Thursday, April 29, 2021


Kent - 

You and your readers might be interested in a new documentary series that will air on Apple TV plus –

I always thought 1964 was the year that changed music. 


Joe Cantello

This looks interesting … we may have to resubscribe! (lol)  Actually, we were waiting for the return of “The Morning Show” … but there are a couple of other things on Apple right now that look pretty good, too.  Thanks for the heads up, Joe!  (kk)

Rick O’Dell at Me-TV-FM tells us …

With the new month starting on a weekend, we thought we’d debut “A Firsts and Lasts Weekend." Throughout the weekend we’ll be playing an artist’s first and last hits back-to-back.

As always, you can Listen Live (to the Milwaukee feed) here:

Hi, Kent ...
I just accidentally stumbled across my old buddy Eric Ricks on WNUR (NWU) in Evanston, 89.5 (It's Tuesday, 4-27) ...

Normally, far as I can remember, he does a show there on Thursday afternoons ... but, this morning, he was filling in for another student, and he's been playing the rarest, kick-ass Chicago garage band rock I've ever heard.  He's spinning stuff that you'd never hear on the big stations (or anywhere, for that matter!)  I highly recommend keeping an ear (better yet, BOTH) open for his shows.
I haven't seen him in a year, as I normally see him at the "Chicagoland Record Shows" at Hillside.
Mike Wolstein

Check out Jeff James’ weekly “Windy City Wednesday” program on Huntley Community Radio, too … it airs from 3:30 to 6:30 every Wednesday afternoon … and also features some of the most obscure Chicago-related artists out there.  Jeff is also back doing his Saturday Night At The ‘70’s All Request Show from 6 pm to Midnight … and that’s always a good time.

You can listen live here:

And musicians and deejays from the Great State of Illinois will be honored in a new Springfield Exhibit …

Robert Feder has this to say …

An ambitious exhibition celebrating music from Illinois and the legendary musicians who made it — including a working radio studio available to DJs throughout the state — will open Friday (4/30) in Springfield, IL.

“The State of Sound: A World of Music from Illinois” will run through January, 2022, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. (Here is the link.)

The immersive and interactive exhibit will take visitors through a recreated backstage area of a concert arena. Videos and instruments, memorabilia and personal items from scores of artists will be on display, spanning popular music from rhythm and blues singers, ’60s pop and “garage bands,” arena rockers of the ’70s and ’80s to country, jazz, modern day hip-hop, folk, alternative and more.

One-of-a-kind artifacts include Benny Goodman’s clarinet, Common’s suit from his 2015 Oscars performance, Howlin’ Wolf’s harmonica, John Prine’s stage props, Dan Fogelberg’s guitar and an Earth, Wind & Fire stage costume.

Radio’s role in music history will be recognized with a meticulously designed vintage studio containing a fully functional broadcast suite. Music DJs and podcasters are invited to use the space when the gallery is open.

No less an authority than Dave Hoekstra, the eminent Chicago journalist and former Sun-Times columnist and music writer, has written the exhibit’s text, scripts and accompanying materials.

Hoekstra will record podcasts from the museum studio May 5 and 6 with Cheaa Mayfield, son of Curtis Mayfield; Alex Dixon, grandson of Willie Dixon: Rosanna Goodman, daughter of Steve Goodman; and Jonathan Wright and Dawson Barrett, authors of Punks in Peoria.

Overseeing the project is Lance Tawzer, director of exhibits and shows for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Back in the ’90s Tawzer was a recording artist who briefly co-hosted mornings with Doug “Stoley” Stoll on alternative rock WKQX 101.1-FM. The two also were members of the Chicago-based band The Lupins.

“Illinois artists helped shaped the sound of the blues, gospel, soul and house music. Others worked in established genres but brought such talent and originality that their contributions can never be forgotten,” Tawzer said in a statement.

“No exhibit could capture all of this state’s music history, but we think ‘State of Sound’ will give visitors new insights into music legends and introduce them to some artists who deserve a wider audience.”


Robert Feder is also reporting the launch of Rewind TV, which will air sitcoms from the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.  (It acts as the perfect complement to Antenna TV, also owned by Nexstar Media Group, which focuses on ‘60’s and ‘70’s programming.)

The lineup will include old favorites like “The Drew Carey Show,” “Murphy Brown,” “Growing Pains,” “Wings,” “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch,” “Who’s the Boss” and “Family Ties.” Debuting September 1, Rewind TV will be available in 40 percent of U.S. households (including Chicago right here in Chicago!)  (kk)

kk …

I just watched "PAWN STARS" on TV and saw an Elvis Guitar pick sold for $2800.

Meanwhile, Brian Hyland had quite a surprise for his audience when he appeared on Tony Orlando’s show this past weekend …

But Cousin Brucie had a tough time Saturday night.  The phones weren't working right ... He couldn't hear callers.  He kept saying that the gremlins got into the system. 

He was supposed to talk to Gene Chandler (The Duke Of Earl) – but the phone didn't work and he couldn't hear him. 

He was about to cancel the interview but then a half hour later it worked.  I learned that the "DUKE OF EARL" retired from performing three years ago.  Cousin Brucie said that he thought they'd be on the stage together in the future.  Gene said no. There comes a time -- you have to know when to hang them up.

Frank B.

Frank B. also provides some Beatles trivia, courtesy of Bobby Rydell …

Here’s what Bobby told us about his encounter with The Fab Four …


kk:  It's interesting in a way because, ironically, these sessions that you held over in England with Tony Hatch (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Hatch wrote and produced Bobby’s last big hit, “Forget Him”) were done just on the eve of The Beatles hitting it big here in America.

BOBBY RYDELL:  You are correct! 

kk:  So you were over in England making records and we're about to get invaded by The Four Mop-Tops from Liverpool!  And America never knew what hit 'em!

BR:  Absolutely, absolutely!  And while there, I did the command performance with Ann, Ann-Margret, and then recorded with Tony Hatch, and then I toured with a young lady by the name of Helen Shapiro, who is still working today, and she's marvelous ... she's a GREAT singer ... and that's when I first met The Beatles.  They were in front of us in one car and we were traveling on a bus throughout the UK and at one stop the four guys came on the bus ... and they knew me, because this was 1963 and as far as I was concerned, they were just four guys who were gigging ... you know, they did nightclubs, they did weddings ... and we met, we shook hands, and the only thing I'm sorry about is that we never took a picture because that would have been a GREAT picture of them on the bus, which would have been taken just prior to them becoming what they became in 1964.

kk:  Now let me ask you, when this all happened back in 1964, everybody thought that this was just going to be a flash-in-the pan ... it wasn't going to last ... it was just some new little novelty thing that had come across the ocean but pretty much ALL of the American artists were knocked off the charts for a very long period of time.

BR:  Absolutely

kk:  At what point was it real for you?  At what point did you begin to feel "I've gotta deal with this ... what am I going to do now?"  Were you painfully aware as it was happening because prior to that you had a pretty good run up the charts ... something like 20 Top 40 hits over the past four or five years ... and then literally overnight the British artists took over the charts and the magazine covers and the tv spots, and so on ... it seemed to be all they were playing on the radio ... The British Invasion was an apt description of exactly what was going on at the time.

BR:  Well, it was not only myself, Kent, but I think the majority of the artists here in The United States were affected ... the British Invasion happened and it hurt a lot of the American artists … all of a sudden the British artists were selling lots of records and this is what the jockeys were playing ... everybody was playing the songs by The Beatles and The Stones and so forth and it came to a point where they finally said, "Hey, we've got to go back to playing some of the American artists" and then things started picking up again, but basically back then, 1964, just after 1964, my recording career was over ... and "Forget Him" was my last major hit on Cameo.  But, you know, you just continue working at your craft and you continuing working and doing what you do.

kk:  I think the audience that you played to that was following your stuff, especially in the clubs, pretty much allowed you to continue performing through a different avenue.  I mean, you weren't really crossing paths with The Beatles for the same audience.

