Friday, October 15, 2010

More Of The Monkees ... She Hangs Out (And Other Cool Stuff!)

Got some really cool stuff when we mentioned THE MONKEES the other day ...

Hi Kent,
You struck a chord with your comments about the original 45 version of "She Hangs Out" by the Monkees. I LOVED that song and version when it was first released in February, 1967 and then quickly withdrawn. I thought there had to be a 45 out there that did not get taken back. As it turned out, I was able to get the Canadian 45 a decade later! I heard the 45 on WKYC's Big Jack Armstrong radio show and taped it! Attached is how it sounded that night in 1967 from Dodge City, Kansas, on 1100 AM from Cleveland.

Also attached are scans of the very rare Canadian RCA 1003 45. It was withdrawn and reissued as RCA and Colgems 1004 with "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" as the new B side to "A Little Bit Me". Also attached are scans of both sides of the record sleeve issued for the pre-release 1003 45. Funny how it states "It's Number 3 for the Monkees!" meaning the third hit, yet it would fall to #4 in the release numbers!! Also, the CHUM chart for 3/6/67. This is the week RCA 1003 reaches #8 in Canada, but was withdrawn and the following week, no B side is listed! Contrary to the CHUM chart book, CHUM did not list "She Hangs Out" after this week. Also attached is the front cover of the CHUM 4/3/67 chart. The Monkees had just appeared the day before in Toronto and there are photos of the group. Even tho early in their live appearance career, the Monkees appear to be playing and singing. Not sure what instrument Davy is playing. Maybe it is the notes heard after the singing of "She Hangs Out" from their single? I gotta guess they played the song in Canada at that concert, since it was released? The LP version would come out 3 months later, but the 45 version would remain rare and available only on the 45 scanned here until Rhino put it on a CD in the 80's!! Love it!
Clark Besch

As a record collector, I've gone through a few copies of the rare Canadian single (on the red RCA label, catalog number 1003). I don't remember EVER hearing this played on the radio when the original version first came out in Canada, which is really rare because WCFL played virtually EVERYTHING by The Monkees in hit rotation, including many of the album cuts!
In fact, they aired the original TV version of "Valleri" for a LONG time, taped off the "Captain Crocodile" episode ... it regularly came in as the most-requested song on their evening "favorites" countdown ... I was blown away when it wasn't released as their next single. Even more so when it came out a year LATER ... by then everybody had already forgotten about the song! (For more on the strange history of "Valleri" be sure to check out our Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart article on the other Forgotten Hits Website ... this particular chapter ... Chapter 6 ... is one of the most widely-circulated pieces we've ever done!
And, for even more fun, read our exclusive interview with Bobby Hart, also on this site, where I asked him about Tommy's claims pertaining to "Valleri"!)

Of course back then any number of Monkees' LP tracks could have easily been Top 40 Hits ... "She" (off their "More Of The Monkees" album) also came in at #1 for WEEKS in the daily "favorite songs" countdowns ... tracks like "I Wanna Be Free", "Mary Mary", "Theme from 'The Monkees'", "Forget That Girl", "Shades Of Gray", "No Time", "Randy Scouse Git", 'She Hangs Out", "Cuddly Toy" and "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round" all played like singles back in the day ... as did (to a lesser extent) "For Pete's Sake", "Early Morning Blues And Greens", "Your Auntie Grizelda", "Saturday's Child" and "Gonna Buy Me A Dog".

Having not seen the CHUM Charts that featured "She Hangs Out", I just assumed it charted as a tag-along B-Side. (The CHUM Book I have shows it only charting for two weeks and peaking at #8 ... again, I'm guessing as the B-Side to "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", which later peaked at #1 and rode the Canadian Charts for 13 weeks. As quickly as it was pulled from the market, I can't say that this surprises me at all.)
Wow ... what a GREAT chart!!! "She Hangs Out" IS shown as the B-Side of "A Little Bit Me" ... and this must be the week it peaked at #8. A couple more Two-Sided Hits top the charts ... "Penny Lane" / "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles and "There's A Kind Of Hush" / "No Milk Today" are #1 and #2 respectively. You'll also find Forgotten Hits Favorites like The Turtles at #3, Chicago's Buckinghams at #17 (on the CANADIAN chart!!!), The Electric Prunes at #29, Neil Diamond coming down the chart with his latest "You Got To Me" (at #48) and other local Chicagoland hits like "Grizzly Bear" by The Youngbloods and "Morningtown Ride" by The Seekers locked in The Top 30. And look at their #5 "Hot New Hits" ... it's "Yellow Balloon" by Yellow Balloon!

DIDJAKNOW?: According to Andrew Sandoval's liner notes to Rhino's "Missing Links, Volume 3" CD, the first issue of the Jeff Barry-produced "She Hangs Out" (the Canadian B-Side in question) came out on a Don Kirshner released single pressed with the heading "My Favorite Monkee" / "Davy Jones Sings", implying that Kirshner may have already been laying the groundwork for Jones to leave The Monkees and pursue a solo career. (As the typecast teen heart-throb of the band, he was EXACTLY what the teenie-boppers too young for The Beatles were looking for ... but Micky Dolenz could out-sing him under the table!) A "Davy Jones Presents" record label followed (with maybe a couple of non-Monkees-related releases) and then disappeared. According to Sandoval, cases of Jones' "My Favorite Monkee Sings" 45's were later found unsold, stashed in the basement of the Kirshner residence! (lol)
The release of "She Hangs Out" in Canada proved to be Kirshner's downfall, however, as he was the ousted from the band and relieved of his "Music Supervisor" title.
Personally, I always preferred the commercially released version authorized by the band. The original "R & B - tinged" take just didn't SOUND like The Monkees ... but it sure does make for an interesting collectible (and another one of those "what might have been" moments.)

Since we seem to be on a major Neil Diamond roll here, let's not forget THIS Neil / Davy Jones classic, ALSO from their second album ... "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" (kk)

Meanwhile, this just came in from Wild Bill Cody ...
Michael Nesmith, as you know, was the lead guitar player for the Monkees and wore that stupid hat ... but he was also an incredible talent, innovator and one of the best businessman EVER!
At any rate, one of the songs I dearly love that he did was a song called "Joanne",
At the time, he was long gone from the Monkees and on his own ...
please check this out and enjoy it.
Included in the band is my old bud John Jorgenson (Desert Rose Band) and on pedal steel Red Rhodes.
Wild Bill

"Joanne" by Michael Nesmith (and The First National Band) was the closest any of The Pre-Fab Four came to a Monkees solo hit. Much like the surprise of George Harrison's out-of-the-box smashes "My Sweet Lord" and "All Things Must Pass", everybody figured that it'd be frontmen Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz who'd enjoy solo chart success ... but Dolenz never hit the pop charts with any of his solo releases (save the low-charting "Don't Do It" in 1967, which was actually recorded BEFORE he joined The Monkees).

Davy Jones also had a minor pre-Monkees hit with a tune called "What Are We Going To Do?" (#93, 1965) ... and came close with the Neil Sedaka-penned tune "Rainy Jane", which peaked at #32 in Cash Box in 1971 (and was a #7 Hit here in Chicago.) For some crazy reason, they never released "Girl" as a single. (That's the song that he sang on that famous episode of The Brady Bunch ... it's since gone on to become a cult / shing-a-ling classic!) It could have been a decent-sized hit if released in a timely fashion.

