Monday, August 27, 2018

A Monday Morning Quickie! (aka Happy Birthday To Me!)

Here's a birthday present to share with everyone on Forgotten Hits' blog on your birthday!!
Altho FH'er Stu Shea never got to see a Lloyd Thaxton show, he was able to dig up this tape from a friend and send it to me decades ago.  I have been transferring tapes to digital daily in my collection and with your talk of Lloyd's show and watching it, I thought I'd send this along courtesy originally of Stu.  I don't think he'll mind.
Anyone who has watched Lloyd's teen show will already know that his shows were a bit off-kilter every week.  He reminded me of a somewhat square adult trying to be Dick Clark.  He even used Dickie's long microphone for interviews.  I always wondered why Dick Clark often played songs that were completely UNDANCEABLE on Bandstand, but Lloyd was off the deep end often.  He played top 40 variety to max plus oldies weekly.  He told corny jokes, faked playing the band and lip-synching songs HIMSELF.  YET, we watched his shows as a chance to see and hear our faves and his syndication ratings were thru the roof for teen viewing which meant every market needed this show on their stations.  HE talked about how "pretty" girls were (like someone else we know?) and asked teens about songs that most would not buy such as "Walk in a Black Forest."  He TOLD kids what to do during his show:  "CLAP YOUR HANDS, DO THE WALTZ and SMILE!!!"  Was he thinking he was Dick Biondi???  He talked over records, used drop ins and canned laughter, cut the 45s short often and sometimes didn't know what song an artist did.   He had contests weekly like lip-synching and dance contests and gave away albums to winners like ones we all wanted, "HORST JANKOWSKI"!!!  The song selection was just amazing (but not necessarily good).  One thing to his credit, he DID laugh and make fun of himself.  He didn't take himself too seriously. 
Here's some British guests we have talked of on FH lately.  Chad, Jeremy AND JILL!  It was when Jill was going to team up with Chad and record "Cruel War."  Lloyd did not have a clue why Jill was even there or who she was, the way it sounds. 
Then on another show from 65, he'll interview the hip group of the time, the BYRDS!!!  A nice long interview, followed by Johnny Cash music.  Go figure.  This 16 minute clip of TRUE HISTORY can be downloaded for the next few days here:
P.S.  Stu sent this very cool 45 that Aretha fans might wish to enjoy!
I can remember Lloyd Thaxton's very first show.  He opened it at the piano, playing this amazing piece that I had never heard before.  My Mom even came in from the kitchen to see just what was going on … and then, about two-thirds of the way thru, he lifted his hands, turned around on the bench and stood up and walked away, while the song kept right on playing … he had been faking it the entire time!
It was funny as could be … and even my Mom fell in love with him right on the spot.  He absolutely HAD us from that point forward.
You're right, he did have on some pretty obscure guests … and I swear he was giving away a different James Brown album nearly every single day … very little of which we ever heard on Chicago radio … or saw or heard on his program.
Still, it was pretty entertaining television … would LOVE to see some of this stuff finally see the light of day again.  (Never heard back from Dave The Rave on this … but it WOULD be very cool to connect with Lloyd's widow again and see if we can persuade her to move forward with some type of release schedule.  (kk)

Yesterday, August 26, 1968, marked the 50th Anniversary of the release of “Hey Jude.” 
Apple Records was an experiment of idealism in 1968. On this date, Monday, August 26, 1968, Apple released its "First Four" Singles - Hey Jude / Revolution, Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkin, Sour Milk Sea by Jackie Lomax, and Thingumybob by The Black Dyke Mills Band.  A major record company could release hundreds of songs in a year and not have the success of this new upstart company. Three of these songs are true standards and truly loved by everyone. Derek Taylor even predicted Mary Hopkin's vocal gem would become a standard at weddings forever!
But I wanted to write about Hey Jude today.
I was a waiter at Kutsher's Country Club, Monticello, NY, and usually napped after breakfast (with my radio on, of course). I was half asleep when the song came on. It was a Twilight Zone moment. I was in and out of sleep and the song seemed like it was going for an hour! I could barely get my head around what I had just heard. I knew it was a new Beatles song, of course, but how long was it on for?
After lunch I rushed back to wait for it again (did not have to wait long at all!) It really hit me like a ton of bricks. I was totally amazed and knocked out by it. Two weeks later, it shot right up to #2 on WABC in NYC. Cousin Brucie said the switchboard was overloaded with fans yelling why it wasn't #1. He apologized on air for it. It was Number One for the next two months, knocked out of the top slot by ... you guessed it ... Those Were The Days.
To me, it was much more than a single. It was like an entire album in one song. I was late to many of my classes in my senior year at Adelphi U. I just couldn't turn the song off the radio while Hey Jude played, even thought I had the single on my turntable until the White Album came out three months later. And the 'b side' (Revolution) was not too shabby either.
Paul and John were at the height of their creativity. Hey Jude is my favorite song of all time and it usually ends up at #2 in the Classic Rock fan voting for Greatest Song Ever (Stairway to Heaven has that honor, but not in my book). 50 years later, I still never, ever get tired of hearing it. I imagine I never will ... na na na nanana na.
Peace and Love,
Mark Lapidos
The Fest For Beatles Fans
It took a little while to get my head around this one when it first came out ... approximately 7 minutes and 11 seconds, to be exact! ... and then I was hooked.
It was just so EXTREMELY different than anything else we’d ever heard … and then when the clip aired on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour six weeks later (we now know that it first aired on David Frost’s UK television progamme … but in OUR world, it had its premier courtesy of Tommy and Dickie!), it was SO cool to see what the band had come up with, especially the “cast of extras” featured at the end, joining The Fabs on stage for the “Na-Na’s”.  (In my own memory, it aired so much sooner, probably due to the complete saturation of airplay their new single was receiving on the radio) … but by its October 6th airdate, “Hey Jude had already been #1 on the Billboard Chart for two of its soon-to-be nine weeks.  (Everybody warned them at the time … even key members of their own camp … that radio was NEVER going to play a seven minute single on the air … it was simply too long and broke the ‘three minute’ rule long established as the attention span of the average listener … to which John Lennon responded, ‘They will if it’s us.’  Man, was he right!)
I will admit that fifty years on I probably choose to listen to it only about half as often as it’s on … but I cannot deny for a second the impact it had when it was first released … the biggest single EVER in their U.S. catalog.  (kk)

Rolling Stone Magazine remembers “Hey Jude” …

>>>Check out Billy J. Kramer’s 75th Birthday Party surprise!  Billy J. Kramer’s 75th Birthday Party at the Famous “My Father’s Place” on Vimeo:
THIS was the Long Island concert I couldn’t get to on August 18th. I need a plane.  Shelley

Great to see my hometown AM station profiled this past week ...
The Swingin' 60 survey started in the spring of 1963 or thereabouts, also with the "Cutie Of The Week" contest - that ran until November, 1970.  The high school girl that won a transistor radio for that final "Cutie" contest ended up working at the same employer I also worked for. It was back in the late 1980s; I brought in my survey to show her once I recognized her name. It blew her mind!
WAVZ sounded cluttered and goofy, even during 1968 … the jocks mostly older guys, trying to sound hip … especially the morning man, a Dean Martin-esque persona'd old-timer named T.J. Martin - nothing like the teenage oriented Boss Radio DJ's and format that ended up being programmed on the other New Haven AM station, WNHC, which debuted in late 1968.
But WAVZ did play everything listed on their weekly surveys, and logged big hits that weren't as big on a national level.  In 1968, the Dells hit #1 with "There Is". Robert John's "If You Don't Want My Love" also topped the WAVZ Swingin' 60 in 1968. And the local New Haven group, North Atlantic Invasion Force, hit the top with their local classic, "Black On White". One of my faves, "I Loved And I Lost" by the Impressions, hit the Top 10 in September, 1968 - one reason I could recall it years later after hearing it on the air as a young tyke!
The WAVZ jocks in the mid '60s were local journeymen, meaning they always rotated around the region, never really going anywhere beyond Connecticut, or the tri-state NY / NJ / CT area.  Johnny Ringo, the WAVZ evening drive guy from late '65, lasted to mid '67 … he was the one who vacated for greener pastures beyond the region; last I heard, he was out in Arizona … anyone got an aircheck of him?
Ed Flynn was perhaps the longest mainstay WAVZ jock, an easy going, low-key on-air persona. Maybe that's the reason he was able to withstand staff and programming changes at the station during the mid '60s and early '70s.  He would return on occasion, eventually becoming a popular talk show host on WATR in Waterbury, Connecticut before finally retiring around five or so years ago.
By 1972, WAVZ was HOT with a great Top 40 sound (the new WAVZ) and a stellar line-up of DJs.  I can still hear Mason Lee Dixon hootin' and screamin’ in my brain! For those who do not know of him, try to imagine the Real Don Steele on steroids!
Mike Markesich

I DID listen to the rebroadcast of Larry Lujack’s last show on WLS and know I have this on cassette somewhere … BUT I thought it was a disappointing last show other than hearing Larry play his fave tunes, like "Ballad of John & Yoko!"  Along with Ron Riley, Lujack is my fave DJ all time, but this was mostly TV people being vultures and even his last (how many of THOSE did he have?) address to the nation was two things repeated several times, basically.  He was great, but this show was a letdown.
BTW, WLS banned the above mentioned Beatles tune in 1969.  When I interviewed Gene Taylor in 1991, he said they did not ban ANY song.  Hmm.
Clark Besch
They absolutely DID ban it … and several other singles in the ‘60’s, too, contrary to what Gene may have told you.  (Two that immediately come to mind are Lou Christie’s “Rhapsody In The Rain,“ of which you are well aware, and “Society’s Child” by Janis Ian, a #12 Hit on the “CFL Chart.)  Speaking of WCFL, they played “The Ballad Of John And Yoko” … and it charted Top 10 (#8 to be exact) … but they didn’t publish any of their 1969 surveys for public consumption, so we can only follow the in-store recap sheets.  (kk)

I ended up listening to part of the show on my iPhone — thanks for the link!  
Dan Guilfoyle
Not his best work by any stretch – I think at that point he was just ready to get off the air – but still, a pretty touching finale.  (Would have been far more interesting if they couldn’t have kept Les Grobstein out of the picture … but then again that would be true of every single radio program Lujack ever did!)  kk 

For the record, there are five Animal Stories collections.
I stand corrected.  (kk)