Monday, November 7, 2016

A Monday Morning Quickie

re:  Dionne Warwick:  
Rarity time ... I plan  to cover my latest point in under 85 words.
I hated like hell to miss Dionne Warwick Friday night at Ronnie's joint.
Why? Her B.B catalogue is brilliant, but there is one song, so heartfelt, that I believe it may be the greatest love song of all time.
"Anyone Who Had a Heart" has been a fave of mine for 50 years. Dionne's vocal cry of emptiness is tearful.  The baritone sax bridge is at one touching, loving, and hurting.
Okay, a little longer. I put the song on the same level with the Frank Sinatra classic, "You Will Be My Music", Frank's song off his comeback album in 1974.
Dionne Warwick? Celine Dione? No contest. Ms. Warwick wins by knockout.
Chet Coppock:
Author: Buffone - Monster of the Midway
I think my first introduction to Dionne Warwick was "Walk On By", her follow-up hit to "Anyone Who Had A Heart", a GREAT track that I didn't discover until slightly later on.  She opened her show up with these two back-to-back, kicking things off with "Walk On By".  Both were Top Ten Hits in early 1964, with "Walk" peaking at #6 and "Heart" one spot below it at #7.
It seemed like back then you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing Miss Dionne on one program or the other ... even then the epitome of class.  You missed a good show.  (kk)   

>>>Dionne also cut the original hit version of "Always Something There To Remind Me", a bigger hit here in Chicago than its national showing of #65  (kk)   
Actually, I believe Lou Johnson had the first version of this song out in 1964.  
Just checked my Whitburn book and you are correct, sir ... Lou Johnson had a #49 hit with this one back in 1964.  In fact, he covered THREE Hal David - Burt Bacharach tunes that year ... "Reach Out For Me" hit #52, "Always Something There To Remind Me" reached #49 and "Message To Michael" (then titled "Kentucky Bluebird" bubbled-under at #104.  Looks like Dionne Warwick went on to make all of these hits of her own shortly thereafter.  (And after Hal and Burt wrote "Don't Make Me Over", too ... betcha in hindsight they're glad she did!)  kk  

Hi Kent, 
Your review of the Dionne Warwick concert was spot on.  
I took my 87 year old mother to see her and we sat in the balcony, those great seats on the side.  We also had a difficult time hearing Dionne when she spoke to the crowd. Luckily when she sang, we heard her loud and clear. Unfortunately, we had two women sitting a few rows behind us, who NEVER stopped talking during the entire show. 
They were obviously drinking a lot and even started heckling and making rude comments about the show.  
It seems to me that the Arcada has to put security upstairs to stop things like this happening.  It can really ruin the experience.    
Besides that, we loved Dionne and wished, as you did, that she sang a little longer.   
Thanks for the great review!   

Hi Kent,  
In fairness to Dionne Warwick, she is a diva and close to 80 years old!  
We are losing too many of our rock legends.
She may have an attitude problem but don't we all at one time or another?
I am not a fan of Dionne now or when she first came out, but she is part of the history of rock and roll.
Keep Rockin'  with the GREAT  'Forgotten Oldies" ...
Actually, Dionne turns 76 this year.  
And don't get me wrong ... I thoroughly enjoyed the show ... and HAVE been a LONG time fan of her work.  (I've been trying to get a venue to book her here in Chicago for the past two years and was THRILLED when I heard that The Arcada was finally bringing her to the stage.)  I just wish it had been a longer show ... it ended very abruptly at exactly the one hour mark ... and while the pianist was kind of egging the audience on to continue with more applause (to my thinking this was a means of bringing her out for an encore) Dionne just wasn't having any of it.  The house lights came up almost immediately and the show was clearly over.  (Maybe she was upset with the fact that she had to take the audience to task and felt they should have been more respectful of her and her band ... I don't know.)
As stated in the review, MOST of her disciplining of the audience came with a great sense of humor ... and I also believe she was justified in doing so.  (We're just not accustomed, as audience members, to be spoken to so sternly I guess, especially after having paid good money to see her show.  But the performers have rights, too, and, in my opinion, her points were well taken and warranted.)
Several years ago when I was doing my tribute to The Ed Sullivan Show I got an email completely out of the blue from Dionne Warwick, asking if she could please say a few words about this incredibly gracious and generous man.  (Proof again that you just never know WHO is reading Forgotten Hits!!!)
Of course I welcomed her input as she was a frequent guest on Ed's show.
Her comments run below ... along with a link to our now permanently posted segment on The Ed Sullivan Show ... as seen from BOTH sides of the television screen ...
My first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show was without a doubt one of the most exciting times in my career, as being asked to do his show meant you had either already made it or you were about to become a major star. 
He was a wonderful man and he treated me with an abundance of kindness ... and each time I appeared on his show, he would bring me over to him and give information about me to the audience. The one thing I remember vividly was he never said my name correctly until one of the cue card writers made it easy for him by spelling my name phonetically ... DE-ON ... and from that moment on, he said my name right.  His show was by far the father of variety shows and these are sorely missed. 
Thank you for including my memory of Ed Sullivan and his show.
Dionne Warwick

