Monday, December 3, 2018

A Monday Morning Quickie!

Congratulations to “Bohemian Rhapsody” … it just became the biggest grossing music biopic in history, passing both “Straight Outta Compton” and “Walk The Line” for this honor.  (Domestically, it will likely pass $165 million once this weekend’s box office receipts have been counted … and has now passed the $500 million mark worldwide.)  There's even Oscar talk about Rami Malek, who does an absolutely BRILLIANT portrayal of Freddie Mercury!

We celebrated by seeing it again on Sunday.  (We had family in from out of town who hadn’t seen it yet so we declared it “Queen For A Day” and went back to the cinema for our second helping.)

And I can happily report that the theater had a good crowd for a Sunday matinee … and we enjoyed it every bit as much the second time as we did the first.

Sales of the soundtrack CD propelled it into The Top Ten, where it peaked at #3 a couple of weeks ago (it still sits at #6 this week!) … and Queen’s Greatest Hits, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, have also returned to the charts.  (Their hit single “Bohemian Rhapsody” made its third trip to The Top 40 a couple of weeks ago, where it peaked at #38.)

If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.  Queen will, Queen will rock you!  (kk)

We're making a little bit of headway with our Dr. Hook inquiry …

I heard back from Ron Onesti, CEO of The Arcada Theatre, and he has already talked to the booking agency handling their overseas gigs.  If enough US dates can be booked, it sounds like Dennis and the guys would be very willing to make the trip here to entertain their many, many fans who haven’t seen a Dr. Hook concert in several decades.  (I’m hearing that stops in Florida and Chicago are currently being considered.)  Stay tuned for more details as we get them!  (kk)

Meanwhile, here’s a VINTAGE Dr. Hook story from one of our readers …

I remember seeing Dr. Hook at the Aragon Ballroom back in the seventies. They appeared along with Foghat, Flash and the Kinks.
The audience was not too kind to them on that night, especially when they sang “Sylvia’s Mother.”
If I remember correctly, they changed the lyrics halfway through the song, inserting a bunch of expletives about what Sylvia’s Mother said to get the audience back on their side, at least temporarily.
Going up against those other groups was like putting them in a snake pit.

They didn’t belong there and the audience let them know it in no uncertain terms.
Some things you just don’t forget! 
The Kinks were outstanding as being icons of the sixties plus their current resurgence at the time.
I was especially impressed with the group Flash, led by Peter Banks, formerly of Yes, as they put on a solid progressive rock set highlighted by the epic “Small Beginnings”.

Foghat put in a solid set as well.
Quite a lineup, except for Dr. Hook, at least in my book!
Bill Mulvihill

Hi Kent,
I’m Doris Bennett, wife of Joe Bennett, of Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones.  As I’m sure you already know, Joe passed away on June 27, 2015.
I really enjoy your “Forgotten Hits”!
Joe’s last few years of performing certainly proved there was a need for your site.
It was hard to get bookings for his band because his 1957 Hits were being forgotten.
He was never forgotten by the Las Vegas Show, Viva Las Vegas, however … every year at Easter they were invited to perform there.
England, Germany and Spain never forgot his band or their songs either! He did get bookings in those wonderful countries!
Joe’s very last performance before he died was as a guest on the Mickey Hart show in Charlotte, NC.  This was the show of the famous Drummer, Mickey Hart, of the Grateful Dead!
Joe and Mickey Hart met in the Air Force in Spain in 1960. Joe had already toured with his Sparkletones Band and left it to join the Air Force.  His commanding officer encouraged him to form a band there since he had been a famous major label artist in America.
Mickey Hart was a drummer for the Air Force.  He had not been famous yet. He came to Joe’s audition and Joe hired him as his drummer for the new band he was putting together in Spain, Joe and the Jaguars.
Joe and the Jaguars were signed by the famous Spanish major label, Hispavox!
The US Air Force was so proud of this accomplishment that they allowed Joe and his band to be signed with Hispavox while all the band members were enlisted in the USA Air Force!
Thank You so much for!
Doris Bennett

Very nice!
I hope you have 20 more!
Jimy Sohns
The Shadows Of Knight

Speaking of the local scene, here's another show I need to tell you about (and one that I'm hoping to attend next month.)

On January 6th, Skip Griparis (the last lead singer of The New Colony Six in the early '70's) is doing a one-man show at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, IL.  Billed as "The Guys Who Gave Us Rock," this should make for an entertaining afternoon as Skip has also done movies and stand-up comedy at various times in his career.

Also booked for The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre are The Four Freshmen (although I think these guys probably graduated several decades ago!)  This is a 7:30 show on January 12th.

And on January 25th, you can catch The Chicago Experience, our favorite local tribute band.  (These guys perform the music of Chicago better than Chicago does these days!!!)

Tickets for all of these events can be found here:
>>>I only saw The Stones one time and that was back in 1972 when they were truly living up to their reputation as The World’s Greatest Rock And Roll Band.  Due to a huge campaign started by a radio station up in Rockford, IL, (which also included a petition with tens of thousands of signatures on it), The Stones gave in and added a date to their tour.  (I had graduated from high school the year before … and remember camping out the night before in front of our local Sears store at Cermak Plaza with a bunch of my fellow graduates, waiting for Ticketron (yeah, remember them?!?!) to open first thing in the morning, convinced that this maneuver would earn us INCREDIBLE first row tickets.  (Yeah, right … like that’s EVER the way it worked!!!)  Nevertheless, this was the band in their prime and it was an incredible concert.  (kk)

Although I have not had time to research the exact date, I'm pretty sure you’re about ten years off on that Stones show. It was more likely in the early 80s.
It was held at the recently completed Metro Center which was definitely not there in the early 70s.
As far as the tickets go, I remember there was some kind of phone call in procedure at a certain time to make sure that Rockford folks got the best seats. I remember everyone who worked downtown stayed at work to phone in for tickets at the designated time. The main phone switching facility was still downtown at the time and they figured their calls would get in quicker. It seemed to work, but that's why your Ticketron angle did not.
Robert Campbell

I looked everywhere online for the exact date of this show, too, and couldn’t find it.  (I’m wondering if it’s because it was never officially part of The Rolling Stones’ tour itinerary because the date was added after the tour had already begun … meaning it wasn’t part of any t-shirts or programs, etc.)  I, too, could only find the 1981 show you’re referring to, but that definitely is NOT the show I’m referring to, as I had long since moved out of the neighborhood by then and would have been married by the following year.  This is a show that I definitely attended with a bunch of high school friends (who I also wouldn’t have still been hanging out with in 1981.)

I’m going to continue to dig … because it really bothered me that I couldn’t find any concrete backup before running my Sunday Comments.  In fact, I almost held back because I thought they would likely be challenged … so now I’ve got to continue to dig a little deeper.
It wasn’t at the Metro Center either because, as you say, that hadn’t even been built yet in 1972.  (Was there a popular outdoor venue around this time … maybe a raceway or something?  For some reason, I can’t picture the surroundings right now.)

UPDATE:  I spent another hour looking for this information on Sunday Night and still came up empty.  Did I dream it?!?!  I’ve reached out to a couple of high school friends who would have been likely candidates to have attended this concert to see if they have any more vivid memories than I do.

We used to drive up to Rockford fairly often around this time … most of the shows we saw were at The Rockford Armory and were headline acts passing through.  I remember seeing Malo there promoting their big hit “Suavecito” at the time … Chuck Berry at least a couple of times … and perhaps the best show ever, The Raspberries with Badfinger, together on the same bill! (Unfortunately neither band was in top form that night … which was a real disappointment for me as I was a HUGE fan of both bands at the time.)

I swear REO Speedwagon seemed to be the opening act for EVERYBODY that played there … I think I must have seen them at least half a dozen times … YEARS before they hit it big nationally.  (I always loved ‘em … these were some of their very best live shows, before they went “all commercial” and just concentrated on their rock set … SO many great tracks (“Ridin’ The Storm Out,” “Keep Pushin’,” “Back On The Road Again,” “157 Riverside Avenue” … and then later “Roll With The Changes” and “Time For Me To Fly” … it was almost like they were the “house band” there for a while, which is kind of surprising since they hailed from Champaign, which is a good ways downstate, while Rockford is about 90 miles north of Chicago.  (kk)

Wow … Bleecker Bob died ... I remember scoring some 45s there, not much else. Messy, cramped.

I was shocked to see them featured on Seinfeld!  (And for a good chunk of the episode, too!)  Obviously a pretty popular spot.   

We recently lost Val of Val’s Halla Records in Oak Park … she was an institution in these parts!  Same kind of deal tho … very small and cramped quarters … there were certainly better and more organized used record stores to visit … but hers was one of the first really “cult” places in town.  (kk)