Friday, July 24, 2009

July 24, 1973

Between March 13, 1972 and July 16, 1973, WLS stopped printing copies of their weekly survey for distribution in record shops all over Chicagoland. Instead, they printed large, display posters to be posted in the record departments ... fortunately, some of the fanatics in our circle of chart collectors would make the weekly trip to their local record store and jot down the latest postings so that we could still maintain a record of the WLS charts for this extended period of time. (In fact, FH List Member Bill Hengels, who has supplied the digital chart copies for this on-going series, went in and recreated very authentic looking copies of these missing charts, some of which we'll feature over time.)

On July 23, 1973, WLS started distributing charts to the public again ... and up on top of this first "comeback" survey was "Shambala" by Three Dog Night. The new survey, now simply called "The WLS MusicRadio Survey", featured The Top 30 chart positions as well as The Top Five Recommended Albums.

(click chart to enlarge)

A quick look at the #3 record this week shows the Bobby "Boris" Pickett Halloween Classic "Monster Mash" back on the chart again, some eleven years after it first topped the charts back in 1962. (Why it was charting this high three months BEFORE Halloween is anybody's guess ... but Pickett's reissue was rereleased in May of '73 and became a National Top Ten Hit all over again, too.)

This week's #10 song, "Touch Me In The Morning" by Diana Ross would jump all the way to #1 the following week. A couple of favorite Forgotten Hits that absolutely deserve a spin now and again would be the Gilbert O'Sullivan rocker "Get Down" (#7), and two soul classics, "Natural High" by Bloodstone (#20) and "So Very Hard To Go" by Tower Of Power (#21) ... so let's give those three a listen today!


Here's what some of our readers have been saying so far about our brand new Forgotten Hits Fridays Feature:

When you mentioned you were planning to do a 1971 survey, I instantly thought of "Sooner or Later" and "Don't Pull Your Love." I recall that summer as a summer packed with nights of cruising to many of the tunes listed on the WLS survey. We'd enjoy Scott Shannon here on WMAK until dark and then (sorry, Scott) switch things over to the Big 89. I remember hearing WLS from the open windows of innumerable cars as we cruised our favorite places, and it was probably 1971 that WLS was so popular here that a local Tennessee Honda dealer (Pug Vickers) bought spots on WLS.
1971 was also the first year I knew someone killed in a car accident. Jimmy Pack had a super hot '71 Chevelle SS396 complete with 8-Track and all the goodies. Late one night in midsummer he flipped his car on nearby Gallatin Road in front of the Tradewinds market. When the police arrived, his 8-Track player was still playing Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World". Honest. That song was past peak by that time but everyone was still listening to it on their 8-Tracks. To this day, every time I pass by that spot I remember Jimmy's wreck and hear "Jeremiah was a bullfrog .... "
-- David Lewis

How long has it been since I heard "Mighty Clouds of Joy" by BJ Thomas?
Thanks and hallelujah!
Phil @

Hey Kent,
Just a note to say that I really enjoyed that 1971 survey you included in the blog the other day. Those things really help to pinpoint a specific memory when you have an actual date to refer to.

That particular survey had some bittersweet memories for me as my father had passed away in April and I always remember how ironic it seemed that "It's Too Late" should be on the air at that time, as well as "Joy To The World" and "I Just Want To Celebrate", which made me think of how can there be these great songs and sentiments, when I'm feeling so down?
Later that year, several albums helped to save my sanity, McCartney - Ram, Santana III and Chicago - Live at Carnegie Hall. I sat and listened to those albums / 8-track tapes with headphones on over and over again and just forgot all my troubles. I still have those albums and the Santana 8-track (no longer playable) and of course have long since replaced them on CD. Even though those songs have bittersweet memories, I still love the music from that time period because it helped me get thru a very difficult time.
A little over a year later, in June of '72, my mother passed away as "Lean On Me" and "Alone Again, Naturally" were at the top of the charts. Irony anyone?
Kent, please include more of those surveys in the future, they are great!!
Growing up in Connecticut, we always listened to WABC and the surveys are very similar to what we heard.
Thank You So Much!!

Orange, CT

We're still hoping that a couple of the current 'LS jocks will pick up on our feature ... and maybe feature a couple of our weekly suggestions on the air. No nibbles yet ... but time will tell. Meanwhile, we've got a few more of these up our sleeves ... so hang tight! (kk)

(For a look at some of our initial 1964 Chart Reaction, scroll back to our July 16th, July 12th and July 10th postings! Looks like we may have another hit on our hands!!!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Few More Odds And Ends ...

Very pleased to see that you have presented so many nice words about my dear pal Gordon Waller
Thought you might appreciate the tribute I wrote to him on Huffington Post
And - on a related note - something I wrote about Walter Cronkite's part in the Beatles' US breakthrough.
Thanks for all you do!
Martin Lewis
A World Without Gord: A Salute to Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon
Tweet The Beatles!
How Walter Cronkite Sent The Beatles Viral - in 1963!
Wow, thanks for the kind words, Martin ... I appreciate that. (We were there the night you introduced Peter and Gordon from the stage at Beatlefest Chicago, 2006! What a GREAT show that was!)
And a VERY nice and fitting tribute, too ... Forgotten Hits Readers can read the whole piece via the links above. Thanks again! (kk)

I'm wondering how many people on the list checked out the new David Cassidy TV Series "Ruby And The RockIts" the other night. It truly is a "Family Affair", produced by Shaun Cassidy and starring both David and Patrick Cassidy. The REAL star of the show, however, is young Alexa Vega, who sounds just about as contemporary as can be as David's long-lost daughter. (We've included her new song "Lost In Your Own Life", which I'm predicting is going to be a pretty good-sized hit.) The idea of David Cassidy being a 1988 superstar is a bit of a stretch ... by then, his career peak was nearly twenty years behind him ... but it's done in a fun-enough fashion that makes the whole thing watchable. (Now they've just got to get rid of that incredibly annoying laugh-track!!!) In all fairness, Cassidy DID enjoy a surprise "comeback hit" in 1990 when "Lyin' To Myself" hit The National Top 30. Some of you may remember that it was sent as a "blind track" to radio stations all over the country to see if they would play it without knowledge of who the artist was. (Being David Cassidy in 1990 was more of a career determent than a plus sign!!!) Surprisingly, the record took off and was headed up the charts when Enigma Records closed their doors, ending all sales and distribution. Too bad ... it's really not a bad record! (kk)


Hey Kent -
Just wanted to pass along some info regarding the upcoming New Colony Six concert this Sunday (July 26, 2009) in Lake Zurich, Illinois ...
Ray Graffia e-mailed me yesterday to inform me that at this Lake Zurich, IL, NC6 concert, original NC6 keyboardist Craig Kemp will be sitting in with the New Colony.

Craig is a super guy, and still a phenominal keyboard player. (As both YOU & I witnessed at Ray Graffia's NC6 Reunion Party in April 2008).
This is a very rare appearance by Craig, and with TWO original NC6 members on stage (Craig & Ray), this promises to be a very exciting treat for any of the FH folks who are planning to attend.
Sure wish that I could be there, but unfortunately, not possible.
Thanks for passing this info along ...

Jerry Schollenberger
Yep, this should be a special evening ... be sure to check out the official New Colony Six website for more details:
Click here:

Meanwhile, The Rip Chords just finished a stint in Las Vegas working with former Beach Boy Al Jardine. Mitch Schecter let us know that things went great!
Hey Kent ...
Just got back from Las Vegas and our show with Al Jardine and The Endless Summer Band at The Cannery Casino. The show was great ... a complete sellout!
We were invited back onstage for Al's encore ... and the place was really rockin'.
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

We're going to have to stop at The Cannery next time we're there ... they seem to really cater to many of the artists we feature here in Forgotten Hits ... and we've heard REALLY good things about the enthusiastic crowds attending these concerts. Thanks, Mitch! (And don't forget Al Jardine has a new LP coming out ... and that Dean Torrence with The Surf City All-Stars will be performing here next week in land-locked Elk Grove Village, IL!!!) kk

>>I had a dream the other night. I was with Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon -- we were re-living the 'glory days.' :) Every once in a while Dennis Wilson or Carl will appear in a dream. Odd how certain folks we know appear larger than life even though they're gone. (Fred Vail)