BR:  Oh no, no, not at all.  They were working venues that sat thousands and thousands of people and people like myself and Anka and Avalon, we were still doing club dates ... 500-seating rooms and 300-seating rooms ... and that was how we were able to continue to work, and that was the nice thing about it ... I've never really stopped working since 1959.

Rydell recorded the Lennon and McCartney tune “A World Without Love,” which competed with Peter and Gordon’s #1 version for the first few weeks before it was left in the dust during the All Things British Invasion …

kk:  And then you actually recorded a Lennon and McCartney song ... you did the original version of "A World Without Love", right?  And how did YOUR version come out ahead of the Peter and Gordon version?  It almost seems like a case of the established American artist getting the nod first over some unknown British duo ... until America discovered just who these guys were.  One reader wrote in:  "Bobby's record was the best of the US artists stealing the UK sound!"

BR:  That's correct ... we recorded it first ... but actually my manager and I were driving into New York City and we got into the area where you could hear WABC Radio and all of a sudden we're driving and we hear (singing) "I don't care what they say ..." and that was already in the can!  We had already recorded it and we were like "What the heck is this?" And so, just on principle, we put the song out, but Peter and Gordon had a two week jump on us so they really had the hit record.  Mine charted ... and there were times when jockeys across the country got so fed up, they wouldn't play Peter and Gordon's and they wouldn't play mine ... then some would play me and some would play Peter and Gordon ... so some of that may have cancelled each other out.  But you know, I saw Paul Schaffer in New York when we did a press conference for the release of the new book and Paul Schaffer did a thing when he was with Letterman and it was funny as hell ... you know, "Here's Peter and Gordon's version of 'A World Without Love" and he would go (singing very softly and sweetly) "I don't care what they say, I won't stay in a world without love".  And then he goes, "And here's Bobby Rydell's version" (big, booming voice) "I don't care what they say ..." (laughing)  It's as funny as heck!

kk:  OK, so was that a conscious decision to record something with a British feel to it?  Had you been looking for something along those lines, maybe a Lennon and McCartney tune?  How did you come across that one in the first place?  

BR:  You know, I never picked any of my tunes … it was all Lowe, Mann and Appell ... they picked all the material and this song just happened to fall by my wayside and who, how, when, where, what, why, I don't know ... but we went into New York City and recorded it.

kk:  Well, here in Chicago it actually did very well.  They charted both records at the same number so they shared a spot on the chart ... until it went to #1 and then it was only the Peter and Gordon version.

BR:  Yeah, that's what I was talkin' about, you know ... some jockeys would play both of them, some wouldn't play either one of them.  It was really a matter of if they got fed up, with all the PR and stuff.

kk:  Well I remember that I heard yours first here on WLS ... and I guess Peter and Gordon ... well, let's just say that Peter Asher certainly had a distinct advantage with Paul dating his sister at the time! 

BR:  Absolutely! (lol)  It was all in the family!  (lol) 

kk:  And here's another thing that I thought was a little bit ironic ... right around this same time, or just after, you left Cameo and moved over to Capitol Records at a time where Capitol was pretty much just pushing The Beatles and The Beach Boys and not much else.  So how did that happen?

BR:  Well, yeah.  How did that happen?  Well, you know, Cameo had its run and my manager at the time, once again, Frankie Day, decided that it was time to move on and I signed with Capitol.  And one of the first things I recorded at Capitol was a version of Paul Anka's "Diana" and it was done like sort of like a necktie ... (singing) boom-boom-boom, boom-boom-boom, "I'm so young and you're so old ... and yada yada yada" and the record was starting to make noise but then I believe Wayne Newton came out with something, I forget what the tune was, and they dropped all of the PR on "Diana" because they figured it was starting to climb and when they dropped it, the record kinda got lost ... but I think if they would have pursued that, I coulda had a Top Ten Record with "Diana" because it was totally different than Anka's ... and it was a damn good record, I must say.  But you know, I had my good times with Capitol, I never had any major hits with them, but I recorded some really, really good tunes.

kk:  Well, I was gonna say ...  certainly you were trying to make the best records you could at the time ... you went into this whole thing with the best intentions and gave it your best effort but if the label doesn't help promote them, they're really not going to go anywhere.  

BR:  Oh yeah, for sure, for sure.  As a matter of fact when I was with Capitol, I was doing "The Milton Berle Show" out in California ... the show only lasted for six months ... but one of the songs that I recorded for Capitol was a song called "You've Gotta Enjoy Joy" and that was written by Milton Berle ... in fact, that was his theme song on his show and it was a big band arrangement written by one of the great arrangers in California named Bob Florence, and I had people like Louie Bellson on drums and all of the top cats in California and it was really a swingin' record, which I LOVED ... I absolutely ADORED doing that kind of music ... I love big band music ... but it never happened.  But like you said, I recorded some really good pieces of material on Capitol.

You can read our entire Bobby Rydell interview (which ran as part of a week-long Forgotten Hits feature) here:

BTW: Nationally,  Bobby's version of "A World Without Love" peaked at #71 ... while here in Chicago it reached #10, sharing that position with the Peter and Gordon version, which ultimately hit #1 on both charts.  (kk)

Micky Dolenz talks about his upcoming album “Dolenz Sings Nesmith” here …

Lesley would have turned 75 on Sunday, May 2nd. She was one of my all-time favorite artists, as well as one of my favorite ladies.
"Immortality," a tune she did in 1975, which seemed to fall by the wayside, was, in my opinion, one of her best. It's sort of eerie, as it could make a listener feel that she had her departure planned out; she was only 29 years old. Still gives me goosebumps.
Mike Wolstein


In addition to their "First And Last" Weekend, Me-TV-FM will also be saluting the music of Lesley Gore on Sunday in honor of what would have been her 75th birthday.  I still rank her recording of "You Don't Own Me" as one of my favorite records ever.  (kk)

The Pioneers Of Outsider Art Rock TODD RUNDGREN & SPARKS

Reunite For New Recording

It’s a music hipster’s dream come true, a pairing that will make legions of fans weak at the knees. A recorded collaboration between the ever-innovating producer, songwriter and Rock Hall Of Fame nominee Todd Rundgren and one of the most eclectic, quixotic and highly celebrated musical acts in modern music, Sparks! Not since Sparks’ Rundgren-produced 1971 debut album have these two titanically talented acts worked so closely together.

And now Rundgren and Sparks are proud to release “Your Fandango,” the third single from Rundgren’s forthcoming Space Force album, which also features collaborations with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and hip hop artist Narcy, and the timing couldn’t be better. Rundgren just recently completed a highly publicized and hugely successful virtual tour, the “Clearly Human” Tour, while Ron and Russell Mael have been generating their own buzz ahead of the Cannes premiere of the Sparks-penned movie musical ‘Annette’ (starring Adam Driver & Marion Cotillard) and the full-length, Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Baby Driver) directed documentary ‘The Sparks Brothers’ about their career. In fact, it was the filming of Rundgren’s interview for the latter that reunited him with Sparks and formed the idea of a collaboration.

The result is a masterful piece of polyphonic pop that elegantly layers Spanish music, Neopolitan cantatas, baroque fugues and glam rock for one truly epic composition.

“It’s been a truly heartwarming experience to once again be working with Todd, our first-ever producer, after a brief 50-year hiatus.” - Ron and Russell Mael

“It’s been a long way since Simple Ballet, but we finally got the old dance troupe back together!” - Todd Rundgren

Stream the single here:

In addition to making the track available on all digital platforms, acclaimed Finnish media artist Liisa Vääriskoski has created a mesmerizing and eye-popping video. The video premiered Sparks’ YouTube channel on Friday, April 23, at 6 pm BST / 10 am PST / 1pm EST … and you can watch it now on YouTube here:

As a special treat for both Rundgren and Sparks fans, “Your Fandango” will also be released on gorgeous 7” vinyl later this year.

Pre-order your copy today:

Laura Nyro fans will be pleased to know that a new box set featuring her first seven albums will soon be available from Madfish Records in the UK.

More details here: