Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 08 - 19 - 18 )

More Comments than we can fit, even in a KING-SIZED Edition this week …

So these will spill over for the next day or two …

Be sure to check back often this week …

And scroll back to miss anything you may have missed in last week’s postings!

(Bookmark this site NOW … and make us part of your daily routine!)

First up …

More Tributes to The Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin …

Followed by some of your Jeff Lynne / ELO Comments ...

And then some of the more time-sensitive "news you can use"!

Aretha Franklin:

kk …
Here is how ABC News announced Aretha's death.

That's all very nice and all ... but, of course, NOBODY covered Aretha’s death better than Fox News … who ran a photo of Patti LaBelle while informing the nation of her passing.  (Guess we can ALWAYS rely on Fox to give us the most accurate representation in their news broadcasts!)  kk
Here, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame remembers their first female inductee …   

I think Keith Richards being stoned ruined the whole moment.

The Rock World reacts to the passing of Aretha Franklin …
Sad times for the soul world. 
Here is my fave video of Aretha:
Grammys from Germany … 1971 LIVE, with Aretha playing organ, too.
ALSO, I sent this clip to you back in March for the survey segments:
After the In Sound went bye bye, the Army replaced it with "The Hit Heard Round the World" with Fred Robbins as host.  Fred was on several top stations in the NYC area.  Unlike In Sound, this show usually talked with DJs and record producers rather than the artists themselves.  The DJs were ones from big US markets AND always from DJs round the world, such as BBC's Kenny Everett and Canada, Amsterdam, Vienna, Luxembourg, Copenhagen, Berlin, etc.  They speak in English but have definite accents and often feature US hits that are hot there as well as the top hits from THEIR country's charts.  It's kinda neat if you have readers from other countries and they are mostly 1968 clips I can send.  This show started a bit later and attached is the clip with Jerry Wexler talking up Aretha who had only had Atlantic hits for a year at the time.  He pushes her new hit "See Saw."  Lemme know if you want any of this stuff.
Clark Besch

Thanks, Kent ...
Aretha Franklin was incredible ... a national treasure.  Yes, she will be missed.  Always fun to watch and listen to.   Our Queen of Soul was the original diva.

Aretha really was in her stride in 1968, following her breakout 1967 on Atlantic.  With Ray Charles now on ABC, chances were unlikely that the two greats would combine for a duet like superstars do today.  Yet, Coke promoted these really cool jingles that featured them both in duet for the first and maybe only time on tape???  Pretty darn cool … and from our old ‘68 radio tapes, the VERY cool Ron "Kingbee" Britain plays a Beatles tune into the jingle!   Was WCFL cool or what?  From the White Album came "Yer Blues"!!!!  How many of you heard THAT on AM radio in 68???

Here’s how Rolling Stone covered the death of The Queen Of Soul …

My Top Ten Aretha favorites would have been significantly different than theirs … but I always preferred EARLY Aretha when she first broke thru in a big, big way on the pop charts in 1967.
As such, her early readings of “Respect,” “Baby I Love You,” “Natural Woman,” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” “Think” and “I Say A Little Prayer” remain my favorites … and (other than the fact that “Respect” has just GOT to be one of the most over-played tunes of all time), I have never lost my affection for these.  I’ve learned to like “Until You Come Back To Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Day Dreaming” and “Chain Of Fools” over the years so those tracks (shown here in totally random order) would have to be my Top Ten Favorites. Every one of them either sparks you to get up and move or evokes a “mood” that becomes your inner groove.Boy, she recorded some fine material over the years!!!  (kk) 

Here is a statement from “The Man With The Golden Ears,” Kal Rudman, publisher of the Friday Morning Quarterback, bible of the broadcast and music industries, and Billboard Magazine’s first R&B Editor, on the death of Aretha Franklin: 

Aretha Franklin personified the unbelievable power of Rhythm & Blues. The magic story of the power of Aretha Franklin emerged when she entered the glory of recording for Jerry Wexler at the incredible Atlantic Records. Her stature in R&B music surpassed anyone before or since. The Queen of Soul has been taken from her throne, and it shall always remain empty. This is a monumental loss to music lovers everywhere.
On behalf of the staff of the Friday Morning Quarterback, we send our deepest condolences to her family.   

We also got this joint statement from legendary songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, founders of Philadelphia International Records:  

We not only admire Aretha Franklin for her singing ability, but we appreciate what she did to uplift the community. We have always been honored and elated -- and are still on ‘Cloud Nine’ – for having her cover two of our songs: ‘A Brand New Me’ and ‘Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas Without The One You Love.’ While we never got the opportunity to work directly with Aretha, she was our dear friend.   
We send our deepest and sincere condolences out to her family. She was truly the best!
-         Gamble and Huff

Great Aretha list. Thanks.
Neal Sabin

I asked "Biographer of the Rock Stars" Mark Bego to share a few words on Aretha with our readers.  His book on The Queen Of Soul covers ALL sides of her incredible career.  As such, she may have been difficult to deal with at times (and I seem to remember her publicly denouncing his final product when it was first released) but I found it to be a fascinating read … and accomplished its goal of presenting the REAL Aretha Franklin.  (The book will soon be rereleased through Skyhorse Publishing … and Mark tells us that it’s already at the printer now, with some new revisions to bring things up to date.)

Here is what he sent me … along with the new press release explaining the rush release of his newly revised version …

Dear Kent and Forgotten Hits:
Well, this has been a long and sad week for the music business.  On Sunday when the news broke that Aretha Franklin was “gravely ill,” we all drew a deep breath, wondering what bad news was to follow.  Unfortunately, on Thursday, August 16, “The Queen of Soul” passed into immortality, and the music world will never be quite the same.
For me, Aretha’s music and soulful way of singing has been a part of my life since I was a teenager in suburban Detroit.  I will never forget the first time I heard “Respect” come across the airwaves on my little portable RCA transistor radio.  It made an indelible impression on me. That voice!  That passion!
When I was in college I had a “record review” column in the campus newspaper.  I remember nearly wearing out my copy of Aretha’s “Young, Gifted and Black” album.  I absolutely loved it.  Franklin sang with such conviction, she was unlike anyone else I had ever heard.  The glowing review I composed about it was the first time I wrote about Aretha, but I knew it would not be my last.
A decade later, I had my first streak of best-selling books, and I received a phone call from Aretha’s publicist, asking me if I could go to her house in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to interview The Queen of Soul herself.  My answer:  “Hell yes!”  At the time I was doing the interview for Westwood One Radio.  Imagine my excitement as I sat on Aretha’s living room sofa interviewing her for hours!
In 1989 I had the honor of writing the first and “most definitive” biography on Aretha Franklin.  (The complimentary words above were not from me, but from the press.)  I was happy that I had been able to put all of my energy into making this one of the most fully researched books of my career.
As I was writing it, I was able to gain access to so many of the key people in Aretha’s life:  Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, Columbia producer Clyde Otis, Arista producer and record maven Clive Davis, and several of her friends and associates.  Although dozens of my books were released after that, over the years it was only “Aretha Franklin:  The Queen of Soul” that I have been asked three times to update.  What an honor that has been. 
I have done it again this week, for a special “Tribute Edition” of my book, from Skyhorse Publishing.  It is already at the printing press and due in bookstores in the next ten days.  When the publisher asked me to update it, to quote Aretha:  I knew I had to “Jump To It.”
It has been bittersweet for me to have been phoned by many radio stations this week to discuss Aretha Franklin and her amazing career.  While I have been honored to do so, I am also saddened by the fact that I now have to speak of Aretha in the “past tense.”  Although she is no longer with us, she leaves behind such a wealth of incredible music, her artistry and her voice will live on for years to come.
I know that we all love songs like “Respect” and “Freeway of Love,” but please do yourself a favor and listen to some of the jazz and standards she recorded when she was a teenager, and a young woman in her early 20s.  Her voice on those Columbia Records albums from the ’60s was so clear and fresh, it, too, is a window into her soul.
Although Aretha is no longer with us, some things are definite and will remain unchanged. One of those things is the incredible legacy that Franklin built in her many years as a recording artist.  She was a pop singing diva.  She was a rock and roll legend.  She was the peerless singing star of gospel music, soul music, jazz, and even arias. There is no diva quite like her.  Aretha Franklin was and always will be known as “The Queen of Soul.”
With respect and love,
Mark Bego


COMING SOON: “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” by Mark Bego
Author Mark Bego, who has done two books previously on Aretha Franklin, will be releasing, with Skyhorse Publishing, Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul.
Says Bego: “Aretha Franklin will always be remembered as being a true original.  Her voice was so strong and pure, it was like a force of nature, and it brilliantly redefined the word “soul.”  Aretha’s songs like “Respect,” “Think,” “Rock Steady” and “Freeway of Love” will forever represent an era of sheer musical brilliance.  I will always recall my one-on-one interview with Aretha in 1985 at her Detroit area home, as one of the most unique afternoons of my entire writing career.  It wasn’t so much an interview, as it was a visitation with royalty.  Aretha Franklin’s legend and her amazing body of recorded music will live on to attest to her unflagging reign as “The Queen of Soul.”
Be on the look out for this newly updated edition … I know I’ll be picking up my copy as soon as it hits the streets.  Thanks, Mark!  (kk)

FH Reader Danny Guilfoyle sent in this … Bob Lefsetz’s take on Aretha.  (Interesting that he starts his piece with the Steely Dan reference, too ... the day after my piece ran!!!  Maybe great minds really do think alike ... or maybe not.)

"Hey nineteen
That's 'Retha Franklin
She don't remember the Queen of Soul"
That was recorded by Steely Dan in 1980, when Aretha already appeared to be in the rearview mirror.
But she wasn't.
Forget the forgettable Arista hits, but remember her appearances on the Grammys, at Obama's inauguration and the Kennedy Center Honors. Aretha Franklin transcended the hit parade, she was an icon as big as the music business itself. She forged her own path, and we loved her for it.
Now you've got to understand it was a different era. That's right, the baby boomers had it best, they lived through the Beatles and the explosion of soul. Back when you owned a transistor radio instead of a smartphone, when we were all excited by what emanated from the single speaker in the dashboard, when if you wanted to know which way the wind blew, you listened to music.
It started with "Respect."
1967 was the Summer of Love, it was also the year before the deaths of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. There was a brief respite before the darkness overtook the light. Not that the light never shined thereafter, it's just that we always expected the other shoe to drop, and it did. Tell a denizen of the sixties that racism is now prevalent and minorities are excluded on the voting rolls and their heads spin. We fought for freedom, the sky was the limit, we were on action, not reaction, and ultimately we all got on the same team, rednecks grew their hair, they were ultimately against the Vietnam War, and the twin pillars were Motown and rock.
And then came Aretha.
She started off on Columbia, which didn't know what to do with her. Sometimes you're too early, sometimes you're lacking chemistry, sometimes you need someone to midwife you to success.
Like Jerry Wexler. Used to be the Jews and the blacks walked side by side. Why African-Americans find fault with the Semitic people today I do not know, we're both minorities, both fighting to end injustice.
And Columbia was part of a conglomerate, whereas the more nimble Atlantic had a long history in black music. Aretha was finally home, at least when it comes to record companies.
"What you want
Baby, I got it"
Talk about girl power, talk about the beginning of the feminist revolution, Aretha's place in the pantheon has not been elucidated. It was women who embraced Aretha first, they could hear the power in her voice, her message.
And overnight, "Sock it to me baby" became par of the vernacular. On "Laugh-In," hell, even Richard Nixon uttered it on television.
That's the power of a hit single, that's the power of music, at least back then, can you imagine Trump quoting Kendrick Lamar today?
No way.
But "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" sounded completely different, we shouldn't have been surprised when she subbed for Pavarotti at the Grammys and hit "Nessun Dorma" far over the fence, she could sing anything, she could make it her own. That's the mark of a great artist, one who has breadth, who is not one note. Arguably this number is the one that made Goffin and King household names, and it was only a few years later that Carole cut her version on "Tapestry," but even King would admit that Aretha owns it.
As for "Chain Of Fools," once again it was a new twist, unconnected to what came before, other than it had soul! Aretha may not have written these songs but she owned them. And unlike Michael Jackson, she did not coin her own moniker and she did not fight for the spotlight, she was quiet about her career, she just kept making hits. Whether it be 1972's "Rock Steady," from the album "Young, Gifted And Black," or the surprise "comeback" hit from 1973, "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" in an era where FM ruled and AM was a backwater. I heard this on the jukebox at the Alibi in Middlebury, Vermont and I had to buy the album, to be able to play it at will, it's all about the chorus, not that there isn't so much more.
And then came the victory lap. Aretha's triumphant appearance in the "Blues Brothers" movie, where she blew every other musician off the screen, owning the movie in a matter of minutes, back in an era where musical performances onscreen were still rare, unavailable, this voice that emanated from the radio, the performance was every bit as energetic and believable and then...
Aretha disappeared.
Well, there was a bit of MTV action, especially 1985's "Freeway Of Love," but the recording was overproduced, a relic of the early MTV era, when the oldsters still had traction before the popsters and the rappers took over. Aretha's performance was stellar, but she didn't star in the song like she did in previous numbers and the metronomic, rhythm machine track didn't swing like the hits of old, it lacked an element of soul, not that the verse was not catchy.
But Aretha suddenly became unavailable. Especially at the turn of the century, when seemingly every classic act took to the boards since they could no longer have radio hits, in an endless dash for cash, to the point where the younger generation became unfamiliar with her, she certainly was a legend, but they didn't realize she was a living, breathing person who could still deliver. She was a diva, she had to do it her way, but when you saw her her magnetism attracted you and then you found yourself hovering over the arena, able to fly on the notes alone.
She knew she was that good, that great, that phenomenal, truly above everybody else. But she didn't have to advertise herself, the penumbra was irrelevant, all she had to do was open her mouth.
For her last famous public appearance on the Kennedy Center Honors. You didn't want to follow Aretha, you couldn't! She came out playing the piano, people aren't supposed to be trained, but Aretha paid her dues in church, she didn't burst on the scene with no backstory. And when she stood and shed her fur and sang... You could say belted, but this was not Mariah Carey, Aretha was always in service to the song, she showed off without trying to, all she had to do was perform!
And there you have it folks, she was here and now she's gone.
Too many of them are gone. From Bowie to Frey to those who O.D.'ed before their time, like Prince. But pancreatic cancer got the Queen of Soul. There's really no treatment, it's a death sentence, a couple of months and you're out, done, finished.
And in this case Roger Friedman gave us advance warning, so we weren't surprised, today these deaths come from seemingly nowhere, like records.
But still...
76 ain't young, but it's not old either. Paul McCartney is 76 and he's got a new album, he's still touring, he's still alive, we expect these musicians to live forever.
But they don't.
And when they're gone they're never coming back, like the era they dominated.
But most of the classic acts have been forgotten, touring sans original members, there are only a few giants, superstars who can still sell every ticket, but no one lives forever and at some point this era will fade.
Will the music survive?
It appears so, because it was built on a different foundation. When you could not be famous for nothing, when you had to have talent to make it, when you had to pay endless dues to break through. We baby boomers lived through the Renaissance, they painted and sculpted after Raphael and Michelangelo, but at no time thereafter was there such a burst of genius, such dominance. Same deal with music. I know, I know, you want to believe it's the same as ever, but change happens, and it has.
So certainly spin the records. But if you ever had a hankering to see these legends, go now. It was joke that this was the last time for the Stones, that you had to see them before they died, but at some point Mick and Keith will truly go, then what?
It'll be like today. Aretha was here, always in the back of our mind, the records still as vital as they were yesterday, and now, pfft, she's gone!
Kinda funny in a country focused on youth. We only give legends their due when they pass.
But that's not true of Aretha, she was always here, those records are forever. Just go to a wedding or bar mitzvah, you'll hear 'em, everybody knows them. As big as Michael Jackson was, Aretha was bigger. But she lived her life privately, with fewer shenanigans. And she tried to live it for herself, but there were endless tragedies and mistreatments. But still, we were and still are the beneficiaries of her fantastic talent. She ultimately suffered for us.
And we still remember the Queen of Soul.
-         Bob Lefsetz

