Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Sunday Comments ( 01 - 10 - 16 )

re:  Chicago:  
Well, Peter Cetera FINALLY made his big announcement regarding his appearance at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.  (I have to laugh at how he refers to his offer to appear and perform with his former bandmates as his "demands" ... clearly he has a pretty high opinion of himself and his role in the band's success ... or so says Vintage Vinyl News in the way they reported the story.  I beg to differ, however ... I think having Peter join the current members for a grand finale performance of "25 or 6 to 4" would be a pretty exciting moment ... and just may cap off the evening.  The fact that he suggests other one-time members Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Kenny Cetera, Chris Pinnick, and Bill Champlin should also join them on stage for this performance indicates to me that he realizes that Chicago was not a "one man show" ... honestly, at this point I feel like much has been made of nothing.  I couldn't be happier that the band is FINALLY being recognized for their contribution to The History Of Rock And Roll ... but beyond that I can only suggest that we all just enjoy it for what it is.  The fact that Cetera only has a few of the email addresses of his former colleagues speaks volumes about how closely they've stayed in touch over the past thirty years!)  

Here's Vintage Vinyl News' report ...   

Peter Cetera's big breaking news is that he is willing to come on stage to perform just one song, 25 or 6 to 4, at Chicago's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.   
In an open letter to the surviving members of the band, Cetera seems to lay out a number of conditions for his appearance. First, he only wants to perform the rock classic. No mention of the other hits on which Peter sang such as If You Leave Me Now and Baby, What a Big Surprise or the rest of the Chicago songs where his voice was blended in the background.  Second, he wants that song to be the big finale of their appearance.   
He finishes by saying that, if they agree to his "demands", it could help heel old wounds.   

Here is the text of the message: 

January 6, 2016
Hello Everyone!
I’ve just sent this mail to everyone involved. Hopefully it will answer all the questions concerning my participation in the Hall of Fame induction ... Thanks!
Hello Robert, Danny, Lee, Walter, and James ... 
I’m sending this to you and Danny since yours are the only email addresses I have. Please forward this to everyone. 
First off, congratulations all around on this long overdue honor. While our fans believe we should have been inducted years ago, they find it harder to believe that we haven’t even been nominated in all that time. Oh well, we are now! 
All the credit goes to those who voted for us in overwhelming numbers during the recent poll. They alone deserve our thanks for finally making this happen.
I know we all look forward to speaking that evening and I’m sure we all wish that Terry was there to join us. That can’t happen unfortunately, but I have one thing that can.
As a finale, we can walk onstage together one last time as a group, I’ll strap on the bass, and we can do 25or6to4 in the key of E. I believe it would make for one fantastic Hall of Fame moment and satisfy those who have always wanted some sort of reunion.
Along with your current members, I would also like us to invite past members Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Kenny Cetera, Chris Pinnick, and Bill Champlin to join us up there as well on the song. They’ve all contributed to the legacy of the group and I think this would be a fitting way to honor them.
In the end, this should go a long way towards healing old wounds and showing solidarity on that night. At least I hope so!
See you all in Brooklyn,

Through this whole controversy, we've tried to be neutral in our reporting; however, this letter has pushed us to say that it is time for Cetera to acknowledge that he was a MEMBER of the band that is being inducted. He was not the "big star". He was not bigger or better than Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walt Parazaider, Danny Seraphine or the late Terry Kath. He was not the only singer, songwriter or instrumentalist in the band. All seven of those men created the Chicago sound and are as responsible for their success in the 70's and early-80's. 
Cetera needs to, for one night, simply become a part of Chicago again. To "demand" that he be singled out for the "big finale" or be treated any different from the other members is the height of arrogance.   
-- Vintage Vinyl News

Ron Onesti of The Arcada Theatre wrote this piece on Chicago's entry into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ...  

CHICAGO finally gets to Cleveland  
I can’t believe it!  CHICAGO finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!  This is epic!  For so many years the fans have clamored for this moment (me being one of them), and justifiably so.  According to Billboard, Chicago was the leading US singles charting group during the 1970s. They have sold over 40 million units in the US, with 23 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. Over the course of their career they have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles. The band is second only to The Beach Boys with singles and album-charting success, and is still performing over one hundred shows a year!  
Aside from being one of my all-time favorite groups, I am doubly excited about its induction because it represents The Windy City, an underrated contributor to the development of popular music.  Cheap Trick was also selected to be inducted this year and although the band is originally from Rockford, we will claim them as Chicago’s own.  So that’s a big score for us because so few Chicagoans have been invited into the inner sanctum of the Rock Hall.  Aside from Buddy Guy, you would have to dig deep to find others.  I could give you an hour on the subject of Chicago based bands that dramatically influenced popular culture, but that’s a whole different column! 
As my musical prowess began to develop in grammar school, my first “new” album that I bought with my allowance money (imagine getting “paid” for cleaning my room) was the double-album all-hits compilation “Endless Summer” by The Beach Boys.  “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”- songs with meanings a seventh grader really couldn’t understand, at least by 1974’s standards.  My personal faves were “Be True To Your School” and “In My Room”. 
Oh I just couldn’t get enough of those songs because for me, they were less about surfing and more about girls, strange beings I happened to stumble upon and began to take notice of that summer.  Yeah, that was the music for me, and that topic became my favorite! 
Then as I entered eighth grade, my buddy turned me on to a group that was “kinda-like” the smooth rock of The Beach Boys.  It was called “Chicago”, which by virtue of its name I already thought was cool.  The band formed in 1967, so by the time I found out about them, they already had eight albums out including a mammoth four-record live set recorded at Carnegie Hall.  The 1975 Greatest Hits album cover featured a bunch of guys on a falling scaffold holding on for dear life in front of a halfway-painted “Chicago” logo on a building.  “Chicago IX”  featured popular radio hits including “Beginnings”, “25 or 6 to 4”, “Make Me Smile”, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”, “Saturday In The Park” and other smashes.  “Colour My World” was the first song I ever asked a girl to slow dance to.  Ahh, she was a foot taller than me and I can remember puberty setting in at that very moment.  Catchy songs with power horns … Now THAT was music, and those were memories!  
Just as I wore the grooves of that album down by constant over-playing while singing into a hairbrush, the band’s next album was released. The band’s 1976 “Chicago X” album was a logoed chocolate bar exposed by a peeled-back wrapper and featured more great songs.  After a “tragic” breakup between myself and that towering vixen in the summer after grammar school graduation, the power ballad “If You Leave Me Now” really resonated, and Chicago continued to be “my” band.  
I entered Weber High School in Chicago, an all-boys catholic school that required its students to wear shirts and ties, but had no actual uniform.  None of us cared what we looked like, so for most of us, it was corduroy pants, flannel shirt, and some goofy paisley tie from our dad’s bad Christmas present closet.  Style was not one of the electives offered there.  And instead of a sweater, I regularly wore a short-sleeved Chicago concert t-shirt over my long-sleeved flannel shirt as part of my regular high school wardrobe.  GQ Magazine never called.  
At that time, concert shirts weren’t as prevalent as they are now, so the guys would ask where I got them.  The light bulb went on!  I found the guy who printed the concert shirts and made a deal with him.  He had Led Zeppelin shirts, Pink Floyd Shirts and RUSH shirts.  I moved my books into my buddy’s locker next to me, and my locker became a concert shirt store. They were flying out of my locker!  That was my freshman entry into the entrepreneurial world … thanks to Chicago! 
Tragedy hit the group in 1978 when its guitarist, Terry Kath was killed by an accidental, self-inflicted gun wound.  Despite this devastating blow to the band, its fans and the international music world in general, the guys bounced back, in Kath’s honor.  They continued to pump out the hits, and perform sold out concerts. 
Fast forward to August 1, 1981.  ChicagoFest, the first major outdoor music and food festival in the City of Chicago’s history.  My cousin was also a huge Chicago fan was able to get us backstage passes for the band featured that night…CHICAGO!  I got to hang with my boys, and to literally be part of the band for a fleeting moment, as the drummer, Danny Seraphine let me tap on the snare for a bit during sound check! 
I think back to how the guys looked then.  I mean, it was the eighties!  Headbands, tight white pants, hair short on the sides but exploding on top…probably not the look they are most proud of.  I had a Pepsi I was drinking that I put down on the table to shake one of the guys’ hands.  I walked away only to realize that the entertainer then picked up MY Pepsi and started to drink it as if it was his.  I never had the heart to tell him it wasn’t, so I feel a special “closeness” to Peter Cetera, the band’s lead vocalist. 
In 1985, Cetera left the band to pursue a solo career.  That was a tough blow because although keyboardist Robert Lamm was also a lead vocalist (“Saturday In The Park”), Cetera contributed much to their signature vocal sound.  But I still remained a fan, looking forward to one day possibly working with the band. 
My day came about twenty years later when I was booking bands for an Indiana county fair.  I booked my fantasy band “Chicago” and it was magical.  By that time, Seraphine, who left the band in 1990 was gone, but the original home-town horn section consisting of Walter Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane remained, along with Lamm.  The band was still incredible! 
I walked up to Robert Lamm and proudly said, “Hi Bobby!”  Instead of the warm response I was expecting, I got a relatively stern, “Um, its Robert.”  I hung my head low and crawled away. 
Later, he was cool, and I asked him about a certain part of the song “Saturday In The Park” where he refers to “Singing Italian songs.”  He does a couple of lines in what I presumed was Italian.  But being able to speak the language, I struggled with understanding what he was saying.  So I asked him about it. 
“Oh, I just made up some words that I thought sounded Italian,” he said.  With that, the secret to creative songwriting was shared with me! 
I remain a fan of the band to this day.  Original band member Danny Seraphine has become one of my closest friends, an incredible guy and one of my all-time favorite drummers.  We were out at a concert I was producing at the Park West one night recently.  He came as my guest and was just hanging with me.  Some drunken fool got a bit stupid with me, and as I foolishly beat on my chest, he stepped in and was going to take the guy out.  Once a Chicago neighborhood guy, always a Chicago neighborhood guy! 
I was so pleased to hear that not only Chicago will be inducted into the Rock Hall, but original members Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine will reunite with the band on that night.  And with a tip of the hat to Terry Kath, an emotional moment will be had by all us Chicago fans.  Congratulations to my buddies and my musical heroes … from all of us “from the neighborhood”! 
-- Ron Onesti

re:  Happy Birthday Elvis!: 
Kent ...
At 6:50 AM on Friday Scott Shannon played "Kentucky Rain" and mentioned my name. Not exactly the song I requested, "Burning  Love," but better than nothing. 
Frank B.
That's OK, Frank ... we featured the new Royal Philharmonic mix on the website Friday just in case!  lol  (Scroll back to Friday's post in case you missed it!)  kk
Thanks for playing my request.  You played the right one.  I also like this new arrangement.  (Scott just played "Burning Love", the 1972 version.)  
I got one of those "Elvis Mr. Potato Heads" in your picture on my mantel.
2035 for the Elvis Story?  I'm sure you'll get it done.  
If I'm not dead by then, I'll be too weak to press the keys on my computer to get to Forgotten Hits.
Frank B.
Hey, I'm planning to stick around till the year 2525 to see if Zager and Evans were right!  (I betcha they'll still be celebrating Elvis' birthday then!!!)  I still think that, other than the jumpsuit, the Elvis Mr. Potato Head looks more like Sammy Davis, Jr. than The King.  (kk)

re:  Bobby Darin:  
Forgotten Hits! 
What can I say?  Thank you for keeping the flame lit in 100% pure quality form. I tip my musical hat you.
Jimmy Scalia
"Jimmy Scalia Archives"
Visit the Jimmy Scalia website at:  

Thanks, Jimmy ...  
As the keeper of the castle when it comes to all things Bobby-related, that means a lot!  
Hopefully each and every new generation will discover and fall in love with Bobby's music, just like we did!  
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits

Thanks so much.  
We're glad to see your Bobby Darin series is getting so much attention.  
Warm regards,  
Bobby Darin's Webteam

Kent ...
I agree with you about that hidden gem "Rainin'."  It's a great track.
Frank B
It has become, without question, one of my all-time Bobby favorites!  (kk)

Hey Kent, 
One of my favorite Bobby Darin songs was a song that I don't believe made the top 40. As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard it was in the movie Out to Sea with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The song was "More". It had the same type of Big Band arrangement as Mack the Knife or Beyond the Sea. A very good song!  
Pete G 
"More" never charted.  In fact, I had to go back to listen to it as it didn't really ring a bell with me at first.  Then I realized that it was Bobby's version of the very popular Kai Winding hit.  Yes, Bobby vamped everything up to fit his Vegas style.  I still say Michael Buble probably owes more to Bobby Darin's style than he does to Sinatra ... even 'tho Sinatra came first.  (kk)

Thanks for the information on Bobby Darin ... it was interesting and enlightening and sad, too. 
Thanks for bringing the information to light by getting it out of the "attic trunk" and dusting it off.  I read the readers' comments ... Bobby still has a lot of fans!

Hey Kent, 
Still reading through all the Bobby Darin stuff on your site. I'd have to agree with another reader that he came off as brash and conceited. Even though I really liked his songs on the radio, TV was a different story. Personally, I thought he was slick and the very definition of "lounge lizard". When PBS aired a special featuring the folk music artists of the 60s, they put Bobby in there because of his protest song "Simple Song of Freedom". (Darin stuck in with all those folkies?) It's a good song, but here is Bobby, wearing a tux and singing with a half-smile on his face. It didn't gel, in my opinion. I wish I would have heard the song on the radio first.
I did come to appreciate his acting, however. One memorable appearance was on the TV series, "Run For Your Life", starring Ben Gazzara. I found one scene from it here, but the one that stood out was when Ben and Bobby were chasing the bad guys on bicycles. My mom talked about that scene for years! I wish I could find it (or the whole episode, for that matter) on the net. Maybe it'll turn up sometime. 
Reader Jeffrey Beals mentioned to you in his letter the group the Frantics that backed up Bobby Darin with some songs when Darin was out Northwest. Now there is a group I haven't heard mentioned in years. They recorded for Dolton Records, I believe, with tunes like FOGCUTTER and WEREWOLF, a song I used to play every year when I did my Halloween Spooktacular. 
Chet mentioned that bad ass rocker Eddie Cochran. When Eddie Cochran died in that car crash, his recording of THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN was being played here in OKC. I don't believe that record charted nationally, though. How ironic when his death occurred and the title of that song. 
"Three Steps To Heaven" charted for exactly one week.  It peaked at #99 in Cash Box, #108 in Billboard and #115 in Music Vendor.  The flipside, "Cut Across Shorty", actually did a little bit better in Music Vendor ... it charted for TWO weeks and reached #106!  (kk)  

We found a plug for our Bobby Darin Series here ...  
ALWAYS nice to be mentioned!  (kk)

re:  This And That: 
Kent ...
First on the "Tonight Show" (1/6) ...
Then Billy Joel's 25th Show during his current residency at Madison Square Garden on 1/7.
Everyone is guessing that Jimmy Fallon will show up as a surprise guest.
Frank B.

Well, I've got to admit that the pairing of Fallon and Joel for The Stones' "Beast Of Burden" was pretty fun and entertaining to watch ... Jimmy was definitely in his element on this on ... looked like he was having a ball.  (One could say he's got the moves like Jagger!)  kk
Not a bad combination.
Still my FAVORITE Jimmy Fallon video has got to be the lip-synching battle he did with Tom Cruise recently ... this one just totally cracks me up ... especially when Cruise pulls out his "secret weapon" ... and then doesn't use it.  (That just wouldn't be fair now, would it???)  kk

Here's news about a brand new PBS Carole King special coming up ... with a hit musical ("Beautiful") playing on Broadway and recently receiving The Kennedy Center Honors, it looks like Carole's hit-machine song-writing career is all the latest rage again.
You can check it out here:

“The Film Is A Work Of Art About A Work Of Art.”  -WNPT (Nashville, TN)

New York, NY — Celebrating the electric guitar, the full-length documentary film Turn It Up!  will be released on January 22, 2016. A cinematic and auditory tour de force, the film – shot in high definition – is a combination of stunning photography, musical performances, world-class collections, and in-depth interviews – from international legends to “everyman” collectors. Released by 71st Street Entertainment, Turn It Up! will be available as a two-disc DVD set, two-disc Blu-ray set (with 2nd disc in standard definition only), and as a digital download (does not include bonus set). [MSRP $19.98]

Created and directed by Robert Radler (Best Of The Best 1 & 2, SS United States: Lady In Waiting, The Substitute), Turn It Up! is an emotional exploration of the electric guitar and the people who fall under its spell. Narrated by actor/musician Kevin Bacon, the film features interviews with an array of guitar royalty: the late Les Paul and B.B. King (in one of his final interviews), Slash, Robby Krieger, Paul Stanley, Steve Lukather, Nancy Wilson, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Albert Lee, Ana Popovic, Jerry Cantrell, Steve Howe, John 5 and many others.

