Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

Unfortunately, some very sad news to start today’s posting …

Our FH Buddy Tommy Roe is going in for quadruple bypass surgery on Thursday Morning at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Tommy just recently retired from the road to stay home and care for his ailing wife … and now this.  We couldn’t be more sad to hear this news.

I can tell you that you’ll never meet a nicer guy … and Tommy’s Road Manager and Band Leader Rick Levy tells us that if you’d like to send your well wishes along, please do so at

Nothing but the best wishes for a speedy recovery, Tommy … please keep us posted as to how you’re doing. (kk)

If you grew up in the Chicago Western Suburbs in the ‘70’s, you probably were a patron of Val’s Halla Record Store in Oak Park.

It was always a tiny place and, later in life, probably known as much as a Head Shop as a Record Store … but I remember making this my #1 Stop for new releases, particularly each and every new Beatles solo release as they hit the streets in the ‘70’s.  (And you had to get there early, too … they were especially cramped for space and didn’t get in hundreds of copies of anything.)  They were also (and I think I can say this now that the Statutes of Limitations is over with!) a KEY spot to pick up bootlegs, especially those of The Beatles variety.  (I had the original “Let It Be” album nearly a year before it was legitimately released … but I had what would ultimately become known as the “naked” version, before Phil Spector got involved with polishing up all the tracks.  Back then it was called either “Get Back” or, in the case of my copy, “Kum Back” … and they had a wide variety of other live album contraband on hand, too, until the place got busted one too many times!)

I know they relocated several years later and once I’d moved out of the area and bigger stores with more variety (and ultimately online purchasing capabilities) came around, I stopped going altogether.  (It’s gotta be at least 25-30 years since I’ve been back.)

Well, I got word that Val, the proprietor of the place, just recently passed away … an even bigger shame as the store was preparing for their 50th Anniversary.  The GOOD news is, this will now be turned into a “street celebration” … and it’ll all be happening this weekend.  (If you grew up in this area, you may want to use this as an excuse to visit the old ‘hood!)

I heard from FH Reader Goldie Rox … who told me …

Hi Kent! 
A fixture in the Oak Park community has passed.  Val Cammiletti, a longtime friend of mine (50 years), and many others, was in her early 70s. She owned Vals Halla Music for almost 50 years.  Loved by many. her store is still located in Oak Park.
She managed a record store in Oak Park for a few years, then bought the store and re-named it Vals Halla Music. Before that she worked for Capitol Records when the Beatles became famous. Val enjoyed sharing a few memories of those days at Capitol when she had her annual in store events, and those attending hung on her every word!
Her store anniversary celebration with live bands is this coming weekend. In the old days, she would have bands playing in the street in front of her store, until the building was sold, and she had to move to a different location in Oak Park. I will be there and probably my kids and grandkids, too.
Val also used to write a music column for the Wednesday Journal  (an Oak Park paper.)  She was a walking encyclopedia of music!  Shewas friends with Mavis Staples, many musicians, Terri Hemmert, formerly of THE LOOP, did an in-store talk years ago. When I booked bands, I used to bring some of them to her store. (The Yardbirds manager, to name just one).
I just thought maybe you would like to mention something about this some day.  (I think perhaps because her store is sooo tiny that it would be better to mention next week.) I am not kidding … the store is always so jammed during her events that people have to wait outside because it's too hot in the store or too crowded to even get in the door. 
If you decide to go yourself, please let me know ... I would love to shake your hand and thank you for your Forgotten Hits site! Since FaceBook is full of posts about her, it will be crazy this weekend there.  
Having been one of the “regulars” at Val’s Halla back in the day, I’m going to make every effort to stop by … and I’m going to go ahead and post this because I think several of the “regulars” on OUR list would probably love to stop by and revisit and old haunt.  (We can make this not only a life celebration for Val but also a Forgotten Hits “meet and greet” for all the faithful readers who have been with us for nearly twenty years now!)  In fact, you just never know who might stop by once we put the word out!  (Jim Peterik told me that, while he wasn’t a regular Val’s shopper, he DID perform live there once in 1976 to promote “Don’t Fight The Feeling.”  (kk)

Hi Kent! 
What a shame about Val. Although I was only there a few times (once I played live there to promote Don’t Fight the Feeling in 1976), I know the store was an iconic landmark.  Let me know more when you know more ... and thanks for letting me know. 
Warm regards –

I would have to figure that if any of you out there grew up in that general area (Berwyn, Oak Park, Cicero, etc.) you were probably a regular at Val’s back in the day … so I’m reaching out to all of our readers who consider this one of their rock and roll memories and encourage you to come out and join the celebration.  (kk)

I know it’ll be happening on Saturday and Sunday. It has been on her store page on Facebook, so I’m thinking there’ll be a pretty big turn out for this.
I went to her store from the beginning.  I was 17 or 18 years old … and actually went there upon my return from Woodstock. I wanted records of two  of the bands I saw there. I asked her if she had MOUNTAIN (Leslie West, whom I years later was supposed to interview, but he was diabetic and became very ill ... true story!) 
The other album I wanted was by that new band, Santana. When I asked Val if she had it yet, she replied "Somebody else who just returned from there asked me for that album. I just ordered some Santana."

And then …

Sick of me yet?  LOL!
I think it is great that you are going! 
Just an FYI:
This year, there is construction of new buildings across the street on Harrison. When I went last week to pick up an album, her block was re-routed to side streets. I cannot imagine how awful the parking will be this weekend ... but that won't stop folks from coming, of course!
The two days are always tightly scheduled with bands one right after the other. And, of course, not a real stage, so it is always crowded inside. I think if you ask someone to "pop in" as a guest appearance, it would be better if whoever you ask just shows up as a surprise, especially if they knew Val. You are right, NOT to advertise WHO, on  Facebook, your website or anywhere else. I only say that because it is such a tiny space and is going to be more crowded than usual.
That being said, a surprise guest or two would be fun! Of course, bands that have been scheduled for a long time should not be " bumped" cuz you and I know how bands are ... LOL!  (I worked with many, and had to write objective reviews and interviews ... OMG!)  I am sure that many of Val's friends and some band members will be grabbing the mic just to say a few words and share some memories, which is appropriate! 
So those are my thoughts … my two cents worth. I am not suggesting that you not mention the event in Forgotten Hits. I am very thankful that you will mention her and knew her! I am just offering my opinion not to announce who might show up. It is not about folks coming to see someone famous ... it is now about honoring / remembering a great and generous woman. I hope you understand where I am coming from, my friend.
Looking forward to meeting you in person,
Goldie Rox
I agree … here is a link to the information as posted on Facebook …
As well as a posting about her passing …

FH Reader Bob Merlis tells us about another way you can help to preserve the legacy of our great music … this one by way of a Facebook post by Roy’s son, Roy Orbison, Jr. …

Roy was a guest of Dave Hoekstra on his Nocturnal Journal radio show, heard on WGN / Chicago.  The interview* elicited a lengthy email from a resident of Wink, TX, who is concerned that the building where Roy’s dad went to school is threatened with demolition. We forwarded that note to Roy whose response was to post this on his Facebook page. Figured we’s share it in the name of rock ’n’ roll preservation.

Bob Merlis / M.F.H.

Speaking of Rick Levy (on an up note this time!), we just got word that The Box Tops will be appearing on German Television on September 6th.  (You’ll find more details below)  

The Box Tops To Be Featured On German TV Special
Memphis blue eyed soul legends, THE BOX TOPS, will be a featured act on Gottschalk's “1968” TV special on September 6, in HAMBURG GERMANY. Hosted by well known German presenter Thomas Gottschalk, THE BOX TOPS will perform their worldwide megahit, THE LETTER. Also scheduled for the show, folk rock icon, DONOVAN, and PETER FONDA, star of the ultimate hippie generation culture film, EASY RIDER. 
Since re-forming just 2 ½ years ago, THE BOX TOPS have performed to tens of thousands of fans all across America, and have ascended to the top echelon of their genre. They were featured artists on 2017's HAPPY TOGETHER TOUR, and played on the sold out CONCERTS AT SEA in 2018. They are also slated to play two shows on the already sold out FLOWER POWER CRUISE in 2019. In late 2017, the band signed to Paradise Artists, one of America's premier booking agencies, to handle their engagements exclusively.
In late 2015, original founding members BILL CUNNINGHAM and GARY TALLEY teamed with veteran industry musician/manager RICK LEVY and two top professional musician friends to explore live show potential. In 2016, they hit the road, performing at casinos, fairs, clubs, performing arts centers, and festivals. The show, augmented by Cunningham's chart arrangements and a horn section, features hits from THE BOX TOPS' catalogue, including THE LETTER, CRY LIKE A BABY, SOUL DEEP,  NEON RAINBOW,  SWEET CREAM LADIES (forward march) and CHOO CHOO TRAIN, plus album cuts and special tributes to Memphis artists. Historical video footage and personal stories of the '60s Memphis scene make the BOX TOPS show a HIP music history experience. THE BOX TOPS are also part of the AMERICAN POP SHOW, with favorites, The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots.
Upcoming shows:
August 3 - CAFÉ WHA? - New York City
August 4 - DARYL’S HOUSE CLUB - Pawling, NY 
August 25 - KOOL DEADWOOD NIGHTS - Deadwood SD 
September 6 - GOTTSCHALK'S “1968” television show / Hamburg, Germany
For more information: 
instagram: theboxtopsband

And, speaking of WGN Radio, did you happen to listen to the interview with Bob Sirott and John Records Landecker that ran very early on Sunday Morning?

If you grew up in or around Chicago, you’ll want to check this out … a FINE tribute to Chicago radio from back in the day by two of the biggest and best voices to ever grace the station (WLS). 

They pay loving tribute to Dick Biondi, soon to be honored in a film documentary and have quite a few kind words to say about King Bee / Ron Britain as well.

Check it out before the podcast link disappears …

Hi Kent, 
Thanks so much for the notification.  I couldn’t miss Sirott and Landecker’s interview with Dave Plier so I set my alarm for 2:15 a.m. and wasn’t disappointed.  These guys are great Dick Biondi ambassadors. I just learned Ron Onesti is having a Radio Days event at his new venue Evanston Rocks! in Evanston ( with Bob Sirott, John Landecker and media beat reporter Robert Feder. I’m there!  And of course John is joining me at the Beverly Arts Center on August 8th at 7:30 P.M. for a prevue of our documentary.  Just heard WLS Historian Scott Childers ( will be there too! Tickets are available at the Beverly Arts Center:  
Rock radio history is alive and well in Chicago!

And let’s not forget to post a link to YOUR site, too, Pam, where donations are still being accepted to cover the funding of your upcoming Dick Biondi Documentary.  (kk)

Hi Kent: 
Found this scrounging through a box today! Vintage!

And, in other radio news …

Mick Jagger turns 75 on Thursday, July 26th.  WLTL will celebrate with a two-hour special on The Rolling Stones.  Hour one will feature The Rolling Stones in the sixties and hour two, The Rolling Stones in the seventies.  Music, the stories, comments by Mick Jagger and more.

The History Of Rock & Roll - The Rolling Stones
(WLTL is airing the Drake - Chenault “The History Of Rock And Roll” with the two hours featuring The Rolling Stones)
Starting 12pm CT July 26th on WLTL … streaming at: 
A companion Rolling Stones Top 10 Forty-Fives list may be found at 

kk …
From The Library of Congress …
Don't yell at me if this was part of your Bobby Darin Series, ‘cause I don't remember.  FB

I’ve gotta admit, Frank, that I’m a little disappointed … you were supposed to MEMORIZE the entire series!!!  (Hell, I don’t even remember all that it says anymore … and I wrote the damn thing!)

Lots of Bobby news again lately … a new CD release that captures a bunch of material buried in the Motown vaults for 45 years … a couple of musicals that are in the works … it’s all good news.

And, speaking of The Library of Congress, believe it or not, they contacted ME a couple of weeks ago!!!  (Yes, it’s true … a guy by the name of Matthew Barton, Curator of Record Sound for The Library of Congress in Culpeper, VA, asked for my help in putting him in touch with John Madara and David White, writers of the Womens’ Anthem “You Don’t Own Me”!)  Matthew was familiar with our site and had recently read the piece we did several years ago spotlighting some of the hits written by this dynamic duo back in the day.
My understanding is that he and John talked for awhile … so I’m waiting to hear what the next step may be.  (Matthew also expressed an interest in talking to me … so who knows … Forgotten Hits JUST may be recognized for our efforts in keeping this great music alive … in THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS!!!  Stay tuned!)  kk  

This EXTREMELY short notice, I know … but those of you who are able may want to listen in as Paul McCartney talks about his new album and answers questions from the audience at The Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts, which he cofounded back in 1996.  

You’ll find more details below …  

Casual Conversations from LIPA 
Join Paul for a Facebook Live Q&A 
Wednesday 25th July, 2018 - 2:00PM BST  
Paul will be returning to his old school in Liverpool, now LIPA (The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), on Wednesday 25th July for an intimate hour long Q&A and conversation session with LIPA students. The event will be streamed live on Facebook allowing fans from all over the world to tune in and watch Paul talk about his career and his forthcoming new album Egypt Station which will be released on September 7.
For those watching the event on Facebook they too have the opportunity to join in. Paul would like to ask fans from around the world to submit questions to his Facebook page in advance. A select few will be chosen to be answered as part of the event.
Please click HERE if you have a question you would like to ask Paul.
LIPA was co-founded by Paul in 1996 and he remains their Lead Patron.
Hi Kent: 
Just a follow up on Freddy Cannon ...
He was a performer at the very first Summerfest in Milwaukee in July of 1968!!! 50 years ago exactly! 

kk –
Your great Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon review runs here …

Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon is the subject of an interesting review on Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits site. It's complete with videos and links. Below the Cannon story is a review of the Doo Wop Concert Cannon was performing in. If you're a Boom Boom fan, this is a good read.

Clive Topol

This whole Freddy Cannon thing really seems to have taken of … and I’m lovin’ it!  With Forgotten Hits being read worldwide, it’s incredible to know that folks around the globe are reading about all of the great acts that hit our popular venues here in Chicago.  (You wouldn’t believe how much mail we’ve received over the past several years from folks all over the country, writing in to say how they wished they had a place like The Arcada Theatre to go to where THEY live in virtually Anytown, USA!)

Well deserved, my friend.  It took awhile to get you here, but we finally made it happen … and now everybody’s rockin’ to Boom Boom once again!  (kk)

Eddie mentioned Richard Nader and the concerts he used to promote years ago. I went to two of his concerts right at 40 years ago when they came to OKC. One in particular I remember. On the show was Sam Samudio of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. It was just Sam by himself. Now at this time Sam had quit in a way playing secular songs and was into spiritual or gospel tunes. He came on stage, sat down on a stool with his guitar and began to play. He played two gospel songs (don't remember what they were). No WOOLY BULLY nor LIL' RED RIDIN' HOOD. You talk about boos and catcalls from the audience. If I had tomatoes and / or heads of lettuce that evening with me, I could have sold out to the audience for them to throw at Sam on the stage. Incidentally, the host or MC of the concert that night was Ron Holden, the singer who had the song LOVE YOU SO in 1960. I'll never forget midway through the concert, he told the audience that he was going to be singing for them a medley of his hit.

7/21/ 2018 =  Rewound Radio featured one of my favorite D J's from the old WCBS-FM, Bob Shannon.
Part One = Bob Shannon on The Breeze - 107.1, a New Jersey station. It was a "Radio Greats Weekend."  Most of the time too many people in the studio at the same time. More talking than music.
Part Two = Was better. Bob Shannon sitting in for Norm N. Nite. This show was from 7/27/1996. 
Playing the New York City Top 20 from 7/27/1968.
A few interesting facts:
#12 = "Sunshine Of Your Love," by Cream. Most people think Eric Clapton is singing lead. It's really Jack Bruce.
#9 = "The Horse ," by Cliff Nobles. This started out as a song with lyrics with Cliff Nobles singing. They decided that it sounded better as an instrumental, removed Cliff Nobles voice. Cliff did not play an instrument.  Cliff Nobles is given credit on the label, even though he had nothing to do with this recording.
#8  = "Jumping Jack Flash," by Rolling Stones. From the album " Perverts At The Gym."  An example of Bob Shannon's humor. For those who are wondering, The #1 Song was "Stoned Soul Picnic," by 5th Dimension.
To really find out how great Bob Shannon is, you have to hear him on his own show.
"First and Foremost" + "Lost Hits" + "Hands Across The Water" + "Same Title and Different Song." … these are just a few of the many features he had on his show every day.
They did say that Bob Shannon gave up radio due to health issues.  They never said what was really wrong with him.
It was good to hear him again.
Got to go.  I just got the urge to play some of my Bob Shannon cassettes.
Frank B.
I missed the Bob Shannon tribute but was listening to Rewound Radio most of the afternoon ... and have to thank host Allan Sniffen again for the wonderful shout-out he did for Forgotten Hits.  It is my "go to" radio station for oldies music ... and nobody does it better.  (kk)

From David Salidor after our '80's piece ran …

Talking about Belinda Carlisle :

NOWELS KNOWS — I just put on Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die album  (2012) the other day and was amazed at how well it holds up and the brilliant production work by Rick Nowels. Nowels was back, Nowels was a true LA wunderkind, who had produced that terrific Belinda Carlisle track “Heaven Is A Place On Earth,”  and tracks for Stevie Nicks and, of course, Del Ray. The track “Summertime Sadness” is one of the best tracks I think I’ve ever heard. Listen closely to that drumming … just brilliant. I remember when I spoke to Nowels when it came out and I quipped that the track was an updated “Heaven” and he laughed. I well remember the story from PR-pasha David Salidor, when he told me that Nowels almost produced an album for Debbie Gibson.
Married to Maria Vidal, Nowels is simply sensational.
We told you a week ago or so about Charlie Gracie being awarded the commemorative Buddy Holly Legacy Guitar Award … and Charlie, Jr., just sent us some photos of this event to share with our readers …
CHARLIE GRACIE attracts crowds in the UNITED KINGDOM and throughout EUROPE which rival that of a PAPAL AUDIENCE! Even at 82, few artists enjoy the GLOBAL following CHARLIE’s been blessed with!
THE BUDDY HOLLY LEGACY GUITAR AWARD: CHARLIE was humbly honored to receive this magnificent instrument from The BOARD of The BUDDY HOLLY EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION and his widow MRS. MARIA ELENA HOLLY — just before he headlined the Wildest Cats In Town R&R Festival at the SUFFOLK seaside resort of Pakefield (Lowestoft), ENGLAND. MIKE READ — nationally known British broadcaster, was Master of Ceremonies ... a great fellow!
“I HAVE LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT BUDDY HOLLY,” said CHARLIE.  “He was, without a doubt in my mind, the greatest R&R innovator of his time!”
CHARLIE now joins a select group — including: PAUL MCCARTNEY, ROGER DALTRTY, BOB DYLAN and GRAHAM NASH.
CHARLIE and the GRACIE FAMILY are greatly appreciative and send LOVE and BEST WISHES to ALL! THANK YOU!

Great stuff, as always, Kent . 
Please send me the latest on the Buddy Holly crash investigation stuff.  There are so many of these things that make no sense and for which it seems we’ll never get the complete story, perhaps because no one knows — Rick Nelson and Jim Croce come to mind, as well.  Thanks!
Available by email request only … if you’d like to see where things currently stand with LJ Coon’s efforts to reopen the investigation into the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper from us, drop me a line and we’ll fill you in!  (kk)
NOTE:  We’ve been covering LJ Coon’s efforts for several years now … including his requests being denied on a few occasions already … but he continues to soldier on.
Forgotten Hits was the first to break this story … nobody else touched it for about two months … and then all of a sudden it was EVERYWHERE!  We’ll continue to keep you posted as new developments materialize.  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Goldie Rox here.
In your 7/20 posting about REO and Cheap Trick, there were two songs to listen to. I clicked on a song, and loved it. Not sure if it was REO or Cheap Trick. Lyrics were: YOU DID NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR. Who was that? Did not show name of song / group, or I missed it. 
LOVE your website! So sorry I missed Freddy Cannon … he was always one of my faves! When was that appearance he did with Svengoolie? Was it televised recently?
Thanks for all you do!!
The song you're referring to is "Voices" by Cheap Trick - the artists are identified in the paragraphs above the tracks.
This is a great one, isn't it???  Got a lot of airplay here in Chicago at the time ... and doesn't really sound like any of their other stuff.
I feel the same way about the REO Speedwagon track ... something you'd never expect them to do.
This is why BOTH of these tracks stand out for me.
Freddy's show at the Arcada was last Sunday (the 15th) - he was scheduled to appear on Svengoolie's program this past weekend (not exactly sure when it airs - Friday Saturday or Sunday) - unfortunately, I missed it, too - and I doubt if it's available "on demand".  (But I’m sure gonna look for it!)  Great concert 'tho!  (You'll find more Freddy Cannon comments above!)  kk
I knew he was at the Arcada but I could not make it to that show. How wonderful that he had you on stage to thank you.