Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Saturday Survey (March 10th)

3-8-68 WKNX  -  Saginaw, Michigan 

Located in middle Michigan not far from Great Lake Huron, if memory serves me right, our FH member Bob Stroud grew up getting some of HIS rock 'n roll roots listening to this station in Saginaw.  

This is the first of our '68 charts to feature a true psychedelic song at #1!  The top 10 here is almost as diverse as could be.  Psychedelia, C&W, garage, R&B, instrumentals, soul, bubblegum, pop, soundtrack hits, Brit invasion, bluegrass!!!  Amazing and great to see and hear.  

Two of our FH stars are featured with songs that did not reach their potential hit status nationally, but managed to hit regionally all over the nation, both cashing in on the bubblegum sound.  

Trying to shake the Snoopy image momentarily, "I Say Love" was the Royal Guardsmen's new 45 from an album I received for Christmas, 1968 ("Snoopy and His Friends") 

And Tommy Roe's "Dottie I Like it" got lots of airplay in the Midwest states!
-- Clark Besch

I'm not sure I'd call this week's #1 Record a bona-fide psychedelic hit ... but it IS cool to see this record at #1.  (The Balloon Farm record falling down the chart may be a more appropriate choice!)

LOTS of Bubblegum happening here ... The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Ohio Express and, to a degree, The Monkees, Tommy Roe, Herman's Hermits and, on this track anyway, The Troggs.

I like the Orpheus debut at #31 and it's cool to see the Flatt and Scruggs Bonnie and Clyde tune charting, too.

Raymond LeFevere's  "Soul Coaxing" is a frequent Forgotten Hits request ... so let's feature a few of these this week.

THIS WEEK IN 1968:   
3/4/68:  Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams of The Temptations end up in a Somerset, Pennsylvania, hospital after an icy car crash

3/5/68:  Wildman Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis opens in “Catch My Soul,” a rock musical version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” in Hollywood, California.  He plays the part of Iago.

Also on this date, sales of “Simon Says” reach the million mark, earning The 1910 Fruitgum Company their first gold record.

3/8/68:  Promoter Bill Graham opens The Fillmore East in New York City.  Opening night features Albert King, Tim Buckley and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Elvis’ movie “Stay Away Joe” opens that same day.  (I’ve never seen this one!)

3/10/68:  The Fifth Dimension perform “Up Up And Away” and “Monday Monday” Live from Caesar’s Palace, on The Ed Sullivan Show

I asked Barry Winslow of The Royal Guardsmen and Tommy Roe about their obscure 1968 hits ... 

While neither one of these tracks made much of a dent in the national charts, BOTH arts would come back in a very big way in the not so distant future ... 

Hi Barry!
We're featuring one of your songs in this week's Saturday Surveys feature and thought you might want to comment on this track ...

Clearly this was a break-away from the Snoopy mold (as were "Airplane Song" and "Wednesday") ... but then you went back to the Charles Schultz well one more time for "Snoopy For President" ... was that a move more designed to go for the "sure hit" after "Airplane," "Wednesday" and "I Say Love" didn't fare as well on the chart?  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Well, Sir, we enjoyed our time with the pup ... and wanted to "expand our horizons" ... but being under contract, we didn't have a lot of say in the matter.  And I doubt there was much money spent on promotion either.  T'was all fun, though, and it gave our audiences a chance to see that
we could do something besides novelty stuff.

Keep up the super work, Kent ...
Take care my friend,

Hi Tommy -
Hope you're doing well.
I know you've told me before that you've considered yourself retired (or at least SEMI-retired) for the last several years now ... but it's still hard to see it in print, knowing how much joy your music has brought to so many people.  But I also understand your need to stay close to home right now.  I hope you'll enjoy your leisure time ... and still pop in every now and again to let us know how you're doing ... and comment on any special memories our service may inspire.
So, with that thought in mind, I just wanted to let you know that we'll be featuring one of your tunes, "Dottie, I Like It" as part of our new Saturday Surveys Series, and I wondered if you might care to make a comment on it.  
(This one was kinda like the last big "fail" before the HUGE comeback with "Dizzy".)  
Had you considered that maybe your time had passed after a streak of a couple of years without a hit record?
Did you continue to write and record in the hopes of something catching on ... or perhaps experiment with a new "niche" to see if you could break thru again on the charts?  (Turns out the successful niche was the OLD niche ... a return to the bubblegum sound propelled "Dizzy" all the way up to the top of the charts where it stayed for a month!!!)
Hi Kent ... 
Yes, after “Sweet Pea” and “Hooray For Hazel,” which were both top 10  Billboard hits in 1966, I recorded two experimental albums, “Phantacy,” and “It’s Now Winters Day.” 
“It’s Now Winters Day” was a moderate hit but didn’t really set the charts on fire. So in 1967 and '68, I was in No Hits Land and “Dottie I Like It” was my first attempt to get back on the bubble gum train which had worked so well for me in 1966. It charted but came up short. But at least I felt I was back on track with Dottie. 
Then in 1969 I started writing with my friend Freddy Weller, who had just joined Paul Revere and the Raiders as their new guitarist. Our first effort as a song writing team was “Dizzy.” 
Need I say more, I was back in the charts big time when “Dizzy” topped the Billboard charts at number one for four weeks. With my second number one after “Sheila” in 1962, Freddy and I then went on to write the follow up to Dizzy, and my forth gold record, “Jam Up And Jelly Tight.” 
Thanks to the  bubble gum genre I created with “Sweet Pea” in 1966, I was back on the hit train with “Dizzy” and “Jam Up And Jelly Tight" in 1969. 
Thanks Kent!