Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday This And That

Hi Kent:
CONGRATULATIONS on twenty years! 
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you for only a fraction of the time your site has been around, but your passion for the music and your knowledge of the genre got me into it right away.  May the music remain timeless and memorable to you for many years to come.
Rick O’Dell
Program Director

Well, Kent, I don't know what to say, as I say it over and over and over ...
We are SO fortunate to have a show called "Cornerstones of Rock."
I don't know anywhere in the country where they have this.
Think about it … these groups are all over 50 years old, all have at least two original members (except the Shadows, but they have Jimy Sohns, and he has that young gun slinger, Michael Weber!) ... and the Ides have all four!
You can feel the love that the audience has for these groups we grew up with … OUR groups … and the boys in the bands reciprocate 10 fold ... especially when you think of the medical problems Ray, Jimy and Hook have had over the last few years.
And to top it off, here they are in the lobby greeting their fans!
I have to tell you how much we appreciate talking to them, shaking their hands, getting their autographs and posing for pictures.
My girlfriend Laura did not know who Jim Peterik was three years ago and now she loves their music. Laura has mentioned to me how Jim reminds her of her late brother. She finally told Jim that in person and Jim gave her a big hug. Oh my God,  that made her year!
Ray lived close to our neighborhood at one time and he informed us where he lived. We felt like ringing the doorbell and telling them do you who once lived in your house! And then I see on Ronnie Rice’s website where he apologized for not signing someone’s album because he did not catch him after the show.  Wow!  All of our heroes are not only great performers, but wonderful human beings. We are SO fortunate to have them. 
My dream is to someday see special guest  Elaine (Spanky) McFarlane. The only thing I know of her she resides in California. Wouldn't that be something! 
Mike De Martino
We were unable to make this show but were much looking forward to it.  (This would have been the PERFECT opportunity to hang with the guys who made it all happen here in Chicago in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, celebrate our own 20th Anniversary of publishing Forgotten Hits and promoting the final phase of The Dick Biondi Documentary being put together by our good friend, Pam Pulice.
I’m glad it was yet another great show.  (Could anyone have expected any less?!?!?)  And another sell out!!!  (Incredibly, return performances are already scheduled for May and November of next year … and tickets are on sale now!!!)
Sorry we missed it … but thanks for your ringside review.  (kk)

Here’s an exclusive photo for you and Forgotten Hits readers!
On the recently ended Brian Wilson tour, during a stop in Pennsylvania, Brian Wilson invited a member of Philly Soul Royalty to join him on stage: the original lead singer of the Stylistics, Russell Thompkins Jr.
Brian, who once possessed one of the greatest falsetto voices in pop music, has been a longtime admirer of another one of the top falsetto voices of all-time, Russell Thompkins, who topped the charts with:
·        Betcha By Golly, Wow
·        You Are Everything
·        You Make Me Feel Brand New
·        Rock & Roll Baby
·        Break Up To Make Up
·        You’ll Never Get to Heaven
·        Stop, Look & Listen to Your Heart
·        I’m Stone In Love With You
Russell was asked by Brian to join him and his band on “Don’t Worry Baby” and the capacity audience went nuts.  Russell, who can still sing all of his hits in the original key, said he had a blast spending the afternoon and evening with Brian and his band. 
Before the concert, Brian was asking Russell about some of his favorite Stylistics hits, and Russell  spontaneously sang a few shortened versions for Brian acapella.
Notice in the photo that Brian is smiling.  He doesn’t do that in the majority of his pics!
-Tom Cuddy
  New York , NY

Hi Kent!  
Thank you again for your amazing initiative - the Top 500 Most Essential. Wow!
I just watched Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty and it makes my day. Already one of my top 20 favorites of all time, to see Ravenscroft playing that iconic alto sax riff live and Gerry singing made that song come alive again like I was hearing it for the first time.
Thanks again for keeping those moments burning. Means the world.
Jim Peterik 
Rock on!!  

Hi Kent,
Thanks for the mention on the Mike Douglas Show ... most appreciated.
Yes Sir, that was where the Christmas song broke on November 24, 1967.
Ricardo Montalban was his co-host that day ... what a super nice guy he
was, too. 
You know the sound stages back then were pretty poor ... we sang live over our track like most TV shows of that era.  Was still great fun!
And, of course, my pick ... Blue Christmas by Porky ... LOL ... Man, I love that song to this day.
Hope you ate more turkey than Campbells has beans ... we sure did ... loved every bite.  :O)
Talk to ya soon, my friend.

