Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Some Of Your Ides Of March Comments

Response to our recent Ides Of March Series has been good ... in fact, it sounds like some of you have already ordered copies of their 50th Anniversary Box Set.

Here are just some of the comments we received ...

Just a little point of clarification on part 3 of your online review this week.
Both the World Woven and Midnight Oil albums have indeed been reissued previously on CD before, on the band’s own website, back in 2004 ... but it was on a very limited run basis, and burned onto CD-R by computer.  I consider myself lucky to have been able to secure copies of both at the time.  “Reunion”, which was credited in your review as an unreleased track, was actually put on the World Woven CD as a bonus track. 
But I will concede that this is the first time these tracks have been released on a commercially available collection that can be obtained outside of the band’s website. 
I, too, have written a review of the set which you can easily find through the set’s listing on Amazon.  
Thanx for listening - 
Shane Worden 
You'll find Shane's review ... and a couple of others ... on the Amazon Page for the 50th Anniversary Box Set ... three out of three five-star reviews!  
Obviously, you can order the collection there, too ... or from The Ides Of March home page ... http://theidesofmarch.com/   

Nice review, but I have to disagree with your comments about the song "Home". It's a beautiful vocal performance, and the string arrangement is exquisite. I have no problem with the line, "your sink needs a plumber, and you need a man". It works well within the context of the lyrics, and is a metaphorically acceptable sentiment. "Home" is one of my favorite songs Jim has written, and I told him so, one night at the Bluebird in Nashville.     
Randall Davidson   
For the record, I totally agree that "Home" is a beautiful song ... which I think is why that one line stands out so much for me.  Having listened to so much of Jim's music over the years ... and reading his "Songwriting For Dummies" book ... I just don't think it's a line he would write today.  (Hey, he hears the splice in "Vehicle" ... I hear this line as a bit cringe-worthy and not fitting with the beautiful sentiment of the rest of this song ... probably perceived as a clever line at the time but, in hindsight, probably not as strong and meaningful ... or up to par ... with the rest of the lyrics.)  As an example of complete contrast, listen to "Too Late To Turn Around", one of the brand new songs on the box set, which contains the line "This story is my life ... I own the movie rights", which I think paints the PERFECT imagery. It's one of my "new" favorites by The Ides.  (kk)

I just ordered the Ides Of March box set.  You did such a thorough job of reviewing this collection I just had to add it to my collection.  You can count me amongst the ones who knew the band by "Vehicle" and nothing else.  Thanks for opening my eyes to this wealth of other great material I somehow missed along the way. 
Ed Steiner 
Raleigh, North Carolina 
PS Does the band ever tour outside the Chicago area?  Would love to catch them in concert some time. 
You can always check their website for tour dates.  As Jim told us, they don't do a lot of shows each year ... but perhaps with some exposure to the new 50th Anniversary Box Set, these opportunities will pop up a bit more often.  The recorded music is great ... but you have to see the band live to truly appreciate just what a powerhouse they really are.  (kk)   

Love the lost lead guitar solo recording story for 'Vehicle'.  Being a teacher / mom I have a slant on the story.  Rich messed up.  BIG mess up, that could have been fatalistic to the recording given the fact that nobody would have liked the re-recorded version as much.  Rich took ownership of his mistake and while Jim was airing out, fixed it in a semi-miraculous way.  One of my biggest lessons is that people make mistakes, and there are natural consequences.  But taking ownership and doing your best to remedy the situation is more of what the world needs.  Jim hears the splice.  I don't.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
There are many instances like this where (back in the old days of REAL editing) engineers had to be pretty creative.  In nearly all cases, the artists hear the edit while the listeners / fans don't ... part of the appeal of popular music IS the little "mistakes" and nuances that often occur quite by accident ... but add to the charm of the overall recording.  I don't hear it either ... and I've probably heard this song at least 10,000 times!!!  (Which is just a few times less than Jim has probably played it!  lol)  kk   

Great review of the new Ides box set - I was intrigued enough to pick up a copy!  (For the record, you shared just the right amount of music on your site - enough to get us to listen to a few tracks we weren't familiar with - plus descriptive in depth reviews of tracks NOT featured that made us want to hear more!)  Good job - can't wait to hear the whole collection. 

Hi Kent,
I'm enjoying the coverage of the Ides of March box.  Nice exposure of a worthy endeavor that probably won't generate a ton of publicity.  You've definitely convinced me to grab a copy, despite already having the previous anthologies.
Regarding that 'CFL aircheck of "Roller Coaster" that Clark Besch sent you, why, why, why wasn't that included on the box?!  Such a great lost single that really channels the Bobby Fuller Four, dontcha think?
Scott Paton  
The commercial single release of "Roller Coaster" IS on the box set ... but this WCFL aircheck copy was so clean and clear, I just HAD to feature it!  (kk)    

Kent / Clark ... or should I say Clark / Kent: 
Great job, guys. The Ides thing this week is thorough and quite interesting all the way.  
David Lewis    

I read and enjoyed all of your reviews and will be purchasing the Ides of March Box Set. I didn't see it mentioned if "Age Before Beauty" was included in the set? I always liked that tune!
It sure is.  80 tracks in all.  I couldn't find a complete track list anywhere so I figured I should probably make one!!!
Here you go!
DISC ONE:  Last Band Standing / Who I Am / Too Far To Turn Around (all brand new tracks recorded especially for this special box set release) / Like It Or Lump It / No Two Ways About It (their Shon-Dels release) / You Wouldn't Listen / I'll Keep Searching (their first hit single on Parrot) / I'll Take You Back / Please Don't Tell Me Lies / Train Of Love / Don't Cry To Me / You Tell Me Why / I Put It Out Of My Head / The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore / Roller Coaster / Things Aren't Always What They Seem / My Foolish Pride / Give Your Mind Wings / Hole In My Soul / Girls Don't Grow On Trees / I'm Gonna Say My Prayers / You Need Love / Sha La La La Lee (this batch of tracks were all recorded while the band was signed to Parrot Records ... several of these never saw the light of day) / Nobody Loves Me / Strawberry Sunday (both sides of their 1968 Kapp single) / One Woman Man / High On A Hillside (their first Warner Brothers single)
DISC TWO:  Vehicle (mono hit single mix) / Lead Me Home Gently / Aire Of Good Feeling / Symphony For Eleanor - Eleanor Rigby / Bald Medusa / Home / Wooden Ships - Dharma For One / Superman / LA Goodbye / Hymn For Her / Tie Dye Princess / We Are Pillows - Prelude To Freedom / Freedom Sweet / Giddy Up Ride Me / Melody / Reunion (all Warner Brothers tracks) / Pepsi Vehicle Commercial / Vehicle (stereo album mix) / The Star Spangled Banner
DISC THREE:  Mother America / All Join Hands / Colorado Morrow / Diamond Fire / Flipside / Children / Hot Water / Lay Back / Quicksilver / Roadie Ode (all from their RCA years) / Gotta Share This Feeling / American Express / Rag For A Vagabond Lady / Love's Got The Power / Summer In The City / Don't Fight The Feeling (these six are live tracks) / Finally Next Year (their tribute to The Chicago Cubs)
DISC FOUR:  Friendly Stranger (Vehicle Overture) / Spirit Of Chicago / I'd Love Her Anyway / Love Don't Choose / Age Before Beauty / Moon Out Of Phase / One Hit Wonder / Come Dancing / A Day In The Life / The Forgotten Oldie / Pepperhead / Secrets Of A Woman / Soul To Soul / For One Moment / Still 19 / Live Life / Keep Rocking  (all tracks recorded between 1991 and 2010)
DISC FIVE:  (DVD) - Live Concert Performances of People Get Ready - Aire Of Good Feeling / Live Life / High On You / Flipside / Heavy Metal / You Wouldn't Listen / LA Goodbye / Keep Rocking / Bald Medusa / Superman / Is This Love / The Search Is Over / Caught Up In You - Hold On Loosely / Vehicle / Eye Of The Tiger / Music Video of Last Band Standing / From The Vaults (TV appearances, American Bandstand playing of "You Wouldn't Listen" and more) / Vehicle, performed live in concert with special guest Buddy Guy
Google Search Ides Of March and you'll find ALL kinds of Forgotten Hits coverage ... now we've published the essential tracks list, too!  (kk)   

Hi Kent! 
A few years back while record hunting in Chicagoland I came across the Ginny 45 by Batt Mann and the Boy Wonders.  When I got home I played it and thought that was the same version as the oe by the ides – what the heck!??
Thanks for the clarification in the article on this but question remains – the Shondells, Batt Mann and then Ides of March?  So they actually were going to use Batt Man as the groups name?  Did they actually record this in the Ginny Records studio?  I know this is a Chicago label and, for as small as it was, they put out some fine singles.
Thanks, man!
Jeff James
I had to go right to Jimbo on this one ... until Clark Besch sent me the photograph, I never even knew this record existed!  My guess is it was a licensing deal of some sort ... but here's what Jim tells us:
Hi Jeff -
Yes, we were Batt Mann and the Boy Wonders for a few months after we heard about Tommy James' usage of the Shondells made us hunt for a new name. Batt Mann was actually suggested by Paul Sampson who ran the Cellar in Arlington Heights.  He told our manager Mike Considine at the time, "If they change their name, I will put up billboard signs saying "Batt Mann is coming!"  We changed our name but no signs ever appeared.  We did play his club, however, as Batt Mann a month later, opening for the premier of a new band called Saturday's Children. The place was packed. When the audience asked us where our capes were we told them they were at the cleaners.    
Ginny was a small label - I believe a subsidiary of Destination Records.  It is the same recording of You Wouldn't Listen and I'll Keep Searching but a vastly inferior mastering job. Very dull. Soon after we got picked up by London / Parrot as the mighty Ides Of March.
Jim Peterik
In hindsight all I can say is Thank Great God In Heaven that the Batt Mann name didn't stick ... had "You Wouldn't Listen" been a hit under that moniker it may have doomed the future of the band once the Batman novelty craze wore off.  GREAT story though ... and once again I've got to say that the COOLEST thing about doing Forgotten Hits is all the new stuff that I, myself, have learned over the years!  Thanks, Jim!  (kk) 

More on the Batt Mann name from Clark Besch, who wrote the other review used in our special Ides Of March Series ... along with a brief early band discography ...

I like what you did with The Ides piece!  Great job, as usual. 
More info on the Batt Mann record ...
I know the timing was right for the Batman craze to give them the gimmick idea, much like WLS' Ron Riley having his Batman club, of which I was a member.  Remember, these guys were kids then.  I can't remember if Jim mentioned it in his book or not.  Seems like maybe they played one gig under that moniker?? 
A comment I wrote in a group email in early in 2013 talked about the song, but not much about the groups, but I am attaching my version of "That's Why God made the Radio" again.

I am guessing someone can get this to Karen Miller who wrote the great liner notes for the Sundazed comp.  When re-reading them for the discography, I saw her mention how one night, she heard WLS DJ Ron Riley mention that this group the Ides of March were not British but from BERWYN!  Maybe THIS is the night she heard it!!  It must have been fairly early in the song's chart ride, as Riley remarks "hey these guys have a hit."  I wish I had not cut the song off at the end, but I had no idea of the future of the record, the group or that I would ever know them living in Dodge City, Kansas, listening long distance as a (nearly) 10 year old taping on a lunky reel to reel unlike all my friends who had no idea about top 40 music or radio then.  Anyway, Riley comments "I was talking to the nation record ..."  I am guessing he was talking about the possibilities the Parrot distributors or the local record promo guys had to say about the record.  Possibly, his brother Jim Scully, who was a promo man for Columbia in Chicago?  I am sure Jim might have had thoughts on the band, as he was promoting the Shames then.  Anyway, a thrilling night captured on tape from my childhood.  BTW, THIS was the ONLY way I had this record for years until I got a copy of it five years later.  Since then, I noticed many of these 45s had terrible distortion at the start and I have bought some 15 copies finding only 1 or 2 that played nice.  I was quite excited when I got a clean copy that played properly.  Anyone else notice this?  Of course, when the Sundazed CD came out, I was mesmerized by the clean sound I was hearing.  Bob Irwin enhanced it to perfection!
What if the name stayed the Shondels or Riley saying "Batt Mann and the Boy Wonders are from BERWYN and they have a hit!"
Below is the detailed beginning part of the discography I sent to Jim for use in his book, which eventually wound up (in a condensed form) on the webpage.
Jim Peterik on Record  
Chart positions are shown for Billboard / Cash Box / Record World national trades Pop Charts / WLS Chicago / WCFL Chicago 
The Renegades
No recordings.  Jim formed band at age 13 in 1964.  Joined Larry Millas' band, the Shy Lads, in summer 1964.  Changed name to Shondels.

Shon Dels Unlimited 45 Discography
Epitome 7195  Like it or Lump It / No Two Ways About it  (1965?)
It would seem the label had a problem with letter spacing, as Shondels is "SHON DELS"  and writer credits, "PETER IK-MILLAS".
Did not chart on Billboard / Cash Box / Record World / WLS / WCFL

Batt  Mann & the Boy Wonders 45 Discography
Ginny 903  You Wouldn't Listen / I'll Keep Searchin' (3/66?)Writer credits sloppily list writers: "L. Millas / J. Peter / M. Borch". 
This local release preceded the Foggy Notions' only 45 release Ginny 904 "I Need a Little Lovin'" which has had both sides issued on many comps.  Both of the Ginny 45s show an association with "Diamonette and Destination Music."  The Ides' Parrot release has no such info listed.  The Batt Mann 45 shows "A Dutch Wensloff Production."
Note:  Label Matrix number is 5854 while above Shon Dels matrix is 5054.  Thus, above Shondels 45 is likely first overall recording by the group??
Did not chart on Billboard / Cash Box / Record World / WLS / WCFL
Ides of March 45 Discography
Harlequin  660412 You Wouldn't Listen / I'll Keep Searchin'  (Release date: 4/66?)  Intended as a Shondells release?
Group name now changed incorrectly to "I'des of March" as well as writing credits now still incorrect as "Millias, Peterick, Broche."  "Destination" has been dropped but "Diamonette" kept on label.  Now, this label shows "A Cinderella Production" by Dutch Wensloff under the "supervision" of M. Considine.
Did not chart on Billboard / Cash Box / Record World / WLS / WCFL

Parrot 304  You Wouldn't Listen / I'll Keep Searchin'  (5/66)  (Name change due to Shondells' Hanky Panky release?  Ides of March name chosen because of studying Shakespeare in school and taking name from Julius Caesar's line "Beware the Ides of March") Note:  All releases of Parrot 304 show artist incorrectly as "I'des of March" but correct writer credits as "Millas / Peterik / Borch." The Parrot "I'des" 45 shows "A Mike Considine Production for Stature," dropping Dutch Wensloff from any mention while adding Destination Records' Stu Black as engineer.  Oddly, "Stature" was also the name of an Illinois record label.
In England, the 45 was issued as "I'des of March" on London 10058 with release date on label as July 1, 1966.  It also lists "Recorded by Parrot, New York." 
Billboard debut date: 6/25/66  Peak: 47  Weeks on: (7)  Cash Box debut date:  6/11/66  Peak: 47  Weeks on: (9) Record World debut date: 6/18/66  Peak: 41  Weeks on: (8) WLS debut date: 5/27/66  Peak: 7  Weeks on: (9) WCFL debut date: 5/12/66  Peak: 10  Weeks on: (8)
Amazing that "You Wouldn't Listen" had so many single releases ... obviously a lot of knowledgeable music people believed this song could be a hit.  I'm guessing nobody noticed until a major label like Parrot picked up the track.  Even so, once "You Wouldn't Listen" completed its chart run ... and "Roller Coaster" pretty much tanked ... the whole world wrote The Ides Of March off.  All that MORE amazing that four years later "Vehicle" would come out of nowhere and become the HUGE it that it was ... and, as I said, STILL heard on the radio every single day today, some 45 years later!  A true testament to following your heart and never giving up on your beliefs!  (kk)
I am just loving this piece on The Ides Of March.
I wondered, and didn't remember ... did I ever send you the interview I did with Jim for The Improper? I was very impressed with him when we talked.  I am a HUGE life-time fan of him and the group.

I'm enjoying the Ides of March and "Vehicle" piece ... reminders of a time when radio and the music industry combined their efforts to expose new talent. We understood the advantage that came from the excitement of exposing a new artist.  As program director of WLS, I had many friendships with recording industry executives. Among them were Bob Destocki and Frankie Rand.
Art Roberts was my music director at WLS. He often would bring me test pressings for airplay consideration. His "ear" often heard a hit that I didn't and I approved more than one we disagreed on. I think Archie Bell and the Drells' "Tighten Up" was a prime example. I bet Art it didn't have a chance of being a hit.
However, Art and I both agreed "Vehicle" by the Ides of March would be a hit. Art told me he had been involved "a little tiny bit."  I suggested he make note of his involvement for the WLS legal department in case we decided to add it to the playlist.  Meanwhile Bob Destocki enlisted the promotional expertise of our mutual friend Frankie Rand to aid him in promoting vehicle. I recall going to lunch with both Bob and Frankie, telling them for the first time I had resigned as WLS program director and would be departing for a position as president of Bill Drakes company in California.  For the next two weeks Bob and Frankie came to see me daily about adding "Vehicle". Each time I explained it was out of my hands and until I received approval of Art's involvement from the legal department I could not add the record.
Three days before my departure at WLS approval came through from the legal department in New York. Immediately "Vehicle" became the WLS Pick of the week.
At my departure party both Frankie Rand and Bob Destocki were on the front row of the head table. I loved them both and "Vehicle" even today is on the playlist of Hit Parade Radio.
John Rook

Hey Kent,
Your four part special on the Ides Of March that you ran this past week was the final word. I had already considered purchasing the new box set previously before it came out. I've always loved their music, always have been a big fan of Jim Peterik and all the music he has created over the years (especially Survivor.) I read his book late last year and thought it was one of the best written and most informative music biographies I've ever read. He really seems like a great guy and I don't think you can say that about most of the rock stars around. I could be wrong cause I really don't know a lot of them.
But anyway your blog put me over the top and convinced me that I needed the Ides box set in my collection. I ordered it on Wednesday and I went for $100 autographed version. Can't wait for it to arrive!
Rich Turner
Safety Harbor, Florida
PS Now see if you can convince the Ides Of March to do a few shows in my area!
Thanks, Rich ... I can promise that you won't be disappointed.
You're not the first reader to suggest that The Ides need to stretch their touring wings a little bit ... let's see what happens now that the word is getting out about this great new collection.  (kk)

And then ...   

Just the other day I sent you a note saying that while reading your Ides Of March profile and review of their new box set, that I was convinced to purchase a set for myself. Well, purchase I did ... last Thursday, July 9, and even though their website says to give three to four weeks for delivery, guess what showed up on my doorstep this afternoon, Monday, July 13? Yep, the box set itself.  
Holy cow, that's four whole days it took from time of purchase till delivery. That, my friend, is customer service! I'm very impressed. Now I can't wait to play the music and watch the DVD. Thank you, Ides Of March ... and thank you Kent for your fine, no excellent, blog and website.  
Rich Turner  
Safety Harbor, Florida

I just ordered The Ides Of March Box Set after reading your excellent review.  Like many on your list, I'm sure, I was most familiar with the band because of their chart-topping hit "Vehicle" - but you showed us so many other sides of the band that I couldn't wait to listen to the whole box and dig a little deeper.
Thanks so much for your detailed discussion - you've just made me a fan.
Pat Richardson