Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday This And That

re:  It's A Small World After All:
This is just WILD!  After running the letter below from Jerry Kamper on Monday as part of our "Radio" feature, I was SHOCKED to receive the following letter from long-time Forgotten Hits Reader Steve Davidson ... check this out!
Hey kk,
I have been enjoying reading about all the controversy surrounding today's radio or lack there of.  The old saying “don’t fix it if it ain't broke” comes to mind.  It’s definately broke as far as I’m concern and the fact that new avenues are not being  attempted is puzzling.  
Tommy James' reference to growing up and having access to the 50,000 watts of WLS and your comment about the night time signal reaching 48 states was spot on.
The importance of the DJ’s and the jingles can’t be overlooked as well. If one never left the confines of Chicago they might never have known how important the 50,000 watt signal was to so many of us. They also may not have recognized the fact that much of our music was only going out to a local audience and not to the entire country.  
Our local DJ’s were our friends and companions who understood us, even if our parents sometime didn’t.  
Back in 1968 I discovered for myself just how much WCFL and WLS meant to me the hard way as I was away from home for the first time in my life. I remember getting the WLS signal off and on at night while I was penned up in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Hearing a Chicago DJ,  some radio jingles and a New Colony Six tune was a slice of heaven for a kid that grew up on the southwest suburbs of Chicago.  The fact that I was alone, (Dear John), confused and had no idea what was in store for me in the very near future made this radio signal encounter very personnel and much needed.
If I had never left home I might have taken the whole experience for granted but it was such a needed and personnel experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. 
There were many trips back to Chicago in the years that followed. I would never return but for visits to either bring my bride-to-be-home to meet the family or give my folks their first look at their new grandchild. Making  these trips during daytime travel I always knew I was getting close when I could pick up the radio signal of WLS.  
If you what to know what radio meant to us growing up just watch American Graffiti and check out the smile and expression on the Richard Dreyfuss (Curt) character while he’s out cruising and listening to Wolfman  Jack.
Pilot Of The Airwave
Here is my request
You don’t have to play it
But I hope you’ll do you best
I’ve been listening to you show on the radio
And you seem to be a friend of mine  
Jerry Kamper
Hi Kent,
Not sure in your 2/10 posting if "Jack" and "Jerry Kamper" are one person or two (they're two - kk) but I started reading the blurb and I immediately thought of my time at Fort Polk in 1968 and hearing WLS and then lo and behold he mentions his time at Fort Polk!
I still remember waking at 3 AM to run in full gear during basic training only to hear my bunkmates' radio playing  "Midnight Confessions" and me wanting to go home.
Most people younger than 60 don't realize that morning radio was meaningless to us back in the 50's and early 60's  because it didn't play rock and roll. But nighttime TV was only a few stations so we listened instead to the radio and called in requests and felt a kinship to the evening DJ's such as Dick Biondi.
Then, before I finished reading the letter, I thought about "Pilot of the Airways", as it most and best epitomizes what nighttime radio was all about back then and again I was surprised to see it posted at the end of the letter.
Today it's the 6 - 10 AM and 3 - 6 PM slots that are important to radio but back then it was 6 PM to Midnite and it was the link that connected all of us to the music.
Steve Davidson
(summer address:  CHICAGO IL)
That's just WILD!!!  You guys may actually KNOW each other!  
Over the years, Forgotten Hits has reunited former neighbors and classmates, Army buddies and once, a father with a daughter he never even knew he had!!! It's the power of music ... and that universal language again ... it brings out all of the bonds and memories we share.  Simply put, there is NOTHING more powerful out there ... yet today radio wants to wrap it all up in a neat little package of 200 songs and 40 artists, positively clueless that living life's experiences encompasses ALL of the sights and sounds we were exposed to.  What a shame!  (kk)
Speaking of which ... 
re:  Radio:
Forgotten 45s to air nationally ...
-- Ron Smith
Man, what a GREAT idea!!!  (Why didn't I think of that ... fifteen years ago?!?!?)  kk
re:  Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted:
It was reported this week that David Cassidy and his wife of 23 years, Sue, are getting divorced.  No official word on whether David's drinking had anything to do with this ... but it's hard to imagine that it didn't.  (Maybe he'll offer to meet her halfway and they'll still work things out!  I think he loves her ... and isn't that what life is made of?)  kk

re:  Happy Together:
This week Vintage Vinyl News reported the 2014 Happy Together Tour Line-Up of The Turtles, Chuck Negron, Mark Farner, Gary Lewis and Mitch Ryder.  (Of course WE told you that about five months ago!!!)  But they DO have the concert dates listed ... so here's your chance to relive some great '60's memories, live in concert.
  • 06/07 - Biloxi, MS - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
  • 06/08 - Montgomery, AL - Montgomery Performing Arts Center
  • 06/10 - Columbus, GA - River Center for the Performing Arts
  • 06/11 – Coral Springs, FK - Coral Springs Center for the Arts
  • 06/12 - North Myrtle Beach, SC - Alabama Theatre
  • 06/13 – Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
  • 06/14 – Fort Myers, FL - Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
  • 06/15 – Daytona Beach, FL - Peabody Auditorium
  • 06/20 - Tarrytown, NY - Tarrytown Music Hall
  • 06/21 - Westbury, NY - NYCB Theatre at Westbury
  • 06/22 - Englewood, NJ - Bergen Performing Arts Center
  • 06/23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
  • 06/24 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theater
  • 06/26 - Jim Thorpe, PA - Penn's Peak
  • 06/27 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
  • 06/28 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
  • 06/29 - Lancaster, PA - American Music Theatre
  • 07/01 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts Center
  • 07/02 - Glen Allen, VI - Innsbrook After Hours
  • 07/09 – Ferndale, WA - Silver Reef Casino Pavilion
  • 07/10 - Snoqualmie, WA - Snoqualmie Casino / Snoqualmie Ballroom
  • 07/12 – Jackpot, NV - Horseshu Casino Outdoor Venue
  • 07/13 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery
  • 07/20 - Costa Mesa, CA - Pacific Amphitheatre
  • 07/27 - Webster, MA - Indian Ranch
  • 07/29 - New Brunswick, NJ - State Theatre
  • 07/31 – Sylvania, OH - Centennial Terrace
  • 08/01 - Nashville, TN - Tennessee Performing Arts Center / Polk Theater
  • 08/03 - West Allis, WI - Wisconsin State Fair / Main Stage
  • 08/06 - Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts
  • 08/07 - Northfield, OH - Hard Rock Live
  • 08/08 - Des Moines, IA - Iowa State Fair / Grandstand
  • 08/09 - St. Charles, MO - The Family Arena
  • 08/10 - Peoria, IL - Peoria Civic Center (Theatren
  • 08/12 - Indianapolis, IN - Indiana State Fair / Marsh Free Stage
  • 08/20 - Effingham, IL - Effingham Performance Center
  • 08/21 - Louisville, KN - Kentucky State Fair / Fairgrounds Stadium
  • 08/22 - Aurora, IL - Paramount Arts Centre
  • 08/24 - Winnipeg, MB - Club Regent Casino
  • 08/25 - St. Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair
  • 08/27 - Pueblo, CO - Colorado State Fair / Events Center

  • re:  Diggin' Forgotten Hits:
    As a former jock and current radio and jingle freak, I love your blog. 
    Thanks much and keep the flame burning.
    Ken Levine
    Thanks, Ken ... I've run several links to YOUR website as well.  Good stuff!  (kk)
    re:  The Beatles 50th Anniversary Television Special:
    Well, they didn't draw 73 million viewers ... in fact it was closer to 14 million (still not bad for a 50-year old band ... betcha ANY radio station in town would KILL for 14 million listeners ... of course in order to draw that many, they'd actually have to play something that people really want to hear!!!) ... and in the end (the love you take ... oh, never mind), they still got beaten by The Olympics ... but CBS was please (pleased) enough with the results to run it again last night in prime time.  It'll be interesting to see how many people tuned in to watch it again (or took advantage of their second chance to see it if they missed it the first time around).  
    Honestly, I felt no need to see it again this soon ... three nights later.  (What is this, cable?!?!?  I mean it's not like this was "Eddie And The Cruisers"!!!)  But the more I thought about it, I figured if there was absolutely NOTHING else going on, I might just tune in for the last half hour to see Paul and Ringo performing together again.  Instead, we put it on during dinner and I ended up watching the ENTIRE show again ... and enjoying every bit of it.  (The "Sgt. Pepper" / "With A Little Help From My Friends" moment was STILL the crowning moment in my mind ... but I can now count several other performances amongst my favorites ... including Stevie Wonder's killer rendition of "We Can Work It Out", STILL my favorite Beatles cover version of all time, the great harmonies of Imagine Dragons on "Revolution" and the wailing, dueling guitar solos at the end of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".  (I still wasn't moved by The Eurythmics' performance ... it just didn't do it for me ... and I agree with one of our readers below that Katy Perry turned in a pretty decent performance of "Yesterday" ... probably the first time I've EVER heard her sing on-key in a live performance.  That being said, I still don't see why they couldn't have cut away to show Paul singing it solo on Ed Sullivan's Show back in 1965 ... or any of the other famous Sullivan clips from their return performances to the program.)
    I never really cared for The Beatles' version of "We Can Work It Out" ... I was a "Day Tripper" fan all the way ... and always felt THAT should have been the A-Side of the single.  When Stevie cut his version in 1971, it blew me away right out of the box ... what a GREAT interpretation ... it gave the song a whole new feel ... a new groove ... and for the first time, I actually enjoyed it.  Watching him perform a near letter-perfect version on the 50th Anniversary Tribute just reinforced this for me again.
    And I enjoyed Paul and Ringo's comments ... as well as those of the crew and audience members who were there that incredible night in 1964 ... even more this time around.
    I can't believe I watched the whole thing ... (cue Alka Seltzer commercial) ... there were SO many other things I should have been doing instead ... but I'm glad I did.  (kk)

    Meanwhile, some of your Beatles comments are still coming in ...

    Hey Kent,
    I wasn't going to add my two cents on CBS' Beatles 50th Anniversary show, but here it goes anyway.
    I recently bought a new DVR / VCR combo and couldn't wait to record the special. After spending about three hours into the instructions, I found out that I couldn't record directly from my TV. I was bummed, until I watched the whole special. I have to give it a C-, and would probably never watch it again.
    First of all, who really wants to hear today's artists singing Beatles songs? What was CBS thinking? Oh yeah, I get it. It was "The Grammy's Salute The Beatles" or something like that. 
    The special did have its moments, but very few, in my opinion. We all wanted to see more from the old Ed Sullivan tapes, and hear those original songs. I never liked George's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", until Kenny Rankin did a cover of it. (Give that a listen on your stereo sometime.) Joe Walsh's playing on the song was good, but I remember what a electrifying performance Prince put on at a George Harrison tribute special, aired years ago. That alone made me a fan of the guy. Some of the "older" artists did respectable renditions, but nothing to scream about. I did like the mini-bios of John, Paul, George and Ringo. My favorite moment was, of course, when Paul and Ringo were together on stage. The Sgt. Pepper medley sent chills up my spine, and I actually got a tear in my eye. Yoko's dancing was amusing! I think it would have been terrific if CBS could have aired each of the three Sullivan shows on consecutive Sunday nights, just like it happened back then. To me, that would have been a much better tribute.
    John LPuzza

