Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Mid-Week Quickie!

re:  The Grammys:
>>>If Robin Thicke is the future of pop music, then shoot me right now.  (Jack)
Thanks, Jack!  I read your article and it was well put.  I tend to agree.  I got through the first 90 minutes of the Grammys.  Some of it was painful to watch.  But I did enjoy the Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk segment with their killer song, Lucky Tonight.  Ringo and Paul were "meh"   Paul's voice is going.  Sorry ... But I did like Ringo singing "Photograph", although his voice grew weaker as the song went on.  On a memorial note ... America lost a lot of talent over the last few years.  I was dismayed to see that on the Grammys for 2012 there was no mention of the loss of Grass Roots star Rob Grill.  I think that year was all about Whitney Houston but never the less Rob should have been mentioned as well. I looked on YouTube and didn't see any mention of him. Wondering if I might has missed something. 
Jack had made a comment about the 70-somethings stealing the show ... and I can't help but wonder how many of today's stars will have the lasting power that some of the acts featured on The Grammys Sunday Night had.  Does anybody out there seriously believe that Robin Thicke will be remembered as much more than a one-hit wonder (if that) forty years from now?  Do you think The Grammys will be asking Thicke, and Katy Perry and Daft Punk to come back and reprise their performances in 2054?  But you look at artists like Chicago, Stevie Wonder, The Highwaymen (Kris, Willie and Merle anyway) and Paul and Ringo and you realize what a different era in music we were fortunate enough to grow up in.  Heck, I got a real charge out of watching Steven Tyler and Smokey Robinson co-present an award, each singing a line from the other's song!  40-50 years from now will 60-somethings be reciting the rapid-paced raps of some of today's heavily bleeped-out hits?  This is why I constantly maintain that radio is missing the boat by ignoring the music that has lasted.  Save this column ... I'll be curious to watch the Grammys in 2054 and report back to you.  (Hey, I plan on stickin' around until the year 2525 to see if Zager and Evans got any of it right!!!)  kk
Did people really think that Beyonce's tune is really a good song with a memorable melody? Sheesh. During rehearsals, didn't someone tell Robin Thicke to shut-up when the trumpet solo was being played on Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is ... or learn the melodies and establish them before he started singing all over the place? The interesting thing about his and Chicago's performance was they were respectful of his tune and did it correctly while he stomped all over there stuff. 
Lorde? I loved her humbleness when accepting her award -- I only saw her first speech. I don't find her tunes memorable, but I have only heard them on the telecast so that may not be fair. 
The only memorable tunes I saw that came out last year were Get Lucky and The Robin Thicke tune. Now the Thicke tune was inspired by a Marvin Gaye tune so I don't know how much the hook comes from the fact that I heard the Marvin Gaye tune first, but it is still hooky as heck.
I always love to see a Beatle somewhere, but it is getting obvious that they are getting older, so I'm not sure how I feel about hearing them sing.  I always want them to sound like they did so that's hard. They certainly didn't embarrass themselves.
Madonna sounded older than either Beatle, but she never misses a chance to grab the spotlight. I thought the Marriage ceremony, though kind of cool, didn't belong at the Grammys. That night is supposed to be about the music and the music makers.
OK OK!!! I am sure that's more than eno ... 
... ugh
Ahh, the Grammys.  As I watched Ringo and his All-Starr band (Frampton was one of the guitarists ... I don't know who the other oldies were) perform "Photograph," I started to think that that song was #1 about 40 years ago.  Close.  It was #1 Thanksgiving time, 1973!  My, how music has changed from his easy happy-go-lucky sound to today's.  I was not overjoyed, however, by Macca using one of his lame cuts from his latest CD as the song to reunite with Ringo on.  In fact, I felt like yelling the age old Beatles term "O-U-T spells OUT!" at my screen as I watched him incorporate the term from "Christmastime Is Here Again" into his new "ditty."  At least Yoko swayed along with it (as she did with Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" later!).  Sean was there giving his best beard impression of John in 1969. 
The Grammy for Best Rock Song of the Year went to McCartney!  Whaa??  What year?  2014??  Yes, and he beat out a Rolling Stones song, too!  The thing is NO ONE has heard these songs and they are up for and win the Grammy??  I only heard the Macca one on Saturday Night Live -- never on the radio.  It's disgusting when you think that the fabs only won five Grammys during their "active" career as a group! 
Then, there those robot guys that won three awards!  I guess they were Daft Punk?  How about Daft Puke instead?  These guys sat in their seats all night in outfits that had helmets to cover their faces.  I'm thinking Daft Puke is actually a cruel trick by Milli-Vanilli to get back at the Grammys!  If so, I applaud the idea! 
Carole King was good singing her "Beautiful" in a medley with Sara whomever and her hit.  The Everlys musical tribute was well done, too.  I was particularly happy to see Larry Lujack listed in the list of greats who passed in 2013.  How cool was that? 
Willie and Kris K and Merle Haggard sang fairly well for their ages.  Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson should have just done some duet instead of Stevie's support role. 
Mass weddings?  What the heck was that?  I thought I was not understanding what was going on.  I was wrong.  At the Grammys?? 
What was with the Smokey the Bear hat guy?  He had to speak for the robot winners:  "Umm, the robots would like to thank their parents."  OK, yeah.  That Taylor Swift looks great except when she is reinstating whiplash in a car accident.  And Pink?  I gotta admit, she is an athlete.  Does that make her Grammy worthy?  Why not?  Mettalica's tribute to Lou Reed?  LOU REED??  If we are giving tributes to Lou Reed, why not the Montanas?  They had MUCH better music than Lou Reed ever thought about having.  BUT, this night was not really about MUSIC as far as I could hear, so play on ... 
Clark Besch
I remember making a comment during the broadcast about how Daft Punk really had it made, hiding inside those robot suits ... they could send literally ANYBODY up there and no one in the audience would have a CLUE who it really was.  As such, I LOVE your Milli Vannelli idea!!!  What a GREAT trick that would be!
I, too, was VERY disappointed by McCartney's song choice ... one of the weaker tracks he's done lately.  I really expected them to do a Beatles tune ... but I'm guessing they saved that for the special 50th Anniversary Tribute Show they taped the night after.  It'll be interesting to see what they come up with for that.  (And I thought the EXACT same thing about the "O-U-T spells out" lyric!!!  Well, Paul never really was the prolific one in that department ... not too deep.  But then again neither is "you say goodbye, and I say hello" or "someone's knockin' at the door, somebody's ringing the bell, do me a favor, open the door, and let 'em in."  "1,2,3,4, can I have a little more? 5,6,7,8,9,10 ... I love you"???  Seriously?!?!) 
While I LOVED Ringo's performance (he probably INSISTED on it ... if I'm coming out there for this, I get to sing a song!), it really proved how monotonous "Photograph" really is.  It was great for us "oldsters" ... but I doubt that he won over any NEW fans.  (By the way, Vintage Vinyl News today posted the complete set list for "The Night That Changed America" Beatles Anniversary Special airing on Sunday, February 9th.  You can check it out here: 
Based on most of the response I've seen, I fully expect the Daft Punk song to start climbing the charts again ... folks LOVED it when it was out ... and now that so many new people have been exposed to it, and fallen in love with it as well, I believe there'll be a new surge of downloads to propel this sucker right back up the charts.  (Maybe not to #1, ala Chubby Checker, but substantial.)  I thought the all-star jam to this was outstanding ... SO rare to hear Stevie Wonder sing somebody else's song in the first place ... but they had the whole audience up on their feet boppin' to this one! 
And I thought the Carole King / Sara Bareilles duet was outstanding ... Carole in FINE voice (for someone who so rarely sings), featuring her "Beautiful" hit, theme song from the new Broadway Musical, along with the Bareilles song that Katy Perry ripped off virtually note for note to create her even BIGGER hit "Roar"!!!  All in all, I felt "entertained" the entire night.  (kk)
re: Pete Seeger:
>>>Folk Legend Pete Seeger died Monday (the 27th) at the age of 94.  He was an inspiration to SO many of the folk and folk / rock movement of the '60's ... an absolute icon of the era.  (kk)
Pete Seeger always tried to make the world a better place through his music and activism.  His life-long commitment to the cause of peace and to addressing the plight of the downtrodden has been an inspiration to all those who have championed society's victims and have done what they could to combat injustice.   His music and commitment was more powerful than a thousand armies.  We are fortunate that he lit the way for so long.  Pete once gave me a bit of advice, and I've always tried to remember what he said, "Keep it small and you will make a difference." 
John Mellencamp
I usually do a little meditation and prayer every night before I go to sleep - Just part of the routine. Last night, I decided to go visit Pete Seeger for a while, just to spend a little time together, it was around 9 PM. So I was sitting in my home in Florida, having a lovely chat with Pete, who was in a hospital in New York City. That's the great thing about thoughts and prayers - You can go or be anywhere.
I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly, like a father in some ways, a mentor in others and just as a dear friend a lot of the time. I'd grown up that way - loving the Seegers - Pete & Toshi and all their family.
I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I'd been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn't think of anything that didn't sound trite or plain stupid. "They'll say something appropriate in the news," we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night.
"Arlo" he said, sounding just like the man I've known all of my life, "I guess I'll see ya later." I've always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. "Pete," I said. "I guess we will."
I turned off the light and closed my eyes and fell asleep until very early this morning, about 3 AM when the texts and phone calls started coming in from friends telling me Pete had passed away.
"Well, of course he passed away!" I'm telling everyone this morning. "But that doesn't mean he's gone."  Arlo Guthrie
The New York Times is reporting that Pete Seeger, the American folk singer who became a fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene”, has passed away at the age of 94. 
His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork - Presbyterian Hospital.  
As a song writer, he is best known as the author or co-author of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (with Joe Hickerson), “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)”, (composed with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”, which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world. “Flowers” was a hit recording for The Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). “If I Had a Hammer” was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while The Byrds popularized “Turn, Turn, Turn!” in the mid-1960s, as did Judy Collins in 1964, and The Seekers in 1966.
Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, soon after folk singer and activist Guy Carawan introduced it at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. In the PBS “American Masters” episode Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, Seeger states it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional “We will overcome” to the more singable “We shall overcome”. 
Ken Voss

re:  The Saturday Surveys:
>>>Other surprises on this chart:  "Moulty" by The Barbarians at #19 ... this track never climbed any higher than #90 in Billboard.  (kk)
The Barbarians were a Boston-area (actually Cape Cod) group, so it is no surprise that a record by them would be high on WBZ's chart.  (One listen to this record will reveal Moulty's Massachusetts accent!)
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Connecticut

Wow Kent,
Are you trying to scare me?
I'm from Boston and that chart is a week after my 20th birthday! WBZ is a 50,000 Watt station heard halfway across the country and into Canada! Now it is mostly news, traffic, some sports. 
WMEX 1510 (Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsberg, from Jan and Arnie fame) and WCOP 1460 (?) with Dick Summer were the two Pop stations in town in the 50's 60's now both gone after changing to 'Oldies Format' and dying off. 
This is a hoot ... thanks for another FUN feature.
What is the 'Jingle' for 2014? Ha ha!  Remember when every car company or Radio Station had a rhyming jingle that matched the year!
Praying that the Groundhog doesn't see his shadow!
Take care,
We've got another arctic blast headed our way ... Chicago temps for Monday are forecast to hit -6 for a HIGH on Monday, with a low of -23 (actual temperature), for a wind chill of about -45.  Good day to just stay in bed!!!  (Wish there was something worthwhile to listen to on the radio!)  kk

This is FYI. In regarding the song THE RACE IS ON, here in the OKC area the George Jones' version peaked at #4 in December of 1964 with the Jack Jones' version peaking at #26 weeks later in April of 1965.
Vince Vance & the Valiants' BOMB IRAN was mentioned by one of your readers. I had to get that out and play it since it had been forever since I heard it. It did make our local survey here, though I don't know how high it got. For those not familiar with it, the tune is the same as BARBARA ANN.
I learned something new today. When you posted Spyder Turner's STAND BY ME, I thought it appeared and sounded somewhat longer than I remembered it. I went and pulled my copy and the single I have was 2:47 in length. Apparently he had an LP version that had one or two more artist imitations on it.
I really enjoy looking at the weekly radio surveys from other stations here in the good old U.S.A. I look for records that made the surveys which didn't here in OKC.  I try to find them on the internet, play them and see if I personally like them.
One example was Duane Eddy's FREIGHT TRAIN which was on WEXI's survey.  Found it, played it,really no opinion on it.
Larry Neal
It's funny because when Spyder Turner's record first came out, I thought his impersonations were spot on.  Listening to it now all these years later, he really doesn't sound like ANY of the artists he's paying tribute to!  (lol)  In fact, Cassius Clay's reading of "Stand By Me" sounds better!  (And let's not forget John Lennon's hit remake!)  kk 

These charts are such fun! Spotting some of the rarities is a blast. Thank you.
David Lewis

Many a time I'll look at a top 40 survey and marvel at some of the songs they were playing and wonder why they were never played in Chicago. We're not talking local acts, but national acts. However then you have to wonder what songs WLS and WCFL were playing that the one particular station wasn't. After all if there's five songs on their chart that never made it to Chicago, there has to be five songs here, that never made it there.