We’re at the ELO Show?!?!?

kk …
That Jeff Lynne / ELO review was great.
It was almost as good as the Doo – Wop Show review you did a month ago.
Major plus for this review.
But ------------
I'm forced to deduct points for canceling Elvis. L-0-L !!

Great ELO review – wish I could have seen this show – but your enthusiasm comes through loud and clear – sounds like a great time.
Order the Hyde Park Concert … you’ll be blown away!  (It’s the next best thing to being there … best live concert video I’ve ever seen!)  kk

Saw Stephen Bishop last night with Tom Cuddy … best show of the year so far - till Tuesday!   Great ELO review - can't wait for Tuesday when I see them!
David Salidor  
Best birthday present you could have possibly given yourself!!!  You’ll LOVE It … enjoy the show … and be sure to report back!  Thanks, David!  (kk)

SO glad to hear.  Going to see them in Philly next Friday!  A Bucket List show for me.
JR Russ 

Nice pics!!! 
I gotta say that I KNOW every one of the songs, which doesn't happen too often at concerts for me.  Love most of them.  I can sing along with ALL of them (well, maybe not the instrumental!).  I'd pick a couple different ones, but overall an awesome set. 
As to the ELO / Hall & Oates concert you saw on setlist, the site IS awesome in many ways, but depends on who managed to save the lists or books or other, so if something is NOT listed, it is just that no one made a setlist at the concert or maybe it's not in print somewhere else.  Like ARSA for surveys, this site has SOOOO much to offer that missing dates and songs are inevitable, but it still works well if you check the songs sung at a different arena from the same tour. 
Clark Besch  
Yeah, I don’t know how many people were keeping tracks of set lists back in the late ‘70’s … not like it is now where everything is so immediate and available online.  (This would be even more true of the back-up band, I would think.  Like I really liked Dawes, who opened for ELO … but couldn’t tell you the title of a single song they sang ‘cause prior to the show, I’d never even heard of them!  Lol)  kk

Where was ELO's greatest song: "Hold On Tight"?!?  Jiminy Christmas!  How could Jeff put on a superb live show and leave out the Top 10 track which instantly sends your heart soaring!?! 
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"
Definitely a “missing in action” track, to be sure … I noticed it right away, too.  I was a little bit surprised that he featured a couple of deeper catalog cuts over a few more obvious hits … but I guess he wanted to mix things up a little bit (and make himself happy, too!)
Honestly, I was a little surprised that “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” was included since this wasn’t released as a single in England … but I’m glad he did it as I thought it was one of the strongest performances of the night.  (kk)

Hi Kent:
Thanks so, so much for sharing the ELO review … you nailed it!
I really wanted to go to that show but I do not like the Allstate for many reasons (but that’s my problem.) Anyway, by reviewing the set list I see I missed a GREAT concert (too bad for Drew!)
Have a good weekend and thanks again for keeping me posted. 
Drew Paul

Hi Kent,
I'm not there yet, it might be Monday or something, but if I send an ELO review it might be more like a short story, because the ELO concert was right in the middle of one very INCREDIBLE waking-day for me!  One of those days I'll never forget.
I was whacked by an ENERGY TSUNAMI and I was bouncing-off-the-walls for close to forty hours (WITH A NIGHT'S SLEEP IN THERE and certainly abated the second day).  It was crazy fun, 71-year-olds ain't spozeta feel like this!
I might do best to include excerpts from my emails when I write my short story about Wednesday.  On second thought, probably WAY too much to post on FH.
No, send it in … I’ll run the whole thing!  (kk)
OK, my best try at a post.  (I should have been out the door already for Friday and Saturday stuff in Wisconsin.)
This was the best concert of my lifetime, no question.  I have to say that in my 71 years on this planet, I've only seen four "big name" PAID concerts in my lifetime:  Simon and Garfunkel at Pine Knob in Michigan in 1969, Frank Sinatra in Toledo, Ohio in 1971 or 1972, and Chuck Berry in Macomb, Illinois (!!!!) in whatever year he was 72.
I've seen music as diverse, also, as The Highwaymen (the country and western band) in Carthage, Illinois (this needs even more exclamation points … what an unlikely place) back in January, Sun Ra and His Arkestra twice, Laurie Anderson, Diamanda Galas, a number of symphony performances, Deerhoof, the opera Oresteia of Aeschylus (an opera that is NOT an "entry-level" one), Einsterzende Neubauten, Negativland, the list goes on.
To some of you, some of those might be like fingernails on the chalkboard.  I enjoyed all!
However, ELO was one of those "BUCKET LIST" concerts, and even with the bad seats (DUE stage left), the performances and the show were magnificent.  Does that word describe it adequately?  NO! It's hard to find a word in English that works, and the only reason they weren't actually on my bucket list is because I had NO clue they would ever be touring again ... I just assumed the group was long, long gone.  If I had known they were together in any form, they would have been on my bucket list, but an alert friend in Pontiac, IL, told me about it and got tickets quickly, though not quickly enough for the good seats (because it took me time to see email and such), but that wasn't an issue. 
The positioning actually gave us the PERFECT amount of volume:  LOUD, BUT not overbearingly loud.  I am so grateful to my friend John that he spotted this and was able to find any tickets at all for two of us sitting together.  (He had a better seat, but there were no doubles at all elsewhere.)  My roommate Todd was there, and he had a cool transformational thing happen ... he does NOT like crowds and this was the first time in his lifetime that he was good-with-it.  HOW COOL IS THAT?
The concert exceeded my best expectations, and I will never forget August 15, 2018, because the concert was actually in the dead-center of a long waking-day where I was "bouncing off the walls" for seventeen hours.  All I did was to have ONE ordinary hit of weed early in the afternoon.  Wednesday was nothing short of being slammed by an  ENERGY TSUNAMI ... I've never tried speed but I think weed has a similar effect on me and I'm very sensitive because I RARELY use it, but even this was unprecedented and exceptional.  The combination of just having stopped a very long streak of work downstate, hanging out with my roommate for the first time in a good while, and anticipating ELO, was the "perfect storm" just waiting for that little smoky catalyst to set off the bomb. 
With the ELO concert right in the middle, this is the most fun day of at least the Millennium so far, and ranks in the top days of my lifetime.  September 21, 1996 (VERY long story, I won't even try!) exceeds it, but there can't be any more than one or two other days that exceed it.
I had a long wait for the musical peak of my lifetime, as I've generally considered ELO to be the BEST musical act, of any kind, to emerge in the past fifty years.  (Good place to stop, because going back just a few more years brings in Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Moody Blues, The Rolling Stones ... and it starts getting really complicated then.)  
Frank Merrill

Man, you gotta wonder what show THIS guy was watching!!!
Check out this review of ELO’s show in Austin, Texas …

The full-length, hour-long Carpool Karaoke featuring Paul McCartney airs this Monday Night (August 20th) at 8 pm Eastern Time on CBS.  (That’s 7:00 pm here in Chicago … and our DVR is already set!)  kk

More tomorrow ... in Forgotten Hits!