Tuesday, March 19, 2019

C'mon ... Get It Together Me-TV and Me-TV-FM!!!

I have to admit that I was a little confused (and maybe even a little disturbed) by a recent email sent out by Me-TV, referring to “Six Rock Bands Huge in the '60s But Largely Forgotten Today,” especially since their sister radio station, Me-TV-FM plays ALL of these artists (and quite extensively, I might add) on a regular basis.  Far more attention to this fact should have been paid in the article in my opinion.  (Don't sell yourselves short, guys ... you're one of a kind!)

The six singled out?  Chad and Jeremy, The Cowsills, The Dave Clark Five, The Young Rascals, Paul Revere and the Raiders and Jan and Dean.  (The tagline reads “You don’t hear ‘Over And Over’ and ‘Kicks’ much these days” … another complete misnomer if you spend any time at all listening to this station.)

In fact, Me-TV-FM offers, without question, hands down, the BEST variety of ‘60’s music on the dial these days … so it seems a bit daft to me to have the TV station make a comment like this without simply referring the reader to “the solution to this problem is to turn on Me-TV-FM.”

Of course, that would be a much bigger and universal solution if Me-TV-FM streamed world wide … but the Chicago-based station is still avoiding the best way to promote themselves to their largest potential audience.  (Me-TV is available on cable television stations everywhere … there must be SOME way the radio station can piggyback on to this already established familiarity in homes from coast-to-coast and become the “go to” station when it comes to oldies music.)

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again … their playlist (for the most part) reflects everything we have been pushing for the past twenty years in Forgotten Hits … play those songs that everybody remembers that all of the other radio stations have forgotten all about due to their tight 200-300 song playlists and the listeners will respond.

The article goes on to say: 

“Despite what some say, classic rock will never die. The Rolling Stones are heading out on another tour of football stadiums. A biopic about Queen was one of the cinematic crazes of 2018. Heck, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is currently the No. 2 rock song in America right now as this sentence is being typed (and many of Queen's greatest hits are just below it). On the retail front, Target sells Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd T-shirts. There's big money is decades-old rock. 

"What's interesting is that Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead were hardly best-selling acts in America in the 1960s. Their critically acclaimed albums peaked at chart positions like No. 87, No. 73, No. 131. Meanwhile, the Monkees, Herman's Hermits and the Lovin' Spoonful were sitting pretty at the top of the charts.

"Herman's Hermits and the Lovin' Spoonful no longer have the same clout as, say, the Doors. This is quantifiable thanks to streaming numbers. Spotify tracks the number of monthly listeners for every act. Icons like the Beatles rake in 17.5 million listeners per month. But the Fab Four are deified. So let's move down to groups like the Doors (6.7 million), the Kinks (4.8 million) and the Monkees (3 million). Then there are influential bands like the Velvet Underground (2.3 million) and the Yardbirds (1 million) who have only grown in stature since their days as Sixties cult acts. 

"That brings us to the following six groups. Back in the day, they had numerous Top 10 hits and multiple best-selling albums. They appeared on television shows. Some of them even had their own movies. Heck, a few even saw their likenesses turned into toys and dolls. Today, however, they scrape up a meager 100,000 or 200,000 Spotify spins per month. 

"To put that in perspective, Eighties one-hit wonders like Kajagoogoo (317,000) and Tommy Tutone (348,000) perform better than these wonderful acts."

I'm not so sure 100,000 - 200,000 spins per month is so bad for an act that hasn't released a record in over fifty years ... but I will admit that I totally don't get the whole Kajagoogoo thing!!!  (lol)

Putting things into my own words, and calling the shots as I see them from my perspective, I think ALL of these acts are still worthy of airplay.  They may not be the darlings of Spotify (I wouldn’t know as I’ve never subscribed to it) … but the REAL reason they may not be wracking up the clicks may be because they haven’t had the exposure some of these other acts have had over the last several years and, as such, they’re not as instantly recognizable as some of the rest.  (I don’t think Val Kilmer will ever be starring in a Dave Clark biopic the way he did for Jim Morrison … or as Peter Noone either for that matter!)

[For the record:  I wrote MY synopsis for each of these acts BEFORE reading what Me-TV had to say … and was surprised to see afterwards how many of the same points we both raised.  Like they always say, great minds tend to think alike!]

Perhaps were some of this music brought more to the forefront by way of radio airplay, use in television commercials and movies and other outlets that today’s music fans enjoy listening to, this whole scenario could be turned around on a dime.

For example, The Dave Clark Five had 17 National Top 40 Hits (and a few others that just missed.)  Now in this case, the complete idiocy of Dave Clark making this music unavailable for decades certainly contributed greatly to the lack of following and familiarity with many of these tunes.

But The Dave Clark Five rivaled The Beatles in the earliest days of The British Invasion well before The Rolling Stones ever caught on.  (Herman’s Hermits did, too, for that matter … but Peter Noone’s non-stop touring and brilliant showmanship have kept his legion of fans addicted for decades now.)

Several of The Dave Clark Five’s biggest hits were remakes of early ‘60’s hits like “Do You Love Me” (#8, 1964), “Reelin’ And Rockin’” (#13, 1965), “I Like It Like That” (#5, 1965), “Over And Over” (#1, 1966), “You Got What It Takes” (#7, 1967) and “You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby” (#35, 1967) … but they also charted with quite a few of their own songs, many of which have gone on to become ‘60’s classics like “Because” (#3, 1964), “Catch Us If You Can” (#4, 1965), “Glad All Over” (#5, 1964), “Bits And Pieces” (#3, 1964), “Can’t You See That She’s Mine” (#4, 1964), “Any Way You Want It” (#9, 1964) and TWO hits called “Everybody Know” (the first … “Everybody Knows [I Still Love You]”, #14, 1964, and the second … a beautiful ballad that I know Me-TV-FM plays, #41, 1967.)

The Me-TV article agrees with me on these points … but ALL of these tunes (plus others like “Come Home,” #13, 1965, “At The Scene,” #12, 1966, “Try Too Hard,” #9, 1966 and “I’ve Got To Have A Reason,” #44) DO receive airplay on Me-TV-FM so they are not "lost and forgotten" by the Me Network at large.

(To this point … making these songs unavailable to the public for all those years was career suicide for this band … "business genius" Dave Clark grossly over-estimated the value of this music and, as such, it disappeared from the consciousness of even the group’s biggest fans.  Had he licensed these tunes for use in movies and tv ads, my guess is they’d still be one of the most popular British Invasion downloads out there.  But going the other route ultimately did them in.  What good is having it if nobody can listen to it?  Why, this would be akin to having the world’s GREATEST oldies station playlist at your fingertips … and then not sharing it with the rest of the world thru streaming … how does anybody out there even realize it exists if you won’t share it with them???  I mean, to a degree isn't Me-TV-FM contributing to listener ignorance by doing so?  But I digress.)

Next up … Paul Revere and the Raiders … long-time ‘60’s favorites who charted 18 National Top 40 Hits (and, again, a few others that just missed)

Their version of “Louie Louie” never cracked The Top 100 on any of the national charts … but it rivaled The Kingsmen’s version for airplay early on, particularly in the Northwest.  “Like, Long Hair,” a classical rocker instrumental, gave the band their first hit (#30) in 1961 … but they REALLY broke thru after signing on with Dick Clark to host the after school music series “Where The Action Is.”  From there, the hits just kept on coming:  “Just Like Me” (#11, 1966), “Kicks” (#3, 1966 … and #1 in many markets, including Chicago), “Hungry” (#6, 1966), “The Great Airplane Strike (#17, 1966), “Good Thing” (#4, 1967), “Ups And Downs” (#19, 1967), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be” (#5, 1967), “I Had A Dream” (#13, 1967), “Too Much Talk” (#11, 1968), “Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon” (#15, 1969), “Let Me” (#14, 1969) and then, finally, their first and only national #1 record, “Indian Reservation,” 1971.

And again, Me-TV-FM plays most of these songs on a regular basis … so they are certainly not "forgotten" in any way in the oldies market.

Next, we’ll cover The Rascals / Young Rascals …

These guys went from being the “house band” at The Peppermint Lounge to tearing things up on the charts in the mid-to-late ‘60’s … THREE #1 Singles (“Good Lovin’,” 1966, “Groovin’,” 1967 and “People Got To Be Free,” 1968) … plus 13 other National Top 40 Hits, including “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” (#15, 1967), “A Girl Like You” (#5, 1967), “How Can I Be Sure” (#2, 1967), “A Beautiful Morning” (#2, 1968) along with other “fan favorites” like “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” (#52, 1966), “You Better Run” (#20, 1966), “Come On Up” (#37, 1966) and “Carry Me Back” (#10, 1969.)

A brief reunion tour featuring the return of all four original members a couple of years ago played to sold out houses across the country … so they certainly are not “lost and forgotten” by any stretch.  You still hear their music every single day on any wide variety of music formats … so I’m not sure how these guys got lumped in with the others.  They are probably the MOST-played of all the artists on this list.

Now, in all fairness, the other three artists on this list didn’t have the commercial output of these first three … but they were still able to maximize a successful career what they had.

Take The Cowsills, for example.

They only had five National Top 40 Hits … but two of them went all the way to #1.  (“The Rain, The Park And Other Things” in 1967 and “Hair” in 1969.)

In addition, they scored big with “We Can Fly” (#17, 1968) and “Indian Lake” (#6, 1968).  Me-TV-FM plays ALL of these hits … as well as their theme to the hit television series “Love, American Style” and their rather awful version of “Silver Threads And Golden Needles” … so THEY certainly haven’t forgotten this band (who inspired the television series “The Partridge Family,” by the way.)  The first thought was to give The Cowsills their own TV show … but after doing a screen test, they didn’t find the real-life family “believable enough” … so they cast actors to PLAY a family instead!!!  David Cassidy went on to become one of the biggest teenage heartthrobs in pop music history … and The Cowsills never hit the charts again after 1971.  (There is an EXCELLENT Cowsills documentary available that, if better circulated, would likely bring their music more to the forefront again.  But people need to know about it ... and see it ... in order to be motivated to download more of this great music.  Still is there ANYBODY out there who can suppress a smile on their face while "The Rain, The Park and Other Things" is playing???)

Jan and Dean should have been a bit more memorable.  (They were kind of The Beach Boys before there WAS a Beach Boys … and, in fact, Brian Wilson buddied up with Jan Berry and came up with the duo’s first #1 hit, “Surf City,” something Brian’s dad … and manager at the time … Murry Wilson never forgave him for!)

Berry’s tragic automobile accident (right near “Dead Man’s Curve,” a place they sang about in 1964 that went on to become a Top Ten Hit) put the duo out of commission for a long, long time … but Jan’s dramatic comeback was the kind of story that made-for-TV movies DREAM about … so their story was dramatized on film … and, in the process, this should have earned them a much larger, longer-lasting audience than it did.  (Maybe it was just too long ago ... but truthfully not all of their music holds up that well all these years later.)

In one of those rock and roll miracle moments, Jan Berry actually lived to sing again … in a manner of speaking … and their Top 40 Hits (“Jennie Lee,” #3, 1958, “Baby Talk,” #7, 1959, “Heart And Soul,” #16, 1961, “Honolulu Lulu,” #9, 1963, “Drag City,” #10, 1964, “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” #3, 1964, “Ride The Wild Surf, “#16, 1964, “Sidewalk Surfin’,” #25, 1964 and “I Found A Girl,” #30, 1965) are all still worthy of an occasional spin now and then.  (Some would say “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” is a “timeless and memorable” ‘60’s classic.)

Chad and Jeremy were two of the nicest, most likeable guys you could meet in the ‘60’s … and their charismatic charm helped them earn bookings as musical guests on several popular television series at the time.  (Most memorable for me, of course, was their appearance as The Red Coats on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” … but they also starred on “Batman” and “The Patty Duke Show,” too, as I recall.)

Unfortunately, they went head-to-head with another British duo, Peter and Gordon … and fans may have been confused as to just exactly who was who. (Even one of their record companies printed an LP jacket with a picture of Peter And Gordon on the back cover of a Chad and Jeremy LP!!!)  Once again, they didn’t have enough commercial output to sustain a long-lasting career (although recent live appearances by Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde might prove otherwise … plug their names into our FH Search Engine and read our concert reviews.)

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find more enjoyable tunes than “A Summer Song” (#6, 1964), “Yesterday’s Gone” (#21, 1964) and “Willow Weep For Me” (#15, 1964).  (The duo also hit The National Top 40 with “If I Loved You,” #17, 1965, “Before And After,” #15, 1965, “I Don’t Wanna Lose You Baby,” #33, 1965 and “Distant Shores,” #30, 1966.)

Bottom line …

ALL of these acts are still receiving PLENTY of airplay on Me-TV-FM … and deservedly so.  And each is very fairly represented proportionally by their volume of hit output … so really, all is right in the world … with the possible exception of the fact that MOST of the world has no means to hear it!

So again, we appeal to Me-TV-FM to begin streaming the Chicago feed so that the rest of the world can also discover and enjoy all that they’ve been missing since the station launched a few years ago.  It’s simply too good not to share.  (kk)

Read Me-TV’s original article here: