Hi Kent -
Loved the loooong Forgotten Hits this week, especially the info on Bill Haley and His Comets.
I had the chance to see them on one of their oldie but goodie tours, but they were a no show because of a car accident! What a disappointment.
You left out one of their hit records. I have it on a 45rpm … "Skinny Minnie" ...
Keep Rockin' -
I only left it out because it fell outside the window of “a dozen straight Top 20 Hits. Actually, when you add in their Top 40 Hits, the tally climbs to 22 (and that includes “Rock Around The Clock” charting THREE TIMES, including as late as 1974 when it was used as the original theme song to the hit television series “Happy Days” (before Platt and McClain with their own Top Five Smash.) For the record, “Skinny Minnie” peaked at #22 in 1958. (kk)
Joey Ambrose, Marshall Lytle and drummer Dick Richards surely put on one of the best visual musical performances anyone could wish to see and hear. I always considered myself so fortunate that they were able to perform so well for so long, so that I could enjoy them live at least eight times. My DJ friends will tell you that I could ramble on (with high praise) about them ad infinitum after viewing a performance. I was too young to know and understand them as musicians when they started but I made up for it later. I hope they know that.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano
After that salary dispute that you mentioned, the three former members of the Comets formed the JODIMARS … which was a combination of all three of their names.
This is a really good article on the Jodimars (although it’s a little hard to read with all that “busyness” going on in the background!) As a unit, The Jodimars scored exactly one hit … and that was in Music Vendor only in 1956, when “Let’s All Rock Together” went to #72. (kk)
Frank also sent us the trailer for the rock and roll film “Don’t Knock The Rock” … along with this poster of an actual Alan Freed show from the old Paramount Theater …
Now that I've finally stopped laughing from CB's "Ventriloquist" piece ...
In regards to the comment you made about the term "rock and roll" ...
>>>Rock And Roll didn't
even have a name yet when "Rock Around The Clock" was first
I realize that's a pretty broad statement, and most rock fans probably
know that the term "rock and roll" appeared in some tunes in the
1950s and maybe even as far back as the 1940s, in a few R&B tunes, worded
in different ways. I wish I could recall the tunes, but the phrases
"rock and roll" (or "rockin' and rollin'") do appear in a
scant few. And that 1936 Stuff Smith
song was a great example of what would become "rock and roll".
I may have sent this a few years ago, but again, here's "Rock and Roll" by the Boswell Sisters, from 1934.
Obviously, I meant what I said about the term “Rock And Roll” not existing yet as more a statement of the times … nobody really knew WHAT it was back then … or how long it would last. (It certainly wasn’t expected to last more than fifteen minutes!!!) So when “Rock Around The Clock” came out, the record company didn’t even know how to classify it in order to get radio stations and deejays to play it … so (in the unlikeliest of terms) they referred to the track as a “fox trot with vocals” on the label, hoping that a few jocks might give it a spin, like it, and keep it in rotation … especially if listeners responded favorably.
We’ve already gone down the road of the first rock and roll song and realize that there really is no definitive answer … but the fact that The Boswell Sisters were already using the phrase in 1934 really makes you wonder, especially since history has reported that the very term “rock and roll” was Black slang for having sex. These girls were about as white and innocent looking as they could possibly be!!! Check out the clip! (kk)
Good Morning, Kent:
First of all, I want to thank you for all the mentions of the station in your blogs this week. The Eric Carmen birthday feature we did really seemed to draw interest from listeners, both on your end and ours. I would’ve never predicted that, to be honest. He was a prolific and successful musician during and after his time with the Raspberries, but I’m not sure if he’d make anyone’s top ten all-time favorites list.
Second, I’ve enjoyed the memories of K-Tel and Ronco albums that so many of your visitors have shared. I’m baffled by how popular those albums were and how those companies were able to sustain that series for as long as they did. Didn’t anyone notice how truncated the songs were? Some of them were really blatant and embarrassing edits, in fact. They fooled me once back in the day, when I went out and bought one of their collections just to get Austin Roberts’ song “Something’s Wrong With Me.” I got home, ripped off the shrink wrap and put it on the turntable. I dropped the needle right at the beginning of that song and discovered . . . the entire intro was missing. They pick it up at the drumbeat right before he starts singing. I noticed each of the other cuts were all forcibly shortened in one way or another too, and it was then and there that I discovered the ugly little secret of the K-Tel and Ronco collections. That’s how they were able to get so much music on a single LP! Never bought another album from either label.
Hope you have a nice weekend.
I was always amazed by how quickly they got the rights to use some of these songs! Quite often, several of the selections were still on the charts at the time! But I was never a collector as I, too, refused to fall victim to the shortened edits. Still, it was a way to quickly add music to your collection at a very affordable price … and maybe even discover a new track along the way (like “Pretty Lady” by Lighthouse) that you might not have ever heard at the time otherwise. (kk)
The recent post about K-Tel albums made me think about my own experiences. Growing up in the 1970s, I didn't have much money to spend on records, so the K-Tel compilations were a godsend. Yes, they often shortened the songs in order to cram in as many songs as they could, but that was actually part of their charm. When me and my older brother saw a new one advertised on TV, we'd save our money and eventually ride our bikes up to the local Target store to purchase it. I actually amassed quite a huge collection of those records. I even compiled a list of my 10 favorites a few years ago. Here's that list, in chronological order:
1. 22 Explosive Hits-Volume 2 (1972)
2. Fantastic (1973)
3. Dynamite (1974)
4. Music Express (1975)
5. Mind Bender (1976)
6. Music Machine (1977)
7. Starburst (1978)
8. High Energy (1979)
9. Power Play (1980)
10. Hot Tracks (1983)
Andrew Sandoval, curator and gatekeeper to all things to do with The Monkees these days, reveals in his newly updated book “The Monkees: Day By Day” (now shipping in September) that when The Monkees were first presented with their biggest hit, “I’m A Believer,” Michael Nesmith (who had been promised production duties for at least two tracks on every album) was not particularly impressed.
“I’m a producer, too,” he said, “And that ain’t no hit.”
According to Sandoval, the other Monkees picked up on the country and western flavor in “I’m A Believer” (rather than Jeff Barry’s intended bubblegum approach) and thought that Mike would be the ideal candidate to sing it. In fact, Davy Jones stated (in a May, 1967 deposition regarding dismissing Don Kirshner from having any say so in which material The Monkees would record from that point forward), “We all thought Mike should sing ‘I’m A Believer,’ it being a country-type song and Mike singing country music … and Donnie went along with that.”
The greatest conflict between the band and Kirshner was always between Mike and Don … the others kind of went along with Kirshner’s judgement and incredible track record for providing the hits. At best, Mike and Don tolerated each other … and sometimes would just say what they thought the other wanted to hear in order to pacify each other and keep some semblance of peace between all parties concerned.
Mike, still not especially keen on the track, offered to produce it instead, stating that he thought he could do a really good job by it. Kirshner and songwriter Jeff Barry (there with songwriter Neil Diamond to present the song to the band) felt that Micky would best do the song justice by handling the lead vocal … but since the band felt that Mike should do it, this is how the sessions began.
Again, Davy states in the same deposition, “We got in the studio and Mike didn’t sing it the way Donnie wanted him to sing it … and Donnie asked Mike to sing it a certain way and Mike didn’t sing it that way. And, during a break, Mike just split ... he just left … he wasn’t taken off lead … he chose to be taken off himself by leaving.”
Nesmith’s account of the incident says that “Don had allowed me to record the song in order to pacify me. And he never had any intention of putting my voice on as lead and had, in fact, intended to put Micky’s voice on in lead.”
All this did was accelerate the deterioration of the relationship between Mike (who at one point put his fist through a wall and declared to Kirshner, “That could have been your face!”) and Don Kirshner, heretofore in charge of selecting ALL of the music that The Monkees would record.
Sandoval’s new book promises to be a real eye-opener … and is a mammoth volume of facts, details and pictures like none other ever done on the group. Delayed a couple of times due to Covid, the book is now officially supposed to ship in September … and I can’t wait to get my copy!!! (kk)
The Everly Brothers are integral to the fabric of American music. Very few of us can say we were around at the beginning, and even fewer can say we’re still here. With my friend Don’s passing, I am reflective … reflective on a life full of wonderful friends, spectacular music and fond memories. There’s a lot I can say about Don, what he and Phil meant to me both as people and as musicians, but I am going to reflect today. God Bless Don Everly and long live Rock and Roll music.”
[The 1986 Inaugural Class of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everyly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis Presley.] kk