Happy Birthday To Elton John!
Today is Elton John's 74th birthday!
(Sure, he'll pass his eye test ... and then they'll send him down the hall to see another doctor to address his stuttering!)
And what's up with that anyway? 1974 had TWO stuttering #1 Hits ... "Bennie And The Jets" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" ... flash back to The Who's "My Generation" (and anything involving Mel Tellis) and you'll see that music overcomes ALL obstacles, big and small. (kk)
We heard from several readers in New York that the Murray The K / PBS Television Special “It’s What’s Happening, Baby” wasn’t airing in their area. (Then again we heard from others who were able to catch it twice that first weekend!)
Now comes news of a special New York screening … read on …
LEGENDARY DJ MURRAY THE K RETURNS TO NEW YORK AIRWAVES WITH IT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING BABY
AFTER 55 YEARS, HIS GROUND-BREAKING ALL-STAR 1965 MUSIC CELEBRATION AIRS ON WNET / 13 ON APRIL 1st AT 8:30 PM
Murray The K (Kaufman) was, arguably, the most celebrated New York disc jockeys, later known as “air personalities,” of the 1960s with his top rated “Swingin’ Soiree” show on 1010 WINS from 1958 to 1965. Thereafter, he pioneered the progressive FM rock format on WOR-FM, holding down a six hour air shift every day of the week while serving as the station’s program director. In his first book The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, author Tom Wolfe called Murray “the original hysterical disc jockey.” He became known as "The Fifth Beatle" when he befriended John, Paul, George & Ringo during the musical British Invasion of the 1960s. In addition to presenting all-star rock and soul concerts at the Brooklyn Fox theatre, Murray The K hosted a legendary star-studded special, It's What's Happening Baby to be telecast in New York for the first time in more than a half century. The show, featuring live, on-stage performances by some of the greatest soul, rock and r&b artists of the 20th Century, debuts Thursday, April 1 at 8:30 PM on WNET / 13, marking the first time that Murray The K, who died in 1982, will be back on the air in New York City in five decades.
The long-unseen landmark program is being presented by veteran public television producer TJ Lubinsky, creator of the hugely popular My Music specials on PBS. It's What's Happening Baby has been newly-restored from original video and audio master tapes. Lubinsky commented. Lubinsky who is too young to have experienced Murray The K when he was a fixture on both radio and TV commented, “I heard about Murray The K for all of my life but until now I couldn’t be back in time with him.” The ground-breaking program was the brainchild of Kaufman, who had given many of the greatest African-American performers their breakthrough in his staged concerts and radio shows. He then fought to present that powerful pool of talent, including many of the bright soul-pop stars of Motown on It's What's Happening Baby. The once-in-a-lifetime special was originally commissioned by the U.S. government's Office of Economic Opportunity as part of the war on poverty, encouraging American youth to seek summer employment while out of school. Featuring over a dozen iconic artists -- including Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, The Righteous Brothers, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Rivers, The Miracles, Herman's Hermits, The Temptations and Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles -- It's What's Happening Baby proved to a huge success when it first aired on June 28, 1965, on CBS, attracting over 20 million viewers. Of special note is the fact that Mary Wilson of the Supremes shared her recollections of the show of which she was part. She recorded her interview for the program on January 26, 2021. It was to be the very last interview she would ever give as she passed away just 13 days after that nostalgic encounter.
Now, nearly 56 years later, many of the original musical artists appear in new segments, offering fond memories of working with Murray The K, who helped put rock and roll music into the mainstream during his days as one of the most influential radio personalities in New York during the 1950s and 1960s. Dionne Warwick recalls, "He was the man! To be part of a Murray The K show was the thing to be." Little Anthony adds, "He was a real showman. Everybody fell in love with him.”
And, speaking of legendary disc jockeys from the ‘60’s, you’ve gotta rank WLS’ Ron Riley right up there near the top.
We’ve told you about the new documentary in the works …
And now FH Reader Clark Besch (who is intimately involved in providing some priceless artifacts to the film) sends us this update …
Hey out there to all my fellow WLS Ringo Ron Riley "Rebel Raiders"!!! It's time to start remembering those WLS glory days of the 1960's and the best way to do that is to help with the new documentary being made about the "Rapid Roadrunner" Riley!
Here's the new trailer for this great story of fun and frivolity on the AM airwaves. Ron was there at the right time and place. He was the top rated DJ for Chicago contemporary music 1964-69, during what many of us consider to be the most exciting time of rock & roll. Remember ALL of those WLS and WCFL jocks that were so awesome during that time? Art Roberts, Jim Stagg, Barney Pip, Dex Card, Larry Lujack, Jim Runyon, Clark Weber, Joel Sebastion, Ron Britain, and many others. All of these guys had unique voices and different spins and ideas on their shows and all had thousands of teen fans. You KNOW these guys were all awesome disc jockeys, but it was Ron Riley who led them all, after Dick Biondi left, and Ron arrived at WLS. Maybe you remember all the sock hops he did or the on-air feud with Clark Weber. Maybe you were IN one of the great music groups he helped promote. Or maybe you were in his huge Batman or Beatles clubs? Maybe you saw him ON STAGE with the Beatles in 1964 at McCormick Place! Now's the time to remember and help make this a great film.
Like all documentaries, they are not produced for free. IF you can and wish to help bring this film to fruition, please read all about the documentary and donate now at a brand new contribution site just set up. With your help, this can be a great story.
To give you a taste of the story, here is the official trailer for this exciting upcoming film!!! :
Check out what is being done for this program to come to fruition in the next year.
If you have memories of Ron, please send them in. You'll hear Ron tell us the stories in his own words. Here's the place to email all comments, suggestions and memories:
I'll even add a little personal touch. The audio has some technical problems, but NEARLY ALL of the WLS aircheck bits were recorded by me and my brothers in Dodge City, Kansas, in Ron's 64-69 period. The three major parts of this five minute montage are:
1) Some general bits from the six year period
2) All the great Chicago bands WLS and Ron promoted so much (TW4 aka Styx, American Breed, Nickel Bag, Buckinghams, New Colony Six, Cryan Shames, Ides of March, Saturday's Children) and
3) All the great British bands he played before anyone else heard them on his Sunday night British Billboard shows. Literally dozens of reels of memories flow back like I hope they will for you!
AND if that weren't enough … My friend John Lyons had a new book come out this week about, as the title says, "The Beatles, Chicago and the 1960's"!!! THREE of my favorite subjects!! Even if you know the Beatles’ history, John puts all the different angles of the story and relates it to Chicago at the same time in a way I have never seen before. Fascinating read!
Joy and Fear: The Beatles, Chicago and the 1960s provides a riveting look at the polarizing nature of the Beatles phenomenon through the lens of a singular city in the center of America.
Here's hoping you will help support the Ron Riley Documentary and John Lyons new book endeavor!
And in closing, as Ron said nightly, It's time to put the old cork in the bottle, let's blow this pop stand, bug out for the dugout and BYE-EEEE!
So OK, it was the 60's, remember? ;)
WLS Clark Besch
And they didn’t get much bigger here in Chicago than Dick Biondi …
I’ve just gotta say -- I’m always telling people about your incredible blog because it really is such a heart filled space, unlike any other. So much love and appreciation for the music, the deejays, the culture, and all things related to the 60s can be found on your site, plus all the latest news and tidbits about the most fascinating stuff. This, combined with your extensive research and passion, makes Forgotten Hits a unique and precious gathering spot. Thanks for everything you do, Kent.
Wow, I really dug the Elvis Presley clip from 55 and followed it by this amazing clip:
Elvis Presley - Live 1956, Tupelo's Own
What a joy to watch Elvis interacting with the fans, obviously having a great time. I love the reactions of the Jordanaires. Watching Elvis in those early years is absolutely riveting.
