ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: DESERVING AND DENIED:
Jaw drop over your Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame column today.
While there is no name as immediately recognizable as or having as great an impact as Fela Kuti, I still think it’s a pretty damn good list! (kk)
Some real shockers for sure.
We’ve been doing these lists since our Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame expose series first ran in 2007 … we had commentary from the Rock Hall, too, at the time as we ran down each year’s list of nominees and inductees … and their relative “worthiness” when compared to others previously enshrined … and all the deserving artists ignored and denied in the process. We have Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame members who have as many as THREE inductions at this point … ridiculous … once you’re in, you’re in … each instance just deprives some other worthy inductee of a spot on the ballot. (Three of this year’s nominees are already inductees for some of their other work … Tina Turner for her recording career when her then-husband Ike, Carole King, as half of the prolific songwriting due Goffin and King, and Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters, already inducted as a member of Nirvana.) Chaka Khan is a “carry-over” nominee from last year, where she placed very low on the ballot.
This year’s ballot of sixteen names broadens the field a little bit more … and someone like Dionne Warwick (who has never recorded a rock and roll song in her entire career) still has a place in The Hall if only for her stellar career. But NOT at the expense of some of the REAL rockers who continue to be denied an opportunity. (Look how long it took to get Chicago, The Moody Blues and The Doobie Brothers in … all of them were near the top of OUR list fifteen years ago!)
It just kills me that someone like Britney Spears will probably be inducted before The Guess Who!!! (kk)
Good list of choices. I have to go with Freddy Cannon out of your top 40. That guy ROCKED us all for years and the "Woos" just kept coming. I was too young to even know what RNR was, but I could sing along with "Jump Over," "Transistor Sister" and "Palisades Park" with my older brothers with great glee.
Great, great piece ... and I couldn't agree more!
This is a great list of who should be in!
Ain't it the truth ...
Cast my votes for The Monkees and The Guess Who! (and, America!!!)
When our Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Series first ran back in 2007, Forgotten Hits’ popularity literally exploded overnight … it was one of those life-changing moments …
Disc Jockeys all over the country were quoting our posts on a daily basis … and we were soon appearing as featured guests on over a dozen radio programs, wanting to do commentary on both our in-depth features and responses from The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, as well as several of the artists who made our Deserving And Denied List … but also about the launch of the brand new Hit Parade Hall Of Fame, founded by radio programming great John Rook, for which I was suddenly cast into the spot of “spokesman” for this new organization. (Sadly, The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame no longer exists, much due to the passing of John Rook … but the concept was uncanny … unlike The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, the inductees were voted in by the FANS from a list of nominees provided by a top notch list of music experts, many of whom are still Forgotten Hits Readers. It allowed virtually EVERYBODY from EVERY genre of music a chance for induction.) I actually had to take a couple of days off from work in order to make (at one point) SEVEN appearances on radio programs across the country ON THE SAME DAY!!! It blew me away at the time … and helped to cement our relationship with many of the artists and disc jockeys at the time to boost our credibility in all things oldies.
All of this predated the web page you are reading today … everything was done by emailed newsletters at the time. We had the President of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame all set up for an exclusive Forgotten Hits Interview, the rules of which stated that NO question was off limits …
And then the story blew up about The Dave Clark Five being passed over, even though they earned enough votes to make the induction ballot, in order to induct (as was publicized) “a rap act instead.” When Forgotten Hits ran the story, The Rock Hall pulled out, blasting us for running the story (which, within 24 hours was BIG NEWS everywhere anyway) instead of “talking to us first” to get their take on things. As such, the interview never took place. Too bad … as I think we would have broken new ground in this area … and, in my mind anyway, clarified and hopefully CHANGED a few things about the way the nominees were selected. Unfortunately, we’ll never know … but it SURE was an exciting time!
A year later, once this website was launched, the new year’s nominees became one of our very first posts! (kk)
Meanwhile, our most recent post was reproduced virtually verbatim in this weekend's Times Square Chronicles "Glorious Corner" column ...
Best Classic Bands handicaps this year’s nominees … and classifies Fela Kuti, Mary J. Blige, Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Devo as “Not A Chance.”
They also consider Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Carole King, The New York Dolls, Todd Rundgren (who says he doesn’t care!), Tina Turner and The Go-Go’s to be shoe-ins.
Not ruling them out completely (just not likely candidates to make in it on THIS year’s ballot): Iron Maiden, Rage Against The Machine and Dionne Warwick.
I’m not sure I agree with that assessment … but we’ll all find out in May who’s going in this year.
Meanwhile, you can continue vote for your favorites (and most deserving) here:
Checking the fan vote on Sunday, 2/14, at 1:00 pm, they’ve got Fela Kuti out front with 124,000 votes!!!
What is this … like that whole American Idol “Vote For The Worst” campaign several years ago when Taylor Hicks won the title!?!?
How can this POSSIBLY be???
Rounding out The Top Five are Tina Turner (88,000 votes), Foo Fighters (65,000 votes) and Iron Maiden and Carole King, both with approximately 52,000 votes each. I guess we’re going to have to monitor this more closely … Fela Kuti was dead last the last time we checked! That distinction now belongs to Kate Bush … and, quite honestly, THAT doesn’t really make much sense either! (kk)
More “Deserving and Denied” candidates:
As is usually the case whenever the new batch of nominees is announced everybody’s weighing in on this as to those who remain overlooked.
On what is now a long list, should we also consider:
The B-52’s (previously nominated), Bad Company, Badfinger, Jimmy Buffett, The Carpenters, The Chambers Brothers, Cher (if not Sonny and Cher), Petula Clark (on our Honorable Mentions list for years), Phil Collins (already in as a member of Genesis … but a good argument could be made for his solo work outweighing his work with the band … he is a rare case where I really DO believe he deserves a second induction), Free (or, at the VERY least, Paul Rodgers, who has lent his voice to a couple of bands, creating a new and unique sound each time), INXS, Judas Priest, The Kingston Trio (led the folk-rock movement … how can they possibly be overlooked???), Love, Cliff Richard (the British Elvis), David Seville (pioneered a new sound in recording), The Spinners, Steppenwolf (previously nominated), plus ALL of the artists already shown on our most recent Top 40 Deserving And Denied List … http://forgottenhits60s.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-here-are.html
Remember … the ORIGINAL criteria was that these artists brought something NEW to the table and helped to develop rock and roll into new directions. I’m not sure that applies to many of the artists being inducted in recent years. I think The Rock Hall has lost their way in this regard and needs to get back on track. Again, I suggest a “mass induction” of artists wrongly overlooked in the past … bring things up to snuff by inducting, I dunno, another 24 deserving artists … and then make sure each new ballot continues to contain at least one name from the Deserving And Denied List.
This from FH Reader Sandra Lorenz ...
While much of the world is still in shock and grieving over
the recent death of former Supreme Mary Wilson, probably none so much as author
Mark Bego, long-time friend and companion and confidant.
This has, without a doubt, been the most pain-filled week of my life. With Mary Wilson's passing, I have to sadly say that I have lost my best friend, inspiration, muse, partner-in-adventure, and everything rolled into one. I will never let the world forget her, her talent, and her enormous heart.
I want you thank you so much for paying fitting tribute to my darling Mary.
We feel for you, Mark … Mary gave the world a great gift that brought joy to millions. I hope she knew just how magical her time here with us really was. I believe she did … and cherished those moments as well. (kk)
I think it’s a fascinating point that Mary Wilson is the ONLY member of The Supremes to appear in EVERY line-up of the group, dating back to The Primettes, all the way thru the golden years with Diana Ross and even sticking with the group long after Ross had left for a solo career. The Diana Ross-less Supremes still had NINE Top 50 Hits, running from 1970 to 1977. These included THREE Top Ten National Hits: “Up The Ladder To The Roof” (#7, 1970), “Stoned Love” (#5, 1970) and “Nathan Jones” (#8, 1971). ALL of those peaks bettered their appearance in Billboard. (kk)
Harvey Kubernik sent us excerpts from these 2003 and 2016 Interviews he did with Mary Wilson of The Supremes to share with our readers …
I knew Mary and interviewed her twice. She is quoted in several of my books.
Feel free to implement my dialogues with her in your tributes to her.
Wanted you to see this and to especially send to Mark Bego. Tx.
Harvey Kubernik Remembers Mary Wilson of The Supremes
Harvey Kubernik ©Copyright 2021
Mary Wilson, a co-founder of Motown’s female trio the Supremes passed away on Monday, February 8, 2021 at her home in Henderson, Nevada.
Her death was announced by her publicist Jay Schwartz. The cause of death was not revealed. Wilson was 76.
In a statement to the media, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. said, “I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family, Mary Wilson of the Supremes. The Supremes were always known as the ‘sweethearts of Motown.’ Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. After an unprecedented string of #1 hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others…I was always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.”
I knew Mary Wilson and interviewed her extensively during 2003 and 2016.
Musical history now illustrates how vital television exposure was for Motown and the label’s recording artists. None were more essential as a booking on The Ed Sullivan Show.
“The relationship between Berry Gordy’s Motown label and The Ed Sullivan Show made music and television history,” stressed filmmaker Andrew Solt of SOFA Entertainment, owners of The Ed Sullivan Show library.
“Soon after the Supremes’ debut on Sullivan (December 1964), it was clear that showcasing the latest Motown releases on CBS on Sunday nights (35 million viewers was average) until 1971 was a way to expose the record company’s newest hits and boost the show’s ratings. Sullivan introduced nearly all the Motown acts, including the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Jackson 5.”
“It was really a battle in those days to get black artists on network television in prime time,” emphasized Barney Ales, a former Motown executive.
“Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat Cole were about the only ones — anyone else, they just weren’t accepted. But when the Supremes broke through, we knew we had an opportunity. They looked so great, as well as sounding great. And Harvey Fuqua and Maxine Powell did a wonderful job, grooming the girls, getting them ready for prime time.
“The Ed Sullivan Show was the real breakthrough. Sunday nights, millions of people watching. Once Sullivan took to the Supremes, we knew we were on the right track. And album sales picked up like crazy whenever they were on, so we always made sure to tell the distributors they needed to check their inventory. After the Supremes, we got everyone on Sullivan’s show: Stevie, Gladys, the Temptations. We had a good relationship with the producer, Bob Precht. He liked Motown, and Esther, Berry’s sister, used to take the dressing room keys afterwards as souvenirs. They’re probably somewhere in the Motown Museum to this day.”
“For us, being on The Ed Sullivan Show was so much more than record sales,” underscored Mary Wilson of the Supremes during 2003 and 2016 interviews.
“It wasn’t about promoting us. It was about that we had grown up watching The Ed Sullivan Show. We had grown up watching shows where you didn’t see a lot of black people starring on those shows. For us, we were like every other family in America who spent hours watching Ed Sullivan. So for us, being on the show was such a great honor. Because we were there to see the world changing. To see America changing. We were excited! We’re on The Ed Sullivan Show.
“We came from a time when a whole family of all different colors didn’t sit around ‘watching black people on television.’ The Dick Clark tours where before us there were segregated hotels.
“For us, that is what it was all about. We were part of that change. We were part of helping America to see black people, black women, being proud, beautiful and successful. It wasn’t just us, many people before us. But they didn’t have the television to expose them to that wide range of people as we did at the time when we came. We were lucky. And we stood on a lot of shoulders. But we were there when the doors opened.
“The other thing was that we were seen in color after our initial appearances were in black and white. Recently, my granddaughter was watching a DVD collection of the Supremes. And she said to me. ‘Grandma! What happened to the color?’ ‘Cause she has never seen a black and white TV!
“Our songs from 1964, ’65 and ’66 were heard in1967. Berry Gordy and the A&R department knew what was happening,” reinforced Ms. Wilson.
“And we didn’t have to think about that. But we were happy for it. And as a group, it took us into areas we wanted to go, which is great. I loved to tour. I went to the Whisky a Go Go in the sixties. I always went out to see everybody, loved seeing other acts.
“I’ve toured with Bill Wyman in England. And he and I always talk about The TAMI Show. We all thought James Brown was gonna close the show. And all of a sudden we heard this rumor back stage that the Rolling Stones were closing. Bill said they were all scared. And they became great friends, which was really cool.
“I’m just so fortunate to have known so many brilliant people. However, just to talk about Holland-Dozier-Holland was such a wonderful experience for our growth and journey. They took us through the times that were going on in the world. Each time they would bring us to another level. The records show this. We did ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ and ‘You Keep Me Hanging On.’ That’s why we had wanted them in the beginning. We had to grow into that. After we no longer had H-D-H there was a period where we didn’t have anyone. That to me was the worst period musically.
“So we got with Frank Wilson who was just brilliant,” enthused Wilson. “What was great about him is that now it was more a West Coast. It wasn’t Detroit. We did everything pretty much on the West Coast, even though we still recorded in Detroit.
“Frank brought a different feel. There’s a wah-wah pedal on ‘Up The Ladder To The Roof.’ A more seventies soulful kind of feel. And after we no longer had Diane. Berry Gordy was very helpful in bringing Jean Terrell, who I just adored. And she was the best replacement for Diane, not that anyone could ever replace Diane.
“For me, the only group was the three of us. Me, Flo and Diane. The seventies was a seventies group. And Frank was able to capture who we were at that point with Jean Terrell. He was just a brilliant producer.
“We had a whole other concept when we moved out to the West Coast. We did our sessions in Los Angeles. Hollywood. The Motown studio,” Mary remembered.
“In the earlier days we actually recorded with the musicians, do the vocals a couple of times. For years we recorded right there with the musicians. The magic for me was lost after we became really famous because then the tracks were laid down and we would come in and do it without seeing the musicians. The magic was when we recorded with the musicians. That was the beauty.
“Now, everyone is asking me about the musicians” Wilson volunteered.
“From my perspective we always knew and felt that. The public now can appreciate them as individuals. We always appreciated them that way. We as artists had to look out for ourselves, and we had our PR pushing us. The musicians didn’t have PR companies pushing them then. See the difference? Thank God now they can get their final due which they totally deserve.
“I want to be really clear about this: No one really intentionally didn’t talk about the guys. It wasn’t that, it’s just the way the business was. The artists out front,” she underlined.
In 2003 I interviewed Mary Wilson. I asked why the songs and recordings of Motown are so durable and still popular.
“That’s one of those questions like asking about love. But, I think all of the things we are recognizing now, the Motown label, The Funk Brothers, musicians, Berry Gordy, here we are 30, 35 years later and people are still re-recording those songs. Berry Gordy was an innovator, and he knew talent when he saw it. He only accepted the best. He allowed people to create on their own. He allowed the producers to really inspire each other. There’s no real answer to your question other than I know when I was recording those songs, it was the people, it was the music…Who knows. Any bass player out there listened to Motown records to learn how James Jamerson played. Any new female group coming up will definitely try and take something from The Supremes. It was like we were the model for music. The Motown sound was the model. And the music is universal.
“One thing I remember Berry said that had something to do with it. ‘This is the sound of young America. There is no time on it. I want to make this music where everyone in the word can listen to it and enjoy it. We’re singing from our guts. I want to make music that everyone around the world can enjoy.’ And that’s what he did. How, I don’t know…
I have to give credit to Berry for putting us with Holland, Dozier and Holland.”
Another marvelous re-discovery in the pages of Motown The Sound of Young America are the various photos of Motown acts snapped on network and syndicated television shows.
I had witnessed some of the 1960s Motown Records live road shows in Los Angeles and Hollywood and attended and danced on a handful of music TV shows when the Motown groups would perform: 9th Street West on Melrose Avenue, American Bandstand on Vine Street, and also watched live tapings of Shindig! on Prospect Avenue.
Mary Wilson has seen the inclusion of her Supremes’ songs and many Motown master recordings for decades utilized in TV and film soundtracks. What does she think about the usage of songs licensed from the original studio sessions and countless cover versions?
“Then, we didn’t think in those times the songs would be in TV or film. Like on China Beach they use ‘Reflections.’ Later, seeing that these songs were such great hits, and the years showed that they were really fantastic, other people recording them, you began to realize that what you know all along everybody else knew as well. We knew it at the beginning that they were great recording them. But when everyone else got it, what we knew was true. That’s the great part about it.”
[Harvey Kubernik is the author of 19 books, including Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972. Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. For 2021 they are writing and assembling a multi-narrative book on Jimi Hendrix for the same publisher. Otherworld Cottage Industries on July 30th published Kubernik’s 508-page book, Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, featuring Kubernik interviews with D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Murray Lerner, Morgan Neville, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Andrew Loog Oldham, John Ridley, Curtis Hanson, Dick Clark, Travis Pike, Allan Arkush, and David Leaf, among others. Kubernik’s writings are in several book anthologies, most notably The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski. He was the project coordinator of the recording set The Jack Kerouac Collection. During 2006 Harvey Kubernik spoke at the special hearings initiated by The Library of Congress that were held in Hollywood, California, discussing archiving practices and audiotape preservation. In 2020 Harvey served as Consultant on Laurel Canyon: A Place In Time documentary directed by Alison Ellwood which debuted om May 2020 on the EPIX/MGM television channel. Kubernik has just penned a back cover book jacket endorsement for author Michael Posner’s book on Leonard Cohen that Simon & Schuster, Canada, will publish in October 2020, Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years). Kubernik’s 1995 interview, Berry Gordy: A Conversation With Mr. Motown appears in The Pop, Rock & Soul Reader edited by David Brackett published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. Brackett is a Professor of Musicology in the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Canada. Harvey joined a distinguished lineup which includes LeRoi Jones, Johnny Otis, Ellen Willis, Nat Hentoff, Jerry Wexler, Jim Delehant, Ralph J. Gleason, Greil Marcus, and Cameron Crowe. Kubernik’s 1996 interview with poet/author Allen Ginsberg was published in Conversations With Allen Ginsberg, edited by David Stephen Calonne for the University Press of Mississippi in their 2019 Literary Conversations Series).]
Mary Wilson also did a recent interview with Billboard, talking about what it was like touring during the ‘60’s … some very turbulent times, indeed. You can check that out here:
The Supremes' Mary Wilson Reflects on Segregated South In Final Billboard Interview
Mary Wilson, founding member of the Supremes, died Monday (Feb. 8) at her home in Henderson, Nevada, at age 76. In her last interview with Billboard, conducted last summer in the wake of George Floyd's death, the Motown legend spoke about the segregation she faced while touring the South as one of pop’s biggest stars and compared her experiences to the systemic racism that still permeates the U.S.
"I'm glad people are protesting," she said. "I just really would like to see it move to a good result." Below is our interview with Wilson, condensed and edited.
When artists encountered segregation at restaurants in the '60s, and said, "Forget it, we're not eating there," what were the repercussions? Did you sometimes not eat?
Did you hear about that "Green Book"? We were going to different cities, so lots of planning had to be done before you left so you knew exactly where to go or where not to go. Someone had to have known where you could stop. Most of the time, in the South, you would stop at a restaurant and you could order -- like they're doing now -- curbside. You could go to the back and have the food taken out. However, sometimes if you stopped at a place where you tried to go in to eat and they said, "I'm sorry, we don't serve Black people here," you'd have to get back on the bus. On the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars tour, which was a multiracial bus tour from the American Bandstand days -- Gene Pitney, Jan and Dean, a lot of white and Black acts -- you had to know where interracial people could eat and most of the times that could not even happen. Dick Clark said, a couple of times, "If you don't take us all, then none of us could come in." He would say, "Get back on the bus," and we'd get back on the bus and find the right place.
Somebody from Motown handled routing, hotels and restaurants, so the artists mostly wouldn't have to deal with that type of segregation on the spot, right?
One thing about being on Motown, they always had the planning worked out. We stood on shoulders of people like Sammy Davis, Lena Horne, Rochester [vaudeville star Eddie Anderson]. They always had to do that, in terms of knowing where to go and where not to go. That was just a way of life.
I read in your book the discussion of how the audiences were segregated, especially early on -- Black people in the balcony, whites on the floor. How frequently did that happen?
We're really speaking about in the South. In other areas, it would be certain nights. You'd go to a show, and it'd be all Black, and another night, it'd be all white. Most of the places in the South were always divided. If it was one floor, the Blacks would be on one side, the whites would be on another side. A lot of times there would be a balcony -- they called us "colored" then -- the colored people would be in the balcony and the white people would be down on the floor.
I was born in the South. When I visited [before the Supremes], my cousin came to one of the shows and said, "OK, Mary, don't you be throwing anything. Even if you see someone else throwing popcorn on the white people, don't you throw any!" The Black people would throw popcorn down on the white people! Because everyone's young. It's a young, foolish thing. One time I was 17, and I was visiting the South because my father had died, and my cousin who lived there said, "We've got to go buy you some socks." We would go downtown in Greenville, Mississippi, and I was like, "These are cheap-looking socks, and look at this tie, this is cheap." And the [white] guy heard me say that and said, "I know she's not from down here because she's talking like one of them northerners." And my cousin said, "Mary, please, I've got to live here! You're going home as soon as you bury your father, so be quiet." And that's the way it was.
And you couldn't drink out of a water fountain for whites, if you were Black. In 1955, when Emmett Till died, I remember seeing it in Jet or Ebony. I must have been 12 or 13. That blew my mind, because in Detroit, I'd never experienced anything like that. My mom and aunt would tell me about it. That was the first time I ever saw racial things.
In the '50s and the early '60s, segregation in Detroit was still huge, but you lived in your Black area, and if you're white, you lived in your white area. We didn't feel it as much in the North. You didn't go to somebody else's neighborhood. We didn't have to go to the white neighborhood. You had to know. You knew where to go and where not to go.
But when we started touring, that was firsthand.
My family is from Detroit and my parents have passed, but they were a little older than you -- they would have been in their 80s now. But they were part of the segregated system you described. They moved to the white suburbs before I was born. I'm asking about the South, but segregation was just as present in the North, right?
That's the way it was worldwide. All over America. You knew your place because the law said you couldn't vote or the law said whatever. White people obeyed the law, too. So if they were told that Black people were not citizens and were lazy and ugly and slow and violent and this and that, well, then, you believed it -- until Civil Rights started being talked about, and Martin Luther King, and everyone started protesting. Just like we as Black people were told white people didn't like us, white people were told that Black people didn't like them. You grew up with these beliefs.
My mother was a domestic worker and she worked with a family. She raised their children, she cleaned their house and they loved her. That's the way it was. It was very cruel sometimes. That's why I mentioned Emmett Till, because that brought it home for a lot of people. Because the laws were still the way they were. And people are still being hung and beaten and everything else.
How did you experience the segregated concerts from a performer's point of view? How surreal and disturbing was that to see that in the audience?
That's the law. [Laughs ruefully.] We were law-abiding people. We were up there to entertain and enjoying what we were doing. We were hoping that people there could still enjoy even though they were segregated. That was going on for years. We weren't the first. It was going on back in the big-band days. It was back when white people would go down to Harlem to see all the Black people perform in the clubs.
You talk about some of this in your book, but despite the careful tour planning, how often did you encounter white cops or others who were scaring artists and their entourages on the road?
In those days, if you would see a busload of Black people coming into your town, the policemen would think, if you were a stranger, "What are you coming into town for?" "Oh, you're coming and doing a show, OK." You can be sure they're going to follow you everywhere you go. So, yeah, always. We had times when we were shot at. The bus was shot at. We didn't have that kind of problem with Dick Clark's tour because, of course, there were white artists on it as well. If it was just a busload of Black people, then you can bet they would be weird. One policeman, I can't think of his name, told us, "I'll help you out of town, but just keep on going through, don't stop."
Did you ever feel like your life was in danger?
Well, the time the bus was shot at, yeah. We were all scrambling to get on the bus. That was the Motown Revue tour, too.
Duke Fakir of the Four Tops told me everybody on the bus was carrying a firearm for exactly this reason. Was that your experience, too?
No, we were girls. We didn't do all that kind of stuff. Maybe the guys did. And they were older. I didn't know anything about it.
The Supremes were so huge during this period -- did that help transcend some of the segregation? I don't mean to ask a naïve question, because obviously segregation affected everybody.
Oh, sure! One time, on one of those tours, we were coming at a motel and someone on the bus said, "Hey, it's a swimming pool here!" Everyone ran up to their room, changed their clothes, came back down and jumped in the pool -- and the white people who were there jumped out. Somebody had a transistor and the music came on and they started playing our music. One of the white people saw that and said, "Oh my God, is that who that is?" When they found out it was us, they all jumped back in the pool and we partied the rest of the day together.
That's a great story.
That's just one thing I remember because it was so funny, you know? But it's the same way now. I can go into a shop to buy something and may not be waited on right away. But if someone finds out I'm Mary Wilson, they'll bring me everything in the shop and try to sell me.
When did you stop noticing this blatant segregation while you were on tour? Did it fade away after the Civil Rights Movement?
You never stopped noticing it. I'm a pretty bubbly person. In a mall, if I tell a Black person, "Hey, how you doing?" they'll say, "Hey, how you doing?" But a white maybe won't even look at you dead in the eye.
I acknowledge segregation continues to this day, but it does seem like certain things, like having to eat at segregated restaurants and sleep at segregated hotels, eventually ended, right?
When the Civil Rights deal passed, and Blacks could vote and women could vote, then it changed. When the laws changed, it changed. You could go where you wanted to go.
I wonder what you make of the Black Lives Matter activity of the last few weeks -- and years. Is it something you've been following? Do you find it inspiring? Familiar?
The first time, in the '60s, when we were marching with Martin Luther King, it was really wonderful. His whole premise was peace. Today, what I'm seeing is that people are marching and they're protesting and the people who are doing that are peaceful. There are always people who are in there to disrupt certain things. That part of it is not happy. Even back then, people were marching and police were siccing wild dogs on them. I just hope we can get this done -- move onto the next phase of evolution of human living on this earth, and we can do it without much violence. I'm 76. I don't want to see violence at all, period. But sometimes there is violence.
I do want things to change so that people will not feel like I had to feel when I was growing up -- that I was not good enough, that I was not human. This is in our lifetime. This is in your lifetime. It's time to get beyond it.
By Steve Knopper (2/9/2021)
A fun interview with Mary from 2017, courtesy of Rock Cellar Magazine …
Sam Tallerico played an interesting track on his Lost And Found Oldies Show on Saturday …
It was a live cut of Bobby Darin at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas … with The Supremes singing back-up vocals for him! (I had not heard that before!)
You can catch Sam’s entire show here:
From Mark Lapidos, founder of Beatlefest, on Mary Wilson’s death … written on February 9th, perhaps the most important date in Beatles history, as this was the day in 1964 (omg, 57 years ago!!!) that they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show … and life as we (and THEY!!!) know it has never been the same since.
On this most historic day on The Beatles
calendar, we must pause to honor another 1960's legend. MARY WILSON, a
founding member of The Supremes (with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard), died suddenly
last night at her home in Las Vegas. She was 76. In the 1960s, it was the
Singles Charts that counted the most, as singles were what the youth of America
were buying. From mid-1964, after The Beatles had ruled the top of the charts
all year, a Motown group burst upon the scene and gave The Beatles their
biggest challenge for the top singles slot through the very end of the decade.
They started in July, 1964, when their first hit, Where Did Our Love Go, followed A Hard Day's Night to
the #1 spot in the first of five consecutive #1 hits. With 12 #1 hits in the
1960s, fast forward to the very last Top 100 chart of the 1960s and you’ll find
Someday We'll Be Together
at #1, just a few weeks after Something
and Come Together
topped the charts. In 1964, The Motown sound that The Beatles loved so much became
a major force in American music when The Supremes exploded onto the scene. They
were the biggest selling girl group of all time.
On a personal note, we were so looking forward to meeting Mary and having her at our upcoming Live FESTS in 2021, and so was she. Mary did join us for our Virtual FEST in August and was an instant hit with her vivacious and charming personality. It was such an honor to have her be a part of our celebration. Mary was so generous with her time with us. It was a pleasure to get to know her, if ever so briefly. We were fortunate to first meet Mary in 1994 at the John Lennon Stamp launch hosted by Cousin Brucie in NYC. Carol and Mary had a lovely and memorable conversation that day. Our love and sympathy goes out to her family and her fans all around the world.
- Mark Lapidos
THIS AND THAT:
Mark also shared these thoughts on this momentous Beatles anniversary …
Fellow Beatles Fans,
What more can be said about The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Sunday evening, February 9, 1964? For those of us who saw it live that evening, it was a major game changer. From the opening notes of All My Loving to the final chord in I Want To Hold Your Hand, they had won over a generation. We, collectively, remember exactly where we were and who we watched that show with. We can't always remember what we had for dinner last night, but we can tell you about that night 57 years ago in great detail!!!
Teenagers immediately bought guitars and started forming bands. Just listen to all the major rock stars who saw that show. They all say the same thing. I was no exception. My father saw my reaction to The Beatles and asked me if I wanted to play guitar. I said yes and the very next day, when I came home from school, there was a new guitar on my bed, with lessons all set up for me. (I did not have the desire to join a band, but I did love the idea of learning guitar to play Beatles songs.)
Take out the DVD from that night and watch it at 8 PM EST and let the magic and electricity of that performance bring back the memories that will never leave us.
Peace and Love,
Of course, one of the big news stories this past week was Bruce Springsteen’s brand new Jeep commercial, premiered at The Super Bowl, being pulled after it was revealed that The Boss received a DUI last November in New Jersey. The combined cost to produce the ad, Springsteen’s salary and the price to run it (at close to two minutes in length) during the Super Bowl is estimated to have cost upwards of twenty million dollars … and now it’s been scrapped as Jeep doesn’t want any potential push back for associating a legally intoxicated Springsteen with getting behind the wheel of their vehicle. (Reports released later said Springsteen was hanging out with a bunch of fans, taking a few photos in a parking lot, at which time he downed shot of tequila … but then DID drive off from there on his motorcycle.)
Springsteen was reportedly VERY involved with the making of the spot, filmed over a period of five days in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. There are some political overtones in the message, but it still conveys a positive tone for America to “get together in the middle” moving forward. The special advertisement was made to commemorate Jeep’s 80th Anniversary.
Jeep says they pulled the ad when they first read about the DUI, wanting to further investigate the circumstances before airing it again. (In all fairness, this wouldn’t be the first time an ad aired exclusively during The Super Bowl and then not again … but that certainly was NOT the intent with this one.)
A little deeper digging says that Springsteen was arrested in Gateway National Recreation Area on November 14th, 2020, and give three citations: DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area. Drinking the shot was done in full view of police officers on the premises. (This is complicated somewhat further because the park is located on federal property, making this a federal offense.)
Reports say that Springsteen was completely cooperative during the arrest. His court date is expected to take place in the next couple of weeks.
CNN later reported, however, that Springsteen admitted to drinking TWO shots prior to mounting his motorcycle twenty minutes later. The arresting officer said Springsteen “smelled strongly of alcohol and had “glassy eyes.”
"He was visibly swaying back and forth while I observed his eyes,” the officer said and allegedly took 45 steps rather than the "instructed 18" on the walking exam. I think in hindsight Springsteen knows what he did was wrong and should have waited a “cooling off period” prior to mounting his motorcycle. That being said, his blood alcohol level was only a .02 while the state’s legal limit is .08 … but by all appearances just didn’t look fit to drive … which is where the “endangerment” aspect comes into play … especially to himself, on a motorcycle. Public drinking in a federal park is an offense regardless … so I think when all is said and done, The Boss is gonna have to cop a guilty plea on this one.
Meanwhile, it is virtually impossible to find a copy ANYWHERE today … and odds are pretty good that it’ll disappear here, too, before you have the chance to see it …
But just in case, we’re running it anyway … let us know if it worked for you! (kk)
Best Classic Bands ran this article over the weekend about Double-Sided Hit Singles …
But we know all about that!!!
Check out our list of The Top 200 All-Time Biggest Two-Sided Hits (now running as a semi-regular feature on Me-TV-FM) … and then browse our list of Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides, too …
That’s a poll we took several years back that generated just over 65,000 of your votes, naming your all-time favorites!
This is the mathematical countdown of the Top 200 Biggest Two-Sided Hits, based on the COMBINED chart performance of these singles:
(Elvis, The Beatles, CCR, Rick Nelson, The Everly Brothers, The Monkees, The Beach Boys and a few others were regular recipients of two-sided hits!)
And THESE 200 gems were selected by our readers as long-time favorites …
Back in the day, ALL of us played the B-Sides of the records we bought. (As one astute reader commented at the time, “Hell, I PAID for both sides, didn’t I?!?!”)
You never knew what kind of buried treasure you might find on the flip side. (In fact, several VERY big #1 Hits originally started out as B-Sides!) Sometimes, it was the disc jockeys who flipped the records over. (I honestly don’t know how they broke out the sales figures and chart positions for some of these … unless you point blank asked each and every customer what song they came in to buy that day, how would the record store clerk know which sales to report to the trades???)
Still, we have always found this to be fascinating stuff.
Here’s Best Classic Bands’ take on the phenomena:
Here’s an interesting link we got from FH Reader Charlie Ricci last week …
The story goes that on October 22, 1969, Hendrix and Davis sent McCartney a telegram that read: “We are recording an LP together this weekend. How about coming in to play bass stop call Alan Douglas 212-5812212. Peace Jimi Hendrix Miles Davis Tony Williams.”
The article goes on to say that, per Beatles aide Peter Brown (who intercepted the telegram), McCartney was “out on vacation and wasn’t expected back for two weeks.” (Ironically, this times out to be right about the time when all those “Paul Is Dead” rumors were circulating … hmm … so was he REALLY on vacation … or were The Beatles secretly breaking in Billy Campbell to take Paul’s place?!?!)
The truth is, we’ve heard versions of this story before, which are now circulating again on all the Classic Rock Music Sites (but have been part of Hendrix folklore for years) … but I have never heard ANYTHING to suggest that Hendrix may have been trying to persuade McCartney to join or start a super group … more, to my thinking, an opportunity to sit in on some sessions that Hendrix was already doing with jazz great Miles Davis … a guest appearance on their new LP, if you will. Nor does this barely legible telegram seem to offer up more than this interpretation.
Still, it WOULD have been cool to hear just what these guys might have cooked up back in ’69. I just can’t believe that Jimi and Miles would have been looking for Macca to lead them down the pop hits path, as this wasn’t THEIR goals at all. The whole thing about Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis that makes them stand out and rank as so unique was the fact that they were always trying to reach outside the “tried and true” methods of pop success.
But it IS an interesting story to turn up now again after all this time ... and it seems to have been circulating quite a bit this past week.
(By the way, the original copy of this telegram is now on display at The Hard Rock Café in Prague in the Czech Republic.) kk
I couldn’t help but wonder what the results of the Jimi Hendrix / Miles Davis recording sessions sounded like … even without McCartney onboard, this would have been a fascinating mix of genres … but I’m not aware of any such album ever having been released.
I asked Ken Voss, our resident Jimi Hendrix Expert and publisher of the Voodoo Child Newsletter, if he might have a track that we could share with our readers … and was kind of surprised by the answer … but first, a little more background …
The telegram was purchased by The Hard Rock Café at auction in 1995. Still, it has only generated attention in recent months with the successful release of "People, Hell & Angels," expected to be the last CD of Hendrix's studio recordings.
"It's not something you hear about a lot," Hard Rock historian Jeff Nolan said of the telegram, now displayed at the restaurant in Prague. "Major Hendrix connoisseurs are aware of it. It would have been one of the most insane supergroups. These four cats certainly reinvented their instruments and the way they're perceived."
He sent along these quotes / excerpts from Miles Davis’ biography on the topic of working with Jimi Hendrix …
Miles Davis on Jimi Hendrix (excerpts from the 1989 book Miles: The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-63504-2)
(p. 290) “Things weren’t going too well for me and Cicely, and we broke up because I had met a beautiful young singer and songwriter names Betty Mabry,” noting she is on the cover of the album Filles de Kilimanjaro and Davis named the song “Mademoiselle Mabry” for her … She was really into new, avant-garde pop music. My divorce from Frances had come through in February of 1968, and so Betty and I were married that September while the group was playing a gig at the Plugged Nickel.
“Betty was a big influence on my personal life as well as my musical life. She introduced me to the music of Jimi Hendrix – and to Hendrix himself – and other black rock music and musicians. She knew Sly Stone and all those guys, and she was great herself,” reigning praises on her singing ability. “The marriage only lasted about a year, but that year was full of new things and surprises and helped point the way I was to go, both in my music and, in some ways, my lifestyle.”
(p. 292-3) “I first met Jimi when his manager called up and wanted me to introduce him to the way I was playing and putting my music together. Jimi liked what I had done on Kind of Blue and some other stuff and wanted to add more jazz elements to what he was doing. He liked the way Coltrane played with all those sheets of sound, and he played the guitar in a similar way. Plus, he said he had heard the guitar voicing that I used in the way I played the trumpet. Se we started getting together. Betty really like this music – and later, I found out, she liked him physically too – and so he started to come around.
“He was a real nice guy, quiet but intense, and was nothing like people thought he was. He was just the opposite of the wild and crazy image he presented on the stage. When we started getting together and talking about music, I found out he couldn’t read music.
“When I called back home from the studio to speak to Jimi about the music I had left him, I found out he didn’t read music. There are a lot of great musicians who don’t read music – black and white – that I have known and respected and played with. So I didn’t think less of Jimi because of that. Jimi was just a great, natural musician – self-taught. He would pick up things from whoever he was around and he picked up things quick. Once he heard it, he really had it down. We would be talking, and I would be telling him technical shit like, ‘Jimi, you know when you play the diminished chord…’ I would see this lost look come into his face and I would say ‘Okay, okay, I forgot.’ I would just play it for him on the piano or on the horn and he would get it faster than a motherfucker. He had a natural ear for hearing music, so I’d play different shit for him, and show him that way. Or I’d play him a record of mine or Trane’s and explain to him what we were doing. Then he started incorporating things I told him into his albums. It was great. He influenced me, and I influenced him, and that’s the way great music is always mad.
“But Jimi was also close to hillbilly country music played by them mountain white people. That’s why he had those two English guys in his band, because a lot of white English musicians liked that American hillbilly music. The best he ever sounded to me was when he had Buddy Miles on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Jimi was playing that Indiana kinds of shit, or he’d play those funny little melodies he doubled up on his guitar. I loved when he doubled up shit like that. He used to play 6/8 all the time when he was with them white English guys and that’s what made him sound like a hillbilly to me. Just that concept he was doing with that. But when he started playing with Buddy and Billy in the Band of Gypsys, I think he brought what he was doing all the way out. But the record companies and white pole liked him better when he had the white guys in his band … Jimi Hendrix came from the blues, like me. We understood each other right away because of that. He was a great blues guitarist.”
(p. 318) In August of 1970, both Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix performed at the Isle of Wight Festival.
“He and I were supposed to get together in London after the concert to talk about an album we had finally decided to do together. We had come close once to doing one with the producer Alan Douglas, but the money wasn’t right or we were too busy to get it together. We had played a lot with each other at my house, just jamming. We thought that maybe the time was right to do something together on a record. Now the roads were so crowded coming back into London after that concert that we couldn’t get to the meeting on time, and so by the time we got into London, Jimi wasn’t there. I was going to France to do a few more gigs and then back to New York (and Hendrix had commitments to concerts in Scandinavia). Gil Evans called and told me that he and Jimi were going to get together and that he wanted me to come down and participate. We were waiting for Jimi to come when we found out that he had died.”
(p. 320) “After Jimi died, I realized that no matter how great a musician he was, no matter how much I personally loved his music – the way he played guitar – very few young blacks had heard of him, because for them he was too far over into white rock. Black kids were listening to Sly Stone, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and all them other great black groups at Motown. After playing a lot of these white rock halls, I was starting to wonder why I shouldn’t be trying to get to young black kids with my music. They were into funk, music they could dance to. It took me a while to really get into the concept all the way, but with this new band, I started to think about it,” commenting how he was moving close to the funk groove in his head. The year was 1971 and putting a group together Davis says, “I got my musicians from funk groups and not jazz bands because that’s the way I was going.”
Something still doesn’t make sense to me …
If sessions were already set up for that weekend, as the telegram alleges, wouldn’t Miles and Jimi still have gotten together anyway … especially since adding McCartney to the mix almost sounded like more of an afterthought. Surely, SOMETHING must exist, between the literally HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of Jimi Hendrix bootlegs that have surfaced since his death.
But Ken says no …
No. The session never happened. If you notice, there was talk about all this happening after The Isle of Wight Festival, which took place on 8/30. Jimi died less than three weeks later (9/18).
Then that would mean that the telegram was sent nearly a full year EARLIER … on October 22, 1969 … which again states that a session was set up for “this weekend,” which would have been October 25th and 26th …
Does your Hendrix log document where Jimi was at and what he was doing THOSE days? (kk)
I just found out today that rockabilly singer Carl Mann passed away in December.
I could not remember if I had read it in FH or not.
This past weekend I got out his PRETEND from 1959 and played it. His 1959 recording of MONA LISA I liked, but Conway Twitty's was the best in my opinion. (Of course, if my mother was here, she would have said that Nat King Cole's version was THE best.)
I don’t think I remember hearing anything about Carl Mann’s passing in December … but a quick check says he died on December 16th.
Referred to as “The Last Son of Sun,” Mann first achieved fame as part of Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun Records family by recording for the Phillips label in 1959. His version of “Mona Lista” was his only Top 40 Hit (#25, 1959), while “Pretend” (another Nat King Cole cover) peaked at #56 later that year. He also “bubbled under” for a week in 1960 with his version of “Some Enchanted Evening.” (Mann’s version of “Mona Lisa” actually competed for airplay with the Conway Twitty version you mentioned. It was a good race … and ultimately placed four points higher on the pop music charts than Conway’s version.) kk
Just two weeks into February and the Celebrity Death List is already out of control …
February 1st – Dustin Diamond (Screech on Saved By The Bell)
February 2nd – Rennie Davis (one of the Chicago Seven)
February 3rd – Jim Weatherly (singer, songwriter – wrote “Midnight Train To Georgia” and scored his own hit with “The Need To Be”)
February 5th – Oscar Winning Actor Christopher Plummer
February 5th – Former Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks (one of the few to ever beat Muhammad Ali)
February 7th – Elliot Mazer (producer: Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, The Band, Santana, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, more)
February 8th – Mary Wilson (of The Supremes)
February 9th – Jazz Great Chick Corea
February 10th – Larry Flynt (Hustler Magazine)
Add to this list the earlier January deaths of Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers, actress Tanya Roberts (we’ll only count her once, although at the time, it was reported TWICE!), Tommy Lasorda, long-time manager of The Los Angeles Dodgers, Siegfried of Siegfried and Roy, Sylvain Sylvain, one of the founders of The New York Dolls, legendary record producer Phil Spector, creator of The Wall Of Sound (yes, we’re still working on putting together that tribute series … but have run into a couple of snags now along the way … this thing is absolutely MASSIVE … but we will work our way through it), composer Perry Botkin, Jr., Don Sutton, baseball player and commentator and baseball great Hank Aaron, actor Hal Holbrook, talk show host Larry King, actress Cloris Leachman, actress Cicely Tyson and Hilton Valentine , founding member of The Animals. (And that’s not even ALL of them.) Suffice to say that 2021 is already off to a pretty sad start. (kk)
As an on-going feature, this week we salute Me-TV-FM for playing Petula Clark’s “Don’t Give Up” … and Rewound Radio for spinning one of my all-time favorites, “My World Fell Down” (although you guys REALLY have to play the single version instead of the LP cut) … it is SO much better … and familiar … to those of us who grew up with this track! (I would give the same advice for the Dean Friedman hit “Ariel” … the single version blows the LP cut away!)
From time to time we’ll pay tribute to those stations willing to step outside the box and play what WE consider to be some of the best “Forgotten Hits” … songs your listeners WILL remember, if only given the chance to hear them again! (kk)