Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday This And That

Gary S. Paxton, who sang lead on The Hollywood Argyles' "Alley Oop" and produced and played piano on Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash," (both hit number-one) died Saturday. He was also the uncredited producer of The Association's "Along Comes Mary." Moving into Christian music in the '70s and '80s, he produced several albums for Tammy Faye Bakker, with whom he denied having an affair. Paxton was 77. 
-- Tom Cuddy

Gary S. Paxton (born Larry Wayne Stevens), singer and co-producer of "Alley Oop" as the Hollywood Argyles (#1 - 1960) and the "Flip" half of the duo Skip and Flip -- who gave us "It Was I" (#11 - 1959) and "Cherry Pie" (#11 - 1960), died Saturday (July 16) at his home in Branson, Missouri. He was 77 and suffered from Hepatitis C -- which almost took his life in 1990.
Born in Coffeyville, Kansas, he was raised in Arizona where he started his first band at age 14, eventually dropping out of school to become a performer. After his brief career with Clyde "Skip" Battin in Phoenix, he moved to Hollywood where he produced such hits as "The Monster Mash" with Bobby "Boris" Pickett, "Along Comes Mary" and "Cherish" for the Association. He also produced "Sweet Pea" and "Hooray For Hazel" with Tommy Roe. Moving on to Country Music in Bakersfield, California, he was shot three times by hit men reportedly hired by an artist he was producing (dying twice, he said, on the operating table before pulling through). He left the music business for eight years before returning to produce and perform Gospel Music (having converted to Christianity), winning the Best Inspirational Grammy for a 1975 album. Gary was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999.
-- Ron Smith

Hey Kent,
After reading today's FH, I decided to learn more about Bobby Fuller. Someone commented that the demo of "I Fought the Law" was better than the hit recording. What do you think? Oh, and for those of you who still believe Bobby committed suicide, man, do I have a bridge to sell you!
- John LaPuzza

A word or two about today's FH and your piece on Bobby Fuller.
First, the great majority of the time I like the original recording of a song as opposed to a remake later on by an artist or group. One of my exceptions is the song LOVE'S MADE A FOOL OF YOU. I always did like Bobby Fuller's version better than the Crickets' earlier version in 1958 on Brunswick. Second, with this week and next being the two national conventions of both political parties, it reminded me of a couple of records I hadn't heard in years. And this is something you may have done in the past, I can't remember.
Remember the novelty break-in record out of 1972 called CONVENTION '72 by a group known as the Delegates? Also, four years later a record called CONVENTION '76 by a group known as CREEP (Committee to Rip off Each and Every Politician). There were a few others somewhat similar with ELECTION '84 by Dickie Goodman being one.
Larry Neal
"Convention '72" was a big hit here in Chicago, going all the way to #5.
I try to stay clear of all the political stuff ... although it's virtually impossible to avoid as it's every where you turn these days.  (Odds are you're offending half your audience no matter what you say!  lol)
The one thing that DID crack me up was this photo of The Trump White House ...
The third (and sadly FINAL) edition of "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone" is now available.  

This time co-authors Marti Smiley Childs and Jeff March talk with ... and tell the complete stories of Anne Murray, Billy Joe Royal, B.J. Thomas, The Atlanta Rhythm Section, Love, The Standells and Three Dog Night ... with EXCLUSIVE interviews with all of these artists.
We have the complete collection ... and these are always a joy to read ... we learn SO much about these artists and what it was like at the time when all this great stuff was happening.
You can pick up your copy here:
And be watching Forgotten Hits in the not-so-distant future for a complete review.  (Hey, I've gotta read it first!!! lol)  kk

Speaking of brand new books, we've received quite a few entries for our latest Joel Whitburn / Record Research / Top Pop Singles give-away ... (we'll be picking the winner tomorrow).  Throw your name in the hat by sending me an email TODAY with the words POP HITS in the subject line ... or you can order a copy (and save ten bucks through July 31st) via the link below.

Please include me in the drawing for the new Top Pop singles book.  I use my current, older copy so much that it's slowly eroding into sawdust and paper shreds!
Tim Kubat
Grand Junction, CO  81504

Gary Theroux echoes the sentiments of many on the list ... these books get a LOT of use at my house, too ... I swear I refer to at least a couple of them every single day!!!

I'd love to win the new "Top Pop Singles" book ... my exceptionally dog-eared copy of the 12th edition of Joel's "Top Singles" book is never more than a foot or so away from me at my desk -- as are eight of his other chart books on shelves I assembled expressly to hold them.  In the other room I have five shelf feet of earlier Joel Whitburn chart books, dating all the way back to his first -- the red-covered volume -- which I bought via a small ad in Billboard circa 1970. 
Another that is equally worn out -- the binding's loose and the cover keeps falling off -- is the 1986 edition of his "Pop Memories 1890-1954" book. None of my Whitburn books have ever been misused. They've simply been consulted to the point where I have most of them almost memorized!  
I am currently completing the materials for a college course I'll be teaching in September which explores in depth more than century of pop music history.  Joel's volumes have proven essential in that project and countless others.  The output of his Record Research firm over the years constitute the heart and soul of my extensive research library. 
Gary Theroux
I have a complete collection of the Pop Singles books dating back to the first one you could buy. (I remember finding a copy from 1969 ... with a 1970 addendum ... at The Rosary College Library many many years ago and I was hooked immediately!  I would LOVE to add that library edition to my collection ... because I've got EVERY subsequent volume!) 
My 1972 (paperback edition ... I don't think there even WAS a hard cover version available at the time) has completely come away from its binding but I just can't bear to throw it away.  I have SO many notes scribbled on the pages ... and have seen countless collectors carry this edition with them to record shows over the years (most often rubber-banded together to keep THEIR pages from falling out, too!  lol)
There are SO many great books available through the Record Research Website ... Joel truly did revolutionize the way we look at music ... he's got to be one of the most quoted sources out there today!)  kk

Kent ...
You mentioned Mille Small ... this brought back a funny memory for me.
Back when I was working, I always played the radio (LOUDLY) at my desk.
My Jamaican friend Earl would always tell me to turn the radio volume down, with one exception. When "My Boy Lollipop" by Millie Small came on the radio, Earl would say "Frank, turn up the volume."
Frank B.

Hey Kent,
Very interesting story on the "My Boy Lollipop" / Rod Stewart-on-harmonica caper! This is the first I've heard of it, but I know you discussed it years ago, probably before I became a reader of your site. Another rumor out there was about Mary Robbins' great country crossover hit, "El Paso". It was going around by word and print that a seventeen-year-old, Glen Campbell, played lead guitar on the track. Other than the fact that Glen was really six years older than that at the time, I thought it could be possible, but really didn't know who it was, inserting those wonderful fills. Turns out it was Grady Martin, a well-known Nashville studio guitarist, who played on sessions for many of the greats, as well as his own solo recordings. I saw some photos of him, and noticed one silly looking double-neck electric that he cherished playing. I wonder how much that baby's worth today! Of course, on "El Paso", he used an acoustic.
- John LaPuzza

Glad you had the chance to say hello to Gary Griffin at the Brian Wilson concert last weekend, Kent!
That's one very long tour those guys are on.  
I haven't seen one of the shows yet, but I'm looking forward to it.  
As you noted in your review, there's a lot of joy at those shows, both in the audience and on the stage.
Bob Greene
Thanks, Bob ... for anyone out there who doesn't know, Bob did a fair amount of touring himself with Jan and Dean and The Surf City All-Stars back in the day ... and still makes an occasional appearance with the band when time permits.
For one of the best "road trip" books you'll ever read ... and some TREMENDOUS insight into the workings of Jan and Dean, pick up a copy of "When We Get To Surf City", Bob's 2008 book.  (You can order a copy here:
By the way, yesterday was the 53rd Anniversary of the day that Jan and Dean's "Surf City" reached the #1 spot on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.  (I don't think Murry Wilson EVER forgave Brian for giving away a #1 Hit to the competition!)
And, while you're at it, relive some OTHER great '60's memories with Bob Greene's excellent books "Be True To Your School", "All Summer Long" and "And You Know You Should Be Glad" ... links for each at the Amazon link below ...

Kent ...
Look Out Old Mackie's Back!
Frank B. 
2017:  The 50th anniversary of the WORLDWIDE #1 Hit ... 
one of the BIGGEST songs of the 60s decade!!!  
from the Memphis blue eyed soul band THE BOX TOPS, now with founding members Gary Talley (guitar / vocals) and Bill Cunningham (bass / keys / vocals) ...
joined by music industry veteran Rick Levy (guitar / vocals)  
Avail INTERNATIONALLY, all year round ...
Rock, Soul, Rhythm n Blues ... presented in the way that only the BOX TOPS can do it!
USA code:  347 - 262 - 2430
Kent - 
I checked out Tommy's Dick Richards video.  
This story reminded of my early childhood exposure to Rock and the Comets.
I lived in a row house development in Chester, PA ... in the same block as Ralph Jones, Dick's immediate replacement drummer for the Comets. He had two sons ... as did my parents.  The older boy was my brother's friend ... the younger, my friend.
Thanks for posting Tommy's message. It conjured up fond memories of the Comets and the Jones family.   
Here's a link to Ralph's home movie footage of the Comets:  
Best wishes,
Bob Lee
Here are a couple of posts I did on Barry McGuire ...
We've talked to Barry several times over the years ... he's always been a great supporter of Forgotten Hits. 
Years ago he was doing a Tribute to the '60's show called "Trippin' the '60's", taking in not only the music of this era but the social and political climate as well.  (Not sure if he's still doing this or not, but I always wished I had the chance to see it.) 
A quick glance at his schedule shows a show coming up in September:
He's done quite a bit of writing of his own, documenting this part of our country's history.  You can check it all out at his website:  (kk)
Thank you, Clark, for typing all that out about the Kansas City Survey Convetion. You have no idea how long it took to type out the similar info, and send it to you!
Anyways, let me confirm that there is no charge if you are just going to attend the survey event. I had to make triple sure about that, as I was very hesitant to bring it up, if there was going to be a $55.00 admission fee. As much as I would want to go, there's no way, could afford it, for just a couple hour event. But as Clark pointed out, there's a lot more going on, plus that $55.00, gets you some free meals, and if you've ever eaten at a hotel restaurant, that alone could cost you the $55.00. Some of you out there, in FH land, must live within reasonable driving distance. I'd love to meet some of you, as I'll have a table there, with all 41 binders of surveys (I counted). It's how I met Kent, a couple lifetimes ago. Should I find out any more specifics, I will let you know. If you want, you can contact me thru Kent. Thanks.
Jack Levin
You were right when you said that the music of 50+ years ago resonates with the youth of today. I remember back in the late 70's I went to one of those rock and roll revivals put on by promoter Richard Nader here in OKC. One thing I noticed during that concert was the number of younger people there listening to and enjoying the music that originally came out in the late fifties / early sixties.  They actually were getting in the aisles and dancing.
This past week I have seen on television a commercial (whether local or not I don't really know) about an app one can get for his or her phone. I believe that's the product being pitched but I don't really know. What I noticed, of course, was the song by Little Richard TUTTI FRUTTI being played in the background. Maybe you've seen it.
Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 recording of SUKIYAKI has got to be one of my all time favorite foreign language songs of all time.
Tom Hanley mentioned his band from the sixties called the Penetrations. First thing I thought of was the instrumental PENETRATION by the Pyramids out of 1964. In fact there are those who would say that the Penetrations record was the Best one they ever made.
Bob Lee mentioned he was a member of a Facebook group called:" I WAS A DJ WHEN DJ'S JOCKIED DISCS ... AND I DON'T MEAN CDS". How true and good that was. Believe it or not, I always liked to cue up a record.
Hey Kent.
Entertainment Weekly deems "Eye Of The Tiger" the Top Cat in their 1982 chart flashback. Always happy when this song (co-written by our friend Jim Peterik) gets further recognition and continued airplay.
Be Well,
Carl Wiser