Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Tuesday This And That

Got this from FH Reader Bob Merlis, on behalf of The ABKCO Family …

Sadly, more sad news as another one of our musical heroes leaves us …

Hilton Valentine

May 21, 1943 – January 29, 2021

We, along with all of the music world, mourn the loss today of Hilton Valentine, a founding member of The Animals. Valentine was a pioneering guitar player, influencing the sound of rock and roll for decades to come. His death was revealed by his wife, Germaine Valentine.

After taking up the guitar at the age of 13 in his native North Shields, Northumberland, he got involved in the skiffle craze then sweeping the British Isles. He was orphaned at the age of 16 and was focused on his skiffle group, The Heppers. They evolved into The Wildcats, a rock and roll band that built a reputation in his native north of England based on Valentine’s energetic performances – he was known to roll on the ground while playing his guitar. When speaking with Modern Guitars in 2006, Valentine recalled, "What drew me to the guitar was seeing Lonnie Donegan doing “Rock Island Line” on television, on a show called the The Six Five Special. I wanted to play guitar after seeing that and, of course, after hearing Chuck Berry and seeing him do the duck walk."

Valentine caught the attention of Chas Chandler, Alan Price and Eric Burdon, who recruited him to join a new group they was forming in 1963. With the final addition of John Steel, they would become The Animals. Valentine remained with the band for the next four years and is heard on such classic recordings as “The House of the Rising Sun,” “Baby Let Me Take You Home,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “It’s My Life” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.”

“The House of The Rising Sun” rose to #1 in the UK, US and Canada and is recognized in Rolling Stone's List of The Greatest Songs of All Time. Hilton Valentine created one of the most iconic guitar riffs in rock music history with his intro on "House Of The Rising Sun." Upon induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Dave Pirner described The Animals essential standing as a “key link in the evolving transition from black R&B to punk rock.” Biographer John Corcoran’s Rock Hall Induction essay stresses how their working-class experience was key to how their folk and blues interpretations would resonate so distinctly compared to Yardbirds, Beatles, Rolling Stones.

Recently Eric Burdon, speaking to Guitar International, commented on the role Valentine played in bringing the Animals hard-edged sound to the fore. “It really was Hilton who made the early Animals a rock band because I don’t think the element of rock was in the band until we found him. In those days, Hilton wasn’t just playing rock ‘n’ roll, he looked rock ‘n’ roll. Here was a guy with the greased mop of hair combed back, cheap leather jacket, winkle picker shoes, black jeans and a smile on his face playing through an echoplex, which was a secret weapon back then.”

Hilton Valentine released a solo album in 1969 entitled “All in Your Head” for Capitol Records. He later reunited with the Animals three times thereafter and recorded “Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted” with the band in 1977 and joined them again in 1983. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his former bandmates in 1994. In May of 2001, he was inducted into Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame along with the other Animals and had a two-night reunion concert at the El Rey Theatre.

In recent years, Valentine, who lived in Connecticut, returned to skiffle music and formed the band Skiffledog that toured in the US and UK, and released two albums, It’s Folk ‘n’ Skiffle, Mate! and Skiffledog on Coburg ST. He could also be found on stage with the great garage bands, The Woggles and The Headless Horsemen, whom he befriended. In 2011 he recorded a holiday album with Big Boy Pete called Merry Skifflemas!, referred to on the package as a “festive blend of traditional oldies and original newbies.” He joined Eric Burdon on tour in 2007-08, with whom he remained close.

We at Abkco have been privileged to serve as stewards of The Animals catalog and his passing is felt in a truly profound way by the entire Abkco family.

I have mentioned many times before that first hearing The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” was a real awakening for me.

I was new to the pop scene in 1964, just first discovering (and being totally captivated by) the sounds of The British Invasion …

But The Animals didn’t sound (or look) ANYTHING like The Beatles or The Dave Clark Five or Herman’s Hermits or many of the other bands that were now experiencing great success on our shores.

And they had a completely different sound.

I didn’t know what it was then that I liked … I had never been exposed to the blues before … and certainly nothing like this where those blues were filtered through a rock and roll band, who still managed to make it all sound commercial and marketable.  I was transfixed.  Very few songs since have moved me quite the way this one did.

“The House Of The Rising Sun” topped all three national trades for three weeks in late 1964.  While I liked other songs recorded by The Animals over the years (“Baby, Let Me Take You Home,” “Gonna Send You Back To Walker,” “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place,” “It’s My Life” and “Sky Pilot” immediately come to mind), I don’t know that they ever again captured that raw and riveting sound of their first hit record … but most of those records made The Top 20 anyway (as did six others), giving The Animals ELEVEN Top 20 Hits (and four others that made The National Top 40) in just five years.  (I’d consider that to be QUITE successful in ANYBODY’S book.)

Thank you, Hilton Valentine, for the music and the memories.  They will stay with me until MY final day.  (kk)

More here:


My Favorite British Invasion Group Lost An Original Member.

Wild Wayne did an extensive interview with Hilton Valentine a few years ago. I asked him to re-play it.


Let us know if this is posted somewhere so others can enjoy it, too.  Thanks, Frank.  (kk)


Wild Wayne Tributes …

Last night he paid tribute to Jimmie Rodgers …

And will play his interview with Hilton Valentine of The Animals on next week’s show.


Meanwhile, last night Cousin Brucie re-played an earlier show. 

He's only been on for two months and is already in reruns.


Tomorow, of course, marks the 62nd Anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.  (A film, titled simply "Clear Lake,” has been in the works for a while although, like virtually everything else, hasn’t been able to move forward much due to the Covid pandemic.)  Meanwhile FH Reader and frequent contributor LJ Coon continues with his quest to have a full investigation into the details of the crash move forward as well.

FH Reader Geoff Lambert sent us this interesting piece about The Surf Ballroom being declared a National Landmark.  (He also sent a very cool picture of Buddy performing a few nights before in St. Paul, Minnesota, on The Winter Dance Party stop there.)

Surf Ballroom designated a National Historic Landmark, January the 22nd.

The US Department of the Interior has designated the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, as a National Historic Landmark, recognizing its enduring role in the history of American music. The ballroom is best known for hosting the last concert of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson before their fatal plane crash in the early hours of February the 3rd, 1959, a date Don McLean immortalized as “the day the music died” in his 1971 hit, American Pie.

National Historic Landmarks are buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that have been determined to be nationally significant in American history and culture. The ballroom’s nomination was officially approved on the 13th of January. “The Surf Ballroom is a national treasure. You can almost feel the energy and hear the echoes of all the concerts over the years,” said Chris Kramer, who directs the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. “The soundtrack of the 20th century played live, right here in Clear Lake, Iowa.” As the most significant and well-preserved venue remaining on the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour, the ballroom represents the nationwide dance-party tour phenomenon, a trend that helped establish touring as a legitimate business within the music industry. "The Surf exemplifies a pivotal time in music history, one that should be honoured and celebrated,” noted Laurie Lietz, the ballroom's executive director. “It is our organization’s highest honour to achieve this designation, and we know this will ensure that the music lives on here at the Surf for generations to come. The ballroom is operated by the non-profit North Iowa Cultural Centre and Museum, whose president, Jeff Nicholas, discussed its mission to celebrate the lives and legacies not only of Buddy, Ritchie and Bopper, but all the musicians who have taken a turn on the ballroom’s stage. As long as the Surf Ballroom is here, he said, their music will never die. The Surf Ballroom is open to visitors year-round and operates as a concert venue with events for up to 2,100 guests. For a full schedule of events and details about how to help keep the music alive, visit www.surfballroom.com. The Surf Ballroom is Iowa's twenty seventh National Historic Landmark, joining a list of such iconic sites as the American Gothic House, the gold-domed State Capitol, and the Sergeant Floyd Monument, which received the country's first National Historic Landmark, in 1960. The National Historic Landmarks program is managed in Iowa by the State Historic Preservation Office, a bureau of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

Historical and national significance of the Surf Ballroom.

The Surf Ballroom opened on July 1st, 1948, on the north shore of Clear Lake and replaced an earlier ballroom that had burned down the year before. The venue offered musicians a convenient stop to perform between Minneapolis and Des Moines but gradually became a destination in its own right, attracting early 20th century stars such Count Basie, Duke Ellington and the Dorsey Brothers before a parade of more recent legends: The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, The Beach Boys, Freddy “Boom, Boom” Cannon, B.B. King, Conway Twitty, Santana, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Martina McBride, Alice Cooper, Robert Plant and countless others. The ballroom became famous worldwide in 1959, when it was the twelfth and final stop on what was scheduled to be a twenty five-city Winter Dance Party Tour of the Upper Midwest featuring Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. After their concert in Clear Lake, however, the three musicians and the pilot, Roger Peterson, died when their plane crashed amid a snowstorm on the morning of the 3rd of February, 1959. The death of these three influential young musicians shook the nation and changed the course of rock and roll, as well as the broader sweep of American pop culture. The Surf Ballroom is an excellent and well-preserved example of the modern style of architecture. The building’s clean lines, curvilinear forms, minimal ornament and use of chrome illustrate the aesthetic influence that technology and the machine clearly had on the style. In 2009, the Surf Ballroom was designated as a historic landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Today, the ballroom continues to host an annual Winter Dance Party every February, as well as dozens of concerts and special events throughout the year.

About National Historic Landmarks.

There are approximately 2,600 National Historic Landmarks in the United States, including twenty six others in Iowa, as well as Mount Vernon, Pearl Harbour, Apollo Mission Control Centre, Alcatraz and Martin Luther King's birthplace.

We've still never been ... but HAVE to go, once we can freely and safely move about the country again.

And, I can’t leave THIS one out …

A nice shot of “Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Darin,” also sent in by Geoff (for all the Bobby Darin fans on the list!)

You'll find a special profile of Bobby next week in Forgotten Hits.

Hi Kent,

In the Sunday Comments, you wrote:

>>>Also on this date, Rose Royce in Britain goes bankrupt and is nationalized.  (kk)

I think you meant to say Rolls-Royce.  Although I suppose that Rose Royce could take their Rolls-Royce to the Car Wash!


See … I told you Forgotten Hits is all about the music!!!

Obviously, a Freudian slip … but it has since been fixed.  (I guess you could say that while I may know the hits, I don’t know much from cars!!!)  Thanks, Paul!  (kk)

Uh oh, Kent ... you must have made a mistake when you posted that James Taylor's "Country Road” seems to be all but forgotten these days. 

The mistake was that you posted the album version of the song. The hit 45 single is a completely different take and has a choir that comes in at 1:43 and is in there most of the time right to end. I will say that the hit 45 is really all but forgotten these days for sure!

Mike Hartman

(enclosed is the 45 version)

Yikes!  But you’re probably right … if this song gets played at all these days, I’m sure it’s the album version, as being the one most likely to be available.

Kinda reminds me of the same situation with the Loggins and Messina hit “Thinking Of You” … you’ll be hard-pressed to hear the hit single version these days.  (kk)

NOTE:  This, too, has since been corrected on the website.  (kk)

>>>The Carpenters are back on the chart this week as "For All We Know" (from the movie "Lovers And Other Strangers") becomes the week's top debut at #63  (kk)
You missed "Just My Imagination," which debuted at #59.
– Randy Price

Unreal!  (I think we may just need a complete do-over on this week's chart!)

In any event, ALL of these corrections have been made ... and can now be viewed here:


Which was your preferred version of "One Tin Soldier?"

I kinda like the more gentle production in The Original Caste's original. 

Great stuff in FH!

Carry on ...

David Lewis

I'm partial to the Coven version, but probably only because it was played here so much ... a #1 local hit, compared to #26 nationally ... we still hear it quite a bit (but I'd venture to say that other than a dedicated '70's station, it probably isn't heard much anywhere else.)

I was absolutely AMAZED by the Black Sabbath connection ... how can it NOT be true?!?!  Just WAY too many coincidences.  And that Martha Quinn interview is to die for!  (kk)

Snow Day here! Totally unheard of in this age of virtual teaching, but there must be fear of power outages or complaints from parents that they still need to go to work and cannot be around to enforce online education. 

It will give me a day to enjoy today’s page and I am only up to 1962 when I have to stop and post a memory of Gene Chandler of when I saw him in the Mohegan Sun Arena. 

He was part of Bowzer’s Rock and Doo Wop Show and when Bowzer announced him, no one came onstage. Then a spotlight emerged in the rear of the arena and Chandler, dressed in top hat and cape, floated down the aisle, climbing the stairs on the side of the stage and appearing larger than life, center most. 

As soon as the audience realized his presence, there was a standing ovation and cheering as the band continued to play his theme song, seeming to lengthen the anticipation of when he would finally whirl onto the stage. Magnificent entrance. I am curious if this was done throughout this tour or even if it was possible at all venues. Very successful in CT.

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Yes, this kind of became Gene Chandler's grand entrance ... you'll see it on his TJ Lubinsky appearances, too.  But what a GREAT song to have in your catalog, a #1 Pop Hit, too, for five weeks ... and just one of 36 charted records on the pop charts.  (Another one that made The Top Ten came eight years later ... "Groovy Situation," which STILL sounds great today!)  kk


>>>We honor Black History Month today be featuring 50+ Years of #1 Hits, as reported on Billboard Magazine's R&B Soul Charts  (kk)
And keep in mind that you can see the entire history of the Cash Box R&B charts here: https://cashboxmagazine.com/archives-r.htm
– Randy Price 

The Blizzard of 2011 began 10 years ago today here in Chicago.
Here's the "special" tune Skip Haynes recorded (in 4 days) to commemorate it.
Mike Wolstein

Chicago got dumped on big time this past week …

When I got up Sunday Morning, we had every bit of 18” of standing snow … and drifts of 2-3 feet depending on which way the 35 mph winds blew. 

Not fun … but I have to say the road crews did an REMARKABLE job of clearing things out … we were still able to go everywhere we needed to by Sunday Afternoon.  (Unfortunately, there’s reportedly more on the way!)

I hadn’t heard the Skip Haynes track before … thanks for sending!  (kk)

Saturday night, January 27th, I attended my first pajama party since covid lockdowns. OK, so it was virtual, BUT there was music, popcorn, wine, soda … actually, whatever each of us had in our houses and wanted to eat while watching Mark Dawson sing and play guitar from his home in Florida.

The fashions were impeccable. I wore red plaid flannel pants with a top that says “Keep Calm And Let Shelley Handle It”. Mark and his wife Cathy wore matching red wine glass print flannel pants and black cotton tops. We were all terribly sheik. And we were all starved to hear some live music.

Mark opened the evening with ‘Jolene’ and ended it an hour and 20 minutes later with ‘Long Tall Texan.’  Not only did he perform songs that he wrote, solo and with people such as Scott May of Ides of March, but he performed music by Three Dog Night, David Bowie, Grass Roots and Moody Blues. While Mark was singing ‘Space Odyssey,’ Cathy popped up wearing green flashing alien glasses and briefly danced through the camera frame. A song Mark wrote on Tuesday, called ‘Let Me Comfort You,’ was written to give attention to the people who have had to quarantine alone during this time and have been feeling the depths of darkness that being alone can bring. At one point we even lost sound, which made it SO like a live concert. (I can say that because I designed and manned light and sound for stage productions in college and afterward. I know personally the panic of being unplugged.)

So, a little diversion with friends that brightened up the winter covid months. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Cathy. I hope I behaved well enough to be invited back for another time.

Check out markdawson.us/music

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

This actually sounds like a fun night!  Let us know when he’s going to do it again … (I don’t own any pajamas … but perhaps a Bulls T-Shirt and shorts will suffice!) kk

Busy Week!

Alice Cooper turns 73 this week (Feb. 4th).


Still one of my favorites!  (kk)

Feb. 4th is also the 38th anniversary of the loss of a phenomenon.

....  taken by a friend of mine at a concert (date unknown) at Mill Run Theater in Niles, IL


Saw your coverage of the Milwaukee Pop Festival of 1969 …

29,000 attending for a good cause for children with radio station WOKY was just one of the many extraordinary highlights of my early life in the music biz.

Producing this show under the tutelage of Gerard W Purcell and Associates, NY, prior to arriving in Los Angeles to work for Boutique NY BE Agency for Small Faces. (Rod Stewart’s 1st tour was just the beginning.)

Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, the Ike & Tina Turner Revue and, along the way, Al Hirt and Eddie Arnold, when I was just a young, street smart kid from the streets of Brooklyn, NY, having performed as the lead singer with a Doo Wopp group, The Laurels, in the ‘50’s.

Chart song Baby Talk by Jan & Dean, covered by Simon & Garfunkel, who covered our original single on Spring Records, 1650 Broadway.

I am happily married for 44 years and live in Beverly Hills, Ca. I will be 80 years young in May of this year.

Always 20 Feet From Stardom and content and satisfied it turned out that way.

After all, I could have ended up like Frankie Valli and still been on the road for the mob!

Give a good day … as my old friend Hubert Cubby Selby, Jr would say

Roy Robinson

Well, hey Roy!!! Welcome to the Forgotten Hits list.

Would LOVE to hear some of your stories from back in the day … so feel free to share with us … I’ll bet you’ve got some great ones to tell.

(I just LOVE how people keep discovering Forgotten Hits and then jump onboard as part of the family.  Even after 22 years, we’re still “new” to a whole lotta people out there … so PLEASE … help to spread the word.  If you guys like what we do, tell some other music-minded people about us so we can continue to keep things fresh and interesting for everybody!  (kk)

Wanna feel old???

Justin Timberlake turned 40 years old on Sunday!!!  (kk)

>>>So what does any of this have to do with music?”  The answer is NOTHING … but EVERYTHING … because Forgotten Hits has ALWAYS been ALL about the Memories, whatever they may be.  And any kid growing up pledging his allegiance to The Milwaukee Braves … or any other major league team for that matter … knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  (kk)

Well, that’s not exactly true. I can tie anything into music.

In 1963 Lee Maye of the Milwaukee Braves had his own R & B band on the side and cut a 45 rpm record.


Robert Campbell

And who can forget Denny McLain from the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers?


Or Smokin’ Joe Frazier!!!  (check out Sly Stone on Mike Douglas’ couch!)


And even Cassius Clay!!!


(By the way, you’ll find baseball creeping into Forgotten Hits again next week as we remember when the late, great Satchel Paige was voted into The Hall Of Fame … and next month, we’ll profile both Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali on the anniversary of their Fight Of The Century.)

It’s all coming up in Forgotten Hits … where it’s ALL about the memories!  (kk)