I don’t think anything other than the death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill could be our lead story this morning.
I was very saddened by the news because, after being fans of the band for years, we FINALLY had the chance to see them perform a couple of years ago at The Genesee Theatre. (It was a VERY last minute plan … and, ironically, as a result, we ended up sitting in Row ZZ … now if that ain’t fate, I don’t know what is!)
The group was on their 50th Anniversary Tour at the time … “Same Three Guys … Same Three Chords … For Fifty Years” … and it was a dynamite show. (We had always talked about going to see them but just never got around to it … so when the opportunity presented itself … through their PR Guy, Bob Merlis … there was absolutely NO way we were going to miss the show!)
I love the band’s official statement …
We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top.' We will forever be connected to that "Blues Shuffle in C."
You will be missed greatly, amigo.
Frank & Billy
Hill died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday Night.
We have since learned that Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard performed WITHOUT Dusty Hill last week at the Village Commons Concert Series right here in near-by New Lenox, IL. At the time of the show, they explained the situation this way …
“The members of ZZ Top, Billy and Frank, would like
to share that Dusty, their fearless bass player, is on a short detour back to
Texas to address a hip issue. They await
a speedy recovery and hope to have him back pronto. Per Dusty’s request, the
show must go on!” Elwood Francis, their
long-time guitar technician, filled in for Hill at the show. One cannot help but wonder if, in hindsight, this may have been a telling sign of what was to come.
You can read our full concert review (and see a picture of us with the band!) here: https://forgottenhits60s.blogspot.com/2019/11/concert-review-zz-top.html
And testimonials from some of Hill's rock and roll buddies here:
It’s been a rough 48 hours … Bob Odenkirk of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” fame collapsed on the set while filming the sixth and final season in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday Night. His condition was described as “touch and go” when he was first hospitalized, unconscious, but sources now say that he is on the mend. (Sure … Saul can walk across an entire desert with Mike last season, drinking his own piss, and then something like THIS has to happen!!!)
Meanwhile, we also lost Inventor / Infomercial King Ron Popeil on Wednesday. (Is that a pocket fisherman in your pocket … or are you just happy to see me???) Popeil was reportedly worth $200 Million!!! His Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ (“Set it and Forget it!”) earned over $1 BILLION in domestic sales alone, shattering all other sales records at the time in the process. In addition to his Popeil Pocket Fisherman, Ron came up with Hair In A Can, Bedazzler, Mr. Microphone and many others, all marketed thru late night tv ads by way of his company, Ronco Products. (Anybody thinking that nobody's watching those late-night tv commercials should think again!) Dan Aykroyd regularly spoofed his products and his ads on early editions of Saturday Night Live … and Popeil even did a few film cameos of his own!
We also had to say goodbye to Slipknot Drummer
Joey Jordison and Willie Winfield, founding member and lead singer of The
Harptones (who he fronted for an incredible 68 YEARS!!!) kk
Imagine my surprise when just four minutes after posting Tuesday’s “Lost (Or Maybe Not So Lost) ‘70’s and ‘80’s Hit” column I received this email from Sean Ross, whose article inspired our piece …
Hi, Kent –
Hope all is well.
Saw your posting and it made me realize that you’re not seeing the newsletter every week. I’ve been writing about stations that don’t play the big-city / rated market mix for the whole decade-plus history of the newsletter, most recently this one:
Many of the Lost Factor articles do make the point that Sirius XM subscribers or the people who seek out the column are likely to have different experiences.
Would love for you to see the newsletter every week. Is this the best e-mail address?
I was an avid and faithful reader of “Ross On Radio” for YEARS … I’m not sure how I fell off the list … so yes, please do resubscribe me.
This particular article caught my attention and interest simply because in this case, it just seemed to me that an up-side / listening solution could have been presented here along with the obvious down-side of some of these ridiculously tight playlists.
From my “Forgotten Hits” perspective, addressing songs that have been ignored by radio for decades, I just felt that I had to make a point here ... something we’ve done for as long as Forgotten Hits has existed. Simply put, the options are there if you look for them ... and who doesn't want (or wouldn’t LOVE) a little more variety in their listening adventures!!!
And since you're also not a regular reader of MY sheet, I
just wanted it to be clear that the guy I referred to in the heading about "spouting
off about oldies radio again" was ME and not you ... lol ...
This is an obvious passion of mine ... and although I've reeled it in considerably over the past 23 years, I still tend to get up on my radio soap box a time or two each year ... but ONLY because I see so much room for improvement.
