Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 10 - 14 - 18 )

I was just reading your page on the story of "The Warmth Of The Sun”.  
Last year I read Mike Love’s autobiography "Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy.“  There is a part in there about "The Warmth Of The Sun” and I did a snapshot of one passage because it triggered personal memories for me.  In any case, Love claims to have helped writing "The Warmth Of The Sun,” and he says it was prompted by being smitten by a girl, Georgia, that he had met.
***ATTACHED*** is a snapshot I took of just this passage.  I am also sending the remainder of the text about this story.  (see below)
(By the way, those personal memories I mentioned above concern a girl named Alice, who I knew here in Chicago in the summer 1968.  During that summer, I gave her a copy of Boyce & Hart’s brand new song “Alice Long.”  I thought I’d mention that since you also have a special page for Boyce & Hart!)
Very best wishes … and keep up the great work!
Kevin Killion

As we explain in our “Warmth Of The Sun” history page, the story behind this song has changed numerous times over the years … ALL of the key players involved have modified their stories over the years … owing equal parts to embellishing the significance to the tie in to President Kennedy’s death (my guess) and the simple fact that memories fade after a period of the time.  I would think, however, that a song of this structure and significance should be permanently etched in their collective minds due to the circumstances that supposedly inspired it … and that this should be a “shared memory” without so many variations over the years.

Therefore, the point of my article was to explore ALL options as they’ve been presented … and then hope to arrive at “the most accurate truth,” which has always been the motto and mission of Forgotten Hits.
So please, take it all with a grain of salt knowing that there likely isn’t just one correct answer … but that MANY of the proposed scenarios probably factored into the end result from the perspective and memory of each party involved. 

One thing we’ve learned after nearly twenty years of doing this now is that not only do memories fade, but once you’ve told a story a certain way, a certain number of times, it becomes your own “absolute fact”.  Even this I could understand and buy in to … had those parties themselves not gone and changed their story over the course of time.  Brian Wilson’s revised biography came out about a month after Mike Love’s book did … and I can almost guarantee you that his recollections of these events will vary again when compared not only to Love’s book, but to his own documentation of these events in his own first biography!

Suffice to say that it is, without question, a beautiful song.  (Our piece eventually ran in Endless Summer Quarterly, the official Beach Boys fanzine … and I know that Fred Vail, who I’m hoping to FINALLY meet in person in a couple of months when we head down to Nashville … did several radio program interviews after our story ran.)  If nothing else, it makes for GREAT Beach Boys Folklore!!!  (kk) 

The Genesee Theatre is putting the emphasis on ‘60’s and ‘70’s music for the next several weeks …
Headliners include:
The Roy Orbison Hologram Tour on Sunday, October 21st
Smokey Robison returns on Friday, October 26th
Followed by The Cornerstones Of Rock (featuring The Buckinghams, The Ides Of March, The Cryan’ Shames, The New Colony Six and The Shadows Of Knight), reliving the glory days of Chicago Rock and Roll on Friday, November 2nd
And then on Friday, November 17th, Tommy James and the Shondells return to The Genesee for what is sure to be another sold-out show …
And then next year, on February 1st, be sure to check out two of the premier cover bands out there, American English (doing their Tribute to The Beatles) and ABBAMania, performing together on the same stage!
More details are available thru the Genesee Online Box Office here:

After all the talk upfront about Lindsay Buckingham not wanting to tour with Fleetwood Mac again and just performing the same old same old … so he was willingly going off on his own … it turns out he is now suing the band (probably for lost revues since tickets for his solo tour and new “Greatest Hits” album are selling well.)
Buckingham even went so far as to publicly share a personal email he sent to Mick Fleetwood, founder of the band … a blatant sympathy move after reportedly putting his solo career ahead of any new group joint venture, which prompted his firing in the first place.  (Fleetwood Mac, with new recruits Mike Campbell and Neil Finn, are already on tour at this time and, by all accounts, doing very well with a much more expanded career-retrospective type show.)
In his email Buckingham calls the silent treatment he's received since his final performance with the band at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year Benefit Concert “heartbreaking,” and says that basedon the "beautiful legacy we've built together," owe I to themselves to settle their differences.
Buckingham’s email continues:  "In the month since MusiCares, I’ve tried to speak to both you and Stevie (Nicks), to no avail. I’ve only gotten radio silence this whole time. (I haven’t tried Chris (tine McVie), as I thought she might be feeling a bit fragile.)”  [Ironically, Buckingham and McVie problem touring together as a duo when the rest of the band was willing and available to do so … and nobody had to sue ANYBODY!!!]  Buckinghams continues, “I even emailed John (McVie), who responded that he couldn’t have contact with me.  All of this breaks my heart.  After forty-three years and (with) the finish line clearly in sight, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that for the five of us to splinter apart now would be doing the wrong thing. Wrong for the beautiful legacy we’ve built together. Wrong for our legions of loyal fans who would hate to see the final act be a breakup. Wrong for ourselves, and all that we’ve accomplished and shared together."
Buckingham wrapped things up by saying "If there is a way to work this through, I believe we must try. I love you all, no matter what."
Estimates indicate that Lindsay would have earned an estimated $12 million had he partaken in the band's current tour.  That’s a WHOLE lot of money to walk away from in order to promote your moderately-selling solo album!
Meanwhile, the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac claim that Buckingham’s dismissal was due to scheduling conflicts, with Buckingham wanting to release and tour behind a solo album before embarking on a tour with the band. Buckingham today denies this claim … but that’s exactly the way this whole ugly episode was presented when it first occurred.  Stay tuned for more drama.  (Seriously??? Drama?!?!  From THIS band?!?!?  Oh wait … aren’t these the guys who INVENTED drama???  Or was that just all a Rumour???)

Hi Kent –
Here is a link to a documentary that ran this past Sunday evening from 10:30 to 11 as part of the 10 p.m. news on CBS Channel 2 in Chicago.
It is about Andy Frain. I worked for them as did Jim Williams the CBS anchor.
I think it is interesting and I got some good airtime. I tell a story about Elton John that I think you'll like.
The CBS lawyers in New York had to validate my story with witnesses due to Elton's reputation for being litigious.
I hope you get a chance to watch, but I don't know how the hell you'll ever have the time.
On another note, a couple years ago, I saw "Winter Dance Party" at the Willowbrook Ballroom. It featured tributes to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.  Big Bopper's son played his dad in the show.
Ron Onesti should book this show. I think he'd have a sell-out on his hands.
Thank you -
Steve Sarley
I did watch it … and found it to be interesting and very well done.  If you grew up here in Chicago, Andy Frain Ushers were a big part of your life … they were at every major event you went to, whether it was a rock concert or a Sox game!
I know that you have shared some very interesting stories with me and our readers over the years. (How the heck did they track you down for this???)  Cool to see our ol’ buddy Chet Coppock on there, too!
Hopefully Ron will see your link … it does look like a pretty cool show (but it may already be too late to book for a February appearance.)  Still, I think folks here would enjoy it.
I’ve been to a LOT of concerts over the years … but nearly all of them have been of my own choosing.
You’ve probably seen just as many shows (or more than) I have … but you kinda had to go wherever they sent you each night.  Still, that gig presented the opportunity for you to see some acts you might otherwise never even considered checking out … so I still think it had to be a pretty incredible and rewarding experience over all.
Please continue to share your stories with our readers … I know they’ll love ‘em!!!  Thanks, Steve!  (kk)

I just got in a cache of CHUM charts (Toronto) a couple weeks ago. Tommy Row is pictured. We coulda made a fortune proof reading these.

Man, he looks so young there!!!  (We were ALL so young back then!!!)

So imagine this …

You finally become the Spotlight Artist of the Week … and then they spell your name wrong!!!  Go Figure!  (kk)

I sent a copy to Tommy (and asked again how he’s doing ‘cause FH Readers wanna know!)  Thankfully, he continues to get stronger and better every day.

Hey Kent ...
Seems like a hundred years ago, and yes, we were so young and innocent. In the early days of Rock ‘n’ Roll our music reflected that joy of naïveté. Music was fun, full of energy, and love and am radio was our drug. Another place, another time …
I am still on the mend and doing very well. The cardiac rehab is proving to be very helpful in my recovery. I am looking forward to the holidays with a renewed appreciation and love of family and friends.
Thank you for being such a good friend … and thank you for keeping us all informed about the music, the artists and the radio personalities we all love and admire through your blog, “Forgotten Hits.”
Your Pal,

Now this looks like a pretty incredible release if you’re a Neil Diamond fan …  

A brand new box set of collected works PLUS a bunch of never before released tracks, demos and live performances.
Check out all the details here:

This just in from Al Kooper …
His EXTREMELY popular music column “New Music For Old People” has now been turned into a RADIO SHOW!!!  And fans all over the world can tune in and listen to all of Al’s latest picks.  (This guy’s got an incredible ear for music.)

You’ll find all of the necessary information below …

My New Radio Show is On The Air! -October 13th, 2018  

Hey Gang,
I finally got my radio show on the air –
It's called "New Music For Old People" and is an hour long every week.
To access the podcast, go to
It airs on WVVY every Sunday at 11AM (ET) and is repeated on Wednesdays at 11PM.  However, if things are working OK, you can access it online at anytime after the first broadcast.
Please let me know what you think; I'm hoping you'll enjoy it!
@l k%per  
New Music for Old People
Well, there are an awful lot of people out here who believe you belong there, Freddy!
By the way, I heard this Elgin thing drew nearly 20,000 people last year!
Was gonna try and stop by but that’s just a little too crazy for me!
Have a great time!  (kk)
If any of our readers make it out there, please drop us a note so we can report back to the others!

And, speaking of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (and the infinite wisdom there of …)

Hi Kent –
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is a mess and a mockery of what we have loved and supported all our lives . I think Peter Noone has sold more records than most of the people who are in there … maybe the committee doesn’t think he is hip, but he out sold the Beatles and he works more than any of these other artists currently in there … something is wrong with the way this is being run. 
Billy J. Kramer

Lots of love and support coming in for Todd Rundgren, one of this year’s Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees for the Class of 2019 (who folks feel actually belongs there!)

Hey Kent –
Was feeling a little indignant for Todd Rundgren, who is somehow not already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but then I remembered this photo.
Pictured with him is Daryl Hall. After he got in, we asked him about the ceremony. He said: "It was pretty much exactly how I expected: An overlong evening of a lot of windbaggery."
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

This was a GREAT episode of Daryl's House by the way!  (kk)


Jay Siegel of The Tokens recalls the origins of their biggest hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” … courtesy of Frank B.  (I think we’ve run this before but here it is again for those who may have missed it)

Here’s our recap of the complete history of this track …


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 recordings 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.  (The song won over a whole new audience when it was used in the soundtrack of the monster-hit Disney film “The Lion King” … it’s one of those that’ll live on forever!)

And, the Question of the Week:

You guys are awesome! What a great website full of lists that trigger a litany of memories — and at our ages, many forgotten and resurrected!  I love it!
Thank you for all of the hard work it has taken to produce these lists (especially the B sides).
I have a question and can’t seem to find an answer. It is purely for my own musical knowledge / curiosity ...
Has there ever been a B-side that has charted higher than its A-side?
If this has happened, how many times and what were they?
Taking it further, if this did happen, was the B-side ever re-released as an A-side with a different B-side?
Thanks in advance, truly appreciate these wonderful resources!
Jonathan Kaufman

Hi Jonathan … welcome aboard!

It has happened more times than we can count.  Artists recorded what they considered a “throw-away” B-Side (‘cause that’s what most of them were back then … sometimes picking something that they considered to be SO awful that the deejays couldn’t help but play what they had determined to be the “plug” or hit side … only to find out that some enterprising jock flipped the record over (which you could do back then!) and turned the other side into a hit!

Back in those days, the major music trades frequently listed both sides of the same record separately … that’s why you’ll see different peak positions for essentially the same record.

And, typically, if the B-Side started to take over the intended A-Side’s popularity, it BECAME the A-Side instead, because that’s what radio was playing and folks were buying.

