Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Sunday Comments ( 06 - 01 - 14 )

Happy June!  (Man, where is this year going?!?!?  Seems like only yesterday we were digging out from one of the worst winters ever here in Chicago ... then again, we DID have snow as recently as a couple of weeks ago!!!  WTF?!?!?)
In honor of Paige's High School Graduation ceremony later today, I thought I'd kick things off this weekend with this one ...

re:  The '60's:  
Thursday Night, Tom Hanks' exploratory journey into the sixties decade aired for the first time on CNN at 7:30 central and it sounds like this program will repeat several times during the week.  I THINK it will be 10 shows in all, but tonight is the first (along with the earlier British Invasion special they ran a few months ago).  Should be great to see.  Hanks always does a good job with history and music of the 60's.
Clark Besch
We missed the initial broadcast due to the Burton Cummings concert ... but look forward to enjoying the entire series.  (Yes, it IS ten episodes).  Part One focuses on the great strides made by television in the '60's.  CNN REALLY could have done a better job of promoting this series.  Even their On Demand teasers barely run a minute long ... as we know there is SO much more that could have been shared.  I'm hoping the eventual DVD release will be jam-packed with extras!  (kk)    

re:  This And That: 
Drummer Dino Dannelli has posted this message on the official Facebook page for The Rascals:
To All Rascal Fans: As a group, the Rascals will not be touring in 2014. I wish Felix well on his tour this summer. Everyone please stay tuned for my info about The Rascals' 50th Anniversary in 2015!! And thank you all for your love and support during our glorious return in 2013.
-- submitted by Tom Cuddy
Boy, it'd be great if they could just pick up where they left off, wouldn't it?  (I'm guessing this means no new recording plans either).  Meanwhile, Felix hits The Arcada Theatre on September 20th with The Brooklyn Bridge.  (Wonder what they're gonna sound like without Johnny Maestro?!?!?)  kk

By now you've probably already heard about Steve Perry's return to the stage to perform a song at an Eels' concert in Minnesota!  First time he's performed live on stage in something like 19 years!!!
Here's the clip for those who may not have already seen it:     

Guess who topped Billboard's Biggest Grossing Acts for the past 24 years?
Why it's none other than that flash-in-the-pan band from the mid-'60's, The Rolling Stones, who recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a reunion tour (and are STILL on the road today!)
According to Billboard Magazine, these are the Top Ten Biggest Grossing Acts of the Past 24 Years:
  1. Rolling Stones - $1.566 billion  
  2. U2 - $1.515 billion 
  3. Bruce Springsteen - $1.196 billion 
  4. Madonna - $1,140 billion 
  5. Bon Jovi - $1.030 billion 
  6. Elton John - $786 million 
  7. Dave Matthews Band - $777 million 
  8. Kenny Chesney - $752 million 
  9. Celine Dion - $738 million
  10. Eagles - $720 million
Damn it!!! After Glenn Frey reads this he's going to want to charge even MORE for an Eagles concert ticket!!!
I read an interesting take on how The Eagles got their name last week.  Over the years it has been alleged that their name was inspired by the country-rock sounds of The Byrds ... but in Harvey Kubernik's EXCELLENT book "Canyon Of Dreams", it is suggested that with Frey onboard somebody suggested the name "The Egos" ... and Glenn just misheard it and proclaimed, "Yeah ... The Eagles!!!"  Honestly ... it wouldn't surprise me one bit!!! (lol)  kk   

Kent ...  
Back in the old days they played the Top 500 over the Thanksgiving Weekend. They switched to Memorial Day Weekend.  No surprise at # 1 ... "Hey Jude" by The Beatles.  # 2 (Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer") WOULD'VE been a surprise, if they haven't been playing everyday!
Frank B.

Yeah, I remember YEARS ago Scott Shannon telling me that The True Oldies Channel was NEVER gonna play Bon Jovi ... and now they seen to be EVERYWHERE, covering every format of music, playing virtually non-stop on the radio dial.
I've seen radio stations count 'em down for Memorial Day, Labor Day, tied into the Indianapolis 500 ... just about ANY excuse to feature a listener-driven countdown.  (Ron Smith still does his on Labor Day ... but only every other year now.)
Biggest "Oh Wow!" song on this list?  Probably "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons at #17.  Every other song in the Top 20 you hear at least three or four times a day.  And look how many '80's songs made the list ... including a couple I've never even heard of!  (OMD - "If You Leave" ... at #48?!?!  Seriously???  How does THAT one go???  Catchier than "Grease", "Day Tripper" and "Brown Sugar"???  For real?!?!?)  kk  

On Monday June 2nd, TCM is showing several British Invasion movies beginning with "A Hard Day's Night". (Don't know yet whether it's the restored version or not.) "Hold On" and "Having a Wild Weekend" are two of the other movies airing. "A Hard Day's Night" starts at 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST.
I doubt that it's the restored version ... that one's coming out in theaters.  But it would be cool to see a couple of these others.  Thanks for the heads up!  (kk) 

Health issues for Tina Turner?  Apparently she's made a public statement that she did NOT have a stroke.  (I hadn't even heard that she had!)  
Click here: Tina Turner Denies Stroke Rumors ~ VVN Music    

And, after Paul McCartney was finally released from a Japanese hospital to fly home to London, it sounds like George Michael was hospitalized again last week for an undisclosed illness.  (No official word on whether or not this was something he picked up in a bathroom.)

Some sad news for Lou Christie this week ...
And this from Lou Christie's website, by way of Shelley Sweet-Tufano:
We are very sorry to announce that Lou Christie's son, Christopher Sacco, passed away in a motorcycle accident.  This senseless tragedy took place on Sunday, May 18th. Christopher was a smart, caring young man with a strong sense of family. He was a single parent to his 16 year old son Seth.
Christopher's friends have established an educational fund for Seth. Anyone wishing to contribute my log on to:  

Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers 

Meanwhile, Brian May of Queen confirmed last week that new Queen music will soon be released from the vaults containing some never-before-heard Freddie Mercury vocals.

>>>I watched the CBS Sunday morning show this morning and they had a segment about Barry Gibb. He is touring solo for the first time. What I liked about the story is that one of his sons ... a heavy metal guitar player ... and Maurice's daughter are touring with him. Barry and Maurice's daughter sang "The First of May" together and it was fantastic. Seeing this helped take some of the sadness out of the loss of Robin and Maurice. Barry seemed happy, too.  (Stacee)  
>>>Wish I could have seen that!  (kk)  
And now, thanks to FH Reader Tom Cuddy, we ALL can ...

Check out this video on YouTube:

And this just in ... a concert review from Barry's performance here in Chicago last week ...

Although I’m disappointed Barry Gibb didn’t play NYC during his short tour and, as a result, I didn’t get a chance to see him, I feel like I have a great grasp of what the show was like from this review (of his Chicago stop) from Judith T.
Tom Cuddy   

I am a disgrace as a long-time FH subscriber, Rock n Roll mom, and celebrity friend. I CANNOT believe I haven't been helping to promote this.
My friend Shirley King, BB's daughter, has been out visiting different Blues museums helping to promote this biography of her father that is now in wide-ish release.
Shirley lives in the Chicago area, and plays gigs with her own band, my son's band, and various other bands. But what really moves her is keeping a music education alive in schools and in children in general. I can't wait to go see this movie. (I see Dave Matthews has an appearance. meow!!)
BB will be in town soon. Hoping to get my chance to finally meet him. Good things are on the horizon for children of the blues!

Still plenty of time to register for your chance to win a copy of the brand new 2-CD Greatest Hits set "The Very Baddest of ZZ Top".  With a release date of July 22nd, we'll be taking names and numbers till then.  Just drop me an email with "ZZ Top" in the subject line and we'll enter your name in the drawing for a free CD package.  (kk) 

The California Music Show from England this Sunday June 1st on and 104.8 from 5 - 7 pm  (9 - 11:00 pm PST) " It's 'The California Music Show' continuing the A-Z of Neil Young Songs plus a special eight 'Santa Catalina Island Songs' chosen by Harvey Kubernik who's great new book 'Turn Up The Radio!' is just out. The book is a big influence on today's show. Please join me for the most authentic 'California Music Show' on" 
-- Mike Grant 
I've been making my way through Harvey's latest book for weeks now ... SO much great information to digest!  Highly recommended.  (kk)

