Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tuesday This And That

The Global Take-Over Has Begun!!!
Me-TV-FM has been talking about expanding thru syndication since last year … and they’ve just signed their first station out of Saginaw, Michigan.  (Soon the whole world will discover the unique programming we’ve been enjoying here in Chicago for the past two-and-a-half years!)

Full details below, courtesy of FH Reader Tim Kubat:

When Susan and Philip Bernstein’s Northern States Broadcasting closes on its $175,000 acquisition of Catholic 1250 WHHQ Bridgeport / Saginaw, MI, from Ave Maria Communications in the next few weeks, it will become the first syndicated affiliate of the Soft Oldies “MeTV FM” format. 
Heard on 87.7 WRME-LP Chicago and made available in syndication by Envision Radio Networks last year, the station will also adopt a set of call letters recent discarded in Chicago: WJMK. Co-owner / Station Manager to be Philip Bernstein told Robert Feder, “We are excited to bring the Tri-Cities the proven Me-TV music format, which attained ratings far surpassing the heritage stations in Chicago in only one year of being on the air.”
Congratulations to all parties concerned.  The “Me Revolution” has begun!  (kk)

The True Oldies Channel has disappeared here in Milwaukee. The music genre (pop, rock and R&B oldies) seems the same but it’s now called “FONZ-FM”. I guess the “Happy Days” will never end here in Brew City.
Bob Verbos
Hmmm … I’ll have to ask Scott Shannon about that.  (Then again maybe Me-TV-FM is soon to be headed YOUR way, too!!!)  Stay tuned.  (kk)

And talk about your radio legends ... 

Robert Feder saluted one of OUR favorites, Bob Stroud, this past week as Bob celebrates 40 YEARS on the air here in Chicago.  (And we’ve followed him from start to finish … back to the old WMET days on thru The Loop, WCKG and WXRT … we were there the morning he launched The Drive back in 2001 … and have stuck with him thru thru every move he’s made … and we’ve got the Rock And Roll Roots CD’s to prove it … including the ULTRA-rare, hard to get CD 94.7 Volumes 1, 2 and 3 editions!!!) 

Just last week Frannie referred to Stroud as the consummate deejay …

>>>I love an informed, low-key presentation that showcases and enhances the music; knowledgeable commenting and sharing of accurate information and experiences.  The radio personality who is a master of this format is Bob Stroud of Chicago’s 97.1, The Drive. Stroud is perfection on the air: classy, well-informed, mature, professional. He makes the radio listening experience a real pleasure for those who truly love and appreciate music and musicians. It is a solid relief to know that in listening to a Stroud show, one will not hear prank calls, embarrassing “discussions” of inappropriate bodily functions, or insane cackling from some lame toady in the background.

We couldn’t agree more.

And Feder says that Bob will be entertaining The Stroud Crowd for awhile longer … he just signed a long-term deal with The Drive extending his contract thru several more years.

We love ya, Bob.  40 Years?!?!?  Seriously?!?!?  
Damn, it doesn’t seem a day over … 39 ¾!!!

Here’s another one of those great dance compilation videos, ‘60’s Style!

It must have been a slow news week ...
It was revealed last week that actor Macaulay Culkin lost his virginity to The Beatles’ White Album.  (I’m not sure if his pick-up line, “Why don’t we do it in the road,” helped him or hindered him during this big event.)
In either case, we’re putting together a very special 50th Anniversary Salute to The Beatles’ White Album to be run later this year … and our challenge to YOU … our faithful Forgotten Hits Readers … is …
If you had to get The White Album down to a single disk … 16 tracks … could you do it?  And if so, what would those tracks be?
Send us your responses and we’ll add them to this upcoming feature.  (kk)

And speaking of The Beatles, both surviving members, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, made news headlines last week.

Ringo, of course, was knighted … and then he announced the new line-up and tour schedule for this summer’s All-Starr Band tour.

Appearing for the first time will be Graham Gouldman of 10cc.  Returning artists include Colin Hay (of Men At Work), Steve Lukather (of Toto), Gregg Rolie (of Santana), Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette.

The tour kicks off in Europe and then wraps up here in The States.  (Ringo’s All-Starr Band will perform at The Chicago Theatre on September 22nd)

Complete concert dates are shown below:
June 2 - Atlantic CityNJ, USA - Borgata Casino Event Center
June 6 - ParisFrance - L'olympia
June 8 - GrollooNetherlands - Holland Blues Festival
June 9 - FlensbergGermany - Flens Arena
June 10 - HamburgGermany - StadPark
June 13 - HelsinkiFinland - Kaisaniemi Park
June 15 - HorsensDenmark - Lunden
June 16 - BerlinGermany - Tempodrom
June 17- ZwickauGermany - Stadhalle
June 19 - PragueCzech Republic - Congress Hall
June 20 - ViennaAustria - Stadhalle
June 23- Tel AvivIsrael - Menorah
June 26 - BarcelonaSpain - St. Jordi Club
June 28- MadridSpain - WiZink Center
June 29 - La CarunaSpain - Coliseum
July 1 - BilbaoSpain - Bizkia Arena
July 4 - Esch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg - Rockhal
July 6 - Monte CarloMonaco - Sporting Complex
July 8 - LuccaItaly - Piazza Napoleone
July 9 - MarosticaItaly - Piazza Degli Scacchi
July 11 - RomeItaly - Auditorium Parco Della Musica, Cavea
Sept 1 - TulsaOK, USA - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Sept 2 - RogersAR, USA - Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
Sept 3 - Kansas CityMO, USA - Starlight Theatre
Sept 5 - AmesIA, USA - TBA
Sept 7 - St. LouisMO, USA - The Fox Theatre
Sept 8 - MilwaukeeWI, USA - TBA
Sept 9 - South BendIN, USA - Morris Performing Arts Center
Sept 11 - KetteringOH, USA - Fraze Pavilion
Sept 13 - New YorkNY, USA - Radio City Music Hall
Sept 14 - Saratoga SpringsNY, USA - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Sept 15 - WallingfordCT, USA - The Toyota Oakdale Theatre
Sept 17 - BostonMA, USA - Bosch Center Wang Theatre
Sept 19 - PittsburghPA, USA - Heinz Hall
Sept 21 - Northfield ParkOH, USA - Hard Rock Rocksino
Sept 22 - ChicagoIL, USA - The Chicago Theatre
Sept 23 - St. PaulMN, USA - Ordway Center for Performing Arts
Sept 25 - DenverCO, USA - Paramount Theatre
Sept 27 - San DiegoCA, USA - Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Sept 28 - San JoseCA, USA - City National Civic
Sept 29 - Los AngelesCA, USA - The Greek Theatre

And Paul McCartney made headlines when he joined the March For Our Lives Anti-Gun Demonstration in New York City, stating that he “lost one of his best  friends right around here due to guns.”  (John Lennon, of course, was murdered on December 8, 1980, by a crazed fan with a handgun.)

From The Beatles to Elvis …

March 25th marked the 57th Anniversary of Elvis’ concert at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii …it was all staged as a Benefit Concert for the U.S.S. Arizonal Memorial.
Here’s a great clip commemorating this event, sent in FH Reader Frank B … (word is Elvis donated $5000 of his own money to the cause.)

Thought you'd get a kick out of this … probably 1966 or ’67.
Fred Glickstein

Yeah Fred, I remember going down to the Esquire Hotel with you to say hello and visit Mark and Howard ... interesting couple o'guys, man. Lots o'fun!
Tom Webb

Tom & Fred,
Believe it or not, I verified thru a calendar of 1965 that Saturday, December 11th, was in 1965.  This was before Tom (and Frank Posa) were in For Days & A Night or The Flock.
Nick Vitullo

Wow, Nick and Tom!!! Thanks for the detective work and good memory. 
1965 was the year I graduated High School.

Yeah Nick, you're the man with the dates. Maybe a later tour? That whole period seems "As If In A Dream" which, by the way, is the title of my next instrumental album coming out sometime around the middle of this year. It's featuring some really great musicians from the Tucson and Phoenix areas as well as California and Oregon ... some real fun stuff. Thanks for all the dreams. Keep an eye on my Facebook band page. I'll be posting things as they are in action.  

Congrats to all of us for having survived “in the day”!  Timing of the event on the poster brought back memories … 
As soon as we were done with our set, I changed and ran to the back wall of Arie Crown to catch Jeff Beck on lead guitar with the Yardbirds; wow!!!!!!  Also coincidentally, this concert just about matched the first few weeks of any of our cumulative Chicago bands’ reaching the airwaves = initial airplay for us was during Thanksgiving week, 1965.  Proud to say that we, NC6, opened the door and have had these three charts on my computer forever so decided to share this morning from workplace (still at the desk fulltime).  Shadows came next with Gloria as I recall but we beat ‘em to the charts by eight weeks and, if not for Lou Christie (…sigh), might have topped WLS two days short of 51 years to the date my first grandchild was born!      
Ray Graffia, Jr. 
The New Colony Six

Same Nehru jacket still fits me from the picture sleeve for our 45 released in 1967 to our last concert 11-25-17 (Arcada Theatre, St. Charles, IL, and returning there again in April with Cornerstones-of-Rock as per details here:  http://www.arcadalive.com/event/cornerstones-of-rock-american-garage-april/) !!!

And, speaking of our Local Heroes, have you seen the new TLX car commercial that has “Vehicle” playing in the background?  (It’s kinda subtle but it’s definitely there!!!)  kk

FH Reader Frank B sent in this vintage 20/20 clip on Jackie Wilson … another sad and tragic tale of rock and roll …

CFZM Toronto did a big three-hour thing three years ago celebrating Ronnie Hawkins' 80th birthday. This was a live party-interview event with Ronnie present and lots of big-time Canadian musicians dropping by or phoning in to say something to Ronnie. The video was here http://www.zoomerradio.ca/blogs/station-blog/dont-miss-our-ronnie-hawkins-80th-birthday-bash-live-to-air-this-friday/  but it seems to have been removed from their website.
Last year Ronnie threw a party at his farm, and that video is here: http://www.zoomerradio.ca/videos/ronnie-hawkins-threw-last-hoorah-party-farm-zoomer-radio/
David Lewis

From FH Reader John LaPuzza …
For most of us Boomers:

'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' Genealogy: What You Don't Know - Rolling Stone 
kk …
It's long, but interesting.  Reminds me of the story behind "House Of The Rising Sun."
Frank B.
We did a piece on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" back in 2006 … I haven't read this Rolling Stone piece yet but my guess is we came to the same conclusion … will have to check this out!  (In fact, we ran clips of several different versions, including The Weavers' hit, the original Solomon Linda Zulu Chant, the #1 Hit recorded by The Tokens, the Robert John remake hit version from the early '70's and a [then] recent remake by the popular boy-band N*Sync.)  kk


Thanks to a connection made by Laura Eckert of Pro Talent Promotions, I've been talking with Mitch Margo of The Tokens recently … and decided to put together a little "background piece" on the group.
The Tokens (first calling themselves The Linc-Tones) were formed in Brooklyn, New York, back in 1955 when Lincoln High Schoolers Neil Sedaka, Jay Siegel, Hank Medress, Cynthia Zolitin and Eddie Rabkin got together to perform at weddings, bar-mitzvahs and school functions.   

Sedaka (who we've covered a number of times before in Forgotten Hits) was considered a child prodigy on the piano ... although he was classically trained (and would eventually attend Julliard), he really loved the new sounds of Rock And Roll and the street-corner harmonies of the up and coming Doo Wop Groups. 

Already writing songs as a teenager, Neil supplied some of the original compositions that this early version of The Tokens performed.  (Because he had a crush on Cynthia Zolitin, the other members of the group felt that he was favoring her by awarding Cynthia all of the lead vocals!) 

Although the other members of the group may have been jealous, they tolerated this arrangement for a while ... after all, Cynthia's Mother knew a man by the name of Happy Goday, who ran a music publishing company in the famed Brill Building ( where Sedaka would eventually land as a staff songwriter!) and he just might be their ticket to fame and fortune!  Goday arranged an audition with Morty Craft of Melba Records, who signed the vocal group to their first recording contract.

Still disenchanted with how things seemed to be going, (the Melba recordings failed to chart), The Tokens eventually parted ways, with Sedaka going off on his own to pursue a solo singing (and songwriting) career and Medress and Siegel forming a NEW group (along with new recruits Warren Schwartz and Fred Kalkstein) called Darrell and the Oxfords.

By 1959, The Oxfords had already recorded a couple of flop singles and Neil Sedaka had already had a few solo Top 40 Hits (including one written for his NEW crush, Carole King, called "Oh, Carol," which topped the charts here in Chicago.  (We featured both "Oh, Carol" and Carole King's reply, "Oh, Neil" awhile back in FH). 

Hank Medress and Jay Siegel figured that they could probably do better on their own than with The Oxfords … perhaps even seek out and produce new talent ... so they returned to their old hunting grounds and soon discovered Phil and Mitch Margo, two brothers who were now attending Lincoln High.  (Incredibly, Mitch was only thirteen years old at the time!)  They started rehearsing together and liked the way things sounded.  They quickly dubbed themselves "Those Guys" and auditioned for a couple of different record companies.  Ironically, it was old pal Morty Craft (now running Warwick Records) who signed the boys to a brand new recording contract. 

Their first effort was the song "Tonight I Fell In Love," which would eventually go to #15 in both Billboard and Cash Box Magazine.  Craft HATED the name "Those Guys," however, and persuaded them to go back to calling themselves The Tokens.  Once Dick Clark got behind their new record, things began to happen very quickly.  With a solid hit record now under their belts, they next moved on to RCA Records, home of ... guess who ... Neil Sedaka! … and, working with famed producers Hugo and Luigi, cut a ten year old Weavers folk tune called "Wimoweh."   

With some quickly-written additional lyrics, The Tokens soon had their first (and only) Number One Hit ... retitled "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," the record raced up the charts.  Collectively, the producers (Hugo and Luigi) and the singers (The Tokens) had come up with a whole new musical style, which caught the ear of virtually all of America ... the record took the country by storm!  It can be said that the combination of the popular new folk trend ... along with their street corner Doo-Wop roots ... made for just the right mixture to create one of the most popular, famous and time-tested #1 Hits of all-time ... but you've also got to give an awful lot of credit to Jay Siegel's soaring falsetto lead vocal ... it simply makes the tune. 

DIDJAKNOW?-1:  Obviously, Brooklyn's Lincoln High School produced some pretty good vocal talent ... but DIDJAKNOW that it was ALSO the setting for the film "The Lords Of Flatbush"???

DIDJAKNOW?-2:  It has been reported for the past forty years that The Tokens took their name from the subway tokens they used to buy in order to ride to Manhattan ... but The Margos told us that their name REALLY came from the expression "A TOKEN Of My Affection."  Cool, huh?!?!?

DIDJAKNOW?-3:  The origin of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" dates back to 1939, when a South African singer named Solomon Linda first recorded a Zulu chant called "Mbube."   Thirteen years later, The Weavers got ahold of the tune and recorded it (with a few new lyrics ... VERY few, in fact) and, as the newly-retitled "Wimoweh," scored a #14 Pop Hit in 1952.  When Hugo and Luigi learned that "Wimoweh" was actually about a lion hunt, they recruited songwriter George Weiss to write new English lyrics and the song became "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which went on to top the U.S. Charts ten years after The Weavers' Top 20 single.  (The following year, that same songwriting trio penned one of Elvis Presley's biggest hits, "Can't Help Falling In Love," this time inspired by an old French tune!!!)

A SPECIAL TREAT:  The Evolution Of A Song:
Thanks to some pretty rare tracked down by FH Reader Hil (aka THEONEBUFF), we are now able to track the evolution of the song that we have all come to know and love as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

Listen first to "Mbube" by Solomon Linda, a 1939 recording of not much more than a Zulu chant.  

In 1953, The Weavers took it to another level when they added a few lyrics to the African beat and released it as "Wimoweh."  

When The Tokens auditioned for RCA Records with their rendition of "Wimoweh," producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore liked it enough to call in songwriter George Weiss and commissioned him to write a complete set of English lyrics, taking the song to its final state.  In hindsight, it's truly amazing to think that each enterprising new producer heard enough of a magical melody in the previous rendition to push it to another level ... but "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" has stood the test of time ... it truly is a rock and roll classic!  

Ten years after The Tokens went to #1 with their Pop Hit version of the song, it became a hit all over again for an artist by the name of Robert John … he took his version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" all the way back up the charts to #2 in 1972.  (John would hit the #1 Spot in both Billboard and Cash Box Magazine seven years later when "Sad Eyes" topped the charts.

DIDJAKNOW? - 4:  The Robert John remake of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was produced by original Tokens Hank Medress and Jay Siegel!!!  How unusual (and intimidating!) it must have been to have your remake of one of the most famous, most popular, best-known songs ever recorded be produced by a couple of the guys who were involved with the recording of the original hit itself!!!

The fact is that after their own successful recording career, The Tokens formed B.T. Puppy Records and, over the years, worked with and / or produced DOZENS of other artists (including recording artists as diverse as The Chiffons, The Happenings, Bob Dylan and Connie Francis) ... and yet STILL found the time to sneak in a comeback record (or two) of their own.  ("I Hear Trumpets Blow" went to #30 in 1966 and "Portrait Of My Love" hit #25 the following year.)

DIDJAKNOW? - 5:  In 1973, Jay Siegel, Mitch Margo and Phil Margo regrouped as Cross County recorded the absolutely AWESOME, slowed-down, acoustic, harmoniously-rich version of the Wilson Pickett classic "In the Midnight Hour" … which gave them ANOTHER Top 20 Hit. 

AND FINALLY:  Here's one more version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" … this one performed by the popular Boy Band N*SYNC.

Some great upcoming shows at City Winery Chicago during the month of April:
April 1st – Christopher Cross
April 2nd – Al Jardine
April 4th – Karla Bonoff
April 6th – The English Beat
April 12th – Berlin (featuring Terri Nunn)
April 13th – Jimmy Webb
April 17th – Whose Live Anyway
April 18th – Max Weinerg
April 19th – Delbert McClinton
April 20th – Kevin Nealon

And don’t forget about the Ann Wilson TV Taping Wednesday Night, April 11th, at The Arcada Theatre.  Special Guests are expected for this concert, which will air later this year on PBS as a “Live From The Arcada” television special.  More details on this (and all the other great shows coming up) at www.oshows.com

Harvey Kubernik talks to Marshall Chess, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Andrew Loog Oldham and Bill Wyman about the legacy of Muddy Waters and the 60th anniversary of his debut album, The Best of Muddy Waters in the brand new issue of Record Collector News.

Got a question for you.
Since Easter Sunday is coming up this week, that also corresponds with April Fool's Day.
I was wondering if any radio stations through the years ever put out an April Fool's Day (week) survey of the songs they were currently playing at the time. It seems to me that maybe years ago you did a feature on this but I can't remember. Can't remember how many songs there are with the word 'fool' in the title.
I know CHUM used to run an April Fool’s Chart with lots of plays on words both with song titles and artist names.
(Here's the one from 1965):

A lot of stations used to use April 1st as an excuse to spotlight novelty tunes.  (Here in Chicago, Me-TV-FM have done this over Thanksgiving Weekend the past couple of years, playing some of the biggest “turkeys” of rock and roll.
We’ve played up the “fool” aspect more often recently … back in 2016 we even did a Sweet 16 Fool List.  (I found at least a hundred songs with the word “fool” in the title when putting together this piece … so yes, a radio station could easily feature a different fool song every half hour throughout the day if they chose to do so.)
But, quite honestly, with April Fool’s Day being a religious holiday this year (first time Easter has fallen on April Fool’s Day since 1956!) I think the trend probably won’t be for anything too novel this time around.  (kk)

And, speaking of turkeys …

kk …

April 2 = WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series

Dr. Johnny Fever is coming to ME-TV
Frank B.
Yep, this was their big announcement a couple of weeks ago.
This is one of those shows that I REALLY wanted to like SOOO bad … and it had its moments … the characters were fun enough (at least for the first two seasons or so) but I just kept thinking that there was SO much more they could have done within such a clever concept.
Still … "With God as my witness … I swear I thought turkeys could fly" is just one of those memorable lines that stays with you forever.
I’m sure I’ll give it another shot once it starts up again.
(And hey, I like the theme song!!!)

Oh yeah … BOOOGER!!!!!  (kk)