Friday, November 4, 2016

The Friday Flash

It's been a jam-packed week ... but I don't know that I've ever seen the City of Chicago any happier than they are after the World Series win by The Chicago Cubs!  (Man, what an exciting series ... back and forth, up and down ... but FINALLY, after 108 YEARS, The Cubs are World Champs again ... first time in ALL of our lifetimes!  (Yes, even YOU, Hil!!! lol)  Congratulations to year's incredible team ... and let's hope they don't make us wait another century before they do it again!  (kk)

John "The Cool Ghoul" Zacherle, who hit The Top Ten with one of Cameo / Parkway's earliest releases "Dinner With Drac" in 1958, passed away last Thursday (October 26th), just five days before Halloween.  He was 98.
"Dinner With Drac" is one of those chart hits that made you scratch your head as to just how big a hit it really was.  Billboard charted it at #6 ... while Cash Box placed it at #16 and Music Vendor at #33.  A discrepancy of 27 places is a pretty huge spread on the charts! 
Zacherle hosted his own television show "Shock Theater" on Philadelphia's WCAU. 
Although the series only lasted a year, it was at this time that John was befriended by Dick Clark, who brought him into the studio to record his only hit record.  (Clark, whose "American Bandstand" television series was also based in Philadelphia, regularly mined the talents of Cameo / Parkway, making huge music and television stars of artists like Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Dee Dee Sharp, The Orlons, and many others.) 
In 1958, Zacherle moved to New York City, changed the spelling of his last name to Zacherly and hosted a new television program called Zacherly At Large.  He later hosted other childrens' programs before moving to radio, where he worked at WNEW, WPLJ and WXRK-FM.  (kk) 

And, speaking of The Philly Sound (and Halloween!), our FH Buddy Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon seems to be getting a lot of mileage out of the new track he recorded for Svengoolie's television program, especially here in Chicago where Sven has been a TV staple for many, many years.  (Of course I don't think the fact that Halloween was last week hurt things at all either!!!) 

Here's a new article submitted by FH Reader Tom Cuddy ...  

I'm hoping that some of our readers can help out our friend, noted Beatles Historian Bruce Spizer, with this request ... 

Kent -
I am looking for high resolution images of KRLA and KJR charts from the summer of 1967 that list tracks from the Sgt. Pepper album. These would cover June, July and possibly August. Please put out the word to your followers that specialize in local radio station surveys.
Thanks as always for your help.
Please email me with what you have (he is looking specifically for Sgt. Pepper album titles that appeared on a weekly Top 40 radio station chart) and I will pass them along.  Thanks, all!  (kk) 

And, since we're Helping Out Our Readers ... 

Hello Kent,
My name is Nick Black and your name was given to me by an internet friend.  
I host a bio show on Australian radio station 88.3 Southern FM called Purple Haze, and we also podcast our previous shows. 
We concentrate on musical guests whose career originated in the 1960s or 1970s, and we are planning to do a show and have as guest Sal Valentino of Beau Brummels / Stoneground fame and are trying to track down his first officially released recording titled:
"I Wanna Twist b/w Lisa Marie" (info here:) 
I'm hoping if you could put out a call to your readers / followers to see if someone had a digital copy they could upload (or email) as this would be an important part of the show to play.  
Many thanks if you can help us out, and feel free to peruse our list of podcasts:  
Best wishes from Australia, 
I reached out to the always reliable Tom Diehl on this one ... let's see if he (or any of our other readers) can come up with a copy of these rare, early tracks.  (kk)

Loved your Lesley Gore piece ... I liked the local connection she mentioned when she met the writers of 'You Don't Own Me' ... for the record, she referred to Gene Kaye from WAEB...  

Hi Kent,
Enclosed is a video of a Class Act paying tribute to another Class Act ... Burton Cummings salutes Bobby Vee.  
I also ran across this video on YouTube this evening.  Who better to tell Bobby Vee's story than Bobby Vee himself!  
Tim Kiley  

I was saddened to hear of Bobby Vee's passing.  
He didn't know me, but his songs always were, and still are, among my favorites both professionally and personally. He and I also had some interesting personal and professional parallels. 
To begin with, he and I are within a year of being the same age. He's from North Dakota; I from South Dakota. His interest in music was in a strong developmental stage at the age of 12; my interest in radio was also in an equally strong developmental stage at the same age of 12. Both of us as young Guys continued into the early 1960s with his highly successful professional singing career really starting to take off while my highly successful on-air radio personality career was also just beginning to rise. 
Those of us on the air in Rapid City, South Dakota, at the time during those early 60s felt a special connection to Bobby being in that he was a "Dakota Brother" and we probably mentioned that fact on the air maybe even a bit too often! "And now, here's Bobby Vee from Fargo, North Dakota!" we'd say as though he lived right down the street! Professionally, I looked forward to playing his new releases and loved playing his hit songs on my radio show. And at the same time, as a high school kid, I personally loved hearing his songs on the radio during my buddies and my semi-regular evenings of cruising the main drag of my hometown looking to hook up with our girlfriends or other local high school girls.  
Yeah, he sang about those girls and the stories of those we knew and loved! "Devil or Angel," "Rubber Ball," "Take Good Care of My Baby," "Run to Him," Sharing You," "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" all of which just sounded so good and so relatable even coming through those small five inch, low quality car radio speakers! (And those of us who were ahead of our time with additional rear car speakers, well, what more needs to be said?!)  
So whether through those tinny speakers of our individually cool, customized cars or the much fuller-sounding speakers in the radio studio, his songs were just so much fun to hear!   
And, to me, still are. 
So my condolences to Robby Vee and his family. I'm pretty sure they're aware of the impact Bobby had on so many of us, and I just wanted to share my Bobby Vee story with you and, hopefully, them. 
Chuck Buell  
Clearly, Bobby touched the lives of a lot of people over they years ... he will be missed.  (kk) 

I never really thought about it until I read your Bobby Vee piece the other day ... but you're right ... it had to be hard to deal with the mixed emotions he must have felt after one of his idols, Buddy Holly, died and he had to take the stage in his place the following evening. 
Bobby owed the whole start-up of his career to filling in for Buddy after that fatal plane crash ... the loss of one career and the start of another.
It's funny because when I first had my chance to interview Bobby in what had to be 2000 or 2001, that was the very first question I thought of to ask him.  I know I would certainly have struggled with that ... but once Buddy was gone, there really wasn't anything you could do about it.
Bobby seemed like a pretty down to earth guy ... so I'm sure there were times he must have felt a little guilty and somewhat undeserving ... but the fact of the matter is, he carved out his OWN career that earned him 17 of his own Top 50 Hits ... and that's something he accomplished using his own talents.  (kk)

Here's another one of them ... a #3 Hit from early 1963 ...

Vintage Vinyl News reported this week that Chad and Jeremy were bringing their career to a close.  (They performed their last show together on October 31st in Tacoma, Washington.)
But Forgotten Hits Readers knew that two weeks ago, thanks to Shelley Sweet-Tufano's concert review first published here on October 19th.  (I feel SO bad that I wasn't able to catch their Chicago-area appearance at SPACE a few days later.)
It sounds like the traveling has just become too much for them at this age ... and Jeremy Clyde has commitments throughout the next year and a half that have him performing on a different stage as an actor ... the profession he's become most associated with since the duo's initial chart success during The British Invasion.  (Chad Stuart's health has also come into question recently by several FH Readers.)  We wish them both the best ... and continued success in their future ventures.  As we've learned over the years, never say never ... that next British Invasion Reunion Tour may be right around the corner!  (kk)

John Madara said the song YOU DON'T OWN ME was originally written for singer Maureen Gray. Remember her? The only record by her that I have is a not too big a record back in 1962 called DANCIN' THE STRAND on Landa Records.
Can you believe that Chuck Berry is 90 years old?
Kent, you probably have heard this but I saw, quite by accident last night, that John Zacherley, aka the Cool Ghoul, passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 98. His biggest record I guess was DINNER WITH DRAC back in 1958 on Cameo. I remember a few times seeing him on American Bandstand when they did a special Halloween show. Never had the privilege of course seeing any of the Shock Theater shows he hosted back in the fifties-sixties.
Finally, with Thanksgiving coming up, I wonder which station in the country will start playing Christmas songs first? Bring on the Ronette's SLEIGH RIDE.
Loved your HOLD THE PHONE tunes the other day. Before I scrolled down to see what you posted, I immediately thought of the Orlon's DON'T HANG UP. You didn't disappoint  Another record I thought of was from 1961 called DADDY DADDY (Got To Get A Phone In My Room). Not a big record nationally, but top ten here in OKC. You probably aren't familiar with it.
Larry Neal  

Petula Clark is now 83 years old and just released another new album this past September.  I ran across this video of a recent performance of hers that I thought you and Tony Hatch would find very impressive, I know I did.  I most recently read a nice review of her new album in Mojo magazine that stated "she always has been beguiling rather than a belter."  She was 33 when she had the hit "Downtown" in 1965, and here we are over 50 years later, and I would say she is still going strong!  
Tim Kiley

The O'Jays are hot again ... and sounding better than ever.  (Have you seen their recent appearance on "Live At Daryl's House"?  OUTSTANDING!)
In fact, they'll be appearing at Star Plaza Theater on New Year's Eve.  (Would LOVE to see that show ... also on the bill are The Chi-Lites and comedian Damon Williams, who TOTALLY cracked us up last year when he opened for George Benson at The Arcada Theatre.) 

Here's a recent piece published on The O'Jays, sent into us by FH Reader Bob Merlis ... 

Eddie Levert, singer    
We started the O'Jays at school in Canton, Ohio, in 1958, but struggled to find our identity and took years to make a breakthrough. At one point, we were doing beach music, playing shows supporting the Dave Clark Five and Sonny and Cher. I’d always thought we’d make a record and be millionaires, so it was a rude awakening.
Then Bill Isles fell in love, said he was going to California for four weeks and never came back, and Bobby Massey quit to become a songwriter and producer. The remaining trio weren’t anything like the O’Jays as people know us now.
Everything changed in 1972, when we met [songwriters and producers] Gamble and Huff and signed to Philadelphia International. They recognised our gospel roots and ability to switch between lead vocals. Kenny Gamble was a prolific songwriter, and Leon Huff could make a piano sound like a whole band. We just clicked. They had dozens of songs and we were able to pick the ones we liked. When we started recording, Love Train didn’t even have lyrics, so Kenny came up with them in five minutes, on the spot.
At that stage, I don’t think any of us had any idea how big that song would become, but by the time we started laying down the vocals, we knew we had a hit. Love Train felt like destiny. It had such perfect, timeless lyrics  that it was almost as if they’d come from God, and we had to deliver them to the people. I was very young, conflicted between my spiritual upbringing and becoming a superstar, but when we made a promotional film on a train that went through a zoo in Griffin Park, California, I felt humbled by the children, who were – and are – our future. To this day, people hear it and want to start a train. At one gig, we played it for 30 minutes, while the audience formed a dancing train that went all the way outside the building.  

Walter Williams, singer  
Gamble and Huff saw us when we supported the Intruders at the Apollo in New York, and were somewhere down the bill. We learned so much from them. You could rehearse a song, think it was finished and in the studio they’d suddenly try a different groove. I watched them dissect each song until it really worked. Eddie and I brought the gospel feeling that we learned at St Mark Baptist church, where my dad was the choir director, my stepmother was the pianist and her sister was the organist. Love Train was the first of our big message songs: “People all over the world (everybody), join hands, start a love train.”
1972 was explosive – Vietnam was rumbling on, the rich were getting richer - so it was the perfect time to sing about social issues. The song mentioned places that were having human rights problems, but in a positive, hopeful way: “The first stop we make will be England … tell all the folks in Russia and China too.” We’ve performed in it England many times, but I’d still love to sing it in Russia or China. 
I was offended when Donald Trump started using the song, supposedly with our involvement, as “Join a Trump train."Oh no we won’t! Our attorneys sent him a cease and desist letter. We’re about unity, not division. Trump says he’s gonna make America great again. I would ask him: “When was it not great for you?” My dad didn’t give me a million dollars. What a joke. I’ve experienced what it’s like being a black man in America and being successful through hard work. 
For most people, the biggest problem is how to cope. You have to learn not to jump off a bridge or put a gun to your head. The timeless message of Love Train is that if we pull together, we can make things better for everyone.
It went to number one and is still the biggest song we’ve ever done. I never get bored of it.

For The Record:  
The O’Jays have had 15 Gold or Platinum RIAA certified records.
They’ve had 6 Top 10 Pop Chart Singles
They’ve had 3 Top 10 Pop Chart Albums
They’ve had 24 Top 20 R&B Singles, 7 of which went to #1
They’ve had 15 Top 10 R&B Albums, 4 of which went to #1

Hi Kent,
I want to send my condolences to Mamie and all of RVB442's buddies. He didn't make the "Cover of the Rolling Stone" but proudly got on "Muscle Machines" Cover with his beloved 1966 Olds 442.


A great Oldies Music friend, he will be missed,