Monday, December 12, 2016

Another Monday Morning Quickie

Kent ... 
You won't believe this one.  
Is WCBS-FM Stealing My Ideas??? 
I woke up this morning and turned on my clock radio.  I hear "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys -- followed by "Little Saint Nick." They're calling it "Christmas Bonus."
What's next ? Maybe I'll hear Elvis and The Royal Philharmonic on WCBS-FM.

Then I'll know that they are reading "Forgotten Hits" and stealing my ideas.
That's okay with me. They can use all my ideas if they want to. 
Maybe I could get them to bring back "The Doo-Wop Shop."   Wishful thinking.  
Frank B.  
One thing you'll learn very quickly about radio is that there are no "new ideas" ... everybody just cannibalizes everybody else until the end result is barely a shred of the original concept ... which was probably a GREAT idea at some point until everybody else whittled away at it to make it fit THEIR format. Such is life.  (kk)  

Speaking of "Little Saint Nick", here's a brand new video put together last week for The Beach Boys' classic ...


On February 20, 1962, John Glenn piloted the "Friendship 7" spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States completing a successful three-orbit mission around the earth.  
It inspired me to go deep into my personal archives ~~~

to come up with this.  

Do you remember this obscure, jazzy tribute by William Allen and His Orchestra that soon followed that historical flight?

I remember hearing it on the radio a couple of times, and rushing down to my local record store to get a copy.  I have no idea if it even charted. 
Anyway, it sounded like ~~~ the attached audio!

By the way, do you know who this Allen guy was? I couldn't find any information on him.


CB ( which stands for "Cosmonaut Boy!" )

I can't find a record of this charting anywhere ... where'd you grow up?!?!  Nor have I ever heard it (or OF it) before ... evidently just a quick cash-in on Glenn's flight.  Anybody else know anything about it?

I also found this on Wikipedia ...  
In June 1961, Laurie Records issued a 45 rpm single featuring William Allen and Orchestra entitled "Space Flight Freedom 7"  It consisted of recreations of the tower to astronaut communications spoken over an instrumental backing. The Mercury-Redstone 3 mission was dramatized in the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon episode "Can We Do This?" (starring Ted Levine as Alan Shepard), as well as in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff, and Philip Kaufman's movie The Right Stuff based on the book. (In Kaufman's film, Scott Glenn plays Shepard.)

Speaking of John Glenn, I heard Scott Shannon do a very nice tribute to him on The True Oldies Channel on Friday.  Glenn lived an INCREDIBLE life ... and hitting 95 is pretty damn good these days.  He referred to him as a "true hero", a word thrown around far too easily these days.  (Another report I read on line referred to Glenn as perhaps the last great American hero ... maybe Joey Scarbury should write a song about him!Seriously, though, what an incredible career.  (kk)

The only astronaut record I've got in my collection (other than "Baja" BY The Astronauts) is THIS gem from 1961 ...


Today a song out of the clear blue sky came to my mind which would have fitted right in with your KISS songs a few days ago. Now Kent, this is a song that NOT IN A MILLION YEARS (as singer Linda Scott would have said), would you have thought of. How about Paul Anka's 1962 song ESO BESO (THAT KISS). Kent, admit it, this is one you wouldn't have thought of. Have a great weekend.


Actually, I DID think of this song ... but figured nobody would get it!!!  So I took it off the list. (I kinda like this tune!  In fact, I think Paul Anka performed it when we saw him at The Arcada Theatre a few months back.) 
Another was Paul McCartney's "Only One More Kiss" from his "Red Rose Speedway" album, a track they used to play on WBBM-FM here quite a bit back in 1973.  (I'll bet even Paul has forgotten about this one!  lol)  kk

You are my man! To be honest with you, I thought in the very back of my mind you would have thought of it, but wasn't 100% sure. Again, have a great weekend.
FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent me a link to an article he found in the Beaver County Times in Pennsylvania ... but because the article was over 24 hours old, they wouldn't let me link to it (or, to do so ... and to enable you guys to read it ... you would have each had to subscribe to their online newspaper service or pay $1.99 to view!!!)
Thankfully, the author, Scott Tady, sent me a copy of his piece so all our oldies fans (and Lou Christie fans) could check it out.  So THANK YOU, Scott ... and Lou ... for helping to allow us to keep this great music alive!  (kk)  

Hi Kent,
I've sent your request to our circulation folks to see what they say. As a backup I emailed you the words below. 
I'm no fan of our paywall, believe me, though there's an interesting irony here as you'll read in my Lou interview. 
Lou makes the point of today's musicians celebrating how many free listens their songs get. Lou says "They BOUGHT our records." 
Newspapers and musical artists are in the same boat with a public that expects the product to be give away free! 

