Saturday, May 23, 2009

Second Hand Rose

And, since we mentioned Barbra Streisand's "Second Hand Rose" yesterday ... and, since we haven't featured ANYTHING by Babs since one of our readers went all "pond" on us about mentioning the size of her nose ... apparently something that NOBODY else ever noticed or mentioned before ... I figured it'd be a good time to resurrect one of her earliest chart efforts.

After cracking The Top Five with her debut chart hit, "People" (from the musical "Funny Girl", the story of Fanny Brice) Barbra kept the ball rolling by cutting Fanny's own 1922 hit "Second Hand Rose" the following year. Unfortunately, it was not met with the same success, stalling at #32. Barbra wouldn't crack The Top Ten again until early 1971 when "Stoney End" found its way up to #6 on The Billboard Chart. (Ironically, I heard a disc jockey just the other day refer to "Stoney End" as "the closest Barbra Streisand ever came to recording a rock and roll song.")

Streisand hit her stride as both a singer and an actress in the '70's ... "The Way We Were" and "Evergreen (Love Theme from 'A Star Is Born')" ... both title songs from the box offices smashes that Barbra also starred in ... set off a string of 16 Top 40 Hits that stretched to the end of the '80's. Since then Streisand's recordings and appearances have been scarce ... these days, you seem to be more likely to find her in the "political" arena than up on the stage performing ...
in fact, in the past 20 years she's only made three films: "The Prince Of Tides", "The Mirror Has Two Faces" and her hysterical turn in "Meet The Fockers" ... but there is no denying the impact she made on the popular music scene across the previous three decades.

BTW: Ed Pond, who inspired The Forgotten Hits Catch-Phrase "Don't Go Pond On Me", has been a dedicated Forgotten Hits Reader ever since this initial incident. In fact, he's a frequent contributor to our forum and has become quite a good friend and supporter of our little publication. And, he was able to fulfill his Babs Fixation when a couple of Streisand's concerts aired on television recently! (To this day, he still believes we missed our opportunity to become millionaires by NOT marketing "Don't Go Pond On Me" / Forgotten Hits T-Shirts!!! lol)


We got a TON of comments from you guys again this past week ... so thanks for that!!! We'll spread 'em out over the long, holiday weekend, including a few of the more "timelier" ones here today!

>>>There ain't ONE person 25 years old reading a PHYSICAL version of Goldmine. (Big Jay Sorensen)
Big Jay Sorensen needs to give Dave The Rave another call and ask him just who "Stereo Tom" is! Better yet, let me tell ya ... he's a TWENTY-FOUR year old fan of oldies music who has NO PROBLEM reading a physical version of Goldmine! I doubt that will change by the time I turn 25!
-- Tom Diehl

... and, speaking of Dave The Rave ...

Just a note to all of you select media moguls and friends of mine. Relics & Rarities is returning to terrestrial radio NJ airwaves this Saturday Night from 7 - 9 pm eastern time on the new WIBG-FM, 94.3 out of the Atlantic City - Wildwood NJ area. The show will contain some non-chart tunes in the mix but tends to be a lot more familiar sounding than what previously aired on my XM show. I think you will all love what you hear as the airwaves will come alive on WIBG-FM 94.3 on Saturday nights. Eventually this show will take calls and instant requests. Thanks to all who have been a help or an inspiration along the way or just loves the music as I do. Please check out the show between 7-9 pm Saturday nite via their live stream or visit Atlantic City and listen on the radio.
Dave the Rave
Congratulations, Dave ... we'll most certainly make it a point to listen!!! (kk)

... and, speaking of WIBBAGE ...

re: WIBG:
Last week we told you all about the big Wibbage Reunion ... well, thanks to Sam Lyt, audio of this special event is now available for your listening enjoyment!!!
Pictures and audio from last Wednesday's Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia luncheon saluting WIBG and the original "Good Guys" air staff can be found
here. Sam Lit
President / CEO
Hy Lit Radio Technologies Inc.
Check out the WIBBAGE Good Guys (from left): Ray Gilmore aka Sean Casey, Don L. Brink aka Scotty Brink, Jerry Stevens, Frank X. Feller, Rod Carson, Dean Tyler, Bill Wright, Sr. (and Sam Lyt was the MC of the whole event!)

Y103.9's running their "Songs Of Summer" Weekend ... hmm, shouldn't we at least have had just a taste of Spring first?!?!? Jeez, we've had maybe four or five spring-like days so far this season!!!

Scott Shannon's doing his "Favorite Party Songs" Weekend on The True Oldies Channel

and this just came in from our buddy Frank out in New York!!!
Kent ...
I think your readers will be interested in hearing some of this music. Here in New York, WABC is a talk radio station. " Rewound", the annual Memorial Day special - where WABC (770 AM) would devote 12 hours to original tapes of music, jocks, jingles and ads - from WABC's golden age as America's flag-ship top 40 radio station, won't be heard on the broadcast air this year. Johnny Donovan, who was a top 40 jock on WABC - back in the day and works there now as an engineer, still put a new 12 hour " Rewound " together. You can listen over the internet at It will be available starting at 4 PM Eastern Time, on Friday.
Here's this years lineup:
Bruce Morrow, 1974, hours 1 & 2;
Dan Ingram, 1971; Bob Lewis, 1964; Harry Harrison, 1976; Johnny Donovan, 1974 and Roby Yonge, 1968; Morrow, 1963 and Lewis, 1965; Ingram, 1971; Ingram, 1972; Jay Reynolds, 1974; Ingram, 1970.
At WCBS-FM, # 1 Songs of the 60's, 70's, 80's on
Happy Memorial Day.
Frank B.
Now THAT sounds like a LOT of Memories for Memorial Day ... and probably more like what we're accustomed to hearing this time of year. Thanks, Frank!!! (kk)

>>>I had never heard the pre-Richard Harris version before. Oh my lord; what a wonderful job! (Rich)
>>>I hadn't heard it before either ... sometimes it's nice to hear the original concept of what the songwriter had in mind ... and it's clear that Webb had this one pretty well thought out in advance ... and WITHOUT all the orchestral craziness going on, it almost comes across as MORE powerful as it forces you to listen to the lyric a little bit closer ... his crescendos on the piano are really all we need to know where the emphasis is supposed to be. (kk)
At the time Jimmy was doing the album with Richard Harris, our Canterbury label was spending many hours at "Sound Recorders" Armin Steiner's studio. Each day we would come in Armin would play us the days work that Jim had laid down and we would listen to all the different phases of Macarthur Park as it went on. It was quite a project utilizing all available session people they could muster. Carol Kaye, Tedesco, Randi, Knectel, Deasey, hell everybody was in on those sessions. We would use those players as well so they would go get a sandwich and come back to work ... it was crazy. I can't say I was crazy about the song at the time but the magnitude of the production was mindblowing. My most memorable impression was the very last note on MacArthur Park, it was sooo high and my good late friend Patrice Holloway was the only girl for the job. The backup singers were always my faves, Darlene Love, Brenda Holloway and her sis Patrice were a goosebump experience to watch work. One never knows what these things end up being historically, I wish I had thought about taking pictures back then.

Alex Valdez
The Yellow Balloon

Upon hearing Jimmy Webb's original version of MacArthur Park, Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets remarked it would be a fabulous song if it were sung in a foreign language and you had no idea what the singer was saying. After hearing Richard Harris' take again, I'm thinking Jim Steinman pretty much lifted that arrangement for all of his productions with Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler. I'm also left to wonder why Jimmy Webb didn't release his own works. His voice isn't necessarily unpleasant. Finally I don't recall how many years ago Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets gave me this birthday card, but I though it would fit in with the topic.
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

More of your comments coming up tomorrow in our Forgotten Hits / Sunday Comments Page ... including some of your "American Idol" feedback!

Hope everyone has a happy, fun and safe Memorial Day Weekend!!! Thanks for spending just a few minutes with us this morning!

Friday, May 22, 2009

L. David Sloane

Before most of America fell in love with her as Karen McKenzie on television's "Knot's Landing", Michelle Lee cracked the pop charts with her 1968 hit "L. David Sloane" ... a call back to an earlier era that was somewhat reminiscent of the Barbra Streisand hit "Second Hand Rose".

Although it never charted here in Chicago, I remember liking this one when it was out ... so SOMEBODY must have been playing it!!! (Odds are, I caught Michelle singing and dancing on a television variety show or two as well!)

It didn't make much of an impression on the national charts either, peaking at #52 in Billboard and stopping at #60 in Cash Box ... but it's a nice memory of what Michelle Lee was doing BEFORE she came to be known as a popular television actress!

ANOTHER CRITIQUE: We first featured this song several years ago in Forgotten Hits ... probably around 2001 ... and sent a copy out via email as a wav file. In order to be able to present an MP3 copy for the website, we turned to the ever-reliable Tom Diehl ... who had THIS to say about this record:
This is just about the worst song to ever come out of the 60's ...
When I was 14 or so, my parents bought me an ebay lot of 600 45's for Christmas ... the seller shipped the wrong batch to me but since I couldnt open them until Christmas, which was a few months later, I was stuck with them. Inside were multiple copies of a lot of horrible records ... well, I liked some of them, but I didn't need 47 copies of "Painted Tainted Rose" by Al Martino or 29 copies of "L. David Sloane" by Michele Lee! I kept very few records from that batch! I kept one copy each of the various Al Martino 45's, some Eagles reissues

and a few others that I can't recall. Most of the 45s in the boxes hit the garbage trail pretty fast. "L. David Sloane" and it's follow up (of which I seem to recall there being 12 copies of in the boxes) were not among the ones I kept! Even if I found this song in stereo I don't think I could enjoy it!
-- Tom Diehl

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sharing A Laugh With Alan O'Day

We featured one of Alan O'Day's new tracks, "Your Song Sucks", during our week-long feature "New Music From Some Of Your Old Favorites" a couple of weeks back ... and then just this past week Alan was kind enough to share with our Forgotten Hits Readers his original "studio apartment demo" of "Easy Evil", a song that I fell in love with back in the early '70's when I heard former Steppenwolf Lead Singer John Kay's version on WBBM-FM, Chicago's then-leading soft-rock station.

All this recent attention to Alan's music prompted a couple of you folks out there to share a thought or two with us.

How cool that Alan O'Day allowed you to use his demo for "Easy Evil" on your website. It's a great song ... and that version sounds good enough to release EXACTLY "as is" ... I wonder why he never released it.

I've always loved that song ... and I'll betcha I've played Alan's demo version at least a dozen times this week already. And you're absolutely right ... his little "studio apartment mix" sounds like a hit single to MY ears, too!!! (lol) I wondered if he ever recorded his OWN version of this track for commercial release ... or if it never made it past the "demo" stage ... and, if not, which was HIS favorite version of this tune ... so I asked him. I got this from Alan when I sent him a copy of your note (kk):

Dear Kent, Cc Kelly,
Thanks so much for the compliment and the question! Glad you enjoyed Easy Evil.
No, I was still writing songs for other artists back then, although in hindsight, I wish it had been included on my first album, "Caress Me Pretty Music", circa 1973, produced by Dallas Smith. But since I was not thought of as a big success at that time, there was concern about investing any more money on that album.

My favorite version, for selfish reasons, is John Kay's, featuring Richie Podler's great production chops. I feel it was the style most true to the demo, partly because I played electric piano and contributed that "sucky" effected drum part on Kay's session. BTW, to be honest, when I digitized the original analog mix to send you, it sounded somewhat dull by today's standards, so I threw a bit of eq and compression on it.
Don't tell!

And then this ...
A question for Alan O'Day: The Book Of Rock Lists mentions Undercover Angel as one of the best songs about masturbation. Is that really what the song is about?Jack
I sent your inquiry on to Alan for an answer, wondering if you were right on the money with this assessment ... or perhaps just a beat off ... and here's what he had to say:
I got a large industrial strength laugh out of your question at the end of your email!
Here's my official response: Return with us now, to those thrilling days of double meaning songs!
I don't want to piss Jackoff ... haha ... but this question has been asked of me often through the years. The Book of Rock Lists may have gotten their Rocks off with that editorial opinion ... however, they were wrong.

I still am not comfortable being specific, as I wrote Undercover Angel to be a romantic fantasy song and I was thrilled that so many pre-teens and kids felt the innocent childlike vibe of the record (while their parents looked askance ...).
But if one is determined to find a sexual connotation, it might help to know I have referred to this song as a "nocturnal novelette".
'Nuff said, except thanks to Jack for the question.
Thanks, Alan. Suffice to say (especially in THIS context) that you really whacked it out of the park with "Undercover Angel" ... it topped the charts back in 1977!!! And it's a true gem. Tell me ... speaking as an accomplished songwriter this one of those that just kinda came to you all at once in one big spurt ... or, creatively speaking, did you have to massage it for a while in order to properly

polish this pearl? (All-right, all-right, enough already!!! Before we get dismissed as just another FINE example of jerk-off journalism, we're going to go watch our favorite episode of "Seinfeld" now!!!) kk
Forgotten Hits ... let's face it ... you're not gonna find THIS kind of questioning ANYWHERE else on the web!!!

By the way, Alan's latest CD, "I Hear Voices", is a WHOLE lotta fun to listen to. One of my favorite tracks from the album happens to be the title track. You can pick up a copy of the new album from Alan's website: Click here: Alan O'Day, Songwriter