Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mid-Week Comments: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

There's no such thing as a "sure thing", right?  The ONLY things "certain" in life are death ... taxes ... the fact that Lindsay Lohan will make the tabloids again (and not in a POSITIVE way) ... and that EVERY year when the new Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees are announced, Forgotten Hits Readers will weigh in with their favorites ... and express their shock over some of the nominees.

This year is no different ... the list came out last Tuesday ... and we're still getting comments a week later!  Read on!

My first choice would also be Heart, but Joan Jett set the bar higher for woman rockers. Heart's music was rock, but more mainstream. Joan Jett's music is harder and edgy. I totally think Joan Jett deserves a spot.
Debe Welch
I would definitely vote for two of the nominees.
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- dominant alternative funk / rock band of the past 25 years. My favorite artist of the last 25 years
Donna Summer -- disco, which to me is an offshoot of Motown and Philly soul, was huge in the 70s. Donna was one of three major disco artists [Bee Gees, KC]
The Spinners, War, Heart, Donovan and Rufus all had good careers but to me were second tier artists of their eras.
Laura Nyro belongs in the songwriters section of the RRHOF.
Although not a fan, I can see where Guns And Roses might deserve a spot.
Mark The Shark 
The question with WAR, tho, is: Would any of the surviving members of the original group, who parted company with manager / trademark owner Jerry Goldstein in the 90s, be allowed on stage?  I smell a repeat of what happened when Blondie was inducted.
Heart reminds me of Fleetwood Mac. Until the "girls" came onboard (singing), they didn't amount to much!
Jersey John
Some of the "purists" out there will argue that the girls coming on board (along with pop tunesmith Lindsay Buckingham) is what RUINED the band, despite this change giving them their greatest success and notoriety.  THEY believe Fleetwood Mac's greatest gift was the "British Blues Years" ... but only a handful of people were listening at the time.  The addition of Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie put them on the musical map ... although there were indications along the way that they were headed in a more "pop" direction.  (Witness Bob Welch's contribution "Sentimental Lady", recorded first during his tenure with Fleetwood Mac before he turned it into a Top Ten solo hit.)
As for Heart, the addition of sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson shot the group to stardom ... and there have been few female rockers who can hold a candle to these two.  They first hit the charts in 1976, which means that they've been eligible ... and ignored ... for ten years already.  They always finished near the top of our "Deserving And Denied" list, so we congratulate them on this long-overdue recognition.  As we've said before, they're our hands-down favorites this year.  (kk)
I just saw that Rufus is on the RNR Hall of Fame list this year so I sent a quick note to Gary Loizzo of the American Breed, the band the eventually evolved into Rufus.  Here's a copy of what I sent him ... and what he sent back:
Clark Besch
Hi Gary - 
I see Rufus is to be inducted into the RNR Hall of Fame!  What is the feeling there?  I assume that means two of your Breed bandmates will be there when you are the person who spurred the American Breed hits more than any leading TO the Rufus group later.  I know Chuck was a big part of the pre-Breed situation leading to the Breed's forming, but I feel sad that YOU won't be a part of this on stage and Styx still will sit in the wings forever, too.  I hope you are doing well. 
I have no regrets.  Al Ciner was the only Breed member to do the actual Rufus albums and I wish them all only the best. I still see all the guys and we're all on great terms. Recognition comes from within and I know what I contributed to the Breed ... and that's good enough for me.
For the record, Rufus ISN'T being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... not YET anyway ... they are simply one of this year's nominees.  (We'll have to wait until January to see who actually makes the cut.)  I would hope Gary would be happy for ALL parties concerned for such an honor ... but I also feel that he should be recognized in some fashion for all his work with Styx over the years.  Unfortunately, it doesn't always seem to work that way.  (kk)
Another disgusting situation ... however there are at least some artists that MIGHT make the "ground-breaking" RNR style or sound that the Hall seems to think is a must.  Personally, a Hall of Fame doesn't mean it has to be an artist that broke ground for others.  That should be PART of it, but there was ALWAYS someone before them that gave them the idea, so why not give artists who REALLY are beloved by millions for being POPULAR, too!!??  Why not put Joan Jett in for breaking ground for others by being in the Runaways and singing a rock anthem, BUT she would not have had ANY hits without Pat Benatar breaking ground for HER!  A hit maker and someone who gets in BECAUSE of the hitmaker!  My point exactly.  Can't we have the Buckinghams, Chicago or the Moody Blues in there ahead of Freddie King or Faces?  Faces??  Really?  Maybe if you count Small Faces and Faces as one, but they really are two different bands.  I can go along with Heart and Donovan fer sure.  Donovan should have been in ages go.  The Spinners are great, too, but so many earlier groups should be there first.
Rufus is cool to see in, but Chuck Colbert and Al Ciner from the American Breed (also members of Rufus) get in and Gary Loizzo (lead singer of American Breed) is still out there not in.  If not for Chuck, it's doubtful the Breed would not have come to be.  Without the success Gary brought to the Breed, it's unlikely Rufus would have formed.  It's all relative, but the Hall only sees what they want to see ... and ANYONE who recorded for Atlantic Records.  Also, will Dave Clark come out and sing "I Love Rock N Roll" for the Jett induction??  :)
Clark Besch
Hey Kent:
Surprised you give Joan Jett the thumbs down, but praise the nomination of Rufus! At least she IS Rock! That's part of their ongoing problems, they nominate all this rubbish that isn't even Rock. They really have to cut back on the nominations and how many they put in, it's getting sad. The more modern you get, the worse it is. The only group I would even consider is The
Small Faces, mostly for all the excellent records they have that weren't US hits, but they had a couple of great hits here as well. And maybe Donovan ... he was unique!
You misunderstood me ... I didn't praise the nomination of Rufus ... in fact, I really don't GET it!!!  I just said it's kinda cool to have somebody from Chicago nominated.  FAR more fitting would have been to nominate the group Chicago ... certainly their body of work surpasses that of Rufus ... and they took a whole new genre of rock music to much greater heights.
What's always interesting about the nominations is the range of opinion on the nominees.  For every negative Joan Jett comment we received, we got one praising her place in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  Most seem to feel that Donovan would make a nice addition ... but, other than yours, virtually everyone seems to feel that The (Small) Faces do NOT belong on the list ... yet YOU list them as your #1 Most Deserving Artist on the List.  This discrepancy helps to explain why The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame DOESN'T leave it up to the fans ... THEY choose the nominees themselves.  That being said, I've yet to hear from a SINGLE person who even knows who Eric B. and Rakim is ... or are ... or whatever!!!  And that's OUR biggest complaint with The Nominating Committee.  C'mon guys ... at least make it make sense!!!  (kk)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Sunday Comments ( 10 - 02 - 11 )

Nominations were announced Tuesday (September 27) for the 2012 class of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. First time nominees include the Spinners, Freddie King, Heart, Rufus with Chaka Khan and the (Small) Faces; joining previous nominees Laura Nyro, War and Donovan. Also nominated were Guns N’ Roses, the Cure, Joan Jett, Eric B. and Rakim, the Beastie Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Winners should be announced by January with induction April 14, 2012 in Cleveland.

-- Ron Smith

I really thought this was going to be Chicago's year ... glad to see Heart finally get recognized ... they've been on our Deserving But Denied List for some time now ... but I can't get too excited about many of the others.  (Guess that just makes this another year!!!)

On the other hand, seeing this list sure sparks a lot of great memories ... I remember growing up, going to all these parties and hanging out with all the really cool kids and listening to our Eric B. and Rakim records in the basement.  Man, we couldn't WAIT for their next release to hit the streets. (And we thought we had them all to ourselves ... who knew they'd have the universal, worldwide appeal they had, changing not only the way we listened to music but pop culture in general ... fashion ... hairstyles ... our approach to politics ... it was all really quite revolutionary.)  Guess that's why THESE guys belong in the same Hall Of Fame hosting Elvis and The Beatles and Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys and so many of the other also-rans that never quite had the career that these guys did!

(Every year it seems they have to throw in SOME name that will have even the most knowledgeable of music experts scratch their heads and ask "WHO?!?!?")  The Hall Of Fame was designed to honor GREATNESS ... not introduce us to acts we've never even heard of before!  How much INFLUENCE can some of these artists have had if NOBODY'S ever even heard of them?!?!?

And how is it that The Beastie Boys get yet ANOTHER shot at the Hall when so many other GREAT artists continue to be ignored???  What's up with that?!?!?

It IS nice to see a Chicago act like Rufus get some recognition ... even if the act Chicago themselves were scorned again this year.  And Joan Jett???  For real???  Guess we'll have to wait a few years till Britney Spears is officially eligible ... and then ALL of my dreams will have come true.  (Oh joy!!!)

I just have a problem with a museum and organization that feels THESE artists deserve to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the revolutionary artists already inducted ... as peers.  And every time I think that MAYBE they've finally gotten it right ... and are FINALLY making up for all the years wasted ... they hit me with another reality check to remind me that this really ISN'T about the artists that mattered most at all.  (kk)

Kent ...

My picks = Spinners, War, Donovan

Your picks =
Frank B.

I don't know ... seems like pretty slim pickings to me. 

My FIRST choice has to go to Heart ... I think they made HUGE strides for women in rock and roll ... and had their own unique sound ... you KNEW it was a Heart song the minute it came on the radio ... and what a range of material they gave us, too!!!

I kinda get the War nomination ... certainly they helped to advance rock and roll into another new area that hadn't been tapped into before.  I don't know that any one of their songs was all that great on its own, but their body of work HAS proven timeless over the past 40 years ... you still hear these hits all the time.

Likewise The Spinners ... as long as they've been doing pop / soul, they certainly deserve some recognition ... especially when lumped in with many of the other Motown, Stax and Atlantic acts already enshrined.

Donovan would be a nice addition ... early on, he was passed off as a Dylan wannabe ... but the truth is, he didn't really sound like anybody else ... and while I'm certainly proud that Chicago's very own Rufus is on the list, I don't know that they did anything revolutionary enough to actually DESERVE this honor.  Great music, yes ... revolutionary music ... I don't think so.  I suppose Guns 'n' Roses and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are likely candidates if only because they've each graced the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine so many times ... but Freddie King?  Joan Jett?  The Cure?  I don't think so.  (And why are they trying SO hard to force The Beastie Boys down our throats?!?!?) 

Honestly, I don't know that there's ANYBODY nominated this year that would make me tune in to watch the induction ceremony.  Good Luck to ALL the candidates, of course ... but the complete lack of rhyme or reason here just leaves me baffled and perplexed.  (So what else is new?!?!?)  kk

And, speaking of long-deserving artists who FINALLY got into The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ... how about ...

Speaking of the Hollies ... having been a long time fan, I was always interested in the name of L. Ransford. Where did they get it, what does it mean? Any personal significance? I never found out.
My understanding is that it was just a pseudonym the band used for their own compositions at a time when many of their recordings were of material submitted by other songwriters.  (I'm not sure WHERE the name came from ... or if it has any real significance ... certainly later in their careers, they all put their real names on material they had written ... maybe it was  something set up by an early manager as a way to "pool" the royalties, insuring that he cut HIS cut, too???) I sent an email to David Peck of Reelin' In The Years Productions ... he's the guy who put together the incredible Hollies DVD we've been raving about ... wondering if this topic came up at all during any of the interviews ... or if, perhaps, he still had the means to ask the guys while they're still out promoting the new film.  If we get some feedback, we'll be sure to let you know!  (kk)

Long live The Hollies!!  Anyone who's lucky enough to have the British pressing of "Evolution" has a real gem on their hands. 
Frannie played me a track the other night by the Alan Parsons Project that I had forgotten all about.  (How on earth was THIS not a hit?!?!?)  "Breakdown" was never released as a U.S. Single ... and, quite honestly, I've always thought that this sounded like a Lindsay Buckingham / Fleetwood Mac record ... but that's former Hollie Allan Clarke handling the lead guest vocal on this track ... and he's never sounded better!  Give a listen to "Breakdown"!  (kk)

Between last year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction and the new documentary, the Hollies are higher on the radar screen on this side of the pond than they have been since the early '70s.  Nevertheless, the attention they're getting is rather paltry given both their success and continuing musical influence.  For all the state-side reverence that's held for the British Invasion acts, the Beatles - Stones - Who triumvirate dominate all media coverage of that era, and even the generally under-appreciated Kinks completely eclipse the Hollies in the ink department.  Granted, there's really only one domestically published magazine devoted to vintage music, but even they were tepid about committing to a story on the Hollies when approached.  And as far as chart rankings, international success and, again, lasting influence goes, they certainly round out the Top Five of most important British Invasion bands, following the aforementioned acts.
Drummer Bobby Elliott and guitarist Tony Hicks who, with new recruits, keep the Hollies on the road and in the studio are exceptional musicians often name-checked by next-generation performers as major influences.  And Allan Clarke was the most underrated lead singer of the '60s and '70s -- Graham Nash often attests to that fact.  Clarke retired years ago, feeling that his voice was no longer up-to-par.  When I asked Nash about that several years ago, he said, "Allan can still sing much better than he gives himself credit for.  We're in our late-sixties.  None of us are as a strong as we were when we were kids."  Graham, of course, stepped out of the relative obscurity of the Hollies here in the U.S. when he hooked up with David Crosby and Stephen Stills.
David Peck and Reelin' In the Years are to be congratulated for their excellent job on "Look Through Any Window," and for investing in a project that's not likely to be a commercial blockbuster.  Hopefully it will conscript some new fans for one of the truly great bands of the Rock & Roll Era.  Also recommended is a new Hollies CD anthology --"The Clarke, Hicks & Nash Years" -- a six-disc import that you can pick up on Amazon for under 20 bucks!  The band continued to make some great records after Graham split in 1968, but most will agree --including the band itself -- that '63 to '68 were their peak years, and everything they cut during that period is in this collection.
Scott Paton

I had the distinct pleasure to speak with world-renown television producer Andrew Solt last night.  Andrew also heads up SOFA Entertainment, the company that owns ALL of the old Ed Sullivan Show episodes.  (We mentioned a few times over the past couple of weeks about some brand new DVD releases coming out, spotlighting The Best Of Motown on The Ed Sullivan Show as well as special disks highlighting ALL of the appearances by Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations and (coming out on Tuesday) The Rolling Stones.
Andrew brought up an EXCELLENT point ... how is it even REMOTELY possible that Ed Sullivan has not been inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame???
Dick Clark is there ... Alan Freed is there ... but Ed Sullivan brought rock and roll music into more homes than Dick Clark, Alan Freed and every deejay across America COMBINED!!!  And he did it EVERY SINGLE WEEK!!!  Sullivan's ratings during The British Invasion Years averaged between 25 and 30 million viewers each week!!!  
Think about that for a second ... with a MUCH smaller US population ... and FAR fewer television sets in existence ... Sullivan CONSISTENTLY delivered killer ratings week after week after week, spotlighting ALL of the latest trends in popular rock and roll music!  (Today, about the ONLY programs around that can deliver 30 million viewers are The Super Bowl or the season finale of American Idol!!!)  But Sullivan did it EVERY SINGLE WEEK!!!
As such, he moves to the TOP of our Deserving And Denied List ... I can't believe I never realized this before!!!  Talk about getting it WRONG!!!  (kk)
And, in OTHER Hall Of Fame news ...

Another artist ranked right at the top of our "Deserving And Denied" List ... how on earth can ANYBODY justify ignoring The Guess Who's contribution to the history of rock and roll?!?!? ... is Burton Cummings ... who was inducted into Canada's Hall Of Fame last week ... 
God knows I live for the oldies and make as many pilgrimages to Disney World or Disneyland as I can, so I was excited to hear about Brian Wilson doing Disney! So I dutifully clicked on the link for Heigh Ho.  While the instrumental was fine the vocals left me totally disappointed. It was obvious that what little vocals that were there were backup singers. If this is the best that album has to offer it’s time to hang it up. Brian has had a rough life and that is truly sad. His attempt at a comeback has been courageous but from what I’ve seen and heard he needs to stop now. His concerts are painful to watch, a man who is a shadow of once was. The track Heigh Ho is little more than an instrumental. Brian thanks for the memories, don’t diminish them with less than average attempts. 

More fuel for the fire regarding a full-blown Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion ... Rolling Stone Magazine is reporting that plans are already underway.  Here's the scoop (courtesy of FH Reader Tom Cuddy): 

Beach Boys Plan Anniversary Blowout With Likely Reunion Tour

Lost album 'Smile' to be released in November

By Patrick Doyle

In Capitol Records' giant Studio A in Los Angeles this summer, the surviving Beach BoysBrian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston – gathered around a microphone and, for the first time in two dec­ades, harmonized on a track. The song was, appropriately enough, a rerecording of their stomping 1968 hit "Do It Again." "Even the veteran sound engineers were moved," says Jardine. "Not all of us are left, but there are still enough of us for that vibration to come through."

"The song title has pretty firm implications, doesn't it?" says Love. "Brian asked me, 'How does a 70-year-old sound that good?' "

After resolving decades of bitter legal battles, the band is reuniting to celebrate its 50th anniversary in a major way, with archival releases on the way, including the upcoming Smile Sessions (out November 1st). And the "Do It Again" session was filmed as a promotional video for a likely world tour next year. "We'll do maybe 50 amphitheaters here and 50 or 60 overseas," says Jardine. "It'll be whenever the buyers think is the best time for us. We're wide open for that."

Ironically, it was the recording of Smile that drove a wedge between the band members. In 1964, Wilson, the group's primary songwriter and producer, suffered a nervous breakdown on tour. He returned home, fell in with the L.A. rock counterculture, began smoking pot and taking LSD, and focused solely on writing and producing rec­ords, notably the Beach Boys' 1966 masterpiece, Pet Sounds.

Smile, the intended follow-up, was even more ambitious. Wilson composed the album with lyricist Van Dyke Parks, constructing musical fragments with roots in Gershwin and American folk, and directing marathon sessions with the best players in Los Angeles.

Wilson composed key songs, including "Heroes and Villains," in his den, with his grand piano in a sandbox to remind him of the beach. "It was music that was totally experimental and drug-related," Wilson says. "We were out of our minds over how creative drugs made us feel."

Wilson's confidence started to crack in November 1966, when he played the other Beach Boys some tracks after they returned home from a long tour. "Mike said, 'What is all this junk?' " says Wilson, " 'all these little snippets?' " (Love remembers it differently: "That's not true. His work there is fantastic. But some of the lyrics didn't connect with me.")

The planned release date passed. "They didn't think it was commercial enough," Wilson says. He became a recluse, battling mental illness for the next few decades, and the rest of the band became a touring nostalgia act. Countless lawsuits began, including Love suing Wilson for songwriting credits and Jardine over the use of the Beach Boys name.

Wilson finally finished Smile in 2003, rerecording songs with his touring band and releasing it as an acclaimed solo LP. And now, the original Beach Boys sessions will be released as a five-disc set. Under Wilson's supervision, engineers Mark Linett and Alan Boyd scoured dozens of hours of tape, pulling the best vocal and instrumental takes. The result is an edited, sequenced LP that reconstructs what the original Smile might have sounded like.

The box also includes entire discs from the "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villains" sessions, with Wilson tirelessly trying new rhythms and vocal patterns. You also hear the druggy digressions: During vocal sessions for "Our Prayer," Wilson can be heard asking, "You guys feel any acid yet?" The bizarre moments include "Underwater Chant," a hypnotic track where the group name-checks sea creatures over heavy echo.

"I think five CDs is a bit much," says Love. "But for the serious music collector, it's a great record to have."

Love is more excited to discuss the band's future; he says that he's talking to Wilson about writing songs together again. And Beach Boys session vet Eddie Bayers says he recently played drums on new Wilson tracks slated for a Beach Boys reunion record. "Brian's new creations are just unbelievable," says Bayers.

Not all the wounds have healed, though – in a recent interview, Wilson sounded ambivalent about a reunion. Asked if he's looking forward to the anniversary, he responds, "Not particularly," adding, "I don't really like working with the guys, but it all depends on how we feel and how much money's involved. Money's not the only reason I made rec­ords, but it does hold a place in our lives."

Love insists, "Everybody sounds great. Brian will sit down at the piano and come up with some chords to sing, and it's always impressive. He hasn't lost the ability to do what he does best: chord progressions, vocal arrangements and great harmonies. It could be very exciting to do that all over again."
Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys receive Double-Platinum awards celebrating domestic sales of more than 2 million units for the band's most recent hits compilation 'Sounds of Summer: The Very Best of The Beach Boys'

L. Cohen / WireImage

I hope they're able to pull this off.  (Although I have to admit that I'm completely AMAZED that these new same old / same old compilations are continuing to sell at this rate ... this stuff's been repackaged HUNDREDS of times now ... is it really possible that somebody on the planet doesn't already own 24 copies of each of these tracks by now???  (But it does help to paint a very encouraging, glorious picture projection for the new "SMiLE" CD!!!)  kk

Hi Kent,
I never miss an edition of your fine work at FH.
I caught Glen Campbell toward the front-end of his "Goodbye Tour" in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, and given his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease, it was as poignant an evening as one might expect.  I managed to catch a few minutes of conversation with him prior to the show, and he was as charming and as gracious as I'd remembered him from some radio projects we'd done decades earlier.  I got him to sign a couple of things, including a Beach Boys album cover that featured autographs from all the other group members over the years.  Glen chose to place his signature right behind Carl Wilson's, which I found quite touching. 
As someone who has had a close relative that suffered from Alzheimer's, I could detect some slight effects of the disease -- the slightest touch of confusion in the swirl of activity, photographs and glad-handing, and a corresponding vulnerability.  But his sense of humor was still intact.  When my girlfriend presented album upside down to Glen to sign, and I stopped him to turn it around, he said to her, "What are you trying to do?  Confuse me?  I'm having enough trouble these days already!"  He also chased me down to return my Sharpie as we headed to our seats.
The group Instant People, which includes his three youngest kids, opened the show with an excellent set of great original material and, with the addition of Glen's long-time keyboard player, served as his back-up band.  Campbell took the stage as they broke into "Gentle On My Mind."  I could truly feel a moment of shared anxiety for him in the room as he had some momentary difficulty with the lyrics.  But with the help of teleprompters placed all along the foot of the stage, he only had an occasional slip throughout the show.  Understandably, songs that he's been singing for 40-plus years came a bit easier than some of the new material he included in the set.  But his guitar playing -- surely more instinctive than lyrical interpretation -- remains exceptional and untouched.  By any standard, it was a great show.  At 75, he remains in fine voice, and a few of the numbers -- particularly "Wichita Lineman" -- were truly transcendent.  A couple of times during the evening, I found myself quite moved by a combination of the performance and material, and the knowledge that Glen has begun this inevitable fade. 
Campbell's tour dates are kind of scatter-shot here in the States, and he's headed to the UK for several weeks starting in October.  According to his promoter here in the mid-Atlantic, CJ DiRoma, how long he tours into 2012 totally depends on his health and spirit.  If the night I saw him was any indication, working and playing is the best possible thing he could be doing.  He certainly still enjoys being onstage, and he was awash in love and appreciation from the audience.
Incidentally, Glen's new album, "Ghost On the Canvas," is far and away the best album of his career.  Largely a singles artist during his heyday, classics like "Galveston" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" were usually surrounded on LPs by lesser material and covers.  Late-'70s discs, "Southern Nights" and "Basic" were certainly his best efforts in creating cohesive albums as artistic statements, but "Ghost," which features poignant lyrical contributions from Glen himself on his current station in life, is exceptional.  There are other far more comprehensive reviews of the record out there and I refer you to them-- they're equally glowing.  But given that this album is, by choice or by circumstance, Campbell's swan song, he made it a legitimate career-capper.
Scott Paton
Would LOVE to be able to experience this last-chance opportunity to see Glen Campbell live ... I've never had the pleasure.  I've heard nothing but good things and have been repeating his quote for a while now ... "Don't ever give them a perfect show ... because if you do, they'll want it every time!!!"  LOVE it!!!  (In fact, I used that as part of my commentary in a recent Bob Lefsetz column after Bob took Don Henley's opening act, Lucinda Williams, to task for carting out sheet music and a music stand for her live performance.  It caused quite a bit of fuss, apparently, as many other music people expressed their outrage that such a novice performer would feel the need to do such a thing.  But, as you'll see, SOME of the comparisons made were not exactly accurate ... which prompted ME to reply as well.  Read on ...  (kk)

I was disappointed Lucinda Williams read all her lyrics, doesn’t she know her own songs?  Yes, Lucinda has a music stand, with a book, she turns the page for every number. Live performance is not only what you hear, but what you see, you’ve got to sell the song, it’s about the experience, it’s not a recital. And this was incredibly off-putting.  (Bob Lefsetz) 
Willie Nelson doesn't use a music stand/lyric book...and he's smoked more weed than most!
I can't picture John Lennon using a music stand with a lyric cheat sheet ... and how many songs had he written? How many did he know?
What about so many people's capacity to memorize the Koran and the Bible ... and / or multiple foreign languages?
Or actors that memorize entire Shakespeare plays?
I appreciate Lucinda's music, but I think the lyric sheet is kinda lame.
V. Marc Fort

>>>I can't picture John Lennon using a music stand with a lyric cheat sheet...and how many songs had he written? How many did he know?  (V. Marc Fort)
Huge Lennon fan here ... but take a look at the rooftop footage from "Let It Be" and you'll see one of the assistants (it might even be Yoko!) holding up the lyrics to "Dig A Pony" so John could sing it correctly during the live taping!  In fact, much as I love him, Lennon was the most likely Beatle to forget the lyrics (or, at the very least, mumble / jumble them) during live performances ... and sometimes even on record.  (Listen when he and Paul sing different lyrics on "Please Please Me" ... you'll even hear John laugh a little bit as he goes into the "Come On, Come On" chorus.
Elvis walked around on stage holding the lyrics in his hand to "My Way" because he wanted to get it right on stage ... and the fans forgave him because he was Elvis.  (Footage exists of this, too ... in at least one of Elvis' concert video films.)
We recently saw a Brian Wilson concert where he performed his entire show off of a teleprompter.  If you saw the recent Showtime Paul McCartney 9-11 special, there was a shot from the back of the stage showing jumbo-sized lyrics to "Yesterday" up on a screen while Paul performed the song.  (Even my wife was shocked ... "Don't tell me he needs to see the lyrics to THIS!!!" she screamed!!!)  Now factor in an artist like Glen Campbell, who's doing his farewell tour after announcing to the world that he's got Alzheimer's ... now you would expect Glen to have the lyrics close at hand because if ANYONE could forget them mid-song, it would be HIM!!!  (Campbell's moto, by the way, is "Never put on a perfect show ... 'cause then they'll expect one every time!")  lol
Now Lucinda Williams (whoever she is) is no John Lennon ... or Elvis ... or Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney or Glen Campbell for that matter ... nor does she have the back-up career and wealth of material that these artists do ... but (to quote John Lennon), "Whatever gets you thru the night".  If this is what it takes for her to put on a killer, spot on performance, then so be it!  (Or would that be "Let It Be" it???)
MOST of the accounts of this performance (from what I read in your column) said that, annoying as that music stand may have been, she completely blew the audience away with her performance and her material ... and that's really what the music is all about!  (kk)

But the "Email of the Day" went to Peter Noone, who wrote:

Re: Lucinda Williams's music stand / lyric book
I think "second verse same as the first" was ahead of its time.
Peter Noone

It SEEMS Hal Blaine took it on his own to "label" these musicians as "The Wrecking Crew."

I'm sure that is a small part of what upset Carol. The number of musicians varied with each song. Carol Kaye also did independent work with, for example, the Canadian group, Motherlode. But, to this day, because of the lack of studio talk in the film, it SEEMS to me that this Wrecking Crew film is more a musical than a documentary (the number of songs mentioned.)

It's nice to hear the songs, but it would have been even nicer to hear them in their raw state, as heard in the studio.
I have the Standing In The Shadows film, STILL SEALED, of Motown's musicians. I'm not sure why I bought it, other than it was inexpensive. These documentaries, I feel, don't provide accurate details. I watched the DVD of Atlantic Records - The House That Ahmet Built. Other than seeing Tom Dowd for the first time, it was pretty much boring - biased.

Jersey John

The story that Hal Blaine named this group of exceptional musicians "The Wrecking Crew" well AFTER the fact and time of these sessions has been kicked around for ages ... nobody really seems to know for sure because it's a handle that stuck SO well to these guys that even Phil Spector and Brian Wilson have referred to them that way since their earliest recordings in the '60's.  (But it seems to me that we DID determine some time back that the nickname came LATER.)  If that's your beef, so what?!?!?  The Motown Musicians were secretly clubbing and playing on other records all the time ... and I'm not totally convinced that everyone referred to them as "The Funk Brothers" at the time either ... but it's a handle that has stuck and has helped to define a very select group of musicians who laid down hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tracks that helped to form the REAL soundtrack of our lives.  I say Embrace It!!!

I can only imagine the amount of money licensing all this music must cost ... but if Carol's REAL objection is that Denny's trying to make money on this film, what's the big deal?!?!?  This film took something like 14 years to make ... and they've been pedaling it around the country for over three years now ... don't these guys deserve SOMETHING (if only for their faith and persistence???)  What's she mad about ... that she's not getting her cut?

The funny thing about these musicians (all of whom now have been elevated to super-star status but were completely anonymous at the time) is they were nothing more than "hired hands" ... they were brought in because the studio heads knew they could turn out a perfect track in record time and help create a hit record.  They got their fee and then moved on ... they didn't go on tour with the artists ... didn't get mobbed by all the fans at the hotels and airports ... didn't earn royalties ... they were brought in to do a specific session for a specific amount of money and that was IT!!!  Is anybody REALLY going to begrudge them NOW for making something NOW ... some 40-50 years later, after the fact?  Sounds like sour grapes to me ... and maybe just a tinge of jealousy, too.

All I can say is it's a GREAT film that deserves to be seen ... more power to EVERY musician featured ... and their families ... if this thing makes money and helps to cement their proper place in history.  (There's even been talk about a multi-CD soundtrack that would FINALLY list musician credits on all these hits ... something ELSE they've always been denied for the past 40-50 years!!!)  kk

I'm also sorry to hear that Carol Kaye is not happy with the excellent documentary "The Wrecking Crew."  I will say, with all due love and respect, occasionally Carol can become very unhappy with people if she feels slighted or misinterpreted, whether the offending party is actually guilty or not.  Famously, Carol took on Allan Slutsky, author and creator of the phenomenal "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" book and film, when he challenged her assertion that she and fellow session musicians created some of the legendary Motown tracks in Los Angeles -- tracks that were credited to the Funk Brothers in Detroit.  Well, that turned out to be true, so Carol's pique is understood.  Slutsky was only echoing assertions that everyone believed at that time -- he just did it too adamantly.  Years later, session logs and further research revealed the truth and, in an interview I did with Smokey Robinson in 2009, he said that Motown tried to keep secret the fact that outside sessions occurred to maintain the mystique of Studio A in Detroit.

In 1999, I did a phone and email interview with Carol for an online publication, and I was thrilled to have tracked down one of my musical heroes.  She was smart, charming, funny and honest, and she and I hit it off like gangbusters.  This was no expose I was writing, this was a tribute.  When we talked about how she juggled being a single mom and a 'round-the-clock musician, I mentioned that I'd seen a photo of her in the studio in a mini-dress and go-go boots, and I wondered if, as the only woman in what was otherwise an exclusive men's club, she had ever dated any of her fellow musicians.  And no, there was no studio romance. 

Now, when the story was published, I couldn't wait to get her response, 'cause remember, this was the closest thing to a love letter.  But to my surprise, she sent me a scolding message indicating that my take on her personal life was inappropriate and prurient in nature -- that I had an "idle mind!"  Needless to say, I was upset and got back to her immediately and, as it turned out, it was simply my reference to the studio as a "hothouse" environment that might have led to romance among co-workers (but didn't) that had angered her-- a misinterpretation.  Once we got that cleared up, everything was hunky dory again, and later she wrote me a lovely note saying that she was pleased with the piece and that her regular website visitors had given my article high marks.  But boy, for the couple of hours she was mad at me, she was mad!

In the intervening years, I've seen a few things in the press where she was unhappy about something or another, and I've wondered if she was too quick to anger.  I know that she's never really liked or endorsed the name "The Wrecking Crew" for the band of L.A. session musicians of the '60s & '70s because it was something that Hal Blaine started using many years after the fact.  But I surely don't know what she doesn't like about Denny Tedesco's great film.

Now if Carol reads this, I fear that she'll be mad at me again, but I would just ask her not to be quick to assume the worst.  She is not only one of the world's greatest recorded musicians, she created much of her legacy while raising two children as a single mom and caring for her mother as well.  She struggled with, and overcame crippling health problems.  And when the leading publishers -- all led by male executives -- said that there was no market for instructional books on bass playing, crafted by a woman, she became a successful publisher herself.  If you read the dozens of pages of transcripts from my interview with her, it's evident what a truly nice and loyal individual she is.  Her life is movie-worthy; where's the autobiography she's been promising for years?  And she's way overdue to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, alongside her late friend and legendary drummer, Earl Palmer.

I hope she writes in, Kent, and explains her dissatisfaction with "The Wrecking Crew."  More importantly, I hope it's an issue that she and Denny Tedesco could resolve in a conversation.  Carol Kaye is a cornerstone of the West Coast sound, and I'd love for her to be happier about a project that surely was intended to be a tribute to her as much as anyone else.

Take care, Kent!

Scott Paton


Ok, I know this doesn't have to do with oldies directly, but last Saturday night I saw "Cinematic Titanic" on Broadway.  For those who don't know, it is essentially a live version of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" with much of the original TV cast: creator - host Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu (Crow), Frank Conniff (TV's Frank), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forester) and J. Elvis Weinstein (Tom Servo).
The show opens with a string of monologues, which is not surprising, as the program originally drew its talent pool from midwestern comedians who had come to know each other while performing stand-up.   Following a heavy metal rendition of the "MST3K" theme song (with ad-libbed "la-las" from just about every female member of the audience), the heart of the show consists of the screening of a horribly inept '70s Kung Fu movie -- ably skewered via the live-on-stage wisecracks of the assembled former MST3K cast members.
"Cinema Titanic" clocked more laughs per minute than anything else I have ever seen, on or off Broadway.
While "MST3K" hardly originated the idea of riffing on movies -- "Fractured Flickers," for example, did it 50 years ago -- it was the cast, crew and writers of MST3K who perfected the art.  "Cinema Titanic" proves that far from losing their touch, the creative core of that Peabody Award-winning TV series is even better at their unusual craft now (if that's at all possible).   We needed the "MST3K" brand of slapstick, silliness, satire and sharp, knowing wit in the late '80s and all through the '90s.  We need it even more today.  With so much of what passes for comedy on TV and in the movies so poorly constructed, written and delivered, the content of "Cinematic Titanic" doesn't just shine.  It radiates. 
When I was a kid I remember reading an interview with the producers of "Laugh-In," who were asked about the rapid fire nature of the gags on that show.  They stated that they knew that most of them didn't work but figured that if the show moved fast enough, no one would notice (!).  Well, "Cinematic Titanic" moves a whole lot faster -- but a big difference is that 95% of the gags DO work.  All you have to do was listen to the audience for five minutes to tell.  Unlike a TV sitcom where EVERY line gets a canned laugh, if it's a punchline or not -- these were all REAL laughs -- barely seconds apart -- from a wildly appreciative audience.  And as someone who has crafted a lot of targeted entertainment, it was exciting to see how broad the demographic "Cinematic Titanic" works for is.  From old folks to kids, EVERYBODY was having a great time.  You can't ask for better than that.
Gary Theroux 

And, speaking of good reviews ...

The Buckinghams were in fine form this past week as they swung through the Big Apple for an intimate gig at BB Kings club in Times Square.  Although the band plays in the tri-state area on a regular basis in compilation concerts (like the Happy Together Tour at Westbury Music Fair on Long Island), it’s rare that they get to do a headlining gig in NYC.
With two original members (Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna) leading the way, the Buckinghams delivered a generous 100 minute set (featuring 21 songs and / or medleys) and brought their hits to life with the help of a three-piece brass section, which they hired locally to supplement their usual quintet status.
When people think of rock bands that feature horns you think of Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears and the Buckinghams.  And although Chicago and BS&T have gotten more worldwide recognition for popularizing that musical sound, in fairness, the Buckinghams introduced it first, going back to 1966.  Chicago debuted on the Billboard charts in 1969, as did BS&T.
The current configuration of the Buckinghams put smiles on the faces of their fans in Manhattan by being true to their hits and how they heard them on the radio.  They spread out throughout their stage visit the songs the fans wanted to hear: “Kind of a Drag,”  “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song),” “Susan,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Don’t You Care.”
It was interesting to overhear a conversation from a woman who was sitting near me at the club.  She said “It’s hard for me to believe that Carl is not the original lead singer of the band, because he sounds just like him (referencing Dennis Tufano.)  To which her guest replied “You could have fooled me.  I wouldn’t have known the difference.  They sound like the records to me.”
In addition to their hits, Carl, Nick and company gave 60s lovers some of their favorite covers from that era, including “Bend Me, Shape Me” from the American Breed, “Time Won’t Let Me” from the Outsiders, “Touch Me” from The Doors, “Good Lovin” and “Groovin’ from the Rascals.
The Buckinghams did a sensational tribute to their brassy brothers from the Windy City by pumping out  Robert Lamm’s gem “Does Anybody Really Know What Time Its Is” and Chicago’s first Top Ten song “Make Me Smile.”
Carl, who does most of the bantering with the fans between songs, explained how one of their favorite memories over the years was the SOLID GOLD 60s TOUR, when they toured with Gary Puckett, Tommy James and the Turtles.  It was a perfect intro to a well put together medley of “Young Girl” “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” “Happy Together” and others.
One of the most memorable moments of their show was when they paid respect to one of the most gifted singers ever to hail from New York: the late Johnny Maestro of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Carl pulled off a magnificent version of  the Jimmy Webb written classic “Worst That Could Happen.”
The show was capped off with a fun, up-tempo tribute to Sly and the Family Stone via a three song medley.
-- Tom Cuddy
New York, NY
The Buckinghams do a stunning tribute to Chicago as part of their extended shows ... and REALLY nail the sound. 
How about this?!?!?  A Chicago / Buckinghams Christmas Show!!!  Both bands have released EXCELLENT Christmas albums recently ... and what a natural pairing this would be between the two!  Of course they've also got Producer / Manager James Williams Guercio in common, too ... but I can't imagine a more festive pairing than this ... not to mention a non-stop parade of hits to round out the evening!  Heck, let's even throw in The Ides Of March as an opening act and make it an entire night of Local Heroes Done Well!!!
(I was recently reprimanded by a FH Reader for referring to The Buckinghams as "Local Heroes" since they were, in fact, a very successful NATIONAL act.  But, as I explained at the time, Chicago is a VERY proud city ... and no matter HOW big acts like The Buckinghams, Chicago, Styx, etc., got nationally, these guys will ALWAYS be Local Heroes Done Well here in Chi-Town!!!)
Great to know that The Bucks will be opening The 2012 Happy Together Again Tour, too!  Congratulations to Nick and Carl for capturing this honor for the third year in a row!
Oh yes ... one more thing ... I have heard Carl perform "The Worst That Could Happen" a few times now ... and you're absolutely right ... he really makes it his own!  (kk)
Here are a couple of Buckinghams pix from the B.B. King's Show ... courtesy of Tom Cuddy (and taken by Stuart Hersh)

(Used by permission)

After I congratulated Carl Giammarese about making the cut for next year's Happy Together Again Tour,
I got this reply:
Yeah, I guess we have become a fixture on the tour!
I'm just glad it has done so well ... and we are looking forward to next year's tour when our friends Gary Puckett and Micky Dolenz will be joining us. They are very talented and it will be a great show. Based on the tour's success, we are looking at more dates then last year for 2012.
That's GREAT news for all the fans out there ... and I understand that there'll be more West Coast gigs this time around, too.  You can count on Forgotten Hits to bring you all the details once next year's tour schedule has been announced.  And, as we told you a week ago, The Buckinghams still have several new shows lined up between now and the end of the year ... before they take off on a CRUISE Concert Series!!! (These dates include a few holiday shows, too ... which we're hoping to attend this year!)  kk

And, speaking of Chicago ...


We've been talking up the brand new Chicago Christmas CD for a couple of weeks now ... and even "sneak peeked" a couple of tracks.  Now here comes the official press release for the new CD, which hits the streets THIS TUESDAY, October the 4th!  (Can you believe this is Chicago's 33rd CD?!?!?  Wow!!!)  kk

Chicago Releases Very Special Christmas Record ...

O Christmas Three, on October 4

Features Dolly Parton, America, Steve Cropper, and BeBe Winans
Chicago, the legendary “rock and roll band with horns” who Billboard has called the top American rock group of all time, will release a brand new Christmas record on October 4, O Christmas Three, their 33rd record and third album of holiday music. The album features special guests Dolly Parton, America, Steve Cropper, and BeBe Winans, and was produced by veteran producer Phil Ramone, one of the most respected and prolific music producers in the recording industry (Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Elton John, Paul McCartney).
O Christmas Three features original Chicago members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walt Parazaider. The band is joined by Dolly Parton on Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time,” America on “I Saw Three Ships,” BeBe Winans on “Merry Christmas Darling,” and celebrated guitarist Steve Cropper on “Rockin’ And Rollin’ On Christmas Day," a new song co-written by Loughnane.
“I think this Christmas album will be enjoyed by young and old alike,” Loughnane said. It was an exciting project to put together. “I hope that our fans and other people who just happen to hear the album will feel that energy,” Lamm added.
Clear Channel’s top-rated New York City radio station, WLTW-FM, will host a special listening party for the new record on November 28th at NYC's BB Kings Blues Club, where Chicago will perform highlights from O Christmas Three. It will also serve as a benefit for Musicians On Call, which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities.
With constant touring – they’ve never missed a year - and sell-out shows all over the world, Chicago’s musical proficiency is at a zenith. “I think the band is playing better than we ever have before,” Loughnane said. Regarding the famous horn section, Parazaider added: “There is a magic. I liken it to a spiritual wire. Lee’s here, Jimmy’s here, I’m here, and that spiritual wire just passes through all three of us.”
O Christmas Three will be available on the band’s web site site, iTunes, and A music video of one of the songs will soon be up on the band’s official website. 
O Christmas Three track listing:
1) Wonderful Christmas Time (featuring Dolly Parton)
2) Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
3) I Saw Three Ships (featuring America)
4) Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
5) What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
6) It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
7) I’ll Be Home For Christmas
8) On The Last Night Of The Year
9) Merry Christmas Darling (featuring Bebe Winans)
10) Rockin’ And Rollin’ On Christmas Day (featuring Steve Cropper)
11) My Favorite Things
12) O Christmas Tree
13) Jingle Bells
14) Here Comes Santa Claus / Joy To The World
Chicago is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in five different decades. In Billboard Magazine's list of Top 100 artists of all time, Chicago came in at #13, the highest charting American band. Lifetime achievements include a Grammy Award, multiple American Music Awards, record sales of more than 100 million an incredible 25 of their 32 albums have been certified platinum, and the band has a total of 47 gold and platinum awards.
Other Chicago news:
For the last two years, the band has joined forces with the American Cancer Society to create “Sing With Chicago,” a highly successful promotion that has raised tens of thousands of dollars to fight breast cancer, in which winning bidders sing the hit song “If You Leave Me Now” with the band at every concert. The proceeds from this year's "Sing With Chicago" promotion will be raised in the name of Paqui Kelly, the wife of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, who is battling breast cancer.
As Jimmy Pankow says, “Ideas are always going.” Known for their original and innovative music style, Chicago released an exciting Latin music project of 12 of their greatest hits called ‘Chicago ¡Exitos!’ earlier this year. They hired New York producer and arranger John Van Eps, who gathered the best Latin arrangers, musicians and singers that he could find and created amazing Latin style versions of Chicago's hits, Some of the Latin music styles featured on the record are Latin Pop, Bomba, Afro, Songo, Cha Cha, Mozambique, Joropo, Mambo, Merengue and Dancon.
I've been listening to the brand new Chicago Christmas CD all week long ... how'd YOU like a chance to win a copy???  They're sending me another copy to give away to one lucky Forgotten Hits Reader.  Drop me a line if you're interested ... and get your holidays jumpin'!  (kk)

Interestingly enough, Wolfgang's Vault ALSO had a Chicago Tribute up on their site this past week ... hopefully you can still check out this live, vintage broadcast here:

In 1982, Chicago re-invented itself as a hit-making machine with songs like "Hard To Say I'm Sorry." But they could still wail in concert and, especially with Bill Champlin's soulful vocals helping to fill the void left by Terry Kath, the group's pyrotechnic jazz-rock roots were very much in tact. This live in-studio recording, which includes a number of tracks excluded from the original radio broadcast, shows the best of both worlds, with vigorous versions of newer hits and older classics. Stream and download this Chicago release today.
Kent ...
I've been reading "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone? Volume 1", the book you told us about by Marti Smiley Childa and Jeff March.  Check out page 60:
Barry Whitwam, of Herman's Hermits, explaining why they left the bus and decided to travel by
car during 1965's "Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars."
About halfway through the tour, Billy Stewart and Round Robin had a disagreement over a woman and pulled guns out at each other.
Billy Stewart was at the front of the bus and Round Robin was at the back. It was like the wild West.  They were pointing at each other, and we were in the middle.
Frank B.
I've been reading it, too ... great book!  Got totally wrapped up in The Kingston Trio Chapters.  I'll be the first to admit that I was never much of a Kingston Trio fan ... I kinda missed the whole Folk Era growing up ... didn't really discover pop music until The British Invasion ... but there's no denying how big this whole folk scene really was.  (Personally, I had more fun watching "The Mighty Wind"!!! lol) 
But I have to admit, I found the whole Kingston Trio story FASCINATING!!!  A VERY enjoyable and informative read.  In fact, so much so that Monday's "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature will spotlight the group on a song that would absolutely sound GREAT coming out of your radio every now and again ... so be sure to stay tuned for that!  (kk)
And, speaking of Today's Forgotten Hit ... 


You have had tons of great stuff lately.  Keep up the great work on the daily Forgotten Hit!
Thanks for the kind words, Don! I've been getting HUNDREDS of suggestions for our new "Today's Forgotten Hit" feature every week ... and the funny thing is about 70% of them are already on the up-and-coming list anyway ... so if they play better as a "special request", so be it!!! lol  (Of course about 10% are songs that I'VE never even heard of ... not even a "forgotten hit" but rather a "never was a" hit!!!)  I just try to mix it up a little bit each week and keep folks checking back to see what we're going to feature next!  Thanks again.  (kk)

Wednesday's FH by Ian Whitcomb proves once again that you are our TOWER of strength when it comes time to resurrecting those songs which definitely have been forgotten by "oldies" programmers.  For some reason whenever I hear Ian Whitcomb's name, I think of that forgettable song he also had in 1965, WHERE DID ROBINSON CRUSOE GO WITH FRIDAY ON SATURDAY NIGHT?
Keep up the good work!
Yep, you can't tell me that "You Turn Me On" wouldn't sound great coming out of your radio every once in a while.  Not a heavy rotation song ... but a GREAT one to break up the monotony every now and then.  (kk)
And, speaking of great oldies radio ...



I'm sure you're familiar with WLNG  out of Long Island, N.Y.. In spite of having a few too many commercials, when they DO play songs one really gets a full spectrum of the hits / singles - of - the - 50s / 60s / 70s / 80s "top-40"-style radio songs (did I say that right?).

Any station that has TENNESSEE BIRD WALK, WHO'S THAT GIRL, DO-WACKA-DO, THE STRAIGHT LIFE, PAINT IT BLACK, PAPERBACK WRITER (the mono single mix, no less), BE MY GUEST, WHISPERING / CHERCHEZ LA FEMME / SE SI BON, I WAS THE ONE all on the same playlist (among other par - for - the - course "surprises") has to be one programmed by someone who knows what they're doing.

And they do this all so smoothly as well. When I'm busy doing things (like fixing something to eat) wherein I can't listen to any of my audio discs, I simply turn on the computer and bring up WLNG, and it's just like "having the radio on" in the background (circa 1960s / 1970s).

If you're not familiar with WLNG, you should check it out.
Tal Hartsfeld
Nope, not at all ... so thanks for turning us on ... so we can turn THEM on!!!
(Here's a Listen Live link):  Click here: WLNG.COM Audio
Hi, Kent!  
I just thought you might like to pass this on:
(Click photo to enlarge)

Here’s the link:
I’ve already listened to this aircheck and it is well worth hearing!
Rob Frankel
Senior Producer
Cumulus Media Networks
New York, NY
Looks like I totally blew it on this one!  I thought this was an archived program that folks could listen to at any time ... I didn't realize it was a special one-time airing!  But it looks like Great Big Radio has LOTS of cool stuff going on on a regular basis ... so please check back often ... I heard some GREAT songs that just NEVER get played anymore!  (kk)

>>>We've been listening to KFRC on 1550 AM for years ... and now they aren't there!!
What station did they move to??  WE LIVE IN ALAMEDA, CA.  Please write & tell us where to find them!!!!!!!!!!!  Thanks!!  (Lynda & Bill)
KFRC 1550 was leased out to another company who now produces Indian programming.
Bob Frable
Hmmm ... then I'm guessing Lynda and Bill aren't the ONLY ones who are major disappointed right now!!!  Thanks, Bob!  (kk)
Legendary Chicagoland broadcaster Roy Leonard is liquidating pieces of his amazing 40-year collection this weekend ... ALL kinds of one-of-a-kind memorabilia will be up for grabs.  Read all about it here:
Click here: Roy’s riches: Legendary host parts with ‘treasure trove’ of - Time Out Chicago

CHARLIE GRACIE may be away, performing over in ENGLAND, WALES and ITALY all of October -- BUT you can still hear his NEW RADIO SHOW on WVLT -- CRUISIN' 92.1 FM EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON FROM 3 TO 4 PM (Eastern Time)!
Listen around the world too at:  WWW.WVLT.COM 
This week, Charlie pays tribute to the late JOHNNIE RAY, the man who bridged the gap between POP and ROCK & ROLL!

Kent -
Marshall Lytle (Bill Haley’s Comets) and I just returned from an amazing tour of England. I started the show with the great dance hits of the 50’s & 60’s and then we had a band with us that backed Marshall for all of the hits he recorded with Bill. We packed each venue we played at. It was done like the days of Bandstand.. After Marshall played, I finished up the night as the DJ and had people rocking around the clock until the end. I am also honored to say that I went to London on my own to DJ the opening event of London fashion week.  That gig was mostly current dance and club hits. We started at midnight and went all night long. I have been asked to return to England in February and also for a gig in July. By the way, Marshall will be performing in Clearlake for the Winter Dance Party in February.  In December I will be the host of the Doo Wop Cruise for Concerts At Sea, also one in January with Davy Jones, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Charlie Thomas and the Drifters and the Buckinghams. In March, I am back on the sea with Ohio band Phil Dirt. Most of the cruises I am doing are almost sold out so if people want to go, they better book now. I am looking forward to more Jimmy Jay Rewind Dance Parties being booked every day.  The Rewind Show next week will have Frankie Avalon on with me and that should be fun.  Visit and also find me on Facebook, where you will find all the pictures from the England Tour.   
Keep Rockin’
Jimmy Jay
My October Topshelf Oldies Show will be great, as it will include a worldwide debut of a 1966-or-so previously unknown Ronnie Dove recording that we discovered a couple weeks ago on an acetate ... I'll be dubbing it tomorrow from the disc that I am borrowing from a friend of mine.

Most of my show isn't planned in advance, but it airs on the first Wednesday of every month at Top Shelf Oldies.  I generally play tunes I have either recently discovered or picked up at record shows along the way, along with whatever else strikes my fancy.
I was over at a friend's house in Maryland two weeks ago trying to dub some Ronnie Dove acetates he had but we had an equipment failure (we were able to dub the discs without being able to actually hear them being played live but there was loads of background noise in the recording there) and he told me to take them home with me ... while we attempting to dub the discs, we discovered one of the songs was a previously unknown recording.
Well, I went to a Ronnie Dove concert the next day where Ronnie brought me to the stage to talk about the 90 minute show I had done on his 76th birthday to celebrate his Diamond Records career (September 7th of this year -- which people can hear on my archive at and he mentioned the newly discovered recording (word travels fast, my friend had mentioned it to him!) and even though I hadn't initially planned to, I blurted out, "Yeah, I'm going to play it on my next show!" which no one seemed to object to me doing on that night.
I picked up a bunch of records the next day at a record show (I love it when I can come home with 50 records without spending 20 bucks on them since I have basically no money at any time) and the bulk of those purchases will make up the basis of the rest of the next show, which will air Wednesday October 5th from 8 to 9:30 pm eastern at
Tom Diehl

And here's another plug for's JST KLSX "Timeless Classics" format ... you're likely to hear Mason play just about ANYTHING from the 1940's through to this week's Top 40 Hits!  It's "The Music Of Your Life" taken to the "n"-th degree ... and it works.  If you feel the same way, please follow Julie's instructions below and drop a note over to the folks at XM / Sirius, telling them that YOU'D like to hear Mason Ramsey on their satellite station, too!  (kk)
Inspired by JST KLSX in the background, I spent the morning thinking about, Mason Ramsey, and the future of memorable music from my not so distant past. :) So, I once again wrote to my friends at SiriusXM about having Mason send out music via satellite. I feel really positive about the possibilities. If you want to help get Mason on satellite radio, please write to their programming center and corporate headquarters.
Spend some time talking about how Mason and music relate to you personally, what Mason has done for, how he bonds with us, his loyal fans, and how he delivers the music, the talk and the good times on Saturday and Sunday evenings here, in chat and on streaming radio. Share the love of music!
I invite you to contact the corporate officers at:
SiriusXM Programming Center and Corporate Headquarters
1500 Eckington Place, NE
Washington DC 20020
and / or
Attn: Rock and Roll Programming
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
I encourage you to write to these folks about Mason's work. They have always treated me with the utmost respect and encourage me to have more friends write about JST KLSX and Mason. Thanks everyone for all the positive feedback! Please write when you have some time.
Spend some time with Mason and friends all across America tonight!

Has oldies radio gotten better???  I'll say!!!  While surfing for about an hour and a half on Saturday Morning (between WLS-FM, The Drive, Y103.9 and the new K-Hits) I was both surprised and pleased to hear "Happy Jack" by The Who and "Veronica" by Elvis Costello (back-to-back on WLS!!! ... followed shortly by "Key Largo", the Bertie Higgins hit), "I've Got The Music In Me" by Kiki Dee, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis, "Fantasy" by Earth, Wind and Fire, the REMAKE versions of "Rockin' Robin" by Michael Jackson and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by Robert John, "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac, "Black Friday" by Steely Dan and "Walk Away" by The James Gang ... all of this a FAR cry from the same old / same old that typically populates (and passes itself off as) oldies radio these days.  We're FINALLY hearing many of the songs we remember that have been ignored for FAR too long on the airwaves ... so radio, we salute you!!!  Keep up the good work!  (I'm ESPECIALLY pleased to see that WLS-FM has stuck to its guns and is providing more variety ... and surprises ... than ever.  Of course, now that Cumulus has taken over, I suppose we should expect the inevitable change to something that THEY perceive as being better.  All I can say is, it's enjoyable to listen to right now.  (Add some personality to go along with the likes of Tom O'Toole and Danny Lake, the only two guys who really seem to be enjoying themselves on the air, and you've got a hit station again!!!)  Hey, when I'm wrong, I SAY I'm wrong.  (Insert your own "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" line here!!!  lol)  kk