(“Something” by The Beatles was clearly the intended A-Side of the record … much hoopla existed around the fact that George Harrison had FINALLY been given an A-Side.  And they couldn’t have made it any more obvious by awarding the full green apple as the logo on that side of the record while “Come Together,” the flipside, got the sliced Apple logo instead.  But sales and airplay ultimately awarded the A-Side to “Come Together” … so that’s the way it has been documented in the history books ever since … even though we all know that the REAL A-Side to the record was “Something,” a major break-through for George!)

There was nothing like bringing a new record home from the store, flopping it on the turn table and listening to the flip side of the record in the hopes of discovering some brand new, unexpected gem … that was ALWAYS the bonus when buying the latest 45’s back then.

Some discoveries took a little longer to catch on when it came to the pop charts.

For example, “Laughing” by The Guess Who first hit the charts the first week of July.  It was a Top Five follow-up hit to “These Eyes” …and stayed on the chart for twelve weeks.

Then, FOURTEEN WEEKS after “Laughing” premiered, radio flipped the record over and launched the Guess Who classic “Undun” up the charts.  It eventually peaked at #22!

The two best examples of B-Sides that were later reissued as A-Sides would have to be:  

1)    “Black Water” by The Doobie Brothers –
First released as the B-Side to their April, 1974 single “Another Park, Another Sunday,” Warner Brothers reissued “Black Water” as the A-Side eight months later due to heavy FM radio airplay. 
Incredibly, at first they just put the same single (catalog number 7795) out in stores (with “Another Park, Another Sunday” now the designated B-Side … the record really hadn’t sold very well so they likely had a surplus of singles already pressed and since “Black Water” was now the track that was getting all the airplay, they figured it would be the one the kids in the record stores would be looking for anyway.
But then, as sales continued to grow, the reissued it again with a brand new B-Side (“Song To See You Through”) and catalog number (8062)
“Black Water” then went on to become The Doobie Brothers’ very first #1 Record … a pretty amazing success story for what at one time was just considered to be a “throw-away” B-Side!!!  

2)    “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones –
Originally issued as the B-Side to their 1969 #1 Hit “Honky Tonk Women,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” got a TON of airplay at the time … but never actually charted on its own in ’69.
Then, after The Rolling Stones started their own record label, Rolling Stones Records, London Records, The Stones’ old label, put it out as an A-Side in 1973 … FOUR YEARS after it was first released as a B-Side single … and this time it climbed to #34 on its own.

Thanks for your great question, Jonathan!
Our Favorite Forgotten B-Sides list and our list of The Top 200 Biggest Two-Sided Hits of All-Time remain two of our most popular features.  Several disc jockeys on the list have used these list to program special radio features … and we’ve been pushing for somebody like Me-TV-FM or Rewound Radio or The True Oldies Channel to run an all-new “See Ya On The Flipside” Weekend because we feel VERY confident that this will be a unique feature that will draw their target audience in … EVERYBODY played their B-Sides back then … a joy today’s generation will never know or appreciate.  (One response I got … and I won’t say from whom because I’m hoping they’ll still climb onboard with this promotion … was that they didn’t want to “date themselves” by bringing up the idea of “B-Sides.”  Are you kidding me?!?!?  That generation is your ENTIRE target audience … THOSE are the people tuning in to listen every day … and I guarantee you that they’d LOVE a feature like this … it’ll be the “must listen / appointment radio” we keep talking about here in Forgotten Hits.  They’ll be chomping at the bit wondering when you’ll run it again … I promise you.  (kk)

You can check out BOTH complete lists here:

By the way, if you don’t have them, Joel Whitburn’s “Top Pop Records” books are the PERFECT source to find this information … they show the release date, catalog number and chart performance for EVERY record to hit The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart, A-Sides and B-Sides … and even if the B-Side didn’t chart (the majority of which didn’t, unless you were an artist like Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Monkees or Ricky Nelson), it tells you what the flip side of each charted hit was anyway.  Imagine how many memories this book will generate for you!  (In fact, it just may inspire you to dig out your old 45’s record collection and start playing a few of these again!!!)

You can pick up your copy here: