Monday, March 12, 2018

A Monday Morning Quickie!

Some GREAT Music Television choices this past Saturday Night if you happened to be home and channel surfing!
With a couple of different PBS outlets available thru our cable service, we had our choice of watching either the Ron Howard Beatles Documentary “Eight Days A Week” or The Bee Gees Live 1989 “One For All” Australian Concert film that we reviewed a few months back, both excellent choices.
But it was AXS TV that really pulled out all of the stops Saturday Night … featuring an entire night of Beach Boys-related programming that included a “Rock Legends” profile of the band, Brian Wilson and Friends live performance at the Venetian in Las Vegas, premiering his “No Pier Pressure” album with TONS of special musical guests, followed by the all-time classic Beach Boys profile film “An American Band,” which was then topped off by an interview with Mike Love, originally aired to coincide with the release of his biography a couple of years ago.
And, for good measure, they even snuck in a “Rock Legends” profile of The Monkees and a concert film of The Monkees’ 50th Anniversary Tour!  Well over eight hours of non-stop musical joy! (kk)

Hi Kent, 
Not sure of the context, but no guilt trips concerning posting Bubble Puppy's "Hot Smoke & Sassafras" as, bottom line, it's a great song and certainly a great example of the Psychedelic Era.   
As posted in Wiki:   
"Bubble Puppy scored a US Top 20 hit in 1969 with their single, "Hot Smoke & Sasafrass." The name was a misheard line lifted from an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies.[3][4] The single peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and number 15 on the RPM chart in Canada. The song also had local successes, for example, reaching #6 on WLS." 
Having grown up in a small town in North Dakota, KOMA - the 50,000 watt blow-torch out of Oklahoma City, was part of my late-night radio menu when they went directional after sundown (thank goodness we were also in the night pattern of WLS as it would have been a shame to miss John "Records" Landecker's Boogie Checks or Larry Lujack's "Farm Reports” booming over the fruited plains" moooooooo)!  I distinctly remember listening to KOMA DJ Sean McKay intro-ing that tune on the air in 1969 and also listening to Larry Neal on Sunday nights. 
Though chart-numbers can't always be taken literally as to song quality, sometimes depending on a group's momentum whether on the way up or past being the flavor of the month, but it's the only barometer we have.  Bubble Puppy's "Hot Smoke & Sassafras" peaked at Number 14 in Billboard while ironically, Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll" peaked at Number 28 in Billboard.  Guess which one showed better in focus groups, made the soundtrack for the Tom Cruise movie "Risky Business, and has mercilessly been burned into the brain of radio listeners in America ("please, please don't play it again, I'll sign zee paper)? 
Enclosed is a video of a Bubble Puppy appearance in 2016.  And you can see, like good Canadian Whiskey (and Burton Cummings), they just got better with age!

Tim Kiley
This is a GREAT clip … amazing to think it’s just from two years ago.  (I wonder what they do to fill out the rest of their set?!?!  Wouldn’t it be cool if they also performed “A Question Of Temperature” by Balloon Farm???  I could almost feel vindicated if they did!!!  Lol)
Thanks, for sharing.  Interesting to see that Wikipedia singled out its WLS showing.  I’m also showing that it reached #4 on the CHUM Canadian Chart … and #13 in Record World.  A classic psychedelic tune if there ever was one.  (Don’t believe me?  Check out our Top 20 Greatest Psychedelic Songs of All-Time as voted on by The Forgotten Hits Readers … this one came in at #10!  (kk)

"Wow, what a bummer," as we used to say in the late 60's.
Another lifelong friend and music icon has passed at age 92.
Russ Solomon, the charismatic and always upbeat giant of retail music sales -- and founder of Tower Records -- died on Sunday at his home in my adopted hometown of Sacramento, CA. Russ and I were both born in San Francisco -- and, as luck would have it, we ended up barely two miles apart when he opened Tower #1 -- Watt Avenue -- in 1960. Russ was 35 and I was 16 and a sophomore at El Camino High School. Both the school, and my home, were within a bike ride from his first store.
For those reading this post who were fortunate to grow up an era of vinyl records and Top 40 AM radio, Tower Records was "Mecca" to us music junkies. It was like a giant 'warehouse,' certainly a music superstore, and better yet, the clerks, including Russ in those early days, shared your passion for music. They knew the entire inventory and Russ had it all: rock, folk, country, blues, jazz, classical, even bluegrass, before that genre became hip. Up until the time of Tower, at least in Sacramento -- and most other cities -- you got your favorite 45's or LP's (if you could afford a $3.99 album) in a small record department of a large department store or '5 and dime,' as Woolworth's, Kresses, and Grants were known. The local Walgreen's Drugs would occasionally purchase hundreds of used juke box 45's from a one-stop and sell them in a large 'bargain bin' for 10 cents. One Saturday while my folks were shopping next door at the Lucky - Cardinal Market, my brother and I found a copy of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" and "That's Alright Mama" by Elvis. Yes, the original Sun 45 for 10 cents!   In fact, that’s how Russ started his career, selling one-stop cut outs in a small section of his father's Tower Drugs location at Land Park Drive and Broadway in Sacramento, at age 16, in 1941. The seed for Tower Records was born in that drug store and even after Tower had expanded to the largest retail record store chain in the world -- with over 200 locations, including nearly 60 stores throughout the world, Russ never lost that childhood passion for music.  He never lost that special twinkle in his eyes, nor his desire to know everything he could about the latest music. On my occasional trips back home, after moving to Nashville in 1974, I would often call or visit Russ at his MTS headquarters in West Sacramento, or we would meet at a local deli where we would have lunch and 'talk records.' He was always eager to find out what was going on in "Music City, USA."
In 1968, when San Francisco was the epicenter of the 'love generation,' and 'acid rock,' Russ opened his Columbus Avenue store and when LA became the center of the rock scene, Russ opened his 'flagship' store on Sunset Blvd. It was a frequent stop for visiting rock icons, like Elton John, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, my buddy, Brian Wilson, and others. Russ had changed the way we bought our music, but, at the same time, was unprepared to compete with 'file sharing,' digital downloading, and the increasing number of 'big box' stores. No, those stores didn't stay open until midnight or 1 AM like Tower, nor did their clerks know music, but it was too late. The competition was just too much and Russ sadly folded his tent in 2006.
If any of you wish to know more about my friend, the amazing Russ Solomon, check out the wonderful HBO documentary by Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, who produced the special "All Things Must Pass -- the Rise and Fall of Tower Records." Colin, like Russ and I, grew up in Sacramento. He knows what an impact Tower had on his life as it had on mine and millions of other music buyers. The documentary is a must see. Russ was one of my very first ticket locations -- as you can see by the December 21, 1963, Beach Boys poster (thanks to my friend, Pete Howard, of Poster Central, for sharing it). Funny side note:  Back in those days of no Ticketmaster screwing the concert goer with 'convenience' fees, I used Russ, local musical instrument stores, and other record shops for ticket locations. No middle men, no scalpers, just a great place to pick up your ticket, maybe buy a record, and hang with friends. At one point, Russ came to me and asked if he could get a small commission on his store's ticket sales. I thought to myself: "here goes a piece of my profit.' I asked Russ what he had in mind. He said, "well, Fred, I am taking a bit of a risk and my clerks are having to take on the extra responsibility of selling your tickets. How about 5 cents a ticket." Sure Russ, you got it:) Later, when Russ started "Tower Productions," to give me a little competition, I took it as a supreme compliment. That's just the way Russ was.
RIP, Russ Solomon. You will be missed, and, hopefully, like Brian Wilson, and the late Sid Bernstein, and at least a dozen others, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will have the good sense to induct America's master 'record man.' After all, Russ had a direct impact on virtually every inductee already in the Hall.
Fred Vail

Doesn’t ‘Dottie I Like It’ have a similarity to ‘Sweet Little Sheila’?
Ok, someone is going to remind me that all women are similar, and we all sound the same. BUT!!!!
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
Well, since both songs were written and sung by the same artist … and Tommy Roe admits that he was trying to get back to his successful bubblegum roots with this record, I’d say it’s a pretty sure thing that there’s at least SOME similarity.  (Fortunately for Tommy, he wasn’t being managed by Saul Zaentz at the time, so wasn’t at risk of being sued for plagiarizing himself!!!  Lol)  kk

Hi Kent,
Well Sir, with “Snoopy For President,” I think they wanted to push us through that rabbit hole one more time because of all the political hoopla that was present ... and maybe that would trigger another Snoopy victory for them.  :O) 
I really didn't have a say in the matter ... the label was the "Boss" ... we
just did what we had to.
Thanks again, Kent ... it's always good to hear from you, my friend.
Blessings -

WLUP signed off as a rocker Friday Night.  Although a number of former jocks stopped by to visit with Steve Dahl during his four-hour simulcast (from 2-6 pm) the one who everyone HOPED would make an appearance DIDN'T ... Garry Meier, Dahl's former partner, was nowhere to be found.  (The saddest part of all is that absolutely NOBODY listening expected him to show up ... which is why it would have been SO much cooler if he had.)
At this point, I don't know that anyone truly understands the deep-rooted hatred that must still exist on Meier's part toward Dahl after all these years ... quite honestly I'm not even sure HE could verbalize it at this point as it seems to be something that only makes sense to him alone.
Suffice to say that without Steve Dahl, the world would likely never have known who Garry Meier was.  (And that's literally true ... when the two hooked up, Garry wasn't even using his real name on the air!  It was Dahl who got him to go with the real deal!)
For some reason, the two clicked and it was radio magic for many, many years.  (And while Dahl is often credited as the wacky, crazy one, Garry had a pretty creative sense of humor and imagination as well.)  They worked well off one another (although Garry sometimes had to reign Dahl in from time to time as the voice of reason.)  However, we also saw a change in Meier over the years (and not in a very good way) when some of the biting became cruel (most notably the whole Larry Lujack exchange when all three were on WLS at the time.)  I cannot help but wonder if, in hindsight, Garry may be a little embarrassed by what he became (especially knowing that Lujack was a radio idol of his.)
Sadly, anyone hoping for a "Dean and Jerry" tearful reunion came away a little bit disappointed ... if not disenchanted.  (After all, if not THIS opportunity, then what would it take?  This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime send off that deserved a bigger moment.  I can't imagine it happening under any more worthy set of circumstances.)
According to Robert Feder, Dahl tried to get Garry to participate all week but it all fell on deaf ears.  (Meier even cancelled other appearances where he was scheduled to reminisce about The Loop, probably because he knew this would be the only question folks were interested in.)
However, on an up note, I AM happy to report that, as the final "live" track aired on the station (before flipping to an all Christian Music format), Steve Dahl closed his show with AC/DC's "Highway To Hell" ... which now goes down in history as the final live track to lead into the format change.  (Atta boy, Steve!)  kk