Saturday, August 31, 2013

It Feels Like The First Time: 1968

A couple of weeks ago we ran an EXCLUSIVE piece by Jim Shea, former morning man at Y103.9, reflecting back on some of the musical moments that changed and impacted his life.  (We also told you that Jim had just signed a deal with Prime Magazine, who will be running these articles on a regular basis.)  In fact, there may even be a syndicated radio deal in the making, which would allow Jim tell some of these stories on the air. 

Well, when Jim saw that we were saluting the '60's in Forgotten Hits ... and 1968 in particular the other day ... he sent this one over to me ... 

We've talked many times about the diversity of musical styles that made up the '60's ... 

And there may be no greater example of this than the two artists profiled here today. 

(Could there be two further polar extremes than The Doors ... and Herb Alpert?!?!?) 

But this WAS the musical landscape, circa 1968 ... and BOTH artists had a profound effect on Jim's life. 

So ... without further adieu ... here is yet another EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK of a piece that won't be published for MONTHS anywhere else!!! 

Check out Jim's memories of 1968 ...  

#10 FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME  

The tenth in a series of essays devoted to first impressions of classic music  

UNKNOWN SOLDIER / THE DOORS  
THIS GUY’S IN LOVE WITH YOU / HERB ALPERT  

In 1968 television was still a long way from splintering into channels devoted solely to say, critter hunters, or people who hoard bizarre mementos of their own filth. The extreme political positions had no channels of their own and rubbed elbows for airtime, creating turbulence. On the six o’ clock news we saw weathermen who stood like professors with pointers and paper maps with smiley faced suns. We also saw Weathermen who blew up things.

The dominance of specialized radio formats likewise was far off. For the most part radio stations just played the most popular songs. You might hear White Room by Cream followed by Love is Blue by Paul Mauriat, then Honey by Bobby Goldsboro, then Fire by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. 

Everything you knew to be true was being updated daily. As a fifth grader I was torn between wanting to feed the pyre of Mom and Dad’s world and wanting to enjoy it like fiddling Nero before it was gone forever. My best friend this particular year felt himself being tugged both ways as well as he excitedly invited me over for a major personal announcement one afternoon that summer. 

He had a bubbly, manic joy for things he loved and this day he was about to burst. He said that his announcement would be preceded by a countdown of his favorite songs, and revealed with the number one song, but first … a brief fashion show. Whaaa? He disappeared upstairs. 

When he came back down he looked like a pint-sized maharajah; a biblical boy king. This drab green one piece vestige, he explained breathlessly, was a Nehru jacket. It was weird and cool. He proceeded to play me his top 10 songs of that moment. I only remember the top two because I remember him explaining his agonizing over which he liked best. 

Number two was a song by the Doors that chillingly referenced the hapless six o’ clock news and the public’s indifference to Vietnam’s daily devouring of young blood: “breakfast where the news is read, television children fed, unborn living, living dead, bullet strikes the helmet head”. The title itself was scary enough for me, as I had recently heard a legend of the Unknown Soldier whose face was revealed like Jacob Marley in the flames above his grave.

What could top this? A slow love ballad straight from Mom and Dad’s world that he sang along with as he announced that he was in love with a girl at school and, like the singer, was going to declare. Wow! Declare! I had seen this girl at school and was prone to run a little faster at recess to impress her, but this was the extent of my game. Declare! 

“I’ve heard some talk,” he crooned, “they say you think I’m fine … yes I’m in love, who looks at you the way I do?” He was really going to do it. “I want your love (gorgeous cascading piano) I need your love”. The singer, I was told, was Herb Alpert. The fact that I knew the man did not sing but was the trumpet player on my Dad’s favorite albums added to his credibility. “Say you’re in love, in love with this guy, if not I’ll just die” He was stepping out of his comfort zone, going all in for love, risking death. 

As I recall, the actual declaration was a bit anti-climactic. Eleven - year - old girls tend to respond with the same giggly derision when they hear a knock knock joke. Dating was really not in play. Even though the relationship status was still clearly up in the air I returned from our family vacation in California with a tiny “wedding present” of a vile of gold gleaned from an attraction at Knott’s Berry Farm. 

Listening to this song and seeing how it moved my friend led me to the literal truth of love. Love of anything or anyone must be heartbreakingly declared, and everything must be wagered upon it. Love is loving yourself in the garish garb of youth. Love is as sweet and savory as a finely crafted Bacharach / David tune and as scary as an unknown soldier’s face appearing in the flames above his grave.  
-- Jim Shea


Friday, August 30, 2013

The Friday Flash

re:  COUNTIN' 'EM DOWN:  
We've been Livin' in the '60's all week long here in Forgotten Hits ... and you won't want to miss THIS Salute to the '60's, coming up this weekend ... 
All Labor Day Weekend long the '60's Channel on Sirius / XM will be counting down The Top 40 Debut Hits of the '60's on Lou Simon's '60's Satellite Survey program.  It'll air on Saturday, August 31st from 2 - 4 pm, on Sunday, September 1st, from 10 am - Noon and on Monday (Labor Day), September 2nd, from Noon - 2 pm ... with a special encore performance on Wednesday, September 4th, from 9 pm - 11 pm.  (All times Eastern)  
This VERY SPECIAL COUNTDOWN was put together with the help of Lou Simon (who hosts the program) and Dann Isbell (who wrote the book, "Ranking the '60's").  We took the biggest artists of the decade and then calculated the points earned by their very first charted record.  Those points then determined The Top 40 Biggest Debut Hits of the '60's ... a truly unique countdown that you won't want to miss! Subscribe to Sirius / XM Radio here:  Click here: Our Most Popular XM Packages - SiriusXM Radio   
Pick up a copy of Dann's EXCELLENT book here:  Click here: Ranking the '60s: A Comprehensive Listing of the Top Songs and Acts from Pop's Golden Decade: Dann Isbell: 9781492    
And please be sure to check our website on Monday (Labor Day) when we'll post the entire Top 40 for any of you unable to hear Lou count 'em down this weekend.  (kk)  

We'll be having a very special countdown of our own next week, too ... kicking off right after Labor Day ... and once again in conjunction with Dann Isbell's book ... we'll be taking a look at The Top 100 Hits of the British Invasion, 1964/1965 by the artists who first captured our hearts way back when.  (Yes, you'll find a LOT of Beatles tunes here ... but lots of OTHER favorites as well!)  We'll give you the whole lowdown on Tuesday ... and then countdown 20 tracks per day throughout the rest of the week.  Check back often to see where some of YOUR favorites finished.  (In fact, we'll be running straight through the long, holiday weekend ... look for a very special Saturday posting tomorrow as well!)  kk   

And be sure to look for the results to Ron Smith's OldiesMusic.com website (Click here: Oldies Music -- history, trivia and charts of Fifties, Sixties and Seventies music) Labor Day Top 500 ... as voted on by YOU, the oldies music fans out there.  
(We slipped Ron a mickey earlier in the week and snuck a peek at the final list ... suffice to say that Rolling Stones fans will be very "satisfied" with this year's #1 Record!!!)

You'll find quite a few other Forgotten Hits favorites on the list, too ... including Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly", which came in at #25.  (I told Bob and he was THRILLED!)  
Ron brings up a good point when he says ...  
There was a time when this list was pretty much what oldies stations played. Now it's what the listeners WISH they could hear.  
- Ron  
It's true ... a measurement of what the fans loved most became the benchmark for programming back in the day ... one look at today's list will raise a few eyebrows, I'm sure.

When I saw TWO songs by The Beatles in The Top Five, I thought, "Wow ... this is going to be a slam dunk for The Fab Four" ... and they did rank three in The Top 20 ... and 17 overall, including "Yesterday" at #500.  (You may be surprised by some of the B-Sides that made the list, out-scoring some of their best-known and highest-charting hits.)  
You'll also find a nice mix of '50's and early '60's here, too ... old stand-bys like "In The Still Of The Night", "I Only Have Eyes For You", "Since I Don't Have You", "Only You" and "Whispering Bells" all placed in The Top 100.  
The complete list is available here:  
Click here: Oldies Music - Labor Day 500   

And, speaking of Bob Lind, I got this from him after the news about Linda Ronstadt hit the wires last weekend ... 

re:  LINDA RONSTADT:  
Thanks Kent. You never fail to help spread good news for me.  
And on the other end of the news spectrum: Still reeling from the Ronstadt story. She's always been such a great singer -- and not just in the "talent" aspect of the word. She was a courageous singer, too. Like Dylan, she refused to get typed. She could easily have let her success with The Stone Poneys keep her locked into the folk bag. But she allowed herself to grow and evolve artistically. 
She was the first "pop" singer to release an "American Songbook" album -- way before Rod Stewart and others jumped on the wagon. She did that excellent Spanish language LP. And she's always chosen material that worked for her without regard to what others thought she "ought" to be recording. 
This heartbreaking development is hard to take. 
All the best, 
Bob   

re:  THIS AND THAT:  
That was it?!?!?  Seriously?!?!?  All the hype for the big N*SYNC reunion and then they sang two lines of two songs under bright lights so blinding you couldn't even see the band?!?!?  And all of this wedged in the middle of Justin Timberlakes' truly "fifteen minutes" of fame???  (Honestly, I thought his musical montage would never end!) 
Yeah, he won the Vanguard Michael Jackson award ... which is great and all ... even though he hadn't released an album of new music for six years until this past year ... and, as he acknowledged in accepting the award, HALF of the MTV "Moon Men" he has won was with "these guys", Justin's most memorable "Greatest Hit" of the past decade may very well be his "Dick In A Box" performance on Saturday Night Live.  Honestly, I can't believe the other members of N*SYNC agreed to it ... but I found it insulting watching from home.  Showing a vintage video clip would have just as easily served this purpose (which was to barely acknowledge that this is where Justin started ... jeez, why didn't they just bring out all the kids from The Mickey Mouse Club for a bow, too???) 
All hype, no substance.  (kk)   

Kent, 
Thanx so much for the plug. If you want to lift my review on "George Thorogood at Ravinia" for your site, it's up on major onions.  Man, G.T. still has that 12 song set that just tears the cover off the ball ... he was given 11 standing ovations and, sadly, upstaged my man Buddy Guy.When he taps in live with "Who Do You Love", he taps the very heart and soul of rock and roll. By the way, 2014 will mark the anniversary of the first time I went to the old Regal Theater to see James Brown ... over the years, damn, I saw the Temps, Smokey, Eddie Floyd, Arthur Conley, Gladys Knight and the Four Tops ... I miss those days.  Why? I keep all my old bills in a sock in my closet.  
Love ya, man ... 
Chet 
You can catch Chet's full review of the George Thorogood show here:  
Click here: George Thorogood: Still Bad, Still Funky, Still Rocking | Major Onions   

We've been anxiously awaiting the release of the brand new Beach Boys 6-CD Box Set "Made In California", released (ironically enough) on my 60th Birthday.  (May have to treat myself to a present with this one!!!)  
Endless Summer Quarterly Head Honcho David Beard tells us ALL about it here ... Click here: The Beach Boys are Made for California - National Beach Boys | Examiner.com   

The hit television series "Glee" will pay special homage to The Beatles this season with a double-episode chock full of Beatles music.  (Originally there was supposed to be a Paul McCartney episode ... and that may still happen) but, like they have before with artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears and Fleetwood Mac, this time around it'll be all about The Fabs.  Stay tuned!    

>>>On Tuesday, August 27th, I interviewed Melanie, “The First Lady of Woodstock”, prior to a signing of her book “Tales From The Roadburn CafĂ©”. Her hits, including the million selling single “Brand New Key”, “Ruby Tuesday”, “The Nickel Song”, “What Have They Done To My Song, Ma” and “Candles In The Rain,” were staples of both Top 40 and Album Oriented Rock radio. Today they are mostly "Forgotten Hits". (Ed Salamon)  
>>>We ran a special Melanie mini-series about ten years ago (back when we were still an emailed newsletter) ... maybe we can resurrect that and run it again along with NEW information about her new book.  I'm game if she is!  (kk) Kent, 
How well I remember that feature ... do you still have it?  I would love to see that one again if you decide to re-run it. Ahhh, the great memories  : ) 
Sev  
After I talked with Melanie for our Ed Sullivan piece, I dug it out of the archives, hoping I would have the chance to run it again ... only with her commentary this time.  And then The Great Computer Crash of 2012 happened and I lost everything ... but I have to believe it's still around here somewhere.  With a brand new book to promote, I figure she ought to be primed to run something up the Publicity Tree!  We'll see what happens.  (kk)   

Well if it isn't one problem it is another. Beside my dental problems, my back has been acting up with bouts of sciatica, but that has not deterred me from seeing free music!  
Saw Boston at Elk Grove with my younger son Mike, who digs them. Plus it gave us some needed father son quality time with some good r/r. Fran and Anthony Cosmos did justice keeping the legacy of Boston intact. They played all the hits and had the fans rocking! 
Yes, I was there to see 2 dog night (as I call them!). Good show ... just not the same without Chuck. Parts of the songs, especially the earlier hits, did not sound the same.  I believe they did not attempt to play "Easy To Be Hard". 
I sure hope they bring the benefit for Sonny Geraci to Chicago. The last time I saw him was a "Nights Out" concert at Luther North in the city. Great show ... he did all the Outsiders and Climax songs and was a lot of fun. 
I can't wait to see Burton Cummings and the Zombies at the Aracada. I've never been there but I hear it is a great venue! This is how we are spending our 30th anniversary ... I promised my wife a good hotel and some great meals, I better come thru on that part! Will you be there? 
Speaking of venues much to my surprise the old Gateway theater, now the Copernicus Center is now having rock concerts with Kansas, Pat Benatar Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat , etc., this fall. I really hope they have someone I really like ... I can walk there from my house! 
Welcome to the next era of your life the big 60!  Good Health and Happiness Always! 
AND AS ALWAYS THANKS FOR KEEPING THE MUSIC ALIVE! Mike De Martino 
President of the Lovejoy Music Club  
I've been living with back pain for almost 25 years now so I can relate.  Had surgery back in 1989 which helped a lot ... but I still have my moments!  
We skipped the "Boston" show ... it just isn't the same without the REAL guys there.  They keep advertising this upcoming show featuring the "former lead singer of Journey" ... yeah right ... if it ain't Steve Perry ... and it ain't ... then it ain't the former lead singer of Journey ... not on the hits anyway!!!  (Hey, I sang along in the audience ... does that make ME a former lead singer, too???)  
We were there for the Two Dog Night show ... and we thoroughly enjoyed it ... you can find my review on the website if you haven't already seen it.  Last Friday Night we saw Chuck Negron as part of The Happy Together Tour ... that review went up on the site this past Monday. 
Honestly, between all of them I have to say that today ... 2013 ... Cory Wells has the best voice out of all of them.  I thought he was fantastic in Elk Grove ... even in the rain!!!
We're working on trying to bring the Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert here to Chicago ... if it happens, this, too, will be at The Arcada.  They've lined up a few interesting acts that you don't get to see every day.  
We absolutely can't wait to see Burton.  There are lots of very good restaurants near the theater ... everything from Italian to Mexican and more.  It's a BEAUTIFUL theater.  I am a life-long Burton Cummings / Guess Who fan so I am REALLY looking forward to this show.  (Stay tuned ... we just MIGHT have a very special Burton Cummings announcement for you in the next week or two!)  
As for rock concerts at the Copernicus Center, that would be GREAT!!! I hadn't heard anything about this but it would make for a GREAT venue for shows like this.  (kk)   

Hi Kent,  
Homespun Tapes has just released my Beach Boys instructional piano video "Rock Piano Classics" for the
first time on DVD.  It was originally released in 1994 on VHS.  The lesson covers nine well-known
Beach Boys songs and has special introductory comments by Audree and Carl Wilson. 
http://www.homespun.com/Styles/rock-n-roll/rock-piano-classics  
Hope you and your readers find this of interest.  
Here's a YouTube link to the video trailer:  
Click here: ? Rock Piano Classics - Hit Songs of the Beach Boys - YouTube  
Best,
Billy Hinsche   

Without question, one of our favorite artists of the '70's was Jim Croce ... and Sony Special Products has just released 
a brand new CD collection of "Lost Recordings", many of which were collected by our long-time FH Reader / Buddy Bill 
Hengels.  (I remember when Bill first met with Ingrid Croce, Jim's widow, YEARS ago, about getting this material out 
into the marketplace.)  Well, it took a while but if finally happened.  Here is an Amazon.com ordering link:  
Forgotten Hits was the first to "sneak peek" a previously unreleased Jim Croce song about eight or nine years ago when we spun 
"Ball Of Kirriemuir", courtesy of Bill Hengels.  This was from before he sold the tapes from this concert to Ingrid Croce. 
He tells us that Ingrid has also just released a book on her husband called "I Got A Name: The Jim Croce Story".

Kent,  
The very talented (and forever young looking) Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues has been out on a solo tour.
Well, he's not really touring solo...as in one guy.  He's touring with Moody Blues band members Alan Hewitt (keyboards) and Julie Ragins 
(keyboards and back-up vocals) as well as an amazing age 20-something guitarist Mike Dawes.  Justin just played the very 
intimate and amazing Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut and, with Justin's great band, it sounded much like a Moody Blues 
concert except it was like having him in your living room as the venue holds just 500 people.  I was lucky enough to be able 
take in the show from a seat just a few inches away from him.  The set list was a combination of Moody Blues hits, Justin's 
past solo works and songs from his new solo album "Spirits Of The Western Sky." 
Here's a video I shot of Justin doing The Moody Blues 1980's classic "Your Wildest Dreams."  My thanks to Blake Joblin for

helping put this video together.  Justin sounds great.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fovjRrnesyo&feature=c4-overview&list=UUu7bkC3DyT-AZLZIMHcrbvwBrad
 




Photos by Brad Joblin (Exclusive to Forgotten Hits)
 
re:  HAPPY TOGETHER: 
>>>Gary Puckett had the crowd up on their feet when he saluted all of the military vets in the audience and then sang 
a special song (the only non-hit performed the entire evening) that he dedicated to them.  Puckett even has a spot on 
his website (Click here: The Official Gary Puckett Union Gap Website) that offers support and benefits for our veterans
who, Gary very proudly ... and rightfully ... points out have insured OUR freedom for SO many years.  If somewhat calculated,
it certainly made for a poignant moment during the concert ... and I believe that he is a sincere supporter.  
The crowd's reaction provided a very emotional experience.   
Did he sing the Mac Davis-penned "Home"?
It's his best non-hit ever, though several come close.
David Lewis
Yep, that's the one.  We've seen him do this a few times now ... I didn't realize that Mac Davis wrote that song.
Another one who really plays it up to the vets is Tony Orlando ... always gets a great crowd reaction ... but these 
guys deserve it. Far too many of them were scorned when they came back after defending our freedom.  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Love your column.  I was very interested in reading your review of Chuck Negron's appearance at the Happy 
Together tour in Aurora.  I am reading his book currently, "Three Dog Nightmare" and I recommend any fan to 
read it.  What a life he has had, good and bad.  I too saw "Two Dog Night" at Elk Grove Village this summer and 
was very curious to see how Chuck is doing now.  I am so glad he is performing and sounding as great as ever!   
Thank you for the review.
On another note, I also have noticed a disturbing trend that you mentioned at the concerts.  It doesn't matter 
if it is a big buck concert at Ravinia, an intimate concert at the Arcada Theatre, or a free concert in the park.  
People are talking, singing, and generally misbehaving and ruining the experience for others at these shows.   
I have noticed it so much more this year than every before.   Even at the sedate Bensenville concerts in the park 
venue, there was a fist fight this summer.  Please people, if you don't want to hear the band, sit in the back off 
by yourselves, or better yet, don't come!  It is ruining the experience for us serious music fans.  
Thanks, Kent, for letting me vent.    Keep up the great work!  
Janet
Yes, we seem to be running into it more and more.  Even at the Three Dog Night Elk Grove concert, we had to speak 
 to a couple of fans who showed up late and then stood in front of OUR seats after Frannie had held our spots for a 
couple of hours by getting there early.
Chuck's book is one of the best rock star biographies I've ever read ... highly recommended.  (Actually, I've read it a 
couple of times now!)
I understand there's a sequel available ... but I'm still partial to the "exploding penis" version myself!!!
(Frannie was a little bit concerned when we visited backstage ... she didn't want me to fall victim to a recurring incident ...  
but everything was ok!)  kk   

Kent,
You have me psyched for Saturday's Woodstock Fair.  Although it definitely won't be a "controlled environment", I will love every 
minute.  And to answer your Chuck Negron question ... yes, the songs you missed get included in single act shows.  Remember 
'Time Won't Let Me' (Us) wait that long' for shows to be over when there are multiple acts.  'Gangnum Style' is still in?   Super!  
Flo and Eddie tested that one at a few concerts preceding the Happy Together Tour and it cracked me up.  Wait a minute ... 
still no 'You Know What I Mean' Howard?  s*i*g*h
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano  
No, a few favorite hits were missing ... in fact, good as they were, this may be the shortest set I remember The Turtles playing 
during The Happy Together Series.
Would have loved to hear "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl" again.  Oh well ... maybe next year!   (kk)


GREAT review of the Happy Together concert
I loved reading every word of it.
Sev


Great to see you guys ... Glad you enjoyed the show. Thanks for coming. 
Can't wait to read all about it in Forgotten Hits.  
Howard Kaylan    

re:  FIRST 45's:
Kent,
First of all, "thank you" for a fantastic website!!  I always find something interesting to read and the links that you have 

are always fun to look at and are full of "oldies" information. 
I grew up on the southside of Chicago in a little section of town called "Roseland".  Although many people have called 
Roseland home over the years, it was home to many musicians including the band Styx and a few of the founding members 
of "Chicago".  It was really a great place to be a kid!!  
In the summer of 1966, I believe, my mom took me to Roseland Records on Michigan Ave, which was known as "The Ave" to
the Roselandites back then. For .75 she bought me "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen.  I forget the record 
label, but it was red and white and looked real cool spinning on a record player.  When we got home, my sister decided that 
she would not let me use her record player.  She had the only record player in the house and even with my threats of "I'll tell 
dad", she resisted and I could not hear my new record.  
Enter my dad's sister, my aunt Nell.  That Saturday evening, she walked in with a brand new Panasonic record player under her arm.  
It seems that she had saved several books of "green stamps" from the local A&P and turned them in for a record player for me.  
I could NOT have been more surprised and elated at her gift.  I thought that the entire record purchase and my sisters selfishness 
was part of the antics, but they weren't.  This just happened to be one of those great days in a boys life that he NEVER forgets!!   
Tom Jaremka
Isn't it funny how many of us remember that hypnotizing effect of that little 45 rpm record spinning around on our turn-tables 
way back when???  It was the Laurie record label, Tom ... and "Snoopy" proved to be a HUGE break-through hit for The Royal 
Guardsmen back in late 1966 / early 1967.  (kk) 




re:  DIGGIN' FORGOTTEN HITS:

ENJOYED THE LAST EDITION OF FH AS ALWAYS ... DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU FIND THE TIME AND ENERGY TO KEEP THAT UP, BUT THIS IS ONE COWBOY WHO DOES APPRECIATE IT!  ENJOY YOUR SUNDAY! 
MICHAEL G BUSH   

Hi Kent, 
Enjoyed your Gigantic Forgotten Hits Sunday Edition!!! Thank you for the photos of Brian Wilson, David Marks and Al Jardine. 
I recently purchased an old Beach Boys Volume Two Hits LP that was signed by Brian Wilson!  Thought is was a good investment to add to my collection since he is the last surviving Wilson Brother. 
Glad he will be touring with Jeff Beck but wish they were coming to Chicago!! 
Your Forgotten Hits emails are just amazing!!!!! 
Carolyn   

I love your site; read every word and love the 60s music.  Glad to have found you, thanks to Scott Shannon.  Keep me posted.  Thank you, Kent! 
Janice   

And now, as part of our week-long salute to Keepin' The '60's Alive, here's one all of the jocks on the list should be able to relate to ... 'cause you just can't do a show without 'em ...     

re:  TIME AND TEMP ... '60's STYLE: