Saturday, February 7, 2009


About a year before most of America was saying, "Boy, that guy sounds JUST like Rod Stewart" quite a few of us had already commented, "Man, that could be the brand new Paul McCartney record!!!"

Such was the case for lead singer Ian Lloyd and Stories, who very quickly placed THREE songs in The National Top 40 in a span of just eighteen months.

The two songs mentioned above were the chart-topping Brother Louie (1973) and their chart debut hit I'm Coming Home (#26, 1972). Their other Top 40 Hit was Mammy Blue (#21, 1973).

We still hear Brother Louie ALL the time on oldies radio ... but these other hits are rarely (if ever) acknowledged.

We'll change that today by featuring BOTH of their other Top 40 Hits.

I'm Comin' Home (1972)

Mammy Blue (1973)

DIDJAKNOW?-1: Although much has been made over the years about the fact that Michael Brown, keyboardist for Left Banke, formed Stories, he only stuck around for their first album. That means that while Brown handled those awesome piano runs on Stories' first hit, I'm Comin' Home, he wasn't even around when the band enjoyed their greatest success a year later when Brother Louie topped the charts. The sound of Stories really revolved around lead singer Ian Lloyd.
DIDJAKNOW?-2: When I played Mammy Blue for Frannie she said "I know this song ... but I don't know this version of this song!" That might be because an earlier version of this song charted for a band called Pop Tops (aka Los Pop Tops). Their version really didn't do any better ... it peaked at #57 back in 1971.
DIDJAKNOW?-3: When I heard I'm Comin' Home for the very first time back in 1972, I thought that it just might be the new Paul McCartney single ... the deejay had not announced the name of the artist yet. Finding out that it was instead a brand NEW artist called Stories, I was a bit disappointed ... I'm Comin' Home was a WHOLE lot better than the crap McCartney was releasing as singles at the time. (His new charter was Mary Had A Little Lamb ... which followed up Give Ireland Back To The Irish!!!)
DIDJAKNOW?-4: Just like April Wine's U.S. break-through hit, You Could Have Been A Lady (which we featured a few weeks ago in Forgotten Hits), Brother Louie was FIRST recorded by Hot Chocolate. Perhaps an even LESSER know fact is that Hot Chocolate was one of the earliest bands signed to The Beatles' Apple Records label. (By the way, we featured Chris Hodge's Apple Hit, We're On Our Way, last week in Forgotten Hits, too!!! Don'tcha just love it when all this stuff ties together?!?!?)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dancin' Shoes

The other day you mentioned "Dancin' Shoes" by Elton John's drummer Nigel Olsson ... boy, I sure would like to hear THAT one again!!!
It's a GREAT track, Betty ... for some reason, this one always kinda reminded me of The Eagles! Nigel's got an AMAZING voice (honestly, more to my liking that Elton's!!! lol) I've always felt that he should have pursued his solo singing career. Dancin' Shoes hit #17 on the Cash Box Chart in early 1979. A follow-up remake of A Little Bit Of Soap topped out at #33. But another one of my favorites by him is the VERY hard to find Only One Woman, which peaked at #91 back in 1975, and was written by The Bee Gees (although I've never found it on a Bee Gees album!) I LOVE this song ... yet it totally bombed. (We used to hear it quite often on the old soft-rock WBBM-FM here in Chicago ... and that's my old scratchy single you hear on the website today.)
Yep ... it's a Nigel Olsson Two-Fer today in Forgotten Hits!!! (Now where else are you EVER gonna find that?!?!?)

Dancin' Shoes

Only One Woman

Here's a short piece we did on Nigel Olsson (and "Dancin' Shoes") a few years back in Forgotten Hits:

Back in the mid-'70's, when some of the biggest names in the recording business were starting to take three to four or even five years to record a single album, Elton John was often releasing up to three albums per year!!!It was pure saturation ... to the point that I actually got tired of him there for a while. (Of course, in hindsight, what OTHER artist can you name that has hit the charts as consistently for the past 35 years.) However, it certainly came as a pleasant surprise when, in 1975, Elton's drummer, Nigel Olsson, released a solo single on Elton's Rocket Records label. Who knew that this guy could sing like that?!?! With a very high, but instantly likable voice, Olsson first captured my attention with the song Only One Woman, written by The Brothers Gibb, which, for a short time anyway, was all over the soft-rock station here in Chicago. (I don't believe that The Bee Gees ever recorded this song themselves, and that's a shame ... it's a beautiful track and I would LOVE to hear their interpretation of it!)That record stiffed (it hit #91 in Billboard ... and took six weeks to climb that high!) and everyone figured that ol' Nigel had gotten the solo star bug out of his system. He was then fired by Elton John (along with longtime Elton John Band bassist Dee Murray) immediately after the release of their #1 Album Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy, and decided to give the solo scene another shot.

In early 1979, Nigel climbed the pop charts to #17 with a nice little number called Dancin' Shoes ... a tune that, despite its title (at the height of the Disco Movement) was actually more reminiscent of some of The Eagles' best soft-rock work. A remake of the '60's classic A Little Bit Of Soap went to #33 later that year but that spelled the end of Nigel's solo chart success. In fact, by the early '80's, he had rejoined Elton John's back-up band, handling background vocals as before. (However, by 1984, he was gone again ... after releasing the album Breaking Hearts with original EJ band members Dee Murray and Davey Johnstone!)

DIDJAKNOW? 1: Both Dancin' Shoes and A Little Bit Of Soap were produced by '70's soft-rock artist Paul Davis ... who's OWN version of A Little Bit Of Soap stopped at #52 back in 1970.
DIDJAKNOW? 2: Before joining Elton John's band in the late '60's, Nigel Olsson spent some time as the drummer of The Spencer Davis Group. He can also include some work with hard rockers Uriah Heep on his resume and, in between his tenure with Elton (1975-1981), he drummed for The Tremblers, a "new wave" band fronted by '60's pop star (and Forgotten Hits member) Peter Noone!

Thanks for giving this song a name and an artist. It was only a memory until now.

.....geez.......i thought this WAS the eagles!...........Rettaric


Just a couple of quick reminders:

Big Jay Sorensen will be Sam Lit's guest on today's live Hy Lit Radio Broadcast from The Quality Hotel, Philadelphia International Airport, 45 Industrial Highway, Essington, PA. Exit 9 of Interstate 95. Sam Lit's Friday Night Dance Party happens EVERY Friday at this location ... check out his website for more details at (Big Jay is a 39-year radio veteran having worked in Philadelphia, New York & New Jersey, beginning his broadcast career in New Jersey at stations like WOBM-FM, WHLW-AM, WJRZ FM, and WCTC AM. Then on to WPST FM, 66 WNBC, WWDB 96.5, WPHT 1210, NJ 101.5. Jay currently works at WCBS-FM ... and you'll catch his comments on a somewhat regular basis right here in Forgotten Hits, too!!!) You can "Listen Live" here:

Also ... a reminder that Stu Weiss (aka DJ Stu) will be saluting Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens on HIS program tonight on his Pop Shoppe Radio Program over at Top Shelf Oldies: You'll find a "Listen Live" link here:
Here's his program itinerary for this evening:
It is hard to believe that Feb 3rd marked 50 years since the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J.P Richardson (The Big Bopper) and pilot Roger Peterson.
After the radio announcements were made about the crash, the town of Clear Lake, Iowa has since been etched in our memories (the last place the boys sang).
Years later Don McLean wrote and sang "American Pie" which was the story of the day the music died. If you know the history of our music, you'll know that the music didn't die but our hearts were broken as we lost three recording artists that had so much more to offer. We will never know the heights of achievement they could have reached.
This Friday evening don't forget to tune into my show.
From 7 till 9 PM you'll be hearing a mixture of memories from the 50's and 60's.
At 9 till 1 AM I will present to you my very own presentation of "The Day The Music Died".
Tuesday night topshelf Dee jay Jim Sinner spent 4 hours on this subject. Let's take our hats off to Jim for a job well done.
So get ready for an evening you won't soon forget.
And a special thanks to my listener and friend Ricky who has helped me with some of the music I'll be playing on this tribute.
At 1 AM I return to the music of the 50's and 60's.
Please note, our regular country segment is being replaced by some of Buddy's early country songs with Bob Montgomery.
Remember you must be there because I don't want to be alone.
If you are new to topshelf, please note that the best way to hear the program is by downloading winamp
( After that, click on the little "t" on the top left. Then click on play and go to url. In that box type in the topshelf address which is
Next, if you click on open it should bring up the music.
My address is ... use that address to contact me during my show if you aren't in our chat room.
So let's have a party this and every Friday night. It all happens at
See you there!
Stu Weiss (DJSTU)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Forgotten Hits Readers Remembers The Day The Music Died

It was a cold snowy day in early February of 1959 when Alice Cochran telephoned and asked if I could fly out to be with Eddie ... he was in deep depression mourning the death of his good friend Buddy Holly. A single engine plane with Buddy, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, known as the Big Bopper, had crashed just a few miles outside of Mason City, Iowa. They were part of a tour, traveling by bus that had been breaking down and, in need of sleep, they decided to rent a small plane to fly them ahead in enough time for them to get some much needed rest before the next show. The tragedy hit Eddie especially hard as he and Buddy had formed a strong friendship during the Australian tour the previous year. I left immediately for Rapid City to catch a flight to Denver and on to California. Red Julson picked me up at the Los Angeles airport and as we drove to the house in silence I only remember his saying, “Eddie’s pretty torn up, Johnnie”. I shook my head in understanding. This would be a gloomy visit to the Cochran home, not at all like the fun filled days in the past. Alice met me at the door and without saying anything reached up to give me a hug and a kiss I entered the house. She just shook her head in distress with tears in her eyes and, as we walked into the living room, Eddie appeared, advancing from his bedroom, offering a combined handshake and hug saying “Good to see ya, man”. We walked silently into his bedroom and as I starred out the window to the outside world, Eddie picked up his guitar and began to quietly pick on the strings with a pained frown on his face. After several minutes, Eddie was standing behind me reaching for my shoulders to turn me around facing him and said, “If anything like this happens to me, promise me you’ll take care of Shrimper,” ok? I assured him I would and did honor that pledge for the remainder of her life in the thirty plus years ahead. Alice poked her head in the bedroom door and inquired if I was hungry and as I answered I wasn’t, Eddie laid his guitar down on the bed and motioned for me to follow him outside. It was nice feeling the warmth of the California sun but a cloud clearly shadowed Eddie’s mind as he stopped to gaze blindly at some flowers. His back was turned to me but I could see he was quietly crying. As I approached him and placed my arm around his neck he turned away and, with his hand, wiped the tears from his face. That evening, brother Bob Cochran arrived and I noticed an improvement in Eddie’s behavior as he embraced and smiled at seeing his favorite brother. Bob looked at me and said, “How you been, disc jockey John?” It was the first I had seen Bob since the change in my career and Eddie picked up on the theme by remarking “Disc Jockey John ain’t playin’ enough Eddie Cochran records”. The humor was a welcome relief and I thought I would help it along by saying something to the effect that I only played the hits. Bob responded, “Your job is to make them hits, boy!”. Coming from another area of the house, sister Gloria interrupted asking how my flight was, encouraging Eddie to add, “Flight, I didn’t know they had airplanes out there in Indian country”. I don’t recall seeing Frank during this visit but I believe it was this trip that I met Eddie’s sister Pat and her husband Hank as they stopped by briefly. It would seem my arrival had broken some of the gloom that brought me to the Cochran home and after two days, Alice managed a limited smile as I said it was time for me to return to South Dakota. Tears came to her eyes as I hugged her and Eddie goodbye and Red took me to the airport for the return trip home. Several months later, Eddie called asking if I would be interested in presenting him in concert. Of course my listening audience was way ahead of the nation in being Eddie Cochran fans, with his recordings a regular feature on my radio show. We agreed he would appear in both Hot Springs, South Dakota and Chadron, Nebraska. Having just completed a survey of the record stores, I was pleased that Eddie had been voted on top of the popularity polls of the record buying public. Now as he planned on appearing, I had a trophy made up announcing Eddie as the area’s number one singer and Keys to the City of Chadron and Hot Springs would be given to him upon his arrival. Even better, the Nebraska appearance would be on his 21st birthday, so his fans would present Eddie with a giant birthday cake. Little did we know, it would sadly be Eddie’s last. Both concerts were sold out, as fans from all throughout the area came to celebrate Eddie’s birthday by attending the concert. The shows were in top form as Eddie, wearing those white bucks
with their tongue hanging out for comfort, put on great shows. He was delighted not only to see me but in appreciation of the welcome I had orchestrated for him. After both appearances we had some time alone where we laughed heartily of past experiences and talked about the future. Eddie encouraged me to “take your act to a larger town” ... he thought Denver and Salt Lake City would be excellent stepping stones for my some day returning to Los Angeles. We laughed in unison how an advancement in my career would improve his too, as Eddie said, “We both need to move up some, boy”. We toasted our friendship with swigs of alcohol that surfaced from a bottle that came from out of nowhere. It would be our last time together as Eddie told me about an up coming tour of England planned for early the following year. I thought how unusual for Eddie to be actually looking forward to touring. He actually seemed to be looking forward to traveling abroad to the UK, just the opposite reaction he demonstrated for his tour of Australia. His excitement of this trip was fueled by his being one of the very first American rock acts to appear there. He also told me about a new all black leather stage outfit he was planning to wear, that would break apart in pieces if grabbed by fans. Eddie joked, he was debating about wearing anything underneath the leather. “Can you imagine the attention that would get?”, he said. Bidding him goodbye, Eddie walked me to my car and reminded me of our plans for seeing each other in the following summer when I would vacation in California. As we hugged goodbye, I kidded that I had every intention of actually being employed in radio in Los Angeles by then. His final words to me were, “You’ll be staying out at the house with us, won’t ya”? He was so proud of the new home he had just purchased for his parents in Buena Park, and was looking forward to my visit and being his guest. I assured him that would be the case and I waved goodbye to Eddie … for the final time.
-- John Rook
(from his forthcoming book, "Passing Thru" ... used by permission)

Growing up, I always enjoyed The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace". I actually thought it was a comedy record when I was little!
Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly were huge influences on many of the bands that I listened to on a regular basis growing up. It wasn't until The Beatles covered "Words Of Love" on the "Beatles VI" album that I actually became aware of Buddy. I love Buddy Holly's and Ritchie Valens' recordings, and am amazed at what great guitarists they both were. Even today, they are both very underrated as a guitarists. Had they lived, I can only assume that they would have eventually recorded their own Sgt.Pepper / Pet Sounds masterpiece albums.
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

I was too young to appreciate the loss of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper when they died in 1959 ... I wouldn't discover their music until YEARS later. Like Mitch, I first learned about the music of Buddy Holly through The Beatles, who talked often about what a HUGE influence he was on their lives. Their version of "Words Of Love" is probably the first Buddy Holly song I ever heard ... and there's no denying the fact that the artists of The British Invasion helped to introduce a good number of us to this music, thanks to recordings like "Not Fade Away" by The Rolling Stones and "True Love Ways" by Peter And Gordon. Sadly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper seem to be forgotten at times when people talk about the tragic events of February 3rd, 1959, and that's a shame. ALL of these careers were cut short that fateful day. I used to sing "Donna" in the early '70's and when La Bamba was made into a feature film, the music of Ritchie Valens FINALLY came into the limelight. (A film about the life of J.P. Richardson, aka The Big Bopper, has been in the works for at least a decade now yet STILL hasn't seen the light of day. Forgotten Hits readers may remember his son looking into the details of his death last year ... it seems that The Big Bopper's body was found quite a distance from the plane wreckage and other bodies, leading some to suspect that he survived the plane crash and was on his way for help that night before he was ultimately overcome by his injuries and the elements of a cold February evening.) Surely, their music HAS lived on ... and withstood the test of time. Untold HUNDREDS of artists have gone on to cover Buddy Holly's tunes ... and we'll never know what new heights these artists may have reached had their careers not been so tragically cut short.
-- Kent Kotal / Forgotten Hits

I truly understand that "The Day The Music Died" was a terrible day. My problem is that it is ALWAYS "attributed" to Buddy Holly. I grant that Holly was a "driving force" in the early days or Rock and Roll; however, we will NEVER KNOW the impact that Ritchie Valens might have had on the genre.
Kip Ecclestone / Kip's Klassic Records
I have to agree that much of the focus these past fifty years have revolved around Buddy Holly ... hopefully some of the testimonials today will help to honor the OTHER artists that perished that sad day, too. (kk)

As for remembering when they died, I was not here yet! But I have always liked Buddy Holly's, Ritchie Valens' and The Big Bopper's Music. They all had a lot of talent and it is fantastic that they shared it with everyone. That it is still popular in today's world says a lot.

There are those who would have you believe that there is some kind of "Buddy Holly Curse" that infected people like Bobby Fuller (who sang Buddy's "Love's Made A Fool Of You" before his own mysterious death). I've never bought into it. But if there is one, the chief victim would have to be a guy named Ronnie Smith. Yes, Ronnie Smith.
After Buddy died, the remaining Crickets were enticed to stay on the Winter Dance Party with a promise that they would be allowed to attend his funeral (they weren't) and that they would be given Buddy's share of the group's fee (the promoters said they gave it instead to Maria Elena and whether that's true is questionable, as well). Since none of the Crickets were vocalists (though Waylon Jennings soon would be), a singer named Ronnie Smith from a Texas group called the Poor Boys was brought in to finish the tour (in addition, Frankie Avalon and Jimmy Clanton were hired to fill out the bill, though Frankie contracted pneumonia and was soon forced to bow out himself in favor of Fabian).
Ronnie had played with Carl Bunch, the unfortunate drummer who was hospitalized earlier in the tour with frostbite. (In case you're wondering -- Bobby Vee was a local Fargo youth, whose group, the Shadows, played February 3rd in nearby Moorhead, Minnesota ... but he did not finish the Winter Dance Party tour.)
Ronnie joined the Crickets in Des Moines on February 5 (a day after Carl's return) and completed the tour with them. But the original Crickets, the ones who hadn't played with Buddy on the WDP, owned the rights to the name. So when the tour ended, so did Ronnie, Carl, Waylon Jennings and Tommy Allsup's careers as Crickets. While the originals went on without Buddy, Ronnie and Carl formed a new group called the Jitters, joined up with Norm Petty as producer and even got a contract with Brunswick Records -- the Crickets label. Unfortunately, "Lookie, Lookie, Lookie" and "A Tiny Kiss", released that June, went nowhere. The group broke up later that year when Carl entered the Army.
Ronnie was into drugs even before hooking up with the Crickets. It's said he brought along amphetamines bought in Mexico with him when he joined the group in Des Moines. Carl Bunch is quoted in Larry Lehmer's book, "The Day The Music Died" as saying, "Ronnie had some serious problems. He didn't share those problem with me. I knew that he used pills every now and then, but I didn't see him using the stuff. I kept trying my best to keep him away from the use of drugs because I didn't think we needed them. I thought they were hurting him." The efforts of Carl and Waylon Jennings appear to have been in vain.
By 1962, things had gotten bad enough for Ronnie to be committed to a Texas state hospital for rehabilitation. Tragically, he hung himself in the hospital on October 25, 1962, at the age of 24. Ironically, Carl went on to earn a PhD in clinical psychotheology and worked as a substance abuse counselor.
If February 3, 1959 was indeed "the day the music died," it appears that a small part of that music took 3 1/2 years longer to succumb. But eventually it did, taking the life of the Crickets second lead singer,a s well.
-- Ron Smith

Hi Kent,
I am one of Ritchie Valens' former classmates. We sat next to each other in a 10th grade English class and he was a real nice kid.
They performed their last concert on my 17th birthday on Feb 2nd, then they were killed early that next morning shortly after take off.
Attached is a newspaper article from the Dayton Daily News (Ohio) about my association with Ritchie after an interview during the time 'La Bamba' was showing in theaters. Perhaps you can find something in it to use in your memories. I had blacked out my last name when I scanned the article. I went to school with Donna for awhile, too. Also attached are 2 scanned pages of Ritchie from my '59 and '60 high school yearbooks.

Thanks for sharing these with our readers once again! (kk)
(click photos to enlarge image)

Hi, Kent -
Here are three of the “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll with Gary Theroux” episodes which deal with Buddy Holly. The first two are self-contained, the last one is separated into the tease into and body of the episode. The “Everyday” episode includes a 30 second commercial insert; this version is the only one I have available to send you over this weekend.
Gary Theroux

Hi Kent,
The "Day the Music Died" will always be remembered. Three great talents gone. Just wonder what they would be doing with their music talents today!
I had the opportunity to meet the Big Bopper's son and see one of John Muellers tribute shows plus the play "Buddy". It was the next best thing to being at one of their original concerts ...
"That'll Be the Day" is in my personal top ten of rock and roll songs. It was the first 45 rpm record I bought and I still have it in my 1960 Seeburg Jukebox!
I remember the Buddy Holly Story movie when after his last concert he said "See you Next Year!"
Well, they are gone now, but we will always have the great music of Buddy, JP and Ritchie.

Greetings, Kent....
Wow. Your request for "Buddy Holly" remembrances caught me completely off guard. Can't believe this is the 50th Anniversary of the 'day the music died.' Are we all really that old? It was a long time ago, but fifty years? No way!
I had already been working as a radio station 'gopher' and teen news announcer for nearly two years prior to that fateful early morning, February 3, 1959 and, like most of the others who eagerly await your e-mails, I was totally absorbed by music. I ate, slept and dreamed about music--and the talented singers and singer / songwriters who dominated the era. It was all about 'God-given talent' for the most part. One can hardly call Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline a 'hunk' or a 'pin-up.'
Sure, Elvis and Ricky Nelson caused the girl's hearts to flutter, but many of the artists and groups having hit records at the time were average 'Joe's.' Except for appearances on "American Bandstand" or "The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show," we rarely saw these artists on television. By the time we did see them, we were already hooked on their music, so it really didn't matter what they looked like.
I grew up in Sacramento -- in a quiet middle class neighborhood in the northeast part of the city. We had a three bedroom, one and a half bath home. My bedroom was down the hall from my parent's bedroom, which provided me with the perfect opportunity to listen to music late into the night -- when I should have been sound asleep.
Of course, the little blue transistor radio, with an earpiece nearly twice the size of my daughter's 'ear bud,' could be easily hidden from my parents by placing it under my pillow:) I would often fall asleep at night listening to Bill Gavin's "Lucky Lager Dance Time" -- credited with helping establish the 'Top 40' format -- on KGO Radio -- eighty miles away in my 'hometown' of San Francisco. Little did I know that ten years later, as head of the Beach Boys' Brother Records label, I would be honored to become a friend of Bill -- and his lovely wife, Janet.
So on that fateful February night in the winter of 1959, I was listening to the radio as Buddy, The "Big Bopper" and Ritchie Valens were performing their final show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. At approximately 1:00 AM in the morning, on February 3, the three stars (a few weeks later the title of a 'tribute' song in their honor) -- along with twenty-one year old pilot, Roger Peterson -- crashed shortly after takeoff in a frozen Iowa cornfield. It was only 11 PM on the west coast. Within several hours of the crash, early reports of the tragedy began to be announced on the radio. I was falling in and out of sleep by that time, and could not discern if I had been dreaming or if the fatal accident had really taken place.
When I went into the kitchen for breakfast that morning, and prior to leaving for school, on the dinette table was a copy of The Sacramento Union -- the morning newspaper. And there, on the front page, was a short story of the plane crash. My worst nightmare had been confirmed: Buddy Holly, at age 22, was dead. JP Richardson, 28, the Texas deejay turned recording star, and one of rock's first Latino stars, Ritchie Valens, 17, were gone.
Little did I know that barely five years later, a day after my 20th birthday, I would hire The Crickets to open for The Four Seasons at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, March 25, 1964. Little did I know that I would become friends with Waylon Jennings, who had given up his seat on the Bonanza aircraft that cold February night, and Bobby Vee, who, at age 15, would get his first big 'break' by filling in for Buddy on the February 3 "Winter Dance Party" date in Moorehead, Minnesota. Yes, I've been truly blessed, just as all of us were blessed by the great music of three rock n' roll legends.
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
Nashville, TN
"Music City, USA"

50 years ago, tragedy struck the music world in a way which took several years to recover from. Three bright young stars of the day were wiped out in a split second due to a pilot error. I've been alive less than half of that time, but their music has touched me and my life, as it has for millions of other people. Why else would people still remember the great tragedy some 50 years later? People still sing the songs, listen to the old 45's, and enjoy the music as much as they did when the tunes first came out -- or whenever they heard them for the first time. "The day the music died?" The music will never die, rock and roll is here to stay! As long as somebody out there still knows their songs and passes them on to the next generation, the music will live on forever. Nobody gets out of this world alive, and it was their time to go, in spite of how short their lives were when they died. Two of them were younger than I currently am, and it's safe to say they had accomplished more in their short lives than I have so far in mine. They all left behind a legacy of great music, and memories for millions of people that will last a lifetime. Where were you the first time you rocked out to La Bamba? I was in the basement of my neighbor's house with the radio turned all the way up on the oldies station. How about Oh Boy? I was on the deck of my old house, in the middle of summer, with a tiny radio next to me, lying out in the sun... how about Chantilly Lace? Well, I discovered that one on a Time Life Rock And Roll Era cassette tape. Everyone has memories of the first time they heard certain songs ... and sometimes I think of other artists whose careers were directly affected by the passing of this trio. Would Bobby Vee have been discovered and become a national treasure if Buddy had lived? What about Bobby Fuller? He likely wouldn't have covered the Crickets' I Fought The Law and Love's Made A Fool Of You, and himself could very well have been alive today still. The people may be gone, but the music lives on, and that is the most important thing. For me, the day the music dies is the day I die too.
-- Tom Diehl

Kent ...
How ya' doin'? Of course I remember the day that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died, but I prefer to think of them when I saw them live and in-person at an Alan Freed Stage Show in 1958. It was advertised as having the biggest Stars in the Rock and Roll Galaxy. Although I enjoyed Bo Diddley, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, The Moonglows and The Flamingos, I was there to see one group, whose song, “That’ll Be The Day”, was at the top of the charts.
I remember Alan Freed came out at the 10:00 AM show, in his trademark plaid jacket and was about to introduce Buddy Holly and the Crickets. From where I was sitting, I could see someone in the wings waving and trying to get Alan's attention. On a strict time schedule, he saw only two-thirds of the group waiting in the wings, but he made his announcement anyway, "Now here's Buddy Holly and The Cricket!". Fortunately, Joe B.Maudlin ran onstage with his stand-up bass, halfway through the first song, and added the icing on the cake.
Buddy had been such an inspiration to me; I was determined to meet him, even if it meant I had to stand in the rain to do it!
(For the rest of the story click onto)
As a special treat for Forgotten hit readers here’s a 1955 home movie clip of Buddy without the Crickets in his first appearance in Lubbock, Texas on the same bill as Elvis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash!
Copyright 2009 Artie Wayne from the forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song” /

What's more incredible to contemplate? The extraordinary work he did in such a short time or the great things he would have done had he lived?
I wonder how many of your readers are familiar with the Holly writen and produced "Stay Close to Me" by Lou Giordano from late '58. It features Buddy on guitar and the Everly's participated, too. It was recorded in NYC in late 1958. Giordano returned to obscurity. I wonder if he's still around? By the way, the new Rarities cd looks excellent. Here's a link to the complete information as posted on
Click here: Down the Line: The Rarities: Buddy Holly: Music
Tim English / Sounds Like Teen Spirit

Hi, Kent and Company,
First, a moment in memory of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Holly was my first musical hero; I still remember the feeling of loss when that crash happened. They died, but their music (especially that of Holly and Valens, and their influence) lives.

Country Paul Payton
(proud to be living in New Jersey)

The first artist I ever interviewed after I got into Country radio in the early 70s was Waylon Jennings. His management asked specifically that I not talk to him about Buddy Holly. As a rock and roll fan, that final concert in Clear Lake is what I wanted to know about most. After the obligatory questions about his latest album, Waylon himself brought up the subject. Waylon always seemed to have a good feeling for people, and in light of later times I spent with Waylon, I’m not surprised he sensed that Buddy was on my mind. I’ll always appreciate the opportunity I had to hear a first person account of that night from him. A few years later, Waylon introduced me to The Crickets when they were touring with him, and over the years I’ve been fortunate to hear a lot of Buddy Holly stories from those closest to him, but hearing the story from Waylon’s viewpoint will always be special.
Ed Salamon
Nashville, TN

I've had the great pleasure of meeting and working with some great names in our business -- from Bo Diddley and Eddie Cochran to Paul McCartney and Van Morrison ... but one of my greatest regrets is never having met Buddy Holly. There's no question that Buddy was an innovator. I've always loved his stuff -- and I still do songs like Rave On and That'll Be The Day in my own sets. Also, one has to admire the fact that Buddy seemed to have more creative freedom in the studio than many of us -- his peers -- ever had ... and he used that advantage to establish a sound and a style better than anyone at that time. His music still sounds fresh to this day!
Luckily, I've had the pleasure of working with the Crickets several times in recent
years -- here and in England: Joe B. Mauldin, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis are a great bunch of guys and they do a fabulous job.
In February of 2006, I was invited to perform at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and it was a great thrill for my wife Joan and I. That show also featured the Crickets, Albert Lee, Wanda Jackson, Narvel Felts and the Nelsons. We had a great time ... and it was very touching to be part of that particular tribute.
I can hardly believe its been 50-years since we lost Buddy, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, but what a great legacy they've left to us. We were all just kids then, but they will remain forever young. God Bless Their Souls!

Charlie Gracie

Charlie Gracie, performing in Clear Lake, Iowa, 2006, at The Buddy Holly Fest

Charlie and all the artists (The Crickets, Albert Lee, the Nelson Twins and Narvel Felts) were interviewed on KRIB in Mason City, Iowa. This was a banner year!

Like most youngsters of my generation, I LOVED Buddy Holly. Sadly I never got to see him, though a friend of mine did, and I've been jealous ever since.
Here's my contribution, but the show is only available for a few days, so listen NOW !!!
George Van Win

As far as my career goes, Buddy Holly has been one of, if not the most, significant influences. It's the simple genius of his writing and singing. I feel that had he lived, he would have been an important writer for years. Many of todays songs have a Buddy Holly sound to them.
Here's to Buddy,
Austin Roberts, a true fan

Had Holly been born with Presley's sex appeal, it would have been no contest.
Holly was the 50's true rock renaissance man. He wrote it, he sang it, he played
it, he produced it and he imagined it. He accomplished more in 22 years than
most will accomplish in a lifetime. His music was deceptively simple, while being
the foundation for much that lay ahead. We're all better off that Buddy Holly came along, if only for 17 months.

Bob Stroud / WDRV - FM

Hi Kent, Since we're at the 50-year mark, I thought I'd share this with your readers. It's a piece I did 38 or so years ago when I was doing radio in Omaha and I remixed it (digitally) a couple of years ago. It's titled The Day The Music Died Hope you enjoy! Regards, Robert

Thanks, Robert ... if you simply click on the link above, you'll get to listen to the whole tribute piece. (kk)

I hope all finds you well. Great Newsletters.Thanks!
Wanted to give you some info on a exhibit I am doing at Clear Lake, Iowa at the Surf Ballroom in tribute to the 50th Anniversary of "The Day The Music Died". I've enclosed a link of the events. Mine, as you will see, is the last night, Feb 2nd,the night of the big concert. I have enclosed some items in my collection for the exhibit. Hope all the readers will enjoy them.
1. Ritchie Valens and Waylon Jennings (Cricket) at Winter Dance Party signed on back of receipt.
2. Big Bopper handwritten letter
3. Buddy Holly's childhood Homework. Notice he has an "E" in Holley. When he became famous, he dropped the e from his name.
Tom Fontaine

(click photos to enlarge image)

The British Invasion was built by Buddy Holly and his pop roots and country influences. Look at this: Beatles named after Crickets... The Hollies ... Herman's Hermits were originally called Pete Novac and the Heartbeats ... The Stones even did a Buddy Holly song! I dare say Buddy was the prime influence of British Rock and Roll and the reason we were all so melodious. I have trekked to Lubbock and met other English fans (amazing) wandering around, looking for hints of his genius and why it was born there. I have been to Iowa to see the plane crash site and say "Hello, Buddy, we thank you, we miss you and we will see you in heaven, but I hope not soon!"

-- Peter Noone / Herman
And YOUR version of "Heartbeat" is absolutely one of those gems!!! (kk)

Hey Kent,
Great job as usual.
This story hits close to home for me.
It was 50 years ago on February 3rd that I was born. The exact date and time Buddy Holly and friends perished in that terrible plane crash.
I never understood how important those men were until I was older and in high school.
Although it is a milestone birthday for me, I am still saddened by the loss.
I have included a picture from 2006 when the Crickets came to Cool Scoops for a visit. The music may have died here, but it's still going strong in Heaven!
All the best,
Paul Russo / Cool Scoops
Since you asked for thoughts, I'll share one with you because I could share a TON ... but a LOT of people are sharing thoughts with you ... so the one Buddy Holly thought I have is that his song that he co-wrote with Norman Petty, "True Love Ways" is, in my opinion, STILL one of the most beautiful Love Ballads that has ever been written, sung and produced by ANYBODY.
I play it for older groups in retirement communities and Alzheimer groups as a part of my "Memories" Show, and when I see those folks listening to it and enjoying the 'memories' they have of it from when they used to listen to it back in the old days when it was on the charts and on his records, I can see that it STILL makes them feel good.
I think it's going to be a song that is remembered centuries from now. It is a magic song ... entirely "timeless","inter-generational", and NOBLDY could EVER sing it like Buddy sings it. When you listen to it knowing a little about his life, you can tell that it is his deeply sincere lyric written for his wife, and that chokes me up to think of a love that strong, the way he sings it to her and creates the beautiful song about their "True Love Ways". A love that strong never dies and he's alive in that song today.
I just noticed that he and I share the same birthday, September 7th, so that's cool for me to know, too. Being over 60 now I've had a lot of experiences with playing in groups from Rock bands to BIG bands, and I'm still involved in music, but in my early teens as a singer / guitar player sort of folksinger I sang his songs "Oh Boy", "Peggy Sue", and 'Maybe Baby", and later on in a Rock band, so like most people my age I've felt connected with Buddy and his music my whole life. But Kent, there's no song I can think of that brings out that deep love feeling like "True Love Ways" does, and it's sad to think that he and his wife didn't have too much time together before he was killed.
Remembering him and Ritchie and The Big Bopper is the right thing to do EVERY February 3rd, so take it easy Kent and thanks for all the work you put into your incredible newsletter for us.
Veeder Van Dorn
Camarillo, California

Buddy Holly was not your traditional Teen Idol. He wasn't all that good looking ... in fact, for the most part he probably looked like the dorkiest kid in your class!
He wasn't a dynamic performer and didn't command the stage presence of an Elvis Presley or a Jerry Lee Lewis ... for that matter, he wasn't a great singer or an outstanding guitarist ... in fact, his records were pretty basic, rudamentary performances ... simple arrangements with very little background accompaniment ... easy enough for virtually ANY other kid with a guitar to reproduce on stage. (As such, nearly EVERY remake ever recorded sounds better than Buddy's original!) The BEST thing Buddy Holly had going for him was the uncanny ability to write a song ... just look how many of his songs have been covered over the years!!! As Peter Noone mentioned above, a good chunk of The British Invasion owes their roots (and perhaps a bit of their success) to Buddy Holly ... The Beatles did "Words Of Love", The Rolling Stones did "Not Fade Away" and Peter And Gordon did what I think is the BEST version of "True Love Ways" ever recorded. Heck, even hard rock Super Group Blind Faith did an interesting version of "Well, All-Right"!!! In the '70's his music was being recorded by Linda Ronstadt (That'll Be The Day, It's So Easy, It Doesn't Matter Anymore ... which is actually a Paul Anka song, by the way ... while Holly was quite the songwriter himself, early in his career he recorded songs written by his contemporaries like Anka and Bobby Darin!) and James Taylor did "Everyday", a song that placed very high on our recent Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides Poll. There's been SO much speculation as to what Buddy may have accomplished in his career had the music NOT died on February 3, 1959 ... but it's ALL speculation. Odds are he would have continued to have a few hits on his own but then he, too, would have been derailed by The British Invasion that he helped to inspire! Hopefully, he would have continued to write music for other artists ... and maybe produce some of these acts, too. (Then again, who knows ... had HE lived, perhaps Ritchie Valens would have inspired a late '50's Latin Music Revolution and the whole British thing never would have happened!!!) Like I said, it's ALL speculation. Even though we've featured quite a bit of Rick Nelson music lately in Forgotten Hits, I'm hoping you'll indulge me in one more. Near the end of his career, Nelson would record an AMAZING stripped-down version of Holly's "True Love Ways" ... powerful in its own reading ... and all the more so when you consider that Nelson made it out of the '50's alive as one of Buddy's contemporaries ... but would perish decades later in his OWN plane crash. Give a listen ... it just doesn't get much better than this!!! (kk)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Day The Music Died

If you listened to the radio at all this past weekend, I'm sure you heard ALL kinds of tributes honoring the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper from us on February 3, 1959.

It's hard to believe that it has been fifty years already ... and that this music, which was SUPPOSED to die out in just a few short months back in 1956, is STILL with us and stronger than ever. (In fact, I heard DeeJay Jimmy Jay interviewing Dave Somerville of The Diamonds over the weekend ... Dave, who toured with Buddy Holly regularly back then, recalled the time that he and Buddy had a conversation surrounding this very topic. "How much longer do you think this rock and roll music can last?" asked Dave. Holly replied that he thought it might last another six months ... to which Dave responded, "Well, I hope you're wrong ... I'm hoping we can get another year out of this." LOL ... TOO funny. Who knew?!?!?

Sadly, in retrospect, it probably wasn't much more than six months after this conversation that the music died for Buddy ... he never knew the impact that he, himself, had made on the genre of Rock And Roll ... and how highly regarded his contributions to this new-fangled sound would become. His song catalog has been recorded by literally HUNDREDS of artists over the years ... and we'll never know what MIGHT have been had Buddy's career been allowed to continue and thrive ... instead it's just a constant source of speculation these days.

While this date has forever been immortalized as "The Day The Music Died" thanks to Don McLean's chart-topper American Pie, FH List Member David Lewis reminds us that a tribute titled "Three Stars" made the charts just a short time after we lost these music icons.

Tommy Dee had the most successful version, peaking at #11. (Dee did the narration on this record ... we should point out that the vocals were handled by Carol Kay and the Teen-Aires.) The song also charted for Ruby Wright (#99 ... on her version, the narration was handled by Cincinnati deejay Dick Pike).

But perhaps the most MOVING version was done by rock legend Eddie Cochran, a true contemporary peer of these lost stars. I'm sure it took everything Eddie had to get his feelings down on wax ... and that's the version we're going to share with you today. (You won't find a more emotional reading of this song ... it's virtually impossible for the LISTENER to make it through the whole record without being overcome with emotion ... one can only imagine how difficult it was for Eddie to get through this recording session ... he was clearly beyond tears while committing his thoughts to vinyl.)

Lifetime personal friend of Cochran, John Rook, told me that Eddie broke down in tears when he first discussed Buddy's death with him, after being virtually inconsolable for days after the accident. "Promise me that if something like this ever happens to me, you'll take care of 'Shrimper,'" he said. (Eddie always referred to his mother, Alice Cochran, who was no more than 5'2" tall, affectionately as "Shrimper".) Sadly, Cochran himself would leave us just fourteen months later in a fatal car crash while on tour in Wilshire, England.

Special thanks to Forgotten Hits Reader David Lewis for reminding us about this one ... and to John Rook, a personal friend of Eddie Cochran ... for sharing his memories of this with us as well.
Click here: The Eddie Cochran Connection - Passing Thru by John Rook

For some very special Eddie Cochran photos, Click here: Eddie

More tomorrow ... as our Forgotten Hits Readers remember "The Day The Music Died".

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blue Haze

Every once in a while we'll hear one that we just NEVER expected to hear again. Such was the case the other night when Comcast's '70's Music Channel played the Blue Haze version of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, a #21 Hit from early 1973.

I mean, let's face it ... if you're going to hear this song at ALL, it's PROBABLY going to be the 1959 #1 version by The Platters ... certainly the DEFINITIVE version of the rock era ... but the fact is, there aren't a lot of oldies stations playing music from the '50's anymore ... so that makes even hearing this OUTSTANDING recording a remote possibility these days. Nevertheless, I doubt that playing the remake sits very high on anybody's priority list. (The song actually dates back to 1933 when it was used in the Bob Hope film "Roberta" ... the following year, Paul Whiteman took HIS version to #1 on Billboard's Pop Chart.)

Blue Haze upped the tempo a little bit when they cut their version ... a couple of online mentions I found referred to it as a "reggae version" ... but I think that's being just a bit generous. There is also not a whole lot of information available on these guys ... sounds like producers Johnny Arthey and Phil Swern assembled some studio musicians and cut this one on the fly as a one-shot ... in any event, it worked ... the song just missed The National Top 20!

Long forgotten by most I'm sure, today we're featuring the Blue Haze version of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes in Forgotten Hits.