Thanks, Sean! (kk)
Good Morning, Kent:
Thanks so much for the multiple references to the station in your blog today.
I really enjoyed the chart you posted regarding your recent experience with the Top 109 “lost” songs in Sean’s blog. I’m a big fan of Sean’s “lost” concept as well as the idea of resurrecting once-popular songs and giving them occasional spins.
When Me-TV-FM featured selections from Sean Ross’ list of Lost ‘70’s Tunes a couple of weeks ago, there was a certain amount of risk involved. The simple fact of the matter is that some of these songs are lost and forgotten for good reason. As such, one could argue that devoting an entire weekend to spotlighting some of these tunes could turn out to be the equivalent of programming a whole weekend of stiffs! (In the process of doing so ... and if the audience reaction ends up leaning the same way ... you just might find out why some of these songs don’t get regular airplay anymore!!!)
If I had the time to do so … and hopefully somewhere down the road I’ll find it … I’m sure I could come up with a hundred songs from the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s that DO still sound great today and would be a welcome relief for the listener to hear them again. (Let’s just say that’s sort of our forte’ here! Lol) Me-TV-FM already plays a GREAT selection of “forgotten hits” on a daily basis … and it’s the positive response they’ve received from their listeners that has allowed the station to grow the way it has.
Years ago, we did a “twin spin” weekend on Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel, where we spotlighted “One You Know … One You Didn’t Even Know You Forgot!” … and it was one of the most successful weekend specials he ever did. I can tell you with quite a bit of certainty that many (if not most) of our “forgotten gems” from THAT series are now receiving airplay on Me-TV-FM … proving once again that the listeners who love this music HAVEN’T forgotten … and LOVE hearing this music again. (kk)
>>>SOME of this music is best forgotten (kk)
Well put, Kent.
Which is NOT to say they have no value anymore. They’re good in very small doses, which is the safest way to program them.
Also, we have to keep in mind that pop songs are the most tested songs in history. Most of them have been the subject of music research for 40 - 50 years. As a result, there are really no accidents. If a song is still getting tons of airplay, there’s a reason for that, just as there’s a reason if a song has totally disappeared from station playlists. And my own experience with music research is that it’s still rare for public perceptions of a song to change. For example, if you dislike a song from the start, chances are good that your feelings about it will not change over time.
Copy that … very rarely do I find new affection for something I’ve turned off so many times in the past! (lol) But it HAS happened … and sometimes it’s something as simple as hearing another artist interpret the song that brings me new appreciation for the original. (The first song that immediately comes to mind in this category for me would have to be “Rainy Night In Georgia.” I couldn’t STAND this song when it came out by Brook Benton in 1970 … but decades later I heard country superstar Conway Twitty do a duet on this song with the ever-soulful Sam Moore of Sam and Dave … and it blew me away. As a result, I fell in love with Brook Benton’s original … and now consider it to be a ‘70’s classic. I’ve had at least a dozen other similar incidents over the years. So you never really know for sure.
My philosophy now is very simple …
How Does It Sound???
Does it hold up? Is there still an element excitement like all the planets properly aligning when you hear it?
I don’t care how big it was THEN … a LOT of that music is simply too dated to catch on with an audience today. Much of it was simply "of its time." But I defy you to find someone … ANYONE … at ANY age who doesn’t perk up and listen to “Mr. Sandman” the very first time they hear it … and that song’s 67 years old now! Certain hooks just suck you in the moment you hear them and you can’t avoid tuning in to listen and better appreciate the experience. (How about “I Can’t Stay Mad At You,” a Top Ten 1963 Hit by Skeeter Davis … and not even her biggest one … but there’s just SOMETHING about that whole “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” vibe that makes it irresistible. Look at how the music from “Dirty Dancing” captured a whole new generation of listeners thirty years after it was first recorded. It’s all about the sound and the feel. If it grabbed you then, it likely will grab a new listener in much the same way now. This is infectious music … it gets inside your head and then your soul … and it sticks with you. (I can’t tell you how many pizza birthday parties we hosted when the kids were growing up where all these 1990’s and early 2000’s kids wanted to hear was the oldies … and they were able to sing along and dance with every one of them. It’s feel good music … designed to do exactly that. (kk)
Thanks for the mention in this morning’s post.
I wind up playing some songs more than I want … however, when you are doing a request show, it is harder to play wow factor songs. We usually get several well-worn songs requested each night. It is always my goal to throw one in the middle that has not been cue burned for some time.
