Friday, September 11, 2009

The Weekend Comments

A few more random thoughts and observations ...

THIS JUST IN! The Dean of Philly Rockers, CHARLIE GRACIE, returns to the SURF BALLROOM in CLEARLAKE, IOWA to co-star with THE ORIGINAL CRICKETS, FREDDY CANNON and more: THE ANNUAL WINTER DANCE PARTY -- site of the last concert given by BUDDY HOLLY, RITCHIE VALENCE and the BIG BOPPER -- the night before that infamous plane crash in 1959!
FEBRUARY 4TH -- 7TH, 2010
over there -- see the website for details on these and other shows -- near and far!

Happy to help spread the word, guys ... hope you have a killer show! (kk)

Big story going around this week is that Barry and Robin Gibb are going to reunite to perform a series of live shows in select cities. Although they swore they'd never perform again as The Bee Gees after the passing of their brother Maurice, Robin (his twin brother) confirmed last week that he and Barry have already started rehearsals. No word yet as to how extensive such a tour would be ... but we're certainly ready to buy OUR tickets here in Chicago!!! (kk)

>>>Another one of my old, old friends (going all the way back to high school) named Ken Levine (who deejayed for a while and then went on to become a very successful writer and executive producer for television) ... Joe Klein

Ken is still on the air daily and is also a heavy blogger.

Joe - you've got to get a reel to reel machine and digitize all your old Drake stuff. There are hundreds of us out here who'd love to get our hands on that. Long live KYNO / Fresno!
David Lewis
I told Joe while he was here that I have an old TEAC Reel-To-Reel packed away in the garage ... problem is, it needs some work ... kinda does this real slow start-up and then rewinds so fast it snaps the tape!!! Probably not the IDEAL place to do the editing!!! (lol) But I'm hoping that he WILL get these transferred to CD, if only for his own enjoyment. Personally, I want to hear the "parody" commercials ... those sound like a lot of fun. The Grass Roots clip you sent me is my favorite ... and Joe kept talking about a "Brown Sugar" intro, too. Would like to hear that one! (kk)

Hi Kent --
I only saw Wayne Cochran once in Buffalo, NY. I had a group called the Rustix that used to play Buffalo occasionally (Town Casino) and Wayne was appearing there the next night so I stayed over as I had some of his music but had heard about his live shows from many people. I was not disappointed as he had a great band with horns -- much like a James Brown Show but more driving like rock and roll -- even wilder if possible than a James Brown show and he was constantly in a frantic mode. His hair looked like it was glued to his head, and was twice as high as James or even Little Richard wore theirs -- and it didn't start to fall apart until late in his show, and then very little. It almost looked fake as it was so high and big.
Although Wayne was great, the thing that impressed me the most about his show were the horns. This was early 1967 and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of "Goin' Back To Miami", which I still love today.
Danny Guilfoyle

Last evening after going thru the list of top 50 Summer Hits of 1969, I compiled a list of the B sides of the Chicago land group, The list and the actual B side songs are at my web site, "Sixtiesoldiesguys Songs".
Here are the B sides that are there.
1. Little Kids - Zager & Evans
2. You Can't Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones
3. I'm Alive - Tommy James & Shondells
4. Windmills Of Your Mind - Henry Mancini
5. Chest Fever - Three Dog Night
6. Can't You See - Oliver
7. Gee Girl - Andy Kim
8. Catch The Wind - Lettermen
9. Always Together - Jackie DeShannon
10. Brainwasher - Jr. Walker & All Stars
11. All I Want Is You - Underground Sunshine
12. Lodi - Creedence Clearwater Revival
13. Dig In - Neil Diamond
14. My Precious World - Desmond Dekker & Aces
15. Happy Song - Box Tops
16. Wherever I Lay My Hat - Marvin Gaye
17. Aspen Colorado - Tony Joe White
18. Number One At the Blue Whale - Charles Randolph Grean Sounds
19. More & More - Blood Sweat & Tears
20. I Don't Know - Paul Revere & Raiders
21. Girl, Get Ahold Of Yourself - Kenny Rogers & First Edition
22. San Quentin - Johnny Cash
23. Medicine Man, Part 2 - Buchanan Brothers
24. Amen Brothers - Winstons
25. Don't Let Me Down - Beatles
26. I Don't Know Why - Stevie Wonder
27. Peggy Day - Bob Dylan
28. Undun - Guess Who
29. Commotion - Creedence Clearwater Revival
30. Any Day Now - Elvis Presley
31. Once Upon A Time - Tom Jones
32. Margie - Joe Jeffrey Group
33. I Really Hope You Do - Friends Of Distinction
34. No Good Annie - 1910 Fruitgum Company
35. Lazy Susan - Sonny Charles & Checkmates
36. Broken Wing Bird - Fifth Demension
37. Mother Popcorn Part 2 - James Brown
38. Brilliant Colors - Neon Philharmonic
39. Dreaming Isn't Good For You - Three Dog Night
40. Melody Hill - Archies
41. Beautiful - Youngbloods
42. Old Brown Shoe - Beatles
43. Helplessly Hoping - Crosby, Stills & Nash
44. Away, Away - Rascals
45. Remember Love - Plastic Ono Band
46. Falling In Love - Illusion
47. Sentimental Lady - Classics IV
48. Just Feel Worse - New Colony Six
49. Bad News - Cat Mother & All Night Newboys
50. Make-Believe Town - Peter, Paul & Mary
The B sides from the "Summer of 1967" are still there at my site yet.
Cool, Rich ... I'm sure a few of the B-Sides Fanatics on our list will be over there shortly to give a listen to some of these lost gems. (A few of these made our Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides List, too!) kk
I am a B side nut. I post B sides of top 10 hits for the current week for a this week in a rotating week from 1960 thru 1969 charts from various radio stations across the USA and then start over again. I do this at Bside45 : The B side.
This week I happen to feature the following week's WLS chart that you posted. The B sides of these A side hits from the chart dated September 10th, 1965 will be posted this Wednesday at that web site.

Here are the A sides that hit the top 10 on that chart.



SEPTEMBER 10, 1965

1. Help - The Beatles

2. I Got You Babe - Sonny & Cher

3. The In Crowd - Ramsey Lewis

4. Hang On Sloopy - McCoys

5. You Were On My Mind - We Five

6. It Ain't Me Babe - Turtles

7. Catch Us If You Can - Dave Clark Five

8. Heart Full Of Soul - Yardbirds

9. Action - Freddie Cannon

10. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me - Mel Carter

... and, speaking of 1969, we're STILL getting mail on our month-long revue!

re: 1969:
Hi Kent,
I've enjoyed your look back at 1969. It's a year that will always be special to me as I landed my first radio gig that year. It's scary to think I'll be celebrating my 40th year in broadcasting this October. But the reason I'm writing is to tell you how much of a kick I got out of your memories of 1969 TV. (Channel surfing without a remote, what a hoot!). As I looked through your day-by-day listings, I didn't see any mention of one of my favorite shows: It Takes A Thief, starring Robert Wagner. I believe it was on Tuesday nights during the 1968-1969 season and moved to Thursdays starting with the Fall 1969 schedule. The other thing that jumped out at me was the 7 pm start of Prime Time. Ah, those were the days. Keep up the good work.
Dave O'Gara
We included "It Takes A Thief" in the Thursday Night line-up. It was one of my Dad's favorite shows so I ended up watching it once in a while. Always liked Robert Wagner. Glad you enjoyed our look back at '69 ... I had a lot of fun reminiscing! (kk)

... and, speaking of "channel surfing, circa 1969", I thought this piece rang true:

If you are 35 or older you will think this is hilarious!!!!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were.

When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning ...

uphill ...

barefoot ...

BOTH ways

Yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was NO way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty-five, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.

You've got it so easy!

I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!

And I hate to say it, but you kids today don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet.

If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves in the card catalogue!!

There was no email!!!

We had to actually write somebody a letter ... with a pen!

Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.

As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters!

You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and screw it all up!

There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car.

We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished and the tape would come undone ... 'cause that's how we rolled, dog!

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting!

If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal ... and that was it!

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either!

When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was!

It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!!

You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!

We had the Atari 2600!

With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'asteroids'.

Your guy was a little square!

You actually had to use your imagination!!!

And there were no multiple levels or screens ... it was just one screen forever!

And you could never win.

The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!

Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on!

You were screwed when it came to channel surfing!

You had to get up off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!

There was no Cartoon Network either!

You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning.

Do you hear what I'm saying!?!

We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves ...

If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove ... Imagine that!

That's exactly what I'm talking about!

You kids today have got it too easy.

You're spoiled.

You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or before!


The Over 30 Crowd

-- submitted by Dennis Figg

Hi Kent,

Really enjoyed the Summer of 1969 music series. Keep up the great work.
Thanks so much,
Dawn Lee Wakefield

you said that you were done with this subject ... but just to let you know i agree with your assessment ...after ted's swim ... they say he slept ... and called the authorities AFTER his lawyer ... 10 hours later ... (what would happen to YOU in the same situation? A pass?)could it have been time to clean up and get sober?sure i agree that usually after someone's dies ... you don't speak badly of the dead and move on ... but i think people need to remember some things ... before the statues are cast and ted's put in for sainthood ...ted kennedy ... i remember him to be an alcoholic party boy ... well-known to everyone and reported as such in the press ... i remember him as a character witness for his nephew accused of rape ... and him being embarrassed that the public found ted's character laugh-able and he felt embarrassment (finally) at how he was seen ... it might have helped to straighten him out in later life ... i don't remember him being supportive of the alcoholic wife he divorced ... although what do i know? ... I DO remember the young women he dated .... (ie ... susie 'chapstick') ... and it seemed to me that the media was trying (unsuccessfully) to make ted's funeral more of an affair of state (more presidential) ... outside of new england, i don't think he was that well thought of ... Ted rode the coat-tails of 'camelot' and family money ... adequate, i suppose, but not exceptional ....

Last week on Clark Besch's list of the best obscure 45s of 1969, I noticed "Baby You Come Rollin Cross My Mind" by John Beland. Chicago native John Beland has played with a huge number of our favorite artists, but I had no idea he'd ever released a 45. I met John one night a few years ago when he was playing mandolin with a local band at a little restaurant in Sebastopol, California. We had a nice chat after their second set and discovered he had lived pretty close to me for 17 years here in Nashville. John's Bio page is pretty interesting.
David Lewis
I wasn't familiar with this song OR John's work ... but Clark sent us a copy to share with the list. Enjoy! (kk)
This is the LONG version of John Beland's classic rendition of "Baby You Come Rollin" from 1969. It was a hit in Wichita on a station I grew up with, KLEO (#25 in scanned survey). I really THINK it made #1 on KLEO, but could not find such a chart. The 45 on Ranwood came with the orchestra beginning short version and the long version with spoken intro on the other side of promo copies. This is much like Lobo's "Me & You & a Dog" from two years later which had a spoken intro on the LP version. John Beland originally hailed from Chicago and in 1968 had an acetate only recording of his song "Wake Up Sweet Mary" featured on Bandstand's "Rate-a-Record"! It was his first recording and I searched forever for this 45 ever since I recorded it off Dick Clark's show in early '68. A few years ago, I emailed John about the song and he said it was NEVER released and a terrible recording. I told him I thought it was great, even if a 1968 attempt at Bob Dylan 65 sounds and lyrics. John is still active and was a leader of the Flying Burrito Brothers.


Wow, check out some of the titles on THIS chart!!! Talk about your regional hits!!! In at #1 was our buddies, The 1910 Fruitgum Company with "The Train", a song that was ALSO a big Top Ten Hit here in Chicago ... but only reached #52 on The National Chart. Forgotten Hits List Member Ron Dante was on the chart ... TWICE!!! "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies was the #6 song this week and "Tracy", released as The Cuff Links, was holding down the #13 spot. Bill Hinsche (along with his buddies Dino and Desi) had the #9 song with "Hawley", a song that didn't make The National Chart at all!!! Evie Sands had the #12 Hit with "Any Way That You Want Me", Ray Stevens was in at #16 with "Minority", another non-charting national tune, "Love And Let Love" by The Hardy Boys was the #20 song, and little known gems like "Some Of Shelly's Blues" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Mind, Body And Soul" by The Flaming Ember, "Baby, You Come Rollin' 'Cross My Mind" by John Beland, "Curly" by Jimmy Clanton and "Jennifer Tompkins" by The Street People rounded out The Top 30. A VERY unique chart indeed! (By the way, we'll be saluting a similar 1969 Chart next Friday in one of our WLS Flashbacks, scheduled for September 18th!) Thanks, Clark ... I always love looking at some of these obscure charts from around the country to see what "local flavor" was doing well where. (kk)

... and, speaking of the charts, here's more on the ULTIMATE Chart Book on the planet ... newly updated, too!!!

Hey Kent,
Just got my copy of the new Whitburn Top Pop Singles book; I love this book, and needed a new one because my 1996 edition was falling apart.
Several Chicago artists dropped out of the Top 500 Artists of All Time list: Tyrone Davis, Chaka Khan, Frankie Laine and Ramsey Lewis. The top-rated Chicago artist of all time is ... Chicago, at number 20. They're one of six artists in the Top 20 who are not in the Rock Hall of Fame, along with Madonna, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson (7), Pat Boone and Whitney Houston. Michael (8) and Janet Jackson hail from Gary, Indiana, so you could argue their Chicago credit.
Other Windy City groups, duos and singles in the Top 500 Artists of All Time are: R. Kelly (31), Nat "King" Cole (38), the Everly Brothers (42), Sam Cooke (53), the Jackson 5 (59), Earth, Wind & Fire (88), the Impressions (111), Jerry Butler (114), Richard Marx (130), Styx (138), Kanye West (141), REO Speedwagon (210), Survivor (260), Gene Chandler (301), the Dells (332), Cheap Trick (341), Dan Fogelberg (356), Jody Watley (364), the Chi-Lites (388), Peter Cetera (401), Lou Rawls (412), Rufus featuring Chaka Khan (414), Dinah Washington (426), the Staple Singers (429), the Smashing Pumpkins (454), and Joni James (495).
These artists were either born, raised, or based in and around Chicago. Not included are groups from around the country that include Chicagoans as members, like Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder) and Hootie and the Blowfish (drummer Jim Sonefeld), but I did include the Everlys, as Phil was born in Chi-Town.
I'm thinking that, with everybody's help, we can come up with a list of the top music cities in America. The Society of American Travel Writers recently came up with this list, which I assume means these cities have the best live music scenes: New Orleans, New York, Austin, TX, Nashville, Chicago, Memphis, Montreal, Las Vegas, Branson, MO, and Denver. Is this a workable project? What should the rules be? Just sitting here thinking ...
Guy Arnston in Algonquin

