Friday, October 2, 2009

October 2, 1974

Novelty hits always did well here in Chicago ... and "Earache My Eye" by the comedy duo Cheech and Chong was no exception. Known primarily as a best-selling ALBUM act, Cheech and Chong scored three straight chart-topping hits here in Chi-Town ... "Basketball Jones", a #13 National Hit and "Sister Mary Elephant", which peaked at #24 in Billboard Magazine, BOTH soared all the way to the #2 Spot here in Chicagoland ... and this one, "Earache My Eye", went all the way to #1.

Another popular Top Ten Hit that you rarely hear anymore was "Who Do You Think You Are" by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, the follow-up to their chart-topping hit "Billy, Don't Be A Hero". Wrapping up the "abbreviated" Top 15 WLS MusicRadio Chart this week is my all-time favorite Osmonds song, "Love Me For A Reason". (Despite ten Top Ten National Hits ... and now a hit Las Vegas stage act featuring Donny and Marie ... you don't hear much Osmonds Music on the Oldies Stations anymore ... but for a while there, they went toe-to-toe with The Jackson Five for the teeny-bopper market. Certainly Top Ten smashes like "One Bad Apple", "Yo Yo", "Down By The Lazy River" and this one, "Love Me For A Reason", deserve a spin every once in a while!) In fact, speaking of Donny and Marie, you'll find this duo still hanging on the chart with their remake of the old Dale and Grace tune, "I'm Leaving It All Up To You".

Olivia Newton-John would hold down the #1 Top Spot for a total of three weeks before she would be displaced by First Class and THEIR big One Hit Wonder, "Beach Baby". "Rock Me Gently", sung by Andy Kim (rather than a forest preserve full of animals as it is THESE days) held down the #7 spot ... his record topped the WLS Chart two weeks earlier.

A quick glance at the Album Chart (showing LPs and Tapes ... lol ... jeez, how dated does THAT look nowadays!!! lol) shows Bachman-Turner Overdrive with TWO of the Top Four Albums this week ... "Not Fragile" is in at #1 and "Bachman-Turner Overdrive II" is holding down the #4 spot. And The Beach Boys were back on the comeback trails with their hits collection "Endless Summer", too. It debuted at #9 this week and would help to launch a whole new generation of Beach Boys fans in the weeks to come.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979

I asked chart statistician Randy Price if he had ever compiled an "official" list of The Top Instrumentals of All-Time from his Super Charts, a point-ranking system that compiles a record's performance on the Billboard, Cash Box and Record World charts. Here's what we got back:

Funny you should bring that up ... I've been working on compiling a list of sources for a planned set of CDs that will include every instrumental to make the Hot 100 during the '60s (more than 560 songs, on 23 CDs). I'm finding that there are quite a few (particularly lower charting records) that aren't available on CD, or what is are not the single versions.
But to answer your question: Since by "All-Time" I assume you mean the usual time period of 1955-1979, that would preclude using "SuperChart" data specifically, since they go back only to 1960 (so far). I could put together a list from my annual charts compiled from Billboard and Cash Box data ... let me know if you want me to go outside the time period stated -- I could go back as far as 1950 and forward as far as 1992, although I don't think there have been any instrumentals that would qualify since 1986.
– Randy
1955 - 1979, the time period normally associated with Forgotten Hits, will be fine. As noted by Joel Whitburn yesterday, NOTHING post-1985 would have made the "All Time" List anyway! Thanks, Randy!

The OFFICIAL List appears below:
NOTE: Chart statistician Randy Price has compiled EXCLUSIVELY for us here in Forgotten Hits the OFFICIAL ranking of the Top 40 Instrumental Hits, 1955 - 1979, based on a COMBINED ranking of the Billboard and Cash Box Charts for this period. This chart is copyright Randy Price and Forgotten Hits, 2009, and may not be used without express written consent from both parties.

Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955-1979:
Based on a progressive point system applied to the weekly Billboard
and Cash Box pop charts

1. THE THEME FROM "A SUMMER PLACE" - Percy Faith & His Orchestra (Columbia) (1960)

2. LOVE IS BLUE (L'Amour Est Bleu) - Paul Mauriat & His Orchestra (Philips) (1968)

3. CHERRY PINK AND APPLE BLOSSOM WHITE - Perez Prado & His Orchestra
(RCA Victor) (1955)

4. EXODUS - Ferrante & Teicher (United Artists) (1960-61)

5. AUTUMN LEAVES - Roger Williams (Kapp) (1955)

6. STRANGER ON THE SHORE - Mr. Acker Bilk (Atco) (1962)

7. WONDERLAND BY NIGHT - Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra (Decca) (1960-61)

8. LISBON ANTIGUA - Nelson Riddle & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1956)

9. CALCUTTA - Lawrence Welk & His Orchestra (Dot) (1961)

10. A FIFTH OF BEETHOVEN - Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band (Private Stock) (1976)

11. THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS - Les Baxter & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1956)

12. FINGERTIPS (pt. 2) - Little Stevie Wonder (Tamla) (1963)

13. MELODY OF LOVE - Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra (Dot) (1955)

14. UNCHAINED MELODY - Les Baxter & His Orchestra (Capitol) (1955)

15. HONKY TONK (Pts. 1 & 2) - Bill Doggett (King) (1956)

16. CANADIAN SUNSET - Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra with Eddie Heywood
(RCA Victor) (1956)

17. TEQUILA - The Champs (Challenge) (1958)

18. LAST DATE - Floyd Cramer (RCA Victor) (1960)

19. TELSTAR - The Tornadoes (London) (1962-3)

20. MOONGLOW AND THEME FROM "PICNIC" - Morris Stoloff & The Columbia Pictures Orchestra (Decca) (1956)

21. THE CRAZY OTTO - Johnny Maddox (Dot) (1955)

22. THE STRIPPER - David Rose & His Orchestra (MGM) (1962)

23. RISE - Herb Alpert (A&M) (1979)

24. SLEEP WALK - Santo & Johnny (Canadian-American) (1959)

25. SAIL ALONG SILVERY MOON - Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra (Dot) (1958)

26. TOPSY (pt. 2) - Cozy Cole (Love) (1958)

27. LOVE'S THEME - The Love Unlimited Orchestra (20th Century) (1974)

28. FLY, ROBIN, FLY - The Silver Convention (Midland Int'l) (1975)

29. PICK UP THE PIECES - The Average White Band (Atlantic) (1975)

30. LOVE THEME FROM ROMEO & JULIET - Henry Mancini & His Orchestra
(RCA Victor) (1969)

31. WALK -- DON'T RUN - The Ventures (Dolton) (1960)

32. TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) - MFSB (Philadelphia Int'l) (1974)

33. TASTE OF HONEY - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (A&M) (1965)

34. TEA FOR TWO CHA CHA - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra starring Warren Covington (Decca) (1958)

35. WASHINGTON SQUARE - The Village Stompers (Epic) (1963)

36. STAR WARS THEME / CANTINA BAND - Meco (Millennium) (1977)

37. THE HAPPY ORGAN - Dave "Baby" Cortez (Clock) (1959)

38. THE HUSTLE - Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony (Avco) (1975)

39. THE "IN" CROWD - The Ramsey Lewis Trio (Argo) (1965)

40. BORN FREE - Roger Williams (Kapp) (1966)

A bit more in line with what I would have expected, "Theme From 'A Summer Place'", a nine week chart topper, is now leading the pack ... and Perez Prado's beautifully haunting "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" not only makes the list, but also the Top Three! Thanks again to Randy Price for sharing this list with our Forgotten Hits Readers! (kk)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The subject of Rock Era Instrumental Hits has become a hot topic here in Forgotten Hits lately ... here are just a few of your most recent comments on this:

How about Joe Kenton with the instrumental called Hymne? For those who aren't that familiar, it was the song used in the Gallo Wines commercial years ago?
Bob Morrow
Sorry, don't know that one ... but some GREAT instrumental titles have been floating around here lately!!! (kk)

You've hit on a topic that I discuss from time to time when posting old top 40 surveys on ebay. You just don't hear instrumentals on the radio any longer, even on oldies radio. They're used as a filler to bridge the gap to news, or as intros or outros to other scheduled programs. In your most recent email, a number of songs were listed and you hear NONE of them. I think all I've heard in recent months are Rise, Classical Gas and Feels So Good. What about all the great surf instrumentals, or Rumble, by Link Wray? I just finished listing a bunch of WBBM-FM surveys from 1973. A couple great instrumentals from that time were Hocus Pocus and Frankenstein. The lack of instrumentals on the radio explains why guitarists like Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Steve Stevens, Richie Sambora, Mike Campbell, John 5 and others don't have million selling albums. Unless Jimmy Page can persuade Robert Plant to get back together with him, he might as well go back to being a session guitarist. Eddie Van Halen's career is done unless he can find another singer. Forget about instrumentals like Let There Be Drums. Not even Phil Collins could get away with an LP of instrumentals featuring the drums. Would an Elton John or Billy Joel album of keyboard dominated instrumentals fly? It wouldn't.It's probably a vicious circle. Radio says there aren't any great instrumentals being released and the artists will say radio doesn't play it anyways. I think the second half of the statement is more true. Instrumental albums are made all the time, but outside of guitar magazines, you never hear about them.
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

A couple more nobody mentioned:"Wipe Out" and "Mizry Lou"(sp?)I had forgotten about and had a few records by Sandy Nelson and Art Blakey. You never hear drum solos much anymore, if ever, even live.
Personally, I'm one of those who doesn't miss the drum solos ... I've sat through literally dozens and dozens of HOURS of them over the years and have NO desire to hear another one. (Last one we saw was at last year's Earth, Wind And Fire concert ... I swear they spent 40 minutes giving each band member a solo on a long-winded jam that added absolutely NOTHING to the night of music and, in fact, deprived us of hearing three or four more legitimate hits!) By the way, it's "Misirlou" by Dick Dale that you're thinking about ... although today considered to be both an instrumental and a surf rock classic, this song NEVER charted when it was first released back in 1962. Its use in "Pulp Fiction" helped to cement it in many of our consciousness!!! (kk)

According to Fred Bronson's book "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits", which ranks The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era based on these records' actual chart performance in Billboard magazine, The Top Ten Biggest Instrumentals Of All-Time are as follows:
1.) Autumn Leaves - Roger Williams
2.) Theme from "A Summer Place" - Percy Sledge
3.) Lisbon Antigua - Nelson Riddle
4.) The Poor People Of Paris - Les Baxter
5.) Love Is Blue - Paul Mauriat
6.) Moonglow and Theme From "Picnic" - Morris Stoloff
7.) Tequila - The Champs
8.) Wonderland By Night - Bert Kaempfert
9.) Calcutta - Lawrence Welk
10.) Last Date - Floyd Cramer
How many of THOSE titles do you hear on the radio anymore? "Tequila", "Love Is Blue" and maybe "Theme from 'A Summer Place'" once in a while ... but that's about it. (Actually, I'm surprised "Theme from 'A Summer Place'" didn't rank higher ... it topped Billboard's Chart for nine weeks in 1960 ... but "Autumn Leaves" apparently accumulated more total points during its 26 chart run. Another one I would have expected to see high on the list is "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White" by Perez Prado, #1 for TEN weeks in 1955 ... but probably considered BEFORE the Rock Era by some.)

Scott Shannon has a list of The True Oldies Channel Top 40 Instrumentals as voted on by their listeners posted on his website:
Click here: True Oldies Channel .
Listed chronologically, it points out TWO post-1973 titles: "TSOP" by MFSB and "Love's Theme" by The Love Unlimited Orchestra ... and contains all three of The Top Ten titles I mentioned from the Billboard list above. (Floyd Cramer's "Last Date" also made their "Honorable Mentions" list.) He tells me that he'll be featuring his True Oldies Channel Instrumentals Weekend again in a couple of months. Maybe some of the suggestions from our readers will inspire him to expand HIS list a little bit for the next airing! (kk)

Hey Kent ~
Not sure if I missed it or not but wasn't "Sleep Walk" an instrumental? Santo and Johnny, 1959, I believe. Some great tunes everyone's mentioned. Thanks again for all you do and thanks to everyone else for their input every week. Sure makes interesting reading.
~ Sharon
Yep, one of MY all-time favorites, too ... and definitely part of the "Vintage Instrumental" Class of the late '50's and early '60's ... but we were trying to figure out how many "big hit" instrumentals came out post 1973 ... and the drop-off is far greater than many of you may realize.

According to Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles" Book, NO instrumental has topped Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart since 1985 when Jan Hammer did it with his "Miami Vice" Theme. Think about that for a second ... that's nearly 25 years ago!!! By comparison, during the first 25 years of The Rock Era, 29 instrumentals topped the chart.

For some more pretty amazing statistics, check out Joel Whitburn's email below! (We knew that there'd been a drop-off in instrumental hits but even I was amazed by the post-2000 stats!) kk

Hi Kent,
I would like to comment on your instrumental discussion. Instrumentals, especially early rock and roll tunes, have always been favorites of mine. I can’t imagine any talk about the golden era of 1950’s rock and roll without a mention of instrumental smash hits like “Honky Tonk”, “Raunchy”, “Tequila”, “Rebel-‘Rouser”, “Topsy II”, “Teen Beat”, “Red River Rock”, “The Happy Organ”, “Rumble” or “Guitar Boogie Shuffle”.
Here’s a bit of history about the impact of instrumentals on Billboard’s pop charts. There have been only four that charted this decade (2000’s): “Kernkraft 400” by Zombie Nation (#99/’00); “Sandstorm” by Zarude (#83/01), “Axel F” by Crazy Frog (#50/’05), and “The Simpsons Theme” by Green Day (#106/07).
The 1990’s had 27, the biggest being “Theme From Mission: Impossible” by Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen of U2 (it peaked at #7 in 1996 and was the only Top 10 instrumental of the decade).
The 1980’s had a total of 53 and it was the last decade to score with a #1 instrumental hit: “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer in 1985.
There were a total of 250 charted instrumentals in the 1970’s which included 11 #1’s: from “Frankenstein” by the Edgar Winter Group in 1973 to “Rise” by Herb Alpert in 1979.
The 1960’s decade was truly the golden age of instrumentals. A total of 786 instrumentals made the “Hot 100” and “Bubbling Under” charts. 1962 holds the crown with a total of 118 entries, featuring three #1’s: “Telstar”, “Stranger On The Shore” and “The Stripper”.
The 1950’s had a total of 356 instrumentals. 1959 was the top year of that decade with 76 titles. Many all-time classic #1 instrumental hits came from that decade. Among them were “The 3rd Man Theme”, “Blue Tango”, “Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White”, “Autumn Leaves”, “The Poor People Of Paris”, “Lisbon Antigua”, “Patricia” and “Sleep Walk”.
And, a quick glance at the 535 #1 hits from 1920 through 1949, shows that 61 of that total were instrumentals – from “Dardanella” and “Whispering” in 1920 to “In The Mood” and “Frenesi” in 1940.
So, there it is - a capsule wrap-up of the chart history of instrumental recordings on America’s pop charts.
Joel Whitburn
P.S.: Here’s an excerpt from my “1957 Music Review” on page 37 of my “Billboard Hot 100 Annual” book: “The instrumental craze cooled off in 1957 with only eight instrumentals hitting the Top 40, compared to 24 the year before. Inspired by “Honky Tonk”, a sax-guitar, R&B-laced smash hit of 1956, a new kind of instrumental surged onto the charts in late 1957. “Raunchy” became the first guitar-driven, rock and roll instrumental to break through the Top 10 and it did so with three different versions. Written by producer and sax player Bill Justis and guitarist Sid Manker, Justis’ infectious version went all the way to #2 on the Pop charts and blazed a trail for others to follow, including 1958’s “Tequila”, “Rebel-‘Rouser”, Topsy II” and “Rumble.”
It was these recordings that inspired me to buy a guitar and learn to play all of these great rock and roll instrumentals.

Tomorrow we'll be running OUR official list of The Top 40 Instrumentals of All-Time as compiled by Randy Price, utilizing data that he's collected from both the Billboard and the Cash Box Charts over the years. Meanwhile, here's one of MY all-time favorite instrumental hits (although, in all fairness, there IS a little bit of singing on this one ... and by that I mean both by the background singers AND Pete Drake's AMAZING guitar.) It's called "Forever" and it was a #22 Hit in Cash Box Magazine back in 1964. We've featured it once or twice before in Forgotten Hits over the past ten years ... which is probably more times than radio has played it during that same time frame. Drake was the top pedal steel guitar session man in Nashville for decades, working with a virtual Who's Who of country and pop recording artists ... but this was his only solo hit ... and it's a GOOD one!!! Give a listen to "Forever" and see if you don't agree! (Boy, talk about your Forgotten Hits!!!) kk

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The "Deserving And Denied" List

Back in 2007 we published a list (based on YOUR votes and nominations) of The Top 40 Most Deserving And Denied Artists who YOU felt belonged in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Thankfully, a few of these artists HAVE been inducted in the three years since this list first went out ... but look at the caliber of artists who STILL aren't being considered by the Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee!!! (I can see Doug Thompson cringing at the very thought of reading through this list again ... but I updated it slightly as some of the status has changed ... other than that, however, this list represents YOUR choices, EXACTLY as they appeared, circa 2007, for the most Deserving And Denied Artists. (kk)

Deserving and Denied ... Your "Top 40" Choices:
In Rank Order (based on your votes and comments)

1. Connie Francis - 41 Top 40 Hits including 16 Top 10's and three #1's ... with Brenda Lee, one half of Rock And Roll's Female Dynamic Duo. How is it even REMOTELY possible that Connie is NOT in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?!?!?!
(At least Brenda Lee finally earned HER spot in 2002!)

2. Neil Diamond - 38 Top 40 Hits including 15 Top 10's and three #1's ... Neil scored Top Ten Hits in the '60's, the '70's AND the '80's and also wrote several hits for other artists (including the #1 Chart-Topper for The Monkees, "I'm A Believer", one of the BIGGEST songs of the '60's!)

3. Guess Who - 15 Top 40 Hits including six Top 10's and one #1 ... the biggest selling act to EVER come out of Canada, at one point selling more records than ALL of the other Canadian recording artists combined!

4. The Hollies - British Invasion favorites ... 12 Top 40 Hits including 7 Top 10's and one #1. Incredible harmonies and melodies, this band ALSO gave us Graham Nash, the ONLY member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young NOT to be recognized for his earlier work. (NOTE: Finally nominated for The Class of 2010)

5. Chicago - 34 Top 40 Hits ... fused jazz and rock into a successful career that is now in its FIFTH decade! At one point, Jimi Hendrix said of Chicago Lead Guitarist Terry Kath, "I think your guitar player plays better than I do!" Jimi's in ... yet Chicago has never even been nominated!!!

6. Pat Boone - 39 Top 40 Hits ... second only to Elvis in record sales throughout the '50's ... made Rock And Roll Music acceptable to mainstream America who felt threatened by Elvis' much harder (and more sexual) image. Introduced much of White America to the sounds of Black R & B Artists through his recordings of songs first made popular by Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Artists like Fats Domino and Little Richard. Did more to help bridge the gap between White America and Black America than ANY politician or Civil Rights Leader EVER did.

7. Chubby Checker - The ONLY artist in Rock And Roll History to reach #1 TWICE with the same record. Caused a national dance sensation when he taught us "The Twist". And, if that's STILL not enough, scored 22 OTHER Top 40 Hits!!!

8. The Moody Blues - Started as a blues band covering an old Bessie Smith song ... and evolved into one of the pioneers of orchestral rock. Breath Deep ... how can you possibly NOT induct THESE guys?!?!?

9. The Dave Clark Five - More British Invasion favorites ... at one point rivaled The Beatles as the most popular group from England both at home AND here in The States. 17 Top 40 Hits! (Finally inducted in 2008)

10. The Monkees - Eternally popular TV / Music stars. No, they DIDN'T play their own instruments on their first couple of albums ... but WHO did back then?!?! (Not The Beach Boys or The Mamas And The Papas, both Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Members!) Their TV Series has never really been off the air these past 40 years ... and they STILL play out to sell-out crowds whenever and wherever they perform.

11. ABBA - The world-wide best selling recording act of all time. If the best-selling act in history doesn't belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, then who does??? Leonard Cohen?!?!? (File this under "The People Have Spoken!!!")
NOTE: Finally nominated in 2009 for The Class of 2010.

12. Three Dog Night - Dominated the charts in the '70's, scoring 21 straight Top 40 Hits ... that's their ENTIRE chart history!!! One of the most ... if not THE most ... popular bands of the '70's. Pioneered the concept of a band with THREE lead singers!

13. Paul Anka - Canadian-born singer / songwriter ... dominated the teen pop scene in the '50's, became a more adult-oriented "standards" singer in the '60's and then came back with a whole new career in the '70's, scoring 35 Top 40 Hits over four decades. Plus, this guy wrote the theme to "The Tonight Show" and the Frank Sinatra classic, "My Way"!!! One of the very first artists smart enough to own his own masters!

14. Linda Ronstadt - There wasn't a style Linda couldn't sing ... and she successfully sang them ALL during her chart career. Along the way, she racked up 22 Top 40 Hits. (Sorry, Doug, but it's hard NOT to use Linda Ronstadt and SOME variable of the world "rack" in the same sentence!) Bonnie Raitt's in ... this year Laura Nyro is nominated ... yet Linda has never even been considered!!! How is this even possible?!?!?

15. Tommy James and the Shondells - '60's Pop Chart favorites ... and STILL going strong. In addition to his OWN chart success, Tommy's tunes were covered and then later hits for a number of artists in the '80's, proving this music to be timeless. Combined pop, rock, gospel, bubblegum and psychedelia into a sound distinctly and uniquely his own.

16. The Turtles - Pop favorites, The Turtles helped define a generation with feel good tunes like "Happy Together", "Elenore", "She'd Rather Be With Me", "You Showed Me", "You Baby", "It Ain't Me, Babe", "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl" ... all '60's Pop Standards.

17. Paul Revere and the Raiders - Pop Stars, TV Stars, Concert headliners ... Mark Lindsay and Company scored 17 Top 40 Hits, most of which you STILL hear on the radio every day! A good percentage of Rock And Roll Music can ALSO be called "Feel Good" Music ... artists like Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Turtles and Tommy James and the Shondells EXCELLED at "Feel Good Music!"

18. Hall and Oates - The most successful duo of all time ... how is it possible that THESE guys are NOT in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame? Simon and Garfunkel are in ... The Everly Brothers are in ... Hall and Oates have had 30 Top 40 Hits and then, when they reunited a few years ago, were immediately back on the charts again! I don't know if there EVER was a better example of Rock 'n' Soul.

19. Genesis - Between their Art Rock Days of the Peter Gabriel period and their pop chart domination when led by Phil Collins, these guys ABSOLUTELY deserve a spot in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame! (NOTE: Finally nominated in 2009.)

20. Yes - More Art-Rock at its finest and most innovative ... in fact, they helped to set the standard.

21. Neil Sedaka - Another one of the most popular songwriters of the rock era, Neil also scored a fair amount of his OWN pop hits, too ... 22 of which made The National Top 40.

22. The Zombies - Another British Invasion favorite ... they only had THREE Top 40 Hits but, boy, what hits those were ... timeless classics like "She's Not There", "Tell Her No" and "Time Of The Season".

23. Dionne Warwick - All Dionne Warwick did was provide the Soundtrack To Our Lives during the '60's ... speaking of which, where the heck are Burt Bacharach and Hal David ... certainly THEY belong in the Non-Performer category!!!

24. Heart - Talk about Women Who Rock ... The Sisters Wilson brought a WHOLE new meaning to the phrase!

25. Pat Benatar - Another female rocker who ABSOLUTELY deserves a spot in The Rock Hall! Heart and Pat Benatar DEFINE Rock And Roll ... they ARE Rock And Roll ... they LIVE it!!! Madonna, who was a shoe-in to get in on her first ballot ... and did, gave us DANCE music. Certainly there's a difference. Clearly, all THREE artists belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... why aren't Heart and Pat Benatar already there???

26. The Doobie Brothers - Starting out as a Biker Band doing California Rock they launched a whole NEW career with the addition of keyboardist / vocalist Michael McDonald ... between the Tom Johnston years and the Michael McDonald years, The Doobies scored 18 Top 40 Hits, including a couple that went all the way to #1.

27. Bobby Rydell - A Pop Teen Idol who could actually sing ... and eventually even parlayed his success on to the silver screen. Bobby scored 19 Top 40 Hits.

28. Johnny Rivers - Whether he was interpreting another artist's songs ... or writing his own hits, Johnny Rivers never failed to please, scoring 21 Top 40 Hits in the process.

29. John "Cougar" Mellencamp - One of the '80's Generation's best rockers, Mellencamp took his love of old time rock and roll and made it his own ... along with Bob Seger, one of the best examples of Midwestern Rock we've ever known. (NOTE: Mellencamp was finally inducted in 2008.)

30. Glen Campbell - If you're not going to induct him on the basis of his OWN recording career (sure, he was a Country Artist first, but Campbell also scored 21 Top 40 Pop Hits), then you've GOT to induct him for the THOUSANDS of recording sessions he did back in the '60's. I mean, this guy played on EVERYTHING ... and was even a Beach Boy for a while!!!

31. Electric Light Orchestra - These guys gave new meaning to the term "Classic Rock", molding the best of classical music and rock into a whole new genre.

32. Styx - Another band that fused any number of styles into a sound that became distinctly their own.

33. Lesley Gore - One of the most popular female voices of the '60's, Lesley scored hit after hit.

34. Joan Jett - Another female rocker worthy of some Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
attention. If there's such a thing as Madonna rock and roll, then there just HAS to be Joan Jett rock and roll! (Worthy enough for a rock and roll bio-pic in production right now ... but NOT worthy of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame??? I don't think so!)

35. Herman's Hermits - Another '60's British Invasion favorite. Their feel-good music sounds JUST as fresh today. And, Herman's Hermits scored 18 straight Top 40 Hits between 1964 and 1968 ... how many OTHER Rock And Roll Hall Of Famers can make THAT claim???

36. Peter, Paul and Mary - One of the first artists to bring the folk movement to the masses ... Peter, Paul and Mary were at the forefront of this genre, consistently placing hits near the top of the pop charts. They also first introduced the world to the music of Bob Dylan at a time when radio wouldn't play the real thing. (Maybe now, with Mary Travers' recent passing, Peter, Paul and Mary will finally be considered. Doesn't that ALWAYS seem to be the way? Wait until the artist is GONE before you recognize them for all that they gave us???)

37. Jim Croce - Giving whole new meaning to the term singer / songwriter ... as well as taking the role of "storyteller" to a whole new level, Croce's career was cut WAY to short. There is NO telling what else this man had in store for us. If you can't induct him for the greatness he showed us in his all too brief career, then induct him as yet another one of Rock And Roll's tragic heroes. And you may as well go right ahead and induct Croce's guitarist Maury Muehleisen into the Sidemen Category, too, because there was NO finer compliment to an artist than Maury's EXQUISET guitar-playing. He, too, sadly perished in the same plane crash as Big Jim.

38. The Ventures - One of the most popular and successful instrumental groups of all time ... how many kids did THESE guys inspire to pick up a guitar for the very first time??? (NOTE: Finally inducted in 2008, 48 years after their first chart record ... yet The Red Hot Chili Peppers stand a good chance of being inducted on their very first ballot. Go figure!)

39. Grand Funk Railroad - You CAN'T induct Black Sabbath and NOT induct Grand Funk Railroad. These two artists were pretty much ALWAYS lumped together back in the day and sold GAZILLIONS of albums, making "Heavy Metal" fashionable in the process. The BIG difference between the two is that Grand Funk Railroad ALSO placed songs regularly on the SINGLES chart, too. Black Sabbath NEVER did that!!! Although their album sales were comparable, Grand Funk Railroad placed EIGHT of their LPs in The Top Ten ... Black Sabbath accomplished this feat only once ... yet it's Black Sabbath who's been enshrined in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, NOT Grand Funk Railroad!!! (Memo to Mark Farner: Have you ever considered biting the head off of a bat to up your "street-cred"???)

40. Petula Clark - Another one of the most popular female voices of the '60's, Clark scored hit after hit after hit.

These were your original choices, circa 2007. Feel free to send your "Deserving And Denied" nominations again, and we'll update this list again before induction time. (kk)

THIS JUST IN: Scott Shannon will soon be airing a "Rock And Roll Hall Of Shame" Weekend on The True Oldies Channel, too ... featuring artists nominated by the True Oldies Listeners that they believe have been COMPLETELY overlooked by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee.

You can tune in and Listen Live here:
Click here: True Oldies Channel

Check out The Top 40 Deserving And Denied Artists nominated by OUR readers and you'll see that ALL of these artists made our list as well. Happy to pass this along ... and encourage our readers to send in THEIR nominees to:

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

We're continuing to receive comments about this year's batch of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees ... here are just a few of the latest:

When will Bobby Vee be nominated?
His career spans over 40 years and he's still rocking in casinos, State Fair concerts and big and small Venues ... He had the hits and the gold records.
In 1999 we delivered a petition with over 10,000 signatures on it asking for him to be nominated to "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the Cleveland headquarters.
There were signatures of some big 60's groups and individual artists as well as a lot of fans ... yet after all these years, STILL no nomination.
What a shame. Such a nice guy, loved by his fans and he takes care of them. Respected by other artists.
Well, that's my story.
I agree with you on this year's nominees, and your daughter's observation of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Show the ugly politics of the Hall.
Gary Weber

Keep Rockin' and keep the faith.
We've covered a number of times now the politics involved with who does and doesn't get nominated ... and the fact that SEVERAL petitions with 10,000 signatures have regularly and routinely been ignored by the nominating committee, who CLEARLY seem to have their own agenda and ideas as to who deserves to get in. It really IS a shame that the opinions of the fans don't count at all ... certainly SOME sort of "weighted" balloting could be worked out ... but that isn't what the powers that be want and therefore it doesn't happen. (kk)

>>>By the way, my daughter pointed out that The Red Hot Chili Peppers had THEIR first hit in 1991 ... or 18 years ago. What happened to the 25 Year eligibility rule??? (kk)
The Peppers released their first, eponymous LP in 1984. That makes 'em eligible. Doesn't make 'em worthy. Hey, I like 'em, but . . .
As for the Hollies --- It's about damned time!! They'd better get in.
... Ed44
The Hollies have long been at the top of our "Deserving and Denied" List ... how on earth have these guys continually been overlooked? Maybe The Hall will get it right this time, rather than wait for a couple of members to pass away first ala The Dave Clark Five. (kk)

>>>The nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2010 have been announced; please let me know which 5 you believe will be elected (TJBeatlesFan)
Donna Summer; Kiss; Abba; Hollies; Darlene Love (because if Phil can get in for producing records, then Darlene should be there for being his instrument – under several titles).

Bob Mayben

Regarding the R&RHOF nominees, if you actually make a qualifier for the HOF to have made Rock 'n' Roll Music, about half of the nominees wouldn’t qualify. To me it’s a pretty sad list. Donna Summer isn’t Rock no matter how you cut it, and they should stop putting in all this fringe crap, while ignoring the real thing! If they don’t finally get the Hollies in, they are insane, but that’s kind of a given, considering all the drek they are filling it up with. Let’s all get our Girls and go dancin’ to LL Cool j. Yeah Baby! Shheeshh!

Here are my RRHOF nominee opinions:
Donna Summer -- one of the three dominant disco era acts [Bee Gees, K.C.] many hit records, even rocked out [Hot Stuff] --- YES
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- started in the mid 80s -- hugely popular alternative rock act, much more funk influence than most -- YES
Genesis -- I'm not a fan. Had two long careers, one of so called progressive rock, the other more pop oriented -- YES
Kiss -- I'm not a big fan. Typical 70s era rock band. Beth becomes the first so called power ballad. Have to credit for masks and stage show -- YES
Abba -- some will question whether their music is rock and roll. Hugely successful international pop group with great vocals -- YES
Those would be my top 5 deserving entries
Opinions on others:
Hollies -- I love them. My heart says put them in. In England they were much more popular than here.
Stooges -- I consider myself a well rounded rock and roll fan that's been exposed to many genres of music ... I've heard Iggy Pop solo but am not familiar with any Stooges material. I cannot consider them RRHOF worthy when so few people [I'd say less than 2 percent] have even heard them once.
LL Cool J -- popular 80s rap artist -- I guess he would rank third in the 80s after Grandmaster and Run DMC. Is Salt N Pepa next?
Chantels -- the first popular female vocal group - fit in with the doo wop groups though an early influence of the girl group sound. Short but excellent hit making career.
Laura Nyro -- belongs in the writers wing of the RRHOF
Darlene Love -- made many excellent records in 1962-1963. The voice of the Wall Of Sound. Sang background vocals on all sorts of hit records. Definitely belongs as a contributing artist. As great as her records were, they were unfortunately not all that popular. I think I just talked myself into wanting to elect her.
Jimmy Cliff -- might rank as the #2 most important reggae artist. I guess that's a good case for him.
Mark The Shark
The fact that The Stooges have been nominated something like seven or eight times now shows you that SOMEBODY wants them in ... but the voting committee just can't seem find it in their hearts to rank them in "The Top Five". (Remember, only the Top Five vote-getters actually get inducted.) And keep in mind that that 2% "familiarity factor" didn't keep The Velvet Underground out of The Hall. I cannot help but wonder ... how many times CAN you be nominated anyway??? Shouldn't it be like the OTHER Hall Of Fames ... where, if you're not voted in after the fourth or fifth ballot, you're no longer eligible? This method would also help toward opening up some spots for some of the other artists who DO belong in The Hall. (kk)

Here's my handicapping of the Jann Wenner and Cronies Hall of Fame: LL Cool J will be the rapper chosen (like Run DMC), Laura Nyro the composer who never had a hit on her own (like Leonard Cohen) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers the recent artist (like Madonna). They will toss a bone to the Hollies (like they finally did with the DC 5). Darlene Lovecan't be blackballed by Phil Spector anymore and she's "in" with people like Paul Schaeffer, so she'll make it, too.
-- Ron Smith
I was probably most surprised by The Chantels ... I just wonder how they even came up for consideration with so much focus on the "new kids" all the time. (kk)
The Chantels were nominated before -- in 2002. Clearly there's enough oldies fans on the nominating committee to get them this far. But I have to ask, "Why them? Why not Connie Francis or Neil Sedaka or Neil Diamond or...??" The Stooges have been nominated eight times. Don't be surprised if Jann Wenner finds some way to slip them in -- hopefully not by pulling a "DC5" on the Hollies.
-- Ron
That would be the ultimate upset again ... but it'd be more like Wenner to induct LL Cool J over The Hollies. (kk)

Hi Kent -
So glad to hear The Chantels made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!!
In case you didn't know, Arlene Smith (lead singer) and the Chantels were the first popular girl group to make it big and set the standard for other girl groups that followed like The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Supremes and others ...
They are best know for their ballad "Maybe" that reached a high of #2 in 1958. Its sound influenced producers and musicians. They followed with records that never reached that high status, but made a comeback in 1960 with their hit "Look In My Eyes" (one of my favorites).
Congratulations to a real pioneer group of Rock and Roll!!
For the record, they're not in YET ... simply nominated. The list of artists we published are this year's twelve nominees ... only FIVE will make the final cut for induction. (Personally, from the handicapping we've seen, The Chantels seem to be one of the LEAST-likely artists to get in ... but we have heard some very positive things about them.) In all fairness, PART of this "unfamiliarity" can be blamed on oldies radio ... how many Chantels songs do YOU hear played on the oldies stations anymore? The Chantels had four Top 40 Hits between 1958 and 1961: Maybe (#15, 1958); Every Night I Pray (#32, 1958); Look In My Eyes (#14, 1961) and Well, I Told You (#28, 1961). Of that list, you MIGHT hear "Maybe" once in a blue moon. Taking it to a much grander scale, Connie Francis (who STILL hasn't been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame) had 41 Top 40 Hits, including 16 Top 10's and THREE #1's!!! Yet when is the last time you heard any Connie Francis music played on the radio? Out of sight, out of mind. You CAN'T tell me that oldies radio can't find a spot for an occassional spin of "Who's Sorry Now", "Stupid Cupid", "Lipstick On My Collar", "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own", "Where The Boys Are", "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You" or "My Happiness" once in a while. No, not everyday ... 'cause it doesn't fit today's oldies format ... but once in a while?!?!? 41 Top 40 Hits ... and you MIGHT hear two of them all year long!!! Now that's just wrong! (kk)

About the only thing I can say as to the 2010 Rock Hall nominees: well, at least they recognized Darlene Love. I mean, give me a break. It took them this long to recognize one of the most talented and distinctive vocalists of the 20th Century? I mean she's only been singing on hit records since 1962. Gee, that's ONLY forty-seven years. And, like The Beach Boys, she's from Hawthorne, California, no less. Did you keep her waiting long enough, Jann?
Yea, I'm pleased The Hollies got in, even Jimmy Cliff. I'm amazed the "Queen of Disco" made it past the Jann Wenner Memorial Screening Committee. What? Jann salutes "disco" again? I thought he despised the genre. I thought that was what kept the Bee Gees out for so many years.
Hard to keep out ABBA, ditto, Genesis. The late Laura Nyro represents the annual 'hip factor' -- kinda like Leonard who?? from the Class of '08. I might even stretch and say The Chili Peppers deserve it --- but NOT for another few years, ditto KISS. As to 'early influences,' I'll accept The Chantels -- if they promise to induct The Crickets and The Rock and Roll Trio in 2011. Fair enough?
So, once again, us die-hards wait for Chicago, Jan & Dean, Quincy Jones, Brian Wilson, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and at least another dozen 'stars' that are far more worthy and deserving than "The Stooges" and "LL Cool J."
As far as Pat Boone making it -- the guy that introduced MILLIONS of white kids to 'black music' in the mid and late 1950's, well, Pat -- even though those white bucks are a bit dirty and out of fashion -- we'll continue to remember you! You're still one of my heroes.
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
"Music City, USA"
Again, as of this writing NONE of these artists have "made it" into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... they're just this year's batch of nominees. Eventually FIVE acts will be inducted (after the voting committee has their say.) The five "most deserving" in my mind from this year's list would have to be The Hollies, ABBA, Genesis, Darlene Love and Kiss ... with honorable mention to Donna Summer, Laura Nyro and Jimmy Cliff. That leaves The Chantels, LL Cool J, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Stooges in my "What the hell are YOU guys doing here?" category ... but again primarily because of all the other GREAT artists who did FAR more than these artists to advance and promote the rock and roll genre. (Of course my Top Five Most Deserving Artists overall would have to be The Hollies, Neil Diamond, Chicago, The Guess Who and Pat Boone.) kk

Kiss makes sense ... they helped to bring a whole new genre of glam rock to the forefront. As long as Jann Wenner is on the committee, Kiss will NEVER make it into the R&R Hall of Fame! They never got any respect (or any covers of) Rolling Stone!And where are The Monkees??
Mark (Computer DJ 61)
Unless you or I take over The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee, I don't think we'll EVER see The Monkees on the ballot. (kk)

In my opinion, Darlene Love DOES deserve her spot in the RRHOF, as do KISS, The Hollies, ABBA, Genesis, Jimmy Cliff & Donna Summer. I can name 3 of Darlene's solo hits, right off the top of my pointed little head, "Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home", "Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)" and "Today I Met The Boy I'm Gonna Marry". She sang lead on "He's A Rebel" that producer Phil Spector credited to The Crystals as well as being a member of Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, plus her group The Blossoms sang back up on dozens of hits, including Duane Eddy's "(Dance With) The Guitar Man" plus the fact that she's a staple on Letterman's annual Christmas show, so she's still in the public eye at least once a year. On top of all that, she's a wonderful person and an excellent interview (I interviewed her a few years back, and she gave me very honest answers to some probing questions). The Chantels and Laura Nyro deserve their spots as well, but c'mon - LL Cool J, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers going in before artists like Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones, or even Carole Kaye (the only female member of The Wrecking Crew) who played bass on hundreds of hits over the years.
It's like the nominating committee (yeah, I know it's really only one guy who makes these final decisions), picked one from column A (disco), one from column B (British 'art/rock' groups), one from column C (reggae artists), etc.
Sad that so many classic acts are being overlooked and ignored. But I don't want to get Kent started on all that again.
Doug Thompson
Lol ... yeah, I know ... I wouldn't want to put you through the torture of my Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame rave-out again!!! (Lol) I, too, believe that Darlene Love deserves a spot and, as you pointed out above, perhaps it IS as a solo artist since her work involved working with so many different artists. I can see Laura Nyro going in as a SONGWRITER ... but not as a Rock And Roll artist. (Meanwhile FAR too many other prolific rock era songwriters have never even been mentioned!) The fact that The Red Hot Chili Peppers have even been nominated ahead of SO many of the artists on our Deserving And Denied List is exactly what's wrong with the whole Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Process. (The GOOD news is that a few of the artists on our D&D List from a few years ago have since been inducted ... it's just been a very slow process. As I suggested in my final tantrum, the Hall really ought to consider one mass induction of about 40 artists who we ALL know belong there yet continue to be overlooked by the committee ... if only as a way of retaining ANY sense of credibility ... televise the thing on PBS where the audience is there for these older artists ... and make things right. (kk)

... and, speaking of Laura Nyro, it was interesting to receive this email this week ...

Hi Kent.
Well, I'll never listen to "Wedding Bell Blues" the same way again. The song
was written by Laura Nyro, so we asked Alan Merrill if there really was a "Bill."
How would he know?
His aunt was married to her Laura's uncle and Alan would come by after school

and hang out with Laura when she wrote all her early songs. Alan later became
a pop star in Japan and then moved to England where he joined the Arrows and
co- wrote "I Love Rock And Roll." I'll hit you with that story another time, but as for "Wedding Bell Blues,"
Alan told us:
Around 1958 or so my mom (the Jazz singer Helen Merrill) was dating a married man named Bill Carter, a b-film actor. He was married to Trink Wiman, heiress to the John Deere fortune. My mom and Bill co-owned a jazz club named The Night Owl (not the Greenwich Village rock venue) and were having a very passionate and public relationship. The club was quite possibly funded by Ms. Wiman's money. The affair was so serious in fact that Trink had private detectives invade our apartment at 1040 Park Avenue in '59, I was there and remember it. The ensuing newspaper scandal was the reason we left to reside in Europe for many years.
This was big family gossip of course, and Laura listened to it as a child and later wrote about it. My mother could never marry Bill, and didn't. Her timing was bad. Seeing a married man was a big deal in the '50s, but that the wife was such a wealthy heiress upped the ante. The affair ultimately cost Carter his marriage in 1960, with Wiman divorcing him, I guess Carter blamed my mom for his losing his grip on Wiman's fortune, and their relationship soured. He met and married actress Elaine Stewart, that is after breaking up with my mom in Europe sometime around in 1961 while I was in boarding school. My mother seethes at the mention of his name now and refuses to discuss him, although she did confirm the story of the affair (and Laura admitting to her that it was the inspiration for the song) when interviewed in Michele Kort's book about Laura's life. My mom was not amused at Laura's incisive lyric, but in fact Laura was an investigative journalist as an artist and got the story spot-on in the song. A zinger from my mom's perspective, but a big winner in terms of sale for Laura!
Here's the link to the "Wedding Bell Blues" Songfacts:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser
Interesting story ... and not one I had heard in conjunction with this song before. Thanks for sharing, Carl ... FH Readers can check out the whole interview at the links above. Laura Nyro's hit list was QUITE impressive in the late '60's (although again, not as a recording artist herself.) Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand and Three Dog Night scored HUGE hits with tracks like "And When I Die", "Wedding Bell Blues", "Blowing Away", "Save The Country", "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Sweet Blindness", "Stoney End" and "Eli's Coming" (kk)

Meanwhile, we've still got The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame honoring artists based on their actual chart performance and votes from their fan base. (Gee, what a concept!!!) If you find THIS option appealing (rather than just settling for the opinion of a committee of one), be sure to check out THEIR website:

Click here: Welcome To The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame

... and, speaking of The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame ...

Greetings, Kent,
Hope you're doing well. Have not had enough time these last two months to read each and every article, link, comment, etc., in your wonderful newsletter. However, in going through some old e-mails, I found a link to the current Nominees for the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, which I did click and voted for several. I could not find where it set a limit as to the number of votes you have.
In the process I overlooked "Chicago" as being a 2008 inductee and clicked on yet another link to send in additional nominees. I included Jan and Dean, Chicago, and my late and dear friend, Ray Peterson on that form.
When I realized that Chicago had already been inducted this past year, I looked for a link to John Rook's e-mail address but could not find one. I clicked on his company web site, but still no e-mail -- at least not that I can find. (NOTE: he sure has a great assortment of other 'stuff' on his site there, however. I could spend several hours just 'browsing.' :)
So, if you have John's e-mail addy, please send it along.
Fred Vail
John Rook's website would take DAYS to thoroughly peruse ... SO much information on there, including excerpts from his forthcoming book ... and reminisces about SO much from the early days of rock and roll ... definitely worth the trip. Meanwhile, the best way to reach him ... especially in matters pertaining to The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame ... you can always drop John a line at ... he LOVES hearing from other music fans out there!


Stay tuned tomorrow as we rerun our list of The Top 40 Deserving And Denied Artists Overlooked by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee! EXCLUSIVELY here on The Forgotten Hits Web Page!