Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Sunday Comments ( 11 - 30 - 14 )

re:  Bob Crewe:  
After the passing of legendary Producer and Song Writer Bob Crewe, we had planned to run a nice tribute in Forgotten Hits ... I had pulled a bunch of research material but then (as has often been the case lately) could never pull together enough TIME to actually write the piece.  I regret letting this one slip away because Bob had such an enormous impact on the music that we love. However, I am happy to report that FH Reader Ronnie Allen persevered with HIS research and commitment and put together an outstanding radio tribute to this musical legend.  While I haven't personally had a chance to tune in and listen yet, I have heard from several FH Readers that he has done an OUTSTANDING job ... so here's Ronnie to tell you all about it ... and where and how you can listen and enjoy it, too!   

Ronnie ...  

Hi, everyone ... 
This is Ronnie Allen. 
Bob Crewe -- the great producer, songwriter, singer and artist -- passed away on September 11th.  
For more than two months I have been working on a radio tribute show to him.
I call it "Bob Crewe: The Master And The Music."  

Bob's brother Dan Crewe opens and closes the show, which is a celebration of Bob's life and legacy.  
In addition to interviewing Dan, I also interviewed 37 others for this special presentation.  
I hope that you will consider listening to it. The link below is to a page on the Jersey Girls Sing website which will allow you to view more details about it and / or listen to it.   
Bob Crewe: The Master And The Music (detail and access page)  

I listened to the whole four hours. It's not just a tribute to a great man, but an interesting look back at the behind the scenes studio stories we all love to hear. Paul Urbahns 
Radcliff, Ky  
I plan on listening to the whole show as well ... thanks, Paul!  (kk)  

re:  More Recent Passings:  
It seems like every week we're having to say goodbye to another artist who was part of our musical upbringing.  Here are a few from last week ... 

We lost Dave Appell of Cameo / Parkway on Tuesday, November 18th ... we received this notice from The Philadelphia Music Alliance ...  

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA), the non-profit organization which creates and maintains the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame, mourns the passing of Walk of Fame inductee DAVE APPELL, best known as a pioneering producer, co-writer and arranger at the legendary Cameo/Parkway Records for the likes of Chubby Checker, the Dovells, Dee Dee Sharp, the Orlons, Bobby Rydell, and Charlie Gracie, and later, producing a trio of #1 hits for Tony Orlando and Dawn on Bell Records.  
“With Dave’s passing, we’ve lost one of the true pioneers of Philadelphia’s pop music scene," said PMA Chairman Alan Rubens. "He was very much a part of the Philly pop explosion in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, due to his work with Chubby Checker, the Dovells, Bobby Rydell, the Orlons, and many more through the Cameo / Parkway record label. And as a member of the Walk of Fame, he continued to support the Philadelphia Music Alliance, and show up at our events even into his 90s. Dave also mentored another legend on our Walk, board member Joe Tarsia, the great Sigma Sound Studios founder and Sound of Philadelphia engineer. Our condolences go out to the Appell family. He was a treasure, and will be sorely missed.”  
Contributions may be made to the American Heart Association (, or MusiCares (  
In addition to working with Cameo / Parkway's Superstar Line-Up in the early '60's, Appell scored a couple of hits of his own with The Applejacks ("Mexican Hat Rock", #16, 1958 and "Rock-A-Conga", #31, 1959).  His comeback in the early '70's resulted in three #1 Records for Tony Orlando and Dawn.  (kk) 

We also lost Motown's Jimmy Ruffin on Monday, the 17th.  Probably best known as David Ruffin's brother (David was one of the principle lead singers of The Temptations), Jimmy scored a HUGE, timeless Motown classic hit of his own when "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" went all the way to #7 in 1966.  Other Top 40 Hits included "I've Passed This Way Before" (#14, 1967), "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got" (#29, 1967) and a Top Ten comeback hit in 1980, recorded for the RSO Record Label, "Hold On To My Love" (#10).  (kk) 

Gary Theroux (who put together the great "History Of Rock And Roll" series ... and still airs abbreviated segments every weekday on Rewound Radio ... sent us these clips spotlighting Jimmy (and David) Ruffin.

Glen A. Larson, the wildly successful television writer - producer whose enviable track record includes Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Ranger and others has passed away.  Glen started out with the Four Preps vocal group ... (26 Miles)  “Santa Catalina".  
Gary Pike


And this just in from our FH Buddy Paul Evans ... who's feeling just a little bit sadder this morning ...  

To my "Oldies" friends ...    
I am sad to have to let you know that Al Byron, who co-wrote Bobby Vinton's "Roses Are Red" with me, passed away yesterday.  He had been ill for a couple of years.   
In 1962 Al brought me a lyric while I was recording some demos.  I told my musicians to "take a five" and joked that I was going to write a hit song during that "five".  
Al put his lyrics on the piano that I was sitting at and after studying it for a few moments I wrote the melody that you heard Bobby Vinton sing.  I tried to improve the melody for the next couple of weeks but I found that I kept going back to the original melody that I wrote to Al's lyric, "Roses Are Red (My Love)" right there at the piano.  
Sometimes you work for months and months and finally come up with (in your mind) the "best song ever written".  Unfortunately, no one else likes it.  
I wrote a melody to Al's lyric in the time it took Bobby Vinton to sing the song and Al and I spent four weeks at number 1 on the Billboard charts.  
When I perform "Roses.......", I always manage to make at least one audience member cry when I get to Al's line,  
Is that your little girl?  
She looks a lot like you.  
Someday, some boy will write  
in her book, too,  
Roses Are Red, My Love ...  
Al wrote Elvis' "Something Blue" with me, co -wrote my "Happy Go Lucky Me" and was really proud of  a recording by Lena Horne on one of his songs just a few years ago, "Some of My Best Friends are the Blues".  
Al was a talented writer and a good friend, and he's already missed.  
Paul Evans

re:  This And That:   
Another reminder ...   

Hi Kent ...  
My name is Mike Riccio, and I'm the moderator of the Oldies Board (, an offshoot of the website. We've been around for nearly eight years and have over two million hits to the site.  I enjoy your site and have admired the work you've put into it for many years.  I'm currently conducting the 17th annual voting for people's "Top 77 Hits of All Time".  We usually get well over 2500 entries in the voting, but would like to get as much participation as possible.  Perhaps you could mention our efforts and post the link somewhere on your site to encourage people to participate?  Check out the link. The voting link is at the top of the page. 
The survey runs through early December, with the results being revealed both online and in an audio version, on Rewound Radio, live, beginning December 26.  
The original purpose of the survey when I started it 17 years ago was twofold:  
1) To determine a true and accurate compilation of oldies fans' favorite songs, with no bias towards a radio station format (where a program director edits the results to fit a format), year of the song, type of song, etc. 
2) To bring back that great feeling of the excitement of radio between Christmas and New Year's when the top hits of the year were played for the first time.  We get votes for songs from everyone from Beethoven to Michael Bolton and beyond.  
On December 26, the results will be counted down in order from #77 to #1 starting at noon on Rewound Radio. It's turned into quite a popular and exciting week on both Rewound AND the board.  
The board is an offshoot of the website in remembrance of WABC radio. It came about in 2006 when the New York Radio Message Board was inundated with comments about the demise of WCBS-FM as an oldies station, switching at the time to "Jack" radio.  
CBS-FM dj Bob Shannon originally hosted the board, but he could not handle it with all its demands so about a year or so later, it morphed into a board strictly devoted to Oldies.  
Here's the link to the board:  
Here's the link that leads to the voting page: 
Again, I can't thank you enough. Voting will be ongoing until early December and it's terrific if people can be reminded to vote between now and then.  I can only hope you help bring as much participation to this as you have to some of your great polls. 
Mike Riccio

Hi Kent,
I love compiling hit lists and contributing my choices. I don't generally give out my personal info but it seemed safe.
Could you give us a hand and post a reminder on the Blog Christmas week so I / we don't forget it? Funny I can remember all the songs but I'm not sure where I parked the car!!!! ha ha Appreciate it.
We all have much to be thankful for, we the beneficiaries of the Greatest Generation.
Happy Thanksgiving ! and keep our brave soldiers in our thoughts and prayers.
Happy Trails,
Well, here's ONE reminder right now (see above) ... and we will post more.  (I'm anxious to hear the results!)  kk

Kent ...
WCBS-FM is doing their Thanksgiving Weekend Top 500 Countdown.  The Countdown started on Wednesday (noon - midnight).  Countdown continues on Thanksgiving day at 6 AM.
This is the same countdown as last year. Every other year they ask the listeners to vote for a new one.  Here's a sample:
#348 = Mony Mony - Tommy James & the Shondells
#347 = In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
#346 = Opposites Attract - Paula Abdul
#345 = Higher Love - Steve Winwood
#344 = Then Came You - Dionne Warwick & The Spinners
It was good to hear Mony Mony by Tommy James & The Shondells.  Lately they only play the Billy Idol version. 
I long for the old days when you could count on In The Still Of The Night by the Five Satins being the #1 song. Usually followed by Earth Angel by the Penguins at # 2 and Tonite, Tonite by the Mello Kings at #3.
Billy Joel has been doing monthly concerts at Madison Square Garden.  Last Tuesday his guests were Sting and John Cougar Mellencamp.   

Click here: Crumblin' Down - John Mellencamp and Billy Joel - November 25, 2014 - MSG, New York - YouTube
You may find a more "traditional" oldies countdown on Ron Smith's website ... he, too, revamps it every other year, but as part of The Labor Day Weekend rather than Thanksgiving.  Or, you can help influence the outcome of MusicRadio's Top 77 via the link above.
(Paula Abdul at #346 with "Opposites Attract"?!?!?  I actually turned off Scott Shannon's new "America's Greatest Hits" Program last weekend when I found Paula Abdul to be part of the line-up.  I'm sorry, but oldies will NEVER extend into the '90's for me!)
I heard Billy Joel sold out thirteen straight shows at Madison Square Garden ... and he's already set to break his own record with his next batch of appearances.  Amazing!  (kk)

I got an out-of-the-blue email last week from June Millington who, with her sister Jean fronted the all girl group Fanny back in the early '70's.  She's still playing music (and looking and sounding great!)  I have long maintained that Fanny belongs in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as the first significant all-girl rock and roll band.  Their 1971 release "Charity Ball" was a MONSTER-sized hit here in Chicago, peaking at #3 on both the WLS and WCFL charts.  (Nationally, it peaked at #40 in Billboard Magazine.  It performed a little better in Cash Box where it peaked at #32.) kk

My wife and I went to see Dumb and Dumber To last night.  We laughed until we cried.  She normally doesn't like movies with toilet humor as much as I do.  I think it is one of the better comedy sequels in recent memory.  Being a fan of the first one, I was prepared for it to not be very good.  It was great to hear El Paso by Marty Robbins, Vehicle (I don't think it was the original by the Ides though), and Cinderella by Firefall among the songs in the soundtrack.
Phil - WRCO
I've heard some REALLY mixed reviews on this one ... but we're planning to see it the day after Thanksgiving anyway ... ANYTHING to avoid going to (or even driving BY) a mall!!!  (lol)  kk
UPDATE:  Ok, we saw it ... and I've got to COMPLETELY disagree with you on this one!  In fact, this has gotta be one of the WORST movies I've ever seen in my entire life!!!  (Reminds me of the second Ace Ventura flick ... don't these comic geniuses realize that what they're doing just isn't funny?!?!)  Most disappointing of all ... Jeff Daniels who won an Emmy for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series last year for what has to be hands down the best and most intelligent show on television, "Newsroom", throwing away ALL of that credibility to reprise his role as Harry.  (Guess with "Newsroom" being cancelled, Daniels was looking for one more giant paycheck to carry him over to his next big role.  He'll need it ... he just cut his chances of FINDING that role in half with this piece of crap!!!)

Vintage Vinyl News is reporting that Brian Wilson will be filming a Soundstage Television Special at The Venetian in Las Vegas next month to air next year in conjunction with the release of his new album "No Pier Pressure".  Tickets for the show (December 12th) are on sale now.
According to VVN, joining Wilson on stage will be former Beach Boys Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar as well as Sebu Simonian from Capital Cities, Nate Reuss from Fun and Mark Isham, all of whom appear on Wilson's new CD.  Additional guests are expected to be announced as we get closer to the show.  (kk) 

Meanwhile, Linda Ronstadt finally did a long-overdue interview addressing her current health condition ... FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us this link:

Hi ya, Kent ...
Just killing time before I go into WLS to host Notre Dame versus Arizona State ... 
Anyway, I have drawn this conclusion: The single most underrated R and Bb song of all time has got to be "Black Pearl" by Sonny Charles and the Checkmates.The song, released some 44 - 45 years ago, is ethereal ... its emotional crescendo is on the same level with The Righteous Brothers iconic "Lovin Feelin'".Sonny's lead vocal is spectacular, filled with urgency, grit, and a vibe that racial equality is now on the horizon. He deifies his woman, putting her on a pedestal. He subliminally tells the "Man" his day is over. His lady will no longer carry a mop.The song resonates with me as much now as it did nearly a half century ago ... I feel blessed that I saw the Checkmates a half dozen times back in the early 70's ... damn, they were hot.Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" is nothing short of spectacular.5-Stars. 
Chet Coppock
Author: Chet Coppock: Laying It On The Line
My parents LOVED The Checkmates ... saw them nearly every time they came to town ... I remember growing up listening to them go on and on about what a great show they put on ... and this was in 1964 - 1965 - 1966 ... YEARS before the Sonny Charles hit you're referring to.  (I remember being TOTALLY shocked hearing this record on the radio in 1969 ... by all appearances, they had FINALLY made it!!!)  Hooking up with Phil Spector after all that time was pure genius.  This song STILL deserves airplay (but, like SO many others, doesn't receive it.)  Too bad ... that's radio's loss ... as those of us who were there DO remember.  (kk)

You might be interested in this ... sure looks interesting.  I just subscribed.
DJ Stu
Yes, I've seen this before ... every once in a while they'll have a stack of copies in the Barnes and Noble magazine rack.  It DOES look interesting ... so happy to pass this along to all our other nostalgia / golden age fans out there.  Thanks, Stu!  (kk)

At long last my book on The Sump'n Else Show is out.
It is available now in print form ... the electronic version is still in the works.
It will be available on Amazon in the near future.  The publisher is shipping orders now.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Amazon is taking orders for this right now.  Just click on the link below.  (kk)

Hi Kent:   
As long as people are still chiming in on the Jamestown Massacre, Summer Sun also charted here in Milwaukee a bit in 1972 on WRIT.   

For a few days now here in OKC, a commercial has been running for the OERB (Oklahoma Energy Resources Board). In the background is the music of Canned Heat doing their hit LET'S WORK TOGETHER.  The commercial was done by a local advertising agency obviously.
I somewhat liked their version better than Wilbert Harrison's 1969 version a year earlier. I am not sure but I believe Wilbert Harrison recorded it in late 1959 - early 1960 as LET'S STICK TOGETHER.
Have a great holiday! Appreciate your website.
I've always liked the Canned Heat version of this song ... it was a pretty big hit here in Chicago (#4 in 1970 on the WLS Chart).
I wasn't aware of Wilbert Harrison's earlier version but according to Joel Whitburn's book, it was released in 1962 on the Fury label and became a "breakout hit" in both Seattle and Detroit. (It never charted nationally, however, until Sue Records picked it up in late 1969 and put it out to compete with The Canned Heat version.  Surprisingly, this time it was Canned Heat's remake that bested the original.  Their version hit #26 in Billboard while Wilbert Harrison's take stopped at #32.)  kk

Dear Fab Friends,
Gary Pig Gold here, just to Let you know there is a Great, GREAT Beatle album still available for All on your Chrimble List this year … THE EXOTIC BEATLES ...
For the die-hards who just have to have EVERYTHING!!!  (kk)     

I made quite a few trips down to The Quiet Knight back in the early '70's ... and saw some AMAZING acts there.  (I've written about one in particular several times over the years ... a double bill by two complete unknowns at the time ... Jackson Browne [alone at the piano] and Jim Croce [with his regular sidekick Maury Muehleisen] ... just a few weeks later BOTH of these artists would be ALL over the radio with their breakthrough hits "Doctor My Eyes" and "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" ... and on their way to super stardom.)
It was a GREAT place to see a show, typically for about a $2.00 cover (and a two drink minimum ... and they always brought you BOTH drinks at the same time to make sure you fulfilled your obligation!  lol)  The Siegel-Schwall Band were semi-regulars ... as was David Bromberg, who was quite entertaining.
So it was interesting to receive this link last week ... LOTS of great memories of The Quiet Knight came rushing back ... 
Thanks, Marlene!  (kk)  

I’m delighted to hear that you have always been an ardent supporter of Tommy James, Kent.  Right on up to the present day – low-profile in the marketplace though they may be — Tommy’s albums have remained consistently excellent.  His gift for melody and production have never wavered; there are always a few tracks on each release that, in a perfect world (the ‘60s & ‘70s, I guess), could be hit singles. 
Thanks, Kent 
Scott Paton   

I have to be honest. I feel like a lot of your contests are rigged so that only the people who have all of the Joel Whitburn books can end up winning them (ditto the Joel Whitburn contests to win more Joel Whitburn books!). I don't own any of Joel's books, because I can't afford them. As a result, there's no way I could ever attempt to win any of these other contests ... and that is why I don't bother with them, especially when it's "first come, first serve" and I don't necessarily get to the emails in time for a chance to even be in the running. 
It would've been nice to just be entered into a drawing to win something without having to answer questions ... but even when that happens I sometimes see the same winner's names pop up from time to time.  I actually guessed two of the people who would end up winning your Tommy James contest just when the contest was announced (and that alone is why I didn't even bother guessing at the answers). That is more answers I would've gotten right than on the contest itself!
Next time, level the playing field a  bit and say that anyone who has won something from you in the past, say, year or so, is ineligible to win, and maybe just give stuff away without making a contest of it. It gives some of us stupider people a chance to win. I would've loved to have had the LP (not the cd), but, oh well. I doubt you will do that contest again so I can't say "maybe next time", since the next contest will probably either be for something I also can't win, or wouldn't necessarily want to win.  

Tom Diehl  
I'm sorry you feel that way, Tom ... especially since you yourself are a former FH contest winner!!!  NONE of these contests are rigged ... in fact MOST of the time we have the sponsor pick the winner from all of the eligible entries submitted to keep any of our own personal bias or favorites out of the equation.  In the case of the Tommy James give-away, we had multiple copies of both the signed album and Christmas CD to give away so on this one we went first come, first served. 
Quite honestly, ALL trivia contests have lost their spark after the invention of Google ... nowadays anybody can find just about ANYTHING online ... you don't necessarily have to own a Joel Whitburn book to do so.  It puts me in a tough spot sometimes, too ... is somebody going to claim a signed, autographed copy of Tommy's album for their own collection?  Or are the just going to turn around and put the thing up on eBay for sale to the highest bidder?  We struggle with that each and every time we have the opportunity to give something really cool away to a FH Reader.  
All things being honest, in our last Whitburn contest, I insisted that we give away a book to someone who had already made the financial investment in Joel's other books as sort of a "payback" for their loyalty.  (As you mentioned, these books aren't cheap ... and for someone like me ... and many other FH Readers ... we replace and update nearly every time a new edition becomes available.  I have in my collection EVERY Top Pop Singles book he's ever published ... and over the years have spent THOUSANDS of dollars building that collection.  But I also use these reference sources every single day ... so they're invaluable to me.)  
That being said, if you only invest in ONE Joel Whitburn book, may I recommend his latest ... his new Comparison Charts Book (due out in January of 2015) lists the peak position for EVERY record to EVER chart on Billboard's, Cash Box's or Record World's Pop Singles Charts from 1954 through 1982 ... and it's only $74.95 thanks to special pre-order pricing.  (Yes, that's still expensive ... but these books are of a deluxe, premium quality ... and this particular one covers the era most often featured here in Forgotten Hits.  My guess is that if you invest in just this one book, you, too, will find yourself referring to it on a daily basis.)  
Click here: Joel Whitburn's Record Research | Music & Billboard Charts Data
Meanwhile, I am MOST appreciative to all the publishers, promoters and artists who have come to Forgotten Hits to tell us about their latest wares and offer us the chance to reward our readers with a copy of whatever that may be ... including books, cd's, concert tickets, etc.  (In fact, we've got ANOTHER Forgotten Hits give-away coming up next week ... and yet ANOTHER one right after the first of the year!)  My all-time favorite give-away that we ever did was our Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs promotion several years ago ... because in order to win, you had to write one of the top winning essays.  
My suggestion ... read Forgotten Hits every day and you won't ever miss an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of these special contests.  You're a virtual dictionary of musical knowledge ... and NONE of these contests are rigged ... so you have as good a chance as ANYONE to win (and have done so in the past!)  
The odds of winning are always determined by the number of correct entries received.  Typically, that's about 1 out of 35 ... I think the biggest ever was 1 out of 85 ... which are still pretty good odds when you think about it.  (Sure beats the lottery!)  And that Joel Whitburn "Comparison Chart" Book offer was the smallest ... only THREE correct answers were received ... so a 33 1/3% of winning an $80 book were pretty damn good indeed!  (I consider this to be a PREMIUM Prize and, as such, the questions are a little big tougher and the folks who REALLY want to win these tend to work a little harder to achieve that goal.  This information IS available online, through Google, Joel's website and many public libraries ... so I guess the question becomes "How bad to you want it???")
As for the recent Tommy James signed LP's and Christmas CD's, we had multiple copies to give away of each item ... and ended up awarding a few of these to "Runners Up" who had as many as two answers wrong ... which tells me (Whitburn book or not) you probably could have won the LP of your dreams.  One thing I can assure you, however ... you can't win if you don't play!
All of that being said my best suggestion moving forward is this ... 
Grab some cheese to go along with your whine and get back in the game!  You've got as good a chance as anybody else to win these prizes.  (kk)   

Lots of Micky Dolenz press again lately ... this guy never stops!  (As his PR Agent David Salidor told me, "The kid's still got it!")  kk  
And this just in at press time ... 
Monkees legend MICKY DOLENZ has just confirmed that as part of his weekend-long appearance at the ALL THINGS THAT ROCK FESTIVAL, he also will now be PERFORMING LIVE on Saturday ONLY (Nov. 29) - FREE with the price of admission. He will be singing Monkees classics backed by local Van Halen tribute band Romeo Delight. Make sure to get there early. You will NOT want to miss this one!  
Click here: All Things That Rock Festival 2014 - YouTube    

The Character Driven Productions Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archive DVD Collection Package (Wages of Spin I and II and Special Edition Charlie Gracie "Fabulous") individual films available thru PBS entire collection packaged together thru: The collection will be available thru dozens of National Retail Outlets / Exhibitors / Vendors Nationally by the end of the year and will hit the streets on January 13th.  (Pre-order sales are currently available thru the following retailers: FYE, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Sears, MVD Entertainment, CD Universe, KMart, DVD World, Video Warehouse, Heartland Music, ShopPBS, Cash Wise, Music Video Distributors and Newegg. Several additional retailers will be added in the coming next few weeks. )  The collection (or individual films) can be ordered for immediate delivery at
I just discovered your site. 
My first two 45's were A SUMMER PLACE and EBB TIDE.
Barbara Mandel  

The following are a few of my favorite 45 choices:  Keem-O-Sabe by the Electric Indian, Truck Stop by Jerry Smith and his Pianos, SWALBR by Cream, and Playgirl by Thee Prophets.
Thank you.
Brian Search
Toronto, Canada   

I had the greatest interview with Johnny Madara last Friday Night.  John was a writer, singer and producer of many of your favorite singers since the late 50's. If you missed this interview you can find it on the interview page from our website which is available 24/7
It is interview # 66
DJ Stu Weiss

Ever heard this before?  Sent into us by our FH Buddy Fred Glickstein of The Flock ...
At the 2014 Oscars, they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the release of the "Wizard of Oz" by having Pink sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", with highlights from the film in the background. But what few people realized, while listening to that incredible performer singing that unforgettable song, is that the music is deeply embedded in the Jewish experience.
It is no accident, for example, that the greatest Christmas songs of all time were written by Jews. For example, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by Johnny Marks and "White Christmas" was penned by a Jewish liturgical singer's (cantor) son, Irving Berlin. "The Christmas Song" was written by vocalist Mel Torme.
But perhaps the most poignant song emerging out of the mass exodus from Europe was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". The lyrics were written by Yip Harburg. He was the youngest of four children born to Russian Jewish immigrants. His real name was Isidore Hochberg and he grew up in a Yiddish speaking, Orthodox Jewish home in New York. The music was written by Harold Arlen, a cantor's son. His real name was Hyman Arluck and his parents were from Lithuania.  
Together, Hochberg and Arluck wrote "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", which was voted the 20th century's number one song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  
In writing it, the two men reached deep into their immigrant Jewish consciousness - framed by the pogroms of the past and the Holocaust about to happen - and wrote an unforgettable melody set to near prophetic words.  
Read the lyrics in their Jewish context and suddenly the words are no longer about wizards and Oz, but about Jewish survival:
Somewhere over the rainbow 
Way up high, 
There's a land that I heard of 
Once in a lullaby. 
Somewhere over the rainbow 
Skies are blue, 
And the dreams that you dare to dream 
Really do come true. 
Someday I'll wish upon a star 
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. 
Where troubles melt like lemon drops 
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me. 
Somewhere over the rainbow  
Bluebirds fly.   
Birds fly over the rainbow. 
Why then, oh why can't I? 
If happy little bluebirds fly 
Beyond the rainbow 
Why, oh why can't I?  
The Jews of Europe could not fly. They could not escape beyond the rainbow. Harburg was almost prescient when he talked about wanting to fly like a bluebird away from the "chimney tops". In the post-Auschwitz era, chimney tops have taken on a whole different meaning than the one they had at the beginning of 1939.  
Pink's mom is Judith Kugel. She's Jewish of Lithuanian background. As Pink was belting the Harburg / Arlen song from the stage at the Academy Awards, I wasn't thinking about the movie. I was thinking about Europe's lost Jews and the immigrants to America.
I was then struck by the irony that for two thousand years the land that the Jews heard of "once in a lullaby" was not America, but Israel. The remarkable thing would be that less than ten years after "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was first published, the exile was over and the State of Israel was reborn. Perhaps the "dreams that you dare to dream really do come true".    

VVN is reporting that Cher has cancelled all of her concert dates through February due to a virus.

The controversy continues ...

Just got this from FH Reader Ken Voss regarding the ongoing Turtles vs. Sirius / XM royalties lawsuit ... sounds like they've brought in a late inning relief pitcher!
Law360, New York (November 19, 2014, 1:51 PM ET) -- Sirius XM Radio Inc. will continue to fight lawsuits claiming it needs to pay to perform pre-1972 records, but it'll do so with a different legal team: After three big losses in the litigation, the satcaster has dropped Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and two other firms in favor of O'Melveny and Myers LLP.    

MIKE LOVE: Beach Boys Singer Signs Book Deal 
He'll detail more than five decades in the band he co-founded with his cousin Briain Wilson amidst a turbulent America. 
Mike Love plans to publish his memoir in 2016. The Beach Boys frontman and co-founder broke the news on his website Wednesday night of his deal with Penguin Books. 
Tentatively titled Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, the book will be co-written by James S. Hirsch. It promises to detail five decades of writing and recording. By his own estimate Mike has performed 5,600 concerts in more than 25 countries. 
He'll touch on his spiritual journey through transcendental meditation, The Beach Boys' family roots, including what he admits is a complex relationship with his cousin Brian Wilson and the band's endearingly appealing music. 
Mike comments, "I’ve had an incredible life with a lot of triumphs, my share of heartbreak and some pretty amazing experiences. There are a lot of things I haven’t shared before, and I’m looking forward to opening up about my life and my work in this book. It’s a story about family, music, a country in transition, and audiences all over the world coming together in harmony."
This should provide an interesting perspective on what can best be described as the roller coaster ride of being a Beach Boy!  (kk)    

To my "Oldies" community friends,
Christmas lights are going up all over the place - so please remember my song, "Santa's Stuck up In The Chimney" when you're putting together your Christmas play list.
"Santa's" You Tube video has gone over 1,510,000 views and it's picking up where it left off last year, getting about 1,500 hits a day - and we're just in mid-November.  Now, if I can just convince record companies!
Paul Evans
Here's a link to the video:
A recent favorite, to be sure ... and a modern day Christmas Classic in the making.  Thanks, Paul!  (kk)   

And, speaking of new Christmas music, I got this last week from our FH Buddy Ian Lloyd (of The Stories), too ...
Don't forget to add Ian Lloyd's mysterious Christmas theme: "Everybody's Happy 'Cause It's Christmas Time"
Download 320kbps MP3 Here:
Help spread the Holiday cheer' ... Now Radio Ready for your Holiday playlist.
MDR & Ian Lloyd [aka 'Brother Louie']

Yoko Ono has recorded a new version of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas" with The Flaming Lips.  (Why???)  I also just heard that Michael Buble's guests on his Christmas Special this year are going to be Miss Piggy and Barbra Streisand, both of whom will be singing a duet with Buble.  Now this I've GOT to see!!!  (I always thought Miss Piggy and Barbra Streisand were the same person!!!)  kk   

Hi Kent:
Just thought I would share an original (ultra) nostalgic Christmas song I wrote with Jack Servello called "Tonka Trucks and Tinker Toys" that is doing very well. We've had wonderful comments from Music and Program Directors who have added it to their Seasonal programming mix. We would be honored if you would share it with your readers so that they may enjoy it as well. We are quite pleased at how it turned out.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Bill Dann
And FH Reader Tom Cuddy tells us that not only is Felix Cavaliere coming to The Genesee Theatre to perform his "Holiday And Hits" show on December 6th ... but he also has a brand new Christmas CD available through his website!  (In fact, twenty bucks gets you an autographed copy!)  Check it out here:  

Finally, we want to tell you again about the great 12-Hour Christmas Special put together by our FH Buddy Gary Theroux (he of "The History Of Rock And Roll" fame) that is available to radio stations across the country.  It's a Countdown of The Top 100 Christmas Hits of All-Time (and we yet to have a station here in Chicago airing it ... and that's just WRONG!!!) 

Here's an official press release put out by Envision, the company responsible for this special, along with information about how radio stations can get on the bandwagon and air this program.  (Think about it ... 12 Hours of your Christmas Eve Programming covered ... with a repeat performance on Christmas Day ... so your regular staff can enjoy the holidays with their families.  It's a win / win if there ever was one!!!)     

The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time Welcomes 12 More Affiliates
Stations to Broadcast Envision Networks® Holiday Countdown 
(NOVEMBER 2014) – Envision Networks® is excited to welcome 12 new affiliates for The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time, the award-winning ten-hour radio special hosted by beloved TV game show host Wink Martindale. Available on a cash basis, this holiday program will count down everyone’s favorite Yuletide hits from 100 to number one.

Updated to include music from this past year, The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time is a brand new special based on data compiled by Billboard Magazine and listings of the Christmas tracks most played on radio over the past decade. This compilation includes hit singles as well as classic tracks from the most-loved and best-selling Christmas albums of all time. The special is available now via digital download.
Listen to The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time demo
here and like it on it's new Facebook page:  
Stations interested in more information about The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time should visit or contact Amber Wade at 
About Envision Networks®Envision Networks® provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations and reaches millions of listeners each week. Envision Radio Networks, Inc. is the largest independently owned affiliate relations company in the country and supplies all types of programming and services to radio including morning show content, short-form vignettes, virtual news-weather-sports broadcasts, live syndicated morning shows, long-form weekend programming, 24/7 formats, comedy services, event programming, off-air tools, web content, album releases and artist specials. Envision Networks® is based in Cleveland, Ohio, with offices in New York City and Nashville. 
EN on Twitter: 

re:  The Saturday Surveys, the Charts (et al):  
Hey Kent,
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get a little ticked at the media, in their findings that somebody from the 90s-plus has broken a record by outselling an artist from decades ago. ("Mariah Carey has beaten Elvis and The Beatles!!", etc.) The population base and ever growing media sources are never added into the equation. All we had in the old days were crummy little record players and transistor radios ... and look at all the options of what's out there now. I'd like to read a new survey book (Wait, do they still print books?) with all that stuff mixed together. Do I sound grumpy? :-)
- John LaPuzza  

Not at all ... it's VERY frustrating because it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison and they're rewriting history along the way.  However this is something we've been fighting media-wise for quite some time now ... that's why the new "Dumb And Dumber To" movie will be "bigger than 'Gone With The Wind'."  (kk)   

Hey Kent, 
Just a quick request that you include the cities of license with the Saturday Survey feature.  Occasionally, both the reproduced survey and you don't include it. 
But more importantly ... keep 'em comin'! 
Jon M
I should be better about that ... but I have to look them up myself most of the time!  The majority of the charts are supplied by Clark Besch (quite the collector!) and they typically only give the radio station call letters and (most of the time) the date.  With this series winding down at the end of the year, we don't have a whole lot more to feature ... but I'll try to include this information (if I remember!!!  lol)  Thanks, Jon.  (kk)

Billboard Magazine has modified their methodology for computing their Top 200 Albums Chart to now include streaming and services like Spotify.  (Not quite sure how this works as far as accuracy is concerned ... how many people listen to, stream, download or purchase a complete album these days?  Everything seems to be much more "song-oriented" where fans pick and choose the music they want to listen to.)  But since they have also incorporated YouTube views into the Hot 100 Singles Chart, I guess updating to the current mode of listening preferences makes sense in the long run.  More details here:  Click here: Billboard, Changing the Charts, Will Count Streaming Services -

>>>According to Wikipedia, in the beginning Billboard listed both sides of a single as one entity. However, when the Hot 100 chart was created in 1958, they showed each side of the single separately, and did so until late 1969 when these were combined again as one entry.  (Larry Cave)
>>>I find it terribly misleading ... in my heart of hearts I cannot believe that there is a SINGLE music fan who went into the record store to buy "The Inner Light" instead of "Lady Madonna" ... or "For You Blue" instead of "The Long And Winding Road" for that matter ... "What Goes On" instead of "Nowhere Man" ... seriously, "What Goes On"?!?!?  (kk)
Wikipedia isn't entirely accurate on this point. Prior to the issue dated April 9, 1955, Billboard listed the two sides of double-sided hits separately on all its charts. It was only from that date through the week before the introduction of the Hot 100 in August 1958 that Billboard combined the two sides into one chart position (until the policy change in late 1969). Even during that period, the practice of combining the two sides applied only to the Best Sellers In Stores and Juke Box charts; the DJ and Top 100 charts continued to list the two sides separately. 
It should be remembered that the Billboard Hot 100 was (and is) a song-popularity chart and, prior to 1991, actual unit sales of singles were not a factor in compiling it. Even the Cash Box charts, which, prior to the '70s, were based solely on record sales, were compiled from store reports, any of which might have listed either or both sides of a particular 45. 
To me, listing the two sides of a double-sided hit separately is a much better representation of the relative popularity of the two songs. It might be true that no one (or hardly anyone) went into a record store in 1970 with the intention of buying "For You Blue" (rather than "The Long And Winding Road"). But the other side of the coin is that the #71 peak position for "Blue" in Cash Box is much more reflective of its popularity at the time than its #1 peak (as a tagalong B-side) in Billboard.  
– Randy Price
Worse yet, today's "historians" who don't know any better now rank "The Long And Winding Road" and "For You Blue" EQUALLY because they BOTH achieved #1 status ... which simply isn't the case.  (Cash Box's ranking at #71 is FAR more accurate ... but unfortunately these stats don't exist for all the tag-along b-sides that have charted over the years.) At best (in my mind) these stats should be weighted ... ANY tag-along B-Side should earn (maybe) HALF the points of the A-Side (and I'm only being that generous because of sales, not airplay or popularity.)  Like I keep pointing out, the guy from The Brooklyn Bridge told me that even though their record "Blessed Is The Rain" and "Welcome Me, Love" was fortunate enough to chart BOTH sides of the single, when all was said and done, each side sold EXACTLY the same number of copies.  (kk)    

Clark Weber sent us this chart (by way of Dave Baum) last week ... the year-end WIND Chart from 1975.  (Guess somebody posted this on Facebook!)  kk

Kent -
The chart that you have from El Paso is very interesting. Rene y Rene, who are still performing as a duo to this day, are #1 With "Lo Mucho Te Que Quiero" on White Whale Records.  Two weeks from today, Rene y Rene, Thee Midnighters, and Sunny Ozuna (of Sunny and the Sunliners) are performing at the Honda Center in Anaheim at the Chicano Rock Legends concert, sponsored by Pacific Concert Group (who I am associated with)  Also on the show is Tierra, Malo, Joe Bataan, and others.  45 years later, they are all still making great music for their fans.  Thank you for showcasing this chart on your Saturday Surveys!
The KAFY chart also lists the follow up to Beg Borrow and Steal by the Rare Breed on Attack Records (very hard to find).  "Come Take a Ride In My Boat" is even harder to find:  I have only seen this record once, when it came out in November, 1966, as a promo copy and never thought it was played anywhere.  Yet another great reason for Saturday Surveys from you site.  Thank you very much! BTW, what city is KAFY from?  Since the Floyd and Jerry record (Dusty on Presta Records) was from Phoenix Az, I am guessing it is from that area.  Here is the original Billboard ad from October 15, 1966, for this record and artist - they actually did a full length LP!

KAFY is in Bakersfield, California, and they continue to broadcast a heavy selection of Spanish oldies.  There are all kinds of undiscovered gems to be found in these Saturday Surveys ... guaranteed to jar a memory or two each and every week!  We'll be winding down this series (along with our 50 Years Ago This Weekend feature) at year's end.  We may combine the two into some type of on-going feature for 1965 (but haven't decided quite WHAT yet!!!)  This will allow fans of these features to still view vintage charts on our site well into next year as well.  (kk)
re:  Diggin' Forgotten Hits:  
SO glad to hear you're doing better, Freddy!  It's still my goal to get you out here to Chicago next year for a show!  We love ya!  (kk)

Love what you do -- keep on keepin' on. 
Pete Adler 
Corpus Christi, TX. 78413  

Hi Kent,   
Happy Thanksgiving to you and the family! 
And thanks for all the hard work in keeping Forgotten Hits going. Thanks also for taking the trouble to comment about what’s going on, be it radio, a concert etc. Later, 
Mike Edwards   

Kent ... 
May you have a safe , healthy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!  
And I give thanks for entertaining and informing me for the last fifteen years!!!!!!!!!! 
I hope your Bears get a win tomorrow  LOL ... My Redskins are playing in the intramural consolation game   LOL   
You and Fran Be safe and Healthy!!!!    
Pete Garrison  

Just a quick note to say that, like many others, I really love your blog ... it's one of the first things I head to each day on the computer. I really like your concert reviews and Saturday charts. Looking forward to seeing America here in town this Friday at Clearwater's Capitol Theater. I've seen them many times in the past but not since their long-time drummer and lead guitar player left the band earlier this year
Keep helping to promote the oldies. 
Rich Turner 
Thanks, Rich!    

Rich then sent us a quick review of the America concert he saw at The Capitol Theater ...   

The America show was excellent! The new guitar player Bill Worrell and the new drummer Ryland Steen were very engaging and played great. I hate saying anything disrespectful about Willie Leacox and Michael Woods (their former drummer and guitar player respectively) but these newer gentleman really seemed to put more energy and life into the band. And Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckey made comments several times concerning how much more pumped up they felt on stage. They rocked! Sandman was incredible!  
The Capitol Theater here in downtown Clearwater was recently remodeled and holds about 750 people and a lot of concerts have been held there in the past year including,  yes, The Little River Band (or should I say The Little River Tribute Band). I did know about their past history from seeing them many times in concert over the past 20 years and yes it does bother me somewhat that the only true former member is Wayne Nelson but then after all Shorrock, Goble and Beetles did walk away and kind of did let it happen. Stephen Housden basically took advantage of a situation that kind of fell in his lap. At least the ticket prices are fairly inexpensive.   
Tommy James would look and sound real good in our Capitol Theater.  Please tell Tommy to try to schedule a concert down here in my area (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater) some time in the near future. He seldom comes this way. 
Thanks again!
Rich Turner
Safety Harbor, Fl
I sent a copy of your email to Carol Ross, Tommy James' manager ... who knows ... maybe Tommy will be heading out your way some time next year!!!  (kk)
And when FH Reader Tom Cuddy heard that we had to miss the America show here in Chicago last weekend, he sent me this AWESOME souvenir ... an official America guitar pick!  (Now how cool is THAT?!?!?)  kk

Hi Kent, 
I'm a big fan of forgotten hits. I live in Michigan and grew up in Detroit in the sixties in the middle of the Motown sound. Even though I love and still love the Motown sound, I always wished I was born and raised in Chicago in the middle of the Buckinghams, The New Colony Six, The Cryan' Shames and all the other great groups that formed the Chicago sound. Kent, you are a very lucky man, and I'm totally jealous. 
I also loved the Cleveland sound, namely The Outsiders! I would like to note and give a shout out to Sonny Geraci, who is celebrating his birthday on November 22nd! I would really like an update on Sonny and when he will be touring again, I really enjoy his shows. Maybe Dennis Tufano has some good news for us fans.
Thanks Kent and keep up the great work!   
Doug Grima  
White Lake, MI   
Quite honestly, I don't know that Sonny will be returning to the stage any time soon ... he went through a tremendous ordeal but, last I heard, he was recovering nicely and comfortably.  
I haven't talked to Dennis Tufano in awhile (although we ARE trying to put together a show for him here in Chicago for next year) ... but I forwarded your email to him in the hopes that maybe he can give us a "sunny" Sonny update.  Stay Tuned.  (kk)