The new book is amazing ... WELL worth the investment. And Chicago artists like our local heroes now have more entries than ever listed, thanks to Joel incorporating the "Bubbling Under" Charts into this newly expanded volume. As such, you'll now find 15 entries for The New Colony Six, thanks to the addition of I Lie Awake (#111), You're Gonna Be Mine (#108), I'm Just Waitin', Anticipatin' For Her To Show Up (#128), People And Me (#116) and Someone, Sometime (#109); seven entries for The Cryan' Shames, due to the addition of Mr. Unreliable (#127) and Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles David Smith And Jones (#115); ten for The Buckinghams, thanks to I'll Go Crazy (#112), Where Did You Come From (#117) and It's A Beautiful Day (#126); and seven for The American Breed, now including Don't Forget About Me (#107 and Hunky Funky (#107); seven for The Ides Of March, including Melody (#122) and Tie-Dye Princess (#113). The Mauds have DOUBLED their listings now that Hold On (#114) has been added. Only The Shadows Of Knight and Spanky And Our Gang failed to benefit by these reworked listings.
I think you've got a bit of a stretch going on with some of your Chicago-related list ... Madonna?!?!? She's from Michigan, dude! (And, by the way, she IS in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, too ... Justin Timberlake inducted her in 2008 in a very long-winded, overdrawn ceremony that spent as much time giggling as it did saying anything meaningful or coherent.) But you're right ... a VERY impressive list! (Some of the names on The Top 500 Artists List will have you scratching your head. Janet Jackson places ahead of brother Michael??? How is this possible??? And both Madonna and Mariah Carey should easily pass The Beatles by the book's next edition. R. Kelly, #31?!?!? How does he make the list at all?!?!? Part of the problem is that songs since 1995 tend to stay on the chart for a YEAR!!! At that rate, virtually ALL of the artists we grew up with will be eclipsed over time ... we were raised in an era when artists put out three or four new singles in a year, most of which enjoyed a seven or eight week chart life. Now, due to accumulated points, we've got Whitney Houston bigger than The Bee Gees, Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys and Chicago ... Jay-Z bigger than Cher, The Jackson Five, Jefferson Airplane, Barry Manilow and Roy Orbison and Beyonce bigger than Aerosmith, The Fifth Dimension, Santana, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Eagles and Three Dog Night? And that's just in The Top 100!) kk

Haven't picked up your copy yet? Then head on over to The Record Research Website and order it today!!!
Click here: Joel Whitburn's Record Research Music & Billboard Charts Data

"Switched On Bach" by Walter Carlos ... fyi: Carlos underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1972 but was billed as 'Walter' on the album By Request (1975). The first release credited to her as 'Wendy' was Switched-On Brandenburgs (1979). So it was Walter until he got 'snipped' ...

Watch for SERIOUS Beatlemania to spread across the country again ... the newly remastered box sets sold out EVERYWHERE and are already on back-order. Best Buy had The Beatles / Rock Band stacked to the ceilings!!! (And was offering "bundle packages" that included the Paul McCartney / Hofner Bass Guitar along with Ringo's drum kit with the Beatles logo on the drum skin ... George's and John's guitars could also be purchased separately!) And we hear an "official" iTunes announcement is right around the corner, too. (For REAL this time!!!) Now if they'd ONLY release the "Let It Be" DVD!!! All of the newly remastered CDs are available individually, too, and most stores I visited seemed to have an ample stock of these. (Remember, the first 10,000 have bonus Quick Time videos, watchable on your computer!) I fully expect non-stop Beatles music on the radio, too, once these reissues begin to catch on. (Maybe The Beatles will finally knock Michael Jackson out of The Top Ten on the "classics" chart ... as late as a week ago, Jacko still occupied NINE out of the Top Ten positions on the chart!!!) kk

UPDATE-1: 24 hours later and nearly EVERY individual CD has been sold out ... full, standing floor displays were dismantled at two of the Best Buys and three of the Targets that I visited on Thursday ... and, in fact, one of the Targets had exactly ONE single copy of "Revolver" CD left in inventory ... and that was IT!!! EVERYTHING else had been sold! Estimated projections for the first week of sales (between single CDs, box sets and Rock Band games) put the number at just over $1.6 BILLION!!! (Not a bad week's pay for a band whose catalog is now 40-45 years old!!!) Proof again at just how powerful this music really is. This has GOT to be the single biggest pay day in the group's history!!! (kk)

UPDATE-2: And then, out of the blue, I found both the Stereo Box Set AND the Mono Box Set and was able to purchase extra copies of each ... and the eBay bids for these are really not that out of line ... they seem to be going for pretty much list price (and some even include free shipping.) Anybody looking for a Mono Box and not patient enough to wait for the next batch to arrive mid-October??? Lemme know!!! (kk)

UPDATE-3: So let me get this straight ... they spent over four years working on remastering the entire Beatles catalog ... enhancing EVERY studio-intended sound and eliminating every glitch and hiccup ... beefing up the overall performance to give us the HIGHEST quality sound possible and updating all of this material to the absolute LATEST high-end technology ... only to then release these tracks in MONO?!?!? A technology that hasn't been used in nearly 50 years?!?!? Actually, as "opposite extremes" as that may sound, it is, in fact, the way George Martin and The Beatles always intended their stuff to sound. (And they're not the only ones ... Brian Wilson and Phil Spector and many others have been promoting the excellent sound of mono their whole careers!!!) I mean,
Mono was IT back in the '60's ... which they painstakingly worked on these tracks in the studio then and now to get the mono mixes right, it wasn't at all uncommon for The Beatles not to even attend the stereo mixing sessions and, as such, some drastically different mixes exist on some of their material. It's GREAT to finally have the COMPLETE collection in BOTH intended mixes. (Does this mean the Capitol Records Series is over with?!?!? I was REALLY looking forward to completing that collection ... Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, The White Album, Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine and Let It Be are "still to come" ... hopefully ... somewhere down the line!) kk

N.E. Philly Alert: Join Sam Lit, Bandstand Bonnie & HyLitRadio in N.E. Philly Thursday night 7 pm, at The Whiskey Tango Tavern, 14000 Bustleton Av. (corner of Philmont & Bustleton Av.). Make it a date and don't be late. Come hungry! Brick Oven Pizza. A lot of fun! Rock & Roll. No Cover. Hear it Live on
... Hy took to the stage to introduce the Beatles. The crowd went into a frenzy. It was difficult to hear the Beatles sing. All the hotels were being staked out by frantic girls. The Beatles were whisked to Hy's house, where they would spend the night and get some r&r. Hy would give away the sheets they slept on in a WIBG contest sending Philly into a frenzy again. It was September 1964. For Pictures
and The Beatles Philadelphia Story, click here or click the Beatles newsletter link on the HyLitRadio home page.
Sam Lit
President / CEO
Hy Lit Radio Technologies, Inc.

Kent ...
On 9/9/09, WCBS-FM in New York - counted down the top 101 Beatles Hits.
Frank B.
CBS-FM - New York's Greatest Hits - The Top 101 Beatles Songs
A drastically different list appeared in this week's edition of "Entertainment Weekly" where they named the 50 best and the 5 worst ... incredibly "All You Need Is Love" came in at #50 on the best list AND #1 on the WORST list!!! (lol) Go figure! (kk)

Much love,
Wild Bill
Actually, I thought the whole thing was pretty awful!!! (lol) A clever concept, maybe ... but not a great execution. (Pun intended!) kk

Beatles Fest West 2009 Weekend to Kick-off on Lennon’s Birthday: Oct 9th
Beatles fans and collectors won't want to miss the 1st Annual Beatles Fest West, Friday, October 9th through Sunday, October 11th, at San Francisco's Scottish Rite Center.
The BeaFore from Germany will be performing at Beatles Fest West
September 11, 2009 - Beatles Fest West, opening October 9th, will celebrate the music and legacy of the Beatles with live concerts and special guests throughout the weekend by internationally acclaimed Beatles tribute bands. In the line-up for the weekend are: The Fab Four (California), The Sun Kings (California); The BeaTrips (Japan); All You Need is Love (Canada); and The BeaFore (Germany). There will also be solo performances by Drew Harrison and singer Christina Trillo.
The first of three theatre shows starts Friday at 7pm with a very special birthday tribute to John Lennon. On Saturday, the activities and performances will run from noon until midnight. Sunday is set aside as Beatles AkustiK Sunday with various performances throughout the day.
The special guests for the weekend include Bruce Spizer – author and creator of The Beatles Trivial Pursuit; Jude Southerland Kessler – author of ‘Shoulda Been There’, the first researched historical novel on the life of John Lennon; and Shannon – The World’s Greatest Beatles Artist, whose paintings decorate the Hard Day's Night Hotel in Liverpool.
There will also be marketplace at Beatles Fest West that will offer a wide selection of memorabilia old and new, plus signings by our guests.
The entire staff from Beatles Radio will be onsite for Beatles Fest West. Beatles Radio is a 24/7 Internet Radio station that plays the Beatles, solos, covers, tributes along with Beatles news and trivia. The on-air personalities call themselves: Doctor Robert, Polythene Pam, Mr. Kite and Lovely Rita.
Sharing the sponsorship of Beatles Fest West 2009 is The Beatles: Rock Band™. Employees will be at the festival to demonstrate the game and provide attendees with tips. Beatles Fest West 2009 will also feature the very first Beatles Rock Band Game Challenge. Other sponsors include: and the Hard Days Night Hotel.
For more information, tickets, schedules and updates about Beatles Fest West, go to:

-- submitted by Jennifer Vanderslice

And I'm guessing that a splendid time is guaranteed for all! (kk)

I got thrown out of Capitol Records in February, 2009, only two months before a guy had the right idea to get recognition when he entered: Bring master tapes along from San Luis Obisbo!! Here's a REEL (REAL) California Saga of one man who has a story that we all hope would happen today--Guess what? It DID happen in today's world! A truly amazing story:
Clark Besch
You used to be able to go into The Capitol Tower for a tour of their facilities in the old days ... but after 9/11 they stopped that. (Too bad ... would have made for a VERY interesting afternoon!) Amazing the stuff that is STILL turning up all these years later! (kk)

Nashville, TN - Three-time Grammy award winning guitarist and Grand Ole Opry member, Steve Wariner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member and 2009 Songwriting Hall of Fame Inductee, Felix Cavaliere, announced the names of those musicians who will be honored at the 2009 Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum Awards Show on October 12, 2009 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. The inductees include some of the most influential and highly regarded musicians, producers and arrangers in music, of the last half century:
CHET ATKINS (MUSICIAN) As a guitarist, musician, producer, record label executive, and mentor, Chet Atkins, was one of the most influential musical pioneers of the last half century. His contributions were pivotal in helping young musicians everywhere. Atkins' picking style elevated him in the minds of others and brought him admirers both within and outside of the country music scene, both nationally and internationally. Over the course of his career, he produced records for a variety of artists including Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Jerry Reed, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith, Waylon Jennings, and others. He is well known as the co-creator, along with Owen Bradley, of the "Nashville Sound," that expanded the appeal of Country music to adult pop audiences.
BILLY COX (MUSICIAN) West Virginia born bass guitarist and local Nashville musician, Billy Cox, is best known for his longtime musical relationship with Jimi Hendrix. Meeting in the early 1960's, while both were in the army at Ft. Campbell, KY, they formed a relationship that would last until Hendrix's passing. They would form The King Kasuals in Nashville, TN, and, when invited to go with Jimi to England to start what would become the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cox had to decline because, as he put it, "I only had three strings on my bass and not enough money to purchase a bus ticket to New York." Cox would again reunite with his former bandmate in 1969, to play bass in the experimental psychedelic / rock band, Band of Gypsys, as well as taking the stage with Hendrix in 1969 at the legendary Woodstock Festival, forty years ago this past August.
DICK DALE (MUSICIAN) Guitar innovator and stylist
Dick Dale was one of the most influential musicians in the creation of the California surf sounds of the 1960's. From his stage work to his appearance in the beach movies of the early 60's with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, Dale made his mark on the guitar. His work with Leo Fender changed the way guitar amplifiers and speakers were not only used, but also the way they were built. Fender recreated the guitar amplifier in order to meet the demands and power of his playing. His stage presence influenced the name of such amplifiers as "The Fender Showman," appropriately named after Leo Fender witnessed Dale jumping from the amplifier to the floor and sliding on his knees on stage.
CHARLIE DANIELS (MUSICIAN) Grammy Award winning, Grand Ole Opry member, singer, fiddler, guitarist, songwriter, and country musician, Charlie Daniels, has been performing the music he loves since the 1950's. From his early days as a Nashville studio musician that included playing on Bob Dylan albums, and recordings from Leonard Cohen, Al Kooper, Marty Robbins, to becoming a number one hit songwriter with his platinum selling "Devil Went Down To Georgia," to gaining status as one of the most beloved figures in country music, Daniels continues touring and packing houses, as well as giving of his time, energy, and talents performing tirelessly for men and women in uniform, all over the world, who love his honest mixture of country and southern rock influences, along with originality, that has lasted for over five decades.
VICTOR FELDMAN (MUSICIAN) Known as a "musician's musician," Victor Feldman saw his early years as a child prodigy and master of such instruments as piano, percussion, organ, tympani, synthesizer, vibes and marimba, turned professional when he sat in at the age of 10 with Glenn Miller's Army Air Force Band. His flexibility throughout his career as a musician, composer and singer, brought him opportunities to play and perform with everyone from Miles Davis to Steely Dan. He recorded on many occasions with fellow Musicians Hall of Fame inductees, The Wrecking Crew, and sadly passed away in 1987 at the age of 53.
FRED FOSTER (PRODUCER HONOR) American songwriter, record producer, and founder of Monument Records, Fred Foster, is credited with single handedly starting the Monument Record Company and with the development of Rock and Roll legend Roy Orbison's major hits, including "Pretty Woman," "Only the Lonely," "Crying," "Blue Bayou," and many more. Foster played a significant role in Dolly Parton's early career, as well as being instrumental in the signing of a young Kris Kristofferson, with whom he co-wrote "Me and Bobby McGee." Foster remains active as a producer, most recently producing Willie Nelson's 2006 Grammy nominated "You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker," and Nelson's collaboration with Merle Haggard and Ray Price, "Last of the Breed," in 2007.
PAUL RISER (ARRANGER AWARD) Grammy award winning arranger Paul Riser is known as the most prolific arranger from Motown's golden years. Riser progressed through his career from early musician to the arranger for Motown's legendary Grammy winning studio musicians, The Funk Brothers. With hit after hit, decade after decade, Riser was instrumental in putting Motown at the top of the musical sound of the 60's and 70's. Among Riser's biggest hits as an arranger are, "My Girl" and "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" (Temptations), Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "My Cherie Amour," (Stevie Wonder), "Tears of a Clown," (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles) and many more, as well as arranging and co-writing "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," by Jimmy Ruffin, older brother of Temptations lead singer David Ruffin.
TOTO (MUSICIANS) American rock band, TOTO, founded in 1977 by some of the most popular and experienced session players of the era, became a rock phenomenon with great commercial success in the late 70's / early 80's. Original musicians Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, David Hungate, David Paich, Steve Lukather and Mike Porcaro, were known for their technical skill in the studio, as well as a musical style that combined elements of pop, rock, soul, funk, progressive rock, hard rock, R&B, and jazz. Their broad array of styles appealed to a variety of listeners. The band released 17 albums and has sold over 30 million records to date. Although drummer Jeff Porcaro passed away in 1992, the remaining members have continued performing their hits as well as progressing their individual careers as studio musicians.
For more information:
For tickets:,1,3,3,3&PerfNo=2157


Saw this in the latest edition of the R.I.P. Renfield Newsletter ... describes me to a "T" when it comes to my handy-man duties! (lol)

You only need two tools in life ---

WD-40 and duct tape.

If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40.

If it shouldn't move and it does, use the duct tape.

And, if you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


You can get R.I.P.ped every week, too, if you sign up for Gary's newsletter ... visit for all the details. (And, every Friday, he'll R.I.P you a NEW one!!! lol)


It sounds like Artie Wayne is ready to send off his accolades to the families of Ellie Greenwich and Larry Knetchel ... if you haven't left a comment you, you may want to hop on over to his web page and do it now! These were both OUTSTANDING talents that too often performed their musical magic behind the scenes. We will miss you both. (kk)

Kent ...

I'm sending over 120 comments to the families of Ellie Greenwich and Larry Knechtel in the morning from a who's who of the music business. I hope you have a few words you might want to add.
Then I hope you’ll take a look at my article Larry Knechtel R.I.P and leave a comment or two. It’s growing into quite a tribute.
Thanks and regards,



PLEASE take just a few minutes out of your day tomorrow and join us for my tribute to my brother Mark ... exclusively on BOTH Forgotten Hits Web Pages:
Click here: Forgotten Hits
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Home

The 1966 Grammy Awards Show

It was just last week when we covered the results of the 1969 Grammy Awards ... and now long-time Forgotten Hits Reader and Contributor Clark Besch has sent us this piece on The 1966 Grammy Awards ... I figured it'd make for an interesting article to share with the rest of the group!

In 1966, the Grammy Awards were very young. On March, 15, 1966, over 800 music artists, celebrities and members of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences filled the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel to see who would be honored at only the eighth annual Grammy Awards presentation. Unlike today's over-glorified live TV show ceremonies, the 1966 awards were presented mainly in Hollywood, but separate presentation ceremonies were simultaneously also held in New York, Nashville and Chicago!

In New York, 900 attended the event that featured Barry Sadler singing the then-current #1 song in the land, "Ballad of the Green Berets." In Nashville, Grammy winners Roger Miller and the Statler Brothers entertained. In Chicago, the celebration surrounded 10 local winners out of 22 nominations, most importantly being Roger Miller's Smash Records best C&W single ("King of the Road") and LP ("Return of Roger Miller") awards and Ramsey Lewis' Best Instrumental Jazz Performance ("The In Crowd").

Yet, the "main event" was the Hollywood awards dinner. The west coast-based A&M Records won 4 Grammies (Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass' "A Taste of Honey") and Burbank-based Warner Brothers took seven including Frank Sinatra's single "It Was a Very Good Year" and LP "September of My Years" as well as Bill Cosby's comedy award for his LP "Why Is There Air?" and Petula Clark's single "I Know a Place".

Unlike today's one award ceremony simulcast to parties all over the country, there was no live TV show for the 1966 awards. Instead, a TV special produced with the academy's assistance titled "The Best on Record" was aired on May 16 featuring many Grammy winners and scenes filmed at the ceremonies. Also, unlike today's awards, rock 'n roll music was hard pressed to get recognition. Often, Top 40 music was not even among winners. In 1965, the newest category "Best Rock & Roll Performance" was changed to three new categories: "Best Contemporary (R&R) Female Vocal Performance," "Best Contemporary (R&R) Male Vocal Performance" and Best Contemporary (R&R) Group Performance Instrumental or Vocal."

The first solo awards went to the aforementioned Pet Clark and Roger Miller hits. The best chance for a rock group winning a Grammy was the last award for groups. Nominees were "Help!" (Beatles), "Mrs. Brown" (Herman's Hermits), "Flowers on the Wall" (Statler Brothers), "Stop in the Name of Love" (Supremes) and "Wooly Bully" (Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs)! Sam was there and ready to take the hardware. The academy had a chance to advance towards present day standards, but chose the COUNTRY Statler Brothers' hit as the winner! Can you believe it? They could not win the country single awards because "The Road" was just too big! "King of the Road" (Roger Miller) won five Grammies and answer record "Queen of the House" won Jody Miller a Grammy for best female country single! SO, the Statler Brothers got next best -- the rock category! What a joke!!

The attached photos show what it was like. You see the Statlers win their "Rock & Roll" award, you see the New York ceremonies, Sam the Sham, Herb Alpert, Sonny & Cher (up for "Best New Artists" won by Tom Jones) with Jackie DeShannon (up for "What the World needs Now is Love" vs. Pet Clark's winner) . Besides the photos, here's what happened. It was a strictly formal affair (as today), but Sonny & Cher wore their bell bottoms and furry jackets! The nominees and stars arrived around 7 PM and mingled. At the Hollywood event, guests included most of the above nominees, Lorne Greene, Louis Armstrong, Phyllis Diller, Mort Sahl, Jerry Naylor, Joanie Sommers, Connie Stevens, John Gary, Anita Kerr, Lainie Kazan, the King Sisters, the Paris Sisters, Tommy Leonetti, and Sandy Nelson.

Next was a prime rib dinner served by red-jacketed waiters. At 10 PM (!!!!), the program began as master of ceremonies, Jerry Lewis, leaped onstage and announced "I'm proud to be Gary's dad!" He did a short monologue and the first presenters were Jackie DeShannon and Johnny Mercer. The big shock was apparently that the Beatles, up for 9 awards, won none. Sonny & Cher apparently looked shocked when they lost the "Best New Artist" award to Tom Jones. Louis Armstrong presented Herb Alpert with one of his 4 Grammies on the night. None of the Sinatras were there for Sr.'s awards. James Brown, Jody Miller and Pet Clark picked up their awards. The awards event ended long after midnight.

Did 1967 change things for the '66 Grammy awards? Not really. Jimmie Rodgers performed and Sinatra again won "Record of the Year" (Strangers in the Night") and "Album of the Year" ("A Man & His Music"). Ray Conniff's "Somewhere my Love" was a winner and Bill Cosby won for "Wonderfulness!." Herbie Alpert was winning with "What Now my Love." Half of the Beatles won a Grammy! McCartney and Lennon won for writing the "Song of the Year": "Michelle." The three "Rock and Roll Awards" were changed again and skewed away from actual "Rock & Roll." The Male and Female Contemporary award were combined into one category and won by 1/4 of the Beatles: Paul McCartney for his solo of "Eleanor Rigby" which was actually listed as a group recording on the record. What gives there?? The best Contemporary Group Performance went to the Mamas & Papas for "Monday Monday", but the new third R&R award, " Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording" went to.............can you believe this after hearing the NAME of the award??.............."Winchester Cathedral" (New Vaudeville Band)!!!

-- Clark Besch

Yeah, the Grammy Voters RARELY got it right in the early years ... things seem to have still been controlled by the "old guard" back then ... and deserving artists like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones and many others were routinely ignored and went unrecognized for their talents.

The VERY first piece we EVER posted on the (then) brand new Forgotten Hits Web Page addressed The Beatles' previous Grammy Awards ... and we kept it up there for posterity's sake. In fact, you can still find it posted right here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits: Is The Music of The Beatles Still Relevant?

(Judging by the sales this week of their remastered catalog, I'd have to say that the music of The Beatles just may be more popular than EVER!!!) lol


Best "ROCK" Performance of 1965?!?!?
Can you believe that, according to The Grammy Awards, this Statler Brothers track rocked better than The Rolling Stones' #1 Hits "Satisfaction" and "Get Off Of My Cloud", The Beatles' #1 Hits "Help!" and "Ticket To Ride", and OTHER classic rock tracks like "Help Me, Rhonda" and "California Girls" by The Beach Boys, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" by The Byrds, "Wooly Bully" by Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs, "Catch Us If You Can" by The Dave Clark Five and "Let's Hang On" by The Four Seasons ... ALL bonafide Top Five Hits that year??? Unreal!!!

(Not a BAD song ... but Rock and Roll?!?!? I don't think so!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wayne Cochran

The recent mention of Wayne Cochran in Forgotten Hits has spurred a wave of responses ... so today we decided to set aside some time to post many of these ... along with some stuff from the archives.

Today's issue of Forgotten Hits is dedicated to Wayne Cochran!!!

Hi Kent,
This probably shouldn't be posted, but our band played Harrah's Reno in the early 70's once when Cochran & his band were also on the bill. Our schedules overlapped for only a few days, but when they left, our guitar player's echo unit was missing.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
Lol ... that's OK ... I think the statute of limitations has passed on this one! (lol) kk

Hey Kent,
While Jeff Lind didn't write about Wayne Cochran in The History of Chicago Rock, I remember watching Cochran perform See See Rider on the Jackie Gleason show in the late '60s. Talk about a high-energy performance. Wow. But that screeching, screaming vocal style really didn't do it for me back then. Today, I love horn bands and lots of sweating and jumping around, but back then I was all about country rock and sunshine pop. How times and people change over the years. I understand Cochran is a preacher down south these days.
Guy Arnston in Algonquin

My man Wayne Cochran was appointment entertainment. He was running a band with at least a dozen musicians. They were so damn tight it hurt. The Riders always drove home the point with the heaviest of jazz-funk bass lines and horn sections that were overwhelming. Wayne, of course, was a handbook on showmanship. I would love to get in contact with him.
Chet Coppock

Comment of the Week: Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders, 4/1/1971
Saw him at the legendary Diamond Club in Dayton over 30 years ago ... he was standing on a table singing with that gravely Detroit-City voice ... he proceeded to fire a mostly drank bottle of Jack into the ceiling breaking it into a hundred pieces ... If you couldn't dance to Wayne Cochran, you were in a coma.
Click here: Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders Live Concert at Fillmore West (San Francisco, CA) Apr 1, 1971
-- submitted by Ken Voss
How weird is that that a Wayne Cochran Concert shows up on Wolfgang's Vault right as we're talking about him here in Forgotten Hits?!?!? The planets must TRULY be aligned!!! You can listen to the show at the link above! (kk)

I sent this concert link to MAJOR Wayne Cochran fan Chet Coppock ... and got this back:
Kent ...
No one will believe this ... you talk about one in a million! I was in San Francisco in April, '71 with the Milwaukee Bucks (I was producing the Bucks radio network that season, a year in which with Kareem and 'Big "O" Robertson they won the NBA title). I was just 22 years old.
I'm not done yet ... Wayne and the Riders were staying in our hotel ... I think it was the old Jack Tar on Market Street.
I had become fan of Wayne and the band a few years earlier when I caught their act at the Happy Medium. I must have seen Wayne 65 times all over Chicago and the midwest.
Is that karma???? I could almost swear that Sugarloaf was on the same Frisco show.
It just has to be. The Bucks were playing the Warriors in round one of the playoffs ... the NBA began the post season about three weeks earlier in those days.
Thanx so much for the alert.
As you know, Wayne was just the damndest night club soul man God ever put on earth.
I recall one night when he took the whole crowd out of "The Medium' and led us on a snake dance up to Rush Up which was right next store.
That was back before Rush Street got corporate ...
Wayne's rhythm sections were always fantastic and at the time he had a pair of drummers ... his bass player, a kid named Chester Mass, was good enough to work the Memphis scene with guys like Steve Cropper.
Hell, Wayne and I even went shopping together one day at the long gone 'Smoky Joe's' on South State Street. I think we both bought lime green suits at 120 bucks a copy.
The best ... you made my day ... I do know somewhere there is a copy of Psych Scene Magazine with Wayne and I together ... the mag would have to be about 42 years old.
Chet Coppock
P.S. My book "Fat Guys Shouldn't Be Dancin' At Half Time" is due out in two weeks.

... and, speaking of Chet Coppock ...

Don't know if you knew this, but Chet Coppock was a real good friend of mine in college and during the Colony's glory days and, for a while, was an official New Colony Six roadie. We used to bring him up on stage to do the Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders version of the tune, "You Don't Know Like I Know" (or was it "Going Back to Miami" - I forget...) In any case, we would rat his hair up into a huge pompadour and used a silver coloring to "paint" his hair an appropriate shade.
Ray Graffia, Jr.

Kent ...
I've never heard or seen Wayne Cochran before. I think he's Great. Can you give us more information on Wayne Cochran ? I don't think you can. He managed to get his life's story into a few paragraphs. LoL. He's got a lot of energy. It's contagious. He reminds me of a white James Brown.I'm sure he's a great Las Vegas Lounge Act.
Frank B.
Actually, that's pretty much EXACTLY how Wayne Cochran was known ... as the "white" James Brown. I was too young to see him in his hey-day ... but I hear he put on one hell of a show!!! His name has come up a number of times over the years here in Forgotten Hits despite never really having a hit record of his own. (We featured Wayne's original version of "Last Kiss", a song he wrote based on actual events back in 1964. Although it's nearly identical to the #1 J. Frank Wilson version, for some reason Cochran's record never made the charts.)
Cochran's been out of the music business for quite a while now, running his own ministry since 1981. You can find his complete biography ... in his own words ... on his website:
Click here: Welcome to the official site of C.C. Riders
Meanwhile, here are a few other blurbs that we've run over the years:

It has been said that a great song transcends all time barriers. This has certainly been the case with the rock and roll classic teen tragedy tune "The Last Kiss", hit in the '60's, the '70's and the '90's.The song was written by Wayne Cochran, a legendary bar-circuit R & B lounge singer who tore up his audiences everywhere he performed in the 1960's and early '70's. Despite this recognition (and a tremendous following), he never had a hit record of his own and, despite three different recording attempts for three different record labels, was never even able to hit the charts with his own composition, "Last Kiss" ... yet watched it climb up the charts for J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in the 1960's, Wednesday in the 1970's and Pearl Jam in the 1990's.Blue-eyed soul singer Cochran first recorded "Last Kiss" in 1961 for the Gala label. (It was released again a year later on Galico Records.) He then re-recorded it in 1964 when The Cavaliers' version started to take off, this time for the King label. (Ironically, in 1973, when Wednesday's version started to climb the charts, Virgo Records quickly re-released the J. Frank Wilson 1964-hit version, too, trying to cash-in on the song's new-found audience and success!) Originally, the J. Frank Wilson single was released in 1964 on the tiny Le Cam record label (an alternate take) just before it was re-recorded for Josie (the #1 hit we all know and love), which was then re-issued by Virgo (who, by the '70's, owned all the Josie masters). In between, the even-smaller Tamara label re-issued the Le Cam alternate take version! And in 1969, a re-worked version (released as "Last Kiss '69") hit the shelves on the Charay label. (How's THAT for overkill?!?!?!? Have we lost you yet?!?!?) I'd LOVE to hear a version of the 1969 remake!!! (And wouldn't that tie in nicely with our recent Forgotten Hits salute to '69?!?!?)
The legend goes that Cochran read about a fatal car accident in Barnesville, GA, involving a young girl named Jeanette Clark. In fact, on this particular stretch of Highway 341, where Cochran lived at the time, he witnessed MANY accidents ... and had already started to write a song about a tragic collision. This specific accident, however, inspired him to finally finish the song. The small local Gala Record label picked up the track and Cochran loaded copies in the trunk of his car, selling them at personal appearances, hoping the record would catch on. Despite sounding a LOT like what would eventually become the J. Frank Wilson version, it didn't.
However, legendary record executive Major Bill Smith (from Ft. Worth, TX) heard the song and believed it could be a hit. (We've covered Major Bill before in Forgotten Hits ... by this time, he had already produced #1 records for Bruce Channel with "Hey Baby" and for Paul and Paula with "Hey Paula".)
Smith was working with a local San Angelo, Texas group called The Cavaliers. He called in lead vocalist John Frank Wilson from Lufkin, TX, and they cut the track for Le Cam Records. Feeling he could get a better recording, Smith then took the band to Josie Records and had them re-record the song. The rest, as they say, is history. The new version went all the way to #1 on the National Charts. (Today, we're giving you the very rare version by the song's composer himself, Mr. Wayne Cochran!) kk

FACT OR FICTION DEPT: While researching this special "Last Kiss" series, we happened to come across this little tidbit on a Last Kiss posting board:
Wayne Cochran has always received the credit for writing this classic tune of teenage tragedy. If Chuck Downs REALLY wrote this song and was REALLY a member of The Champs (and we cannot find ANY such listing in any of our reference books to this effect, but The Champs changed personnel SO many times over the years that anything's possible ... you may remember a special series we did on The Champs several years ago, stating that the band is probably more famous for who was NOT in the band at the time of their hit recordings than for anything else ... some of the various band members who passed through their lineup over the years include Jim Seals and Dash Crofts as well as Glen Campbell), then it would seem to us that with as much attention as The Champs have received over the past 45 years, Mr. Downs would have had some legal grounds (and notoriety and therefore, some publicity surrounding him) to prove this claim. In the meantime, we'll let the record stand, showing Wayne Cochran as the writer. (P.S. This article first ran back in 2003 ... to date, no new evidence has come up to indicate otherwise. But, reading this now in hindsight, I've just got to say that that sure is one HECK of a good, long run-on sentence!!!) kk

MORE ON WAYNE: Wayne Cochran just may be one of the most famous musical performers to never have had a hit record. It didn't seem that a weekend went by here in Chicago in the mid-to-late '60's where Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders weren't playing at some big club or show lounge here in the Windy City. It sounds like their greatest audiences were in Georgia and Florida (where Jackie Gleason used to actually have him perform on his television program from time to time.) kk

One of my personal heroes, bassist Jaco Pastorius (the man who inspired my screen name) joined the C.C. (which stood for Chitlin Circuit) Riders in the summer of 1972 at the age of 20. Bassist Bob Bobbing was offered the job of handling bass duties with the Riders but turned Bob Gable - the baritone saxist in the C.C. Riders - onto Jaco, saying to Gable, "This guy is beyond your wildest dreams. This guy Jaco will kill you. Don't even think about anybody else for the gig."

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the blond James Brown pompadour that Wayne sported. Another great song that he recorded for Mercury was "Goin' Back To Miami" -- I was really surprised that it didn't become a hit in '66 -- it rocked!
Dan Guilfoyle
Yeah, Wayne was pretty wild looking!!! Actually, "Goin' Back To Miami" was probably his best known "hit"...and it never even charted! (His version of "Harlem Shuffle" "bubbled under" at #127 in 1965.) kk

Thx Cool!!!!!!!!! ... verry interesting ... I always thought Wayne Cochran wrote Last Kiss. At the time it was recorded, my brother-in-law was in a country band in San Angelo ... played at such prestigious venues as "The Boots and Saddle Club" and "The Dixie Club". He was a good friend of Frankie's and that's the story I was always told about the song. By the time I started hangin' with the Cavaliers, Calvin Bell and Ronnie Miller were the main guys in the group. Last Kiss was just a memory, but the fame of the song always followed the Cavaliers and local bookings though not exciting kept them in guitar pics and Schlitz Beer. Thx for remembering me ... I really enjoyed the article!!!!
Our complete "History of 'Last Kiss'" is posted on The Forgotten Hits Website here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - THE STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS
Over the years, we have heard from several of the latter day members of The Cavaliers, ALL of whom have praised us for writing the most accurate history of the band they've ever seen anywhere!!! (kk)

The original version of "Last Kiss", recorded with a three-piece band and a badly simulated car crash, by Wayne Cochran (vocal / writer) was released on Gala (Georgia) in 1963. In 1964, Wayne re-recorded his "Last Kiss" with a new and better arrangement that included a new bass riff (played on an up-right) and a professional three-piece back-up girl vocal group. Released on King (known for Soul music) it started getting some attention / airplay in West Texas. In a weekly phone call-in contest on new record releases on an Odessa radio station Wayne's "Last Kiss" 45 came in first. Listening to this station that night in near-by Midland was a 26 year old independent record producer named Sonley Roush. In 1962 and 63 Sonley had been booking a four piece country rock band "The Cavaliers" from San Angelo into clubs in his area and had been impressed with their vocalist Frank Wilson. Sonley remembered the teens liking Wayne's song but thought Frank's voice would be much better suited (Wayne, known as a white James Brown, had made appearances on national TV with his group The C.C. Riders).
Writer Wayne Cochran, would have to wait 35 long years for any payday as his manager back home spent his writer's royalty checks from the hit J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers release while he was out performing on the road. In 1974 a Canadian group called "Wednesday" recorded "Last Kiss" (same basic arrangement) charting #34 selling 200,000 copies. This new interest brought Frank's version back into the top 100 for a few weeks. The year-end Billboard's Top 100 for 1974 lists "Last Kiss" by Wednesday #58 and "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson #92. In 1998 rock group Pearl Jam happened upon a copy of "Last Kiss" at a flea market in Seattle and then recorded it themselves, releasing it on a 45 for their fan club members. Pearl Jam's lead singer, Eddy Fedder, had only heard "Wednesday's version back in 1973 when he happened upon Frank's version at the flea mart. With a complete new arrangement the song reached #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Sales and #7 Air Play plus staying 54 weeks on the Canadian and 45 weeks on the Australian charts. Pearl Jam received an RIAA gold CD record award plus received one million airplays, giving Wayne Cochran a BMI 2 million airplay award. Wayne, dressed in a black tux, appeared at the annual BMI Awards Show finally getting his well-deserved payday.
(from a 2005 Forgotten Hits Comments Page)

And reiterated here, more recently, by our buddy Dave The Rave ...
Kent ...
Per my several interviews with Wayne Cochran it should be noted that it was the Pearl Jam version that finally earned the royalties that Wayne Cochran deserved for writing a tune that hit the charts three times and finally getting it's biggest payday with Pearl Jam's hit. In fact, Wayne told me that on the J Frank Wilson hit of Last Kiss he was basically cheated out of almost all songwriting royalties.
Dave the Rave

Wayne Cochran and Joe Carpenter were the original composers of LAST KISS. The drummer was Jerry Ripper and Bobby Rakestraw was the bass player. Joe Carpenter played lead guitar and he and Wayne Cochran both sang. Wayne was lead singer with Joe backing him. I know this because at the time it was recorded I was married to Bobby Rakestraw.
Shirley Hendrix

And did you know that Quent Lang from the Mauds once played with Wayne Cochran????
No, I sure didn't ... c'mon, Quent, share a Wayne Cochran story or two with our readers!!! (kk)

I played in Wayne's band for a short time (like many horn players in that band). It was a revolving door ... actually it was an uneventful experience back in the summer of 1970. Good enough band, great young players ... but Wayne was the show. He rarely featured any of the players. Locked in a touring bus for thousands of miles. Hated being a road-rat. If I can think of any good stories, I will pass them on.

And here's an oldie but goodie from Chet Coppock, the biggest Wayne Cochran fan I know!!!
kent ...
the platinum blond hair ... the blue-eyed sizzle ... there was only one wayne cochran. he tore up the happy medium six-eight weeks a year back in there late 60's. i recall one four week stretch when i went to see him - no kidding - 17 times. his staples, 'you don't know like i know' ... 'going back to miami' ... 'i can't turn you loose' ... used to drive crowds nuts ... one closing night he took the whole house outta the 'medium' and had us conga dance next door to 'rush up' where he began playing with his group and the house band.
that's back when the street' was about barnabay's and 'rush over' and youthful energy instead of dry martinis ... back when 'chicago' was 'the big thing'.
wayne and i were pals ... not real tight; we just got a kick out of yakking it up together. i'll never forget walking into old 'smokey joe's' on south state street and watching wayne buy a dozen suits in bright orange, lime green, electric blue, etc. and, of course, he bought them with matching snake skin shoes. the last i heard wayne was preaching on some cable access betwork in florida.
wayne along with sonny charles and the checkmates are the best lounge acts i have ever seen or probably will see until the rolling stones get old enough to play the small room at some vegas casino.
by the way if anyone has any video of wayne ... or old super eights .... i'll merely give up my left leg!!! plus CASH.
the best,
chet coppock
wls / espn radio
I remember hearing Wayne Cochran concert commercials on the radio all the time when I was growing up and wondering what all the fuss was about ... I was too young to go and see him myself at the time but I've only heard incredible things since then about his performances. (How is it possible that this guy never had a hit record?!?!? Although, from what I've also been told, they were never able to capture the excitement of Mr. Cochran on vinyl the way he electrified an audience during a live performance.) My Mom and Dad were BIG Checkmates, Ltd. fans and used to go see them perform nearly every time they came to town ... WAY before the rest of the country caught up with them thanks to "Black Pearl". (From what I hear, that was about as UN-sounding a Checkmates record as you could make ... but it's a Phil Spector Classic.) We featured Wayne Cochran's version of "Goin' Back To Miami" once before in Forgotten Hits, sent to us by the ever-reliable Tom Diehl, who writes:
Oh yes! I found this track online after re-listening to an old Dave The Rave show. Somehow this had slipped through the cracks for me the first time but the second time it grabbed me immediately.
It's some high-energy stuff ... and one that COMPLETELY eluded the pop charts ... but it didn't escape the ears of The Blues Brothers!!! They used to perform this one all the time! (kk)

"Goin' Back To Miami" is one of the all-time great party songs! There are certain songs that were not big hits that are still well known, as far as partying is concerned, and "Goin' Back To Miami" is one of those. The Isley Brothers "Shout" fits this mold (it only hit # 47 on the pop charts when it came out in 1959, and failed to dent the R & B Top 100) and I used to play it at almost every reunion, wedding, etc, 15 years before it was featured in "Animal House" by Otis Day and the Nights (DeWayne Jesse). It always worked the crowd into a frenzy, just like "Miami." I referred to Wayne as the white James Brown because of his big, blond pompadour!
Danny Guilfoyle

Kent ...
Thanks for the Wayne Cochran remembrance. He is one of my all-time favorites. I'm sure you know he is now a minister in the Miami area. Thanks.
Wayne Cochran Ministries

Buisness Type(s): Interdenominational Church
5325 NW 159th St
Hialeah, FL 33014

And here's the piece that rekindled all this Wayne Cochran affection!!!
Kent ...
Saw a tie of Wayne Cochran to Chicago area:
(NOTE: In Chicago, there's a black club on 75th and King Drive called the Other Place, and it's one of those historical clubs with never-seen celebrities' pictures on the wall -- everybody from Redd Foxx to R&B singer Maxine Brown to Tony Bennett. One of the pictures on the wall -- they all seem to date from the fifties and early sixties, by the way -- is of Cochran and a barechested Jackie Wilson cutting up backstage! Of course, the last time I was there it was covered up by a sign announcing the house rules, but it's easy to lift that sign up to check out an incredible slice of rock & roll history.)
Do you think it’s time?
Do you realize that the legendary Wayne Cochran has not been recognized for his contributions to the music industry in his native state of Georgia? Sadly, it is true.
Please join this effort to recognize Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders for the enjoyment they've brought thousands of fans over the years by:
1) Write a letter of recommendation to Georgia Senate Music Industry Committee; Sen. Jeff Mullis, chairman; 18 Capitol Square, 421-A; Atlanta, GA 30334
2) Sign the on-line petition supporting Wayne's candidacy for the Georgia Music Hall Of Fame at:
Brief Biography
Wayne Cochran was born 1939 in Thomaston, GA. He played bass guitar on a 1960 recording with the Pinetoppers backing up a then unknown soul singer who would go on to superstar status. After "Shout Bamalama" was published and gained regional play for Otis Redding, Wayne soon assembled his own band. In December 1962, Wayne finished a song he had begun in 1956 about a tragic car wreck, and Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders recorded “Last Kiss” in Vidalia, GA for Gala records. Unfortunately, it didn’t get much airplay but others were listening. J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers’ cover reached #2 in the U.S. in 1964. In the meantime, Wayne Cochran and the band were launched and they would become one of the most popular show bands of all time.
Meanwhile, "Last Kiss" has enjoyed a life of its own and has gained international acclaim. It was #1 in Mexico (1960s), #1 in Peru (1960s), #2 in Canada (1973) and Pearl Jam took it to #2 again in the U.S. in 1999.
Website Videos:
1. Wayne Cochran’s initial recording of “Last Kiss” recorded in Vidalia, GA about 1962:
2. Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders on one of their first television performances. The song "Get Down With it" on the Jackie Gleason show.
3. More from the Gleason Show … Wayne and the Riders perform “Going Back To Miami”:
4. From the 1970 Movie “C.C. & Company” Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders perform “I Can’t Turn You Loose”:
5. Wayne Cochran sings soulful rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” on Tom Snyder Show:
6. More from Tom Snyder Show … Wayne sings “Old Time Rock & Roll and picks a little guitar:
7. Peruvian band Los Doltons perform “El Ultimo Beso,” a mid 60’s cover of "The Last Kiss":
Born: Thomaston, GA 1937 ... son of T.A. & Minnie Lee Cochran
Father: millworker
Mother: ?
About 1952 (age 15?), he dropped out of Thomaston high school in 9th grade to devote full time to music.
1955: First Band - Blue Cats (Thomaston, GA)
Late 1950's: moved to Macon, GA
1959: Released My Little Girl/The Coo (Scottie)
1960: Published and played bass on Otis Redding's "Shout Bamalama" with Pinetoppers (Confederate Label)
Early 60s: Released Funny Feeling and Lisa Jane (Gala)
1962: Finished writing Last Kiss (started in 1956)
1963: Band now Called Wayne Cochran & C.C. Riders
Recorded “Last Kiss” (Gala) in Vidalia, GA
Released “Little Orphan Annie” (King)
Released “Monkey Monkey” (King)
6/1964: Last Kiss Top 10 (#2) song for J. Frank Wilson & Cavaliers
Remade Last Kiss (King)
1964: Moved band to Bossier City, LA (toured Midwest)
1964: Moved band to Miami, FL (The Barn)
1966: Released “Harlem Shuffle” (Mercury)
1967: Released “Goin' Back To Miami” (Mercury)
1968: Released Wayne Cochran! (Chess LP)
3/1969: Recorded 10 songs for High And Ridin’ LP in Cincinnati, OH (Bethlehem)
1970: Featured in movie C.C. & Company
Released High And Ridin' (CMT LP)
Released Livin' In A B**** of a World (CMT LP)
Featured in Hit Parader (magazine)
1971: Released Old King Gold (CMT LP)
1972: Released Cochran! (Epic LP)
1973: “Last Kiss” Covered by Canadian Band Wednesday (#2 Canada; #34 in US) 1981: Started Voice For Jesus and Wayne Cochran Ministry in Hollywood, FL
6/1999: Pearl Jam Cover of Last Kiss #2 in US
7/26 & 8/1/2001: Wayne Cochran & C.C. Riders Reunion (Hollywood, FL)
2005: Released The White Knight of Soul 1964-1972: Get Down With It! (Raven)
Blue Cats
Rocking Capris
Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders
He influenced:
Lonnie Mack (dicography at
Al Kooper (Heeey Baby Days, page 439)
The Blues Brothers
Ted Nugent (8/22/08 interview Poughkeepsie, NY)
Tom Petty & Heartbreakers
John Fred & Playboy Band (1 Hit Wonders / Epinion / Jan 2, 05)
More Info:
Official Website:
Happy to pass your information along again so that other Cochran fans can get onboard! (Sounds like there are quite a few of them out there ... on this list alone!!!)
Hey, maybe we can get Wayne to say a word or two to our Forgotten Hits Readers!!! I'm hoping that someone out there will let him know about today's feature piece and that maybe he'll respond. If not, you'll find a good part of his history ... in his own words ... on his official website listed above. (kk)