Like KISS hasn't been getting enough bad press lately.  Now "Modern Family"'s Eric Stonestreet has reportedly dissed the group for rude behavior exhibited toward his mother on a recent flight to Kansas City.  KISS responds that Eric's got the whole story wrong.
You can read the full debate here:
Seriously ... these folks don't have anything better to do than get into a pissing contest?!?!  (Or would that be a KISSing contest?!?!)  kk    

re:  The Saturday Surveys / #1 On This Date / and Diggin' Forgotten Hits!:  
I, too, have a problem seeing the Saturday surveys just because it is SATURDAY and we always have so much going on.  I do check it out later, so if the interest seems down, it could be that people DO like the project, BUT have little time on weekend and before you know it, the Sunday commentary is up.  Anyway, I hope it continues and I can get some more scanned soon. 
Clark Besch
The response has been overwhelmingly positive thus far ... like I've said all along, the ones who like it are REALLY into it ... so I don't know that we'll get much in the way of negative response ... because those folks aren't checking it out anyway.  I just think it's neat to see these songs displayed side by the side the way it really happened back in the day ... and then to hear a few of the more obscure ones as a reminder about how much GREAT music radio continues to ignore today.  (kk)   

Hi Kent,
I hope you keep posting the historically interesting Saturday Surveys.  I'm one of the people who enjoys poring over them - although, if I'm being completely honest, I don't have any interest in the '70s charts.  The music didn't grab me at the time, so I tend to just skip them.
Regardless of what you do, I'll keep visiting.  I admire your gift of the gab!
'The Vintage Song of the Day'   

Keep the Saturday Surveys for sure! Most Interesting!  

I don't know how many thousands of surveys have passed thru my hands over the years, but as I look at the KAAY chart in particular, it seems to me, I should have gotten a job as a proof reader for radio stations across the country. (WLS was notorious for butchering group / artist names or song titles). It would have been more enjoyable than working at McDonald's in 1970.
It is ridiculous how many mistakes and typos made it out into the streets ... almost like the weekly survey was an afterthought to the stations putting them out.  Every once in a while you'll run across an extremely elaborate one ... but for the most part these look pretty thrown-together.  (kk)

Kent -
I would've gotten back to you sooner, but I've been out of town for the long weekend. 
I say - KEEP IT! 
Like most of your readers, I've grown disenchanted with radio playing the same songs over and over and over again, and when I'm driving, I either listen to CDs or my iPod (now at over 9,300 songs).  I'm always looking for new additions to my song library, and I find your surveys to be most educational and informative.  When I look at all the great local hits that WLS and WCFL played back in the 60's & 70's (and in the case of WLS, even into the 80's), I know that other markets had their hometown heroes and unique chart selections as well.  I'm always interested in what people were listening to in New York City, Los Angeles, Casper, etc.  Keep the surveys coming, I say!
Todd W. Zimmerman

Hi Kent,
The importance of your Saturday Surveys is that they provide the musical context for the hits.
I've often told the college classes that I teach that it is hard for them to appreciate the emotional impact that acts or songs had on radio in the 50s - 60s - 70s because if they are familiar with them it is from radio stations that play them along side similar songs and songs that were recorded afterwards and may have been influenced by them.
For example,  "It's Too Soon To Know" by the Orioles sounds like many other vocal group records UNLESS you consider it next to the other radio hits from 1948. Same with the first hits by Bill Haley, Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson's 'Beat It", etc.
The Saturday Surveys are even more important for local hits, as you see them competing with the major acts of the time and can the similarity or differences.
Ed Salamon
One of the reasons I consider the '60's to be such a hot bed of musical creativeness (??? - probably my word!) is the fact that the competition was incredibly fierce during this time ... songs only stayed on the charts for about eight weeks back then ... and EVERY act and producer was inspired by what THEY were hearing on the radio, pushing each "latest sound" just a bit further.  That's why a Summer like 1964 stands out so strongly for me ... "Rag Doll" by The Four Seasons ... "I Get Around" by The Beach Boys ... "A Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles ... all considered to be musical peaks by these artists at that moment in time.  Other great music from The Summer of '64:  "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" by Gerry and the Pacemakers ... " A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon ... "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield ...
Or, check out the COMPLETE list here:  Click here: Forgotten Hits - The Biggest Hits Of Summer, 1964

I love 'em, especially when you attach a song I like; however, it is a niche section of your newsletter and thus does not attract the same readership that your "star laden" daily features does.
And, I know this is not a perfect comp, but it's better than you will think. When you rail, and rightly so, over the repetitious music played on over the air stations, just remember that in a way what you described is similar to what programmers on oldies / classic hit stations go through. If they went as deep as you would like, they would probably lose a lot of listeners to songs that are not familiar to them.
When you do surveys, you lose a lot of readers because surveys matter only to a few of your readers. A Marshall Tucker Band forgotten song such as Last of the Singing Cowboys would be great to hear on the air but I'd bet 90 percent of that station's listeners in Chicago who would possibly be playing that song would scurry to another station to hear their familiar Boston song such as Long Time.
I think within the context of "Forgotten Hits" our agenda is pretty clear ... you pretty much know what to expect if you're hanging out here ... and it's BECAUSE we feature more of this "obscure" music that we've attained the audience we have.  Meanwhile I have always maintained that there is a "happy medium" that would please everybody by offering a little bit of both ... tone down the overplayed tracks that have driven so many of your listeners away ... and feature those "feel good" songs that folks WILL remember and enjoy if only presented with the opportunity to do so.  I really believe there is some middle ground here that continues to be unexplored ... more on this later in the week.  (kk)   

I am standing in a bank in Cleveland, Ohio. They have Muzak playing I Confess by the New Colony Six.  Does not get better than this!

Kent --
I really enjoy the surveys. Being a long-time radio guy I especially like seeing what was hitting the charts in other areas of the country. I also like seeing what regional songs were hits and how they varied in different parts of the country. In NYC many doo-wop and group harmony songs hit the charts, for example, and these same songs rarely hit the charts in Oklahoma, for instance (no offense, Larry!).

Hi Kent,  
Hearing Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore always makes me want to get up and dance. Great tune and great memories.  "If You Wanna Be Happy" always makes me smile and altogether brightens my day.Two reasons I enjoy Forgotten Hits so much. 
Tom Carroll

Fred Glickstein of The Flock dug hearing some of the instrumental tracks we featured in our recent "#1 On This Date" celebration ... and wanted to add these classics to the list:

I sometimes wonder what would happen if every rock station in the country just spent one entire week playing nothing but the songs that were popular in the corresponding week in say, 1958.  Is it just me or was just one week of the Diamonds, the Del Vikings, the Olympics, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Knox, etc., better than a whole year of what we hear now?  I wonder what it would do to the minds of the teenagers today.  They'd start yearning for poodle skirts, crinolines, duck tails, tight skirts, turned up collars, 'black slacks,' pink shirts, white bucks, saddle shoes, penny loafers ... we were so cool.
I think an oldies station could EASILY keep their audience entertained by programming nothing but the hits on that date ... and there are SO many ways to do it ... 24 hours in a day ... one hour for each year, 1956 - 1979 perhaps?  Our four hours per day per year, spread out over an entire week.  Plus a WHOLE lot less repeats this way.  Just zero in on the biggest tracks of that particular year and expose your listeners to not only something new ... but also a whole bunch of stuff they haven't heard in ages!  (kk)

Thanks, Kent -
Always enjoy reading your website / blog!
Jon Olsen

Hi Kent, 
When are you going to be granted an Honorary Doctorate in Music for your work in Music Appreciation?  Hopefully your knowledge and the countless hours you put in for the enjoyment of others will be recognized.  Forgotten Hits never disappoints and is always full of surprises, information, and countless hours of enjoyment.  Thanks again for all your hard work, it is greatly appreciated. 
Best Regards, 
Tim Kiley

re:  Next Week In Forgotten Hits:
BIG concert weekend for me again ... Burton Cummings, Herman's Hermits featuring Peter Noone, Jay and the Americans and The Monkees (featuring Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith) ... WHOA!!!  Watch for full concert reviews next week on the Forgotten Hits Website.  (VERY special thanks to Sam Boyd, Ron Onesti and David Salidor for both your generosity AND your support of Forgotten Hits ... it means a lot!)

Meanwhile, one more track to leave you with ...

Ironically, both Burton Cummings AND Peter Noone performed the Gerry and the Pacemakers hit "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" in concert last weekend ... GREAT track.  (Peter had a bit of fun with his version, changing the lyrics to reflect The Fox River in St. Charles, IL, tying in with his appearance at The Arcada Theatre ... but still a great excuse to feature this excellent track.)  See you all next week!  (kk)