Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Sunday Comments ( 09 - 13 - 20 )

Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of hearing Dick Biondi when he was on the air working at any of the radio stations he was working at at the time. The next best thing for me (and I did it last night) was to get out my Cruisin' 1960 album and play it. It was a reproduction of his days at WKBW, Buffalo, New York.
Larry Neal

It was nice to see the extensive coverage you gave the Dick Biondi film event this weekend.  We gotta get these events in while we can.  This has certainly been a rough year for entertainers from our youth.  We lose one or two every month, it seems.
Rick O’Dell
Hoping to see you there this weekend, Rick, even if it is just virtually!!!
Biondi’s a legend, as you know … and we’re pushing for a BIG turn-out to wish the guy a Happy 88th Birthday.
(And raise enough money to FINALLY get this film made!!!)  kk

My only direct connection to the legendary Dick Biondi -- other than hearing "The Wild I-tralian" many times on the air and buying a copy of his "On Top Of Spaghetti" parody 45 -- came one day in the early '70s while pawing through cut-out LPs at Rose Records in the Loop. 
There I found and bought a mint, sealed copy of his "Teenagers" LP. 
Knowing that Dick was then on the air down the street at WCFL, I carried the LP in its Rose Records bag down to the station and took the elevator up to the floor where Dick was broadcasting.  There was a little lobby there where fans could stand in front of the on-air studio window and watch Biondi in action.  As I was the only one in that lobby, Dick noticed me, smiled, and waved. 
As he watched, I then slowly pulled the LP from the bag and pressed it against the glass.  Dick broke into an incandescent grin and a few moments later was in the lobby with me, gleefully asking where I'd found the album and telling me all about it.  He could not have been nicer or kinder. 
I later played cuts from that LP on my own radio show -- until the day that record was stolen from me!   I still wish I had a copy of it -- but I've never seen another one since.  
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"  

Back in the ‘90's, I was interviewing Ronnie Rice on my show and we started talking about Dick Biondi. 
Ronnie exclaimed "Let's call him." 
Mr. Biondi was on the air at the same time in Chicago.  The three of us chatted briefly on my show. 
I have included  the shout out he gave us in Chicago.
Phil Nee - WRCO

Hi there, Kent,
Unfortunately, I don't remember hearing Dick Biondi in the early sixties on WLS, because I was simply too young at the time.
However, I have certainly heard plenty of airchecks, and I've even heard a couple of 1959 airchecks of Dick on WKBW in Buffalo. 
I didn't really start DX-ing until around 1966, and that was the year that I first heard both WLS and WCFL from Vermont, along with other Chicago radio stations as well, like WMAQ, WGN, WBBM and WJJD.
But I did hear Dick Biondi on WCFL, and I especially tuned in to a show that he aired on Sunday nights / Monday mornings from midnight to 2 AM
Chicago time called In The Beginning. 
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Dick because, although he certainly has earned superstar status as a disc jockey, he has never forgotten the most important aspect of being in radio, his LISTENERS.
In November of 1993, my roommate at the time named Charlie ended up in Chicago and called up Dick Biondi and had him say hello to me over the air on WJMK.
On August 19, 2005, I sent Dick an E-mail, letting him know how much I appreciated his illustrious career as a disc jockey and everything that
he did to promote some of the biggest rock and roll acts of the sixties.  I didn't think he'd mention hearing from me, not with the very tight format that WJMK had at the time.  But I was wrong. 
And here is the result. 
I feel so honored to have had this gentleman say hi to me twice over the air, a person that he didn't even know me, and hadn't even met me. 
But that was the way Dick Biondi was. 
I still have that original E-mail that I sent him, and we actually exchanged a couple of E-mails back in 2005, which I also treasure very much. 
Just thought I'd share this with you, as a man who was lucky enough to have lived in Chicago all your life.
With warmest regards,
Sam Ward

Have fun at the Biondi Birthday Bash! 
Every profession has its superstars and Dick Biondi certainly is one of them in in the radio industry. 
Bionic Biondi certainly deserves a lifetime achievement award and a Purple Heart! 
You can hear him now:  "It's 5 o'clock at WCFL - Chicago, I'm Dick Biondi at the Voice Of Labor!" 
When you are in radio, your life is measured in dog-years …
Please tell Dick Biondi:  "Happy 616th Birthday!"
Peace -
Tim Kiley
Bowzer turns 73 September 14th!
.... Makes ya feel ancient, don't it?
A lady I was seeing was friends with Jon, so we went up to see him at Beloit Fest in 1990.  After the show, the three of us got together at the restaurant in the Holiday Inn he was staying at. We chatted into the wee hours.
Great guy, very into not only rock and roll, but classical music, too. I think he even wrote some classical pieces.
And, to top it all off, his opening act was Bo Diddley!
Mike Wolstein

Monday, the 14th, is Frannie’s birthday, too!
Also sharing that date:  Amy Winehouse, Clayton Moore, Joey Heatherton, Melissa Leo and Dick Dale.

Last week we told you about the new ABBA documentary that is running on PBS … and we voiced our displeasure with the length of the program …
Subtracting the time devoted to pledge-begging, the actual time devoted to ABBA clocks in at right around 45 minutes …
Nowhere NEAR enough time to do this superstar group justice.
Well, this past weekend, I dug out an old DVD called “The Winner Takes It All:  The ABBA Story,” which spends better than DOUBLE that amount of time, digging far deeper into the catalog and history of the group.  (It even has a bonus feature devoted to the then new hit stage show, “Mamma Mia.”)
DEFINITELY head and shoulders better than what PBS is currently airing (although the PBS special borrows heavily from this DVD in the way of quotes by the various members of the band and performance video clips.)
So, I thought that today I could highly recommend ordering a copy of this DVD if you’re a serious ABBA fan … (of course, if you’re a SERIOUS ABBA fan, you probably already own a copy!!!) ... but apparently this is already out of print and hard to come by.  (The only copy I could find on Amazon was going for $75 … which is still probably less than what you’d have to pledge to your local PBS station … but still not my intent.)
Anyway, keep your eyes open for a copy of this one … MUCH better than what PBS is airing and offering.  (kk)

A surprise from Tom Cuddy …


Tom also tells us …

Tom Cuddy
This is just plain wrong.  We have been campaigning for Billy’s induction for YEARS now … and his career goes back to the early ‘60’s when he was playing in Little Richard’s band.  (That’s how he first met The Beatles way back when!)
This guy DEFINITELY has earned is spot in The Rock Hall.  (But then again, how often does THAT matter???)  kk

And while we’re on the subject of Beatles-related issues …

Hi again Kent,
I always like to hear American Top Forty programs from the past, and I always thought their production was first class.  They had some of the
best engineers in the business.
Having said that, though, I don't know what I was expecting, but I was really disappointed in the Beatles songs medley that was put together by
the American Top Forty staff.  It was billed as being a look at every important Beatles song between 1964 and 1970, and that's how it should
have been created, but it wasn't. 
First of all, the montage started with Ringo's drum solo from The End.  I can forgive them using that horrible rechanneled pseudo-stereo version of I Want To Hold Your Hand, because that was all that was easily available at the time as a stereo version of the song, but editing bits and pieces of the Beatles’ White Album into the montage, especially in the early songs section of the montage, just totally ruined the continuity of presenting things in chronological order. 
Furthermore, George Martin's instrumental versions of Beatles songs from the U.S. United Artists label version of the A Hard Day's Night album had no business being there at all. 
Even overlooking this, the engineers still presented songs totally out of sequence .., Yellow Submarine before Paperback Writer and Rain … and they played songs from the Magical Mystery Tour album before playing anything from Sergeant Pepper. 
All and all, I think this was a poor job, and I could have done a better job myself of creating a chronological montage of Beatles music.
I was NOT IMPRESSED with it at all!
Sam Ward
I think for being one of the first (if not THE first) of its kind at the time … keep in mind, The Beatles had only split up a few years before … it was pretty well done.  It certainly gave an overall representation of the music they gave the world.  (As Casey so eloquently pointed out, you couldn’t just do one or two Beatles songs and represent the vast number of changes The Beatles went through over their brief seven year stint on the chart.)
I’m thinking it was more a case of trying to fit it all in in a way thought would properly blend tone and temp and still represent the best of everything … although I DO agree that the George Martin instrumental bits could have been eliminated. (They even had The Boston Pops Orchestra’s version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” squeezed in there for a second!)  A chronological “sweep” may have captured more of the “continuity” that you were looking for … but I’m not sure it would have flowed as smoothly.
That being said, we’d love to hear YOUR version of a comprehensive Beatles career medley … so send it along and we’ll post it on the site.
(Side memo to Gary Theroux:  Didn’t The History Of Rock And Roll do something similar a few years later to wrap up their Beatles chapters?  Would love to hear THAT again, too!)  kk

Hi, Kent -
Thanks for the link to the AT40 Beatles montage.  Yes, it's not perfect, but one cannot please everyone.  For its purpose as a special feature on AT40 -- a series not noted for its special features -- I think it filled the bill.  Would I have done it differently?  Sure -- but that's just me.  And, as you know, I wrote for AT40 for a while -- and Wink Martindale guest hosted (not at the same times, through).
The 1978 History of Rock and Roll did, of course, extensively cover the Beatles, both collectively and as solo stars (up through that year).  But I do not recall building any Beatles montages into the production.
The montages we featured were what I called the "B Montages" (key hits of a given year that we did not have time to play in full), the "A Montages" (every #1 hit of a given year in chronological order) and, of course, the legendary Hour 52 "Timesweep," which was simply all the A Montages edited together.  It's been a few decades since I've carefully reviewed all the contents of the HRR, but those are the only montages/medleys I remember at this point.
Speaking of which, I wonder whatever happened to "The Beatles Movie Medley," which remains to this day, the only Beatles hit single to never appear on an LP or CD.  It's not even on the Beatles' Movie Music album (which makes no sense at all)!   
I think the “Beatles Movie Medley” was put together very quickly to cash in on the trend developed by the Stars On 45 Beatles Medley, which topped the charts the year before.  (Honestly, Capitol’s mix was a poorly-edited mish-mosh.  Still, is somehow managed a #12 showing on Billboard’s chart in 1982, proving once again that virtually ANYTHING released by The Fab Four would continue to sell well long after the band called it quits!  (kk)

The Vega was my VERY first car, circa 1974.  It was a ‘71 Vega and it died out in a year.  Pretty car, but lousy engine.  I had wide wheels and fog lamps, so I was in good shape, style wise.  Just was a bad engine.
Clark Besch
I had the VERY sporty GT model with the big black racing stipe down the hood … bright orange … couldn’t miss me coming down the street!  It, too, was a ’71 … the first brand new car I ever bought … used my high school graduation money as the down payment (back in the days when $1000 was enough to put you in a brand new automobile … albeit very CHEAP new automobile!!!  Lol)  kk

Of the many songs (records) that have come out through the years, there are just three that, when I hear them, just gives me goose bumps up and down my spine. I can't explain it. One of those records is OUR WINTER LOVE by Bill Pursell. I did not know he had passed away until I read it in today's FH.
Larry Neal

Have you heard about this new Ozzy Osborne documentary running on A&E?
Apparently, it’s a no holds barred / nothing held back discussion (in which he tells the story of the night he nearly killed his wife Sharon while out of control on drugs …

Bruce Springsteen releases a brand new album on October 23rd … “Letter To You” marks The Boss’ 20th LP.
Springsteen says of the experience: “We made the album in only five days, and it turned out to be one of the greatest recording experiences I’ve ever had.”

Also new, an advance single, “Espionage,” from his forthcoming “Space Force” album by Todd Rundgren.  (You can stream it here: …

And, believe it or not, a brand new 50th Anniversary commemorative box set by Uriah Heep!  It’s an incredible 23-Disc Set (plus a vinyl LP)  Not exactly my thing (I think I only know two or three of their songs!  Lol) but what an AMAZING tribute to these British rockers.
The group has gone thru countless band member changes over the past five decades … in fact, the 64 page soft cover book that accompanies this set features a complete band member timeline) … but founding members Guitarist Mick Box (who is still with the band after all these years!), Keyboardist Ken Hensley, Drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Paul Newton were all heavily involved in compiling the set … and each gave curated a disc of their favorite tracks by the group as well as contributing to the liner notes.

Check out Harvey Kubernik’s review of the brand new, expanded and remixed Rolling Stones CD, “Goats Head Soup” …

And, speaking of Harvey Kubernik, I've been reading his new book, “Docs That Rock: Music That Matters,” I’ve also been watching several of the programs mentioned along the way.
Unfortunately, too many of these are now out of print on dvd (some commanding very high prices thru amazon and eBay) -
But this book acts as a great check list to follow up on anything you may have missed along the way.  (Build yourself a “want list” as you make your way thru it … because there are a WHOLE lot of these shows that you’re going to want to see!!!)
However, I also found quite a few, too, that aren’t mentioned in the book but are DEFINITELY worth seeking out. (The Turtles, The Cowsills, The Mamas and Papas and The Hollies immediately come to mind - I’ve watched ALL of those multiple times.)
Harvey might have to do a sequel!  (I think one with an actual check list would be VERY helpful!)  kk

So happy you are discovering and viewing several of the music television programs mentioned and cited in my new book. 
In 2006, I did my first book on the filmusic subject ... Hollywood Shack Job: Rock Music In Film and on Your Screen. University of New Mexico Press. All of these groups that you listed were touted and paraded with text and photos. And many more. Did not want to repeat myself with "Docs That Rock, Music That Matters."  
The way things are going with the new title, maybe it's time for a 3rd book on this subject! 
So many fifties and sixties music shows were wiped after initial broadcast, ala UK "Ready, Steady Go!" and others hidden deep in studio libraries. Licensing fees are a factor regarding "Shindig!" and "American Bandstand," but that world of exhibition is changing. 
I know there is devoted audience and active consumer base for seminal programs like "Upbeat." 
In the new book I wanted a blend of music documentaries and dance music programs, some I actually danced on, along with retail DVD's on "The Johnny Cash Show."   
Thank God for SOFA Entertainment, who have made available "The Ed Sullivan Show" archive. Pristine footage we can view on the official YouTube channel. 
Does anyone realize how important his 1948-1971 Sunday night TV show was? 
And, it's referenced in my book, what a groundbreaking host he was to blues and R&B artists. Check out the platform he gave to musical acts before showcasing the Beatles in February, 1964.      
Is Ed really not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the non-performer category? I'm too busy to look this omission up. 
Thanks for the constant support.  
As Gary Strobl often reminds us, "We are all on the mission together." 
Harvey Kubernik 
So this book sorta IS the sequel!!! (I’ll have to look and see if copies of “Hollywood Shack Job” are still available!)
No, Ed Sullivan is NOT in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame … and it is one of their most glaring omissions.  (Not to mention the fact that it’s just plain WRONG!!!  And THESE are they guys who say that THEY understand rock music better than anyone out here in the general public.  Bullshit.)
Lots more to check out as time goes by.  (I know several of these programs … or portions thereof … are available on bootlegs … but I want to see some of this pristine footage that Harvey is talking about!!!  Lol)  Special DVDs also exist of Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and several Motown stars appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.  This stuff is out there … you just have to seek it out!  (kk)

In the football game last night, I heard a commercial (can't remember the product) in which the Chambers Brothers’ TIME HAS COME TODAY was playing in the background. Now offhand, I don't remember ever hearing this before. Maybe it has been on before several times, but if so, I can't remember.
Speaking of football, I just now read online that Monday Night Football is replacing Hank Williams Jr.’s intro of ALL MY ROWDY FRIENDS with Little Richard's RIP IT UP. Sure would have liked to been in that room where the powers that be chose than one.
Larry Neal
Normally that would strike me as being a completely out of left field decision … if this were baseball we were talking about!  (kk)

And here’s a new one on me …

Hello Kent,  
I received a copy of the CD compilation "Rock and Roll Teen Pop: Talking on the Telephone" and came across a pretty rare song called "Bopper 486009" by Donna Dameron. So of course I immediately thought about Forgotten Hits!
According to the liner notes, the song was co-written by J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and was intended as a follow-up / sequel to "Chantilly Lace."
Although rumored to be The Big Bopper's mother or wife, depending on what source you read, Donna was actually a lounge singer in Nashville. She recorded the song in Chicago shortly after "Chantilly Lace" hit the charts, and it was set to be released on Mercury Records. 
Unfortunately, due to The Big Bopper's death a short time later, the song was pulled from national release and seemingly faded away. 
I listened to it, and think it's a pretty good song that may have gone somewhere under different circumstances. 
Since additional details on Donna and the song are hard to find online (I imagine she had a pretty face and a ponytail hanging down, maybe a wiggle and a walk ...), I was wondering if any readers know anything else about the song, or if any DJs on the list remember playing it on the radio. 
Colin Donahue
Anybody got any information on this to share?  (kk)

I just discovered something.
I recently told you that my first 45 was "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" by Rolf Harris. 
I purchased the 1963 version that hit #3 in Billboard on 7/13. 
Yes, there was an earlier version that did not hit the U.S. charts, but went to #9 on the U.K. charts, hitting the charts on 7/21/60, peak date unknown. 
I never knew that there was a re-recorded version.  What is also interesting is that the 1963 version never hit the U.K. charts.
Learn something new every day.
Mike Brown

Much as we did last week with some vintage Chicagoland September surveys, this time around Frank B. has stocked the bar with plenty of vintage concert posters from back of the day … many (if not most!) of which he attended himself!!!

kk …
I was there.

The Earls also performed at many Murray The K Rock & Roll Shows in the 1960's, the last one being The Christmas Show in 1962, at the Brooklyn Fox Theater.
12 days ... Jackie Wilson, the Ronettes, the 4 Seasons, Joey Dee & Starliters, the Crests, Little Eva, the Shirelles, Bob B Soxx & the Blue Jeans, Sam & Dave, the Earls, the Dovells, Mike Clifford ... and a few others.
Murray was one of a kind!
Larry Chance

And here’s a Labor Day Show from the past …

These are the posters I have hanging in my basement … all the Richard Nader Doo-Wopp At The Garden shows I went to.
Back then, we used TWO P's to spell Doo-Wopp.

Always enjoy your stuff, man ---- bringing back some excellent memories ---
Thanks for all you do! 
Kris Erik Stevens