Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 08 - 14 - 11 )

Frannie sent me this article that I just HAD to share with you.  (Kinda reminds you of the Jack Black character in that John Cusack film "High Fidelity" ... who just wouldn't let his customers buy crap from their record store!!!  lol)  This poor guy was just tryin' to make the world a better place!  Read on!
Local country fan Reginald Spears was arrested over the weekend for merchandise tampering at the new Super Walmart out on the bypass. The details of his infractions are unique, to say the least.

Third-shift electronics cashier Lena Johnston first noticed Spears rifling through the country CD section and filling a grocery cart with at least 100 discs before leaving the department. She thought he was just a rabid music fan until he returned 15 minutes later with the same cart and began slipping CDs back onto the shelves while looking around suspiciously.

Johnston walked over to Spears and asked if he’d decided not to make the massive music purchase. Spears responded “Yeah, yeah uh, yes ma’am” and began sweating profusely. He became spooked shortly afterwards and haphazardly threw the remainder of his CDs on the shelf before walking away. Johnston investigated the country section and noticed that it was full of unwrapped, well-worn CDs that Spears had apparently brought from his home. Spears was apprehended by security, mostly without incident, before leaving the store.

“I looked on the shelf and where Rascal Flatts was supposed to be, that scruffy looking man had put Flatt & Smugs or something like that … and where Taylor Swift had been, he’d replaced it with Tanya Tucker. I guess he’d stole all them new CDs and tried to replace ‘em with his old junk,” said a perplexed Johnston.

Fresh out on bail, Mr. Spears had a far different story. “I didn’t shoplift nothin’. I told the cops they could find all that country pop bullsh*t in the Rubbermaid garbage cans in home wares … where that crap belongs,” said Spears. “I was just trying to give the people around here some damn culture, so I brought my whole collection up here to give away for free. Of course, I’ve got it all ripped on my laptop. My alphabetizing skills might be lacking, but I ain’t stupid.”

“Can you believe they didn’t have a Jerry Reed CD in the whole god***n store?” he continued. “Well, for 15 shining minutes last Friday night, they did.”

The shoplifting charges against Spears were dropped but he still faces misdemeanor charges of mischief and merchandise tampering. For his part, Reginald is considering legal action against the store.

Spears explained: “They threw all my CDs in the dumpster and broke ‘em, them motherf***ers! I’m suing their asses for destruction of property and mental anguish. I was just trying to help this town out… I’m a by-God patriot!”

Walmart officials had no comment on the situation.
I should point out that this article comes from a "news site" called "Farce The Music" ... so, in all likelihood, it's probably 100% made-up crap ... but it's STILL funnier than shit so I just had to share it with you.  Damn it, we're gonna teach these youngins to appreciated REAL music one way or another!!!  (kk)

Well, the comments about the Happy Together show seem to be the norm for any band who tours. Some nights you are on, and some nights you aren't, and not everybody will hit 'em all on the same night sometimes. 
As someone who has been singing live since I was 15, and I'm 54 now, it doesn't get easier as you get older either.  Players can maintain a higher level I think over the years, but we singers
suffer, I think, with age. That doesn't mean we can't do a great job, but we have to be much more careful with what we sing and how we sing it.
I haven't seen this show, and since they are going to be at the MN. State Fair, I still have a chance.
There are certainly acts out there that should stay at home and age gracefully, IMO, but what can ya say? Their fans want to see them, warts and all, and some performers just don't wanna stay home. They want to see and thank their long time fans by doing shows. I have seen performers that were older and still kicked butt, and I've seen some that really were not very
Stevie Wonder is still amazing. The Billy Joel and Elton John show I saw a couple years ago was very good as well. I love Brian Wilson, he was one of my biggest influences, but his voice isn't what it used to be. I didn't care I still loved his shows and he's surrounded himself with wonderful people and musicians so it's great despite Brian's age.
Harmony is always a tricky thing and if monitors aren't great even the best singers can have a tough time doing things like the Association would need to do.
As far as the Grass Roots goes, if there aren't any original members in the band they cease to be the Grass Roots, IMO, but that doesn't mean they can't go out and do a great tribute to the Grass Roots. 
Going out to watch multiple groups in one show can be great or not so great, depending on the technical side of things on any given night  So keep that in mind. Then be realistic about what you expect. I can't imagine Mark Lindsay can stand up there singing and screaming Just like Me just like he did with Paul Revere and the Raiders.  If he could, that would be wonderful.
I don't have a solution for folks who don't like age jokes though. <grin>
Sorry I'm so long winded.
Our big thing here has always been, see these artists while you still have a chance.  Most are FAR more accessible NOW than they were back in the day ... it's so cool to sit and talk with some of these guys!  (I remember seeing The Turtles and The Association play at my High School back in 1967 when both groups were in their absolute prime ... jeez, do major rock bands even play at high schools anymore?!?!?  Recently we ran a photo of a "Win The Grass Roots For Your High School" flyer ... and that covers THREE of this year's Happy Together Again Tour Headliners!)
We've seen The Association on an off-night, too ... it's not pretty.  When a band's entire claim to fame is their incredible vocals, they really need to be "spot on" or fans will be disappointed ... that's a given.  Artists like this HAVE to deliver the goods, night after night, or risk receiving less than flattering reviews.  (Even back in '67 this sound was hard to recreate live ... SO much of what they did depended on layering in the recording studio ... making this one hell of a cross to bear some 40-something years later!!!)
Go for the music ... have a good time.  And if you DO make it out to the Minnesota State Fair show closer, drop us a line and let us know what you thought!  (kk)

Kent ...
Here are a few more pictures from Mark Lindsay and the "Happy Together Tour"
Frank B.
You'll find a brief concert review here, too.  (Hmmm ... maybe Mark really DOES rock out on "Just Like Me" after all!  Let us know what you think when you see the show in Minnesota, Bill ... and we'll do the same after WE catch the show at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora on the 26th of August!)  kk

If you happen to be out Northridge, California way, you've got a chance to catch Davie Allan (The King of Fuzz) and the Arrows performing FOR FREE at Jammi' Jersey Music ... 8743 Tampa Avenue ... Northridge, CA ... on Saturday, August 20th, at 1:00 PM.  More details on the website here:

With all the talk about the cancellation of The Monkees' 45th Anniversary Tour ... and Micky, Davy and Peter all doing their best to promote their upcoming solo gigs ... HERE'S something we weren't expecting to see!!!
I just received an invitation to attend THE WATKINS FAMILY HOUR, appearing NEXT FRIDAY at LARGO, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. "What's up with that?!?!?" you may ask?!?!
Well, featured guests include Grant Lee-Phillips, Benmont Tench ... and MICHAEL NESMITH ... making an EXTREMELY rare live appearance.  Doors open at 7 PM with a 9 PM Show Time.  Full details here:
Click here: Largo :: The Watkins Family Hour

Sounds like Billy Grammer traveled on this past week.  The 85 year old country star (born in Benton, Illinois ... home today of the "A Hard Day's Night" Hotel ... and home back in the early '60's to George Harrison's sister Louise, whom George visited back in 1963 prior to The Beatles coming to America for the very first time!) had a Top Five Pop Hit back in 1959 when "Gotta Travel On" peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.  (It actually out-performed its Billboard Country Singles Chart showing by one position!)  Grammer was invited to join Nashville's Grand Ole Opry back in 1959.  (kk)

BENTON - Billy Grammar, a Benton native and legendary country musician, died early Wednesday morning. He was 85. 
Grammar died at 12:20 a.m. Wednesday in Benton Hospital after a long illness, said his widow, Ruth. 
His own hits include "Gotta Travel On," which sold more than a million copies and also was recorded by Bob Dylan, Webb Pierce and performed by Buddy Holly on his last tour. Grammar also toured with artists including Jimmy Dean and Grandpa Jones. 
In the studio, he played on albums by Louis Armstrong, Patti Page and Charley Pride, including on Pride's hit "Kiss an Angel Good Morning." 
Although he stopped actively performing more than 20 years ago for health reasons, Grammar returned to the Grand Ole Opry to perform on occasion.
When he retired, Grammar built a house on what was originally his family's land, Grammar Hill in Sesser, where his grandfather, a Civil War veteran, is buried. 
Born in Benton in 1925, Grammar grew up in Southern Illinois. After spending time in the military, Grammar married his childhood sweetheart, Ruth Burzynski, to whom he has been wed for 64 years. 
While the two were living in Washington, D.C., Grammar was hired as a singer at WARL in Arlington, Va., by Connie B. Gay, a popular country DJ. When the lead guitarist was fired, Grammar took up double duty and began honing his skills on the fretboard, which would make him famous. 
While performing as a sideman on Jimmy Dean's television show, Grammar met a young Roy Clark, who was primarily a banjo player at the time, and taught him a thing or two about playing guitar. 
In the 1960s, Grammar developed his own line of guitars. One that was owned by Johnny Cash was sold at auction for $131,000. 
Grammar said the most memorable moment in his career was the first night Roy Acuff introduced him on the Opry broadcast, which he grew up listening to. Another was delivering the invocation for the opening of the Grand Ole Opry House in 1974 in front of President Richard Nixon. 
-- Brent Stewart

Hi Kent,
I enjoyed Albert Hammond’s music very much in the early seventies and thought “Down By the River” was an excellent song.  Just prior to this, in 1971, he was in a group called The Magic Lanterns for a short time.  They put out a single called “One Night Stand” that he appeared on that I thought was very good.  Also, “The Peacemaker” by Albert Hammond from the summer of 1973 was played regularly for a short time in my area of Michigan and reached number 80 nationally.  My brother bought the 45 right after it came out.  I’m sure that having the words “Damn It” as the third and fourth words of the song did not help it’s popularity or sales at the time, but I thought it was a good sounding pop song and have included it as well.
Thanks for all of the great work you do on the site!
Les Peterson

Albert Hammond's It Never Rains was one of my first 45s.  I get requests for I'm a Train and Free Electric Band from time to time.
Phil Nee - WRCO

Hi, Kent. 
You write:  "Sometimes I wonder if this is the artists' preference ... and THAT is the reason why this is the version that is mass-circulated ... but I also don't rule out the fact that the guys working at the record companies don't always know the difference."
You were right the second time.  Artists have little or no control over this -- just like they all too often receive little or no royalties.  
Not all of course, but a tragically large number of those working in label special markets divisions -- which license tracks out to third parties for reissues or compilations -- quite clearly do not know as much about the material they deal with every day as they should.  When they call over to the vault with an artist name and track title in order to have a master dug up and copied to send to a client, the vault engineer may be be confronted with multiple tracks, all bearing the exact same title and artist name.  They range from single edits, album versions, live recordings, alternate takes, unmixed or incomplete tracks, mono mixes, stereo mixes, quadrophonic mixes, disco versions and edits of different types, etc., etc. etc.  And unless that vault engineer knows the difference between the choices, God knows what might actually get transferred and shipped to a client. 
Capitol Records tends to have the very best sound of any label and have since the company's beginnings in 1942 -- but at Capitol, historically, every version of a given title by a given artist is filed as a unit.  That means that the tape masters of dozens of different recordings, mixes, edits, etc. of, say, a Beach Boys song are stored TOGETHER -- sometimes on the same reel.  That means that if you order up, say, "Little Saint Nick", you might get the mono single mix (the hit version) with the sleigh bells or you might get the stereo LP version without them.  
I have licensed tracks for hundreds of CD box sets over the years and inevitably what I get in as sub-masters for the 60 or so tracks I need will include at least a half dozen which are what I consider "the wrong versions."  (To me, the RIGHT version is the mix released as a commercial 45 RPM singles in stereo -- if they were issued that way -- or mono if they were not.  Those are also the most familiar versions because they are the ones which also got the most airplay. 
I listen very carefully to every second of every track I get in when I license material and have no qualms about requesting replacements if I am sent something other than what I requested.  In order to define what I want, when I send in my list of tracks I'd like to license from a given label, I supply to them not just the song titles and artist names but the original single or album release numbers.  That helps cut down on the goofs a lot, but there are still inevitably a few tracks which arrive with problems.  You simply have to understand that at most labels at least some of the  special markets folks are either too young to intimately know and recognize the hit versions of tracks in their vaults and / or, even sadder, simply don't care.  That's also why a good number of in-house created "greatest hits" albums over the years contain the same errors decade after decade.  Sometimes an artist may have released a "greatest hits" LP early in their career and then went on scoring hits for the label.  After they've left, some lazy A&R people, unwilling to carefully research an artist's complete legacy, will simply reissue and repackage forever the contents of that same way-too-early "greatest hits" collection (sometimes under different titles like "Best Of," "The Essential," etc.).  Fortunately there are SOME special markets people who do care enough to optimize such release. 
Gary Theroux  

Hi Kent -
Furvus here, aka Ken Evans drummer of The Fifth Estate (band) as opposed to TV show, etc. Digging the heck out of FH as usual and all the good info and updates as to what is going on.  Been seeing comments about speeding up records and, being a drummer, I just thought I'd throw in the little I know about it from many of our 60s recordings, and even now as well.
Although I was not aware of it at the time, I do believe a few of our early recordings were sped up and maybe some slowed down too ... not by the record company I don't think as I now understand it, but by our producers.  I don't have a problem with it really, after all it was at least us all really playing as a band on our records if you get my drift!!??  A little faster a little slower IF IT ACTUALLY sounded and felt better - then fine.  The point on the recording end was to sell records after all.
But often we would have just come into the studio from doing a number of nights at some Greenwich Village club or doing a big hall dance or small theater seated show - all of which had slightly different feelings / vibes and therefore tempos about them.  But once in the studio playing the song the same way as we would in a small theater was maybe not always as close
to the groove the tune could have been played at to sell the most records.  It was our jobs to be artists of sorts and create and be interesting and the producer's jobs to take that and sell records with it.  So it seems the producers had to match us up with what was the current record market thing just a little in places. To me it's ok really if the song sounds fine still.  I know our guitarists had more trouble with it because in those days it put the song out of the key it was played in.  Plus even to me as a drummer, I think most songs do sound best in the tempo and groove they were in fact played at.  After all that is what the musicians were / are feeling
right at that moment.  But that is a musicians point of view.
I finally came to terms with all this when I read somewhere that with the early rockers Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee and Little Richard, all of whom I really love, this was done all the time.  Especially with Chuck Berry (who was then looked at as aged at 26 - imagine!?), they thought speeding him up as they did, made him sound 5 years younger.  Look - I love those records all sped up.  They sound right to me.  So even as a drummer I'm cool with it now. I loved those records and still do.
Plus, somehow?, I don't know who put these up on Youtube, but there is an example of it up there with our song Kisses for Breakfast.  I Luuuve those!!!!  But now I digress. I should be talking tempo here I guess - 
- which does put them into different keys.  I don't have a keyboard here, so I can't say which if either is in the right (original) key.  But they both sound fine to me anyway ... although I actually prefer the faster one, which seems to me to suit the somewhat younger, quicker spirit of that time.  Then again the slower one sounds fine from more of a today's ear and groove sort of thing.
Today, with our new album Time Tunnel , it's quite different again, as computers now exist where tempos can be modified while keeping the keys the songs were played in exactly the same.  And although this apparently is done all the time with today's music, we tried and
I believe succeeded in playing the songs at the "correct" tempos is the first place, even if it took us more takes.  Why?  Well because it invariably felt better to us and "somehow??" also sounded better to us unmodified.  We all thought so and Shel Talmy, who is working with us on the record, thought so as well.  That alone is good enough for me.
The actual release date for Time Tunnel will be at the end of September and will be posted on our Website at - !! 
We still have the names and emails for all those who put in for the initial 100 autographed (by band and Shel Talmy) CDs.  We will let you know when those CDs are available, which will be soon after the initial September on-line release. There are a few of those autographed copies still to be had with an "un-committed order," basically a preorder request, no $ now, till you know the whole deal and decide to go through with it then. The request can be placed through the band's contact email address on the website just above.
Thanks, Kent.

Hi Kent
When I got up for my nightly 3 AM pee, I started making lists in my mind so I thought I'd share them with you. Perhaps others would like to add their own short lists or comments.
1. Best voices in rock and roll (I excluded those who never made an uptempo hit so stars like Johnny Mathis, Adam Wade, Johnny Nash and Tony Williams were ignored)
In random order:
Jay Black
Sam Cooke
Roy Orbison
Roy Hamilton
Johnny Maestro
Jackie Wilson
2. Best rock and roll voices
Wanda Jackson
Eddie Cochran
Bob Seger
Jerry Lee Lewis
Who would you list?
Steve Davidson
Chicago, IL
Tiny Tim didn't make your list???  I dunno ... some good ones on here for sure.  Others??? (kk)


OK, I found a cut in government spending.  I am sure we can find 100's more and get our AAA back!  It seems the "U.S. Board on Geographic Names" could be done away with, since they do not rename things now anyway (except for Congressmen who DIE on a mountain they probably never visited).  
Clark Besch

Move to name peak for singer John Denver hits snag 
Associated Press
Thousands of Coloradans have signed a petition to honor environmentalist and "Rocky Mountain High" singer John Denver by naming a peak after him in the central Rockies close to where Denver penned the song.  But the U.S. Board on Geographic Names said federal policy is to avoid adding names to peaks in federal wilderness areas, and Mount Sopris, a majestic volcanic summit west of Aspen, is in one.Others prefer a different place to recognize the revered singer, whose "Rocky Mountain High" is an official Colorado state song.  And still others oppose the idea because they just don't like the music of Denver, who was killed in a California plane crash in 1997.
Littleton resident J.P. McDaniel said she has thousands of signatures supporting her idea to name the east peak of the 12,965-foot mountain after Denver. She's sending application documents to the geographic names board, which is based in Reston, Va. A review process could take up to a year.  "This is to bring awareness of a person who really made a difference and gave a lot of his life to environmental issues. I think he'd be OK with it," McDaniel told The Associated Press on Monday.
McDaniel said she chose the mountain's east peak because Denver wrote "Rocky Mountain High" at Williams Lake, on the east side of Mount Sopris, which was named after Richard Sopris, an early Denver mayor who led a prospecting expedition nearby.  It's also in the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness Area, which poses a problem. The geographic board's executive secretary, Lou Yost, said that under the board's interpretation of the Wilderness Act of 1964, applying new names to features in wilderness areas detracts from the wilderness experience.
Exceptions can be made for safety or educational reasons, he added.  But McDaniel said Congress set a precedent by renaming South Hunter Peak in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve after the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who was killed last year in a plane crash.
Not everyone is on board with the plan.  Carol Kurt of the Colorado Mountain Club in Aspen, about 20 miles east of Mount Sopris, said she has climbed the mountain eight times."I actually like it as Mount Sopris," Kurt said. Upon further reflection, she said, it wouldn't hurt to name one of the twin peaks after Denver.McDaniel, who said she met Denver in the 1980s, said some comments she has received have been hurtful."  One person said (Denver) was just a human muppet, while others said his music was too syrupy. There are only a few opponents, but they're really loud," she said.

Despite a petition with thousands of signatures requesting it, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has indicated they will reject a plan to name Mt. Sopris in Colorado, west of Aspen, after John Denver. John wrote "Rocky Mountain High" while camping near the mountain. They cited federal policy against renaming lands in wilderness areas. However, an application for review has been sent to the board. They could take a year to decide formally. Local polls indicate 74% of residents oppose the idea. Mt. Sopris is currently named after the one-time Denver mayor who led an early prospecting expedition there.
-- Ron Smith

Kent ...
Read this article in my newspaper ... Thousands of Coloradans have signed a petition to honor the late "Rocky Mountain High" singer John Denver by naming a peak after him in the central Rockies - close to where he penned the iconic 1970's song. But the plan has hit a snag - with the US Board on Geographic Names, saying federal policy is to avoid adding names to peaks in federal wilderness areas.
Frank B.

Colorado may be late to recognize John Denver but we've had a statue of him here in Chicago for YEARS now!!!  (kk)

(Oh wait ... never mind ... that's the Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm photo!!!)  kk

Kent .. 
Someone posted this on Ron Smith's Oldies.  Another tribute CD to be released 9/6/11 ... "Listen To Me: Buddy Holly".
Frank B.
That's great news, Frank!  (Of course, we had BOTH of these stories on our website over a week ago ... but that's OK ... you just keep sending us Ron's headlines!!!  lol)  kk

And, speaking of Buddy Holly ... you've just GOTTA mention Texas!!!

I noticed this week you are saluting the great state of Texas in song.  (Please don't tell anyone from Oklahoma that I referred to the state of Texas as great!)
Two songs which immediately came to my mind are THE YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS and LONG TALL TEXAN. You know who the artists are. I will say this ... LONG TALL TEXAN made it all the way to number one here in OKC. Murray Kellum's follow-up, RED RIDER, didn't fare so well.
Larry Neal
I'm surprised sometimes by how similar your Oklahoma charts were to our local charts here in Chicago.  "Long Tall Texan" went to #15 here in Chi-Town despite petering out at #51 nationally.  (I hadn't even considered featuring that one last week ... but it's a GREAT suggestion so we'll run it today ... along with ANOTHER favorite of mine, "God Blessed Texas" by Little Texas. (How's that for a double whammy?!?!?)  And, as I'm sure you know by now, Mitch Miller's "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" became our first-ever SATURDAY "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature!  (kk)

When I saw  Friday's choice for FH for the day, two things came to my mind.
First, you mentioned the 1962 Marty Robbins hit RUBY ANN. I really through the years have never paid much attention to whom the songs were written by, but I believe actor Ralph Bellamy wrote that song. Also, the song by Jerry Wallace, SHUTTERS AND BOARDS, may have been written by the actor Audie Murphy. Kind of makes you wonder in a way what other actors or actresses have written songs recorded by others.
Second, do you know what the Mexican football team would do if they had the football and it
was third down with long yardage to go for a first down? That's right! They would EL PASO!
"Shutters And Boards" is one of the songs on the list of Future Forgotten Hits to be featured in our Today's Forgotten Hit segment.  (So is "In The Middle Of The House" by Rusty Draper ... remember that one???  In fact, you'll find THAT one up on the site next week!)
For the record, Joel Whitburns' book "Billboard Hot 100 Annual" shows that "Ruby Ann" was written by a Roberta Bellamy, not the actor Ralph Bellamy ... but "Shutters And Boards" was, in fact, written by Audie Murphy.  (And let's not forget that the #1 Tommy Edwards Hit "It's All In The Game" was written by Charles Dawes, Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge!  Now THERE'S some super trivia for ya!!!)  kk

Great series this week on songs about and / or concerning the state of taxes, er Texas. Believe it or not, it reminded me of a record that came out in 1961 that has something to do with Texas in a way.  Wasn't a big record for a group called The Texans with a song I believed called GREEN GREEN GRASS OF TEXAS. 
And this is a good one!  (kk)
Kent ...
Here's a clip of the first time Kate Smith ever sang "God Bless America".
Frank B.

"God Bless America" 
Those of you from our generation will remember hearing Kate Smith singing this wonderful (especially when sung by her!) song many times.  I did, but didn't know all of the story behind it!  You youngsters may never have heard it as sung be the great Kate (who was even praised by Frank Sinatra - do you remember him?)! 
The link below will take you to a video showing the very first public singing of “GOD BLESS AMERICA”.  But before you watch, you should also know the story of the song.
The time was 1940.  America was still in a terrible economic depression.  Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war.  It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers – and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.  Kate was also large in size, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”  Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.
Kate was also very patriotic.  It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring.  She had hope for America , and faith in her fellow Americans.  She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country.  When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her.  He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917.  He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra.  She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from   “God Bless America ” – any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America.  Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience.  She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing.  After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie “You’re In The Army Now.” 
At the 4:20 mark of the video, you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper – it’s Ronald Reagan.  Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have “dust in their eyes” as they wiped away a tear or two.
To this day, “God Bless America” stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country.  Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt she realized just how successful the results would be – for her fellow  Americans during those years of hardship and worry, and for many generations of Americans to follow.
Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you will enjoy it and treasure it even more.   God Bless America!,0

re:  ELVIS:
Kent ...
Got this one from Ron Smith's Oldies.  It was also in my newspaper.
Scroll down for video explaining it all.
Frank B.

And this from Jeremy Roberts:    
Well, it’s that time of year again – the time when Elvis fans gather in Memphis to honor the memory of Elvis Presley, who passed away nearly 34 years ago on August 16, 1977.   Read more
And this again from Trade Martin ...
August 16th ... just in case you can use this historical Elvis piece.
Best regards, 

Philly's very first R&R Star and perhaps our Tri-State area's Most Beloved Entertainer will begin yet another chapter in his 60-Year Career ... A RADIO SHOW to debut on SOUTH JERSEY'S and PHILLY'S authentic OLDIES STATION:  WVLT-FM CRUISIN' 92.1
EVERY SUNDAY ---  STARTING SEPTEMBER 11th --- from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
*Great Music (the roots of R&R / R&B, and more!)
*Recounting Charlie's personal memories here and abroad over a 60-year career!
*Interviews with Charlie's contemporaries!
*Spotlighting performers & particular years from the Greatest Music of All Time!
*Occasional Live Performances! 
*Info coming on Charlie's new CD to be released this FALL on ABKCO Records / Music -- produced by AL KOOPER!  Charlie will tour ENGLAND, WALES and ITALY during the month of OCTOBER. Dates to be posted very soon!

And, speaking of Charlie Gracie ...

Kent ...
Here's an excerpt from the book about one of our favorites.
February, 1957 = The hero of South Philly, 21 year old Cameo recording artist Charlie Gracie (Graci) looks a bit naked without his beautiful sidekick, a Guild X-350 electric guitar. Speaking shyly into the RCA 44BX microphone, Charlie invites all rock 'n' roll fans down to the Alpine Village to hear him sing his smash hit "Butterfly" and enjoy some bratwurst.
November, 2008 = Charlie Gracie says "I actually traveled to Cleveland to perform and promote my discs as early as 1956, a year or so before I became famous. Those were great times.  Of course, we never made the kind of money the kids make today, not even close, but I wouldn't trade that era for anything. Where have the last 50+ years gone? It really does seem like yesterday."
By the way, I just bought "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone" by Marti Smiley & Jeff March.
Heard about this book in the last issue of Forgotten Hits. Going to read this book as soon as I finish "1950's Radio In Color".
Frank B.
Cool!  I can't wait to read it, too!  I loved their "Echoes of the '60's" book from a few years ago ... and this sounds EXACTLY like the kind of stuff we love here in Forgotten Hits!  (kk)

And, since I've now had a chance to talk with both Jeff and Marti, here's a sneak peek of the preface of their brand new book, "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone - Volume 1":
A half-century ago, amid the uneasy tension of the Cold War, millions of young families quietly pursued the American dream, a vision for which they had fought so bitterly in World War II and Korea. The heads of those households were survivors of the Great Depression and children of the hordes of immigrants who had passed through Ellis Island at the beginning of the century. They had become accustomed to extreme hardship, but they were determined to avail their children of opportunities they never had during their own youth.
During the 1950s, their children began attending classes in the thousands of new schools that were built to accommodate them, and after school they watched television programs that catered to the burgeoning “baby boom” population. Parents who may have owned only two pairs of knickers, one pair of shoes and a doll or handmade slingshot in their own childhood bought Davy Crockett caps, Hula Hoops, Keds sneakers, Levis dungarees, saddle shoes and poodle skirts for their fad-conscious offspring.
Encouraged to think for themselves and not burdened by the harsh realities that had placed limits on the lives of their parents, the first of the baby boomers reached adolescence in 1960. They quickly began to exert their influence, first as consumers, then in far more substantive ways. The 76 million baby boomers who ultimately came of age during the 1960s indelibly altered the global economic, political and artistic landscape in a way that no youth generation preceding it had ever done before.
We look back on the ’60s as a convulsive era of civil rights and antiwar protests, of civil disobedience, of generational divisiveness, as the decade not only of the miniskirt, the Mustang and the lava lamp but also of LSD, draft card burning and assassinations. However, the 1960s also were characterized by remarkable creativity in popular music. Freed from the conventions of traditional crooning and formulaic big-band tunes, a new breed of composers and musicians drew upon an eclectic sphere of influences encompassing gospel, blues, jazz, folk and country music to evolve a new musical architecture built upon a solid beat and catering to the concerns and interests of young people.
Whatever happened to them?
Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 is a window into the lives of 25 recording artists who topped the national record charts during the late 1950s and ’60s – performers who were household names. Many of them pursued other interests in the decades that followed and prompted fans to wonder “Whatever happened to …?”
Remember the Kingston Trio, the nation’s most popular, trend-setting recording combo of the late 1950s and early 1960s who avoided politics until questioning the morality of the growing American involvement in the war in Vietnam with their poignant rendition of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”? Where have the members of the Kingston Trio gone? How about the Association, who fused folk and rock into an enormously popular repertoire of beloved songs including “Cherish,” “Windy” and “Along Comes Mary”? Whatever became of all the original members of Herman’s Hermits who popularized early 1900s dance-hall ditties but also recorded upbeat pop hits and sweet ballads? What about Chris Montez, who drew inspiration from the rockin’ style of Ritchie Valens but then matured into a smooth crooner? And what about Bobby Vee, whose career was unexpectedly propelled when he helped the show go on the night after Buddy Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash while on tour? And what of the Zombies, the first British band after the Beatles to rely on their own songwriting talents to score a number one hit in America with “She’s Not There” in 1964? Whatever became of that group’s members?
We were curious to know, asked questions and, with the involvement of the performers, family members, managers and producers, we learned the answers. In accurate detail, Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 tells the stories of:
•  the 1960s performer who became a licensed counselor deterring young people from drug and alcohol abuse;
•  the member of a prominent band whose work as an optical designer and technician included installation of devices in a photo analysis laboratory for the CIA;
•  the singer - guitarist who intentionally retreated from the spotlight with one of the world’s most popular groups to live in seclusion as a rancher;
•  the singer with one of the most distinctive pop music voices who entered the insurance field after his group dissolved, then re-emerged in music under a different name;
•  the band leader who went from blowing sax to blow-drying hair;
•  the former rock music guitarist who as a record company executive administered the recorded archives of Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Vic Damone and other traditional pop vocalists.
Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 is a tribute to them and other elite performers. In these pages, we reveal the aspirations, trials, triumphs and life’s lessons learned by the musical pied pipers of the remarkable period between the late 1950s and late ’60s. The musical creations of these talented individuals helped galvanize a restless youth generation and articulated the confused emotions that young people were experiencing as they came of age in a turbulent world. We explore how serendipitous musical success plucked these individuals from anonymity and thrust them into the spotlight; we describe how fame at such a young age influenced their decisions about how they would lead their lives; and we chronicle the professional and personal pursuits of those performers following the 1960s.
Authenticated, authorized biographies
Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 is the product of five guiding principles:
1.  We obtained information about all artists we profiled from conversations we had with the performers themselves (and with family members of some of the deceased performers);
2.  We collaborated with the performers, who reviewed and authenticated our manuscripts;
3.  All performers profiled were soloists or members of vocal groups or bands whose recordings scored on the national pop music singles and/or album charts during the late 1950s and ’60s;
4.  We have placed an emphasis on achievement, celebrating the personal and professional triumphs of performers within and outside the music industry following the 1960s;
5.  We intentionally selected artists who are representative of the widely divergent musical styles that distinguished the 1960s from all the other decades of the 20th century – musical diversity encompassing and influenced by rockabilly, rhythm and blues, surf music, jazz, folk standards, calypso, pop ballads, the British invasion, novelty tunes, folk-rock, art rock, psychedelia and country music.
This book does not dwell on the sordid or the sad. Although the text does acknowledge significant hardships, including financial and personal problems, our focus was on successful resolution of conflicts and discovery of what individuals learned about life as a result of confronting difficulty. Even though its content is entertaining and it has a nostalgia component, Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 also seeks to teach and inspire by example.
Each chapter encompasses three segments:
• A historical overview of the highlights of the each artist’s recording career;
• A discography list of prominent hit recordings of each artist; and
• Biographical epilogues chronicling the life experiences of soloists and band members.
Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? – Volume 1 affords many new insights into the personal lives of these individuals. We look beyond the music and peel away misperceptions and debunk myths about two dozen individuals with the same concerns as ours: establishing a stable household, the challenges of parenthood, paying the mortgage and the phone bill, caring for aging parents. We discover that beneath the public veneer, they are simply people whose jobs have involved creating music and performing in front of thousands of fans.
This is the first in a planned series of books. We hope you enjoy reading it.
The book is available through all of the usual sources ... here's an link:

And this from co-author Jeff March:
Good morning, Kent,
Your presentation about the book is terrific. Thank you for being so generous with your space. Your coverage of "Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1" does fit very comfortably with the content in your Forgotten Hits blog and on your site.
Please invite your readers to visit and "like" the book's Facebook page at (a Facebook account is not necessary to view the page).
Many thanks, Kent -- not only for helping spread word about "Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1," but also for your dedication to the musical legacy of the recording artists of rock and pop music's golden era.
Best regards,
Thank YOU, Jeff and Marti ... we're all about keeping this music alive!  (kk)

By the way ... it looks like we gave you a bad link the other day for Billy Hinsche's latest Beach Boys video release ... please use the corrected link below:

Hiya Kent!
I was part of the last production by Dick Clark. We were stopped in the tracks by payola.
Our group was called "The Young Ideas" and consisted of nine teenagers, who missed a major live performance on American Bandstand by one day.
That exposure would have insured instant success insomuch as we were to perform our single called "Dream" (a remake of the standard). We also were to sing and play live two or three choreographed medleys - maybe a first on his show. A lot of time and effort went into this project ... but it just wasn't meant to be. Going back to Philadelphia after having been part of three shows - Hartford and New Haven, CT, and then the Allen Freed show, hearing on the radio the news regarding payola, etc. ... and then not even realizing until the following day that it was all over.
Don Frio 
Sad story, Don ... sounds like you guys went down in flames.  (Hoping to have more on this in the future ... in fact, I even asked Dave The Rave if he might be interested in having Don on his radio program!  Meanwhile, here's Don's recording of "Dream", courtesy of Tom Diehl!  (kk)

Love the WLS Brian Wilson spot ... they play an early version / alternate take of Dance, Dance, Dance!

Nice photo with Brian!
Billy Hinsche
Thanks, Billy ... you should know!!! (lol)  kk

Here's one of our daughter Nicki and her fiance' Jeff, who got to go backstage, too, to meet Brian before the show!
Hi, Kent,
Just FYI: This little-publicized Dutch collection from 2008 includes a DVD containing numerous Hollies TV appearances.  I’d have to get mine out to check to be sure, but as I recall, the DVD has 32 clips, and Bobby Elliott helped assemble it.  The new Eagle Rock CD may have some different performances and perhaps improved audio for others, though the Dutch collection also has re-synched audio on some clips (obviously not the live performances).  The Dutch DVD is PAL but will play on a computer as well as PAL-compatible, multi-region stand-alone players.
Shipping from Amazon UK or one of its third-party sellers is 3.08 British pounds
(around $5.00).  

We've run lists like this numerous times over the years ... but this latest one seems to have some new titles on it ... check it out ...
Jeff Royer's Worst Album Covers of All Time:
Spotted this on the Comcast (news) Homepage ... thought it might interest you (with pics) 

From some of the WORST album covers ... to one of the most famous!
A couple of weeks ago we sent you the link to the live cam that covers the infamous crossing pictured on The Beatles' final album.  (Yes, I know ... "Let It Be" came after ... but was actually recorded BEFORE "Abbey Road" ... The Fabs consider THIS to be their swan song.)
Seems nobody can cross that intersection without doing their own Beatles-pose.
Now FH Reader David Lewis sends us some ALTERNATE "Abbey Road" album cover shots ... proving once again that the right choice was made in the end.  (kk)
(Yes ... "The End" ... I get it!!!)
Click here: Abbey Road album cover shoot behind the scenes photos - BeatlesTweets posterous

And it looks like vinyl records are really selling again!  This Yahoo "Who Knew" clip was sent into us by FH Reader Shelley Sweet-Tufano!

re:  RECORDS: 
Vinyl's growing popularity is more than just spin. Last year, 2.8 million records were sold, making the old-fashioned LP the fastest-growing music format in the United States.
Click here: Who Knew? - Yahoo! News

We went to see the new film "The Help" today ... a GREAT period piece depicting life in Mississippi circa the early '60's ... and the soundtrack fits PERFECTLY.  A couple of great surprise tracks were featured including major scenes devoted to "Rhythm of the Rain" by The Cascades and "The Wah-Watusi" by The Orlons.  (It was nice to see some ABKCO / Cameo - Parkway stuff featured ... Chubby Checker's two-time hit "Let's Twist Again" was used in another key scene.)  Other background music included "Sherry" by The Four Seasons, "Don't Think Twice, It's All-Right" by Bob Dylan, "Hallelujah, I Love You So" by Ray Charles and the Johnny Cash and June Carter version of "Jackson", which opens the film. 
There's also a very powerful track that plays over the closing credits ... at first I thought it was a long-lost Michael Jackson track ... so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was really a brand new track done by Mary J. Blige.  Check out "The Living Proof" ... and tell me if you don't hear some Michael influence on this track! Click here: The Living Proof (From The Motion Picture The Help) - YouTube
>>>I just finished listening to America's new CD "Back Pages."  I like the fact that the first song on this CD is "America".  I think it might start a new trend. Here's what i would like to see:  Jay Black singing "Black Is Black"; The Drifters singing "The Drifter"; Alan O'Day & Doris Day singing a duet "Day By Day"; Johnny Cash singing "Money"; Fats Domino & Chubby Checker singing a duet on "The Weight"; The Rolling Stones singing "Like A Rolling Stone" ... You get the idea. Any songs to add to my list?  (Frank B.)
Believe it or not, the Rolling Stones once did Like A Rolling Stone ... albeit a live version only. 
I don't see Johnny Cash doing a version of Money unless he had one left unreleased in the vaults somewhere ... since he's the one artist listed who's no longer among the living.
Tom Diehl
I kinda like the Alan O'Day / Doris Day duet idea!  (lol)  Actually, this Rolling Stones' version of "Like A Rolling Stone" is pretty damn good!  (kk)

Frannie sent me this one ... a young, 13-year-old Korean girl named Su ... showing off her VERY impressive guitar skills!
I've got mixed emotions about this one ... while she certainly has mastered her fundamental skills, I'm not sensing any emotion here ... it's kind of like building up a muscle, I guess ... there are exercises for it and, once you master the exercises, you can perform the task ... but music should come from the heart, too.  Hopefully, over time, she'll learn to develop that passion, too, to go along with her indisputable skills ... plus it'll all mean a whole lot more to her once she does. You've got to FEEL it, too ... not just play it.  All in all, still pretty amazing to watch 'tho!!!  (kk)

And we've run this link before ... but it looks like they've updated this recently:
This the one of the best presentations of the sixties that I have ever seen online.  It is very well done. 
Great photos and facts.    
If you're not quite old enough to have been there, feel free to pass it on to someone who is.

And, believe it or not, it's time to remember Woodstock again!
(Scroll back to our special 1969 Series from a couple of years ago for all kinds of Woodstock ... and '69 ... memories!!!  Just go to the older postings on the site and check August and September of 2009!)
Kent ...
"By the time we got to Woodstock ---- "
Frank B.
Was surprised to see this article on the AOL Sign-On Screen the other day:

Hi Kent,
You may have seen these already, but if not, here's a link to two performances of "Little Darlin'" from one of the great groups of our era, "The Diamonds."  One is their performance in 1957; the second is their performance 47 years later in 2004.  First, the one from 1957; then simply scroll down to see their performance in 2004.
After I watched these, I wanted to hear if they still sounded as good as they did back then.  So I laid both audio tracks together.  The opening is with both performances together; then alternating back and forth, then and now, and so on.  The LEFT Channel is their 1957 Original version; the RIGHT Channel is their 2004 version.  Listen to the attached audio, and tell me what YOU think!
First, click on this for the
TWO Little Darlins!
Then listen to the attached Comparison Audio.
Chuck Buell

Actually, yes, I have seen these before ... and it's nothing short of amazing!  The edit of the two different audio is incredible ... 47 years apart!  Diamond Dave Somerville can be quite proud of his group's accomplishment!  (Dave participates with Forgotten Hits from time to time ... in fact, if you have a chance to pick up his live CD, "On The 1957 Rock And Roll Greyhound Bus With Diamond Dave Somerville", you will NOT be disappointed ... a VERY entertaining show!  (kk)

And, speaking of great shows, it sounds like Peter Noone has returned to the fold of Paradise Artists ... just got this from FH Reader Fred Vail ...

Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
  Universally regarded as one of Rock and Roll's finest and most versatile entertainers, Peter Noone is second to none! Star of stage, screen and record, Noone's performances are the stuff of legend, deftly delivering a broad palette of music, all gems that, through his voice, defined a generation.

Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone is a must-see concert experience ideal for Fairs, Festivals, Casinos, Performing Arts Centers, Symphony Halls and Private Events. Rock's premiere raconteur packs plenty of puns but pulls no punches with his music. Peter Noone is the real deal.

Over 60 million records sold! 20 top 40 hits including:

Congratulations, Peter ... long may you run!  (kk)

Here are some upcoming show dates (for all you Noonatics out there ... like you don't already have each and every one of these already committed to memory!!!Fact is, Peter is already booked well into 2012 ... like through the whole year!!!  Without question, one of the most popular touring acts out there today!  (kk)

Thursday, August 18th - Leach Amphitheater; Oshkosh, WI
Saturday, August 20th - The Southwest Washington Fair; Chehalis, WA
Saturday, August 27th - A Taste of Highland Park; Highland Park, IL
Sunday, September 4th - "A Taste Of Colorado"; Civic Center Park; Denver, CO
Friday, September 9th - Big Top Chautauqua; Bayfield, WI
Thursday, September 15th - Century Casino; Edmonton, AB
Saturday, September 17th - Cannery Casino Hotel; Las Vegas, NV
Friday, September 30th - Fox Theatre; Hutchinson, KS
Friday, October 7th - Rams Head On Stage; Annapolis, MD
Saturday, October 8th - Birchmere; Alexandria, VA
Sunday, October 9th - Sellersville Theater 1894; Sellersville, PA
Friday, October 14th - Newport Syndicate; Newport, KY
Saturday, October 15th - The Arcada Theatre; St. Charles, IL
Sunday, October 16th - Montego Bay Hotel Casino; Wendover, NV
Tuesday, October 18th - Savannah Center; The Villages, FL
Friday, October 21st - Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel and Casino; Deadwood, SD (with Davy Jones)
Thursday, October 27th - University of Central Arkansas; Conway, AR (with The Lettermen)
Saturday, October 29th - Ferguson Center for the Arts; Newport News, VA (with Davy Jones)
Saturday, November 5th - Center For the Performing Arts; Macomb, MI
Friday, November 11th - Paramount Center for the Arts; Peekskill, NY
Sunday, November 13th - Thunder Valley Casino; Lincoln, CA
Saturday, November 19th - Opera House at the Carefree Hotel; Carefree, AZ
Saturday, December 3rd - Allentown Symphony Hall; Allentown, PA
Sunday, December 4th - B.B. King's Blues Club - New York, NY
Friday, December 9th - Ruth Eckerd Hall; Clearwater, FL
More dates on his website and on