The Turn It Up!  DVD and Blu-ray sets not only include the full documentary film, but the “Conversations and Extras” bonus disc, which boasts extended interviews; scenes with the Burst Brothers; mini-documentaries on RKS Guitars and Seymour Duncan; Robby Krieger noodling on his guitar; and a performance of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter from the film S.S. United States: Lady In Waiting.

Turn It Up! simultaneously honors the beloved electrified six-string and recognizes the rich bond between musician and instrument, and the pilgrimage to find the ultimate guitar and perfect tone. From the mouths of those who invent them, build them, sell them, collect them, and those who make them sing, the film reveals the deep cultural love affair of the world’s most popular instrument, and explores its past, present, and future.

It’s the sound of rebellion, heartbreak, joy, fear, madness, pain, and all-out exuberance – the electric guitar has been a beacon of self-expression for generations, and Turn It Up!  details exactly why.

The DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download will be available online and at physical retailers (through Sony RED Distribution).

Available on Amazon:

For more information, stay tuned to the Facebook page:

Kent ...
According to Ron Smith's great book "Eight Days A Week" -- on January 7th, 1963, Gary "U. S." Bonds sues writers of the song "Dancin' Party" by Chubby Checker. He claims it sounds too much like "Quarter To Three."
Listen and you can decide for yourself.  
I say Gary wins the law suit.  (It's settled out of court.)
There was a LOT of borrowing going on back then ... "Dancin' Party" was written by two of Cameo / Parkway's big-wigs, Kal Mann and Dave Appell.  Evidently the suit didn't hamper sales any ... it still became Chubby's 10th Top 20 Hits ... and he'd score another nine more after that!  (kk)

Hi Kent -
Thank you for the GREAT email on the upcoming dates of Our Chicago Groups!!!!!  Must keep their sounds alive!
I know you are a BIG fan of the NEW COLONY SIX like me and I had a question. 
From their "Colonization" album, I was wondering what was the influence or history about their song "The Elf Song" (Ballad of the Wingbat Marmaduke)!!
They are the most creative group but you must admit this tune was a bit unusual. LOL  
When in doubt, ask the master ...
When putting together our month long New Colony Six series several years ago I remember Ray telling me something about the fact that they guys had recently been reading J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord Of The Rings" in school ... and I believe that was the inspiration.
Unusual, yes ... and not one of my favorite tracks by them ... but, believe it or not, this was actually released as a single!  (And, if I'm not mistaken, it's the first track on which newcomer Ronnie Rice appeared.)
I've reached out to the original members to see if they can shed any additional light on this ... if we hear back, we'll be sure to post it here ... so stay tuned!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Hope your doing well, my friend. 
Colder than crap here ... can't make up it's mind to rain, sleet, or snow ... lol ...
Ahhhhh, life in the Ozarks ... !
Bless ya Bro,
We've got some winter storm due to hit Chicago this weekend ... and then a severe drop in temperature ... guess that just means it's winter!!!  (Personally, I hate it ... but whatcha gonna do?!?!?)  kk

Hi Kent,  
Keep the FORGOTTEN HITS comin' (or as the consultants used to tell us)  "non-stop, continuous, back-to-back, and commercial free!"  ha! 
Thank-you for your gift of FORGOTTEN HITS throughout the year, it's GREAT!
Happy Holidays,
Tim Kiley

And a final smile, sent in to us by Alex Valdez ...  

I am a Seenager. (Senior teenager)  
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.
I don't have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance every month.
I have my own pad.
I don't have a curfew.
I have a driver's license and my own car.
I have an ID that gets me into bars and the wine store.  I like the wine store best.
The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant ... in fact, they aren’t scared of anything ... they have been blessed to live this long, so why be scared?
And I don't have acne.
Life is Good!
Also, you will feel much more intelligent after reading this, if you are a Seenager.
Brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age ... it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains.  Scientists also believe this makes you hard of hearing as it puts pressure on your inner ear.
Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.
Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.  The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time.  The brains of older people do not get weak.  On the contrary, they simply know more.
Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.  It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature's way of making older people do more exercise.
I have more friends I should send this to, but right now I can't remember their names.  So, please forward this to your friends ... as they may be my friends, too.
And finally, 
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016.
Thanks, Alex ... that explains EVERYTHING!!!  (kk)