Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Sunday Comments ( 10 - 11 - 15 )

re:  The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:   
I think you're getting soft, Kent - yes, it's nice to see Chicago finally nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - and, from a Chicagoan perspective, it was pretty cool to see Cheap Trick and Chaka Khan recognized, too - but overall the remaining names on this list hardly measure up to the standards originally put forth by the Hall ... nor are they the types of names most rock purists would expect to see on the ballot ... or inducted into something called The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.    
Baby steps, Steve ... it's a far more deserving and "universal" list than we've seen in recent years past.  In the scheme of things (and under the guidelines in which The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was founded), do Bill Withers, Cat Stevens, Joan Jett, Ringo Starr (as a solo artist) and The Five Royales deserve to be there?  Yet ALL of these artists were inducted over the past couple of years.  As such, I can accept artists like The Cars, Janet Jackson, The Spinners, Yes and The Steve Miller Band.  When I said that I thought Nine Inch Nails and NWA would likely get in this year, that wasn't meant as an endorsement ... I can honestly say that I'm not familiar with any of the music ever released by either of these acts ... which makes me question how, if a "music guy" like me wasn't impressed or even aware of these artists, how can they possibly be Hall Of Fame worthy.  But me not knowing them doesn't mean they won't get in.  It's just not the way The Hall operates.  (kk)  

I am a little surprised by the "good" choices available for the RNR hall of Fame this time out.  I would certainly vote for Chicago and Steve Miller, Cheap Trick and Chaka Khan.  All with BIG Chicago ties.  
Steve Miller was guitarist on Bill Traut's very first Dunwich recording as part of the Univacs.  The songs "Bombay Bicycle Club Theme" and "Silverthumb" were recorded somewhere around 1963 or 4 after Traut was working at Seeburg Jukebox Company.  When working on the Dunwich Records comp for Sundazed, he told me that Miller's first record was this first Dunwich recording.  Yeah, it's a bit "Univac-y" of the day, but could have influenced Miller for his future.   
I'm not sure if you have ever featured Miller's music on FH.  In spring, 1968, his first Capitol 45 "Sittin' in Circles" was released with an odd pic sleeve.  It went nowhere.  
The next was "Living in the USA" which scraped charts and got lots of airplay.  In 69, his "My Dark Hour" 45 featured Paul McCartney (on drums!).  Amid all these 45s being released, came "Going to the Country" which, with a great harmonica solo, finally broke through top 40 charts and reached the top 70 nationally.  A great record, indeed.  Despite his 45 failures, he kept Capitol's ear by selling albums in a 45 era.  His late 60's albums continuously reached the top 40 without any hit singles.  "Space Cowboy" was an FM staple in 69, but never a single.  
Amazingly, Capitol kept with Miller and after more failed 45's, he had a giant success with "The Joker" in 1973 and the rest is history. Hit after hit.  There are LOTS of great videos on youtube for those interested.   
So, why should he be inducted to the hall for outlasting Capitol Records and finally gaining a hit after six years of failures?  He was a GREAT guitarist and a good singer.  The guy was a touring rocker, bluesman, pop star and liked recording "techniques" that he experimented with endlessly, it would seem.  He wrote about politics, drugs, having fun and anything that entered his mind at the time about daily life.  He was by his own words, "an entertainer."  He often wore flashy outfits.  He liked the wah-wah and the tape recorder and really had a unique, if odd, way of being a rock star.  Just check out this equally odd 1970 documentary:   
I think that one thing people may NOT think about when thinking of Miller's music would be his use of studio "sounds."  Listen to all of the little openings, endings and added sound bites that he incorporated into songs like "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jungle Love."  The "whistle" in "The Joker."  The race car ending to "Living in the USA."  The echoed techniques in "Abracadabra."  He was with Barry Goldberg early in the Goldberg - Miller band on Epic when their "Mother Song" was released with a pic sleeve.  He was in the San Francisco mix at the right time.  Did you know he was a performer at Monterrey Pop?  He was sandwiched between Quicksilver and the Electric Flag.  By at least one reviewer, his set did not go well.  He brought a tape recorder to play sounds on for his performance and it did not work just right.  Well, he got things figured out over the years and now.   
Will he get inducted?  Only "Lefty Muttersbox" knows!  
Clark Besch     

Hi Kent,   
Glad to see these bands might finally get into the Hall Of Fame. The sad thing is that at this point, it almost seems degrading and an insult for taking so long to get them enshrined. Jann Wenner has really dropped the ball and watered down the meaning of being Honored in the Hall Of Fame.    
All The Best,    
Cory Cooper    
Elvis Historian   
Sad but true ... and our point for years now.  For many, induction is no longer considered an "honor" because the list of inductees has become so convoluted over the years that it doesn't mean anything anymore.  But then ... when you finally DO get nominated ... even after 20+ years of being snubbed ... it's hard not to feel good about it.  (Witness any of the Chicago interviews going around this week!)  kk    

Just showing (“shooing?”) you that I read your stuff and trying to be helpful.  
Bob Merlis / M.F.H.  
OK, my bad ... thanks, Bob ... but I DID notice that you left my spelling for Ed Sullivan's Really Big Shew alone ... as it should be!!! (kk)  

Dear Kent;  
Just what has Janet Jackson done that has been so musically remarkable?   
A Hall of Fame (Baseball, Football, Rock 'n roll) is supposed to be about legitimate genius - not just very good performance. Does Janet compare to Aretha Franklin or Darlene Love? Or for that reason Carole King?  NO.  
USA Today has already dissed Chicago while listing the nominees.  America's lightweight paper said the group was essentially a late 60's band with numerous lineup changes over the years. Good God, just off Chicago Transit Authority, the band's first album, Cetera, Lamm and the horn section should be inducted.   
Upset Special: The Cars, east coast bias prevailing, will be given their moment in the sun.    
Chet Coppock   
I believe there are certain "givens" when it comes to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  If you're going to induct Michael Jackson ... and The Jackson Five ... then you've GOT to induct sister Janet, as she was an inspirational, trend-setting performer.  (LaToya Jackson, on the other hand, might be better suited for The Looney Bin Hall Of Fame.)  Who's more deserving ... Janet Jackson or Mariah Carey, who was the front-runner for new "eligibles" this year?  Surprisingly, Janet's votes have been tapering off significantly since the fan voting began ... check out the latest tallies below.  If for some reason she doesn't make it this year then, at the very least, her infamous nipple-ring should be on display at the museum.  (kk)   

Voting Update:  
On Friday, FH Reader Uncle T. Jay sent us the standings after the first couple of hours of fan voting.  Here's the way things stacked up then:   

Janet Jackson 13.92% (39572 votes)  
Chicago 12.73% (36181 votes)   
Cheap Trick 10.18% (28952 votes)   
The Cars 9.34% (26545 votes)  
Deep Purple 9.27% (26349 votes)   
Yes 9.19% (26121 votes)   
Steve Miller 9.02% (25638 votes)   
The Spinners 4.56% (12963 votes)   
Nine Inch Nails 4.50% (12792 votes)   
Chaka Khan 3.93% (11166 votes)   
N.W.A 3.75% (10663 votes)   
The Smiths 3.65% (10363 votes)   
Chic 2.84% (8083 votes)   
Los Lobos 2.06% (5853 votes)  
The J.B.'s 1.07% (3049 votes)  

Here's the way things stand right now as we go to press this morning  (NOTE:  At 8 am anyway, when I first attempted to post this week's edition of The Sunday Comments.)  

Looks like a HUGE shift in the vote in regards to Janet Jackson, Cheap Trick and Nine Inch Nails, who are now bringing up the rear ... plus Yes, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and The Cars are all neck-and-neck ... less than 600,000 votes separate these four artists) The Top Five Fan Favorites are very clear ... Janet Jackson comes in sixth with about half the votes of the other contenders ... after that, it's no contest.  (kk)  

Chicago  20.48% (21,913,117 votes) 
Yes  16.95%  (18,131,342 votes)  
Deep Purple  16.80%  (17,971,511 votes)  
Steve Miller  16.78%  (17,952,827 votes)  
The Cars  16.39%  (17,534,439 votes)  
Janet Jackson  7.69%  (8,230,366 votes)  
Chaka Khan  1.07%  (1,145,775 votes)  
The Spinners  0.83%  (890,804 votes)  
Cheap Trick  0.70% (750,384 votes)  
Chic  0.64%  (680,744 votes)  
N.W.A.  0.50%  (540,233 votes)  
The JB's  0.48%  (509,051 votes)  
The Smiths  0.27%  (291,636 votes)  
Los Lobos  0.25%  (264,154 votes)  
Nine Inch Nails  0.17%  (176,925 votes)   

Have you voted yet?  Here's where to go to do so: 
You're allowed to vote for up to five different artists.  (And, from the looks of things, like most Chicago Elections you can vote as many times as you like!)  Cast your votes now!!! (kk)  

re:  Billy Joe Royal:  
Some random thoughts on Billy Joe ... 

Mary Hill was a real tramp!  (But such a thrill after dark!)  "Cherry Hill Park" is just one of those GREAT sounding records ... there's nothing really all that exceptional about the lyrics or the melody on their own ... but once you put them together with a killer arrangement, this is just a damn good record.  (I seem to remember this track being banned on certain radio stations around the country at the time ... yet it still made it up to #15 on the national charts.  I'm thinking WLS only played it for a week or two since it only peaked at #35 ... and it didn't chart on WCFL at all.)  Reminds me a little bit of Bobbie Gentry's "Fancy", too, in its overall theme.  (You be nice to the gentlemen, Fancy, and they'll be nice to you!)  

I remember being on vacation in The Wisconsin Dells back in 1965 and stopping into this little Pizza Place / Bar with my parents where somebody kept playing "Down in the Boondocks" all night long on jukebox.  Made me fall in love with the song even more.  I was probably all of about eleven years old at the time. 

Billy Joe's hit "Hush" a much bigger hit in Chicago than it was nationally.  (#48 in Record World vs. #5 on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey).  As such, we were much more surprised to hear Deep Purple's heavy metal take a year later.  

Hi Kent, 
Could you please tell me from which cd your "Down in the Boondocks" track came?  It's the best and closest to the original mono that I've ever heard.   
Thanks in advance.   
All the best,  
It comes from a 1989 Columbia CD called simply "Billy Joe Royal's Greatest Hits" ... a very "short but sweet" ten song collection that includes all the hits plus Billy Joe's great version of "Save The Last Dance For Me". (kk)  

Just read about the Caravan Of Stars 30 Concert in Forgotten Hits, literally seconds after I saw the news of headliner Billy Joe Royal's passing.   It will be interesting to see what the performers will do Saturday Night in honor of that great singer.  Hopefully, Jim Foster will give us a full report next week.  
RIP Billy Joe Royal.   
Uncle T. Jay  
Hope we hear back from you, Jim!  (kk)   
We hope to hear back from you, Jim ... let us know how the concert was ... and how the other artists paid tribute to our fallen hero.  (kk)

Billy Joe Royal was a TREMENDOUS talent.  He will be remembered for his voice, but also for his little spin he always made during performances.  "Hush" is one great song that was BIG in Chitown in 67.  Here's my fave, Larry Lujack, just months after joining WLS in fall of 1967 counting down the top 10.  
Clark Besch

Hey there kk;  
I was sad to hear about Billy Joe Royal, but I did enjoy the posts on your blog and the songs you posted there.  I had just played a 45 on my show, one week before his passing, which was a re-pressing with Down In The Boondocks on one side and Cherry Hill Park on the B side (not the original A & B sides).  I didn't get the news in time on October 6 to say anything about it on the show, but I plan to do that in the near future.  What a huge part of 1960s singles!  Even though he tried to sound like Gene Pitney at times, Billy Joe Royal had a unique voice.  I'm sorry I never got to meet him, but from what your readers have said, he was a super nice guy who made it big anyway!  We will miss him, but he will live on in 45s on The FLip Side Radio Show!    
Mr. C.   

Back in the '80's, my ex-wife was a big fan of country music ... so I listened to a fair amount of it as well.  One night she just kept raving about some new song she heard by some new country artist that she was sure I would like ... and then, while driving around that night, the minute it started playing on the radio she excitedly told me, "This is it ... this is the one I've been telling you about!"  
Turns out it wasn't a "new artist" at all ... it was Billy Joe Royal back on the radio again after nearly a twenty year absence ... but I had to agree that this country track, "I'll Pin A Note On Your Pillow", was a pretty damn good song.  In fact, Billy had been hitting the country charts since 1985 ... and between 1985 and 1991 he would score over a dozen Top 40 Country Hits ... including SIX Top Tens.  ("I'll Pin A Note On Your Pillow" peaked at #5 in 1988.)  His biggest country hit was a remake of the old Aaron Neville tune "Tell It Like It Is", which went all the way to #2 in 1989.

Hey Kent-  
Sad to hear about Billy Joe Royal. Just reading about him in Forgotten Hits a few moments ago.  I did a tribute to him as my Lost 45 for this coming Sunday night's show. 
Citizen Bill (from Alabama)    

And from FH Reader Tom Cuddy comes this news report about Billy Joe Royal's last live performance at the Gwinnett County Fair in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on September 24th ...  

re:  Neil Sedaka:   
>>>He told us that once The Beatles hit our shores he retired for thirteen years, moving his family to England where there seemed to be a better appreciation for the "old American rockers" of yesterday ... and it was while he was there that a young Elton John, already a fan, said that he would like to help plan and engineer a comeback for Neil back home in the States.  (kk)   
I don't know exactly how true this is. He was recording for RCA through 1966, and between then and 1974 when he signed with Rocket, he was still releasing music, although not as frequently as he had been. In 1968 he signed with SGC and had a couple singles with them through 1969. He had no releases in 1970, but in 1971 signed with Kirshner Records (distributed by RCA, incidentally) for a couple of singles and an LP released through 1972. In 1973, he had one single on MGM. He may have slowed down, but he certainly didn't retire. Especially since 13 years before 1974 would've been 1961 ... would he have retired at the peak of his success? 
BTW, you mentioned The World Through A Tear as a 1963 record. It was 1965, certainly after the Beatles had hit our shores.  
Tom Diehl   
His words, not mine.  But no, he didn't "retire" in any real sense of the word.  He did, however, move his family to England and performed there regularly during this period.  And he didn't stop recording either.  In fact, his big US comeback album, "Sedaka's Back" was actually a compilation of tracks spread out over THREE albums that Neil released in the UK ... which helps explain why it was such an incredible album here when it came out ... Neil and Elton had "pick of the litter" to choose from!  
And you're right, "The World Through A Tear" came out in September of 1965, which makes it all the more amazing that it did so well on the Chicagoland charts ... by then we were already into our second wave of The British Invasion!   (kk)   

Hi Kent, 
Just a footnote to your Neil Sedaka "Calendar Girl" post about his glance at 2:23 in the video ... what I thought was even funnier was his checking out one of the "Calendar Girls' asses instead of her face at 2:47 of the video!  Read Forgotten Hits all the time!  Keep up the GREAT work.  Peace,    
Tim Kiley   

One of Frannie's favorite parts of the concert was when Neil came out solo at the piano and played "Alone At Last" ... she told me that she LOVES that song and hasn't heard it in ages.  To be honest, I'd never heard it before ... in fact, I wasn't familiar with it at all ... and, after doing a quick scan of the charts, I can't figure out where she may have heard it either. (In its best showing, it "bubbled under" in Billboard for three weeks in 1977, eventually peaking at #104.)   
Then she found this custom-made video on YouTube ... so I figured I'd share it with you.  Not a bad song at all ... and nicely accompanied by the sight (and sound) of the ocean.  (kk) 

re:  John Lennon:  
John Lennon would have turned 75 this past Friday.  As such, there were LOTS of tributes going on ... but perhaps the coolest is this brand new track by our FH Buddy Peter Noone, who tipped a glass or two with Lennon back in the day.    

New York, NY (October 8, 2015) -- October 9, 2015 would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday. In honor of that event, Plowboy Records will release the digital single “I Can’t Imagine (A Tribute To John Lennon),” recorded by singer - songwriter / guitarist / pianist Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits.  
“I Can’t Imagine” was recorded in Nashville in 2012, when Noone was brought onboard for a session to record “Something Old, Something New” for the Tribute To Eddy Arnold album. Producer Don Cusic presented the song he had written to Noone, which had resided on a shelf since 1980. It seemed a perfect fit to have a fellow musician of the British Invasion perform the song. Noone jumped at the opportunity. 
“I am pretty spiffed at the way it turned out,” says Noone. “Lennon used to buy me drinks in London after sessions at EMI’s Studios on Abbey Road. He would say ‘they have a two drink minimum and you aren’t 18 so you get two cokes Herman, and I’ll get two Bacardis.’ ” 
With Noone on vocals, John Hobbs on piano, Andy Reiss and Chris Shruggs on guitar, Byron House on bass, Marco Giovano on drums, and Glen Duncan providing strings and other instrumentation, “I Can’t Imagine” was brought to life. 
The lyrics say it all … “I know there’s a reason why you’re not here, maybe it’s to show us that dreams live on, and the songs are still sung though the singer is gone.” Each verse is a loving send-up to John Lennon’s memory. 
“It took a long time,” concludes Cusic, “but the time was right.” 
iTunes link:

FH Reader Alice M tells us that Peter also did a recent interview with Goldmine Magazine about this track ...…/peter-noone-honors-john-lennon    

re:  On The Radio:  
Hey Kent,  
It's Citizen Bill from Alabama - been a long time since we've communicated. I hope you're doing well and as usual you're still doing a great job keeping the music and memories alive.  
I'm a few weeks away from doing my 700th Remember Then Show on FUN 92.7 FM ... hard to believe how fast the years have gone by!  
Take care and thanks for all you do!  
I'm on Sunday evening @ 7:00 p.m. central time and stream on      
Citizen Bill (from Alabama)  
FUN 92.7 FM   
It's kind of an inside joke (and we cannot help but laugh) that Bill Rutherford has to identify himself as "Citizen Bill of Alabama) because we've also got a Citizen Bill here in Chicago on the list!  Congratulations on your 700th Show ... that's a WHOLE lotta Sunday Nights over the years!!!  Let us know the exact date and we'll remind folks again to tune in. Hope you're doing well.  (kk)   
If my feeble minded math is correct, my 700th show will be December 6th @ 7:00 p.m. central time. BTW our station is running Scott Shannon's "America's Greatest Hits" from 12 - 4 on Sunday afternoons now. Scott and Michael St. John, the station owner go way back. Also, if you get a chance, I have a dear friend who's been in broadcasting both tv and radio for over 40 years and he hosts "Reelin' In The Years" on the local Huntsville Public Radio Station WLRH 88.3 FM and streams on WWW.WLRH.ORG Friday nights from 9:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The unique part of his show is that he only plays the original 45's ... the real McCoy on the turntable. He's been doing this for 25 years and does a great job. His name is Bob Labbe (Labby) and he's interviewed literally hundreds of the artists.  I told him about your site and he's been reading and commenting to me about it. Take a listen if you get a chance.  
Thanks again for everything and have a great weekend! Again, our website and streaming can be found at Just click on the "Listen Live" button upper right hand corner of the screen.  
Citizen Bill    

Speaking of the Scott Shannon connection, here's an old photo that Scott took when Citizen Bill and I first hooked up through Forgotten Hits ...
Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s will feature the Alumni Chicago 45s from the golden age of top 40 - Sunday, October 11, 2015 -  12 - 4 pm CT on WLTL-FM 88.1, and the free WLTL app for your smart device. 
The Ides Of March, The Buckinghams, The Cryan Shames, The New Colony Six, The Shadows of Knight, The American Breed and many more. 
The above bands will be taping Cornerstones of Rock: American Garage at WTTW’s Grainger Studio, Chicago on October 16, 2015 
Again, this was a FAR more timely topic at 8 am when we first tried to post this morning ... and even at noon it was still doable (although I personally tried to log on to the link above five separate times ... and never once connected to the station to listen live.)  Mike's radio special would have been a GREAT way for fans to reacquaint themselves with the music we all grew up listening to here in The Windy City in the '60's.  
This is a VERY big deal here in Chi-Town right now ... the assembly of all these major acts to film a Sound Stage television special is the talk of the town ... and tickets sold out in the blink of an eye.  Forgotten Hits is hoping to have some exclusive photos up on the website next week from both the WTTW taping as well as the rehearsals ... stay tuned!   (kk)     

And speaking of radio ...      

re:  Me-TV-FM:  
Identity crisis?  Or just confused as hell as to what you really want to be? 
Based on what we've been hearing lately, it's certainly a clear lacking of direction, if nothing else.  I don't know how else to describe it. 
Big news this week when Neal Sabin of Me-TV-FM hired Rick O'Dell as his new Program Director at the station, replacing Mark Zander who helped launch the station back in February.  In fact it made radio headlines all over the country. 
Maybe he can finally help the station focus on the right direction (although with such a strong background in jazz programming, I cannot help but wonder if things will spin even further out of control than they already are in the long run.)  My fear is that with the combination of Sabin and O'Dell, listeners will be subjected to more music like the one I woke up to the other day ... some jazz, almost scat version of "Penny Lane" that I can find absolutely NO record of charting on ANY national chart ... nor is it available on iTunes or posted to YouTube. 
For a station that promotes itself as playing "timeless and memorable music" ... and then features tracks like this alongside some of the most obscure album tracks you've never heard ... and sometimes (as happened the other night) three or four COMPLETELY unknown tracks in a row, it's no wonder that they're quickly making listeners turn away.  (If anything, what they've been featuring of late is the complete OPPOSITE of "timeless and memorable music".  How can it be memorable if you've never heard it before???  And "timeless" if it holds absolutely no listener appeal?) 
Even their new ad campaign, which stresses those tuning in to "listen longer" so you can hear "more music you haven't heard before" is a COMPLETE conflict of interest of what drew listeners in in the first place ... the chance to hear more of the music they grew up with LONG absent from the radio airwaves.  THAT was the drawing card ... not some Gordon Lightfoot album track! 
As we've said SO many times before, when they get it right, it's the best station on the dial to listen to.  But the biggest complaints we've been hearing for the past several months is that there are "too many repeats" (what happened to their 2500 - 3000 song play list?) and the fact that (according to SEVERAL listeners now), you won't EVER hear four good songs in a row. 
For the most part, I disagree.  The following represents an actual 35 minute set I heard on the way to work the other morning ... every track in the order it was played.  Simply put, you don't get variety like this anywhere else on the dial ... 
"Joanna" by Kool and the Gang 
"You Wouldn't Listen" by The Ides Of March 
"It's Too Late" by Carole King 
"Guilty" by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb 
"I Get Around" by The Beach Boys 
"Your Mother Should Know" by The Beatles 
"Being With You" by Smokey Robinson 
"Venus" by Shocking Blue 
"Movin' Out" by Billy Joel 
"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield 
"Use Me" by Bill Withers 
"My Angel Baby" by Toby Beau 
"Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac 
"Let's Dance On" by The Monkees 
"I'll Take You There" by The Staple Singers 
"Changes In Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" by Jimmy Buffet 
"Jack And Jill" by Raydio 
"Night Shift" by The Commodores 
I'm sure most of our readers would KILL to have a radio station this good in their town that they could listen to in the car. 
But then the next night we got the complete opposite ... so many obscure tracks within the same hour that it got to the point of becoming unlistenable.  You guys need to focus ... if you expect your listeners to do the same! 
There are still SO many pleasant surprises that make Me-TV-FM exciting to listen to ...

Today I heard "Dandelion" by The Rolling Stones ... when's the last time you heard THAT one?!?! ... but as covered here so many times before in this column, once the listener tunes out, it's REALLY hard to get them back.  After the first few months of listeners gushing about the wide scope of variety being offered by the station, the opposite now seems to be true ... the majority of the mail we're receiving these days says that former fans can no longer listen because of all the James Taylor / Gordon Lightfoot / Barbra Streisand / Joni Mitchell album crap they program in alongside the hits.
That's not to say that there should be a "zero tolerance" on this matter.  I heard a great version of "He's So Fine" the other day that I'd never heard before ... looked it up and found out that it was by Jane Olivor, who had a VERY minor hit with this record in 1978 (#77).  Again, hardly timeless or memorable (and let's face it ... if I've never heard it ... and I like to think I've heard an AWFUL lot of music over the years ... as well as some flat out awful music along the way, too! ... then odds are your "average" listener isn't going to know it either.)  But I'm trying to keep an open mind ... and the truth is, it was a VERY pleasant surprise and a nice discovery for me ... I even downloaded the track for my personal library ... but that doesn't mean I need to hear it forty more times over the next six weeks ... and unfortunately far too often that's exactly what they do.  All songs are NOT created equal when it comes to programming.  Surprises should be surprises ... NOT part of regular programming ... THAT'S what makes them surprises!!!  (It's kinda like "Las Vegas Turnaround" by Hall and Oates ... fact is, it's not all that memorable a track by the duo ... and certainly not one of their best ... but after having NEVER heard the song once in 30 years, I've now heard it about 30 times in the past three months. SELECTION, guys ... it's the name of the game.  By the same token when the HBO comedy series "Hello Ladies" used the obscure Hall and Oates track "Alone Too Long" as their theme song, I couldn't get enough of it ... it's much more "listener friendly" ... and if you're going to play a "non-hit" by Hall and Oates ... instead of the 40 legitimate chart hits that the duo actually had ... then I think "Alone Too Long" makes a FAR better selection.)

We'll keep listening ... maybe O'Dell will finally overcome the streaming hurdle that prevents listeners from around the country from tuning in to hear just how unique the station really is.  Maybe he'll get the station to definitively decide what it wants to be when it grows up ... and then focus the playlist exclusively on that goal.  (One can only hope)  Wouldn't it be great if in a month from now we were singing nothing but 100% across-the-boards praises for the station again?  (kk)

Weigel Broadcasting has announced the hiring of local radio veteran Rick O'Dell as the new Program Director for WRME-LP / 87.7 MeTV FM. He replaces Mark Zander, who announced his exit last month to join WDRV-FM/97.1 The Drive.  O'Dell will begin in his new role on Monday, October 12.
Along with advancing the softer oldies / pop musical programming envisioned by Neal Sabin, Executive Vice President / Vice Chairman of Weigel Broadcasting and the President of the MeTV Network, O'Dell will focus on further format development and brand management for the station.
Chicago broadcasting legend O'Dell is a life-long Chicagoland resident and has been a staple on the Chicago-area radio airwaves since 1981. He is best known for his 19 years at WNUA-FM during its Smooth Jazz era where he served as a DJ, Music Director, and Program Director. More recently, he served in those same roles on the short-lived, but impressive WLFM-LP / Smooth 87.7, which coincidentally is the same frequency as 87.7 MeTV FM.  O'Dell also launched the Internet radio station in November, 2012. With no Smooth Jazz or Smooth AC found anywhere on the Chicago radio landscape at that time, O'Dell's website has become a haven for fans of this genre. With it's high-quality sound and programming, plus with O'Dell's deep connections and respect within the Smooth Jazz industry, became a highly-streamed Internet station in Chicago (and worldwide) in the past three years.
While best known for his Smooth Jazz / Smooth AC skills, O'Dell's tastes in music extend far beyond those genres, which includes the radio hits of the 1960s through 1980s that WRME-LP programs.
O'Dell said today: "The timeless hits and memorable music of MeTV FM are the music I grew up with. I love these songs. And most of them were on the playlist of WCLR when I was with them back in the day. I can't wait to get started working with Neal and his incredible team."
Sabin added: "It's great to have someone of Rick O'Dell's caliber on board and we're excited to have him at MeTV FM. Rick's career in Chicago radio elevates what we've already started and I'm confident we'll see more good things to come with him on our team."
87.7 MeTV FM made its debut in late February of this year. WRME-LP is run as a radio station, but is technically an analog television station, seen on OTA channel 6, and whose audio channel can be heard on many (but not all) radios at 87.7 FM. The station is owned by Venture Technologies and leased by Weigel Broadcasting.
While it rose quickly in the ratings after its launch -- no easy task considering the station before it had ratings just barely above zero and Weigel Broadcasting had initially not put much effort into publicizing the station -- in recent months the station has seemingly hit a plateau after four months of rising numbers. In the all ages Nielsen Audio ratings, WRME-LP had a 1.8 share for the July and August ratings, slipping down to a 1.6 share in the most recent September ratings. The station had an estimated audience cume of 577,400 for that month. The inability for around half of the radios to pick up 87.7 FM and Weigel's resistance to streaming its station online are part of the reasons for its current low ratings.  Despite those obstacles, the addition of the multi-talented O'Dell should certainly help the station out further. 

--Chicagoland Radio and Media    

Chicago radio veteran Rick O’Dell has been named program director of Weigel Broadcasting’s WRME LP 87.7, the soft rock / oldies station branded as Me-TV FM.  It marks a return to the same frequency he once programmed as Chicago’s Smooth 87.7 FM. Although O’Dell is best known as the city’s preeminent authority on smooth jazz programming, no change is expected in the current music format of Me-TV FM. 
Since its debut last February, Me-TV FM has proved a bona fide hit with what’s billed as “a unique blend of memorable, timeless and classic pop music that the boomer generation listened to from the 1960s through 1980s.” Plans for a national rollout are believed to be in the works. 
WRME is a low-power analog station on VHF television channel 6 that operates as a radio station. In addition to soft rock / oldies Me-TV FM and Chicago’s Smooth 87.7 FM, it also has served as a sports/talk outlet branded as The Game 87.7 and as an alternative rock station. 
Me-TV FM is a spinoff of Weigel Broadcasting’s Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), the digital classic television network covering 98 of the top 100 U.S. markets.
In the latest Nielsen Audio survey, Me-TV FM tied for 26th place with 1.6 percent share and cumulative weekly audience of 577,400. 
-- Robert Feder       

Morning, Kent -- 
Did you happen to see the story below about Rick O'Dell and Me-TV FM?  Gotta be a little wary about a jazz programmer!  (Bet they could have had you a whole lot cheaper!)   
Danny Guilfoyle    
Hey, I don't come cheap either!!!  
I've got to give them the benefit of the doubt that now, with a player like Rick O'Dell in place, Neal Sabin can concentrate on his original direction for the station.  What's unclear is exactly what that is!!!  You can't have both "timeless and memorable music" AND then play a bunch of obscure album tracks that your target audience doesn't recognize ... it just doesn't work.  Pick one ... and I'd say go with the original concept of timeless and memorable music because that is what your core audience first responded to.  Chicago (and radio in general) is SORELY lacking a radio station that embraces ALL of our past ... not just the select few that EVERY station feels a need to feature.  Where's the variety in that?  What makes ANY radio station stand out of they're all working from a generic play list?  Go with what's working ... and maybe even dig a little deeper to include some of the tracks you're not already featuring that still qualify under the "timeless and memorable" banner. 
We've made several suggestions to improve the station over the past eight months, most of which have fallen on deaf ears (although I have heard a few of those ideas sneak in here and there.)  I doubt we'll have any more receptive an audience with Rick O'Dell, who I'm sure has his own focus on what he wants the station to be.  But we're still here to help in any way we can ... whether it be our own sixteen years of research doing Forgotten Hits regarding what oldies fans REALLY want to hear ... or special programming ideas that might help make your station stand out from all the others.  Let's give Rick the benefit of the doubt and see where he's headed.  In the meantime ... in typical Mike Ditka fashion ... I'll just sit down now and listen for my answer.  (kk) is reporting that Chicago radio pro Rick O’Dell has been named the new program director of the Weigel Broadcasting-operated, low-power Windy City station WRME “87.7 MeTV FM.”  The station, which plays “an exclusive format of classic pop music,” says O’Dell will focus on format development, brand management and will work with the station team for creation of cross-platform content, ideas and initiatives.”  He begins on October 12. Core artists for the station’s format include: Carly Simon, James Taylor, The Eagles, Elton John, The Carpenters, Motown superstars, America, Neil Diamond and hundreds more.  
This is not a completely accurate description of their play list.  For starters, they probably should have listed James Taylor about seven or eight times (a day) ... then added in a bunch of obscure album tracks that nobody knows or cares about ... throw in the Saturday Night Dance Party (why?!?!  and what's THAT got to do with your soft-rock motif?) ... and then mix all of that in with some truly great, long-forgotten hits scattered out throughout the day, which is the ONE thing that makes them COMPLETELY unique in this day and age of radio.  (In fact, it's their greatest strength .. and why wouldn't a radio station go with its strengths, rather than risk listeners tuning out and then potentially not coming back?)
They'll play "Timothy" by The Buoys and follow it up with "Rainy Days And Mondays" by The Carpenters ... just like Top 40 Radio used to do back in the early '70's.  Now THAT's variety!!!  I will say this ... if Rick O'Dell comes on board with the goals and intention of streamlining the format development and gets the station running smoothly on all cylinders, there won't be anything around that can touch it when it comes to programming.  Then if he starts streaming and builds an audience for this format nationwide, I truly do believe that satellite "clone" stations will begin to crop up everywhere.  There isn't a format out there better made for syndication than Me-TV-FM at its very best.  Listeners have LONG been missing this music after being force-fed the same 200-300 songs day in and day out for the past 20 years.  We have LONG campaigned for the return to this format in Forgotten Hits and have criticized radio for years now for insulting the intelligence of their listeners.  Me-TV-FM is a HUGE step in the right direction.  We can't wait to hear the improvements!  (kk)  

re:  This And That:   
And, speaking of Hall and Oates, don'tcha just love this headline!!!    
Hall & Oates bring back forgotten hits for enthusiastic Fillmore Philly crowd  

Here's the story behind it ...  

And more on this from The Improper ... 

For anyone interested in the best-selling records charts of the 1940s, the online archive at now includes the charts from that decade: As the Cash Box charts from this period listed more records each week than the concurrent Billboard charts, there are many records on these charts that never appeared on any Billboard chart. The online chart archive now has the entire 52-year history of the Cash Box best-selling pop singles charts, from late 1944 through late 1996, when the original print edition of the magazine ceased publication. 
– Randy Price  

Kent ... 
Scott Shannon talked to John Fogerty about his Vegas Residency, Official Autobiography and more.  
Frank B.  
We're seeing Fogerty's name pop up everywhere in conjunction with the marketing of his new book.  (Personally, I can't wait to read it!)  
Incredibly, I see now that he's going to be a mentor on The Voice!!!  Who would have EVER thought?!?!  (kk)  

The other day John Wetton's name came up again in Forgotten Hits.  (John is the former lead singer of both King Crimson and Asia ... and he has a brand new live cd out now.)  

Here are all the details:    

King Crimson and Asia Legend John Wetton Releases “Live Via Satellite” OUT NOW!  
London, UK - JOHN WETTON is the lead singer of ASIA, UK and the “Red” era of KING CRIMSON, with an extensive solo catalogue, which now includes “Live via Satellite”  
This 2 CD set collects together both of John Wetton’s acoustic solo concerts for radio broadcasts. The XM radio broadcast was only available for sale via his website over 10 years ago and has never had a commercial release. 
The Swedish radio broadcast (previously unreleased) was thought lost in a fire, until a duplicate of the master tapes was found thanks to a long and tireless search by John Wetton’s fans. 
Of the release, John Wetton said: “Both of these shows are from the same time period, but come from very different sources. The first, a Circus tent-like venue in a funfair in Stockholm: the second, a state-of-the-art facility in Washington DC, so the repertoire is similar, but venues could not be more different. Recording production is superb on both, it's a document of a slice of my life.” 
As a lead singer, bassist and songwriter, John Wetton initially rose to fame with King Crimson and after that Wetton co-founded UK. In the early 1980s he was the frontman of the super-group Asia, his biggest commercial success.  ASIA’s self-titled debut album was the biggest selling album in the world in 1982 and the band continues to this day. 
He later formed the duo Icon with Geoff Downes (YES and The Buggles) and has had a successful solo career releasing a large number of studio and live albums, including the recent compilation The Studio Recordings Anthology.  
John Wetton's “Live via Satellite” was released on 9th October 2015 and is part of the ongoing release schedule of his own Primary Purpose label, working via Cherry Red.  










9. 30 YEARS












6. 30 YEARS










To purchase:

Amazon Digital:

John Wetton's official website:


NEW YORK, NY – The Path Fund’s 22nd annual ROCKERS ON BROADWAY 80’s REWIND benefit concert will honor 80’s Pop Princess, Debbie Gibson with the Rockers Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, November 9, 2015, at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleeker Street) at 7:30 p.m. ROCKERS ON BROADWAY is a fun and unique charity concert that will feature Broadway’s best rockers performing the biggest hits in 80’s Rock n’ Roll. Proceeds from the evening will benefit Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA) and non-profit performing arts education programs.
Debbie Gibson burned up the charts in the 1980’s with teen pop smashes like “Lost in Your Eyes,” "Only in My Dreams" and “Shake Your Love.” In 1988 the Guinness Book of World Records named her the youngest female artist to write, produce, and perform a #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, with her song “Foolish Beat.” She has gone on to star on Broadway and National Tours, as well as television and film. Gibson continues to write, record and produce music for herself and other artists in addition to touring the world.
ROCKERS ON BROADWAY is pleased to announce an exciting roster of Broadway performers, including Tony Award nominees Eric Anderson (Soul Doctor), Nick Cordero (Bullets Over Broadway), Jarrod Spector (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), along with director Donnie Kehr (Jersey Boys), Andrea Dora (Tarzan), Preston Truman Boyd (On the 20th Century), Brian Gallagher (Jekyll & Hyde), Michael Lanning (Bonnie & Clyde), Amma Osei (Rock of Ages), Jen Perry (Kinky Boots), Aaron Ramey (The Visit), Megan Rice (Evita), Jeremy Schonfeld (Spun), Tony Vincent (NBC’s “The Voice,” American Idiot), and Angela Wildflower (Motown). Additional performers will be announced soon.
Tickets are now on sale at the Le Poisson Rouge box office, online at, or by emailing  

General admission tickets are $88, standing room tickets are $28, VIP single tickets are $250, VIP table for two tickets are $625, and a VIP table for eight is $2,500. VIP tickets include front row seating, early admission, access to the step and repeat pre-show, admission to the exclusive after party, and signed Rockers on Broadway memorabilia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for VIP guests and 7:00 p.m. for general admission and standing room.
The 1980’s were the jam! From the totally tubular neon clothes and teased hair to the outrageous politics, giant computers, boom boxes and, of course … the unforgettable music! ROCKERS ON BROADWAY “80’s Rewind” will jolt you back to the decade of revolutionary changes. We got our MTV and the compact disc so we could listen to the totally diverse music of the time, including pop, new wave, heavy metal, rap, techno pop, and charity rock. Let us take you back in time to celebrate the music.
For more information, visit:
About the PATH Fund:  The PATH Fund (Performing Artists That Help) is a non-profit organization that gives artists in many fields an avenue to share their unique talents while helping raise money for charities that benefit arts and entertainment organizations. We are a community of artists, writers, musicians, designers, crew, producers, directors and audience members committed to helping people in need and fostering up-and-coming talent.

While I don't know that ANYBODY (in any universe) would call (or consider) Debbie Gibson a "rocker", we still pass along our congratulations for this honor.  (Then again The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame considered Percy Sledge and Leonard Cohen "rockers" ... but continues to ignore The Guess Who and The Moody Blues ... so what the hell do I know about rock music?!?!)  kk  


New Jazz Tracks by Writer-Producer-Arranger Dave Appell, Completed Just Before His Passing at 92, to be Posthumously Released One Year Later as New Beginning to His Earliest Legacy - Special Kickoff Performances in New York and Philadelphia  

“His music really smacked me between the eyes when I was a kid!” — Paul Shaffer, Musician and former David Letterman sidekick, on music industry legend Dave Appell.   

PHILADELPHIA — An all-new jazz album completed by an unsung rock ‘n’ roll pioneer just prior to his passing at 92 will be posthumously released this fall as THE APPLEJACKS. The 1950s swing band at the core of the lasting legacy of iconic songwriter-producer-arranger DAVE APPELL is being reborn by a new generation of musicians, arriving to boost music education as an exciting and revitalized bookend to an extraordinary career. 

Quiet and unassuming but incredibly prolific, Dave Appell is best known as the driving force behind early ‘60s Cameo-Parkway Records hits like “Let’s Twist Again,” “South Street,” “Wild One” and “Mashed Potato Time,” and early ‘70s No. 1 smashes “Knock Three Times” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” 

“His music really smacked me between the eyes when I was a kid,” says longtime David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer, recalling how he was first inspired by Appell’s hits watching American Bandstand as an 11-year-old. “There was something about these tunes that really grabbed me. I never forgot the feeling of ‘South Street’ and the way that song rocked, or the way Dee Dee Sharp sang – this was really gospel music emanating from Philadelphia!”  

But before his music made stars of Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp and Tony Orlando & Dawn, Appell hit the Top 40 on his own as leader of THE APPLEJACKS with “Mexican Hat Rock” (Appell’s take on the infamous “Mexican Hat Dance”) and “Rocka-Conga.” The band was also featured prominently in the 1956 Alan Freed movie Don’t Knock the Rock, and was the studio band for television pioneer Ernie Kovacs.   

A year after his passing, the newly re-imagined version of THE APPLEJACKS is bringing Appell and his music full circle, by mixing up-and-coming musicians — primarily Philadelphia music school students — with modern jazz masters like Steve Beskrone, George Young, Hector Rosado and Demetrios Pappas on THE APPLEJACKS, due October 19, 2015 on Dave Appell Music. Special kickoff performances in New York and Philadelphia will follow.  

Appell initially began writing and compiling a prolific catalog of original jazz songs from which THE APPLEJACKS album was compiled in the mid-1980s, and continued to write and arrange until just before his death in November 2014. But it was producer Billy Terrell (Larry Carlton, Michael Feinstein, Tony DeSare), who pulled the project together because of his deep friendship and admiration for Appell, and completed it just before his failing health took over. The titles are balanced between smooth, groove and Latin jazz flavors, all seamlessly and expertly blended by Appell’s incredible sense of melody.  

“It’s cool because it’s the culmination of 20 plus years of an iconic songwriter producer who can arguably be credited with the development of the Sound of Philadelphia in its earliest stages, when it changed over to rock ‘n’ roll,” says Terrell. “Dave had basically retired, yet to keep himself going, he went to his basement, took a liking to smooth jazz, and wrote and developed some sensational music. He called me for advice to take the best of the best, and put together a young inspired group of musicians, and give it a live flavor to capture the feel. And here we are. The final body of work is a sensational piece.”  

During recording sessions, Terrell found an unreleased Applejacks gem tucked in the vaults: “The Man on the Sliding Trombone.” Recorded in the ‘50s, the original instrumental not only swings big, it still sounds fresh and vibrant. Appell called upon Perry Artese to pen new lyrics, and Terrell summoned vocal stylist Paul Jost to turn in a perfectly gritty, Louis Prima-style performance on this otherwise instrumental album. Both versions are included as bonus tracks on the album. And yes, Dave Appell IS the man on the sliding trombone.   

“This is a marvelous conclusion to Dave Appell’s life and career, but really a new beginning with the Applejacks,” says Terrell, who also is making a hard push to get Appell into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. “And we have a lot more music in Dave’s catalogue that we didn’t touch on here. The true goal is to keep this very humble man’s legacy alive. He was always content being the quiet guy. It was all about the music, and he never really brought much attention to himself. If he was a great self promoter, he’d be known worldwide. But that’s him. It was the melody that he cared about. So this gives us an opportunity to educate future generations and keep this iconic human being relevant.”    

1. Unavailable/Unavoidable; 2. It Ain't Real Love; 3. For The Love of You; 4. Salsa Philly; 5. Super Track; 6. Toe Tapper; 7. Silky Smooth; 8. Spot Lite; 9. Never, Never Love; 10. New Braz; 11. It Don't Happen Overnight; 12. Vera Cruz; 13. The Man On The Sliding Trombone; 14. The Man On The Sliding Trombone (Vocal Version)  


Official website coming soon!

Original Jefferson Airplane members and founding members of Hot Tuna, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady performed as Acoustic Tuna at the Kent Stage on September 23, 2015. 
Jorma's amazing finger picking was complimented by Jack's outstanding acoustic bass guitar work, going through both original and blues standards.
First Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See That Light
5. Sea Child
6. Barbeque King
7. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
8. Candy Man
9. How Long Blues
10. In My Dreams
11. That’ll Never Happen No More
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
Second Set:
1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. River Of Time
3. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
4. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
5. The Terrible Operation
6. Come Back Baby
7. Good Shepherd
8. Bar Room Crystal Ball
9. Water Song
10. San Francisco Bay Blues
11. I Know You Rider
12. Encore: Whining Boy Blues
A very appreciative crowd for two legendary Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees  
Tom Apathy

 All photos courtesy of Tom Apathy

FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us this link to an interview that Dan Rather did with Frankie Valli last year: