(For the record, B. ... he never gave me his first name ... is pretty serious about all of this ... and also pretty pissed off ... I can tell that he's serious and pissed off because he has sent me the exact same email at least four or five times now!)
B. is unhappy with the way I covered the recent Little River Band fiasco as it relates to their scheduled (and then cancelled) appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon ... and also the fact that I took the band to task for who they represent themselves to be.
But apparently he hasn't read all of my other pieces on this because many of the things he's unhappy about have already been explained and addressed.
Sadly, lead singer and front man Wayne Nelson seems to have taken the brunt of the criticism along the way ... and, as lead spokesman for the group, he has publicly made his feelings known, addressing many of the issues in an effort to present both sides of the story.
And the key word here, folks, is "business" ... because that's what The Little River Band is ... a business ... and nobody associated with the group has any qualms whatsoever about admitting as such.
My beef was with the handful of Forgotten Hits Readers who wrote in defending Nelson by stating that my "attacks" were unjustified since he was, in fact, a founding member of the band ... but he WASN'T.
For the record, my beef has never been with Wayne Nelson ... he's been with the band for over thirty years and wrote and sang a couple of their last hits. ANY guy who puts in thirty years with a band deserves recognition for his efforts ... as well as some bit of "ownership" to the brand ... but Wayne Nelson doesn't OWN the rights to The Little River Band ... that distinction belongs to a guy named Stephen Housden, another former, latter-day member of the group, who had the business savvy to tie up the legal rights. Housden doesn't even tour with the band anymore ... and hasn't in years ... the general belief is that he just sits at home and counts the money his touring machine rakes in.
As stated here numerous times, the original line-up consisted of Glenn Shorrock, Rick Formosa, Beeb Birtles, Graham Goble, Roger McLachlan and Derek Pellicci. Nelson joined the line-up in 1980. That's four years ... and seven of the group's biggest hits ... after the fact. But Nelson is no slouch ... his contributions (which include another six Top 40 Hits including a couple of my favorites, "The Night Owls", "Take It Easy On Me" and "The Other Guy" have been duly noted.) He has spent MANY years with The Little River Band and should be recognized as a key and integral member of the band ... but he was NOT a "founding member" ... simply put, you can't rewrite history 40 years later.
My other big objection was the current line-up going on Jimmy Fallon's show to perform as part of "their" 40th Anniversary ... when, in fact, NO current member was with the band 40 years ago when the band first started ... to me that's a blatant abuse of the band's legacy ... and an attempt to take credit where it really isn't deserved. The band's career was made by the songwriting and vocal talents and contributions of original members Shorrock, Birtles, Goble and Formosa While there may have been (and apparently still is) a contractual agreement in place between every former (and current) member of the band over the past 40 years stipulating that they are absolutely prohibited from any use of the name once they part ways, that doesn't give the "new guys" the right to lay claim to the very foundation of the band ... THEY WEREN'T there!!!
All of this being said, I have to admit that Wayne Nelson brings up some very good points in his arguments ... and, as Don Henley sang many years ago, "There's three sides to every story, baby ... there's yours and there's mine and there's the cold hard truth". I believe there is some element of truth in everything Wayne tells us. Over the years we've seen many, many very talented musicians make a decision to leave "a good thing" in pursuit of something they truly believed was a better opportunity, only to come to regret that decision later on when things didn't work out QUITE the way they thought they would ... and then experience difficulty finding their way back (as Paul McCartney taught us) to where they once belonged.
The Little River Band has been an "evolving process" over the past 40 years ... COUNTLESS members have come and gone over the years ... some (including Nelson) have even left and come back ... so when you weigh Nelson's "FACTS" against much of what has been written, it DOES open up a new perspective on reality ... and just might change the way you judge them moving forward. (If nothing else, it certainly provides some interesting and enlightening food for thought.)
So here is B. Conover's original email, verbatim, along with a published statement by current Little River Band lead vocalist and front man Wayne Nelson. Please read it ... and digest it ... as we close this final chapter on The Little River Band in Forgotten Hits.
Please get the story right. You can not carry on commenting about a group or event unless you know all the sides of the story and ALL the facts. The Little River Band never ceased to be The Little River Band - they didn't stop and pick up years later with all new people and "call themselves" The Little River Band. People came and went, and when the supposed last of the originals left, there were still guys in the band who had been playing in the band with them for 8 to 15 years! Wayne Nelson has been with the band for OVER 30 years, as has Steven Housden (who is still involved in recording, but not touring). The band is NOT celebrating their 40th year anniversary by saying the present members have been there 40 years ... they are celebrating 40 YEARS OF THE MUSIC AND THE BAND AS A WHOLE, considering all members, present and past. Please, for God's sake, be fair. Comments that they are making money by playing other members' music make them not original ... how many bands / singers make hits and sing music composed by others? There are so many gifted songwriters who do not perform, but their music is out there because of other performers.
The present band (except for the drummer) has been together since 2006 - nine years - longer together as a group than the "original" members ever were. By not referring to them as a legitimate band is a travesty. The current rant from the previous members, with all the denigration and name calling has caused an immense upset within the band and those many, many fans who listen to them present the LRB musical catalog as well as the new music. How many "tribute" bands record new music and get on the charts? Look at how many albums have been produced, both studio and live, since 1996, containing new music, written by some of the "non-original" members and other songwriters! By your standards of what is a legitimate band, we would not have heard "Who Made the Moon", albums such as "Test of Time", "Where We Started From", live performance albums or so many of the new tunes in "Cuts Like A Diamond". Nor would whole groups and generations of new fans be introduced to the LRB catalog, for which the songwriters CONTINUE to receive royalties. Those members who left the band's business, decided to sign away their rights to the band name for a negotiated price.
Please take a moment to read - to at least take into consideration - the other side, the feelings of those being persecuted by all the press. and whose livelihood is being affected by this mess. Be the FIRST to follow up all the negative press from one side with this present information from the other side and allow both sides to hear each other: