Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday This And That

You can still pre-order Joel's new "Top Pop Playlists" book for only $22.95 ... but you need to act quickly.  Click here: Top Pop Playlists 1955-1969 | Joel Whitburn's Record Research
Joel has already told us that this book will act as Volume One in the series, covering the years 1955 - 1969.  Volume Two is already in the works, taking us from 1970 - 1984.
Be sure to hit The Record Research Website and order your copy today!  (kk)
Kent -  
I loved hearing that great novelty song "Do-Wacka-Do" by one of America’s greatest singers / songwriters / performers!  All of these songs need to be played and heard by new generations of music fans!!!  Thanks for the nice review of my new book.
Joel Whitburn   
Can't wait to see it, Joel ... a VERY colorful representation of what truly WERE the biggest hits of that time ... no matter what ANYBODY else tells you today!  They can continue to distort and spin the facts to their own liking, but your new book is a snapshot of what was REALLY happening at the time.  SOMEBODY in radio needs to pick up on this and right this ridiculous wrong!  (kk)
And, by popular request, Forgotten Hits will once again be giving away a copy of Joel's brand new book ... all thanks to his latest Record Research / Forgotten Hits Trivia Contest!  Be sure to check back on Sunday for all the details!   

The Beach Boys  ...Yeah!   For the record, Brian sang lead on "Don't Worry Baby" - but check out Carl on "Girl Don't Tell Me" (from the "Summer Days and Summer Nights!" album) and "Long Promised Road" (from the "Surf's Up" album).  These are stellar performances. 
I know you both said that "Good Vibrations" is "hardly one of my faves but simply has to be included" ... GUYS!  Read the chapter from the "Wrecking Crew" The Inside Story of Rock & Roll's Best-Kept Secret" on the amazing story of how it was recorded and you may think / listen differently.
"Kokomo" is very much a Mike Love-style production; no real involvement from Brian but DNA from Papa John Phillips and San Franciscan Scott McKenzie can definitely be heard.
And be sure to add this one to the list in THE ALL-UNDERRATED DVISION:
"Little Girl I Once Knew" was moving up the charts when Capitol decided to "do it again" (pun intended) and quickly released "Barbara Ann", which stalled "Little Girl"'s move toward The Top Ten.  One of the few Beach Boys tunes that John Lennon gave praise to: 
Surfer's Rule! is another great Beach Boys tune.
Story goes that Mike Love had already recorded a rough, demo version of "Kokomo" with just himself and Terry Melcher ... but Disney Films wanted the track punched up in order to be considered for their "Cocktail" soundtrack.  So Love recruited his bandmates Carl Wilson and Al Jardine to give the track a more authentic Beach Boys sound.  (According to Wikipedia, Jeff Foskett and Bruce Johnston were also involved in the original recording.)
When the track was redone for the film (and subsequent chart-topping single), only Love's lead vocal from the original sessions remained ... everything else was cut new.  That included wiping Melcher's and Foskett's vocals from the track.  (Now I'm a BIG Jeff Foskett fan ... but I honestly can't even imagine this track without Carl's beautiful lead!)
While Brian certainly helped with the promotion of the song once it was released, he was not present for the writing or the recording, making it the ONLY Beach Boys #1 Single NOT written by Brian Wilson.
"Little Girl I Once Knew" seems to be a die-hard Beach Boys Fan Favorite ... but again, isn't one of mine.  (There are a few others that I really can't stand ... "Be True To Your School" and "When I Grow Up To Be A Man" also fall into this category.)
While I really liked "Barbara Ann" when it was out (and it reached #1 just about EVERYWHERE except Billboard), it has grown a bit "tired" for me now ... and I just don't see it as the "show-stopping finale" that Mike Love seems to insist it is ... but it DOES get the crowd singing along every time.
Capitol sabotaged The Beach Boys' career several times.  In addition to the over-lapped single releases you mentioned, the same thing happened just as "Pet Sounds" was making its way up the chart.  Because it didn't sound like ANYTHING else The Beach Boys had ever recorded, Capitol played it safe and released "The Beach Boys Greatest Hits / Best Of The Beach Boys" album right at the same time.  Again, it immediately stifled sales of their NEW material in favor of the old.
"Endless Summer" can pretty much be perceived the same way ... a blessing and a penalty, all at the same time.
The Beach Boys really hadn't had a decent-sized hit on the charts for about five years.  Then Capitol released the 2-LP compilation package "Endless Summer", repackaging many of the group's best-known hits.  (The Beach Boys weren't even on the label anymore at this point.)  Out of nowhere, the double LP went straight to #1 ... they even re-released "Surfin' USA" as a single ... and it made The Top 40!!!  (Something their new material hadn't managed to do since 1969 when they were still on the label!)
A sudden resurgence in all things Beach Boys took place ... and they were playing to sold out houses again ... as long as they performed the oldies ... something Mike Love insists on doing to this day. (Brian's new band, featuring many of The Wondermints, has taken a totally opposite approach by spotlighting new material and far more difficult material such as performing the "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" albums live on stage in their entirety.  I have to believe this was a major conflict in Mike Love's mind when their bands "merged" for the 50th Anniversary Tour.) 
Now Love is back out (with Bruce Johnston) playing the songs HE wants to play ... while Brian has been touring with special guest like Beach Boys alums Al Jardine, David Marks and Blondie Chaplin!  It makes for some interesting choices for the fans ... but in my opinion, the one to see is Wilson.  For all intents and purposes, Mike Love has been putting on the exact same show for over 25 years now ... if you've seen it once ... or twice ... or even a dozen times ... you've already seen all there is to see.  Brian and his band will surprise you each and every time.  (kk)
As for their most over-hyped songs I'd have to say "Barbara Ann".  It's just not that good and was never intended as a single, shortening the chart life of the great "Little Girl I Once Knew".  I'll agree with Kent that "Kokomo" is good, IMO.To "add some Beach Boys music to your day," I'd say these are my CURRENT faves alphabetically: 
"Break Away", "California Girls", "Caroline, No", "I Just Got My Pay" "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times", "It's About Time", "The Little Girl I Once Knew", "Long Promised Road", "Sail on Sailor", "Slip on Through", "That's Why God Made the Radio", "Warmth of the Sun", "Wild Honey" and "You're So Good To Me".
Oh yeah ... I forgot all about "Caroline, No" ... that one definitely ranks near the top of my list, too.  (kk)
Very nice piece on the Beach Boys.
Hi Kent,
Thank you so much for keeping the Beach Boys music alive with the articles you have written!!!
I have been reading the book, The Real Beach Boy, Dennis Wilson. When you think of it, if Dennis
didn't mention the "Surfing Craze" to Brian in 1961, there may have never become the Beach Boys!
Hope Brian tours soon. Mike Love and Brian Johnston will be at Ravinia this summer.
Always looking forward to your emails.
Speaking of the Beach Boys, I have always loved "I Can Hear Music!"
Another one of MY favorites as well.  Brian had such a HUGE amount of respect for Phil Spector ... so it was really nice to see The Beach Boys pull off such a fitting tribute.  (kk)  
David Beard of Endless Summer Quarterly just sent us this link celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Beach Boys' album "Shut Down, Volume 2".  You can check it out here Click here: Beach Boys' Endless Summer Quarterly celebrates Shut Down Volume 2 album! - National Beach Boys |  
I just got through scanning today's comments just like I normally due when you post them. I will read them in their entirety later on today.
I did, however, play COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, one of my all time favorites by that rock and roll singer? Eddie Fisher.
Incidentally, I started getting goosebumps from hearing again the tune by Eddie Fisher.
It reminded me immediately of another song which I just now played on you tube, that being Don Cornell's THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO out of 1956.  Singer Nick Noble had a version as well.
Have a great day and I am looking forward later on today to reading Sunday's Comments.
Larry Neal
Eddie Fisher's "Fanny" reached #29 in 1954, splitting airplay with another version of the song by Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians (which also peaked at #29).  It was released as the B side of Fisher's Top 5 hit "Count Your Blessings" as RCA Victor single 5871. 
I've put Eddie Fisher tracks into compilation CDs dealing with the early '50s because he was indeed a major teen idol of that period (a protege of Eddie Cantor).  He would have had to be hot for a record called "I Want Eddie Fisher For Christmas" (New Disc 10013) to actually chart in 1954 (for Betty Johnson).  I consider Eddie a good singer of his type, if you happen to like the kind of over-earnest approach later present in early Paul Anka records.
Would I ever want to play an Eddie Fisher album for pleasure?   No -- but I do like one of his hits: "Dungaree Doll" (RCA Victor 6337), which was his attempt to transform himself into a rock 'n' roller in late 1955.  That particular single peaked at #7 early in 1956, just as the nation's eyes and ears were shifting over to Fisher's stunning new RCA labelmate, Elvis Presley.  Eddie had a couple of solid hits later that year ("On The Street Where You Live" and "Cindy Oh Cindy") but by the end of '56 had clearly been eclipsed.   And Fisher himself then drove the big spike into his personal and career coffin.  
Friends, family and fans never forgave Fisher for his thoughtless affair with Elizabeth Taylor, which destroyed not only his public popularity but Eddie's storybook marriage to Debbie Reynolds (who hit #1 herself in 1957 with "Tammy").  NBC cancelled Fisher's TV variety show early in 1959 and RCA dumped him in 1960 -- the year Debbie scored with an interesting choice of material: the pointed ballad "Am I That Easy To Forget."   Fisher went into freefall after that, primarily playing smaller and smaller club dates.   He recorded again for several labels but was never able to come anywhere close to his former level of popularity.  Other stars survived having the music scene pass them by, but Eddie was different in that audiences viewed his stained reputation with a distaste which overshadowed his ability to still sing.  Eventually Fisher gave up and as his health worsened became a recluse, dying in 2010 at the age of 82.   Remember the enormous outpouring of grief at that time from friends and fans all over the world?  You're right.  There wasn't any because his supporters had vanished.  Sex, drugs, thoughtless behavior and the rise of rock 'n' roll shoved one of the '50s biggest hitmakers into almost total obscurity way before his time.   Yes, it's true that the antics of some later rock, rap, hip hop and pop stars have been far less admirable that Fisher's, but you have to remember that Eddie was at the top of his game in the pre-Elvis 1950s -- a much more innocent time quite devoid of the crudity which pervades so much of pop culture today.   Back then, the sins of Eddie Fisher were considered a very big deal -- especially considering how much the public simultaneously adored Debbie Reynolds.  
Gary Theroux

I know you just mentioned it, but that new Ides of March site is just great!  30 minute videos of the guys sitting around telling stories of the formation, etc, with more to come!  A pre-cursor to Jim Peterik's autobiography, hopefully!  Lots of harmonies and gutiar playing and even (to beat a dead horse) a short rendition of "I've Had It"!!!  A great nearly a capella version of "You Wouldn't Listen" ta boot!

Hey Kent, 
I don’t know if you or your subscribers know of this company or not but the stuff they produce is of the highest quality in reproducing oldies.  They go to great lengths to digitally clean and re-master their songs.  They have just released the first four Lettermen albums on Capitol and the first things recorded for Warner Bros. before they moved to Capitol.  Included are some bonus tracks that were not included on any albums.  If you go to their website, you'll find that The Lettermen are the second item on their menu. 
Gary Pike 
former Letterman now of the Reunion 
Actually yes, I'm VERY familiar with their work.  (In fact a couple of Eric Records Reps are on our Forgotten Hits list!)  They put out the highest caliper material, showing great respect for this music.  Be sure to check out the site, too, for some of the great compilation pieces they have put together over the years.  (kk)

Every Friday this year we've been saluting The British Invasion, as we look back fifty years to the sight and sounds of the era.  (You'll find this week's installment posted here tomorrow!)  Meanwhile, FH Reader Clark Besch just sent us this link to a similarly themed article he found ... 
Hey Kent,
I had this article sent to me that fits in well with all the Brit Invasion stuff.  It's a story from Milwaukee of Bob Barry and WOKY's Beatles concert story of 1964!

Got this bit of bad news from Diane Diekman, who covers the country beat in her weekly newsletter ...
(subscribe here:
Kris Kristoffersonage 77, is suffering from a form of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease. His severe memory loss comes from years of head injuries from boxing and football in his youth. According to New Scientist, "The condition is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), previously called punch drunk syndrome, boxer's dementia, or dementia pugilistica. This causes progressive memory problems, personality change and slowness of movement. It afflicts many former sportsmen, mostly boxers." A former Rhodes Scholar and Oxford University student, Kris noticed his memory worsening several years ago. He told an interviewer he's lucky to be able to remember his song lyrics so he can keep performing. At the 2014 Grammy awards show on January 26, he and Willie Nelson sang "Highwayman," and then Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton joined them for "Okie From Muskogee" and "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." You can watch the performance here:

With the major league baseball season starting next week, it seemed only appropriate to feature this one again ... sent in by FH Reader Frank B ...
Kent ...
3/24/1938 = Bud and Lou first perform "Who's On First?" for a national radio audience. Baseball season starts next week.
Frank B.
Click here: ? Abbott & Costello Who's On First - YouTube
Pretty revolutionary for 1938, isn't it???  (kk)
And finally, here's The Clip Of The Week, sent in by Gary Pike, formerly of The Lettermen.
(Hmmm ... is THIS what they mean by "adding a little sweetening in the studio"???)   
Some fantasy here but what a hoot!!!