But Nesmith went all the way to #17 in Cash Box Magazine with his countrified hit "Joanne" back in 1970. (Here it is at its original tempo ... a lot less likely to put you asleep than the above "live" version from youTube!)

While everyone expected Mike to be the first to leave The Monkees (especially after he failed to appear on a few episodes during the second season), it was actually bandmate Peter Tork who flew the coup first. (Tork never had a solo hit either ... and barely sang when he was WITH the band!)

After their television series was cancelled, Nesmith stuck around for a couple more albums (both of which featured more and more country-sounding music ... in fact, The Monkees even appeared on The Johnny Cash Show as a trio singing a couple of country tunes!)
After he finally threw in the towel (or would that be the wool hat), Micky and Davy regrouped for one more album called "Changes", produced by Jeff Barry. (The running gag in the industry at the time was that these guys were going to milk this whole Monkees thing for everything it was worth ... first a quartet ... then a trio ... now a duo ... there was speculation that one of them would eventually release an album billed simply as "The Monkee"!!!)
Thankfully, it never happened ... and numerous reunions have filled the past 45 years since the TV Show first aired. (In fact, with the 45th anniversary right around the corner, one cannot help but wonder just what might be in store for Monkees fans in 2011!)
A newly released deluxe CD version of their "Head" soundtrack hits the streets next and their catalog has been repeated updated and upgraded since Rhino took over in the '80's. So don't write these guys off just yet ... they always seem to have at least one more surprise up their sleeves! (kk)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marching On With The Ides - More Cool Comments, Info and Collectibles!

So, I've just GOT to tell you ... I took a little drive down Ides Of March Way the other day ... and it was SO cool to see all the street signs now up and in place ... truly nothing short of incredible to see the City Of Berwyn honor their Local Heroes and "Favorite Sons".

And apparently The Ides Of March have still been on some of YOUR minds, too! Thanks to FH List Member Clark Besch, we've got some very rare and interesting tidbits to share with you today!

Hearing about the Ides of March and "Vehicle" and how Art Roberts incorporated the "answers" in the song was a great story. I met Art and emailed with him a few times before his death and it was great to "speak" to one of my Big 89 heroes and find he was just as nice in real life as on radio!

The story about wondering if the original version without the "answers" in it exists intrigued me. I dug out the live 1970 version of "Vehicle" that Jeff Lind recorded and played it and found it did not have the "answer" parts as far as I can tell other than maybe the first one which Jim Peterik did not mention. Maybe this recording was made before "Vehicle" was released and before Art suggested it to Jim? Maybe this is why a few lyrics that ended up in "Superman" existed in this live version?

BTW, "Vehicle" was not the first single from the album that was released on top of its' success. The first WB single was the great "One Woman Man", so "Vehicle" could have been a work in progress at the time? Pretty interesting.
I've included the Ides' Pepsi commercial from the time, complete with Art's idea to add "answers"!!!

Clark Besch

"Vehicle" was one of the four songs The Ides presented to Warner Brothers Records on their demo tape ... and it's what got them signed to the label. From the sounds of things, after the success of "Vehicle", Warner Brothers wanted a copy cat / sound-alike tune so, rather than pull another track from the album,

they had the band record "Superman", a "Vehicle" clone (and always an inferior track to my ears, probably because it sounded SO "forced" to be made to sound like their previous smash. In fact, I think "Superjock" Larry Lujack even said something at the time to the effect of "Isn't that just the same record with a few new words?!?!?")

For the record, The Ides wanted "Aire Of Good Feeling" released as their follow-up single, a GREAT track that probably would have been a pretty big hit, released hot on the heels of "Vehicle"'s reign at the top of the charts ... and may have permanently eliminated the band from "One Hit Wonder" status. (In hindsight, it stands to reason that, following on the heels of this second success, "L.A. Goodbye" would have then ALSO become the national hit it deserved to be!)

Now ... how's THIS for a Forgotten Hits tie-in?!?!?

Reportedly The Ides won their Warner Brothers audition when local promoters Frank Rand and Bob Destocki caught the band opening for Neil Diamond!
(We've certainly given Neil a fair amount of FH coverage lately ... and these guys, too, for that matter!!!)

Destocki was also a regional promotion man for Warner Brothers and it was through his connection that The Ides were given the opportunity to record their four song demo that ultimately got them signed to the label!

Jim Peterik told Bill DeYoung "We put 'Vehicle' last on the demo. We didn't really value that song. The first three songs we thought were the ones. We sent them to the label and they went, 'Are you kidding me? The fourth song is a smash!'"
With that thought in mind, it's hard to believe that Warner Brothers would have opted to release "One Woman Man" as the band's lead-off single. (The other three tracks on that original demo tape were "Lead Me Home, Gently", "The Sky Is Falling" and "Something Comin' On". "Lead Me Home, Gently" ended up the B-Side of "Vehicle" when it was released as a single and "The Sky Is Falling" became the flip of their non-charting single "Melody". "Something Comin' On" didn't even make the final LP!)

Cool to hear The Ides' Pepsi commercial again ... and the early "live" version of "Vehicle". Thanks for sending, Clark! (kk)

Clark ALSO sent me an ultra rare Public Service Announcement that The Ides Of March recorded for Budweiser and the "Designated Driver" Program that was so popular in the '70's. I can't help but wonder when's the last time that even The IDES themselves heard THIS one!!! (lol)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hall Of Fame(s)

>>>IMHO, the most overlooked group that doesn't even make the overlooked list is Jan & Dean. They had solid (and #1) hits in several eras and styles. Baby Talk. Surf City. Their comedic approach (T.A.M.I. and the Batman comedy album). (Phil) >>>Actually, there have been quite a few votes cast for Jan and Dean amongst our readers ... and personally, for all that's been written over the years regarding Jan Berry's "musical genius", I'm a little surprised that they HAVEN'T been inducted yet. Maybe it's the novelty songs that have made their rightful place there seem a little bit doubtful??? I, for one, absolutely agree that there should be a spot for these guys in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (kk)
Wow, that's nice to read!!! What song is it of theirs where the ending is prolonged and the drummer goes chaotic?! "Surf City"?
"Linda" is a favorite, too, nice HQ sound.Some like rare stereo, some like unedited versions, some like alternate versions, some like studio talk, some like hearing count-downs. Me? I like all the above, including HQ sound!

Hi, Kent,
Sorry, have been away from the FH activities for a week or two. Missed the announcement of the Rock Hall nominations. For my two cents worth, I'm good to go with Dr. John, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Darlene Love and Donna Summer.
But those nominating folks are so far behind with the 'legends' to even think about the LL Cool J's, Beastie Boys, Bon Jovi's, and a few others. Just by putting them in nomination they're adding insult to injury.
Nashville songwriting legend Harlan Howard was right on the money:
"You don't induct the students before you induct the teachers."
I mean, come on ... Laura Nyro over Brian Wilson? Joe Tex over Johnny Rivers? Chic over The Crickets, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Chicago, Jan & Dean? Make Tom 'wait(s).' How about Quincy Jones!
And then you go to the Rock Hall site and they have enough gall to ask for 'donations?' You mean they want us to perpetuate this farce? Give me a break!
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
"Music City, USA"

Hi Kent,
Congratulations on the newsletter you post. I may not read every minute of it but I always start the day with a quick glance and try to keep up with all that is going on in the world of Oldies. In particular all the writings about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is a passion of mine. As a child of the 50's and 60's, its always a kick to see some of the old timers being honored and here is hoping that they finally recognize Neil Diamond this year.
I also would like to let you and your readers know about some special programming that I and my good friend Justin Cippolini are involved with.
Justin and I are on the air every Thursday night counting down our favorite 100 songs from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Because Justin is 21 and I will be 64 shortly, we give the listeners a unique perspective on some of those great tunes from way back. This past Thursday, we announced our selections 56 through 44 as the countdown continues. To say we are the Siskel and Ebert of Oldies would be a stretch, but you get the idea. We keep it informative, light and breezy and we think your readers would enjoy what we are doing.
Justin and I also do our own shows weekly with mine being on Sundays from 8 PM to midnight EST and Justin's being on Monday evening from 9 PM EST to 12 midnight. We also open a corresponding chat-room for listeners to add their comments and be part of the shows. The links are listed as follows.
To join in the chat:
and to listen in:
Happy to pass this info along. (And JUST in time to let people know about tomorrow night's show ... sounds like there are still PLENTY of great songs coming up in the countdown ... so check it out!) kk

Tom Waits is merely a cult artist?
Laura Nyro is merely a writer? (She was a dynamic performer.)
Dr. John's nomination is strictly a result of his affiliation with Ahmet Ertegun?
Disco is rock and roll?
Donna Summers and Chic pop artists, as in popular music, but it ain't rock and roll.
But yes, it is the Jann Wiener Hall of Fame. (spelling intentional)
John in Chicagoland

Hi Kent,

I saw this article via an newsletter and thought I'd pass it on to you.
I'm sure many of these artists have been mentioned on the forgotten hits list before, but it may bring forth a few that haven't.It's a list of folks that could be but haven't ever been nominated for induction.

You're saying, "another list?"
Yes, many of these artists have come up again and again and again as being Deserving And Denied ... but it IS interesting to see how long some of these artists have been eligible and how many times they've been overlooked ... yet every year The Hall seems hell-bent in inducting as many "newbies" to the list as possible. (Kinda like what Fred Vail / Harlan Howard said above ... "You don't induct the students before you induct the teachers"!)
Another site we've mentioned several times is:
Click here: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of the Future - News, Analysis, Voting & More - Future Rock Legends
Browse around long enough and you'll begin to assemble a play-by-play for each and every year of this farce ... not that they don't get it right MOST of the time ... but every time they pick a "head-scratcher", they over look two dozen TRULY deserving artists in the process. And, contrary to what's been going on quite often lately, I think I'd institute some sort of ban that states: "Before you double and triple induct the SAME artists, make things right with all the OTHER deserving acts that you overlooked and ignored for SO long!!!" (kk)

Hi Kent!

Thought you and your readers might enjoy this article:
Facebook (42) Songwriter's Hall of Fame

Exhibit Opening to Be Marked with Special Events:
10/19 – Ribbon-Cutting and Songwriter Legends-in-the-Round
10/20 - An Evening with Jimmy Webb
10/21 - Master Class with Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
Los Angeles, October 4, 2010 - Songwriters Hall of Fame Chairman & CEO Hal David, The Recording Academy® President / CEO Neil Portnow and Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum® Bob Santelli announced jointly today that a new Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery will debut at The GRAMMY Museum (800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles) this October. The launch of the new SHOF Gallery will be marked by a series of special events highlighting the contributions of songwriters to our nation’s culture and the relationship between the worlds of songwriting and recording. The SHOF Gallery will feature video highlights from annual SHOF Awards & Induction Dinners, as well as information on all SHOF inductees and honorees. There will also be interactive songwriting collaboration kiosks which will permit Gallery visitors to try their luck at writing songs.
The opening activities will commence with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, October 19 at 6:15 pm, hosted by Hal David, Bob Santelli and Neil Portnow, and attended by songwriting and recording dignitaries. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by a Songwriting Legends-in-the-Round performance at the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater from 7 to 8:45 pm, featuring a stellar gathering of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees performing their hits: Hal David (“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love”), Lamont Dozier (“I Can’t Help Myself,” “Baby Love”), Mac Davis (“In the Ghetto,” “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me”), Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”), and Paul Williams (“We’ve Only Just Begun,” “The Rainbow Connection”).
On Wednesday, October 20 from 8 to 9:30 pm, Jimmy Webb will be up close and personal at the Clive Davis Theater in a one-on-one interview conducted by journalist Paul Grein. Webb, also a Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, and the writer of many hits, including “MacArthur Park,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Up, Up and Away,” will punctuate the interview with selections from his catalogue.
The GRAMMY Museum’s Clive Davis Theater will also host the final special event of the SHOF launch week on Thursday, October 21 from 8 to 9:30 pm – a Master Class with one of the great songwriting duos in Pop music history, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, also Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees. Together, the long-married couple have written such hits as “You’ve Lost That Lovin' Feelin', "On Broadway," "Soul And Inspiration" and "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," among dozens more.
Commenting on the SHOF Gallery at The Grammy Museum, Hal David said: “This is the start of the realization of our longtime dream of a bricks and mortar presence for our Hall of Fame. We are most grateful to our friends at The Recording Academy and The GRAMMY Museum for this opportunity to give physical expression to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, one of the country’s premier music cities and home to so many SHOF inductees. I know that visitors will find the Gallery to be both enjoyable and educational. Special events like those celebrating our launch are designed to bring the men and women behind the songs before the song-loving public, and we look forward to more in the months and years ahead.
"The Songwriters Hall of Fame has long paid tribute to those creators who have written some of the most iconic and prolific songs of all time and who are one of the foundations of the music industry," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "We are proud to help them realize their dream of a physical presence to recognize these music makers by housing the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery in our GRAMMY Museum, and highlighting the contributions of songwriters to our nation's culture."
"As an institution that explores all genres of music as well as the creative and recording process, The GRAMMY Museum is a natural home for the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery," said Robert Santelli, Executive Director of The GRAMMY Museum. "We are privileged to showcase the many songwriters that the Songwriters Hall of Fame honors and celebrates who have written the soundtrack of our lives and of history, and this is a perfect addition to our existing exhibit that spotlights songwriters and their writing process."
About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Over the course of the past 40 years, some key Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have included Desmond Child, Loretta Lynn, John Sebastian, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Dolly Parton, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.
-- submitted by Bob Merlis

Bob had since sent me a couple of other articles related to this ceremony ...

Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery to open in the Grammy Museum in L.A.
-- Jim Bessman
The Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF), which was established in 1969 to honor the creators of the most beloved songs from the world’s popular music songbook, has taken a major step in achieving its goal of having a physical entity in which to do so. A new Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery will debut later this month at The Grammy Museum in the L.A. Live complex in Downtown Los Angeles. The grand opening will involve a series of special events highlighting the cultural contributions of songwriters and the relationship between the areas of songwriting and recording.
The SHOF Gallery will feature video highlights from annual SHOF awards and induction ceremonies, as well as information on all SHOF inductees and honorees. Additionally, interactive songwriting collaboration kiosks will allow Gallery visitors to try their hand at songwriting with Hall of Famers like
Hal David and Desmond Child -- the first two collaborators scheduled participate. Hal David, of Burt Bacharach & Hal David songwriting team fame, is SHOF chairman and CEO.
"This is the start of the realization of our longtime dream of a bricks and mortar presence for our Hall of Fame," he says. "I'm thrilled with the location, because the Grammy Museum represents the recording end of the creation of music, and we're the writing end. So it puts us both together--as it should be. But it's only the beginning--the dream has just begun to pay off!"
Up until now the SHOF has had a Virtual Museum at its web page; it displays inductee exhibits and other sections highlighting the induction ceremonies and "Songwriters Friends," i.e., singers.
"Now we'll have many exhibits, and a lot of history on film that I think is really sensational," continues David, who will host the Oct. 19 ribbon-cutting ceremony with Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow and Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli. The event will be attended by songwriting and recording dignitaries, and will also feature a Songwriting Legends-in-the-Round performance at the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater--an event featuring a stellar gathering of SHOF inductees performing their hits and including David, Lamont Dozier, Mac Davis,
Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson and Paul Williams.
On Oct. 20, SHOF inductee Jimmy Webb will be interviewed by journalist Paul Grein in the Davis Theater, and will also perform selections from his hit catalog. And on Oct. 21, a "Master Class" conducted by the legendary SHOF songwriting husband-and-wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil will take place in the theater.
"Special events like those celebrating our launch are designed to bring the men and women behind the songs before the song-loving public, and we look forward to more in the months and years ahead," concludes David. Adds Santelli, "We are privileged to showcase the many songwriters that the Songwriters Hall of Fame honors and celebrates who have written the soundtrack of our lives and of history, and this is a perfect addition to our existing exhibit that spotlights songwriters and their writing process."
The SHOF was founded by
Johnny Mercer and music publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. It numbers well over 300 inductees including the varied likes of John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Curtis Mayfield, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton and Cy Coleman.
The organization also develops new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.

Songwriters Hall of Fame set for Grammy Museum
Ribbon cutting set for Oct. 19
Cleffers will get their due when the Grammy Museum installs the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery on Oct. 19.
Exhibit at the L.A. Live facility highlighting contributions of writers and tunesmithing's relationship with recording will be launched with a series of special events.
The SHOF Gallery will include interactive writing collaboration kiosks and video highlights from the hall's annual awards and induction ceremonies.
The SHOF was founded in 1969 by cleffer / Capitol Records co-founder Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.Org's chairman-CEO Hal David said in a statement, "This is the start of the realization of our longtime dream of a bricks and mortar presence for our Hall of Fame.
The Oct. 19 ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by an in-the-round performance at the Grammy Museum's Clive Davis Theater. Participants will include several SHOF inductees: Hal David, Burt Bacharach's longtime collaborator; Motown stalwarts Lamont Dozier and the team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson; Mac Davis; and ASCAP prexy-chairman Paul Williams.
Venerated writer Jimmy Webb ("MacArthur Park," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman") will sit for an interview / performance session with journalist Paul Grein at the Davis Theater on Oct. 20.
On Oct. 21, venue will feature a master class by tunesmiths Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," "On Broadway").

And this just in from Artie Wayne ...
Kent ... How ya doin'?
Congratulations to Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter for being nominated for induction to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame!
I don’t have to tell you that political ad campaigns on all sides are getting nasty as it gets closer to the election. While opponents, like primitive apes, are hurling turds of discontent at each other, only one man has come forth with a plan to bring America together! That man is Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show” on Comedy Central ... but what he needs is an inspiring theme song!
Artie Wayne

And, I would be remiss if, on the subjects of Hall Of Fames, I didn't encourage you to hop on over to The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame Website and cast your votes for your favorites amongst this year's nominees. (Yes, at The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame the votes of the fans actually DO count and help determine which artists are inducted each year ... so don't miss YOUR chance to be heard ... and be sure to check out the incredible list of artists already inducted!) kk
Click here: Welcome To The Hit Parade Hall of Fame
(Seriously ... where else are you EVER going to have the chance to cast your vote for The Chipmunks?!?!? This is incredible ... and yes, they got MY vote!!!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy Together Again ... Again ... A Few More Thoughts On Rob Grill ... And The Happy Together Again Tour, 2010

I didn't get this in time to include in our last "Happy Together Again' Web Page ... but wanted to include it here today ... thanks SO much, Carl, for keeping us in the loop on ALL of The Buckinghams' activities ... it's always great to hear from you and let the fans know what you guys are up to! (kk)
Now that the 25th Anniversary Happy Together Tour is over, I just want to say thank you to Forgotten Hits. We appreciate all the mentions and write ups you've given the tour through the summer. I know our fans visit your site regularly and enjoy how informative and accurate it is.
Our last performance was Sunday Sept.26 at the LA County Fair in Pomona. Even though the weather was extremely warm and uncomfortable, we thank all our loyal fans that came out anyway and supported our music.
We definitely had a winning combination of talented artists on the bill and The Buckinghams were proud to be a part of it.
It has been a great summer, and there are so many cities we didn't have a chance to perform in, so lets do it again in 2011!
Best regards,
Carl Giammarese
The Buckinghams

Hi Kent -
Here are a couple of Christian Grill obituaries I found on line:
News story from Houston:
David Lewis
How sad ... sounds like the Grills thought Christian was in remission and making a remarkable recovery from the cancer he had been battling. Will we EVER find a cure for this insidious disease?!?! (kk)

Hi Kent,
Rob Grill being absent does not surprise me. The station hosted a fundraising event last year and we found out a few days before that he wasn't coming. Rob actually called me twice at my house to apologize. We went on the air and explained the situation and told listeners that they could get a full refund. The show went on with Mark Dawson singing lead and he did a great job (I am sure better than Rob would have with his current health issues). The Britins (a Beatles look alike and sound alike group) from Milwaukee opened the show. We got rave revues and not one person asked for their money back. Granted it was a fundraising show but we were honest up front and people were not surprised that Rob wasn't there.
Rob does own the Grass Roots name by the way.
Phil Nee
WRCO Radio

Hi Kent,
Speaking as a blind guy who's lived around you sightlings all my life, here's a possibility ... maybe they changed the announcement but the marquee still showed The Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill?
Of course THAT should have been changed, too. Plus, to have a band with no original members and have them still book themselves as the Grass Roots isn't good either. You pay money to see the originals and if they aren't there the public should know. Otherwise, it's simply a Grass Roots Tribute Band.
In a band I was in in the 70's and 80's we did a show with Rob Grill and the Grass Roots. He was the only original member at that time, but he couldn't have been a nicer guy.
The next night we were playing in Duluth, MN. with Three Dog Night. Rob must have known that because he came up to me at the end of the night and gave me a present to give to Cory Wells. He handed me an envelope and I must have had a funny look on my face because he said, "It's a fishing lure." He then went on to explain that he and Cory were fishing buddies. It sure was a great way to meet the Three Dog Night guys.
I believe this was in 1982 when the original Three Dog Night was back together and touring for a short time.

I didn't have the opportunity to see the Happy Together Again tour as they didn't make it near our neck of the woods, but I will weigh in on the billing controversy regarding The Grass Roots with or without Rob Grill even though Howard Kaylan's response is pretty much the 'end all' for the conversation (but something like that has never stopped me before, eh?).
The billing, advertising, etc. is pretty much, although not necessarily entirely, left up to the individual venues and local promotion groups. For the most part, these are people who wouldn't know the difference between Rob Grill and a Weber Grill. They're uninformed and / or uninterested. I doubt they act out of deceit, just ignorance in most situations.
Case in point: Shirley Alston of the Shirelles played recently at a community gathering in the small town where I grew up. An old friend sent me some info via email and directed me to a website. Both the email attachment advertising the festivities and the website had Shirley listed as Shirley Austin, not Alston. (Technically, she's Shirley Owens Alston Reeves but, hey . . .) I could only shake my head and wonder if I were the only person who noticed this gaffe. I thought about firing off an email alerting someone to the error but figured the damage had already been done; they'd have to live with whatever consequences, if any.
I've always had a blast at the past Happy Together tour outings and can only imagine how good this year's edition was. With or without Weber Grill.
... Ed44
Hey, we recently shared a story with you guys about a booking for The New Coronary Six ... so believe me, we KNOW about how uninformed most of these folks booking the talent is these days!!! (lol) kk

There have been two horrific times in my life, and I chose to handle them by only including a few close people to support and console me. This is what I needed to do for myself and my family, in order to survive and continue.
Each person needs to choose what is best for them, and I hope we are not judging anything but the actual advertising of The Happy Together Tour. When I saw this concert Rob performed, so I am not able to comment on what was, or was not omitted in the announcements. I chose to release the information about Christian to you and your viewers when it seemed necessary to stop the personal "digs" about Rob. I hope that part can now settle.
As far as name copyrights and such, you know how I feel about "Truth in Music" and I am so proud of myself for not responding particularly to the comment about Herman's Hermits. Just "yes, ok. The Hermits live in England."
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano

I got to catch the Happy Together Again tour when it hit Asbury Park, NJ, back in June. Rob looked to be in rough shape at the time ... he needed a stool to sit on during his set and looked like he was about to fall right off of it several times ... it was honestly quite painful to watch, and I could tell something wasn't right because he looked like he was in considerable pain. He probably had his son on his mind constantly at that time which likely was what was bothering him the most. He did the best he could with everything going on and I commend him for even being on the road at all during this difficult time for him.
That was a far cry from how Rob looked just a few months earlier when I saw him as part of a 60's Spectacular package in Schenectady, New York, back in March, where he was really on top of his game, very energetic and sounding top notch.
However, for everyone grumbling that they didn't get to see Rob, did you enjoy his replacement at least? It is all about the music and be glad the rest of the group was still there to perform -- you likely would've been even more pissed off if they had pulled out entirely and had one less act on the bill.
I'm reminded of a time when Rob Grill And The Grass Roots (with special guest Sonny Geraci of the Outsiders and Climax) were scheduled to perform a free July 4th concert in my old hometown of Frederick, MD. (I can't remember when this was but it was somewhere between 1999 and 2003, as I was in high school at the time). I was so excited, as I had always loved their music and actually had a good oldies station at that time that played everything, not just the two biggest hits of any given group.
So the group comes on stage (and mind you, at that time I had no idea what Rob Grill even looked like), and they go into their set and are sounding spectacular, and then all of a sudden they break out into Time Won't Let Me ... and I wondered why Rob Grill and the Grass Roots were doing Sonny's song ... and then they went into Precious And Few ... and then it dawned on me that Rob wasn't on the stage at all, it was Sonny doing all of the vocals ... and I never would have known, because he sounded so very much like Rob that I could've closed my eyes and never known the difference.
I later learned that Rob was not touring at that time as he was at home recovering from a hip replacement operation. I still enjoyed the show, the music still sounded great, and even though I was sad that I didn't get to see Rob until several years later, I enjoyed what I saw and had no complaints about it. As a matter of fact, I'd love to see Sonny go out with the Grass Roots again to fill in for Rob, at the very least people could say that they still saw a hitmaker on the stage.
Tom Diehl
Sonny Geraci filled in a number of Rob Grill's Grass Roots dates a few years ago when Grill was out of action, recovering from one of his hip surgeries ... and, by ALL accounts, did an incredible job. And, if announced as such, I don't think a single fan would have felt the least bit cheated, especially in light of the circumstances.
As for the current band performing without him ... or without ANY original member of The Grass Roots ... that's an entirely different story ... and The Truth In Music Act stipulates that at least ONE original member (with the legal right to the use of the name of the band) MUST be present on stage or risk being in violation of this legislation. Again, under the circumstances, I would think they might "bend the rules" a little bit ... and, we heard both really GOOD things (and really BAD things) about Rob's vocal replacement.
All we've EVER maintained was a "Truth In Advertising" position ... certainly we ALL would understand (and feel compassionate about) Rob's missed performances, if properly informed of the circumstances ... but Grill has been "hurting" (for one reason or another) for YEARS now. Perhaps all this recent attention (good, bad or otherwise) will ultimately help him make up his mind as to whether or not he REALLY wants to do this anymore. And we, as fans, should respect that decision, regardless of what it may be. (kk)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Neil Diamond

Our little tribute to Neil Diamond the other day sparked a few new comments ... as well as several requests to resurrect some OLD ones ... here goes!

First up ... some VINTAGE Neil Diamond stuff, courtesy of FH Reader Clark Besch:

I thought I'd send along a little Neil Diamond stuff after reading how he was on the "sick list" of possible Hall of Fame inductees. I am certainly happy with Donovan and Alice Cooper, while Bon Jovi and J. Geils would deserve consideration if there were about 100 more deserving in there already. The rest? Some are good writers or RNB or rappers or whatever, but not really rock 'n roll.
Donovan deserves it mainly because he was a huge influence on the 60's rock scene, even if most of his songs were more folky. That brings us to Neil Diamond.
Personally, I am sick of this guy's departure from his 60's roots. In the 70's, he went all mellow on us. "Forever in Blue Jeans" was his most upbeat song? He did good songs in the 70's and 80's, but what happened to "Brother Love" and "Cherry, Cherry"?? Oh yeah, the great "Crunchy Granola Suite" was 70's, so he did one, right? Please, NO MORE "Sweet Caroline" at sports events! Neil had great music in the late 60's and great music in the 70's too, but it was just too much mellow stuff.
Bang actually helped us believe in the early 70's by re-releasing old rock songs to battle the new Uni "Walk on Water". It's no wonder "Do It" almost over took the new track, "He Ain't Heavy" when they were released simultaneously. Bang should have warned us of the upcoming schmaltz by reissuing "I Got the Feelin' (Oh No No)".
Neil deserves Hall of Fame votes, but for his 60's days only. The 80's? He was "Headed For The Future and the future was BAD!" Don't get me started on his screaming live concerts today. Maybe you'll "laugh when it (is) all done, for (him) being done to soon"??
On to what I sent along ...
A montage of what made Neil deserve the Hall nomination. First, the PAMS Sonovox Jingle for Neil. Once you've had a Sonovox made, you know you made it! Then, a short bit of "Cherry, Cherry" from a live October, 1968 concert in a Chicago "gymnasium" (as Neil puts it), recorded by my great late friend, Jeff Lind. Then, Jeff with a short, but amazingly cool interview with Neil backstage after the concert. Some fun comments about his early career and his somewhat dry humor. Neil was 27 at the time, Jeff was probably 17 or so and a bit nervous! Neil talks a lot about his new Uni label stuff including the then new "Sunday Sun" as well as the B side of "Brooklyn Roads", "Holiday Inn Blues" and his upcoming first Uni album, "Velvet Gloves & Spit". Hard to believe, but the album did not chart in Billboard's Top 200 Album Charts! From my personally recorded radio tapes, just take a listen to the great Ron Riley of WLS and Chuck Buell and the fun they have playing Neil's records and the excitement his songs exuded being heard on good old AM radio. There's even Ron Riley's best impression of our newly found again FH friend, Screaming Wildman Carl Bonafede presenting Neil Diamond. Hey, just this short bit of radio stuff shows how exciting it was listening to Ron Riley and WLS in the 60's! I lived for it!

Here are a few more Neil Diamond things, all from Psyche Pscene 2/22/71. There's an Octorber, 1967, Chicago concert review from the November "Psyche Pscene" magazine. There is also a cover article on Neil's concert at Milwaukee on Feb 12, 1971. As well as a photo of Neil talking with fans on the Jim Stagg WCFL "Stagg Lines" afternoon show from the same October, 1967 visit. Certainly, Neil's 60's tunes were radio friendly.

Next a backstage photo from the same concert. And finally is a photo of Neil and his Uni records execs at Chicago's "Beavers, Ltd." on North State Street.
Clark Besch

Hey there Kent -
Ken "Furvus" Evans of The Fifth Estate here.
Your piece about Neil Diamond and especially his tune I'm A Believer as done by The Monkees spurred a memory or two about my meeting with Neil leading to our recording of that song also in 1967.
I'm sending The Fifth Estate's version of I'm A Believer done on our 1967 Jubilee album. (un-re-mastered) This followed up a very large hit we had just had with Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead that year.
I guess our management and producers were not quite sure what should go on that album to go along with the lead song?? So we start recording the album in NYC and almost immediately get called by our agent to go on a 2 maybe 3 week Midwestern tour to do rather great places we liked like the Blue Village and some Chicago Old Town blues clubs and theaters. So we had just come back into NYC, after about three weeks of every night harp-blowin' and screaming guitar playin' and often bluesy rock and roll like Back Door Man and Big City Bright Lights, to complete the album, fully intending to put a lot of those songs and other similar ones of our own on the album, and our producers say - hey guys you're going to do these other songs on the album including I'm A Believer just done by The Monkees.
We said WHAT!! It's a great song - but for us - WHAT??
Yep - that's how it was in those days. Well, I was the one who objected to it rather more than the rest of the guys and we all know you can't do too much on this kind of thing unless the drummer is into it. So they have me over to our manger's office the next day (right upstairs over the Ed Sullivan Theater stage) and who is sitting in his office right next to his desk when I walk in ... you got it - Neil Diamond!
I said hello! He said hello! and our manager said, Well Furvus you're going to do Mr. Diamond's tune aren't you. AND I said ------- um. I looked over at Neil who just looked at me. And then I said - Shure I Love It, which I did, but originally just not for us. We had just gotten done playing blues rock in Old Town Chicago!! You know what I mean!? But just that one look from Neil sort of helped me "see the light" I guess and that was it! I became a believer - from my big meeting with Neil Diamond.
We got back into the studio and I said "I love this tune - let's rock the hell out of it though." Wayne said, I hear a clavichord on it and a blue grass guitar pickin background and our producer and me both said WHAT?? I guess he was expecting we would do a true copy as opposed to just our own cover of it as you can hear here, which we learned in about 15 minutes and recorded in a few tries never having played it before. That's the 5 of us 5E teenagers on there. No studio cats!

I also noticed your rather hesitant promo of Charles Rosenay's BEAT EXPO 2010 with lots of big name 60's / 70's people including two of the Monkees! This is rather coincidentally being pulled off in Stamford, CT, the original home town for The Fifth Estate, just outside NYC. Last year was just so great!
Well, I don't know all that happened between you and Charles but let me just say that I know Charles from having dealt with him several times now and he has always been a real stand up and warm hearted guy with us, The 5E.
He is a sincere person in what he is doing - which is promoting the music HE and many others of us so love. He has done it for years. He's a really good guy to work with. I'm sure he'll do right by you and the rest of us in the long run - if not sooner than that!
Meanwhile, here's an update of The Fifth Estate. The recording portion of our new TIME TUNNEL album is just now completed and we are in the mixing phase.
Shel Talmy is working with us on this record and he will mix and master it in LA. Shel, of course, produced The Kinks, The Who, Manfred Mann, Chad and Jeremy, and David Bowie, and has said, "We play his kind of music!" That seems truly cool to me!! We are really happy to be working with him.
Who knows - if we do BEAT EXPO 2010 maybe we would do I'm A Believer with two of The Monkees.
But who's version - hummm?
Ken Evans
Cool Neil Diamond story ... yeah, I imagine it'd be pretty hard to say "no" after that ... especially with Neil sitting right there!!! (lol) And let's face it, "I'm A Believer" is a '60's classic ... great to hear your version.
As for Charles Rosenay, we have been working out our differences ... 'nuff said on that topic. As I stated last week, this guy ABSOLUTELY knows how to throw a party ... and there is absolutely NO doubt regarding his love for this great music. (Biggest difference between him and me, I guess, is that HE'S figured out how to make a buck doing it!!! lol) Sneak peek us a track from the new CD when you can ... it's always cool to feature stuff like that in Forgotten Hits!
Thanks, Furv! (kk)

Scott and Kent,
Glad to see you two team up for the two-day tribute to Mr. Diamond -- and really glad, Kent, to see you mention "Red, Red Wine," a great, often-neglected song that should have been a much bigger hit.
Hoping it makes the cut for one of the days -- at least as an extra.
As usual, I didn't get to listen to very much of this tribute at all ... with our "no radios" policy at work ... and 12-14 hour days lately ... I pretty much missed the whole thing! So, just in case Scott DIDN'T play it, we'll feature Neil Diamond's original version of "Red Red Wine" today on the website. (The #1 Hit came, of course, some 20+ years later when UB40 cut a "reggae" version and took it all the way to the top of the charts!) kk

Kent ...
As long as we're talking about Neil Diamond & the Hall of Fame, let's see if you can answer my Neil Diamond trivia question:
Years ago, during the same week, I went to a Neil Diamond and a Jay Black & The Americans Concert.
Can you tell me what the connection is between these two great artists ?
Frank B.
Well, if I'm not mistaken, the answer to THAT question was up on our website several hours before you sent me this email!!! (lol)
>>>Neil's first chart hit came courtesy of Jay and the Americans, who reached #18 in 1965 with their rendition of "Sunday And Me" (a Forgotten Hit to be sure!) kk

Sorry, but Neil Diamond does not work right with Chinese food lunch.
How about a Don Ho anthology!!! :-)

I love his song with Brian Wilson, Delirious Love!
Click here: YouTube - Neil Diamond & Brian Wilson - Delirious Love

I once worked with Neil in assembling an exclusive three CD box set of his live material for Reader's Digest Music. As a radio programmer or in assembling the ultimate Neil Diamond "Greatest Hits" collection, I would, of course, go for the tracks preferred by the only critics who count -- the fans. However, if I was assembling a Neil Diamond "best of" just for me, I go for the original Bang masters (which Neil bought and then sold to SONY) plus the best of his more rockin' Uni material over the later, more easy listening Columbia / Capitol material. But that's just me. I'd also throw in a few lesser known B sides, like the startling but incredibly effective "Done Too Soon" and his spontaneous, off-the-cuff, one-take gag version of "Hanky Panky."
One time while recording at Bang under the supervision of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, Neil -- in a impish mood -- decided to goof off by spoofing one of Jeff and Ellie's most valuable compositions. Jeff and Ellie had tossed together "Hanky Panky" in 1963 simply as a throwaway B side for "That Boy John," one of the singles the duo had recorded under the name The Raindrops. The song became a favorite of 13 year old Tommy James, who recorded it with his original Shondells that year and watched it become a poorly distributed Michigan hit. Three years later, when reissued on Roulette, Tommy's version of "Hanky Panky" became, of course, a national #1 single.
Anyway, as a gag in 1966, Neil spoofed "Hanky Panky" in Jeff and Ellie's presence at one of his Bang recording sessions -- never dreaming for a moment that such a thing would ever get RELEASED. But it was -- in 1968 as the flip side of "New Orleans" -- after Neil had left Bang for the rival Uni label.
Since Neil purchased his old Bang masters, he has refused to allow the reissue of "Hanky Panky." Maybe he considers it an embarrassment, but it's actually a very fun, impromptu track which captures a fun-loving side of Neil not present in any of his other more serious recordings.
Anyway, if I was going to pick out Neil Diamond's BEST and most interesting recordings to me, they wouldn't all be his highest charting singles. In alphabetical order, they'd probably be:
Gary Theroux
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"
I love Neil Diamond's version of "Hanky Panky" ... ALWAYS good for a laugh (and we've featured it several times in Forgotten Hits over the years ... it actually earned 78 votes in our Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides Poll a few years ago.
Many of the songs on your "favorites" list made ours, too ... as mentioned in our piece, it's a shame that Neil's BIGGEST hits have been the schmaltzy stuff that has helped keep him out of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame thus far. (That's why we went with more of a "Greatest Hits" than a "Biggest Hits" list!) And songs as good as "You Got To Me", "Done Too Soon", "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon", "Shilo" and "Solitary Man" deserve more than the occasional spin (especially when you consider that stuff like "Sweet Caroline" are played virtually non-stop, ad nauseam on a regular basis!) Even a #1 Hit like "Song Sung Blue" is seldom heard on the radio these days. (With 38 Billboard Top 40 Hits, shouldn't at least HALF of them be in radio rotation today? Even something like "Stones" or "Kentucky Woman" or "Holly Holy" or "I Am, I Said" ... or the Robbie Robertson-produced "If You Know What I Mean" would make for a welcome break in the repetitious sounds of "Hello Again", "America", "Sweet Caroline", "Cracklin' Rosie" and "Cherry Cherry"!) kk

Way back in 2001 we did a short piece on Neil Diamond that has remained a list favorite ... in fact, I believe that this is the THIRD time we're rerunning it over the past twelve years.

The piece kicked off with the quote:
"There are two types of people in the world ... those that like Neil Diamond's music ... and those that don't."
-- Bill Murray in "What About Bob"

NEIL DIAMOND Music Is Being Featured In FORGOTTEN HITS Today!!!
The very first concert I ever took a date to was Neil Diamond at the Chicago Civic Opera House in the Summer of 1970. (While that in and of itself is pretty hard for me to admit, Frannie's first concert was The Osmond Brothers, teamed up with Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods ... so I don't feel TOO bad! I guess I could have done worse!) Besides, you've got to remember that back in 1970 Neil was still SINGING his songs instead of narrating them!
Anyway, "I Am, I Said" hadn't even been released as a single yet and he did it that night. In introducing the song, he walked to center stage, paused and then VERY dramatically said: "There are songs....and then there are SONGS" .... a pretty egotistical assessment of his musical talents, I thought. It's a shame, too, because I really did think "I Am, I Said" was one of his greatest achievements .... but that type of comment really should have come from the listener, not the artist ... it should have been OUR assessment, not his ... and I have to admit that I was pretty turned-off to Neil after witnessing that.
After the concert, my date and I were waiting for her parents to come pick us up (being all of 16 at the time, I wasn't driving on dates yet ... or at least not downtown!) when some homeless, very drunk old black man came up to us begging for money. Needless to say, being quite naive and having led very sheltered lives, we both freaked.

After stumbling around and hassling us for about ten minutes, he said:
"I have a problem and I don't know what to do.
I have six children at home and I only have five apples.
What do you think I should do?"

"I don't know," I said, slowing inching away.

"Make applesauce!" he laughed.

Scared as we were, WE laughed, too!!! When our ride FINALLY showed up, I gave him a couple bucks and quickly pushed my date into her father's car! Ahh, America.

"I Am, I Said" eventually peaked at #4 on both the Billboard and the Cash Box chart, and went all the way to #2 here in Chicago in the Spring of 1971. The Neil Diamond album "Gold" (recorded live at The Troubadour and released in August of 1970) was pretty much the concert that I saw that night, just a few weeks earlier. Naturally, I bought it as a memento. Two years later, the same thing would happen with "Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden" ... that LP came out two weeks after I saw him perform the exact same show live at the Chicago Stadium.


Noted Humorist / Journalist Dave Barry says that the inspiration to write his "Book Of Bad Songs" came from one of the newspaper columns he had written regarding songs he didn't particularly care for, which generated such an incredible response that he knew he had tapped into a nerve. The catalyst of all of this was none other than Neil Diamond.

Dave writes: It would not trouble me if the radio totally ceased playing ballad-style songs by Neil Diamond. I realize that many of you are huge Neil Diamond fans, so let me stress that, in matters of musical taste, everybody is entitled to an opinion, and yours is wrong.

He goes on to say: Consider the song 'I Am, I Said,' wherein Neil, with great emotion, sings: 'I am, I said, to no one there. And no one heard at all, not even the chair.' What kind of line is that? Is Neil telling us he's surprised that the chair didn't hear him? Maybe he expected the chair to say, 'Whoa, I heard that!' My guess is that Neil was really desperate to come up with something to rhyme with 'there' and he had already rejected 'So I ate a pear,' 'Like Smokey The Bear,' and 'There were nits in my hair.'

Apparently, the response of hate-mail to his derogatory comment was so overwhelming that he combined them all into one all-purpose-irate-Neil Diamond-fan hate letter:

Dear Pukenose:
Just who the hell do you think you are to blah blah a great artist like Neil blah more than twenty gold records blah blah how many gold records do YOU have, you scum-sucking wad of blah. I personally attended 1,794 of Neil's concerts blah blah What about 'Love On The Rocks,' huh? What about 'Cracklin' Rosie'? blah blah. If you had ONE TENTH of Neil's talent blah blah. So I listened to 'Heartlight' forty times in a row and the next day the cyst was GONE and the doctor said he had never seen such a rapid blah blah. What about 'Play Me'? What about 'Song Sung Blah'? Cancel my subscription if I have one.

(In all fairness, Dave DID finally admit to liking one line of "Play Me": "Song she sang to me, song she brang to me." THAT'S a lyric!)

The piece apparently enticed SO many people that, when all was said and done, he had to write a public apology to all the Neil Diamond fans he offended:

Please stop writing! You have convinced me! Neil is a music god! I worship Neil on a daily basis at a tasteful shrine to him erected in my living room! I love ALL the songs Neil sang to us! Not to mention all the songs he brang to us!
GREAT stuff!


We even found a couple of the original comments that we received when our Neil Diamond piece first ran, way back in 2001!:

Kent ...
Where did you find that Dave Barry article? I remember reading that some 10 years ago! That was hysterical, I loved reading it again. I'm sitting here totally shaking with laughter. Kristy (CGals)
Kristy, we received a number of comments about the Dave Barry article .... personally, I think it's just HYSTERICAL! So did VAGUEMEMORY, AJKARR, SPNNRN, SAYNOCANDO and LUVMYCHAIR.

During the course of our series, we found out that "Brooklyn Roads" is ROXIE1971's favorite Neil Diamond song (it happens to be one of MY favorites, too ... and Scott Shannon recently remarked that HE'S a big "Brooklyn Roads" fan as well ... but so far only FLMYST has admitted to the whole "throwing the panties" thing ... but, hey, it's early! (kk)

Meanwhile, DOMINOGAL blamed it all on her mother:
Now that I'm older I understand why momma liked Neil Diamond so much.

I favor the theory that Neil was captured by aliens about 1973 and replaced by a pod. Only a pod could have come up with the likes of "September Morn" and "Yesterday's Songs."
And "Be" ... and "Skybird" ... and "Longfellow Serenade" ... and "Desiree" ... and "You Don't Brint Me Flowers" ... and "Love On The Rocks" / "Hello Again" / "America" from his "Jazz Singer" movie ... and "Heartlight" (cyst or no cyst!).
It's kinda hard to believe that this guy did some great songs in the '60s when you listen to this dreck! Good news is that songs like "Solitary Man", the huge Monkees' hit "I'm A Believer", "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon", "Holly Holy", "Cracklin' Rosie" and some of the others still get played ... and really DO rank amongst his "classics". (kk)

I'm on a Neil Young list, as you know i'm a huge Neil Young fan, anyway, on the list we refer to Neil Diamond as the 'Anti Neil'. nuff said ... hahahaha!
Yeah, I don't think you'll get TOO many people confusing those two! (kk)

I admit to really liking Cherry, Cherry, although nothing Neil's recorded himself since. OK, I thought I'm A Believer was a good Monkees song.
I also had a personal brush with Mr. Diamond when he cut me off on the Santa Monica Freeway in a Porsche bearing the license plate, "NDLRR." (Neil Diamond loves rock 'n roll? HA!)
I knew a musician -- a man in his late 50's -- who really loved Diamond and was always trying to get me to play his songs on the piano. Two years ago, I heard this man was arrested for counterfeiting, and a few months ago I heard he died. I've tried not to infer a cause / effect relationship.
In any event, thanks for the warning!
"Neil Diamond loves rock and roll?" OK ... sure .... fine ... whatever you say! (Although who REALLY would have thought that he would have done a movie like "The Jazz Singer" in the first place?!?! And, would we REALLY have been any worse off if he hadn't?!?!?) kk

LITTLE KNOWN FACT #1: THE MONKEES almost didn't get to record I'M A BELIEVER, their biggest hit ever. NEIL DIAMOND had planned on releasing it as his own single. His career was just starting to take off after CHERRY CHERRY made the Top 10 and he figured that this song just might be the one to put him over the top. DON KIRSCHNER stepped in and made him an offer he couldn't refuse ... if he let THE MONKEES release I'M A BELIEVER as their next single, he would guarantee NEIL the follow-up single as well ... and, as a result, A LITTLE BIT ME, A LITTLE BIT YOU, another NEIL DIAMOND composition, became their third single. I'M A BELIEVER went straight to #1 and stayed there for 7 weeks ... he made MILLIONS in royalties ... A LITTLE BIT ME, A LITTLE BIT YOU went to #2 in Billboard but #1 EVERYWHERE else ... and, instead of I'M A BELIEVER, NEIL's next single became I GOT THE FEELIN' (OH NO NO) ... OK ... so maybe it WASN'T the greatest deal for NEIL, but I still think he did all-right!

LITTLE KNOWN FACT #2: The single A LITTLE BIT ME, A LITTLE BIT YOU ultimately got DON KIRSCHNER FIRED as THE MONKEES' Musical Supervisor! In fact, a Canadian single version of A LITTLE BIT ME, A LITTLE BIT YOU had to be pulled off the market. Just as it was being released, THE MONKEES gained control of their musical output and had final say on what was being released. The B-SIDE of the Canadian single was SHE HANGS OUT, a song that THE MONKEES would not "officially" release until nine months later on their PISCES, AQUARIUS, CAPRICORN AND JONES album. The single featured a completely DIFFERENT version with a very funky R&B feel to it; THE MONKEES would eventually re-record this track and release the "pop / doo-de-ron-ron" version we've all come to know and love! They instead substituted MIKE NESMITH's composition THE GIRL I KNEW SOMEWHERE as the B-SIDE, and that's the way the single was released all around the world. (Part of their new deal with COLGEMS RECORDS guaranteed them say-so on their next release ... which HAD to be a MONKEES production! KIRSCHNER's jumping the gun with the SHE HANGS OUT track is what ultimately got him fired!) The R&B version of SHE HANGS OUT became a highly sought-after collectible on vinyl; it has since been released on some of their compilation CDs. (Scroll back to yesterday's FH Page and you can hear BOTH versions back-to-back ... NOW you know why I featured them!!! lol)
THE GIRL I KNEW SOMEWHERE charted on its own, making it to #39 in Billboard. And, by the way, NEIL DIAMOND's version of I'M A BELIEVER NEVER would have made it to #1 for seven weeks ... in comparison, it's a pretty tame version. THE MONKEES simply had SO much momentum going for them at this time that their second single simply couldn't miss ... it became their biggest hit of all-time!


And, finally, DANDYRUBE had a Neil Diamond story of her own to tell:
As Gomer Pyle would say: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Finally a topic in which I can provide YOU with some extra trivia.
I grew up in Brooklyn in a neighborhood near Neil's family. His parents owned a store named "Diamonds" on Brighton Beach Ave. They were also members of "Brighton Beach Baths," a landmark beach club.
When Neil performed in Carnegie Hall when I was 14 years old, I sat in the FRONT ROW, MIDDLE SEAT. Neil's father gave those 4 tickets to my brother and I (he was friendly with my parents). It was an experience we'll never forget. He stood at the tip of the very low stage - I could have literally stood up and grabbed his leg (no, I didn't).
Most of my Neil Diamond music is on vinyl and I haven't hooked up my turntable since I moved many months ago. It'll be great having some of his songs on the computer and I REALLY appreciate it.
Neil's dad passed away a few years ago, but I bumped into his mom here in Florida a couple of years ago. THANKS AGAIN!!!!


Here ya go ... 'cause I just KNOW you're dyin' to hear 'em!!!

I Am, I Said

Play Me