butler, PA, KIBG-FM/Polson, MT, KDLR-AM/Devil's Lake, ND, WBDK-FM/Sturgeon Bay, WI, WGMF-AM/Scranton, PA, WITY-AM/Danville, IL, WCLO-AM/Janesville WI, WYKY-FM/Somerset, KY, WCMT-FM/Martin, TN, KAAB-AM/Batesville, AR, WXEF-FM/Effington, IL, KSID-FM Sidney, NE, KKMI-FM Burlington, IA, KFLN-AM Baker, MT, WZKN-FM Towanda, PA and KITI-AM Centralia, WA. More are on the way! 
Regarding the Chicagoland area, I understand WLTL in LaGrange, IL is in the process of picking up The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time but I can't confirm that as of yet. New affiliates are being added all the time. Gary Theroux  
We'll have to check out the LaGrange station for sure.  (In fact, I'm going to drop them a line right now encouraging them to air the special ... and let them know how much we're looking forward to hearing it!)  Thanks, Gary!  (kk)

Gary also told us about a couple of other Christmas Events he's been part of ...  
Be sure to check out Wink Martindale's photo and the "100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time" logo. Also the covers of my "Christmas Through The Years" box set, which sold over six million copies, and my currently available -- from -- box set "The All-Time Greatest Hits of Christmas." 

Hey Kent,
I know just about everybody's seen this, but it's my all-time favorite Christmas video, The Drifters, featuring Clyde McPhatter. I enjoy it every year. I actually saw The Spinners perform this exact arrangement, several years ago.
- John LaPuzza 

Definitely one of MY favorites, too ... I watch it several times EVERY year!  (kk)

I also enjoyed this little bit of cheer sent in by FH Reader Gary Pike:   
The Christmas Scale      
It's hard to believe that the greatest message the world will ever hear is contained in one simple scale. 

Seeing Jan & Dean's 1964 song mentioned, THE ANAHEIM, AZUSA & CUCAMONGA SEWING CIRCLE BOOK REVIEW and TIMING ASSOCIATION, reminded me of another one of those songs in which the title is almost as long as the song itself.
I am talking about Ray Steven's 1961 tune, 
You mentioned you were not familiar with NATIONAL CITY. I am sure someone will send you a copy to listen to. Before that record made the scene nationally, when I was a kid, my dad occasionally would sing some sort of silly song in which the tune was the same. Part of the lyrics were something like, "when the monkey ties his tail around the flagpole". So when NATIONAL CITY made the charts in 1960, I figured the tune itself came out years earlier, though I don't know by whom.

Finally, the posting of Christmas songs narrated by Wink Martindale reminded me of his 1959 narrative DECK OF CARDS which he put out on Dot Records. Actually, it never made our local top 40 radio station's weekly survey. The reason is because the morning man for many years, the late Danny Williams, recorded his version on local label Sully Records. And since he was PD at the time, well, you get the picture.
About a year to a year and a half later, Wink Martindale's recording of BLACKLAND FARMER did make our surveys.
Going back to the vocal version done of PATRICIA, Ray Peterson did it in at the same time when he was under contract with RCA. You're right in that it didn't chart.
Larry Neal
Yeah, I thought about the Ray Stevens tune, too ... funny because about the ONLY award either of these tunes would ever have a chance of winning would be for longest song title!!!  (lol)  
I looked up "National City" to see if by chance I had a copy and believe it or not, I do.  (It's on one of those "Hey Look What I Found" compilation CD's.)  I checked to see if it charted here in Chicago and it was on the Top Tunes Of Greater Chicagoland Chart for exactly one week as an extra ... probably why I don't know it.  (Listening to it, I certainly know the tune ... but not this particular version of it.  My immediate reaction was "No way on earth this is a  Junior High School Band!!! Check out the email below yours to see that this was a good supposition on my part!)  Then, just for the heck of it, I looked to see how Wink Martindale's "Deck Of Cards" did here ... it peaked at #13 on that same chart.  (kk)  

>>>I'm still not familiar with "National City" ... maybe if I heard it it would ring a bell???  Anybody got a copy to share?  (kk)
Here's a link:
Although the record was credited to the "Joiner, Arkansas Junior High School Band," in fact it's simply a group of studio musicians.  There is a Joiner, Ark. -- it's a tiny town of fewer than 600 residents -- but it has no junior high school.  "National City" is a rock version of "The National Emblem March."   To quote Wikipedia: "The best-known theme of this march is popularly sung in the United States with the doggerel verse "and the monkey wrapped his tail around the flagpole".
The reason Joiner, Ark., was chosen is an in-joke: Joiner was the birthplace of Liberty Records executive Alvin S. Bennett ("National City" was on the Liberty label).  And -- further trivia -- Alvin Bennett is the man for whom the character Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks is named -- the Chipmunks records were also on Liberty. 
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Connecticut
Reading all the comments that accompany this video clip, it sounds like the musical mastermind behind all of this was Ernie Freeman, who had a "raunchy" hit of his own back in 1957!  (kk)