Friday, June 5, 2009

Helping Out Our Readers

Hello there.
I just can't figure who did this one! Can you?
Here are the lyrics:
Take another ride and then I promise we'll be more than friends
Come with me, I love you.
My machine is guaranteed to satisfy your every need.
Come with me, I love you.

My machine was designed, with especially you in mine.
Fairy tails can come true, ______ me and you.
I heard it on WPGC out of Washington DC. I don't think it's "Small Faces" or "People." This one is driving me crazy.
Mike Boyle Sr.
AKA Spirit Sound
Not ringing any bells with me, Mike, so let's put it out to the list and see what THEY come up with. Hopefully we can not only solve the mystery but also find you a copy of the tune! (kk)

By the way, if you're a fan of The Psychedelic Era of Rock Music, be sure to check out our series on the web page ... it is now our MOST-VIEWED PAGE!!!
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs

As far as I know, the only original member currently performing with the band at this time is Frank Jeckell. (Drummer Floyd Marcus was with them until just recently but no longer tours or performs with the band.) The 1910 Fruitgum Company have a number of appearances coming up and are performing as part of some of these oldies / bubblegum package tours, too. Let us know what you think of the show. We've got a couple of these guys on the list and they recently contributed to a piece we did spotlighting their 1968 Hit "Goody Goody Gumdrops". (I probably hear most often from Floyd and Mick Mansuelo, who I believe is their current music director.

Here in '60's FLASHBACK style is a brief excerpt from that piece:

The 1910 Fruit Gum Company were one of the PREMIER Bubblegum Bands of the late '60's. Unlike many of the other artists signed to the Buddah Record Label, these guys were, in fact, a complete band and (for the most part anyway) played on their own records. (Many of you will recall that it was Chicago's own Shadows Of Knight who performed much of this material as Buddah's "House Band" ... with Joey Levine on lead vocals.)

Artists like The 1910 Fruit Gum Company, The Ohio Express and The Lemon Pipers regularly hit the top of the charts in the late '60's with "Feel Good" pop songs like "Simon Says", "1, 2, 3 Red Light", "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy", "Down At Lulu's", "Chewy Chewy" and "Green Tambourine" under the guidance of bubblegum whiz-kids Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz. The 1910 Fruit Gum Company consisted of Frank Jeckell on Guitar, Floyd Marcus on Drums, Mark Gutkowski on organ, Pat Karwan on Lead Guitar and Steve Mortkowitz on Bass. While all of the guys sang and wrote their own music, studio musicians (and guest vocalists) were used on some of their later recordings.

In quick succession, the band scored five Top 40 Hits: Simon Says (#2, 1968); 1, 2, 3 Red Light (#3, 1968); Goody Goody Gumdrops (#31, 1968); Indian Giver (#4, 1969) and Special Delivery (#31, 1969). May I Take A Giant Step and The Train just missed, peaking at #45 and #52 respectively. In addition, THREE of these hits ... Simon Says, 1, 2, 3 Red Light and Indian Giver ... sold over a million copies each ... rare for a bubblegum group back in the day! We are fortunate to have both an original founding member of The 1910 Fruit Gum Company on our list ... Floyd Marcus ... as well as a member of the CURRENT band, Mick Mansueto. Each of these guys have agreed to share a few words with our FH Readers today!

For me, the period from around 1964-1970 was a great time for music. Of course the Beatles arrived, and there were the Stones, The Young Rascals, all the wonderful Motown artists, besides The Jefferson Airplane, The Buffalo Springfield, Vanilla Fudge, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix. I mean, what other period included such an acceptance of such a diversity of styles, sounds, along with great song writing.The group that became The Fruitgum Company started out not only covering a wide variety of artists but also began doing original songs. My Uncle Sol (my dad's twin brother) had hits with songs he had written, including "Till Then" by The Classics and The Mills Brothers and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone and later, The Animals. My Dad put up the cash and my uncle, along with his partner, Bennie Benjiman, took us to Dick Charles' studio in NYC. We recorded four of my originals. Jeff Katz and Jerry Kasenetz got hold of the demo and came to see us. They of course liked the band, but already had a hit with "Little Bit Of Soul" by the Music Explosion, so they had different plans for us. We didn't set out to be a Bubblegum band. We weren't those kind of kids, but after negotiating with Jeff and Jerry we decided to take the ride. Like other successful producers of that era, Super K had a good plan. They knew the market. Parents didn't want their 12 year old kids listening to Hendrix, The Stones, or Dylan. Jeff and Jerry knew their market. "Simon Says", "123 Red Light" and "Indian Giver" all achieved gold. Remember when a gold record was at least 1 million record sales? With all the 'heavy' music out then, talking about drugs, sex and rebellion, it made parents uncomfortable. Most parents were aware of what was going on. Remember the older entertainers like Sammy Davis wearing Nehru jackets and beads and some letting their hair get a little longer? Bubblegum music became an alternative to the serious, political, sexual, drug music of the period. A certain part of the public was ready for music that was just fun, without thought provoking content. That's what Bubblegum music represented. A departure from that music.
Floyd Marcus (original member of The 1910 Fruitgum Company)

Hi Kent,
Thank you for your interest.
Goody Goody Gumdrops is a very happy song. Frank Jeckell does the lead on it these days and we re-recorded a number of the hits with a little more energy than the originals. We are doing well and performing wherever we can. We will be heading to Vegas again soon and have a number of gigs lined up for this season. The act consists of original member and founder, Frank Jeckell, his friend and partner Mick Mansueto on lead vocals, Glenn Lewis, Bass player and vocals, Bob Brescia, keys and vocals, Oscar Dominguez on keys, and Phil Thorstenson on Drums and vocals. We are alive and well and looking to get to the UK for a tour ...
Thanks so much for the help.

A revamped version of The 1910 Fruit Gum Company (with original member Frank Jeckell) are still recording and performing today. You can find ALL of the latest information on these guys at their official website: Click here: 1910 Fruitgum Company During their hey-day, The 1910 Fruit Gum Company toured with big name acts like The Beach Boys and Sly and the Family Stone. (Remember ... this was a time when ALL this great music was heard side-by-side on the radio! And really, why not??? These guys had three Top Five million selling hits under their OWN belts!!!) We also found a great bit of trivia that's sure to make you smile in an interview that Floyd Marcus did with Carl Wiser, our buddy from Songfacts:
Before we became the Fruitgum Company, we used to do everything from Hendrix and Cream and The Rascals, and Motown, and Steppenwolf, and The Stones, Marvin Gaye. We did all of that. We did Vanilla Fudge, for instance. And there was a time when we came to a town and Vanilla Fudge was supposed to be playing at this venue, and they cancelled, and who do they put in there but The 1910 Fruitgum Company. So when the local DJ announced that we were going to perform, there was a lot of booing. They didn't like the fact that Vanilla Fudge "You Keep Me Hanging On" was going to be replaced by us. But the DJ was a nice guy, and he happened to go out and he said, "Well, give these guys a chance. You know, really." And we decided to do "You Keep Me Hanging On" because we had done it a long time. And by the time we got through that and did a few other songs, we really surprised the audience. We won them over and they were really on our side.
(You can read the COMPLETE Songfacts / Floyd Marcus interview here):
Click here: Songfacts Interviews: Floyd Marcus (1910 Fruitgum Co.)

DIDJAKNOW?: The 1910 Fruit Gum Company first formed as "Dr. Jeckell and the Hydes". It makes sense ... since the guitarist / founding member's name was Frank Jeckell!!!

I recently picked up a batch of 45s on ebay, included was a later one by the Diamonds (and i believe Dave was out of the group by this point), called Woomai-Ling ... it sounds very very similar to one of their earlier hits (you'll recognize what it sounds like IMMEDIATELY) ... and take a look at the name of the guy that wrote the song!
I'll attach an mp3 to this message of another later Diamonds record that i do not have the 45 of -- and have been looking for one for over two years now! Another one of their later mercury 45s (in fact the one released right before Woomai-Ling) called You Short Changed Me -- if any Forgotten Hits readers have You Short Changed Me on 45, i would be willing to purchase the disc from them for a reasonable price...alas, i'd rather not turn Forgotten Hits into Oldies Music people should contact me directly at
-- Tom Diehl
After all the help you've given us helping to track down songs, it seems like the LEAST we can do is try to find one for you!!! Anybody who may have a lead on this should contact Tom direct at the email address given above. (kk)

John Rook just sent us word that Hit Parade Radio is now up and streaming ... and Wink Martindale joins Larry Lujack as part of their broadcasting staff. (And word has it that noted Dallas DJ Chuck Brinkman isn't far behind!) You can Listen Live here: Click here: Hit Parade Radio
Effective today Hit Parade Radio is streaming a sample of the music we will be providing starting in September. More than 3,000 hits, many from the 50's through the 70's not heard on radio today will be heard 24/7. Visit our website, click on "Listen now" and enjoy.
Addison, TX – (Market Wire) June 2, 2009 – Earthworks Entertainment, Inc. (EWKS-PK), announced today that it has signed an agreement with Wink Martindale whose radio / television career is among the most celebrated in the entertainment industry and has earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Hit Parade Radio’s John Rook said, “As a radio personality Wink inspired many young broadcasters during his successful stint on KFWB and KMPC in Los Angeles and his nationally syndicated radio broadcasts. As a host of numerous game shows, Wink also had success as a million selling recording artist. His personal friendship with many of show businesses biggest names and appearances on many of the nation’s top TV shows, including Jay Leno’s Tonight Show provides Hit Parade Radio with a wealth of entertainment value.”
Earthworks Entertainment’s Steve Humphries adds, “Wink Martindale is one of a kind with a unique style that will be heard as the afternoon drive personality on our 24/7 Oldies Radio Net scheduled to debut in September of this year”
“In the first 12 to 18 months, we expect more than 100 stations will affiliate with Hit Parade Radio and will generate more than $5.0 million in revenue.”
Adults 50+ represent seventy million people - 28% of the entire population. Demographic trends associated with the aging of Boomers, plus gains in longevity will grow this market to over 106 million by 2015.
The demographic of today that supports talk radio hungers for the songs and recording artists who provide memories of better days. This music is only available from Hit Parade Radio!
The only 24/7 satellite-delivered radio format that targets the 50+ audience … with the greatest hits of the '50s through the '70s.
This is EXACTLY the demographic that we keep talking about that traditional terrestrial radio is ignoring ... it'll be interesting to see how all of this catches on ... there are some VERY big names attached to this new format ... and John promises that you'll hear some songs on THIS radio station that you haven't heard on the air in 30 or more years! With an initial playlist of something like 3100 songs (as opposed to most other radio stations with 200-300 ... or the rare exceptions that program 1100-1500) that's almost a certainty! Stay tuned for more details ... but you CAN "Listen Live" now for a taste of what is to come. I tuned in for just a little while the other night and heard The Everly Brothers followed by Bill Withers followed by The Temptations ... followed by "In The Middle Of An Island" by Tony Bennett and "I Wanna Get Next To You" by Rose Royce ... now THAT's variety!!! (lol) I LOVE IT!!! (kk)

And then just that fast comes the official Chuck Brinkman Press Release! Larry Lujack has a HUGE built-in audience and will be a welcome addition back to our morning routine ... and Wink Martindale sounds EXACTLY the same ... man, has this guy aged at all?!?!? Brinkman was HUGE in Dallas for YEARS ... sounds like he'll be maning the shift between Uncle Lar and Wink ... as The Hit Parade Radio schedule starts to take shape.
Addison, TX – (MarketWire) June 3, 2009 – Earthworks Entertainment, Inc. (EWKS-PK) announced today that it’s Hit Parade Radio, Inc’s. 24/7 Oldies Radio Format has signed an agreement with veteran Oldies Programmer Chuck Brinkman, which is scheduled to debut from Dallas in September 2009.
Hit Parade Radio, Inc’s President John Rook said “Chuck is one the nations top programmers at the highly successful KLUV-FM in Dallas for Steven Humphries (then EVP/COO of TK Communications the owner of KLUV), now the CE0 of Earthworks and then later with owner CBS/Infinity. In one of the more competitive radio markets, for 15 years Brinkman kept KLUV-FM in a dominant position in the Dallas market.”
Earthworks CEO Steven Humphries commented “I’m delighted to be working with Chuck again, as we did incredible things together at KLUV. Chuck is perfect to head up the Programming of Hit Parade Radio. In addition to the programming duties, Chuck will also hold down the mid-day on-air position at Hit Parade Radio” following Superjock Larry Lujack and preceding Wink Martindale.
Brinkman’s career spans 40 years of broadcasting experience. He first worked with Hit Parade’s John Rook at ABC’s KQV in Pittsburgh in the 1960’s. Chuck and Rook were instrumental in introducing the Beatles to America in 1964 when together they toured, became friends with and vacationed with the British sensations in the Bahamas’s.
Company management expects to sign more than 100 stations in the first 12 to 18 months, which will generate more than $5.0 million in revenue for the Hit Parade Radio Network.

And so it grows ... keep us posted, John!

I'm sending this to the more cultured, refined and sophisticated people on my email list. If you're getting it, either that describes you, or you have me buffaloed into thinking it does.
Some of you know this; some of you don't.
My publisher Lulu Press, just selected my novel, EAST OF THE HOLYLAND for a featured spot on This means somebody's taking me seriously -- as an author, not some guitar player who wrote a book.
Based on only a few reviews, it's currently enjoying a five-star rating (the highest a guy can get)!
That's good news to me because it means more people are going to be able to get their paws on it and become aware of what a heavy-duty literary lion I am. It's an honor and I'm proud of it.
The bad news is that in order to make a profit, Amazon has to elevate the price into the stratosphere.
So the bottom line is this: I know a lot of you are supportive of my work. Some of you have already bought the novel and others have told me you're planning on it. If you ARE planning on it, I urge you, please don't pay those Amazon prices. It's expensive enough on Lulu. The online publishing business is tricky. Like Burger King, they fry up the books to order, so they have to charge considerably more than bookstores do. That can't be helped. But I don't want to see anyone pay more for it than he / she needs to.So if you do decide to buy it, go directly through Lulu ( ... nd/5953502)
You'll still be paying more than you would for a novel at Barnes and Noble, but the Lulu price is a little more humane.If you've already read HOLYLAND and have strong opinions about it one way or the other, please post a review on the Amazon board. Or at least read the reviews others have posted. Here's the link:
And BTW, don't feel you have to say all sweet and gooey stuff about it. Even bad reviews help because they promote exposure and online debate.
Just read it first.
Anyway, this Amazon posting comes at just the right time. Sales were slowing down and I was beginning to think it was dead in the water.
Love to you all,
Bob Lind
Meanwhile, in addition to his new "Successful Author" title, Bob is also still writing and producing some great NEW music ... there are about a dozen recent demos and samples on his website ... we recently featured one of OUR favorites, "Wrong Again" as part of our "Brand New Music From Some Of Your Old Favorites" feature ... (and his manager recently sent us another brand new track ... but, unfortunately, wouldn't give us permission to share it with our readers!!! What a jyp!!!) That's OK ... you can check out some of the OTHER new stuff right here:
Click here: Bob Lind Playlists - Songs & Lyrics Page (kk)

"Forgotten Hits" is, for me a "must have", and one of the best websites ever. I will look forward to your posts whenever you are able to get them out. Thanks so much for what you do.


I'm am so very sorry you are having emotional pains in your life. But be aware that you have thousands of Forgotten Hits family members here for you. Be assured, my prayers are with your, brother, you and your family.Your Forgotten Hits blog is GREAT! Through it, I feel like I know you. Your blog fills a HUGH hole in the universe. I know your heart is hurting, but sometimes doing something like Forgotten Hits is just what it takes to get you through each day.
John Conatser
Thanks, John ... and to all the others who continue to write. We'll do what we can to keep in touch ... we all share a common bond with our love for this music ... and I've never found anything stronger than the music to keep me going. (kk)

>>>My feeling is that anybody coming to MY page is part of the team of folks we've put together to help keep this great music alive ... and it's going to take each and every one of us to make that happen. (kk)

I appreciate you so very much and, in fact, you are mentioned very prominently in our Links page in the Jersey Girls Sing website ... and have been for the past couple of months. Here it is: Links to Our Music Family
But I intend to do more. When I promote shows my shows in the future, I will mention both privately and publicly. You are so right, it is a community. And without people who share our passion then music would not continue to thrive.
I appreciate what you do and will do all that I can to help the cause. My Record Page is getting a lot of his, I am sure, from your readers.
Thanks, Ronnie, and please know that I sincerely appreciate that. My point was more that I would have been happy to run a link to this guy's new site in our next Leftovers Page (and, in fact, had already planned to do so) ... it really wasn't necessary to poach OUR list and make it look like we were passing along subscribers' names. (As it was, I received a couple of angry emails from readers to this effect.) I would MUCH rather prefer to put the link out there and then if folks on the list are interested in checking it out, let them go there for themselves and see if it might be something they like ... no differently than the links to MY sites that you have up on your web page ... hopefully, some of your visitors will be interested enough in the oldies community to see what we're all about, too ... and then make their OWN decision as to whether or not they want to subscribe or come back for another visit. (kk)

Big KISSES allllllllllllllllllllllllllll over you. MWAH!!! Mwah!!! xxooxoxoxo!!!
Thank you so much for putting back "I've Got a Never Ending Love For You" by Delaney & Bonnie, you are the best. I appreciate this so much. This song touches my life.
X O,
Pat H.

You're welcome ... glad I could make your day. (Gee, I'm used to getting this kind of lovin' from the dog when I walk in the door but not for posting a song!!! lol) kk

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Year Has Come And Gone Since We Last Talked About Billie Joe

OMG ...

Can it REALLY already be The Third Of June ...


Soon Soon?!?!?

As we ALL know by now, just another sleepy, dusty Delta day.

Last year, inspired by a series of comments that ran on Ron Smith's EXCELLENT website, we revisited this Bobbie Gentry classic ...

In fact, we even tried to track Bobbie down ... without success ... the people "in the know" that we WERE able to come across pretty much told us that she doesn't necessarily WANT to be found ... whatever THAT means!!!

But I thought we'd revisit this topic again today ... so please join us on what just may become our annual pilgramage to Choctow Ridge ... y'all remember to wipe your feet!


Incredibly, it has now been exactly 43 years ago since Billie Joe McAllister jumped off The Tallahatchie Bridge. Hopefully many of the jocks on this list will honor this anniversary by spinning Bobbie Gentry's HUGE #1 Hit sometime today. (Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we could get EVERY radio station in the country to play "Ode To Billie Joe" at EXACTLY Noon today ... so that no matter WHERE in the world you were at that given moment, you could click on your radio and hear it?!?!?) Actually, quite a few of the jocks picked up on this last year and featured this very special musical anniversary on their programs ... I mean, this song was HUGE ... literally EVERYBODY out there was trying to analyze (and over-analyze) the meaning ... we wouldn't see anything like this again until Don McLean came up with "American Pie" a few years later!

Here are just a few of the comments we received last year (along with a few updates):

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day ... Ron Smith

Yep, here in Chicago I was out bailing cotton and my sister was bailing hay. -- Chicago Mike

Y'all remember to wipe your feet ... --Ron Smith

haha!! a few of us will get that ... love it!


High tide too!
Austin Roberts

If I remember right, 43 years ago today was just another sleepy delta day.
Actually, it was DUSTY, too!!! (lol) kk
I knew there was another adjective that went in there but couldn't think of anything but sh***y!

LOL ... yeah, that'll work!!! (lol) kk

and I STILL hate that song!
Clay Pasternack

you have toooo much extra time on your hands ………….. Stan Burkat

Kent -
I used it as a Quick Drop - Thanks - I know it wasn't meant solely for rockandrollheaven - but used it anyway - hope it goes well - Mason
Go for it, MASON ... as you can see, we hit on a nerve again with this one ... this truly has become Billie Joe McAllister Day today!!! (kk)

Check out the email below … Chris --- aka Chuck Adams --- was one of the jocks at Virginia’s WGH when I was the AM Newsman back in the 60’s.
-- Eric AuCoin
"It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty, Delta day. I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was bailin' hay" .... "A year's come and gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe ..." which means that today would be the 43rd anniversary of Billy Joe McAlister's jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge. And whatever happened to that Nice Young Preacher Brother Taylor? ... or Bobbie Gentry, herself? Didn't she marry a millionaire and go into early retirement? Four Grammys for 1967: Best female vocal performance, Best contemporary female performance, Best new artist of 1967, Best Accompaniment Arrangement (for Jimmie Haskell). I was on my honeymoon in August, 1967, driving up the Maryland, Delaware, NJ coast, listening to WABC-AM, and that song got so much air play, I swear we heard it once an hour!
Chris Astle
Between our two AM powerhouses (WLS and WCFL) I think we really DID hear it at least once an hour back then!!! It was so COMPLETELY different than ANYTHING I'd ever heard before ... it REALLY stood out. One of the reasons this song worked so well is because Bobbie Gentry was the "real deal" ... born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi and raised in Greenwood, Mississippi. As I recall, Gentry had a couple of minor chart hits (including a couple of duets with Glen Campbell) and then, if I'm not mistaken, later married novelty singer Jim Stafford ... a pretty wild relationship from what I've heard!!! One of MY favorite Forgotten Hits was Fancy, a #31 Pop Hit in 1970, which was later covered (and QUITE well, I might add) by Country Superstar Reba McEntire. (kk)

Is Bobbie Gentry still living?
Tim Kiley
Yes, she is ... but I believe she's been "retired" for quite some time now. And, apparently, wants absolutely NOTHING to do with ever discussing this song again! Through our last tribute to this song, we were able to track down a few associates, friends and relatives of Bobbie Gentry ... ALL of whom pretty much told us that she does not WANT to be found. (kk)

Hey Kent,That's my kind of email. -- Guy

lol ...
it WAS the 3rd of June, another sleepy dusty delta day. I was out shopping for cotton clothes (and my husband was pitching a fit) oh by the way

I DO remember. I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was baillin' hay.

Hey Kent ...
I always loved that Bobbi Gentry!
Her hair style really got to me when I was a kid!
I'm sure many other future musicians back then had her album cover hung up on the wall like I did!
You KNOW it!!! Yep, she was HOT!!! (lol) kk

Every year, on June 3rd, I mention to a few friends that "It was the 3rd of June" ......
David Lewis
Far more significant for me, I guess, was the third of September ... THAT day I'll ALWAYS remember!!! (kk)



No WAY it could be that long ago!! That is just SICK!!! lol But - thanks for the info, Kent. Unbelievable. lol

OH MY .............. I hadn't heard because I WAS OUT CHOPPIN' COTTON AND MY BROTHER WAS BALING HAY!!!!

I'd help you celebrate ... but I'm too busy passing the biscuits.

Great to hear from you ... It is good to know someone is keeping the Oldies spirit alive.

Why do I think of Robbie Benson when I hear this song? Didn't they make a movie out of this song or something?
Yes, he starred in it ... and, although I personally have never seen the film, I believe he did full-frontal nudity!!! (kk)
I wouldn't have seen that .... I was watching it on pre-cable TV, like ABC or something. Nooooo nudity there!

And that was the song that knocked the Cryan' Shames out of the number 1 slot on the Chicago charts after weeks of being there! Jim Pilster still mentions it!
There was NO way of stopping THIS record ... it had MONSTER HIT written all over it! (kk)

Here's some of the dialog posted on Ron Smith's Oldies Music Website last year:
Reminds me of the time a frog was put down my back at a picture show .... I think I'll go get me some biscuits -- Chuck Pattillo

A year has come and gone since we heard the news 'bout Billie Joe. I think I'll pick some flowers up on Choctaw Ridge and throw them into the muddy water off the Tallhatchee Bridge. Ironically, the real Tallahatchee Bridge -- which collapsed in 1972 -- was over water so shallow people routinely jumped off without drowning. But then, Billie Joe never had a lick o'sense. -- Ron

Right, Ron. Pass the biscuits please. -- Ronnie Allen
And Ronnie I'll think I'll have another piece-a apple pie. :) -- Linda G
Get it yourself. There's five more acres in the lower forty I got to plow ...
-- Ron Smith
Well, I think it's just a dang shame about Billie Joe anyhow ... Linda G

Hey, I saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge ... Lorne
Well now nosy Brother Taylor, you must've seen me and Billy Joe throw somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge ... ;) -- Linda G
Well, I'll be pleased to keep quiet about it if you make me a nice dinner on Sunday ... -- Brother Taylor

The ubiquitous question yet again ... Somewhere along the way since 1967, did Bobbie Gentry ever hint as to what she had in mind that they threw off the Tallahatchie bridge? I know they made a movie that really trashed the song and the mystery, and I'm surprised she let that movie fly. But somewhere in 41 years did she hint? Or was it just a Stanley Kubrick salute where she had nothing in mind and let guessing go on forever? -- Centerfield
I don't believe she's ever said for sure, but she had something in mind. Because Bobbie has pointed out that the song is really about how the girl's uncaring family never notices her relationship with Billie Joe and how his death affects her. Personally, I think Billie Joe "had her several years ago when she was still quite naive"-- oops, wrong mystery. -- Ron Smith
This is something that I've thought about SO many times over the years ... and I wonder if anybody else out there heard it and remembers it ... it has been etched in in my memory since the day of its original broadcast back in late summer / early fall of 1967 ... Jim Stagg (on WCFL) had Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders) on his show (via telephone) one afternoon ... "Ode To Billie Joe" was the biggest song in the country ... it was ALL everybody was talking about ... and Stagg asked Lindsay what HE thought had been thrown off The Tallahatchie Bridge. Mark responded that he thought it was flowers ... and the rest of that day ... and for a few days afterwards ... whenever Stagg would play "Ode To Billie Joe" on his show he would play a tape loop of "It was flowers ... flowers" after Bobbie Gentry sang that line!!! In all these years, I've yet to meet ANYONE who remembers hearing this ... but it is clear as day in my mind ... because NOBODY knew for sure what it was (even the movie didn't make it clear!!!) ... so for Jim Stagg to proclaim this to be the answer to the mystery was HYSTERICAL!!! (It was simply Mark Lindsay's interpretation ... at best!!!) I was hoping that perhaps Clark Besch had a copy of this conversation in his massive tape collection but we never heard anymore about it. Does this ring a bell with ANYBODY out there?!?!?!? (kk)
Very cool story! Altho I had heard it might be flowers, I do not have a tape of the Raiders item you talk of. I do have Stagg mentioning they would be on "The Stagg Line" in a day or two when playing "Too Much Talk", but that would be the next year. It would be fun to have. In the summers, WCFL did not come in well in Dodge City.
Good luck,

Can't spend the whole day talking about "Ode To Billie Joe" and then not PLAY it!!! Here's Bobbie Gentry performing one of the BIGGEST (and most talked-about hits) of the '60's!!!

(And a great YouTube clip, too, of Bobbie performing the song on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour!!!)

Click here: YouTube - Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billy Joe

BTW: Just to show you how serious we are about today's anniversary, this Forgotten Hits feature was posted at EXACTLY 6:03 AM this morning!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Couple Of Quick Updates

Just a quick dash-off this morning ...

Last night's New Colony Six appearance at The Schaumburg Public Library was cancelled due to stormy weather ... the date will be made up THIS THURSDAY NIGHT (June 4th), same time, same place ... just wanted to pass this information along to any list members who may have been planning to attend.

... and, speaking of upcoming shows, it sounds like you can catch some REALLY good ones here ... check this out!!!

Hey Kent ...
Here's some very cool info I thought the readers of Forgotten Hits would be interested in.
There's a small town in New Jersey called Bordentown. In this beautiful town of Bordentown is a great oasis called "THE RECORD COLLECTOR". This is not only the finest record store around for Vinyl, CD's and collectibles ... it's also a great showplace. The owners John & Sue have been producing amazing live shows ... in the store ... with the help of great local DJ, Randy Now. They call it "The Living Room Concert Series".We recently saw Peter Tork and his band perform there ... and last Friday night I took in an amazing performance by Kate Taylor and her fine Guitarist Bill Derby.
Here's a link to their website:
There are some great shows coming up there and some of the F.H. readers in the PA, NJ, Delaware, NY area may want to check out their upcoming schedule.
As a matter of fact, we're playing there on Saturday October 3rd and we're planning a great "Beach Party" that night ... complete with Palm trees!!!
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords
Sounds like a GREAT place to see a show ... and a VERY interesting line-up coming up ... please keep us posted ... and if any of you ARE in the area, check it out and let us know what you think! (kk)

A forthcoming book by a former roadie for Jimi Hendrix claims Jimi's 1971 death was not accidental. James "Tappy" Wright says Jimi was murdered by his own, soon to be ex-manager. Tappy says Michael Jeffery confessed the crime to him while drunk a year later (two years before Feffery himself died in a plane crash), saying, "we went round to [the] hotel room, got a handful of pills and stuffed them into his mouth... then poured a few bottles of red wine deep into his windpipe." Jeffery reportedly collected on a 1.2 million pound life insurance policy after Jimi's death.
Ron Smith

There has been SO much speculation about Jimi's death over the years ... but this is the first time I've heard THIS version!!! (Saw this on PopEater yesterday, too ... of course as with so many of the facts surrounding Jimi's life and death, there are VERY few insiders left around to prove or disprove any theories ... and even some of the closest to him who have spoken out over the years have changed their stories from time to time ... but all this press SHOULD help fuel book sales ... and hey, that's the name of the game, right???) By the way, our Forgotten Hits Salute to Jimi Hendrix is now posted on The Forgotten Hits Web Page for the whole world to see ... you can find it here (kk):
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Jimi Hendrix

... And here's one to get the wheels turning this morning ...

How would you describe the difference in oldies and classic rock? My guess is that oldies are mostly singles, and classic rock more the FM album cuts. Classic rockers probably consider themselves more sophisticated than oldies fans. There are also a lot of people who use the term "classic rock" because it sounds better. Who defines what songs are "classic"?
Dwight Rounds

Interesting topic ... so I'm going to put this one out to the list ... I have a hunch we'll get some interesting answers both from oldies and classic rock music fans ... as well as from some of the jocks on our list who play BOTH varieties of this music! (I've told the story of being at the Soundstage taping a few years back when America performed ... after playing their "Classic Rock" Hit "Sandman", Gerry Beckley announced, "That's not oldies ... that's Classic Rock" ... and then the band launched into their wimpy hit "Muskrat Love" ... after which Beckley remarked "Note to self: do NOT use the Classic Rock line and then perform 'Muskrat Love'" lol) Yes, there IS a difference ... and America is one of the many acts that "cross over" to both genres. It'll be interesting to get your guys' take on all of this! (kk)

I was trying to remember where I'd seen that Phil Spector booking photo before - now I think I got it figured out ...


TOOOO funny .... and eerily true!!! (lol) kk

Phil has asked his wife, Rachelle, to place the Alhambra, California mansion where he shot Lana up for sale. She will also place his rock 'n' roll artifacts in storage. The home, once worth $1.3 million (he paid $1.1 million), is now only worth about $800,000, though its notoriety might fetch it more. The money will be used for pay for his appeal.
Ron Smith

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dave Somerville and The Diamonds

A month or two back we were discussing the fact that one of our readers had seen The Diamonds in concert ... and whether or not this was, in fact, the REAL Diamonds performing that night.

After a number of comments and conversations surrounding this topic since then, I was pleased to receive a phone call from Dave Somerville, the original lead singer of the band, who explained the legalities of just what's going on here!!!

Dave explained to me that several years ago he sold the rights to the name "The Diamonds" to the artists who are currently out there performing under that name these days. (In fact, he ALSO told me that at one time there were as many as FIVE different groups performing in concert as The Diamonds ... talk about confusing the public!!!)

The group our reader saw is the group who currently has the LEGAL use of the name ... generally, fourth and fifth generation members of the group. (Somerville also mentioned that things might be a little bit less confusing ... and misleading ... if the group performed as "Gary Owen's Diamonds" instead, making it clear that he is NOT a member, as it sounds like any number of times each year fans in the audience are screaming things out like "Where's Dave?" or "Where's Diamond Dave"!!! lol)

Quite honestly, it shouldn't be too hard to find Dave ... he's been performing non-stop for 55 years now. During our phone conversation, he told me:

DAVE SOMERVILLE: I haven't had a day job in 55 years. I just shared the bill with Bobby Rydell ... and this is after coming back from Hawaii where I performed mid-ocean shows for two weeks. In recent months, I've been to Hawaii, Australia, Spain, South Africa and then back to Vancouver, performing literally all over the world ... and it seems like it's getting BIGGER. This music isn't fading out ... it's more popular than ever."

FORGOTTEN HITS: Sounds like a tough way to earn a living!!! (lol)

DS: Yeah, it is ... but SOMEBODY's gotta do it! (lol)

Dave also did over 400 shows in Branson where he performed for two years ... and he's having the time of his life. It seems like NOTHING gets this guy down!!!
DS: "You know, NONE of the original members of The Diamonds owned the name ... that was something our manager screwed us out of ... but you don't want to hear THAT story ... it's too depressing."

As for his original singing partners, bass singer Bill Reed passed away a short while back and tenor Ted Kowalski and baritone Phil Levitt are both retired electrical engineers living in Toronto, without any further musical aspirations.

DS: The original group didn't play any instruments ... we just went up there and sang. The NEW version of The Diamonds are up there playing instruments and singing and dancing."

While The Diamonds are probably BEST remembered for their 1957 #2 Hit "Little Darlin'", they actually hit The National Pop Charts eighteen times and scored Top 40 Hits with their versions of Why Do Fools Fall In Love (#16, 1956); The Church Bells May Ring (#20, 1956); Love, Love, Love (#30, 1956); Soft Summer Breeze (#34, 1956); Ka-Ding-Dong (#17, 1956); Zip Zip (#36, 1957); High Sign (#21, 1958); Kathy-O (#37, 1958); Walking Along (#19, 1958); She Say (Oom Dooby Doom), #12, 1959; One Summer Night (#22, 1961); and their #1 Cash Box Hit, "The Stroll" back in 1958.

Somerville says he started singing "serendipitously's THAT for a word" in the hallways, never dreaming it would turn into a life-long career. He also directed me to YouTube, where a number of Dave Somerville videos are posted. (Check out the one called "Dave Does The Diamonds"!!!)
Click here: YouTube - Dave Does The Diamonds

All in all, a very nice, happy and humble man who has been able to enjoy life to the fullest doing what he loves to do the most. (Yes, we agreed that it's sometimes a drag when REAL life gets in the way ... but all in all, "I've been able to live my dream ... and I don't know TOO many people who can make THAT statement!!!")

For a REAL enjoyable listening experience, be sure to check out Dave's CD, "On The 1957 Rock And Roll Greyhound Bus" ... it's a fun look back at what it was like to be out on the road in the earliest days of Rock And Roll, alongside some of the biggest stars of this golden era. And Dave's in fine voice as he covers not only some of The Diamonds' biggest hits (Why Do Fools Fall In Love, The Stroll, Silhouettes, Church Bells May Ring, Ka-Ding-Dong, Zip Zip, High Sign, Daddy Cool and Little Darlin' are ALL here) but also shares some fascinating tales (along with some musical tributes) to Chuck Berry, The Drifters, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and many others. Man, we would LOVE to see this show live ... but it also makes for some GREAT listening entertainment ... more details are available on Dave's website:
Click here: Welcome to Diamond Dave Somerville's Rock & Roll Greyhound bus

Meanwhile, here's a track ... and a musical history lesson ... from the CD ... proving once again how Dick Clark helped to write The History Of Rock And Roll!!!