Friday, December 3, 2010

On The Third Day Of Christmas ...

Now HERE'S a great idea!!!

Why don't we cover The Twelve Days Of Christmas ...

only spread 'em out between now and the big day?!?!?

Sounds like a plan!

So here's Day Three ...

And, speaking of The Twelve Days Of Christmas ...

I was told by a mutual friend of ours, Jim Shea, that you could track down any song ... well, here’s a hard one for you!
I was hoping you could help me find a song that I heard about ten years ago on the radio while driving to Florida. My family and I were in one of the southern states and it was a “spin-off” of the 12 Days of Christmas, but has a Jeff Foxworthy type kick to it.
It was hysterical and the kids couldn’t stop laughing. They are in their 20’s now and still talk about the song with fond memories, but we have yet to find the song. Instead of the familiar line of “and a partridge in a pear tree”, it always ended with a line: “ ... and a beer”. And of course each one of the twelve days had something “redneck” about it, which made it so innocently funny.
If you could help me find this song, it would bring back some wonderful memories for my family this holiday season of a great trip that we took ten years ago. Thanks!
Hi Mary! (And thanks to Mr. Shea for the kind words ... actually, we DO have a pretty incredible hit ratio going on here right now!!!)
I think you may be confusing two different Christmas songs ... The "12 Days Of Christmas" parody that ends with "... and a beer" was done by Bob and Doug McKenzie of (Second City) SCTV (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) ... and was a popular FM Christmas track that originated back in the early '80's. (The duo also scored a Top 20 Pop Hit back in 1982 called "Take Off", which featured Rush vocalist Geddy Lee!)
Meanwhile, Jeff Foxworthy ALSO recorded a "12 Days Of Christmas" Parody called simply "Redneck Twelve Days Of Christmas" ... a completely different piece that incorporated many of his "You Might Be A Redneck If ..." type humor into the lyrics.
We're happy to feature BOTH of these tunes for you today ... maybe once you hear these again, between all your family members you can sort out which one is the one you heard on your trip to Florida! (kk)

Thank you so much for giving me the information on the “12 Days of Christmas” song. It was the one that we heard ten years ago, and it’s still just as funny as it was then. I’ll keep your website in my favorites next time I need any more strolls down memory lane.

Spare me from Christmas tunes!
They're coming ... and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!!! Truth is, there's just no escaping them!!! (And, honestly, I really DO love hearing these songs again each year ... in moderate doses.) Hopefully we'll have plenty of BRAND NEW Christmas Music to share with our readers again this year. (Artists ... drop me a note ... IN ADVANCE ... if you've got something you'd like us to feature around the holidays this season! We've already featured a few brand new tunes ... but we're always looking for more!) kk

I'm just not much into Christmas music, but I elect Marria Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", 1994 (I think)!!! Like a Phil Spector production!!! :-)
Jersey John
Without question, Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas" has become a recent Christmas Classic ... and it's a top-notch production all the way around. Carey (who co-wrote the song) captures the very spirit of the '60's / Spector sound yet keeps it all sounding fresh, new and contemporary. (Chances are her youngest fans didn't even catch the connection early on ... they just LOVED the way it sounded ... proving yet AGAIN how timeless this music really is!)
Carey created TWO videos for this track ... one, a full-color spectacle ... and the other another homage to that '60's sound, shot in black and white in classic girl-group fashion. (Love the whole look of this one ... down to the hairstyles, go-go boots and choreography!) You can check BOTH of them out right here:
Click here: YouTube - Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
Click here: YouTube - Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You Official Music Video

If the Mariah tune sets the benchmark for recent Christmas Hits, I've also got to mention another track that I'm especially partial to ...

It's The Wilson Sisters (Carnie and Wendy ... Brian's daughters) ... doing "Hey Santa" from 1994.

>>>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"!!!
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'm not a big Christmas music fan.I find it curious that radio stations who don't normally play Andy Williams and Brenda Lee feel fit to play them during November and December. I also feel that radio formats covering multiple eras can work well.
The music of Andy Williams and Brenda Lee have LONG fallen off the beaten path of oldies radio ... but there are at LEAST half a dozen tracks by each that are fully deserving of airplay today ... and I guarantee you the audience will respond. How 'bout for starters we get a few of you jocks on the list to slip in ... "The Hawaiian Wedding Song", "A Fool Never Learns" or "Can't Get Used To Losing You" by Andy ... or "Coming On Strong", "I'm Sorry", "Sweet Nothin's" or "Break It To Me Gently" by Brenda Lee ... just TOTALLY sneak 'em in as part of a three or four song music block without ANY special commentary or fanfare ... and see what kind of reaction you get ... you just may be surprised! Just a TOTALLY random spin of one of these tunes ... and, after you GET that positive response, let's just see where all of this might go! (kk)

Each year it gets worse. Perhaps I can understand Xmas music programmed a week before the holiday, but the saturation is downright annoying. Why don’t we hear Xmas songs in the summer? We hear songs about summer in winter? I do not listen to any radio during the month of December as I do not like ANY Xmas music. Am I the only one who thinks that way?
You did bring up a good point the other day when you stated that Xmas is the only time of year that one hears a variety of music by different artists, regardless of genre. Now if only they weren’t Xmas songs.
Jack (Rock and Roll Never Forgets, but I’d like to forget Xmas)

Loved the read on this list ...
Thank you very much, I think I may be ordering a copy for my collection soon.
Also thank you for the link to the Paul Simon's Getting Ready For Christmas Day ...
I think I will be featuring it on Mystery Lyrics, too.
Merry Christmas to You & Frannie,

I know pre-Hallowe'en Xmas formats seem a little extreme, but maybe people need it ... that playlist you gave didn't look too bad. Actually, there are tons and tons of cool Christmas recordings out there ... you could probably spend the rest of your life re-discovering it all.

I enjoyed the discussion about Christmas music. I say why not listen to it year round? But between you and I, the mention of the Top 100 Christmas Songs over the past ten years causes frustrating thoughts. With the standards so set in stone, how does a new song make its way into the mainstream, especially when all traditional radio will play is the classic holiday songs.
Vance Brescia released a 2-track Christmas CD called "A Very V Christmas" in 2008. The Buckinghams also recorded one of the songs, "I'll Make Time For Christmas" on their "Joy of Christmas" CD the same year, but does anyone ever hear those songs? Only if they listen to! I feel the other track "Christmas Dream" truly has the potential to BE a Christmas classic. A beautiful melody, Vance's amazing voice, emotional Christmas love lyrics and a "feel" for the season in general ... it's all there! Now I'm up on MY soapbox. Unfortunately, there's no budget for anything more than a soapbox, so all we can do is spread the word however, wherever we can. Maybe someday the timing will be good and the right person will hear the music.
We've been very fortunate to be able to feature brand new Christmas Music every holiday season for the past few years now in Forgotten Hits. So many of these great artists continue to record good, viable music that is simply ignored within the confines of traditional radio. (Honestly, you'd think there'd be more leeway with introducing this music around the holidays ... a lot of stations are only featuring Christmas music anyway ... why NOT program in something new for a change? See what kind of reaction they get ... and just maybe, in the process, help establish another new classic or two along the way!!!)

Thanks to services like Forgotten Hits and Internet Radio, more of this music IS being heard ... and I firmly believe this has been a BIG part of the decline of terrestrial radio over the past several years ... listeners WANT more, despite what these high-paid, know-it-all programmers and consultants say. Sometimes you've got to take a chance and try something new ... push the envelope just a little bit further ... you never really know for sure what might catch on. (kk)
Of course, you feature new music … because you offer fans what THEY want, not just what the big guys THINK they want. I don’t know how you keep up with all you write about, but it’s great.

And I'm happy to feature Vance's songs today, too ... because I think the music fans out there will enjoy hearing them. So today you get both "Christmas Dream", Vance's Christmas single, along with the B-Side "I'll Make Time For Christmas", a song recently covered on The Buckinghams' Christmas CD, too! (kk)

For the majority of the year, we spend our time reminding folks about the GREAT Forgotten Hits that radio doesn't play anymore ... but at Christmas Time we're happy and proud to bring our readers some BRAND NEW FAVORITES ... 'cause odds are you just aren't going to hear them anywhere else ... or at least not through conventional radio means.
So send us some feedback on these tunes ... or call and email your local deejays and tell them that you just heard this GREAT new song by so-and-so and request that they play it on THEIR program, too. Who knows ... there might be a way to turn this around yet! (Especially when proven oldies artist favorites like Tommy James and The Buckinghams and so many others are recording BRAND NEW Christmas Music every year ... what they heck, guys ... you're playing these artists ANYWAY ... slip in one of their NEW tracks once in a while and let your listeners decide ... at least they'd know this stuff is available!) kk

Kent ...
This one ought to start a few arguments.
Here, thanks to and BDSNielsen, are the top 20 Christmas songs played on adult contemporary stations - between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 last year.
the songs themselves aren't surprising, though the order might be.
1 = " A Holly Jolly Christmas " - Burl Ives
2 = " Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree " - Brenda Lee
3 = " It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year " - Andy Williams
4 = " Jingle Bell Rock " - Bobby Helms
5 = " The Christmas Song " - Nat King Cole
6 = " All I Want for Christmas Is You " - Mariah Carey
7 = " Happy X-Mas ( War Is Over ) " - John Lennon
8 = " White Christmas " - Bing Crosby
9 = " Jingle Bell Rock " - Daryl Hall & John Oates
10 = " Feliz Navidad " - Jose Feliciano
11 = " Do They Know It's Christmas " - Band Aid
12 = " Wonderful Christmastime " - Paul McCartney
13 = " Please Come Home for Christmas " - Eagles
14 = " Last Christmas " - Wham !
15 = " Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer " - Gene Autry
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
20 = " Winter Wonderland " - Eurythmics
Frank B.
This is the same list WE ran several weeks ago in FH ... and actually it's not just LAST year's tally, but reflective of reports filed and compiled over the past TEN years! Yep, there ARE a few surprises! (kk)
Just for purposes of contrast, here are the top 10 Christmas songs played last year on urban radio:
1 = " This Christmas " - Donny Hathaway
2 = " Silent Night " - Temptations
3 = " Every Year, Every Christmas " - Luther Vandross
4 = " Let It Snow " - Boyz 11 Men
5 = " The Christmas Song " - Nat King Cole
6 = " What the Lonely Do at Christmas " - Emotions
7 = " Give Love on Christmas Day " - Johnny Gill
8 = " Someday at Christmas " - Stevie Wonder
9 = " Christmas Ain't Christmas , New Year's Ain't New Year's " - O'Jays
10 = "Please Come Home For Christmas " - Charles Brown
It's interesting to note that " The Christmas Song " by Nat King Cole was #5 on both lists. " Please Come Home For Christmas " by the Eagles was #13 on the adult contemporary list and " Please Come Home For Christmas " by Charles Brown was # 10 on the urban radio list.
Frank B.
Biggest surprise missing here for me is the OUTSTANDING Drifters' version of "White Christmas", ALWAYS one of my "soul" favorites (and a video clip we feature every year!) kk
Click here: YouTube - White Christmas

And, speaking of "White Christmas", here's MY favorite Christmas Song discovery from last year ... it's Tony Orlando doing his (very Randy Newman-like) rendition of "I Lose It When I Hear 'White Christmas'", co-written by our FH Buddy Artie Wayne and Toni Wine! (kk)
And, for "The Story Behind The Song", be sure to check out Artie's web page devoted to this topic:
Click here: “I LOSE IT WHEN I HEAR WHITE CHRISTMAS” « Artie Wayne On The Web

>>>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!) kk

UPDATE: I spent 2 1/2 hours in the car yesterday ... and while flipping through the radio dial I heard this Burl Ives classic THREE TIMES in 150 minutes!!! Maybe it really IS the most-played Christmas Song on the Radio!!! (kk)

Another nice weekend edition, Kent.
Just read the Top 20 Christmas songs list.
Was this list compiled by your readers or what?
Seeing "White Christmas" drop to #8 -- as long as it has reigned at #1 -- did not actually surprise me as much as NOT seeing the Elvis classic, "Blue Christmas," two additional Gene Autry songs, "Here Comes Santa Clause" and "Frosty The Snow Man," and The Carpenters, "Merry Christmas, Darling."
Of course, who could possibly forgot those other two Christmas classics, "Jingle Bells" by "The Singing Dogs" and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" Elmo and Patsy.
By the way, that the all-time #1 selling record, "White Christmas," was recorded by Bing in 18 minutes!! Yes, 18 minutes. And he didn't use Pro Tools vocal tuning:)
Ah, those glorious days of old when pure 'God-given talent' ruled! And, speaking of 'talent,' I went on for another dose of the Chordettes smash, "Mr. Sandman." While I was online, I checked out their video of "Lollipop." You gotta see this if you have not already done so. Right there on the old film clip is none other than a VERY young Andy Williams doing the "popping" sound.
Here's a link to one of the numerous YouTube clips of the song...there are multiple versions but the combined views are well over 6,000,000! Yes, a 'timeless' classic!

Click here: YouTube - The Chordettes - Lollipop
Cadence Records owner / producer Archie Bleyer certainly had a knack for 'discovering' talent: The Chordettes, Andy Williams, Lenny Welch, The Everly Brothers, Link Ray, Johnny Tillotson -- even the 1955 #1, Bill Hayes, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett."
Of course, even with the millions upon millions of records these artists sold -- to say nothing of their legions of loyal fans -- only Don and Phll made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Treasure Isle
"Music City, USA"
Over six million views, eh?!?! Nope ... certainly no mass appeal there. Wouldn't want to program any Chordettes music on an oldies station!!!

Just further proof that much of the music we continue to ignore today truly is timeless ... but ONLY if each new generation has the opportunity to discover it. Sadly, this USED to be the job of radio ... but now they'd rather focus on beating the same 200-300 songs into our heads every day instead. These days we have to rely on publications like Forgotten Hits and websites like YouTube to get the word out. Thankfully, we've still got enough readers out there who were THERE at the time and remember how great this music was ... and still is. Hopefully, clips like these will outlive us all and future generations will continue to discover the music that made us so happy when we were growing up. Is "Lollipop" a great song? A timeless classic? Probably not ... but does it deserve a place in our memory and in our hearts? Absolutely. Thanks to its use in television commercials and movie soundtracks, new people have had the opportunity to discover this song again ... and fall in love with its infectious hook just like WE did back in the day. What a shame that SOME percentage of programming can't be dedicated to rekindling more of these early classics.
Oh, and for the record ... that Top 100 Christmas Song List was NOT compiled by us ... that list is based on ACTUAL radio airplay as reported over the last ten years. AMAZING how some of the "timeless classics" have fallen a peg or two. And you're right ... where was "Blue Christmas" by Elvis? "The Chipmunk Song" by The Chipmunks? I swear I still hear these two (and deservedly so!) AT LEAST a hundred times each holiday season! (kk)

And don't forget about Paul Revere and the Raiders' special Christmas Show at The Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri ... full details on the Paul Revere and the Raiders website!

Click here: Paul Revere & the Raiders

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More New Christmas Music

Here's another brand new Christmas Release we wanted to tell you about!

It's a brand new holiday compilation CD featuring 20 new tracks ...

just released by ItsAbout Music ...

and there are some tunes on here that we just know you're going to love!

ItsAboutMusic Bids A Merry Christmas With New Compilation Featuring The Buckinghams, Michael Stanley, Andy Pratt, Michael Sembello and Others
11/16/2010 – Philadelphia, PA - With the rapidly approaching holidays Philadelphia record label has released another extraordinary new Christmas compilation featuring some rare and inspirational tracks from the likes of the Buckinghams, Michael Stanley, Andy Pratt and other artists from the label's roster. Produced and mastered by president Dean Sciarra, Its About Christmas Volume 2 hits the streets on November 16, 2010.


Rick Bell of the band ‘It’s Only Roy’ starts off this collection with a Beach Boys-ish tune he wrote and performed entirely called "Santa's Bag". If you like this track and his other on this disc “Glad To Be Home For Christmas”, then you should really check out the album by his band which features a tribute to Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys entitled “Gentle Soul.” It will blow you away!

The Buckinghams certainly need no introduction since they have been around since the mid-Sixties with hits like “Susan” and “Kind OF A Drag” and “Don't You Care.” Their Christmas offering is a track called "Christmas 12 Months A Year".

Greg Roz has been an IAM artist for years but his selection called “First Real Christmas” will appeal to any Steely Dan fan.

Michael Sembello is a name you all should know from his gigantic hit “Maniac” from the film Flashdance. His track "I Really Don't Want Much For Christmas" is also featured on this brand new CD.

Ben Arnold comes from IAM's home town of Philadelphia where he is a minor legend for all the magical music he has created since the late '80s. His song “Reindeer Game” appears nowhere other than on this disc.

Brian McDade hails from Scotland and offers his romantic ballad called “The Christmas Snow.”

Trisha O'Keefe resides in the Pocono Mountain area where she has made a name for herself as one of the most talented female vocalists around. Her original tune “Christmas With You” is a heart wrenching holiday classic.

The band In The Know comes from New York and features the talented pianist Peter Vitalone. Their instrumental version of “What Child Is This” is a slick and subtle jazzy version that will fit into anyone's holiday playlist.

Then comes the legendary Andy Pratt with his original tune called “Sing For Christmas” with its classic sixties treatment – bells and all.

The talents of the king of Mid-West Classic Rock Michael Stanley are on display as he favors us with his rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

For those of you who still think the Led Zeppelin song “Dazed & Confused” was written by Jimmy Page, we're here to remind you that it was in fact written by Jake Holmes who in his own inimitable political humor gives us “Chinese Christmas.”

James Hollihan is a wonder to behold on guitar. He single-handedly performs as a guitar orchestra on his version of “The Nutcracker Overture” from the album The Nutcracker Suite.

James Cain hails from Memphis and is one heck of a great Country singer / songwriter as proven by his tune “Christ Out Of My Christmas.”

B.E. Taylor has made a major name for himself over the years with all of his Christmas albums and his holiday tours. “Feel The Love Of Christmas” comes from his album B.E. Taylor Christmas #2.

David Hoffman was a log time member of the Ray Charles band. His horn work is the stuff of legend. His tune “Christmas In Your Heart” will warm your cookies.

Paul Adams is one of the best World Music artists anywhere and his version of “Carol Of The Bells” will prove it to you.

The alternative band Brave The Day brings to us a live version of “O Come Emanuel” that was recorded for a TV show in Delaware. Rebecca Miller's astounding voice and Josh Kesler's unorthodox guitar tuning make this a stunning version of the holiday classic.

The late Sal Ditroia was a staple on guitar for many years all the way back to his studio work on such amazing recordings as those by The Monkees and Melanie. His acoustic version of “Little Drummer Boy” is included on the compilation.

And finally, Barbara Montgomery is a jazz femme fatale who is not only a credible artist but a supporter of artists through her work at The Farm House – a retreat for artists with a commitment for the mentoring of youth. She winds up the CD with her version of “Have Yourself A Merry Christmas.”

Song samples available at:'s_About_Christmas_Vol_II/album.m3u
From those of us at we'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years each and every year.

And thanks so much for support of our artists. It is greatly appreciated! The last 10 years wouldn't have been possible without you.

For more information visit
William James / Glass Onyon PR

And, thanks to Billy James, we're able to share a couple of tracks with our readers here today ... so I picked a couple of my immediate favorites.

I really like Rick Bell's "Santa's Bag" ... and it fits right into the '60's sound our list members love and enjoy so much.

Every year dozens of new Christmas tunes are released ... but most of them NEVER see the light of day when it comes to radio programming ... and that's a real shame. Where are our NEW holiday classics going to come from if nobody ever gives this music a shot?

Think about it ... in the last 10-12 years, how many NEW Christmas songs have made the play list and been given the chance to catch on?

Not many ...

Let's see ... there's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey ...

and then there's always "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Vince Vance and the Valiants ...

Hmm, isn't it interesting that the two newest modern day Christmas Classics both have the same name? That certainly makes it easy for programmers to remember, doesn't it?

Well, all I can tell you is that "Santa's Bag" belongs on the radio RIGHT NOW!!! It's a GREAT new Christmas song ... catchy, upbeat ... SO much music passing itself off as "quality" Christmas remakes lately seems to go out of its way to stretch EVERY note into four ... the pace is SO incredibly slow that there's absolutely NOTHING holly or jolly about it ... as if stretching each note out forever is supposed to imply a more heartfelt performance ... when, in fact, it only induces snooze control.

Here's a track that fits in RIGHT NOW!!! Play THIS one instead of the 400th rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" you're going to play this week and see if your audience responds. It's GREAT track ... kudos to Rick Bell for capturing the sound and spirit of Christmas. (DeeJays ... you can play this clip right from the website ... I'd be curious to know what kind of reaction you get to it!)

We're also spotlighting "First Real Christmas" by Greg Roz. (If the Rick Bell track reminds you of The Beach Boys, then I think you'll find that one's got sort of a Al Jarreau / Michael Buble feel to it! The "It's About Christmas" news release above mentions a Steely Dan similarity but I don't hear it ... in fact, to MY ears, the vocals sound a little bit like Stephen Bishop ... who I'll bet could record a GREAT Christmas Classic if he were so inclined!!!)

These are just two of the great new tracks featured on the brand new "It's About Christmas, Volume 2" CD ... and it is SURE to stick in your head after a couple of listens ... it's got a neat little jazzy feel that you'll find yourself humming for the rest of the day. We are happy to be able to feature BOTH of these brand new tracks for you here today in Forgotten Hits!

Before we hit the big holiday we're hoping to be able to feature at least a couple more cuts from this hot new CD, especially from Forgotten Hits List Members like The Buckinghams and Andy Pratt ... so stay tuned!

(Visit the link above and you can sample ALL of the tracks on this CD for yourself. You'll also find information there as to how you can order your very own copy!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Forgotten Hits "Countdown To Christmas" Kicks Off Today!

A quick round of "Thanks" to those of you who have already started sending us Christmas Comments and tracks to share! Over the next few weeks, we'll return to this topic frequently ... and THIS WEEK we'll run brand new music and information over the next three days ... so ENJOY!

First up ...

I recently received an email from FH Reader Gary Theroux, who just put together an INCREDIBLE Christmas Collection for Guideposts Magazine ... not only does he tell us what's ON this comprehensive compilation (in incredible detail, thanks to Gary's play-by-play reporting) ... but he ALSO tells us how YOU can get a copy for your very own collection.

Read on ...

One of my frustrations as a local, regional and national radio programmer and consultant was that most Christmas compilation albums I had to program from were made up of the same standard songs performed by the wrong artists. In other words, rather than getting the real Yuletide hits -- like Bing Crosby' "White Christmas" or Nat "King" Cole's "Christmas Song" -- you'd get cover versions by people like John Davidson, Eydie Gorme or Sandler & Young. Why hadn't anybody put together a various artists box set featuring the biggest original recordings of these songs -- the ones that actually charted and bring back the most vivid memories?

Within weeks of my 1982 arrival at Reader's Digest as their new Music Editor, I proposed that the company release just such a box set -- which I'd base on the original Christmas hits I had programmed on radio for years. To my surprise, I was told that "nobody buys Christmas music" and that such a concept was a guaranteed failure. To prove her point, my boss at RD agreed to have my concept market-tested along with a bunch of other ideas -- and was stunned when my repertoire outscored all the others. Now forced to release it, she remained unconvinced that my idea would sell -- and therefore undercut the concept by refusing to allow me to license in tracks which required a guarantee of more than 3,000 units sold. That meant that I could get in, say, Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (which required a 3,000 unit guarantee) but not Bing's "White Christmas" which required a far, far higher minimum guarantee). Although the concept was thus compromised, "Christmas Through the Years" got released anyway and to my boss' astonishment sold over 7,000 copies in less than a week. It ultimately sold over six million copies -- through direct mail alone -- and still ranks as Reader's Digest Music's all-time largest seller.

I wanted to also market the album through television -- but was told that Reader's Digest Music could not do so because -- get this -- they had never done so before. I reminded them that at one time none of them had ever been out of their cribs either, but still, year after year, the RD marketing team rejected my idea. Finally RCA, which had been manufacturing "Christmas Through the Years," as a direct mail only box set for RD, sent a copy over to Time-Life Music -- informing them of both the album's extraordinary sales and the fact that RD would never put the album on television. Time-Life responded by slightly reworking the repertoire, re-titling the concept and putting it on TV.

The result? The aggressively marketed "Time-Life Treasury of Christmas" sold over 11 million sets -- making it the most successful televsion-marketed album in history. (Of note: In order to reduce their licensing costs, over the years Time-Life revised the repertoire of their "Treasury," weakening it more and more each time. Regardless, it still sold -- based on the reputation it earned based on its original track listings.)

Today -- 28 years after the original release of "Christmas Through The Years" -- I have finally been able to put together and release a Yuletide box set which truly fulfills the original CTTY concept. In fact, it's not just what "Christmas Through The Years" was supposed to be, but instead an improved, updated and expanded new version. Instead of 60, this time 75 timeless tracks are included, including a number of rarities and some tracks never before released on CD. There are also several spoken word tracks, including Lorne Greene's moving 1965 recitation of O Henry's "Gift Of The Magi" (at 15 minutes plus) and Lionel Barrymore's immortal 1947 version of "A Christmas Carol" (with full cast; running over 22 minutes). Nearly every original Christmas hit you can think of is included by everyone from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra. Burl Ives and Glenn Miller to Amy Grant, Clay Aiken, Elton John and John Lennon. And on one track, even I turn up!

As usually happens, there were a few tracks I tried very hard to clear but could not. I couldn't talk Richard Carpenter into letting me have "Merry Christmas Darling" or Silent Night" ... couldn't pry "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" from Bruce Springsteen, etc. But pretty much everything else is there -- the biggest and best-loved hits of Christmas -- the original recordings by the stars who made them famous.

There are, of course, some Yuletide standards that no one has ever cut a definitive hit version of. I had more flexibility with those titles, so I tried to match them with a mix of the kind of stars you would expect along with a few that'll surprise you but you'll love anyway. That's why the repertoire includes tracks by everyone from Jim Croce, Dion, Gary Puckett, Mark Lindsay and Bobby Vinton to Mel Blanc, The New Christy Minstrels, C.W. McCall and even Walter Brennan. The music ranges from moving and majestic to sheer, unadulterated fun ... heartfelt hymns to tunes that will bring a tear to your eye. Although I hate the cold, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year because of the warmth of the music, magic and memories inherent in the best-loved songs of the season.

Here's the complete repertoire of THE ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS OF CHRISTMAS, which is only available via direct mail through Guideposts Magazine. As the only key thing lacking in the packaging are any liner notes, I’ve sketched some together and have worked them in below.
-- Gary Theroux

CD 1:
1. Here We Come A-Caroling (1962) The Ray Conniff Singers
Listen carefully to the way the group works its name into the lyrics.
2. Do You Hear What I Hear? (1969) Johnny Mathis
Although introduced by Bing Crosby, the Johnny Mathis version of this song is the most played on radio today.
3. Mary's Boy Child (1956) Harry Belafonte
Long before Harry went off the deep end politically, he hit #12 with this transcendently beautiful track.
4. Joy To The World (1968) The New York Brass and Percussion Ensemble with E. Power Biggs; The Gregg Smith Singers, vocal
This soul-stirring rendition makes you feel like you're in the most spectacular cathedral in the world.
5. O Holy Night (1963) Andy Williams
One of the most moving of Yuletide treasures and Andy really nails it.
6. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (1983) Amy Grant
Amy, of course, is the most successful inspirational recording artist of all time -- and here's one good reason why.
7. The Hallelujah Chorus (1956) The New York Philharmonic Orchestra with the Westminster Chorale; Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Bernstein did a lot more than just make Janis Ian a star (by helping publicize "Society's Child"). He and Arthur Fiedler ranked as perhaps the most popular and famous conductors of classical music of their time. And this version of Handel's "The Hallelujah Chorus" is untoppable.
8. Mary Did You Know (2004) Clay Aiken
While the duo of Kenny Rogers and Wynonna were the first to chart with this song, the Clay Aiken version is a huge fan favorite.
9. O Little Town of Bethlehem (1970) Mark Lindsay
Paul Revere & the Raiders' Christmas album was the only real clinker in their catalogue. Lead singer Mark Lindsay more than made up for that misstep by recording a few Yuletide songs for Columbia's Special Products division, but few people knew about them. I did, which is why this charming track is here. More recently Mark has recorded his own complete solo Christmas album which is available on his website.
10. Christmas Eve In My Home Town (1970) Bobby Vinton
Bobby's version of this song -- which was also recorded by Kate Smith (!) -- really works.
11. We Need A Little Christmas (1963) The New Christy Minstrels
This song, from the Broadway musical "Annie," is often unfairly overlooked as a Yuletide standard. The New Christy Minstrels, though, obviously had a great deal of infectious, zesty fun recording it.
12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1979) Willie Nelson
This song was introduced and made famous in the '30s on radio by Eddie Cantor -- who, surprisingly, never commercially recorded it. I wanted to license the 1934 hit version by George Hall & his Orchestra, but SONY couldn't find the master in time for it to be included. This version by Willie Nelson (who wrote Roy Orbison's "Pretty Paper") was a last minute replacement. As he often does, Willie casually strolls his way through the melody.
13. Feliz Navidad (1970) Jose Feliciano
Despite his Grammy win for "Light My Fire," Jose's greatest success came in writing and recording this half-English, half-Spanish seasonal celebration. He's recut this several times, but never as well as he did originally in 1970 (as heard here). Although I've never asked him about this, I've always assumed that the abrupt ending is the way it is simply because they couldn't think of any other way to get out of this song.
14. (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays (1954) Perry Como
Perry reached the Top 10 with this one in December, 1954.
15. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949) Gene Autry
This record has sold over eight million copies, making it the second largest-selling single of the pre-rock era (topped only by Bing Crosby's White Christmas").
16. Merry Merry Christmas (1989) The New Kids On The Block
The New Kids On The Block scored a hit in 1989 with "This One's For The Children," a Yuletide record which I never felt was particularly good or all that Christmasy (I know, it's just my opinion). Oddly enough, though, their previous hit, "Cover Girl," sported a B side -- "Merry Merry Christmas" -- which I've always felt was a far, far better Yuletide song and performance. I wonder if you agree.
17. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (1971) Gary Puckett
Gary Puckett was encouraged to abandon the Union Gap in 1970 after six solid hits and go solo -- a move which was clearly ill-advised (as he never reached Billboard's Top 40 again). On his own, among other things, Gary recorded a few solo sides for Columbia's Special Products division -- and this hauntingly beautiful track was one of them.
18. Christmas Auld Lang Syne (1993) Gloria Estefan
Bobby Darin introduced this adaptation of the New Year's standard "Auld Lang Syne" in 1960 and scored a small hit with it. A number of other people have recorded it since, including Gloria Estefan -- who perfectly captured the sentiment Bobby and his co-writer, Frank Military, intended.
19. The Gift of the Magi (1965) Lorne Greene
Aside from scoring a #1 hit with "Ringo," Lorne Greene recorded several albums for RCA during his years as the star of TV's "Bonanza." His 1965 Christmas album included this unbelievably warm and moving recitation, which I have played at Christmas on nearly every radio station I have ever worked for. And the result is the same: the phone lines jammed with people in tears, asking me to play it again. Most radio stations today won't play a track like this -- which clocks in at over 15 minutes -- but should. It's that good. Once you hear this track, you'll never forget it.

CD 2:
1. Here Comes Santa Claus (1947) Gene Autry
While serving as the Grand Marshall of Hollywood's Santa Claus Parade one year, Gene Autry was positioned one float ahead of the final float, which held ol' St. Nick. The cries from the crowd looking beyond Autry's float inspired him to write this song, a million-selling Top 10 hit two years before he recorded "Rudolph."
2. Jingle Bells (1941) Glenn Miller & his Orchestra; Tex Beneke, Ernie Caceres and the Modernaires, vocal
Glenn Miller & his Orchestra not only recorded the biggest swing hit of all time ("In The Mood") but also racked up more than 125 other hits between 1935 and 1948. This record reached #5 over the Christmas season of 1941.
3. All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (1948) Spike Jones & his City Slickers; George Rock, vocal)
As a lifelong Spike Jones fan, I couldn't leave out Spike's only #1 record -- one that he cut too late in 1947 for it to score over that Christmas. Thus it topped the charts the following Yuletide season, featuring an inimitable vocal by George Rock, who looked like a big hulking football player but could sing like a vewy widdle kid.
4. Christmas In Killarney (1950) Dennis Day
A fine Irish tenor (“Clancy Lowered The Boom”), Dennis Day also gained fame as a naive, empty-headed comic character on "The Jack Benny Program." This gem was his Yuletide offering in 1950.
5. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1945) Vaughn Monroe
Vaughn Monroe was a singing big band leader who scored 72 hits between 1940 and 1965 ("Riders In The Sky", "Ballerina", "When The Lights Go On Again All Over The World", and, 19 years before Bobby Vinton, "There! I've Said It Again"). Monroe took this tune to #1 over the Yuletide season of 1945. By the way, Vaughn HATED Spike Jones, who used to delight in parodying his distinctive "hollow baritone" singing style.
6. Swingin' Them Jingle Bells (1936) Fats Waller & his Rhythm
I was introduced to the good-time stride piano and infectiously mischievous vocals of Fats Waller in college, where his "The Joint Is Jumpin'" was the bouncy, barrelhouse theme song of a jazz program. I've loved Fats ever since and this was one side of a Yuletide single he released in 1936. (An instrumental version was on the flip.)
7. Christmas Dreaming (A Little Early This Year) (1947) Frank Sinatra
I had to include a Sinatra track in here somewhere and, as his Capitol and Reprise stuff is not available for licensing, that cut it down to his early Columbia material. Frank actually charted with a cover version of "White Christmas," but as Bing's version had to be in this set, I chose "Christmas Dreaming," which reached #26 in 1947 for Frank.
8. It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas (1952) Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters
The Fontane Sisters were frequent guests on Perry's TV show and scored several hits singing with and without him. This Como / Fontane track, released very late in 1951, reached #19 early the next year.
9. The Christmas Story (1950) Doris Day
This one surprised me. I had never heard it before and assumed it was a narrative about the birth of Jesus. What it is instead is one of Doris' rarest recordings.
10. Caroling Caroling / Happy Holiday (1986) Johnny Mathis
Mathis' warm-hearted Yuletide LPs have been a holiday staple for decades. Nearly 30 years after his dramatic breakthrough with "Wonderful! Wonderful!," Johnny cut this delightful medley.
11. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (1963) Andy Williams
Although never charting on the Hot 100 for Andy, this soaring, effervescent recording has been a holiday staple ever since it was first released on an album in 1963.
12. Santa Baby (1953) Eartha Kitt
Shortly before she died -- on Christmas Day 2008 -- I saw Eartha perform onstage in Westport, Connecticut and she was still mesmerizing. This, her biggest and most enduring hit, reached #4 in 1953.
13. Pretty Paper (1963) Roy Orbison
Roy was on tour in England when he decided to record this Willie Nelson composition in time for the Yuletide season of 1963. Unable to get back to his label's studio in Nashville, Orbison rounded up the best studio players he could find in the U.K. who could play in the same style. The result reached #15 that December.
14. Blue Christmas (1964) Elvis Presley
While shooting his 1968 comeback TV special, Elvis introduced this as his favorite Christmas song. Undoubtedly he remembered it as a very popular number in 1949-50, when no less than three artists -- bandleaders Russ Morgan and Hugo Winterhalter, along with country giant Ernest Tubb -- all scored pop hits with it.
15. C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S (1949) Eddy Arnold
Eddy -- the biggest country hitmaker of all time -- scored a two-sided Yuletide hit in 1949 with this song and it's flip, "When Santy Comes To Shantytown."
16. An Old Christmas Card (1963) Jim Reeves
Velvet-voiced Jim Reeves never knew just how popular this nostalgic track would become because he died in a plane crash shortly after recording it. The lasting appeal of his voice was so strong that Jim continued to score hits with old album tracks re-released as singles decades after his death.
17. Christmas Is (1966) Percy Faith, his Orchestra and Chorus
As a young man, Percy Faith badly burned his hands trying to snuff out the flaming clothing of his little sister. He was told he'd never be able to make music again, but did anyway -- ultimately becoming one of the largest-selling album artists of all time. He also scored 19 pop hits between 1950 and 1963, among them "Theme from 'A Summer Place'".
18. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (1958) Mitch Miller & The Gang
We just lost Mitch, who died recently at the age of 99. This track is from his million-selling "Christmas Sing Along With Mitch" LP.
19. Christmas As I Knew It (1972) Johnny Cash
Although it sounds like he did, Johnny did not write this tender recollection. His wife, June Carter, did – along with Jan Howard. You'd never guess, though, by Johnny’s heartfelt performance.

CD 3:
1. White Christmas (1942) Bing Crosby
What can one say about the largest-selling holiday hit of all time? I guess you could note that it was #1 in 1942 -- and 1945 and 1947 -- and that it's charted in 17 other years as well.
2. Frosty The Snowman (1950) Jimmy Durante
Many young fans hearing Jimmy narrate the animated "Frosty The Snowman" TV special in 1969 had no idea that he had first recorded the song nineteen years earlier -- for MGM. This track is pure infectious fun -- even more than "Inka Dinka Doo."
3. Sleigh Ride (1950) Leroy Anderson & his Orchestra
Leroy Anderson was a gifted and highly creative composer-arranger, perhaps best known for his 1952 #1 hit "Blue Tango." He was working for Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops in 1949 when he came up with a minor hit for them, "Sleigh Ride." The following year, Leroy recorded this definitive, incredibly evocative version with his own orchestra.
4. A Marshmallow World (1951) Bing Crosby
Bing cut a lot of holiday tunes and some of them became hits -- like this light-hearted one, which reached #24 in 1951.
5. 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (1942) Fred Waring & his Pennsylvanians
Fred Waring's combination glee club and dance band became a radio favorite in 1933, a decade after their first hit (1923's "Sleep"). Their remarkably intricate, innovative, imaginative (and million-selling) recording of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" was first issued as a 12" 78 in 1942 because it was too long to fit on a standard 10" disc.
6. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1944) Judy Garland
Judy sang this wistful, wishful Yuletide standard in her 1944 film "Meet Me in St. Louis" (as she did another of her hits, "The Trolley Song").
7. Step Into Christmas (1973) Elton John
While at the peak of his fame in 1973, Elton John surprised everybody by recording and releasing this one-off Yuletide single. It never reached Billboard's Hot 100, but radio played it anyway – and still does.
8. I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus (1956) Brenda Lee
Although Brenda Lee didn't become a star until she recorded "Sweet Nothin's" in 1959, she had been actively recording (without success) for years. In fact, Brenda was only eleven years old when she recorded this then-ignored gem for Decca. Two years later Brenda cut "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" and it, too, initially bombed. It wasn't until after "Little Miss Dynamite" had proven herself as a hit maker that radio programmers began to give her early tracks a second listen. Brenda's 1958 take on "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" finally scored in 1960 and is today a Yuletide staple. Listen, though, to how masterfully she handled "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" two years earlier! What were you doing when you were 11?
9. Mele Kalikimaka (1950) The Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby
Jimmy Buffett cut a great version of this Hawaiian Christmas song for MCA, but I couldn't clear it. Instead, here's the equally good original recording by the most popular pre-rock girl group of them all, The Andrews Sisters, with the ever-present Bing Crosby.
10. Jingle Bell Rock (1957) Bobby Helms
I met Booby Helms in Nashville near the end of his career. He was trying to promote a single he'd cut on a tiny independent label by passing out miniature bottles of whiskey. As I don't drink, I still have that sealed bottle. Bobby's big year was 1957, when "Fraulein, "My Special Angel" and "Jingle Bell Rock" were all huge hits for him.
11. The Little Drummer Boy (1958) The Harry Simeone Chorale
Harry Simeone was an arranger-conductor-pianist with a long, successful track record at CBS, NBC and several Hollywood film studios. In 1958, he took a new song written by a friend, Harry Onorarti, and arranged it, changing its title from "Carol of the Drum" to "The Little Drummer Boy" (and thus claiming co-writing credit). Harry's recording of the ancient-sounding tune, which he made with a freshly assembled group of studio singers, reached #13 in 1958 and then charted high again every year after that through 1962.
12. (Have A) Holly Jolly Christmas (1964) Burl Ives
Burl Ives capitalized on his experiences as a singing hobo to become CBS Radio's "Wayfaring Stranger" in 1944. His folk-singing fame led to acclaim as a comic and dramatic actor, as well as a pop hit-maker ("A Little Bitty Tear"). "Holly Jolly Christmas" came from the 1964 animated TV special "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (which Burl narrated) and had been written by "Rudolph"'s composer, Johnny Marks.
13. Silver Bells (1953) Bing Crosby & Carole Richards
Although it was Bob Hope who introduced "Silver Bells" in his film, "The Lemon Drop Kid" (with Marilyn Maxwell), it was Bob's comedy partner, Bing Crosby, who scored the hit (in a duet with Carole Richards). Richards was a singer-actress heard more on movie soundtracks than seen onscreen, although she did turn up now and then (in one episode of "I Love Lucy" for example).
14. Run Rudolph Run (1958) Chuck Berry
Both sides of Chuck's 1958 Yuletide single charted. The other side was "Merry Christmas Baby."
15. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (1960) Brenda Lee
See "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" above.
16. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1943) Bing Crosby
Among the darkest days of World War II were those surrounding Christmas, 1943. Countless couples were separated by thousands of miles with no guarantee of seeing their home, their hearths or their loved ones ever again. Into that gloom came Crosby's promise that he'd "be home for Christmas" -- if only in his dreams. Just imagine how this recording -- my all-time favorite Christmas hit -- must have felt to homesick GIs all over the world 67 years ago.
17. Sing "Silent Night" (1976) C.W. McCall
You'd never expect the guy who made us smile with "Convoy" and "'Round the World With The Rubber Duck" to offer up a tender, heartfelt spoken word Yuletide treasure, but he did -- buried on an otherwise non-Christmas album in 1976.
18 Silent Night (1960) Connie Francis
I had really wanted The Carpenters version of this Yuletide standard, but Richard refused to license it out to anyone. In order to follow through with the theme of the previous track -- in which C.W. was recalling his mother's performance of "Silent Night" -- I looked for a female version of this 19th century carol and was impressed by this one by Connie Francis, which she had recorded for an album in 1960.
19. A Christmas Carol (1947) Lionel Barrymore and Cast
Lionel Barrymore starred in the radio version of Dickens' immortal story for years before MGM announced plans to make “A Christmas Carol” into a movie. Barrymore was cast as Scrooge, of course, and would have been excellent except that he never got to make the film. Shortly before production was to begin, Lionel was seriously injured and wound up spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair (which is why he's in one as Mr. Potter in "It's A Wonderful Life"). Since Lionel couldn't walk, the movie role went to someone else -- but Barrymore continued to play Scrooge on radio for years. In 1947, his radio adaptation was recorded for release as one of the first albums (a bunch of 78s in a binder) ever released by the newly formed MGM label. To create this continuous performance, we had to carefully edit together the six 78 RPM single sides it took to capture the entire work. We discovered that the master of the first of those six sides was quite damaged and a real challenge to clean up. That's why there's a tiny bit of surface noise present during part of the first three minutes of this historic track.

CD 4:
1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) (1946) Nat "King" Cole
As a way of cooling off on a particularly hot day in Southern California, Mel Torme took a poem a friend had written and set it to music. The result, once sent to Nat "King" Cole, was this 1946 million-selling holiday classic which is now in the NARAS (Grammy) Hall of Fame.
2. Little Saint Nick (1963) The Beach Boys
There are two versions of this Beach Boys favorite. The stereo one on their Christmas album doesn't really sound quite right and there is a reason for that. The album master is missing the sleigh bells and glockenspiel track which made the mono single version so completely magical. This is that single mix.
3. Away In A Manger (1981) Anne Murray
Following her first American hit, "Snowbird," in 1970, Anne Murray became a major pop and country star primarily due to her tender treatment of slow-moving ballads. She told me once how she wished she'd been given more up-tempo material to record (like "What About Me"), but Capitol didn't want her to blow a proven formula. It was hard picking out just one Anne Murray Christmas track, as they are all so good, but this one seems to get the most airplay.
4. What Child Is This? (1966) The Lettermen
The Lettermen's 1966 Christmas album is breathtaking in itself and in previous collections I have spotlit tracks from it like "O Holy Night." This time I've pulled "What Child Is This," a tune also known as "Greensleeves" -- which in itself is famed as the oldest known English musical composition.
5. All I Want For Christmas (Is You) (1993) Vince Vance & the Valiants; Lisa Layne, vocal
Vince Vance & the Valiants initially gained fame in 1980 with their "Barbara Ann" parody entitled "Bomb Iran." Best known as a comical, highly theatrical goodtime live band, in 1993 Vince helped write "All I Want For Christmas (Is You)," the perfectly straight pop / country love cry of a lonely lady at Yuletide. Although never released on a major label, this track has become the most requested Christmas song at country radio stations for years now. Find out why.
6. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (1993) Dion
Unable to clear Darlene Love's Philles version of this song (or anything else off Phil Spector's Christmas album), I hunted around to see who else recorded it and was surprised to come across this terrific version by none other than The Wanderer himself, Dion. 35 years after "I Wonder Why," Mr. DiMucci remained and still is a powerhouse performer.
7. It Doesn't Have To Be That Way (1973) Jim Croce
Jim Croce died in a plane crash in 1973, the same year my longtime college girlfriend and I broke up. As a great fan of Jim's, I was well aware of the song of the flip side of his third hit, "One Less Set of Footsteps." "It Doesn't Have To Be That Way" was on my mind that Christmas as I programmed it not only as Croce's only Yuletide recording but as a message to that now-lost lady in my life. I've played it on radio ever since, as have a lot of other DJs who know what a broken but hopeful heart at Christmas can feel like.
8. The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) (1958) The Chipmunks
After his great success with one sped-up version of his voice in "Witch Doctor," David Seville wondered how he could capitalize on that effect a second time. He wrote a melody called "In A Little Village Park," but it didn't seem to go anywhere until he hit upon the idea of mixing in three sped-up versions of his voice to one recorded at normal speed. But what were those little voices? Mice? Elves? Butterflies? How about mischievous chipmunks? After naming them after three of his friends at Liberty Records, Seville rewrote "In A Little Village Park" into "The Chipmunk Song" and hoped it might sell a few copies at Christmas 1959. Did it ever -- going gold, winning multiple Grammys and sparking the most successful novelty concept in recording history -- one that's long outlived David himself (Ross Bagdasarian, a/k/a David Seville, died in 1972).
9. Deck The Halls (1964) Jo Stafford
Once a member of Tommy Dorsey's Pied Pipers, warm-hearted Jo Stafford began a solo career in 1944 which included some 94 hits through 1959 ("You Belong To Me," "Serenade Of The Bells," etc.). She even cut a bunch of tracks for Reader's Digest in 1969-70 which were just a pitch-perfect and flawless as she'd been 30 years earlier at the dawn of her career. As she's my second favorite female singer of all time (after Karen Carpenter), I had to squeeze Jo into this set somehow and learned that her 1964 version of "Deck the Halls" had been a DJ favorite.
10. Christmas Together (1962) Walter Brennan
Multiple Oscar winner Walter Brennan surprised everybody in 1962 when he scored a Top 5 pop hit, "Old Rivers," at the age of 68. Liberty Records immediately sent him back into the studio to cut more recitations, including a complete Christmas album. After reading the fan reviews of that LP on, I ordered a copy and immediately understood why so many people had cherished theirs since childhood. This is one of the tracks from that LP.
11. Angels We Have Heard On High (1967) Ella Fitzgerald
If you're going to span 75 years of pop, rock, country, folk, jazz and swing greats, you can't leave out the most honored jazz singer of all time -- so I didn't. Here's a track off Ella Fitzgerald's 1967 Christmas LP.
12. Happy Christmas (1971) John Lennon
I tried to clear both this and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," but was only able to get this Lennon single. And that was just as well, because, to be perfectly honest, "Wonderful Christmastime" is not exactly first-rate McCartney -- and Paul would be the first to tell you so. I was glad, though, that Yoko was willing to allow this track to be included in this set. And, as it has a wartime theme, I thought it made the perfect set-up for ...
13. Snoopy's Christmas (1967) The Royal Guardsmen
Ah yes, everybody's favorite beagle -- still fighting World War I. Believe it or not, Florida's Royal Guardsmen are still together today, still performing "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," "Return of the Red Baron," "Snoopy for President" and this song in live concert. And although "Snoopy's Christmas" never charted on Billboard’s Hot 100, countless radio stations continue to play it more than 40 years after they stopped playing everything else the band recorded! Listen at the opening for a few bars of "O Tannebaum," a German song which dates back to the 1500s ("tannebaum" is German for "Christmas tree").
14. The First Noel (1990) Suzy Bogguss
Suzy Bogguss and I attended the same college, Illinois State University, although at different times. She's carved out a very impressive roster of country hits over the years and in 1990 perfectly performed this Yuletide standard, which dates back to sixteenth century England.
15. We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1960) The Kingston Trio
The Kingston Trio recorded their sole Christmas album for Capitol at the peak of their fame in 1960 -- and, as they often did, filled it not with familiar standards but rather little known numbers they'd unearthed in their endless search for folk material not beaten to death by other performers. The Christmas songs they chose, however, remain pretty obscure -- except for this one: a sixteenth century carol from the west coast of England.
16. I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas (1949) Yogi Yorgesson
Yogi Yogesson was the pseudo-Swedish incarnation of dialect comedian Harry Stewart, who also recorded as Harry Kari, Claude Hopper and other a host of other offbeat characters. As Yogi, Harry sold a million copies of his two-sided hit "Yingle Bells" and "I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas" in 1949. Seven years later he was killed in a California car crash.
17. The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Beeg (1957) Mel Blanc
Mel, of course, is best known as the voice of virtually every Warner Brothers cartoon character during their golden era of animated shorts. He made money doing that, of course, but not really all that much. Blanc’s real financial success came as a Los Angeles real estate investor. Mel cut a lot of comedy singles over the years, often accompanied by Billy May's band (when they weren't backing Frank Sinatra). Three of the most insane became hits between 1948 and 1951 ("Woody Woodpecker," "I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat" and "Toot Toot Tootsie"). Collectors crave Mel Blanc singles, from "K-K-K-Katy" to "The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Beeg" -- yet amazingly Capitol has never gathered the best of them into a reissue CD.
18. Winter Wonderland (1947) Johnny Mercer & the Pied Pipers
Singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer was not only one of the founders of Capitol Records but among its biggest early stars ("Candy," "Personality," "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" all hit #1 in 1945-6). "Winter Wonderland," a song from Broadway's "Zeigfeld Follies of 1935," was released at the tail end of 1946 and peaked at #4 the following January. The Pied Pipers, which originally included Jo Stafford, were regulars on Johnny's radio show and hitmakers in their own right ("Dream," "The Trolley Song" and, a decade before Connie Francis, "My Happiness").
19. Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful) (1960) Nat "King" Cole
Nat "King" Cole's 1960 Christmas album is one of the largest-selling Yuletide LPs ever released – and his version of this beloved 18th century English hymn is one of the reasons why.
20. We Three Kings Of Orient Are (1958) Tennessee Ernie Ford
Former radio DJ Tennessee Ernie Ford came to Capitol Records as a deep-voiced country singer with an impish sense of down-home humor and a surprisingly rockin' repertoire (check out 1951's "Shot Gun Boogie"). In 1955 he cut what became the fastest-selling #1 record in history up until that time ("Sixteen Tons"). In later years Ernie became a huge seller of totally straight gospel music and his Christmas LPs were legendary blockbusters. Here's a sample from 1958.
21. Yes, Virginia (There Is A Santa Claus) (2010) Gary Theroux and Julia Myers
I first recorded this recitation in 1990 for a Reader's Digest album entitled "Home for the Holidays." Unable to find a young enough girl to play Virginia in time for the recording session, I used the voice of a grown-up lady instead and the result worked reasonably well. For this collection, though, I decided to re-record the track with an actual kid as Virginia -- and found a young violin student named Julia Myers. Under the direction of my co-writer, Jeremy Goldsmith, we recorded this new version especially for release as the concluding track of THE ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS OF CHRISTMAS. And yes, that's me as both the voice of the narrator and the elderly newspaper editor, Frank Church, as the real Frank Church wasn't available (he died in 1906). The real Virginia, though, lived until 1971.
-- Gary Theroux

This sounds like an EXCELLENT collection, Gary ... and I'm sure readers will want to pick up a copy. They can do so here:

One of the tracks that Gary and I discussed was the Pinkard and Bowden Christmas song I feature every year, "The Christmas Gift", a COMPLETELY out-of-character recording by this country duo who typically did comedy and novelty parodies of other hit country songs. This one COMPLETELY blew me away the first time I heard it ... and I've featured it ever since.

Gary pointed out that his collection includes a couple of other VERY moving spoken word recordings (including those by C.W. McCall and Walter Brennan to name just two) ... but he admits that he, too, is a fan of the Pinkard and Bowden record.

Hi, Kent -
I'm familiar with Pinkard & Bowden, who were kind of a latter day Homer & Jethro without the corn. Not all of Pinkard & Bowden's stuff worked and some of it is unfortunately off-color, but in general I've enjoyed their satiric sense of humor (which I share). The duo released "Christmas Gift" -- which is a true story about the holiday passings of Bowden's grandparents -- in 1985 only as a promotional single mailed to radio stations. It has since received enough airplay for the duo to recently make it available as a CD single. (I do not have a copy of either the vinyl or CD incarnations myself.) In listening to the track -- knowing who put it out -- you keep expecting some sort of comic twist but, of course, there isn't one. It IS moving and memorable, if something of a downer. If I had a copy I'd probably broadcast it but doubt I would have included in THE ALL-TIME GREATEST HITS OF CHRISTMAS. That's because it is so similar in spirit to C.W. McCall's "Sing Silent Night," which I did include and think is a better expression of the same sentiment. "Sing Silent Night" is also a step closer to the heart because it's about C.W.'s mom and immediate family, not his grandparents. Walter Brennan's Christmas album also contains a few downer tracks, which I bypassed in favor of the cozier, more family-friendly "Christmas Together." Liberty did pull a single from Brennan's Christmas LP, but unfortunately picked two of the least effective tracks on the disc to couple for it.

For more on the Pinkard & Bowden CD single, go to:

Thanks, Gary ... we'll feature it here again, too, as it's one of my favorites:


Kicking off our fresh season of brand new Christmas music is none other than Paul Simon! He's just released a song called "Getting Ready For Christmas Day" ... and not only can you hear it here today in Forgotten Hits, but you can ALSO download your OWN copy right from Paul's website:
Click here: Paul Simon

Simon has a brand new album coming out next spring ... be sure to sign up at his website for full details and updates as the release date gets closer.

And, just for fun, one of those GREAT Forgotten Christmas Tracks, recorded back in 1966 with his long-time singing partner Art Garfunkel ... a look back a "Seven O'Clock News / Silent Night" from their "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" album. (kk)

Something old, something new ... something borrowed and something BLUE ...

How about "Blue Christmas" as done by both Porky Pig and The Partridge Family!!!

Got some new Christmas music to share?
Drop me a line at ... STAT!!! ...
And we'll try to feature it in the days to come on the website!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sunday Comments ( 11 - 28 - 10 )

I finally had time to get caught up on a few things over the long weekend so we've
got another MAMMOTH Sunday Comments Page to share with you this morning ...

And it's absolutely HUGE!!!
(I know ... that's what SHE Said!)

In fact, this is positively the biggest Sunday Comments Page we've EVER run on the website ... not a bad way to kick of our 12th Year ... and clear the decks on some of this stuff that's been accumulating.
(Truth be told, even with this GROSSLY EXPANDED VERSION,
we STILL had to leave off several pages of comments!!!)

But hey, it's been a long holiday weekend ... and reading this SURE beats standing in line at the mall ... so let's get right to it!

Is it just me or are you guys really enjoying these little iTunes / Beatles videos that seem to be running CONSTANTLY on virtually EVERY TV station since Apple (and Apple) finally reached an agreement to put The Beatles' music on iTunes? They're short but sweet little 30-second ads, typically featuring one piece of Beatles Music ("I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Here Comes The Sun" and "Yesterday" seem to be running most often, along with "Let It Be" and "All You Need Is Love" coming in a close second) ... and it makes me jump out of my chair and run in from the other room nearly every time I hear one start. A GREAT marketing campaign (that had obviously been in the works for quite some time before the official announcement was made) ... but there's just something exciting again about hearing these tunes pop up unexpectedly on the television! (kk)
You can view ALL of the adds currently running right here:
Click here: Apple posts ‘Beatles to iTunes’ TV ads AllNewsMac
Click here: Apple - The Beatles on iTunes
And, according to Rolling Stone Magazine:
The Beatles sold more than 450,000 albums and 2 million individual songs worldwide in the first week that the group's music was
available on iTunes, according to a representative from the company.
In the U.S., the best-selling album was Abbey Road, and the best-selling song was that album's "Here Comes the Sun."

Further proof that this music will NEVER die!!! (kk)

I was encouraged to take a look at your Web site after I received an e-mail commenting on an entry I made in the Web site.
At any rate, the following is a totally true first-person story, and of course, you are welcome to use it on your Web site if you find it relevant or interesting.
The following is a true story that has always had me wondering about the possibility of what might have been.
I was working at WKDA in Nashville, Tenn., and the station had what was called a "throw-out box," in which some records (duplicates provided by record distributors and records not deemed good enough for air play) were placed to eventually be discarded. While I was there, people such as Program Director, Smokey Walker and music directors Ronnie Page and Joe Hathcock made it clear that I could help myself to anything that was placed there.
Well ... a short time before I left Nashville in the summer of 1963, I found a copy of the record "From Me To You," a song by The Beatles, in the throw-out box! On occasions, back then, I’d take some of the throw-out records to the production room (this was always on weekends, when the production room was unattended) and play them on a large turntable and sound system located there.
I really liked "From Me To You," and I told Joe Hathcock that he should reconsider that song for rotation on the WKDA playlist. He listened to it again -- and he rejected it again! So I took two promotional copies of the song back to my dorm room at Vanderbilt, and I still have them to this day!
I’m sure these records surely have a pretty decent value today, since they were some of the very first available in America, and this was about a half-year before The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Of course, the rest is now history, as we all know.
In looking back, somebody in the U.S. must have actually played "From Me To You" in the summer of 1963 because it reached as high as No. 116 on Billboard Magazine’s "Bubbling Under The Hot 100" list. I virtually forgot about The Beatles for several months, until the so-called British Invasion began in early 1964. As a matter of fact, when I discovered "From Me To You" in the throw-out box, I didn’t even know The Beatles were from England.
Once in a while, I still wonder if, when The Beatles hit it big, Joe Hathcock (and perhaps others at WKDA) might have remembered back to that time and thought, "You know ... that Vandy student, Bill Herald, actually tried to get us to play that Beatles record last summer, but we didn’t think it was good enough."
And I also wonder if (and fully realizing that "if" is a big word) I might have personally discovered The Beatles more than six months before the Fab Four hit it big in this country!
Sarasota, Fla.
A pretty amazing story, Bill! We've all experienced some "woulda, coulda, shoulda" moments in our lives but this certainly is one of the more memorable.
A quick check of our website will show you that a few stations did, in fact, jump on "From Me To You", which gave it enough of a push to "Bubble Under" on the Billboard Chart. (You'll even find a copy of the KRLA Chart listing "From Me To You" at #32.)
MOST stations, however, went with the Del Shannon "cover" version, as he was certainly the more familiar artist at the time. Even here in Chicago, where Dick Biondi played The Beatles' previous release "Please Please Me" a few months earlier, WLS opted for the Del Shannon version. (It went to #10 here in Chi-Town and ranked #67 nationally on the Cash Box Chart.) Bottom line is that, even had you convinced your on-air team to play "From Me To You" back then, you STILL wouldn't have been the first to air the band here in The States ... but you sure would have been ONE of the firsts!
DeeJays I've talked to over the years to this day maintain that these early recordings made absolutely NO impression on them ... until the mania kicked in, it seems NOBODY sensed anything new or unique enough about their sound to give them a spin. (Even Dick Clark, who aired "She Loves You" as part of his "Rate-A-Record" segment saw no indication that The Beatles would ever make it here Stateside. And, quite honestly, he probably only played it because he owned a stake in Swan Records, the label that released "She Loves You" here in the States!)
By nearly all accounts (other than a handful of teens ... who ALWAYS seem to pick up on these trends before their highly paid adult counterparts do!), EVERYBODY missed the boat on The Beatles in 1963. (kk)
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Who Played The Very First Beatles Record In America?

>>>The songs I chose were The Thanksgiving Song by Adam Sandler (I know, no imagination), but where else you gonna hear a song that mentions Betty Grable, Mike Tyson, Elvis, Daryl Strawberry and masturbation. (Jack)

Speaking of Darryl Strawberry (mentioned in today's comments), do you know what happens to him in the after life?
Strawberry fields forever.
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem
OK, now you're going to force me to tell my Diamond Jim story again!!! (lol)
Originally written in 1970 (by a then 17-year old Kent Kotal) and then published again in 2000 (in both Mystery Lyrics and Forgotten Hits) was this tale of Diamond Jim:
Diamond Jim was a diamond miner ...

In fact, he was the BEST diamond miner the world has ever known.
Because of his uncanny talent, he had picked the mines clean all around the world ... until there were simply no diamonds left.
Suddenly, he was bored ...
What was the world's greatest diamond miner to do If there were no more diamonds to be found on earth???
The solution was simple ...
He fashioned the longest rope ever made, tossed it up into the air and lassoed the moon.
If there were no more diamonds to be had here on earth, then he would simply go and mine them on the moon!!!
Diamond Jim had the magic touch ...
In virtually no time at all, he filled his bag with diamonds, dug from deep inside the craters of the moon.
He decided to bring the bag back down to earth, empty it into his own private diamond mine and then climb back up to fill the sack with another batch.
However, on his way back down the rope he encountered a problem ...
The bag of diamonds was just too heavy ...The rope simply couldn't support them!!!
It began to break ...
... and, suddenly, it snapped!!!

And soon ...
There He Was ...
Dangling ...
... In The Sky With Diamonds!!!
(By the way, both "Strawberry Fields Forever" AND "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" made our Top 20 All-Time Greatest Psychedelic Songs Poll a few years back ... you can read the complete list here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 20 Favorite Psychedelic Songs
It is, without question, the #1, most-viewed page of our site! (kk)

A funny thing happened when I read the recent posting of Mickey Dolenz' career highlights, including "Circus Boy," which I watched faithfully when I was five or six.
I immediately heard the show's theme music in my head (after what, 50+ years?) and got to wondering if it was ever released as a recording. It was a very infectious tune, perfect circus band music, and it would be great to hear again if anybody has it.

--Jeff Duntemann
Colorado Springs, Colorado
I don't know if it was ever commercially released or not but there's a great episode of The Monkees TV Series (I think it's called "The Monkees Go To The Circus") and, as they're entering the Big Tent, Micky starts singing the theme ... one of the others asks him what that is and he mumbles something about some song he remembered from a long time ago that was stuck in his head! Great scene (that probably only the TRUEST of Monkees fans got at the time!)
Meanwhile, I did find this fairly distorted clip on YouTube:
Click here: YouTube - Circus Boy begin

I remember watching Circus Boy on Saturday mornings. He then was known as Mickey Braddock. Why did he change his name? Or perhaps I should ask why he changed his real name (Dolenz) to Braddock?
Steve Davidson
Micky's Dad, George Dolenz (Micky's REAL name is George Michael Dolenz ... obviously, he came WAY before the Wham! guy!) was an actor starring in the television series "The Count Of Monte Cristo" ... so when Micky was cast to star as Corky in "Circus Boy", they decided to take his middle name (Michael as a nick-name, Micky) and "Braddock", apparently a name on his Mother's side of the family. (Micky's mother's name was Janelle Johnson so it must have been a cousin or uncle or something!) She was an actress, too, and met her future husband on stage in a play called "Return Engagement". (kk)
Micky tells the "Circus Boy" / name change story this way in his autobiography "I'm A Believer: My Life Of Monkees, Music, And Madness":
They broke the news to me that they were going to bleach my brown hair blond!

Needless to say, I was not too crazy about this idea.
And what was worse, I had to go to the HAIRDRESSING department to get it done.
Only GIRLS went to a hairdresser!
They sat me down in a barber's chair, put an apron over my head and started combing hydrogen peroxide into my scalp -- and then pinned it back with CURLERS!
I was mortified!
It was also told to me at this time that the powers-that-be decided to give me a stage name. Originally they wanted it to be Rock Hudson, but that was already taken, so they settled on Micky Braddock. (Braddock was a name they'd dredged up from my mother's side of the family. It seems that somewhere in the dim and distant past, I am related to one General Braddock, who lost some famous battle in some famous war.)
The reasons the producers gave for changing my name were strange, if not inane.

First of all, they said, my father was already well known as The Count Of Monte Cristo, and they figured that the television viewing audience might get confused.
And, second of all, they thought Braddock was just more "American" than Dolenz.
Whatever the reasons, Micky Braddock I became.

A blond Micky Braddock.
(Did they think blond hair was more American than brown?)
-- Micky Dolenz

Micky's certainly been busy lately! Just a few weeks after we saw him perform at The Star Plaza Theater in Merrillville, Indiana, he was back across the pond starring in "Hairspray"!
New York - Monkees-star Micky Dolenz will be reprising the role of loveable joke shop owner "Wilbur Turnblad" in HAIRSPRAY, at selected venues throughout the show’s first major tour of UK and Ireland. After successfully playing ‘Wilbur Turnblad’ in the West End earlier this year, Dolenz will be alternating the role with versatile comedian and actor Les Dennis, who opened to the tour in Cardiff in April 2010*.
It’s been a busy summer for Dolenz, who released his first solo album in a decade, King For A Day (Gigatone Records) to much critical acclaim; toured as part of the 25th Anniversary of The Happy Together tour alongside The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie; the Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill; Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere And The Raiders), and, The Buckinghams, and, toured with his own band.
Dolenz joins the tour on November 16 at the Dublin Grand Canal Theatre –
Micky Dolenz is an actor, musician, writer and director. Starting out as a child star on US television in Circus Boy, he shot to fame in the globally successful, Emmy Award winning NBC television show The Monkees. Playing a band in the show, the actors were also hugely successful as a chart group with international hits including I’m A Believer, Last Train To Clarksville and Daydream Believer. Since the band, he has guested in many television shows, provided voiceover for countless animated series and written, produced and directed for television, notably in the UK as lead producer / director on the hit children’s show Metal Mickey. He has also appeared in Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA on Broadway and on stage in the USA in Pippin', Grease and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. In the early 1980s, Dolenz directed a stage version of Alan Parker's Bugsy Malone in the West End, the cast of which included a then unknown 14-year-old Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The smash hit award-winning musical HAIRSPRAY at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London recouped its entire capitalization in a record-breaking 29 weeks. The show opened in October 2007 to universal critical acclaim and smash hit business. At the 2008 Olivier Awards, HAIRSPRAY won Best Musical, as well as Best Actor in a Musical for Michael Ball and a further two awards from a record breaking eleven nominations. The show has also won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards, the Theatregoers Choice awards, the Critics’ Circle Awards and the Variety Club Showbiz Awards. Further afield the show has played at venues around the world and won more than 40 major theatre awards.
Official website:

Nice photo submitted by David Lewis of Micky Dolenz!
Looks like Micky could go another round of a Monkees' TV series! :)Thanks!
Jersey John

Based on what we saw a few weeks ago, Micky appears to be in GREAT shape, both vocally and physically these days ... and, like we aid above, certainly is keeping busy of late! (kk)

And with "Head" making its premier on BluRay, former Monkees Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork have been offering their (often differing) opinions on the cult film classic:
When one thinks of the crucial canon of the sixties counter-cultural film movement, certain movies come to mind: Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show. And they're all collected on Criterion's new Blu-ray collection, America Lost and Found: The BBS Story, which assembles seven movies from Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider's influential and innovative studio. But the set also includes one film that sticks out among the classic dramas: Head, the Monkees' first and only film. On first glance, it's jarring in the same way that it was jarring in its failed 1968 release, which came out shortly before the band broke up: The Monkees were known for their goofy, family friendly TV series, and yet this movie was a psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness satire on fame, war, and their own prefab fame. How incongruous was this movie with the band's image? Imagine a Jonas Brothers movie directed by Lars Von Trier. It tanked when it opened because it was too surreal for kids, and, says singer-drummer Micky Dolenz, "A lot of the hip people, the intelligentsia, wouldn’t see the movie anyway because it was the Monkees.” More than 40 years later, many consider Head a cult classic, though, as we discovered, that contingent still doesn't include all of the Monkees.
The film came to be as the group's 1966–68 series was ending; Rafelson (who had directed several episodes, and would go on to make Five Easy Pieces) introduced the quartet to Jack Nicholson, who was going to write the screenplay. Singer-drummer Dolenz remembers that Nicholson "had done a couple B-movies and wanted to get into production. He was funny, charming and had a ton of charisma — we got along great.” The band, Nicholson, and Rafelson retreated to an Ojai Valley hotel with a tape recorder (and, one would guess, given the era and the finished product, some pot) to discuss the film. “We sat around all day long and part of the night talking about what we wanted to do, what we didn’t want to do, and what kind of a movie it would be,” Dolenz recalls. “At the end of the weekend, we ended up with hours of tape that Jack took away, and out of those conversations and the experiences we had hanging out, they came up with this movie, Head.”
When Head arrived in theaters, the fans who actually saw the movie were expecting comedic, zany fun and feel-good hits — not a surreal film that touched on everything from Vietnam (including actual footage of a Viet Cong execution) to the exhausting, superficial nature of fame. In the
opening ten minutes, the band made the tone clear: They chant a biting recasting of their TV theme, which includes the lines, “Hey, hey, we are the Monkees, you know we love to please / A manufactured image, with no philosophies.” Even John Lennon waited until the Beatles were broken up before deconstructing their public image.
Peter Tork (widely believed to be the most musical Monkee, sticking mostly to keyboards and bass on the show) today expresses mixed feelings toward the film. He enjoys the surreal, nonlinear quality of the film — "We liked to think of ourselves as a bit avant-garde," he says — but he finds the overall tone of the film to be oppressively pessimistic. “Rafelson’s movies are extremely bleak,” he suggests. “They all say life is not much, and it ends with random and gratuitous idiocies and violence. Out of the blue, people die for no direct cause, aside from just being interesting people.”
In fairness, it should be noted that Tork admits to not getting along with the director: “I didn’t enjoy working for Bob Rafelson, so [filming] was difficult for me.” Still, Tork’s distaste for the film stems more from his philosophical reaction to what he perceives as the film’s message of hopelessness, which seemed to be directed specifically at the band. “The movie begins with us being chased and jumping into water, and it ends with us in a tank of water which we can’t escape,” Tork points out. “In Rafelson’s view, that’s your story if you are the Monkees. You are chased and trapped and there’s no getting out of it. There was no room in Rafelson’s thinking that there was any place for the Monkees to go. It was, ‘You’re doomed.’” Dolenz, on the other hand, is much more of a believer in the film. “We were always the victims in the movie, which is interesting” he says. “[Head] is sort of a deconstruction of the Monkees. But more than that, it was also a deconstruction of the Hollywood system at the time.” Nevertheless, Dolenz admits much of the film may have been odd just for oddness’s sake. “Me jumping off bridge [in the film’s cold open] may mean jumping into the unknown,” he opines, “But who know what it means? Maybe nothing. Like Sigmund Freud said, sometimes a cigar is only a cigar, and I think there may be a little of that going on [in Head].” Tork voiced a similar opinion: “Some things were entirely just for the funny of it," he says citing a Lawrence of Arabia parody where Dolenz wanders the desert, only to end up
assaulting a malfunctioning Coke machine.
Even though it followed on the tails of two enormously successful TV seasons and numerous hit singles, theater attendance was abysmal. Partly to blame was the marketing campaign that was almost as avant-garde as the film itself, but even worse was the fact that many theaters (successfully) demanded the film’s G-rating be turned into a Mature rating, simply because the film structure allegedly resembled an acid trip. The dissolution of the band followed soon after the flop, but both Tork and Dolenz deny there was any cause/effect. Tork, the first to leave, explains that although he still got along with the other Monkees, he “wanted to be in a pop-rock band … ultimately, it began to dawn on me that the other three weren’t interested in that.” He continues, "I don’t think the Monkees would have gone on [even] had the movie been more conventional. The movie was in some ways a last flicker … We were headed into our decline and in order to rejuvenate we would have to have done a lot of hard work and stuck with it, and I don’t think we had the energy. I don’t think you can blame it on the movie.”Dolenz agrees that the movie didn’t end the Monkees, pointing out that when Head was released, “The TV show was off the air, so in a sense there was no Monkees. The Monkees was not a group or a band. The Monkees was a television show about a band, an imaginary band that didn’t really exist and still doesn’t exist in that sense.” He likens the Monkees on tour to the actors in Galaxy Quest suddenly forced to battle real aliens.Still, the movie’s initial failure must have been somewhat bothersome, because Dolenz admits he “feels vindicated to have the Head get such a great reception and cult following” over the years. “When you think of the films and television shows about the hippie sixties culture, most of them — not to name any — look a little corny now,” Dolenz says. “People weren’t really wandering around in bell-bottoms, smoking a joint, and riding around in VW buses with flowers all over them and going, ‘Far out man, coooool.’ People didn’t really behave like that on the whole. Head is not like that. I think it is one of the movies that really did capture the feeling and sensibility of the time.”
-- submitted by David Salidor (
from NEW YORK MAGAZINE ... the VULTURE section)

Morning Kent!
Add this to your Monkee File. On 11/17/67 Davy Jones opens a boutique in New York's Greenwich Village.
Frank B.
Yes, as we've learned recently, Davy was quite the entrepreneur back in the early days of The Monkees ... starting a number of businesses as a means of diversifying his investments, I suppose. The boutique didn't last long ... kind of like when The Beatles tried to open "The Fool" in London ... it just wasn't what they were cut out to do! (kk)

OMG, check THIS out!!! Quite possibly the WORST version of "At The Hop" ever recorded. It comes from The Monkees' 1969 best-forgotten television special
"33 Revolutions Per Monkee", certainly one of the low-lights of their career!
Click here: YouTube - At The Hop- The Monkees

The Electric Prunes toured a lot with Buffalo Springfield in the 60s. I know they already have a new drummer, since Dewey Martin passed away. I would have loved to be the drummer for their reunion! The Electric Prunes has asked me several times if I would return to the band, but I have refused to consider it if James Lowe (singer) is still in the band. Mark Tulin and I get together about once each year for lunch and to chat about old times and the current scene. I've always been a fan of Buffalo Springfield and the song, "Mr. Soul" is still one of my favorites of all time.
Preston Ritter

I was really stoked by the video you included in your newsletter ... Neil Young singing "Hello Mr. Soul" ... they sound great and I hope THE BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD will tour again sometime.
To this day, I enjoy listening to their songs. In fact, I play "Sit Down I Think I Love You" for senior groups all the time and they love it. I have to grin every time I think about where the title to that song might have come from because, if you remember, at that time (mid 60s), there was a humorous "pick up line" that was circulating around certain social circles that had a similar 'line' to it. lol.

I met Neil Young and Bruce Palmer in the earliest days of The Buffalo Springfield when I played in a band at the Whiskey in Hollywood on the same bill WITH them. That was in 1966 when they were first breaking out. THE "original" MOONRAKERS had broken up, and some friends of mine from Denver (THE SOUL SURVIVORS) had moved to the coast and started a group called THE POOR. They called me to come out and join them. Randy Meisner was the bass player and THE POOR was managed by THE BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD'S managers, Charlie Greene and Brian Stone. They put stickers all over Hollywood, on every telephone pole, store window, and car bumper that said "HELP THE POOR" ... which we thought was sort of a clever way to get noticed. At that time Green / Stone Productions also managed Sonny and Cher, and at some point they managed Iron Butterfly and other big names.
Green / Stone put us up in apartments at the famous Hollywood Tropicana Hotel where we hung out with a group called SPARROW, who had just moved to Hollywood from Canada ... within weeks, they changed their name to STEPPENWOLF and you know how big THEY got ... WOW!
THE BACK PORCH MAJORITY also was living there at The Tropicana ... there were probably 100 groups that were living there at the time. It was "the" place for bands to stay when they first hit Hollywood. It was off the strip, down on Hollywood Boulevard and close to everything ... Barney's Beanery was just up the street a block, and Gold Star Studios, where I'd done a lot of recording with THE MOONRAKERS, was only five minutes away.
THE POOR never quite made it even though the group had releases on York Records as well as a couple of other labels. If you'd like to hear one of the songs released by THE POOR I'm including one for you that's one of my personal favorites. I love the lyrics, and it's sung by one of the greatest voices I have ever heard, Alan Kemp. Alan went on to sing with Ricky Nelson's STONE CANYON BAND, and then for years he played and sang with the New Riders of The Purple Sage. We lost Alan last year to cancer but this song, sung by him and written by Mike Clough and Mike Crowley from THE BACK PORCH MAJORITY, is one I'm proud to have helped produce. Maybe you'll want to share it with your readers.
So there's a memory or two from the '60s that you dragged out of my mind because of Forgotten Hits.
Thanks Kent, it's always a blast to jog thru memory lane with you.
Veeder Van Dorn
I love the "Help The Poor" angle ... pretty clever. (Right out of high school, I headed a band called Kumsah ... everybody wondered where on earth I'd come up with that name ... until they saw the promotional posters: COME SEE KUMSAH ... and then the date and name of the venue!!! Always liked THAT one, too! lol)
Actually, this is a GREAT story ... and EXACTLY the kind of stuff we love to share in Forgotten Hits ... so thanks again, Veeder, for coming up with a winner. Man, those must have been some truly INCREDIBLE days ... since we all missed them the first time around, there is nothing better than reliving them, vicariously as it may be, through those of you who were there. Thanks again! (kk)

>>>However, if it was even a possibility, I think you'd also have to add Barry McGuire and John Sebastian to the mix. (Wild Bill Cody)
Forget John Sebastian. I saw him quite a few years ago at a small concert (it was at a seafood festival or something) and he wouldn't even sing any Lovin' Spoonful songs.
The audience pretty much boo-ed him off the stage.
I've only seen John Sebastian in concert one time ... and it was a long time ago. He was the opening act for America back in probably 1975. John was hot again, thanks to his #1 TV Theme from "Welcome Back Kotter" ... even way back then, he only did ONE Lovin' Spoonful song, "Darling Be Home Soon" ... fact is I don't think anybody in the audience knew another song he played all night other than "Welcome Back" ... they pretty much talked through his entire performance, waiting for the headliners to take the stage! (kk)

The Vibramutant here ...
To add a lil' drama to the Three Dog Night posting ...
I don't know if I'm the only one who can say this but at Rockingham, NC, in 1972, while doing a lot of psychotropical concoctions, I remember watching the music come out of the speakers while Three Dog Night did their set.
I did not actually hear them ... I SAW their music.
It only happened during their set and I'd never had that happen before or after.
The music came out like shafts of energy and "Black & White" was the only tune I heard a snippet of which was funny because the crowd I was with was so concerned about me they asked me what was playing and by who and I was able to answer!
Birtha was there as well as The Alice Cooper Band, who took the no-show Faces spot. Rory Gallagher was there too!

Hi Kent
You've had several mentions of those deserving of being in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and I agree with just about all the names mentioned, especially ELO, Paul Revere and the Raiders and Connie Francis. But I don't recall anyone suggesting Kenny Loggins. Am I a minority of one here or is it that he's from the 70's and out of the forgotten hits era? He's certainly made good music and had lots of hits both by himself and with Jim Messina.
Steve Davidson
Chicago, IL
Nope, definitely from our era ... and I'm a big fan of Kenny's music ... but you're right, his name isn't one of those that frequently come up when folks are talking about potential Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Nominees.
Jim Messina was a member of a couple of cult-favorite bands (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) while Loggins carved out a very successful solo career after his years as half of the Loggins and Messina duo.
I recently read an interview with Kenny (who at one point was contemplating retirement but was inspired to keep writing, singing and performing after hearing something his son said). He talked about some of his own personal favorites amongst those that he had written ... and I was shocked to hear that he was especially proud of his naive innocence in tunes like "Danny's Song" and "The House At Pooh Corner", BOTH written while he was still in HIGH SCHOOL!!! (Amazing! These are BOTH timeless classics that have entertained and inspired every generation since. And he wrote them in HIGH SCHOOL?!?!?)
Did anybody out there see the cute scene at the end of the new Fox Comedy "Raising Hope" when Grandma and Grandpa sang their new grand-daughter to sleep with "Danny's Song"? GREAT scene! (kk)
Here's how Kenny described this in the forward to Jim Peterik book "Songwriting For Dummies", (co-written with Dave Austin and Marry Ellen Bickford):
When asked which one of my songs is my favorite, I always reply that it's like being asked to pick a favorite child. yet I have to admit my early songs have an innocence about them that I find endearing. In those days, songs came from a less 'crafted place" and more from the spontaneous 'soul place.' I didn't really know what I was doing technically, so I simply wrote what I felt. My 'inner critic' was practically nonexistent, so I was free to create un-self-consciously, loving every note as a new gift. It was always a rush to stand back from a fresh creation and say to myself in surprise, "Did I just do THAT?" Two of my best-known tunes, "Danny's Song" and "House At Pooh Corner," came from those innocent days as a senior in high school. And I still strive to write from that 'feeling place' -- where the music REALLY comes fron -- and shy away from the 'thinking place' as best I can. My most effective stuff happens when my head gets out of my way and my heart takes over.
-- Kenny Loggins

About retirement, Kenny said:

A couple of years back I was seriously considering retiring. One night before putting my seven-year old son Luke to bed, I told him that "Daddy has decided to retire." He asked "What does that mean?" I said that means "I'm not going to sing for people anymore. I'm just going to stay home and were going to play a lot more." To my surprise, instead of being happy, Luke started to cry and nothing I could say would ease his tears. Finally, I had to leave the room so that my wife, Julia, could just hold him and calm him down. Luke, at last, whispered through his sobs, "If Daddy stops singing, he'll die." That was the most important wake-up call I've ever received. It felt as though God was talking right to me. I soon pulled the old notebook back out. Slowly, but unsurely, I got back in touch with my muse and onto solid emotional ground. I discovered that with the decision to write again came the biggest blessing of all: the awareness that I do what I do because I was born to, because I love it, because it keeps me alive and fills me with a sense of purpose. Songwriting is my survival." -- Kenny Loggins


Kent ...
Neil Diamond sings this Bill Withers hit from 1971, from his new album called "Dreams". There is also an updated version of "I'm A Believer", the song Neil wrote for the Monkees. Also on this new CD: two Lennon - McCartney tunes - "Michelle" and "Blackbird". I'm going to buy it.
Frank B.
Yeah, it's an entire album filled with songs Neil has always wanted to sing (or wishes he had written). Judging by what I've heard so far, it's ALSO totally unnecessary ... and, in hindsight, probably NOT the smartest career move he could have made just prior to Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame voting! (Quite honestly, the David Cassidy version of "Ain't No Sunshine" blows this one away ... and, based on recent events, it's quite possible that he might have been "Singing Under The Influence" while he was recording it!!! lol) kk

Looks like Lon is getting LOTS of great press between the "Best Of Apple Records" CD release and some of his recent solo ventures and projects! Glad we could help to spread the word, too. Here's the latest:
Ex-Apple Records artist Lon Van Eaton has high hopes for new multimedia show
Lon Van Eaton, who with his brother Derrek, recorded an album on Apple Records, is looking ahead to a new venture he's involved in that features a multi-stage entertainment presentation.
But the discussion first turns to the new Apple Records CDs that were released that day. He says he's very happy that their track, "Sweet Music," made it on to the CD compilation, "Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records."
"You can imagine how honored I am for that and just really pleased," he says. "It's great now that they're releasing "Sweet Music" on the compilation with all these great artists."
He says there had been talk of EMI releasing their Apple album, "Brother," on CD and he doesn't know whether it will be released or not. "I haven't heard anything. I guess if there is enough demand maybe they would."
The brothers put out a CD called "Black & White" in the late '90s that featured guest appearances by Ringo Starr, Denny Seiwell and Klaus Voormann. (It's still available through their Imagine a Better World website at
They have continued recording and are also considering a tour. "If we find some independent label who wants to hear the new stuff, I would love to do more music, which I've done. But all these years we have a lot of things in the can that is good. And the latest music is the stuff was written for the score for the Livies."
Livies, which stands for Live Interactive Visual Immersion Entertainment Shows, is their latest plan. As Van Eaton explains it, "Livies is a technology for theater that happens in geodesic domes."
On his website:, Livies is described as "Imagine a theatre of breathtaking high definition images immersed in surround sound. A theatre where performances are projected onto awe-inspiring high definition virtual realities. A theatre designed to entertain audiences of all ages. This is LIVIES Digital Theatre ... And you don't have to imagine it. It is here."
The concept involves a geodesic dome theater with live stage images with high-definition images and surround sound.
"Imagine pre-recorded film and also live film that goes on that we shoot live in the other dome. It's really a whole new thing that we're excited about," he says. A release describing the show compares it to the Beatles' "Love" show.
"The dream," he says,"is to make it as big as Cirque du Soleil and have these things traveling around. And they're on different themes. The first show is called the Dance of Life, which is an environmental theme."
The Van Eatons are looking for some "angel investor types" to help finance the shows. They're looking at several cities as places to open the show, though Van Eaton says, "It seems Vegas in the right place to start." He also mentioned San Francisco as another possible show site. He said they've also been in touch with entrepreneur Steve Wynn in hopes of getting something going.
"When I go to do something, I try to keep as many of things I learned and what greatness the Beatles are in things that I do because they're the inspiration," he says. "We need more Beatle love and understanding."
(Our previous interview with Lon & Derrek Van Eaton about recording for Apple Records:
-- Steve Marinucci
With Apple releasing a good chunk of their catalog in one lump sum (17 CD's in all, I believe), I'm guessing it won't be long before the "Brother" album is available again ... and I, for one, can't wait to hear it! (kk)

Hi Kent,

I just wanted to let you know that I finally received "Come and Get It" yesterday.

(@#$! post office)

If anyone out there has any doubts about buying it, don't worry - it's worth purchasing. The sound is excellent and the songs are all gems. You may not want the kids in the room when listening to "King of Fuh" though (LOL).Again, thank you for allowing me to participate in the giveaway. Also, special thanks to Mr. Lon Van Eaton for taking the time to sign my copy.

Chris G. (spiffywonderboy)
Happy to pass this along. Thanks, Chris! (I've been listening to MY copy quite a bit lately, too! lol) kk


Kent ...
75 year history of the Apollo to travel around the country.
Frank B.
Show Time at the Apollo Arts & Culture Smithsonian Magazine

Now THAT would be a pretty historic exhibit to see! (kk)

Click here: Hey Beach Girls! Female Surf 'N' Drag 1961-1966: Various Artists: Music: Reviews, Prices & more
Interesting compilation release sent to me by Randy in Indy.
"The Honeys" have several tracks, along with Donna Loren, "The Beach Girls," (never heard of 'em), The Angels, Dee Dee Sharp (ironically, she did the Cow Palace "Surf Party" concert with The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, "Little" Stevie Wonder, Jan & Dean, and others on Sept 28, 1963 -- she brought her date to the gig, an up and coming boxer named Cassius Clay), Duane Eddy and The Rebelettes -- along with approximately a dozen others I'd never heard of :)
But there was one track that stood out: "The Supremes" and "Surfer Boy." It's from the "Beach Ball" movie and you gotta check it out on YouTube! :)
Click here: YouTube - The Supremes - Surfer boy
An LA favorite, Kathy Marshall "Queen of the Surf Guitar," was not among the tracks. In fact, I've heard that there are only a couple of acetates -- no commercially released product -- on Kathy, who held her own with Eddy and The Showman and Dick Dale. Oh, she was only 13 years old when she started performing in Southern Cal venues.
CD has 24 or 25 tracks -- certainly a lot of 'bang for the buck' in today's dwindling 'brick and mortar' CD market.
Fred Vail

Kent ...
Don't know if you know it -- Wild Wayne & Gene Pitney were very close friends. Wild Wayne interviewed Gene many times over the years. They're both from Connecticut. Wild Wayne is involved with the Gene Pitney Commemorative Committee. Wild Wayne told me that he gave that Gene Pitney Program you printed to the Fifth Estate.
Frank B.
While I can't say that I consider myself to be a major Gene Pitney fan, I DO like about six or seven of his songs ... he's yet ANOTHER artist who doesn't seem to get any oldies radio respect these days. One of the COOLEST interviews I ever heard was one he did on XM60's right before he died ... a GREAT piece that featured a whole bunch of his music that you rarely hear anymore.

The tour book program photo that we ran came from a fan who attended that concert back in the day ... we've actually run it a few times over the years. With some of the artists now on the list, we had some cool on-stage and off-stage photos to share, too, including one (I believe) of Mr. Pitney showing the latest edition of "Playboy Magazine" to a couple of The Buckinghams!!! Check out our SCRAPBOOK MEMORIES Page and you'll see ANOTHER Pitney Tour Program from way back when! (kk)
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Scrapbook Memories
Kent ...
Check out top 10 girl name songs.
What no Sloopy or Rama Lama Ding Dong ?
But seriously folks. I thought Donna , Denise & Gloria would make it.
I think that # 1 doesn't even qualify.
What do you & your readers think?
Frank B.

So, every year my mom and her cousins get together for a long weekend, in a different location each time. This year, she tells me via email, that they saw a "Mark Twain one man show". They were the only people in the audience, but he performed anyway. He was really cool to them and took this picture with them (that's my hot mom on the left, she's 68, single and looking). She thought this was just some guy ... this is Jim Post. I explained to her who he is, but she hasn't read her email as of the time I sent this to you. Unfortunately, I don't think she'll be as moved by the fact that she was with Jim Post as she will be that she was with someone famous. And now she can tell everyone she shows the photo to who he is, and look like she knows her stuff. You're welcome, Mother.

uhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... ok, I have to be TOTALLY honest here!!!
While his name WAS familiar, I didn't know who Jim Post was at first either ... had to look him up and then had a "duh" moment ... but at first I had absolutely NO clue!!! (So don't be too hard on your Mom, OK?!?!?)
For any OTHER confused FH readers, Jim was one half of Friend And Lover, who had the big hit "Reach Out Of The Darkness" back in 1968. (Damn, and we wrote a whole spotlight feature on them once, too!)
Shall I add your Hot Mom's picture to our Forgotten Hits Dating Service Site?!?!? (lol) This could give a whole new meaning to our "Helping Out Our Readers" feature!!! (kk)

Interesting (and a rare case that I knew something you didn't) ... I SWEAR you've talked about Jim Post doing the Mark Twain thing before. But I'll give you that it's been at least seven years since. I can't remember what I ate for dinner last night. But, now you know. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and please do share the picture. I need me a new Daddy!!
Kristy OK, we've done it ... Kristy's Hot Mom on the left! (Why do I feel so "dirty" all of a sudden?!?!?) lol (kk)

Well, let's review ... so far (beyond the realm of our regular oldies music coverage) we've tried to help Ray Graffia, Jr. sell his sports car ... and now we're pimpin' out Kristy's Mom ... so who really knows what the future may hold for Forgotten Hits?!?!? (kk)

I was reading your blog the other day and it reminded me of something that happened to me a few years back. In 1993, I purchased a Don Steele / KHJ aircheck from 1969. There was a song on it that I vaguely remembered, but couldn't exactly come up with the title or the artist. Steele didn't identify either as the song was the middle song of three in a row opening up his show at 3:00 PM and he didn't do any back announcing. I wrote to Goldmine magazine, described the aircheck and the song, which I believed was titled "She's Got Love". The editor at Goldmine identified the song as "She's Got Love", by Thomas & Richard Frost, a minor hit in some markets, but certainly one that should have gone Top Ten.
I thought that was the end of it, but lo and behold, a few weeks later, I received a letter from Richard Frost, himself, thanking me for mentioning the song and telling me a short story about it. He also included a mint 45 RPM record of the song, plus KHJ and KFRC surveys from 1969 with the song on them.
I thought that was pretty classy and I never forgot it.
Jim B
Now how TOTALLY cool is THAT?!?!? Yes, some of these artists REALLY appreciate the fact that we still love and recognize this music all these years later, especially if a song wasn't a particularly big hit. ("She's Got Love" reached #79 in Cash Box back in 1969.) It didn't chart here in Chicago so I wasn't familiar with it ... but Tom Diehl sent us a copy to share to see if this sets off anybody else's memory trigger today! (kk)

Wow, this is pretty cool, I just found out I am 22,568 days old! Thank you Lord for keeping this old geezer around so long!
(BTW, this might be fun to post on a radio station website for your listeners)
Wild Bill
Click here: How many days old are you?

One more for fun ...
YouTube - How To Wrap A Cat For Christmas
Kent ...
Here's one of my helpful holiday tips.
Frank B.

Pretty funny! And be sure to check out the companion link, Cute Things Blowing Up!!! (kk)

and GAMBLE and HUFF :
We got a few emails when this song was casually mentioned the other day in our Sunday Comments Page. While not a HUGE hit (#28 Cash Box, #37 Billboard, 1964), the record DID make The Top 20 here in Chicago (where it peaked at #16) and was also a large East Coast Hit in both the New Jersey and Philadelphia area. (The group hailed from Camden, NJ.) kk
>>>Just wanted to let you and your readers know that this Sunday evening, November 14, my very special guest will be Howard Ravitsky. Howard was (to quote from one of his CD's), "an unknown Philadelphia record producer, songwriter, and label owner (Lash Records) that created some of the best R&B and soul music to come out of Philadelphia." He worked with Patty and The Emblems (Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl), Bunny Sigler, Honey and The Bees, and many more soul and R&B artists. He will be my guest for all three hours sharing tunes, and talking about Philadelphia record producers (mostly from the 60's / some 70's, and NOT Gamble, Huff, or Bell) and the heyday of soul music in Philadelphia. (Gerri Bender)
Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl - Patty & The Emblems (1964) ... Great tune, but miserable sound quality ... pieced together, it sounds.
Assume RCA - Camden did the manufacturing and distribution of the (Hearld Records) 45 single, since it appears on muliple BMG CDs.
While Mix Master, Tom Moulton, remastered a CD by Patty & The Emblems, it didn't add anything to the previosly issued hit.
Even the producers, Frank Bendinelli and Leroy Lovett had to add vocals.
Not what I'd call a top class production! :-)
However, up pops an unedited ending version, lacking vocal overdubs during the break, by the producers, Frank Bendinelli and Leroy Lovett (I'm told). Marry both version and you hear a bit of stereo. Okay, so it's only 15 seconds of crude stereo, but more than what came out of Philadelphia about this time! Wouldn't mind remastering the entire song in stereo, had all the session tapes been saved ...
RIP Patty!
Jersey John

Hi Kent ...
A short note: "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl" was a session that Leon Huff produced and wrote behind Madara and White's back with arranger Leroy Lovett while under contract with M&W.
Leon put the name R. McGriff as the writer and Leroy put Ben-Lee music as the publisher to cover up that Leon Huff had anything to do with it. Not a nice thing for Leon to do to someone who was paying advances every week and financing sessions that Leon was writing and producing for M&W. Frank Bendinelli was Leroy Lovetts partner.
We found out about it and we got half of the publishing for our publishing company, Merjoda Music.
Along with a broken heart.
We had been using Leroy Lovett as one of our arrangers and giving Leon many production opportunities. So sad!
I don't know Howard Ravitsky, but when it comes to "Mixed Up Shook Up Girl", this is the real story!!!!
Your Friend,
John Madara

We've heard SO many stories like this over the years ... a lot of behind the scenes (and behind the back) stuff going on back then. (Speaking of which ... didn't Leon Huff co-write "Back Stabbers", too???) Actually, I've heard a similar story surrounding the big Supremes / Temptations Hit "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me ... but have never "officially" investigated it!
While we certainly can't deny the good stuff he's given us over the past 40 years, it really is a shame to hear that it was incidents like this that helped to launch that career. (kk)

... and, speaking of Gamble and Huff ... here's a recap report on their recent Street Naming Ceremony in Philadelphia!

Gamble & Huff were honored by the City of Philadelphia with the re-naming of the 300 Block of S. Broad St. as GAMBLE & HUFF WALK, in ceremonies in front of the historic Philadelphia International Records building along the Avenue of the Arts.
The extraordinary festivities along Broad Street included a free outdoor concert by several recording artists in the extended Philadelphia International Records family.
Guest speakers and attendees included numerous dignitaries, recording artists, business associates and family.
WHERE: Broad Street, between Spruce and Pine streets, Philadelphia, PA
WHEN: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Festivities included a musical performance by Ju-Taun, a press conference with Gamble & Huff, hosted by DJ Jerry Blavat, and an afternoon filled with music featuring Bill Jolly and the TSOP Orchestra and Band, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, the Soul Survivors, members of the Delfonics, Grace Little and Carol Riddick.
WHO: Mr. Kenneth Gamble and Mr. Leon Huff – co-founders and partners of Philadelphia International Records and the seminal R&B songwriting team Gamble & Huff, architects of “The Sound of Philadelphia.
Also speaking that day to honor these gentlemen were Chuck Gamble, executive vice president of Philadelphia International Records, Honorable Governor Ed Rendell, Honorable Mayor Michael Nutter, Congressman Bob Brady, City Councilman Frank DiCicco, Karen Lewis – executive director, Avenue of the Arts, Clarena Tolson – Philadelphia streets commissioner, Joe “Butterball” Tamburro – WDAS, E. Steven Collins - WRNB as well as notable artists in the Philadelphia International Records family, including Billy Paul, Bunny Sigler and Dexter Wansel. WHY: The world-renowned pioneering music icons are the architects of “The Sound of Philadelphia,” one of the most enduring brands of soul music anywhere. Together, they created a massive catalogue of 3,000 songs together, including R&B #1 hits, pop #1 hits, 100 gold and platinum records, Grammy winners and BMI songwriters’ award nominees. Though an arson fire has kept the Philadelphia International Records offices at 309 S. Broad Street quiet since the beginning of the year, the street renaming signifies a whole new beginning for Gamble & Huff, as the duo prepares for a glorious two-year celebration of their monumental legacy, beginning next year with the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records, and continuing into 2012 with the 50th anniversary of their distinguished partnership.
Gamble & Huff are among the most prolific professional songwriting teams of all time, having written and produced over 3,000 songs within 35 years, an output that rivals Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Leiber & Stoller and Holland-Dozier-Holland. Their message songs of peace, love, empowerment, social conscience and turmoil sold millions of records, as they fashioned the sweet, sexy, stirring, socially conscious Philly Sound at Philadelphia International Records (PIR). They are enshrined in five music Halls of Fame, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Featured prominently in television programs ("The Apprentice," "Cold Case"), films ("The Nutty Professor") and advertising spots (Verizon, Chevrolet, Coors Light, Old Navy, The Gap, Office Max) for more than 30 years, Gamble & Huff's songs have entered the musical DNA of contemporary culture. In fact, one of their songs is played on the radio somewhere in the world every 13.5 minutes. With a stable core of artists led by the O'Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Paul, MFSB and the Three Degrees, Gamble & Huff co-founded Philadelphia International Records and created monster hits almost from the first day of its inception. Songs they have written and produced together, like "Back Stabbers," "Love Train," "For The Love Of Money," "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "Cowboys to Girls," "Don't Leave Me This Way," "Enjoy Yourself," "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," "Only the Strong Survive" and "TSOP" (better known as the "Soul Train" theme), have received songwriters' awards from Broadcast Music International (BMI). Their songs comprise the most sampled R&B catalogue in the world, by artists such as Jay-Z, Usher, Cam'ron, Ja Rule, Jaheim, and Avant.

A propos of nothing and certainly not intended for any comments page, but every time I see "Gamble and Huff" I realize that it's a capsule definition of what happens to me at the slot machines in Atlantic City.
LOL ... sorry, Hil, but that's too funny NOT to include in the Comments Page! (lol) I think we've ALL felt that way most times we leave the casino! (kk)

>>>This last one is guaranteed to completely blow you away!!! AMAZING! (kk)
Click here: YouTube - Heroes and Villains - The Fendertones

They are amazing!

kent ...
truly one of the greatest covers i have ever heard ... the harmony is ethereal ...
frankly - and i love the beach boys - i believe the fender tones outclass mike love, al jardine and company with their approach to "heroes and villains."thanx for the link!
chet coppock
I love The Beach Boys, too ... and I've seen them AT LEAST a dozen times ... but honestly, on their VERY best day, they could have NEVER captured this sound live the way these guys do in this clip (and several others by The Fendertones that are also posted on YouTube.) It's a complete respect for the music to study and capture EVERY note and nuance the way they have. The Wondermints have blown me away on stage as Brian Wilson's back-up / touring band because they show such a GREAT love and respect for the music that Brian has created ... but these guys REALLY take the cake as far as I'm concerned. (Makes me wonder what Brian thinks of them!!! He has said before that HIS goal with The Beach Boys was always to bring in new singers and players who could keep the legacy alive and maintain the integrity of the sounds he heard in his head. These guys do EXACTLY that.) kk

It's a great version of all the songs - I had the pleasure (and fun) of singing one of the many background parts on the original H&V (the "Heroes & Villains" / "Bicycle Rider" section) so I am particularly fond of that one. Overall, it's a very ambitious undertaking for these young people and they should be proud - this is tough material to both sing and / or play. Thanks for sending me the video clip.
Billy Hinsche
High praise indeed, Billy. I figured you'd be blown away by this, especially having played with the guys for so many years. Thanks for your note! (kk)


Just landed in Beach Boys' California - what a greeting!

I've had several Fendertone covers on my YouTube channel for awhile (bb45s) - each one true to the originals.
INCREDIBLE stuff ... this goes beyond "spot on" ... this is every bit as "good as" ... and, in some cases, maybe even better! (kk)

In an effort to get a lot of stuff off our plate (I know, sounds like Thanksgiving Dinner all over again, right?!?!?) here is a virtual hodge-podge of topics that could include just about ANYTHING!!!

Do you remember about 1982 that Larry Lujack played "Get Your Tongue ..." on his morning show on WLS by Don & the Donuts, a local group and he ended up singing the song on stage at Chicago Fest (I think that was what it was called) WITH Don & the Donuts? I had to find that record! Nowadays, I not only have 2 copies, but have played it for local bands who have added it to their repitiore! Uncle Lar, ya gotta love him!


I vaguely remember this ... but folks on the list SURE liked the Ray Stevens version we sent out last weekend. In fact, we received a completely DIFFERENT version of "Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth" from FH Reader Stu Weiss ... and another cool country video worth watching, too! Check these out! (kk)

This is hilarious!

DJ Stu Weiss

YouTube - Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth, I'm Kissin' You Goodbye

Click here: YouTube - Joe Nichols - Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off

>>>While I really enjoy hearing "Danke Schoen" once in a while today, I will admit that this has not always been the case. When this song was actually popular, I HATED it!!" (kk)

You what??!! That was a great favorite of mine from day one! Good to hear a Big Band during the electric guitar famed era!!!A photo of Wayne during the recording session, with arranger, Perry Botkin ...

All bow to Wayne! :-)


Jersey John

Kent -

FYI ... here's the link to a really good nterview done by Matt Tyson at ...

Phil /
Hope every one had a great Thanksgiving! Just wanted to let you know I did an interview with Bret at

Definitely check out the rest of the site - very cool place with lots of interesting reviews and BB-related news. The Christmas EP should be available by the first of December! More info then.

Happy Holidays!


Didja notice I included your Angels song "Thank You and Good Night"? It's a sentimental favorite of mine that usually was the last song for many of our high school sock hops.

One of MY favorites, too ... can't believe it didn't do better on the charts. (The A-Side, "I Adore Him", peaked at #23 in Cash Box ... I really believe if radio would have simply flipped the record over and given "Thank You And Good Night" a shot, it would have been The Angels' second biggest hit. As it was, it still managed a #84 showing ... probably because a lot of jocks featured it as their closing theme on their radio programs!) In fact, WE did that when I guested on Dave The Rave's "Relics And Rarities" Program a few years ago, counting down The Top 20 All-Time Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides ... this one happened to fall at #132 on that list ... so a few people out there must consider this one to be a favorite, too! (kk)
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Your Top 200 Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides

>>>I just looked at the calendar and realized it's the 40th anniversary of ELTON JOHN'S 11-17-70, the live session turned into an album in the old w-new fm studio with the great intro by Dave Herman ... You gotta say something ... It's kinda been 40 years !!! (Renfield)

I found that CD in the budget bin! I wanted the studio version of "Take Me To The Pilot". While it is a decent live version on that CD, I wanted the studio version that received a fair amount of airplay in the Philly area!!! Besides, I hate live versions. I care not to hear people yelling and screaming!! Maybe a dislike of Audiophiles! ;-)

Jersey John
I don't think this was a real big seller for Elton ... in fact, it never even charted! I seem to remember finding it in cut-out bins for ages, too. But three years later he was the biggest thing in music so kinda neat that somebody saw the potential way back then to document a live show. (Reminds of Three Dog Night "Captured Live At The Forum" ... at the time that album was first released, the biggest hits of their career were yet to come! (kk)

re: WAR:
After running the Jimmy Kimmel link to the War parody video for "Why Can't We Un-Friend" in honor of National Facebook Un-Friend Day, we got a quick history less on the current state of the band from Forgotten Hits Reader Bob Frable. Seems there's still quite a bit of tension and unrest amongst the former members of the band (hardly the "cease-fire" one would have hoped for), but apparently with legitimate reason. Sounds like their ex-manager is continuing to license original War material WITHOUT the permission of (or paying royalties due to) most of the former members! Check this out! (kk)
Sadly, the comments of that WAR video include one from a follower of that band's surviving castoffs, The Lowrider Band, who continue to wait for a 'white knight' to somehow resolve their differences with the original song's owner, their ex-manager Jerry Goldstein.
The songwriting names on all of those hits were the original band's members along with Goldstein, and at some point in the 1990s the group wanted to part with Goldstein, keeping their name; Goldstein would not agree to this, and so now you have two bands, one keeping the name but with only of the original members (Lonnie Jordan) and the other (Lowrider) who were already in legal battle with Goldstein and Jordan over unpaid royalties (they do NOT want their name back).This dispute came to a head just in the last few months when a Pepsi commercial used another of their hits, "Why Can't We Be Friends." The Lowrider members were never notified about the use of their singing; apparently some underling with Pepsi's ad agency thought they'd gotten the current WAR's rendition of the tune.Yahoo reported on this in September:
Click here: Ex-War Members Declare War Over Soda Commercial - Stop The Presses!
Bob Frable
The article states in part:
War! What is is good for? Well, it's good for selling soft drinks, if we're talking about the famed band War. Their 1975 smash "Why Can't We Be Friends?" is the prominent soundtrack for a Pepsi Max commercial, as seen on the Emmys Sunday night.
But most of the former members of the group are saying they'd rather get paid than be pals. According to lawyers for the musicians, the ad agency that put together the widely seen commercial never obtained rights to use the recording in the ad. They weren't even aware of the commercial, lawyers say, until they saw it on TV ... at which point the shocked ex-War members presumably either did a spit take or, you know, spilled the wine.
Attorney Kenneth Freundlich says he hasn't heard back from either Pepsi or the ad agency, Chiat / Day. "I'm sure they must have cleared the master from the person who owns the master," said Freundlich. "I'm sure they cleared the publishing. But there are three levels of clearance. If you're selling a product with somebody's voice, you have to clear that with the performers, too. When you're talking about a commercial for a product, it's part of the agreement with the Screen Actors Guild that you have to negotiate with the principal performers — the people that sing on the record."
You can read the whole article (and view some War videos) at the link above. (kk)

After I voiced my displeasure with the way WGN handled their interview with Ray Graffia, Jr., last week, I got a couple of emails from FH Reader Clark Besch ... and from Ray himself ... commenting on my comments.
Parts of these exchanges can be found below:
>>>Hoping some of the folks tuned in and hung in there because you're right, they didn't even first mention The New Colony Six until about 2:44. (When they finally did, they also mentioned a new Friday Night Series on WGN that'll focus on the Chicago music scene "The Secret History Of Chicago Music", a tie-in to "The Reader", spotlighting many of the artists who were an integral part of the local music scene way back when, something we tend to cover faithfully here in Forgotten Hits, too ... and something that Jeff James TRIED to launch ... as The Windy City @ 6 ... on Y103.9 recently, too. Neat to see and hear that there is still an interest in this music that was such a big part of our lives growing up in Chicago in the '60's and early '70's!)
After an INCREDIBLY brief interview exchange (there's NO WAY fans would have EVER had the opportunity to call in and talk to Ray the way this thing was structured ... the time allotted for this entire segment barely allowed him to answer the 2 1/2 questions they asked!), they played a short snippet of "Dawn Is Breaking", one of MY early favorites by the band. (It was the original B-Side of "I Confess", their #2 Chicagoland Hit in early 1966)
Why the heck they had to run a Garry Meier promo over the song intro is beyond me, however!!! Seems to me that if you're going to do a show about this era of music, feature the damn song ... they then cut it off after a verse and a half to discuss the track rather than give listeners a chance to actually HEAR it!!! This is helpful how???) kk

I felt the same way but justified the Garry Meier tape override as perhaps a mistake on the part of their engineer (probably not but did not want to psych myself out before we even got a chance to talk).
Why they didn’t take any calls (I got four e-mails from Jeff “Monoman” Conolly – frontman for Lyres, the Boston band that covered I Confess in the long ago – really unhappy over the lack of time and inability to call in and talk.), I haven’t a clue.
But, I suppose they know (or think they know) their demographic and at least they gave us a few minutes of scatter-shot talk, which beats hours of uninterrupted ignoring NC6 and / or the garage genre and / or our peers.
Here attached is the Chicago Reader article from Steve Krakow …
Peace, Love & Understanding to you and yours this Thanksgiving,
BTW, Elvis Costello reference intended!

I understand your frustration, since you have not heard Nick before. Actually, his night shows are just hilarious and the Chicago Rock thing is just a small thing he does.
The thing you must remember is that WGN is talk / news and they don't play complete songs EVER. Yes, it is disappointing when it is a topic on music, but that's why it cuts songs off. Like Ray, I think it is cool that they give them airtime midday on WGN of all stations! Nick DOES know his music, but more often likes 70's to today stuff.
SO, this IS how the segment will always sound, sorry to say.
I just like hearing locals given some appreciation. Steve K I believe was too young for "our" time period, but it is nice he strives to bring it back without living in the period.

Clark Besch
I honestly believe that there's still a way to make all of this work within the context of WGN's format. When the topic is music, PLAY MUSIC!!! (Roy Leonard did a VERY successful job of this for many, many years, and regularly had music guests on his program!) Honestly, if they can't bend the formatting rules for an hour, then why bother to cover the topic of music at all? Plus it's an opportunity to draw new listeners to the station. Devote an hour of programming to this (because it seems like the Chicago Rock thing must be some kind of passion for him) and then let people know that it's there and when and where to find it. Doesn't sound like this requires genius-programming at all ... just good common sense! (kk)

Again, I don't know how people think up this stuff ... but this one's kinda cool ... and certainly different. Fans of the TV Show "Glee" know that BOTH of these songs were featured last season ... and that one of the most popular features of the program are the musical mash-ups. This recording accomplishes BOTH but utilizes the original recordings, edited as necessary to accomplish this interesting effect. Give it a listen and see what you think! (kk)
Hey Kent,
Haven't written for quite a while, but want to let you know that I always look forward to reading your latest edition.
Not sure if you've seen this before ... it's pretty interesting!
I hope you and your family had a wonderful Turkey Day!
Take care!


>>>Here are my votes for the attached HzSoGood Top 100 STATIONary Poll. This is an election worth voting on! (Clark Besch)
>>>Wow ... that's quite a list!!! I don't know that I listened to 20 different stations back then!!! (lol) For me, growing up here in Chicago, WLS and WCFL were pretty much my whole world back in the '60's and '70's (until FM came along and blew away the AM market.) Before that, I constantly switched back and forth between these two Top 40 AM Giants, trying to find my favorite songs. (kk)
Me too, Kent - My buddy and I got onto the Marian Towers elevator that took us up to the WCFL studios and hung out with Ron Britain ... we almost got into an episode of Chicken Man - what crazy fun ...
You can view #100 - #51 here:
Click here: HZ SO GOOD, November-December 2010

>>># 16 - KIMN 1964-72 - Just a great, but weak signaled, station that was the best place to break songs in the midwest. (Clark Besch)
Actually KIMN had one of the best signals to come out of Denver! You could hear them loud and clear in Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyo all the way down to the New Mexico border and ALL points in between.
So Clark where do you come up with "weak signaled", I have no idea where you're coming from, however your years '64 - '72 are right on.
"Wild" Bill Cody

I'm wondering if Clark considered it weak because he couldn't pick up a Denver station in Kansas??? Whereas on a clear night WLS reached 36+ states (???) Only Clark can offer the answer to this one ... but without question KIMN was THE Top 40 Station back in the day out your way! (kk)

>>>I'm in a tribute band in Minnesota. I'm stuck in a hotel for this week and next so what am I doing during the day? I've been taking the time to visit some of the sites you share links to in the newsletters. I can't recommend the Ronnie Allen interviews shows highly enough. If folks haven't checked them out they really should. Lots of great information for us rock and roll-infomaniacs. Thanks, Ronnie, and keep up the great work. Makes me wanna live through the 50's 60's and 70's all over again! (Bill)

>>>Yep, Ronnie's a pro ... and FH Readers have been checking out his interviews for YEARS now ... always a fun time! (kk) Click here: Ronnie's Radio Page
Hi Kent ...
Please post this as a reply to Bill:
Bill, thank you so much for your very kind words. Doing these interview shows is, of course a passion for me, and receiving feedback such as yours is icing on the cake. I'm "out of retirement" (and happy about that) and am looking forward to doing more of these shows in the near and distant future. And thanks as well to Kent for providing this wonderful means of communication with such a vast number of interested oldies music fans!
I wish you and your tribute band all the best!
Gratefully yours,
Ronnie Allen
Ronnie also just posted a brand new interview on his website:
My latest radio interview show is with arranger / producer Herb Bernstein. Though he is hardly a household name so to speak, he has worked closely with many of the top names in the music business. Recordings which he has arranged and / or produced reportedly have sold upwards of 70 million copies.
I met Herb at the recent "Friends Of Old Time Radio" Convention in Newark, NJ, where he was a surprise last-minute guest on the "Singer's And Musicians Panel."
Herb did have a passion for music early in life and his primary instrument was the violin. But for a long time his vocation was teaching and being a basketball coach in the New York City school system.
He enjoyed that but, in the back of his mind, he really wanted a music career. And, as it turned out, he got one!
How it happened and many of his musical accomplishments as an arranger and producer are discussed during this interview show.
Needless to say it's been quite a ride for this soft-spoken man. Some of the artists that Herb has arranged for and / or produced include (alphabetically) Patti Austin, Julie Budd, The Crests, John Denver, Bob Dylan, The 4 Seasons, Connie Francis, Joel Grey, Merv Griffin, The Happenings, Major Lance, The Monkees, Laura Nyro, Tony Orlando, Peaches and Herb, Diane Renay, Frank Sinatra Jr, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner and Frankie Valli.
And, oh yes, Norma Tanega! Herb arranged and produced her very strange 1966 hit single called "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog" and that really got the ball rolling, landing him a job with Bob Crewe.
Working for Bob and then on his own, he was for years -- albeit behind the scenes -- one of the busiest men on the pop music horizon.
He produced Laura Nyro's very first album which, in 1997, was elected into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
On this show we play music by her and many of the others artists listed above as Herb tells many fascinating stories about his amazing career.
My Herb Bernstein radio interview show -- a super-sized edition running 75 minutes -- was recorded exclusively for the
Jersey Girls Sing website -- you can find it (along with approximately 100 others that I've done for that website here: Ronnie's Radio Page
In the unlikely event that you don't see Herb's picture, please press the F5 key to bring up the latest version of the page.

Kent ...

Give a listen to the Ronnie Spector Interview ... you'll like it ... great stories ... and not your standard interview like on terrestrial radio ...

They can skip the 'standard' and let the conversation go where it will go ...

And here's a piece running next week in RIP Renfield ... if you think it's something you can use, be my guest! Go ahead and re-work it however you like ... just go to the main link and see who else got inteviewed by Ron ... he's got a great roster of ecclectic people ...

Ronnie has a Xmas ep coming out ... some new songs ... and has all kinds of Xmas appearances lined up in NYC.

HERE'S A GREAT INTERVIEW WITH THE GREAT RONNIE SPECTOR ... and by coincidence there is a drop-in surprise meeting of her and ANNIE LENOX ... (a mutual admiration society? Ronnie doesn't know she's royalty to us)


Gary /
RIP Renfield

Hey, we'd be VERY happy to "Sneak Peek" a track from Ronnie's new Christmas CD ... all the Christmas Fun kicks off later this week ... and we've already received SEVERAL new tracks from artists this year for the holiday season. (Who knows ... we might even be able to help her sell a few more CD's!!!) Thanks, Gary! (kk)

Dear Kent,

Hello from Tennessee on a sunny and beautiful Sunday morning. I hope that all's well.
I was given your name and address by "Mr. C" at Radio Free Nashville. I've been co-hosting a show on that same station since May, 2008.
As you can see by clicking on the link below, we do a very eclectic show, playing music from many genres and time periods.

Anyway, Mr. C said that you might be able to give me a bit of information regarding Mevio. Would it be easy (or possible) for us to get our broadcasts on the site? Would you recommend it? Anyway, let me know when you have a moment ... thanks!

By the way, I really enjoyed reading your blog.

All the best,


"The Haggard & King Radio Hour"Every Tuesday, 4:00-5:00 PM (Central Time) / WRFN 107.1 FM / HKradio
Hi Steve! Welcome to Forgotten Hits.
Getting on Mevio is pretty easy. Quite honestly, after the first two weeks of uploading a couple of shows there, I've never gone back ... my experience was that after initial week or two of curiosity, VERY few people on the list went back there to listen so I've never posted anything new since. (In fact, I can't even state with all certainty that my account is still active!!! I just haven't been back to check!)
However, in that you guys have on-going shows, this might be a GREAT place to archive "podcasts" that you could refer to each week during your new broadcasts ... so it's probably a more sensible venture for someone like yourself or Mark to utilize.
(I would also mention this to a few of the jocks on the list whose radio stations don't offer Internet Streaming ... here's a GREAT place to post your shows ... and let your listeners know where to find them!)
It's really pretty easy ... it's free ... and it's pretty much self-explanatory as to how to upload your shows there.
If you decide to do so, drop us another line and I'll be happy to run a plug.

>>>Just thought that you may be interested in a brand new internet oldies station that we've just launched. For the past 13 years I've presented a regular show on satellite radio here in Europe. The show, called Stafford's World, currently goes out on 12 stations around the world. One key feature of the shows is the vast range of 60's and 70's oldies from both sides of the Atlantic that get featured.Off the back of this, "Oldies Paradise" was launched. We reckon that we're playing songs from one of the biggest radio station music libraries on the whole planet! Have a listen at:

Let us know what you think.

Mark Stafford)
Hello FH Group,
There was a post on Nov 22 that referenced a link to an online oldies radio station at
When I attempted to open the Listen Link using Windows Media Player I received the following message:
Not Found
The requested URL / Listen.html was not found on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
For those of you who are more tech savvy than me, I would appreciate an explanation for this error and how it might be corrected.
Warm Regards,
Justin McDevitt
May have just been a fluke ... I just tried it myself and am listening to it right now (although the song that's playing, "Step By Step", isn't one I recognize and it sounds like a very recent recording, not an oldie at all ... so I'm not quite sure what's going on with that! All I can suggest is trying it again ... mine loaded immediately. Good Luck! (kk)

Kent ...

I'm happy to report the WCBS-FM A to Z Countdown is over.
It started on Monday at 8:50 AM with ABBA. It ended on Friday at 8:29 AM with ZZ TOP. Countdown hours were 6 AM to Midnight.
They went back to ABBA & started over. It's supposed to end Sunday night. I don't see how they can get through it a second time, unless they skip a few letters of the alphabet. I just got an e-mail from Sue O' Neal, who 's on the air now. She said they're doing all the letters of the alphabet the second time around but leaving out some of the lesser known singers.
Frank B.

Sounds like all-in-all a fun countdown way to spend the long holiday weekend. Right now here in Chicago Scott Shannon's usual Saturday Show has been bumped to broadcast Dick Biondi's Annual Toy Drive from Stratford Square Mall ... we'll be heading over there later around dinner time ... say "hi" to Dick, drop a few bucks in the bucket, grab a snack at the food court and see a movie. I just heard Carl Giammarese there a little while ago and it sounds like Jimy Sohns of The Shadows of Knight, Ronnie Rice and Dennis Tufano will all be stopping by later. (Funniest question I got asked all year: "So, did you go as Dick Biondi this year for Halloween?" lol) kk

>>>One of the things we've been working on is the "Welcome to the Deejay Lounge" page. You'll see that we have some deejays and airchecks ... we're trying to represent as many deejays and markets as possible. When we were doing the various film festivals, people would always ask us in every city we visited why their favorite deejay wasn't interviewed for the documentary. Of course, this would have been impossible, but we learned that these are very devoted fans ... in some cases, the fact that their favorite jock was deceased wasn't a good enough reason for their exclusion from the film! :-)I don't know how many radio personalities you have on your list, but if anyone would like to share an aircheck and photo (taken when they were on the air) we'd be happy to try and include it in our Deejay Lounge once the website is up and running. (Carolyn Travis)

We've heard from a few of you now ... if you were a deejay during the Top 40 Era ... or, if you're a collector of material and memorabilia from this era ... we'd like to hear from you. We're trying to help Carolyn Travis put together the ultimate Dee Jay Lounge on the brand new, soon-to-be-launched "Airplay" Website. Airchecks ... photos ... old radio station surveys ... interesting articles ... if you've got 'em, we want to know about 'em! (kk)
Hi Kent,
I forwarded this to several of my ol' DeeJay friends including Bob Todd and he sent it on to several others that he knew.
Should be interesting to see what kind of response you get regarding the Dee Jay lounge.
Larry White

In response to dj's on the air in the 60s and 70s ... is this the kind of stuff you're looking for? (See attached photos.)
Duluth, Mn. ... Superior, Wisc. ... 60s and 70s radio ... WEBC, Kaoh, WAKX ... I kinda worked the horn, so to speak
The final photo is of Paul Revere, I was told that I looked like his twin. I hope they meant the young Paul.
The record was a radio promo record made for our station. We all had input for the lyrics. I can send you the mp3 of it if you like. It also has some history. Let me know if this is what you are looking for and if you need anything else.
I have access to a bunch of Don Rose air checks and info, etc.
Jiffy Jeff
Yep, this is EXACTLY the kind of stuff we're looking for ... and we've got some VERY big name DeeJays on the list (who I'm hoping will come through for us and be immortalized on this new site!) Send us the stuff and we'll make it happen!
By the way, here's a picture of Jiffy Jeff from back in the '60's ... as well as a similar profile shot of the REAL Paul Revere from this same era ... yeah, I'd say he looks a little bit like a young Paul Revere!!! (kk)

By the way, you'll find MORE about Paul Revere and the Raiders below! (kk)

The Springfield Country Club / Springfield, Pa.
Fine Dining and Dancing Through The Stroke of 12 - MIDNIGHT & Beyond!
INFO / TICKETS: (215) 322-1960
Charlie Gracie, Jr.

Charles Rosenay came up with a couple of really neat last-minute additions to the guest list for this weekend's Beat Expo ... hope some of you had a chance to attend. (These details may not do you a whole lot of good right now ... but it sounds like this really turned into some kind of a cool event!) Actually, it IS still going on all day today ... so, depending on what time you read this, you MAY just want to give it a shot (if you happen to live in the area.) And, if you do, be sure to tell Charles that Forgotten Hits sent you! (kk)
Gene Cornish from The Rascals is a Last-Minute Addition to BEATexpo!
At The Beatles' Shea Stadium concert In 1965, a sign on the scoreboard read "The Rascals are coming!" The day after that Beatles concert, promoter Sid Bernstein became the Rascals' manager. Within a month he had set off a bidding war among the major record labels and the Young Rascals signed a contract with Atlantic Records.
Gene Cornish, Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati teamed up with drummer Dino Danelli to form the group who were at first called "The Young Rascals." Through 1971, Gene Cornish recorded eight albums with the group, over a dozen singles, and earned #1 hits. In 1997 Cornish was inducted with The Rascals into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the band reunited for a special event last year, with fans hoping for a 2011 reunion tour. Gene Cornish is the newest addition to this weekend's star-studded line-up of Special Guests at "BEATexpo 2010," joining fellow 60s singer Tommy Roe, Denny Laine of Wings, Gary DeCarlo of Steam, British singer Julie Grant, Jimi Hendrix's percussionist Juma Sultan, Ian Lloyd of Stories, John Ford of The Strawbs and many other notables.
Along with the guests, there will be live music concerts, guest authors, a film festival of rare videos, art gallery, Beatles karaoke room, Beatles RockBand competition room, a music & memorabilia marketplace and much more. It all will "come together" at the Downtown Stamford Holiday Inn, 700 E. Main Street, Stamford, CT.
Gene Cornish will meet fans and sign autographs as part of all the convention events on Sunday, November 28 where "Ticket to Ride" all-day passes (Noon - 8 pm) are also available at the door. There is even an early-bird V.I.P. admission on Sunday, November 28, which gets fans and collectors in at 11 am for first access to meeting all the guests, and first crack at the music & memorabilia merchandise marketplace (and attendees may stay on all day or anytime from 11 am until 8 pm).

Hey, watch out little Snoopy! The 1960s hit-making rock band The Royal Guardsmen, who rose to worldwide fame in 1966 with the hit singles “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” and “Snoopy’s Christmas”, has released its first-ever live CD, “Beaglemania LIVE!”
The 19-song project was recorded on Nov. 7, 2010 at Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, California.
“Beaglemania LIVE!” was recorded in conjunction with The Royal Guardsmen’s “Over and Out Tour,” which will continue through 2012. The collector’s edition CD features all the band’s hits, including: “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” “Snoopy’s Christmas,” “Baby Let’s Wait,” and “Return of The Red Baron,” to name a few. It also includes entertaining and insightful on-stage interviews of the band members.
John Burdett, co-founder of The Royal Guardsmen, says the CD and tour are The Guardsmen’s way of saying thanks to their fans for more than four decades of support and devotion.
“People have been asking us for years to come out and make music again and quite frankly, it’s time,” said Burdett. “We may be old men, but as long as we have a comfortable bed and restrooms are close by, we’re good to go.”
At the height of their illustrious career, The Royal Guardsmen achieved what most rock groups only dream of. The sextet from Ocala, Florida hit it big in 1966 with the single, “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” which was released on Laurie Records. The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and remained there for 12 weeks. It went on to sell one million copies, earning it Platinum certification from the R.I.A.A. in 1967.
Subsequent chart-toppers followed, including: “The Airplane Song,” “Wednesday,” “I Say Love,” “Snoopy’s Christmas” and “Baby Let’s Wait.”
The Royal Guardsmen’s original lineup consisted of: Bill Balogh (bass), John Burdett (drums), Chris Nunley (vocals), Tom Richards (guitar), Billy Taylor (organ), and Barry Winslow (vocals / guitar). Richards died of a brain tumor in 1979 and was replaced by Pat Waddell, who is still with the group today.
Despite its massive success, the band split in 1969. However, its recordings continued to sell and are still in high demand around the world. In 2008, Burdett and Winslow teamed up to write and record “Snoopy Vs. Osama” in honor of the U.S. troops fighting the war in Iraq. The song has been featured regularly on the syndicated radio program, The Dr. Demento Show.
In the spring of 2009, The Guardsmen’s hit, “The Airplane Song,” was chosen as the theme song for Red Bull’s Flugtag events and was aired in television commercials nationwide. The group recently played at the Cannery Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they received a standing ovation from fans who had come in droves from all across the United States.
More information about The Royal Guardsmen can be accessed by logging on to:
“Beaglemania LIVE!” is sold exclusively at

Coincidently, FH Regular Frank B. sent us a YouTube clip of The Royal Guardsmen performing their #1 Hit "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" from back in the day. (He was inspired when WBCS-FM finally hit the "R's" during their special A - Z Countdown!)
Kent ...
Currently playing R = for Royal Guardsman.
First balloon in Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, Frannie & Family.
Frank B.

Click here: YouTube - Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron

Many of you know that for the past 30 years I've been living with a small, capuchin monkey named Amelia. Curiously, she prefers avocados to bananas. Well, this coming weekend, Friday and Saturday, November 26 & 27, 8 pm, I'll be playing support for an honest-to-goodness, Monkee! That's right, I'm opening for Peter Tork & his band, the Blue Suede Shoes at the Record Collector - 'Living Room Series' in Bordentown, NJ. It should be fun. Info & tickets in the GIG section of . Hope to see some of you there.
Dean Friedman
Got this too late to post in time for any of the readers to attend ... but great to hear that Dean's still out there rockin' ... and with Peter Tork no less! "Ariel" is one of my all-time favorite late '70's tunes! (kk)
Okay!! Funny person he is. Told him he's sounding a bit like Willie Nelson, these days. Said it may be because he's On The Road Again!! LOL!
I imagine that Dean puts on a pretty entertaining show ... would love to see that if he ever heads out Chicago-way. (kk)

And HERE'S a fun way to spend Christmas (if you happen to be headed out Branson, MO way!!!) Paul Revere and the Raiders have taken over Andy Williams' Moon River Theatre and are putting on a special Christmas show that kicks off next week! (kk)

... and, speaking of Paul Revere and the Raiders, it was very nice to receive an email from brand new (Baby Raider) lead singer Darren Dowler the other day! (kk)

>>>Lead vocalist / guitarist Darren Dowler (aka "Baby Raider", since he's the newest member of the band) has only been onboard for about a month now but he fits right in with the high-impact, high intensity, energetic show that Paul Revere and the Raiders put on night after night. (I've never seen a band work so hard up on stage! lol) Dowler does an outstanding job handling the lead vocals. In fact, his resume is quite impressive ... he also sang with The Lettermen for ten years ... within the context of this new gig, he's finally able to let out his inner demon performer and he absolutely excels at it. I'm hoping to run an interview with Dowler and Drummer Tommy Scheckel as the "two newest Raiders" in an upcoming issue of Forgotten Hits. Meanwhile, I couldn't help but wonder about Darren's days with The Lettermen ... this just seemed like such an opposite extreme to the laid-back, soft-rock sounds of this other band. (kk)
A friend forwarded your blog to me, and said you had some questions, so I'm just popping in to say hello.
You are right. Being with The Lettermen and with The Raiders is a completely different animal. Being from a blues, southern-rock background, the Raiders are a little better fit for what I love to do, though I loved singing with The Lettermen for ten years.
I have always been a fan and student of "SINGING" of all forms. I was fortunate to have a high school music teacher, who was determined to open my eyes to more singing than rock and roll, and that she did. Her name was Barbara Giffin, and she was a big influence in getting me to branch out. Before you knew it I was doing rock, country, legit theater, classical, punk, new wave, and even appeared on and off Broadway ... you name it. I just love to sing.
When those styles aren't enough, I turn to my impressions, which have opened even more traditional (and untraditional) vocal styles up to me.
I still enjoy letting my inner demons out on stage and prefer a more high-energy show like the Raiders, but I don't want to miss out on any vocal experience I can delve into. Thanks for the kind words, and let us know if we're ever around you so we can grab a bite and talk music. Take care.

Darren Dowler
GREAT to hear from you , Darren ... we REALLY enjoyed the show ... and would LOVE to get together with you next time you pass through Chicago-way. Just give us a shout! (Unless, of course, you'd like to invite us on your upcoming Raiders Cruise ... that would make for a GREAT opportunity to talk about EVERYTHING!!! lol) Thanks again for getting back to us! (kk)

>>>As you know, I'm a REAL stickler for the original 45 versions .. because those are the ones we grew up with and fell in love with ... it was THOSE mixes that made us run out to our local record store and pick up a copy for our own collections. (kk)

I'm willing to bet the majority of people don't even remember what they heard decades ago, single, LP, whatever version! Who actually remembers, maybe collectors, but, yet, even they had to relearn what was the "original" single version, if such existed!! There's no one on earth who is that good, Mr. Kent! (lol).
Let's review: there are remakes, unedited, alternate versions, overdubbed, underdubbed, remastered, remixed, stereo, mono, promo / commercial, 12" disco, differently mixed (such as Mark H. Friedman mentioned "After Midnight"), etc. etc, etc.. And what Billboard claims to have charted (re: single / LP versions) is debatable!!Best,
Jersey John
I think you might be surprised how many people would notice the difference. The most casual listener ... probably not. Younger listeners who weren't there at the time this great music came out ... definitely not, because all they've ever heard are the "current" radio versions of these tunes. But the other night after I posted the 45 version of "Magic Carpet Ride" on the website, I grabbed the CD and listened to it in the car. Frannie was AMAZED to hear a couple of the differences, not only in that song, but in several others as well (such as the original B-Side version of "No Sugar Tonight" by The Guess Who, with no "New Mother Nature" to be found! ... and the original 45 mix of "I Saw Her Again" by The Mamas and the Papas and "Hitchin' A Ride" by Vanity Fare ... and those are just on Volume One!!!)

On at least a couple of occasions, she commented "I remember that" or "Oh Wow, I haven't heard it that way in AGES!" (And even 'though she may not typically listen as closely as you and I might, she STILL noticed the subtle differences, ESPECIALLY becaue they rang true from another era when she DID listen to this music and hang on every note!)
That whole "On The Radio" series that Dick Bartley put out on Varese Sarabande is filled with gems like these. (FH List Member Cary Mansfield put this series together with Bartley ... c'mon Cary, it's time for the NEXT batch!) These are LONG out of print now (and going for BIG BUCKS on eBay and ... don't know if that means the licensing has run out (or they simply weren't big sellers) ... but I, for one, would LOVE to be involved with putting together another series of these! (kk)

Speaking of which ...
I have been playing the single version of Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf on my radio show since 1997. That is when Varese Sarabande released it on volume one of its On the Radio series. When I first heard it, I couldn't believe how much better this 45 version was and I began playing it right away. I have six volumes of the Varese On the Radio series. There are some other very good only on the radio gems featured on these cds.
Through the 70s there were several shorter edits of hits that were dj promo copies only. I have included Boston's Peace of Mind from the Summer of 1977. Though both the album and 45 versions were played on the radio, this is the one that was heard on most Top 40 formats. It is a minute and a half shorter, and it sounds like a different vocal from lead singer Brad Delp in the first few lines.
Phil Nee
Wrco Radio


First, let me say that I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving. A while ago I got out Little Eva's 1963 song LET'S TURKEY TROT and played it. Haven't gotten Dee Dee Sharp's MASHED POTATO and GRAVY out yet.
You mentioned in your comments today that you like to hear the original songs on the radio as they were played originally when they came out and were played on AM radio. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

Through the years here has been some of my complaints if any:
First, years ago when I was working out an oldies radio station here in OKC, they played in regular rotation Bill Doggett's 1956 hit HONKY TONK (Part I). Well, as you know Part II was the "A" side of the record. On more than one occasion a listener would ask me why we were playing the "A" side of the record when the "B" side was the "A" side. Most of the time I just told them I didn't know that I only worked for the station. Another version (shortened I might add) was Hank Ballard's 1960 FINGER POPPIN' TIME. I have no idea where they got that version from. Also, remember the edited version (longer) of Ray Stevens AHAB THE ARAB. You always heard that version on oldies shows, especially the syndicated ones. How about Bobby Lewis' TOSSIN" AND TURNIN'. I did read in abook years ago how that beginning of that song came about on oldies stations. And finally, when they played Elvis" 1964 song SUCH A NIGHT, would you believe theyplayed the outtake version?

Speaking of outtakes and alternate versions, I have never really cared for them of havebeen interested in hearing them. Several years ago, I bought a 2 LP vinyl recordof Elvis Presley, The Sun Sessions. You are probably familiar with the album.Well, one of the LP's was the original recordings as he did them for Sun Recordswhile the other LP was composed of alternate versions and outtakes. Never have played it. I have an album here at home called something like THE BEST OF RAY STEVENS. I have made an annotation on the back of the album not to play AHAB THE ARAB because it is a re-recording. Many, many (and I might add another many) years ago, I bought a record album called Little Richard's Greatest Hits. I got it home, got it out and started playing it. I noticed immediately that the song I was not playing was not the original recording. I turned the album over and in the fine print at the bottom, which you could read if you had a magnifying glass, it said the songs were re-recordings of previous hits. I learned a lesson from that. Always read the back portion of the album to see if what you are buying if exactly what you want.
I have a measured interest and curiosity when it comes to certain artists about their unreleased recordings ... but what I have found over the years is that MOST of this stuff remained unreleased for a very good reason ... it wasn't very good! Every once in a while you'll come across a gem ... but for the most part, smarter minds prevailed (which is why many of these became hits in the first place.)
NOTHING sets me off more than unspecified re-recordings of hits ... to me, that's just a blatant rip off of the public and I have returned MANY albums and CDs over the years for this very reason. It ought to be a law that this information be prominently displayed when advertising and selling this product ... and printed in big bold letters on the product itself, too.
Over the years, a lot of people have commented about how they like the fact that Beatles recordings like "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" are now available in their "pure" original British state without all the echo that Capitol Records felt a need to add to these recordings. All I know is that this is how WE grew up hearing them ... these are the 45's that WE ran out to the store and bought ... and these are the records that went to #1 on the charts. As such, I will ALWAYS prefer the songs the way I first heard them. That being said when I heard the stripped-down, solo acoustic version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on The Beatles' Anthology 3 CD, I was COMPLETELY blown away. While I have always loved the original version (with Eric Clapton on lead guitar), this bare-bones, down-to-basics take shows you the true beauty of the song ... a VERY pleasant surprise and discovery. But The Beatles are one of those few acts that I'm interested enough in to delve deeper into their catalog and what was left in the vaults ... this is NOT the case with many, many others. (kk)

What singles were shorter versions of the album cuts?
The only ones I know for sure are Light My Fire and In A Gadda Da Vida..
I would imagine that House Of The Rising Sun had a shortened version.
I remember that American Pie had the first half of the song on one side, and the second half on the other.
Dwight Rounds
OMG, I couldn't even BEGIN to make a list ... there are literally HUNDREDS (and hundreds!) All of the above would certainly qualify ... but there truly are countless more. (Maybe that's a project for another day! lol) kk

Perhaps the new slogan should be don't trust anyone over 75. Or don't trust anyone over 30 unless they're an FH reader. I liked the movie.
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

Kent ...

Congrats on the 11th Anniversary ... but like I told you ...
Doesn't it sound better saying ... "Now in it's 12th year?"(11 years plus 1 issue?)
And by the oddest of coincidences my last issue of RIP Renfield, the item written more than a week ago and posted on the 13th ... and for the life of me, I don't know how it came up ... but included ...
"or let’s go all the way … WILD IN THE STREETS … as Max Frost said about the voting age … '14 or FIGHT!!!'"
I kind opted to try BOTH ... Our 11th Anniversary ... and now kicking off our 12th year ....
But you're right "Now In Our 12th Year" sounds better (and longer ... in an "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Larger Than They Really Are" sort of way!
As for the "Wild In The Streets" connection, this has LONG been a matter of record ... after all, it WAS the very first Forgotten Hit ... and we've featured it SEVERAL times on our anniversary in the past ... so it would only make sense to celebrate that one on the anniversary again, I guess! But it IS pretty cool that YOU mentioned it on YOUR site ... and, just days ago, I got that email from Janis that allowed me to kick off the whole thing in a way that ALMOST looked well-planned and organized!!! lol (kk)

My research indicates Paul Wibier is 62 and living in Escondido. I'm trying to make contact with him. It would be great to have him comment on his work with "Mom's Boys".
Here are a couple of YouTube videos featuring Paul's vocals on the 1969 movie soundtrack for "Satan's Sadists."
Paul also sang on the 1971 movie "The Hard Ride," which also included tracks by The Arrows.
David Lewis
That would be GREAT if he responds ... we could FINALLY put an end to the mystery after covering this song so many times over the years!!! If anybody should know, it ought to be Paul!!!
I've also sent an inquiry to Mike Curb (by way of Joel Whitburn), who oversaw all these recordings way back when. Don't know if he'll respond or not but maybe we can finally shed some light on all the mysteries surrounding this Top 20 Hit!
Thanks, David! (kk)

During our New Colony Six Series a few years back we discovered ANOTHER version of "Shape Of Things To Come", recorded by Aorta, a local Chicagoland band that included NC6 Drummer Billy Herman. The band evolved out of a group originally called The Exceptions, which produced some major league Chicagoland music all-stars, including Marty Grebb of The Buckinghams and Peter Cetera of Chicago. Aorta took a little more of an "underground" / psychedelic approach to this song (written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, in quite a bit of a departure from their normal "pop" sound.)
Aorta was one of four acts signed to Columbia Records in the late '60's in an effort to promote a more FM-oriented taste of Chicagoland Rock. (The others included Chicago, The Flock ... previous profiled here in Forgotten Hits ... and The Illinois Speed Press.) While they never enjoyed chart success, Aorta did have its own following and, at one point, even opened the bill for Led Zeppelin and The Mothers of Invention! (kk)

(And A Few "Happy Anniversary" Congratulations!):
excellent site - been waiting for this one for a long time!
put me on the list!

paul musselman
Welcome aboard, Paul! Your comments, thoughts and memories are ALWAYS welcome here! (kk)
Not so much into 45's, but rather oldies that cook!
Here goes:
Music Machine - Hey Joe
Troggs - Girl in Black
Them - Dirty Old Man
Terry Knight and the Pack - I Who Have Nothing
Shadows of Knight - Shake
Seeds - Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Reparata and the Delrons - I'm Nobody's Baby Now
Rascals - Aint Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
Hollies - Pay You Back With Interest
Flirtations - Nothin' But A Heartache
Tommy James and the Shondells - Say Say I Am ...
And soooo many more that kill!
And one last word: Any oldies station that plays "Red Rubber Ball" should be burned to the ground! That is THE MOST obnoxious song in the world!
'nough said.
Paul Musselman
Some GREAT suggestions on your list ... but hey, a LOT of people REALLY like "Red Rubber Ball" so I'll refrain from commenting on that one. Several of your suggestions have found their way into our pages over the years and "Nothing But A Heartache" was recently named THE #1 Favorite Forgotten Hit of All-Time by an online DeeJay Poll! That's good enough for me to feature it again today! (kk)



Wow, thanks, Mike ... that means a lot, coming from you. Thank you .. I really appreciate it! (kk)

Congrats on 11 years of Forgotten Hits, just keep 'em coming brother!
Wild Bill Cody

Hey Kent -
Congratulations on Forgotten Hits' Eleventh Anniversary! My modest Remember Then Show is a mere eight and a half years old. How fast the time flies when you're having fun "bringing back the music that time forgot".
I'm still on at 7:00 p.m. Sunday evenings at
A big Thank You for all your support over the years and the fun we had doing the "two-sided hits" and the artist promos you've arranged. Here's to the next eleven years of Forgotten Hits!
Your friend,
Citizen Bill (from Alabama) on FUN 92.7
Thanks, Bill ... enjoyed doing the cross-promotions ... maybe we can work something else out in this regard again for next year! (kk)


Thank you for all you do.
I first checked out your site two years ago and I never miss it!
Forget about Goldmine ... you should start you own magazine!
Mike De Martino
Prez of the Lovejoy Music Club

congrats on 11!!!!!!!
Thanks, Cheryl ... I think you were one of the original 35!!! (kk)

Congratulations Kent!
Many more ...

Congratulations on 11 years of Forgotten Hits!
You were the right man to accomplish this feat.
Thank you for all your hard work ...
I might not write in much anymore ...

but I really always enjoy reading all that you have to offer us.
Thanks, Sev! You know as well as anyone what it takes to keep an online service like this going. (YOU were one of the "original 35", too!!!) kk

I feel bad that I've only known about your site a little less than 2 years.
I love it and look forward to each mailing.
You've helped my show as well as the many other people that visit your site as well.
DJ Stu Weiss

Happy Anniversary!! Keep those Effin Hits comin!!!
Red :D

We've started stock-piling Christmas related comments and music to share with you starting next week. If you're an artist who has some brand new Christmas music to share, please drop us a line as soon as possible so we can include your music here!

Otherwise, watch for The Official Forgotten Hits "Countdown To Christmas" to kick in later this week (most likely on Wednesday, December 1st ... or at least that's what we're shooting for right now ... so stay tuned!!!) kk