I am curious to find out which show or station you were listening to when you heard Our Love by Natalie Cole. Our 107.7 station features lots of wow factor songs from the 60's, 70's, 80's, and early 90's. 100.9 has specialty programs during our retro Saturday including my show.
It was 107.7. For whatever reason, whenever I tell Alexa to “Play WRCO 100.9” it defaults to the 107.7 station every time … I’m not sure why. But I’ve told you before that I’ve been very impressed with their song selection there, too.
You’re right, it’s tough to slip in a “goodie” on an all-request show … because by and large 90% of the listeners calling in are going to request the exact same music they hear you play all day long anyway. (Kinda defeats the whole purpose of a request show, which normally would allow you to step outside the confines of your daily circle of tunes!) Worse yet, I guess, is to have a few enterprising listeners call in with some creative NEW suggestions only to find that the station doesn’t have copies of these records and can’t fulfill the request. I’ve heard that happen WAY too many times over the years as well!
All you can do is encourage your listeners to be a little
bit more creative … “What song have you been DYING to hear for ages now, that
you just never get to hear?” … that sort of thing … and see if you can’t
encourage them to push the envelope a little bit further. Odds are once a few of these listeners come
thru (even if you’ve got to use a few “plants” to get the ball rolling), your other listeners will be
inspired to dig a little deeper, too, encouraged by the depth of the range they see that you’re
willing to cover. I say go for it … give it a shot and
see what happens! (You just might find that not only will they enjoy listening to your program more, but that YOU will enjoy the newfound freedom as well! It provides the perfect excuse and arena to "test the waters" ... and find out what music your audience REALLY wants to hear when they're the ones calling the shots for their four minutes in the sun.)
Themed weekends or programming allow you a little more freedom to step outside the safe zone … if you can get away with playing, let’s say, a little “heavier tune” on Me-TV-FM, for example, because it fits the format of that week’s theme, you can justify it in the end … and probably get an even bigger Wow Factor from your audience because it will be so unexpected. (In fact, you may surprise yourself … if reaction is good … and my guess is that in many cases it WILL be … you may find yourself adding some of these “surprises” to your playlist on a more regular basis down the road!) All in the spirit of giving the listener what they REALLY want to hear. (kk)
If it helps, this is what our website says about Alexa ...
Alexa users can enable the WRCO FM Alexa skill and then join us by saying "Alexa, open one hundred point nine WRCO." I cannot speak with any knowledge of this as I still listen on my 6 transistor.
Phil also tells us …
My special guest this Saturday Night on Those Were the Days will be former U.S. Congressmen John Hall of Orleans. He has a new album that has just dropped called "Reclaiming My Time." The title is a phrase used in Congress after being interrupted.
Orleans is touring again including a stop at the Indiana State Fair, which is coming up soon.
Among the many John Hall trivia facts ...
Did you know that John and his then wife Johanna wrote Half Moon, which was recorded by Janis Joplin and included on the 'Pearl ' album and was the flipside of Me and Bobby McGee?
On the subject of Lost Hits of the 70's and 80's, I would include the song Crazy (Keep On Fallin’) by the John Hall Band which, (according to Ron Smith's Chicago Top 40 Charts book), hit number 18 in Chicago in early 1982. I recall hearing it on the radio and it was on the jukeboxes at some of the establishments that I frequented back in the day.
Phil Nee – WRCO
I LOVE that song! And “Love Me Again,” too! (If you’re not familiar with that one, let me know and I’ll send it along because it would make a great addition to Saturday Night’s show! In fact, I think I actually prefer THIS over the bigger hit!)
We saw John performing WITH Orleans a couple of times here recently … not really all that long ago at all. They put on a really good show and would also often back up the other acts on the bill.
“Crazy (Keep On Falling)” peaked at #42 nationally but went to #18 here in Chicago. “Love Me Again” didn’t fare quite as well, stopping at #64 on the national charts and failing to chart at all here in Chi-Town. (kk)
I really enjoyed what you had to say about the LOST (or maybe not so LOST) '70's and '80's hits. I am with you in that I have never heard that Tammy Wynette song ever.
You mentioned at the bottom about putting together a "Forgotten Hits Radio," first suggested and mentioned by the late Bobby Vee. Speaking of Bobby Vee, this past weekend I watched a movie online called AVENGING ANGELO starring Sylvester Stallone. In the movie, Stallone mentioned that the NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES in a conversation with the heroine of the movie. At that point, both acknowledged on screen that the phrase was attributed to Bobby Vee. But what got me was that earlier in the film there were these two men sitting and talking in a car with the car radio playing in the background. What song is playing on the radio? Frankie Avalon's WHY. And, of course, my question is WHY was that song picked out?
Bobby Vee jumped onboard after we featured his 1964 hit "Hickory, Dick And Doc" (#63 national but #18 here in Chicago). Now when's the last time you heard THAT one?!?!? (kk)
I would imagine that many FH readers see memes, on various sites, exclaiming how great the music was in the 60's and 70's. I hate to burst your bubble, but the music wasn't any better then than it is now. Top 40 radio was so much better then, as opposed to today.
Today's Top 40 is not meant for most of us, any more than the music of 50-60 years ago was meant for our elders.
You are right, Kent … if you haven't heard some of these songs in a while, it's because you don't know where to look. (Sirius XM is a good start as you say.) I don't listen to the radio in the house at all. I live in a dead zone, in that I live where the St. Louis stations, to the west, and Evansville stations, to the east, fade out. I could listen off the computer, to any of your suggestions, but then I have to have headphones on, as I can't hear otherwise. I just listen in the car. Even that's not happening as I can't drive, for about two more weeks, until some medical issues are solved.
I, too, have been asked to do an internet music show, and I have the same problem as you. I lack the know-how and the finances to do so. I have trouble enough putting together a weekly two hour faux program on Facebook every Friday, let alone something longer or more frequent. Maybe that’ll change if my health improves ... four major surgeries in the last 12 months takes a lot out of you.
This Friday, I have 40 psyche obscure songs, by even more obscure psyche artists. As usual, it could be the greatest thing you ever heard … or the worst piece of trash. Over the last three weeks, I've saluted our neighbors to the north. In the future will be Saturday morning cartoon themes, original songs the Beatles covered as well Beatles songs that others covered. I'm also gonna salute Chicago bands and the origins of Rap. The possibilities are endless. Even better, it forces me to scrape the bottom of the barrel, to see what has settled down there. Also, I play all genres if it fits the theme. Sometimes the more the song sucks, the more likely you'll hear it.
Remember when the music used to be fun? It still can be. You just have to look for it. There is music out there for your taste.
Dude, only YOU know if you want to run a 24-hr streaming radio station.
If you have the repertory, good. If you can afford the licensing, great.
If you can create a likeable sound, fabulous.
Hi, Kent -
The "lost" music you write about DOES turn up and is celebrated in every weekly two-hour episode of THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL. Episode 9, a rare single artist profile, spotlights Paul McCartney's solo career after The Beatles. It will air around the world this coming weekend. While that happens, I'll be writing Episode 65 ("The No. 1 Hits of 1966").
BTW, as you were writing about "Justified and Ancient," you might enjoy the attached …
Where can THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL be heard? . Well, on domestic radio and online outlets, our affiliates list includes the below.
All the best,
WRME – Chicago, IL – Sat 7 am – 9 am and Sun 10 pm – Midnight (central)
KWVF – Guernesville, CA – Sun 10 am – Noon (pacific)
KIRK – Macon, MO – Sa 7 am – 9 am (central)
WKDK – Newberry, SC – Sat 6 – 8 pm (eastern)
WHGM – Harve de Grace, MD – Sun 10 pm – Midnight (eastern)
WXJX – Pittsburgh, PA
WCNS – Pittsburg, PA
WMIR – Myrtle Beach, SC – Sat 10 am – Noon (eastern)
WYAY – Wilmington, NC – Sat 10 am – Noon (eastern)
WLBQ – Morgantown, KY
WMPS – Memphis, TN – Sat 9 – 11 am and Sun 1 – 3 pm (entral)
WCED – Dubois, PA – Sat 4 – 6 pm and Sun 8 – 10 pm (eastern)
KKVM – Vail, CO – Sun 6 – 8 pm (mountain)
Stay Tuned America – Sun 5 – 7 pm and Fri 7 – 9 pm (eastern)
CLEOldies.com – Cleveland, OH – Sat 10 am – Noon (eastern)
60s 70s and More – online – Sat 8 – 10 am and Sun 6 – 8 pm (eastern)
Flashback Oldies Radio Live 365 (online) – Sat 8 – 10 pm (eastern)
Racketeer Radio – online - Sat 12 – 2 pm and Mon 12 – 2 pm (pacific)
LOTS of great listening choices here … be sure to check out the program. (Paul McCartney’s solo career gets the spotlight treatment this weekend!) kk
Hey Kent -
Sorry I've been MIA lately, but be assured I still keep up with FH. Your site is like a favorite radio station -- I might not like everything, but there's enough quality to keep me coming back again and again.
The Super Charts postings continue to be a highlight. I still wish you would note in your commentary which songs dropped off the survey rather than rehash which ones entered the chart, how many spaces they moved up, etc.
Funny you mentioned not loving Aretha's "Spanish Harlem" because THAT was my favorite track by her since 1968's "Think," even placing in my Top 10 for 1971. (See my list attached “in countdown order!”)
Keep up the good work and, as always ... where DO you find the time because with ME, it's usually a case of (insert title of 1971 Rose Colored Glass 45 here).
Thanks, Sammy! (Man, I miss listening to The Lost And Found Oldies Show on Saturdays … but Sam IS posting vintage shows on Mixcloud and they’re all well worth a listen. (I just finished this week’s the other day!) kk
Have you voted for your 1971 favorites yet? Send us your Top Ten Favorites (in rank order) and we’ll tabulate the results for an up-coming episode of Phil Nee’s “Those Were The Days” Saturday Night Oldies Program. Just email your favorites to email@example.com (kk)
FYI, Kurt Farquhar is listed on, f'rinstance, Wikipedia (link) as an accomplished film and TV composer, but the article doesn't mention having been homeless at any point.
No, this was a point made during Don Lemon’s broadcast … accentuated, in fact, that he came from that … literally his last chance to a big-time television songwriter. I only know that NONE of his tv them songs have ever been nominated in ANY of our polls … and don’t forget, that doesn’t just mean that I’VE never heard them … this means that nobody out there nominating their favorites have ever heard them or paid much attention to them either … not when we’re receiving over 200+ nominations each time.
This is not to in any way discredit Kurt’s accomplishments … but I find it nothing short of preposterous to draw attention to the themes from “Moesha” or “Sister Sister” and imply that they are in any way, shape or form, relatable to the other few themes they over-featured like “The Addams Family,” “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island” …
Speaking of which …
Since "Gilligan's Island" has been
mentioned a few times recently, I thought you might enjoy the attached file.
EXACTLY!!! I thought the VERY same thing when I was watching the CNN special … here you have a song SO iconic … such a HUGE part of pop culture … that it even inspired a Led Zeppelin parody … something I absolutely would have featured had I been doing a CNN special devoted to TV Themes. And yet, instead, they chose to repeat the same three or four themes again and again and again, and completely ignore a hundred others that would have been IMMEDIATELY identifiable and then tout the achievements of Kurt Farquhar … but NOT Mike Post. Off-kilter and out of whack … simple as that. (kk)
Some closing thoughts from our friend, Chuck Buell …
I like to think that I help when I can.
As a Former On-Air Radio Guy, I still get asked if I would play some music for a special event which I really don't do anymore, but this was different and something I had never encountered before, so I thought, why not.
I was asked if I would select and play some appropriate music at a graveside service for a homeless man.
He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery, which I was not even aware of here in the Denver area. It took a little longer than I planned to find it and then to find the site once I got there.
When I did arrive,
apparently everyone had left, and there was no one at the site except for
only the grave digger crew … and they were on break eating lunch. I apologized
to them for being late.
I went to the side of the grave and looked down and I could see that the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, but I felt this poor homeless guy deserved something, and I was there, so I set up my portable audio equipment, pulled out my Flash Drive and started to play some of the special music I had selected for his service. It was the least I could do.
The workers put down their lunches and gathered around. When I played “Halleluiah” and “Amazing Grace," these tough old guys had already started to tear up. I was actually pretty proud of myself and was glad someone could hear and appreciate my special music selections.
When I was finished with my presentation, I gathered up my audio equipment and put it back in my car.
As I was getting into my driver’s seat, I overheard one of the Diggers say to another, "I have never heard or seen anything like that before … and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years!"
An EXCELLENT way to end today’s posting, Chuck. (I’m going to christen you CB: Cemetery Boy for this one!) kk
THIS WEEKEND IN FORGOTTEN HITS …
We’ve got LOTS of great stuff planned …
In addition to today’s Thursday This And That Page, we’ll also have a Friday Flash, followed by our Weekly Sunday Survey, which is running on SATURDAY this week so that we can bring you a very special Two-Part Anniversary Special remembering The Concert For Bangla Desh from exactly fifty years ago on Sunday, August 1st, and Monday, August 2nd. (Special thanks to Harvey Kubernik, Henry Diltz, Gary Stobl and Ron Lando for their help with this piece.) Which tells me that by next Tuesday (August 3rd) we’ll have more than enough material to fill another Tuesday This And That page!
Hope to see you check in a time or two for some of these special events. (kk)