Friday, February 11, 2011

Helping Out Our Readers

Another batch of our very popular "Helping Out Our Readers" feature ...



There hasn't been a whole lot written about Aretha's health since she came home from the hospital just about a month ago. In an interview with Jet Magazine, she said she was fine and that her health issues had "been resolved." (In the same interview, she never admitted to having pancreatic cancer either ... and she's been pretty tight-lipped about it ever since.) You can read highlights from her Jet interview here:
Click here: Aretha Franklin: Health problem 'has been resolved' one month after surgery

Back in 1969 I took my girl friend to the Prom in Hobart, Indiana. The band that played that evening was PC Limited from a suburb of Chicago. Midway through the dance they played a beautiful love ballad called "Sunny Was A Fool". After the song, the group claimed this was their first record and they gave free copies to anyone that wanted one. I got a copy but it is in such poor condition now it is unplayable. I would be so grateful if you could run down this song and post it if possible. I think a lot of your listeners will be pleasantly surprised! It is a good song.
Maybe some members of the New Colony Six will remember this group and give some insight on them to you. This was right in the heyday of Chicago bands.
Thank you, Kent, for all your help and work so we can enjoy those memories all over again that you have given us.
Oh, I almost forgot ... the label the song was on was Fontana if that helps you.
Steve H
I wasn't familiar with this one at all ... in fact, I'd never heard of the group either ... so I checked with Clark Besch, who knows a thing or two about the local Chicago Music Scene, circa 1964 - 1979. Here's what he told me:
"Sunny Was A Fool" got airplay on WLS and WCFL in early 1969 and was released on Fontana 1643. This 45 is about as close to a Chicago version of the Vogues as one could get. Makes sense, as the Vogues were much bigger in Chicago usually than nationally. Previously, P.C. Ltd. had been known as "Purple Cucumber" thus the "P.C." They were "discovered" by Dick Biondi at gigs in the late 60's. They released a total of four singles as one or the other name in the 60's, also doing backing tracks for other locals like the Hudson Bay Company's cool "I See Her Face". They did most backing tracks for Carl Bonafede's 1969 find, Thee Prophets, Lp cuts. The B side of "Sunny ... " was "Here We Come", which was reworked into a jingle for the CTA locally.
In the 70's, they found more success as they changed names to Happy Day (named after the hit "Oh Happy Day"). After their Varpo local 45 made noise, UNI picked up the 45 (oddly, the Varpo is stereo and UNI is mono) and eventually released three singles by the group.
By then they had formed Happy Day Productions and were doing jingles for the Illinois Lottery, 7Up and Toyota.
Clark Besch
So there you have it! And, not only did Clark come up with the track ... but he ALSO found a neat piece of literature on the band! (kk)

One of my favorite songs to sing is Gene Pitney's hit, "It Hurts To Be In Love". I knew that Neil Sedaka wrote it, but didn't know that he recorded it before Gene did until I heard it at a friend's house recently. I thought that it would be so cool to be able to mix the two masters together, with both guys sharing the lead vocals and harmonies. When Neil sings the lead, Gene sings the harmony, and when Gene sings the lead, Neil sings the harmony. Mixing the harmony parts might be tricky, but with today's technology, I believe it could be done. Anyway, I tried to send this idea to Neil's fan website, but it kept bouncing back, as it is no longer a "valid" address. I was wondering if you could get this to him, and see what he says. I think the "new" version of the song would be great, and I know Gene would approve of it.
Thanks so much, and hope to hear from you!
- John LaPuzza,
Omaha, NE
First of all, Neil Sedaka didn't WRITE "It Hurts To Be In Love" ... but because his lyricist Howard Greenfield DID, he got first crack at recording it. (Why he didn't release it as a single is beyond me ... the two versions are virtually identical and I think Neil missed a GREAT opportunity to score another major hit!) Because they sound so much alike, I think your "custom mix" idea would be AWESOME ... but some obvious problems come into play. Neil Sedaka and Gene Pitney recorded for different record labels and unless all parties would agree to such a mix, it isn't likely to happen. (With Gene Pitney gone, I don't know who speaks for his estate.) Gene recorded SO many great songs that don't receive airplay anymore. How does radio continue to ignore standards like "Town Without Pity", "Only Love Can Break A Heart", "It Hurts To Be In Love" and "She's A Heartbreaker"? (Honestly, some of the other stuff was just a little too melodramatic for me ... but there are certainly MAJOR fans out there of tracks like "Backstage", "I'm Gonna Be Strong", "Just One Smile" and "Mecca", too.) Seriously, wouldn't something like "Love My Life Away" or "Looking Through The Eyes Of Love" sound GREAT coming out of your radio every once in a while. (There are a couple of "Wow Factor" song for you!!!)
Although we featured it a while back, we'll spotlight Neil's version of "It Hurts To Be In Love" today ... who knows, maybe some enterprising producer on the list will see your suggestion and take it to Neil! (A "duet mix" like this has GOT to be a MILLION times better than the new mega-mix version of Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" that Scott Shannon keeps playing!!!) kk

From Neil Sedaka to Neil Diamond ...
Just recently this top 40 chart from WCIN (not WKRP) in Cincinnati came into my possession. As you see, the chart is dated 8/19/63. One needs to look all the way down to the bottom where it says Columbia Records "Star Picks". The #2 song listed is At Night by Neil Diamond. It is the flip side of the very rare single Clown Town. It did not chart nationally. I tend to think it probably did not get airplay in that it would give the appearance of payola in that Columbia is paying to have that small segment printed. Yet some DJ might have been curious as to who Neil was and played it. Maybe someone knows something about this. Jack All I know is that Neil Diamond really doesn't like to talk about "Clown Town"!!! (lol) So who KNOWS what the flip side sounds like!!! (Well, Tom Diehl knows ... 'cause he sent us BOTH sides of this ultra rare single to share with you today!) No idea if this ever got airplay or not ... who knows ... maybe that was part of their contractual obligation with Columbia Records for "sponsoring" their survey ... or maybe that's just how they generated the cash to get these printed. (I always wondered about that ... in that these were typically free in-store give-aways ... who PAID for the printing of all these old radio station surveys?!?!? Great promotion for the station, to be sure ... but SOMEBODY had to be footing the bill!!!) Interesting. (kk)

Back in 1970 I was the lead singer for a band out of Gary, Indiana, called Rainbow Tree. Les Kummel, the bass player for the New Colony Six at that time, took us under his wing and was our manager. We got a recording session with Brian Christianson producing our song "Gypsy", a remake of the Moody Blues cut on their album. Les sat in on bass and Chuck Jobes, the Colony's organist, laid down a dynamite track. We did another song "Grab your Mind" and Les got a small label down South called Bullseye Records to offer us a contract. (Bullseye Records were noted for Brenton Wood and "The Oogum Boogum Song" and "Just give me some kinda sign." We would have signed if they would have reimbursed our studio fees. They didn't and we did not sign. We never got another offer! Such was and still is the record industry.
We released Gypsy locally in Northwest Indiana and it topped out at #13.

Les was a real nice person who would do anything for you but also had a drug problem. I will never forget going on their Greyhound bus like I was one of the guys. And the girls that visited that bus were so beautiful! Les was a great song writer who penned several of the Colony's best love ballads. I bet most of them were written to his girl friend Star, who he loved very very much. We still miss you, Les.
Kent, I was wondering if you have access to one of the New Colony Six forgotten hits, People and Me. It was a rare rock and roll song with great lyrics. Larry Lujack from WLS loved it and did his best to promote it by claiming it was a hit but it never made it. Probably because the Colony couldn't shake their love ballad label. If you could post this song I would appreciate it.
Steve H.
Les Kummel had his hand in writing both of The New Colony Six's biggest hits, "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say". Sadly, he died in a car crash in 1978. "People And Me" bubbled under on The Billboard Chart in 1970. It reached #32 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. When Bob Stroud featured this track on his "Rock And Roll Roots, Volume 8" CD, it was the most-requested track of the year! (kk)

The first time I heard the New Colony Six perform People and Me live was at Champaign, Illinois. Guess who was the undercard? REO Speedwagon! They had not made it big yet but they did a great performance of Sympathy for the Devil! I always felt the arranger on the Colony's songs was not very good. Even though their harmonies were spot on, the background vocals were not dynamic enough. It sounded like they were in a deep hallway. It could have been better.
Steve H.
Some of the import CD's released over the past couple of years seem to have more of that "buried" / muddy mix to them. I keep hoping that NC6 Historian Jerry Schollenberger will eventually persuade Mercury Records to put together the ULTIMATE compilation collection from all of the master tapes. (Sadly, it's their Mercury material that seems to suffer the most on these reissues ... their earlier Centaur / Sentar material sounds pretty clean on the CD's I've heard.) A lot of this stuff was recorded at The Chess Studios downtown so the sound should have been captured cleanly. Maybe Jerry will tell us who we can write to in an effort to petition a COMPLETE Mercury release ... if enough fans write in and demand it, they just might turn over the reigns to him to put this whole thing together. As devoted and dedicated a fan as he is, I just know he'll make sure it comes out right. (kk)

I just read Scott Shannon's bio on Wikipedia. It says he teamed with another guy to form "Wildfire" and made an album in 1977 which included a "moderately successful" remake of Jerry Keller's 1959 hit "Here Comes Summer". The song had already dated itself in 1959 but to record it in 1977? Anyway, is there any chance you can post Shannon's version on your site? I suspect Scott will never forgive you for doing it but ...?
Steve Davidson
LOL ... actually we HAVE featured this track before ... in fact, I think after we did, Scott even played it on his program ... and he may have played it again last June when he counted down The Top 20 Summer Favorites as voted on by our Forgotten Hits Readers and The True Oldies Nation. The Wildfire version of "Here Comes Summer" made it to #43 in Cash Box Magazine in 1977. If I remember correctly, Shannon had some ties to Casablanca Records, who released the single. He was most likely on the air down in Nashville at the time, too, as he spent some GREAT years there at WMAK. The lead vocal was handled by Jack "Stack-A-Track" Grochmal, a noted session singer ... and I think Scott would be the first to admit that the record really wasn't very good ... and it has NOT aged well!!! (lol) But sure, we can feature it again!

I wrote to Scott Shannon recently to tell him that its so nice to hear more forgotten oldies on the station. (I typicall listen to WLS-FM, 94.7 in Chicago, and in the space of 15 minutes I heard three songs I would say are rarely played: Undun, Beautiful Sunday and Rod Stewart's "The Motown Song". I hope they keep this up. Frankly speaking, I have found myself turning on 94.7 first but then switching over to other stations because I was tired of hearing the same songs. A year ago, Scott told me that unfortunately the audience only wants to hear the well-remembered popular songs while I had advocated you needed more of the "Wow I haven't heard that song in 40 years" factor. I'm sure that you and all of your Forgotten Hits readers have helped to influence the playing of more forgotten oldies ... and I'd even like to hear some that I've never heard before (local or regional hits like those by The Cryan Shames or The Mauds that for some reason never made it nationally.) There are so many artists who had 10, 20 or more charted hits yet it seems you only hear a few of them. Hopefully what I just heard over that 15 minute period this morning is a sign of more to come.
Keep pluggin' away, Kent!
Steve Davidson
I truly believe Scott would LOVE to play more of these obscure hits than he does ... but let's face it, everybody has to answer to somebody ... and if you've listened to 94.7 much lately, you've also heard more and more '80's ... and even '90's music on the station. (The running joke here lately is "Have you listened to Scott Shannon's True Eighties Channel lately???")
Sadly, I believe that in the process, they're starting to lose their "True Oldies" identity (particularly on the WLS side) and that's a shame ... as far as I'm concerned, Scott Shannon SAVED the oldies here in Chicago ... but, as I mentioned the other day, it's getting tougher and tougher to distinguish 94.7 / WLS-FM from half a dozen OTHER stations in town these days, as they all seem to be playing the exact same music. Where's the choice in THAT?!?!?
Meanwhile, you'll hear Scott jump off the play list whenever he can ... little features like "The Cheezy Easy Listening Song Of The Day" ... and TONS of requests for more of the '50's and early '60's tunes ... allow him to do so ... (despite having to answer to the so-called "Oldies Police" who monitor these things) ... so to balance things out, he's also had to play more and more of what THEY think folks want to hear. (Trust me ... the folks who tune into oldies radio do NOT want to hear '80's and '90's songs ... or Natalie Cole singing "Unforgettable" with her father!!! That's just NOT what oldies radio is supposed to be all about.)
Thankfully, our new "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature has gone over VERY well with the REAL oldies fans out there ... and I wish Scott would begin to incorporate this feature into his daily play log. Once or twice a day (on his 24 / 7 Internet Show), he could feature "Today's Forgotten Hit" and help build a whole new audience who are into this sort of thing ... and believe me, there are TONS of us out there!!! Same thing with a daily dose of Gary Theroux's "History Of Rock And Roll" feature ... not at all unlike his "Rock And Roll Time Machine Top Five" and "Rock And Roll Calendar" that he does a few times each day. Couple this with "The Cheezy Easy" song ... and maybe an hourly "Vintage Vinyl" track that takes you back to the late '50's and early '60's ... and pretty soon you've got something worth tuning into. Let the listeners know that they're going to hear something special every hour and you'll find them sticking around a whole lot longer ... and doggone it, THAT'S called "Appointment Radio". (kk)

>>>WHO was it did: "Moonshine Tenneessee wine, runnin' round my head ... friend of mine ..."? (Robert Black, Willowdale Ont)
Robert Black posted a query about lyrics that go "moonshine, --- wine ... etc."
This is just grasping at straws, but it sounds like Randy Newman's "Old Kentucky Home", also recorded by the Beau Brummels and who knows who else. I think the first verse is something like "Moonshine, dandelion wine / Sittin' with friends in the evening time" or similar to what Robert from Ontario heard. I don't think the Beau Brummels released it as a single from their Triangle LP but maybe (in Canada) they were giving Newman's record some airplay!
Bob Rashkow
I don't see anything about this in my ever-reliable CHUM Chart Book ... anybody else have any idea what this might be? (kk)

Here's a Lost Forgotten Hit - Robert Gordon - Someday, Someway - 1981Can't understand why this didn't chart better, though not a complete failure at #76. Good tune! While Robert never made US Top 40 ever, he (at least at one time) was mentioned in Joel Whitburn's Top 40 Hits book (can you guess why?)! This may have gotten a little airplay. Now, you DJs who read Forgotten Hits, lock yourself in the studio and play Robert's song over and over, until it charts again!! Thanks! :)
Jersey John
Always loved this song ... and it fared a little bit better for its composer, Marshall Crenshaw, who reached #31 in Cash Box with it in 1982. Crenshaw never got the chart credibility he deserved ... and has long been a favorite of mine. I was fortunate enough to be at his first ever CD launch party back in 1982 ... and have seen him in concert a couple of times. Since you featured a snippet of the Robert Gordon version, I'll run the whole Crenshaw hit ... very similar (and we always seem to prefer the one we heard first!) Bette Midler had a minor hit with her Crenshaw cover of "My Favorite Waste Of Time", another "cult classic" that reached #78 in 1983. (kk)

Recently there was a posting about the Brook Benton song "Boll Weevil". I remember my brother had a "78" of a song called "Boll Weevil" by Fats Domino. This was a completely different song backed with "Don't Blame It On Me". I remember I played the shit out of that song. I found it on youtube (Thank God for Youtube) and here's the link:
Listening to "Don't Blame It On Me", it's got the basic rhythm of "Ain't That a Shame" ... but both songs still have the energy and sound fine today!!!!

Yep ... Fats Domino scored a two-sided hit with this one ... in a rather unusual fashion. "Bo Weevil" made the Pop Chart, peaking at #35 ... and the flipside, "Don't Blame It On Me" went to #9 on Billboard's R&B Chart. This all happened way back in 1956 (when you probably weren't even born yet!!! lol)

Can you help Bill? I'm BAD with lyrics!
I certainly do like what you do with the music. My ears are not as good as they once were but I still enjoy good music.
I wonder if you could help me out. I have been searching for a song that I remember hearing around the end of the 60's, I think, maybe the first of the 70's. I don't know who sang the tune or the name of it. I do remember some of the lyrics though.

As follows:
He used to be a very peaceful man, 'till a band of strangers burned his home and took his land. You put bad in a good man and trouble you got some, like a gunfighter, a gunfighter.
I know this is asking a lot but I thought I'd at least ask. Thanks for anything you can offer.

LOL ... I think Bill's been looking for this one for a LONG time!!! (lol) I, too, suck at lyrics ... but Frannie's pretty good at it ... so I ran these by her and still came up empty. Then my daughter said, "Just 'Google Search' them" ... so I did ... and the VERY first thing that popped up was Forgotten Hits, dated
10-18-09, where we ran this very same inquiry for Bill!
It's one of those VERY rare ones where we never found an answer ... so I'm happy to run it again and see if anybody can help us out. Thanks, guys! (kk)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Forgotten Hits Exclusive!

Although the "OFFICIAL" Announcement
won't be made for another day or two,
that the following artists will make up the brand new list of
2011 Nominees for

The Commodores with Lionel Ritchie
The Doobie Brothers
Earth, Wind & Fire
Ferrante & Teicher
Hall & Oates
The Isley Brothers
The Miracles with Smokey Robinson

The Osmonds with Donny & Marie
Billy Preston

Sly & the Family Stone
The Spinners
and Bruce Springsteen

A VERY impressive list, to be sure. (Jeez, who don't you induct off of THAT list?!?!?)
All bona fide hit makers and well deserving of this honor.
We salute The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame for their constant effort to acknowledge and recognize these proven hit makers ... and for including the FANS in the voting and selection process.

A few weeks ago, THE HIT PARADE HALL OF FAME announced the 2010 Inductees:

ABBA, Eric Clapton, Jackie DeShannon, The Diamonds, Bo Diddley, Dan Fogelberg, Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Pink Floyd, The Rascals, Paul Revere & the Raiders (featuring Mark Lindsay), The Righteous Brothers, Dusty Springfield, James Taylor and Roger Williams

Fans can visit The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame Website and vote for their favorites ... as well as view all of the previous inductees and nominees here:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More On The "Back To The '60's" Concert Event ... and The Story Behind "Rock And Roll Heaven"

Kent ...
I forgot to mention how great Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods were at the BB King's show as well. They played their hits and backed up each performer ... doing a great job. Bo plays great keyboards and his bass player was outstanding. Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords
I had a Bo Donaldson track planned for next week's "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature ... hmmm, guess I'll have to push this back a little bit!!! But a GREAT excuse to mention our new Monday - Friday web feature again ... and that Bo Donaldson twin-spin ALSO qualifies for our Twin Spin Weekend idea: One you know ... one you didn't even know you forgot!!! Stay tuned! (kk)

Let me echo what some other readers shared with you about the "Back to the 60s" concert that Ron Dante brought to NYC's BB King's last weekend and I've included some pictures as well.
DENNIS TUFANO -- He told the audience he hadn't played NYC since the 70s and that the Buckinghams recorded some of their hits here. Dennis sang all the chart toppers he sang lead for during his Buckingham days and then delivered a show stopping tribute to Bobby Darin. Many male vocalists seem to lose a little of their range as they get older, but Dennis displayed a vocal ability that surpassed what you heard on his early recordings. Simply amazing.
RON DANTE -- New York's own singer, producer, musician served as host of this amazing compilation show as he was being rooted on by his mom, who was sitting at the table next to me. Ron mentioned he once produced an album for the Brigati brothers of Rascals fame and that he had invited Eddie to come to the show. Moments later Eddie was on stage exchanging lead vocals with Ron on the 1966 Rascals chestnut, "You Better Run." Eddie was asked by my radio colleague Mike McCann about the rumored Rascals reunion later this year. Eddie said he's getting ready in case plans come together, "I'm working out on my bike, I stopped smoking, I'm watching my diet. I'm doing vocalese. So if it happens, I want to be there." When pressed further about the all the Rascals getting together, he said "Call Steven Van Zandt (laughs). Steven is the doctor, He's the man." It should be noted that a week earlier Rascal Gene Cornish popped up on the BB Kings stage at the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp show (Roger Daltrey performed), and he teased the crowd by saying . . . "get set for a Rascals reunion!" After igniting the concert-goers with a bunch of Archies hits and a stellar version of the Cufflinks, "Tracy," Ron offered shortened versions of some of the more famous commercials jingles that he sang on and the crowed loved. They included: Coca-Cola "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing", Dr. Pepper, Almond Joy, and McDonalds "You Deserve a Break Today."
SONNY GERACI -- Here's a singer / performer who still displays a huge amount of enthusiasm and charisma on stage and his voice is still fully intact and can deliver his hits like you remember them on the radio, as lead singer for the Outsiders "Time Won't Let Me," and for Climax's 1972 smash, "Precious and Few." Sonny opened with a rousing rendition of Spiral Starecase's "More Today Than Yesterday."
A highlight of his set was when explained a member of his band (the late Johnny Stevenson) wrote "Rock and Roll Heaven" with the terrific Alan O'Day. He kidded that his version flopped and then years later the Righteous Brothers "stole" his song and scored big with it. As he sang it, he would weave in portions of songs made famous by the departed singers the lyrics mention.
Sonny invited Dennis back on stage for a delightful duet of the Buckinghams classic, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." After the show, Sonny and I reminisced about the last time he played NYC as part of a 70s revue I produced for WPLJ-FM at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, March 24, 1995. That night Sonny shared the stage with Three Dog Night, Rupert Holmes, Andrew Gold, Elliot Lurie / Looking Glass, Ian Lloyd / The Stories, Robert John, Alan O'Day and David Naughton. I have photos from that rare night, but I only wish we had video!
Sonny mentioned that his three grown children are following in his footsteps. His daughter and two sons are now recording in London with Red One, the producer best known for his work with Lady GaGa.
BO DONALDSON & THE HEYWOODS -- Bo and his band did a tremendous job supporting all the acts throughout the night and then did a set that was topped off with "Billy Don't Be A Hero" and "Who Do You Think You Are." It was interesting to listen to other concert goers around me during this set. Many of them did not realize that Bo was not the lead singer of the Heywoods on their hits, Mike Gibbons was. Mike is no longer with the group.
Tom Cuddy

Dennis Tufano

Ron Dante
Sonny Geraci

Sounds like a FANTASTIC show. (Wonder if they'll be taking it out on the road???) Sonny and Dennis have been doing dates together for a couple of years now ... ALWAYS a great double bill (and they really seem to enjoy singing together.) I've been waiting to see Ron Dante in concert for YEARS now ... and I've heard nothing but good things about the back-up support that Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods extend to these other fine singers. Come on to Chicago, guys!!! (kk)

>>>I didn't know that Sonny Geraci wrote "Rock & Roll Heaven"!
(Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords )

Huh? Alan O'Day wrote it.
David Lewis
The impression Mitch got from the concert was that Sonny had the original idea for the song and co-wrote at least some of the lyrics. Tom Cuddy then explains that a member of Sonny's band started the song ... but then Sonny turned it over to his friend Alan O'Day to finish. I can only tell you that when I saw Sonny last July, he ABSOLUTELY gave the impression that he had a hand in writing the song. (I believe that he was also the first artist to record it when he was fronting the group Climax, who had the huge hit with "Precious And Few" back in 1972 ... but it went absolutely NOWHERE until it landed in the hands of The Righteous Brothers a few years later.) I've been searching for a copy of the Climax version ever since I heard Sonny tell the story but have only been able to turn up some recent "live" versions, and not the original recording. (I'd STILL love to hear Sonny's original version if anyone out there happens to have a copy.)
I asked Alan O'Day about this last year when I first heard Sonny's story but never got a response. I'm hoping that this time he can shed a little light on this for our readers ... if only to help us once again present "The Most Accurate Truth". The publishing papers that I've seen do NOT list Geraci's name on this song ... but what I heard with my own two ears certainly implied that he not only had a hand in writing it but that it was his original inspiration that kicked the whole thing off in the first place. (Also, a quick check of Joel Whitburn's book doesn't list John Stevenson as a member of Climax so, again, I'm confused as to his connection to Sonny and / or Alan.) Help us out, Alan!!! (kk)
Hi Kent,

Thanks for asking!
"Rock 'n' Roll Heaven" as a title was being performed live by Johnny Stevenson in a Los Angeles club when Warner Brothers Music Professional Manager Artie Wayne heard it, took Johnny aside, and told him that the chorus and the title was a hit concept, but the verses needed to be written better. I was a staff writer with WB Music at the time. Artie put Johnny with me and we wrote it together, with verses referring to rockers who had passed on. Sonny Geraci was not present at that point and I don't believe I even met him until sometime later. I demoed the song on my analog 4 track recorder, with Johnny and me singing ... then WB "showed" the song and got it cut by "Climax, featuring Sonny Geraci".
I have never heard Sonny claim that it was his idea, although I know he sings it in his show; and I don't remember Johnny ever saying anything to that effect. But as often happens, memories get cloudy over time (including mine) and everyone has their own perspective. Whatever dialogue or inspiration might have ocurred between Johnny and Sonny, I was not aware.
I can't put my hands on the O'Day / Stevenson demo, but attached is Sonny's version from the vinyl single. You may notice that the people mentioned in the verse are different than those on the Righteous Brothers' later version (also attached). For that story, I'll quote (with permission) from Artie Wayne's book "I Did It For A Song":
Dennis Lambert remembers, “I had signed the Righteous Brothers to my label, Haven, in 1974. Brian Potter and I were gathering songs and writing for them when Al Coury (President of Capitol) sent me a demo of “Rock And Roll Heaven”. After listening to it and recognizing its potential for the Righteous Brothers, Brian and I realized that it could really benefit from an “updating” in light of who had passed away in recent years (Jim Croce, Bobby Darin, etc.) I asked Alan if he and Johnny would consider doing a rewrite. Alan suggested WE do it and run it by him and John when we were done. That’s what we did … they were happy (we didn’t ask for anything) … we were happy (an already good song was made timelier) … the Righteous Brothers were happy (they really liked the production) and we had a smash hit in the weeks and months that followed.”
© 2011 by Artie Wayne
I was always impressed that Dennis and Brian didn't ask for a piece of the song for doing such a great rewrite. But this turned into a win - win situation with the Righteous Brothers' "comeback" hit.
Fast forward to 2007. Still friends with Artie Wayne, who reminded me (repeatedly) that R&RH needed another update. Finally, with his help, I crafted new lyrics to celebrate more recent "icons", and we produced a demo in Nashville with talented artist and session singer, Ronnie Kimball.
I hope your readers will visit my site and click on the updated tribute: (We're certainly open to suggestions for current artists to record the song!) There's also a cool YouTube video, produced by Sebastian Prooth:
Belated Happy New Year to you & your subscribers!

VERY cool ... thanks, Alan! (We ran a link for the new, updated video a few months back ... but it's certainly worth revisiting now in light of all of this new discussion.) Cool, too, to finally hear the Sonny Geraci and Climax original recording ... alongside the "hit" version by The Righteous Brothers (#3, 1974) kk

THE MOST ACCURATE TRUTH: Once again, we're presenting "The Most Accurate Truth" regarding "Rock And Roll Heaven", as told to us by one of its principle songwriters. Our intention here is only to set the record straight (and nothing more) and if Sonny Geraci would like to offer an opposing point of view, additional facts and insight or share a few more memories in this regard, we're certainly welcome to hear it. (Johnny Stevenson passed away a while back so his "back story", unfortunately, is not an option.) My feeling is, simply put, that Geraci is not (nor has he ever been) regarded as a songwriter ... a great singer, to be sure, but a successful track record in songwriting really isn't part of his resume. However, Sonny very well may have been instrumental in the original concept of this tune ... but if he was, Alan was not aware of it, nor did Stevenson ever convey this to him. In that two very well known and successful songwriters (Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter) did, in fact, contribute to the writing of this hit ... without even taking any credit for doing so ... it just doesn't seem right to have someone who quite likely had NOTHING to do with the actual writing of the song imply that they did. Makes for a great story on stage, I'm sure ... not unlike Micky Dolenz recently telling fans how he partied with The Beatles and then went into the studio to watch them record "Oh! Darling" ... but the simple fact is, it NEVER really happened. (kk)


Kent -

What a terrific audience we had last weekend at BB Kings Times Square.

So many of our friends showed up to cheer us on.

The Ripchords were there, Paul Shaffer and Eddie Brigatti joined us ... Could not have wished for a better crowd.

Thanks to Forgotten Hits for getting the word out.

You rock.

All the best, my friend.


Here's Mark Pont, Paul Shaffer, Me and Eddie Brigatti backstage with Tommy and Susan Brigatti.

Here's a picture of Sonny Geraci, Dennis Turano me and Bo Donaldson doing the finale "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More Comments on "The History of Rock And Roll" and "The Evolution Of Rock"

Hot topics of late, to be sure ... we're still getting mail on these two landmark radio series. Check it out:

Only at FH could music fans be treated to the kind of "inside story" we received today! It's great to hear from so many guys who were directly involved in creating these documentaries.
The version of The History of Rock and Roll that I remember most was Gary's 1978 program. I listened to the first version in the late 60s but haven't seen or heard any of it since then. My high school history teacher had a HRR poster on one of his bulletin boards for several months in the winter of '69 - '70. (Why do I remember that?) He (the teacher) died just a few weeks ago.
I wish I had a copy of the original HRR to compare to Gary's later project. I suppose Gary has asked Bill Mouzis, the original engineer, if has a copy. It's been 40 years and I wasn't listening as closely then as now.I have listened closely to every minute of EOR and the 1978 HRR within the past couple of years, and I like them both. The audio quality is indeed better on the Drake product, but the organization of the content is so different on the two programs that it's not possible to actually rate them against one another. Riley's delivery does have more energy, and it would have been great if he hadn't mispronounced so many words in the copy.The EOR promo included in today's FH is worth hanging onto; I didn't have it with my LP-to-tape-to-mp3 copy of the program.

David Lewis
I'd love to hear them both, too ... not so much to "judge" them but rather to simply experience the whole enchilada as it was originally envisioned. My guess is that there's enough good material on BOTH series to kick off a brand new, updated version. (kk)

>>>Without question, a COMPLETE History Of Rock And Roll should encompass ALL of this as well as trace its roots even further ... but the truth of the matter is (especially since this will ultimately be the first chapter), you'll LOSE your audience if you feed them too much unfamiliar material. My guess is that if this "education" is presented properly, it will inspire more folks to go back and seek out some of these early examples on their own. (kk)
I agree. If we could tie in early, unfamiliar material directly to material / artists they know, it would work.
For example, whenever I see a kid wearing a Zeppelin shirt, I always ask him / her if they're into the blues, and, regardless of their answer, I always mention blues classics that Zeppelin reworked to fit their style. Most people, no matter how much they love Zeppelin, think that Page, Plant, Bonham, and Jones wrote "Whole Lotta Love," "Nobody's Fault But Mine," "When The Levee Breaks," etc. Without fail, they're absolutely amazed that they didn't.Also, and I meant to include this in my earlier comments, I can't argue with someone who feels that rock began in the 1940's with R&B greats Louis Jordan (who played in drummer Chick Webb's band in the '30's, playing alongside Ella Fitzgerald in that band before forming his own band, The Tympani Five, in 1938), Cecil Gant, Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris, etc. That viewpoint makes complete sense to me. I love '40's R&B. To that end, I highly recommend the book 'Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n' Roll: The Birth of Rock In The Wild Years Before Elvis' by Nick Tosches, who is easily my favorite music writer.

>>>Doug Thompson has been a FH Reader for a few years now and has been a staunch supporter of our efforts ... and regularly sends me notes to tell me that he's "still reading"!!! (lol) I love it! (kk)
And I'm STILL reading, Kent, (and enjoying).
The final point (from me anyway) is that Gary Theroux did a magnificent job with the version of the 'History of Rock and Roll' that he worked on and the CHUM team did a magnificent job on the 'Evolution of Rock' ... although, as I said in my note to Warren, it's like comparing different brands of apples. They're the same species, but different tastes.
I worked with all of the people involved in CHUM's Evolution of Rock (Writer Bill McDonald and I were partners in a creative commercial company here in Canada for six years that won over 50 mostly American creative awards, before Chuck Blore whisked Bill out to LA to work for him in 1978) and all three of the EOR producers (Warren Cosford, Bob McMillan and Zeke Zdebiak) are, or were, incredible producers. Unfortunately Zeke died in 2002; Bob's totally out of the radio business now and Warren's currently living in the Centre of the Universe (inside joke) and has a large, ever expanding group of both radio and non radio people who are on his e-mail 'list'.
Both programs won awards. And rightly so. They deserved to win.
I've produced over 1000 hours of radio programming since I began in radio in 1965 and won my share of awards as well (151 so far). These kinds of programs take a helluva lot of work to put together. In 1981, NBC's The Source, hired me to write and produce a 3 hour special on John Lennon. It ran on Source stations in the U.S. and on 65 private radio stations here in Canada. That program took close to 6 months from start to finish (interviewing, editing, writing and producing). The last special I created on John Lennon in 2005, took me nearly 3 months (I'd done most of the interviews over the years) and that special (which ran in the U.S. through Westwood One and throughout Canada) won a Silver Medal, a Gold Medal and one of only 4 Grand Awards at the 2006 New York Radio Festival. Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills & fame) narrated, and he did an incredible job. Anyone producing a history of rock today couldn't do any better than hiring Graham Nash to narrate.
I appreciate Gary's Theroux point of view as I do Warren Cosford's. But Gary didn't work on the 'Evolution of Rock' and Warren didn't work on the 'History of Rock' so obviously they're going to prefer the program that they were involved with. I've never met Gary, but I have tremendous respect for his body of work. I've worked with Warren and despite that, still respect his body of work (inside joke # 2).
Both Gary and Warren should be (and are) rightly proud of what they accomplished, but short of getting these two in a boxing ring to 'duke it out', they're never going to agree.
I bought the 'History of Rock' 2 CD set with samples of the original HRR with Robert W. Morgan narrating (the one Ron Jacobs directed) and I love it. I've also heard the full version of that original KHJ HRR special and love that. I've also heard every hour of Gary's HRR version and love that as well. I also love the EOR. Why does one program have to be better than the other?
They're both exceptional radio programming and deserve to stand stand by side on any podium.
Gary, Warren, and all the creative people associated with both programs - take your bows. It's a job EXCEPTIONALLY well done.
Doug Thompson (aka Doug in Aurora)
Well said, Doug ... and you're absolutely right ... EVERYBODY involved in BOTH of these projects should be proud of what they accomplished. Remember, ALL parties concerned were paving the way with a program of this magnitude ... and, using the resources available to them at the time, did a hell of a job putting these radio specials together. That being said, it really is time to update this series ... another 35 years have passed and SO much has happened. Wouldn't it be cool to have some of these folks who've got some of this under their belts already pool their efforts and pick up the gauntlet once again? An updated series like this would be SUCH a welcome relief from most of what we're being force-fed on oldies radio today! (kk)

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Forgotten Hits Book Club

Some of you may already know this and some may not, but here is some information about a book that I have written that involves the Monkees.
It is a fictional story that takes place in 1967. They are going to attend an affiliates conference for NBC. They have to take a train to get there. On the way, a murder happens on the train and Peter is the suspect. It's up to the Monkees and a reporter to solve the murder by capturing the real killer.
You can get it a if you go to:
Click here: Last Train to Murder PB (9781458309211): Rick L. Phillips: Books
Rick Phillips

Author Harvey Kubernik has a new book out about the Laurel Canyon music scene 1940-2009. Interviewed recently on Dr. Wesley Britton's radio program, Britton described the book as: "So many musicians had roots in Laurel Canyon, from the Byrds, Monkees, Frank Zappa, the Mamas and the Papas, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, the Turtles, to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, the Eagles, Carole King, and Jackson Browne. All are covered in one of the best books on rock ever written, so this is one that music lovers won't want to miss!"
(You can also read Dr. Britton's review of the book on, and the text of his review can be found at this
Dr. Wesley Britton's interview with Harvey Kubernik, author of the impressive Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon (Sterling Publishers), covering first-hand experiences and associations that spawned the coffee-table volume (and lots of other rock stories) is
available for download anytime you like at

It was only a week ago that we told you about the brand new Record Research book devoted to Billboard's Top Ten Pop Hits, 1940 - 2010 ... capturing an incredible SEVENTY YEARS of Top Ten Hits!!!
Now I have just been informed that Joel Whitburn has already updated his "Top Pop Singles" Book again ... and that he's preparing a brand new, greatly expanded edition. (The 12th Edition just came out last year!!! Edition #13 is due for a mid-June, 2011 release ... and Joel has added even MORE brand new features into the mix!!!)
A while back, he began listing the B-Side of every charted single ... an INCREDIBLE undertaking (but EXACTLY the kind of thing us chart and music geeks are into!!! lol) Then, he added a list of "Classic Non-Hot 100 Songs" for artists that also scored heavily on the album charts or pre-dated the typical Rock Era covered, beginning in 1955. THEN he incorporated all of Billboard's "Bubbling Under" Hits into this massive volume of information. Now he has incorporated rare, regional chart information that hasn't been available for DECADES. In Joel's own words:
In 2009 and 2010, I was immersed in stacks of Billboards, discovering 'new' songs and artists as I researched the long-buried "Territorial Hits" chart and "Breakout Singles" feature and collected record for proofing against my compilation of new facts. Here were the garage bands and doo-wop groups that caught fire locally but not nationally -- the ones that you may remember as huge hits in your area. The debut of this new research ensures that they will long be referenced alongside the superstars of the pop charts.
NEW - Territorial Hits! Now includes every single that made Billboard's "Territorial Best Seller" chart from 1955-58. From January 1, 1955 - July 1, 1957, Billboard published Top 10 charts from 23 different major markets. Songs on these charts that did not also make Billboard's main pop charts are now shown under the special “Territorial Hits” heading in an artist’s discography. Listed in the book are the song’s debut date, peak position, and total weeks on the territorial Top 10, and the cities where it hit are shown next to the title. From July 8, 1957 through October 13, 1958, those Top 10 charts listed songs alphabetically by artist, not rank. Territorial-only hits from then are listed but without a peak position nor weeks charted. A biography appears for every territorial-only artist. The following markets were surveyed: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto.
NEW - #1 Territorial Hits! For songs that did not hit #1 on Billboard’s main pop charts but did hit #1 on the Territorial Hits charts when those charts were arranged in rank order, a bold #1 is listed next to the title, followed by an abbreviated list of cities where it hit #1.
NEW - Breakout Singles! Billboard published the weekly “Breakout Singles” feature from January 9, 1961 – February 10, 1973, the golden era of garage bands and Top 40 radio. Listed in random order each week, without positions, were 10-20 singles along with their artist, record label & number, and breakout city. Shown in the book under the “Breakout Hits” heading are the songs that did not also make the “Hot 100” or “Bubbling Under” charts, along with debut date, breakout cities, B-side, etc. With the exceptions of Kansas City and Toronto, all of the cities surveyed for the Territorial Hits charts were also surveyed among the 32 major markets for Breakout Singles, including Albany, Charlotte, Hartford, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Nashville, Newark, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C.
NEW - Total Hits! For major artists, quickly see their totals for #1, Top 10, Top 20 and Top 40 hits, and total Top 10 albums! Makes for interesting comparisons like AC/DC's highest charting hit was #23 yet they had 8 Top 10 albums!
MORE - All Million Sellers! In addition to indications of RIAA-certified gold and platinum singles, now shown are all gold singles awarded by record labels.
MORE - 650+ Artists Photos! More than triple the amount of artists photos over the last edition!
All-in-all, another REMARKABLE Edition ... can't wait to pick up a copy of this one! (I am always amazed how Joel continues to find new ways to present this material!!!)
More information on The Record Research Website:
Click here: Top Pop Singles 1955-2010 Joel Whitburn's Record Research

Our FH Oldies Buddy Ron Smith is also putting the finishing touches on HIS new book ... the ULTIMATE Rock And Roll Calendar. Titled "EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: Births, Deaths And Events For Each Day In Oldies History", Smith's book should be the definitive calendar covering any and all of rock and roll biggest events .
Ron's hoping to have this one out by spring ... and it'll be a fascinating day-by-day recap of all of the notable and memorable rock and roll-related events.
Stay tuned for more details ... and check Ron's website, too, for updates. (What's neat about a book like this is that ... good, bad or otherwise ... we're ADDING to rock and roll history every single day. Ron suggests checking his website each day and then "writing in the margin" to update YOUR edition!)
Of course, we're ALSO hoping that he'll update his Chicagoland Chart Books real soon, too ... a couple of these have been out of print now for a while! (Ideally, he just may incorporate ALL of this chart information into one jumbo volume. Works for me ... I would LOVE to have all this stuff in one place instead of having to frantically thumb through half a dozen different areas to compile my own chart information!) kk

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 02 - 06 - 11 )

In regard to Larry Neal’s request Sunday for where I was on February 3, 1959, I was a senior in high school in Lubbock, TX, Buddy Holly’s (Holley) hometown.
I had just come back to class from lunch when I heard the news about his death. Many girls in the class were crying and a few of my buddies actually knew Buddy and started relating old stories about him. He was a few years older than us. I did casually know Joe B. Mauldin, one of the band members of the original Crickets. He dated a girl in our class. The Crickets used to play at some of our school assemblies, etc., before they were famous. They played on weekends out at a local roller skating rink and actually won a talent contest held at a movie theater in Lubbock. Their winning song was “That’ll Be The Day”. All the local radio stations played the song all of the time. Most older people in Lubbock at the time didn’t realize how famous and popular they were until years later. Waylon Jennings was a local DJ at KDAV radio station. He was a native of Littlefield, a small town near Lubbock. He played a lot of what he called “Rockabilly”, a crossover of country & rock & roll songs.
Some of my friends attended Buddy’s funeral. It was a sad time. Like so many other people, I always thought it was a shame that he died so young and always wondered what other songs he would have written, had he lived.
None the less, he obviously made a great impact on the future direction of rock & roll, and popular music in general.
Jay Wiginton
If you checked out our 50th Anniversary Tribute Pages, you'll see that one of Ritchie Valens' classmates contributed, too. A very, very sad day in rock history ... the first REAL tragedy of rock and roll. (kk)

Sam Lit sent us a GREAT link to his website remembering "The Day The Music Died" ... you can check it all out right here:
Click here: HyLitRadio Remembers February 3, 1959.


Wanda's been ALL over the media lately, with her new CD, TV appearances with Jack White ... and now a special upcoming performance to launch a new "Women Who Rock" Exhibit at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Museum in Cleveland. Here's a photo from a few years back with our buddy Jacofan / Ed Parker with Ms. Jackson:
I'm not at all thrilled with how I turned out in this pic but it serves its purpose.
This is me with Wanda Jackson in 2008 at a local blues / rockabilly / country joint here in Kansas City, MO, called Knuckleheads. I got her to sign our 'Rockin' With Wanda' CD as well as Wanda's chapter in the book 'Unsung Heroes Of Rock and Roll: The Birth Of Rock In The Wild Years Before Elvis' by Nick Tosches. The first line of her chapter begins: "Wanda Lavonne Jackson was, simply and without contest, the greatest menstruating rock-'n'-roll singer whom the world has ever known." It was clear that she was unaware of the book. When I gave it to her to sign, she obviously read that line and had a puzzled look on her face as a result.

Kent ...
I know that most of us don't like The R-N-R Hall Of Fame. I guess this is a good idea.
Frank B.
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame To Open ‘Women Who Rock’ Exhibit
Actually, it's a GREAT idea. (I heard Scott Shannon talking about this new exhibit the other day on The True Oldies Channel, too.)

For the record, my beef has never been with the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame MUSEUM ... they have gone out of their way over the years to spotlight ALL forms of rock and roll music. (Witness recent exhibits devoted to One Hit Wonders and Bubblegum Music!) My problem has been with the nominating committee and the whole voting process ... each year, well deserving artists are continually being overlooked in favor of acts that the majority of the public hasn't even heard of or whose music is unfamiliar to the masses. (If this is the case, how "influential" and "ground-breaking" can it really be ... if MOST people are familiar with it?!?!?) Likewise, the voting doesn't include the public, who regularly shell out MILLIONS to visit the Museum and buy memorabilia. We keep talking about putting together a Forgotten Hits Road Trip to visit the Museum ... would LOVE to actually do that some day! (kk)


Attached is Wanda Jacksons' version of the classic "Shakin' All Over" from her CD"The Party Ain't Over".
Give it a listen,and see if it's worthy of sharing to the rest of the group.I think every song on this CD is a winner,which is why I bought it.

Happy days!

Paul Fraser Collectibles The Beatles’ infamous and rare ‘Butcher Cover’ LP goes up for sale
Kent ...
I don't remember this one.
Frank B.
I'm surprised to hear that ... this is perhaps the most infamous piece of memorabilia in Beatles history ... the "Holy Grail" of Beatles collectibles in fact! (Personally, I've gone through TWO of these, both now LONG gone.)
I got my first one at an early Beatlefest here in Chicago where a guy swapped me even for a copy of the rare John Lennon "Roots" album on Adam VIII. I eventually sold it for $300 ... a far cry from $30,000 (but in nowhere near the shape of a SEALED copy!!! How a sealed copy could even still exist after all this time is beyond me!) It'll be interesting to see what this ultimately goes for ... personally, I think $30,000 is a pretty conservative estimate. (kk)

I don't know how many FH readers saw the Debbie Gibson / Tiffany flick Mega Python vs. Gateroid last nite on SyFy. However if there was gonna be a fundraiser, regardless of the cause ... and I could see these two women engaged in a catfight AND see Mickey Dolenz eaten by a Python, I'd be there with my checkbook.

lol ... will have to watch for this one!!! I remember running the story about them making this film several months back but didn't realize that it had already made its way on the air! Sounds like a CLASSIC for sure! (kk)

From FH Reader Frank B (by way of the WCBS-FM website):
Elton John has some stern advice for his friend and former touring partner Billy Joel. In the February 17th issue of Rolling Stone, Elton says Billy needs to “do something better” with his life and to get serious about rehab, adding that they canceled many dates on their Face-to-Face tours because of his “alcoholism” and illnesses.
Billy Joel, who is recovering from double hip replacement surgery, was in rehab in 2002 and 2005, but Elton suggests he undergo a treatment program like he did where there is no television and patients clean floors. Elton goes onto say that he knows Billy will “hate” him for these comments, but feels that he needs tough love.
Billy Joel has responded to Elton John’s comments in Rolling Stone that he needs “tough love” and has to be “serious” about quitting alcohol.
Billy says, “I’ve worked with Elton for such a long time and I’ve enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him. Elton is just being Elton.“
Billy Joel is in Florida recuperating from double hip-replacement surgery.

Dear Abby,
Regarding the Wrecking Crew documentary:
Anyone know why they're only showing it in screenings? If it's due to lack of funding (which I can't imagine), and if backers or distributors cannot be found (again - can't imagine it) wouldn't more money be made if it were sold / rented as a DVD in general distribution?
Also, it would then be available to the audience for whom it is intended instead of rarified audiences who live near the screening sites and / or are invited.
Confused in New Hope (Bob Rush, DC)
Sadly, financing is a HUGE, HUGE issue with The Wrecking Crew Documentary. (Have you seen it? It's outstanding!!!) Biggest hold up is the licensing of all this music that runs throughout the film. Think about it ... these guys were on EVERYTHING ... they'd do a Frank Sinatra Session in the morning, The Mamas and the Papas in the afternoon and The Beach Boys at night ... and that was just a typical Tuesday!!! (lol)
And the inevitable soundtrack album complicates things even further. It is a film that NEEDS to be seen ... but until these licensing issues can be resolved, film festivals is about the ONLY way to see it. If given the opportunity to do so, don't miss it ... 'cause there's just no telling when you'll be able to own a copy. (And I imagine the DVD extras will be nothing short of AMAZING!!!) kk

And, without The Wrecking Crew, the music of The Beach Boys would have NEVER sounded the same!!! Check this out ... as we celebrate The Boys' 50th Anniversary!

Pray For Surf is looking for collaboration on:
The 50th Anniversary - 50 Beach Boys' Heroes & Villains
An initial, unfinished list has just been posted, inviting you to nominate a hero or villain or two and comment on the opinions of others. Maybe we'll have more of a finished product by Labor Day, 2011.
Your help is appreciated,

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of our greatest film composers, John Barry R.I.P. ROCK IN PERPETUITY!.
John Barry was involved in COUNTLESS film soundtracks over the years but WE remember him best from the James Bond films. FH Member (and studio guitar great) Vic Flick shares MANY stories about John in his book "Guitar Man" ... well worth reading! (kk)
Click here: Vic Flick, Guitarman (9781593933081): Vic Flick: Books

From Ron Smith's website:
John Barry, the five-time Oscar-winner known in the U.S. for "Goldfinger" (#72 - 1965), died of a heart attack in New York Sunday (January 30) at the age of 77. The British-born musician wrote the music for 11 James Bond films, as well as "Midnight Cowboy" (his version of the theme bubble-under the American charts at #116 in 1969), "Born Free," "The Lion In Winter," "Out Of Africa" and "Dances With Wolves." John reached the British top 40 nine times, most notably with "Hit And Miss" (#10 - 1960), "Walk - Don't Run" (#11 - 1960), "The James Bond Theme" (#13 - 1962) and "Theme From The Persuaders" (#13 - 1971) and he was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 1999.
-- Ron Smith

And this from Rock Photographer Mike Bush after reading that Gladys Horton of The Marvelettes had recently passed away:

Kent ...
As you can see, I stole this from Ron Smith's Message Board. A well deserved honor.
Frank B.
Oldies Music Bulletin Board: Maestro Honored
There will be a street named after Johnny Maestro in Staten Island, N.Y., on March 26.
The location is Midland and Mason Avenues. The time is 12 Noon.
Bruce DWDJ
Johnny was born and grew up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1939. His family had a summer home on Staten Island since 1945. In 1958, the Mastrangelo family moved to Mason Avenue in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island. Part of Mason Avenue will be renamed "Johnny Maestro Way" in his memory.
Johnny Maestro's entire final concert appearance (January 17, 2010) with The Brooklyn Bridge is now on YouTube:
Clearly a LOT of Johnny Maestro fans on OUR list, too ... his name has come up numerous times since his death last year. A very fitting honor for this great, well-loved singer. (kk)


Just got through reading Sunday's comments.
First of all, the group Five by Five's version of FIRE was also very big here in OKC. The following year, they had a song called APPLE CIDER which was also very big (both songs on Paula Records).
Secondly, you showed a couple of record picture sleeves on your website. Would you believe that through the years I always took those picture sleeves off and threw them away. I put the record in those heavy duty paper shucks that radio stations used.Hey! I wasn't thinking. How did I know or think that in the future some of them might be worth more than the record which was in them?
Larry Neal
We featured "Apple Cider" many, many years ago ... VERY much a regional hit. (It "bubbled under" in Billboard at #133.) I've always been a Picture Sleeve collector and, despite running a HUGE Picture Sleeve Auction in Goldmine 20-something years ago, still have quite a few in my collection, especially of my favorite artists. (I've got a damn-near complete collection of Beatles, Elvis, Rick Nelson, Beach Boys, Monkees and a few others. One of these days I'll have to run a list of the few that have alluded me over the years ... thankfully, my "want list" in this area is down to next to nothing these days!) kk

Last week Dave White talked with Chris Nunley, one of the founding members of the Royal Guardsmen, who recorded "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron," "Return of the Red Baron," "Snoopy for President," and "Snoopy's Christmas," as well as a few non-Snoopy hits! Dave also introduced some brand-new Guardsmen music from their new live CD. If you missed it, the program is also available for download anytime you like at:
The Royal Guardsmen have been getting quite a bit of buzz lately and are back out making appearances again. (Scott Shannon featured a little bit of their ultra-rare "Squeaky Vs. The Black Knight" Canadian Single on his program last week, too!) You can keep up with the guys via their website here: Click here: The Royal Guardsmen

Longtime sportscaster in New York, now a blogger, Len Berman pointed me to this one:The Akron Aeros, a minor-league baseball team in the Cleveland Indians' system, this season introduce a new food item, the Three Dog Night, combining the classic frank with kielbasa and bratwurst, topped with sauerkraut and mustard.Detailed pictures, plus some of earlier creations from the concessions director that came up with it, on the Minor League Baseball site:

Doesn't at least one of this item's namesake group frequent this site?

I guess I'd try it!!! Chuck Negron has participated from time to time ... wish we could get ALL the guys on board ... TONS of Three Dog Night fans on the list! (kk)

I saw Chicago live before anyone really knew about them. I saw Jimi Hendrix on the Electric Lady Land Tour,they were the opening band. I think that might have given them some spotlight. I had never heard of them, but after the show I was a fan.

Now that folks are translating Forgotten Hits into different languages all over the world (I'm still TOTALLY amazed by this!!! The other day, I did a website search to see where the last 25 website visitors came from ... and 19 of the 25 were from foreign countries!!!), it was kinda cool to get this email the other day after our Terry Kath / Chicago series ran. Never knowing for sure if this was a REAL email or not (or just another crazy piece of spam), I went ahead and had this one translated ... VERY cool because Federico also sent me some cool pictures of Florence to share with our readers! (kk)
Mi chiamo Federico Michelagnoli da Florence - Italy, mai dimenticherò la scomparsa di Terry Kath che ha lasciato un segno indelebile nella mia vita.
Greek to me?!?!? Well, Italian, actually ... here's what Federico said:
I call myself Federico Michelagnoli from Florence - Italy, ever I will forget the passing away of Terry Kath that left an indelible mark in my life.

Kent -
I also saw Chicago and the Beach Boys at Popular Creek. It was a fantastic concert.
Why oh why did they tear down Popular Creek?!? It was such a great venue with great sound. We saw many great concerts there. Also caught James Taylor, Kenny Loggins and more. Great sound!
The sound at the theater in Tinley Park SUCKS. Even when I worked at the Tweeter in town, people came in and complained.
The one concert I did miss at the Tweeter Center was the Jimmy Buffet show. I had free tickets through Tweeter. I had to go visit with Ingrid Croce in San Diego. Oh shucks!
I highly recommend the DVD of Chicago with Earth Wind and Fire Live at The Greek Theater. Put it on and sit back for a great concert. You will definitely sing along and maybe even dance. Chicago comes out, then EW&F, then both come out!
Amazon has it for $16.00 bucks.

Click here: Chicago/Earth Wind & Fire - Live at the Greek Theatre: Jim Gable, Chris Osterhus, Albert Spevak, Patri
We have that DVD ... great show! (Wanted to see these two together in concert, too, but missed that show the last time it came around.) Without question, Poplar Creek was the BEST outdoor theater to experience a live concert ... I probably saw 30 shows there over the years and NEVER had a bad experience. I've missed it, too, ever since they tore it down. (kk)


I agree with Frank B. about staying away from the Frank Sinatra CD,I already learnedmy lesson with "Johnny Cash-Remixed" ... it's terrible,and is a disgrace to a legend!
Happy days!


I personally always liked this "Bubblegum" music. One of my all time favorites is the Ohio Express's 1968 recording of DOWN AT LULU's. I wonder if Scott Shannon played that this weekend on his salute to the girls of rock and roll on the TOC. The song DOWN AT LULU'S was number one with a certain boy by the name of Tubby. I wonder how many of your readers know what I am talking about?

One of MY favorites, too. The Ohio Express scored three straight Top Three Singles here in Chicago in 1968: "Yummy Yummy Yummy" went to #1 (it peaked at #4 nationally), and both "Down At Lulu's" and "Chewy Chewy" reached #3. (Nationally, these peaked at #25 and #8 respectively on The Cash Box Chart ... they charted seven or eight positions lower in Billboard.) And my guess is that quite a few of our readers will get the Tubby and Lulu connection! (kk)

Hi Kent,

It's so funny that Mr. Montez took the Loungey route a couple years after Let's Dance and got back on the charts. I wonder if anyone remembers a Soap Opera that was on in the mid 60's on ABC called Never Too Young? Chris Montez made an appearance in the show and did The More I see You. It was a soap geared more towards the younger crowd. I don't even know how long it ran, maybe a year or so. My older sisters watched it, and more often than not, I would watch as well. I think there were a couple other pop star appearances, but don't know for sure.

Chris Montez re-invented himself with those mid-'60's hits ... and I loved 'em! ("The More I See You" is my personal fave ... but I played the heck out of "Call Me" and "Time After Time", too ... and STILL do for that matter.)

Chris is still out doing performances ... and you can check out his official website right here:
Click here: "Welcome to the Official Chris Montez website"
As for "Never Too Young", I've never heard of it ... but a quick check of shows that The Castaways appeared on the series' final episode and performed "Liar Liar". Wikipedia says that Tommy Rettig (of "Lassie" fame) and Tony Dow (from "Leave It To Beaver") were series regulars ... and that the program (geared toward teens as you said) also featured musical performances by The Sunrays, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Rivers and our FH Buddy Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon! (kk)

Got this link from Tom Cuddy the other day ... a very interesting article and interview with the America guys regarding their first hit record:

In Response to Tuesday's "Ross On Radio" Column about whether Etta James’ “At Last” (or many other classics) could be a hit today — we commented that it wasn’t really a pop hit at the time either, gaining its classic status over many years from TV, movie and commercial placements, we received this note from John Rook. (Sean Ross)
“Way back in 1961,
KTLN Denver PD George Wilson insisted on adding ‘At Last’ by Etta Wilson to the station’s playlist . . . A few weeks would pass before her version would stall at No. 47 on Billboard’s Top 50 singles. George continued to believe ‘At Last’ was a hit and programmed it on his show, but due to my concern, it was exempt from any other shows on the station. As MD, I questioned the wisdom of continuing to program the record. George said, ‘You’ll see, this will be a big hit.’ So almost 50 years later, with Etta’s ‘At Last’ now a standard, I’m ready to admit, George was right.”
– John Rook, keeper of the
Hit Parade Hall Of Fame.
It really IS pretty amazing ... kinda like Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World", a song that couldn't even crack Billboard's Top 100 Chart when it was first released in 1968 (it "bubbled under" at #116) ... but has been a radio staple ever since it was used in the soundtrack to the Robin Williams flick "Good Morning, Viet Nam" ... proving again the power of music. (Unfortunately, it often takes a fluke like this to introduce a whole new audience to a great piece of music. There is no limit to how many movie and tv soundtracks ... and commercials ... have SAVED some of this great music for new generations to enjoy.) kk

Kent ...
Here's one I have to admit I was wrong about.
I saw him live when he was first starting his career and I didn't think he'd make it.
Frank B.
Stevie Wonder To Be Inducted In The Apollo Theater Hall Of Fame
I've been a Stevie Wonder fan most of my life. Honestly, I didn't care for the "Little Stevie Wonder" stuff either ... but he hooked me for good with "I Was Made To Love Her" in 1967 ... and I've been a MAJOR fan ever since! What a great honor for this great artist. (kk)

Kent ...
Here in New York this weekend - WCBS - FM is having a Two - Hit Wonders Weekend. Singers who stretched their 15 minutes of fame into 30 minutes of fame.
Just Played = Left Banke - "Walk Away Renee" & "Pretty Ballerina."
This is hard. I know a lot of One Hit Wonders. Two Hit Wonders, that's a different story!
But all weekend long, WCBS - FM is playing singers who made it into the top 40 twice.
I just heard - Louis Armstrong = " Hello Dolly " & " Wonderful World "
Frank B.
Actually, I had that same idea several years ago ... it's a nice variation on the whole One Hit Wonder thing ... and there are a whole lot more of these than you might think! Every artist who has ever charted knows how hard it is to get that second hit ... imagine charting big TWICE ... figuring that you've made it ... and then never charting again!!!
(In a similar vein, we came up with The True Oldies Channel / Forgotten Hits Twin-Spin Weekend: "One you know ... one you didn't even know you forgot!!!" A GREAT excuse to play some things that don't otherwise ordinarily get played. In fact, I really think it's time to put another one of these together ... what do YOU think, Scott???) kk

I got this from several of the jocks on the list last week ... obviously something that's been making the rounds ... but still worth reading if you haven't seen it yet ... really hits home for the Golden Days of Top 40 Radio, doesn't it??? (kk)
Back In The Day
You know you're an Aging Radio DJ when ...
You were first hired by a GM who actually worked in radio before becoming GM.
Radio stations were no place for kids.
You got off on the sound of "dead air" on the competitor's station.
Sales guys wore Old Spice to cover the smell of liquor.
You were playing Elvis' #1 hits when he was alive.
Engineers could actually fix things without sending them back to the manufacturer.
You worked for only ONE station ... and you could name the guy who owned it.
You remember when normal people listened to AM radio and only "hippies" listened to FM.
Radio stations used to have enough on-air talent to field a softball team every summer.
You're at least 10 years older than the last two GMs who fired you.
You used to smoke in a radio station and nobody cared.
Engineers always had the worst body odor ... not because they worked too hard, but because they just didn't shower that often.
You know the difference between good reel-to-reel tape and cheap reel-to-reel tape.
Religious radio stations were locally owned, run by an old Protestant minister and his wife, never had more than 20 listeners at any given time ... and still made money.
You have a white wax pencil, a razor blade, and a spool of 3M splicing tape in your desk drawer - - just in case.
You know people who actually listened to baseball games on the radio.
You can post a record, run down the hall, go to the bathroom, and be back in 2:50 for the segue.
The new guy you're training has never listened to an AM station. He couldn't even name one in his own home town if his life depended on it.
You knew exactly where to put the tone on the end of a carted song.
You spent most of the time on Friday nights giving out the high school football scores. And when they weren't phoned-in, you got really pissed off.
You never thought twice about drinking from the same bottle with another DJ.
You only did "make-goods" if the client complained. Otherwise, who cares?
You can remember the name of the very first "girl" that was hired in your market as a DJ.
Somebody would say, "You have a face for radio," and it was still funny.
Sixty percent of your wardrobe has a station logo on it.
You always had a screwdriver in the studio so you could take a fouled-up cart apart at a moment's notice.
Agents were people like James Bond and the Man From U.N.C.L.E.
You would spend hours splicing and editing a parody tape until it was "just right," but didn't give a damn how bad that commercial was you recorded. Hey, I can only work with what they give me, right?
You still refer to CDs as "records."
Dinner? Let's see what the last shift left for me in the refrigerator.
The only interaction between you and someone else prior to bedtime is, "Thank you. Please pull ahead to the second window."
Your family thinks you're successful, but you know better.
You played practical jokes on the air without fear of lawsuits.
You've been married at least three times, or never married at all.
You answer your home phone with the station call letters.
You used to fight with the news guy over air time. After all, what was more important: your joke about your ex-wife, or that tornado warning?
You knew how to change the ribbon on the teletype machine, but you hated to do it because "... that's the news guy's job."
You had listeners who only tuned in for the news ... and not you. You could never figure that out.
You know at least three people in sales who take credit for you keeping your job.
You remember when "Rock" wasn't a bunch of guys who look and sound more like girls.
You have several old aircheck cassettes in a cardboard box in your closet that you wouldn't dream of letting anyone hear anymore, but you'll never throw them out or tape over them. Never!
You can still see scars on your finger when you got cut using a razor blade and cleaned out the cut with head-cleaning alcohol and an extra long cotton swab on a wooden stick.
You still have nightmares of a song running out and not being able to find the control room door.
You've ever told a listener, "Yeah. I'll get that right on for you."
You have a couple of old transistor radios around the house with corroded batteries inside them.
People who ride in your car exclaim, "Why is your radio so loud?"
You remember how upset people used to get about Richard Nixon.
You have at least 19 pictures of you with famous people whom you haven't seen since, and wouldn't know you today if you bit 'em on the ass.
You wish you could have been on "Name That Tune" because you would have won a million bucks.
You even REMEMBER "Name That Tune".
You were a half-hour late for an appearance and blamed it on the directions you received from the salesperson.
You've run a phone contest and nobody called, so you made up a name and gave the tickets to your cousin.
You remember when people actually thought radio was important.

Hey, deejays ... we're still looking for vintage airchecks, photos and memorabilia to post on the brand new Airplay website. If you've got something unique to share, please drop us a line at so we can pass this along. THANKS! (kk)

And, speaking of radio deejays ... are you playing THIS new feature on your program yet???

Hey Kent,

I'm really enjoying your new Today's Forgotten Hit feature, Monday through Friday. It's a great feature ... maybe the best idea in years! Thanks again ... and keep 'em flying!

A fan for life,


P.S. When are we going to get to hear anymore of your singles? I enjoy them,and you have a great voice!
lol ... not so much "singles" as the TRUE basement tapes!!! Thanks for the kind words ... but we're more about the REAL hits than my teenage aspirations! Lord knows there are enough of the real deal that's being overlooked to keep this feature going for years and years ... even at running only one a day during the week! Watch for five more great forgotten titles next week! (kk)

Though I'm no big fan of Varese Sarabande, I have to admit, having had the mint stereo LP, "Medicine Man (Pt. 1)", by The Buchanan Brothers sounded pretty fine on their CD! However, the entire LP on CD, offered by Collectables, (re)mastered by Steve Hoffman, was a disappointment.


You mentioned, as well as in the past before, why some records aren't heard today on Oldies station, like the Vanity Fare's EARLY IN THE MORNING.
Through the years I have just imagined that there is just one, and only one, P.D. and or M.D. in the world. He operates out of an office back East. He goes through all these records and puts them on this chart or survey called a "Hot 100". The other so-called P.D.'s and or M.D.'s see this list and then added these records to their local surveys. Same with the oldies that have been played through the years. I have known P.D.'s and or M.D.'s who were that in name only. They were taking orders from someone back East in a corporate office. Through the years some of the smartest people I have known in radio have been the guys behind the microphone. They had good opinions and they also knew what their listeners told them on the telephone.
And there WAS a time where radio stations actually LISTENED to these deejays ... because THESE were the guys who had their fingers on the pulse of their listening audience. For the past twenty years or so, we've been told that THESE are the 200-300 songs that you want to hear ... with virtually NO input from the listeners at all. That's what inspired me to start Forgotten Hits in the first place. Even today, some of the BEST deejays in America believe that it's too late ... the listening audience has been brainwashed into thinking that THIS is what they really want ... or (far too often) have already tuned out completely by now. There IS a place for Forgotten Hits on the radio, even if it's just in small doses. That's what this new feature was developed for ... a once-a-day Oldies Fix to stimulate the listeners. (kk)


When I was 13, my parents sent me to "church camp" for a week. We weren't allowed to bring radios, but I couldn't imagine not listening to music for a whole week, so I brought mine anyway. One day when we had free time I snuck into the woods with the radio. I was afraid of getting caught, so I only stayed for a few minutes. The only song I heard was "Yellow River", so I'll always remember it fondly.
Gotta love those musical memories ... they stay with you for the rest of your life! (kk)

According to Whitburn, Christie was an English band with a Tremeloes affiliation. "Yellow River" is one of my all-time favorites, a wonderful slice of power-pop with just that right touch of melancholy in the arrangement. I first heard the song on a radio station in Wisconsin -- I was up at Camp Moshava in Waushara County -- in August, 1970, two whole months before it broke in Chicago. The radio station was very small --
I don't remember the call letters -- but they were also spinning Dionne Warwick's "Paper Mache" and Mama Cass' "A Song That Never Comes" that summer, as well as Shocking Blue's "Never Marry A Railroad Man", so I had my transistor tuned to it every chance I got. I believe they were out of Adams or Friendship, Wisconsin. When "Yellow River" debuted on WLS and WCFL, I was stunned. I had been afraid I would NEVER hear that fantastic song again
- Bobster

You are on a roll, my friend. Christie's 'Yellow River' is a long-time favorite of mine, and one you just don't hear enough of on the radio. What a great, upbeat tune! Not only should dj's play this as a Forgotten Hit, but they should add it to their regular play list more often, too!
We hear about all this "testing" and listener profiling that radio stations and programmers do to determine which oldies people want to hear ... yet time and time again, the same 200 - 300 songs keep coming up ... so that's what we're force fed on a regular basis. Then along comes one like today's Forgotten Hit and blows ALL of that research out of the water (river?). Hmmm ... I wonder how much they pay all these consulting firms for this information ... I'd certainly be willing to offer MY services ... and the opinions of the REAL oldies fans out there ... to help shake things up a little bit! (kk)

AS A SIDE NOTE: One of the things wrong with this type of research is that they pre-pick a couple hundred songs and then ask their listeners to vote on them ... which ones do you like, which ones are you tired of, etc. The problem with this is that the list of song titles never changes ... which means that nothing NEW ever gets added because they just keep whittling down the same list of recycled titles. So if, for example, "Stand By Me" tests poorly, you still hear it ... you just don't hear it as often. If something else charts positively, you'll probably hear it three or four times a day instead of two or three times a day. If instead they seeded the list with 50 new titles each time they polled their listeners ... and then polled their listeners more often ... some of this rarer, forgotten stuff might actually have a chance. Instead, we have to hope that somebody will request one of these tunes in order to get it played.


Excellent choice of YELLOW RIVER by Christie for the Forgotten 45 of the day. I am notsure but I believe they had a follow-up (what group and artist didn't?) called San Bernardino, also on Epic Records.
I just thought of something while I am typing this out. I hereby appoint you as National Program Director of all the "oldies" radio stations in the U.S.A. You would tell the stations what songs to play. The only drawback I see to this is that you would have tochange the name of your website. The "forgotten hits" wouldn't be forgotten anymore.

lol ... thanks, Larry ... now THAT would be a job I could really enjoy doing!!! You're right ... "San Bernardino" WAS their follow-up hit (although just barely ... it spent exactly one week at #100 on The Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart! It fared a little bit better in Cash Box, where it peaked at #86.) We featured this one a long, long time ago in Forgotten Hits. (kk)

The song Yellow River was a good choice to feature. That has been a popular request on my shows over the years. It seems to be another case in which it was bigger in many regional markets. It is great to know that many remember one of my favorites, 'Its a Cryin Shame' by Gayle McCormick. I have always loved that song. For me it ranks right up there with 'Nothing But a Heartache' by the Flirtations.
Keep up the great work. Your daily dose takes my mind off of all the snow and the long Winter days.
Phil - WRCO
Got a really good response to "Yellow River" ... proving A) that folks remember it and B) that they REALLY dig hearing stuff like this again. (Any OTHER deejays paying attention out there?!?!?) kk

After a couple of singles with a skiffle band called The Outer Limits, Leeds-born Jeff Christie cut a songwriting demo that wound up in the hands of Alan Blakely, a guitarist with The Tremeloes. Impressed by the tape, Alan played it for his brother, a drummer named Mike, and the two set up a recording session with Jeff in London that featured The Tremeloes as backing musicians. Jeff sang and played bass, Mike handled drums and one of his colleagues, Vic Elmes, contributed vocals and a guitar line. And that’s how “Yellow River,” the debut single of the combo given Jeff’s family name, came to be.
An infectious 45 one never really tires of, “Yellow River” soared to #1 in England but strangely peaked at only #23 in the U.S. in August 1970 -- despite clinging to the American hit parade for nearly six months. (Well, I told you one doesn’t tire of it.) The follow-up single, “San Bernadino” (Epic 10695), topped the charts in Germany and reached #7 in the U.K.; while in the U.S. it peaked out at #100 for one week. (It was a big hit, though, on the campus of our radio station at Illinois State University.) The group some critics had dubbed “England’s answer to Creedence Clearwater Revival” then went through several personnel changes before breaking up in 1972.
Gary Theroux
We did a short feature on Christie a few years back in Forgotten Hits, but despite an extensive search of the archives, I just can't seem to find it! (Thought that would have been cool to rerun again today, too!) Oh well ... sounds like all of you folks out there have got this one covered! (kk)


Your twin spin records for today concerning rivers reminded me of another one I always enjoyed. From 1961 on Liberty Records, Si Zentner's UP A LAZY RIVER. It was playedon top 40 radio stations and the artist made Norm N. Nite's Rock On, Volume I.I am going to get out Bobby Darin's version tonight and play it as well as Si Zentner's. This reminds me of the question,"Which is worse?" A lazy river or a moody one? Maybe Pat Boone has the answer to that one.

Pat Boone's "Moody River" is ANOTHER track worthy of a spin now and again ... one of his better tracks ... and a #1 Hit to boot! (Guess it's up to me again!!!) kk

This also presents me with a GREAT opportunity to feature my all-time favorite Big Daddy track again ... give a listen to their treatment of the Bruce Springsteen classic "Dancing In The Dark"! (kk)


In today's twin spin of THE RIVER IS WIDE, at the end you ask the question, 'when was the last time you heard these on the radio?" The answer reminds me of the comment which was at the end of a television commercial a few years ago on a brand of chili. "Well, neighbor, that's been too long."


While I'll admit to not knowing the version of 'The River Is Wide' by The Forum that you featured the other day, (I don't think they played that one here in Chicago), I used to LOVE The Grass Roots' hit -- and haven't heard it in probably close to 30 years! It was actually one of my favorites and I remember buying this 45 when the record first came out. Once again, you've totally nailed it! Thanks for the memories!


It was relatively easy coming up with some "river music" to feature. In fact, I even rejected a few titles.
Originally, "Yellow River" was going to run as part of a two-fer, too ... I thought about "Red River Rock" by Johnny and the Hurricanes. (When's the last time you heard THAT one?!?!?) "Green River" by CCR crossed my mind (but that's really not a forgotten hit ... in fact, Creedence is one of those rare artists where virtually their entire hit single output is still part of radio programming, which says a whole lot as to just how popular ... and great ... these songs really were (and still are!) "Blue River" by Elvis crossed my mind ... but that one's just TOO obscure. (Quite honestly, I couldn't even sing a line to you if I had to unless the record was playing.) Of course, I suppose I could have featured "Old Rivers" by Walter Brennan this week, too, right??? That's the song that Larry Lujack calls the "very first rap song ever recorded"!!! (lol) But, in hindsight, running "Yellow River" all by itself worked out just fine ... we haven't had that much positive response to a single track here in a long, long time. (Hopefully some of the oldies jocks on the list have been paying attention ... my guess is you'll hear that one a little more often on the radio before too long!) kk

Just for the heck of it, I put together a little list of "river" songs that we DIDN'T use ... thought some of you might enjoy looking this over ... and coming up with a few of your own!

Proud Mary - Creedence Clearwater Revival / Ike and Tina Turner
(You've just GOTTA kick it off with this one!!!)
River of Dreams - Billy Joel
Take Me To The River - Talking Heads
Down By The River - Buddy Miles
River Deep, Mountain High - Ike and Tina Turner / Deep Purple
Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Yellow River - Christie
Blue River - Elvis Presley
Red River Rock - Johnny and the Hurricanes
Watching The River Flow - Bob Dylan
The River Is Wide - The Forum / The Grass Roots
Watching The River Run - Loggins and Messina
Let The River Run - Carly Simon
Old Rivers - Walter Brennan
March From The River Kwai - Mitch Miller
Rivers Of Babylon - Boney M
River's Risin' - Edgar Winter Group
Many Rivers To Cross - Nilsson
Cry Me A River - Julie London / Joe Cocker
Cry Me A River - Justin Timberlake
Deep River Woman - Lionel Richie

Don't Cross The River - America
Down By The Lazy River - Osmonds
Lazy River - Bobby Darin
Too Many Rivers - Brenda Lee
Moody River - Pat Boone
Moon River - Henry Mancini / Andy Williams
The River - Bruce Springsteen
Probably not enough here for a True Oldies Channel Weekend ... but I'll betcha Scott MacKay could put together could put together one hell of a Monday Morning Special with this list! (kk)

I just found the article on your website about Dusty Springfield and just wanted to point out an error in your Dusty piece.
Her Nashville album was completed and released before her death as A Very Fine Love.I was Dusty's backing singer and closest friend in her last years.
Best regards,

Simon Bell
I just LOVE it when some of the folks who were part of the story find our work and offer a little more fly-on-the-wall insight.
We got some pretty good feedback on this piece ... if you haven't read it yet, you can check it out here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits - DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (kk)
Simon then sent me this Wikipedia clipping in regards to Dusty's last LP:
A Very Fine Love is the fourteenth and final studio album by singer
Dusty Springfield, and thirteenth released. Recorded in 1994 with producer Tom Shapiro and released in 1995, A Very Fine Love was a Columbia Records release in both the US and UK, Springfield's first such simultaneous release since Living Without Your Love in 1979.
The album was originally tentatively called Dusty in Nashville, to tie in with the 25th anniversary of Springfield's keynote work
Dusty in Memphis, but her record company "decided against it, in the belief that it would lead audiences to mistakenly expect a country album.". A Very Fine Love was to be promoted by the TV documentary Full Circle, a 90 minute career retrospective featuring British comediennes Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French interviewing Springfield in their inimitably irreverent way - Springfield herself was a big fan of French & Saunders' and their goonish sense of humour - as well as interviews with friends, fans and colleagues like the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello and Martha Reeves, and footage from the recording of the upcoming Nashville album.
During the three months of recording of the album, Springfield often had bouts of laryngitis and other undiagnosed health issues. Upon returning to
England, she saw a specialist and was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer. Upon learning Springfield was to undergo radiotherapy, her manager, Vicki Wickham, was able to convince Columbia Records to delay releasing A Very Fine Love until Springfield was well enough to do promotion work.
Springfield's cancer went into remission, and in June of 1995, A Very Fine Love was released. It made little impact on the US album charts, but did reach #43 on the British charts. The title that got the best critical reception was the blues-tinged closing track "Where Is A Woman To Go?", written by
K. T. Oslin featuring guest vocals by Oslin and Mary Chapin Carpenter. (The song was originally recorded in 1984 by Dottie West.) When promoting the album in the UK on TV-show Later With Jools Holland Springfield performed the track live, then instead with backing by two longtime fans of hers; Sinéad O'Connor and Alison Moyet. One track from the album "Wherever Would I Be?", a Diane Warren-penned duet with Daryl Hall was featured in the movie While You Were Sleeping, and was a minor chart hit in Britain, along with Will Jennings' gospel-flavoured "Roll Away", the last charting single of her lifetime.
Due to modest sales of the album, Springfield and Columbia Records decided not to renew the contract, and as the cancer recurred in late 1996, and Springfield died in 1999, it proved to be Springfield's final album.
1 - "Roll Away (
Will Jennings, Marlee Lebow) - 4:12
2 - "Very Fine Love" a.k.a. "Fine, Fine, Very Fine Love" (
Bob DiPiero, Jim Photoglo) - 4:09
3 - "Wherever Would I Be?" (
Diane Warren) - 3:58 (Duet with Daryl Hall).
Note: US edition
Walter Afanasieff Mix.
4 - "Go Easy on Me" (
Randy Goodrum, John Jarvis) - 5:36
5 - "You Are the Storm" (
Matraca Berg, Ronnie Samoset) - 4:16
6 - "I Can't Help the Way I Don't Feel" (
Tom Shapiro, Chris Waters, Michael Garvin) - 3:41
7 - "All I Have to Offer You Is Love" (
Craig Wiseman) - 3:47
8 - "Lovin' Proof" (Diane Warren) - 3:40
9 - "Old Habits Die Hard" (
Terry Britten, Graham Lyle) - 3:36
10 - "Where Is a Woman to Go?" (Jerry Gillespie,
K.T. Oslin) - 4:08 (Featuring K.T. Oslin and Mary Chapin Carpenter)
Dusty Springfield - lead vocals
Daryl Hall - vocals ("Wherever Would I Be?")
Mary Chapin Carpenter - vocals ("Where Is A Woman To Go?")
K.T. Oslin - vocals ("Where Is A Woman To Go?")
Kristina Clark -
background vocals
Kim Fleming - background vocals
Sandy Griffith - background vocals
Ron Hemby - background vocals
Skyler Jett - background vocals
Conesha Owens - background vocals
Guy Penrod - background vocals
Claytoven Richardson - background vocals
John Wesley Ryles - background vocals
Audrey Sheeler - background vocals
Judson Spence - background vocals
Jeannie Tracy-Smith - background vocals
Cindy Richardson Walker - background vocals
Audrey Wheeler - background vocals
Chris Willis - background vocals
Dennis Wilson - background vocals
Simon Bell - background vocals
Lonnie Wilson -
Terry Lee McMillan - percussion
Glenn Worf - bass guitar
Brian Tankersley - bass,
keyboards, drum programming, synthesizer bass
Walter Afanasieff - programming
Gary Cirimelli - programming, background vocals
George Cocchini -
electric guitar
Dan Dugmore -
steel guitar
Dann Huff - guitar, electric guitar, rhythm guitar, classical guitar
Jerry McPherson - electric guitar
Michael Thompson - rhythm guitar
Biff Watson - guitar, acoustic guitar
John Jarvis -
piano, keyboards
Carl Marsh - keyboards
Steve Nathan - keyboards,
Hammond organ
Kirk Whalum - soprano sax
Tom Shapiro - record producer, musical arranger
Brian Tankersley - associate producer, engineer, mixing
Jan Perry - assistant producer
Walter Afanasieff - arranger, co-producer ("Wherever Would I Be", Walter A. Mix)
Dana Jon Chappelle -
sound engineer, mixing
Jay Healy - sound engineer
Greg Parker - assistant engineer
Bill O'Donovan - assistant engineer
Wayne Morgan - assistant engineer
Shawn McLean - assistant engineer
John Kliner - assistant engineer
Steve Ledet - assistant engineer
Mick Guzauski - mixing
David Gleeson - mixing assistant
Craig Silvey - mixing assistant
Mike Scott - mixing assistant
Hank Williams - mastering
John Geary - illustrations
Recorded at Javelina Recording Studios, The Bennett House, Recording Arts, Woodland Digital, Eleven Eleven Sound, GBT Studio (Nashville) & Schnee Studio (Hollywood), late January to early April 1994 and overdubs in London.
Here is a link to Dusty performing one track - Where Is a Woman To Go - with backing vocals including Alison Moyet & Sinead O'Connor.
Simon Bell


Thanks for the plug!

Getting good feedback.

It was quite a journey ... lots of hours ...And we feel good about it.

All the best to you!

Bobby Vee

Tom Diehl tells me that his special Bobby Vee program got a GREAT response ... and they're already planning "Part Two". (In fact, a second CD release may also be in the works ... stay tuned for more details!) kk

It's been a while since I thanked you for your efforts in Forgotten Hits. This has been one of the most informative programs I have ever subscribed to. Every issue is like taking a free college course in history and social studies.
Rock on, Kent! Don't ever stop!
Pat and Ellen Fogel
Floral City, FL
Thanks, Pat ... you're right, I haven't heard from you in a while ... glad to see that you're still "tuning in" and enjoying Forgotten Hits. (Could use a little of your Florida weather right now ... we're digging out of the "deep freeze" here in Chicago ... below zero temperatures and about three feet of snow on the ground!!!) kk

Great site!!
We have a playlist of over 5000 songs so hopefully we found some of the lost hits.
Cliff Edwards

Thanks, Cliff ... we've plugged your website before ... hopefully a few more oldies fans will venture over to check things out! (kk)

Thanks much - I love your newsletter!
Mike Hartman

re: ... OR NOT!!! :
Hi Kent,
I just heard the Trade Martin song about Ronald Reagan from the link shown on Forgotten Hits. The “protest” song has always been part of rock and roll but back in the day, the songs had some class. Notable examples being: Barry McGuire’s “Eve Of Destruction”, the Spokesmen’s “Dawn Of Correction” and Jay & The Americans’ “Tricia, Tell Your Daddy”. This entrant into the genre from Trade Martin is totally lacking in class, with its blatant attempt to embarrass our President, Barack Obama. This is not something Reagan would have done and his successors, George Bush Sr. and Jr. have not done. They all had and have respect for the Presidency and for the “progressives’ in the US Army who are fighting wars overseas so that Mr. Martin can live as a free man. This is a very poor way to celebrate Reagan’s centennial.
Mike Edwards
It's a tough position sometimes, putting together Forgotten Hits. Too often we find ourselves walking a very fine line.

On the one hand, we encourage ALL of the artists who participate with us to "use us" to help promote new releases, upcoming appearances and as a general means to stay in touch with their fans. Then when one of these artists sends us something that some might find a bit "controversial", we have to question our purpose. If we start to censor what we're sent, it defeats the whole purpose of asking artists to participate. Obviously, our goal is to get even MORE artists to participate with us ... and the list continues to grow by leaps and bounds, thanks in part to GREAT word of mouth. (Then again, NEGATIVE word of mouth could be just as damaging, I suspect ... so, like I said, it's a tough position sometimes ... or, at the very least, a fine line we walk.)
In that Trade Martin approached me, looking for a way to plug his new recording ... and this is a service that we provide, I naturally agreed. In that Trade also does a couple of radio shows that are VERY politically based ... and, in that the general press had already picked up on his new recording and were covering it in the media ... I figured we had that base covered as well ... folks would already have a pretty good idea as to what they were in for before listening to the tune. And, like we always say, we trust our readers to be their OWN censors ... every music player I've ever seen has an "off" button.
That being said, if we in any offended anybody, we apologize ... it was certainly NOT our intent. But our intent IS to offer a forum where recording artists can come on board, stay in touch with their fans, and promote new releases and upcoming events ... so to THAT extent I believe that we have lived up to our purpose. (kk)