Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 16 - 12 )

Round One of The Rascals' Reunion Shows took place this past week. Here are a few articles sent in by FH Readers talking about this major musical event:   

Click here: Relive the '60s at The Rascals Reunion - Chappaqua-Mount Kisco, NY    

Click here: The Rascals return 40 years later: A reunion for pioneers of blue-eyed soul - NY Daily News   

And some GREAT concert reviews ...   

Click here: The Rascals Redefine Reunion Concerts With ‘Once Upon A Dream’ « WCBS-FM 101.1    

Just got home from the Rascals show ... After such a sad, horrible day, (God bless those children in CT), I was fortunate enough to experience one of the best live shows I have ever seen. Absolutely incredible! 
Sure, Eddie's voice is not what it used to be, but he makes up for it with his spirit & enthusiasm, and Felix is spot on with his voice and his keyboards. My vote for the star of the show goes to ... Dino Danelli, without a doubt one of the absolute greatest rock & roll drummers of all time. It was one hell of a show. What a great night in Port Chester!
Scott Shannon

The final bow ... photo by Mike McCann

Hey Kent,
Founding Letterman, Bobby Engemann is undergoing heart surgery today. Even in his fragile condition he needs to have this operation to avert a heart attack. He has pulled through some tough times before and hopefully he can do it again. Keep him in your prayers.
Lettermen / Reunion
Gary Pike 
Sending along our best wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery to Bobby.
We recently read founding Lettermen Jim Pike's biography ... it'll be part of a series of book reviews we've got coming up in Forgotten Hits ... so stay tuned!  (kk)   

Gary "US" Bonds has a brand new Christmas album out and it's a real family affair! Gary is joined by his wife and daughter (both named Laurie!) on this new holiday release called "Christmas Is ON!" 
The record company is pushing the track "Baby, Baby It's Christmas" by MY favorite is "Christmas Is A Phone Call Away", which has sort of a Bo Diddley-feel to it (with a touch of the old "yakety sax" Coasters sound thrown in for good measure, too!) It harkens back to Bonds' earlier days. The new CD features eight brand new tracks plus Gary's take on the Christmas Classics "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "White Christmas", done Drifters-style by the ladies. (Not a bad arrangement ... but honestly a little "auto-tune" would have helped the lead vocal on this track!!!) 
The CD is available through (and you can sample all of the tracks here as well!):  
Click here: Christmas Is ON!: Gary U.S. Bonds: Music
Gary's autobiography will be released in January. Cleverly titled "By U.S. Bonds ... That's My Story", you can pre-order this one, too, while you're over at the Amazon site. (kk)

Thanks so much for including that long, long mass email. You're always so supportive of my work. I hereby sentence you to a joyous Xmas and a wonderful new year.
Bob Lind & Jill
Rightbackatcha, Bob ... and congrats on all the great things happening for you right now. (kk)

Anyone looking for a Christmas CD that rocks and is full of fun, need not look any further than Freddy Cannon’s “Have A Boom Boom Christmas,” celebrating the 10th anniversary of its release this year. Here’s a review from 2002:
Each holiday season, listeners are treated to a barrage of perennial favorites, most of which fade harmlessly into the background. Rock & Roller Freddy Cannon seems to think he can do better. Why not make a holiday album that gets the listener's attention and, better yet, makes the listener want to dance? This is exactly what he does on Have a Boom Boom Christmas!!, taking a handful of well-worn songs and a few originals and giving them rock & roll -- circa 1956 -- treatments. Upbeat fare like "Run Rudolf Run," "Santa Clause Is Coming to Town," and "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" will make one wonder why nobody has sock hops at Christmastime anymore. There are also good versions of "Feliz Navidad" and "Here Comes Santa Claus." Perhaps the most fun pieces, however, are Cannon originals. "Santa's Got Two Left Feet" offers an explanation of why the jolly old elf can't dance, while "Santa (You're Too Fat for Me)" presents a new way of looking at Kris Kringle's plumpness. Most interesting of all is "Mamacita," a song about Santa drinking margaritas in a south-of-the-border bar, enjoying a little downtime after the holidays. Cannon realizes, just like Jimmy Buffett, that even a North Pole native enjoys a Mexican holiday from time to time. The album is rounded out with a new version of "Palisades Park," making Have a Boom Boom Christmas!! the perfect gift for anyone who believes that rock & roll just ain't what it used to be.
~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. is offering the CD this weekend as a “Santa Special” for $4.48
-- Tom Cuddy

The copy of John Lennon's 1980 comeback LP "Double Fantasy" that Lennon autographed for Mark David Chapman a few hours before he murdered him is up for sale. 

Originally confiscated as evidence when Chapman was first arrested, it sounds like this one has changed hands a few times now ... at a pretty hefty price tag. All the details can be found here:  
Click here: Mark David Chapman’s Own Lennon-Autographed Copy of ‘Double Fantasy’ Up For Sale « K-EARTH 101  
Seriously, though ... would you buy it, even if you could?!?! (Dave The Rave???) kk

In Iggy Pops' comment to you today, he mentioned that years ago he was part of a duo
called Megaton 2. It reminded me of and I had to get the record out to play it, an instrumental out of 1962 by the Megatons called SHIMMY SHIMMY WALK. This also reminded me, indirectly, of a somewhat similar record namewise by a group called the Megatrons, also an instrumental called VELVET WATERS out of 1959.
Don't know if you remember this two instrumentals but in Iggy Pop's comments to you, my memory was jarred about these two.
Larry Neal

Actually, Iggy's message wasn't to me but came from that great new book "101 Essential Rock Records". We've been talking about it for a while now and it's AMAZING! Highly recommended. (That'll be part of our upcoming Book Reviews, too!)  As for the instrumentals you mentioned, no, I'm not familiar with either of these. The Megatons single peaked at #88 in Billboard ... and the Megatrons' "Velvet Waters" did even better, peaking at #51. (kk)  


Here's John Ford Coley singing "The Dreidel Song" at a menorah lighting event here in Nashville Tuesday night. 
David Lewis

>>>My cousin recently met Van Morrison aboard a cruise ship. She told him that one of her all-time favorite songs was "Brown-Eyed Girl." Van told her that as a young boy he had a female dog that had one blue eye and one brown eye, and that he wrote Brown-Eyed Girl for that dog. I had heard that story behind the song before, but this is the first time I had heard of Van telling the story himself.
(Roger Kirkpatrick)  

I recall hearing a story of a Brown Skinned Girl, as originally titled!  
Click here: Brown Eyed Girl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   

So noted ... "Tarkio Road" was a #12 Hit here in Chicago so we may be more familiar with it than other parts of the country. It stopped at #55 in Billboard, #49 in Record World ... but DID crack The Top 40 in Cash Box, peaking at #39. My guess is ... (especially within the context of the "One You Know ... One You Didn't Even Know You Forgot" theme) ... folks might enjoy hearing it again ... 'cause it ain't a bad tune ... pretty catchy in fact! (See email below!) kk 

Cool hearing Tarkio Road, as I travel it every so often ("headed up to Crete, Nebraska"). I never considered it a "mother" tho. haha. Brewer & Shipley helped shape Nebraskan Randy Meisner's career when with his group, the Poor, in 1968, by writing their local hit "Feelin Down." Of course, Randy went on to heights with the Eagles and writing their hit "Take it to the Limit."
That video of the singers on The Lawrence Welk Show performing the "modern-day spiritual" "One Toke Over The Line" was worth the price of admission right there! VERY funny stuff ... they clearly didn't have a clue! (kk)  

As many in FH know, I deal in top 40 surveys. I don't know how many thousands have passed thru my hands over the years, I just wished I had hung on to them if I knew such a thing like eBay was to be invented. However I also worked for record distributors for a number of years as well as managing a record store and I've worked in radio too. I feel I need to go into more detail on just how a record becomes a hit and how it gets on the charts. The music industry is a three headed monster. The performers, radio and the record industry itself all play a part and not necessarily very equal, as any number of the musicians here can attest to. Let's say you have written a song and you know it's a kick ass song. We've all heard songs like that on the radio. But you don't have a record label. You can distribute it yourself, but you don't have the time to pitch your record to every radio station that is formatted to your kind of music. You're better off(?) being signed to a label and let them worry about distribution and airplay. So you're signed to FH records and FH now has got to get radio stations to play your record. So the record reps start calling in favors to various stores and ask to report the song as a top ten seller that week. Now KENT radio calls the record store and asks what are the week's top sellers. They call me at Rock And Roll Never forgets and I say Lonely Christmas, by Kent Kotal (a bad example because it's a seasonal song, but you get the idea). Back before Soundscan, radio stations would base part of what goes on their playlist on selected store reports. Never mind that most stores had no clue on the exact records they were selling. Do you think that they had time to pour over countless receipts to tally sales? However they knew what was selling. So KENT radio now adds Lonely Christmas to the rotation and of course people hear it and say, HOW COOL!!!! Now the trade magazines, Billboard, Cashbox and Record World also poll selected stores and poll radio stations across the country for their input. However none of the trades use actual sales from the store to the consumer as the sole guide, nor do any of the local radio station surveys. Do you think there's some poor soul sitting in cubicle all day calling EVERY retail outlet in America, for store sales? No, they are tabulated more from the manufacturer to the distributor. And those numbers can be inflated. There's no way to know. Often times the label will send a distributor far more than it can reasonably expect to sell, in the hopes that maybe if radio sees a strong beginning showing, they'll add the record and then listenership will take over. There's also jukebox play to be considered. Labels are not above going down to local bar and popping quarters into the jukebox. Inside every jukebox is a device that shows the relative popularity of each song. Again, there are places that served only jukeboxes, and they too report sales. So what the chart numbers mean for Lonely Christmas, depends on the market, how the individual radio stations use the data and what data they are fed. We've now seen how it can be the biggest load of B.S. you ever heard. I've sat in on dozens of record meetings where the label would plead for a record to be reported top 5, 4 even #1. They will pull out all the stops with free concert tix, t-shirts, records, whatever they got. In the case of some 20 year old kid, it doesn't take much, for the owner of some major record store, maybe a little more. There's always that vacation for you and a guest (not necessarily your wife or significant other) to Jamaica during January to see some reggae artist who's is to be the next big thing. Payola doesn't necessarily mean cash. As the buyer of 45s & LPs in the early 80s, I got my fair share of goodies as a way of saying thanks, usually concert tix and t-shirts. Of course now Lonely Christmas is the top song of the season and Kent says, where's my money? Just because your 45 sold for 75 cents at the store then, doesn't mean you get 100% of that. The following people have their hand in your pocket. The label who foots the bill for the legwork, promotions and so on. (At least they claim they do). If the store sells it for 75 cents, they're probably paying about 60 cents for it. However the label pays for a lot of print & radio ads that the average record store has no money for. Then the label says they had to give X amount to radio stations and stores for airplay and for giveaways, knocking your take down further. Of course then there's damaged product, either the record itself was defective, the shipper damaged it, the warehouse and so one. You get that stuff back and charge you for shipping. OK, but Kent still want's his money. The label says OK, we will recall all copies of your record, that includes any records still set aside as promos, but haven't been designated yet. Figure at least 60 days. Record stores seeing a chance to earn credits toward their bill, jump at the chance to send stuff back in exchange for the next big thing. Now there are no copies left at the retail level, so when radio calls me up and asks about the status of Lonely Christmas, I'll tell them I haven't sold any. The same goes for all other stores. No sales, no airplay, no airplay no chart position. Now they ship all your records back to you, again at your expense. So what started out as an easy couple thousand dollars turns into losing money for you, but no one else. Moreover you now have a couple boxes of 45s you can show to your grandkids. We've gone over a couple examples of this in the past in FH. Even if your song sells in the millions, it doesn't mean you're a millionaire. 
Jack Levin / RockandRollNeverForgets  

re: FIRST 45's: 
I just heard about your site per a plug on Scott Shannon's True Oldies channel. 
Not counting kids records by acts like Captain Kangaroo or Burl Ives, the first 45 I ever heard and asked Mom to buy was from 1958 when I was a pre-schooler: The Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley. 
For many years, though, I was more into my parents' music and school band music in the '60's until we began playing a lot of pop hits at football games in high school. I became acquainted with many songs the band played and "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams was the first one I bought. I also bought "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles, "Everyday People" by Sly & the Family Stone, "Hawaii Five-O" by the Ventures and "Scarborough Fair" by Simon & Garfunkel. 
It was really around March, 1970, when I began religiously following Top 40 radio and started buying heavily. Some of the early songs I bought follow: Celebrate by Three Dog Night, Travelin' Band / Who'll Stop the Rain by CCR, Love Grows by Edison Lighthouse, Easy Come, Easy Go by Bobby Sherman, Spirit In the Sky by Norman Greenbaum, Little Green bag by George Baker Selection, Love or Let Me Be Lonely by Friends of Distinction, Walking Through the Country by Grass Roots, Something's Burning by Kenny Rogers and First Edition ... well, you get the picture. I'll stop here. 
John Kier 
Atlanta, GA 
Those are some GREAT records, John ... bought most of those myself, too. We've posted your list on our website in the First 45's section ... SO many great memories ... 'cause EVERYBODY remembers their first! (kk) 

You'll also find the results of our Top 200 All-Time Favorite, Forgotten B-Sides posted there ...
Speaking of which ...  

Another Killer B Side is KNOW YOU by the Dave Clark 5 - Flipside of GLAD ALL OVER. 
Wayne Scott Sandifer  

Love how you post pushback comments - Bravo!  
Hey, Forgotten Hits is all about sharing the memories and the love for this music ... let's face it, we're not always going to agree and, as Peter Noone once told me, that's why they have menus at restaurants ... so you can pick and choose what you really like. We always try to present all sides of a discussion ... my opinion is no more right than anyone else's when it comes to any given topic. It's all a matter of taste. Kind of what makes this whole thing work. (kk)   

It was good hearing the SOMETHING STUPID song by the father and daughter whose last name is Sinatra. Reminds one of lots of records they made back in the sixties one doesn't hear on the radio anymore. Keep up the good work on this.
You mentioned that the other day you were in Arby's and heard the song by Chad and Jeremy which you posted and that you couldn't believe your ears. Let me tell you what happened to me just a few weeks ago.
I was in one of our malls and they were playing music in the background as most malls do. Some people would classify it as "elevator" type of music. When lo and behold, they started to play Frankie Laine's 1957 song MOONLIGHT GAMBLER. I couldn't believe my ears, just as what happened to you. I did go into the office and ask them where the music was coming from but the secretary on duty didn't know.
About a week later I was in our local grocery store Buy For Less in which they had overhead music playing as well. All of a sudden, they played the song RED HOT out of 1955 by singer Billy 'the kid' Emerson. I believe Sam the Sham recorded it as well some 10 years later. Again, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that song coming out over the intercom. I probably was the only one in the store at the time who was familiar with the song.
Larry Neal   

We've run dozens and dozens of letters over the years from people who have been shocked, surprised, amazed and delighted by what they've heard playing (almost subliminally) as background music in their grocery stores. (Typically, this music is played so softly, you REALLY have to listen in order to be able to detect it ... it's not there to grab your attention but more as a "soothing" experience ... which makes it all that much more amazing when we pick up on what some of these tunes really are!) I, too, wonder the source of who is providing this music to them. Apparently somebody that doesn't believe in all the "research" stating that people don't want to hear this music anymore ... because the reaction we hear about here is always positive and pure delight. Too bad nobody in radio is paying attention to what people REALLY want to hear. (kk)

Speaking of which, here's another great Forgotten Hit ... and a #9 Record World Hit from 1965 for Bobby Goldsboro.  (He's one of the artists profiled in the brand new Jeff March / Marti Smiley Childs book "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone, Volume 2", yet ANOTHER book we'll be reviewing soon on the website.

TONS more of your comments.  (I'm still playing major catch-up now that our Garage Bands Series has ended ... watch for another great Comments Page tomorrow ... as well as the next installment of our "Helping Out Our Readers" series.)  Plus anything else I can get ready in time.  Enjoy!