Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Some Free Form Rambling

Stick with me here ... and eventually some of this will start to make sense!

The executive board is delighted to announce that Chicago native Ron Alexenburg has accepted the responsibility of being named President of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. As a member of our project since it's inception and serving as the executive director for the past year, his leadership and contributions have been exemplary.  

Ron is no stranger to the recording industry, having been a major force in creating and advancing the careers of Michael Jackson, Boston, Meatloaf, Heart, the Isley Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Kansas, LaBelle, Sprogyra, Rupert Holmes and Hot Chocolate among many others.  

At just 26 years of age Ron Alexenburg was appointed Vice President at Columbia / Epic Records by industry icon Clive Davis. In bringing Michael Jackson to Epic Records, the newly crowned "King of Pop" had his biggest successes with both "Thriller" and "Off the Wall," estimated to have sold in excess of 200 million recordings worldwide.  

As Owner & President of Alexenburg Entertainment Group since 1985, Ron's book "From the Warehouse to the Penthouse" is currently being readied for release. An Inductee of the "Long Island Music Hall of Fame," Ron Alexenburg is married to his wife of 48 years Rochelle is the father of three children and four grandchildren.
-- John Rook

The Hit Parade Hall of Fame is now rich with nearly 200 inductees ... you can find the complete list (along with this year's nominees) right here:    
Click here: Inductees | Hit Parade Hall of Fame   

Congratulations to FH Reader and Contributor Gary Theroux ... 
THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL with GARY THEROUX is very proud to announce that our series -- heard three times a day, Mondays through Fridays (and sometimes on weekends, too), on both and has just been awarded the Silver Trophy in the New York Festivals International Radio Programming competition. All of us at The History of Rock 'n' Roll are deeply thrilled by this worldwide recognition. In the immortal words of Huey Lewis, "the heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating" -- right here -- and in you -- every time the music speaks to and for your hopes, your dreams and your soul.
>>>Did you happen to watch The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony?  I really enjoyed Daryl Hall's acceptance speech ... it was spot on ... so I wanted to share it with you. (You're preachin' to the choir on this one, Daryl ... but we're with you 200%!)  kk  
>>>Speaking of Philadelphia, you know I did some research and do you know that we're the only home-grown Philadelphia band that has been put in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? 
Now I'm not sayin' that because I'm proud of that ... I'm sayin' that because that's fucked up!  
What happened to Todd Rundgren, The Stylistics, The Delphonics, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Lenny Barry ... Chubby Checker ... how 'bout the biggest single in the history of the world, Chubby Checker ... why isn't HE in it, huh?  So I'm callin' everybody out ... there better be more Philadelphia artists in this place, OK?  Now that's all I've got to say.  (Daryl Hall)  
Yes, I agree with Daryl Hall.  The Philadelphia Sound needs to be recognized in the Hall of Fame.  I am surprised that all of the names Daryl mentioned have yet to be inducted.  What's up with that?  Those songs are classics.   Maybe next year. 
More and more of the artists are starting to speak up about the short-comings of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's nominating and selection process.  (In fact, I'm a little surprised that HBO aired some of these comments, spot on as they are ... but directly taking The Rock Hall to task for its methods.  I give them major kudos for that!)  
Paul Stanley of KISS made another comment that I especially liked:

When I first started listening to music, I was lucky: I saw a lot of people I loved. When I was a kid, I saw Solomon Burke, I saw Otis Redding, I got to see the Yardbirds. I got to see Led Zeppelin; Jimi Hendrix; Sly and the Family Stone; the list goes on and on. What I loved about all these musicians is that they had the spirit of Rock and Roll. I believe that the spirit of Rock and Roll means you follow your own path regardless of critics, and regardless of your peers. I think we’ve done that for forty years.   
Here we are tonight, basically inducted for the same things that we were kept out for. The people, I believe we’re speaking to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and what they’re saying is, “We want more.” They deserve more. They want to be apart of the induction. They want to be apart of the nomination. They don’t want to be spoon-fed by a handful of people. Choices. The people pay for tickets. The people buy albums. The people who nominate do not. Let’s not forget that these are the people that make it all possible.  
So, I look out here and I see all these people. I see faces that over the years inspired me. People who made me what I am. So I am here tonight because of the people who inspired me, but I’m also here because of the people I inspired. So God bless you all; it’s been a wonderful night.  
-- Paul Stanley     
Here is a move that I think is LONG overdue.  
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame needs to schedule a mass, special induction ceremony to catch up a little bit here.  (I've been saying this for years.)  Take advantage of this one-time opportunity to help save face (and earn some credibility back!)
First of all, I believe that ALL of the current inductees should have a say in both the nominating and induction process ... because the committee currently at hand simply isn't getting the job done properly.  This is a group of people deemed worthy enough of induction by the hall ... have them campaign for the artists who most influenced and inspired THEM ... a chance to pay back some recognition for the incredible careers this love and appreciation of music gave them.  Come up with the top 25 nominees and then mass-induct twelve of them in a special ceremony.  (Who better to put together the list than the artists already inducted, paying tribute to their peers and mentors?)  Or (and I know this is just unthinkable!) have the PUBLIC vote for this special one-time ceremony and right some of the wrongs that have for so long plagued the Hall, wiping all sense of relevance and credibility.
And then, moving forward, commit to a better selection process so that this doesn't ever happen again.  (The shame is that SO many of the inductees are now long gone and unable to vote in such a celebration ... and far too many of those because The Rock Hall waited 20 - 25 years longer than it should have to induct them in the first place!!!)
FIX THIS!!!  Stat!
Speaking of nominations, we're throwing our full support behind Ed Sullivan for next year.  Seeing Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham inducted this year just points out again what a major oversight this is.  Ed Sullivan, more than any other individual in history, is most responsible for bringing rock and roll into our living rooms and fueling the mass appeal and pandemonium that then ensued.  
If you grew up in the '50's or '60's, you have fond memories of watching The Ed Sullivan Show EVERY single Sunday Night to see who he was going to feature next.  You patiently (or NOT so patiently) waited through all the juggling and magic acts, the comedians, the Broadway musical highlights, Topo Gigio and all kinds of other crap to see this week's pop or rock and roll star.  And, any star who was fortunate enough to appear on Ed's program Sunday night knew that their latest record was going to take a HUGE leap on the charts the following week because sales for that record were going to go through the roof after their appearance.
How on earth he has been overlooked this long is beyond me.  Again, it's time to start righting some of these wrongs.  For all his shortcomings in the personality department, Ed had an eye and an ear for talent ... and the next big thing.  Others have been inducted for their contribution to radio (Alan Freed) and television (Dick Clark) ... but Ed Sullivan was the first one to put this music in our face ... and we LOVED it!!! 
>>>I believe that after the new 4 Seasons movie, "Jersey Boys,"  makes its debut in movie theaters on June 20th that there may be a revival of " vintage" oldies music.  The Broadway show was a big success and I think the movie will be as well.  I am anxiously waiting to see it.  Their music could catch on like "wild fire" and lead to a burst of "I remember that song" music playing again. (Hopefully!)  Sandy  
"The Jersey Boys" countdown continues ... just a week to go now ... but I've gotta tell you, I am REALLY concerned!!!  The vocals I've seen in the promos so far don't come even CLOSE to capturing the sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  As both a MAJOR fan ... and someone who saw the "Broadway In Chicago" stage version six times ... I couldn't be more disappointed with what I've seen so far, especially when it comes to "fake" Frankie Valli's vocals ... they're not even close!  Our Chicago Frankie BLEW this guy away!!!  (If they were going for the real sound, they would have been better served by hiring the best possible actors to play the parts and using the actual original recordings as part of the soundtrack ... but these are guys who had to go out and recreate these roles night after night after night ... they should be fully "seasoned" by now ... and I'm just not hearing it!!!)  Anybody can sing high ... but the whole essence of Frankie's voice was the fact that it had body and balls behind it ... when it hit you, you know you were hearing something that you had never heard before ... it captured you and sucked you in.  Check out the clips below ... NONE of that "magic" or sound is present in these vocals ... and, as such, I don't feel they do justice to this music.  (By comparison, go to YouTube and watch some of the clips for the brand new James Brown bio-pic ... they grab you by the guts and don't let go!)  
We've been waiting for this film for YEARS now ... but I'm prepping myself for a major disappointment.  I hope I'm wrong ... but just listen to some of this and see if you agree!  (kk)  
More press: 
Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros.