Friday, June 18, 2010

More From The Rock And Roll College Of Musical Knowledge

We've put together another quick batch of "Helping Out Our Readers" today in Forgotten Hits ... as well as a new segment that we're calling "Setting The Record Straight".

As our list of readers has grown over the years, we have been quite successful in solving some of the "musical mysteries" that make up the bulk of your inquiries. We've found that by pooling our contacts, there truly IS strength in numbers ... and our "Helping Out Our Readers" segment has certainly become not only one of our most popular ... but also one of the most SUCCESSFUL features that we do.

However, if I had to pick ONE thing that I'm most proud of accomplishing with Forgotten Hits over the past eleven years, it would have to be setting the record straight regarding SO many mistakes that have been repeated as "facts" ... Forgotten Hits has always strived to arrive at "the most accurate truth" available, based on researching some of the oft-repeated "folklore" through the sources that were actually there at the time. As such, a number of artists and "movers and shakers" from this era continue to join our list and help us to determine "The Most Accurate Truth" wherever possible ... knowing that we will present their stories and memories in a professional and respectful manner. From time to time we like to explore some specific examples. (You'll find LOTS more on The Forgotten Hits Web Page at!) Today we're sharing just a few that have come up recently:

>>>I'm trying top identify a TV commercial ... 70s? 80s? ... that used Donovan's flute part from "First There Is A Mountain" .. .not sure there's any singing, might be a re-recording of the flute music ... girls are dancing to it ... ring any bells? ... thanx a ton! (stolf)
>>>You probably already have it, but in answer to the question is the Toyota Rav4 is where advertisers wisely placed Donovan’s “There is a Mountain”. Here’s a link:
(Dawn Lee Wakefield)
Well its certainly gratifying to know the old tunes can still sell ... I mean, Dinah Washington's "Relax, Max" and the Kinks' "Picture Book" ... geez Louise! But what I'm looking for with the Donovan song is older ... it was a hair-care product and the girls are dancing to the flutes ... forgive me for being a dirty old baby boomer, but in my memory they sorta bump their hips to the dum dum dum dum dum at the end ... so I'm still looking! BTW ... did you check out ... two new ones up!
-- stolf
Thanks for the mention in today’s column. Now have all those jingles in my head like a song worm — thanks for that!
Dawn Lee Wakefield

Looks like we still haven't found the exact one he's looking for ... any other ideas on this topic? (I kinda remember this, too ... but cannot think of the product for the life of me!!!) Class??? (kk)

>>>There was a song played at least (I believe) in the Chicago area in the mid 60's called "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose". I have no clue who sang this and with all the experts I have access to, I'm starting to believe I may have just picked this 45 up in an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10 record bin many many years ago. Some of the lyrics are:
"Well, it's heads I win, tails you lose; you won my heart and broke it in two"."All the boys told me when they saw you driving again and again in the car with my very best friend".
(Jerry Kamper)
I have the 45 by the Cambridge Five on USA Records. (It was USA 850).
Tony Waitekus
By golly, I think we've found it!!! Thanks, Tony ... I passed the track along to Jerry and here's what he had to say:
Hi Kent!
You're so right on the money Kent. That's the song. The Cambridge Five???? It may not interest most, but I am sure curious how you came up with it. I must still ask myself if it was the Chicago radio stations playing it or was it the 5 & 10 record bin at S.S. Kresge. Maybe you can clear it up for me.
Thanks a heap for finding this record. . It's funny, I had no idea where or who recorded it, but I knew every single word. to this song. It's such a great joy to see your attachment and hear a song playing that you know darn well you haven't heard in well over 40 years. My only comparisons was driving through Chicago a few years back and hearing Ron Smith's oldies radio show playing "You Wouldn't Listen To Me" by the Ides of March. I was hearing one of my favorite Chicago oldies on my car radio for the first time in well over 35 years. You must admit, that's a true Blast From The Long Long Past. What a great thrill to experience that. My other all time music thrill was visiting your site and hearing the NC6's song "Never Be Lonely" for the very first time. It was also such a thrill to hear a fantastic Oldie for the first time which bore no old baggage or memories and just fell into a category of being an excellent and beautifully sung and orchestrated song that should have been a huge hit for the group. There is no way either of the mentioned songs fall into a true category of a forgotten hit, Kent, so thanks again for all you do for us here at
I have to admit that we've got a pretty good track record for tracking this rare stuff down and sharing it with our "long-suffering" readers who absolutely KNOW that they grew up LOVING this song but have absolutely NO chance of hearing it on the radio anymore thanks to the regimented playlists of today. As far as I can tell, the song never charted here in Chicago (I checked all three major charts here for the '60's) ... so I'm not really sure WHERE you heard it. (Back then it was not unusual for WLS or ... more likely ... WCFL to give a record a spin for a week or two to see if it caught on with its listeners or not ... so it's quite possible that's where you heard it and for whatever reason it just clicked. Personally, I hadn't heard the song before ... but you can chalk up another one for the "good guys" here at FH!!!) kk

And, if it WAS done by a Chicago act, there's a good chance that this clip will end up on Jeff James' new "Windy City @ 6" program!!! Stay tuned! (kk)

From what I've read and heard, The Fleetwoods were recorded outside of a normal, professional recording studio, possibly in a house, in or near their hometown. Whoever was heading these recordings (two producers I see), wanted to control all aspects, even have the vinyl records pressed by others with a custom imprinted record label name; this song release being "Dolphin 1" single, later to become Dolton Records.
As with other songs, when debating what version should be released, those versions would be saved. While the entire Mr. Blue album could have been issued in Stereo, as initially with other record companies, even Atlantic Records (until Tom Dowd helped), mixing Stereo was a problem because of the lack of necessary equipment.
Not discovered in EMI's vaults, here's what the Hit song, "Come Softly To Me", may have sounded like, with added bongo percussion, in Stereo ...
Part Producer, Bonnie Guitar, also resided in Washington, as did The Fleetwoods. Possibly even played acoustic guitar for The Fleetwoods recordings.
Please Note: No animals were harmed during this construed theorizing!
That's actually a pretty cool sounding mix, John ... not at all intrusive and it absolutely seems to fit with the whole Fleetwoods sound.
According to Darcy Sullivan's liner notes in the Rhino "The Best Of The Fleetwoods" CD, the guy who first heard an a capella version of the trio singing "Come Softly To Me" was Norm Bobrow, a local club owner. Norm brought the tape to Bob Reisdorff, a Northwest Record Producer who was always on the look-out for new talent, and asked him if he thought he could do anything with it. Looking back, Reisdorff told Sullivan "It was a capella and way too long ... but it fascinated me. I said 'That's a hit if ever I heard one.'" He brought The Fleetwoods (then calling themselves Two Girls And A Guy) into the basement studio of Joe Boles and, along with Dot recording artist Bonnie Guitar, tried to get a good take of the tune. Male vocalist Gary Troxel said "We must have recorded it 90-100 times because Boles didn't have the equipment to overdub." Pleased with the new a capella results, Reisdorff then changed the name of the group to The Fleetwoods (not after the car as often reported but rather after Olympia, Washington's telephone exchange!) and then, along with Bonnie Guitar (as co-producer), took the vocal track to Hollywood where they added acoustic guitar, bass and "a subtle percussion click" to the mix. (Sorry, John ... no bongos! In fact, other research I discovered claimed the percussion was simply Gary Troxel softly rattling his car keys!) The end result quickly went from regional to national hit status, eventually reaching the #1 Spot on Billboard's Pop Singles Chart in April of 1959. Part of what made the track stand out was the fact that it didn't really sound like anything else out on the radio at the time. Bonnie Guitar said "It was totally opposite of what the music business was doing at the time. Everything was what we called 'the hot sound, the Dot sound' ... really beefed up to sound exciting ... but The Fleetwoods had such a subtle, warm sound."
The group continued to record some of its material in this same fashion ... a capella vocals first, with instrumentation added later, after the fact ... virtually the complete opposite of the normal recording pattern. For whatever reason, it worked ... seven months later, they hit #1 again with "Mr. Blue".
I tried to get a first-hand accounting for you of these early sessions through either Gretchen Christopher or Gary Troxel, both original Fleetwoods members (and, as well as Forgotten Hits list members, also co-writers of their biggest hit song, "Come Softly To Me") but I didn't hear back from either of them in time for today's publication. (Hopefully at least one of them will see this posting and respond for a future issue.) kk

Hey, Kent,
I don't know if he's since corrected this comment, but in his FH interview, Peter Noone says the following:
>>>Lek is the guitarist on For Your Love so you can see he was very good. Eric, I think, quit the Yardbirds because they had no work. (Peter Noone)
That's Clapton on "For Your Love". He played on it - reluctantly - but quit supposedly the next day because he wanted to explore the blues even further. His next venture was with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Clapton himself has said that he was obsessed with the blues to the point of arrogance to other kinds of music (and as a blues nut I can understand, lol) and that the Yardbirds were becoming an act akin to 10cc (he quickly added "no offense" to this statement.) I know 10cc was a '70's act - and that Graham Gouldman wrote "For Your Love" - but Clapton spoke these words in the late '80's/early '90's.
Ed (JacoFan)
To clarify, what Peter Noone was saying is that Lek (Herman's Hermits Guitarist Derek Leckenby) played the guitar lead on THEIR version of "For Your Love", which actually pre-dated The Yardbirds' version. When I had commented that Clapton quit The Yardbirds because of their insistence on a more "commercial" sound, Noone came back with "he quit because they were only making five quid a night." The context of that conversation was regarding the fact that The Hermits often used outside musicians (like Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) on their recordings because the feeling was their OWN band didn't have the chops ... yet once they learned the parts, they were able to adequately recreate them on stage. (kk)
I sit corrected. I didn't know that Herman's Hermits did a version of "For Your Love" that pre-dated the Yardbirds version.
Because Graham Gouldman had written so many songs for Herman's Hermits, they got "first dibbs" on this one, too ... likewise "Bus Stop" before The Hollies had their huge hit with this song. And, thanks to a connection with P.F. Sloan, the Hermits' version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" pre-dated The Grass Roots' hit by over a year! (kk)

Thanks for the info ... and the education!
Hey ... it's what we do!!! (lol) kk

>>>About 10 years ago, I was in a local piano shop here in Portland, OR. I got to talking with a fellow behind the counter and mentioned my record collection and my 15 years in radio back in the 60's and 70's. He then said that maybe I'd heard of his dad, Voyle Gilmore. Of course I had. Cueing up all those Capitol hits back then, Voyle was a name that I had seen often. As V.P. of A&R for Capitol, he'd produced Frank Sinatra's hits from 1953-1958, the Kingston Trio's early successes, and even The Beatles Hollywood Bowl concert. John plays 'lounge piano' around the area, and I drop in to see him about once a week. He is a fantastic source of background info about the good days and shares stories with me all the time. One that he really is fond of is that Jimmy Page of 'Led Zepplin' fame was actually the session guitar lead for most of Herman's Hermits hits. In fact, that guitar intro for "Silhouettes" is a riff that Jimmy used as a warm up exercise, and when Mickey Most heard it, he built his arrangement for the recording around it.Thanks again for all your work, keep on truckin'!
(Jim Pritchard / aka Jim Southern)
>>>One correction I HAVE to point out regarding the Jimmy Page / "Silhouettes" story ... that story has been circulating for YEARS ... and we FINALLY put an end to it a couple of years back when we interviewed Peter Noone for Forgotten Hits. (You can find the entire interview here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Forgotten Hits Interviews Peter Noone ... it ALSO addresses the comment made above by Ed / JacoFan)
It turns out that while John Paul Jones (Page's bandmate in Led Zeppelin) arranged a number of Herman's Hermits records over the years, Jimmy Page only played on about four tracks ... and the riff on "Silhouettes" is NOT one of them. (Rumors abound on this issue ... in fact, we have had a couple of people state on the record that Page could not nail the riff properly so session guitar virtuoso Vic Flick was brought in for the session ... and that later he even taught Page how to play it!!! Can anyone even IMAGINE a time like this when a guitarist of Jimmy Page's caliber would need to be SHOWN a repetitive riff like this?!?!?)
After much discussion back and forth between both Peter Noone and Vic Flick ...
(both of whom are on our Forgotten Hits List ... and who even picked this topic up again when both musical legends were in Las Vegas) ... as well as Herman's Hermits Guitarist Keith Hopwood (who was there at the session), all parties concerned acknowledged FOR THE RECORD that it was Vic who played this famous lick, and NOT Jimmy Page as has been widely reported for years. (After our piece first ran, we issued a special "amendment" to the story which you'll see as part of the interview posted on the other Forgotten Hits Website.)
In fact, if you do a bit of web searching now, you'll find Forgotten Hits credited on a number of sites as putting out the final word on this subject. You can read the whole interview on The Forgotten Hits Website via the link shown above. (kk)

Hi Kent,
It is amazing how many of these 'fantastic sources of background info' get things wrong. It is also amazing that people who weren't even born know more about what happened on recording sessions than the musicians who were actually there. I can remember distinctly playing on a few Herman's Hermits recordings and especially 'Silhouettes.' That title was recorded in Kingsway Studios, London and produced by Mickie Most. Peter Noone, bless his cotton socks, gets a few things wrong now and again - sometimes on purpose. I suppose he must think it sounds better to say Jimmy was on the track instead of me.
I worked with Jimmy Page on various sessions and indeed helped him with some difficult passages as he couldn't read music. Most of the rhythm section guys realized Jimmy had great potential as a guitarist and as he was a good guy to get on with, we helped him, as we did others, as much as possible.
Jimmy Page has also been credited with the guitar work on the James Bond Theme. I can assure all your readers, it was me. Elsewhere in your Forgotten Hits you mention Ringo's Theme (This Boy), the tune in the film A Hard Day's Night. That again was yours truly at the request of George Martin, but I expect someone will contest it.
Very sorry to read of American Rock and Roll artists, radio personalities and musicians passing to the big studio in the sky. They had such a extensive and wonderful influence on so many lives.
Very best wishes.
Vic Flick

A bit more on Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits ... I recently received this remembrance from Sam Lit, son of legendary Philadelphia DeeJay Hy Lit ...
"It's only Rock & Roll, but I like it."

Hy Lit & Mick Jagger

Hy Lit Rolling Stones Stage Show, Convention Hall Philadelphia May 1965

Hy Lit Interviews Peter Noone, 1965

May, 1965 ... Hy Lit books Mick Jagger & The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits and a half dozen other groups for a major stage show in Philadelphia. Toward the end of the show, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (see more picture's on inform Hy that if they don't close the show ... and perform after Herman's Hermits they will not perform at all. Moments earlier Herman's Hermits gave Hy the same ultimatum. Frank Rizzo, the Chief of Police at the time, was also backstage. Frank immediately placed managers of both groups under arrest on a disorderly charge for attempting to incite a riot, and after assuring them they would all be spending the next few days in Philadelphia, the feud between the two groups was quickly settled.After a coin toss, Herman's Hermits played second to last and Mick and the gang closed the show.
-- Sam Lyt
GREAT story!!! I asked Peter Noone what, if anything, HE remembered about this night. Here's a little background twist that makes it an even BETTER story!!! (Talk about your perfect punchlines!!!) kk
I don't recall the whole evening, but I know we knew that PHILADELPHIA had a CURFEW then, and at least 70% of the crowd would leave at a certain time, which was about 10 minutes into our set or the Stones set. So we conveniently didn't mention it and a coin toss is so un-English. We were not being mean-spirited as we all loved the Stones (especially Brian and Charlie), but we all thought it was a HOOT and it is still fondly remembered as one of those fun nights when we got one over on the Stones to repay them for a ride they gave me from Birmingham to London in their big Blue Chevrolet, which was driven by a lunatic called Reg King, who smashed wing mirrors of all the cars we passed on the 100 mile an hour drive at 100 mph. He was also driving the left hand drive car whilst wielding a hammer, which for the 17 year old Herman was mightily attractive, as I lived with my grandmother who made pots of tea for the groups.
That night in Philly has been written about so many times, that even I have lost total recall, but I think if you check with the cops in Philly, you will find there was a curfew that year and I stood at the side of the stage with ALO (Andew Loog Oldham) to watch Mick's face as the crowd left during their 5th song.
Fun night!
Ask Charlie Watts ... he remembers everything.
Like me!!!
-- Peter Noone
TOOOO funny!!! GREAT story, Peter ... thanks for sharing it with our readers! (kk)
P.S. You'll find ALL kinds of cool stuff ... and incredible memories ... on The Hy Lit Web Page: Click here: Hy Lit Radio Technologies Inc.

One of the most unique "forgotten" 45s, which sounded like a cross between the Mamas & The Papas and the Beach Boys, came out on Columbia Records in the Summer of 1967. This record, produced by Gary Usher, featured an audio montage. It features a baby crying, a horse race announcer saying "They're Off", a riverboat whistle, a brawl, and finally a brass fanfare that dissolves into a combination organ and hunting vocals. This interesting highlight was only on the mono 45 version of "My World Fell Down" by Saggitarius. I read that Columbia did not like the seemingly non sequitur audio and had it removed for the album "Present Tense". I got "Present Tense" on CD and thankfully the reissue included the single version of "My World Fell Down". "Present Tense" also included "Another Time", their second single which didn't chart nationally, but got airplay in Louisville, Ky. "My World Fell Down" peaked at #70 during that magical Summer of Love.
M. Marvin
It's also one of my all-time favorites. Despite a meager #70 national showing, "My World Fell Down" became a Top Ten Hits here in Chicago during The Summer of Love. (In fact, I take a little bit of pride in helping to fuel the popularity of this one ... we've featured it at least four times now in Forgotten Hits and when we did our Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs Poll a few years ago, our readers voted THIS one into the #13 spot! You can find the whole list here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs
And here's an excerpt from the piece we did on Sagittarius:
To my mind, this song DEFINES the sound of psychedelic pop, circa 1967 and The Summer of Love. Put together by several Beach Boys friends and sidemen, for whatever reason this song failed to capture the hearts (and ears) of most of America, crapping out at #70 in Billboard and #79 in Cash Box. (Here in Chicago, it went all the way to #19.) The studio-assembled band consisted of Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher (both featured many times before in Forgotten Hits as both Bruce and Terry and The Rip Chords, Gary Usher (long-time Brian Wilson collaborator and crony), Glen Campbell (oft-times used as a Beach Boys studio musician and one-time Brian Wilson tour stand-in who, by 1967, was starting to have chart hits under his OWN name, fellow studio legends (and elite Wrecking Crew members) Hal Blaine (on drums) and Carol Kaye (on bass), future Bread keyboardist (and recently departed) Larry Knechtel (who would go on to win a Grammy for his work on Simon and Garfunkel's classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album) and Curt Boettcher, who co-produced the album with Usher. Believe it or not, that's Campbell on lead vocals!!! (As far as I'm concerned, he's never sounded better.) Later, Sagittarius would pay homage to The Beach Boys by recording their classic track "In My Room" ... it, too, failed to make much of a chart impression, peaking at #84 in 1969.
Although this song didn't make much of a dent on the pop charts when it was first released in the Summer of 1967, it gained a whole new following and allegiance when it was featured on the "Nuggets" LP (and, later, the CD Box Set.) We're featuring it here in Forgotten Hits for what I believe now is the SIXTH time in six years!!! But, since you pretty much NEVER hear this one on the radio, that's still not nearly enough airplay for my tastes!
DIDJA KNOW?-1: When we previously featured this song, we told you that producer Gary User had originally planned on recording "My World Fell Down" with the British pop duo Chad and Jeremy ... but they HATED the song. In addition to Chad and Jeremy, by 1966 Usher was also producing albums for The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel and was still hanging out with the likes of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. (As part of Brian's inner circle, he was there for a number of the aborted "Smile" recording sessions ... in fact, a rumor has persisted for years that the bullfight sequence stuck in the middle of the psychedelic interlude on "My World Fell Down" actually came from the original "Smile" tapes ... although this has never officially been substantiated. By the way, there IS no bullfight sequence on the recently released, re-recorded "Smile" CD.)
DIDJAKNOW?-2: "My World Fell Down" was written by Geoff Stephens ... who ALSO wrote the '60's #1 Classic Hit "Winchester Cathedral"!!! It was first recorded by The Ivy League in Great Britain. (Their version failed to chart on either side of the ocean!)