FYI, The Dick Biondi Film is close to completion! We’re planning a big push to get to the finish line. Here’s the link to sign up to get our newsletter with all the exciting details. https://www.dickbiondifilm.com/contact
We’re still seeking partnerships to make this dream possible. If you’re inspired to help, please email Joe@DickBiondiFilm.com.
As always Kent, thanks for your support.
Much love to everybody,
Director “The Voice That Rocked America: The Dick Biondi Story
Anxiously awaiting the final edit of this one, Pam. Thanks for the update! (kk)
HERE ARE A FEW UPDATES TO SOME OTHER RECENT TOPICS:
More on the upcoming Beatles “Get Back” film …
Is Totally Working With Peter Jackson On That New Beatles Movie
Of course Ringo wasn’t always so accommodating (as recently shown by Ultimate Classic Rock) … Starr was obnoxiously drunk to the point that host John Davidson had to tell him to Shut Up at one point!!! (How often do you see a talk show host do that?!?)
I’m sure Ringo himself would cringe while viewing this clip again after all these years … you’ve really gotta wonder what sparks he and then girlfriend Barbara Bach could possibly have been experiencing if this was Starr’s usual demeanor at the time. It’s truly cringe-worthy … yet you can’t look away! (kk)
Another movie we recently told you about, a new biopic on The Bee Gees (by the same producer of the award winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” film), may be a good two years away from hitting theaters.
Still, this is a story we’re anxious to see told. (Ironically, baby brother Andy Gibb can be seen in the Ringo clip above!)
An update from Paul Evans about his new book, coming soon …
I’ll be sending out more information as I get it. Right now, it’s still early in the game - and I’m still learning the book business.
Thanks for letting your readers know … you’re absolutely at the top of my list.
Right now, you can only pre-order copies in the UK (It IS an English publishing house) but America won’t be far behind.
So, for your English correspondents: The book is now available to buy on most bookshops in the UK:
As well as the Amazon UK website.
Here’s the link:
Right now, Kent, I’m crazy busy,
working on a new .com site while waiting for the final draft of the book.
Thanks for the update, Paul … no pressure … and please know we’ll be happy to spread the word as we get closer to the publication date. (kk)
I WATCHED THAT LONDON ROCK AND ROLL SHOW YOU POSTED THE OTHER DAY. AS YOU KNOW, I SING A COUPLE OF SONGS FROM THE GREAT CHUCK BERRY.
THERE IS ONLY ONE REAL ROCK LEGEND … THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER LIKE HIM.
ALL THOSE GREAT ACTS ON ONE STAGE AND WHO HEADLINED? CHUCK.
WHO STOLE THE SHOW? CHUCK.
THIS IS THE ONLY LEGEND IN ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!!
AND EVERYTONE KNOWS IT.
FREDDY BOOM BOOM CANNON
AND … :
British Rock Legends Sweet Release New Album “Isolation Boulevard”
Sweet are a British Rock Band with a pedigree of hits … “Fox on The Run,” “Ballroom Blitz,” “Action,” “Love is Like Oxygen” and many more! Their 1975 album, “Desolation Boulevard,” has truly stood the test of time, keeping the band as relevant today as it was back then.
Much to the excitement of fans worldwide, Sweet has released a new album called “Isolation Boulevard,” which is a reworking of many of their original tracks, including the latest single, “Set Me Free,” written by original guitarist and producer Andy Scott. He has led the band since 1985, maintaining the high standards set more than 50 years ago when Sweet first burst onto the music scene.
The new album, “Isolation Boulevard,” was recorded between lockdowns in September / October, 2020, and harks back to Sweet’s golden era and their 1975 album “Desolation Boulevard.” While the latest single and video, “Set Me Free,” is one of the band’s most covered songs, this is the first time Sweet has released it as a single. Andy Scott, the songwriter and last man standing from the original band has produced a remarkable album given the circumstances that we face globally.
(By the way, there is a rumor circulating of a brand new, upcoming British Rock Invasion featuring Sweet and a couple of other 70’s Rock bands to tour North America very soon!)
“2021 - Sweet are back with a new album ‘Isolation Boulevard’ featuring the single ‘Set Me Free’ and a dynamic stage show celebrating 50 years of hits!” – Andy Scott
Watch Sweet’s “Set Me Free” (Radio Edit) Official Video:
The Complete Warner Brothers Recordings of Harpers Bizarre are being released as a 4-CD Box Set Collection this Friday (March 26th) You’ll find some great, rare and obscure tracks on this one.
>>>Who recorded "YOU SEND ME" and "TWISTIN' THE NIGHT AWAY?" CONTESTANT ANSWERED: Chubby Checker. WRONG - WRONG – WRONG! (FB)
About a week ago, the Jeopardy question was
"Stronger than _________"
It’s the younger generation … all the more reason we need to keep this music alive!!! (kk)
From Diane Diekman’s excellent country music newsletter, a few more recent headlines we weren’t aware of that may be of interest to you …
The Texas Rangers paid tribute to Charley Pride by naming a field at their spring training complex after him, reports Rolling Stone. "Introducing Charley Pride Field! You are greatly missed," the team tweeted after unveiling the "Charley Pride Field" signage at the spring training site in Surprise, Arizona. Charley died December 12 from complications related to COVID-19. He was part of the ownership group that purchased the Texas Rangers in 2010, and he frequently visited the team at the spring training facility. He sang the National Anthem last July at the first game on the Rangers' new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The stadium was empty due to coronavirus restrictions.
Larry Gatlin tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8, soon after receiving his second vaccination. "I made it 361 days without getting the virus," he told Fox News. "Then I finally get it four days after getting my second dose of Moderna. What are the odds?" On March 18, he told MusicRow, "I had some slight body aches, but at 72, I have slight body aches every day. I had no headache. At the worst, it felt like a slight chest cold and it was gone in three days. I'm now 100% good to go and feeling great. Thanks be to God."
Larry’s father, William Wayne "Curley" Gatlin, died in November. "My 93-year-old Marine daddy died of COVID or with COVID," Larry says. "His body had begun to shut down long before he contacted COVID, so our family is not sure exactly what happened. What we are sure of is that the old Marine is with Mama and Jesus and he does not have COVID now." Gatlin encourages fans and industry members to stay vigilant in avoiding COVID: "Be careful and above all else, pray for your race: the human race."
PEOPLE MAGAZINE reports that Naomi Judd, 75, called Watch What Happens Live to give an update on her daughter, Ashley Judd, 52, who is recovering from an accident in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that shattered her leg.
"She's very courageous and she's healing," Naomi said. "She lives next door, so I'm gonna go up and take her stitches out when we're done. I used to be a nurse before I became a singer." Naomi's other daughter, Wynonna, 56, lives nearby. She had to look up "how to wash hair for someone who's lying down in bed," she said, after Ashley texted her the request. Ashley provided her own update, in which she thanked those who had physical therapy before her: "Thank you. I am only at [the] beginning and the combination of drowning in trauma and addressing the physical body is a lot. Yet you have done it, and so will I."
You can get on Diane’s email list by dropping her a note here:
And be sure to tell her that you heard all about her great newsletter right here in Forgotten Hits! (kk)
And how about this ...
The Cast of GLEE is reuniting and will perform a tribute to castmate Naya Rivera at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Awards Ceremony being held on April 8th.
Cast members Jacob Artist, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Vanessa Lengies, Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Alex Newell, Amber Riley, Harry Shum, Jr., Becca Tobin and Jenna Ushkowitz will be on hand to recreate William McKinley High School’s Glee Club, New Directions as a special tribute to the legacy of the late Naya Rivera's character, Santana Lopez. (Due to on-going Covid restrictions, the sing-along will be done virtually) Pop Singer / Actress Demi Lovato, who played Santana's girlfriend on the series, will introduce this special tribute, which also celebrates the 10 Year Anniversary of Santana's coming out as a lesbian on the Fox hit television series.
