Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 04 - 29 - 18 )

Probably the biggest news story in the world of pop music last week was the announcement that all four members of ABBA had gotten together to record two new songs … the first time the quartet had worked in the studio together in 35 years.

The occasion was to cut a track for the upcoming live ABBA hologram tour where (in their words) avatars of the band in their 1970’s hey-day will perform their hits “live” on stage to the back-up of a real, on stage band.  (They thought it would be nice to, in addition to their best known hits, be able to offer something “new” to their audience … so TWO tracks were actually recorded.  Man, remember when that used to be called “a single”??!?!!)

ABBA issued this statement regarding this very special announcement:

The decision to go ahead with the exciting ABBA avatar tour project had an unexpected consequence. We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forced again and go into the recording studio. So we did. And it was like time had stood still and that we only had been away for a short holiday. An extremely joyful experience.
It resulted in two new songs and one of them, ‘I Still Have Faith In You,’ will be performed by our digital selves in a TV special produced by NBC and the BBC aimed for broadcasting in December.
We may have come of age, but the song is new. And it feels good
Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid
Stockholm, Sweden, April 27th, 2018

Looking forward to the NBC television special.

Frannie and I are both life-long ABBA fans.  At the time the most successful band on the planet, ABBA chalked up fourteen Top 40 Hits between 1974 and 1982 here in the U.S., where their popularity paled in comparison to most foreign markets.  Six of those made The National Top Ten:  “Waterloo” (#6, 1974); “SOS” (#10, 1975); “Fernando” (#10, 1976); “Dancing Queen” (#1, 1976); “Take A Chance On Me” (#3, 1978) and “The Winner Takes It All” (#8, 1980).  Other hits like “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “The Name Of The Game” and “Does Your Mother Know” kept their music on the radio throughout their eight-year chart run. Their 1976 hit “Mamma Mia” was used as the basis for a successful musical (and then motion picture) starring Meryl Streep … a sequel to which hits theaters this summer.  (kk)

Here's a revealing interview with Fleetwood Mac, about to begin their new tour without Lindsey Buckingham …  

Although the hit-making line-up with Buckingham on board brought the band its greatest success, I've also heard that they will use this line-up change as an opportunity to perform more of their pre-Buckingham material in concert this time around.

The one point they do stress in this new interview is that all of the members are proceeding from this point forward as being the new line-up of the band.

Fleetwood Mac seems to be on a media blitz right now … all of a sudden, they're turning up everywhere, pulling out all the stops to promote the new line-up and tour … in fact, fifty more dates have been added to their itinerary!

And, Sirius XM has just announced the launch of a limited Fleetwood Mac Channel that’ll run throughout the month of May!  It’ll debut on Channel 30 (most recently The Eagles Channel and then The Billy Joel Channel and then, I believe, The Lynyrd Skynyrd Channel) on Tuesday, May 1st.  (kk)

>>>So today's tribute, put together by Clark Besch, a major Chuck Buell fan and regular FH contributor, is just our way of saluting one of the voices that enriched our lives back in the day.  (kk)
Like a Bag of 2 AM Saturday Night White Castles, this is going to take a while to digest!
CB  ( which stands for "Chicago Boy!" )
I’ve seen enough of those crazy stalker movies to be concerned if Clark took down the dozens of pegboards mounted to his walls filled with these newspaper articles in order to put together this little tribute, but the fact of the matter is, he is an avid radio fan and collector who, despite living a considerable distance from The Windy City, grew up listening all the same sounds we enjoyed here in Chicago … and he and his brothers documented EVERYTHING, either on reel-to-reel tape records or scrapbooks filled with radio station surveys and newspaper clippings.  (It is Clark Besch who has provided all of the national surveys being used in this year’s Saturday Surveys feature … which will include a survey from each and every one of our 50 United States before the year is over!)
So please take this as the highest compliment that he shared this collection with our readers today, especially since he had the pleasure of listening to you in a variety of different cities over the years.  (kk)

I don't think I ever heard of Chuck Buell at WLS.  I went to sleep at night listening to Chicken man at 10:15 and woke up to the farm report at 6:00.
I think you’re scrambling your memories a little bit.
Chickenman ran on WCFL beginning in 1966, cashing in on the Batman television craze.  It was the brainchild of Dick Orkin who voiced THOUSANDS of commercials widely heard here in Chicago over the past five decades.  (Orkin just recently passed away.)  The original series ran until about 1970 but was brought back several times after that.
The Farm Report began in the 1920’s and ran early mornings on WLS … in fact, prior to their switch over to Top 40, it may have been what the station was best known for.  (That and the National Barn Dance!)
By the mid-‘60’s it was gone.
Chuck Buell joined the station in 1968 (exactly 50 years ago!)  He was part of the new team of young jocks recruited for the station by Program Director John Rook.  (Others included Kris Erik Stevens, who were then followed by John Records Landecker and Bob Sirott after Rook jumped ship to run WCFL.)  Along with the likes of Super Jock Larry Lujack, Fred Winston and others, WLS continued to rule the airwaves in the teen market.  (Buell left in 1972.)
Check out our Saturday Surveys feature to see the May 6th, 1968 chart announcing Chuck’s arrival in Chicago!  (kk)

I really enjoyed today's FH, especially there at the end with the article about SUNDAY IS A LONG DAY FOR RADIO LISTENERS. Boy, was this ever true for me! 
Here in OKC we had two top 40 stations, WKY and KOMA. They played just the basic tunes on Sunday evenings that they played during the week ... no special programs as such.  Later on in the mid-sixties I had discovered WLS, KMOX, and KOIL in other states and could pick them up at nights if the atmospheric conditions warranted. A lot of these stations, including KOMA as well here in OKC, started having special programs on weekends with themes like "million dollar weekends" with every song being a "solid gold" song. I discovered that your Art Roberts did a two hour show on Sunday nights called HEY BABY, THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG. Years ago when I was doing my Wax Museum on KOMA at my suggestion and to which management agreed, the show came on Sunday nights for five hours beginning at 9 pm OKC time and ending at 2 am. I always thought that the special programming should wind down the weekend on radio. Getting off the air at 2 am Monday morning allowed me to listen to Joe Donovan on WHAS out of Kentucky. He played oldies overnight at that hour (3 am his time), including the odd and obscure records. In fact, on more than one occasion if I heard an odd or rare record I hadn't heard in a long, long time (at least here on OKC radio), I would get it out and play it the following week if I were able to work it in on the particular show that I was doing. Again, another great FH.
Larry Neal

FH Reader Danny Guilfoyle tells us about the recent Rochester (New York) Music Hall Of Fame induction ceremony … which included Paul Simon …

Here are some notes on Rochester talent — this year’s Rochester Music Hall of Fame inductees ... not like Chicago but we’re proud of what we’ve got.

And, speaking of Chuck Buell, he just sent us this …

A few days ago, Kent, you mentioned that the 40th Anniversary of “Grease” was upon us.
You, of course factually, were acknowledging the movie “Grease." But for us purists who were lucky enough to see the first raw presentation, “Grease” first and officially premiered in a dusty and dark subterranean theater in Chicago on February 5th, 1971, SEVEN years earlier!
The theater was the small and intimate Kingston Mines Basement Theater on North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago. While this historic site has since been demolished, it was on one of those cold Chicago February nights in early 1971 that maybe a hundred of us or so walked down those old stairs, filling the limited space as we took to our seats on cold, metal high school football stadium style, armless benches. ( Or maybe they were splinter-laded wooden benches … that part I may not be real clear about! ) But, nevertheless, it was from that authentic seating that we all unknowingly watched with an abundance of fun what would later become one of the most successful musicals in its infancy.

The set was simple … some would say bordering on amateurish … but it did not take away from the rough, realistic story that unfolded before us, not at all like the slick and sleek polished performances with additional “new” songs that followed in the years after on Broadway, in a movie and on a live TV Special.
Equally unknown to us at the time was that we were also watching a young Northwestern College Student in her early acting career whom we would see many times again later on as her career grew into a huge success.
When the show was optioned for Broadway, she was the only one of the original cast members who was asked to be in the Broadway cast. But she declined. Why? She wanted to continue to focus on her studies in school, plus she thought the show would bomb on Broadway. After graduating, however, Mari Lou Henner revised her original “Grease” role as Marty and performed with the national tour.
Years later, (OK, for the record, it was decades later, in 2017! ), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get the Official Sandy Grease Holiday Audio Ornament! 
It pushed my button, and when I push hers, she does actually sing that, yes indeed, I am the One That She Wants!  
(I evidently can't share Chuck's Sandy ornament on the website - but if you click the download button below, you can see it on your own computer's media viewer.)  kk

Chuck Buell
CB  ( which stands for “Curtain-Call Boy!” )
Chicago can certainly be proud that “Grease” has its roots here.  It played here for YEARS before catching on nationally after its Broadway run.  Revivals continue to make their way back thru Chi-Town (often with music specially written for the film now incorporated into the stage musical, if only because this material has become SO familiar to us over time.)  But yes, it all started here way back when.
Honestly, the Barry Gibb-written theme song always struck me as odd … it sounded nothing at all like a ‘50’s tune … and was, in fact, very contemporary for its time, almost disco-tinged in a way.  (Of course by the time it was released in 1978, both The Bee Gees and The Four Seasons had had quite a bit of success with their disco tunes!)
Nevertheless, it’s a good song, and hit #1 on all the major charts, giving Frankie Valli THREE #1 solo hits to go along with the six he earned with The Four Seasons.  (kk)

>>>Almost impossible to think that this film (REEFER MADNESS) is now 90 YEARS OLD!!!  (kk)
That would mean it was released in 1926, prior to the first known sound film.  Try again.
Sorry … my fault ... typo … 80 YEARS OLD.   
(I know what you're thinking ... what the hell was HE smoking?!?!)  
Still pretty amazing 'tho!
The film was released in 1936.  (kk) 

I was happy to see a chart from WISM in Madison featured in your Saturday 1968 chart feature.  This was one of the stations that I grew
up with.  Living in a rural county adjacent to Madison we would listen
to WISM during the day until they dropped their power at 6:45 pm.  As
the night fell, WLS would come in clearer and we were set for more Top
40 greatness.   Jonathon W. Little became a Madison radio legend at that station as a dj and Music Director. He programmed many records that I grew up thinking were number one smashes.  Later when I got my first Joel Whitburn book, I realized how many songs were regional hits.  John Little's sister Jane was a member of the Underground Sunshine that made it to American Bandstand with a cover of the Beatles' Birthday.  WISM played many songs from Milwaukee and Chicago bands.  That is where I heard the song Lake Shore Drive for the first time.    Thanks again for your Saturday chart feature.
Phil - WRCO

I noticed that towards the bottom of WISM's survey was THE UNICORN by the Irish Rovers. That same week here in OKC, it was at the top of the survey. WKY was known to play some records earlier than most stations.  I also noticed the PIC-HIT of the week by the group Salt Water Taffy. Turned out to be somewhat of a hit here in OKC. Don't know if it charted in Chicago. 
Nope, no Salt Water Taffy here in Chicago … and it didn’t do much nationally either … it bubbled under in Billboard at #105 … but did reach #84 in Record World.  (Looks like it was WKY’s pick hit that week, too!)  As for “The Unicorn,” it debuted nationally on March 16th, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day (which I’m sure was no coincidence.)  I also see The Box Tops holding in the #5 position with “Cry Like A Baby” … watch for our interview with The Box Tops, coming up next week in Forgotten Hits!  (kk)