Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's The Flockin' Finale To Our Forgotten Hits Mini-Series Spotlighting The Flock!

I hope you have enjoyed our little mini-series on The Flock ...

Here are a few concert poster photos we came across recently ... along with some of Fred's corrections and amendments to our article:

I collect bootleg recordings.I have a bootleg of The Flock playing on November 8, 1971.Also, I went to the Goose Lake Rock Festival in 1970 and they played there, too! HWigoda

Wow ... look at that line up!!! Savoy Brown, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After, Mountain, Chicago, BobSeger, John Sebastian, Alice Cooper, The James Gang, Brownsville Station, The Flying Burrito Brothers ... and The Flock ... all on the same bill!!! Amazing! (kk)

In fact, here's another cool poster we received:

Incredible to think that you could see THIS line up ... The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and The Flock for five bucks!!! And look who's coming ... a virtual late-'60's / early-'70's Who's Who of artists: Chicago Transit Authority, Sly and the Family Stone, Iron Butterfly, Poco, Rotary Connection, Canned Heat, The Band, Three Dog Night, Johnny Winter, Country Joe and the Fish, Blues Image, Pacific Gas and Electric ... man, THOSE were the heady days of rock and roll music!!! (kk)

As Fred Glickstein read through our special mini-series he found a few corrections that he wanted to clear up ... keep in mind that Jeff Lind wrote his "History Of Chicago Rock" nearly 35 years ago and was using the information available to him at the time ... and since Jeff is no longer with us (he passed away a couple of years ago), we offer up these corrections as a means of setting the story straight and getting it right for future generations to come. (Hopefully our FH Buddy Guy Arnston is paying attention and taking notes so he can also right these wrongs, minimal as some may be, when he finally publishes his ultimate guide to The Chicago Music Scene!!!)

>>>At their inception, the Flock included Fred Glickstein on guitar (he later added trumpet and organ to his repertoire) and lead vocals; Rick Canoff on tenor sax and vocals; Rick Mann on guitar; Jerry Smith on bass; and Ron Karpman on drums. (Jeff Lind)
FRED GLICKSTEIN: I just want to say that everybody sang in the original band - in fact, Jerry Smith sang lead on "Can't You See", our first single.

>>>“Take Me Back” was rearranged by the group, with Bobby Whiteside producing. With a full horn section consisting of Posa, Glickstein, Webb and Canoff, the song never stopped its driving, frenetic pace (it had to be faded out). Sax solos by Webb and Canoff screeched over the rhythm section, as the group kept repeating the hook, “take me back.” It was two-and-a-half minutes of compressed energy. (Jeff Lind)
FG: Bobby Whiteside wrote the horn arrangement for "Take Me Back" and hired some outside STUDIO musicians to handle the brass parts. To the best of my recollection, The Flock members did NOT play brass on this track ... and this is ESPECIALLY true of me ... Fred! The sax solo was by Canoff only ... Webb was not featured during the solo on this track. By the same token, Webb did not write all of the horn arrangements on the first album ... Canoff and Posa also worked on these arrangements.

>>>A classically trained violinist (who played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for several years), Jerry Goodman had been friends with the members of the group since their days at Sullivan High. He had been serving as part-time roadie, sound man, etc., with the group and was digging their musical evolution the whole time. Even with all of his classical experience, he had a yearning to try something different with the violin, namely playing the instrument in a rock contest. (Jeff Lind)
FG: Jerry Goodman was NOT a member of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra ... but both of his parents were. Jerry would have been too young ... he was younger than all of us ... eighteen maybe.

>>>They asked Jerry Goodman to sit in on the recording of their next record for the Destination - U.S.A. label. That session, in early 1968, was a landmark occasion, as it helped to define the musical direction that Chicago rock was to take during the next few years. The song they cut that day, “What Would You Do If the Sun Died?”, was the most advanced recording of its time, featuring Webb’s complex horn arrangements, electronic effects, vocal phrasing, haunting lyrics, and full-bodied production of the rhythm section. (Jeff Lind)
FG: "The most advanced recording of its time?" Lol ... what about "Strawberry Fields Forever"?!?! That's pretty flattering but it's not really true. As for the rest of this statement, Webb did NOT do the horn arrangements for this track ... my music teacher did the horn arrangements - Bob Resseger, a music teacher at Chicago's Teachers College (now Northeastern in Chicago) actually did these after he was approached by me. I wanted a real orchestra feel for this track so I asked my music teacher, Bob Resseger, if he would be interested in scoring something for us ... and he wrote all these really cool parts for all these different instruments. We did the recording at Chess Records. In fact, Jerry Goodman isn't even on this session ... he hadn't joined the band yet ... but get this, his MOTHER was on the session!!! She was one of the players that The Chicago Symphony Orchestra sent over for the recording session. (I don't know if I've ever told this story before!) So she comes walking into the studio and Jerry was there just kinda hangin' out and helping us get our stuff together and he looks up and sees his mother coming into the studio and calls out "Mom, what are YOU doing here?!?!?" She had been hired for the session ... so Jerry's Mom actually played on a Flock record before Jerry even joined the group!

>>>The release of the group’s second album, Dinosaur Swamps, in the middle of 1970, marked another change. Produced by Ron McClure, it showed a more unified group effort than the first. It was a concept album which attempted to link the spirit of the past and the present. Webb wrote three of the songs and was featured more often as soloist. He sang lead on the lively “Mermaid,” a song which brought folklore into the Flock’s rock. (Jeff Lind)
FG: First of all, "Dinosaur Swamps" was produced by JOHN McClure, not Ron McClure ... and Webb did NOT sing lead on "Mermaid" ... that's Fred Glickstein ... me!!!

We certainly welcome input from any of the other members of The Flock to help us keep the story straight. As one of the oft-forgotten bands to come out of the Chicago area during the '60's, The Flock achieved worldwide success with their own special brand of progressive rock and roll. Their albums all made Billboard's Top 100 List and they performed on the same stage along with some of the biggest names in music history ... yet when most people recall the hey-day of Chicago Rock, The Flock are typically left off the list. Hopefully we've introduced you to some of their music this past week in Forgotten Hits. (kk)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Flock (Part 4)

In the liner notes for the oft-reissued anthology CD "Flock Rock: The Best Of The Flock", Fred Glickstein shares some of his other musical memories ... and thanks many of those who helped him along the way:
Once again, I, the Great and Powerful Fred "Shakespeare" Glickstein have been asked to pen liner notes for a Flock CD. I'm actually starting to like all of this attention. O.K., what the Flock was I talking about? Oh yes, The Flock, that highly unusual musical group from Chicago's 60s and 70s that did two record albums for Columbia in 1969 and 1970. Oh yeah, we had lots of fun with the name, like "who gives a flyin' Flock", or "let's get the Flock outa here", or "how the Flock are ya?" More info in next paragraph ... Shooting ahead a few years to 1992, I was working at The Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois, USA, when my office phone rang. It was a lady who asked if I was Fred Glickstein, THE Fred Glickstein who played in The Flock. I told her that I was and she said that she had Michael Caplan from Epic (Columbia) Records on the line and asked if I would like to talk to him. I said that I would so she asked me to hold the line for a moment. About three minutes later a voice said, "You guys are the reason I quit Law School!" Mr. Caplan went on to tell me about he and his buddies listening to Flock music while at college. Long story short, the company wanted to release a "Best of The Flock" package and asked if I would write the liner notes. Mr. Caplan also said that they had found some previously unreleased Flock music and was very excited about including it into the "Best Of ...", adding that it contained some awesome guitar solos and great jamming. Much of this unreleased stuff was from a third album we had done when the group was in the process of breaking up. It was to be called "Flock Rock" and consisted of all instrumental music. In 1970, Columbia rejected this album because it had no "real songs with vocals and lyrics." Now, in 1992, twenty two years later, I'm getting a call from New York telling me how awesome this once-rejected music is?!? Michael Caplan also described The Flock better than anyone had before. He said that "The Flock was a horn band with a sense of humor."
That reminds me of some of my favorite Flock stories.
We were playing in New York at a club called The Salvation. After just finishing a set, I heard a mellow voice saying," Hey man, I like the way you play guitar." The lights were low in the club so I had to look closer to see who had said this. It was Jimi Hendrix! I said, "Jimi?" and he said "Yeah, man". Well, that was it, freakin' Hendrix telling me that he liked the way I played. How long was I on Cloud Nine? Not sure ...

Then there was the time that we got busted in Oakland, New Jersey (is that related to Old Jersey)? Anyway, The State Troopers pulled us over for some reason or another, or did they even NEED a reason in 1969? One thing led to another and the Troopers decided to haul us into the station. Oh, did I mention that we were on our way to a gig? All of a sudden, four men wearing trench coats had appeared and began asking questions. The Troopers had called in the FBI. After all matters had been settled, The Flock was released and on its way to their performance, an hour and a half late. The audience had heard about our little visit with the authorities and waited for us to arrive.
And now, it's on to England's Bath Festival where Led Zeppelin was to go on after The Flock. It was early evening and the sun was beginning to set. Zeppelin's manager wanted them to go on during the sunset but The Flock hadn't finished their set so he pulled the power plug on us. I heard later that some punches were thrown between road crews. So much for Love and Peace. (Remember, this was 1969)

Another favorite story: In the 60's one could easily cross the border from Germany into Holland, but going from Holland into Germany was another story. The German security was very tight because, in Holland, things like hashish, marijuana and other drugs were almost legal. Germany, however, had a different view of these popular items of the day. When driving from Holland to Germany The Flock was told by agents at the German border, "ve are going to bring out ze dogs to check for drugs." We thought that they would bring out German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers but were totally shocked when the agents came in with Cocker Spaniels. We had a good laugh from that and the little Cockers found nothing illicit in our possession.
Couldn't forget the story about meeting Canned Heat at the airport in Amsterdam. As Flock approached them, I couldn't help but notice something interesting about their vocalist Bob "The Bear" Hite. He looked exactly like me, or I him. I walked right up to Hite and looked him square in the eye. He looked and me and then went crazy. Everyone was going bananas!!! The funny thing about our looking like identical twins was that he was three times my size. Flock's bass player, Jerry Smith, told me last night that I was the first "Mini-Me". Funny that Hite also sounds like "height".
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS: A special thanks to Mike Gott at Gottdiscs for having excellent musical taste and deciding to reissue "Flock Rock - The Best Of The Flock". It means a lot to all Flockers that this little piece of musical history has been given new life. It was originally released in 1993 and in February of 2006, Sony deleted it from their catalog. Do I need this aggravation? So, now that "Flock Rock is available again, we hope that you enjoy !!!More special thanks to Rick Canoff for being my perfect musical partner starting in the mid 60s. Without Rick, the Flock would not have blossomed as it did. And forever thanks to Rick's mom Shirley Canoff for her support going all the way back to 1962. Also a shout to Mitchell Canoff, Rick's older brother who acted as Flock's road manager and protector.Much love and many thanks to Rick Mann, who was in the original Flock as singer / songwriter / guitarist. Rick, who was asked to leave the group in order that it could change musical directions, will always be remembered for his humor, kindness and the ability to exit gracefully.My daughter, Jennifer, would like to personally thank Jimi Hendrix, who she met backstage while she was in the womb. He seems to have had quite a colorful influence on her! :)O.K., that's going to wrap it up for the old new liner notes. I could go on for days as there are so many stories and memories to share. Maybe one day someone will write a book about The Flock. Here's a title, "WE SURVIVED THE 60s IN A ROCK 'N' ROLL BAND".
-- Fred Glickstein

I asked Fred what piece by The Flock he would most like to see me feature at the conclusion of our article ... ideally, I wanted something from the '70's to show the latter-day sound of the band ... but I also wanted to feature something that Fred personally felt would best represent the sound of the band during this era and deserved to be heard ... maybe something that never quite got the recognition he felt it should have or something that he was especially proud of ... and then, if he was willing, to share a short story about this particular song and / or these sessions. Here is what he came back with:

I would like to see the song "Clown" featured. It was the second track on the first album, "The Flock". I think that this was the strongest song on the album and really showed the world that the Flock had arrived and was offering something very new. Most Flock fans really remember "Clown" and can even tell you where they were when they first heard it!
The recording sessions for "The Flock" were amazingly exciting because they were at Studio A of Columbia Records New York, NY. This included sending out for corned beef sandwiches and all of the pickles we could eat!! The whole experience was priceless. I may die, but the Flock will live on!
Freddy Glickstein

You got it, Freddy ... and thanks for your time and help in putting together this article for Forgotten Hits! (kk)

Here are a few Flock video clips currently circulating on YouTube that Fred sent along for our readers to check out:
From the early days:
Check out these YouTube Flock Videos ... CHICAGO'S VERY OWN - THE FLOCK
"Can't You See" (1966)
"Are You The Kind" (1966-67)
"Take Me Back" (1967)
"What Would You Do If The Sun Died" (1968)
And two songs from "The Flock" - our first Columbia album - 1969
And be sure to check out the official Flock Website:

Forgotten Hits would like to thank Fred Glickstein for taking the time to talk with our readers, Guy Arnston, original publisher of "The Illinois Entertainer" for giving us access to the EXCELLENT Jeff Lind article quoted throughout this piece, profiling The Flock from his "History Of Chicago Rock Series", and Rick Barr of The New Colony Six and Dean Milano (Author of "The Chicago Music Scene, 1960s and 1970s") for their assistance in putting all these key people together. By the way, copies of this series were sent to some of the other members of The Flock ... who knows ... with a little bit of luck, we may hear back from some of these guys to help shed some light on a follow-up piece! (kk)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Flock (Part 3)

Our Forgotten Hits tribute to The Flock continues this morning with more from The Illinois Entertainer series "The History Of Chicago Rock" by Jeff Lind (courtesy of Guy Arnston):

JEFF LIND: Goodman became a full-fledged member of the group, and as he gradually became the dominant figure, his ideas took the band to a higher plane. The Flock became a mini-orchestra, with violin, horns and rhythm section. Bassist Jerry Smith remembered, “We were just really trying to flow with whatever is happening. We just have so many ideas, we can’t confine ourselves to certain boundaries. We don’t want to prostitute ourselves to one category because it’s not really us. We were a big soul band before Jerry was in the group. He was way out. It was a little strange to get into his new thing.
Indeed, it was strange and new. Goodman’s solos showed a lot of classical influence, yet the form riffs were tinged with R&B feeling. Webb’s improvisations on sax and flute lent a jazz flavor to the music, yet at the same time, theirs was a basic rock beat underlying the entire endeavor. Some of the lyrics (i’e’ “The after-image of mental scrimmage” from “I Am a Tall Tree”) were pure acid rock in tone.
Soon, the group began lining up better gigs, one of the most important being a job at the Kinetic Playground in early 1969, sharing a bill with John Mayall’s band.
At that time, the Kinetic Playground was the most important concert hall in Chicago, and its owner / manager, Aaron Russo, was one of the more influential men in the concert business. He was so impressed with the Flock’s sound and performance during those three nights that he took the group under his wing, becoming their manager, and helping them land a recording contract with Columbia Records.
Material for the first album was selected with close scrutiny. The group considered reissuing previous material, but the songs sounded dated in comparison with the newer material. And what was settled on was five medium-length songs and one extended jam. And when the album made its appearance during the summer of 1969, it was a totally new listening experience. “Introduction” was Goodman’s tour de force on violin; “I Am a Tall Tree” talked about hallucinations and psychedelics, while “Tired of Waiting,” a rework of the Kinks opus, was a classic interpretation, even thought it bore little resemblance to the original. “Store Bought-Store Thought” featured heady lyrics, along with some fluttery flute by Webb and Goodman on 12-string guitar, with the album ending in the bluesy jam “Truth.”

KK: I have had in my record collection for YEARS now a white label promo copy of the Columbia single "Tired Of Waiting", The Kinks song that The Flock covered in the late '70's ... oddly enough on my copy, it credits The Flock with having written the song! Any idea as to the story behind that?!?! Was this single later commercially released or did it only make it to the promo stage?
FG: That was an obvious mistake as the Flock did NOT write it. The Flock covered "Tired of Waiting" in 1969 on their first Columbia album. I'm not sure if the single was commercially released ... but I did see it in jukeboxes here in the States.

JEFF LIND: By the turn of the decade, the Flock embarked on a major national tour which coincided with the release of the record. While most people in Chicago paid little heed, people on the West Coast were flocking to see them, and most were dazzled by their sound and technical virtuosity. Among those duly impressed was Mayall, who offered the testimony which appeared on the liner notes of the group’s first album:
“The date is July 9th, 1969. I’m sitting in the Whisky a Go Go Los Angeles, and the Flock are making their West Coast debut at last. It seems sort of strange that I should be writing a liner note for a band that I’ve only heard three times before this night. Those three times happened in Chicago earlier this year when we shared the bill at the Kinetic Playground. When I heard them then, I got close to going berserk over their prodigious and varied musical talent as a whole and individually.
“Unfortunately, sometimes in this day and age of hype and undeserved glory for the mediocre, really good musicians are often overlooked.”
There was, however, a creative rift forming in the band. Perhaps it was Tom Webb’s natural desire to find his own means of expression, but he must have been frustrated playing in Jerry Goodman’s shadow. It was Webb who wrote all the horn charts for the first album, as well as playing sax, flute, harmonica and maracas, as well as singing; but it was Goodman who was the dominant figure.
Jerry explained it to Sue Clark, the author of The Superstars in Their Own Words (published by Music Sale Corp., 1970). “I’m always experimenting with sounds. There are so many unused possibilities with amplifiers. If I find a new thing, I kind of play with it. The sound doesn’t stay outside of your ears, but it comes inside and starts pushing your eardrums in and out. I found it’s not really a sound that you hear, but it’s a sound that you feel. Like I find it funny sometimes that I actually get applause for hitting a note that’s blowing their ears off. I don’t have to generally, but that’s a weapon. I use it as an outlet sometimes.”
The release of the group’s second album, Dinosaur Swamps, in the middle of 1970, marked another change. Produced by Ron McClure, it showed a more unified group effort than the first. It was a concept album which attempted to link the spirit of the past and the present. Webb wrote three of the songs and was featured more often as soloist. He sang lead on the lively “Mermaid,” a song which brought folklore into the Flock’s rock. The album directed itself in a country vein. As Goodman recalls (again with Sue Clark), “Country music has been big for a long time. It’s just that other people are getting into it now. And realizing the value of it, and it’s a beautiful form. We have a tune called “Big Bird.” It has a country feel to it. We didn’t write it as a country tune. It just happened to be a country tune. We don’t like to put labels on it. It’s just an indication that we aren’t really into writing a rock & roll song and a country song and one that’s going to be classically oriented. But like this country tune, which it turned out to be, for instance, has in the middle of it, there is somewhat of a bridge that’s in 6/8. Tom Webb, our sax player, just improvised against a jazzy kind of rhythm thing, and then he goes tenor and I take over on violin, the same type of thing, and then, boom, ‘Big Bird.’” (The Flock also played a straight country tune, “Hoedown,” but it never made any of their albums.
The remainder of the album ran the gamut from soft, gentle melodies (“Hornschmeyer’s Island”) to rock (“Lighthouse”) to jazz (“Crabfoot”) and back again. But, they could draw no singles from the record, and their sales suffered accordingly.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: For the record, those first two Columbia Flock albums both made The Top 100 Albums Chart in Billboard Magazine ... "The Flock" reached #48 in 1969 and the following year "Dinosaur Swamps" went to #96. They are currently available as a Double-CD Set ... here: "THE FLOCK / DINOSAUR SWAMPS")

By late 1970, Fred Glickstein was already considering disbanding the group. According to the Jeff Lind / Illinois Entertainer article, "The Flock's record sales in the U.S. were discouraging; indeed, European sales accounted for over 40% of the total figures. As a matter of fact, Columbia Records’ international division released a double import album with material from The Flock and Dinosaur Swamps, thus making the group the only Chicago band with an import album at the time."

The group just couldn't seem to mutually agree on a musical direction ... and it eventually did them in. Again, Jeff Lind picks up the story:
The group broke up in the midst of disillusionment in late 1970. Webb split to the West Coast to study scientology; it was obvious he was still evolving musically. Glickstein took a sabbatical to Florida to decide his future. Canoff moved into the musical production and management field. Jerry Smith hooked up briefly with Aura. And, of course, Goodman went on to fame as the violinist with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. (McLaughlin was quoted once as saying he wanted Goodman more than many of the other well-known violinists because he was the only one doing anything original.)
The breakup of the Flock was symptomatic of what was happening to the entire Chicago rock scene during 1970-72 — things just weren’t happening.

But The Flock's story doesn't end in 1970 ... in 1972, Fred Glickstein decided to reform the group. He felt that by this time the audience was ready for a more "sophisticated" type of music ... so, according to Jeff Lind ...
He decided to reform the Flock, minus the horns this time. Webb was working with his own band (later to become known as the Eddie Boy Band) and had attracted the interest of several labels, while Canogg was producing the act, so they had to be written out of the picture. Smith and Karpman rejoined, but it still left the gap of replacing Goodman. The found Mike Zydowsky, another classically trained violinist who matched Goodman’s technical skills on the instrument, though his stage presence and ability to transcend sounds beyond the instrument were somewhat more restrained.
The new group premiered at a rundown dance club in Round Lake called Nowhere. Imagine that — the Flock starting Nowhere! It was autumn, 1972, and Glickstein beamed with new excitement and enthusiasm. And by the summer of 1973, the group was thriving again, thrilling audiences with their unique brand of music. A second European tour that fall saw sellout crowds all along the way.
Then, in May of 1974, keyboard specialist Jim Hirsen, who had previously been working with Jumbo, approached the group and asked to sit in. His keyboard / synthesizer skills and composing abilities were the right elements that really helped pull the whole project together.
As a quintet, the Flock began touring the U.S., again attracting the attention of major record companies. They finally chose their hometown-based Mercury and, in the summer of 1975, the new Flock emerged with "Inside Out".
Produced by Felix Pappalardi, the album had a feeling of flowing accessibility that was lacking on their previous records. Although no one song stood out, the album as a total concept worked quite well, and its general flavor was a laid-back mellowness in keeping with the group’s credo: “We’re not a super-amplification group. We do some loud things,but that’s not our thing. We have a lot of very dynamic changes.”
Unfortunately, there were no hit singles forthcoming from the album, and the songs only appealed to a small portion of hardcore Flock freaks that remained through the years of transition. It again appeared that nobody was ready for the music the Flock had to offer. A brief Midwest tour saw little reaction and their performances were erratic at best.
Mercury dropped the act in early 1976, and soon after, they disbanded. It seemed an appropriately sad ending foor an oft-lamented group.

A couple of other reincarnations also took place (Flock III anyone???) but The Flock never fully regained their audience (or themselves from the sounds of things). At the time of his original article published in The Illinois Entertainer, writer Jeff Lind recapped the latter days for the members of the band as follows:

Glickstein once again brought the group back to life, this time as a trio. The new aggregation met severe disapproval from their few local gigs, and it seems, at this writing, that the Flock has finally faded into oblivion.
What happened to the others? Jerry Goodman, after leaving McLaughlin, cut an album, "Like Children", with fellow Mahavishnu member Jan Hammer. The album displayed Goodman’s talents on mandolin and guitar as well as the violin. Since then, he has been living a private life, out of the public eye. Jim Hirsen had his own trio, and has been doing some work with the Temptations. Rick Mann, after leaving the Flock, spent some time with For Days and a Night, along with Baraboo, and is now playing pedal steel in studio session work. T.S. Henry Webb, after retreating into scientology, has returned, releasing "You Are a Star" on Dharma Records. He is presently working solo, after a brief stint with Jet Stream.

Lind also offered up these corrections and updates:
First, when the Flock regrouped in late 1972, the violinist who played with them was Arnie Roth, not Mike Zydosaki. But Roth only stayed with the band briefly, leaving when he found out the group was going to tour extensively. Roth had come to the band from Happy Day, and left to settle down and give married life a try. All this took place in the summer of 1973, and created the opening for Zydowski to step in.
Second, when Flock III was formed, the lineup consisted of Fred Glickstein on vocals, guitar and organ; Ron Karpman on percussion and special effects; and Tom Blecka on bass. Since this group started by doing old Flock material, it seemed logical to keep the old name, but Ron and Fred really wanted to shed the old image and try some new music.
A short time ago, they picked up bass player Arch Terrance and became Strategic Ear Command.
In a sense, however, they can never really leave the Flock behind, because the basic spirit of the Flock’s music, experimental and progressive, is still with them.
What happened to some of the other old members? Jerry Smith is presently a salesman for Hohner Music, the organization that is synonymous with harmonicas; Frank Posa is working for a data processing firm; and Mike Zydowski is currently a violinist with the Belgium Symphony Orchestra, living in Belgium and putting his background in classical music to good use.

Fred Glickstein, who has been following our tribute series very closely, has also offered up a number of correction and amendments to Jeff Lind's article. (Keep in mind that this piece first appeared in The Illinois Entertainer close to 35 years ago!) I'm hoping that we might also have a memory or two to share from some of the other original members of The Flock as well. We'll have many of these corrections posted on The Forgotten Hits website on Saturday. Meanwhile, we'll be wrapping things up on our little Flock Mini-Series tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... hope you'll join us here! (kk)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Flock (Part 2)

The earliest incarnation of The Flock can probably best be described as "hard rockin' with some pretty heavy rhythm and blues overtones mixed in" ... the band went from the usual line-up of guitars, keyboards and drums to first adding brass and then electric violin!!! (That was a pretty unparalleled musical avenue at this time!) Groups like The Ides Of March, The Buckinghams, The Mauds and The Mob would dabble with brass in many of their recordings ... and by the late '60's, we were only a few months away from Chicago (the group, not the city) exploding on the national scene ... but The Flock were different. As the music got heavier, their stuff got more and more progressive, often pushing the boundaries of what was becoming the much more common extended jams that we were being subjected to on stage. Most called it "expressive" and / or "progressive" ... "art rock" if you will ... others found it indulgent and boring at times ... but the truth is, this is where music was heading in 1969 and The Flock were one of the pioneer bands taking music in that direction.

Jeff Lind of "The Illinois Entertainer" (who wrote that excellent series on "The History Of Chicago Rock") remembers:
1965 ... that was the year that the Flock was born, right here at Sullivan High School in Chicago. At their inception, the Flock included Fred Glickstein on guitar (he later added trumpet and organ to his repertoire) and lead vocals; Rick Canoff on tenor sax and vocals; Rick Mann on guitar; Jerry Smith on bass; and Ron Karpman on drums.
Back at the beginning, The Flock was playing a straight-forward, sunny type of rock; primarily original compositions. Led by Glickstein’s clear, resonant vocals, the Flock’s act soon caught the attention of Destination Records’ Jim Golden and Bob Monaco, who inked the group to a contract in 1966. During the latter part of that year, Destination released the group’s first single, “Can’t You See.” The record broke into the local Top 40 charts, where it peaked at #23, and stayed there for nearly two months.
It looked like a satisfactory start, but the Flock was not static. As “Can’t You See” began to fall off the charts, their second single moved right in to take its place. “Are You the Kind?” was a bouncy, up-tempo song of under two minutes, highlighted by Ron Karpman’s fast-paced woodblock-bass drum combinations. This Flock song, a definite change of pace from past endeavors, also rose to #23 on the local charts, and was the first Flock record to feature horns (played by Glickstein and Canoff). However, the song did not have the staying power of its predecessor on the charts, so members of the group began thinking in terms of some new musical direction.
That new direction turned out to be soul music, and the Flock was well-suited to it, since all the members had been bathed in the sounds of Chicago R&B for years. The instrumental lineup of the group was solid, but Glickstein wanted to expand the horn section for a fuller, funkier sound. The new Flock soul sound soon reached the receptive ears of two gifted musicians, Thomas-Smith Henry Webb and Frank Posa, who were then gigging with For Days and a Night. Webb was a multi-instrumentalist, on harmonica, flute and sax, as well as vocals. He had previously led his own Smith-Henry group. Posa was accomplished on trumpet and trombone.
As a seven-piece band, the Flock began to sharpen its live performances, soon gaining widespread popularity as one of the better soul bands around. All of the members became entertainers as well as musicians, and this was to be the greatest benefit to them later in their career.
They were major innovators, and on more than just the local music scene. They were one of the first white bands to plunge deeply into playing what was then called “soul music.” Soon, a whole wave of bands (i.e. Baby Huey, the Mob, the Soul Machine, the Mauds, etc.) followed, but by then the Flock had left R&B and moved on to a style of music that encompassed several forms of music, and would later come to be known as “brass rock.” Unlike the other bands that garnered success from the brass rock age (Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Chase, the Ides of March), the Flock found imaginative ways to include the usage of electronic effects and phrasing, coupled with the crowning innovation in which Jerry Goodman introduced the violin to rock.
Certainly a band that pioneered and paved the way for so many new groups and musical ideas deserved more than what they got. While they were critically acclaimed in Europe, they were largely ignored in the United States, especially home in Chicago. The group’s albums sold fairly well, but they never had a bonafide hit single. Ironically, their biggest “hit” record was written by someone outside the group.
Because their music was years ahead of its time, the Flock never caught on to the large scale acceptance enjoyed by the other brass rock groups. And that factor caused the disillusionment that eventually brought about the breakup of the original band. A lot of talented musicians passed through their ranks, but none of this could pull them into the status of being a “super group.”

KENT KOTAL: When The Flock were first charting here in Chicago, they were a big part of the local music scene ... three tracks made the WLS Chart back in 1967: "Can't You See (I Still Love You)", #22; "Are You The Kind", #23 and "Take Me Back", #12. Your sound back then can probably best be described as pop with heavy R & B overtones ...
FRED GLICKSTEIN: This early version of the Flock basically did cover material ... Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Pop, etc. There were so many different types of music that was popular in the '60s ... and pretty much all of the popular music influenced us in some fashion. Later on, we started writing our own songs ... probably around 1966.

KK: Who were the main songwriters in these early stages of the band?
FG: I wrote most of the music myself with Rick Canoff writing most of the lyrics.

KK: What was the line-up of the band at this point ... and how did the band first hook up?
FG: I met my musical partner, Rick Canoff, in high school. Rick played the saxophone, wrote lyrics and sang. I had been playing the guitar since I was about ten years old ... actually I started on the ukulele after a friend of my mom's taught me out to play some chords. After that, I graduated to the guitar and then just started singing and writing songs, too. Rick and I formed a few groups together between '63 - '65 before the Flock ... with names like the Squires, the Triumphs and the Exclusives. Once we became the Flock, the group consisted of Ron Karpman on drums and vocals, Jerry Smith on bass and vocals), Rick Mann on guitar and vocals and Rick Canoff and myself. Rick played the sax and handled the vocals and I played the guitar and handled most of the lead vocals. A short while later, we added Frank Posa on trumpet and Tom Webb on sax, flute, harmonica and vocals.

KK: And that THIS point you weren't really a "garage band" anymore, right?
FG: Well, we always had Rick's sax as part of the line-up so I guess in that regard we were a little bit different ... and once we added Frank Posa on trumpet and Tom Webb on sax and flute, I guess you could say we changed our direction a little bit. I don't think that we ever consciously TRIED to be different ... but these additions certainly allowed us to pursue more of an R & B vein with our music.

KK: Your biggest local hit (and my personal favorite) is "Take Me Back". In fact, I've been hearing it more and more on the radio again lately ... and I think it's a GREAT song. How did The Flock come to record this tune? This one is NOT an original composition, right?
FG: No ... out of our four earliest singles, we wrote three songs and Robert Stanley (not a Flock member) wrote one.

Jeff Lind picks up the story here (from his original Illinois Entertainer piece on The Flock):
The problem facing the group in the summer of 1967 was what to record next. They wanted to do a soul tune, not a problem, since most of the songs they were performing at this time were merely cover versions of R & B standards ... but the band wanted something original.
Fortunately for the Flock, a Waukegan-area group called the Bryds was in the city to cut some demos for Monaco, Golden and Bobby Whiteside.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Bob Monaco and Jim Golden were acting as The Flock's Manager at this time, having signed the band to the Destination Record Label.)
The Bryds' lead singer, Bob Stanley, had written three tunes to record. Among them was “Take Me Back.” When Whiteside heard the demo, he knew that it would mesh well with the Flock’s funky style. When the Flock heard it, they flipped!
“Take Me Back” was rearranged by the group, with Bobby Whiteside producing. With a full horn section consisting of Posa, Glickstein, Webb and Canoff, the song never stopped its driving, frenetic pace (it had to be faded out). Sax solos by Webb and Canoff screeched over the rhythm section, as the group kept repeating the hook, “take me back.” It was two-and-a-half minutes of compressed energy.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Flock cut this track at the legendary Chess Recording Studios at
2120 S. Michigan Avenue. Known for their Blues and R & B Artists, it's interesting to note that MANY of our Chicagoland bands ... like The Flock, The New Colony Six and The Buckinghams ... were also laying down their tracks inside these historic walls!)
“Take Me Back” shot up the charts, peaking quickly at #12, becoming the Flock’s biggest hit. Yet, even as the group rode with their greatest success, individual members were becoming disenchanted with “soul music.” A rash of imitators had appeared on the scene, and there was a feeling that this particular genre of music was confining and smothering the creativity of the band. Once again, they wanted to move in a different direction in order to be able to grow musically and expand their performance.

It would prove to be a turning point for the band. Glickstein remembers toying with the idea of adding strings to the band, a point reiterated in Jeff Lind's Illinois Entertainer article:
What the band really wanted to do was to get into a synthesis of several music forms, without diluting any of the elements. The horns would still be used and the rock beat would be kept ... but there was still something missing. Glickstein was toying with the idea of adding a string section to the band. While it never really got that far, this was the point where the band thought more and more about their violin-playing roadie, Jerry Goodman. A classically trained violinist (who played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for several years), Goodman had been friends with the members of the group since their days at Sullivan High. He had been serving as part-time roadie, sound man, etc., with the group and was digging their musical evolution the whole time. Even with all of his classical experience, he had a yearning to try something different with the violin, namely playing the instrument in a rock contest.
(EDITOR's NOTE: Many of you will remember from our earlier series spotlighting The New Colony Six that legendary Chicagoland Sportscaster Chet Coppock worked as a roadie for The New Colony Six in the late '60's ... and on crazy-enough nights would throw on a big white pompadour wig, join the band on stage and do his Wayne Cochran impersonation!!! lol)
There were loads of new and refreshing ideas in Goodman’s head ... and they were all trying to get out ... so it is little wonder that his musical state of mind was compatible with that of the group. They asked him to sit in on the recording of their next record for the Destination - U.S.A. label. That session in early 1968 was a landmark occasion, as it helped to define the musical direction that Chicago rock was to take during the next few years. The song they cut that day, “What Would You Do If the Sun Died?”, was the most advanced recording of its time, featuring Webb’s complex horn arrangements, electronic effects, vocal phrasing, haunting lyrics, and full-bodied production of the rhythm section.
Nobody, especially the listening public, was quite ready for this record, and while it predictably did not break any sales records, it made musicians, producers, arrangers and executives take notice.

KK: Although it may not have officially had a name yet, The Flock were in the process of evolving into one of the very first of what I've always called "The Art Rock" Bands. What was the inspiration for this? While music was clearly getting much heavier by 1968, there really wasn't a precedent for this ... not here in Chicago anyway.
FG: I'm tellin' you, KK, it all just seemed to come together. Everything just fell into place. I started writing songs that were a little less "commercial" and more progressive sounding. Our friend Jerry Goodman would come with us to gigs before he joined the band. Someone mentioned that Jerry was a classically trained violinist and we had the idea of adding him to the Flock ... well, the rest is history.

KK: The "horn bands" were starting to come into their own right around this time ... Blood, Sweat And Tears and our very own Chicago Transit Authority were singled out as the leaders of this new genre of rock and roll (although incredibly NEITHER band has been recognized for their innovation by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame!!!) Horns were being used by The Buckinghams, The Mauds and The Ides Of March ... so "The Sound Of Chicago" became a very "horny" sound to say the least!!! The Flock not only added horns to their line up but also an electric violin (!!!) by way of Jerry Goodman, who would go on to join the Mahavishnu Orchestra a few years later after leaving The Flock. What was the initial reaction to the new sound here in Chi-Town ... quite honestly, there was NOTHING else like it at the time.
FG: Horn bands have been around ever since the 1920s so what's the big deal? A 60s Rock band with a violin ... now THAT was new. I like to say that "The Flock died so that the Mahavishnu Orchestra could live"!!! At that point, The Flock was in the process of breaking up anyway.

KK: But by that point, the band had signed with a major label, Columbia Records, and clearly you guys were headed in another direction. I've read some reviews that said the band really should have been bigger than Chicago who, by this time, were now your labelmates ... yet the following just never seemed to take off here in The States ... but, from what I understand, The Flock were HUGE in Europe ... and especially in France ... making The Flock kind of the "Jerry Lewis of Rock And Roll" I guess. Can you shed any light on this era?
FG: The Flock was very much appreciated in Europe; France, Germany and England, for example. Europeans have always seemed to be hipper audiences. Many U.S. jazz musicians moved to Europe because they were appreciated much more there. However, the Columbia / Goodman Flock had many, many fans in the U.S. Flock toured all over the U.S. playing in many cities at many major Pop Festivals.

In fact, we found concert and tour itineraries that show The Flock touring and performing with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Animals (at The Los Angeles Pop Fest), The Jefferson Airplane and Frank Zappa (at The Denver Pop Fest), a European Pop Fest Tour that put them on the bill with Santana, Canned Heat, Led Zeppelin, The Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, The Byrds and Pink Floyd and an appearance at The Royal Albert Hall where The Flock were the headliners and the opening act was Johnny Winter! The Flock did a number of dates opening for The Who and Fleetwood Mac, played The Filmore West in San Francisco with The Grateful Dead, Ten Years After, Humble Pie and Ike and Tina Turner and The Filmore East in New York City with Ten Years After, John Mayall, It's A Beautiful Day and Mother Earth. They did a Dutch / Amsterdam, Holland television show, "The Grand Gala Du Disk", where they performed live on the same program as The Four Tops, Bobbie Gentry, Procol Harum and Jose Feliciano. They headlined at The Whiskey A Go-Go and The Olympia Theater in Paris ... and also shared the stage with Spirit, Albert Collins and Joe Cocker ... not bad for this little garage band out of Chicago that rarely even makes the list when putting together the names of the artists big on The Chicago Music Scene in the '60's and '70's. (It's almost like they, too, had to leave home in order to gain the respect and appreciation they so rightly deserved.)

Freddy tells us: The Flock also toured Sweden, Belgium and Germany (and they LOVED us in Germany, mit that crazy violinist!)

The Flock were one of the earliest artists attempting to push the limits within the rock and roll format ... a few years later, Jethro Tull would rise to international fame when they added an electric flute to their line-up ... nothing any more revolutionary than The Flock adding an electric violin a few years earlier. It seemed like ANYTHING to expand the ususal line-up of guitar, bass, keyboard and drums helped to bring a certain "uniqueness" to these artists ... and, without question, The Flock was one of the innovators in this area.

Jeff Lind picks up the story tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... hope to see you here!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Flock (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago we received an inquiry from one of our readers ... a transplanted Chicagoan ... asking about The Flock, one of the local bands to make it pretty hot and heavy on the scene here in The Windy City in the mid-to-late '60's.

After putting out a few feelers of our own, we heard back from Fred Glickstein, one of the founding members of The Flock and, after a series of email exchanges, figured we had enough material to put together a little mini-interview ... and a brief history of the band.

I then heard from Guy Arnston, original publisher of The Illinois Entertainer, who ran that incredible Jeff Lind Series back in the '80's profiling The History Of Chicago Rock.

And, for good measure, I got an email from Drummer Rick Barr of The New Colony Six, too, professing HIS admiration of this highly under-rated band.

Wow!!! Before I knew it, this was turning into something even bigger and better than I had first imagined!!!

Let's not hold it back any longer ... here is our Forgotten Hits Tribute to The Flock!!!


>>>I used to hit the clubs in suburban Chicago in the 60's, listening to the Flock, the Mauds and Saturday's Children. Any idea whatever happened to some of those guys, especially Fred Glickstein and Ron Karpman with the Flock? Thanks!
(Craig Sanford / Tulsa, OK)
>>>"Take Me Back" by The Flock is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites!!! We were at Bob Stroud's Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Party a few years ago when this track FINALLY made it on to one of the CDs ... actually, The New Colony Six performed a pretty credible version of it that day. There's a track by The Flock on THIS year's "Rock And Roll Roots" CD, too ... "Can't You See (That I Really Love Her)". A limited number of CDs are still available at Chicagoland Borders Book Stores (for all our our transplanted Chicagoans out there who remember this great music from the late '60's!) ... and we just realized that you can order copies of these CDs through The Drive's website, too! (kk)

>>>Here's a link to the new Flock Web Page. Give it a chance to load. Each time you click on a pic just scroll down to see the enlarged pic. Read the comments below the pics. Make a comment or two yourself! Enjoy! (Fred Glickstein)
The following CDs are also available:

For the record, The Flock charted here in Chicago with THREE of their early Destination singles ... "Can't You See (That I Really Love Her)" reached #22 on the WLS Chart in early 1967, "Are You The Kind" went to #23 on WLS a couple of months later and "Take Me Back" soared all the way to #12 that summer ... and then they were gone. (None of these records made the national charts so, unlike many of the other Chicagoland bands that developed an audience outside The Windy City, The Flock were probably BEST known within our city limits ... making it all the more amazing a couple of years later when the band changed musical directions and, in the process, became one of the very first progressive "art rock" bands, developing a HUGE following overseas in Europe!)

We'll trace some of their history below ... and throughout the rest of this series ... but first this email from Rick Barr, drummer for The New Colony Six:

Hi, Kent.
In your excellent reply to Craig Sandford, MD, about members of the Flock, you mentioned that the Colony played the Flock's "Take Me Back" at the CD release party for the disc Bob Stroud included it on. Craig would probably be interested in knowing that T.S Henry Webb represented the Flock in that performance, taking the tenor sax parts. It was great to see Webb. Also, I ran into Fred Glickstein at Dean Milano's book signing at the Abbey Pub recently -- he was funny as ever, and graciously signed my copy of Dean's book. Jeff Boyan of Saturday's Children was there as well, allowing me to fulfill a lifetime goal of mine, to let him know how much Saturday's Children influenced my career in show biz. Jeff signed a copy of an HP Lovecraft record he appears on for me. That was a really nice event -- I got to meet a number of people I've held in high esteem for many years.

Rick Barr
New Colony Six
Man, you guys were ROCKIN' that day ... I told both Ray and Bruce that you should keep the number in the act, even if you simply added it to the "Chicago Gold" medley that you do, honoring some of the other "Local Heroes" who helped to put Chicago on the musical map.
I remember T.S. Henry Webb being there ... and it seems to me that Jerry Smith has attended a few of these "Rock And Roll Roots" gigs over the years, too. (My understanding is that he hasn't been in very good health these past couple of years ... so it's a REAL treat when he makes it out to these things.)
Fortunately after these comments first ran we heard back from both Fred Glickstein of The Flock and Jeff Boyan of Saturday's Children ... perhaps you are the one to thank for this!
I just love it when we find out that some of our favorite musicians are also fans of many of these great artists, just as much as WE are ... this certainly was an exciting time musically here in our fair city. (kk)

Here's an interesting Flock / New Colony Six tie-in you might enjoy ... not sure if you've heard this story before or not, but in an interview that Fred Glickstein did with our buddy Mike Dugo of, he told THIS story about how The Flock first came up with their name:
Before we were the Flock, we were the Exclusives, but we didn't really like that name and were looking for a new one. One evening there was a "Battle of the Bands" at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The two bands that were "battling" that night were Chicago's own New Colony Six and a group from England called the Robin Hoods. After the Robin Hoods finished their set, I walked up to one of the members and told him that I really enjoyed his group. Then I asked him where they got the name Robin Hoods. He said that they had chosen between two names, the Robin Hoods or the Flock. I then asked if there was another group using the name Flock and he said, "Not that I know of." So the name had to be imported from England and the Flock was born in Chicago, U.S.A.! That's how we got the name Flock.
-- Fred Glickstein

More on The Flock tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... but for right now, please enjoy MY all-time favorite Flock track, "Take Me Back"!!! (kk)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Last Word On The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (For NOW Anyway!!! lol)

Hi Kent,
I am sure that everyone here know that legendary TV, stage and film star Clay Cole played an important role in the history of rock and roll for so many reasons. I grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, and Clay was one of my true rock and roll heroes. I watched his TV show almost all the time. Little did I know that I would get to communicate with him many years later and that we would become long-distance friends. Clay has been extremely generous to me in promoting my interview shows as well as the "Jersey Girls Sing" website (which I'm affiliated with) on his own website. Clay has also made incredible contributions to Rock and Roll that go far beyond merely hosting a TV show in New York City for nine years which, by itself, was substantial. The "Jersey Girls" (Denise Ferri and Bernadette Carroll) and I believe that Clay deserves to be honored by induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. It would be in the "non-performer" category. Alan Freed, Dick Clark and West Coast air personality Tom Donahue have already been so honored.
Clay has been exceptionally active of late. He wrote an excellent book about his career and rock and roll in general entitled "Sh-Boom! The Explosion Of Rock 'n' Roll 1953-1968" and is now once again hosting shows with the top oldies acts. As Yogi Berra might say: "it's deja-vu all over again" and I couldn't be happier for him.
If Clay in some way brightened your life, musically or otherwise, and if you and others here believe, as we do, that Clay deserves the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, please sign the petition using the link below. It will take just a few seconds to a minute. I know that Clay will be most grateful. The announcement about the petition is going out to hundreds of rock and roll personalities so, if you sign it, I assure you that you will be in very good company.
Vote Clay Cole into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame!
Thanks so very much!
Ronnie Allen
Kudos on an honorable jesture ... unfortunately, we all know how much impact these petitions have on the powers that be over at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee ... absolutely none!!! We've cited numerous incidents over the past several years where petitions with over 10,000 signatures on them have routinely been ignored and dismissed ... proving once again that this isn't OUR Hall of Fame, it's THEIRS ... and the ONLY opinions that matter are confined to those sitting in that smaller and smaller meeting room. Clay Cole most certainly belongs ... as do dozens of OTHER deejays from this crucial era in rock history, all of whom helped to further the cause of rock and roll music ... but come, get serious for a moment ... how on earth could one justify adding Clay's name to the ballot ahead of say Afrika Bambaataa?!?!? See, that just wouldn't make any sense!!! (kk)

Hi Kent,
I saw the whole R&RHOF inductions. I now know why they got edited more and more as the years went on by VH1. (I still don't like the fact that they were, but I understand it.)
I thought the inductees was a pretty good list this year, and I thought the acceptance speeches weren't too bad either, but the people who did the induction speeches, for the most part put me to sleep. Any time Springsteen or Bono do them, they are great.
Like most folks I thought the Hollies' performance wasn't good but I feel bad saying it. I love Faith Hill's voice and I think she could do a great pop album, but I was not impressed by her Abba version. The Jam was pretty bad, not the playing but the singing. Some of the people singing should have taken out the original recordings and studied a lot before hand. Peter Wolfe had the most energy of the bunch I thought. He's never been a great singer but he's a good stylist and really understands original rock and Roll.
The one that obviously that most folks didn't seem to hear because they were already in bed was Ronnie Specter. Holy cow was I disappointed. As Johnny Carson once said about a singer on his show, "you've got a vibrato you could throw a cat through." She was really struggling.
As much as I love the Animals, I have to say that Eric Burdon is certainly past his prime, too.
I thought the Songwriter inductees were the most interesting. I found myself thinking that I'd rather hang out with Carole King and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil more than anyone else there that night.
Now it also seemed that the crowd was small too. I couldn't say for sure, but judging by the sound of the applause, there wasn't much of a crowd. Too bad this has turned in to a bit of a farce. The Rock and Roll Museum is worth a first, second, and probably a third visit. I loved it and so did my kids.
The crowds may be growing thinner because I think the tables to attend this thing cost between $2500 - $3500 a piece!!! (And those are the cheap seats!) I'm anxious to see the Songwriters Salute as I missed that the first time around ... but when checking Fuse "On Demand", I don't even see The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony listed as being available ... so who knows when I'll finally get to see it. (NOTE: As I do the final edit to this piece this morning I should point out that last night Fuse did, in fact, run a shortened, two-hour edit of the night's festivities ... unfortunately, I didn't see that until it was too late!)

Without question, most of the feedback that I've received cites The Hollies as the biggest disappointment of the night ... they are SO well known for their impeccable harmonies that it was painful to watch them struggle through some of their biggest hits ... not that it EVER could have been easy trying to reproduce these sounds on stage. I'm hoping that some of their "forgotten" catalog will start to make its way back to radio again ... it sure sounded good to hear things like "I'll Pay You Back With Interest", "Just One Look", "I'm Alive" and "Look Through Any Window" during the opening montage ... I'll bet I turn off "Long Cool Woman" at least twenty times a week due to over-saturation, yet GREAT Hollies classics like these (and how about "Jennifer Eccles"???) have been absent from radio for ages now. (kk)

>>>I think the "rock and roll" hall of fame should have been limited to people who actually did rock and roll. I have no desire to visit. (Aronmantoo)
It really wasn't about this year's induction ... it was about bands like the Beastie Boys, Rap Artists and others that have absolutely no attachment to rock and roll. Aronmantoo

Remind me again why I should care about anybody that The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee decides to put into their Hall Of Fame.

My two cents ... Billy Preston to me is the Jeff Beck of piano players. I think both deserve to be in as sidemen. Obviously, I give some credit to Billy's solo career. I'll add on Leon Russell as a similar player. ELO mixed classical music and rock and roll quite effectively and had a long career. Put them in.

Amen! (kk)

Thanks for your kind remarks, Kent ...
Yes, all of the great artists I mentioned are long overdue for RRHOF induction. It's really not only an insult to them, but to all of us who grew up listening to rock, Top 40, and even MOR radio, which -- in many instances -- included a good dose of rock n' roll, rockabilly, country, jazz -- along with r&b covers by white artists, the most notable being Pat Boone. Pat was second only to Elvis in the number of major hit records during the 50's and into the 60's.
I look at it this way: when it comes to Pat, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for my high school newspaper in 1961, he deserves the honor for two primary reasons.
First, he was the second most successful charting artist of the 1950's, coming in #2 to Elvis, but ahead of Ricky Nelson, The Platters, and all the others.
Second, if Ray Charles introduced black audiences to country music with his 1962 landmark album, "Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music," Pat was just as successful in introducing the predominantly white audiences to black music with covers "Ain't That A Shame," Tutti-Frutti," "Long, Tall Sally," "I Almost Lost My Mind," "At My Front Door (Crazy Little Mama)," "I'll Be Home," and "Two Hearts, Two Kisses (Make One Love): all solid hits by black artists. And those are just his 'covers,' not his entire catalog, which included six #1 records, ten Top 10 records, ten Top 20 records and countless charting records, totaling approximately 50 million in combined album and single sales.
The Pat Boone debate will undoubtedly continue to go on. Our comments seem to fall on deaf ears -- pretty well ignored by the nominating committee. In fact, we're probably at a point where they've drawn their line in the sand, afraid to give in as it will admit their injustice.
However, with all the other artists I wrote about earlier this week, they deserve to be admitted either next year or in the coming two or three years. In fact, I don't know why the Rock Hall can't do what the Country Music Hall of Fame did in 2001, induct a significantly larger class. The CMHOF inducted nine that year, including Sam Phillips, The Everlys, Waylon, Don Gibson, Bill Anderson and producer extraordinare, Ken Nelson. The Rock Hall could make up for lost time by doing a similar good deed.
I did want to add one additional comment about "The Crickets," and specifically Jerry "J. I." Allison. He co-wrote "That'll Be The Day," which is ranked #39 on the Rolling Stone list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All-time." Jerry is often credited, along with Buddy and producer Norman Petty, as co-writing another #1, "Peggy Sue," written about his girl friend -- and future wife -- Peggy Sue Gerron. However, even without these songwriting credits, to say nothing of another "Cricket," Sonny Curtis, who's songwriting credits include "I Fought The Law," "Walk Right Back," "I'm No Stranger To The Rain," and "Love Is All Around," The Crickets deserve immediate induction. It's simply another "no-brainer" for the Class of 2011.
By the way, for all "Everly Brothers" fans -- on this day 50 years ago -- March 18 -- the duo went into historic RCA Studio "B" and recorded their biggest hit, the #1 hit smash, "Cathy's Clown," written by Don and Phil. It is estimated that eight million copies of the single have been sold worldwide.
Fred Vail / Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
"Music City, USA"
Veteran Radio Programmer John Rook started a "Back Pat" campaign several years ago and collected well over 10,000 signatures from people all over the country who believe that Pat Boone absolutely belongs in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It was then turned into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominating Committee (and most likely immediately filed in the nearest garbage can) ... Pat has never even so much as made the ballot, despite all he did to help unite a black and white audience in the earliest days of rock and roll music. No, he wasn't Elvis ... but he SOLD like him ... and there is no telling how long it might have taken for mid-'50's teenagers to catch on to the music of Fats Domino, Little Richard, The El Dorados, Ivory Joe Hunter and countless others without Pat making this music sound "safe" enough to be played in white households across America. On the plus side, this snub (and so many others just like it) inspired John to start The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame, where long-ignored artists like Pat Boone, Chubby Checker, Neil Sedaka, Connie Francis, Neil Diamond and so many others are FINALLY getting their due and recognition. (kk)
Click here: Welcome To The Hit Parade Hall of Fame

And, speaking of John Rook ... check this out:

“The Tennessee Waltz” is the third biggest selling single of all time, approaching ten million in sales. On the pop & country Hit Parade more than 100 times, she sold more than 100 million singles alone, not counting her albums. By a vote of her fans worldwide, Patti Page was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. During her recent sold out appearance at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Hit Parade Hall of Fame President John Rook was on stage to present Patti Page with her induction award.

Hi Kent - I could be wrong but my observation is that they all eventually make it to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. But it is only a matter of when. I hereby nominate Kent Kotal for his outstanding work and dedication all of these years on the Forgotten Hits website. Thanks Kent!!! You Rock : ))
Thanks for the honor!!! The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame will have you believe that all of the "worthy" candidates (by THEIR determination, of course, and nobody else's) will eventually be inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... but at the rate of five acts a year (and a concentration on the newer acts over the older acts) most of us will be long gone by the time any sort of real justice is done. (That being said, with a little luck Jann Wenner will ALSO be gone by this point ... so, with a little bit of luck, somebody who really DOES have an appreciation for the early artists who helped get us here in the first place just may take over at some point and see that justice FINALLY is served!!!) kk

Hi Kent
I'm not going to comment any further on the HOF. It's been discussed ad nauseum. Instead I'm suggesting why not have "Forgotten Hits" create it's own HOF? Set up some rules and let your readers comment, vote, etc.
We don't need a museum or a TV show -- this is just for fun. While I don't understand why so many artists have been excluded by the HOF, it is what it is. So let's have fun and create our own HOF. You can then be our own Jann Werner and we can all criticize you! (LOL). Seriously, why not have our own hall?
Steve Davidson
LOL ... you may be on to something here!!! (That's JUST what I need ... even MORE criticism!!! lol) Seriously, you've got the wheels turning ... but in a slightly different area. Stay tuned ... you just never know where all of this may lead!!! (kk)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Sunday Comments ( 03 - 21 - 10 )

Welcome to yet another edition of The Sunday Comments!

Have something to share with our readers?

Then just drop us a line at ...
and check back often to see if YOUR comments made the web page!

Meanwhile ... on with the show ...

Man, it would have been great to see Donovan do all his songs.
The talesfromthetavern website shows some great past and future acts performing there. I noticed Michael Smith of "Dutchman" fame coming soon ... and Cheryl Wheeler has played there recently. Not to mention the location in the Santa Ynez Valley is one of the nicest places in the USA. Thanks, Kent, for passing along these tips and tidbits.
David Lewis
Glad to do it ... I wish more of the artists out there would take advantage of our service so that their fans would always know where to find them!!! (kk)

Many of our readers have said how they would’ve loved to have been with me when I was one of the first to hear “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, “Hang On Sloopy”, and “I Will Survive”. Well, now’s your chance:
Artie Wayne

I loved the Unsung Heroes article. There are so many more ... Richard Berry, Jesse Belvin and Ed Townsend for instance. Terribly sad about T-Bone. He was a great guy and a great musician.
Russ Titelman

Thanks for featuring "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" the other day after the passing of Fess Parker. I've always thought "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" borrowed heavily from this song.

I really enjoy your emailers - should I expect more or is it best to visit your site on a regular basis?
Some interesting Classic Guitar news: I have a close and long-time friend named Tony Marc. Tony has been in the vintage guitar business since his early teens, and currently has over 500 vintage guitars in his house(!) Last week he and I sat for hours pulling them out of their cases and playing everything from a Zally Guild, numerous Hofner violin models (basses and 6-strings!), Rickenbackers, Gretches, Epiphones, Gibsons and more (and more!)
To make a very long story short, my dear friend Vic Flick wanted to sell his Vox Hank Marvin model 12-string that he played on Peter & Gordon's "World Without Love." I arranged a meeting between Vic and Tony, and Tony is now the proud owner of this classic and important guitar.
I'm happy to help two good friends. Also happy to receive your much cool music reports.
Keep smiling (and call me next time you're in Philly!)
Dr. Robert /
(Bob Rush), The Beat Magazine
After we emailed (rather than posted) The Comments Page last weekend, we received a number of emails from our readers telling us how much they enjoyed getting Forgotten Hits delivered right to their mailboxes (like the good old days). Fact is, the list has just gotten too large to do this anymore ... as it is, we have to break it into twelve separate mailings just to send out a website posting announcement! (And AOL imposes far too many restrictions on what we can and cannot send in an email. On any given day, hotmail or yahoo or msn or whomever will determine that our emails are spam and kick ALL of them back at us from their service ... quite honestly, emailing has turned into an ENORMOUS hassle.)
My best suggestion is to simply bookmark the website and check it every day ... or at least a few times a week so that you don't fall too far behind. We're going to get to a point (and it will be sooner rather than later) where the emails stop all together.
Cool to hear about your friend's guitar passion ... I'm not sure if this is the same guy that Davie Allan emailed us about a few months back or not ... but it's really nice to know that some of these vintage guitars are being well taken care of. (I'm told that there has become a REAL market for "Vintage Guitars") Thanks, Bob! (kk)


Kent ...
I was wondering if you and your readers remember a show called Shindig (1964 - 1966)?
I just bought all 86 episodes of this show on 30 discs. Check out this lineup.
In the house band, on the show every week - Billy Preston, Leon Russell, James Burton + Bobby Sherman, Glen Campbell, The Blossoms, The Righteous Brothers. Fast paced show with different guests on each week.
Frank B.
I most certainly DO remember "Shindig" ... what self-respecting music fan didn't watch THIS show?!?!? And "Hullabaloo", too, for that matter!!! VERY cool ... are these tapes something that is commercially available? How's the quality? And does it include The Beatles' performance from "Ready Steady Go"??? (kk)
The Beatles are on there. Not sure what you mean ... Yes it is available. I paid $245 for 86 episodes on 30 discs. You can also get 2 disc sets for $29. If you get Goldmine Magazine, there's a full page ad on page 13. It's a company from Canada - Kaleidoscope Video. ask him to e-mail you a catalog. It's free. You have to pay for a written catalog. They also have Hullabaloo, Shivaree, Where The Action Is, etc. If you want to call, the Canadian Phone Number is (647) 238 - 4144. The U.S. Phone Number is (216) 769 - 7520, which is a Cleveland number. I called left my name and number. In about an hour, Michael Zimmermann called me back and I gave him my order.
Frank B.
When The Beatles appeared on "Shindig" it was BIG news that this little ABC show got them ... but, in fact, it was a film clip that had already aired on "Ready, Steady, Go" in The U.K. a short while earlier ... I have it on VHS in crystal-clear quality ... it was part of the "Ready, Steady, Go" series that Dave Clark issued some 20-25 years ago, as he owns the rights to all those shows. What makes it so unique is that it's the only time The Beatles performed "Shout", a song they never actually recorded.
Speaking of which, how is the quality of these "Shindig" shows? That's a pretty steep price! But I would LOVE to have all those old "Shindig" and "Hullabaloo" and "Shivaree" and "Where The Action Is" shows ... I have assorted clips from ALL of them in varying quality ... but all on VHS tapes. A whole series of complete "Hullabaloo" shows were available commercially there for a while ... I'm really not sure if they're out of print now or not ... but they were top notch quality from the original tapes.
The Video Beat (who've mentioned several times over the years) has a lot of this stuff available on DVD, too. We just LOVE poppin' this kind of stuff in the dvd player when we're just hangin' around or eating dinner or something ... it's like paying a visit to YouTube ... you promise yourself that you're only gonna watch "just a couple" of these and then two hours later you can't believe how much time has flown by!!! (kk)
I would say the quality is good. All black & white. The Beatles are on Disc One, Oct. 7, 1964. One of the shows has Jerry Lee Lewis and Neil Sedaka singing "Take Me Out To The Ballroom." That's an odd paring. It sounded good.
Frank B.

I am very much looking forward to the British Invasion box. Having been the rhythm guitar player in the Shindig band for the first year, I may actually appear in some of those clips.

Russ Titelman

By the way, speaking of vintage performances, the T.A.M.I. Music Show is FINALLY coming out (in a legitimate release) on DVD!!! This is a concert classic that has been circulating for years on the "bootleg" circuit ... can The T.N.T. Show be far behind??? I hope not! Pre-orders are currently being taken at both and Collectors' Choice Music. Check out this all-star line-up:
It's the most-requested music DVD (no contest!) in the history of Collectors' Choice Music! It's 'The T.A.M.I. Show', the groundbreaking 1964 concert film that, along with the Beatles on 'The Ed Sullivan Show', introduced the Swinging ‘60s to Middle America. By special arrangement, we are going to be shipping this long-awaited release to our customers a full two weeks before its release date so you can be the first music fans on the planet to own this DVD ('The T.A.M.I. Show' has never been on home video in any format).
(NOTE: Official street date is March 23rd ... but Collectors' Choice Music started shipping copies on March 9th ... so get your orders in early!!!) kk

Just check out the beyond-incredible line-up of stars and songs (this Collector's Edition includes all 45 performances, uncut and mastered from a new high-definition transfer): 'Around and Around; Time Is on My Side' - Rolling Stones; 'Sidewalk Surfin'' - Jan & Dean; 'Johnny B. Goode' - Chuck Berry; 'Surfin' U.S.A.; I Get Around' - Beach Boys; 'Hitch Hike' - Marvin Gaye; 'It's My Party' - Lesley Gore; 'Baby Love' - Supremes; 'Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying' - Gerry & the Pacemakers; 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me' - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; 'Little Children' - Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas; 'Hey Little Bird' - Barbarians, and more. And special mention must be made of James Brown's performances of 'Out of Sight'; 'Prisoner of Love'; 'Please, Please, Please', and 'Night Train' — they are beyond legendary, perhaps the single greatest rock and roll performances ever captured on film. This special collector's edition also comes with a 20-page booklet containing liner notes and rare photos and memorabilia.
You can order YOUR copy through the Collectors' Choice Music Website:
Click here: Collectors' Choice Music

With the TAMI Show restored and released, I hope Jan & Dean begin to get credit for both their music and their showmanship / humor. (They were the Monkees before the Monkees were invented!).

If you saw the recent PBS broadcast of the "T.A.M.I' Show, you already know that Jan and Dean's role in rock is firmly established. With numerous Top 10's and a huge #1, "Surf City," they certainly made their mark in Rock And Roll History.
Fred Vail

Two GLOWING endorsements for Jan and Dean ... the T.A.M.I. line-up is INCREDIBLE ... DEFINITELY worth watching this again!!! (kk)

Meanwhile, the first batch of British Invasion DVDs haven't even hit the stores yet and they're already talking about follow-up releases. This could prove to be a VERY cool, on-going series for all of us who grew up loving the music of this era. For me personally, it was The British Invasion that got me hooked on Top 40 Radio ... speaking of which ...


We've said MANY times in these pages that the deejays we grew up listening to played every bit an important part in our lives as the music itself. Here are just two emails we received this past week ... totally unrelated ... totally unsolicited ... but proving again just what a HUGE impact these jocks had on our lives:

Kent ... I guess you know by now that Radio Great, Ron Lundy, died in Mississippi on 3 / 15 / 10. He was 75 years old. Don't know if your interested or not but on Sunday Night, at 11 P M - EDT, WCBS - FM will re-play the last hour of Ron's last show. It's from 1997. He retired and went home to Mississippi. You can get it on Here in New York, Ron was on WABC - AM first, than on WCBS - FM. His famous opening line was "Hello Love, I've got a song for you."
Frank B.

I was connecting thru Midway airport yesterday when I heard Gary Gears being paged several times. Seems this particular Gary Gears was about to miss his flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Since "our" Gary Gears is no longer with us, I wondered if the new Gary Gears knows anything about his namesake. I did a little checking and saw that there was indeed a Gary Gears living in the Miami / Ft. Lauderdale area. You think anyone besides me did a double take walking thru the airport hearing that name? David Lewis

See pictures of Bandstand Bonnie & Bandstand Legend Carmella Astrella on the Bandstand picture page. Click the link.
Bandstand Picture Page
Listen to a rare interview Sam Lit has with Charlie O Donnel. He is the legendary announcer of American Bandstand. Charlie has also been the announcer of Wheel of Fortune for the last 35 years. Charlie shares some rare facts about American Bandstand, and landing at WFIL TV after beginning a broadcast career in Philly at the dawn of Rock n Roll. In Los Angeles he became the voice of award winning TV Game Shows.Click to listen to the 5 minute interview (Part 1).
Charlie O' Donnel Interview
-- submitted by Sam Lyt
Cool stuff, Sam! And, you can catch an interview with Sam Lyt in Rich Appel's lates Hz So Good Newsletter, too ... just drop him a line at: and I'm sure he'll be happy to forward you a copy! (kk)

The late, Philadelphia-born, Robert Hazard's Troubadour, may come as a surprise to those who know him as the hit songwriter of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," (which, by the way, was written in fifteen minutes, in a bathtub, on an acoustic guitar) but those who value first-rate musicianship, insightful songwriting and straight-from-the-heart singing will greet the album like an old friend.The Troubadour album features drummer Steve Holley (McCartney's Wings, Joe Cocker, Dar Williams, Elton John) and multi-instrumentalist T-Bone Wolk (Carly Simon, SNL Band, Hall & Oates). The Cajun stomp of "A Whole Lot of Water" is the tale of an island boy who moves to the big city. T-Bone Wolk contributes Celtic accordion fills giving the song an international flavor. In 2004 Hazard hooked up with T-Bone Wolk for his first singer / songwriter album, The Seventh Lake.RIP Robert Hazard & T-Bone Wolk. You can view the last interview with Robert online at Philly Pop Music, The Lost Pioneers:
-- Submitted by George Manney

A Message from Johnny Maestro:
I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their thoughts, get well wishes and prayers while I am undergoing treatment for cancer.
I have been fortunate to be able to perform before the "best audiences", our loyal fans, for over 7 decades dating back to the late 1950's. There have been no better times for myself and the Brooklyn Bridge then when we are performing, singing the music that brings back memories of times that we all cherish and hold dear to our hearts. I am very grateful for the opportunity that has allowed me to do something that "I love" and to be able to share our music with so many people.I want everyone to know that when I read your messages, it brightens my day and gives me strength and determination to get back on stage. Your support is the best medicine.
Best Wishes ...
Johnny Maestro

The above message is on Johnny Maestro's website:
Lois Dixon

>>>So sad to hear about Johnny Maestro's illness. We were fortunate to see him perform not too long ago. The Crests were one of my favorite groups growing up. After Johnny left the Crests, whatever happened to the rest of them? Other than a year or two of trying to keep up the group, did any of the members stay in the biz? (Steve Davidson)
>>>Anybody out there know the answer to this one? Certainly Johnny's career continued to flourish ... but what about the rest of the band? (kk)
I'm sure there are many who know much more than I do, but it's my understanding that J.T. Carter kept the Crests going for at least a couple more decades.
BTW Kent, if anyone is interested in the Portraits (on Sidewalk), the garagehangover posted my article several months ago and 5 of our 1967 releases are on youtube.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem

I may be wrong but I believe that The Crests took on a new lead singer, recorded for a few more years, and actually still tour to this day as The Crests, as Johnny doesn't have the rights to that name. I think one of the original Crests was still in the current Brooklyn Bridge with him as well.
(Not the best shot, I know....but perhaps one of the last photos taken of Johnny Maestro on stage)

Tom Diehl

Someone asked about The Crests. Tommy Gough moved to Detroit and worked for General Motors. Hal Torres became a jeweler in upstate New York. J.T. Carter has remained active in the music business. Singer Mike Miller (Harmony Street) will be doing an interview with J.T. Carter on his Internet radio show on Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 7:00pm. Here's a link to the radio's website: The interview should be repeated later in the week. The Crests reunited for a concert in 1987 in Peekskill, New York.

Lois Dixon


By the way, I listened to the interview. J.T. Carter said that when the first PBS doo wop concert was taped in 1999, The Crests were not asked to sing on the show. All four original singers were available at that time (Patricia Van Dross had died many years earlier). Johnny Maestro, of course, appeared with The Brooklyn Bridge. It would have been great to see a reunion of The Crests. Sadly, J.T. said that only he and Johnny are left from the group now.
Lois Dixon

With all the ongoing interest in "Ringo," I thought you might be interested to know I had included the song a few weeks ago in one of my weekly pop-culture "list" columns I do. "Ringo" was part of my Feb. 19 "roundup" tribute to cowboy "story songs":
You might also recognize an instrumental or two from this list:
If you think your readers would be interested, please pass this information along.
>>>Am I the only FH reader who has never heard this song before? And it made it to #14!! (David Lewis)
For the record, by the way, I remember both of Rene and Rene's songs, which got a lot play in the Twin Cities. Also remember a fine 1963 song by Keith Colley, "Enamorado."
"Enamorado" only got to #66 on The Billboard Chart ... but was a #16 Hit here in Chicago, too. (When's the last time you heard THIS one?!?!?) kk


Kent ...
They say you can’t predict Earthquakes, but this Friday with the opening of the Martin Scorsese film “The Runaways:”, I guarantee there’ll be a whole lotta' shakin’ going on!
Artie Wayne

We've been looking forward to this film, too ... and are hoping to go see it later today! (kk)


>>> One of my personal favorites is "I Met Her In Church" (kk)

I really did! Thirty-Six years ago. Man, talk about a life-long spiritual experience! David Lewis


Keith Richards Guitar Lesson: I know what you're thinking by reading the subject line ... Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards has got a guitar lesson for us? No, not really. You see Keith is getting a guitar lesson first hand from the legendary Chuck Berry. That's right!
Crank up the sound, sit back and relax as Chuck instructs his pupil the correct way of playing "Oh Carol" on a guitar!
Chuck Berry, Pioneer of Rock n Roll
Wild Bill

Quite honestly, we expected a little bit of flack after our Chuck Berry piece ran the other day ... but nary a comment thus far. By the way, Johnny Depp has filmed a Keith Richards Documentary that is being readied for release. After admitting that he patterned his Jack Sparrow character in The Pirates of the Carribean movies after the famous (and colorful) Rolling Stones Guitarist ... and then convincing Richards to play his father in one of the sequels ... Depp brought a video camera with him everywhere he and Keith went for five days during their downtime from shooting the film. Reportedly, this footage is currently being edited into a two-hour documentary ... a day in the life of Keith Richards. (No official word yet as to whether any coconuts were harmed during this filming!) But this WOULD make an interesting film to watch! (kk)

Can you believe we're still getting mail about the "Heaven Sent" commercial?!?!? Ahh, the power of the Internet!!!
Hello Kent
I saw your blog regarding Heaven Sent. Back in 1965 I used to hear this spot on WLS at night when they came far enough south for my car radio to receive their signal. I also enjoyed Larry Kenney when he was at WOWO in Fort Wayne. This Heaven Sent spot was well remembered and I have looked for it for as long as the Internet has been around. This version was not on your blog. I do not know who the singer is on this version but my best guess is that it's Shelley Fabares. As you recall in 1963 she had the hit Johnny Angel, so I figured the ad agency made the connection. This is all just my best guess. If the voice on this spot isn't Fabares then it's someone that certainly sounds like her. In the spring of 2009 I found a collection of air checks on CD from Boss Radio KHJ in Los Angeles from 1965 to 1972 by year. There were two spots that I really wanted. The Heaven Sent spot and the other one was the Thom McAnn Shoes GTO giveaway contest spot. On both commercials the jock talks over the front and rear. If you pay close attention the master tape had been broken before they put it onto the cart. Between the singing the agency announcer says "this for Christmas". The word "year' is missing. At the end of the spot the KHJ jock says "heaven sent heaven sent caviar certainly ... thank you ma'am". Both these spots are from November and December 1965. Please let me know if you like them and If you agree that Shelly Fabares is the singer. I don't have a clue who is doing the Thom McAnn spot. Keep up the good work!
Best regards
The "Heaven Sent" commercial caused quite a buzz here a few months back ... I just can't get over how many people this spot touched! (And how many have been frantically looking for a copy ever since!!!) While I don't think it's Shelley Fabares, it does sound a little bit like her. Check out all of our "Commercials" follow-ups on the site, too ... this became a VERY hot topic!!! (kk)

While you have been writing about Tommy James new book about Mafia involvement in rock and roll, the death of Jimi Hendrix has never officially been put to bed with much speculation he was murdered. Alex Constantine, author of The Covert War Against Rock (Feral House), has posted on his website ( the attached article which surmises Hendrix may have died while he was being waterboarded by the CIA.
Ken Voss
There have been rumours and speculation for years now about Jimi's final days ... but, unfortunately, virtually everybody he surrounded himself with is gone now, too. (Ahh, the company you keep!!!) To complicate matters even further, many of those who gave statements originally have since gone on to change and / or embellish their stories and memories. An interesting article and well worth reading if you've been following the Jimi Hendrix story at all. (We suggest you read OUR analysis FIRST on The Forgotten Hits Web Page and then head on over to Alex Constantine's piece for some real food for thought!!!) kk

And, of course, you can't mention Jimi Hendrix without mentioning The Monkees!!! (lol)


>>> I co-wrote "Yes I Will" with Gerry Goffin and the Hollies record is just so great (Phil Collins told me it was one of his favorite records back then) "Yes I Will" was also on the first Monkees' record (as "I'll Be True To You" - kk) but it wasn't a very good version.

Russ Titelman

Without a doubt, The Hollies' version of "Yes I Will" COMPLETELY blows The Monkees' version away (but I'll bet you earned a WHOLE lot more in the way of royalties when The Pre-Fab Four cut it!!! lol) kk

Thanks, Kent.
I hadn't seen this announced but will definitely check into it. We were just talking about Jim and the band yesterday since it was "their day".
David Lewis
Hope you can make it to the show ... you will NOT be disappointed. (And don't forget to write us afterwards and tell us what you thought!!!) kk

Hey, Kent ...
First time I've ever seen Steve Miller mentioned in FH. It's easy to dismiss Miller as a lightweight with all the later hits -- Abra-Ca-Dabra, etc., until you really think about just how many there were. Plus, he was a serious contender long before the pop hits started coming. If you go all the way back to Livin' in the USA, there had to be 10 or more significant positions on the charts -- I can think of 8.
If you don't have it, you should get Steve Miller Band Live from Chicago. It was shot at Ravinia, and looks great because of that. Performance, visuals, recording and editing are all great. I'm currently watching it every morning as put in my time on the exercise bike. Very diverting.
Rick Barr
New Colony Six
We tried to get tickets for that Ravinia performance (Jimy Rogers and The Mauds were the opening act that night) but the show was a complete sell-out. I heard it was a GREAT show ('tho I haven't seen the DVD ... I also heard Miller and Company were "less than gracious" when their opening act had the audience up on their feet for most of their performance, going over just a little bit better than an opening act is supposed to!!! lol)
I first discovered Steve Miller back in 1968 when he was probably still best known as more of a blues artist. Proof again that your idols will lead you to discover other music, I checked them out because Paul McCartney (still with The Beatles at the time) played on his track "My Dark Hour" and I wanted to see what that sounded like. (Honestly, it didn't do much for me ... but nearly 30 years later Miller would return the favor by contributing to three tracks on Macca's "Flaming Pie" LP!) "Living In The USA" was the first real commercial success Miller enjoyed ... that single (released first in 1968 and then re-released in 1974 after "The Joker" went to #1) has become an FM staple. Without a doubt, Miller stuck together two INCREDIBLE albums the following year ... "Fly Like An Eagle" and "Book Of Dreams" ... which won him international appeal (but cost him some of his die-hard fans who had stuck with him for years, feeling that Miller had "sold out" for the sake of hit records) ... no matter ... it worked ... quickly "Take The Money And Run", "Rock'n Me", "Fly Like An Eagle", "Jet Airliner", "Jungle Love" and "Swingtown" were ALL over the radio ... and they haven't been off since. (To the point that I, personally, have OD'd on the man ... I LOVED these albums when they came out and played them to death ... but I swear at least a couple times a week I'll stumble across two or three Steve Miller songs playing at the exact same time while button pushing trying to find something DIFFERENT to listen to on the radio dial!!!)
Will have to check out the concert DVD ... sounds interesting. Thanks, Rick! (kk)

Meanwhile, here's Steve Miller and Paul McCartney doing MY favorite track from those session, "Young Boy" ... this one absolutely would have been a hit had radio still been playing new material from EITHER of these guys back in 1997!!!

Do you know if anyone on your FH list worked for WWCA in Gary, Indiana, during the 1960s?

I dunno ... let's ask 'em!!! (kk)

Question for you or others: Regarding The Drifter's hit "There Goes My Baby": A DJ on a WDRV made a claim that the 45 was initially released w/o violins (strings), but I guess the radio stations were asked to destroy or discard the initial promo 45s and they would be replaced. Have asked others and did searches, but no one recalls this. Would LOVE to find it on CD. Planning to do my own (pay) radio show and it fits well into my forte of Uncommon Top 40!

Thanks, Kent!



"There Goes My Baby" has long been recognized by the distinction of being the first "rock and roll" record to use strings and full orchestration ... but amongst all that hype (which, quite honestly, I've found hard to believe for years ... but have just never really researched this) I have NEVER heard that it was first commercially released WITHOUT strings. Anybody out there able to shed some light on this? Or, better yet, have a copy of this rarity to share? Let us know! (kk)

Kent ...
I have been searching for years for a particular song from the late 60's or early 70's that started out with killer motorcycle sounds. It was an instrumental on 45. I don't remember the name or artist ... that's why I'm not having much success.
I used to run a summer camp and during the last week of camp, instead of playing the bugle song to wake up the campers, we played crazy stuff. I played this motorcycle song and it sounded like the Hell's Angels were tearing through the camp! It was a riot!!
I happened upon your website and blog in my online searches this evening and thought I'd see if you have a clue as to what my long lost motorcycle instrumental might be.
Thanks for any help you could give me!
Sharon Sigmon
Newton, NC

Wow, that's not much to go on ... there could literally be DOZENS of possible candidates for this one ... there was a whole genre of "motorcycle music" going around in the late '60's ... can you pin it down to a more specific timeframe ... or tell us where you heard the song? (Was it a big radio hit?) Off the top of my head, I'm inclined to go with this one ... but only because it's one of MY favorites and was a pretty decent-sized hit back in 1967 ... (that and the fact that Davie Allan is on our FH Mailing List!!! lol) This is "Blues' Theme" from the film "The Wild Angels", circa 1967. (kk)

I am still amazed at all the great people and great info that you put together.
Now if you could just figure out how to make money doing it.
Hmmm! Maybe you have.

Ahh ... if only that were the case. I sure figured there'd be some return by now (this is my 11th year of doing this "labor of love" ... and short of a free CD or DVD here and there, it's all about the love of the music ... which would be fine, I guess, if "real life" didn't suck so bad!!!) kk

Hi Kent ...
Just wanted to personally thank you ... you're one of the few guys in this crazy old business that unselfishly continues to help people. I must say, it's quite refreshing to see! And thank you so much for all of your dedication, in not only preserving, but shedding new light on both the oldies songs and recording artists.
Steve McCorvey
Thanks, Steve ... I hope some of our readers had the chance to check out your website ... a very interesting concept that should appeal to many of us who love the great sounds of this music! (kk)