    The thing I kept thinking as I watched the Beatles anniversary show the other night is that it proved that talent isn't the problem nowadays. The younger performers on the show have talent, but they need better songs to perform than the ones today's songwriting mill is producing. Katy Perry has never sounded better to me than she did on "Yesterday," which made all of her other hits seem trivial (although "Yesterday" would do that to most artists). I wasn't familiar with Ed Sheeran beyond his one record with Taylor Swift, but I was impressed by his take on "In My Life." It's probably my favorite Beatles song, so I was prepared to be outraged -- and was not.
    My only quibble with the show was this: Where was Eric Clapton?
    The Hits Just Keep on Comin'

    Hello there,
    A  Forgotten Hits blog entry from Saturday, November 5th, 2011, and one from Sunday, November 13th, 2011, made references to Art Hannes, a former CBS announcer for the Ed Sullivan Show.  Art Hannes is my late uncle, brother to my dad, George Hannes.  As a kid, I remember being allowed to stay up late on Sunday evenings to watch the Ed Sullivan Show, but also to listen for our uncle saying "this is Art Hannes speaking".  Bed time followed immediately.  I recently came across this article from the archives of our home town newspaper, The Olean Times Herald, which chronicled some of the other career and life achievements of my Uncle Art.  The article was prompted by a visit from our Aunt Ruthie (Art and George's sister) to Don Swaim, who wrote the piece.  A link is included with this e-mail, for your interest.  Thanks for the blog effort on Forgotten Hits ... I feel like I really uncovered something there ... very informative and entertaining.
    Gary Hannes
    Topeka, Kansas
    (born/raised Olean, New York)

    Before we all move away from the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, may I offer a shout-out to some of the records that the Beatles inspired?  I have found four from 1964 that made the Billboard Hot 100 chart -- probably there are more, but I couldn't find any that charted.
    1.   "My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut" by Donna Lynn, debuted on February 22, peaked at #83.  Born Donna Lynn Albano, the 14-year-old Canadian had already appeared in a Broadway show, "Christine," at age 10.
    2.   "The Boy With the Beatle Hair" by the Swans, debuted on February 29, peaked at #85.  The Swans were apparently a studio backing group.
    3.   "We Love You, Beatles" by the Carefrees, debuted on March 21, peaked at #39.  The Carefrees were a British girl group.  This song is based on "We Love You Conrad" from the musical "Bye Bye Birdie."  According to Wikipedia, one of the group's members was married to Andy White, who played drums on one of the versions of the Beatles' "Love Me Do."
    4.   "A Letter to the Beatles" by the Four Preps, debuted on March 21, peaked at #85.  The Preps, a quartet from Hollywood, scored several times in the 1960s with songs parodying other musical groups: "More Money for You and Me," "The Big Draft," "Got a Girl," etc. 
    Henry McNulty
    Cheshire, Connecticut

    Hi kk,
    This was one of those times I wished I didn't live in Taiwan.
    No TV airing of the 50th anniversary Beatles special and no Winter Olympics events whatsoever.
    With this disappointment in mind, I looked forward to Lou Simon's special countdown of the British Invasion acts of 1964.  However, with only six minutes remaining in his program, the electricity in my house blinked off and I lost the recording.
    Thanks for your review of the Beatles special and for posting other readers' opinions.  It takes the sting away from having to miss the broadcast.
    Dann Isbell

    Hey Kent,
    Just a quick response to Sunday nights show. I thought it was well worth watching. I was 12 when the “Sullivan” show aired. I was hoping for some complete song footage. I mean the original songs were just over two minutes ... they couldn’t find time to show the complete clips in a two and a half hour show? I was disappointed by that. Also I was hoping for a little more history then what they gave us. I guess 50 years after the fact, that’s what Wikipedia is for. Today’s audiences want today’s stars. Paul and Ringo at the end were the best. As we all move forward down the road called “life” it always occurs to me how powerful music becomes. It can bring you up and take you down as well as take you back all those years ago.