Friday, March 2, 2012

The Friday Flash: On The Radio

First let me say I enjoyed your participation today on the "1 hit wonders show at 1" on station WRNJ. I heard what you had to say about the song FRIDAY ON MY MIND.  It seems to me that I do hear on the TOC every Friday BANG ON THE  DRUMS at various
times during the day. I don't remember hearing it this past Friday, however. 
Most of the songs by Jon and Robin were hits here in the OKC area as opposed to what they did on a national level. The song by Emitt Rhodes was one I haven't heard in a year of Sundays (time wise that's more than a month of Sundays). Mitch Ryder's WHAT NOW MY LOVE was mentioned.  I haven't heard that one on the radio again in years as well as his song JOY which also did well here in OKC.
In the column talking about Don Kirshner and his playing of Fats Domino's I'M GONNA BE A WHEEL SOMEDAY during sessions with his writers, about a year and a half earlier as I remember Bobby Mitchell's version (again on Imperial) was also a hit here in the OKC area.
Finally in your Sound advice column, you mentioned it was heart stopping going into a business and hearing a song over the intercom that you weren't expecting to hear. This happened to me twice last year. I went into a Buy For Less store here in the city. It is a grocery store and to be honest with you , I don't know if they are any in your part of the country or not. When I went in one of the songs which came out over the building was
RED HOT, the original I believe by singer Billy 'the kid' Emerson out of 1955 on Sun records. I couldn't believe what I was hearing or the reason it was being played. Sam the Sham and his Pharoahs recorded it ten years later in 1965.
Again, I enjoyed your comments on the WRNJ show today.
Thanks, Larry ... it's fun to do these shows once in a while ... and I've really got to hand it to Rich Appel, who gave me the whole hour to play some of my all-time favorite One Hit Wonders.  Sounds like the show went over pretty well ... so maybe he'll even ask me back again some day!  (kk)

Check the Oldies Your Way schedule on our website and learn about all the fine Dee jays and programs that we offer. Our fearless leader Tony has created a really nice place to visit. Please do so often ...
Hi Everybody!!!!!
It's time for "The Pop Shoppe". It is on every Friday night from 7 PM till 3:01 AM (eastern).
My warm up program is from 6:30 to 7:00.  Tune in!!!!!!
The Official Start of my show.
7:00 / 8:30: Music from the 50's and 60's with a touch of other years (both earlier and later). 
8:30 / 9:00:  It's ED RAMBEAU TIME again!  He is now doing program #42 and my listeners never get tired of him.  This Friday's program will feature Love Songs. You'll be swooning before he finishes. I am proud that this talented entertainer is part of my show every 2 weeks.
9:00 / 12:00:  Here I offer you 3 more hours of memories mainly from the 50's and 60's but again you might hear earlier or later years included.
12:00 / 1:30:  It's Midnight Country!  90 minutes of the country music that todays country stations don't even remember. I've got many memories for you.
1:30 / 3:01 AM:  We end the night with another 90 minutes or so of anything and everything.
My email address is:
Looking forward to seeing you Friday night.
Tune in for The Greatest Songs That Ever Lived.
Remember you must be here because I don't want to be alone.
I am
Sincerely yours,
Stuart  Weiss                                
Use the link below to tune into our station:
(click here):  OldiesYour Way  
When you go to this site you will be directed to select the player of your choice.
This Sunday will be 4 years since the passing of Ronnie I.
Tomorrow night at 10 PM I will be doing a tribute to Ronnie.
He should never be forgotton.
Sunday night on my Doo Wop Party will be an additional tribute to Ronnie I.
Be there and don't miss these specials.
Besides "The Pop Shoppe"  I'd like to remind you that I am also here Sunday evenings from 11 PM till 2:01 AM with my Sunday Night Doo Wop Party. Just before my Sunday night show Frank Iovino and DJ Sheila are here at 9 PM with their Vocal Harmony Program. It is a great show for Doo Wop fans and leads right into my show.
Hey KK;
Greetings from Radio Free Nashville, where The FLip Side Radio Show plays 45s every Tuesday night and Sunday night!  I'm having a blast playing 2-sided hits from your Sound Advice suggestions.  This week I'm playing Neil Diamond's "Stones", with the B-side "Crunchy Granola Suite."  How many times do you hear that on the radio these days? I call this segment "The Spotlight Record," and I play it during the first 30 minutes of the show every time.  (I even use some intro music from the Beatles' "HELP!" album to introduce the segment).
Thanks for plugging my show on your website!
Mr. C.

COOL!  Great to see it dedicated to the Real Don Steele too!  Did you know that the Coachmen's "Tyme Won't Change" charted on KISN? 
You can click on right and expand the actual chart copy.
While I'm at it, a new KOMA chart from 1961 has been added just yesterday! 
Clark Besch
Hi Kent,
I'm a faithful reader of Forgotten Hits but have never written before.  I thought you might be interested in knowing the locally legendary KISN Radio in Portland, Oregon, has just been resurrected on line at  It uses the original KISN jingles plus other cool imaging, and a deep playlist of 50s, 60s, and 70s.  One of the KISN jocks from the 70s is behind the effort, and a handful of the other original KISN Good Guys are contributing voice tracks.  It's well worth a listen!
Thanks for all you do!  It's great reading!
Ironically, I was just there last night!  Clark Besch's email above included a link so I went and checked it out ... very cool stuff ... and I hope they put more of their weekly surveys up on the site!  Happy to help spread the word!  (kk)
Something I find truly remarkable is the fact that despite the fact that WCBS-FM is #1 in the #1 radio radio market on the planet (with a potential audience of more than 15 1/2 million), no other radio station in that market is playing oldies.  There are loads of other stations duplicating and triplicating each other with similar formats, but WCBS-FM is all alone in the category of music they've chosen to earn their success.  If THEY are that successful, why isn't there ANOTHER station in the New York market willing to tackle oldies in a big way and compete with them?  After all, the core oldies demo happens to not only be the largest and fastest-growing but the one which not only possesses the lion's share of disposable income but SPENDS IT.  It would not be all that difficult for a competing station to develop an alternative way of showcasing oldies -- including many timeless classics WCBS-FM no longer plays.  I did it as a radio programmer in L.A. -- pitting KRLA against KRTH and boosting KRLA's ratings one third in the first book alone while expanding it's demographic reach.   Is there any station in the New York market willing to cash in on the tri-state area's most popular kind of music programming?
Gary Theroux  
We've got three radio stations here in Chicago devoted to oldies right now and it makes for some interesting variety.  In addition, there are at least another half dozen spots on the dial where you're likely to hear a "vintage" tune now and again.  It seems like CBS took the "safe road" here in Chicago when they launched K-Hits ... you won't hear ANY surprises on this station!!!  Hits of the '60's, '70's and '80's (with heavy emphasis on the '80's) seems to be the mode of operation here.  (kk)
Meanwhile K-Hits shook up their line-up recently ... Afternoon Host Bo Reynolds is gone ... Gary Spears has taken over his spot ... and Chicago Radio Veteran Tommy Edwards is back full-time in his old mid-days spot!  Here's the way Chicagoland Media Columnist Rob Feder tells the story:
In the 40 years since he first came to Chicago, the legendary Tommy Edwards has excelled in a wide range of radio roles on and off the air. But none fit his talent or temperament more perfectly than his long run as midday personality on WLS-AM (890).
That’s why hearing him Monday work the 10 am - to -2 pm shift on CBS Radio’s classic hits
WJMK-FM (104.3) made all the sense in the world.
“This is my time of the day,” Edwards told me. “I’ve done all kinds of different shows — mornings and afternoons and all that — but midday shows are the ones that I’ve had the most success with and the ones I liked most. I feel very good about it.”
After 11 months of weekend and fill-in work at K-Hits, the Chicago radio veteran was called up to midday duty this week following Bo Reynolds’ ouster as afternoon host and Gary Spears’ shift from middays to afternoons. If program director Todd Cavanah likes what he hears, the arrangement could become permanent.
“Tommy brings a lot of knowledge and credibility to our format, and I am excited to see how he sounds on a daily basis instead of just weekends,” Cavanah said.
It’s hard to imagine a better fit in middays for a station that bills itself as The Greatest Hits of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. “The music’s my music,” Edwards said of the K-Hits format. “It’s what I played at ’LS. I certainly know it. One of the things that Todd mentioned to me is that he appreciates when I offer my insight or give details about some of the songs or the artists I play. That’s the kind of stuff I love to do.”
And kudos to Scott Shannon ... who's now part of the Nominating Committee for The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame!!!
Welcome Scott Shannon!
Legendary radio programmer Scott Shannon has accepted an invitation to join the nominating committee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.  In making the announcement, project creator John Rook said, "Scott's appreciation of recording artists lives through his "True Oldies," a nationally syndicated stage where the music of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame is heard round the clock.  He brings a wealth of knowledge to our group." 
Scott Shannon is a celebrated radio personality and programmer. Named the “Most Influential Programmer of the Past 20 Years” in a survey of his peers by Radio & Records, he’s also been honored five times as “Programmer of the Year” by Billboard Magazine. Scott has been inducted into the National Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in Washington D.C., the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago and is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Since 1991, Scott has been Program Director and morning co-host at WPLJ-FM in New York City. 
He is also heard across the U.S. on the syndicated Scott Shannon’s True Oldies Channel, for which he won a Marconi Award as “Syndicated Personality of the Year” in 2010. Prior to his time at ‘PLJ, Scott developed the “Morning Zoo” format in Tampa, built New York’s Z-100 into a Top 40 powerhouse and launched Pirate Radio in Los Angeles. He is also an acknowledged authority on music from early rock ‘n roll to today’s hits.
Rook also tells us this Dick Biondi story from long ago ...
"Why did I let Dick Biondi go when I consulted WCFL" you ask. I've been asked that many times and only recently realized I had offered some insight into my Biondi experience a few years ago upon witting the KFI chapter of "Passing Thru"
where it tells of the lesson I learned from Biondi and how I had hoped it wouldn't repeat itself at KFI with LA's legendary "Sweet Dick Whittington".
I'd been a giant fan of Dick Biondi ever since I first heard him on WLS in the early 60's.
In hiring Larry Lujack from WLS, I envisioned Dick Biondi once again becoming the nation's night time pied piper he once was on WLS. Following Super Jock Lujack in afternoon drive, Biondi would have started off with a huge audience and built even more
on it was my plan for SuperCFL.  Instead, I was fortunate having Big Ron O'Brien at KTLK in Denver ready for the big time of Chicago, where he soared in the ratings before doing the same thing in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. But I never got over not meeting Dick Biondi and at least letting him know what I fan I am.
John Rook
From "Passing Thru":
I had never met Sweet Dick Whittington but had been a fan of his since I first heard him years earlier on a small valley radio station, KGIL. It didn’t surprise me when he moved up to KFI. Within my first day or two, virtually all of the station’s talent, Hilly Rose, Ron McCoy, Larry Van Nuys, Morgan Williams, Bruce Wayne, Lohman and Barkley, came by my office to introduce themselves.  
Everyone that is - except Sweet Dick.
He ignored my requests for a simple introduction, a sad reminiscent of an earlier  experience with Dick Biondi, who bolted from WCFL without even meeting me upon learning I had hired Larry LuJack from rival WLS. Remembering that experience, I took the time to write a note to Whittington letting him know how much I looked forward to meeting and working with him. But there was still no response from my afternoon star.  By the end of a week, I left a final note explaining I would appreciate it if he could drop by for a quick hello before his show. I waited for a response or perhaps a phone call suggesting a more convenient time. I nervously glanced at the clock and noticed it was ticking down to just a few minutes before Sweet Dick’s airtime. Biggie stuck his head in my door asking, “no sweet dick yet?” “Unfortunately not”, I said, rising from behind my desk. I decided the time had come to meet my evasive charge at the studio door. Luckily Bob Shannon was standing by to fill in for a few minutes as I positioned myself at the studio door to greet Dick.  
At the last second, bounding up the steps to the studio came Sweet Dick as he looked up to see me offering my hand to shake in introduction. “I don’t have time now,” he said reaching for the studio door.         
“Sure you do Dick,” I said explaining Shannon would be covering his opening minutes on the air. Like a volcano he stormed out of the station vowing never to return as long as I was program director. 
Almost a dozen years passed before Sweet Dick and I actually met again at KABC where we buried the hatchet from earlier days in the ashes of the past. 
-- John Rook
Yikes!!!  The massive egos of the glory hey-days of Top 40 Radio!!!  (Today most of these guys would KILL for the chance to be back on the air!!!)  Just showed you what you could get away with during the days when radio truly WAS king!!!  Thanks, John!  (kk)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Remembering Davy Jones

I am in a state of shock; Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena.  The time we worked together and had together is something I'll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.  I can’t believe it … still in shock … had bad dreams all night long. My love and prayers go out to Davy’s girls and family right now.” 
-- Micky Dolenz
It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones.  His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.
-- Peter Tork

All the lovely people.  Where do they all come from?  
So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, 
I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or … strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity. That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane. David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.
-- Michael Nesmith

God bless Davy.  Peace & love to his family.
-- Ringo Starr

Lost a good mate today, but refuse to be morbid, because I know Davy Jones would want us to celebrate his great energy and talent.
-- Peter Noone  

The big news yesterday, of course, was the passing of Davy Jones ... and I can honestly say that there's still a little bit of numbness and state of shock lingering this morning.  

I first heard the news around Noon ... an hour later I got a DeathBeeper notice ... their link offers some nice photos of Davy and video of his last concert, where he looked and sounded fine.
Many, many years ago, I remember telling Micky and Davy after a show in Indiana one time (during a post-concert "meet and greet"), "You're the reason I play music."  They looked at me kind of strangely ... I mean, at first they were simply hired to PLAY a band on TV ... not actually BE one ... but it was true.
Sure, I flipped for The Beatles and The British Invasion first ... but I was only ten years old when The Beatles hit and made their mark ... and playing music never really crossed my mind at that early age.
But a couple of years later when I saw The Monkees on TV ... and how much FUN they were having ...or at least SEEMED to be having ... (I know now that it was all scripted and "that's why they call it acting" ... but SOME of it had to be fun, didn't it?!?!?) ... I knew then that I wanted to share in that enjoyment of the camaraderie of playing music with my like-thinking mates and making people happy.  (The cold hard facts indicate that most of these musicians really couldn't STAND each other after a while ... some liken it to being harder than a marriage ... and, in fact, far fewer survive!)  But it sure LOOKED and SOUNDED like fun!!!
By 1966 - 1967, The Beatles were getting into their experimental phase ... I was too young to get it.  (Besides I subscribe to the whole drug culture that seemed to go along with it ... clearly they weren't inspired in quite the same way anymore!)
And, naive as I was, it never dawned on me that The Monkees ... playing simple, catchy "pop" music ... were partying just as hearty and partaking in every bit as much of this "outside inspiration"!!!  Think about it ... as a band on TV, they were a failure ... they couldn't get the gigs ... they couldn't pay the rent ... they couldn't fall (and stay in love) ... yet somehow through it all we still rooted for our celluloid heroes week after week.
And we LOVED the music ... couldn't get enough of it.  It was like Beatlemania all over again ... everywhere you looked, everywhere you turned, the music of The Monkees was there ... kind of like TODAY when the news spread of Davy's death.  
The notices came in fast and furious after that ... seemed like every email was Davy-related ... every web page, radio station and television station carried the sad news.
It was just SO unexpected.
Peter's cancer scare a couple of years ago brought home the reality that these guys weren't going to be with us forever ... but then the 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour kicked off and everything looked good again.  (Sure, there were mysterious reports surrounding the abrupt, end of the tour ... but we'd grown to expect that, hadn't we?!?!?)
We got close to 200 emails and notices about Davy's passing today ... and we certainly can't run them all ... but here are some of the first comments and notices that we received ... indulge us for a few moments longer as we remember all the happiness that Davy Jones and The Monkees gave us today.
One of the biggest reasons for the long-lasting popularity of The Monkees is the fact that you didn't necessarily have to experience The Monkees first hand to enjoy the show and the music ... it's virtually NEVER been off the air.  (When M-TV started airing episodes in the '80's, The Pre-Fab Four's first four albums went back on the charts again ... and a comeback single "That Was Then, This Is Now" climbed the charts.)  Literally every generation to come along since the show first aired on NBC back in 1966 have come to discover the good-time feel of The Monkees ...  thanks to television, it's like they've never aged ... but of course they HAVE ... we ALL have ... but watching the old episodes and listening to the old tunes take us back to a happier, far more innocent time ... and, simply put ... it makes us FEEL good!  We'll miss you, Davy!  (kk)

What a shock to hear of the untimely death of Davy Jones. I remember when I was in my 20's being in love with him. I have all their albums and watched their tv show. May Davy Rest in Peace.

CBS news just reported the death of Davy Jones.  I can't believe it.  We were going to go see him in Wisconsin Dells on March 11th.
Phil Nee - WRCO

Another tragic news release ... Davy Jones, dead at 66.
I just wish whoever wrote this piece knew something about the history or rock and roll. They referred to The Monkees as a British rock band. Davy was the only Brit.
Only a few bands seemed to have members so uniquely different that each member had his own individual fan base as well as folks who were fans of the entire group. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and The Monkees seemed to epitomize that. And its pretty fair to say, Davy -- like Paul, Dennis and Mick--had the majority of screaming fans.
It is also a shame that Davy was robbed of living to see The Monkees' eventual induction into the Rock & Roll hall of Fame.
RIP, Davy ... your music lives on.
Fred / Treasure Isle
It is kind of surreal to see Rolling Stone cover Davy's death as today's "Breaking Story" ... front page coverage ... the whole nine yards ... when for so many years Publisher Jann Wenner has been singled out as being the main stumbling block to The Monkees taking their rightful place in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  Pretty sad, too, to see a reputable news source refer to The Monkees as "a British band" ... I cannot help but wonder if it was Mike Nesmith's accent that threw them!!!  (kk)

My heart is broken right now.  Davy Jones was a wonderfully talented performer, no matter what critics of the Monkees and their musical ability say.  The Monkees mean so much to me.  When I felt low and felt like a loser after being treated badly by my classmates for being 'different' (gay), when my parents treated me as less than human (at times),when life overall just got to be too much, or when I was just in the mood for happiness, the Monkees and Davy Jones always made me feel happy, which to me is a sign of great music and great talent.  I have watched their shows hundreds of times and I never tire of them.  To hear Davy sing "Daydream Believer" always makes me smile.  Along with The Beatles and David Bowie, the Monkees will always be one of my fave bands (and, yes, Virginia, they did become a real band).  Who didn't have a crush on him in the 60's?  I regret that I never got to see him live on stage.  In this day of histrionic over-singers and too cheesy for words poptwat creations that spell nothing but making $$$, the Monkees rose above their critics and synthetic origins to become true classics of music.  Thank you so much, Mr. Jones, for everything you brought into my life, and you will be missed so much.  Later.
Ed Pond
I know what a HUGE Davy fan you were ... I think we ALL appreciate him a little bit more today.  I was fortunate enough to have seen various group and solo shows over the years ... probably at least 20-25 times in all ... always a guaranteed fun night out.
Frannie commented that Davy always seemed so much younger than he was ... so full of life.  Every kid (and I mean EVERY kid ... male OR female!) who grew up with pictures of Davy Jones on their walls had a little piece of their lives taken away today.  Sad news.  (kk)

Wow ... wasn't the Davy Jones death a shock!!!

I think the Forgotten Hits gang will like this.
Here is Dan Taylor's last interview with Davy Jones.
Frank B.  

Click here: Davy Jones & the Monkees Through the Years [Photos]#photo-1      

Sucks about Davy Jones ... he wasn't that old ... I hate how we are losing so many of our beloved artists ... getting older is no fun.

Davy Jones -- Manchester, England-born lead singer with the Monkees -- died Wednesday (February 29) after suffering a heart attack at his home in Stuart, Florida. He was 66. Davy's career began as an actor at age 11, appearing in the British soap, "Coronation Street." Though he trained as a jockey, it was his performance in London's production of "Oliver!" that brought him to America to reprise his role on Broadway as the Artful Dodger and begin a life of music. Davy appeared with the rest of the "Oliver!" cast on the "Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS-TV the same night the Beatles premiered and reportedly said to himself in the wings, "I want a piece of that." Garnering a recording contract with Colpix Records (as David Jones and to little success at the time), he answered an ad along with 400 other hopefuls for a role in NBC-TV's answer to the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." Davy was chosen as one of "The Monkees" - along with Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. The show aired for three seasons and gave us nine top 40 hits, including the Davy-led "Daydream Believer" (#1- 1967), "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (#2 - 1967) and "Valleri" (#3 - 1968). Other hits included "Last Train To Clarksville" (#1 - 1966), "I'm A Believer" (#1 - 1966) and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (#3 - 1967). Unjustly referred to as the "Prefab Four" (mainly because studio musicians were used on many of their recordings despite the boys' backgrounds in music), the group moved on to make the psychedelic movie "Head" before drifting apart in the late '60s and early '70s. Davy revived his solo career with "Rainy Jane" (#52 - 1971) but non-Monkees hits eluded him. He appeared with Micky in Harry Nilson's "The Point" onstage in London in 1978 and the two reunited with Peter for a 20th anniversary tour that led to an unexpected top twenty hit again in 1986 with "That Was Then, This Is Now." Since then, he appeared in acting and singing solo roles while occasionally joining in reunions, including one in 1996 and one just last year (despite what appeared to be a bitter feud with Micky).
-- Ron Smith 

What a shock!
Boy this is sad news, especially for all of us that grew up with him and the Monkees. I got a chance to meet Davy and spend some time with him for a few minutes with a radio interview, he was a Gentle-Man, a great actor ... and one of my favorite Monkees!
RIP Davy Jones
"Wild" Bill Cody   

And I thought love was only true in fairy tales.
The legend of the Monkees is that they didn't write their own songs, they didn't play their own instruments, the whole think was fake.
The Monkees were the first indication that we'd won. That the old guard, the establishment, our parents, were no longer in control. We had our own sitcom on TV. Featuring our music. That was a gigantic breakthrough.
But what was even better was the music was great! In the case of "I'm A Believer", spectacular! Credit the songwriters, credit the delivery, but never forget it was a band, which came together through obtuse circumstances, like so many, but went on to not only create music, but stay together, even after their eponymous television show had been canceled.
And Micky Dolenz might have sung most of the songs.
But Davy was the front man, he was the cute one, he was the one the girls swooned for, the one we wanted to be.
Even better, he had a sense of humor about himself. He was funny back then, and knew he'd lived a charmed life until it all ended today.
"Here we come
Walk down the street
We get the funniest looks
From everyone we meet"
There's not a baby boomer alive who does not know "(Theme From) The Monkees". This was not a Justin Bieber sideshow, the Monkees had more impact than Mr. Bieber or Lady Gaga. They were ubiquitous in a three network world where we were addicted to the radio when we weren't in front of the tube.
There are classic album openers, like "Gimmie Shelter" and "Back In The U.S.S.R.", and "(Theme From) The Monkees" is a member of this club. You're hooked from the initial drumbeat. And unlike modern hip-hop culture, the listener didn't feel excluded, put down by the group, but invited in.
But the hit was "Last Train To Clarksville". It played all fall until... "I'm A Believer" took over and owned the airwaves, through Christmas and beyond.
A magical track, "I'm A Believer" pivoted on Micky Dolenz's breathy vocals, but we didn't see it as a solo cut, but a masterpiece by the Monkees. It still puts a smile on my face today. I played it incessantly back then. I have never ever burned out on it. In a pre-Internet era where we didn't have our music on demand, you listened to the radio until they played your favorite song and then you went out and bought it.
Which I did.
I even bought the songbook, so I could play the songs at home, on my guitar. Not because I thought I was gonna be rich and famous, but because I wanted to share in the joy.
And I'm stunned how joyful I feel when I hear "Pleasant Valley Sunday" today. I'd given up at this point, as you often do. I bought the first three albums and then dropped out, but years later I realized I was wrong, this was a killer track.
But, once again, Davy did not sing the lead vocal.
But not only did Davy carry the hit "Daydream Believer", he sang "I Wanna Be Free", "This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day" and "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)", which were as big as the hits to we who wore out these vinyl records.
I saw Davy twice in recent years. Once at the Pollstar Awards, where he demonstrated the aforementioned sense of humor about himself and last summer at the Greek, as part of the Monkees reunion.
At Pollstar, Davy talked about being a fading, aged rock star. The bills for college. He mocked his height, or lack thereof. And was essentially shilling for work, that's why you present at the Pollstar Awards.
At the Greek, the band played all the hits, we reveled in the memories. They showed video, we marveled over who we once were. It was thrilling, but shortly thereafter they broke up once again and the rest of the tour was canceled.
And that's the story of rock and roll, of being a fan. We want our bands to last forever. But they almost never do. The alchemy is so fragile. But the music remains. We put our faith in it. It keeps us going.
Such that when one of its purveyors passes to the other side, we're shocked. We thought they'd be here forever, with us, like the music. We looked up to them. If they're old and gray and pass away, what is to happen to us?
I don't know if Davy Jones went to the doctor. If he adhered to his prescription. In any event, he's now gone. He was a thread, however thin, to what once was, my formative years, I didn't have a bad memory about him. But if he goes, that means I'm next.
Yes, we baby boomers are heading into our sunset years. And as we're shuffled off the horizon, they want to rewrite our history.
Let it be said that we were mad about the Monkees. Their music stands the test of time. They were trailblazers. They were not hula-hoops, used briefly and then discarded with disdain, but a group of four men we embraced warmly. They let Jimi Hendrix open for them. They created one of the first psychedelic films. Hell, to get "Head" you've got to be high on drugs. It was co-written by Jack Nicholson before anyone knew who he was. Don't pigeonhole the Monkees as a trifle, as a mere footnote, as puppets. With their television show on the air it showed us not only that we had won, but the music was the decisive weapon in our battle. Soon bands like the Jefferson Airplane would be testing limits, we'd all gather at Woodstock and blow the mainstream's mind.
We owned the country. It was now ours.
And it would have happened slower, and it would have been different without the Monkees.
Great songs, great performances ... If that ain't the essence of music, I don't know what is.
Davy, we'll never forget you.
-- Bob Lefsetz   

Locally, Antenna TV has pulled out all the stops and will be running a non-stop Monkees Marathon this weekend ... EVERY episode of the television series back-to-back, along with the band's 1968 film "Head" will air this weekend beginning at Noon.
Full details can be found here:

Finally, some tunes you may not hear on the radio today ... but great Davy tracks nevertheless. 
Davy's biggest Monkees hits were his three #1 Records, "Daydream Believer", "Valleri" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You".  (Micky Dolenz sang their other #1 Hits, "Last Train To Clarksville" and "I'm A Believer".)  But thanks to their television series, many of their album tracks also received regular radio airplay, too ... in fact, some of these played as often as many of the hit singles currently in rotation at the time!  Here are a few of my favorites:

From Davy's Official Website:
It is with the deepest sadness that Davy's family has announced that he passed away on February 29th.  Jessica has lost a devoted husband, and Talia, Sarah, Jessica and Annabel a loving father, while Harrison, Lauren and Phoenix have lost a proud grandfather.  His sisters in England -- Hazel, Beryl, and Lynda -- have lost their brother.
While we are deeply saddened by our loss, we give thanks and find comfort in our memories.
Davy loved to laugh each day, and we know he would want his fans to remember him with laughter and not tears.  You all meant such a lot to him.
If we listen a little harder we will hear him singing with the angels tonight.  Our wish for him is that he sleep tight -- we will always be with him.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 29, 1980

Wrapping up our special Leap Year Countdown with the Ten Most Popular Songs on this date in 1980!

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February 29, 1980:

10. Coward Of The County - Kenny Rogers
This song has ALWAYS reminded me of the 1971 flick "Straw Dogs" starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George, even though it came out a full decade later.  (The film was recently remade ... to less than flattering reviews ... and justifiably so, I might add!)  
Personally, this is one of my LEAST favorite Kenny Rogers tunes ... but I always enjoyed his little "in joke" poking fun at his quite-often touring partners, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers.

9. Do That To Me One More Time - The Captain and Tennille: 
Making another appearance on our very special Leap Year Countdowns, we you the low-down on The Captain and Tennille in our 1976 edition.
"Do That To Me One More Time" would prove to be their LAST big hit ... however, it topped The National Charts earlier this month.

8. Cruisin' - Smokey Robinson: 
In our 1976 Leap Year Countdown, Smokey's former bandmates The Miracles were at the #1 position with their disco hit "Love Machine".  It would take Robinson four more years before HE would enjoy the same honor ... and this is the song that put him there.  (In addition to reaching #1 independently of one another, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles also topped the charts together in 1970 with their mega-hit "The Tears Of A Clown".  "Shop Around" and "I Second That Emotion" came close, peaking at #2 and #3 respectively.
A nice remake of "Cruisin'" by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow (from the movie "Duets") saturated the airwaves and eventually topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart in 2000 (despite never officially making their Hot 100 listing).
7. Working My Way Back To You / Forgive Me Girl -
The Spinners: 
The Spinners started their recording career nearly FIFTY years ago when they were discovered by the legendary Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows and had their first Top 40 success with his Tri-Phi Records label back in 1961 ("That's What Girls Are Made For", #27).  The Top 40 Hits continued as they moved on to Motown Records ("I'll Always Love You", #35 in 1965) and V.I.P. Records ("It's A Shame", #14 in 1970) before signing with Atlantic Records in 1972, where their unique sound went through the roof. Between 1972 and 1976, The Spinners hit The Top Ten six times on the Pop Charts, with soulful pop classics like "I'll Be Around" (#1 in 1972), "Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" (also #1, 1973), "One Of A Kind Love Affair" (#8, 1973), "Then Came You" (yet ANOTHER #1 Record, this time recorded with Dionne Warwick ... or do you say "Warwicke", as SHE did on the record label for this tune?), "Games People Play / They Just Can't Stop It" (#2, 1975) and "The Rubberband Man" (also #2, 1976.) 
Their medley of the old Four Seasons hit "Working My Way Back To You" (coupled with a brand new piece of music called "Forgive Me Girl") also shot straight up the charts, peaking at #2 early in 1980. The Spinners would try the medley-thing a couple more times ... once, quite successfully (their version of the Sam Cooke classic "Cupid", couple with "I've Loved You For A Long Time", would hit #4 later that year in 1980) ... and once NOT so successfully (they also took The Carpenters' hit "Yesterday Once More" and "medleyed" it with "Nothing Remains The Same", #52 in 1981.) By the way, ALL of these new tunes were written by Michael Zager, who had some chart success of his own in the mid-'70's after leaving Ten Wheel Drive.

6. Rock With You - Michael Jackson: 
It was a much darker (and a lot less controversial) Michael Jackson that made a remarkable comeback with his "Off The Wall" album in 1979. It revitalized his solo career and spawned FOUR hit singles including this one (which had already hit #1 in January), "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" (also #1 in 1979), the title track, "Off The Wall" (#10) and my personal favorite, "She's Out Of My Life" (also #10). He followed "Off The Wall" with one of the biggest selling albums of all time, "Thriller".
Of course, since our last Leap Year Countdown ran, we've lost Michael Jackson ... yet another senseless death of a musical superstar who had it all in the palm of his gloved hand at one time.  So sad ... but the music lives on (and always will). 

5. Desire - Andy Gibb: 
Andy Gibb is another one who seemed to have it all when he first broke through on the pop charts back in the late 1970's. He was the youngest brother of The Bee Gees and all seven of his first chart singles were written by his big brother Barry and made The Top Ten. Soon he was on the cover of every teenage magazine, playing to sell-out crowds all over the world, appearing on Broadway, dating "Dallas" Actress Victoria Principal, and co-hosting the television series "Solid Gold".  Sadly, drink and drugs got the better of him and we lost Andy in 1988. Today's #5 song, "Desire", written by all three of the older Brother Gibb, would be Andy's last Top Ten Hit.

4. On The Radio - Donna Summer: 
Disco Queen Donna Summer made her chart debut on our 1976 Leap Year Chart with "Love To Love You Baby".  By the time "On The Radio" came along four short years later, she'd already had NINE more Top 40 hits, including the #1 Records "MacArthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls" and her duet with Barbra Streisand, "No More Tears".

3. Longer - Dan Fogelberg: 
Dan Fogelberg had already had a couple of Top 40 Hits prior to "Longer"'s release at the end of 1979, but THIS is the one that put him on the map (as well as the song lists of virtually EVERY wedding performer from this point forward!) Despite recording some very interesting and engaging uptempo tunes, Fogelberg was forever branded a wimpy, soft-rock artist after "Longer" topped the charts in early 1980. (It would remain the biggest hit of his career.) A very clever (and hysterical) parody ... that sounds EXACTLY like Dan Fogelberg singing ... takes pot shots at one of his future hits and reworks it as "Leader Of The Bland"!  Sadly, we lost Dan to cancer in December of 2007, just a few months before our last Leap Year countdown ran. 

2. Yes I'm Ready - Teri DeSario with KC: 
Harry Casey (as the leader of KC and the Sunshine Band) enjoyed one of the most successful disco-era careers in the mid-to-late '70's with HUGE hits like "Get Down Tonight" (#1, 1975), "That's The Way I Like It" (also #1, 1975), "Shake Your Booty" (#1, 1976), "I'm Your Boogie Man" (yet ANOTHER #1 hit, 1977) and "Keep It Comin' Love" (pretty much a chart failure by comparison ... it stopped at #2 later in '77). 
He also scored the very first #1 song of the new decade when his pretty ballad "Please Don't Go" topped the charts on January 5, 1980. Meanwhile, Teri DeSario was trying to hitch a ride on the enormous Bee Gees bandwagon in 1978 when she cut "Ain't Nothing Gonna Keep Me From You", a song written and produced by Barry Gibb.  (It was a very rare Bee Gees flop at the time ... in 1978, NOBODY dominated the charts more than The Brothers Gibb!)  The following year, she was asked to duet with KC on the old Barbara Mason hit "Yes, I'm Ready" and their remake out-performed the original, peaking at #2. (Barbara's original version stopped at #3 in 1965.) 
Both KC and Teri were born in Florida (he in Hialeah, she in Miami) and they grew up as childhood friends. When her first single stopped at #43, she reportedly called KC and asked if there was anything he could do to help. He agreed to produce her follow-up, but then had to convince her to record the remake. Supposedly, on a flight together to Los Angeles, KC got Teri to at least CONSIDER recording the song by singing it with her as a duet on the airplane!  When she saw the positive reaction of the other passengers, she thought it just might have a chance. A follow-up remake of the old Martha and the Vandellas song "Dancing In The Streets" didn't fare as well ... it stopped at #66 ... and Teri DeSario never hit the pop chart again! 

***1***  Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen: 
Somehow it almost seems fitting that the #1 Song from our 1980 Leap Year Countdown would feel just as at home back in 1956 (where this Special Leap Year Countdown first began several hours ago.) 
Freddie Mercury, the driving force behind Queen, HAS to be one of the most under-rated songwriters of our time. This guy could take ANY musical style and adapt it to Queen's sound. His classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" encompasses operatic technique, a beautiful ballad intro and ending, a head-banging (or at least head-bobbing ala "Wayne's World") hard-rock mid-section, some of the most incredible vocal work EVER recorded ... and ties them all together coherently in a musical masterpiece. Queen enjoyed commercial success with pure pop hits like "You're My Best Friend", dramatic love ballads like "Somebody To Love", foot-stomping arena rock like "We Will Rock You" and letter-perfect disco funk with "Another One Bites The Dust" ... EVERY musical style seemed to work for the band! Then, in 1980, Mercury went as far away from type as may be humanly possible and recreated the letter-perfect rock-a-billy sound that first came to light in the earliest days of rock and roll ... yet STILL made it contemporary sounding enough to be a MAJOR hit of the times.


(How sad is it that FOUR of our Top Six artists are no longer with us today as we celebrate their 1980 chart achievements!)

Thanks to everybody who stuck with us throughout the day for this year's Special Leap Year Countdown.  (Hey, I'm sure we'll do it again in 2016 ... so you've got THAT to look forward to!!!)

February 29, 1976

February 29th, 1976

Our Bi-Centennial Year was a Leap Year, too, as America celebrated its 200th Birthday!

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Here were the Top Ten Songs on this date, 1976:

10. Fanny - The Bee Gees
The Brothers Gibb were still milking the success of their comeback album "Main Course" when "Fanny" became the THIRD straight single from this LP to crack The Top Ten.  (The Bee Gees hadn't had a Top Ten Record in four years ... and they literally reinvented themselves on this disk ... for better or worse, depending on your point of view!)
"Jive Talkin'" came first ... and it went all the way to #1.  Then came "Nights On Broadway", which climbed to #4 on the charts.  The Disco Era had officially begun!)
"Fanny" ultimately peaked at #7 ... and remains one of our all-time favorite Bee Gees ballads

9. Love Hurts - Nazareth: 
A GREAT remake of the Everly Brothers / Roy Orbison tune. I first heard this song performed by a bar band down in Daytona Beach, Florida on Spring Break in early 1976 ... and they did a note-for-note, letter-perfect version. (In hindsight, for all I know, it could have BEEN Nazareth!!!  It was THAT good!) "Love Hurts" would turn out to be Nazareth's One Hit Wonder, ultimately peaking at #8. 
DIDJAKNOW?: Nazareth were from Scotland and they took their name from the first line of the classic Band hit "The Weight"!  ("I pulled into Nazareth ... ") (For those of you keeping score, that makes TWO Frannie favorites in a row!!!  Take a load off, Frannie!!!)

8. Lonely Night (Angel Face) - The Captain and Tennille: 
After the HUGE success of "Love Will Keep Us Together" the year before, The Captain and Tennille went back to the Neil Sedaka songbook one more time for this one. Although nowhere near as big a hit, it DID top the Cash Box chart, and really does fall into the Forgotten Hits category ... you rarely EVER hear this one on the radio anymore.
Neil Sedaka's big '70's comeback was orchestrated by Elton John, who signed him to his Rocket Records label. "Sedaka's Back" became a best-selling album in 1975 and that's where Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille found "Love Will Keep Us Together), which, in their hands, went on to become the biggest pop hit of 1975. (To their credit, they did some pretty incredible arranging ... Sedaka's original version is pretty limp and, to my ears, showed absolutely NO hit potential.) Listen closely and you can even hear Toni Tennille sing "Sedaka's Back" during the fade-out at the end of the record. 
Sedaka's follow-up album, "The Hungry Years", did even better on the charts and it's from THIS LP that The Captain and Tennille took "Lonely Night (Angel Face)".  Dragon was a keyboard player for The Beach Boys in the early '70's (and Toni Tennille was perhaps the first female Beach Boy when she joined the group as a background vocalist!) In fact, it was Beach Boy Mike Love who dubbed Daryl "The Captain" in the first place because of all the hats he used to wear on stage. They went on to have nine Top 40 Hits in the '70's and even had their own TV show for a while.  We recently saluted them on their 38th wedding anniversary which just happens to be Valentine's Day!!!

7. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon: 
OK, tell the truth ... did anybody out there actually COUNT them?!?!? I've never been convinced that Paul Simon really told us all fifty ways! "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" became Paul Simon's FIFTH Top Ten Hit after splitting with his 1960's singing partner Art Garfunkel ... and it topped the charts just a couple of weeks earlier.

6.  Dream Weaver - Gary Wright:
Gary would eventually top the charts with his first solo hit after years of studio session work (and fronting the rock group Spooky Tooth).  The song still sounds good, be it Leap Year or any OTHER year ... and it still gets a fair amount of airplay on the oldies stations, the classic rock stations and the easy listening stations.  (Now that's what I call and across-the-boards hit record!)  His follow up release, "Love Is Alive" is another classic ... it peaked at #2 just a few months later! 

5. Take It To The Limit - The Eagles: 
When we first published this chart back in 2008, I kicked this off by saying:  
First off, let me say that I am a HUGE Eagles fan (although this is NOT one of my favorite Eagles songs.) However, I find it necessary to right a wrong that's been going on for these last several rounds of Eagles "Farewell Tour" performances. "Take It To The Limit" was written by then-Eagles bassist Randy Meisner.  (Prior to joining The Eagles, Meisner had been around the musical block a few times ... he was an original member of Poco as well as part of Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band.)  As such, this makes Randy one of the Fore-Fathers of Country / Rock.  
When he presented "Take it To The Limit" to The Eagles for recording consideration, they loved the song. All of their previous hit singles had been written and / or sung by leaders Glenn Frey and Don Henley ... so it was quite an achievement when Meisner's "Take It To The Limit" was chosen to be released as a single.  (I can only imagine a George Harrison-like moment when "Something" was determined to be the strongest track from The Beatles' new "Abbey Road" album!)
According to stories that Meisner has told since, Frey and Henley reportedly changed two words of Randy's lyrics ... and then insisted on  song co-writing credit. Furious, Meisner agreed for fear that his song wouldn't be recorded otherwise. (He eventually re-recorded it as a solo artist and changed those two words back!!!) For years after Meisner left the band, The Eagles would not perform this song live in concert, even though the record went on to become the band's very first gold single ... and was one of their most popular tunes. 
When I saw the Eagles perform in 2008, it was back in the line-up. Glenn Frey got a big laugh when he told the audience that while we're all out here enjoying what we believe will be one of The Eagles' final performances ever, their managers are actually backstage planning Eagles Reunion Tour VII.  (Not much of a joke in hindsight ... they've toured virtually non-stop ever since ... and have even recorded a brand new album together!)
When he announced "Take It To The Limit" in concert, (which HE now sings, by the way), he described it as "a song we wrote with Randy Meisner", implying more than a passing credit as to the origins of the song ... and, knowing the whole story behind these circumstances, this more than rubbed me the wrong way.  However, since then, Frey has acknowledged in the most recent "Eagles' Greatest Hits" CD Package that  "Take It To The Limit" was The Eagles' VERY first Gold Single. Although they had had #1 Records earlier in their career, NONE of them had actually sold a million copies. 
Now, in all fairness, The Eagles were probably better known as an ALBUM band than as a singles band ... but he goes on to state "on the record" that he is VERY proud of Randy Meisner for delivering The Eagles' VERY first Gold Single!!!) 
Thanks, Glenn ... I feel SO much better now!!!  (lol) 

4. December, 1963 - The Four Seasons: 
The Four Seasons scored one of the biggest comebacks ever seen on the pop charts ... after not placing a song in Top 10 since 1967, they came back strong with the back-to-back hits "Who Loves You" (#3) and "December, 1963" (#1) in 1975-76. And, as we've mentioned SO many times these past few years, their music is hotter than ever thanks to the success of "Jersey Boys"!!!  They've reached a whole new audience with one of the best (and most successful) stage shows in ages.  It is literally playing all over the world, insuring the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will live on forever!

3. Theme From S.W.A.T. - The Rhythm Heritage: 
At the time of this original series back on LEAP YEAR, 2004, we were bemoaning the fact that so many TV shows were being made into camped-up movies.  At the time, it had just been announced that Starksy and Hutch were going to be the next victims!  Then, in 2008, word came that "S.W.A.T." and "The A-Team" were going to be given big screen make-overs.  Failure upon failure upon failure at the box office hasn't seemed to deter Hollywood at all ... heaven forbid somebody should actually come up with a NEW idea or plot line!!!
Now, on the one hand, hearing "new" versions of "The Theme from S.W.A.T." and "Shaft" and "Mission Impossible" aren't all bad things ... a whole new generation of music fans are now discovering this "brand-new music" for themselves!  (Otherwise, it may have just slipped through the cracks like so many other great hits from this era.)  The Rhythm Heritage topped the charts with their funky "Theme from S.W.A.T." back in 1976 ... and then later that year they hit The Top 20 once again with the theme from the TV Show BARETTA.
2. All By Myself - Eric Carmen: 
We told you once before that Eric Carmen had to re-record his vocal on this #1 Hit SEVEN TIMES because everyone connected with the record felt that he sounded too much like Paul McCartney!  After placing five hits in The Top 40 with The Raspberries, Carmen didn't miss a beat with his solo career ... "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again", "Sunrise", "She Did It", "Change Of Heart", "I Wanna Hear it From Your Lips", "Hungry Eyes" and "Make Me Lose Control" all followed "All By Myself" into The Top 40. 

***1***  - Love Machine - The Miracles: 
NOBODY thought that The Miracles would survive after the departure of Smokey Robinson ... boy, were WE wrong!!! "Love Machine" topped the pop chart in 1976 ... something Smokey himself wouldn't do for nearly four more years!!! (In fact, you'll find out just HOW he did it in our 1980 LEAP YEAR Countdown ... which is coming up next ... so stay tuned!!!)