Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday This And That

re:  Batman:  
An unexpected surprise to see The Caped Crusader in your pages this week.  50 years since the tv series, eh?  I used to tune in to see every episode ... same bat time, same bat channel.  
It's interesting reading some of the comic book history in this new magazine, on newstands now. 
In 1940, creator Bob Kane fought the idea of adding a "sidekick" ... then finally relented and said he'd do it for one issue ... but once the public discovered Robin, The Boy Wonder, circulation nearly doubled!  Batman and Robin were The Dynamic Duo from that day forward.  
By 1966, readership was down considerably ... and there was actually talk of scrapping the franchise ... in fact, many would say the hit television series saved it.  Even so, most diehard Bat Fans didn't care for the Pow! Bam! Pop! Zip! of the camp format.  ("Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb!")   kk

The comic book also lightened up in nature a little bit during this time ... but once the TV series ended, Batman became a bit darker and broodier to appease the fans who had stuck with the series from the beginning.  The hit, blockbuster movies took the series even further.  (I personally never cared for the whole "Dark Knight" thing and vigilante Batman ... I always liked the storyline that he became what he did for the reasons that he did.)
Poor Bruce Wayne had a lot of heavy baggage to carry from an early age in life ... and kids can be SO cruel ...
KIDS:  Knock-Knock
BRUCE WAYNE:  Who's there?
KIDS:  Not Your Parents
It was enough to drive ANY self-respecting kid to superherodom! 
And then even at the peak of his popularity, having to constantly endure "Where are you going, Batman, to the Bat-room???"  Deep down you just KNOW he had to be smiling inside while he was kicking the crap out of each week's villain!  (kk) 

The first thing I thought of from Monday's FH was just three items: the Marketts, Neal Hefti and Jan and Dean. Just a little bit surprised you didn't post them. Have a good week. Appreciate the work you do.

Hey Kent, 
Every episode of the TV series "Batman" was the talk of my junior high school the next day. I know the show was silly and campy, but it was FUN! Don't forget about the MUSIC. Jazz composer / arranger / trumpeter Neal Hefti wrote the "Batman Theme", and it was played on the radio. I don't know how far it went up the charts, but it was a hit! Hefti had a long, distinguished career, playing and arranging for many of the big band greats, including Count Basie and Charlie Barnett. He also composed many movie soundtracks and TV scores. Have you ever featured a list of TV themes that became hits on your site? 
- John LaPuzza
Neal Hefti's "Batman Theme" went to #28 ... it was The Marketts' catchy vocal version that was the hit (#10, 1966).  But my PERSONAL favorite has always been this Dickie Goodman record which crapped out at #69 on the national charts but was a Top Ten Smash here in Chicago.  (kk)

By the way, you can now own the complete Batman television series on DVD or BluRay ...
And the movie, too!

Guess who I wanted to be back 1967!!!
(Of course my Grade School Graduation Gown came in especially handy in this instance!)  kk

re:  Carole King:
I just finished watching the PBS / American Masters profile of Carole King. I swear, it gave me goose bumps. I had no idea that she had written all of those songs for others. I have always been a fan of her and her talent. I love her "Tapestry" album and her earthy delivery of a song but I had no idea how incredibley talented she really is.
The things that were shared about her life were just plain amazing. I am pretty sure I now have a girl crush.
You may have already seen this show. I do mostly tend to see these things way after everyone else but I highly recommend it and I can't wait until PBS airs it again.
Lots of rave reviews for this one.  I was most surprised by how much footage they found to work with as Carole tended to stay out of the limelight prior to her "Tapestry" album. (And what a MONSTER album it was!!!  #1 for fifteen weeks and over twenty million copies sold)  To this day I get chills when I hear "It's Too Late", even for the millionth time.
Carole had been writing hit songs for others for decades before she finally decided to step out front and carry a record on her own.
I found it interesting that what SHE wanted most in life was to be a mom, raise her daughters in a nice suburb ... while husband Gerry Goffin hated the whole suburban scene and wanted to be right in the thick of things in the city ... I had NO idea that this was the basis for his lyrics to "Pleasant Valley Sunday", a big hit for The Monkees in 1967.  (Goffin and King wrote several songs for The Pre-Fab Four along the way include another favorite of mine, "Sometime In The Morning".)
The musical based on her life "Beautiful" is supposed to be outstanding.  (We haven't seen it yet but really want to ... ticket prices are WAY up there 'tho so we've held back.)
The other thing I found interesting is the way these songs are now referred to as "Carole King songs" ... much like "Burt Bacharach songs" and even, to create another parable, how Bob Kane created Batman.  ALL of these enormously talented people had "sidekicks" along the way to help them reach their final destination ... Carole King wrote the bulk of her biggest hits with then-husband Gerry Goffin (who just recently passed away).  Burt Bacharach created BEAUTIFUL melodies that perfectly complimented the lyrics of Hal David.  And Bob Kane may have had the original concept for Batman but it was co-creator Bill Finger who helped bring The Caped Crusader to life.  (kk) 

Try to watch the PBS American Masters series this weekend on Carole King ... it's really well done!
Tom Cuddy
We caught it on Sunday ... wish it was TWICE as long ... it would have been nice to see some of the artists who had hits with Carole's songs perform longer pieces of them.  (kk)

re:  The History Of Rock:
Hey Kent - 
Love those History of Rock magazine covers! Made me think of the legendary History Of Rock And Roll radio documentary from Drake / Chenault and Gary Theroux. There is / was a station in Washington, DC, WHFS, that was once a great alternative station and has gone through several format changes over the years.. Now it's business news, but in between one changeover they ran that program nonstop for several weeks as a stunt. Over thirty years after it was produced, it still blew me away. I still believe if they put it on an endless loop it would still outdraw most anything else on FM theses days! Cool stuff - thanks!
- Larry Cave
I just found 1968 on eBay ... my collection is complete!!! (Or at least it WILL be as soon as these all show up in the mail.)
I'm sure Gary would be the first to admit The History Of Rock And Roll is in need of some serious updating ... but I'd still love to hear it straight through in its entirety as is.  (You've got to keep in mind that nobody had really done an in-depth series like this before ... they were truly breaking new ground.
One of our readers (who worked on the competing Canadian edition) sent me their entire series on CD but I still haven't had the time to listen to it ... because it has to be played on the computer.  (SO much easier for me to pop a cd in the car as my work commute is typically 90-150 minutes)  But I WILL get around to it eventually because, again, this is something I REALLY want to hear.  (kk)  

re:  Tommy Roe:
Sounds like a great time!  Unfortunately (or fortunately for me anyway!) I'll be in Florida that weekend - which means NO SNOW!!!  I would have liked to meet some of the Forgotten Hits crew members!
I'm hoping we get a really good turn out for this.  (Too bad you can't make it)
Over the years, I've met a LOT of Forgotten Hits Readers ... but this would be a GREAT chance to get all of us together in one place for the same show and visit for a little while ... and this is EXACTLY the kind of show our readers should love.  Get your tickets NOW!!! (20% off with the special FHITS20 code)   (kk)

re:  This And That:  
New York – Tom Petty will debut a new radio show to join his other SiriusXm shows – Buried Treasure and Tom Petty Radio - called Tom Talks To Cool People – set to debut next month. Tom’s first guest is Micky Dolenz, of The Monkees, who begins the Monkees’ 50th Anniversary tour in June and will release a new Monkees album entitled Good Times. 
-- David Salidor
Eric Burdon and the Animals played a gig at The City Winery here in Chicago last week ... we didn't get to go but I've heard nothing but rave reviews about the show.  (Check the link below)  Evidently the audience felt pretty much the same way ... they brought the band out for FOUR encores!!!  (kk) 

>>>Uptown Funk wouldn’t be in the Top 5000 songs of 1966. I’m sure it would have been too lame to record back then. Maybe a couple of amateur Polka records weren’t as good. Then again maybe they were.  As for Girl Crush, I almost made it to a minute in before I fell asleep.  (Ken)   
>>>Sorry but I've got to COMPLETELY disagree with you on both counts here.  "Uptown Funk" is probably one of the best put-together, most exciting records of the past 20 years ... it takes the very essence of '60's soul, infectious pop and just the right amount of funk to create a sight and sound that is uniquely its own.  As for "Girl Crush", it is pure class from start to finish.  Maybe YOU think Janis Joplin could have cut a better vocal ... but I'll tell you what ... Karen Fairchild has one of the purest, cleanest, clearest voices I've heard in decades ... I found her vocal on this track to be as electrifying as a Linda Ronstadt vocal from way back when ... and that's really saying something! 
You may need to get your ears checked ... these are two of the BEST moments musically of 2015 ... or any other year.  (kk)   
I’m not saying the Girl Crush Chick can’t sing. The music is nothing. Maybe if she were singing a song with some music, it might be better. It’s not bad, it’s just kind of nothing.  I don’t think Pseudo-Country Pop would have been a Janis Joplin vehicle. I wouldn’t want Janis singing Carpenters records, and I wouldn’t want Karen Carpenter doing “Ball & Chain” either.
Again, Uptown Funk may be a mix of something. 60’s Soul wasn’t one I was thinking about. They combined several things to make gibberish. 
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.  For me perhaps the greatest appeal of "Girl Crush" (aside from the OUTSTANDING vocal) is the fact that it is stripped down to its barest essence ... which is how a really GOOD songs shines through ... when you take away all the fluff and production enhancements this girl can just sing the HELL out of this tune ... and it's catchy enough that I can't get the damn thing out of my head.  
As for Bruno, I think he's probably the best all-around entertainer out there today ... the guy can do EVERYTHING!  Yes, he borrows heavily from the soul stars of OUR past ... some of his best moments are James Brown retreads move for move ...  but he pulls it off by being so charismatic.  You can't HELP but feel good during a Bruno Mars song because HE'S having such a ball performing it.  (If you still have any doubts that this song struck a nerve with the whole world, check this out ... the YouTube video is closing in on 1.4 BILLION views!!!  I've NEVER seen one into the BILLIONS before!!!)  kk