Sunday, November 25, 2012

Boy, For A Guy Who Didn't Have Much To Say And Was Going To Lie Low For A Few Days, You Sure Ended Up Flappin' Your Gums (And Punching Your Keyboard) Quiet A Bit This Long, Holiday Weekend!

Yeah, I did ... 

But the extra time ALSO gave me a chance to get caught up on a few things ... and put the finishing touches on our long-awaited / much-delayed TOP 20 ALL-TIME FAVORITE GARAGE BANDS Series ... which now officially kicks off tomorrow!!!

You'll definitely want to come back for this one ... as Forgotten Hits kicks off its 14th Year with yet another landmark series.

Meanwhile, here are a few more last minute loose ends!  Enjoy!   

Hey Kent,
The Seekers' song,"World of Our Own" was good to hear. And it brought to mind another song that is NEVER heard on the "oldies" stations (excepting 1480 / 850, Grand Rapids / Muskegon). That would be one by the New Seekers, featuring Eve Graham: "Look What They've Done to My Song". Maybe WGVU checks out your website. The day after you featured "Hang on to Your Life", they played it.
That's really the whole point ... we've heard from numerous jocks over the years who have been inspired to play something because they saw it mentioned or heard it featured in Forgotten Hits ... "Oh yeah, I forgot all about THAT one!" And that's our goal. Sometimes it's just nice to hear something DIFFERENT ... that doesn't mean that it needs to be added to the permanent, heavy-rotation play list ... just something where the listeners perk up their ears for a moment and say "Man, I haven't heard THAT song in ages!!!"  That's really what a "forgotten hit" is!  
We featured The New Seekers' version of "Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma" a while back ... but I'm up for spinning it again. Yesterday I heard "A Brand New Key" by Melanie (who wrote that New Seekers hit) and, quirky as they both are, it's really fun to hear them again every once in a while. (I also heard "Swearin' To God" by Frankie Valli yesterday ... further proof that, according to radio anyway, The Four Seasons were simply one of those '70's Disco Groups. According to this new "Classic Hits" / "Greatest Hits Of All-Time" format, The Four Seasons never had a hit before "Who Loves You" in 1975!!!  That'd be like if you only ever heard "Miss You" by The Stones ... or, heaven forbid, "Here Comes The Night" by The Beach Boys!!! (Seriously ... what were they thinking?!?!?)  Or, perhaps more appropriately, what is RADIO thinking??? (kk)

Kent --
I don't know how long it's been since The Riddles were mentioned in FH, but they used to play at the Teen Club dances at Immaculate Conception Church in Chicago circa 1967, and for a garage band were remarkably good. (They also played at The Hut in Des Plaines but I wasn't allowed to go there at 15.) Their lead singer Lee Adams wore bright red pants, and that seemed exotic at the time. Kiss was still a few years in our future, heh.
Their cover of "Sweets for My Sweet" remains my all-time favorite rendition of a really good song.
Some info and photos here:
-- Jeff Duntemann
Old Chicago boy, now in Colorado Springs
If I remember correctly, you first discovered Forgotten Hits when we mentioned The Riddles' version of "Sweets For My Sweet", a Top 20 local hit here in Chicago in 1967, way back when. While we can't really classify this one as a Forgotten Hit (it never charted nationally), we CAN feature it again today for old time's sake. A great rendition, to be sure ... very much in the same vein as The Cryan' Shames' version of "Sugar And Spice", another big Searchers hit. (kk)


About the "Top 100 Hits of 1972" Countdown that you mentioned ... did it also include anything by the Detroit Emeralds, Uriah Heep and Bobby Womack?  Or even the Guess Who?
I pretty much figured on Neil Young, The Carpenters, America, The Stylistics, Helen Reddy, Gilbert O' Sullivan, Roberta Flack, Harry Nilsson, Elton John.
But I'm just curious as to just how thorough this particular survey was.
Tal Hartsfeld

I couldn't tell ya for sure ... because it's not my list ... it was put together by one of the jocks on the list who does an internet show ... but you can tune in today to catch the rest of it. As far as any of those artists on your list making The Top 100, I kinda doubt it ... the year-end charts typically only recap the year's very biggest hits.  But I've sent your inquiry on to Rich Appel, who is hosting this countdown to see if he can offer any additional feedback.

Since the Top 100 of 1972 was based on weekly radio station surveys across all major and not-so-major markets, the hits are gonna rise to the top. Songs that were regional hits are less likely to show up in a 100-position ranking. Of course, some of those artists did show up in the second or third 100 of the year.
Rich Appel

Honestly, I wouldn't have expected ANY of those artists that Tal mentioned to make a year-end Top 100 ranking.  However, in the past we have featured hits like "Easy Livin'" by Uriah Heep and "Baby Let Me Take You" by The Detroit Emeralds because they both absolutely fall into our "Forgotten Hits" category ... legitimate hit songs that got played on the radio ALL of the time back then ... but seem to have disappeared forever ever since.
In fact, these are both GREAT suggestions ... so we're featuring them today.  (But tune into Rich's countdown anyway, OK?!?!?)  lol  Thanks!  (kk)

"Easy Livin'" by Uriah Heep reached #32 in 1972 ... and "Baby Let Me Take You" by The Detroit Emeralds is one of my personal, all-time favorites ... so I play this one all the time here at home.  It was a #17 Hit that same year!  (kk)
As I was preparing the Tommy James and the Shondells segment for our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands series, I came across this chart analysis by Tommy from hisbook "Me, The Mob and The Music" and thought I'd run it by the group for feedback. I also sent a copy to Joel Whitburn and Randy Price, our resident chart gurus for their opinions.     

The three big trade papers were Record World, Cash Box and Billboard. Cash Box had a slant toward retail ... it focused on the money generated from records. Record World had a slant toward radio airplay. Billboard claimed to be in the middle. The problem with that was that when you put out a record, things back then happened fast.
Every six weeks you needed a new record ... that's how quickly the turnover was if you wanted to stay constantly on the charts. If you put our a record and it generated some excitement, it immediately went on the radio. That would be reflected in Record World. But it would take two or three weeks after you heard a song on the radio before the sales figures would start to hit and the stores would report it. That was when your record would start charting in Cash Box. So there was a lag time between those two trade papers. Billboard claimed to chart records in between radio play and sales. But you would always be two to three weeks further ahead in radio airplay than you were in sales. You might start out in the Top 20 in airplay. Then, if the record was a hit, it would usually climb very fast, which meant you might be number one in Record World, but only number twenty in Cash Box. Billboard took the average ot the two and listed you as number ten in their paper. That sounded okay, and you might eventually go to number one in Cash Box and Record World ... but you would have to stay that way for three weeks to get a number one in Billboard.
There was always a controversy about Billboard's Top Five lists, because the whole industry was screaming at them over the discrepancies. And now, because the other trade paper collapsed over the years, Billboard, by attrition, became the keeper of the flame. When young researchers and historians go back to check the archives for a record's history, they inevitably get a skewed sense of how popular it really was
-- Tommy James     

Interesting perspective ... and one of the reasons Forgotten Hits always shows the HIGHEST charted position of any record as reported by all three publications. And now that Joel Whitburn has officially published a history of both the Billboard and the Record World Pop Singles Charts (with a Cash Box book on the way in the not-too-distant future), hopefully there will be a better reflection of just how popular a given record was. (We've seen this for years with regional hits, too ... a record could be HUGE here in Chicago ... and then, just about the time that record is working its way down the chart, it takes off in a big way in another city. You find out that the record was a Top Five Smash in a dozen different cities ... but never all at the same time ... so the Billboard book ends up listing it at #70 overall because that was the best result of any given week's national input. SO many great songs were missed and ignored as a result of this ... which is why we also always try to factor in the results of our local charts.   

I was curious what Joel and Randy might say about Tommy's comments, regarding the accuracies (and discrepancies) between the charts as recorded by three major national trade publications  ...

Here's my take on the comments from the Tommy James book concerning the national music trades:
First of all, it should be kept in mind that the methodologies employed by the three magazines' chart departments changed over the years, so what might have been true during a particular time period wasn't necessarily the case before or after that period. Looking specifically at the period from the mid-'60s through 1970, when Tommy James had his string of hits with the Shondells, chart statistics would seem to contradict the assertions made in his book.
Using the Shondells' own singles as examples, almost all of them debuted on the three trade charts no more than a week apart. The biggest discrepancies came in 1968 when "Somebody Cares" debuted first in Cash Box, then a week later in Record World, then the week after that in Billboard. The group's next single, "Do Something To Me," debuted first in Record World, then a week later in Billboard, then the week after that in Cash Box. The next four singles by the group ("Crimson And Clover," "Sweet Cherry Wine," "Crystal Blue Persuasion" and "Ball Of Fire") all debuted the same week on all three charts. That streak was broken by "She," which debuted a week earlier in Record World than in the other two. So, there was no consistency in which chart was ahead of or behind the other two in those cases.
Also, many of the Tommy James & The Shondells singles peaked higher in both Cash Box and Record World than they did in Billboard. (This was also true for some other rock 'n' roll groups, particularly Paul Revere & The Raiders). So, if Record World's charts were indeed slanted toward radio airplay, it didn't prevent those charts from being more similar to Cash Box's (which were indeed based on retail sales at that time) than to Billboard's.
As for the assertion that an upcoming hit that reached #1 in Record World might have been at a substantially lower position in Cash Box or Billboard, that is not supported by chart statistics either. During the same period cited above, in an overwhelming majority of weeks, a record that was #1 on one magazine's chart was in the top 5 on the other two, usually in the top 3. In every one of the rare instances when a record was below the top 10 on one chart while at #1 on one or both of the others, it was a case of one magazine dropping the record more quickly than the other two; there were no instances of a record reaching #1 for the first time on one chart while not yet in the top 10 on the other two.
All of this only goes to underscore the fact that at that time compiling lists of the most popular records was more an art than a science. Each magazine's chart department had its own methodology for interpreting (and possibly manipulating) the data it collected from stores, one-stops and / or radio stations. (And that's not even taking into account the occasional mechanical or mathematical mistakes that might have been made when compiling, laying out and printing the charts each week with a tight deadline.) So any but the most general blanket statements about how the charts compared to one another could likely be refuted by specific examples to the contrary.
– Randy    

Hi Kent,
I have read Tommy James' book and in many ways it’s similar to Jimmie Rodgers’ autobiography. Perhaps, that’s because they were both on Morris Levy’s label, Roulette.
Both are interesting looks inside the music industry that, indeed, expose some ‘seedy’ dealings with most of the young artists that broke through on independent labels in the early decades of the rock ‘n roll revolution.
Tommy’s analysis of the three major trades has some merit, but is flawed. There are just too many examples of chart debut dates and peak positions for various songs and artists from the three trades to blow-up his whole reasoning. Not only that, but each trade used a different formula to compile their charts, and they used different methods in ranking records. For instance, Cash Box and Record World, for a long time, combined all versions of a song into one chart position, resulting in higher peak positions for those songs and also the songs listed below them.
Back in 1970 I visited Billboard’s chart department in New York City and also in Los Angeles. Also, at that time I visited George Albert in his Cash Box office in New York. Billboard’s offices were a bee-hive of activity with one huge department devoted solely to approximately 40 staff members doing phone work to get the very latest data inputted into next week’s chart. Cash Box, on the other hand, had a very small staff and was relatively quiet. I never visited the Record World offices ... however, I have been in touch with several of their past editors, Greg Geller and Mike Sigman, and they’ve indicated to me that they plan on writing a book about that history.
To be honest, I respect all three trades and I think they all offer a wonderful reflection on America’s most popular songs and artists.
Joel Whitburn     

Because of the different methodology used by the three different major music trades to publish their charts at the time, my feeling has always been that the COMBINED ranking, utilizing ALL of those resources available, would constitute the most accurate chart possible for this era. It was with this thought in mind that The Super Charts were born.
Knowing that Randy Price had already been compiling chart data from all three publications (but also knowing that none of the three would allow their statistics to be shared side-by-side with one another), we decided instead to focus on the research data collected during this era to see if we could compile what would, in effect, be the most comprehensive chart listing possible. (It's just too easy, with 20/20 hindsight, to "re-rank" some of these songs that have stood the test of time ... that's why it was important to us to collect this data as it was originally collected AT THAT TIME, thus eliminating all bias, prejudice and opinion.  As such, The Super Charts are based exclusively on this mathematical data collected from that time with absolutely NO other factors weighing in with any impact.We hope to someday be able to publish the results of all this research into what we believe will be the most accurate chart listing of all time.
This project began several years ago and since then, Joel Whitburn has published "recaps" of the pop singles charts for both Billboard and Music Vendor / Record World in the most complete volumes ever assembled by Record Research. (A Cash Box book is also in the works ... and we're hoping for a release sometime next year!) These are AMAZING and invaluable pieces of work and belong in the collection of ANYONE who has ever studied or researched the charts. Likewise, as part of our research, we considered collecting the local charts from six major markets (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and a few other key points across the country) to see what these charts reflected on the top Top 40 Radio Stations in the country. These regional statistics would have given added weight to Randy's research. However, we could never find a complete enough library to do so ... or one that would span the rock era from 1955 - 1985, which was our original target program. (Too many stations closed up shop or changed formats during this time period, thus leaving the charts from any given area with too many "holes" which, again, might lead to speculation rather than actual facts and figures.) As such, this part of the project was abandoned.
Over the years we have run sample charts on The Forgotten Hits Website ... and we will continue to do so from time to time. In the meantime, we're hoping to complete the research and then, year-by-year, begin to release The Super Charts for public consumption. (Who knows ... we just may rewrite chart history in the process!)
Stay tuned to Forgotten Hits for more on this as it develops. Meanwhile, VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Joel Whitburn and Randy Price for sharing their insight with our readers ... and for all of the invaluable research they have assembled over the years for our enjoyment and consumption! (kk)

 (click chart to enlarge)


We're taking you out to the garage ...

And we're gonna KEEP you out there for the next couple of weeks!

That's because we're FINALLY running the results of our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Survey!!!

Lots of surprises (including a special list of "Runners Up" ... along with commentary from some of the winning artists themselves!)  

You are NOT going to want to miss this series ...

We'll send out periodic reminders ... and any non-Garage Band-related news will go out in the form of emails so as not to upset the continuity of this long-awaited series.  (Not signed up for email reminders?!?!?  Then now would be the time to do so!!!)

We OFFICIALLY kick of Year 14 of Forgotten Hits TOMORROW, November 26th!!!  Hoping that you'll join us for this very special series!  (kk)