Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Helping Out Our Readers

We haven't done one of these in awhile!

Here are some of the questions that have come up recently in Forgotten Hits ... 

I remember the old radio ads for rock n roll shows in Charlotte.  I often went to the Coliseum or Park Center. Can anyone post any of these radio ads?  Not necessarily from Charlotte, anywhere else is good, too.  They were well produced spots with snippets of songs.  This type of show was common in the 50's to the mid 60's.  
Any help from your readers would be appreciated. 
Charlie Miller, 
KPOO FM Autumn King Show

Check out this Summer of Stars poster from Chicago, circa 1966!  And look at some of these prices!  Incredibly Tony Bennett and Bill Cosby had a higher top line ticket price than The Beatles!  And Andy Williams topped them both!
(Anybody know the inflation rate for 1966?  Seeing headliners like these for about five bucks still blows my mind!)  kk 

OMG - I just found a calculator rate online ... $6.50 in U.S. Dollars in 1966 only comes out to be $48.00 in today's money.  (How can that be???  Wouldn'tcha think it'd be at least 10-20 times more?)  But even so, doing the math, you can't find a $65 ticket to see Paul McCartney these days ... much less all four Beatles!  And back in '66 you had a ticket price range of $3.75 - $5.75.  (kk)  

Hello Kent, 
I just read your piece on Do The Bop / At The Hop. 
I've been doing a little research of my own regarding this song and I have heard a very interesting story that may or may not interest you. 
If you are familiar with West Philly High and several doo-wop groups that came from there, I know of one little known group called "The Gems" that Danny Rapp was closely associated with along with a man name Harvey Reed. This story also eludes to the fact that "Do the Bop" may have been a project of "The Gems" before it was reassigned to Danny and the Juniors.   
This story also alleges that Danny also knew Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble back in West Philly High, along with a Ronald Sellicks. 
Would you happen to know the real truth about this song? And was it stolen from a group because the promoter at that time wanted an all white group and not the mixed race group called "The Gems"? I'm just trying to get the story straight because I know songs were stolen back then and I am certain despite the reasons the true song writer did not pursue legal action is because the song wasn't copywritten until way after it became a hit. 
If some one has this evidence what would you do with it? Sincerely 
I put your inquiry to John Madara, one of the cowriters of the #1 Hit "At The Hop" but never heard anything back regarding these specific circumstances.  He has told his story numerous times over the years, including right here in Forgotten Hits in a series we ran several years ago spotlighting some of the hit records he wrote and/or produced.  (Including "You Don't Own Me" by Lesley Gore, "1,2,3" by Len Barry and others.) 
I asked him if the song had been pedaled around prior to Danny and the Juniors recording it ... not at all an uncommon practice back in the day of placing the right song with the right artist.  (Actually we even ran an early demo of "Do The Bop" on the site way back when ... and are running it again today for the benefit of those who may have missed it.)  

It was Dick Clark who told them that "the bop" was on its way out ... "kids today are going to the hop" ... so Madara and songwriting partner David White (who was a member of Danny and the Juniors) reworked their lyrics to reflect the latest trend ... "let's go to the hop" ... and boom!  Straight up to #1. 
When they went to publish their song, publisher Artie Singer put HIS name on the copyright, claiming to be both the cowriter and producer of the hit record.  Madara and White were told, quite simply, that this is how it was done ... and that if they ever wanted to work in Philadelphia again, they needed to get with the program.  (Welcome to show business, guys!) 
You can read our full accounting here:  Click here: Forgotten Hits - John Madara's Greatest Hits   

I enjoy your site and when I clicked on the link to see Honey House from the Smother Brother's show it showed that the video does not exist anymore.  If you do find it please contact me, that was a funny skit. 
Thank you.
It is a VERY funny skit ... but apparently those in control of the CBS / Smothers Brothers material didn't authorize it to be posted ... so it's actually been missing for a very long time.  (It doesn't appear on either of the two commercially released "best of" DVD box sets either ... anybody out there have ANY idea why Season One has never seen the light of day?  For some goofy reason, they released these BACKWARDS ... Season Three first, followed by Season Two ... but it's been YEARS now and Season One has never come out.)  It would be nice to have them all ... and by that I mean much more COMPLETE programs than just these edited "favorites".  (kk)   

We've run this request several times before in Forgotten Hits / Helping Out Our Readers ... but have never been able to come up with an answer before ... till now! 
We've even asked Harvey Kubernik, who is often in touch with Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, if maybe HE could help us out securing this answer so we could share it with our readers!  (kk)  
Ok, here is the song I'm looking for (to the best of the info I have on hand) ... I know Michelle Phillips would know exactly what this song is.  If you need an actual video recording of this, I have something saved in my phone. I'd be happy to meet you to play this (or if you could record this on your i-Phone as well?)  One would be hard pressed to believe that if Michelle heard this, she would not know right away what this song is and if there is an actual recording of it.  
1. It was featured in the documentary Straight Shooter about the Mamas and Papas 
2. It featured Denny, John and Michelle (it was a folksy type of song) from BEFORE they were the Mamas and the Papas 3)  I will "attempt" to put as many words from the song as I can.  (I thought that maybe it was called "Rake and Ramblin' Boy" or "Cumberland City" based on the lyrics ... but the title doesn't appear in the end credits for the documentary film ... so I've been trying to find it ever since.  
Here goes: 
I am a rake and a ramblin boy, many a city I have been 
The Cumberland City I've made my way, just to spend my money on the balls and play 
Well, the Cumberland City yes, I married me a wife ...  Loved her better than I did my life 
She treated me kind by night and day, and she caused me to ride on this high-a-way 
Well a pretty little girl, 17 years old ... hair just as yellow as the shining gold 
Prettiest face and the neatest hands ... God Bless the ground on where she stands. 
I'm not ashamed or afraid to die, but I hope I meet you by and by 
This song has haunted me ever since I first watched and heard it.  There has to be SOMEONE who knows this song.. My fear is that Michelle might be the only one left who could know! 
Please, anything you can do would be wonderful!  
Thanks -
Loyal Reader of Forgotten Hits -
Bob Morrow   

Do you remember off the top of your head ...
Was there ever a 60s pop duo that lived briefly in or near the Palatine, Arlington Hts, Des Plaines area?  Perhaps someone who sounded like Dick & DeeDee or Paul & Paula or someone of that vintage.  I remember one of the WLS DJs talking about it back in the mid-80s and can't remember anything more specific about it.  I can't even remember if they lived there during the 60s or much later. 
No need to put this question on your site, just a passing curiosity. 
Jon M  
Off the top of my head, no ... it doesn't ring a bell ... but we've got a LOT of experts on the list who may be able to help you answer this question ... so we're running it up the flagpole in this installment of "Helping Out Our Readers".  (Guy Arnston of The Illinois Entertainer and Dean Milano, who has written a book about all of our local talent, immediately come to mind as folks who may be able to help you solve your mystery.)  kk  
Could it have been Friend and Lover ... or Family? 
I believe it was just one member of a duo.  The more I think about it, it might have been Ray Hildebrand that was mentioned having lived there for a very short time, but I can't find any proof of it.  I mentioned it to my boss and he challenged me to find out for sure.  Since I asked you the question, I did find on an old census website that a Ray Hildebrand had lived in Palatine at one time, but it was a different guy.  Perhaps it confused more than just me.  
Jon M  
Anybody else out there got any ideas on this one?  (kk) 

Hello Kent Kotal,
I hope that this e-mail still works.  My name is James Moniz.
I came across your blog and e-mail while trying to search for a way to contact anyone who used to talk to (or work with) Joe Somsky. 
I am attached to a re-issue CD project and I know that shortly before Joe Somsky died he was readying a CD project that included the master tapes to some songs I need.  I am desperately trying to track down the tapes and when I saw on your blog that you spoke to him sometimes, I thought you might know how to get me in contact with some of the people who worked with him on reissue projects.  I do not know if Somsky had the actual tapes or if he simply just knew where the tapes were located.  Perhaps someone close to him knows.  If you can think of anyone, please introduce me. I am trying every avenue to solve this mystery.  I sincerely appreciate any help you can give me.
Hi James!
I'm sorry but I don't recognize the name Joe Somsky at all!  (If you can tell me in what context we referred to him that might help me remember something ... but off the top of my head, it's not at all familiar to me.  Sorry!)
But that's not to say that someone else on the list might not still be able to help you.  Let's run your inquiry here and see if we get any nibbles.  (kk)

Hi Kent, 
I'm trying to trace a b-side I think was called 'Walk With Me, My Sherilee'.   It may have been by Tab Hunter, 1950s. Can you help?
And then, before I could even publish her inquiry ...
Found out it was Tommy Steele, 1957 .. number 11 in the charts. From the film of the same name.
A British Hit then, I take it.  We may not have found this one!  Thanks, Pauline!  (kk)

Here it is for all the curious out there!

Hey, Kent!
I have been having a lot of fun listening to Bill Drake's excellent series "The History of Rock and Roll", both the 1978 and 1981 versions.  The '78 I have been listening to is on one web site, but the other with the '81 has been taken down.  
There have been a few sites on the web that have been streaming Bill Drake's legendary masterpiece, "The History of Rock and Roll" .  One is .  The other is at .  Sadly those who have been at the second site have found that the latter has been taken down as of 6/17.  This is because the domain license has expired.
The first site is streaming the 1978 version of THORR.  The second, the one that was taken down, streamed the '81 edition.  I hope someone out there can find a site that I missed that is streaming the '81 version so I can hear it for comparison, or at least lead me to someone that has this version.
It is the granddaddy of all radio documentaries.  I hope this spirit never dies.
I have been using software to record material from both versions for my iPod.  But now I can't find the '81.  Do you know somewhere or someplace I can find anything to hear or even obtain the ' 81? Thanks.
Joe Campas
Quite honestly, I'm not sure ANYONE out there has the necessary licensing required to broadcast either of these programs ... but in the sickly state of oldies radio today, it's no wonder fans of the "real deal" are out there searching for quality programming out.  I'm happy to run your inquiry but I'm not real optimistic that anything will come back.  Meanwhile, it'd be nice if one of the producers of this great series, Gary Theroux (a Forgotten Hits regular) could drum up a market to legitimately dedicate a station to airing this again ... even on some type of a time-loop that played continuously so that you could click it on whenever you wanted to in order to hear all of the chapters that make up the entire piece.  Meanwhile, Gary's 2 1/2 minute spotlight pieces run daily (Monday - Friday) on Rewound Radio ... so you might be able to get a "temporary fix" there!  (kk)

For a few days here in OKC, they have been running an Arby's roast beef commercial spotlighting an Hawaiian BLT. You probably have seen it on your television. In the background is an instrumental which I am somewhat familiar with, but can't quite name. Have you seen the commercial and do you happen to know what instrumental they are playing in the background ... or perhaps this is something new?
Sorry but I can't help you out with this one ... as I've never seen this commercial ... but maybe somebody else out there has.  Anybody able to help Larry out with this one?  (Instrumentals are the toughest to track down ... but knowing absolutely NOTHING about it, I can't help but wonder if they didn't take something like "Hawaii Tattoo" by The Waikikis or something like that if they're pushing a Hawaiian sandwich!  (If not, it probably would have been a pretty clever choice!  Damn, I should have gotten into marketing!)  kk

Looking for a song by the Seventh Sons back from the mid 60's (maybe "I Live In Fantasy" or "Baby, Please Come Back")
I checked the usual sources ... can't find anything charting in Billboard ... didn't see anything on YouTube or on the Gemm website ... hoping somebody out there will be familiar with these.  (kk)

Before the group Salt and Peppa of the 90's, there was another group called Salt and Pepper. I don't think they were well known but they did have an instrumental soul song called Salt and Pepper. When I was in high school it was used for one of the dance pieces in our music program and I have never forgotten it. I have tried to find it but every time I do research, I keep on coming up with the updated group. Is it possible for you to find out any information about this group that performed around 1973-75?
Charmin Wells
Unfortunately, I hit the same dead end with this one.  I don't see anything charting for either a group called Salt And Pepper OR a song called "Salt And Pepper" so I'm afraid I can't be of much help here.  (Again, nothing on YouTube or Gemm for this track either.)  However, we're always amazed by what our readers come back with, especially now that you've narrowed down the field a little bit to the early '70's.  Let's see what we get.  (kk)

Hi ~ 
I have spent the last hour or so looking for a song that was an instrumental from the 1960's ... and I cannot locate it anywhere.  The name of it is "More".I saw your list that you shared of songs from 1959 - 1970's, but it's not there.  I was sure it was a hit.  Maybe with your field of expertise, you can assist me?Thanks for your feedback,
Mary Anne Haskins  

This was an easy one, Mary Anne ... (FINALLY!!!) ... 
Kai Winding scored a #7 hit with his 1963 version of "More", originally from the motion picture "Mondo Cane".  Honestly, I was surprised not to see it on either of our Top 50 Instrumentals lists either ... because it was a HUGE favorite.  We'll right that wrong by featuring it today!  (kk)

Oh my gosh!
Kent!  How can I thank you for this??
This was such a favorite song of mine and do you realize I have not heard it since the 1960's?
I have to ask someone how to get this on my iPod!
I just found it on You Tube Emoji
You have rekindled the most wonderful childhood memories for me.
Thank you for replying so quickly to my email!
Mary Anne