Howard Kaylan phoning in with that piece is priceless.
You gotta understand ... I love the Mothers during that phase ... I subjected Trish to the whole 'Just Another Band From LA' record the other night ... Billy The Mountain, Eddie Are You Kidding (Written by Howard, and that would be cool to hear at Turtles' shows as well as Keep It Warm) ... even that naughty-ass song Magdelena ... which Howard actually collaborated with Frank on.
I gotta see his movie, that's all there is to it. God bless him, and God bless Mark Volman. Two of my favorite people.
I dunno how you got Howard Kaylan to become a member, but God bless the both of you.
The movie is a whole lot of fun if you're a fan of this era of music. Probably a bit hard to find as a rental (as it appeals to a very specific audience) ... but I know that it's available through Collectors' Choice and
As for Howard Kaylan participating with Forgotten Hits, I think I just invited him one day ... have ALWAYS loved his music (Frannie and I are HUGE Turtles fans ... and I think Howard Kaylan's is one of the BEST, most over-looked and under-appreciated voices of the '60's) and he's participated now and again ever since ... most famously when he made his no-holds-barred comments about the selection process of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (I know that a number of deejays around the country picked up on THAT story and were reading our column live over the airwaves ... which, in turn, resulted in MY appearing on a number of radio programs discussing our series.) Every now and again, I'll ask Howard something ... or send him a clip ... and, if the mood strikes him, we'll hear back. GREAT guy ... like I said, we're big fans.
In fact, just recently, Frannie and I were driving out somewhere when "You Baby" came on the radio ... of course we IMMEDIATELY began singing along with the record ... and I wondered out loud if Howard Kaylan does the same thing when HE hears it come on the radio ... because, let's face it, EVERYONE else in the whole wide world sure does!!! Maybe he'll see this and drop us a line!!! (lol) kk

Hi Kent -

After reading your comments on Shel Silverstein, I pulled up an interview we did with his Nephew Mitch Myers. I love that a Jewish guy from Chicago wrote one of the great Irish Folk songs: The Unicorn by The Irish Rovers. I love that he wrote for Playboy and also wrote my favorite books when I was a kid. I also love the story about "A Boy Named Sue."
Here's what Mitch told us:In those days in Nashville, and for all the people that would visit, the most fun that anyone really could have would be to go over to someone's house and play music. And they would do what one would call a "guitar pool," where you grabbed a guitar and you played one of your new songs, then someone else next to you would grab it and do the same, and there were people like Johnny Cash or Joni Mitchell, people of that caliber in the room. Shel sang his song "Boy Named Sue," and Johnny's wife June Carter thought it was a great song for Johnny Cash to perform. And not too long after that they were headed off to San Quentin to record a record - Live At San Quentin - and June said, "Why don't you bring that Shel song with you." And so they brought the lyrics. And when he was on stage he performed that song for the first time ever, he performed it live in front of that captive audience, in every sense of the word. He had to read the lyrics off of the sheet of paper that was at the foot of the stage, and it was a hit. And it wasn't touched up, it wasn't produced or simulated. They just did it, and it stuck.The full interview is here:

Be Well,
Carl Wiser
Although Shel Silverstein had a very loyal following, he is another one of those artists who I feel never really got his due. We'll feature Johnny Cash's BIGGEST Pop Hit today, too ... "A Boy Named Sue" from 1969 ... ANOTHER one you never hear on the radio anymore, despite its #2 chart performance! (Hey, we don't need or want to hear "A Boy Named Sue" often ... three or four times a year will still give it that "WOW" impact we keep talking about ... but not playing a #2 smash at all doesn't make ANY sense to me!!!) kk

We've heard from a couple people on the list now, wondering what the current status of this much-talked-about film is. Several folks on the list had ordered copies before Christmas of last year, only to have their money refunded because the film was going back in for more editing. Then the big National Enquirer Story broke about the film telling the REAL story about Dick Clark's business dealings during the early days of American Bandstand (and the whole radio payola scandal.) Seems like THAT would have been the PERFECT time to release this film and capitalize on all the additional publicity this article generated ... but STILL no film!!! So we asked producer Shawn Swords "What's Up?!?!?" Here's what he had to say:
Hi Kent
I was going to contact you when we announced distribution. We have had
a few distribution offers, but most are backloaded and we aint going that
way. HBO asked for a screener today and we're going to contact several cable
and theatrical indy distribution companies this week and early next week.
If nothing materializes within ten days then we will pursue some of the offers
currently on the table. I will send you an update within a few weeks. Hope
you're well.
Best -

es, please do keep us posted. (Obviously we've stirred up quite a bit of anticipation regarding this one ... and the fans can't wait to see it!!!) kk

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And, In Other Concert News ...

Just a quick reminder that our buddies, The Cryan' Shames, will be appearing this evening at Bensenville's Music In The Park Series. (Jeez ... when's the last time that it DIDN'T rain on a Wednesday around here?!?!?) Hopefully everything will go off as planned ... they should take the stage right around 7:30 PM. (kk)

Trish and I caught Todd Rundgren out here last month ... third time in a row we've seen him here ... with Front Row seats each time ... and it was just a few days before his 61st birthday.
I've seen Todd Rundgren maybe eleven times dating back to '77 when he had the big pyramid thingey and walked up it playing a guotar solo ... if that ain't 'over the top', I dunno what is!
This last show kicked ass. They opened with oldies like 'Black Maria' and and that D minor 7th tune ... oh yeah ... I Saw The Light ... absolutely great. Then they played the whole new record 'Arena' (which I think is his best since his 70's hey-day) minus two of the shorter pieces due to time restrictions. I actually ran into Jesse Gress on my way up to the room to 'prepare' (hehe) before the show ... he was coming out, I was going in.
Of course, I recognized him. I had to speak. I go, "Jesse!" He was totally cool ... asked me if I was coming to the show ... I go, "Yeah, front and center!" That was cool. Later, just before the show, Trish and I were playing slots, killing time till 'showtime', when another familiar face strolls across nearby us. I had to do it. I go "Hi, Todd!" He turned around, put his hand up and gave Trish and I a big smile. Then he went on to put on one of the best shows I've ever seen him do.
Todd Tin Tear

We heard ALL kinds of good things from folks here locally who saw Billy Joel and Elton John perform together at Wrigley Field this past week. (Now THAT'S a show I would have LOVED to have seen!!!) They've still got a few dates left on this "Piano Men" go-'round ... hope to hear from some of our readers who also got to see this exciting show. Send us a review of the show and we'll run it in Forgotten Hits!!! (kk)

Kent ...
Sir Paul McCartney is performing the last of his three concerts tonight at Citi-Field.
Citi-Field is the home of our Mets. Safe to say that Sir Paul has more hits than The Mets.
Here in New York, we're thinking that if they want to fill Citi-Field to capacity - the way The Mets are playing - they should forget about Baseball and just use it for concerts.
If you haven't guessed, i'm a Yankee Fan.
Frank B.
Actually, I heard Sir Paul put on some REALLY good shows there ... talking about The Beatles' first trip to Shea Stadium ... dedicating songs to John and George, including a VERY moving rendition of "Here Today", the song he wrote for John from his "Tug Of War" album. (I also heard the shows are being filmed and recorded for yet another live release ... what would that be now, something like McCartney's 20th live album / video release?!?!?) kk

We saw The Beach Boys at Ravinia last night ... complete sell out ... and they sounded AWESOME!!! In fact, I had to walk up to the stage a couple of times to see if that was really Mike Love singing! Great show ... and the crowd LOVED them!!! Nicki

Lol ... yeah, the last few times we've seen Mike Love, he could barely muster a raspy whisper ... is it possible The Beach Boys are using some sort of "enhancement" to augment their shows these days??? (Maybe Mike's borrowed a page from the Britney Spears Book on Public Performing???) Anybody know for sure? Great to hear that they can still rev up the crowd ... now that Brian's been touring with HIS incredible band, we haven't been to a Beach Boys show in years! (Al Jardine's new venture sounds really interesting ... we'll have to keep tabs on that one, too!) kk

... and, speaking of Surf Sounds ...

Actually, it's the first I've heard of this show. (Would be kinda cool to see ... a couple of The Surf City All-Stars are on our FH Mailing List, too ... I wonder if Bob Greene will be stopping by???) Let me see what else we've got going that night ... weather permitting, it might be a REAL fun fun fun way to spend an evening! (kk)

>>>What everyone doesn't know is Blood, Sweat and Tears had played the night before and wanted to hear Columbia's new rock / jazz / fusion group. They sat directly in front of us. I believe the crying started after "Saturday In The Park!" It poured Blood, Sweat and massive amounts of tears. (John Marks)
With all apologies to my apparent fellow Corpus Christian John Marks, it looks as though the timeline has slightly blurred a bit over the years. "Saturday in the Park" didn't become part of the Chicago repertoire until 1972; Hendrix died in 1970. Doubtful they would have played a version of this tune to open for Jimi in Houston or elsewhere. I'm sure there were plenty of other tunes played by CTA that day to get the BS&T boys lookin' over their shoulders, so to speak.
... Ed44
I noticed that, too ... the giveaway was Hendrix's death in 1970. And although CTA WAS starting to make some musical waves in '68 / '69, 1969 was Blood, Sweat and Tears biggest year EVER!!! Honestly, I don't think they had too much to worry about just yet ... the CTA album didn't really take off until after Chicago II had been released. (kk)

>>>CTA warmed up the Houston crowd in introduction (God, it was all just perfect, yes?) to Hendrix. I was there from Corpus, you were there, everyone was there.What everyone doesn't know is BS&T had played the night before and wanted to hear Columbia's new rock / jazz / fusion group. They sat directly in front of us. I believe the crying started after "Saturday In The Park!"
(John Marks)
I'll admit I'm a bit lost in the above comments, so maybe it's my misunderstanding, but it sounds as if he's talking about a time when Chicago - still as CTA - was new on the scene, which would be circa 1969, but then he mentions "Saturday In The Park", which was from 1972. What am I missing?
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
I think this one confused a few of us, Gary!!! Some mixed and / or jumbled memories, to be sure! (kk)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More On Gordon Waller ... and Peter and Gordon

We received a fair number of additional tributes to Gordon since the news of his passing broke last Friday ... and thought that we would share just a few of those with you today.
Gordon, you will be missed ... and the music of Peter and Gordon will continue to live on. (Hopefully now they'll play some of THEIR Forgotten Hits ... things like "Woman", "Lady Godiva" and "Knight In Rusty Armour" ... all bonafide Top 20 Hits ... have been missing from the airwaves for far too long. (kk)

OK, what was I thinking?!?!
I should have sent you these pictures last week from Super Bowl Sunday, 2009, watching the game and yes, having a drink (I don't do that often) with Gordon Waller and Terry Stewart, President of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Yes, Rewind will be running a special on Gordon ... we did a great interview together.

Speaking of great, Maurice Starr (New Kids on the Block and New Edition Producer) joined me for my tribute to Michael Jackson and it can be heard on Page One of the Rewind Show web site. Sorry I have not sent much e-mail but I am doing three radio shows a week plus tons of gigs.
OK, one more thing before I forget ... Johnny Contardo (Lead Singer of Sha Na Na) and I will be doing a Rewind Dance Party Tour together. If anyone is interested in having us do a hop for you, let me know.
Jimmy Jay
Gordon Waller never made it a secret that he enjoyed spending more than a few hours at the pub ... that had to be a fun night, Jimmy ... thanks for sharing! (kk)

Charlie Gracie, Jr. also sent me pictures of his dad with both Gordon Waller and Peter Asher ... BOTH of whom were BIG Charlie Gracie Fans. (In fact, at a recent show in Philadelphia, Gordon performed Charlie's two biggest hits, "Butterfly" and "Fabulous" in Gracie's honor!!!)
GORDON WALLER -- of the famed British Invasion duo PETER & GORDON -- passed away today (8/17) at the age of 64! The GRACIE FAMILY extends its heartfelt condolences to GORDON'S family and to our friend, PETER ASHER. The guys were long time fans of Charlie's, dating back to the early days when Charlie began performing in Great Britain. Late last year, the guys invited the entire Gracie Family to their Philly-region concert -- a great honor ... and they put on a wonderful show! GORDON WALLER actually treated Charlie to his own versions of BUTTERFLY and FABULOUS that night -- something we will treasure for a long time to come. Here's to the "Everly Brothers of the British Invasion," as they were often dubbed. Again, our hearts go out to the family, friends and fans of Gordon Waller a wonderful man and musician. May God Bless his soul!

Charlie Gracie, Jr.

I was so sad to see this this morning. I was just watching the Walter Cronkite stuff on "Sunday Morning" including his comments about showing the Beatles first on US TV (which is actually incorrect). I felt sad about Walter, because he was important to MY DAD! My dad came home from his 9-5 job and always had to watch the news on TV, which usually sent me to my room to dig local top 40 music.
Now, reading about Gordon's demise, I feel MY LOSS! Walter was important to me later as I grew to appreciate what I had back then, but I ALWAYS have appreciated Gordon's music, and thus, it is more of a personal loss for me than Walter Cronkite.
Gordon was the main voice of the Peter and Gordon duo. When I play the opening lines "Just you know why.." on "True Love Ways", it gives me chills. Same with "Why can't you see..." on "To Know You Is To Love You". The opening word in "Woman" just made you want to hear what words were next. He could rock as he did on "Woman"'s B side, "Wrong From The Start" written by them. They were not as good as Chad and Jeremy at live performances it seemed back then, but on record, with strings and Spector-ish productions, they were awesome. It all fit with Gordon's booming voice.
The fun in the faux opening of "You've had Better Times" and even their Capitol 1969 swan song 45, "I Can Remember" chanting "With you here to guide me and stand close beside me ... " may have been outdated by that time, but still was great to hear for us who grew up loving Peter and Gordon music.
In the 90's, I was a member of the Peter and Gordon Fan Club and Gordon was the mainstay of commentary for the group. Christmas messages and then his reuniting a few times with Peter this past decade kept him visible.
Peter struck gold in the last decades, while Gordon did not. Still, Gordon seemed to embrace his past as a rock star and he will be remembered by all as a great booming voice of the British Invasion not to be equaled.
Rest in peace, my music buddy!
Clark Besch
Covering a few points in your email ... as I recall, Walter Cronkite WAS, in fact, the first to show The Beatles in America ... on a very brief news clip showing the pandemonium going on at a British Airport ... this pre-dated Jack Paar's airing of a similar newsreel clip ... ALL of this before their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Because these were PERFORMANCE videos, they are often forgotten or discounted ... but the truth is, SOME of the media HAD picked up on Beatlemania BEFORE many of us kids discovered it.
I've got some GREAT video clip appearances of Peter and Gordon from various TV appearances in the early and mid-'60's ... ALWAYS very powerful performances. Peter Asher's statement that Gordon was the singer and he was just the "harmony guy" was pretty accurate ... of course it was Peter Asher's connection to Paul McCartney that brought the duo their first round of success ... and it was Peter Asher who went on to fame and fortune as a mega-producer for artists like Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor ... Gordon instead pursued more of an actor's vocation, hitting from time to time on various British television and theatrical productions. Seeing the two of them perform at Beatlefest a few years back was AMAZING ... I am SO glad we went to see that show, something I was too young to do when these guys were at their peak.

And "Woman" and "True Love Ways" are amongst our all-time Peter and Gordon favorites ... we're featuring BOTH of these great tunes here today ... and hoping that some of the deejays on the list will do the same!
As I mentioned before, Gordon would participate with Forgotten Hits from time to time and it was ALWAYS a pleasure to hear from him. Yes, he will be missed. Hopefully, radio will help keep his memory alive by playing some of the classic Peter and Gordon recordings that we don't get to hear all that often anymore. (kk)

Speaking of Gordon Waller (I was a big fan of Peter and Gordon and of Peter's Linda Ronstadt productions) and I thought this might be of interest:
I've had a copy of the attached tune since around 1965. It's from a Jerry Naylor session on which I played rhythm guitar with Peter and Gordon doing the vocal backup. They had done their own version of this song in 1964 and it appears on a Japanese import album titled "In Touch With ... ", released in 2003. The Jerry Naylor version was never released which makes no sense. The recording came from a demo disc, then to cassette, then to computer but you can get an idea how great it is.
Davie Allan
P.S. Thanks for posting my "Minnie" message. I'll be speaking at the celebration and they will be showing pics of Wayne as an "Arrow" and they will play the tune he sang that is on my new album.

This is a GREAT recording, Davie ... what a shame that it has been sitting in the vault for all these years. Thank you SO much for sharing this with our readers ... VERY heavy on the classic Peter and Gordon harmonies we all grew up knowing and loving. (kk)

Here again is Peter Asher's official statement after the passing of his long-time partner, Gordon Waller ...

Gordon played such a significant role in my life that losing him is hard to comprehend – let alone to tolerate. He was my best friend at school almost half a century ago. He was not only my musical partner but played a key role in my conversion from only a snooty jazz fan to a true rock and roll believer as well. Without Gordon I would never have begun my career in the music business in the first place. Our professional years together in the sixties constitute a major part of my life and I have always treasured them. We remained good friends (unusual for a duo!) even while we were pursuing entirely separate professional paths and I was so delighted that after a hiatus of almost forty years we ended up singing and performing together again more recently for the sheer exhilarating fun of it. We had a terrific time doing so. Gordon remains one of my very favourite singers of all time and I am still so proud of the work that we did together. I am just a harmony guy and Gordon was the heart and soul of our duo. I shall miss him in so many different ways. The idea that I shall never get to sing those songs with him again, that I shall never again be able to get annoyed when he interrupts me on stage or to laugh at his unpredictable sense of humour or even to admire his newest model train or his latest gardening effort is an unthinkable change in my life with which I have not even begun to come to terms.
-- Peter Asher

Here's a list of Peter and Gordon's Top 40 Chart Achievements:
1964 - A World Without Love (#1 USA, #1 UK, #1 Canada)
Nobody I Know (#12 USA, #10 UK, #13 Canada)
I Don't Want To See You Again (#16, Billboard, did not chart in the U
K, #38 Canada)
(above three written by Lennon - McCartney)
1965 - I Go To Pieces (#6, Cash Box, did not chart in the UK, #20 Canada)
True Love Ways (#13, Cash Box, #2 UK, #14 Canada)
To Know You Is To Love You (#24, Billboard, #5 UK, #33 Canada)
Baby I'm Yours (#19, UK ... did not chart in America or Canada)
1966 - Woman (#14, Billboard, #28 UK, #3 Canada)
(written by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym Bernard Webb)
Lady Godiva (#5, Cash Box, #16 UK, #2 Canada)
1967 - Knight In Rusty Armour (#13, Cash Box, did not chart in the UK, #5
Sunday For Tea (#22, Cash Box, did not chart in the UK, #26 Canada)
1968 - You've Had Better Times (#2 Canada, did not chart in the UK or America)
In addition, the duo hit #37 here in Chicago with their 1967 release "The Jokers", from the film of the same name, starring Michael Crawford.

I just found my ORIGINAL review of the Peter and Gordon performance we saw at Beatlefest back in 2006 ... along with a couple of related comments from that same issue. Here it goes again, '60's FLASHBACK style!!!

When it was first announced that Peter and Gordon would be performing at this year's Chicagoland Beatlefest (The Fest For Beatles Fans), I just KNEW that we'd have to attend this year. (It's been a long time since I'd been to Beatlefest ... and Frannie had NEVER been to one ... but THIS concert just sounded too good to be true.) As we've said SO many times here in Forgotten Hits, you need to go out and see these artists when the opportunity arises ... you just never know anymore how long they'll be with us ... or how often they'll tour. Thankfully, we were able to enjoy a GREAT opportunity to see two of the artists who SO shaped our lives while growing up listening to this music. Peter and Gordon are completing a world tour together and have several other dates scheduled around The United States ... check them out if you can ... you may not get another chance!!!

Yes, they have certainly gotten older ... and it's been a LONG time since they've gone out and performed together ... but the good news is that they've maintained a fair amount of charisma, a good sense of humor and enough of an ability to sing on-key most of the time that, as such, we really enjoyed seeing Peter and Gordon perform at Beatlefest this past weekend.
They performed nearly every Top 40 Hit they had (only Knight In Rusty Armour and Sunday For Tea were missing from the line-up) which includes, of course four Lennon and McCartney tracks given to the band while Paul was dating Peter's sister, Actress Jane Asher. In between, they kept us entertained with humorous anecdotes and, in fact, an earlier question and answer session that was most enlightening. (After Peter Asher had spent some time talking about how Paul McCartney lived at the Asher family home for a couple of years whenever The Beatles were in London ... and had even composed several songs there ... including the earliest "Scrambled Eggs" version of "Yesterday" right there on the premises ... Gordon Waller then told the audience that his all-time two favorite Beatles' songs were "I'll Follow The Sun" and "Things We Said Today" ... and that he asked Paul if, perhaps, he'd be willing to give THOSE two away for the duo to record. "No", Paul replied ... "John LIKES these two!!!" (Apparently Lennon didn't think "A World Without Love" was strong enough for The Beatles to record themselves ... so Paul gave the song to Peter and Gordon and it immediately went to #1 all over the world!!! Incredibly, The Beatles themselves wouldn't be doing sophisticated arrangements like that for a couple more years!)

They opened their show with my personal Peter and Gordon favorite, "I Go To Pieces", written by Del Shannon. Along the way, they did a VERY nice version of the Buddy Holly tune "True Love Ways" (ANOTHER favorite of mine), a GREAT live version of "Lady Godiva" (which Asher admitted he HATED when it was first presented to them and felt it would be a HUGE mistake to record the song ... however, once it became a Top Five worldwide hit, he says, he came to love it!!!) They recreated their "wall of sound" effect for their rendition of Phil Spector's "To Know You Is To Love You" and then closed the show (quite emotionally, I might add) with the Paul McCartney (or is that Bernard Webb???) tune "Woman", a song VERY near and dear to the hearts of both Frannie and myself. Gordon also talked a little bit about the Mike Smith Benefit Concert (which first reunited the duo) and said that it would soon be available for purchase on DVD. (Peter and Gordon then performed THEIR version of The Dave Clark Five classic "Because".) Another emotional part of the show was when "Breakfast With The Beatles" Radio Host Martin Lewis came out and read a telegram from Sir Paul himself congratulating the duo on reuniting and once again helping to prevent "A World Without Love". (By the way, Peter Asher is still quite active "behind the glass", too ... he just finished producing the brand new Diana Ross album, which will contain a version of Paul McCartney's White Album Track "I Will".)

-- Forgotten Hits, 2006

"True Love Ways" by Peter and Gordon is one of my all-time favorite Peter and Gordon tracks ... just a GREAT rendition of this song. In fact, this one JUST might be one of those ultra-rare remakes that actually outshines the original. Now that's taking NOTHING away from Buddy Holly ... but this is a pretty emotionally-charged, powerful reading by Peter and Gordon!!! (By the way, Frannie wants to know if, in fact, circa-1964 Peter Asher was actually the inspiration for the whole Austin Powers look! LOL Boy, after watching a few vintage videoclips this past weekend, he SURE does look like him!!!) kk

I even found a couple of follow-up pieces:
A while back I told you that we were fortunate enough to see Peter and Gordon perform at this year's Chicagoland Beatlefest. And I ALSO told you that they read a telegram from Sir Paul McCartney, congratulating the duo on reuniting. I just found a copy of the actual text from this statement and wanted to share it with you:
"What the world needs now is Peter and Gordon to sing their songs and remind us all of the fab years they are from. I'm very glad to hear that they have got together after these many moons and are going to help to make a world without love into a love-filled planet."

The YouTube clip showing their recent performance at The Mike Smith Benefit Concert has since been removed from the site ... however, you can find all kinds of OTHER Peter and Gordon videos posted on YouTube, including vintage television cuts as well as recent appearances from their various reunion tours:

Click here: YouTube - _Peter and Gordon

Meanwhile, we got THIS little note from Gordon Waller to share, too!!!
Hi Kent -
We are still waiting for the DVD news as to its release. I will keep you posted. Peter and I are however off to Toronto this week and planning to do a DVD from there .
Gordon Waller

The concert for the Mike Smith benefit had been recorded and the dvd was being pressed up when negotiations fell through and people who owned the publishing on songs wanted their money instead of letting all of the profits go to Mike, so they refused to let the DVD get released. Such a shame, I would've enjoyed it very much, and likely would've bought two copies, one for myself and one for a buddy of mine in California. tomd
Here's hoping that they can work out the legalities of this as I'm sure SEVERAL folks on the list would love to get their hands on a copy ... especially if the proceeds go to a good cause. (This is one of the most aggravating parts about the music business ... you get these artists together, willing to do something for a good cause ... give up their time and their talent ... put their hearts and souls into something ... and then the record companies have to get THEIR hands into the pot to take away part of the money. This is the music that these artists created in the first place ... yet they have NO rights to their own talent and compassion. They're not even allowed to perform a good deed. This was a CHARITY event, for God's sake!!! What is WRONG with these record labels?!?!?)

UPDATE: We later found out that Peter Noone had organized a collection of donations and "well wishes" that he was going to pass along to Mike Smith ... and was also trying to get him a specialized van to transport him and his medical essentials once he got out of the hospital. Several folks on our mailing list sent along their greetings and donations to this cause. Of course, Mike passed away just prior to The Dave Clark Five's induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last year ... and the benefit concert DVD STILL has not seen the light of day. (kk)

You've been talking to Gordon Waller, from Peter & Gordon?? Kent, do an interview with them!!! Holy heck, I love their music almost as much as I do Herman's Hermits!!! Lady Godiva, Woman, I Don't Want To See You Again, A World Without Love, I Go To Pieces, True Love Ways, Nobody I Know, Sunday For Tea, Knight In Rusty Armour ... all of them are classics. Since I'm part of the younger generation, I had to grow up with oldies radio rather than when these songs were the current hits of the day. When I started buying records with my own money (rather than having my mother buy them for me), A World Without Love was one of the first 45's I bought. I ended up giving it away to a friend of mine from Maine when we met in person for the first time 5 years ago. tomd
Yeah, I love their music, too ... it was a REAL treat to see them perform at Chicago's Beatlefest
a couple of months back. Hopefully, we'll talk with them some more once they get back from Canada ... so stay tuned!!! (kk)

When all was said and done, we probably talked to Gordon Waller two more times after the above pieces ran, both regarding the STILL as-yet-unreleased DVD of The Mike Smith Fund Raising Concert ... and we never did hear back from Peter Asher. Too bad ... I would have LOVED the opportunity to thank them BOTH for all the great musical memories they left us with. Like we keep saying, see your favorites while you can. We have lost SO much great talent these past few years ... don't risk regretting not seeing some of yours!!! (kk)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leftovers #54

Endless Summer Quarterly Editor / Publisher David Beard just let me know that Al Jardine, original founding member of The Beach Boys, will be appearing on Good Morning America THIS MORNING where he's expected to perform a track from his brand new solo album, "A Postcard From California". The LP includes special guest appearances by fellow Beach Boys Buds Brian Wilson, Mike Love and David Marks as well as contributions from David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, America, Flea, and Steve Miller. No official release date on the new CD ... but stay tuned to Forgotten Hits for more details. (My guess is that Al will ALSO sing his signature tune "Help Me Rhonda"!!!) kk

Meanwhile, David ALSO tells us about an upcoming ESQ Event that sounds absolutely AWESOME!

Endless Summer Quarterly Presents "A Pet Sounds Safari"
to benefit The Cornelius Animal Shelter Weekend
Date: September 11 & 12, 2009
Location: Cornelius and Davidson, NC
Includes: Friday night mixer
Midtown Sundries, Cornelius, NC (7 PM)
Saturday record show / convention
Homewood Suites in Davidson, NC (2 - 8 PM)
Saturday night mixer
Midtown Sundries, Cornelius, NC (9 - midnight)
Dean Torrence — A special 50th Anniversary Jan and Dean Show
David Marks — A career-spanning set
Special guests include: Billy Hinsche, Gary Griffin, David Logeman, Philip Barodwell and Jez Graham
Event exclusives:
A brand new Jan & Dean CD / DVD collectible set celebrating their 50th Anniversary
The premiere of the Surf City Allstars new CD, "Acoustic Vibrations"
"All-inclusive" weekend tickets and room reservations are available ...

COMPLETE details can be found on The Endless Summer Quarterly Website:
Click here: Endless Summer Quarterly


By the way, Forgotten Hits Subscribers received "Leftovers #54" via email this morning ... our monthly recap of "All The News That DIDN'T Fit" into our regular Forgotten Hits Newsletters.

Not a subscriber yet?!?!?


Just drop me an email at either:

And write the word "SUBSCRIBE" in the Subject Line

And we'll add YOUR name to our list of email customers!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Sunday Comments ( 07 - 19 - 09 )

Welcome to yet another edition of The Sunday Comments ... SUPER-SIZED ... and thank you for your continued support!!!

It's like McCartney-Mania has kicked up again with all the hoopla surrounding Paul's appearance on The David Letterman Show this past week. We got to see him perform two songs that night ... "Get Back" (ironically on top of the Marquee at The Ed Sullivan Theater, immediately reminiscent of The Beatles' final rooftop concert from the film "Let It Be" ... the last time ANYONE heard all four of the moptops perform together) ... and something off his new "Fireman" CD. Sound clips have been all over the radio lately ... Paul talking about the early days ... Michael Jackson ... performing "Yesterday" solo on The Ed Sullivan Show ... lots of cool clips ... and now additional unaired performances are starting to surface, too. We saw bits and pieces of "Back In The U.S.S.R." and "Band On The Run" on Entertainment Tonight ... and now there's a link for more unaired concert footage. You can check it out here:
Click here: Late Show with David Letterman on - Free Full Episodes & Clips, & Show Info
Check out Sir Paul singing "Let Me Roll It", "Coming Up" and "Helter Skelter", too, from his "On Broadway" mini-concert!

When you mentioned you were planning to do a 1971 survey, I instantly thought of "Sooner or Later" and "Don't Pull Your Love." Scott Shannon, Russ Spooner, John Young, Dick Kent, and the other WMAK jocks were playing "Sooner or Later" with the WMAK custom intro just about every hour during June and July of that year. I recall that summer as a summer packed with nights of cruising to many of the tunes listed on the WLS survey. We'd enjoy Scott until dark, then (sorry, Scott) switch to the Big 89. I remember hearing WLS from the open windows of innumerable cars as we cruised our favorite places, and it was probably 1971 that WLS was so popular here that a local Tennessee Honda dealer (Pug Vickers) bought spots on WLS.
1971 was also the first year I knew someone killed in a car accident. Jimmy Pack had a super hot '71 Chevelle SS396 complete with 8-Track and all the goodies. Late one night in midsummer he flipped his car on nearby Gallatin Road in front of the Tradewinds market. When the police arrived, his 8-Track player was still playing Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World". Honest. That song was past peak by that time but everyone was still listening to it on their 8-Tracks. To this day, every time I pass by that spot I remember Jimmy's wreck and hear "Jeremiah was a bullfrog ...."
David Lewis
I LOVE that WMAK-Intro version of "Sooner Or Later" ... again, it takes us back to a different time in radio when the stations that stood out did so because they did unique and creative things like this to MAKE them stand apart ... pretty much my whole point in yesterday's weekly radio rave-out. Sharing it again for those who may have missed it the first time around ... even though I didn't grow up hearing it played this way on the air, it has stuck in my head ever since you first shared it with us ... proof again what an impact this type of creative radio-programming can have on its listeners. Thanks, David! (kk)

Hey Kent,
A couple of Cool things happening at Cool Scoops!

1- The Travel Channel just filmed Samantha Brown's Great Vacation Show with special guest Chubby Checker.
Here are a few pictures for the fans.

Chubby will be celebrating 50 years since the Twist was performed in Wildwood New Jersey in 1960.
We at Cool Scoops have some really great plans in the works for his anniversary in 2010.
In this episode Chubby taught Samantha Brown and all his fans at Cool Scoops how to Twist and do many other dances he created.
2 - The Fabulous Kit Kats will be here on August 8th to sign autographs and have a CD party at 4 pm here in Cool Scoops ... special performances are promised. These guys rocked Wildwood in the mid 60's to early 70's. Their International Hits ... "Let's Get Lost On a Country Road" and "Won't Find Better than Me" are just two of the songs they are known for.
At 7:30 pm I will be presenting them with a Special "Wildwood Music Award" at the Lou Booth Amphitheatre in North Wildwood with special musical guests The 1910 Fruitgum Company. All of these events are FREE !
We invite all the fans to come see these heroes of Rock and Roll.

Yours in Coolness,
Paul Russo / Cool Scoops
Great news, Paul ... wish we could be there for all of this ... and even COOLER, Cool Scoops was just voted The Jersey Shore's FAVORITE Ice Cream Parlor AGAIN!!! WTG, you guys!!! (kk)
Thank you All for making Cool Scoops #1 again in 2009!
Paul Russo

Our Oldies Buddy Artie Wayne just passed a million hits on his website ... WTG, Artie!!! It's always interesting reading from a guy who was there ... now get that book out there so we can read the REST of the story!!! (Your support of OUR little website venture is truly appreciated as well ... thank you, Artie!) Congratulations again! (kk)

Click here: THANK YOU FOR ONE MILLION HITS! « Artie Wayne On The Web

I was in the studio of http// with three others when the news of Michael Jackson's death was announced. OK! I get it! He was a well known for many things. Some good, some not so good. I have liked some of the early music by the Jackson 5. And, even some from Michael's solo career. I don't dispute that the man had talent. Not to mention, enough money to obtain anything his heart desired. They call him the KING OF POP. And, whoever "they" are has the right to an opinion.
I must be honest! I found the pre-empting of normal TV and radio programming for his memorial service and, the public being able to to enter a lottery online to win tickets to the same service to be a bit much. In my humble opinion, many who perhaps won these glorified invitations, probably would have never gone to see Michael Jackson in concert.
With that said, I must voice my thoughts on "musical geniuses". Did we watch Buddy Holly, John Lennon, George Harrison or Roy Orbison's funerals? These people, with the possible exception of John, were hardly mentioned after their deaths. I don't even recall if Elvis' memorial was shown, but I think we have enough news channels available to us that regular television / radio could have broadcast this as part of their regular programming. I feel that the only time broadcasting should be interrupted is when the news involves a member of our top government officials.
If I had to choose someone who has influenced the world of rock music the most, although it is a difficult choice, I would think that more people have re-recorded the songs and style of Buddy Holly. Buddy had no clue that rock and roll would become such as it has.
I do not believe there was a day the music died.
J. Howard

The low-down you gave on Michael Jackson just floored me, so I had to write. I gotta tell you that you nailed it right on the head. To me, I always thought he was a great dancer ... and he sang his butt off as a kid on tunes like "I Want You Back" and "I'll Be There" ... these songs still have staying power ... even "Ben" is great if you forget about the subject matter (hehe) ... but honestly, I was never crazy about much he did solo ... that's just me. I like the African bit at the end of "Wanna Be Starting Something" ... that's pretty jamming ... but that's about as far as it goes.
Todd Tin Tear

Thank you, Kent, I thought I was the only one tired of hearing about M J - I almost stopped reading your Sunday comments when you started talking about Michael - now I'm glad I didn't, how long before the Michael Jackson sightings start?

Michael is STILL all over the news ... by now, I'm sure we've all probably seen the up-close-and-personal film of Michael's hair catching on fire during the filming of his Pepsi Commercial. Now comes word that there's closed-circuit surveillance video footage of his death!!! The always desperate-for-attention LaToya now says that Michael was murdered and the official "cause of death" / toxicology report is about to be released ... all in all, it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Meanwhile, Michael's #1's Album has been #1 for three straight week, his radio airplay is up nearly 1800% and his music is selling like CRAZY ... literally MILLIONS of units each week. Hopefully this will provide for a secure future for his children and pay off some of his ridiculous debt. (Hmm ... I wonder if McCartney will offer to buy back the rights to his Beatles catalog!!! I heard last week that it is currently valued at over $400 Million!!! And with their complete body of work being re-released in September, it'll only go up from there. All of a sudden, Michael's $47 Million Investment sounds like a pretty shrewd business deal indeed!!!) kk

Curious to see if ANYONE has responded to Berry Gordy's statement during the JACKO service that "Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer of all-time." A bit over the top in my humble opinion. More on that one later.
Fred Vail

Honestly, no, I haven't really heard any negative criticism on that. Certainly it's something that one would say at a time like this ... even if you happen to be the guy who let The Jacksons slip away and didn't recognize their true talent and potential. (Berry Gordy's GOOD decisions still outweigh his bad decisions however!!!)

Entertainment Weekly speculates that more kids learned the "i before e except after c" rule from The Jackson Five than the classroom. Meanwhile, TV Guide recently broke down the history of pop music into three distinct eras ... first you had Elvis, which carried us through for about eight to ten years, changing our feelings about sexual liberation and racial integration, all of which lasted until the second era started with The Beatles and all that they brought to the table, including our changes in culture and fashion and experimental sound styles that reverberated for twenty years, echoing into the Springsteen, U2 and Prince eras and then there was Michael, who has influenced EVERYTHING since. TV Guide writes, "The third explosion was 'Thriller', Michael Jackson's 1982 album --- the best selling record of all time and an album that invented the pop world we are still living in more than 25 years later. 'Thriller' remerged pop music with mainstream entertainment. After 20 years of anti-glamour, pop became again what it had been before the '60's: part of show business. After 'Thriller', pop was about not just how you sounded but how you looked, how you dressed, how you danced. Michael Jackson ushered in a new era after the long reign of counterculture. He did Pepsi commercials and met with President Reagan. He did not pretend not to care about commercial success -- he wanted to break all the old records. Michael did not idolize Dylan and Hendrix -- he idolized Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney. The Michael Jackson model has ruled pop music for 25 years and it shows no sign of ending. He made the world safe for MTV and Madonna, 'Flashdance' and 'Footloose', Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. A student of P.T. Barnum, Jackson courted crazy rumors and publicity stunts -- and at some point that hunger for tabloid headlines turned on him. He fed a beast and the beast turned around and bit him. At some point Michael seemed to forget about being a musician and got lost in being a star." TV Guide goes on to say "One crucial fact often gets overlooked in all the statistics and hype and hoopla: Michael Jackson was amazingly talented. And now that he's gone, once the gossip and the exploitation and the vultures pass by, the music he made is what will remain." Pretty well written, I think ... kudos to Bill Flanagan for capturing a perspective on this that some of us have chosen to ignore. (kk)

Sharing this ... Darrell "Shifty" Powers, 101st Airborne ... Band of Brothers

There were no tributes at the Staples Center -- but we can share and launch our own internet tribute!

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen "Band of Brothers" on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat. Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made. Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945" ... at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the five training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy ... do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped. I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was.

At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem." I was standing with a genuine war hero ... and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day. I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach. He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall to wall, back to back, 24x7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way.

Please pass this along to everyone you know ... especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing." -- Roberto Clemente
(submitted by Charlie Gracie, Jr.)

Sorry to hear about Drake Levin. Worked many a date with him and the group.
Fred Vail

In this clip, Ray Graffia, Jr. of The New Colony Six talks about living in the same place at Paul Revere and the Raiders in LA. Check at approx 7:30 in the video.
David Lewis

Click here: YouTube - ( Ray Graffia ) New Colony Six 6 04 09
That's from their show right here in Schaumburg last month ... crystal clear video!!! Thanks, David! (kk)

By the way, Ray and I discussed The Raiders connection in our New Colony Six Series a few years ago ... and how odd it was that two groups wearing colonial uniforms would be sharing the SAME residence trying to make it out in California at the time. Here is an excerpt from that interview in yet another one of our infamous '60's FLASHBACKS:
FORGOTTEN HITS: When did the colonial uniforms come into play? Who designed them? Have you still got yours tucked away in mothballs somewhere?RAY GRAFFIA, JR.: Instantly - we purchased Waiters' coats and added lace to the ends of the sleeves, added jabots (look it up in the dictionary ...), (actually, I did: "a ruffle worn down the front of a dress or shirt" LOL) the knee-high black boots and the white pants, viola - looking like colonial dudes ... sort of. Later on, we had a seamstress work with us and come up with fancy schmancy versions, but eventually abandoned them due to criticism of our apparent rip-off of the Raiders (but we both had the look when we lived in the same dwelling in LA so your guess is as good as mine as to who came up with it first) and went to the double-breasted navy blue civil war jackets on the Colonization cover. When we started the reunion band in 1988, our bass player wore my original Waiters' coat, but I never got it back from him - c'est la vie ... but I do still have the brocade Nehru jacket from the Revelations album - and it still fits!
FH: So it's true that during that trip to Hollywood you guys actually shared a duplex with Paul Revere and the Raiders? How weird was that ... that BOTH groups would take on the "revolutionary" look ... and wouldn't you think that by 1968 Gary Puckett and the Union Gap would have realized that it'd all been done before?!?!?

RAY: My comments on this appear above, complete with my own use of the word "weird" - great minds think alike, or so I've heard!
FH: Where did this criticism come from? (Other than from The Raiders
themselves, I mean!!!)
RAY: Probably more self-inflicted than anything else. We did not want to appear as though we were Raiders' wannabes, hence abandoned the red jackets, white slacks and high boots for the Colonization album look, and, after a bit of time, to the "everybody does their own wardrobe" - no-outfit-coordination days.
FH: Tell me more about this whole situation ... was it sort of a friendly competition between the two bands?
RAY: We really didn't compete much - weren't there long enough to become competitors, and we did not wind up auditioning for many of the same gigs, so we knew who they were and they knew us, but until they hit it and we sort of made a dent musically, there was nothing to compete over - with the exception of the outfits.
FH: Obviously, they scored the "Where The Action Is" gig shortly after that (in fact, one of the people on my FH mailing list is the son of one of the original producers of that program ... I've been trying for YEARS to get access to some of those old tapes!) Once they landed that job, were there any attempts to get you guys on the show? (Or was the whole colonial / revolutionary costume thing perceived as more of a conflict of interests at the time?)
RAY: I believe they landed that right before we headed back to Chicago - so as to get to our freshman college classes, since it was apparent at the time that we were not going anywhere if we stayed in CA. At least that was our cumulative perspective - that we were failures.
FH: Even the idea of a bunch of "kids," really, packing up and moving out to California to try to make it was pretty bold ... again, must have been some pretty firm belief in your abilities.
RAY: At 18, this was an adventure - and of course we were sure that stardom was right around the corner - and how could one turn down the chance to possibly hook up with some of those California honeys ...
FH: How disheartening was that, coming home without a major deal?
RAY: I personally was crushed, and I think that was the common sentiment, but we did not give up - kept on keepin' on, as they say, and then my dad did his thing with the record company and studio time. Once "I Confess" was in the can, it almost instantly got airplay and things got pretty hectic in a hurry after that.


We recently told you about the passing of Wayne Allwine, long-time voice of Mickey Mouse ... and former member of Davie Allan's Arrows. Well, Davie just sent us a copy of this note that he receieved from Russi Taylor, Wayne's widow ... who just happens to ALSO be the voice of Minnie Mouse!!! (Yes, Mickey and Minnie were married in REAL life, too!!! lol) kk

You can imagine what I felt when I received this!


(From Russi Taylor ... Mrs Wayne Allwine / voice of "Minnie Mouse"):


Thank you for the note you sent. I know it would mean a lot to Wayne to have the album dedicated to him. How wonderful of you to do that.

I wanted to let you know there is a "Celebration of Wayne's Life" to be held at Disney Studios in the Legend's Plaza on July 27th. If you wanted to say a few words that would be fine. If you wanted to play something that would be fun and fine. No pressure, though. Mostly I would just really love it if you would be there if you can.

I'm also hoping that you will stay in touch with me even though Wayne is gone. I enjoy hearing about the things you are doing and I'm glad you're still out there doing what you love to do.

All the best to you and a big hug,


Frannie and I just saw ANOTHER great music film, "My Dinner With Jimi", written by Howard Kaylan of The Turtles and produced by Harold Bronson of Rhino Records. (We've been talking about this one for a while now ... it did VERY well on the Film Festival circuit and has FINALLY been released on DVD for home purchase. It's a VERY entertaining recollection about what it was like when The Turtles traveled to England in 1967 after "Happy Together" topped the charts all over the world ... and partied the night away with the likes of The Beatles, Graham Nash of The Hollies, Donovan and Jimi Hendrix. The music is OUTSTANDING (Rhino did a KILLER job with the mix) and the story of these guys spending the night out clubbing with their idols will take your breath away. (Sadly, after the image of Beatles-greatness was shattered for Turtles' guitarist Jim Tucker, he never played his instrument again!!! But then again Jimi Hendrix never wore that red velvet suit again either!!! lol) And, speaking of Jimi Hendrix, Kaylan's recollection of their sit-down is to die for. Exceptional kudos to actor Royale Watkins, who portrays Hendrix in a down-to-earth way we can only imagine. Kaylan himself is portrayed by actor Justin Henry, all grown up from his stint as the kid in "Kramer Vs. Kramer". Highly recommended to ALL our '60's fans out there, ESPECIALLY if you love The Turtles' music as much as we do. (I couldn't help but wonder how, under the circumstances of the era, Howard was able to remember ANYTHING about that night!!! But I guess under the circumstances of being awed by being in the presence of their musical heroes, something like this WOULD stick with you ... no matter HOW many Scotch and Cokes may have been consumed!!! lol And Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones asking Kaylan for HIS autograph is classic!!!) Seek this one out, folks, you WILL enjoy it!!! (Ironically, Frannie and I had just seen the purported funniest comedy of the year, "Bruno", earlier that afternoon ... and we both agreed that THIS film blows Bruno away ... even if it ISN'T heavy on male frontal nudity!!!) It's probably hard to find as a rental but IS available at all the usual outlets. You'll be glad you did! (kk)
Hi, Kent,

So glad that you finally got to see my little movie; I am so happy that you enjoyed it and that, perhaps, you will pass along the good vibrations to all of your loyal readers.I really DO remember these events vividly despite any residual grey matter losses. Hopefully, anyone who grew up in the sixties, or wish that they had, can identify with my fan-boy situation and meet the Beatles, Hendrix, and the other characters who made up my world back then.
Thank you, Kent, for vicariously being with me during my summer of love.
Howard Kaylan
"Luck favors the prepared mind"
Can you even IMAGINE a time when you could walk into a club and see the members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Turtles, The Monkees, Herman's Hermits and Donovan all just hanging out together??? Or walk into a restaurant at three in the morning in L.A. and run into members of The Mamas and The Papas, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds and The Lovin' Spoonful??? Man, what a different and exciting time this was ... of course, none of US lived in that same world ... but we are SO grateful that some of these artists have shared those memories with our readers so that, even for just a moment, we CAN live vicariously through their eyes. Thanks, Howard ... this is ALL part of what makes Forgotten Hits so rewarding!!! (kk)

And, ironically this just in, too, regarding The Turtles ... which ties in nicely with our NEXT piece titled "Good Show, Bad Show"!!!

You've given us Howard Kaylan ... I've seen Flo And Eddie by themselves 3 times ... used to put on a wonderfully funny show ... very satirical ... I think they even decided to bring back "Keep It Warm" (great tune) to play on their Turtles gigs. The standout for me was when they opened for Sparks New-Years Eve '76-'77 in Santa Monica ... GREAT show ... and, if you can believe it, Van Halen was the opening act! They didn't even have a record out yet. I was not quite yet 16.
We caught The Turtles out here in Las Vegas a couple of years ago when they were the opening act for another fellow you gave us ... Peter Noone.
Here's a little tidbit for you. We went to a 'Rock And Roll Oldies' show out here in Las Vegas back in 2004 and saw The Buckinghams, The Grass Roots, Tommy James and Herman's Hermits.
Trish and I grew up with that music ... although at 48 I remember it from when I was a wee pup from my sisters having the radio on quite a bit ... "Must To Avoid" and all that! They played this stuff on the radio all the time back then.
Anyway, after the show, the only one out there with a stand for giving autographs was Mr. Noone. Anyway, when we finally got up there to meet him ... I was pushing Trish in the wheelchair (she had a broken foot) ... Peter looks at me and goes "Eh, pushing her around, are you?" Great sense of humor! Cracked us up ... it was classic. We still have the T-Shirt he signed.

We met Peter after a local performance here shortly after our interview ran in Forgotten Hits and then in "The Beat", a British publication ... in fact, we were all supposed to have dinner together but plans fell through at the very last minute. If any of you recall, what prompted my contacting him in the first place was the fact that we had just seen him perform in concert one night a few summers ago and then both caught the same flight to California the following morning. When I had mentioned that we had "shared a flight" ... and that Frannie (at the time) worked for United Airlines ... it must have connected ... because several months later when we met him after a show (and I just happened to be wearing a blue and white striped shirt), Peter says "You look like YOU'RE the one who works for United!" Cracked us up. He seems VERY happy to be back in the "Herman" role and, as we've said numerous times now, puts on one of the best, most entertaining shows out there ... and at a free summer concert you REALLY get your money's worth. (Just kidding!) More on Peter below. (kk)

I read your comments about the new Jay and the Americans show and I have to agree. The new Jay can sing every bit as good as the previous Jays but the best part of the night is hearing the stories that the original members of the band tell about the way some of this music came their way. They are definitely worth checking out if they come back to your area.
Here's a link to their website ... no Chicagoland appearances in the near future, but I DO want to see them. I'll take NOTHING away from Jay Black ... that man can sing the roof off of a theater ... and ideally I'd like to see BOTH of these acts in concert as I've never had the pleasure to do so. Black's voice DEFINED the sound of Jay and the Americans ... but it IS nice to have three of their long-time members back onboard to tell those stories you mentioned. One of their 1965 hits opened the door for then-unknown songwriter Neil Diamond. About six months before he first charted under his own name as a singer / songwriter / recording artist, Jay and the Americans took his song, "Sunday And Me" into The National Top 20. It's another one of those GREAT, completely Forgotten Hits. We last featured this one a few years ago in our "Month Of Sundays" feature ... and I'll bet you haven't heard it played since. We'll rectify that today ... crank this one up ... it's a GREAT one. (Gerry Granahan, a FH List Member, produced this track for the band and told Ed Osborne, who wrote the liner notes to the brand new 3-CD Set of Jay and the Americans / United Artists Singles, "Neil Diamond was a hustler. He used to bug me every day. 'You gonna put it out as a single, you gonna put it out as a single?' He knew that he had a Jay Black song." Tailor-made, I'd have to say ... the PERFECT match of singer and song. Once Black sang "Cara Mia", there was no turning back ... the sound of Jay and the Americans had forever changed and been re-established as The Jay Black Sound! (kk)
Click here: Jay and the Americans

I just noticed Al Martino is performing this weekend at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee. Looks like a fun event.
David Lewis
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a spot for this announcement until it was too late ... but we've talked to Al a couple of times now in Forgotten Hits and can only say that if ANYBODY belongs at Festa Italiana, HE does!!! Glad to hear that he's still out there performing ... and making NEW music to boot! A quick check of the website also shows appearances by The Vogues (now THAT would be cool to see!) and Bobby Valli, Frankie's brother, doing a tribute to the songs of The Four Seasons! I've heard that this is a GREAT annual event ... we're going to have to try to make it up there next summer! (kk)

Peter Noone has always put on one of the best oldies shows around. It's a love-fest between artist and audience every time he performs. While he may sometimes come across as difficult and arrogant off the stage (as we witnessed in your interview with Peter a few years back), he always turns on the charm when the music comes on - and the fans love him for it. The Noonatics are a very loyal bunch - quite often they have pre-show get-togethers and Peter always signs autographs and mingles with the fans after his performance. Thank you for recognizing what a great talent he truly is.
LOL ... yeah, Peter CAN be a little difficult!!! (lol) And he's one of those artists we talked about the other day ... he actually had to LEAVE "Herman" for a while in order to appreciate what it all meant ... and once he decided to come back and EMBRACE this character he created, it was a win / win situation for everybody. Without a doubt, one of the BEST and most consistent oldies shows around. (Peter wrote us a while back when a couple of other artists mentioned being leery of coming in contact with their fans for fear of catching germs or a cough, cold or virus ... and basically said, "Good ... LET them stay away ... because then I'LL go out there and meet the fans after EVERY show and they'll remember what a good time it was and how nice it was to meet me.") He's right ... after our interview ran, several folks on the list wrote to Peter and told him how much they enjoyed the interview and appreciated his honesty ... and he wrote personal notes back to literally a couple of hundred of them!!! Now THAT'S good showmanship. Last year, he gave us a bunch of T-Shirts to give away because he LOVES to see people in the audience wearing a Herman's Hermits T-Shirt when he performs. Believe me, he knows ALL the right marketing moves and strategies ... and it pays off with TREMENDOUS turn-outs for his shows all over the country, all year long. If you haven't seen him lately, do yourself a favor and check him out ... you'll be glad you did (and you'll come home feeling 25 years younger, too!!! lol) kk

You are absolutely right when stating if you're paying anything to see a performer you should expect the best. Especially when you're paying outrageous prices to see them. Too many acts phone it in. That being said, it's actually a wonder that Gordon Lightfoot is still performing. He hasn't been well in the last few years. I saw him about 10 years ago and, to be honest, I don't remember anything about it, good, bad, or otherwise. Furthermore, when you have an act like Gordon, who's been around over 40 years, he's not going to do every song he's ever recorded. However maybe it's time that some of these acts remember how they got to be successful. It's the fans.
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)
Sadly, we've seen a few disappointing shows lately ... but also been completely blown away by others. (If The Eagles are going to charge $250 per ticket, then they'd BETTER bring down the house!!! lol) We've also seen performers "going through the motions" and recently wrote about the complete hissy-fit that David Cassidy threw on stage when some of his equipment wasn't functioning properly. All he had to do was stop the show, apologize for the inconvenience (which by that point was painfully obvious anyway), fix the problem and move on. The audience would have appreciated it and had a lot more respect for him had he taken the high road ... instead of chewing out his bass player in front of a crowded theater. We've seen artists perform drunk (or worse), showing little or no respect for their audience and it just needs to stop. Forgotten Hits is PROUD to help promote our long-time favorites who are still out there performing ... but you've got to EARN it ... and if part of our role here means that we have to become some sort of music monitor, then so be it. It's just TOO damn expensive to go to a lot of these shows anymore and, quite honestly, the older we get, the more trouble it becomes. So if we venture out to enjoy the nightlife, we expect not to be disappointed. Incredibly good shows we've seen lately include Joe Cocker and The Moody Blues ... we would have NEVER expected to be so blown away by these two, acts we might ordinarily not even have considered going to see. Pat Benatar and Richard Marx were outstanding at the last couple of Septemberfests, too. So please, continue to send us your reviews and let the oldies fans out there know which shows are "Can't Miss" and which ones are "Don't Waste Your Time". (kk)

Hey Kent!
I gathered you were a fan of "Easy Evil" so I thought I would send you our version, recorded in 1975. Thought you might like to hear it.
Take Care,
Gary Pike
The Lettermen

Wow, thanks, Gary ... it's a GREAT version ... and about the LAST thing I would expect to hear The Lettermen record. A real smooth arrangement with killer harmonies. What on earth prompted you guys to take a crack at this one?!?! As I said, the LAST track I expected to hear from The Lettermen. GREAT job ... please pass along our thanks and appreciation to the other guys. (I sent a copy to Alan O'Day, who WROTE the song and he couldn't agree more) kk

Hey Kent,

This is actually very well-done, good harmonies and they got the Electric Piano riff right. There were somewhere around 50 covers done on this song. Many thanks for re-kindling memories of the 70's yet again!
Alan O'Day

I wondered how prompted The Lettermen to even take on such a track ... as I said ... three times so far, in fact ... this is about the LAST thing I would expect to hear The Lettermen singing!!! So I asked Gary, who sent me this:

Hey Kent,
Either Alan or his publisher sent us a demo. I'm sure it was Alan singing on it and we liked it. We always put a few songs on our albums that we thought would cross demographics a little bit to let the audience know we weren't stuck in 1961. We knew we could achieve a more commercial sound so we did it.
Some stuff we did had a hint of the Eagles, Crosby-Stills-Nash and Young, even the Four Seasons ... also just new and different stuff. But most of the songs on the albums were for the fans that expected a certain sound, which wasn't bad but we liked to throw something in the mix a little different and "Easy Evil" was perfect. On the other song I sent you, "For No One", by the Beatles, we did the same thing they did with that horn solo in the middle. We slowed the track down to 16 ips and recorded a French Horn and then played back at normal speed and it sounds like a real, real mellow Trumpet. We had people asking us what in the world kind of horn did we use.. As you know since you're a big Beatles fan, they did this all the time.
In the future I'll send you some more of our stuff and you'll say ... Whaaaa???
Take care,


Thanks, Gary. We featured Alan O'Day's original demo for "Easy Evil" a while back in Forgotten Hits ... it sounds GREAT! And we just might feature The Lettermen's version of "For No One" somewhere down the line, too. (You just NEVER know what's going to pop up here in Forgotten Hits!!!) Thanks again for sending me these tracks. (kk)

... and, speaking of Alan O'Day ...

I said whaaat?
Gee, thanks for putting "Undercover Angel" on the website.
I can't get it out of my head and am singing it constantly.
Please don't put "The Night Chicago Died" on the site ...
If that one got stuck in my head, I could possibly go postal.
By the way, try Googling "Undercover Angel."
There seems to be a lot of discussion as to whether it is
about self-pleasurification or not. Yes, I did just invent that word.
What does Mister O'Day say about it.
Later -
Steve Sarley

Now see if you read the website every day, you'd already KNOW what Alan O'Day had to say about it!!!
In one of our more popular exchanges recently, we said 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!!!

Which, of course later prompted THIS:
Bear with me, I'm taking a moment to celebrate one of my connections to Pop Music History!
1977 - "Undercover Angel", by songwriter (turned pop singer) Alan O’Day, reached the top spot on the "Billboard" chart. It was not the first visit to the top of the pop music world for O’Day, though the million-seller would be his last as a singer. He wrote "Angie Baby", a number one hit for Helen Reddy and the #3 hit, "Rock And Roll Heaven", for The Righteous Brothers.
(Scroll down to "This Day in History", 1977. And where it reads "though the million-seller would be his last as a singer", add in the words "SO FAR"!!! heehee ... )
Sales: Approximately 2 million copies. And the Appetizers album will be released for the first time as a CD in Japan later this year!
Congratulations, Alan ... I'm encouraging ALL of our Forgotten Hits readers to masturbate in YOUR honor this evening!!! (kk)
I can hear them now ... "OOOO-OOOO-OOOO-WEEE!!!"
Thanks, Kent!

Freddy and Ron's "Down On Beale Street" is a great song! Every radio station in Memphis should be playing it. What a delightful collaboration, guys.Beale Street is still an interesting place after all these years. There's a guy who plays in B.B.'s place who does a killer performance of "Apache". You'd swear Jorgen Ingmann himself was there. And this story from a couple of days ago: David Lewis
Thanks, David ... it IS pretty good, isn't it??? I passed your note along to Freddy Cannon and Ron Dante ... and just got these back:

Thanks for the feedback.

Memphis is playing our song and we hope to spread it all over.
All the best,
Ronnie D.


... and, speaking of "Thanks" ...

re: THANKS!:
Hey Kent,

Well, again you brighten my Sunday! Thanks for the generous coverage of my "anniversary", including Artie's post. :)
Alan O'Day
Glad we could whack-off another one for you, Alan!!! Congrats on your "Undercover Angel" anniversary! (kk)

Always good stuff!

Great write-up Sunday – thank you so much!

And even more thanks for supporting the cause!
Rich Appel

I don't know how you do it, man! Thanks for making me feel like a Rock God again last week! We really do appreciate your support of the local Chicago music scene!
Jim Pilster / The Cryan' Shames

Maybe all of us FH lovers are excessively nostalgic ... but the truth is, the music truly helps us all cope. Thanks again for Forgotten Hits.

Thank you for keeping Forgotten Hits going ... for many of us it has become a necessary part of our daily routine ... like that first cup of coffee in the morning, Forgotten Hits gets us going ... and we love the fact that your articles and the artists and music that you feature help to stimulate some of our brain cells that may have been laying dormant for far too long. Keep up the great work!

I've been reading your work for about the last 10 years ... Trish and I pretty much consider you a friend at this point and you have enriched our lives with your writing. You've done a wonderful job with this site. You're f-n good.
I think the world of you and what you're doing with Forgotten Hits. I read it every day, Kent, even 'tho I don't respond all the time. It's great.

You rock!
Thanks for everything. Truly, what you do enriches lives. Keep it going.
Todd Tin Tear

Thanks, Todd ... you and Trish were part of our Original 35 WAY back when ... great to see that we haven't lost you guys along the way!!! (kk)