Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Great Dick Biondi News

Hi Kent,
I have been pretty absent comment-wise from your site, but have tried hard to keep up with reading when I can. I just HAD to write to thank you for the info about Dick Biondi's 50th anniversary show! HOW could I forget such an important date in history? I have been much aware of this date for decades, yet i almost missed it! What a great radio show! To make matters worse (better?), it became a radio war to rival those I grew up with in the 60's with Chicago radio!! Staying true to my youth, I was listening to the Biondi show in bed with headset (that replaces my transistor under the pillow of 60's) with pre-set buttons on WLS AM. With a button push, I could move to WGN and Bob Sirott (who'd been on Biondi's show earlier!) interviewing Ramsey lewis about his career!! HOW COOL was that?? Like flipping between the two Rons (Britain and Riley) in the '60's on 'LS and 'CFL!! Not quite as good, but as good as it gets in THIS century!! I had some old photos of Dick to scan and send along as well as audio, but just no time with neice's graduation week. I hope Dick had a great time. Dick had so many people I did not know even still performed and THEY KNEW HIM and remembered him and loved him!! Just a great great show and I thank you for keeping us informed!!
WLSClark / Clark Besch

Hi Kent,
Dick Biondi's Anniversary Show was GREAT!! I enjoyed all the singing stars and the fans and their stories. He also played a lot of good oldies you do not hear anymore.

We're hoping to have some exclusive pictures from this event to share with you soon. Meanwhile, today we are VERY happy to inform you that, according to Robert Feder's latest column, the City of Chicago is FINALLY honoring Dick Biondi with a new segment of real estate called "Dick Biondi Way".
Our buddy Jim "J.C. Hooke" Pilster of The Cryan' Shames should be VERY pleased ... he has been campaigning for this honor for YEARS now ... and Feder's column announces that thanks to the efforts of Chicagoan (and fellow broadcaster) Bob Sirott ... and a City Council vote ... the area adjacent to 360 N. Michigan Avenue, home to WLS Radio for SO many years ... will OFFICIALLY be renamed "Dick Biondi Way"! Hot on the heels of Biondi celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his first Chicagoland broadcast for the station, this just couldn't come at a more appropriate time. Here are all the details:

-- Robert Feder (
Dick Biondi still remembers when fans would stand in the alley outside his old radio studio on Michigan Avenue and yell up to him through the fifth floor window. Soon the legendary disc jockey will be able to call that spot his own.
The Chicago City Council approved a resolution Wednesday to name the area just off Lower Wacker Drive near East Lake Street and Garland Court “Dick Biondi Way.” It’s adjacent to the
360 North Michigan Avenue building that housed the studios and offices of WLS-AM (890) for decades. It also housed the famed London House night club, where top music acts of the ’60s played.
Biondi, 77, who earlier this month celebrated the
50th anniversary of his first broadcast on WLS, said he was overwhelmed by the honor. “That is so great,” he told me just after the vote made it official. “For a skinny Italian kid from the North Side of Upstate New York, I can’t believe all this is happening.” Particularly delighted by the alley’s “underground” location, Biondi quipped: “I’m always telling everybody that my fan club has their headquarters on Lower Wacker.”
Five decades after he first signed on at WLS-AM, Biondi is still going strong — and sounding better than ever — on “True Oldies” WLS-FM (94.7), where he holds forth from 7 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. Both stations are owned by Citadel Broadcasting.
Veteran broadcaster Bob Sirott (who helped relaunch Biondi’s career in Chicago with a “Where Are They Now” feature he reported on WBBM-Channel 2 in 1982) spearheaded the effort for the honorary street designation. It was sponsored in the City Council by 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly. No date has been announced for the dedication.
Although Biondi has long been enshrined in both the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame, the designation of “Dick Biondi Way” marks his long overdue recognition from the city where he helped put WLS on the map as America’s premier rock ‘n’ roll station and where he discovered and nurtured many of the biggest recording artists of the Top 40 era.
“Dick Biondi has been a landmark in Chicago over the last 50 years, so we are most appreciative of the city for honoring that status,” said Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS. “We feel honored to work with him everyday.”

Congratulations, Dick ... you deserve it. Biondi has been a friend and supporter of Forgotten Hits for many years ... our 2002 feature naming him as the very first disc jockey in America to play a Beatles record on the air is one of our most-read series ever ... and has been used as a reference source by other Beatles historians ever since.
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Who Played The Very First Beatles Record In America?
You can catch Biondi's show on WLS-FM weeknights from 7 - 11 pm ... and Friday Night he does the All-Request Show ... where you'll hear music that you haven't heard in 30-40 years! A "Listen Live" link appears below:
Click here: 94.7 WLS-FM

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great News For Our West Coast Readers ... And It's All For A Good Cause, Too!

This just in from Bob Merlis ... another event we'd love to see (if only to catch the US premier of the Emitt Rhodes flick!!!)


Rhino Records, the famed Westwood hole-in-the-wall storefront that begat the iconic catalog record label of the same name and defined the independent music store paradigm -- just celebrated on "Record Store Day"-- will be back for a very limited run from May 17 - 30. It's the pop-up store to end all pop-up stores, a reprise of a golden era when idiosyncratic customers and clerks sparked a musical revolution and catalyzed real-life debates that were more passionate than anything seen in High Fidelity.
Rhino is, for a fortnight, back from the grave bringing its legacy of eccentric, eclectic and unabashed fun with incredulous deals, in-store performances , the irreverent attitude typified by the "worst customers" chart for one last spin on the merry-go-round in the name of Hope in Action. All proceeds will go to Chrysalis Enterprises, an LA nonprofit that transitions the unfortunate and hopeless into employment.
The impetus for this riotous resurrection is that Richard Foos, Rhino founder and √©minence grise, is bidding farewell to Los Angeles after 40 plus years to move to New York. Foos, who strongly believes in merging one's social values with business has installed a strong sense of purpose and giving back in all his business concerns. He loath to move the thousands upon thousands of albums and DVDs to New York so decided, in a flash epiphany, that if you can’t take it all with you, why not blow it out with purpose? The store, located at 1740 Westwood Blvd. (Map: will be selling not only his stuff but also thousands more that Foos and his accomplices have cajoled out of his many media industry friends. It is expected that over 100,000 individual "pieces of product" will be sold over the course of Rhino's reanimation with a goal of raising $100,000 for Chrysalis Enterprises, a non-profit organization that has helped address the problems of the economically disadvantaged of Los Angeles county for more than 25 years. Foos, it should be noted, serves on the board of Chrysalis as well as other organizations that have a strong commitment to social progress.
As the Rhino pop-up store is on the cusp of launching a two week run just 50 feet and a few doors down Westwood Blvd. from its original location, a schedule of rhinoesque -- there's no other way to put it -- events is shaping up. Some highlights:
Monday, May 17: Screening of No Autographs, No Encores, a 35-minute performance film of Nirvana's live performance at Rhino Records in 1989. This was the band's first gig outside Seattle and the late Kurt Cobain's favorite document of his pre - Dave Grohl band when it was a four-piece.
Wednesday, May 19: Mixology with DJ Clockwork
Thursday, May 20: The Blasters reunited in-store performance
Friday, May 21: Richard Thompson in-store performance
Saturday, May 22: mike watt + missingmen in-store performance
Sunday, May 23: Spain in-store performance
Monday, May 24: Los Angeles Songwriters night - stay tuned for details
Tuesday, May 25: Roger Steffens screens and curates his Intimate Moments with Reggae’s Greats
Wednesday, May 26: Maria McKee Band in-store performance
Thursday, May 27: Peter Case and guests perform selections from Wig! to be released June 29 on Yep Rock
Friday, May 28: Life After Rhino: former Rhino employees plus in-store signing of Record Store Days by authors Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo: Screening Final Vinyl film chronicling historic Rhino Records in-store performances by Nick Lowe, Del Rubio Triplets, They Might Be Giants, Lucinda Williams, Steve Wynn and more.
Saturday May 29: First U.S. screening of One Man Beatles, Italian documentary film about the life of the enigmatic Emitt Rhodes. Members of his band The Merry-Go-Round will be in attendance.
Sunday, May 30: Return of Wharf Rat Tales with Wednesday Week, The Urinals a/k/a The 100 Flowers and The Last with Joe Nolte
Monday, May 31: Original Rhino Daze. A cast of characters closely associated with Rhino in its hey day will be on hand to whatever it is they do. Among those expected: Dr. Demento, Wild Man Fischer, Ruben & The Jets, Barnes & Barnes (the "Fishheads" duo), Big Daddy, Temple City Kazoo Orchestra.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Artist News ... From The Artists Themselves!

A couple of nice things going on for some of the artists who are also Forgotten Hits list members ... check these out!:

First, this from Davie Allan (of the Arrows):
This is just too cool!
Yes, Davie is one of the Unsung Eleven!!! Congrats!!!
“While countless books and articles are available on pioneers like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Little Richard, not much has been disclosed concerning ‘the unsung heroes of early rock and roll’; so what a special treat this book is. Dick Stewart, author of 'Eleven Unsung Heroes of Early Rock and Roll', has been active in the music biz nearly as long as rock and roll has been alive. Lead guitarist for the instrumental rock combo, The Knights, label owner of Lance Records, and publisher and editor of The Lance Monthly are just some of the achievements you’ll find listed on Dick’s resume. As the title of the book implies, eleven performers, who have been interviewed by Dick, constitute the subject matter. Composed in article form, these interviews are in-depth, revealing and informative. Starting with each artist’s childhood and continuing to the present, 'Eleven Unsung Heroes of Early Rock and Roll' travels a multitude of miles. The tone is conversational and casual, making for consistently easy and interesting reading.
“The artists featured in Eleven Unsung Heroes of Early Rock and Roll are Jack Ely (lead vocalist of The original Kingsmen), the late Larry Knechtel (studio musician extraordinaire), Carl Bunch (drummer for Roy Orbison and for Buddy Holly during his Winter Dance Party tour), and singer/songwriter/guitarist Sonny Curtis (Crickets’ guitarist and composer of The Everly Brothers’ ‘Walk Right Back’ and Bobby Fuller’s ‘I Fought the Law’). Jimmy Torres of The String-A-Longs’ ‘Wheels’ fame has a story to tell, too, one which is so violent that it’s a miracle he survived and is still with us.
“Guitarist George Tomsco of the Fireballs of "Bull Dog" fame appears here, too, as does the late great rock-and-roll inspirer, Clyde Hankins. Also included are Keith McCormack (composer of ‘Sugar Shack’), and Robert Kelly, who got his start in one of Jack Ruby’s clubs in Dallas, Texas. Yes, that Jack Ruby — the infamous nightclub owner who shot and killed the alleged assassinator of President John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald.
“The King of Fuzz Guitar, Davie Allan (‘Blues Theme’), and Sonny West, rockabilly singer, guitarist and composer of Buddy Holly’s ‘Oh Boy!’ and ‘Rave On’ are further spotlighted. How and why the music was created, accompanied by fascinating and funny experiences inhabit the pages of 'Eleven Unsung Heroes of Early Rock and Roll'. Honest and confessional, the book covers the good, the bad and the ugly with insight and understanding. As colorful and exciting as the music it champions, 'Eleven Unsung Heroes of Early Rock and Roll' answers a lot of questions and gives these fellows the accolades they deserve. Household names they may not be, but the quality of their work and their contributions to rock and roll speak for itself, and that’s what’s important."
WTG, Davie ... will have to pick up a copy of this! (Ordering instructions can be found at the link above.) kk
And you can visit Davie's website here: Click here: Davie Allan and The Arrows

And then this from Beverly Bremers, one of our very first Forgotten Hits Interviews, from WAY back when!!!
Hi and Happy Spring!
I'm writing because I need your support, if you have a few minutes. I made a last-minute entry in a competion to perform in the Lilith Fair tour this summer. This would be a great opportunity for me, but I need your votes. The judging ends on May 24th, so time is of the essence. In case you haven't heard of it, the Lilith Fair was very successful several years back and has returned. It's a wonderful musical tour around the country, featuring all female singer / songwriters and launched Sara McLaughlin's career.
This process is a bit complicated, especially if you're not already registered with Our Stage and familiar with its process, but hopefully it'll be worth it. I will certainly appreciate it and you'll get to hear a bunch of talented singers.
First go to and click on "Join" in the top right-hand corner. Then click on the left box that says "Register as a Fan".
After registering, you'll get a thank you message. Close the box. Then check your email account for the confirmation. After you receive your email confirmation message, click on the link they give to activate your account. If you want to complete your Profile, great. If not, Click on "Discover New Music". It may take you right to Lilith Standings page or not. Go to the top right-hand corner to Search and type in "Beverly Bremers", which should take you either to Beverly Bremers' songs or to my profile, "About Beverly Bremers". There should be a green tab on the top right-hand corner that says, "Join Fan Club". Click on that and after the thank you, close the box. Then, and this is most important, click on the tab at the top of the page on the left that says "Overview" and click. It should take you to my profile page. Then click on the green tab on the right-hand side that says "Make this my favorite artist". This will ensure that my song will come up in the rotation within the first 20 artists. If you don't do this, my song, "Jezebel" may never pop up!
Still with me?
Then click on "Judge" at the top, then on the right side click on Lilith Fair Channels. On that page, scroll down on the right-hand column and select "Lilith Local Talent Search: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego". Voila! You made it to the judging!
There will be four artists at a time that come up to listen to. You have to listen to at least 15 seconds of each and vote for them in the order you like them best. My "Jezebel" should be in the grouping within five tries, maximum. I hope you'll judge me best : )
Please vote as often as possible to get me in the top 100, and then the top 20 within the month.
Thanks for your support (& patience)!!
Visit my websites:

I also received a note from Gretchen Christopher of The Fleetwoods this weekend, bringing us up to date on some of her most recent activity:
Hi, Kent,
We FLEETWOODS debuted on the national charts in 1959 and were the first group in the world to have multiple #1 Hits top THE BILLBOARD HOT 100 in a single year (1959: "Come Softly To Me" and "Mr. Blue"). While that is a record we will always hold (it's so nice to be the first), it was exceeded in 1964, when the SUPREMES had three #1 Hits and the BEATLES had an incredible six! Nice company to be succeeded by! (:o)
We FLEETWOODS had 11 Hit Singles on THE BILLBOARD HOT 100, our last Top 40 Hit being "Goodnight, My Love" in 1963 (an appropriate farewell, on the eve of the British Invasion). Five decades later, I made my solo artist recording debut in 2007, when release of GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) was launched in Las Vegas at the 2ND ANNUAL COOL BOBBY B DOO WOP CONVENTION & GRAND FINALE CONCERT, headlined by THE FLEETWOODS starring GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER. Immediately after the concert, I returned to Olympia, WA, to take over management of my mother's hospice care.
Three and a half years earlier, when I'd made the commitment and begun recording the CD for my 16th Leap Year Birthday, Mom was told she had only days, weeks or months to live! This was devastating, and I said, "Don't die, just because they tell you you're going to!" Family flew in from California, and we met with the doctor, who recommended we arrange for hospice care immediately (meaning Mom was expected to live less than six months). Torn between spending even more time with Mom or working relentlessly to get SUITE 16 finished within her lifetime, I did both, and sleep went by the wayside.
Happily, Mom defied the odds and lived not only to celebrate her 95th birthday, but her 96th, 97th and 98th, each a grand celebration. My brother, who'd been managing Mom's caregivers (hiring, firing, payroll, shopping, household) for these 3 1/2 years, needed relief, and I committed to take over all these duties, including scheduling myself for 24 hours caregiving each week. Work on promoting the album went by the wayside, but, happily, Mom and I were together when we learned that BILLBOARD'S FRED BRONSON had named GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) among the 2007 BILLBOARD CRITICS' PICKS for 10 BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR! Oh, what a blessing, after working so hard to conceive, write, record and produce the concept album of 16 self-penned songs and a 16 page booklet of liner notes and photos (previously unpublished, except for THE CASHBOX cover photo of THE FLEETWOODS and our co-producers, Dolton Records' BOB REISDORFF and BONNIE GUITAR).
Mom and family and friends celebrated her 99th birthday with a dinner party on my deck overlooking the bay. Two months later, she took her final leave. July 30, 2009, family came from four states and traveled across the Cascade Mountains to celebrate Mom's 100th birthday, fulfilling her final wishes by scattering her ashes in her hometown, Wilbur, WA, and dedicating a memory stone next to those of her distinguished twin brother and parents (please see ).
Now, it is a new year, and I've resumed singing, first at the concert celebrating our Fleetwoods' induction into the VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME, November 2008, and last week, my solo concert at Olympia's ARTS WALK on Saturday and Seattle's HARD ROCK CAFE on Friday, wonderfully accompanied by GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER & THE FLEETWOODS' SHOW BAND, performing songs from SUITE 16 and my special lyrics honoring STEPPENWOLF keyboard player GOLDY McJOHN on his 65th birthday: HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GOLDY.
Thank you, Kent, for having given mention to GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN on my birthday. For those interested, SOUND CLIPS may be heard and CDs SIGNED to order, at
Thank for caring and sharing!

And finally ... guess who's back in the studio recording a brand new album!!! We just heard from Billy James of Glass Onyon Productions, who forwarded us a picture of The Chocolate Watch Band in the studio along with a brief message from Tim Abbott!
(Now where else are you going to go from The Fleetwoods to The Chocolate Watch Band ... with Davie Allan and Beverly Bremers thrown in for good measure?!?!? Here in Forgotten Hits, we cover 'em all!!! lol)
Hey Billy,
Here's a shot from the session yesterday. We had Darryl Hooper keyboardist from The Seeds in the studio to work on our part of the Sky Saxon tribute cd. We did a really great version of Can't Seem To Make You Mine. Darryl also joined us to cut the Jerry Lee Lewis classic A Whole Lotta Shaken Goin On. We finished 8 songs in two days. David is coming back next weekend on his way back from the Northwest to complete the project. Then we start mixing. I'll keep you updated.
Tim Abbott
The Chocolate Watchband


Talk about a cool collection of our favorite artists ... check out the latest listing of artists scheduled to appear at this summer at the first ever Rock Con in New Jersey ... man, this thing just keeps getting better and better!!!
Dear Friends,
The guest list for
"ROCK CON: Weekend of 100 Rock Stars" is growing. We are delighted by some of the wonderful artists who are joining us for the ROCK CON Fan Fest, and we wanted to share the current roster with you ...
Al Rappa (Bill Haley’s Comets); Alannah Myles ("Black Velvet"); Andy Pratt ("Avenging Annie"); The Angels ("My Boyfriend's Back") Note: Bernadette, Linda, Jiggs, Denise, Arleen & Peggy will all be appearing!; Barbara Harris (The Toys "A Lover's Concerto"); Beki Brindle Scala (Grace Pool, & lead guitarist: Jerry Lee Lewis, Rick Danko, John Sebastian); Beverly Bremers ("Don't Say You Don't Remember"); Bryan Laye ("Tangerine Lane"); Bruce Kulick (KISS); Charlie Gracie ("Butterfly"); Clarence Collins (R & R Hall of Fame: original member of Little Anthony & The Imperials); Clay Cole (The Clay Cole Show, author "Sh-Boom"); Dan Lavoie (famed Harp Guiarist); The Delicates ("Black & White Thunderbird," "Submarine Race-Watcher's Theme"); Demon Boy (star of the new “Demon Boy” comic book series); Dennis Ferrante (John Lennon's Recording Engineer); Dinky Dawson (Rock's Most Famous Sound Man); The Dovells (“Bristol Stomp” “You Can’t Sit Down”); Earl Slick (legendary David Bowie guitarist, also played on Lennon albums); Eddy Kelly (American Bandstand dancer); Eerie Von (Danzig, Samhain); Eli Brown (The Vagrants); The Fifth Estate ("Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead"); Gary Van Scyoc (Elephants Memory, John Lennon's Live in NYC 70’s band); Gene Cornish (R & R Hall of Fame: The Rascals); Gerrit Graham ("Beef" in "Phantom of the Paradise" - composed with Bob Weir/Grateful Dead); Glen Burtnik (Styx, ELO); Greg Hawkes (The Cars); Harriet Schock ("Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady"); Hilton Valentine (R & R Hall of Fame: The Animals); The Human Beinz ("Nobody But Me"); Ian Lloyd (The Stories "Brother Louie"); Ian Mitchell (Bay City Rollers); J. Morrison (Tuff Darts); Jane Weidlin (The Go-Gos); Jay & The Americans ("She Cried”); Jim Carrick (Spanky & Our Gang); John DeSalvo (Tuff Darts); John Ford (Strawbs); John Ford Coley (of England Dan & John Ford Coley: "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight”); John Idan (R & R Hall of Fame band: The Yardbirds); John Hawken (Renaissance, Spooky Tooth, Strawbs, Nashville Teens); Johnny Winter (legendary Rock Blues guitarist); Jonathan Tiersten (Jonathan Tiersten & the Ten Tiers); Karina Bradley (“Dance Floor Diva”); Kat Gilbert (West Coast songtress); Kasim Sulton (Utopia/Meatloaf); Kristen Capolino (Heavy-metal Teen guitar phenomenon); Lezlie Deane (Scary Cherry & The Bang Bangs); Linda Jansen (former original lead singer of The Angels: "Til," "Cry Baby Cry"); Little Anthony (R & R Hall of Fame: Little Anthony & The Imperials); Livingston Taylor ("I Will Be In Love With You"); Marty Balin (R & R Hall of Fame: Jefferson Airplane, and Starship); Mary Weiss (The Shangri-Las “Leader of the Pack”); Michael "Mac" McNenney (Thunder Road Band); Mike Konopka (Nazz); Nelson Slater ("Wild Angel" album, produced by Lou Reed); The 1910 Fruitgum Company ("Simon Says," "1 2 3 Red Light”); Pat Dinizio (The Smithereens); Pat Horgan (Thunder Road & Garage Band Series); Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter Band guitarist); Paul Petersen (Donna Reed Show - "My Dad"); Peg Pearl (Aura); Peppy Castro (Blues Magoos); Pete Bremy (Vanilla Fudge/Cactus); Pete Fornatale (Rock historian/veteran DJ helped define progressive FM rock radio); Peter DiStefano (Porno for Pyros); Peter Sabatino (The Vagrants); P.J. Soles (from The Ramones' "Rock & Roll High School"); Randy Jones (Village People); Ralph Scala (Blues Magoos); The Rip Chords ("Hey Little Cobra"); Rick Mullen (Commander Cody/Don McLean/Van Morrison/Savoy Brown); Robert Gordon ("It’s Only Make Believe" "My Gal is Red Hot"); Robey ("One Night in Bangkok" – starred in TV's "Friday the 13th: The Series"); Ron Dante of The Archies ("Sugar Sugar" and The Cuff Links “Tracy”); Scott Cummings (Michael Jackson’s bodyguard for 15 years); Shaun Weiss (Beatles attorney Nat Weiss' son - the only person to have attended both Ed Sullivan shows, the Shea Stadium concerts + the Beatles' final Apple rooftop concert); Sid Bernstein (World-famous promoter who brought The Beatles to America); Silvio Ennella (Thunder Road Band); The Smithereens; The Soul Survivors ("Expressway to Your Heart"); Spanky McFarlane (Spanky & Our Gang, The Mamas & The Papas); Stewkey (Nazz); Terry Sylvester (R & R Hall of Fame: The Hollies); Tom T-Bone Stankus (Dr. Demento/ "Existential Blues"); Tommy Bia (Thunder Road Band); Tommy Frenzy (Tuff Darts); Tommy James ("Mony Mony"); Victoria Levy (The Hoosier Mamas); Vince Martell (Vanilla Fudge); Walter Egan ("Magnet & Steel"); William Finley (Phantom in the rock musical "Phantom of the Paradise")
We hope to see you there.


And finally, a quick announcement ... this just in from Mr. C., who does The Flip Side Show over at Radio Free Nashville. The program airs tonight at 7 PM Central Time ... and you'll find a "Listen Live" link at the web address shown below. Thanks, Mr. C., for helping us to keep it all alive! (kk)

Hey there KK;
This past Tuesday night, the Flip Side was silenced for the first time, because of the flooding in Nashville. There was no damage to the radio station (thank goodness) but the power was out for several days, as Radio Free Nashville was stranded up on the hill.
Your newsletter today reminded me I haven't mentioned Forgotten Hits in a while ...

For the next couple of Tuesdays I plan to play some cuts from your "Top 200 B-sides" list.
So everyone is welcome to tune in to The Flip Side Radio Show on on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Central time.

I'll be playing actual 45s on real turntables, as usual (scratches and all).
As I say on the show every week: I'll see you on the Flip Side!
Mr. C.

Now THAT sounds like a show worth listening to!!! Thanks again, Mr. C!
By the way, you can find the COMPLETE "Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides" Countdown on the OTHER Forgotten Hits Web Page:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Your Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides

Monday, May 10, 2010

Helping Out Our Readers

We've Got A Special Edition of "Helping Out Our Readers" Today!!!

Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets and I were discussing teen idols today and the question came up as to just who coined the term?
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

Oooo ... I just LOVE the easy ones!!!
Believe What I Say when I tell you that "Life Magazine" first used the phrase to describe Ricky Nelson when they featured him as their cover story in the issue dated December 1, 1958 ... four years later, Ricky would score another Top Ten Hit when he recorded the tune "Teen Age Idol", which soared all the way to #5 on The Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The term "Teen Idol" has been used ever since, usually describing the latest flavor of the week in terms of pop music. (Rarely does this tag signify a long lasting career ... but there HAVE been exceptions.)

In 2009 AOL published THEIR ranking of The Top 50 Teen Idols of All-Time ... and the guy who many referred to as the OTHER "Little Ricky" came in at #5. Here is part of how they justified his ranking at the time:
LIFE magazine actually coined the phrase "Teen Idol" to describe Ricky Nelson and the frenzy surrounding his fame in music and on television starring in “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet”. Ricky Nelson would later go on to sing about his teen popularity landing a Top 5 hit on the Hot 100 in 1962 titled “Teenage Idol”. Ricky Nelson is the only artist to have a number one song "Poor Little Fool" - number one movie "Rio Bravo" and number one TV show "Ozzie & Harriet" all in same week.

You can check out the entire AOL Teen Idols list here:
America Online’s TOP 50 TEEN IDOLS.
(Let the debate begin!!!)

Forgotten Hits saluted The '70's Teen Idols several years ago (2005 to be exact!) and, in fact, Mrs. Rock And Roll Never Forgets not only inspired the series but was a hearty contributor as well! The '70's Artists that we profiled that week included David Cassidy (also AOL's #1 Pick), Donny Osmond, The Hudson Brothers, Bobby Sherman and John Travolta ... although several others also garnered your votes. (If I can find all the vitals in the archives, this might be a good series to revamp for the website so that others can discover it, too!)

Meanwhile, here's a list of Rick Nelson's Top Ten Billboard Hits:
1957 - A Teenager's Romance (#2)
1957 - I'm Walking (#4)
1957 - Be-Bop Baby (#3)
1958 - Stood Up (#2)
1958 - Believe What You Say (#4)
1958 - Poor Little Fool (#1 ... and the very first record to top the brand new Billboard Hot 100 Chart!)
1958 - Lonesome Town (#7)
1958 - I Got A Feeling (#10)
1959 - Never Be Anyone Else But You
1959 - It's Late (#9)
1959 - Just A Little Too Much (#9)
1959 - Sweeter Than You (#9)
1961 - Travelin' Man (#1)
1961 - Hello Mary Lou (#9)
1962 - Young World (#5)
1962 - Teen Age Idol (#5)
1963 - It's Up To You (#6)
1964 - For You (#6)
1972 - Garden Party (#6)
That's an incredible NINETEEN Top Ten Hits!!! In addition, he also hit The Billboard Top 40 another fifteen times.

As you can see, Ricky was hardly a blink of the eye / fly by night sensation ... his string of Top Ten Hits reached from 1957 all the way to 1972!

Always one of my favorites, Rick eventually lived down his Teen Idol image and was taken seriously as an artist when he helped to launch the country / rock movement of the late '60's and early '70's with his Stone Canyon Band, paving the way for other groups like The Eagles, Poco and others to reach a whole new audience. (By the way, Rick's twin sons Gunnar and Matthew had a #1 Record, too, when "Love And Affection" topped The Billboard Chart in 1990, five years after their father perished in a plane crash on New Year's Eve, 1985.) kk


Have you ever wondered what records might show up on a guy like Joel Whitburn's Want List? I mean, here's a guy who has collected a copy of EVERY record that has EVER hit ANY of The Billboard National Charts!!!

Now granted he's devoted an entire lifetime to his hobby / obsession ... but just imagine what a complete and comprehensive collection this truly is.

Still, I cannot help but wonder ... surely there must be at least a few things he's still looking for ... or, maybe like the rest of us, he simply wants to improve the quality of the copy he currently has in his collection.

This is one of the topics I'm hoping to discuss with Joel for a future Forgotten Hits piece. Meanwhile, I got THIS "Want List Request" the other day that I promised to circulate amongst ALL of our FH Readers ... ANYBODY out there able to help out with this one???

Hi Kent,
This note goes out to all of your readers in CLEVELAND.
I’ve always enjoyed collecting unusual novelty records, however, there is one that has eluded me for over 55 years. At the end of 1954 a record titled “Otto The Staggering Drunk” enjoyed a brief stay among the top selling records in Cleveland. I believe that the record was an import on the Polydor label and that the artist was “Crazy Otto”, “Happy Otto”, Der Schrage Otto” or simply “Otto”. I’m offering $150 to the first person that gets me this 45 rpm record. If anyone has a copy or may know of an old Top 40 station in the Cleveland area that may still have a copy, please send me a note at
Thanks to any reader in Cleveland who will finally end my 55 year search!
Joel Whitburn

Good Luck, fellow collectors!!!

Hi Kent,
Dick Biondi's Anniversary Show was GREAT!! I enjoyed all the singing stars and the fans and their stories. He also played a lot of good oldies you do not here anymore.
When in doubt ask the master: Do you remember the song "Mr Dieingly Sad" by the British group, The Critters??? It is one of my favorites from my favorite music period, The British Invasion, (along with our Chicago Group Invasion ...).
What ever happened to The Critters? Were they one hit wonders?

Where do I begin?

Well, for starters, The Critters were NOT a British band ... they actually hailed from Plainfield, New Jersey!

The original lineup included Don Ciccone on vocals and guitar, Jimmy Ryan on guitar, Chris Darway on organ, Kenny Gorka on bass and Jack Decker on drums.

"Mr. Dieingly Sad" was their biggest hit, reaching #14 on The Cash Box Chart in 1966. Everybody I know LOVES this song ... and, at #14, SHOULD be considered a major hit ... yet typically you only hear this one referred to as a "Forgotten 45" (and that's if you hear it featured at all!)

The Critters had a couple of other minor hits you might remember. Their first chart record was their version of The Lovin' Spoonful track "Younger Girl", which peaked at #21 in Cash Box (but failed to make The Top 40 in Billboard, stopping at #42.) That's probably because it competed for airplay with a very similar-sounding recording by The Hondells, released at exactly the same time. (The Hondells' version went to #38 in Cash Box and hit #52 on the Billboard Chart.) The tune first came into our consciousness as a track off The Lovin' Spoonful's debut album and it, too, deserves an oldies spin now and again.

After "Mr. Dieingly Sad", The Critters hit the charts a couple more times, first with "Bad Misunderstanding" (#55, 1966) and then they snuck into The National Top 40 one last time with "Don't Let The Rain Fall Down On Me" (#39, 1967).

Singer Don Ciccone later joined The Four Seasons and, although for years the story has been circulated that it was Don who was singing the lead on The Four Seasons' #1 Hit "December, 1963", it was actually drummer Gerri Polci who handled that honor.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Sunday Comments ( 05 - 09 - 10 )

And by that I mean LITERALLY just in ... I was all set to publish this week's edition of The Sunday Comments when I received an email from Ron Smith regarding Dave Fisher of The Highwaymen ... unfortunately, it's more sad news ...
Dave Fisher, founding member, musical director and lead singer of the Highwaymen, died Friday (May 7) at the age of 70.
While still a high school student in New Haven, Connecticut, Dave sang with a doo-wop group called the Academics that released three singles on Ancho Records (while he was with them). Moving on a year later to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, Dave started the Highwaymen with Bob Burnett, Steve Trott, Chan Daniels and Steve Butts. Originally calling themselves the Clansmen, they quickly changed their name due to its unsavory connotations. The new moniker came from the Alfred Noyes poem of that name.
After honing their act for two years on campus, the quintet travelled to New York, where they quickly picked up a manager, producer and recording contract.
Their first single on United Artists Records was the classic folk tune, “Michael (Row The Boat Ashore).” Released during the height of the “folk boom,” it’s not surprising that it sailed to #1 for two weeks in the Summer of 1961. It was followed early the next year by the double-sided hit, “Cotton Fields” (#13) and “The Gypsy Rover”(#42).
The group steadfastly refused to leave school, performing only on weekends, which slowed their success. “I’m On My Way” only reached #90 in 1962 and “The Bird Man” finished their chart run at #64 that year.
While most of the others went on to law or business schools when the group disbanded in 1964 (Steve Trott served at one time as Assistant U.S. Attorney General and became a federal judge), Dave stuck with music, recording solo records for Columbia and MGM Records before eventually working with former Four Preps singer Glen Larson on the music for his television productions (including the 1987 production, “The Highwayman”).
A lawsuit filed by the original Highwaymen against the later JohnnyCash - Willie Nelson - Waylon Jennings - Kris Kristofferson incarnation was settled amicable when Dave’s group opened a concert for the others and then granted them limited use of the name.
-- Ron Smith

Hey Kent ...
Our show with Peter Noone was a blast ... sold out!
Peter was in great form, as always.
Here are a couple of photos taken of us from the Balcony during our portion of the show.
We're gearing up for some cool Summer shows now.
More later ...
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

... and, for more Summertime Fun Fun Fun ... check out this report from Bob Greene, one of our FH favorite authors (sent in by Ron Smith) ...

(CNN) -- The dirty and tattered piece of paper, with remnants of thick black industrial-strength tape still stuck to its edges, would not necessarily seem to be a harbinger of summer. But those capitalized words running down the page ...
I pulled the piece of paper from the surface of the stage right after the show had ended. There was a copy of it next to the base of each microphone stand, so the musicians could look down to see what they were supposed to play and sing next. The capitalized words were shorthand for each song:
"Catch a Wave." "Surfin' Safari." "California Girls." "Be True to Your School." "I Get Around."
Summer's coming, all right.
I had caught up with the Beach Boys in Fort Myers, Florida, on a Friday night this spring. They were scheduled to play at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall. It will soon be half a century that they have been singing and touring. Fifty years since they really were little more than boys, writing and singing the songs of summer for the first time.
-- Bob Greene
After touring as part of the Jan and Dean band for close to fifteen years, Bob Greene knows a thing or two about summer concert fun. (His book "When We Get To Surf City" became a Forgotten Hits favorite last year as more and more of our readers picked up a copy.) Bob's best books have always had some pretty popular music ties ... he's a REAL fan (and a Forgotten Hits Reader!!!) You can catch a wave ... and the whole Beach Boys article here:

Hi Kent,
Wow, what a small world. Last September my wife and I were invited to a party at an old friend's house in Park Ridge. I noticed that the list of invitees had two people with the same first names as my wife and I.
At some point that evening I went up to Mark Eskin and told him that I was the other Mark with the same wife's first name and we shared a laugh or two and started talking like two old friends. I had no clue he was involved in the local music scene.
What a nice guy and it's so sad to hear of his passing. It's kind of interesting that when I saw the post on your page and looked at his picture I said to myself, I know him and for some reason I said I think he was at the Dean Torrance concert last summer. Then, as I read further, it all came to me. Way too soon to have your life come to an end.
Mark (GoHawksGo)
And knowing the way Mark liked to check out the local music scene, it's quite possible you DID see him at the Dean Torrence concert last summer!!! (I remember Jimy Sohns of The Shadows Of Knight being there!) There was quite a turn-out on Sunday to say goodbye ... as they say, Mark would have been proud to know he touched so many lives. For many of us, music is the common thread that makes Forgotten Hits so special ... but along the way we've also been able to meet and get to know some very special people. Music is the bond that links us ... and Mark truly loved music. (kk)

So sad to hear about Mark Eskin passing away. I always enjoyed seeing him and talking to him. Mark sure loved music! I would see him at area festivals enjoying other groups. He will be missed!
I hope NC6 SURVIVES! It seems every year they pay fewer gigs. What a shame for a great local group that had the most top 40 hits in Chicago, more than any other local group.
It is too bad Dick Biondi 50 years special was on Sunday night. The city should have something at the Taste with all the great '60s groups that got their start in Chicago honoring Dick or someone should have a concert honoring Dick with all the proceeds going to Dick's favorite charity.
Mike DeMartino
President of the Lovejoy Music Club where Vinyl lives!

Although all of the New Colony guys were there on Sunday, it didn't seem like the appropriate time or place to talk about future plans. I'm sure once they've had a chance to assess all that's happened, we'll hear something from the band that we'll then post on the web page. Thanks, Mike. (kk)

Incredibly, I received these two emails just a day apart!!!

I plan to post one more radio interview show on my Ronnie Radio Page and then retire.

It will be show #90, including the 88 "Ronnie Remembers" shows and the two vintage shows.

My decision is not based on any health issues and is primarily based on my desire to take time off from them and devote it to other things.

I thank you so much for your recent very generous "Ronnie Allen" installment of Forgotten Hits. My decision will, of course, allow newcomers to sample the existing interviews without being inundated with new ones.

Is my retirement carved in stone and "for good"?


Keep in mind that Frank Sinatra retired. And Brett Favre retired.

So yes, please feel free to read between the lines.

For now I plan to enjoy my time off.

For later I may still be enjoying my time off but then ... ????

I'd like to say thank you to all Forgotten Hits members who have commented on my interview shows over the past two and half years. Some of you have complained that you have not had the time to catch up on all of them! Well, I will be giving you that opportunity by not adding more of them.

My Radio Page is at:
Ronnie Allen
Hope you enjoy your time off, Ronnie ... I'm sure you'll be back!!! (I've been talking about "cutting back" for at least five or six years now ... this is the FIRST year I've actually been able to do so ... but I just love this music too much to give it up completely!)
If you think that there are any of these artists who might enjoy participating with Forgotten Hits from time to time, please pass along our info ... it's a GREAT way for them to stay in touch with their fans and let them know about upcoming appearances and releases ... I'd love to add a couple hundred more artists to the list ... these are stories that NO ONE else can tell! Glad to run a "final plug" for you ... you're right ... this will give fans a chance to catch up on SO many great interviews they may have missed. Meanwhile, take care ... take it easy ... and stay in touch! (kk)

Hi Kent ...
Just a quick note to let you know that I'm still in the game!
We’re just about into the American Patriotic Season.


Memorial Day (May) / Flag Day (June) / Independence Day (July)

I’m attaching an Mp3 of my song, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA”. All plays are much appreciated! The song’s accompanying You Tube video can be found at:

... and help ...

My You Tube video, “Santa’s Stuck Up In The Chimney”, ended last year’s Christmas season with over 140,000 views. If you know anyone who might be putting together a Christmas CD or DVD compilation, please let him/her know that the “Santa” video can be viewed at and that I can be reached at:

Thank you all – and have a great summer!
Paul Evans

Hi Kent.

The first recording of "The First Time" I ever heard was done by Marianne Faithful.
I found it on the album "Marianne Faithfull, Faithfull Forever," London PS 482 (stereo). Side one, band 3. I never heard any that beat it. When I hear Marianne sing "The first time ever I lay with you ... " I wish --- oh, I wish.

Chris Astle
WGH-FM-AM 1964-83

Thanks, Chris ... but honestly, I STILL can't stand this song!!! (lol) kk

Kent --

I've recently reviewed a couple of bios -- one on Stevie Wonder and the other the forthcoming book on Matt Monro. I thought I'd send you copies to run in Forgotten Hits. (In oldies circles, Matt may not be everyone's cup of tea ... but back home in England, he had eleven Top 40 Hits.) Hope you enjoy these.
-- Ron Smith
It was hard not to get excited when I saw that the first real biography of Stevie Wonder was being released (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Soulful Journey Of Stevie Wonder” by Mark Ribowsky; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; ISBN: 0470481501). Ribowsky is no rookie; having released bios on— among others— Phil Spector, Satchel Paige and the Supremes. His effort this time is a mixed bag.
The first test of any book about oldies is to catch the easy errors. If the writing and editing is that poor, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the book. So it was with some trepidation that I read Ribowsky write that Motown’s Berry Gordy co-wrote songs for “Detroit homeboy Jackie Wilson after the flashy singer quit the Drifters to go solo.”
Of course he meant the Dominoes. But anyone who confuses Jackie Wilson with Clyde McPhatter — who sang with both groups — is probably not the best choice to write a Motown artist’s biography. The blurb on the back of the book says “Ribowsky
spends time on details other writers have taken for granted.” Those “other writers” however, probably never confused the release date of Stevie’s “Fingertips” with the day it was recorded (live in Chicago). And those “other writers” are probably aware that the Angels — not Lesley Gore — sang “My Boyfriend’s Back.”
Its dust jacket tries to sell the book with sensationalism, pointing to Stevie’s “long struggle with sexual addiction and suicidal depression.” But the actual book never really supports these assertions. In fact, Stevie is quoted as saying he’s “[n]ever gonna take my life.”
Like his book on the Supremes, which ends with Diana Ross’ departure, Ribowsky relegates Stevie’s life from 1984 on (26 years!) to the epilogue.
Heavy on detailing each of Stevie’s early albums with the major cuts on each, the book still manages to fill in the details of his life, many of which have gone buried over the years. But even more details — like where his mother came up with the last name of Morris for the pre-teen singer when her surname was Hardway and his father’s was Judkins — remain buried. With Stevie turning 60 and reluctant to open up about his life himself, a more definitive bio may never be written. Which is all the more frustrating.
-- Ron Smith
That's too bad about the Stevie Wonder book ... after I first saw it posted on your website (, by the way for the three or four oldies music fans left on the planet who may not have visited it yet!), I was really looking forward to reading it ... now, not so much. As you and I have discussed many times in the past, it is REALLY disheartening to find what I would consider to be such OBVIOUS errors on information that is pretty well known ... it makes me all that much more skeptical and suspicious that when I get into an area that I know absolutely NOTHING about, I cannot help but wonder how accurate and true THESE facts might be. (I mean, if he got the SIMPLEST facts wrong, what are the odds that any of this "rarer" stuff is even remotely accurate???) Unfortunately, it typically only get worse from here ... most likely the next author who takes on Stevie's bio will use some of the misinformation in this book as one of his sources!!! (kk)

In these days of competition over who will be the artist to sing the theme song from the newest James Bond film, here’s a trivia question for you: Who was the first artist to do so? (Hint: There was no song from “Dr. No” other than the iconic “James Bond Theme” used in all the films. And the first Bond title song never charted in the U.S., though it made the top 20 in Britain.)
The answer is “From Russia With Love” by Matt Monro, who’s known in the U.S. for a couple of soft top 40 hits — “My Kind Of Girl” (#18-1961) and “Walk Away” (#23-1965). Matt fared much better in his native England, where he rang up eleven top 40 hits, five of which made the top ten.
So why are we now blessed with an exhaustive 600+ page book on the life of a singer who died back in 1985 (“The Singer’s Singer: The Life And Music Of Matt Monro” by Michele Monro; Titan Books; ISBN: 9781848566187)?
The answer is, because the Matt Monro story has never really been told until now. In doing research for my countdown radio show years ago, I was able to dig up little about his background. I knew he had been a bus driver whose big break came when George Martin needed a Frank Sinatra stylist for a Peter Sellers project he was working on. But beyond that surface, there was little else.
(That comparison as the “British Sinatra,” by the way, would haunt Matt for much of his career. Who needs a British Sinatra when the American one was alive and well and recording, too? However, it was the Chairman of the Board himself who said after Matt’s death, “His pitch was right on the nose; his word enunciation letter perfect; his understanding of a song thorough. He will be missed very much, not only by myself, but by his fans all over the world.”)
“The Singer’s Singer” is written by Michele Monro, Matt’s daughter, who studiously avoids putting herself into the story. As she says in the introduction, “It is not about my life with my father.” As administrator of his estate, she had access to interviews and photos that other authors would have found blocked to them. And yet, there seems to be no attempt to lionize her father or whitewash any faults (in describing Matt’s joining the post-war British army at age seventeen, for example, she quotes him as saying, “I had somebody’s husband after me.”) Perhaps, twenty-five years after his death, there’s no need to tell anything but the truth.
From his days as a child escaping the bombing of London in World War II to his first performances at the age of fourteen, entertaining while in the army in Hong Kong, struggling as a big band singer while holding down “real” jobs as a milkman and bus driver, BBC broadcasts with Cyril Stapleton’s Orchestra, demo-ing other’s songs while his own floundered, the Peter Sellers project and subsequent success with George Martin in the studio through the d√©nouement of a long career and health problems, including the liver cancer that eventually took his life, Matt’s story — as told by Michele — is detailed enough to serve as his legacy but not so much as to ever get boring.
It’s easy to dismiss Matt Monro (especially in the U.S.) as just another anachronistic easy listening singer in an age of rock ‘n’ roll. But he was far more than that. And his story deserves to be told in this manner. Michele admits the book was written for her son, who never knew his grandfather. But we’re fortunate to gain the same insights into the singer that Max will.
--- Ron Smith
I remember liking Matt's late-1964 Hit "Walk Away" ... it was a fairly popular record here in Chicago, where it peaked at #17. "My Kind Of Girl" was the bigger national hit ... that one went all the way to #18 on The Billboard Chart. But you're right ... MOST of us will dismiss Matt as just another one of those middle-of-the-road singers ... until you actually hear him sing. (I always liked Jack Jones, too ... and think his 1965 version of "The Race Is On" belongs on oldies radio ... and, since THEY won't play it, WE WILL!!!) By the way, did any of you see him on the TV Land Awards the other night? Absolutely AMAZING!!! He sang a revamped version of "The Love Boat" but man, he hit some INCREDIBLE notes there at the end!!! (Not bad for a man of 72 ... and he looked real good, too!!!) kk

hello kent,
i just would like to thank you for having such a beautiful website that we can place our memories on. i also wish to thank you for your thoughtfulness and consideration.
god bless you, kent ...
darlene bobczyk
Thanks for the kind words. Forgotten Hits has ALWAYS been about sharing the memories ... it's all you readers out there that make this happen. (I'm just the guy who tries to glue it all together!!! lol) Thanks again. (kk)

Got a great "Helping Out Our Readers" segment planned for tomorrow ... please check back.

Meanwhile, if you've got a comment, memory or question you'd like to share, drop me an email at ... and then check the website often to see if your comments appear!