Hi Kent,
Your review of Dionne Warwick brought back many memories of the time in the late 60s that I saw her in concert at Ravinia.  She was at her peak and her, along with Bacharach and David, presented the music of my youth.  
We had great seats in the pavilion and a record crowd of over 20,000 packed the place, most sitting outside on the lawn.  At show time, the MC came out and announced Miss Warwick's plane was delayed in New York and she would be two hours late. As you can imagine the crowd was slightly aggravated.
Two hours later, about 930 PM, the MC comes out and says she has landed and is being rushed in a limo to Ravinia.  Big applause.  Within a half hour, we get the announcement that she has arrived and will be on-stage in ten minutes.  Big cheer!   
She comes out, apologizes and starts performing her hits.  Unknown to her, it has started to rain and, as the stage is raised and she cannot see the lawn, she has no clue.  Midway through one of her hits she stops singing and says to the crowd, "I am a professionally trained singer and cannot continue if those in the audience cannot keep quiet."  She has no idea the noise is because the record crowd outdoors is getting soaked.  She continues on and the crowd on the lawn starts screaming because of a cloudburst.    
She immediately puts the mic down and walks off the stage.  
The crowd in the seats starts booing and the MC comes out and apologizes, saying that Dionne had no clue of the rain and will be back to finish in five minutes.  She comes back, utters an apology and continues.
Finally, at 1230 AM on a work night, she is done.  
To say that she is an artist, a great artist indeed who has always had an attitude, is how I remember her.   
Looks like the years have not mellowed her one bit. 
Mark / GoHawksGo
One of the things MOST performers don't forget or take for granted is that, in order to sustain a successful career for fifty-something years, it takes a combination of both great talent AND a loving and loyal fan base.  In fact I think it's somewhat safe to say that one cannot exist without the other.  So I say, keep things in perspective, people! FAR too many artists had fly-by-night careers and disappeared of the face of the earth with barely a blip or faded memory ... those who have been fortunate enough to experience otherwise should NEVER lose sight of the fact that it was a combination of YOUR talent ... and the devotion of your fans ... that got ... and KEPT you here.  (kk)

re:  Speaking Of Great Music On TV:  
We mentioned this one a short time back ... but FH Reader Tom Cuddy reminds us that this brand new PBS Series (taking a look behind the scenes of the music industry) kicks off a week from Monday (November 14th).  Be sure to check your local listings for this one!  (kk)  

This new PBS Series is a history of how hit songs are recorded ...   

re:  Happy Together Tour Sneak Preview:  
Hi Kent - 
My new Anthology is coming out this month.  It features many of my Ghost Groups singles and songs from my solo albums.  It's a two-disk set and it has tons of background on how these songs and records came about. (Attached is some info on it.)  
Thanks for keeping all our music happenings in the public view.  
Rock on! 
Ron Dante

Disc 1:
1. He's Raining In My Sunshine
2. How Am I To Know
3. That's What Life Is All About
4. Sugar Sugar (Disco Version)
5. Midnight Show
6. In The Rain
7. Gypsy Be Mine
8. Charmer
9. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - The California Gold Rush
10. Free - The Pearly Gate
11. Yellow Van - Ronnie & The Dirt Riders
12. Hold Back The Sun - Noah's Ark
13. Don't Call It Love - Bo Cooper
14. Early In The Morning - The Cuff Links
15. Number One Son - The Chan Clan
16. Sugar Sugar - The Archies
Track Listing — Disc 2:
1. Go Where The Music Takes You
2. A Million Voices
3. C'mon Girl
4. Joanna
5. Let Me Bring You Up
6. Mr. Sun
7. Show And Tell
8. Makin' Up
9. Letter From Zowie
10. God Bless Rock 'n Roll
11. Sea Cruise
12. Street Angel
13. Ain't Misbehavin'  Dante's Inferno
14. They're Playing Our Song - Dante's Inferno
15. Fire Island - Dante's Inferno
16. Skate Key Boogie - Dante's Inferno
Ron Dante joins The Happy Together Tour in 2017 and will be performing several of these hits live in concert.  (Save us a couple of seats in Chicago, Ronnie!!!)  kk
I meant to send you a review earlier this week, but with the Cubs winning the pennant and all ...   Last Saturday night I went to see The Box Tops, The Crystals and The Brooklyn Bridge ... not as good as the true originals, but so nostalgic ... and I loved singing along!
The Brooklyn Bridge had one original guy ... his voice wasn't the greatest, but the new lead singer could carry a tune and hit all those Johnny Maestro notes! The only Brooklyn Bridge song I recognized was Worst That Could Happen, but they sang a few more they said were hits. The guy with the hat was new, the middle guy the true member. He said he was in the Del Satins, also. They used to back Dion and some other singers.

Then came The Crystals. The lead singer, DeeDee's voice was shot,  but the two new members sure made up for it. The sang all the great hits and then sang a bunch of hits from other girl groups. I loved their portion!

Lastly, came the Box Tops. They also had two original singers. They sang most of their songs, and proceded to do a lot of songs from singers from their home town of Memphis. They finished with The Letter, and I was disappointed they never sang my favorite, Sweet Cream Ladies. When they came back for an encore, they sang Whiter Shade of Pale, which didn't seem to be related to Nashville! I then found out they had recorded it on one of their albums. The guy with the glasses was an original who left the band as Soul Deep was climbing the charts, he said. I think there was one other original.


All three groups greeted the public, sold CDs and signed autographs. We really had a lot of fun, as did the audience, who sang along with everything!  (Please feel free to use or not use the photos ... they aren't the greatest. )
Alex Chilton, original lead singer of The Box Tops, passed away a few years ago.  When they decided to reform the band (you're right ... two are original members ... Gary Talley on guitar and Bill Cunningham on bass) with Rick Levy as their musical director (Rick has fronted many of the '60's reunion bands, and was most recently in Chicago with Tommy Roe), they knew they couldn't duplicate the unique, soulful sound of Chilton on lead vocals ... so they decided not to even try.  Instead, they're trying to keep The Box Tops' catalog of pop hits in the public eye.  (They had seven Billboard Top 40 Hits between 1967 and 1969).
I'm surprised they didn't do "Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March" as that has long been a fan favorite.  (A girl I dated in the early '70's told me that that was her favorite song of all-time ... which is really surprising since this record never even charted here in Chicago!)  
Memo to Rick Levy:  You may want to rethink the exclusion of this one.

The Box Tops ALSO join The Happy Together Tour next year (so I'm counting on you guys to set aside a couple of seats for me, too!!!  Then we can do another Forgotten Hits ticket giveaway!) 
We saw The Brooklyn Bridge a few years ago and they blew us away ... spot-on vocals, something you wouldn't have expected without their leader Johnny Maestro.  But I've got to say that they brought down the house that night.  (See review below)  
As for The Crystals, I've never had the pleasure ... but know that they tour regularly as part of these oldies shows and cruises.  I think you may have just caught them on a bad night as I've heard nothing but good things about these shows over the years.  (kk) 

re:  This And That:
Kent ...
New York Post readers add to the " Worst Songs List."
In a 2012 Vanity Fair interview Grace Slick, co-singer of "We Built This City", calls it " the worst song ever.
Here in New York, every time they played "We Built This City" they would insert Harry Harrison with a WCBS-FM station plug.  I guess that would give a radio station another reason to play the song.
Frank B.
I dunno ... I can STILL come up with LOTS worse songs than some of these listed ... and I'll bet you guys can, too.  (For all his awards and accolades, I still don't think the world will ever forgive Scott Shannon for giving us "I've Never Been To Me" by Charlene!!!  lol)  kk 

And, according to Ron Smith's book "Eight Days A Week", 11/5/1971 was the first time Announcer Al Dvorin said "Elvis has left the building."
Frank B.
And it's probably been uttered 50 million times since by each and every one of us!  (lol)  kk 

Thanx for featuring the loss of RVB, God rest his soul.  He truly was across the board one of the nicest and most popular Music Oldies AOL Chat Roomies from the innocent early days of the internet.  Please add my condolences to Mamie and his other loved ones.  

Hi Kent,
I wanted to congratulate you and everyone in Chicago-land on a long-awaited and well-deserved victory in becoming World Champions!  I can almost hear Harry Caray slurring now!  ha!  Way to go!
Tim Kiley

There's some kind of strange irony in the fact that in 1908 -- which was the last time the Cubs won the pennant -- the largest-selling and highest charting (accord to Whitburn) single of the year was this one -- a tune written by two guys who had heard about but never actually seen a baseball game!  
Many moons ago my interviews with both Bobby "Boris" Pickett and John Zacherle were heavily featured in the four-hour "Halloween Spooktacular" radio special I co-hosted with the ever-popular Kerin McCue (who is now a Fox Radio News anchor).  I remember Zach giving me a homemade cassette copy of a new song he's just recorded called "Overdrawn at the Blood Bank."  He was hoping some label or the other would release it but as far as I know, none ever did.  We played it every year anyway and I see it is now up on You Tube -- except credited not to Zacherle but its two writers!
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"  

Speaking of Joel Whitburn and his chart books, he has a VERY special sale running right now, offering $10 off on a dozen selected titles ... NOW is the time to grab these classics and add them to your own personal collection!  Just click the links below and build YOUR Record Research Library.  (kk)