Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thursday This And That

re:  OOPS!:
We left the photo of headliner Tony Burrows off the website on Tuesday when we ran Shelley Sweet-Tufano's review of the "Feelin' Groovy" concert held in Jamaica Queens last week.  ALL photos (as mentioned earlier in the review) are courtesy of photographer James W. Foster, who graciously allowed us to use these in Forgotten Hits.  So apologies to Shelley, Tony and James for our oversight!  (kk)

 Tony Burrows

re:  And, Speaking Of Great Concerts ... :  
We ran readers' concert reviews the last two days in Forgotten Hits ...  
Now be sure to check out this in-depth report by Endless Summer Quarterly's David Beard, recapping a recent two hour Beach Boys set ...     

Rolling Stone is reporting that four of the surviving Zombies will reunite this autumn for a tour featuring their landmark album "Odessey and Oracle" performed in its entirety ...  

Classic Zombies Lineup to Reunite for 'Odessey & Oracle' Tour 
Surviving members of 1968 lineup behind classic LP will hit the road this autumn
GAB Archive / Redferns / Getty

Nearly 50 years after the Zombies released their landmark 'Odessey & Oracle,' the 1968 lineup's four surviving members who recorded that album will reunite and set off on a reunion tour to perform their classic LP live in its entirety. 
Singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent will be joined by bassist Chris White and drummer Hugh Grundy this autumn when the original Zombies reform to perform Odessey & Oracle live for the first time; the band initially broke up in December 1967, four months before their 1968 masterpiece, Number 100 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, was released.   
Guitarist Paul Atkinson, who also featured on Odessey & Oracle, passed away in 2004. Guitarist Tom Tooney, drummer Steve Rodford and bassist Jim Rodford will fill out the current Zombies touring lineup. The reunited band's trek kicks off September 30th at Dallas' Majestic Theatre and then circles the U.S. for 18 shows, culminating with a performance at San Francisco's Fillmore. Visit the Zombies' official site for ticketing information.
In addition to the reunion tour, the Zombies hope to release their next studio album, the follow-up to 2011's Breathe Out, Breathe In, in the fall. In 2014, a collection of Zombies songs from the band's nixed 1968 album was finally released stateside as the compilation R.I.P.

The Zombies U.S. Tour
September 30 – Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre
October 1 – Austin, TX @ Paramount Theatre
October 3 – Provincetown, MA @ Provincetown Town Hall
October 6 – Boston, MA @ The Wilbur Theatre
October 8 – Washington, D.C. @ Lincoln Theatre
October 9 – New York, NY @ New York Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall
October 10 – Cranston, RI @ Park Theatre
October 11 – Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
October 13 – Ridgefield, CT @ The Ridgefield Playhouse
October 14 – Munhall, PA @ Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
October 15 – Kent, OH @ The Kent Stage
October 16 – Merrillville, IN @ Star Plaza Theatre
October 17 – Milwaukee, WI @ South Milwaukee PAC
October 19 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
October 21 – Seattle, WA @ Benaroya Hall
October 22 – Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall
October 24 – Beverly Hills, CA @ The Saban Theatre
October 27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
Looks like no Chicago stop this time around ... we caught The Zombies when they opened up for Burton Cummings a few years ago ... great show.  Glad to see the guys are embracing their legacy once again!  (kk)

re:  Dave Somerville:
Kent -
The passing of Dave Somerville leaves a void in my heart. Dave was not just my friend ... he was the classiest and funniest person I knew.
We shared so many great memories together. We did many gigs together and he was part of the Jimmy Jay Monster Jam a few years back. I will share one great story with you.
The night Whitney Houston passed, Dave and I were at Foxwoods Casino in CT.  After the show, we went out to dinner ... it was cool because it was just the two of us and we shared lots of guy time.
So Dave says they gave me these food vouchers so we can eat anywhere ... let's go to this high class restaurant. We get seated and the prices were outrageous.  Dave says good thing we don't have to pay for this. We ordered up in a big way. Dave loved good food and I can hear him "Mmm, this is so good ... and it always taste better when it's free".  At the end of the dinner the bill was close to $300 for the two of us.
I drive home and the next day Dave is back in Hollywood where he lives and we talk on the phone about this amazing meal we had the night before and Dave says "When I woke up, there was a bill for our meal.  I did not read the voucher right and it covered every place in the casino except where we were."  They charged Dave's card for the dinner. I said, "I'll send you something to help cover the bill" and he said that there was no need to do that, as  it was money well spent.
I have so many stories but will tell you all that being at the hospital with him and his family in the last days of his life was just amazing. I said to him, "Dave, what do you want people to remember about you?" and he said, "I want them to remember the music" ... and that's what we are all doing right here thanks to you. 
Jimmy Jay
As always, I had a great time reading today's posts. The stories about Dave Somerville and how he influenced every part of the Entertainment Industry is truly amazing. Thanks for compiling all that information for us readers.  
The video of Elvis and Celine "together" gave me a flashback to remembering that show, whether I saw it when it aired or caught a news story about it later, I don't know, but "somehow" I was "there" at the time and your coverage of it here on FH took me "back". Thanks.  
Van Dorn  
The Moonrakers
re: Me-TV-FM:
Thanks for all the coverage about the radio format and station.  Lots of opinion and misinformation ... however, I'm happy to see people engaged and discussing what we are doing.
Perhaps sometime I'll write a post for you about the format and what we are building.
Sorry that the fact we are not a 100% all oldies format bothers some of your readers.  There are plenty of stations and websites doing that. We are building something different. 
By the way, James Taylor's latest album is selling terrifically.  The public still loves him, even if some of your readers don't!  You have some good ideas on JT tracks we may not be playing ... some of the ones you don't like did well in AC testing.  We shouldn't be playing anyone 7-8 times between 5 am and Midnight except maybe the Beatles. Ill look into it.
Thanks again for all the attention and coverage.
Neal Sabin  

Hi Neal -  
Thanks so much for taking the time to write ... I would LOVE to run your post about the plans, targets and goals for Me-TV-FM ... who better to enlighten us than you!  
For the record, I LOVE the fact that you're not an "oldies station" in the conventional sense.  (Besides, the term "oldies" now has a negative connotation and is considered "insulting" by most.  We, on the other hand, have embraced the term for years now ... and most of our readers feel the same way.)  
What you are creating at Me-TV-FM mirrors exactly what we have been endorsing for the past sixteen years now.  I have always maintained that the music we all grew up with is timeless ... "music for the ages" if you will.  At one time or another, we were exposed to ALL of it ... so why not feature as much of it as you can?  Our tastes changed as we grew older and with a format like yours (and a playlist of this size) you can finally recognize ALL of the music that struck a chord with us over the years.  (I've said many times before that it doesn't necessarily even have to be a song that I like ... as long as it's something I haven't heard in ages, beaten to death by all the cookie-cutter, same-format stations found everywhere else on the dial.)  
As for James Taylor, it makes absolutely NO sense to me that he FINALLY scored his first #1 Album in 2015 ... something has to be out of balance with the universe in order for this to be the case.  But that being said, MOST of the world doesn't care much about any of his album tracks past his first two masterpieces, "Sweet Baby James" and "Mudslide Slim And The Blue Horizon" ... because THOSE are the tracks that were played on the radio at the time and have become part of our DNA.  As such, songs like "Hey Mister, That's Me Up On The Jukebox", "Love Has Brought Me Around", "You Can Close Your Eyes", "Long Ago And Far Away", "Sweet Baby James", "Steamroller" and "Anywhere Like Heaven" are going to strike a chord with your audience much quicker than some of the obscure and unfamiliar tracks by other artists played on the station.  Regardless, I don't need to hear 7 or 8 songs by him on a daily basis ... or any OTHER artist for that matter.  All that does is cause audience burn-out ... and soon we find that we can't listen to ANYTHING by these artists ... not a good thing for the artist, the listener or the radio station!  
As covered many times before in this column, radio today has become a creative game of stopping the button pushers ... the brand new novelty of Me-TV-FM has worn off ... it now has to stand on it's own merits.  As such, there is no longer room for "bumps in the road" programming ... (the Peter Allen version of "The More I See You" is a perfect example ... it's AWFUL and not even in tune!  This song doesn't EVER have to be played on the radio again ... nor is it familiar to anybody who grew up during this era.  Short of Peter Allen's mother [if she's still alive] I can't imagine a single person on the planet WANTING to ever hear this song again.  Me-TV-FM plays too many unfamiliar album tracks like this and it's starting to cost you listeners.)  People WILL push the button and switch over to something more palatable and familiar ... and they might not switch back for HOURS if the other station has programmed a better line-up.  At that point, you've theoretically lost them.
Every song ... and every decision ... counts.
(That's not to say there isn't room for album tracks in the rotation ... there is ... there are just so many better choices available out there than some of the ones displayed on your station on a regular basis ... which is to say that yes, we love hearing these surprises from time to time ... but not sharing equal rotation with the rest of the music on the station.  Part of what MAKES these tracks a "surprise" is only hearing them once or twice a year ... "tiered" programming is a far better way to go.)
No one can be more proud or gratified to see the station making its mark and succeeding than me ... even if it means living vicariously through your success.  We have pushed for this format for sixteen years now, INSISTING that it would work if only somebody would give it a chance to do so.  Consultants be damned ... I'm sick and tired of radio insulting its listeners by programming the same 200-300 songs over and over and over again, thinking that this is all their listenership is capable of digesting.  Most consultants will tell you that the average listener only tunes in for 15-20 minutes at a time ... and even then, primarily as background noise while they're multi-tasking doing something else.  Me-TV-FM has proven that listeners will stay tuned in for HOURS if you simply feature the right mix of music.  I believe that once you guys start streaming, 87.7 FM will become the most listened to radio station on the dial throughout the work day ... and very well could hold that title from coast to coast.
But in order to do so, some fine-tuning is required ... and I honestly believe I can help you with that by refining the existing playlist, adding some great tracks that are missing but fall within the boundaries of what you're trying to achieve, and adding some special "feature programming" like you do with the television station.  (Themed programs and features ... countdowns ... artist profiles and interviews ... things that break up the day and become "appointment radio" where folks will want to tune in at particular times of day so as not to miss that day's daily feature ... and all "blended in" with the regular mix of great music you're already playing.)
Please know that we are 100% in your corner and will do anything we can to help make the station a success.  I can easily see Me-TV-FM being syndicated across the country, bringing a fresh programming outlook to the dial again.  We've heard from dozens of our readers, jealous that we have something like this going on in Chicago and they don't where they live.  The audience is ready to embrace this change and variety again, as we've always maintained they would be, if only given the chance.  Folks are sick and tired of the same old / same old.  People are staying in their cars longer, afraid of what great song they'll miss if they tune out now.  Folks are listening to the radio at home again ... or watching it on TV.  (The Xfinity tie-in is a great idea ... although there has GOT to be better graphics available than the traffic report ... if you're home watching TV, you're not out in traffic!!!) ... maybe something more along the lines of Music Choice with artist profiles and bios with a scrolling "localized" strip at the bottom offering weather, news headlines, sports scores, "on this date in music history", etc, etc, etc.) 
The buzz about Me-TV-FM is at an all-time high right now.  You guys should be in full artillery mode with regular tv ads and a billboard blitz to let EVERYONE living here or passing through Chicago know that this is the ONLY place to hear Memorable Music on the dial ... the ratings with virtually NO publicity are climbing at an unheard of rate ... imagine what you could do with a full court press!  Chicago, We're Asking You To Spend Some More Time With ME ... and then weed out the weakest links programming-wise and hit them with nothing but your best shots all day long. 
As such, I warmly welcome your comments and mission statement and promise to do all I can to help promote the station, whether it be through continued coverage in Forgotten Hits or any other means ... here's hoping that this is just the beginning of an on-going dialogue.  In a very short time, you've hit a nerve with a good percentage of the public, proving that there IS a place for "memorable music" on the radio dial again.  I say it's time to reload and go in for the kill!  (kk)
Hi Kent,
I totally agree with you on overplaying artists / tunes, and James Taylor really does it for me.  The last three or four soft rock stations here in Indy have played seven or eight of his songs repeatedly for the last twenty plus years, especially during the morning drive time.  Yeesch!

Hey Kent -
Former WLS-FM program director Jan Jeffries is now back in Washington for his second go-around at WRQX, which as Q-107 in the 80's was a kick-ass CHR (contemporary hit radio) station. These days 'RQX is in the toilet, and Jack Diamond (morning guy at WLS-FM) is rumored to be going back to join Jan in DC where Jack did mornings for many, many years. A change from today's hits to a classic hits / oldies format is alleged to be in the works at 'RQX as well. Shame that stations like these with their heritage have become so moribund. Hey, we can hope they wake up and realize the conventional wisdom in radio that listeners over 55 don't count is an invalid idea. We baby boomers still buy advertised stuff, ya know.
- Larry Cave

I can only tell you that he will not be missed in Chicago.  Many of the listeners who stuck with WLS based on their history alone for the past 55 years have already given up and left the station behind.  Even new upstart K-Hits (which plays the exact same music) has overtaken them in the ratings.  As explained above in our Me-TV-FM Soapbox Piece, listeners want and expect more these days from a radio station.  Folks who WOULD have stuck with WLS have now found a better spot on the dial playing the music they REALLY want to hear.  Perhaps this opens up the opportunity for the station to regroup and reclaim their place in Chicago radio history.  A little "friendly competition" in town makes for better radio all the way around ... and NOBODY knows this better than WLS, who went head-to-head with WCFL for YEARS!  (kk)

re:  The Ides Of March:
I LOVE it!!!  People who were moved and inspired to pick up a copy of The Ides Of March 50th Anniversary Box Set are now receiving and listening to all this great music ... and falling in love with The Ides' music just the way we did growing up here in Chicago!  (kk)

I had been on the fence about buying the Ides box - thought about it but just never got around to placing the order - but your article pushed me over the edge.  Once I read your review, I just had to have it.  And now that I do, I'm discovering so many great new tracks - as well as rediscovering some of the songs I haven't heard in ages.  Thank you so much for your Ides Box profile ... you've made a believer ... and a fan out of me!

Great stories on the Ides of March! Those of us outside Chicago most likely didn't know most of this stuff ... so thank you for sharing.

Although I got my Ides CD set last week, I decided to hold off listening to it until my trip to the west side of Chicago, your old homestead, Kent, River Grove, as I was in town for a record show. I listened to the first two discs on the way there. I had forgotten about many of the album tracks and a couple of the minor singles. It was great to hear them as I returned to my hometown. On the way home on Sunday, I listened to the last two discs. Rather than saying what I liked and didn't, I will just say, thank you, Jim, for assembling a long overdue project ... and it's nice to have all the stuff in one package. Not that Jim needs my endorsement, but if you're considering getting it, do so. You'd be spending 50 bucks on any given four CDs anyways, plus you get the DVD and booklet.  

re:  This And That:
Thanks to the popularity of the finally released "Wrecking Crew" documentary, many of the players are now doing interviews, thanks to the renewed interest in all this great music. (I'm telling you ... radio stations that aren't jumping on the bandwagon here are truly missing the boat!)
Tom Cuddy tells us about this one done recently with Hal Blaine (who shared a few memories with Forgotten Hits last week, too) ...

FYI (in case you haven’t heard), The Wrecking Crew is currently being shown on AXS cable channel (1106 on AT&T U-Verse in Wisconsin). The description on the cable guide is incorrect, describing it as a movie about a construction crew. I have seen this happen before when there is more than one film with the same name. It is 9:55 here and Wrecking Crew is on now. AXS typically repeats it’s programming several times so it should be on again.
Bob Verbos
New Berlin, WI  
Actually, I DID see an advertisement for this ... and was a little pissed off at first.  All these folks who contributed funds to insure the film's release are just first receiving their copies and now it's already airing on cable tv.  But then again we've been shouting about this film for over eight years now ... so I've got mixed emotions in that I've tried SO hard to get people to see it that, now that they finally have the chance to do so, I can't help but celebrate the cause.  Who knows ... maybe most of them will like it enough to order a copy for their own collection.  (And, with over six hours of bonus footage NOT shown in the regular documentary, you've got hours and hours of additional enjoyment coming your way if you do!)  I guess my bottom line on this one is ... See It ... ANY way you can ... and enjoy this great tribute to the folks who provided the soundtrack to our lives.  (kk)  

And, speaking of The Wrecking Crew, here's a link to a Brian Wilson profile done on CBS Sunday Morning this past week ...

Just read Billboard's Top 100 Songs of Summer List.
One Beach Boy song at #84 - that's all, really?
One problem with "Top" lists that span more than one epoch of Rock & Roll history is a failure to take into account the vast differences in population. Apply per capita to the analysis and every list would look vastly different.
We've said the same thing many times ... which is why more of a "hit ratio" should be applied to these types of rankings.  Does ANYBODY out there TRULY believe that 50 years later the Brandy and Monica song ranked at #2 will be more highly regarded than "Satisfaction", which sits at #11?  Songs from The Top 40 Rock Era that we cover here in Forgotten Hits (typically 1955 - 1985) have stood the test of time and many sound just as fresh and exciting today as they did back then.  I find it impossible to believe that 50 years from now folks will feel the same way about titles like "See You Then" by Wiz Khalifa, "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy (which, in and of itself, is a complete rip-off of The Police song already ranked at #5 ... which one do YOU think will prove to be more memorable over time?) or "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey ... and be able to sing every word (or play air guitar) to all these soon-to-be obscure tracks.  (kk)

I was extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Buddy Buie ... somehow this guy's music really struck a chord with me ... seems like I loved just about everything I ever heard by him over the years ... whether it be the Sandy Posey track "I Take It Back" (recently featured in Forgotten Hits), the B.J. Thomas hit "Mighty Clouds Of Joy", or any of the many Classic IV and Atlanta Rhythm Section tracks he was involved with.  ("Spooky" ... actually recorded by BOTH artists ... "Stormy", "Traces", "Everyday With You Girl", "So In To You", "Imaginary Lover", "Alien", "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight", "Doraville", "Champagne Jam", "Do It Or Die", and several others.)  Even our FH Buddy Tommy Roe had one of his very first hits with a Buddy tune.  ("Party Girl")   kk
Vintage Vinyl News ran a nice tribute to Buddy the other day  (link below)
Love your stuff, Buddy ... we'll miss you ... but the music lives on.  (kk)

Another great songwriter left us this past week ... Wayne Carson, who wrote the #1 Hit "The Letter" for The Box Tops ... and the Elvis Presley / Willie Nelson classic "Always On My Mind". (kk) 

Enjoyed Sunday's FH as usual.
Here in OKC as I know and remember, the Diamonds' flip of KATHY-O, HAPPY YEARS, was the "A" side of the record. Never really cared for KATHY-O to be honest with you and I believed it was from the movie of the same name.
Really enjoyed the eight minute montage of WIND. You were right in saying most of the songs have been absent from the airwaves for decades, er, you did say decades didn't you? I liked what Chuck Benson said at the end where he asked the question," how long has it been since you've heard this song by Doris Day"? Nowadays one can ask that same question to all the cuts on that tape.
Kent, last night on television I saw a commercial, don't really know if it was a local one or national one, but the main item being advertised I believe was some sort of pizza. Again, I am not sure about that. I am sure about one thing though. In the background was Boots Randolph's 1963 hit YAKETY SAX.  That was the first time I saw the commercial, tune being played faintly in the background, so without hearing it at least a second time, I don't know if it was the original recording or not.
I loved the commercial you posted at the end of FH. It reminded me of the Crystal's 1963 tune (Let's Dance) THE SCREW (Part 1 and 2). Incidentally, going back to Ernie Maresca, he did have a follow-up answer to SHOUT! SHOUT!. I believed it was called SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT, again, a no-hit.
On the subject of answer records through the years, the other day I was wondering if an artist or group ever answered an answer record or song? I guess one could say they were answering an answer. Are you confused now as I am?Have a great week. 

Here's an update on Don Henley's new solo / country album, now scheduled for release in September.  Don has lined up some excellent duet partners for the new LP ... and will reportedly do a solo tour to support it once its been released.
And, speaking of great Rock Drummers ...

Hey Kent,
July had birthdays for two great drummers I can think of, Louie Bellson on the 6th, and Ringo Starr on the 7th. By the way, John Lennon never said that Ringo wasn't even the best drummer in The Beatles. A British comic, by the name of Jasper Carrott, made that quip in 1983. I don't know why some comedians have to ruin reputations, just to get a 5-second laugh. Yes, I found out myself that drummers can be the butt of many jokes, when it comes to talking about "serious" musicians. They're still better to listen to than cost-saving drum machines, don't you think?
- John LaPuzza
I read the same thing about the British comedian ... but the line is ten times funnier when attributed to Lennon ... who had that biting wit throughout his career.
We've seen our fair share of great drummers over the years and are proud to be friends with a few of them.  It's all meant in good fun and spirit ... hey, ya gotta pick on SOMEBODY!!!  
By the way, there's a brand new, first ever Ringo biography available ... you can catch the full details here:  

>>>None of KMAKE's jock's "Pick Hits" went on to make much noise  (kk)
One of the fairly obscure pick hits listed was by the Halos, who were actually 2/3 or the earlier hitmakers, the Angels!!  Brings back the girl group sound while adding big Spector-ish production ala Dusty Springfield.  In 1965 Barbara and Phyliss "Jiggs" Allbut, from The Angels, along with a new member, Toni Mason (in the picture below shown L-R; Barbara, Tony and Jiggs) recorded as The Halos for Congress Records, present in the doo wop guides with.
- Do I / Just Keep On Loving Me
- Since I Fell For You / You're Never Gonna Find
- Baby What You Want Me To Do / Hey, Hey Love Me

None of these tracks ever made the national charts ... although ANOTHER group called The Halos charted Top 40 with "Nag" in 1961 ... but that would have been during The Angels' run on the charts.  (kk)

Our FH Buddy Chet Coppock is launching a brand new website AND weekly podcast ... more details here:
Don't be surprised if yours truly makes an appearance now and again on both!  (kk)

Did you hear about the new British Invasion Musical by author of 'Jersey Boys'?
I thought you'd be interested in this story from the New York Post

It says it is loosely based on Peter Noone's life and takes place in London, starting at the Bag of Nails. 
Where do I begin?  "Love Story" costars Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw are teaming up again to do a stage production of "Love Letters".  I don't want to say that the years haven't been kind ... it's just that SOME of us have weathered the storm better than others!  (kk)

I don't know if you take and or read your local paper there in Chicago, but if you do, take a look at today's comics (July 22). I am talking about the comic strip BLONDIE. It is a three panel strip today and when I read it, I immediately thought of FH. If you don't take the paper, I think you may be able to find it somewhere online.