Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thursday This And That

re:  Me-TV- FM:  
So this morning I received an email from the marketing department of the new Me-TV-FM, thanking me for my input regarding the station ...
And then this afternoon I heard their new slogan:
No DJ's ... just more JT ...
OMG ... did I REALLY just doom us all to more of the same?!?!  (kk)  

Dear Kent;
I have tried like hell to like 87.7. I mean I've really made an effort to enjoy their"presentation" and the fact is you know I'm a WLS-AM employee. The new outlet darn near won me over last week when I heard the classic Beach Boys tune "Sail on Sailor" and Stevie Nicks' ethereal "Sara" in a span of about 45 minutes.
So much for  475 foot home runs. Let's get to the potholes.
This past Saturday and Sunday I endured "Muskrat Love", arguably one of the five or six worst songs in American history, twice in less then 24 hours.  24 freakin' hours. What's the matter, couldn't they dig up something by the Royal Guardsmen? The Captain and Tennille gave me my first migraine. Later, I endured a "Muskrat" cover by America. Hearing these mind busting disasters reminded me of just how overrated the 70's really are. "Muskrat Love" is roughly as much fun as a 45 minute erestling match between two "Baby Faces."
Chet Coppock
Host: Chicago Blackhawks heritage Series
Rotation, rotation, rotation.  It's GREAT to hear SO many songs we love that have been missing from the airwaves for FAR too long ... but SOME of these hits haven't been played in awhile for a reason.  Not EVERY song belongs in the same rotation cycle.
If you're going to play EVERYTHING then yes, there IS a place for "Muskrat Love" by The Captain and Tennille ... but this is a song that, at best, needs to be played twice a year ... at no less than a nine month interval ... NOT twice in the same 24-hour period!  It's got enough of a "Wow" factor that you probably WON'T tune it out if you only have to hear it twice a year ... even if you only hang around long enough just to make fun of it one more time.
It's kinda like what I said a couple of weeks ago about the Jose Feliciano version of "California Dreamin'" ... although, quite honestly, I can't find ANY justification for ever playing that one ... it wasn't a hit ... and isn't one of those Feliciano songs that anybody is just dying to hear again ... yet I've heard it SIX TIMES now!!!  That's about three times as many times as I'd heard it in my whole, entire life prior to this station signing on the air!  Why?!?!  Who are they hoping to reach (and retain) with these types of decisions?
Meanwhile, there's no denying it ... Me-TV-FM is offering great variety ... great selection ... poor execution.  SOMEBODY has to get in there and schedule things properly ... or more and more listeners fed up with hearing the same crap again and again will soon jump ship.  (Tonight on the way home I heard Peggy Lee's version of "Fever" ... which was, for me anyway, a welcome surprise.  It was followed by Ian Matthews' "Shake It", one of my favorites that NEVER gets played.  Earlier in the day I hard Chris Rea's "Fool If You Think It's Over", another Forgotten Hits gem.  But I ALSO heard "Strawberry Letter 23" for what HAS to be the 26th or 27th time now ... I didn't hear it THAT many times when it was out!  (The record only peaked at #24 here in Chicago ... it was NOT a monster hit that deserves this amount of airplay now.) 
Flipping around wasn't any better ... three different AC/DC songs playing at the exact same time on three different stations ... followed later by three different Led Zeppelin songs playing at the exact same time on three different stations ... followed by two Pink Floyd songs playing at the exact same time on two different stations.  Even switching over to a few of the "current" stations gave me Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" four times in less than two hours.  There truly is no escape ... which is why it is SO frustrating to see Me-TV-FM drop the ball so often when they are SO close to doing things right ... they have been the first station to come along in DECADES poised to make a difference.  (One reader referred to their play list as "Leftovers" ... they play anything and everything that every other station in town doesn't or won't play ... to a degree, that's a GOOD thing ... but in moderation ... and in proper rotation.  They just don't seem to have that part of the concept down yet.)  And while it's nice to be able to click on the station at home via the TV I'm still not sure I get the concept here either ... their ad campaign reads "just one more way you can take Me along with you wherever you go."  If you're sitting at home in front of the TV, where are you going?  And if you're going, are you REALLY going to lug the big screen TV along with you instead of simply flipping the station on in the car?  Again, somebody needs to take a look at their advertising campaign ... because a great deal of it simply doesn't make sense. 
One HUGE part of the puzzle that's missing here ... the audience they're catering to here (which is a demographic that skews a little older, to be sure) wants to just find a radio station that's playing what they like ... and then just leave it on ... be able to listen all day long, for several days at a time without being bludgeoned to death with repeat after repeat after repeat.  This station has stepped outside the box with their programming decisions ... why not commit and go all the way and prove all those other radio consultants wrong ... that listeners DO have an attention span of longer than fifteen minutes if you're simply playing the right kind of music to keep them tuned in.  Their playlist appears to be enormous ... and for every frustrating repeat I hear, I ALSO hear four or five brand new songs each and every day that I HAVEN'T already heard on the station before.  You guys are SOOOOO close to doing it right ... listen to your audience ... consider what we're saying ... and then take it under advisement.  If somebody there is prepared to make a strong, convincing argument that there is a listener NEED to fulfill by playing "Strawberry Letter 23" four or five times a day, one or two James Taylor songs every hour and an overkill of music by the likes of "Muskrat Love", Sade, Joni Mitchell and Crystal Gayle (and not even the hits!), then so be it ... stand by your guns and keep doing what you're doing ... but please do so with the understanding that MOST of us won't be sticking around. (kk)

re:  April Fools:  
The writing of that 1965 April Fool's CHUM chart and all of the April Fool's charts CHUM published over the years came from the delightfully warped mind of CHUM's Promotion Director Allen Farrell, who was CHUM's resident zany from 1958 to 1967. 
Although some of those titles are corny and some don't survive the passage of time, some are very unique to Toronto (Song #21 "Do You Want A Pants" by Tip Top.  Tip Top Tailers was a large pants chain in Canada). 
Some were specifically unique to CHUM listeners.  For example, #5 "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood) by Scrooge.  Scrooge was the mythical (and Jack Benny cheap) owner of CHUM.  Jocks on air always referred to him as a skinflint and that was played up over the years.  For a time, Scrooge was even portrayed as a Simon Legee type villian (black moustache, cape, black top hat, etc) by a CHUM salesman named Ray Armstrong, who had a very monotone voice. 
In actual fact, the real owner of CHUM, Allan Waters, was very generous and loyal to his staff, of which I'm proud to say I was one (starting in 1965 as a board operator and eventually becoming Production Manager).
Song #8 "Go Go Now" by CHUM was titled that because in '65, CHUM was calling itself Go Go Radio, "CHUM a Go Go", etc based on the PAMS jingle package "Go Go". 
To be honest, I don't get some of these titles either (and I was at CHUM then), but they were fun.  Gee, I wonder if any radio stations today (even oldies) would even think to do something like this.  Of course, I doubt any of them publish charts anymore anyway).
Doug Thompson / Toronto 

re:  Brian Wilson / The Beach Boys:  
TONS of Brian Wilson news this week, what with the release of his brand new album "No Pier Pressure" ... here's just some of what's come across our desk ...   

For starters, VVN reports that Brian spent about an hour or so on Monday afternoon answering questions submitted by the general public on Twitter.   

Here is some of that conversation ...    

Brian Wilson spent an hour or so on Twitter Monday afternoon answering questions submitted by the general public. 
Wilson has a new album, No Pier Pressure, coming out on April 7, and a movie about his life, Love and Mercy, being released June 5, but many of the questions naturally centered around his days with the Beach Boys.

While it wasn't quite as telling (or scathing) as David Crosby's recent multi-day answerathon, there were still some interesting revelations although, in many answers, Brian's brevity kept him well below the 140-character limit.On the songwriting process - "I usually do it at the studio and do it on keyboards."

On whether he ever wrote on any other instruments - "no, not even a bass. Just piano."

On his most difficult song to write - "God Only Knows because it was a very complex chord pattern."  It's also his all-time favorite bass line.

On the song he would most like to re-write - "I would re-write Let Him Run Wild from @TheBeachBoys."

On his biggest influence for his most intimate chord progressions - "just Gershwin."

On how he got a muted piano harpsichord sound - "we put scotch tape on the keys and gave it a deadened sound."

On how he learned to arrange music - "from listening to The Four Freshmen records. I'd listen to records and then play them on the piano."

On the musical inspiration for Surfer Girl - "it was actually inspired by Herb Alpert. The melody of Tell It to the Birds was the inspiration."

On the Beach Boys song he is most proud of - "Surfin' USA is one of them."

On his favorite session - "The California Girls session. I liked the harmonies and loved the song."

On his favorite Beach Boys song that he didn't write - "Trader by Carl."

On his favorite scene from the upcoming film Love & Mercy - "I like the scene where Melinda and I got married."

On allowing his darker days to be portrayed in Love & Mercy - "it took a lot of courage. We decided if we were gonna do it, it had to be honest or we didn't want to do it."

On his favorite media for music - "I prefer LPs."

On the songs he likes to perform live - "#HeroesandVillians, #SurfinUSA and #GoodVibrations are some favorites. #SailAway from the new album #NoPierPressure."

On the cough heard in the song Wendy - "Dennis did. I just thought it was funny so I kept it on the record."

On his three desert island discs - "@RandyNewman Sail Away, Switched on Bach, and #philspector Christmas album."

On the music his children like - "my kids like rap and pop music but of course my music too!"

On his future plans - "I plan to do another album this year some time!"

Speaking of "Love And Mercy", several FH Readers noticed that "The Walking Dead" closed their fifth season this week with Brian's "Love And Mercy" playing in the background!

The Brian-Fest Tribute Concert also got some great coverage in Rolling Stone Magazine and ... you'll also find some YouTube clips here, too!  

The new Brian Wilson / Kacey Musgraves track was also leaked last week, just prior to the album's release.  It's a very contemporary track and, with Kacey's sophomore album ALSO hitting the streets now, this should prove to be a pretty popular track with radio.
You can hear that right here:   

Hi Kent -  
I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night and he mentioned Brian Wilson may be on his show Thursday, April 2, with his new CD.  I hope I heard right!!!!  
Did you or any of our fans go to the Arcada March 29th to see "Jefferson Starship"? ...   
Boy, that would have been GREAT to see!!  
They were so good on TJ Lubinskys 60s show on Public TV. Keep up the Great Work. You are the Master!  
Will have to check Kimmel's program tonight ... according to his official website on, Wilson IS supposed to be a guest on Thursday's show.  Brian seems to be doing the full court press when it comes to publicity for this new CD ... and, as I've mentioned before, I think it's his best work since the "Imagination" album several years ago.  
As for the Jefferson Starship show, we talked about going but then ended up watching the NCAA Tournament instead.  While I didn't hear anything directly about the show, there was quite a bit of scuttlebutt upfront about who exactly was going to be there.  
As you saw on the PBS Special you mentioned, Cathy Richardson now handles the female lead vocals ... we caught her as part of The Ides Of March Christmas Show last year at The Arada and she's very entertaining to watch now that Grace Slick has officially retired.  (Grace made headlines a couple of weeks ago when asked if, when looking back over her long, illustrious career, she had any regrets ... and she answered "Not sleeping with Jimi Hendrix."  lol)  
So Grace wasn't there.  Marty Balin isn't part of Jefferson Starship ... nor is Mickey Thomas who sang lead on some of their biggest hits in the late '70's and early '80's.  And, just a few days before the concert, founder Paul Kantner had a heart attack ... so HE wasn't there either ... which is what caused the tizzy as to who exactly WOULD be there.  (As we said a few weeks ago, it's getting tougher and tougher to find the "real deal" in concert anymore with SO many substitutions going on!)  If any of our readers DID happen to attend, we would love to hear from you ... a mini review would be most welcome ... so drop us a line.  (kk)  

And finally here's Jimmy Fallon doing The Beach Boys' classic "Barbara Ann" ...  

re:  The New Colony Six at The Arcada Theatre / The Rhythmic Arts Project:  
You guys were far too kind ... far too generous ... I truly hope Dick Biondi can join us on the 19th. Sharing the stage with THE Dick Biondi would be a tremendous thrill. Can't wait to see you, champ!The count down is on. I wanna see my guy, Ron Onesti, turn people away when my man, Ray Graffia and the New Colony Six, play the Arcada on the 19th. Anxious to see you and Ronnie and Ray and a host of other old pals.We're gonna blow the roof off the building. Chet Coppock

Great write up.    
Eddie Tuduri was happy with it!   
I will be sending it out to the Stone Canyon Band later. Robert    

re:  More Problems For The Little River Band:  
FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us this article from last week ... Little River Band Show Cancelled Over Upfront Payment Dispute  
by PAUL CASHMERE on MARCH 28, 2015 
A concert by the current configuration of Little River Band in Salem, North Carolina has been cancelled after the band allegedly demanded full payment up front from the venue.  
North Carolina based Ray Road Presents Inc has issued a statement explaining the cancellation of Little River Band’s show at the Reynolds Auditorium on April 3, 2015. Problems started with Ray Road Inc was served a Cease and Desist order. That was followed by a demand from Little River Band management for payment in full by March 26, one week prior to the show.   
Ray Road Inc’s statement explains, “On Thursday March 26th the company received a written demand from Little River Band’s management that they be paid in full by Friday March 27th. With the copyright issues and potential lawsuits we had no guarantee the band would show up. Paying them in full removed the incentive for them travel to Winston Salem. It did not resolve their copyright issues or the Cease and Desist Order. Their demand was not only unreasonable, but uncustomary. No artist gets paid in full before they show up, rehearse and take the stage. We could not take the risk of turning people away the night of the show. We opted to protect our ticket buyers and offer a refund.”  The current Little River Band does not contain one original member. The recent issues started with the non-original band were booked to perform for the Jimmy Fallon show to mark the 40th anniversary of LRB despite no-one from the current line-up being in the band at the start.   
Following objection from founding member Glenn Shorrock, Jimmy Fallon cancelled the band’s performance.   
The current status of Little River Band is that the name is now owned by one-time member Stephen Housdon who no longer performs with the band. (Housden left the touring band in 2006). The current line-up features Wayne Nelson who joined LRB in 1980. Nelson left the band in 1996 and returned in 1999.   
There have been no original members in Little River Band since 1999.   

re:  This And That:  
Sad to hear about the passing of Cynthia Lennon yesterday, John's first wife.  Their son Julian put together a "beautiful" and moving video tribute to his mom ...

While Lennon was never faithful to his wife, it was John who insisted they get married when Cynthia became pregnant with Julian.  Manager Brian Epstein suggested keeping the marriage a secret so as not to jeopardize the band's ever-growing fan base ... and most of us will never forget The Beatles' appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" when the banner identifying each member pronounced (after showing John's name) "Sorry, Girls ... He's Married".

Cynthia wrote two books about their relationship ...

John even wrote a thinly veiled song about one of his many affairs ("Norwegian Wood") and Cynthia certainly was not oblivious to all that was going on outside their marriage (justifying it in some ways, I guess, as "Well, after all ... he IS a Beatle") ... but coming home to find Yoko Ono moved into their home became the last straw.

While today John is probably most associated with his time spent with Yoko, he and Cynthia were married for just over six years.  She holds a major spot in The Beatles' history, there from the beginning, hanging on for the entire roller coaster ride that became Beatlemania, having first met John in Art College.  (kk)   

Heard about this from a number of sources this week ... here's the Vintage Vinyl News report ...  
1970 Spirit In The Sky hitmaker Norman Greenbaum is in critical condition after being involved in a car crash that has left one person dead. 
Greenbaum was out driving in a Suburu Outback with a friend, Bonita Perea, in Santa Rosa on Saturday (March 28). He was the passenger in the Suburu when it collided with a motorbike.  The rider of the motorbike was killed instantly. His passenger is in a serious condition.  Greenbaum was also taken to nearby Santa Rosa Hospital and is in serious condition.  California police are investigating the incident.   Alchohol has been ruled out as a factor. 
72-year old Norman Greenbaum is best known for his 1970 hit Spirit In The Sky.  The song reached number 1 in Australia and the UK and number 3 in the USA.  The song was a hit again in 1986 for Dr and the Medics.    

The legendary Joni Mitchell was hospitalized Tuesday after being found unconscious in her home.  At press time her condition was listed as "serious".  

And long-time friend of Forgotten Hits, Preston Ritter, the original Drummer for The Electric Prunes, passed away on Monday after a long illness.  (Preston confided health issues for the past few years which, per his request, we kept private.  We last spoke to him live a few years back when he called in to Dave The Rave's Relics And Rarities Show, which we co-hosted counting down The Top 20 All-Time Favorite Forgotten B-Sides ... but he stayed in communication with numerous emails over the years, most of which were featured in Forgotten Hits. 
Back in the mid-to-late '60's, he published a book on drumming ... and once famously gave a drum lesson to Barbara Feldon, Agent 99 of "Get Smart" fame, live on The Mike Douglas Show.

Personality conflicts with certain band members caused him to leave The Electric Prunes during the recording of their second album.  Thank you for your on-going support over the years, Preston ... we'll miss you.  (kk)   

Hey Kent,   
I think it has been over two years that I first let you know about the "soon to be released" biography of the group, Bread. Do you know what the HELL is going on here? You brought this subject up a year ago in FH. I always check Amazon for the release date and now it has been delayed again (for the millionth time) until next month. If the publisher keeps doing this, there will be no interest left. I think I read somewhere that it may be available in England, but not yet here.  
Another disappointment is that the only member of the group interviewed for the book was Rob Royer. Not David Gates, REALLY? Anyway, I'm not about to pre-order. We'll see if the book finally makes it out there. Do you know if anybody reviewed it? Oh wait ... it's not yet available.  
- John LaPuzza 
You're right ... this book has been coming for over two years now ... and I honestly can't believe there's any real interest in hearing the Bread story presented from the perspective of Robb Royer only ... especially since he was only with the band for just over a year ... how much insight and perspective can HE offer (that isn't tainted by 40+ years of sour grapes???)
I know a couple of other readers who pre-ordered this book when it was first mentioned a couple of years ago ... I wonder if they have since cancelled their orders as well.  (kk)   

51 years ago today was Sunday March 29, 1964 -- Easter Sunday.  I was working part-time, Sundays, 10 am - 2 pm, at WGH-AM,Newport News.  I decided to do a  "scoped air check" to save some classic jingles.  I kept this on reel-to-reel tape for 45 years, before getting my friend Dale Parsons to digitize it.  
This is a sample of what Top 40 radio sounded like 51 years ago.  Includes produced commercials by legends Dave Cummins and Bob Calvert.  And the Kimnach Ford do-nut.
Chris Astle
WGH 1964-83

Monkee MICKY DOLENZ, in NYC last week, went to see Larry David’s Fish In The Dark (at The Court Theatre) and greeted actress Rita Wilson after the show, who is in the show. 
Dolenz and Wilson performed last year and another outing may be in the works.
Dolenz next performs with Peter Tork for 3 Monkee-shows; and, then heads to NYC in July to appear at 54 Below.

Thought you might like to read this interview about The Chiffons.

I would guess you've already noted this, but I felt a little extra loss at the passing of Don ("The Happy Whistler") Robertson.  Among his pop hits were "Ringo", "Born To Be With You" and "Please Help Me I'm Falling".  In 1966 my C&W (KMOR, SLC,UT) station got a copy of his "Heart On My Sleeve" LP and we played cuts from it at least 10 times a day.  It must have sold a bunch in Salt Lake because without me even knowing about it, another copy showed up a few months later, autographed by Don and addressed to me.  It hangs right above my stereo and I do play it now and then.  It's little memories like this that make my DJ days such a precious gift back then.  Thanks for all your work.
Jim Pritchard
on-air AKA Jim Southern
Keeper of the "Chuck Roast" DJ name alive and carrying on.

Kent ...
My niece is vacationing in Florida.  She sent these pictures from the Hard Rock Cafe.  I think your subscribers might like them.
Frank B.

Big story this past week about how Madonna was robbed of a #1 Album in Billboard due to the new way the chart figures are calculated ... we have long argued that it is unfair to rank the charts of today against those from the '50's, '60's and '70's equally when the methodology of compiling those charts is so drastically different these days.
Although Madonna's new album sold more copies than any other album last week (which USED to be the only criteria to earn a #1 Album), it was denied the #1 Spot on Billboard's Top 200 Album Chart because today's rankings also take into consideration the number of downloads of individual tracks on every album ... as well as other statistics such as YouTube views, Spotify spins, etc.  The logic states that most of Madonna's fans are "old school" and simply purchased her latest CD ... that USED to be good enough to earn you a #1 album ... and today, in a day and age when fewer and fewer people are actually going out and BUYING CD's, you would think this distinction would hold MORE clout, not less ... but that's not the way things work today ... so when these other considerations are factored into the equation, she came up short.  Too bad ... to score a #1 LP this late in her career is glowing testimony to her lifetime impact on the charts ... and the loyalty of her fans.  (kk)

FH Reader Stacee sent us this list ... every year, the US Library of Congress designates 25 new recordings, giving them "classic status".  It's always an interesting mix (with absolutely no rhyme or reason attached to it.)  Here is this year's list:
Each year, the U.S. Library of Congress adds 25 recordings that it believes are of historic significance to its prestigious National Recording Registry. This year, The Doors, Joan Baez, The Family Stone and Radiohead are among the chosen albums.

1. Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings at University of California, Santa Barbara Library (c.1890-1910)
2. The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection, recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago (1893)
3. “The Boys of the Lough” / ”The Humours of Ennistymon,” Michael Coleman (1922)
4. “Black Snake Moan” / “Match Box Blues,” Blind Lemon Jefferson (1928)
5. “Sorry, Wrong Number,” from “Suspense” radio series (1943)
6. “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive,” Johnny Mercer (1944)
7. Radio Coverage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Funeral, Arthur Godfrey, et al. (1945)
8. “Kiss Me, Kate,” original cast album (1949)
9. “John Brown’s Body,” Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson, and Raymond Massey; directed by Charles Laughton (1953)
10. “My Funny Valentine,” The Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker (1953)
11. “Sixteen Tons,” Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955)
12. “Mary Don’t You Weep,” The Swan Silvertones (1959)
13. “Joan Baez,” Joan Baez (1960)
14. “Stand by Me,” Ben E. King (1961)
15. “New Orleans’ Sweet Emma Barrett and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band,” Sweet Emma and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band (1964)
16. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’” The Righteous Brothers (1964)
17. “The Doors,” The Doors (1967)
18. “Stand!” Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
19. “Lincoln Mayorga and Distinguished Colleagues,” Lincoln Mayorga (1968)
20. “A Wild and Crazy Guy,” Steve Martin (1978)
21. “Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favorites,” Various (1995)
22. “OK Computer,” Radiohead (1997)
23. “Songs of the Old Regular Baptists,” various (1997)
24. “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Lauryn Hill (1998)
25. “Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman,” Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor; Joan Tower, composer (1999)
Hmmm ... so if I was going to dig out my favorites from this list to listen to in te car this morning on the way to work, I guess I'd be listening to ... Me-TV-FM Radio ... (and then complaining about it later!!!)  It'll STILL beat anything showing up on THIS list!!!  YIKES!!!  (kk)