I would like to say a few things if I may while I'm thinking about them.
First, congratulations on your twentieth year of putting out FH.
I like to think of things, events, circumstances, etc. with a record or records from the past.
When I read it was your 20th year of putting out FH, I thought first of Chubby Checker's 1963 song 20 MILES. Don't ask me why but this is just me.
Tell Sam Ward that I remember Tommy Manno's THAT'S FOR ME TO KNOW (AND FOR YOU TO FIND OUT) from 1962. It came out on Atlantic Records and was played here in this market. The song BEND IT was recorded by a local group, the Noblemen, and peaked at #2, I believe, here in the OKC area. I would have to go check my (paper) records. SOUND OF LOVE by the 5 Americans was played here, too.  THE THOUGHT OF LOVING YOU by the Crystal Mansion was played here ... Capitol Records, I believe.
I, like Sam, remember these particular records he picked out. You were right in that a lot of records were played maybe two or three times and then drop off the surveys.
Again, congratulations on your 20th.
Larry Neal

Regarding The Robbs, I have to say that “Bittersweet” is one of their best songs. They sound somewhat like the Searchers on it.
One disappointing thing about that CD is that it is in mono. Why is that? The stereo versions I have from vinyl sound a lot better!

Regarding the recent mention of Crystal Mansion …
The group was originally known as the Secrets (no recordings) before changing their name.  They formed in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.  Johnny Caswell, their drummer, released a solo single on Decca in 1966, "You Don't Love Me Anymore" … probably with Philly connections … that was and still remains popular in the UK per the Northern Soul scene.
Crystal Mansion was still performing in the 70s and 80s.
Here's a clip of their Top 100 hit:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_HINYFPP_4
Mike Markesich

>>>We heard "Bend It" here all the time, too, yet it never charted on any of our local charts.  GREAT record (if you find the right version!  That's been a big point of debate over the years here, too.)  kk
In case you don't already have it, here's the U.S. version, with rewritten lyrics that were supposedly more "radio-friendly" than the original UK version.
– Randy Price

Yeah, that’s the one I consider to be the inferior version … it just doesn’t fit and flow like the other one (see below)
WIND (which typically didn’t play a lot of Top 40 Pop Tunes in 1966) used to play the heck out of this song … especially on The Howard Miller Show (which I remember because that’s the station my mom had on in the morning when she was getting us all ready for school.)
I seem to remember WLS playing it, too (I don’t think I had discovered WCFL at this point yet) but it never actually charted on either station, despite a fair amount of Chicagoland airplay. (It didn’t make our Top Tunes of Greater Chicagoland Chart either … which was a real surprise.)
Nationally, it peaked at #100 in Cash Box (in its only week on the chart.)  It charted for FOUR weeks in Billboard … but never rose above #110.  (kk)
Here’s the good one:

Happy 20th to Kent and Forgotten Hits!
John LaPuzza

It is amazing to look back on December 1, 1969, and the WLS chart and all that surrounded the date.  One thing that was mentioned yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning show was that the first military draft since World War II took place that night.
I found my tape I made on December 1, 1969, when the first capsule drawings for the draft happened.  It was 8 PM and we were in Dodge City and I taped off BOTH WLS and KEYN-FM Wichita that night.  KEYN mentions it in the taping and WLS lists the numbers as they occur.  My brother was up for the draft and got a number in the 200's I think.  Since he was in college, that helped his status, too.  He was never drafted.  I was only 13, so not eligible yet, but it was scary for my brother at the time.  You just didn't know.  I know many teen bands were shaken up by draftees departing their ranks at the time. 
You'll note that this was a transitional time for me between the old guard WLS and the new FM stereo of KEYN.  While KEYN's DAVE Biondi (hmm, was it REALLY his last name?) was playing new music from the Box Tops and Johnny Rivers in this segment, WLS and Chuck Buell were playing the new songs "La La La" and "Venus." 
Clark Besch

Congrats on sharing the music and memories of the Golden Age of the Rock Era (1955 - 1974)
One thing that really comes across is that enjoying pop music on the radio before American Top 40 (which really only started to make an impact beginning in the mid-1970's) was that music was much more localized. Most of us had no idea what was selling (or playing) elsewhere nationally -- it was the local stations that mattered the most.
It wasn't until AT40 that people really began to notice if their local station was playing all the hits that were charting nationally.
It was interesting to compare the local charts to the national ones to see what impact your local hits were having on the national scene.
Even though the national charts were around since the 1940's (the decade that both Billboard and Cash Box began their charts), most of us were only concerned what was happening locally ... although, we were always excited to see a local artist break through on the national scene.
One thing I enjoy about Forgotten Hits is how you keep the local angle alive -- something in today's world of corporate radio is totally missing.
Once again, Congratulations on 20 years of music and memories.
Joe Cantello
Roswell, Ga
Many, many years ago we ran a feature called Show Me Your Hits, during which readers from all over the country sent in charts and selections from those charts that did VERY well locally wherever they lived but barely made a dent in the national charts (if at all.)  We discovered a bunch of great music that was overlooked elsewhere in the country.
Too often a record will catch on in one area and by the time it catches on somewhere else, it has already fallen off the chart where the action began … simply put, it never had the momentum (or combined sales) to register the way it should have on the national scene.
We’ve seen examples of records that were Top Ten in a dozen different markets … but spread out over a four month period … that didn’t even make The Top 50 in Billboard.
Even with the benefit of hindsight (and our Super Charts series), we still can’t truly capture how big of an impact this had on the national scene.  (kk)

I really don't mean to pick on Chuck Buell, but had Dick Biondi heard about this exploit from the night of Sunday, October 13, 1968, he would have stormed into the Big 89 studios and demanded his old job back!  (At the time, Dick was holding down the late night position across town at WCFL.)
104 records at 2 1/2 minutes average is WELL over 4 hours without commercials!!!  As the ‘LS slogan went "It's fun to be young!" 
I was recording off Chuck in that era and it was indeed as the slogan says.  I was a mere 12 years old and planning a career alongside those Big 89 jocks. 

I think that no matter what position the station took publicly, they had to be thrilled by ANYTHING that would keep listeners tuned in (behind the scenes)
Wonder if Chuck can fill us in on any more of the details (???)  kk 

Hot on the heels of their debut release, The Future Is Us, the Hawkwind-themed supergroup returns with a brand new single, “Circles” featuring the extraordinary guitar work of legend Todd Rundgren and gorgeous violin soloing by musical genius Lakshminarayana Shankar (L. Shankar) who has worked with Frank Zappa, U2, Peter Gabriel, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend and many, many others! The song, which will be featured on the forthcoming Hawkestrel album (coming in 2020), is an historic first for Prog Rock as it is the first Prog Rock-style cover version of a song originally performed by a hip hop artist!
Check out the new single and its accompanying video (directed by Jared Cohn):
To listen: https://open.spotify.com/album/1ZOvsOSciGDK7hIUoNASWo?si=9hEBADvkQNahkJGIhdiHAA
To purchase: https://music.apple.com/us/album/circles-feat-todd-rundgren-l-shankar-single/1485894376
To purchase the full-length Hawkestrel album, The Future Is Us, on CD, go here: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/hawkestrel-the-future-is-us-cd/
Buy the vinyl here:
Buy the digital here: https://orcd.co/hawkestrelthefutureisus

And finally, a quick thank you to all of you out there who sent in 20th Anniversary wishes and mentioned our anniversary in your own shows, blogs, newsletters, Facebook pages, etc.  As a result, we got a wave of new readers for Forgotten Hits.  (Boy, have THEY got a bunch of catching up to do!!!)

Again, these days we pretty only send out friendly reminders to check the sites …
After twenty years, we’re leaving it up to you guys to bookmark the sites and check them regularly to see what’s going on … and lately that’s been a WHOLE lot!!!
Something new is posted nearly every single day … so please check back often.
(Believe it or not, we’re already processing next year’s calendar pages which will include EVERY WCFL Chart published in 1970 as part of our Weekly Survey Fifty Year Flashback) … plus all of the other great features you’ve come to love and expect … including the wrap up of our TOP 3333 MOST ESSENTIAL CLASSIC ROCK SONGS OF ALL TIME Countdown, which finally hits the top later this month.

SO much going on here …

Please continue to help spread the word … and make us part of your daily routine.

Thanks to everyone out there who has allowed us to continue doing what we love for 20+ years!  (kk)