The program will stream live on YouTube beginning at 8 pm Eastern Time on April 8th ... and a delayed broadcast will air at 10 pm on Hulu.
The Cast Of Glee charted an incredible 283 tracks on Billboard's Pop Singles Chart between 2009 and 2013 ... although the majority these tracks only spent a week on the chart thanks to downloads following each weekly episode. The series ran from 2009 - 2015 on the Fox Network. Sadly, several of the young cast members have already left us, including Rivera, who drowned last year. (kk)
In today's FH, I couldn't help but remember offhand what reader Ed said about Lou, Herb, and Sam as well as the group, the Untouchables, and the song you posted of them. First, I don't know that much about the Untouchables, but they also had another record in 1961 on Liberty Records with a song called LOVELY DEE / YOU'RE ON TOP. According to the label, both sides were co-produced by Lou Adler along with Nevins-Kirshner. LOVELY DEE was the "A" side of the record here in OKC.
I have got a record by Adler-Alpert which came out in 1958. It was a novelty break-in called THE TRIAL by a group known as the Legal Eagles. The label was Arch Records, Inc. Yes, the abbreviation “Inc.” was on the label.
The flip was called KISS ME and I might add, that I have never played it so I don't really know what it is. Both sides were written by Adler-Alpert, according to the label.
One final thing and I thought this was unusual ...
On the "A" side of the record only, it said that the Wardrobe was by a Dino Lappas. I don't know who Dino Lappas was (is), but why wardrobe was listed, I have no idea.
Stop the presses!!!! I just now played the flip of THE TRIAL and Kent, the KISS ME side was about 99 44/100% instrumental with the words KISS ME said every so often. It reminded me of what Dickie Goodman would have put on the "B" side of one of his bread-ins.
All these early Herb Alpert tunes are news to me …
I know he took a crack at singing prior to his #1 Hit “This Guy’s In Love With You” in 1968 (as Dore Alpert, I believe), but I didn’t know that he was quite as involved as he apparently was with Lou Adler. Two young guys trying to make it in the music business, reaching heights neither of them EVER could have dreamed of.
I was surprised to see that The Untouchables charted FOUR TIMES on The National Charts in 1960 – 1961 … all mostly in the “Bubbling Under” range.
“Poor Boy Needs A Preacher” reached #101 in Music Vendor and #103 in Cash Box but never charted in Billboard. (Still, this record rode the chart for 6 or 7 weeks just to climb that high!)
This was followed in August of 1960 by “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight,” an obvious cover of The Spaniels’ hit. This one peaked at #102 in Cash Box and #104 in Music Vendor. (Again, it failed to chart in Billboard.)
A third single (released in November of 1960) was their version of “60 Minute Man,” which DID chart in Billboard (for four weeks) and climbed to #104.
Finally, they cracked the Top 100 in 1961 when “Raisin’ Sugar Cane” peaked at #94 in Music Vendor.
Hardly the greatest success story (but truly some rock and roll roots!) … and proof that the group stuck around longer than some may have figured, enjoying some small piece of success.
Leaping right to the top of this week’s Forgotten Hits Favorites HAS to be “Tell Me To My Face” by Keith, a Top 40 Hit in 1967 (and the follow-up to his Top Ten Smash “98.6.”)
Man, I just LOVE this song, originally done by The Hollies (which I also love) … but I think I still prefer the Keith version … probably because that’s the one I heard first (and most often.)
Here in Chicago, it went to #28 … nationally, it peaked at #26. (You can ALWAYS count on Sammy to knock me out of my seat at least two or three times a week on his Lost And Found Oldies Show, just like he did with this one this past Saturday.) kk