Saturday, November 6, 2010

Forgotten Hits Salutes Bob Stroud's "Rock And Roll Roots"

This weekend is the big CD Release Party for Bob Stroud's new "Rock And Roll Roots" CD.

Not only is this year's edition Volume 12 in the series ... but it is ALSO the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Stroud's long-running radio program, a Chicagoland Institution ... and you can count on PLENTY of members of The Stroud Crowd to be on hand for this year's festivities. (With 12 tracks per disk ... and this being the 12th Edition in the series ... I guess that this officially becomes the "GROSS"-est volume yet!!!)

It all kicks off tomorrow at the Oak Brook Borders Book Store.
(An encore performance happens next Saturday at the Schaumburg location ... full details are available on The Drive's website:
Click here: Rock 'n Roll Roots Vol. 12 - WDRV - THE DRIVE)

Honestly, I can't wait!

Though the final track listing is always shrouded in secrecy (or would that be STROUDed in secrecy?), one of the annual highlights for me is listening to
Bob unveil the track listing on his Sunday Morning radio program just hours before they officially go on sale at Chicagoland Borders Book Stores ... and, in that fans of the program help select the tracks by casting their votes throughout the year, you can ALWAYS count on finding a surprise or two on these collections. It's an annual tradition that many of us look forward to every year around this time ... and Borders Books has been a most-excellent host these past several years for the official release parties.

Last week, I loaded all eleven of the previous editions in my car and just started listening to them from start to finish. (This, too, has become an annual tradition for me!) Most of these volumes are long out of print (and very difficult to come across ... even older editions, which used to show up on eBay from time to time at RIDICULOUS prices, are now pretty scarce!)

My FAVORITE volume ever???

Gotta be Volume 2 - chock full of lots of local flavor by the likes of Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah ("Lake Shore Drive"), "I Dig Everything About You" by The Mob, "Summer Sun" by Jamestown Massacre and the then-first-time-ever-on-CD "You Wouldn't Listen" by The Ides Of March. Other classics I never get tired of hearing include "I Love You" by People, "You, I" by The Rugbys, "Go Back" by Crabby Appleton and "One Fine Morning" by Lighthouse. A couple of your All-Time Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs also made this CD: "Psychotic Reaction" by Count Five and the LONG version of "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells. Rounding out the dozen tracks are "Let Me" by Paul Revere and the Raiders and "Nobody But Me" by The Human Beinz, a song we recently featured in Forgotten Hits when "The Office" used it as their show opening earlier this season!

But a close second would have to be Volume 7 ... I remember Bob asking me at the CD Release Party that year, "What do you think of the track line-up for this year?" to which I replied "I love it!!! And what's not to love ... all three songs I voted for made the cut this year!!!" (That's right ... Drive Listeners can vote for their personal favorites each year ... and, incredibly, the votes actually COUNT!!! While Bob's run into some issues in the past, being unable to obtain the licensing to a particular track now and then, inevitably they all seem to end up on disc sooner or later ... and it's always well worth the wait to see what he'll come up with next!)

Case in point: "Take Me Back" by The Flock ... Stroud had been trying to get THIS one since the series began ... and it absolutely COOKS from start to finish ... it's one of those great forgotten, overlooked gems from The Chicago Music Scene, circa 1967 ... and it finally ended up as the closing track on Volume 7.

Volume 7 also includes the very first song I ever featured in Forgotten Hits, "Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers, a 1968 Hit that went all the way to #4 here in Chicago that fall. (We launched Forgotten Hits over Thanksgiving Weekend, 1999, and Max Frost holds the honor of being the VERY FIRST track we ever featured!)

Other songs that I voted for include "13 Questions" by Seatrain, "Shame Shame" by The Magic Lanterns and "Run To Me" by The Montanas, another great Top Ten Chicagoland Hit that completely fizzled on the national charts. Local heroes The Cryan' Shames and The New Colony Six are represented by their Chicago chart-topping hits "It Could Be We're In Love" and "Love You So Much" respectively ... and GREAT tracks like "Resurrection Shuffle" by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, "Polk Salad Annie" by Tony Joe White, "Come And Get Your Love" by Redbone, "Ride Captain Ride" by Blues Image and the 1968 pre-Raiders hit version of "Indian Reservation" by Don Fardon round out the disk.

Of course, EVERY edition features some special treats (even for someone like me, who already has virtually every Top 40 Hit in his collection.) Truthfully, there's not a bad edition in the batch ... and, every year, Bob has been able to track down at least a song or two that have never been commercially released on CD before. (These discs have always had a strong local flavor, too, making them all that much more appealing to a Chicago Music Fanatic like me!)

Look over the complete set of track listings and you'll find a number of songs that have been featured over the years in Forgotten Hits ... and, more and more of the ARTISTS on these tracks have become part of the Forgotten Hits Family, too!

What makes for a "Good" Edition??? Again, I'm probably the wrong barometer for this because, most of the time, I already have copies (in SOME fashion) of everything that appears on these CD's (although it IS nice to get pristine, digital copies to replace some of my long worn-out, scratchy 45's!) But Stroud always seems to assemble a nice batch of songs that you actually WANT to hear played again. Check out these track line-ups and decide for yourself ... I think you'll agree that you won't find a "dog" in the bunch!

VOLUME 1: This CD was already "18 Years In The Making" by the time it hit Best Buy Stores in 1998. "Rock And Roll Roots" debuted in 1980 on WMET ... and already had a few homes on the radio dial by the time this first volume was released by CD94.7 FM in '98. (Coincidently, CD947.7 is now WLS-FM,
Chicagoland's True Oldies Station! You'll notice that later editions of the CD's never refer to WLS by name ... instead, Bob calls them "The Big 89"!)
The first track line-up was an immediate winner ... and helped to set the standard for the years to come: Low Rider - War; Itchycoo Park - Small Faces; Get It On - Chase; Time Has Come Today - Chambers Brothers; White Bird - It's A Beautiful Day; L.A. Goodbye - Ides Of March; You Keep Me Hangin' On - Vanilla Fudge; Hot Smoke And Sasafrass - Bubble Puppy; Cottage Cheese - Crow; She's About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet; Medicine Man - Buchanan Brothers; Dancing In The Moonlight - King Harvest

VOLUME 2: Track listing above

VOLUME 3: Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Games With Me - Crow; My Little Red Book - Love; Baby Come Back - Equals; Tomorrow - Strawberry Alarm Clock; Charity Ball - Fanny; Two Hangmen - Mason Proffit; Superman - Ides Of March; Suavecito - Malo; My World Fell Down - Sagittarius; Hold On - Mauds; Israelites - Desmond Dekker and the Aces; Walk Tall- 2 of Clubs

VOLUME 4: Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The King Of Rock And Roll - Lord John Baldry; Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum; Pushin' Too Hard - Seeds; Little Green Bag - George Baker Selection; Catch The Wind - Donovan; Midnight Hour - Michael and the Messengers; Happy Together - Turtles; Timothy - Buoys; Reflections Of My Life - Marmalade; The Snake - Al Wilson; Pictures Of Matchstick Men - Status Quo; Little Miss Sad - Five Emprees

VOLUME 5: Vehicle - Ides Of March; Liar, Liar - Castaways; Come On Down To My Boat - Every Mother's Son; Mr. Unreliable - Cryan' Shames; Venus - Shocking Blue; Race With The Wind - Robbs; Brandy - Looking Glass; I Had Too Much To Dream - Electric Prunes; Land of 1000 Dances - Cannibal and the Headhunters; Talk Talk - Music Machine; Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen of the Board; Soul Drippin' - Mauds

VOLUME 6: Absolutely Right - Five Man Electrical Band; Red Rubber Ball - Cyrkle; I Confess - New Colony Six; Baby It's You - Smith; Morning Girl - Neon Philharmonic; Best Thing - Styx; Hello It's Me - Nazz; House of The Rising Sun - Frijid Pink; I Wanna Meet You - Cryan' Shames; You've Got To Be Loved - Montanas; Five O'Clock World - Vogues; I Need Love - Third Booth

VOLUME 7: Track listing above

VOLUME 8: Double Shot - Swingin' Medallions; Hey Joe - Leaves; Expressway To Your Heart - Soul Survivors; Bend Me, Shape Me - American Breed; We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet - Blues Magoos; Little Ole Man - Bill Cosby; Thunder And Lightning - Chi Coltrane; Kind Of A Drag - Buckinghams; It's Cold Outside - Choir; Blues' Theme - Davie Allan and the Arrows; Are You Ready? - Pacific Gas And Electric; People And Me - New Colony Six

VOLUME 9: Go All The Way - Raspberries; Shakin' All Over - Guess Who; Susan - Buckinghams; Yellow River - Christie; Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne - Looking Glass; Things I'd Like To Say - New Colony Six; San Francisco Girls - Fever Tree; Spooky - Classics IV; Step Out Of Your Mind - American Breed; Back When My Hair Was Short - Gunhill Road; Up On The Roof - Cryan' Shames

VOLUME 10: Sweets For My Sweet - Riddles; Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf; The Letter - Arbors; Last Time Around - Del-Vettes; Fresh Air - Quicksilver Messenger Service; Small Beginnings - Flash; I Got A Line On You - Spirit; It's Good News Week - Hedgehoppers Anonymous; Do You Know What I Mean - Lee Michaels; Mendocino - Sir Douglas Quintet; Turn-Down Day - Cyrkle; What A Wonderful Thing We Have - Fabulous Rhinestones

VOLUME 11: Little Girl - Syndicate Of Sound; Lay Down Candles In The Rain - Melanie; Can't You See Me Cry - New Colony Six; Summertime Blues - Blue Cheer; Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' - Crazy Elephant; Can't You See That I Really Love Her - Flock; Journey To The Center Of The Mind - Amboy Dukes; My Pledge Of Love - Joe Jeffrey Group; Ruby Tuesday - Rotary Connection; Car Hop - Exports; Wildflower - Skylark; Face The Autumn - Family

Stay tuned for this year's track listing ... it'll appear in our Sunday Comments Page tomorrow morning ... along with information on how YOU can get a copy, even if you DON'T live in the Chicagoland area.

Or tune into The Drive (97.1 FM) tomorrow morning at 7 am (Chicago time) and listen to Bob announce 'em down on the air. Typically these shows offer three hours of reminiscing, with Bob playing selected tracks from ALL of the Rock And Roll Roots CDs of years past. (You can listen live here:
Click here: 97.1fm Chicago - The Drive - WDRV)

Thanks to The Drive (WDRV), who has been broadcasting "Rock And Roll Roots" since 2001, the program has remained a KEY part of Chicago radio programming for the past 30 years. (Earlier stints included stops at WMET, The Loop WLUP, WCKG, CD-94.7 and WXRT ... and the program continued to air no matter where on the dial Stroud happened to be calling "home" at the time.)

For the record, Bob Stroud has been with The Drive since Day One ...
and it truly is a PERFECT fit. "Rock And Roll Roots" is more than just a radio show ... it's more a state of mind. The music takes us back to a special place and time and Bob's love and affection for this music comes through clearly week after week, year after year ... you genuinely sense that he enjoys bringing it to us as much as we enjoy listening to it.

I have said it SO many times in the past and I'm happy to say it again ... I have NEVER ... EVER ... seen a radio station care so much about its audience ... and, on The Drive, your programming opinions and suggestions actually count! It has ALWAYS felt like "our" station ... and they strive to bring you the music that you actually want to hear. Free annual concerts (in the form of Drive Birthday Parties!) have become a HUGE event. It seems like they are ALWAYS doing something for their listeners. (In fact, brand new Drive keychains arrived in the mail just the other day ... and I'm sure 2011 calendars will soon be on the way, too ... all for being a "Loyal Listener" to the station.) They truly make you feel like they APPRECIATE your loyalty and listenership.

And there's a charitable aspect to the "Rock And Roll Roots" CD, too. For the past couple of years, The Drive has chosen LifeSource as their "charity of choice", donating proceeds from the sale of the annual "Rock And Roll Roots" CD to this great organization ... a nice extra touch, knowing that a portion the money raised by these sales is going to a good cause.

And this year they did something new that they've NEVER done before ... last Saturday, October 30th, The Drive held what they called The Rock And Roll Donor Fest, held at the Hyatt Deerfield Hotel in Deerfield, IL. If you came by and donated blood, you were able to walk away with a FREE copy of the brand new CD ... a full week before you could even buy it! (This is all the more impressive when you consider that the track listing has ALWAYS been a classified, well-guarded, top-secret event!) I am SO glad to see that The Drive took an extra step to help show their support of this good cause ... and were even willing to let the cat out of the bag a week early to do so! Once again, it just shows their commitment and support of their sponsor ... and we commend them for it.

And, if a savvy little promotion like this gets a few people to donate blood who might not typically do so, all the better ... EVERYBODY wins!
(I wish we could have promoted this event a little bit sooner so that others on the list could have participated ... but I've been playing major catch-up for the past week and a half and just couldn't pull it together in time. However, Lifesource stations WILL be present at both of the Rock And Roll Roots CD Launch parties beginning at 10 am ... and, if you show up early and are one of the first ten people to donate blood, you'll receive preferred seating for all of the live, in-store festivities.)

Meanwhile, for those who are interested and would like to learn more about LifeSource and what they do, here's a little more info about the whole event:
Click here: WDRV's Bob Stroud Joins LifeSource For Rock 'N Roll DonorFest Chicagoland Radio and Media.

And for more info on the Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Parties ...
Click here: Rock 'n Roll Roots Vol. 12 - WDRV - THE DRIVE

I will tell you that the parties are ALWAYS a great time, featuring special "Live" In-Store Appearances by many of our "Local Heroes" ... who are always on hand to help Bob launch the latest edition of this great CD Series. Hope to see some of you there!


Meanwhile, wanna own a "piece of the rock"?
I've gotta warn you ... some of 'em ain't gonna come cheap ...
but we DID find the following volumes for sale through ...
(I didn't see anything on eBay or Gemm ... so I figured this was the next best thing! If you're looking for older volumes in this series, this may be your ONLY chance to find them!)

Click here: Bob Stroud's Classic Rock Roots Volume 1: 1. Low Rider - War (S) 2. Itchycoo Park - Small Faces (S) 3.
(I couldn't find ANY listings for Volume 2 or Volume 3 ... both are LONG out of print and had limited pressings of only 5000 copies. In fact, it took me about six or seven years before I finally got my hands on a copy of Volume 3!!!)

Click here: Bob Stroud's Rock N' Roll Roots Volume 4: Various Artists: Music

And, for a GREAT interview with Bob Stroud, check out THIS piece:
Click here: Chicago Radio Spotlight: Bob Stroud


Congratulations to Bob Stroud ... "Rock And Roll Roots" may have made a few moves around the radio dial over the past thirty years, but the quality, format and integrity of the show really hasn't changed at all ... and we've stayed with you every step of the way. It's a long-standing institution of Chicago Radio and Bob Stroud has done a remarkable job over the past thirty years, keeping this great music alive. We salute you! (kk)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Latest Radio Rave-Out!

Got this posting from Sean Ross' "Ross On Radio" column last week about the brand new Chicago Radio Online Channel ... just in time for Christmas!

It's five days before Halloween and radio’s Christmas season is here. On the heels of WSMM (102.3 The Stream) South Bend, Ind., launching an all-holiday music format, Accu-Radio has unveiled its Chicago Christmas Channel, part of its rapidly expanding Chicago Radio Online suite of channels. Still officially in beta testing, Chicago Radio Online has been lining up veteran Chicago radio personalities in recent weeks to host a variety of Accu-Radio formats.
The Chicago Christmas Channel is hosted and programmed by veteran WLS Chicago DJ and longtime PD Tommy Edwards. It’s always good to have Edwards back and so far the only issue is that there wasn’t enough of him; something that will likely change as the channel ramps up. On the first morning, at least, Edwards made only a few appearances in an hour’s time — once in an opening break and perhaps once as the unnamed voice on a subsequent liner. For the most part, the liners between the songs emphasized “the great holiday songs without all the commercials.”
Musically, the Chicago Christmas Channel is described as a mix of Accu-Radio’s multiple holiday channels. The 90 minutes or so that we listened to mostly overlap with the all-holiday format as done by AC radio for the last decade or so, but with a few treats and alternate versions that provide a nice point of differentiation (along with the spotload).

Here’s Accu-Radio’s Chicago Christmas Channel as streamed Monday morning (10/25):
Michael McDonald, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Darlene Love, “All Alone On Christmas”
Eagles, “Please Come Home For Christmas”
Harry Connick, “Sleigh Ride”
Dean Martin, “Blue Christmas”
Lou Rawls, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
Burl Ives, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”
Jose Feliciano, “Feliz Navidad”
Jackson Five, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Ronettes, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
Nat King Cole, “Joy To The World”
Ella Fitzgerald, “The Christmas Song”
Carla Thomas, “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas”
Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”
Johnny Mathis, “Jingle Bells”
Chipmunks featuring Canned Heat, “Christmas Don’t Be Late”
Natalie Cole, “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot”
Chicago, “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”
Bobby Helms, “Jingle Bell Rock”
Bruce Springsteen, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

And coming in Thursday’s Ross On Radio, the 100 most-played holiday songs of 2009 as monitored by Nielsen BDSRadio. Hint: the top 10 includes three of the songs above.
Sean Ross / Ross On Radio

Ironically, Larry Neal (The Wax Museum) sent me a note just a few days earlier regarding how Christmas Music seems to start earlier and earlier each year ... now it's kicking off even before Halloween!!! Of course, this got me off and running on a whole 'nother topic ... one of my radio programming pet peeves ...

Kent ...
You recently got into the subject of Christmas music. Here in OKC, back in the late fifties-sixties, Christmas music would not be heard on radio stations until about ten days to two weeks after Thanksgiving. For years now, stations here start playing Christmas music at one minute past midnight on the day after Thanksgiving. To me it is just like department stores getting out their Christmas items to sale before Thanksgiving is here. Would you believe that just a week ago I drove by a house here in the city area and they had their Christmas decorations already up on their front porch as well as their front yard. Did I forget to mention that Halloween hasn't even gotten here yet?!?
Some times I do wish that Grandma would get run over by a reindeer.
One final Christmas item: I always did like Ray Steven's 1962 Mercury tune SANTA CLAUS IS WATCHING YOU better than his remake of many years later.


Here in Chicago, it apparently now starts in OCTOBER!!!
And, incredibly, the radio station that typically goes "All Christmas" 24 / 7
(WLIT, The Lite) sees a HUGE increase in ratings each time they do it!!! Unreal! (Check out the article above to see that we've already got a COUPLE more stations now jumping on the Christmas Music bandwagon!)

For me, two weeks of Christmas music is enough ... I take that back ... devote the Day After Thanksgiving to Christmas Music to get people in the mood ... this is typically the biggest shopping day of the year ... then scale it back a bit ... say one song every couple of hours for the next two weeks ... increased to one song per hour for the next week ... then maybe one every half hour and fill Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with non-stop Christmas music to give the radio folks time to spend with their families ... and then put it away for another year.

On a related note (and we've covered this a couple of times before in Forgotten Hits) ... isn't it interesting how, at Christmas Time, ALL genres of music are played side by side and nobody thinks ANYTHING of it ... all of a sudden it's perfectly ok ... down right COOL, in fact ... to mix Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis in with John Lennon, David Bowie and Mariah Carey Christmas music ... and it ALL fits ... and it all sounds perfectly fine ... NATURAL, in fact!
We've been working on this topic for a while ... but apparently nobody working IN radio quite gets it!

Another prime example is the television series "Glee" ... where nearly every week they pick a contemporary recent hit (or two), mix it in with a '70's or '80's classic rock tune or power ballad (done "Glee-style") and maybe even throw in a Show Tune from yesteryear ... once in a while even a vintage '50's or '60's song makes the cut ... PROVING again that this music absolutely CAN co-exist side by side, just like it did in the glory days of Top 40 Radio ... WITHOUT causing brain hemorrhages, seizures or musical melt-downs! (Whodathunk?!?!?)

Colorado Disc Jockey Mason Ramsey has been pushing (and featuring) his "Music Of The Ages" format for years now on ... you're likely to hear songs from the '40's, '50's, '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's and today played side-by-side on a regular basis ... with NO excuses or explanations ... simply because the music FITS and feels right. A good song is a good song ... but radio has gone out of its way to segregate each and every format and then completely SATURATE their audience by playing the same 200 or 300 songs over and over and over and over again ad nauseam ... to the point that we now turn off some of our all-time favorite songs because we're simply sick of hearing them. Variety is COMPLETELY missing on today's radio dial ... far too often, even teasers like "you'll never know WHAT we're going to play next" simply means "the same frickin' song we played about four hours ago"!!!

Sorry to get up on my soap box again but if I ever DO win the lottery and end up with an extra $50 Million in "carrying cash", the very first thing I'm going to do is take Mason's format, refine it and then launch it nationwide ... and prove once and for all that ALL of this music makes up the soundtrack of our lives ... because we've all been exposed to ... and lived through ... ALL of it. Doesn't matter if WE bought it ... or our parents bought it ... or our kids are buying it now ... it is PART of us ... and I find it downright INSULTING that day after day radio continues to tell us what THEY think we REALLY want to hear rather than face this reality. (kk)
I couldn't agree with you more on this topic of Christmas music being played or maybe not played on radio stations. In the late fifties - early sixties here in OKC for a period of about 4-5 years, the local top 40 radio station would put out a weekly Christmas survey along with their regular weekly top 40 survey beginning around the second week in December. This would be composed of some 40 Christmas singles out at the time with some albums listed at the bottom of the survey. Undoubtedly my all time favorite Christmas song is the Ronettes' version of SLEIGH RIDE, which came out on the Phil Spector produced album A Christmas Gift For You in December of 1963. In fact, it was either in the Summer of this year or the Summer of last year, that I got that album out here at home and played that song here at my house. For one night in July for about two and a half minutes it was Christmas my den.

LOL ... I used to do a "Christmas In July" night every year ... dig out an hour's worth of Christmas music and play it on one of the hottest nights of the year! (kk)

As for the most popular Christmas songs of the last ten years ... based on actual AIRPLAY ... here's a copy of that list mentioned earlier by Sean Ross of "Ross On Radio" ... (We've listed the Official Top 20 ... and no, "Lonely Christmas" did NOT make the list ... but then again neither did The Chipmunks!!!):

For the COMPLETE list of The Top 100 Christmas Songs of the Past Ten Years, go here:
Click here: Programming : Programming & Music : AC's 100 Most Played Holiday Songs

1. A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
(Wow! I NEVER would have guessed this one to be #1 ... I mean, sure, they play it a lot ... but the #1 Most-Played Christmas Song of the Past Ten Years?!?!? Not by MY calculations ... but the stats don't lie!)

2. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

3. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
(We hear LOTS of Andy Williams music at Christmas time ... and we LOVE it ... but good luck hearing ANYTHING else by this guy during the rest of the year! Odds are you won't hear ONE of his 27 Top 40 Hits all year long!)

4. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms

5. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole

6. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
(A modern-day classic to be sure ... and it's great to see 50+ year old Christmas tunes holding their own on this chart ... but where are The Chipmunks?!?!?)

7. Happy X-Mas (War Is Over) – John Lennon
(In the Lennon - McCartney Christmas Play-Off, John Lennon beats Paul McCartney by five positions.)

8. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
(The biggest selling Christmas Song ... and single ... of all-time is now down to #8 on the official Christmas Most-Played List ... hard to believe!)

9. Jingle Bell Rock – Daryl Hall and John Oates
(It's a GREAT version .. but I'm surprised to see it in The Top Ten!)

10. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
(Without question, the one that I hear the most each year! It IS a Christmas Classic ... and I love it ... and, truthfully, it sounds great the first 50 or 60 times you hear it ... but it gets kinda boring after that!)

11. Do They Know It's Christmas? – Band Aid

12. Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
(There's Sir Paul!)

13. Please Come Home For Christmas – Eagles
(One of my personal favorites ... and one I hear a lot ... surprised to see it this low on the list)

14. Last Christmas – Wham!

15. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry
(More proof that the times they are a-changin' ... an old school classic that has ALWAYS been at or near the top of the list ... down to #15 in the past decade.)

16. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Johnny Mathis

17. Merry Christmas Darling – Carpenters

18. Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson

19. Christmas Canon – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
(I'm not even sure I know this one!!! #19?!?!?)

20. Winter Wonderland – Eurythmics

Good afternoon, Kent,
Here's a story that will warm your heart -- and those of most, if not all -- of your Forgotten Hits readers. The great 'classics' of the 50's are alive and well with today's youth -- at least in Middle Tennessee.
This past Friday I had the pleasure of speaking to approximately 250 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Page Middle School in Franklin, TN -- approximately 25 miles southeast of downtown Nashville. My daughter, Taylor, is a 6th grader there and two of her teachers -- band and chorus -- invited me to speak to their classes about the development of the music industry since the introduction of the Edison 'phonograph' in 1877, and Nashville's contributions over the past 85 years -- since the debut of the Grand Ole' Opry in 1925.
I brought in various music tracks -- along with an Edison cylinder disc, 78 and 45 RPM records, an early 40's album (soundtrack to the 1942 movie, "Holiday Inn," which introduced the song that would go on to become the biggest selling 'single' of all-time, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas").
The compilation I played for them included various 'hit' songs / records spanning 105 years, from the 1905 #1, "Wait Til' The Sunshine's, Nellie," to a #1 song from 2010, "Need You Now," by Lady Antebellum. However, it was the 'hits' between those years that the kids really got into:
1941 / 42's Andrews Sisters classic -- and WW 2 moral booster -- "Bugle Boy Of Company B,"
1958's Danleers doo-wop single "One Summer Night,"
1959's Everly Brothers classic, "Let It Be Me,"
1963's Beach Boys hit, "Surfer Girl,"
1964's first Beatles #1, "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
But the two that went over the absolute best -- and that a number of students sang along to word for word -- were The Chordettes' 1954 classic, "Mr. Sandman," and The McGuire Sisters 1957 hit "Sugartime." Those two songs had the kids dancing and enthusiastically singing along.
Kinda does your heart good -- to say nothing of restoring your faith in today's youth!
Fred Vail
Treasure Isle
"Music City, USA"

I've been saying it for YEARS now ... if we just give some of this music a chance, it WILL get a response from the younger generation. There's a whole untapped demographic out there that's being COMPLETELY ignored today by radio big-wigs who THINK they know what we really want when, in fact, they haven't got a clue! (And dee jays who are afraid to push the envelope should consider this ... where do you think your next audience is going to come from if you don't start introducing them to it now?!?!?)

Perhaps the better question should be "Why WOULDN'T they love this music?!?!?" WE all certainly did ... and it captured our hearts at an age when we were most likely to be influenced by the sounds happening around us.

We all grew up LOVING this music ... and we still do ... clearly, it has timeless appeal ... and there is something about "Mr. Sandman" that truly is ageless ... I've seen the last three generations respond positively to this one. (In fact, here's one of my favorite recent videos ... two young teen-age girls lip-syncing to this one ... just TRY to watch this without cracking up!!!)
Click here: YouTube - Mr. Sandman

ANOTHER favorite seems to be "Papa Loves Mambo" by Perry Como (of all people!!!) "C'mon A-My House" by Rosemary Clooney, too ... "Memories Are Made Of This" by Dean Martin ... if radio would simply put some of these tunes back into rotation once in a while, a whole new audience would have the chance to discover them. HUGE artists like Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers and SO many others from the early rock era are barely recognized for their contribution to music anymore. (I know, I know, we've done our soap box thing to death over the past twelve years ... but I haven't done one for a while and it's HARD keeping all this emotion pent up inside of me!!! lol)

Need some convincing? The other day Scott Shannon devoted the better part of a day to TV Themes ... and got an INCREDIBLE reaction. The listeners absolutely LOVED it and responded in kind!!!


Because people were FINALLY hearing something out of the ordinary ... something that wasn't being force-fed down their throats 24/7 ... it actually MADE you want to keep listening because (for a change!) you really DIDN'T know what song might be coming up next!!! And you didn't want to miss a thing, just in case!!! Appointment Radio ... not what the know-it-all consultants well tell you ... they say the average attention span of the radio audience is about 18 minutes ... put something on worth listening to and we'll stay tuned in all day long!!! (Guess such a simple solution would never cross these high-paid minds!)
Let's face it ... after 40-50+ years, we already KNOW all of these songs ... sure, we like 'em ... and that's why we tune in ... but the truth is you can hear them ANYWHERE, anytime ... virtually ANYWHERE on the dial ... 'cause everybody's playing the same stuff. We tune in now to be entertained ... the moments in between the songs has become every bit as important as the music itself ... the little tidbits about the songs and artists, any added bonus to the day in, day out, same old / same old broadcasting. To a degree, we almost tune out the music ... it's become THAT familiar. How many times a day do you find yourself completely zoned out to where whatever's playing is simply background noise? What perks us up THESE days is that "something different" ... listening to what the deejay is actually saying or the shock in hearing one of those "Wow Factor" songs that makes you whisper to yourself "Wow, I haven't heard THAT one in ages!!!" or "Wow, I can't believe they played THAT!!!" THIS is why altering the playlist has become such a HUGE factor ... 'cause the rest of the time you may as well be on auto-pilot or in zombie-mode.

You want MORE proof? A day or two before that, Scott Shannon played the #1 Song On This Date, 40 Years Ago Today ... it was "I'll Be There" by The Jackson Five, which topped the charts back in 1970. Now I listened to an AWFUL lot of radio in 1970 ... and I don't remember anybody EVER featuring The #1 Song from 40 years ago back then!!! Nobody would have thought to play the #1 Song from November 3rd, 1930 ... it would have held no interest or appeal. This is probably true of the majority of the music from the 1920's, 1930's and 1940's ... but it is NOT the case of the music of the rock era. The music of the '50's, '60's, '70's and '80's still generates a positive response ... we WANT to hear it again because it is PART of us ... we can RELATE.

Now of course there are exceptions to every rule ... not EVERY song is going to sound as fresh ... and some of this music truly does sound dated by today's recording standards ... just like a few songs from decades gone by will sometimes catch a whole new audience. (Case in point: your "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" example ... a song that hadn't gotten a bit of notice since the 1940's when The Andrews Sisters first did it, but became a HUGE, break-through hit for Bette Midler in 1973 when she revitalized things by showing us a "whole new sound" ... despite the fact that it was, in actuality, a 30 year OLD sound!!! Christina Aguilera kept that legacy alive when she NAILED that sound again a few years ago with her "Candyman" hit.)
Click here: YouTube - Christina Aguilera - Candyman
(How 'bout that?!?!! We just covered SIXTY years of music ... and nobody died!!!)

The plain and simple fact is that you put this theory to the test the other day and saw the results and reaction first hand ... forget all these know-it-all consultants telling us what THEY think we want to hear ... go out there and measure a REAL audience and THEN make that call. (kk)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ding! Dong! (Looks Like We Rang A Few Bells With THIS One!!!)

Got a few emails after our piece on The Fifth Estate ran a week or two ago ... here are a few more goodies!

Hey Kent
I saw your recent piece on The Fifth Estate and really enjoyed it.
I saw The Fifth Estate on a Gene Pitney tour with The Buckinghams and The Easybeats ... Great show!
My friend in Portland Kevin owns the harpsichord that was used on "Ding Dong".
He bought it from one of the band members years ago. When Kevin got the Harpsichord he also got a cassette tape of some unreleased songs I made into a cd.

We covered The Buckinghams / Fifth Estate / Easybeats / Gene Pitney tour quite some time ago ... cool to have this vintage program from the show. Here's another picture sent into us way back when, showing most of the artists who participated! (kk)

A special shout-out to the 5th Estate whom I have always loved.
I have fairly decent vinyl copies of "Heigh Ho" (in which they use similar baroque-style classical flute for the instrumental part), "The Goofin' Song" and "Coney Island Sally" (which I discovered years after they recorded it). Now that I've told the late Alan Gordon what a delightful tune "Coney Island Sally" is IMO, I may as well tell the talented guys who took it upon themselves to record it!!! Should have been a big hit!!! BTW Alan had to strain his memory, but he actually e-mailed me Bonner's complete lyrics so I can sing along when I listen -- thanks so much guys
-- Bob Rashkow

That was fascinating stuff ... who would have thunk that parts of that tune came from 1612! That just blows me away. The only damn thing is now I have that flute part going thru my head non stop ... it won't go away!!!!!
Wild Bill
lol ... yep, that's our specialty ... EARWORMS that'll drive you crazy all day long!!! (lol) kk

Speaking of classical music sneaking into rock & roll, Eric Carmen incorporated Rachmaninov's piano concerto into "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again". Also classical made a cameo in "Joy" by Apollo 100, "All By Myself" again by Eric Carmen and Miguel Rios' "song of Joy" to list a few. Dube
And let's not forget "A Lover's Concerto" by The Toys! Yep, there've been quite a few of them ... in fact, we just recently featured the rare track "1969" by Ross Hannaman, whose melody revolved around Fur Elise!!! To quote long-time FH Reader, Mister Hil, "Gotta love the world of music!" (kk)

>>>Many, many years ago I saw a movie with my ex-wife ... I'm not 100% certain, but it may have been "The Big Chill" ... and in the movie, they played a song at somebody's funeral ... (which means that if it WAS "The Big Chill", the song would have been "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones) ... anyway, my ex-wife was SO moved by the scene that she asked me "When I die, what song are you going to play at MY funeral" ... to which I responded ... without one second's hesitation ... "I dunno ... "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead?!?!?!?" Absolutely a 100% true story!!! lol (kk)

Wow, Kent, that was The Big Chill, with the church organ lead that goes into the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Here's the link:
Every woman I know loved that movie. Just now, when I was locating the link for your readers, I teared up, again, at that scene's opening chords for the Stones' classic hit (and I haven't seen the movie since the '80's!)
Oh, and regarding "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead," an inordinate amount of guys loved to belt out that song when it was popular! What gives with that???

What a funny story about Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. And now she's your ex-wife ... shocking!
I am the second oldest of seven and when I would get into trouble with my Mom I would sing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead under my breath. One time she heard me and she said, "Oh no I'm not, Stacee, I'm very much alive and my hearing is too."

Regarding that clip I sent of "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" ... this is not an out-take; this is what was recorded as a Demo in a basement!!
Sounds like it was a bet at some party ... that you could turn any tune into a hit ... and that is what was accomplished! The hit, with some minor difference, is nearly identical to the basement recorded Demo. Impressive!!

Thanks, Kent!!

>>>John, you're truly cool for having dug that deep ... and our new Time Tunnel album is free to you. (Ken Furvus Evans)
>>>See, John, we don't just save the give-aways for our female readers!!! lol (John joked a while back that Stacee, who won the autographed Tygers CD and LP after her email ran on The Forgotten Hits Web Page, had perhaps received some preferential treatment ... but with Ken Evans giving John a free Fifth Estate CD due to his astute observations regarding their early demo recordings, I'd have to say we've evened the score!) kk
So very happy for you, John, but the score will never be even ... LOL

You're too much there, Kent man.
We don't know how you do it!?!?
And John, don't worry - you were getting one whether you wanted one or not!!!
(Kent sent me your email address so that I'll know it's really you ... AND it's a good thing he mentioned it because we got 10 requests this morning alone and two of them were from Jacks so I was wondering if any of these was the John in question?? I should go check that other site I have to see if there are more there tonight!)

You know Kent what is really cool about you doing this newsletter -
I mean besides that you're such a great guy and put such incredible effort into FH -
to me and the band it feels really really a lot like when we were playing in the Village and The Blues Project was in one club, the Velvet Underground was in another, The Byrds were in another, The Fugs were in another and we The 5E were in another.
There was a certain undergroundness yet within striking distance for any who cared of big time rock and roll there then.
THAT is how FH feels to us right now -
although of course instead of being in a club with a limited audience you are on the internet - with truly an unlimited worldwide audience.
I don't know what to make of that - except this all feels so much like 63/64 here again where a lot of the radio and TV DJs were just people like you and possibly us who just plain old liked a certain type of music - which early on at least seemed to have a certain positive effect on the public and they just liked it and did it - no matter what!!
Doesn't make sense?? But probably the less sense it all makes the more fun it is - don't you think?
AND the more the people really NEED it!
Can't thank you enough ...
So, thanks - more than tons -
I think what makes this all work is the fact that we ALL share a deep love for this music and this era ... and we've got no hidden agenda ... we REALLY enjoy sharing these stories with fans just like us ... 'cause first and foremost we will ALWAYS be fans first and foremost. (Talk about not making sense!!! lol) Anyway, I'm happy to do it and thank you for your participation ... that's what helps to make Forgotten Hits so unique. And hey, we ALL want the same result in the end ... just to preserve this music for future generations to come (and anybody else who might have missed some of it along the way!) kk

In our earlier piece, Furvus mentioned that The Fifth Estate had recorded "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" in several foreign languages, too! A bit unusual by this point as typically, by 1967, a worldwide hit was sung in its native language only ... or, at most, translated into ONE foreign language.

Ironically, Jersey John questioned the same thing when he came across an Italian snippet ... so we asked Fifth Estate Drummer Kenneth Michael Evans to enlighten us.

Here's what we got:

Maybe you can get that fine Fifth Estate drummer, Ken, to comment on this Italian Witch!!! Like, whose idea was it to sing an Italian version; any success in Italy?; was there someone to help with the translation?; was it sung in other languages?; are these Wayne's actual vocals, etc.?!! I altered the sound to make it more presentable.
Thank you, Mr. Kent!!!
Jersey John

Well, John, they didn't just record an Italian version ... The Fifth Estate recorded several
different foreign language versions of "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" ... so, taking your lead, we asked Furv:

FORGOTTEN HITS: How many languages did you do in all?
KEN "FURVUS" EVANS: We did it in Italian, German, French, English (of course), and the coolest of all - Japanese!! (People should all maybe hear that one at least once in a lifetime - I understand it's a life changing experience for some!!)

FH: Whose idea was it do to this? (Most artists by this time were just releasing their English versions in foreign countries!)
KE: We never took the easy - or most obvious - way out!! That just was never interesting enough to keep us pumped or alive during the early British invasion days.
So we knew the Beatles had released some of their tunes in German and we knew Brian Epstein had interest in signing us and we thought that language thing was really pretty cool. It was or at least seemed a sort of respect for the language of others to release songs in the other person's language. We though that was cool and we didn't miss the idea that maybe a few other listeners could get into what we did that way as well. So all in the band wanted to do this. Plus at that early stage we were always conscious of trying to keep up with what The Beatles were doing, as they were more than setting the pace at that point. So here we decided to two or three-up them and do FIVE languages. I am not really sure how many languages The Beatles recorded in ultimately, but at the point, where we were doing this in '67, we only knew of their German versions.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: For the record, The Beatles only recorded TWO of their songs in German ... "I Want To Hold Your Hand" became "Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand" and "She Loves You" became "Sie Liebt Dich" ... after their early days honing their craft in Hamburg, Germany, I guess they felt it was the least they could do! lol They didn't do ANY other foreign language recordings ... but this was inspiration enough for me ... well, that and the fact that I had a German Grandmother ... to take German as my second language in High School! --kk)

FH: Who translated these for you? And did you just perform these phonetically? What kind of coaching was involved? How long did it take to re-do the hit so many different ways?
And was that actually Wayne singing on all these versions?
KE: We all knew smatterings of these languages, except Japanese, either from grandparents or school. But - when we started, it wasn't so easy as we thought, and some of our apparently rather "loose" translations from the very little we knew turned out to be hilariously incorrect when we finally brought in a couple of translators and coaches from the Berlitz School of Languages in NYC who actually knew what the heck they were doing.
We were a little hesitant to ask such a place to do such a thing, because if you think about it even a little bit, it was just such a totally bizarre thing to do! BUT - We liked that!
It was a good thing we brought them in because some of our translations and pronunciations were so incorrect that we probably would have offended about half the people in the world if it had gone down that way.
This, in fact, was one of the more difficult things we ever attempted, or maybe any rock and roll band ever attempted?? Fortunately though, with Wayne being the lead singer on that one, most of this fell on him.
The Berlitz folks just fell in love with Wayne's personality, immense sense of humor and huge talent and abilities and, as usual, he handled what really wasn't easy just fine AND all while the clock was ticking and the time running up in the studio. As usual the whole thing turned into what else? - that's right - A PARTY!
The Berlitz folks found it a complete gas to be included on something like this and they did a great job on the translations and for the most part they phonetically coached Wayne right in the studio. He would just keep doing takes until they said he had nailed it. Not really easy to do while the rest of us were running around there partying and laughing at all his mistakes. Although he was really surprisingly quick anyway for such a thing, about two full nights of studio time, but he had studied the translations at home first. Wayne did know a lot of Italian as his mom was, but on the others he had no clue originally. AND although Ricky and I knew some French from school and Bill Shute's parents were French Canadian, and Doug (Duke as we called him) had some German in his background, our input was really useless. Sitting there laughing our heads off at Wayne's mistakes turned out to be our primary input. So that was AND IS Wayne singing on all those versions.
One other sort of interesting thing on all this is that the background Ooh La La La's, which were sung by Doug and Ricky on the original, were all left the same on these EXCEPT!!?? on the Japanese version, as I recall!!?? At least the story in the band has it so, as we have never heard it since it was recorded. Apparently, on the Japanese version (and I hope this doesn't offend anyone today - it was really only intended to be humorous at the time), instead of those Ooh La La La's, Doug and Ricky sang Ooh Ra Ra Ra's. Oh my? I don't know whether to blame that on them or the Berlitz translators. I think I'll blame it on those crazy Berlitz folks - yeah. They kind of got into that crazy party mooood as things went on there. But it went over in Japan apparently.

FH: Finally, did any of these foreign versions become big hits?
KE: As I said it didn't seem to offend those in Japan at the time. They rather liked it, as I believe this was the only other country where the foreign language version charted.
The English version charted in many countries and was out on EMI and Parlophone in England and Europe, although only on a large independent Jubilee here in America.
I love the Japanese culture and how much they loved and STILL love rock and roll, much more than most other countries including America, especially including America at the moment.

Although we are about to test that out shortly with our new non-nostalgic, latest and greatest 60s rock and roll album ever recorded, at least Shel Talmy who made The Kinks, The Who and David Bowie famous already thinks so. Well it will at least be the latest - that's for sure.
To us, the worst thing about any of these releases is that we the band don't even have copies of any of these, except the Italian version which one of the Forgotten Hits readers was kind enough to send us a couple of years ago. A number of the collectors who read FH have been helpful in any number of ways to us and we do really appreciate that more than I can say right here. The unfortunate state of affairs with many of the American record companies we worked with at the time have kept a lot of these releases from getting more current re-releases. Wouldn't it just be great if some of these just cooperated and made things available again!!?? Well I must be crazy to even think such a thing, this is "the Music Biz" after all, much of which I love obviously, but not this part. I must be looking for a PERFECT WORLD or something, and the only one like that we are ever going to find will be on our new TIME TUNNEL album. So for now and for me anyway our new album is as close as we are going to get to all that I guess.
More info and many tunes available at:
(site still under construction and in a state of perpetual change)
Thanks, Kent, for such a cool idea!
Kent Man - you're such a groove!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Kent -
I loved the Monkees post. I guess that isn't news to you as you know I am a Monkees fan.
Yes, there was a single that Kirshner put out with Davy called My Favorite Monkee Sings.
I don't have it but I have seen it. I read that the reason he titled it that way was that, unlike the other three, Davy was always willing to go into the studio to sing anything for Kirshner.
I am not surprised to read that he may have wanted to give Davy a chance for a solo career.
Just an FYI.

A week or two ago we ran the "early" Don Kirshner-endorsed version of "She Hangs Out" by The Monkees. While I knew that this actually made its way to Canadian release as a single (Colgems 1003) before it was pulled from the market (thanks to a lawsuit filed by The Monkees that ultimately got Kirshner fired, despite the fact that he had spear-headed their career and virtually overnight made them the hottest recording act on the planet!), I hadn't heard that an unauthorized version of the song was ALSO pressed as a single under the vanity-heading of "Davy Jones Presents" / "My Favorite Monkee Sings". Despite EXTENSIVE research into this issue, I have yet to turn up a single shred of proof that this is the case ... no photos, no documentation ... NOTHING!

But Kirshner DID help Davy promote his own label for a brief time in early 1967. (All indications I found showed a total of FOUR releases before they closed up shop ... all singles ... and NONE of them by Davy Jones himself!)

Noted Monkees Historian Andrew Sandoval documents the launch of Davy's label (through various Billboard Magazine press releases) in his EXCELLENT "The Monkees: Day By Day" book ... and goes so far (in the liner notes for the Rhino CD "Missing Links, Volume 3", which features the early Jeff Barry-produced version of "She Hangs Out" that ended up on the Canadian B-Side single in question) to claim that "She Hangs Out" ALSO 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. The label was short-lived and, 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)

Since I personally wasn't really familiar enough with the lifespan of the label (and was unsuccessful finding ANYTHING that would substantiate Sandoval's claim), I contacted Jerry Osborne, "Mr. Music" Himself, to see if HE could shed any light on this obscure "Davy Jones Presents" record label. Coincidentally, he had ALSO been working on a reader's inquiry on this very subject ... and had already started a research folder into the history of the label! (In fact, you'll find this piece is the subject matter of Jerry's "Mr. Music" column this week, syndicated and running in newspapers all over the country as well as on his website):
Click here: "MR. MUSIC"

It sounds like they only had four releases ... and Jerry says that NONE of them were actually by Davy Jones himself. (He, too, found nothing that would indicate that Don Kirshner pressed a single of The Monkees' early version of "She Hangs Out" and released it as what would have appeared to be a Davy Jones solo record.) As far as I've ever known, "She Hangs Out" ONLY came out as a B-Side single in Canada ... and then it was quickly pulled from the market, making it an INSTANT collectible in the process. (In our earlier article on this topic, we ran photos of the EXTREMELY rare picture sleeve that accompanied this release in Canada, thanks to FH Reader Clark Besch ... they appear again below ... along with what will make up Jerry's "Mr. Music" Column on this subject, originally sent to us in advance of publication (but held until today due to our own scheduling snafus!) kk

My late brother was a teenager in the 1960s, and among his things are many records from those days. Most are plainly marked and obvious as to what they are, except for one mysterious item, a picture sleeve with no record inside.
This plain white paper sleeve has a pencil drawing, credited to Ted Sully, of Davy Jones. This is the same young man who was a member of the Monkees. The only other print reads “Davy Jones Presents” (presents what, we're not told), and “Davy Jones Record Co., New York & Beverly Hills.”
My online searches for “Davy Jones and Ted Sully” came up with nothing.
Since no mention is made of anyone else, I assume this sleeve was originally accompanied by a Davy Jones recording, unless Mr. Sully is also a recording artist, which I doubt.
If not Davy, which record belongs to this sleeve?
-- Pauline Mason,
Santa Ana, Calif.

Can't say exactly which, but we are certain it is one of four.
We know this because the entire record output of the Davy Jones Presents series numbers four singles, all packaged in the exact same nameless picture sleeve.
The short-lived Davy Jones Presents vanity label came and went in the summer of 1967, perhaps in part because being a Monkee at the peak of their popularity left Davy little time for anything other than Monkee business.
The fledgling label's executive vice-president was industry veteran, Jack Angel, co-founder of the Herald label. Among his more successful Herald artists are: Mello-Kings (“Tonite, Tonite”); Nutmegs (“Story Untold”); Faye Adams (“Shake a Hand”); Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs (“Stay”); and Turbans (“When You Dance”).
Staying with what he knew best, in one of the company's first press releases, Angel says: “We're sticking to R&B-oriented and Pop-R&B music, mostly by newly-discovered talent.”
That the company made only generic picture sleeves probably indicates they printed the sleeves before they knew the artists and titles of their eventual contents.
The same Ted Sully drawing of Davy, and text you see on the sleeve, is also used as the company logo on the record labels -- peculiar because Jones is not heard on the songs, and there are no images of those who are.
As a tie-in when launching their new label, 50 of the nation's top radio stations ran a “Weekend with Davy Jones” contest, with listeners submitting their responses to “Why Davy Jones is Your Favorite Monkee.”
The 50 winners, one from each radio market, were treated to dinner and a recording session with Davy Jones in Los Angeles, and other fun stuff. Each teen winner was accompanied by the parent or guardian of their choice.
Here then is the complete Davy Jones Presents discography:
Davy Jones Presents 661: “Gypsy Girl” / “Girl”
(Vinnie Basile)
Davy Jones Presents 662: “Fly Superman Fly” / “Have You Been Dreaming” (Randy Johnson)
Davy Jones Presents 663: “White House Happening” / “President Johnson” (Dickie Goodman)
Davy Jones Presents 664: “
Back to the Beach” / “Too Proud to Let You Know” (Relations)
-- Jerry Osborne
IZ ZAT SO?: Davy Jones, the first member chosen to be a Monkee, must have liked “Gypsy Girl,” an obscure 1966 release by the Staccatos (Syncro 661).
One of the first moves by Davy Jones Presents was to reissue both sides of the Syncro single on their label, and to use its selection number (661) as a starting point for his company's numbering.
Rather than credit the Staccatos, the DJP single is shown as by Vinnie Basile, the featured vocalist of the Staccatos.
-- Jerry Osborne

I did read that, after the fourth single had been released, Jones sued his label partners and manager ... something about misappropriations of royalties and funds (or something to that effect) ... and the singles (which never sold well and never charted) ARE pretty scarce ... ESPECIALLY with the Davy Jones picture sleeve!

Here are two other web postings I found on this topic:

OK, here's a real interesting 45, not only because it's on the famous "Davy Jones Records" label, but because there might be some confusion about who this actually is.
This 45 originally was released on the Syncro label (from who knows where) credited to The Staccatos. Garage aficionados know about The Staccatos from Ottawa, ON, a very popular Canadian group, but this one is not listed in their discography, or on any of their reissues.
So my guess is that there was another "Staccatos", and were eventually picked up by the "famous" Davy Jones and re-released on his label as "Vinnie Basile" who was probably the lead vocalist. All this is speculation on my part though.

As explained by Jerry Osborne above, Basile was the lead vocalist OF The Staccatos ... why they picked THIS track as their first release is anybody's guess (unless, as Jerry speculates, Davy just REALLY happened to love this song!) Being a long-time Dickie Goodman collector, I can say that his Davy Jones Presents release, "White House Happening", alluded me for AGES before I finally snagged a copy. Like I said, NONE of these records sold particularly well. (kk)

And, finally, we found a Wikipedia entry (which references the Eric Lefcowitz book "The Monkees Tale" which, we told you a few weeks ago, is coming back into print later this month in a completely revised edition).

Wikipedia states (using the book "The Monkees Tale" by Eric Lefcowitz along with the liner notes to the Rhino "Monkees Greatest Hits" CD) that Don Kirshner pressed a number of promo copies of what HE thought was going to be the new Monkees' single, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" backed with the early "R & B Version" of "She Hangs Out" on his own label, boldly named label "My Favorite Monkee - Davy Jones Sings" ... yet despite extensive searches on the web, I just can't seem to find a copy to share with you. Anybody got one?

According to another Monkees website I found, Kirshner pressed his "promo" copies of the "My Favorite Monkee - Davy Jones Sings" "She Hangs Out" single AFTER he was dismissed as The Monkees' Musical Director. (A retaliation move perhaps???) Kirshner was fired for releasing this single in Canada after a new contract negotiation stipulated that EVERYTHING The Monkees did from this point forward had to contain a minimum of 50% Monkees involvement production-wise. As such, The Pre-Fab Four wanted to release "The Girl I Knew Somewhere", a song written by Michael Nesmith and sung by Micky Dolenz as their new B-Side, which is the way this single came out everywhere else in the world. Truth is, it was also the better of the two recordings and ultimately charted on its own at #39 in Billboard Magazine.

According to Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval, cases of Jones' "My Favorite Monkee Sings" 45's were later found unsold, stashed in the basement of the Kirshner residence ... so how come NOBODY seems to have a copy?!?!? (kk)
EDITOR'S NOTE: All of our efforts to contact Andrew Sandoval have so far gone unanswered (ignored???) My hope was that he may have since come upon additional information in this regard ... or, perhaps had some "photo evidence" that we could share with our readers. If we DO hear back from him, we'll be sure to let you know! (kk)
BY THE WAY: Davy's allegiance to Don Kirshner caused a bit of dissension within the group ... and to this day is still a point of contention between the former Pre-Fab Four. While Michael and Peter had long been pushing for complete creative control, (they, after all, were the real musicians in the band), Davy believed (and, in hindsight, perhaps rightfully so) that Kirshner was responsible for The Monkees' success and, from the sounds of things, would have done anything to simply leave well enough alone. Also in hindsight, one cannot help but wonder why Davy didn't go back to Kirshner after the dissolution of The Monkees to jump-start his solo career, something it appears Kirshner had been grooming him for all along! (Perhaps by this point, too much damage had already been done.) By the same token, might their television series have lasted another season or two longer if Donnie Kirshner were still at the helm of thing musically? We'll never know ... but the show has stayed in syndication for the past 45 years and the music has attracted new generations of fans (pardon my pun) Every Step Of The Way ever since. Rumors of a 45th Anniversary Tour are spreading and, other than Mike (who always seems reluctant to rehash his past), all parties have said that they wouldn't rule out anything as long as the arrangements can be worked out to everyone's satisfaction. Who knows ... very soon they may be coming ... walking down the street ... getting the funniest looks from ... oh well, you get the idea! (kk)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Of Your Peter Noone / Micky Dolenz Concert Comments

Toldja we were running behind!!!

After our concert review ran last week, we received a number of new comments regarding The Star Plaza Show, Peter Noone and Micky Dolenz.

In fact, this piece was originally supposed to run LAST Tuesday!!!

(Heck, at THAT point, The World Series hadn't even STARTED yet ... and now it's already over!!!)

Congratulations to The San Francisco Giants and any of their fans that may be on our list. We have friends and family in BOTH locations so it was tough to decide who to root for this year, especially with Frannie being from Texas. But I think it's safe to say that Giants CLEARLY out-played them throughout the series ... and really deserved to win.

That being said, let's move on to some of your thoughts and comments regarding Peter Noone and Micky Dolenz!

Kent Kotal / Forgotten Hits

(And I approve this message)

Jeez ... you KNOW that's all that's going to on TV tonight!!! Perhaps we can provide the perfect distraction ... browse around the websites this evening and see what you might have missed! (lol)

>>>Both my brothers are Viet Nam veterans, and one was a real Herman's Hermits fan. He told me their albums were played in Phu Bai all the time (as well as The Fifth Dimension, so go figure? Kind of different than what the movies say was the soundtrack for our generation’s war.) Janis
>>>Unfortunately, even if a film director WANTED to showcase Herman's Hermits music in a film about the Viet Nam Era, they most-likely would have been denied the opportunity to do so, thanks to the iron-fist tactics of one Allen B. Klein, who wouldn't license Herman's Hermits material for such projects. Again, check out our FH Interview with Peter for more frustrating details on this matter ... Peter had to go out and re-record "I'm Into Something Good" for inclusion in "The Naked Gun" film ... and then be careful not to make it sound TOO much like the original for fear of further scrutiny and legal actions with his one-time arch nemesis! (kk)He was such a pest and control freak, with only one thing in mind ... greed!

Which created nothing but a lose / lose situation for EVERYBODY!!! The fans couldn't BUY the material ... Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits couldn't PROMOTE the material (or earn royalties for it) ... and, with all the stuff locked in the vaults, Allen B. Klein himself didn't make any money on the sales of the material ... so what the heck was the point and logic in that?!?!? Seriously, check out my interview with Peter ... it makes absolutely NO sense at all! (kk)
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Forgotten Hits Interviews Peter Noone

I don't have time to read the whole thing before work ... but DUDE, YOU'RE KILLLIN' ME!!!!!!! Not only does Frannie post a pic of Micky on my Facebook, but now I see you got to go in the dressing room??? You have crippled me for the rest of the day. - Kristy
See, you shoulda come with us!!! You could have been backstage, too, hob-nobbin' with Micky and Peter before the show! (kk)

Oh my gosh, what a column this morning! And awesome pic with Peter! You've added fun to my life with your writing. And an absolutely fascinating answer to my Micky / Oh! Darlin' question. You hold on to music stats like some men hold on to baseball stats.
(For all I know, you probably hold on to baseball stats, too.)
Very cool! I will never forget this whole experience!

Thanks again!
Baseball when I was a kid ... but pretty much music ever since. (Funny thing is, on the way home from the concert Frannie ... who is from Texas ... and I had a debate regarding when and how The Texas Rangers franchise started ... naturally she and many of her friends back home are VERY excited to see The Rangers finally make it to The World Series. We wagered as to who had a more accurate memory as to The Rangers' humble beginnings. By the next morning, I had pretty much forgotten all about it ... but she hadn't ... in fact, she looked it up online to see who came closer to remembering "the most accurate truth"!!!
All of a sudden, I heard her call from the other room, "Oh, by the way, honey, you were right" to which I immediately responded, "Of course, I was dear ... about what this time???" lol)
Glad you had a great time at the concert ... it was a whole lotta fun! (kk)

Kent ...
Don't know if you remember that - when the old WCBS - FM went off the air and was replaced by JACK-FM, Micky Dolenz was the morning DJ. Do you know if he DJ'd for any other stations?
Frank B.
I believe that Micky may have guest-DJ'd several times in the past, but I think this was his first regular radio gig ... and from what I heard, he did a GREAT job at it and was really enjoying himself when they pulled the plug. (We promoted his show like crazy in Forgotten Hits and heard from a number of readers who listened regularly both in New York and online. Honestly, I think Micky would LOVE to do an oldies show like that again ... and just think of the stories he could tell!!! (kk)

>>>Micky and his sister Coco sang the old Everly Brothers Hit "Crying In The Rain" ... it's one of the highlights of his new "King For A Day" CD. (kk)

And here it is ...

Even though Micky wasn't selling copies of his new CD after the show, YOU can order it from his website: Click here: Home Page

Great stuff as always and it brought back some memories for me. I remember attending quite a few shows in the 80's in Merrillville including a Doo-Wop show, The Beach Boys and none other than Rodney Dangerfield, who did his usual nervous entrance, walked on stage and said, "Hey I got it made now ... Merrillville, Indiana!"

Mark / GoHawksGo
The Star Plaza is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. (How is this possible? I could have SWORN it'd be around longer than that ... that only puts it at 1980!!!) They have an amazing wall of stars as you walk into the main entrance, showing many of the artists who have appeared there over the years ... walking through the lobby, you'll find LOTS of signed memorabilia and photos, too ... always a GREAT place to see a concert with great sound and really NO bad seats. (kk)

Wow, Kent.
Next time just loosen up and enjoy yourself, ok?
I have to laugh because unless, like you, one has experienced one of these "Pop Concerts", it is difficult to imagine why we have so much fun. Now, imagine being a child (as on my school's field trip a year ago) and you can understand that the awe (more like AWWWWWW) and thrill that you saw in their pictures was truly there. Some were so spell-bound they could not speak.
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
Hey, we had nothing BUT a great time!!! (I sound like a broken record, but how can you NOT?!?!?) When you consider that I've probably seen Micky every bit of 20-25 times ... and Peter Noone at least a dozen ... and STILL found the show fresh and entertaining, I have NO difficulty at all imagining how a first-time viewer (no matter HOW young or old) would feel witnessing the same show. (In fact, part of the fun in going to some of these shows ... The Monkees, Herman's Hermits, and the aforementioned Beach Boys ... has always been taking somebody who HASN'T seen them perform before, just to enjoy the expression on their face when they experience it for the first time! (kk)

>>>An added bonus was the fact that Micky's back-up band included Vance Brescia, who wrote "That Was Then, This Is Now", on bass guitar ... later doubling his duties as Peter Noone's lead guitarist, musical director and chief choreographer! (lol) This guy's a show all by himself! (kk)
Vance indeed is a great showman! The guy can wail on a guitar, is an incredible singer / songwriter and his stage presence is impeccable! Peter has to thank God he's got the Vance-man out there for every performance ... he was born to be a "Hermit"!!!
(Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the guy is a chick magnet.)
I first met Vance about 6 or 7 years ago at Hot August Nights in Reno and we've been friends ever since. A couple years ago I introduced Herman's Hermits as "Ed Sullivan" at a Colorado summer performance. After the show, we hung out for hours as Vance (half-heartedly) tried to pick up the girlfriend of a buddy of mine. :-)
He was nice enough to show me how he gets the guitar sound for "Mrs Brown" (cool stuff) and showed me the licks to the lead of "Listen People". Vance is the REAL DEAL! His new solo CD is incredible as well.
"Wild" Bill Cody
We've plugged his website before (in fact, I think it was at your suggestion the first time!) and are happy to do so again ... he's a VERY talented guy ... give a listen to some of his solo tracks! (kk)
Click here: Singer, songwriter Vance Brescia presents V-Place ... Watch, listen, laugh and learn about Vance's career and the

Hi Kent!
Thanks for the very enjoyable and informative entry in today's blog.
Yes, I'll admit, I'm a Noonatic who had to be content watching the Oklahoma Sooners lose to the Missouri Tigers on Saturday rather than getting to travel to what sounds like was a wonderful evening of entertainment!
Of course we all know that Peter and the band put on a great show no matter where or when but having Mickey Dolenz open for them is a great two'fer! So glad you and Frannie were able to go and share your reviews and photos with us. Lucky Janis, who won her tickets, is the one of the most enthusiastic fans we've got - the girl has a way with words for sure!!!
As always, Forgotten Hits is a good read!
Karen Thompson (Oklahoma City)

I've been listening to a great compilation CD called "When Pigs Fly" ... can you ask Peter Noone how he came to record "White Wedding"?
We gave this CD quite a bit of coverage when it first came out back in 2002 ... quite an unusual (eclectic???) assortment of music to be sure ... everything from the really cool (The Box Tops doing the Blondie chart-topper "Call Me"; a great reading of "What A Wonderful World" by Roy Clark) to the REALLY bizarre (how about Don Ho singing the Peter Gabriel hit "Shock The Monkey"?!?! Ani DiFranco doing a duet with Jackie Chan ... yes, Jackie Chan ... on "Unforgettable", the remake duet that was such a bit hit for Nat "King" Cole and daughter Natalie a few years back.) The whole concept is artists doing songs you'd NEVER expect them to do in a million years ... The Oak Ridge Boys doing a better-than-you'd-ever-expect-it-to-be rendition of the Kansas classic "Carry On Wayward Son" ... and (get this!) Lesley Gore taking on AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"!!! And that's why you get Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone doing a very "popped-up" version of "White Wedding", the Billy Idol head-basher from twenty years prior!
The CD is still in print (and only $12.98 through ... you can check it out here:
Click here: When Pigs Fly: Various Artists: Music) and, I have to admit, it's a WHOLE lotta fun to listen to.
I had really hoped this series would have taken off ... it had ENORMOUS potential for pushing the envelope (and attracting artists to record a song their record company might never have given them the chance to do otherwise!)
I asked Peter Noone about his contribution ... figuring that this probably WASN'T a question he'd already been asked a couple of thousand times!!! Here's what I got back:
I was asked to be a part of a project in which the most unlikely people were connected to a song. I think the original idea was to connect me to an ozzie song but I thought was too obvious as he was doing the "sharrrrron" tv reality show at the time.
David Polemeni and I chose white wedding by billy idol and I have to admit it was great fun recording it. the mrs. brown banjo still makes me laugh and herman singing 'nice day for a white wedding" makes me wet your pants!
-- Peter Noone

And finally, special thanks to Scott Shannon for reading Frannie's Peter Noone concert review on the air the other day! (I know, I know ... short, concise and to the point!!! Mine and a couple of the others were far too long-winded for radio play but hey, it sure seems like EVERYBODY enjoyed the show! Scott received numerous phone calls and emails from fans who were at The Star Plaza last Saturday Night ... and we all LOVED it!!!) Oh, and for the record, Frannie is NOT a Noonatic ... (not that there's anything wrong with that!!!) ... she just appreciates a really good show! (kk)

You'll find our full review here: Forgotten Hits Concert Review: PETER NOONE and MICKY DOLENZ (Saturday, October 23rd, at The Star Plaza Theater in Merrillville, Indiana