Beaver Valley chart-topper Lou Christie headlines Heinz Hall

By Scott Tady
Lou Christie could fill a few chapters of his autobiography with stories of his Beaver Valley upbringing. 
He fondly recalls his family's farm with chickens, goats and crab apple trees off Spring Run Road in Crescent Township, and remembers the late hours he put in at his dad's pizza shop in South Heights where the teenage Lou developed Stallone-sized biceps stirring huge vats of flour with water.
From mandatory 10 a.m. Sunday church at St. Catherine's in Crescent, to Christmas shopping in Ambridge, to his choir days at Moon Area High School where he formed his first band, the valley left an indelible mark on the man who would top the Billboard charts and sell millions of records.
"I smile when I hear these young singers today say 'Oh my gosh, I had a million people listen to my song,'" Christie said. "I'm like 'Listen to your song?' A million people bought our records."
Fans around the globe purchased Christie singles like "Two Faces Have I," "The Gypsy Cried," "Rhapsody in the Rain" and his 1966 Billboard No. 1 "Lightnin' Strikes," all of which fans can expect to hear Wednesday when he headlines Heinz Hall.
Christie has performed at Pittsburgh's Benedum Center and has fond memories of the late-great Syria Mosque, but says this will be his first Heinz Hall concert, dubbed the "Rock n Rolldies Showcase" with a lineup that includes The Impressions, Dee Dee Sharp, Eugene Pit and the Jive Five and Pittsburgh's Johnny Angel and the Halos led by Jack Hunt, who also will emcee. Tickets are $34.50 and $54.50 with some limited $129.50 ones, available by calling 412-392-4900 or online at
Eight musicians, including four horn players, will back up Christie, along with two female singers he calls the Crayons.
Christie flies into town on Tuesday from New York, irked by the layover he faces in Boston, with dinner plans with friends and family at a Cranberry Township restaurant. 
His time here will be short, but the man born as Lugee Sacco would like to do a drive-by through the old Crescent neighborhood where he grew up in a musically inclined household and developed an instant love for singing.
"I thought everyone could sing," said Christie, whose first public performance came in his first-grade Christmas pageant where he sang "Away in a Manger."
"When I finished I heard all this applause, and I was like, 'Oooh, what is this?' This is kind of cool."
At Moon High he sang most of the choir's solos, and formed a band, The Crewnecks, with another guy and two girls (one from that same first grade pageant).
"We wore crewneck sweaters with a big felt 'C' for Crewnecks," Christie said.
He then formed Lugee & The Lions, which achieved a regional hit with "The Jury."
With support from Pittsburgh radio deejays, Lugee & The Lions played numerous record hops.
"Many were in church basements or school gymnasiums. We'd do five a week, maybe three or four on a weekend," Christie said. "You'd be lip syncing or singing along with the record, which of course would sometimes start skipping, but everyone would just have us start all over again."
It didn't take long for his high-soaring falsetto to attract attention of music industry professionals. Graduating from Moon in 1961, he left for New York and a year later notched his first Billboard hit, the Frankie Valli-inspired "Gypsy Cried," agreeing to change his name to the less-ethnic sounding Lou Christie.
"Lightnin' Strikes" cemented his everlasting fame; a one-of-a-kind song of shifting dynamics with mixed lyrical messages about trust and temptation conveyed in lines like "Nature's takin' over my one-track mind / Believe it or not, you're in my heart all the time." Christie particularly shines in the high-energy chorus with towering falsettos that for decades have spurred countless amateur sing-alongs in cars, showers and anywhere else where no one might be watching.
Christie hits some daunting notes, and said Tuesday in a phone interview that his voice is still going strong thanks to his lifestyle.
"I'm not a liquor drinker and I don't smoke or go out to places where the music is so loud you have to shout to have a discussion," Christie said. "That doesn't interest me. I live a peaceful life, and I think that helps."
He's honored to have been a 2015 inductee into the Pittsburgh Rock Legends, and though his schedule prevented him from attending that year's ceremony at the Hard Rock Cafe, he shared a video greeting along with a music video for his new single "Drive-In Dreams."
"That really made me feel good. Time moves on and people forget about you after many years, so it's great to be honored like that," Christie said. "When you're performing in Wales and England or traveling through the South and beating yourself up with such a busy schedule for years you start to wonder does anyone really know what I'm out there doing, other than the fans, who are so dedicated. That's the nicest part of my career. I've had incredibly devoted fans."
Among them is Hollywood director Barry Levinson, who chose Christie's version of "Beyond the Blue Horizon" to punctuate a scene where Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman are driving across the country in the Oscar-winning "Rain Man."
"It's the turning point in that movie, which is very cool that Barry Levinson thought of me right there," Christie said.
Christie said "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (his last hit) also appears memorably in 1993's "A Home of Our Own," with Kathy Bates cranking it loudly on her car radio in defiance of her children's wishes.
Christie has plenty of insights like that to share, though he's not sure how many he can get to at Heinz Hall.
"It all depends on how much time they give me," he said, uttering the last half of that sentence in a playful singsong voice.
He's glad he gets to be back home during Christmas season recalling childhood excursions to Ambridge, where his father was raised.
"Going to Ambridge was a big deal then, yet alone Pittsburgh," Christie said. "Every couple of weeks we'd go across the river to do some shopping. For Christmas the town was so much brighter, with all these lights strewn above the streets. It was like going through a tunnel of lights there on Duss Avenue."
Christie keeps ties with western Pennsylvania, like with last year's "The Soldier," a song he spearheaded in collaboration with other well-known Pittsburgh singers like Donnie Iris, Joe Grushecky, Jimmy Beaumont and Jimmie Ross. "The Soldier," sold at Giant Eagles, raised money for the Hope For the Warrior veterans' charity.
And when it came time to record 2015's "Drive-In Dreams,"  Christie made sure he chose a Pittsburgh area studio.
"I wanted to get some of that Beaver Valley blood going."
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times.  He has been the Times' entertainment editor and columnist since 1997. His left ear has been ringing since the Judas Priest - Iron Maiden show at the Civic Arena in 1982.  He can be reached at
I explained to Scott that the downside to an article like this (with a "pay per view" caveat) is that it only sees a limited audience ... unless you're a "local" in Beaver Valley who is already planning on going to the concert, the chain only reaches so far. (Hopefully you'll entice a few more readers to buy tickets along the way ... which is the whole purpose of any advance promotion ... but after that, it has served its purpose and is pretty much forgotten.)
Now it just may so happen that Lou Christie may choose to also post this on HIS site ... which again will reach every Lou Christie fan who happens to visit ... but there are thousands ... if not millions of OTHER oldies fans out there who love Lou Christie's music ... and oldies music ... but just didn't happen to think of him today ... that will still miss this piece and that's a shame.
That's the really nice thing about our website ... it has literally thousands of readers around the globe, who absolutey LIVE for this kind of thing ... so now your work is reaching a FAR greater audience through our site ... where it will REMAIN posted from this point forward.
So seriously, Scott, thanks again for allowing us to share with the folks to whom it'll mean the most.  (kk)

Sounds like there's a bad batch of DVD's floating around out there for the new Ron Howard / Beatles film "Eight Days A Week". (Yep, guess who got one!)
I ordered the deluxe edition with both the full theatrical movie along with 100+ minutes of bonus footage ... but all that came inside the case was the bonus disk.  Apparently Amazon has been issuing refunds for weeks now due to the packaging defect.
Problem is now all I've got is the bonus disk - and I'm reluctant to go out and buy another copy for fear of what may (or may not!) really be inside the package.  (Amazon admitted that they couldn't fulfill a reorder at this time because, by all appearances, the box is the real deal ... you don't know what's REALLY inside until you bring it home and open it up yourself!  Anybody else had any issues with this hot new release?  (kk)