... the very first issue of Forgotten Hits went out via email to a select list of 35 members of the AOL Oldies Music Chat Room.
Earlier that week I had asked, "If I sent out an occasional newsletter spotlighting some of the songs and artists that were VERY big at the time but are completely overlooked by radio today, would you read it?" These 35 folks ... all AOL "roomies" ... said they would ... and Forgotten Hits was launched.
The very first song and artist ever featured?
"Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers (which we have featured nearly every year on our anniversary since.)
Max Frost was really studio singer Paul Wibier ... although in the movie "Wild In The Streets" (from which it came), Frost was played by actor Christopher Jones. (Frost, a rock singer / idol of sorts, basically won over the hearts of the youth movement by eliminating everybody over the age of 30 ... a GREAT political platform at the time of so much unrest in our country ... until HE turned 30 himself, of course!) The tune (a #16 hit nationally ... but only #22 in Billboard ... however HUGE here in Chicago, where it peaked at #3) was written by the legendary songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
I had no idea at the time how often I'd be sending something out in this new venture (although the frequency increased almost immediately, especially once others wanted to be included in these emails.) I certainly didn't think I'd be doing this for more than five years and mentally already began preparing for that expiration date.
However, the content soon expanded to far more than just these neglected songs and artists. (At the time, most radio stations had a playlist of about 200-300 songs, that were just played to death ad nauseum again and again and again, day after day after day, to the point that we were finding ourselves hating songs and artists that we have loved our entire lives, due to this excessive saturation.) Along the way we found thousands and thousands and thousands of kindred spirits who felt exactly the same way ... so we next targeted deejays, asking them to "push the envelope" a little bit more and feature some of the songs and artists we were spotlighting. Many jumped on the bandwagon and as a direct result, Forgotten Hits continued to grow due to this new exposure.
By 2008, the list became so large that I started the website you are now reading. I'd have to say oldies fans (and radio) has been listening ... we are just about to pass the four-and-a-half million views mark this month and programming variety has increased! Several landmark series and interviews have taken place over the past eight years, which the whole world can now view thanks to the website. (I can't help but think about all I would have missed had I really shut things down after just five years!) You can find some of the best here: www.forgottenhits.com
We continue to grow thanks to your ongoing support and good word of mouth. (One thing I've learned over the past several years is that you just never know WHO is reading Forgotten Hits. I've received emails and met people during this time that I never would have dreamed of knowing were it not for our little "oldies newsletter".) And one thing that has NEVER changed is that I am still ... first, foremost and always ... a fan first. I genuinely LOVE this music and I believe that passion comes through with every new posting ... and that will never change.
Next year we've got the biggest, most ambitious project I've ever put together ... trust me, you're not going to want to miss a day ...
Please help us spread the word as we recreate, in day-by-day fashion, the events of "50 Years Ago Today" ... 1967 ... my favorite year in music ... and a pivotal year in SO many ways.
In addition to our daily website coverage, we will also be sending out regular emails featuring updates, comments and news of current oldies events ... so please subscribe NOW if you wish to receive these supplemental features. (Even if you're already a Forgotten Hits Subscriber, you MUST send in a notice asking to be added to this list as we are building a brand new list for this very special event.) You'll no longer receive "reminders" about special postings, but rather all new postings that run side-by-side with our on-going 1967 feature.
Simply send an email to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and ask us to put you on The 67 List and you won't miss a thing! (Do it now while it's fresh on your mind ... 'cause we're all getting older and we tend to forget stuff!!! lol) Then again, that's EXACTLY what Forgotten Hits is all about ... treasuring and reliving those memories ... so please participate from time to time as we love hearing from you.
Do I have another 17 years in me? I dunno ... perhaps our 1967 Series will make for the perfect swan song ... we'll have to wait and see. (Then again my most recent personal goal has been to wrap things up In The Year 2525, just so we can evaluate how closely Zager and Evans called it back in '69!!!)
Thanks again to everyone who has helped make this happen ... it has been a blast! (kk)