Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Sunday Comments ( 03 - 08 - 15 )

It's been a VERY big week in Forgotten Hits ...

So once again we've got a very LARGE Edition of The Sunday Comments ...


This one FINALLY made the news last week ...  
But guess who first broke the story over a month ago ... (Yep, that would be me ... again!)
Forgotten Hits just may be the new enquirer!!!  (OK, so we'll never be TMZ ... but I can live with that!!!  lol)
Kent ...
I know you printed this already.  I guess this makes it official.
Frank B.
Saw this on CNN ... same story we read in FH over a month ago!
David Lewis   

Forgotten Hits Readers are diggin' our recent coverage of the reopened Buddy Holly plane crash investigation, another look into The Little River Band and the legal rights to band names ... along with our regular daily fare.  (Reuniting Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon with his long lost demo acetate for what would eventually become his first big hit, "Tallahassee Lassie" was also mentioned.)  Hey, we HAVE been on a bit of a roll lately!  (lol)  And, fortunately, our readers know where these stories first originated ... even if the REST of the media continues to ignore our efforts!  (kk)  

When I read about this on FH, I felt LJ had very good thoughts and ideas.  However, lots of times today, agencies like to SAY they might do this or that, but it is just to make you forget about it.  I hope they actually LOOK at the plane and get the facts right.  
Clark Besch   

Hi Kent -  
Like I always say, ask the master when you have a question!
Congrats on the Buddy Holly Investigation.  I hope they televise a program about it! People don't
realize how important these early rock starts were to us!!!
I heard that Brian Wilson will be appearing at Ravinia this year. When available, could you print the concert dates and any information on it??
Thank you and keep up the GREAT WORK!!!!
The Ravinia Summer Concert Schedule was announced on Thursday ... in addition to Brian Wilson on Monday, July 6th, they've also booked Steely Dan (July 24th and 25th), Lady Ga-Ga with Tony Bennett (June 26th and 27th), Aretha Franklin (July 11th), The Steve Miller Band (July 10th), Santana (August 29th and 30th), ZZ Top (August 27th), Chicago (August 22nd and 23rd), Gladys Knight with The O'Jays (September 11th), Jackson Browne (September 5th), Sheryl Crow (June 25th), The Doobie Brothers (June 30th), Rob Thomas (July 18th),
The complete schedule can be viewed here:  

You have every right to be ticked off about your work regarding the Buddy Holly crash. I can tell you that 25 years ago you would have been given a verbal or chyron credit about busting the story.
However, in this frenzied twitter / instagram / facebook world,  a "Breaking Story" is now old news roughly 45 seconds after its posted.
Take a deep breath ... the point is your readers know this is YOUR story.
It's my sincere hope that TNSB can provide us with new answers about the "Day the Music Died."
U rock, bro.
Chet Coppock
Host: Notre DameFootball - WLS Radio

Dear Kent: 
I just wanted to say Thank You For All That You Do, and for your continued support and encouragement.  
On March 4, 2015, The NTSB's Facebook and Twitter sites were inundated with folks wanting to register their Shares / Likes after reviewing the NTSB Postings of my petition to reconsider The Civil Aeronautics Board's findings of September 23, 1959.  
This is a quote from The NTSB lead public affairs personnel Kelly Nantel on their Facebook site referencing my petition: 
Through all of your efforts The NTSB has enjoyed a  'Rock Star' status on their Facebook site. 
I looked back on The NTSB's Facebook site to January 1, 2015, and each of their postings never exceeded more than 70 Shares.  This Petition Review alone registered 316 Shares that The NTSB should consider the review of the petition.
They also enjoyed Shares from two other Facebook postings and three other Twitter postings referencing this petition review.  
The NTSB also posted this quote from The Civil Aeronautics Board's findings where the CAB found that the probable cause of the crash was The pilot’s unwise decision to embark on a flight which would necessitate flying solely by instruments when he was not properly certified or qualified to do so.”  
This is one of the CAB's 1959 findings that just doesn't hold true today in 2015 and didn't hold true then ... the 'flying solely by instruments', would have been referring to visibility. (Ah yes ... that famous Hollywood Snow Storm.) 
In fact, the reported weather on the evening of February 3, 1959, was VFR and this is what Pilot Roger Peterson was certified to do with 711 hours total and 128 hours in The Beech Bonanza - 35 N3794N as an employee of Dwyer Flying Service.  This is what Dwyer Flying Service was certified by The FAA to operate under (Day and Night VFR Charter Flights)  
Jerry Dwyer has stated, "They knew about this flight day's in advance" ... why would Jerry Dwyer load the aircraft for this flight if this wasn't going to be an FAA certified VFR night chartered flight?  
The weather report for The Mason City Airport at departure time was VFR ... 
Measured ceiling 3,000 - Sky Obscured - Visibility 6 Miles - Altimeter 29.85 - Temperature 18 - Wind Southwest at 20 with gusts of 30.  Only a trace of snow was reported to have fallen between 00:00 and 09:30 on February 3, 1959.
Sure, there was a dusting of snow on the Iowa farm field ... sure, there was a slight drifting from the southwesterly wind of 20 / gust 30 ... but examining those famous professional photos once more, you will notice that there is no snow storm inside or covering the wreckage and there was no snow covering any new introduced objects to that farm field ... not even the compass indicator layig on the ground. 
The owner of the aircraft and the FAA Certified Tower Operator stood on the platform at the base of the FAA Tower and witnessed the aircraft N3794N's tail light, wing tip lights "in a slow descent" three miles from The Mason City Airport where they were standing. 
You don't have a reported visibility of six miles and a witnessed visibility of three miles ... in a Hollywood snow storm production.  (The above is only "one erroneous inconsistency" that the 1959 CAD recorded in their release of September 23, 1959.)  
Kindest Regards, 
LJ Coon
About two weeks ago, my sister Julie Rae, who lives in Waupaca, Wisconsin, called me and asked if I knew that The Diamonds were doing a show in her area and would Fran and I be interested in attending.  I said, of course, but please find out the names of the group members.  I told her that two of the original members had died, one had retired and if the main lead singer Dave Somerville was on the bill, yes, for sure, I’d be there.  
The lady at the box office said no, his name was not listed ... however, two of the group members were with the group for 30 years ... which would mean the earliest they would have become members would have been 1985.  Anyhow, she told my sister that the show was sold out. 
Don’t you wonder how the majority of the crowd felt when they must have expected a group of older silver-haired gentlemen to take the stage and instead they must have been somewhat bewildered knowing that “Little Darlin’” was their big hit some 60 years ago and these performers probably weren’t even born at that time! 
I’ve talked to Dave Somerville several times in the past two years.  He’s been inducted into the The Vocal Group Hall of Fame, The Doo Wop Hall of Fame, and The Rockabilly Hall of Fame.  He’s wondering what his chances are for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He’s turned 80 now and knows his chances are getting slimmer each year, but of all his awards and the work he’s done, he’d love to cap it off with this one last big award.  I second that emotion! 
Joel Whitburn 
I've talked with Dave, too ... a GREAT guy ... who sold his rights to The Diamonds name several years ago.  (He's been doing some EXCELLENT solo shows looking back at that whole '50's era of rock and roll ... if you don't already have it, try and pick up a copy of his "Rock And Roll Greyhound Bus" CD ... you'll love it!) 
You're absolutely right ... fans who grew up loving the sound of The Diamonds back in the mid-to-late '50's had to be shocked to find performers on stage singing these songs who were half their own age.  Such is the fate of far too many legitimate artists these days ... perhaps at some point they felt their legacy had no long-term value so they sold out as a means of cashing in their chips ... only to find the nostalgia craze doing just fine.  (Remember when Jay Black had to sell off his own name to pay off his gambling debt several years ago?  Thankfully he's still performing spot solo shows ... and Jay and the Americans are thriving, too, with several of the original members still onboard.) 
You just never really know who you're going to see on stage these days ... so checking with the box office (as you did) is always a wise move.  Like we keep saying, Buyer Beware!  (kk)   

Hey kk,  
Thanks for leading us off with the Serenity Prayer in today’s blog forum. I needed that.    
I’ve seen The Buckinghams, Little River Band and Three Dog Night all in the past three years or so and wasn’t disappointed with any of shows. I guess the fact that they were all true to the music and their presentation meant the most to me.  In the case of The Buckinghams, Nick and Carl are fantastic. Yes, I’d love to see Dennis but I’d also like to see Bobby Darin but I have no control over either.  
We seem to not be offended when we see Gary Lewis without the Wrecking Crew and whoever sang on their hit recordings. Nobody seems to be offended at Gary Puckett (who can’t sing but puts on a heck of a show) without the Union Gap. To me it’s all about presentation and being true to the music.    
I remember a concert years ago where I saw The Coasters, The Platters and The Drifters. During intermission I took a Drifter CD, by mistake, over to The Coasters autograph table. The Coaster at the table  who couldn’t have been more than 35 years old, was offended that I accidently asked him to sign my Drifters CD.  
kk, out the 16 to 18 gentlemen (and Lady) that took the stage that night there couldn’t have been more than two original members.  
I think that the success of the Happy Together tours have to do with the fact that the majority of the acts feature all our lead men from their prospected groups and the emphasis is always on coming out for a good time rather than getting wrapped up in how true the acts our to their original sound. I guess that’s why I’m glad it’s called The Happy Together Tour due to the fact that Flo and Eddie have used this performing formula longer than any of the other acts on the bill.   
As for Mr. B. Conover, I think he could use a good Serenity Prayer about now.  
Thanks, Jerry, I appreciate it.
For a rather surprising review of a recent Happy Together Concert, be sure to check out The FH Website later this week.  (kk)   

Spot on, Kent! The wife and I were in Vegas last weekend and saw the "Jersey Boys" stage show. It's made very clear you're not seeing Frankie Valli or any of the Four Seasons - but still a great show! I did see a billboard out there for the "Australian Bee Gees" and I was like, seriously? These sound-alikes with maybe one original (or less) have taken over music-oriented places like Branson MO or Pigeon Forge TN. No way I can shell out money to see that. Buyer beware! 
- Larry Cave  

With "Jersey Boys" it's understood upfront that you're seeing the story of The Four Seasons as portrayed by actors filling the roles and featuring the music ... it is, hands down, one of the best stage shows I've ever seen. 
We saw Frankie Valli a few years ago and while he's now in his 80's and still in fairly good voice (although many say he lip-syncs his entire performance), his new Four Seasons are all under 30 ... honestly, it just doesn't LOOK right ... but the sound and the feel is there.  With only one surviving Bee Gee left, fans who still want to hear and see this music don't have much of a choice other than to go see a sound-alike band ... this makes even more sense when one considers that a ticket to Barry Gibb's show is probably $150- $200 and you can see The Australian Bee Gees for $50-$60.  This is why I have no choice but to resign myself to the fact that it has to be about the music ... if I think too hard about it otherwise, I'll just have a mental breakdown!!!  (kk) 

By Bowzer's own accounts, Connecticut was one of the easiest states for him to get his proposal passed.  I had been involved with other music educators in prepping the idea and teaching our students about "the buyer beware" when it came to concerts. By the time Bowzer was ready to approach CT, he already had allies in Congress who were the parents of these same students. 
There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a great concert performance by anyone.  It is just the name ... the truth ... that irks my sense of correct advertising.  OK, "correct" and "advertising" are NOT two words that always go hand-in-hand ... BUT maybe it does all boil down to the word "truth". 
It began with Charlie Thomas.  There were so many "Drifters" that Charlie had a hard time making a living doing his own songs.  That is just not right. 
If a band readily admits they have no originals, allows their true story to be told (ie:  The Raiders, The Grass Roots) or labels themselves as a tribute band, then I relish the chance to experience their music and promote the continuation of these songs that are so much a part of me.  Dennis Tufano sings Bobby Darin.  He doesn't say he IS Bobby Darin.  There could be several 'Hermits' singing out there, but reality and truth says that there is only one 'Herman' performing.  For me, if you are being honest about who you are, then we have "truth in music".  Imitation is the highest of compliments, but admitting it is imitation, is key.
Shelley Sweet-Tufano
I was really hoping Bowzer would comment on how he views The Truth In Music Act today, circa 2015, but we never heard back from him.  I was kinda surprised as Forgotten Hits was VERY instrumental in helping him get the word out about his campaign way back when at the time Truth In Music was just getting off the ground.  (I guess I figured he owed me that much!  lol)
In any event it all comes down to the same thing ... decide your REAL reason for wanting to attend any particular show and then make the call ... if it's just to hear the music, I'm sure you'll come away satisfied, as long as the performers on stage stay true to the arrangements and spirit of the music you love.  If you only want to hear it presented by the original artist(s), then Buyer Beware.  I really can't break it down any simpiler than that ... but DO YOUR RESEACH!!!  (kk) 

Great column today!!! Bravo ... and, so true!!!  
David Salidor  

I just had to take a moment to blow smoke up your ass ... and tell you what a great job you've been doing lately.  I consider this to be The Golden Age of Forgotten Hits ... some of the best stuff you've ever written.  I look forward to reading each new post.  Keep up the great work.  
Steve Sarley      

Hi Kent,  
Hope all is well. Some thoughts below regarding The Little River Band.    
Looking back at the charts, it may not be too surprising that the LRB is now an American based group rather than an Australian one. They have had a lot of success in the US. Their first album, simply titled “Little River Band” charted in both Australia and the US in 1975. Of their first eight albums, through to “Playing To Win” in 1984, seven made the US album charts.  
Looking at their singles, all of them, starting with “Reminiscing” through “Playing To Win” (the 45) in 1985, charted higher in the US than in their native Australia. In fact the #4 US charting “Reminiscing” could only make #35 in Australia. As good as that song was, it should have been a Top 10 everywhere, regardless of country of origin. But maybe the references to Glen Miller’s Band didn’t resonate with the group’s Australian audience. 
Their 1979 release, “Cool Change” made the US Top 10 but did not register any showing on the Australian charts. It may not have even have been released there. Segue to 2001 and, in spite of “Cool Change” not making the charts, the Australasian Performing Right Association nominated the song as the 15th best Australian song of all time.
Incidentally, the top 5 on this list were: the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind”, Daddy Cool’s “Eagle Rock” (the inspiration for Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”), Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning”, Men At Work’s “Down Under” and Slim Dusty’s “Pub With No Beer”.  
This leads to another chart curiosity. In a book entitled “The 100 Best Australian Albums”, the authors head the list with Midnight Oil’s “Diesel And Dust”. No real argument there but, almost as an afterthought, Men At Work’s “Business As Usual” lands at #99. Given that this album simultaneously topped both the US and UK album charts in 1983, as did the 45, “Down Under”, you’d have thought that national pride might have nudged the album a little higher. (Both the album and 45 reached #1 in Australia, too). 
I digress but hopefully those involved with the LRB can offer us some “reminiscences” on the differences (and similarities) of being a hit act in the US and in Australia in the 1970 / 80s.  
Best wishes,  
Mike Edwards   

I would LOVE to take my mother to the Engelbert concert coming up May 9.  She and I went to see him about 30 years ago, and it would be fun to see how he is holding up!  (My mother is 85 years old) ... I will suffer thru it for her sake, lol! 

Could you please enter me in the Englebert Humperdinck free ticket give away? My Mom has always been a great Englebert fan and I believe owns every one of his LP's. She passed away but my wife and I became fans because of her. I would like to take my wife who is also a fan and a Mom and a Grandma.
Thank you,
Mr. Joseph Malin

Thanks for the posting of the song by Arnold Dorsey, aka Englebert Humperdinck. It has been a few years without question since I have heard anything by him. You were right. He was big back in his day.

We've still got a couple of tickets left ... so if you're interested in seeing Englebert Humperdinck at The Genesee Theatre on May 9th, please drop us a line.  (kk)

From Claude Hall's weekly commentary, this Lesley Gore story from Barry Salberg:

So sad to hear of the passing of Lesley Gore. I never met her, never got the chance to have her verify (or get her take) on this story from back in the day. 
In December of 1962, my folks rented a house (that they could ill afford) near Marin Country Club.  The owner of the house was Hugh Heller, who had just been promoted from his post as PD of KSFO and was moving down to Los Angeles (I assume to KMPC, as this was before the advent of the Heller-Ferguson jingle company).  KSFO was in its Golden West heyday at the time, dominating San Francisco — billing itself as the WORLD’S GREATEST RADIO STATION.  And it very may well have been, with a lineup that included the legendary Don Sherwood, Al Jazzbeau Collins, Jack Carney, and Jim Lange.  As program director, Heller was directly responsible for the famed “Sounds of the City” KSFO jingle masterpiece.  Young, hip, and well-heeled, Marin Country Club was part of the KSFO playground — Heller lived just off the course, and Lange played a lot of golf there, some with my step-father (who could ill afford to live or play there).
A year or so later, Lesley hits big with ‘It’s My Party’, ‘Judy’s Turn’, etc, and is heavily promoted as one of the lead acts on the giant Cow Palace rock‘n’roll show.  These shows were big stuff, with seemingly a dozen or so featured acts all on the same bill, each doing their current hits.  Well, my step-father was the NorCal sales rep for the apparel company of which Lesley’s father was the president.  So my parents invited her to have dinner with us one night, as she would be in town for the Cow Palace show.  I was a little younger than Lesley, and was clearly beyond enthralled at the thought.  I think she declined, as my memory is vague now whether she cancelled us first, or whatever, but she never made it to the Cow Palace show. The official announcement was that she took ill and wasn’t able to appear.
Years later, Gene Nelson is on the air and he’s talking about the old Cow Palace shows, and he recounts the story of Lesley Gore. As he told it, the promoters would routinely quote a certain price to the performers and then when the artists got to town, ready to go on, the promoters would renege, offering half of the original quote in a take-it-or-leave-it situation.  Most of the performers were kids, they were already in town, so they took it — but not Lesley. Remember, she was far from struggling financially, her family had money so, as a matter of principle, she told ‘em to take a hike, and wouldn’t go on, despite all their heavy pre-show promotion.  Hence, the on-air announcement that I heard as a kid that she had gotten sick and couldn’t perform.  
Well, as I say, I never had the chance to get HER recollections of the story — whether she actually made it to town and then cancelled the show, or as I suspect, never even made the trip.  I would imagine there are a few folks out there who could shed some light.  I don’t know how to contact Gene Nelson, but I think he’s still here in San Francisco.  Gotta be a few other souls who could share a bit on this one?
Seems like virtually everybody in the music business back in the day was screwing over somebody with some crazy angle ... so I can't really say that this story surprises me ... but with back-to-back hits as big as "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry", I've gotta believe Lesley was scheduled as a head-liner ... and since she probably helped fill more seats at The Cow Palace than many of the other artists on the bill, I can't believe the promoter wouldn't cave to honor their original agreement ... rather than risk pissing off a crowd stadium full of teenaged music fans!  Cool story, Barry ... maybe some of the jocks on OUR list can help shed some light.  (kk)

Reading of the passing of Lesley Gore prompted me to think about her records and times I saw here in concert and the opportunities I had to interview her over the years. I found her to be a complete professional to work with and she was definitely much smarter than the typical pop star. 
Back in the 80s when I was PD of WPRO and PRO-FM in Providence, we sponsored a concert featuring Lesley and Lou Christie. (I've included a dressing room photo).
They both did their solo sets and then they treated us to a handful of tunes together.  You could tell they had a terrific relationship. They both lived in NYC for decades, Lou still calling NYC home. And they continued to work together every time the opportunity popped up.
- Tom Cuddy
New York, NY
GREAT shot, Tom ... thanks for sharing!  (kk)

Scroll down to read our latest coverage regarding Chicago's hot new FM Station, Me-TV-FM!  Here are a few more that just came in ... along with some OTHER radio news!

Is this going to be a national format?  Haven't seen anything here in the twin cities yet, but we do have the Me tv channel. 
I haven't heard anything to that effect yet ... but if things work out here in Chicago, I don't see why it couldn't be.  (In fact, I have maintained all along that if somebody would simply TRY this format ... and find it successful ... copy-cat stations would quickly pop up all over the country ... and radio would be interesting again.)  I don't see ANY reason why, if Me-TV is successful in a market, Me-TV-FM Radio wouldn't be.  Or, for that matter, anywhere where listeners are fed up with being force-fed the exact same music day after day after day ... which is literally EVERYWHERE these days.  (kk)

My two cents ... Yes, they're outside the box. I heard Smackwater Jack from Carole King. Tapestry was such a hot album in 1971 that Mike McCormick put that song into rotation on WLS that summer. Not too many album cuts made in on the air on WLS during the McCormick (Rock of Chicago) reign, but cuts from Tapestry sounded great, even on AM. I've also heard the voice of Karen Carpenter more than once. Radio in general has been treating the Carpenters like they're some sort of anthrax from the 70's, so it's about damned time. Same holds true of Al Stewart. Aside from the softer AC stuff, I've also heard some good old fashioned Rock 'N' Roll and those lesser soul hits that you usually have to wait for Herb Kent (V-103) to play on Sunday afternoons. So they've got my attention.  
My biggest complaint about METV-FM is that feeble image / station id voice they're using. As one with years of radio on-air and programming experience, I must say with all due respect that I wouldn't hire that guy to be on the air in Keokuk, much less Chicago. Come on! Cough up a few quarters and pay a classy, balsy image guy. It doesn't have to be me, but if I don't get the call, choose someone who's better. I'll be OK with it.  
Bill Fortune   

I like the new station, I've had it on all week, both coming and going from work and find it very refreshing. Anne Murray, Linda Ronstadt, early Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, John Denver. I haven't heard a lot that stuff in a long time.  
Ed Kristak

Kent ...
Scott Shannon is on vacation this week.
3/3/2015 = Today is his one year anniversary on WCBS-FM.
They're celebrating on Friday, 3/13/ 2015.  Listeners are invited  to call in and convince Scott, Joe and Patty that they should be invited to the studio for the one year anniversary celebration.
According to Ron Smith's book = 3/3/1957 - Samuel Cardinal Stritch bans Rock & Roll from Chicago Archdiocese Roman Catholic Schools. Were you going to school at this time?
Frank B.
On March 3, 1957, I was all of three years old ... so no, this didn't really affect me (although I'm sure that had I been older, I would have been outraged at the time!!!)
Congratulations to Scott Shannon on his first year at WCBS-FM ... he also took the week off from The True Oldies Channel ... but Scott and I talked recently and he's having the time of his life doing the new morning show, keeping True Oldies 2.0 alive and recording his syndicated "America's Greatest Hits" program.  WTG, Scott ... one of the GREAT radio voices of our time.  (kk)

Kent ...
This can't be true.  An Upstate New York Radio Station is now playing Christmas Music all year long.  I can't take it when they start playing Christmas Music on Thanksgiving!  They're calling it Santa 105.7 FM
Frank B.