Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Sunday Comments ( 11 - 22 - 15 )

Looks like this is turning into a seven-day work week for me, so I'm posting what I can before dashing off to the office ...   

re:  The Shangri-Las:  
>>>Here's a follow up story from Entertainment Tonight in 1989  (Frank B) 
>>>This has been a pretty big story the last several years ... and there's WAY too much of this going on in the music industry.  It is SO obvious that the young girls on stage couldn't POSSIBLY be the original Shangri-Las, but Richard Fox owns the legal right to the name ... and maintains that he can put ANYBODY of his choosing up on stage and call them The Shangri-Las.  Most annoying (and we probably see this at least thirty times a year) is when these "fakes" refer to "their" hit record ... or make comments like "when we recorded this" ... when nothing could be further from the truth. Sadly, SOME people in the audience are fooled ... or, worse yet, have been duped into buying tickets for something that isn't the real deal ... and it's a shame.  (kk)  Regarding fake Shangri-Las, while co-hosting "The Saturday Night Special" oldies series on New York radio with the ever popular Kerin McCue (who's now a Fox News Radio anchor), one night Kerin remained back in the studio while I went on location to Playland Amusement Park in Rye, N.Y.   There I was to host a string of oldies acts, including The Shangri-Las.  Several years earlier, from Los Angeles, I had interviewed by phone the surviving Shangri-Las for "The History of Rock 'n' Roll" and looked forward to meeting them in person.  Instead, to my surprise, in the dressing room, were four ladies obviously far too young to have been alive during the real Shangri-Las hit streak (1964-6).   In interviewing these girls, I discovered that each had been hired by the promoter, who claimed to own the trade name "Shangri-Las."  I then found the promoter outside by a tree and asked him what the deal was.  He explained that he had found that the original group had never trademarked their name and so he did it himself for himself -- and then would hire any four girls to portray The Shangri-Las. When I asked him if he has the OK of the original members, he said, "Why bother?"  I told him I would never delude audiences by serving as the MC for acts which did not include at least ONE original member.  His response was that, as far as he was concerned, his girls were the "official" Shangri-Las.  I then had to go onstage -- and set up the act by offering highlights of the REAL Shangri-Las story and then introducing the fakes as "a tribute to the Shangri-Las." The fakes then bounced onstage and set up their first number by saying, "Hi, we're the Shangri-Las and this was our debut hit."  They then sang "Leader of The Pack" -- which, of course, was actually their second hit (after "Remember: Walkin' In The Sand").  Although I never let it show onstage, I was really quite upset about the fraud and after the concert not only told the promoter I'd never work for him again but the next day phoned the REAL Shangri-Las to tell them about the rip-off.  By then the girls were actually kind of used to it as none had received a royalty check for their recordings in years -- despite continuing sales.   I put the real Shangri-Las in touch with a lawyer who handles such cases and the girls wound up winning back all the rights to their famous name.   In an ironic twist, though, none of the originals felt like performing any more -- so they wound up licensing the rights to the Shangri-Las name -- back to the very same promoter who'd been ripping off them (and their fans) in the first place! 
Gary Theroux 
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll" 
OK, that's gotta be one of the STRANGEST stories in rock and roll!  The funny thing is the original Shangri-Las had no interest whatsoever in going out and performing together again ... they just didn't like or appreciate the idea of some OTHER group of girls going up on stage claiming to be them and then collecting the money.  So I guess in the end it all worked out ... obviously the promoter had the connections to keep the first group booked ... and now at least the surviving members of the original Shangri-Las got a piece of the pie!  (kk)  

re:  Maurice Williams:  
My name is Lauren Barbieri and I work for AristoMedia in Nashville, TN. We are currently working on a project from the doo wop legend Maurice Williams, and I was curious to see if you would be interested in featuring it on Forgotten Hits? 
Williams recently re-recorded his #1 hit from the 1960's, "Stay" with 10-year old Luke Balbosa.  They attend the same church in Charlotte, NC, where Balbosa is under Williams tutelage in the choir. A fellow church member heard Balbosa singing the classic doo wop song, told Williams, and as a result, they recorded this touching video showing the power of music that brings people together, no matter what age, race, or background. 
You can watch the video here: 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and if you had any opportunities or interest in featuring the video.  
Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for your time. 
Lauren Barbieri 
Happy to help spread the word, Lauren ... and if Maurice would like to say hello to all his fans out there, we'd love to provide the forum for him to do so!  (kk)

re:  Johnny Rivers:   
Secret Agent Man’s last mission   
Ya know, sometimes things just get interesting around here.  As I produce show after show, week after week, rarely a day goes by that something extra-ordinary doesn’t happen, either on stage or off, on the phone or in person. I’ll start our weekly journey with a show that we did last Saturday night.  It was with the legendary Johnny Rivers. 
He charted several times between 1964 and 1967, and continued to do so well into the 70s.  His biggest hits include:  Memphis (#2, 1964), Mountain Of Love (#9, 1964), Seventh Son (#7, 1965), The Poor Side Of Town (#1, 1966), Baby I Need Your Lovin’ (#3, 1967) and Secret Agent Man (#3, 1966).  He was definitely a hit-maker, and remains as popular today as he ever was. 
We do so many shows at The Arcada, and many sell out our 900-seat theatre.  But you would be surprised who doesn’t sell out.  We get good numbers, but they don’t “pack” the place.  Especially artists from the 1960s.  In Johnny’s case, he waaaaaaaay sold out, for the second year in a row! Johnny is a pretty humble guy, but he is a perfectionist and can get a bit “impatient.”  His sound check is extremely thorough, and he does not leave the stage until it is absolutely the way it should be.  I welcomed him back to the theatre, and he responded, “Hey Ron, how’s it goin’?” in that familiar Baton Rouge Louisiana accent.  
I had just been in New York City and told him that I was in a cab there and the driver played his hit, “Secret Agent Man” over and over, like three times!  He asked where I was in New York, and I told him I was in the Bronx, my favorite part of NYC. “Did you know I was born there?” he proudly asked.  “Yep, right around the transition between Rhythm and Blues into Rock and Roll in the south, my father got a job and moved me and my brother down there.  Guys like Fats Domino would play our high school dances.  That’s what got me into Rock, and it was a good thing it happened when it did.  I probably would have been doing the “Do Wop” thing like Dion!” he said. 
One of my favorite songs growing up was “Secret Agent Man” by Rivers.  It was one of those songs that everybody knew, and it just sounded cool to sing.  It was like playing air drums and guitar to The Surfaris’ “Wipeout”.  It was just that cool.  It came out in 1966, rose to #3 on the charts, and has remained a fan-favorite to this day.  It was the last song of his live show at The Arcada that night, and the crowd went absolutely crazy upon his finale. 
So there we were, backstage after the show.  He was toweling off, after throwing me a shot about the “warmth” of the theatre. (“Hey Ron, throw another log on the air conditioning,” he shouted to me from the stage during his show.)  “Man, they still love ‘Secret Agent Man’, I keenly observed.  “Yes, it is till the thing I get asked about the most, and it is still fun to perform.” 
“It wasn’t actually a song in the beginning,” he blurted.  “I actually wrote a few regional hits prior to that and we started to tour abroad.  It actually all started when we were touring in England.  We did a place called the “Ad Lib” club in London.  These four guys came in specifically to see us.  It turned out to be the Beatles!  I got to be friendly with George.  We talked about Elvis and Carl Perkins, whom I knew very well.  My band members hung out with the rest of them, it was a very cool, laid back night.” 
He continued, “We then met the producers of a very popular television show in the U.K. called ‘Danger Man’.  They were bringing the show to the states and needed an opening song, one that was more ‘hip’ for the American audience, since theirs was based on an instrumental version featuring a harpsichord.  My producer, Lou Adler, was also the producer for the team of two performer/songwriters P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri.  So Lou got us all together and we came up with the theme song,” Johnny said. 
“What do you mean it wasn’t a song in the beginning,” I asked.  He said, “Well, it was just supposed to be an opening of a TV show.  So we just recorded a verse, a chorus and a little instrumental part.  But everybody was bombarding the radio stations to play the song, but it didn’t exist!  So we went into the studio and recorded the whole song, and people went nuts over it!” 
I had never really heard of P.F. Sloan before, so after the show on Saturday night, I went back to my office to shut down, as I customarily do.  Before I closed my computer, I Googled this P.F. Sloan guy.  He was a guitarist who played on many session albums, including some for the vocal group of the sixties, The Mamas and the Papas.  He went on to write for groups including Jan and Dean, The Turtles and Herman’s Hermits.  Along with Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man” he wrote the Viet Nam protest anthem “Eve Of Destruction” for Barry McGuire. 
“Wow!” I thought it would be cool to try and contact this guy, maybe to bring him to the theatre, or even just for an interview on my radio show or for this column.  That was Saturday night.  A few hours later, I learned that P.F. Sloan passed away from pancreatic cancer at 70 years old.  
As I said, some pretty interesting things happen in my crazy world, on a regular basis.  The way I got to “meet” P.F. Sloan was a bit odd, and somewhat unfulfilling as it turns out, yet it happened in such a way that from not knowing him, I got to know him well, in a hurry.  Equally as odd is that now I say goodbye to this songwriting icon, as he took his last breaths almost at the same time Johnny Rivers was performing Sloane’s biggest song our historic stage.  A salute to him, and an honor for us.  
-- Ron Onesti 
By the way, our buddy Ron has been named "Man Of The Year" by The Italian-American Community in a ceremony held last night at The Alta Villa Banquet Hall in Addison, IL.  (Again, due to this week's crazy work schedule we were unable to attend ... but extend our heartiest congratulations on this fine honor.)  kk  

And, speaking of P.F. Sloan ...  

re: P.F. Sloan:  
I recorded "What Am I doing Here With You?" which was one of P.F. Sloan's tunes (with Steve Barri perhaps?). It was never released and I don't even know if Curb kept the tape.  
Davie Allan  
Don't suppose YOU have a copy to share with our readers, do you Davie???  (kk)

re:  Next Weekend:
A great opportunity for the locals to pick up an autographed copy of Jim Peterik's biography ... and the Ides Of March Box Set we plugged earlier this year in Forgotten Hits!

re:  Carly Simon:
We were taken to task for our Carly Simon comment last week ...
Jeezy Peezy! on your snarky comment and picture to back up Carly Simon's aging process.  She's also a breast cancer survivor, not to mention the ravages of a public exposure of her personal life details.  There is no shame in growing older and I'd hope for kinder treatment from someone who lauds and applauds our rock 'n' roll roots.   You didn't show before and after of Bobby Rydell's or Freddie Cannon's surgeries.   PS:  We always knew it were Warren Beatty.
Apologies if any offense was taken ... the comments were purely meant in jest.  Kinda tough to feel sorry for Carly right now ... Frannie says the same day my comments ran Carly went public with a story about having sex as a nine year old with a teenage acquaintance because she had raging hormones ... and the fact that up to thirty different affairs were speculated as inspiration for "You're So Vain" would indicate that she knew (any enjoyed!) what she was doing!!!  It's all to hype her new memoirs ... and double hits cd ... I guess, like they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity ... especially when you're the one fueling it!  (kk) 

CARLY SIMON:  "Your libido overpowers everything! You’re so libidinous, even at the age of nine and ten."
Really?  I wonder how many of our female readers out there were feeling these urges at the ripe old age of nine ... much less the fact that she apparently told several sources that she started this "fling" at the age of seven!!!  Apparently you can read all about it in this week's People Magazine.  (kk)

re:  The Beatles:
Believe it or not, last week marked the 25 Year Anniversary of The Beatles Anthology airing on ABC Television.  (Unreal!!!)  This also means that it's the 25th Anniversary of the release of "Free As A Bird", the first new piece of Beatles music since the group disbanded in 1970.  (Jeff Lynne produced this track, which featured Paul, George and Ringo adding their voices and instruments to a John Lennon demo track.  Jeff's new single ... and video ... bare a striking similarity to The Beatles' "Free As A Bird" in my opinion.)
Next year's Fest For Beatles Fans (I don't care ... I STILL have to refer to this as Beatlefest!!!) boasts a stellar line-up of guests ... including many of the artists who participated on this year's British Invasion Reunion Tour.  Check this out ...

British Invasion icons Peter Asher (Peter and Gordon, legendary Producer) & Chad and Jeremy will be uniting for their BRAND NEW Musical Memoir Concerts on Saturday (Part 1) and Sunday (Part 2) at the FEST.

As part of The Searchers in the early 60s, Mike played the Cavern, clubs in Hamburg, and many other venues where the Beatles played. At the FEST, he'll be in concert with fellow Liverpudlian Billy J. Kramer and will also be playing with Liverpool on
Sat. and Sun. evenings.
This is Mike's first NY METRO FEST appearance.

A native Liverpudlian who is premiering his new memoir (Do You Want To Know A Secret), Billy had many of his hits ("Bad To Me," "From A Window") written by John. At the FEST, Billy will perform in concert with Mike Pender, with legendary drummer Liberty DeVitto keeping the beat!

Billy Joel's Horn Player, Ringo's Musical Director
First Solo album -- Common Bond
 Fest Newsletters&utm_content=20151122

George's big sister returns to New York!
First time in 17 years!
New book: My Kid Brother's Band a.k.a.The Beatles Fest Newsletters&utm_content=20151122#.VTgcsSHBzRY

Host of Sunday's Musicians' Forum. Heads the nightly Jams with Liverpool!
We Can Write It Out Recording Sessions. Ringo's Producer for 10 years. Fest Newsletters&utm_content=20151122#.VTgd0SHBzRY
John Merjave, Chris Camilleri, Drew Hill, Glen Burtnik
In a Salute to the 50th Anniversary of Revolver, they will perform the entire album - Side 1 on Sat., Side 2 on Sun.

Appearing in concert, Birds of Paradox is local artist Jeff Slate's band that includes Jimmy McElligott, Steve Holley (Wings), and Gary Van Scyoc and Adam Ippolito from John Lennon's Elephant's Memory Band. Two other musicians who played on some of John's NYC sessions will be joining in -- Ron Aprea (Sax) and Jon Cobert (Keyboards).

Consisting of Glen Burtnik and John Merjave from LIVERPOOL, Bob Burger, and Dave Anthony, The Weeklings play songs the Beatles wrote but never officially released, their Beatles-inspired originals, and other Beatles cuts. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2015.

 Ron played saxophone on John's Walls and Bridges LP, appearing on the No. 1 hit Whatever Gets You Through the Night. Ron made his FEST debut in Chicago in August and is thrilled to be joining us in New York.

 Jon played keyboards on John's Walls and Bridges LP, and also on John's hit of Stand By Me. This is Jon's first FEST appearance

Featuring Jeff Lubin, Cellophane Flowers is a reinterpration of Beatles songs arranged for string quartet and voice. They made their FEST debut last year in New York, thrilling the audience on two of our stages.

School of Rock is the leader in performance-based music education. Their show team from Bedford, New York will be making their FEST debut.
PIG LIGHT SHOW by MARC RUBINSTEIN Fest Newsletters&utm_content=20151122#.VTgnziHBzRY

Ringo's personal Photographer sets up a fabulous Exhibit of photos from Ringo's tours including the 2015 tour and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Ken has been our Master of Ceremonies for the last 16 years. He can be heard afternoons on Q104.3 FM and on iHeart Radio, and every Sunday morning on Breakfast With The Beatles.

The fest will run on April 15th, 16th and 17th at The Hilton Westchester in New York City.  More details and ticket information here ...

I know some of the later Beatles 45’s could be disappointing, but I don’t think you can lump them in with Paul’s Solo Swill!  
The Beatles tracks I referred to were Paul's ... what I would consider to be "sub-par" when compared alongside some of his finest work.  (Let's just say that the fact that these records were made by The Beatles certainly gave them a distinct advantage ... I don't know that they would have been #1 Hits had they been recorded by any of the other popular artists of the day.)  kk

re:  Bernie Allen ... and On The Radio:  
Dear Kent, 
Thank you for the info on Bernie Allen's passing!  I once had the opportunity to meet those "Famous DJ's of WLS" in their hey day but not Bernie Allen.  
It must have been a thrill for you to be with him and Clark Weber!  
He will be missed and will always be a legend in Chicago Radio!!  

Sad to hear about Bernie Allen.  Like you, I did not hear him much because I lived far away and he was on when I was at school.  Still, I have heard tapes and he was the perfect midday "housewives" DJ in the 60's.  He played more LP cuts than most of the others, often the softer LP cuts.  Bernie did all the hops, etc, just like the others, so it must have been quite fun at WLS.  He was onstage with the Beatles in Chicago too, I believe.  Sorry to hear about him and the great P.F. Sloan, too.  I have been humming those tunes of his all day at work the past two days.  
Clark Besch   

Regarding Dick Biondi - I would rather he still be on starting at 11:00 pm - that's the time I'm driving home from work when I work - but I won't be listening at 6 or 7 am. My schedule's a little different than most, and I also hate those early morning sales calls!!!

Hey Kent, 
It's funny how a song will take you back to a time and a place in your life. Back in the days when music of the British Invasion was in full-swing in America, I was downtown with a buddy and ended up at a Woolworth's department store. As we walked by a glass display case, I saw a transistor radio that I just had to have. It was a Standard Micronic, 7 Transistor Radio! It couldn't have measured any larger than two inches square, and we both thought it was super-cool! I asked the sales lady to see it, and when I had it in my hands, I turned it on. It was already tuned to the local top-40 station, and what was playing was "Someday We're Gonna Love Again", by The Seachers. My friend told me that he really liked the song, and I agreed, plus the sound of that little radio wasn't too bad! Well, nobody had any money in those days, so I had to settle on another brand's much cheaper version to buy, but I returned it the same day. The sales lady wasn't very nice about the refund, but I had to have the real thing, which I never could afford to buy! I'll bet it's been fifty years since I've heard the song again, thanks to today's "oldies" stations. 
- John LaPuzza

Two of the best known deejays here in Chicago in the early '70's had to be Bob Dearborn (over at WCFL) and Fred Winston (making his mark at WLS).   

But did anybody know that these two guys almost teamed up together to take to the air at Super 'CFL???  

Chicagoland Radio and Media Guide is reporting this teaser, thanks to a new posting on Scott Childers' excellent WLS Histoy Website ...   

Do you remember the successful morning team of Bob Dearborn and Fred Winston on WCFL-AM / Super CFL in 1972? Of course not, because it never officially happened ... but it almost did. 
WCFL-AM tried to hire Winston away from rival WLS-AM and pair him with Dearborn in mornings, only WLS-AM wasn't too happy about it. WLS Radio historian Scott Childers has the newly uncovered details of the huge morning team that almost was on his website, which can be viewed at this link      
Scott Childers has made an appearance or two in our pages over the years ... his WLS History website is awesome ... and he's also written a book about the history of the radio station.  
Bob Dearborn has been a Forgotten Hits List Member for several years and chimes in from time to time ... we used to love listening to him back in the day.  He was with WCFL from 1970 until they switched formats in 1976. 
Fred Winston used to be on the list ... and I think we may have heard from him once.  This is a guy who absolutely should still be on the air today here in Chicago.  (He's been on virtually every radio station in town over the years at some point anyway!)  He was last dropped from WLS-FM in 2013 and hasn't been heard from since. 
Check out Bob's EXCELLENT Almanac Website here:

Kent ...
Do you guys in Chicago know Murray The K.?  He was very popular in New York.
Frank B.

Are you kidding me???  Everybody in the WORLD knows who Murray The K was ... he was one of the many "Fifth Beatles" back in the day ... and traveled with The Fabs on their first couple of visits to America.  Thanks for sending.  (kk) 

re:  Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:  
As we close in on the voting deadline for the 2016 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees (December 9th), let's take one more look at the candidates and where they stand today ...

CHICAGO = 37 1/2 million votes  (23.5% of all voting)

YES = just under 26 million votes  (16% of all voting)

CARS = just under 26 million votes  (16% of all voting)

(These two have been neck-and-neck throughout this entire process and have flip-flopped numerous times, sometimes separated by as few as a couple thousand votes!)

DEEP PURPLE = 25.5 million votes  (16% of all voting)

STEVE MILLER = 25.5 million votes  (16% of all voting)

Likewise, these two ... in fact, the total vote spread between Yes and Steve Miller is less than 500,000 votes.

JANET JACKSON = 9.5 million votes (6% of all voting)

CHEAP TRICK = 2.2 million votes  (1.5% of all voting)

THE SPINNERS = 2 million votes  (1% of all voting)

CHAKA KAHN = 1.8 million votes  (1% of all voting)

And, bringing up the rear (with the remaining votes split between them) ...

CHIC = 1.3 million votes

THE JB's = 950,000 votes

NWA = 660,000 votes  (I guess the Compton film didn't help them after all!  I figured these guys were a shoe-in ... but then again these counts represent the votes of the people ... the nominating committee has LONG made it a policy to do whatever the hell they feel like doing with little or no regard to what the fans really think)

THE SMITHS = a little over 450,000 votes

LOS LOBOS = just under 400,000 votes

NINE INCH NAILS = 550,000 votes   

You can still cast your votes here: