Monday, February 28, 2011

Tying Up A Few More Loose Ends

We still couldn't fit everything into our Jumbo Sunday Comments Page ... and that was despite doing a Double Dose of Weekend Comments Pages this week!!! ... so we've saved some of the best for last.

1000 #1's ... WITH VIDEOS!!!
Got a couple hundred hours to kill? FH Reader Tom Cuddy just sent me this incredible link ... which plays EVERY #1 Billboard Pop hit since The Hot 100 kicked off back in 1958:
And, it's as current as this week's #1 Record, "Born This Way" by Lady GaGa. That's because The Hot 100 has now had 1000 different #1 Records since the name of the chart was changed back in 1958. (The very first #1 Record? "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson!) Unfortunately, this system eliminates ALL of Elvis' early #1 Hits ... but, without a doubt, this link will provide hours and hours and HOURS of musical enjoyment, especially in that there is a video attached to each one. Check it out and bookmark this site ... I have no idea how long it'll be available ... but, with the amount of work that had to go into putting this whole thing together, I'm hoping they leave it up permanently as a tribute to their chart history. (kk)

I wanted to mention another person brought up "Trust" and "Why Should I Cry", the latter is a great tune and when it came out I reveled in the similarity to "Midnight Confessions", probably because I was so crazy about it. "Trust" is by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols and is a beautiful song. WCFL gave it a few spins in, I believe, late August of 1968, but it never caught on. With Picardy's Montage from How Sweet It Is, those two were in my own personal Top 10 that month!!!! But it would seem, what with Steppenwolf, Cream, the Doors, the Vanilla Fudge, et al dominating the top 5 that summer, that only the catchiest soft-pop records went all the way to the top 5 -- Herb Alpert, Jose Feliciano, Fifth Dimension. A lot of the others didn't have a chance (or didn't have the financial backing to hype the records). For vintage Peppermint Trolley Company (later the Faragher Brothers) check out their 45s on Valiant including Sloan / Barri's brilliant folk-rocker, Lollipop Train.

Loved the Gentrys' Keep on Dancing ... who knew the singer was Wrestling's manager Jimmy "Mouth of The South" Hart? LOL
He made more money off that shtick than ever with the Gentrys.
... bdpoe (Orlando)

by Bradley Torreano
The Gentrys got their start in Memphis, TN, in 1963. The original group was made up of seven members: vocalist Bruce Bowles, saxophonist Bobby Fisher, vocalist Jimmy Hart, trumpet player Jimmy Johnson, bassist Pat Neal, vocalist Larry Raspberry, and drummer Larry Wall. Their debut album, Keep on Dancing, climbed into the Top 100 due to the success of the title track. The group enjoyed minor success until 1966, when the band broke up. Originally, member Jimmy Hart decided to resurrect the band in 1969, now featuring himself on lead vocals. The band still had some minor success, but did not last long. Raspberry would go on to start several more garage and soul groups, while Hart became a popular wrestling character, the "Mouth of the South," and would write music for both the WWF and WCW wrestling organizations.

I think that "Midnight Confessions" and the Gentrys song, "Why Should I Cry" sound very similar. I switched back and forth, very quickly, and that way the similarities really were heard.
John Harrold

I have to differ with you on Why Should I Cry by the Gentrys. I find the chorus to be very similar to Midnight Confessions. Both have parts where much of the music drops out and they are close to being identical.

Perhaps I misunderstood the question ... obviously, I agree that these two "hooks" sound strikingly similar ... even a direct lift perhaps ... but I thought the question was whether or not the same recording was used on both records by two different bands ... and the answer to that question is "no". "Midnight Confessions" was first done by a group called The Evergreen Blues Band (who failed to chart with their rendition.) The Gentrys' hit "Why Should I Cry" DOES seem to borrow heavily from the ending of The Grass Roots hit version ... but likewise, The Grass Roots' first Top Ten Record, "Let's Live For Today" borrows heavily from the hook of the 1961 Drifters' Hit "I Count The Tears" ... so this is really nothing new in the music biz. Regardless, they're still not the same recording ... just another use of the same hook.

>>>If you play the ending of the Grass Roots big hit Midnight Confessions, please notice when the last chorus of sha la las come in. Now play the introduction to Why Should I Cry and notice their sha la las. You would swear they are IDENTICAL! It seems to me that someone got away with this. Maybe you can post both songs and let you and your readers listen themselves to see if I really am nuts! What do you think? (Steve Homner)


>>>Another California group who was a one hit wonder was The Cherry People with And Suddenly. After a slow intro it turns into a good little catchy tune! Again, it did much better on the West Coast. (Steve Homner)
Just a quick correction to set the record straight for your reader ... the Cherry People were an extremely popular DC area band, not a California group. I guess if he looks up our previous DC info at your site he'll see that. :)
I just checked quickly and happily there is finally an entry on them at Wikipedia now which also has a lot of info about them.

Hello Kent!
I don't recall ever hearing And Suddenly by The Cherry People until I bought the CD collection of The Left Banke. The Cherry People's version was mentioned, so I sought it out. The song was written by Michael Brown (keyboardist and main songwriter of the Left Banke) and Bert Sommer. According to the liner notes of the CD, the song only reached #119 for the Left Banke, where as The Cherry People's got up to #50.
And I wasn't familiar with The Left Banke version ... so thanks for sending us a copy to share with our readers! (kk)

I'm glad the "Moonshine" mystery was solved. Let's see if Robert Black confirms it, but I was way way off. But now I have another great 5-Man Electrical Band song!!! I love it. It's a very feel-good kind of uptempo piece (1972 perhaps?) Another favorite of mine they did was "I'm A Stranger Here" - the spaceman bemoans the state of Earth, focusing particularly on the United States of course: "Well, I'm a stranger here / In this place called Earth / I was sent down here / To discover the worth / Of your little blue planet, third from the sun / Think I'll go back home where I come from ..."
And this was in 1973!!!!
"I'm A Stranger Here" reached the lower region of our domestic charts in 1973, peaking at #65 in Cash Box Magazine and #76 in Billboard. It was a #5 Canadian Hit. Maybe somebody's got a copy to share??? (kk)
Unfortunately, no - just a 45, DJ copy. May be difficult to find on a CD unless there's a CD of their "Greatest Hits" which might include it. Terrific tune, though! Even the connecting riff throughout, complete with brass instruments, signals the irony and satire of the lyrics. "Oh, you crazy fools / Don't you know you had it made? / You were living in paradise!"
Bob R.
When in need, go to the ever-reliable Tom Diehl ... who sent us a copy. Not a bad tune. We've featured The Five Man Electrical Band's follow-up hit to "Signs" before, "Absolutely Right", both in Forgotten Hits and as part of our True Oldies Channel / Forgotten Hits Weekend ... that one's always been a favorite of mine, too. Obviously, these guys did a little bit better on the Canadian Charts, where they managed five Top Ten Hits (including one as The Staccatos). And, by the way, they DO have a Greatest Hits CD available:
>>>Robert Black of Willowdale asked about the song, MOONSHINE TENN WINE, I've lived in Willowdale since 69. Born (47) and raised, Kincardine Ont, over of Lake Huron. Kincardines. Musical ID? Ev'ry Sat at 8 P Dominion Day (JULY ONETH) till Labourday, the Kincardine Pipers march the main drag. Been doing such since about 60+years ago.
Likely most homes had one, so we had a JUNK room. Had an old windup record player that stood 4ish ft tall and many old????? records. Things spun at 80 rpm, and all were of the EDISON label.
We had no ID what damage we were doing by rolling paper up in to make a funnel, stick a two inch pin through it and run the player.
One song we played and played was Barnickle Bill. Just looked up the lyrics to that song and it would seem to be a tons of 'em. Thing is, off all the lyrics on the computer, one is not there:
Someone does the fair maiden asking ?? and ol' Bill's answer:
"AUHHHH SHUT UP, you crazy woman, you drive me mad!"
Couldn't find this lyric and that was the reason we listened to it soooo often!
TERRIBLE language back in early 50s.
Yep, all the platters we had in this player were EDISON, his picture on em and all Some forgotten oldies are now on uTube: Some Kinda Fun by Chris Montez / Daisy Petal Pickin' by Jimmy Gilmore / Kentucky Means Paradise by Glen Campbell / Little Golden Band by Sonny James / The Fool by Jamie Coe / I Got Burnt by Ral Donner / Tennessee Wine by Johnny Day ...
Robert Black
Hi Kent,
I heard the John Kay version when I was a kid in North Dakota. I can't remember if the local stations were playing it or if our Canadian Friends at CKY and CKRC were playing it.
I just remember all of us wondering why the heck he was recording that kind of tune after all those R&R classics.
>>>To truly qualify as a "forgotten hit", the song has to be something that you'll remember hearing on the radio way back when ... but has been absent from the airwaves for SO long now that you've all but forgotten it ... yet, upon hearing it again, you can IMMEDIATELY sing along with it, despite all the years that may have passed in between. (kk)
This one certainly meets today's definition of a true Forgotten Hit. Although it didn't chart, I knew every word and sang along when I played it - though I know I haven't heard it since '73.
And, once again, from Moonshine to Hot Chocolate ...
You Sexy Thing (1975) - Hot Chocolate. Stereo.
First known as The Hot Chocolate Band, in 1969.
After charting records in the UK, but while their chart success was fading, this song was released in the UK on RAK Records, #199, B Side, with "Blue Night" as the A (Plug) Side. Maybe also released in the US on Big Tree Records. It is written it was an (unknown) American DJ who flipped the record over and spotted its potential. How he was able to persuade Producer, Mickie Most (known for his diehard mono Herman's Hermits mixes, now deceased), abroad, to modify it and reissue it is also unknown. It is certainly a different "mix" with a noticeable rhythm guitar, in long form, clocking in at 4:00, with double tracking on lead vocals in spots. Some verses (heard here) were later edited out in the US Hit version ...
And then from Hot Chocolate to Coca Cola!!!
I have NO information about the U.S. / British artists Coke commercials, however many Canadian artists recorded these jingles as well, including David Clayton-Thomas & The Shays (many years before Blood, Sweat & Tears), The Guess Who, The Mandala, J.B. & The Playboys, The Collectors (Later Chilliwack), Bobby Curtola, etc.
Duff Roman, who at the time was a DJ on CHUM, produced David Clayton-Thomas' Canadian hits ("Boom Boom!", "Walk That Walk", "Out of The Sunshine" and "Brainwashed"). Duff produced DCT's Coke jingle. Duff had his own label called, naturally enough, Roman Records. Duff is a legendary man in Canadian radio. He's in several Halls of Fame and, before his semi-retirement, was head of CHUM Radio.
Jack Richardson, who later went on to produce The Guess Who, The Rovers, Bob Seger and many more, was at Coke's ad agency, McCann-Erickson, in Toronto in the 1960's. He was in the studio when many of these jingles were produced, but he gave the production assignment to a Canadian entrepreneur named Stan Klees. Stan co-founded RPM Magazine (a Canadian weekly radio / record industry publication that was published from 1964 until December of 2000). Stan also co-created The JUNO Awards (Canada's Grammys) with Walt Grealis. Stan was a record producer and had his own labels, Tamarack and Red Leaf (with partners Duff Roman and Art Snider, who early on, recorded Gordon Lightfoot for Arts' Chateau label).
Since Basil and Dyer Hurdon were Bobby Curtola's managers / record company owners / songwriters / producers, I can only assume that they also produced his Coke commercials. Bobby was the main spokesperson for Coke for several years.
Brad in Ottawa has probably the largest collection of these Coke commercials that I've ever seen.
Doug Thompson in Toronto
Between all the resources currently available to us, I believe we could put together the most complete, incredible collection of "celebrity" Coke commercials on the planet. Let's see what other kinds of responses we get! (kk)
I have a 2 CD set of Coke commercials. I wish I could get a hold of some Come Alive-Pepsi jingles.
>>>In addition to Jon and Robin's "Do it Again (Just a Little Bit Slower)", which was big here in OKC, they also had two other records big here in OKC, "I Want Some More" and "You Got Style" from 1967 and 1968 respectively. Jon Abnor had a record in 1963 which made our survey with a song called "You're Losing That Old Feeling", all records being of course on the record label Abnak. In fact, Jon Abnor's record from 1963 was record label number 101. (Larry)
"That Old Feeling" was also Top 20 on KBOX in Dallas, Texas, in September of 1963. Currently on my turntable is another Jon Abnor single, "Mama's Boy" b/w "Maybe Tomorrow", which was actually the very first release on Abnak (#100). I bought it last year on ebay along with a copy of Abnak #103 - "D.J. Record Hop" b/w "Popping Bubble Gum". I have one other Jon Abnor single on Atco, a cover version of Kirby St. Romain's top 60 record "Summer's Comin'", as well.
Interestingly enough, "Mama's Boy" must've gotten enough action somewhere because the record was actually picked up by Mercury records (Mercury #72115), which I only found out about a couple weeks ago while I was on vacation and saw it in a record store in Akron, Ohio. The Globaldogproductions website erroneously lists the artist on that number as Jon Arnor, but the label does say Abnor. I don't care too much for "Mama's Boy", but I really dig the flip side.
As for the other records I have by him, "D.J. Record Hop" is OK (it's flipside is also decent) while "Summer's Comin'" is nowhere near as good as the Kirby St. Romain original.
Now for what could be some potential sad news ...
I decided to do some digging on the internet to try to find some current info on Jon Abnor, as I knew he had been imprisoned in the 80's for manslaughter (I had read online years ago that it was involuntary vehicular manslaughter; however, it appears that it was preplanned, as the victim was Janis Ballew, a nurse he had become involved with while he was reportedly in the Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and was apparently living with at the time of her death, and that he killed her inside his home).
I saw mentions on some websites (without any proof, btw) that he had been paroled in the 90's and living with his father in Dallas (however according to,
he was serving a life sentence in Texas, and I have not been able to see any documentation of parole, etc, unless I'm just not reading this right -- and I couldn't locate any other court documents without paying a huge fee for them). His father died in 1999 and his mother died in 2004 (she worked for the insurance company that her husband founded up until 2000 -- it was with the money he made through this company that he founded Abnak records -- he sold all of the masters from that label to Sundazed in the late 90's).
In his mother's obituary (which I had to spend $3 to purchase so I could read the whole thing) John Howard Abdnor, Jr. is listed as living in Duncan, Oklahoma, (which obviously means he was no longer serving a life sentence in Texas). Fast forward to 2010 when his sister Gail Aleman passed away, and there's a mention that she was preceded in death by her brother John.
I saw that and shouted "WHAT?!?" at my computer screen. After about two hours of internet searching, I found NO obituary listings for John Abdnor in either Texas or Oklahoma, an Intelius search shows that there is a 70 year old John H Abdnor in Duncan, OK, (yeah, but it still thinks John Sr. is still living in Dallas, too, so I can't trust it). A search of the Social Security Death Index showed one John H Abdnor born on May 1, 1940 as passing away on July 2nd 2008 in Dallas (yet I could find no obituaries for him in Dallas around this time either). For what it's worth, John Abdnor Jr's parents married March 26, 1939, so that could very well be him.
Since Forgotten Hits is all about finding out the truth, it's time to get all of the facts straight once and for all on this guy and his past ... maybe one of your readers would know the full scoop on Jon Abnor AKA John Howard Abdnor, Jr., as I'd really love to know what the heck happened to him in regards to his murder conviction, incarceration, and anything that happened to him after that. Some people who have posted on youtube have alleged to be relatives of Jon (including one who makes comments that seem as if Jon really is deceased) ... however attempts to contact them have not gotten me any replies. Either way, he made some good and some bad music back in the 60's. Perhaps Larry could find out, being that Oklahoma City is only about 90 miles away from Duncan.
Tom Diehl
Wow! That's a LOT of information there ... but there are some "investigators" on our list who might rise up to this challenge ... so let's give it a spin and see what comes back! Thanks, Tom! (kk)
This ad for Westbury Music Fair on Long Island (NY) should erase any doubt that the Monkees Reunion Tour will be coming to the U.S.
-- Tom Cuddy, NYC
Well, I, for one, never had any doubts ... this is just TOO great an opportunity NOT to take advantage of. Stay tuned ... they may be comin' to your town!!! (kk)

We told you last week about The Cars' reunion ... and all of a sudden I'm hearin' ALL kinds of Cars music on the radio. SOME of the members of The Rascals have also been talking up some reunion plans ... but so far Felix Cavaliere has been pretty "mum" on the subject. (Naturally, I asked him to break the story here in Forgotten Hits!!!) But it sounds like this, too, may be something that we can all soon look forward to! (kk)

Kent ...
Vinyl makes a comeback.
"I take those old records off the shelf,
I sit and listen to them by myself."
Frank B.

Some interesting facts I discovered:
Q: Who is the most common artist found in Goodwill stores LP bins?
A: Mitch Miller!
Q; Can you still find cheesecake (risqué') LP covers in the Goodwill LP bins?
A: Yes!
Q: What is the most common 78 RPM record label found in Goodwill store record bins?
A: RCA Records!