Saturday, March 24, 2012

Remembering Johnny Maestro

Two years ago today we lost one of the greatest voices in rock and roll history ... Johnny Maestro.

Maestro first found success with The Crests in 1958 when their very first chart hit, "16 Candles" soared all the way up to #2 on the pop charts.  It remained the biggest hit of his career ...

But in 1969 ... an incredible eleven years later ... Johnny made The Top Three again with a NEW band called The Brooklyn Bridge.  Their biggest hit, "The Worst That Could Happen", reached #3 that year.

Johnny continued to perform to sold-out crowds until health problems put him on the sidelines in 2010.  He was a regular fixture on many of the PBS Oldies Music Shows and, from what I've been told by countless fans, he never failed to please his adoring audience.

We recently told you about a brand new book covering the life of Johnny Maestro, written by Professor Irene Brodsky.  In fact, Irene was kind enough to give away an autographed copy of her book to the Forgotten Hits Reader who came up with the best "Favorite Johnny Maestro Memory".

The winner of our little FH contest is Nate Mehdi of West Palm Beach, Florida ... and an autographed copy of Irene's book is already on its way to him. 

Here is what Nate had to say of HIS Johnny Maestro experience:

Some years ago I attended an outdoor Brooklyn Bridge Concert, sponsored by a local politician, at Mt. Lorretto Playground in The Bronx.  It was scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm but they started at 7 PM because of threatening weather.  At about 7:15  there was a lightning and thunder storms and they had to stop.The politician arrived at about 7:30 and saw that the act had changed into their street clothes and asked what had happened. Johnny explained that it was too dangerous to perform with electronic equipment under the existing conditions.  The politician threatened to stop payment on the check and asked Johnny to sing a few songs for the people.  John, Les, Freddie, Marty and Jimmy Rosica ... all in street clothes ... commenced to do an a cappella set that lasted about an hour.  It was one of the greatest concerts I ever attended!  It was reminiscent of back in 1956-7 when Johnny & the Crests, including Patrica VanDross, used to sing a cappella at the Henry St. Settlement House in lower Manhattan.  This was before they had recorded anything and John was still a student at Textil High School (now Charles Evans Hughes H.S.)  Everyone who heard them knew that John was destined for greatness. 
I guess I had a proclivity for attending Brooklyn Bridge concerts in inclement weather.  One summer night I went out to John Burns Park in Massapequa, NY, but the concert was moved to a local school because of bad weather.  Due to limited seating, they were only allowing local residents into the venue.  I did not qualify and had to sneak in through a back door to see another memorable concert.
I was fortunate to attend  John's last public performance at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut in January, 2010. Even though he was very sick at the time, he gave his usual excellent performance.
My favorite memory in watching and listening to Johnny for over a half a century is that he was a consummate professional who always gave a 100%.  In all those many years his voice never wavered and he never gave a bad performance.  Thanks for the memories John ... RIP.
Nate Mehdi

Interested readers can pick up a copy of Irene's new book, "Sixteen Candles Shine Forever In Memory of Johnny Maestro" through all of the usual sources, including
We heard from a few other Johnny Maestro fans who commented on the beautiful photo used on the cover of Irene's book.  Irene tells us:

The photo on the front cover was taken by Bruno and I had to search all the way to Australia to find the new owner of the rights to that picture so I could get the authorization.  That is why my book is precious to me.  It comes from my heart.

Irene also sent us an early picture of Johnny with The Crests, circa 1957.  
This attached image of Johnny And The Crests was taken by the famous photographer Popsie of NYC.  I am proud to have been given authorization to include it in my book.  

My name is Professor Irene Brodsky and I want to thank everyone who entered the contest to win my new book "Sixteen Candles Shine Forever in Memory of Johnny Maestro".  I congratulate the winner, Nate Mehdi. And thank you, Kent, for this event for a lucky winner to win my book.  I am honored and I thank you.
I also want to thank anyone who was kind enough to buy the book.  Bless you from the bottom of my 65 year old heart.  And all of you can write to me at  I would love to hear from all of you."
Love always,

Be sure to check out Johnny's two biggest hits in our Sound Advice Column today, too.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the web page to find both "16 Candles" AND "The Worst That Could Happen" as today's featured tracks. (kk)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sound Advice

We're taking our new "Sound Advice" column "Prime Time" again today ... be sure to scroll down and check out this new, daily feature.  (And check back again this weekend, too, as we have brand new, special Saturday and Sunday editions planned ... including a tribute tomorrow to the late Johnny Maestro!)
When I saw and played the two choices you had today, I was immediately reminded of another record which was very big here in the OKC for another member of Hee Haw.  I am talking about his novelty record of 1967 THE COCKFIGHT.  It was a top 5 record here in the OKC area for Archie Campbell. To be honest with you, I was surprised it did all that well considering the 'fowl' language that was in it. Don't know if it made your surveys, but again a very big novelty record for one Mr. Campbell here in OKC.
Nope, not familiar with that one!  And I don't see that it charted nationally either ... so a REAL novelty track for Oklahoma City!!!  (Actually, I heard "Eefin' Annie" the other day ... and remember the Hager Twins eefin' all the time on Hee Haw!  lol)  kk
Your Sound Advice for today, believe me on this, was by a group whose record I just happened to play yesterday because I remembered it for one reason or another. Remember Ronny and the Daytonas' 1965 hit BUCKET "T"? I know you do.
Keep up the good work.
Hi Kent,
Thanks for spotlighting G.T.O. today. It was the first song I ever played on the radio and the memories came rushing back. I wonder how many jocks remember the first song they ever played on the air.
Steve Hotvedt
I'll betcha a whole BUNCH of 'em!!! Probably most if not all.  I would think such a momentous occasion would stay will you for all-time.  (Have you seen our First 45's Segment?!?!?  We really DO remember this stuff!!!)  kk
Hi Kent,
When I saw the Sound Advice Cowsills selections today it reminded me of a song by them, “The Impossible Years”, from the movie of the same name. It plays over the opening credits and says written by The Tokens and performed by The Cowsills. Definitely an obscure song and, pardon the pun, Impossible to find. Does anybody out there have a copy of this song to share? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
BTW, I'm really enjoying the Sound Advice stuff lately!
Thank you!
Eddie Burke / Orange, CT 

I totally loved the story of how "The Mother and Child Reunion" song came about. Thanks!
It's amazing sometimes how the most innocent phrase can inspire a talented songwriter like Paul Simon to craft an entire song ... with an entirely different meaning ... over something he saw listed on the menu.
And for more of The Story Behind The Song for Sukiyaki, be sure to check out The Forgotten Hits Website next week ... we'll be rerunning our popular feature on this song from a few years back!  (kk)
Hi Kent-
Love the website and Sound Advice!
Mike Lane

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cleaning Out The Garage

Good response to our latest blurb encouraging you to vote for your All-Time Garage Band favorites.  Between now and June 1st, we'll be tabulating your votes (and making and sharing suggestions of artists for your consideration.)
Right off the bat we've got several groups now who have already earned double digits in votes ... here (in alphabetical order) are the current leaders:
The Beau Brummels, The Blues Magoos, The Bobby Fuller Four, The Kingsmen, The Knickerbockers, The Leaves, Love, The Merry-Go-Round, The Music Machine, ? and the Mysterians, The Seeds, The Shadows Of Knight, The Sir Douglas Quintet and The Standells.  (That's damn-near 20 favorites right there!!!)  Remember, in order to qualify, the band had to have at least ONE charted record ... and "Bubbling Under" records count!
Throughout the polling process, we'll be making suggestions of some of the artists you may have overlooked.
Here's one for your consideration ... how about The Nightcrawlers and their Garage Band Classic "The Little Black Egg"!  
Although hailing from Daytona Beach, FL, this record was a smash in Florida, Ohio and Seattle, Washington, where it went all the way to #1!
It's our "Pick Hit" for this session ... and please be sure to check out some of the comments below by some of our other readers who are diggin' our latest Forgotten Hits Poll!  (kk)

Kent -
My vote goes to The "Bonniwell" Music Machine.
I think Sean Bonniwell was FAR underrated ...

Hi Kent,
As with all these labels, I guess the term "garage band" is open to interpretation, but I saw the Knickerbockers mentioned; based only on "Lies", I guess I could see that, but having seen them live, I wouldn't call them a garage band at all. They were a very good club band with a repertoire that included a wide variety of then current pop / rock (including Pet Clark's "I Know A Place"; they're the only band I ever heard do that song).
Gary E. Myers / MusicGem   

Hi Kent,
Here are my Top Five:
1. Sir Douglas Quintet  (Numbers One and Two are a close one for me, but the late Doug Sahm deserves the nod for decades of great music.)
2. Bobby Fuller Four  (What might've been still hurts.)
3. Standells  ("Ditry Water" was the first time we ever heard this kind of edge in a Top 40 survey.) 
4. The Sonics  (Probably as true a representation of the Garage Band genre as there ever was.)
5. The Kingsmen  ("Louie, Louie" alone earns them a berth in the Garage Hall-of-Fame.)
Scott Paton   

Hello Kent:  
I’m going to push this one again.  I vote for the Fabulous Flippers.  You might throw it out but their version of the Harlem Shuffle is the best. 
Pete Heger 
For the record, I'd only "throw it out" if it didn't make the charts ... which, unfortunately, it didn't!  (kk)

I can think of several "garage-band" songs and groups:
YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME 13th Floor Elevators
IN MY MIND'S EYE Small Faces
PERSECUTION SMITH Bob Seger & The Last Heard
WHY PICK ON ME Standells
YOU, I Rugbys
HEY JOE Leaves
... there are plenty of others, of course.
But these songs are worthy of consideration.
Tal Hartsfeld  

Hello Kent -
On your blog from 3/20 there is a photo of a cd of garage hits from WLS. Do you have an idea of how I can get a copy of this? Thanks!
I enjoy your writing. I was involved in college radio in upstate NY from 1970 - 1974 and also at Penn State & Allentown, OA for a number of years after.
Thanks again!
-- Keith Semerod
That CD is a home-made compilation put together by one of our readers ... it isn't commercially available.  (But if Bill sees this ... and he may ... he may talk to you "off the record" about getting you a copy!  Stay Tuned!)  kk

There is only ONE garage band in the opinion of this Chicago born and bred boy ... the mighty SHADOWS OF KNIGHT! 
Gloria!  Dark Side!  Oh Yeah  Bad Little Woman  Willie Jean  Shake!
and the best garage band song ever:
I'm Gonna Make You Mine
the others are wannabees
Honorable Mentions:

My vote is for the mighty SHADOWS OF KNIGHT. Best garage band period!!!!! 
Scott Smith, Shadows of Knight collector. 

I'm voting  for the Shadows of Knight  for one good reason.  My friend Kenny Turkin was the drummer on Shake and toured with them for over a year.  We were great friends  from early childhood throughout his life, which ended way too soon.  One Vote, please,  for my friend Kenny!
To quote Keith ... Ain't Gonna Lie ... The Shadows Of Knight have jumped out in front in our first round poll.  Nearly 600 new votes came in today alone ... so help us to spread the word!  (kk)   

I want to see Them on the CD as they were such an awesome garage band that many
other bands covered in their acts.
Happy days!
We've received a few votes for Them ... you can't originate "Gloria" and NOT be a garage band, right?!?!?  (kk)   

I'm voting for "I Fought The Law" by Bobby Fuller Four.
And lost. Proving once again that "Crime Don't Pay".
That sounds like it would've been a good title for a follow up to this hit.
Hey Kent, Do you think it would be a good idea to go over the "Bobby Fuller Murder Case" one more time? LoL!! I can hear you cursing me out. LoL!!
Frank B.
You'll find some pretty thorough coverage of this on the OTHER Forgotten Hits website: Click here: Forgotten Hits - Bobby Fuller

In these parts (SE Wisconsin) the Robbs were kings. Although they never cracked the Top 100 they are known as the most prolific "bubbling under" band of their time. My favorite is "Cynthia Loves It" but the best known is "Race With the Wind".
The Robbs get my vote.
Bob Verbos,
New Berlin, WI.
I had forgotten all about The Robbs!!!  GREAT choice!  (And you'll see their names pop up again in the next email, too!)  kk  

Here are some of my favorite garage bands:
The Beau Brummels, The Knickerbockers, The Robbs, The McCoys, The Merry-Go-Round, The Woolies, Dino, Desi & Billy and The Cyrkle

Hi Kent
Hope everyone emails their favorite Garage Band Songs. It will include a lot of songs we never hear any more.
Thank you for using my idea. The master always comes thru! 
Here are my votes for best garage band records: 
Gloria - Jimy Sohns and Shadows of Knight
96 Tears - ? and the Mysterieans
Shes About A Mover - Sir Douglas Quintet
Jenny Lee - Jan and Arnie (recorded in a garage before Jan and Dean!!!)
I Confess - New Colony Six
You Wouldn't Listen - Ides of March
Kind of a Drag - Buckinghams
Louie Louie - Kingsmen
Dirty Water - Standells
Incense and Peppermint - Strawberry Alarm Clock
This is such fun. There are so many good tunes in that category!! Carolyn

And, since you're out hitting the music polls anyway, let's not forget THIS little competition!!!

Speaking of casting your votes, things are really winding down for the 5th Annual I.R.S. Countdown with our FH Buddy Rich Appel.  (This is where you guys vote for the records that YOU think really should have been a Top Ten Hit ... as in I.R.S. ... It Really Shoulda ... Been A Top Ten Hit!!!)  More details below:
It's our 5th annual I.R.S. ("It Really Shoulda" been a top 10 hit), and there's a little over a week left to file. 
Send your list of songs you think 'really shoulda' been top 10 hits to by April 1. When you do, you'll automatically qualify to win stuff from or the 4-disc set of the I.R.S. Top 104, the countdown of which kicks off Friday night April 13 on Rewound Radio ( and heard in full Sat-Sun April 14-15 on my shows on WRNJ (
More info on I.R.S. is here ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More Radio Chatter

We always seem to get a good response to our radio rave-outs ... and, with something like 200 deejays on the list now, maybe it's time to officially start an "Inside Radio Memories" segment ... something that could run once or twice a month where jocks can share some of their favorite stories and memories with our readers ... great experiences ... CRAZY experiences ... ridiculous programming notes, ideas and promotions ... you get the idea.
("With God as my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly"!!!)

Well, maybe not THAT ridiculous ... but you see where we're headed with this! 
It will take some pretty good word of mouth but I'll betcha that if every jock on the list sent in a story ... and then encouraged three or four OTHER jocks that they're still in touch with to do the same ... this could turn into a VERY popular feature on The Forgotten Hits website.
What do you guys think?  Your very own Radio Forum.
Let us hear from you and we'll see where it goes from here.
Meanwhile, our short blurb from last week has already generated quite a few responses ...

Steve Hotvedt sounds like he worked at the same Omaha station I was speaking of in my original message about listening to radio.  They also play just those two songs by Def Leppard.  Must be the same consultant??
Clark Besch

Kent -
Some of these posts from the radio folk are really bringing back memories. I was on a Clear Channel classic rock station during the transition from CDs and live DJs to voice tracking and computers. For a while, it was great - no more pulling carts, cueing up CDs or wondering if the commercial on the log was really going to be there. But as with many emerging technologies, it quickly took the human element out of the picture, and the soul of radio began to die. The first time it really hit me was when the PD came in to tell me that I shouldn't play Van Halen's "Eruption" in front of "You Really Got Me," which is how it is heard on the album. The PD is a great guy and did a masterful job running the station, but corporate policy meant we had to stick to the playlist. The beginning of the end.
Carl Wiser  

To Clark Besch ... That's a wonderful set of memories!  And from my point of view, the beginning of the "sea change" in radio was the takeover of so-called "music research" and "audience research" that happened in the 1970's ... creativity, instinct and "feel" were sacrificed for the security of research data.
Dick Bartley  

Hi Clark!  I can tell how badly bitten you were and I totally understand. There was a magic on both ends of the microphone and whether you were a listener or a DJ you knew it was a special time. The bond between the two lasted about 15 years, 1958 to about 1972 when rock radio began to loose its personality and exclusivity. That was due in part to programmers fighting for listeners' ears, the proliferation of FM stations going after the rock market and the erroneous idea that if you play the same music over and over again the listeners will remain with your station. Each contributed to the problem plus the teens who were the foundation of rock radio of the 50’s and 60’s were growing up, getting married and taking on the mantle of adulthood. The listeners who followed you had a much larger choice of music and the pied piper who was calling them to the music no longer mattered. Today that special time is merely a memory. Mother Weber used to say. “The only one who likes change is a wet baby!” 
The Other Clark
(Clark Weber)
By the way, Mr. Weber is also having a "Rock N Roll Luncheon" on March 29 in Pelican Bay, Florida!  He'll be offering up memories presented in his great book as well as new things happening in his life!  Wish I could be there!! 
-- "The other WLSClark!" / Clark Besch
Here's another link for Clark Weber's book ... a real fun read about the fun, glory days of Top 40 Radio.  And don't forget to check out the Airplay site ... they are ALWAYS adding new features there.  (And we've got an exclusive "Airplay" DVD to give away, too!  Anybody want a copy?  Drop me a line and we'll pick a winner!)  kk

Speaking of "Airplay", I hear that it is FINALLY available for purchase through!!!  Here's the scoop from Producer Carolyn Travis:

Hi Kent, 
How have you been? 
I see winter's over for you. 83 degrees in March? Wow!
I just wanted you to know that "Airplay" is now available on
Thanks again for being so supportive of our show.
Take care,
The Program Director of WGVU is Len O'Kelly, who was the overnight jock and Production Director at Real Oldies 1690 in Chicago.
Please remember that the station is commercial free and listener upported. Len works cheap -- but not for free.
-- Ron Smith  
I saw that, too, when I checked out the station.  It's fun to listen to when you know you're going to hear a couple of surprises every hour!  (kk)   

>>>I devoted a good percentage of my early teen years making up my own charts, too ... growing up here in Chicago, we had TWO powerhouse AM stations ... and my whole world revolved around them.  I'd faithfully pick up both the WLS and the WCFL survey each and every Friday ... and then put together a "combined" chart based on the overall performance of these records based on the two stations' lists.  (I had NO idea what Billboard or Cash Box Magazine were back in 1967 ... my scope for music never extended beyond Chicago ... I just figured that if WE were hearing it, the whole WORLD must be hearing it!!!)  kk
Cool to hear YOU also made your own charts!  I was VERY into CFL and WLS and, now, KEYN-FM stereo in Wichita, but also VERY aware of Billboard and CashBox and often combined them all with my own tastes when creating my weekly charts.  Here's one of my charts from July 5, 1969 firecracker time in Dodge City, Kansas.  My "station" at the time was called KLGR (AM / FM simulcast).  I just liked the sound of the calls.  I had every intention of someday having such a station or being a DJ at WLS.  I'll cover two bases with the personal chart AND the number one of "Someday Man," one of Davy Jones' BEST vocals. 
At this time in Dodge, we were able to get DJ copies of new pop / rock 45s from the local country station, so I could basically program my own station with brand new exclusives! 
The influences are seen on this chart.  "Someday Man" was #1 knocking off 2 week #1 running "I Could Never Lie to You" by our beloved NC6.  B side "Listen to the Band" was #4!  It would peak at #2 the next week with Lincoln's "2525" Zager & Evans taking over #1.  Note that I list the original Trust label 45 version along with the RCA 45 we had just received at the Dodge Station weeks earlier.  It had been #1 in Lincoln when we came up for Easter months earlier to visit relatives. 
Billboard leaves impressions by being where I came up with the million seller info, "Romeo & Juliet" at #2 (not a fave, but because it was #1 nationally).  I did not have any "bullet" so fast movers were designated by my writing OVER the typed title with felt tip pen to designate a big mover. 
KEYN-FM was represented by the "stereo" designations (if I had a song taped off KEYN in stereo, that counted as a stereo play as well as having a stereo 45).  KEYN charters I grabbed would be their then #1 BST "More & More" even tho it was a B side, the Beatlesque "Ulla" by People (yep, same group as "I Love You"), the original 45 version of Illusion's "Did You See Her Eyes" before it became a hit with a remix version.
Then, some 45s I just got as DJ copies and really dug were "Mannix" and "One Road."  Other groovy 45s I got for free that were in my 51 - 130 charters included Cowsills' "Daniel & John" "Stay & Love me all Summer" by Brian Hyland, Hugo Montenegro's "Happy Together" "Wake Up" by Chambers Brothers, Crows' debut "Time To Make A Turn", the Association's "Yes I Will", Steve Miller's "My Dark Hour."  Another great year of music, radio and pretending
!   BTW, my mom LIKED me typing up my lists weekly and listening to radio and music -- just "not so loud!". 
Clark Besch
PS.  Because of having the luxury of DJ copies, by the end of July, "Room at the Top" would be #1 on my chart.  By the end of August, Chicago's first 45 with a rare pic sleeve, would get to the top.  In September, the Buckinghams' "It's a Beautiful Day" would be near the top.  In November, the Cryan Shames' "Rainmaker" would be #1 (knocking off NC6's "I Want You to Know") and eventually be knocked off #1 by NC6's "Barbara I Love You" in December!  Looking BACK from the July 5 chart, the "Synthesis" cuts would be top 10 in June, "Only the Strong Survive" at top in May.  "First Train to California" was a month at #1 in April.  Buckinghams' "Where Did You Come From" up top in February, with NC6's "Things I'd Like to Say" at #1 in January and lingering into April on the chart!  The Chicago sound seemed to be failing nationally in 69, but NOT at my house on MY station!

I'd like to thank Vito Picone for spending last Friday evening visiting my show and talking about his many friends and his career. If you missed the interview let me know. I can email it to you to listen to at your convenience. It runs 2 hours and 35 minutes. It is also available on the oldies your way website. It is interview #11.
DJ Stu Weiss

Hi Kent,
Been reading the comments about WGVU on Forgotten Hits.  I've spent some time listening to them and their playlist is fantastic.  I've heard a lot of regional gems I missed out on, having been raised in the Pacific Northwest.  I think the resurrected KISN in Portland I've been working with will appeal to the same crowd who digs WGVU.  A very deep playlist with lots of regional hits, some of the original Good Guys cutting voice tracks (including Tom Murphy who you probably heard in his Chicago days), the old KISN jingles, great imaging courtesy of Duke Morgan, and several hundred classic spots.  We're having a blast putting this thing together and it has quite a following, thanks in part to exposure in the local news media, like this article in the Portland Tribune: and this news report by KPTV Fox 12: 
You can check out the station here: 
I love reading Forgotten Hits ... keep up the good work!

Hi Kent,
Thanks for spotlighting G.T.O. today. It was the first song I ever played on the radio and the memories came rushing back. I wonder how many jocks remember the first song they ever played on the air.
Steve Hotvedt
I'll betcha a whole BUNCH of 'em!!! Probably most if not all.  I would think such a momentous occasion would stay will you for all-time.  (Have you seen our First 45's Segment?!?!?  We really DO remember this stuff!!!)  kk
I know the status of radio these days is pathetic, nothing like we grew up with.
I have checked out some online stations, some are good, some not so good, but I applaud everyone who is trying to keep the music alive.
Is there anything like a 60's station -- say a WLS style station on the internet?
Yeah, we get tired of 99 ads per hour, but couldn't there be a sponsored station with great jingles jocks music etc. to recreate what we grew up with?
Seems as though some of the folks that put out packages of oldies -- Sundazed, Rhino, etc., could help sponsor some things too.
Nobody will get rich in the beginning maybe, but it's a lot cheaper to do than a whole brick and mortar thing would be wouldn't it?
Maybe I've had too much coffee this morning, or there's already one out there that I've missed?
It's been tried ... but the whole prospect is just so INCREDIBLY expensive today, even on the Internet, that even expert radio veterans like John Rook (who recently tried to launch Hit Parade Radio with some GREAT names attached to it) threw in the towel.
Probably the closest I've heard to dedicating themselves to the actual SOUND of '60's radio was put together by Ricky The K (our FH Buddy Rick Kaufman) ... and he tried to do it via subscription ... but that failed, too.  (He had all the old jingles, radio patter ... the whole pace and feel of '60's radio down ... but just couldn't make a go of it.)
XM60's has some talented jocks on board (Terry "Motormouth" Young and Phlash Phelps amongst them) but that's a subscription service, too ... and, since they merged with Sirius, they seem to be playing more of the same stuff that everybody is playing these days.  It's a tough go for radio today ... so when we find a great station like WGVU or KISN, we try to help spread the word to the real oldies fans out there who will seek out (and hopefully help to support) these stations.  (kk)

WOW!  I've been listening to WGVU and I just looked at their playlist ... and in the past hour, they have played SO many faves that were more obscure!  "She May Call You Up Tonight" by Left Banke!  "Goin Home" by the Osmonds is arguably their best song.  Play it back to back with Edgar Winter's "River's Risin'" and it will show you that when they were both out, it was "what's in the group name" that sometimes made a difference in AM to FM airplay.  Almost the same tunes, but one by an FM'er and one by an AM'er!  "Listen to the Band" by our beloved Monkees and one VERY surprising non-Hot 100 fave, the Tokens' "Greatest Moments in a Girls' Life" that I always had taped off a performance on Bandstand in 66 before eventually getting the pic sleeve 45.  VERY COOL, guys!  I have lots of GR radio surveys from the old days and you guys are doing a great job.  Even playing The Bossmen!!  Right on! 
We've heard from dozens of readers now who are loving what they're hearing on WGVU.  Send them an email ... tell them what you think of the station (and how you heard about it in Forgotten Hits) ... help keep this momentum going so that others can discover both of our efforts to help keep this great music alive!!!  (kk)

Here are a couple you just don't hear anymore ...
"River's Risin'" went to #33 for The Edgar Winter Group in 1974.  "Goin' Home" was a #21 Hit for The Osmonds the year before.  Do YOU think they sound a lot alike???  (kk)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Have you voted for YOUR Favorite Garage Bands yet?
The polls are now officially open.
In fact, we've already received a few responses to the suggestion that we poll our readers for their All-Time Favorite Garage Bands ...
So if you guys are up for it, I'm up for it ...
Just send in your votes and nominations and we'll start to tally 'em up.
And, just to keep things interesting, everyone who places a vote will automatically be registered to win a copy of a brand new, sealed Garage Band CD courtesy of our FH Buddy Mike Dugo of
(Be sure to visit Mike's website, too, for more great suggestions.) 
In order to qualify, the artist had to place at least ONE record on the pop singles chart ... but, to keep things interesting, we're going to expand that criteria to include the "Bubbling Under" charts, where many of these more obscure tracks lingered for a week or two.
And, just to get you started, you'll find some solid suggestions below!
The Polls are now OFFICIALLY open ... we'll tabulate your votes thru June 1st ... and announce The Top 20 Favorite Garage Bands shortly after that.  And if any of our oldies radio partners can help us to get the word out, I'd really appreciate it.  Let's poll The Oldies Nation and determine Your All-Time Favorites!
Regarding Favorite Garage Bands ... Funny you should ask ...
I have already made up a CD featuring the Garage Bands of the 60's.
If you'd like a copy, let me know.
 (click photos to enlarge)
THE place to go for '60's Garage Bands is a site called (quite appropriately)!!!    Click here: 1960s Garage Bands
Our buddy Mike Dugo runs the site and was quite impressed with your list ... then added a few more of his own ...
Wow, Kent - That's a fantastic selection.  Looks like the only one he didn't include that I listed is The Shadows Of Knight.  There are some debatable acts (Cyrkle, John Fred) but we knew that there were be since the true definition of "garage band" has become blurred over time.  The Seeds headlined the Hollywood Bowl, appeared on American Bandstand, appeared on a sitcom, and appeared in a movie.  If that isn't a national big time rock band, nothing is - yet they are considered one of the quintessential garage bands.
This poll sounds like an interesting and very cool idea. I assure you getting sound files won't be a problem. If the song is by a U.S garage band in the '60s, I'd be shocked if I didn't have it. If it's from the '70s ... I probably won't. I have a very narrow focus for my musical tastes ... but I'm guessing the name of my website gave that away already. ;)
I'm also guessing doing a paragraph bio on each group won't be a problem either. It all sounds like a really fun idea to me ... and judging by the amount of comments you routinely get, I'm sure it will be a very lively poll.  I guess the next steps will be to compile the Top 20 ... and I assume the songs should have charted if we expect people to be able to honestly vote.
And, just to keep things interesting, I'll be more than happy to provide brand new / sealed CDs of two garage bands - The Chains and Those Guys - that I've released on my label as "prizes".  These are 100% top-notch releases, with full band bios, rare photos, unreleased songs and jam-packed liner notes.  I'll gladly send you one of each as well if you'd like to listen to some classy garage rock.
Here are some of the groups I imagine we'd include:
Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard
? & Mysterians - 96 Tears
Music Machine - Talk Talk
Standells - Dirty Water
McCoys - Hang On Sloopy
Knickerbockers - Lies
Eletric Prunes - (I Had) Too Much To Dream
Shadows Of Knight - Gloria
Kingsmen - Louie Louie
Outsiders - Time Won't Let Me
Hombres - Let It out (Let It All Hang Out)
Fifth Estate - Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (Have to ... for Furv)
Every Mother's Son - Come On Down To My Boat Baby
As we've discussed, some of these push the boundaries of "garage band" ... but if we limited this to TRUE garage bands, I'm afraid nobody will know the groups or songs!
The reason that the Shadows Of Knight (Mount Prospect, Prospect High School KNIGHTS where Jimmy Sohns and I went to high school in the late '60s) is not on the CD is that they are included in my Chicago Bands of the "60s compilation CD which I think you have. There are several groups on this CD which could be considered a Garage Band.
True, true ... between The Shadows Of Knight and early material by The New Colony Six, The Cryan' Shames and even the pre-Columbia Records Buckinghams, ALL of these bands constituted the raw energy of the '60's Garage Band.  Add to this list the pre-horn Ides Of March ("You Wouldn't Listen") and The American Breed ... the pre-Art Rock Flock ... maybe even The Mauds ... and we could have had one hell of a "Garage Sale" right here in Chicago in the 1960's!!! (kk)
For the record, since first mentioning this idea the other day, we've received just over a hundred votes and nominations so far ... 106 to be exact!!!  So keep 'em coming, folks!
Early leaders include The Shadows Of Knight, ? and the Mysterians, The Seeds, The Standells and The Leaves.  (Man, I would have figured The Kingsmen would have run away with this thing!!!) 
Maybe some of our oldies radio partners can help to spread the word and direct their listeners over to The Forgotten Hits Website to cast their votes for THEIR all-time favorite Garage Bands of the '60's.  Meanwhile, Mike Dugo and I will partner-up and put together the final list of your Top 20 Favorites ... we'll run the results on both websites and Mike will come up with a short bio on each band selected.  Then we'll randomly give away a couple of those Garage Band CD's he mentioned earlier.
If you'd like to vote for YOUR favorites, just drop us an email and we'll add your votes to the list.
I'm not sure how long we'll keep the polls open yet ... let's see what kind of responses we get.
And, if Mike will donate a couple of CD's for a give-away, we'll be happy to award a couple of prizes, too ...
So stay tuned! (kk)
>>>Getting back to Question Mark and the Mysterians, their backgrounds must still be a mystery since the "master" doesn't know.  Just a thought, I think the two best Garage Band  Songs came out the same year 1966:  96 Tears and Gloria by the Shadows of Knight.  Would be interesting to see some of your readers favorite Garage Band Songs.  Keep up the Great Work!!!  (Carolyn)
>>>Well, we did our Psychedelic Poll a few years back ... I don't see why we couldn't put together a Garage Band Poll, too.  My fear is that many of these bands would be so obscure that we might not be able to find musical selections for all of them!  And the line between garage band and psychedelia seems to have blurred and blended into what we now refer to as "nuggets" these days ... quite honestly, it might be difficult to make a distinction between the two.  But hey, I'm up for anything.  (Maybe we can enlist our buddy Mike Dugo, who runs the 60's Garage Bands website, to assist us with this project ... what do you say, Mike???)  kk
Was there some question about the story behind "96 Tears" and Question Mark & the Mysterians?  I put the whole story in my book "The Top Ten."
Gary Theroux
I'm not sure WHAT the question (about Question Mark) is!!!  I don't recall seeing anything on this (nor is there anything specific mentioned in Carolyn's letter) ... so I'm really not sure.  But, if you'd like to run your piece here in Forgotten Hits, I'd be most happy to do so.
(I recently told the story about how The Drive / Rock And Roll Roots DJ Bob Stroud complimented Question Mark (real name Rudy Martinez) after a performance a few years back ... and was told (after Bob addressed him as "Rudy") that "It's QUESTION MARK!!!"  Hmm ... no question there, I guess!!! (lol)
Anyway, send us your piece and we'll gladly run it!  Thanks, Gary!  (kk)
Making Question Mark & the Mysterians appear to be enigmatic was a succesful marketing gimmick in 1966.  Over the years since, though, that's proved to be a bit of a problem for fans of the band, which disappeared (along with their label) almost as quickly as "96 Tears" flashed across the airwaves.  Who the heck were those guys and where did their proto-punk song come from?  The mysterious nature of the band and the story behind "96 Tears" were both kept pretty much hidden until I first worked the essence of the truth into "The History of Rock 'n' Roll" radio documentary in 1978.  In 1982 I went into greater detail on page 127 of my book "The Top Ten," which originated the now often copied idea of collecting in print the stories behind the biggest hits of each year.  "96 Tears" ranked #7 among the Top 10 hits of 1966.  (see attached)
Gary Theroux


Monday, March 19, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers


>>>I have two forgotten songs that I haven't heard in years and am trying to identify both.  #1) This is basically an instrumental with nonsense lyrics "Ding Dong, Ding Dong" and every so often some guy comes on and says "What are you, some kind of nut?"  Probably 1961 or 1962.  #2) Is an instrumental that was a big hit in Pittsburgh in the early 60's.  I remember hearing it on KQV and KDKA. What made it classic was that it was played at a different record speed.  Might have been a Dixieland record that sounded very different at the slower speed. Any help with this one would be appreciated.  (Jim B)
>>>I have no idea about the second one. The first one could be a record reviewed in Billboard on April 24, 1961  (Randy Price):
Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut -- SILVER BIRD 1023 -- a funny novelty record that could fracture the preteen and even the teen set. Cory asks the question in the title then makes kooky sounds over a good beat. (Ro Jo BMI) (2:36)  
>>>These are MUCH tougher to identify when they're instrumentals as there's no "hook" lyric or topic to help you narrow it down.  (kk)
>>>Randy is right on the money with his response for song #1. I might have an idea for song #2 which comes via a record collection my father gave me, which was given to him by a friend of his who grew up in Pittsburgh (where they could've heard KQV or KDKA) -- the collection included a record by the Roosters (who were in fact Herb Alpert and Lou Adler in disguise) on Felsted, called Fun House. It included a note on the label saying "A hit sound if played on 33 1/3 RPM". However the song doesn't appear to have even charted in Pittsburgh.  (Tom)
>>>Well, let's give 'em a spin and see what comes back!  (We'll have to wait to hear back from Jim B. to see if he's right!!!)  kk
Thanks so much!  You got them both. I'm still amazed at the difference in the Roosters number when the speed is reduced to 33 RPM. Much better at that speed. 
Jim B
Actually, a pretty clever marketing idea ... putting "a hit sound if played at 33 1/3 RPM" on the single probably enticed more than a few deejays to at least give it a listen ... and, evidently, give it a spin at BOTH speeds!!!  MAJOR thanks to Tom Diehl and Randy Price for helping us to solve this one!  WTG, Guys!!!  (kk)

"Fun House" by the Roosters was originally on the Shar-Dee label. It became a favorite at Pittsburgh teen dances when it was played at 33, making the beat better for dancing. When it was picked up by Felsted, they made the "A hit sound if played at 33 1/3 rpm" notation on the label.
Of course the most famous record to have its speed changed for Pittsburgh dances was "Hanky Panky". By that time the big teen dances run by Bob Mack had variable speed turntables. Mack sped the Snap record up and it took off locally. Even the early bootleg 45s on Snap were sped up, as was the official Roulette release.
Ed Salamon

>>>I wonder if anyone knows how to contact Don Daniels, former PD of WMEX Boston from around 1985? It's been about 28 years since I've lost touch with Don, just a great guy. (Charlie Quintal)
>>>With all the radio folk on the list these days, somebody out there is bound to be able to help you out with this one!  (kk)  
Occasionally through the years I have played a little game by myself which is simply called "Whatever became of?". Normally I happen to think of a person whom I have not heard his or her name mentioned in years and would just like to know whatever became of them and / or what or they doing today. Most of the time this person was in the business of entertaining (music, movies,etc.)
One of your readers today was interested in knowing the whereabouts of one Don Daniels with WMEX radio years ago. I thought I would run this by you and your readers since through the years, for whatever reason, I have always wanted to know what became of the following DJ here in the OKC area. Back in the 1960's there was a DJ by the name of Jim Bowman who worked for KOMA. He later moved over to top 40 rival WKY.  During the mid-sixties on WKY from 7 PM to 12 Midnight he did a two man shift with a DJ by the name of Terry McGrew (now deceased).  They called their show the "Gooseberry Show". Terry 'Berry' McGrew and Jim 'Goose' Bowman.  Again, for some reason always wanted to know what ever became of Jim 'Goose' Bowman.  Anyone know, would appreciate the information. Even former WKY jocks here in the city does not know of his whereabouts.
Larry Neal
So many folks out there don't realize what an important role some of these disc jockeys played in our lives growing up.  (For the record, I'd venture to say there are people out there wondering "Whatever happened to Larry Neal?", too!!!)  Over time, you just lose touch ... get wrapped up in other things ... get distracted by real life and start listening to all that's up for offer these days.  But MOST of us tend to reminisce about "the good old days" of Top 40 Radio and yearn for our favorites, thinking "Boy, if radio could only sound like THAT again!"
The great thing about the Internet is that it has made it easier to locate some of these folks ... and share your memories with other fans who also wax nostalgic.  (Did you happen to see the episode of "Modern Family" a few weeks back when the Jay character (Ed O'Neill) was getting all frustrated because he couldn't remember the name of his favorite weatherman from back in the day?  Or the one a few weeks before that where he met one of his radio idols in person after all these years ... a DJ prankster who used to crack Jay up in his adolescence?  I'm telling you, these memories are more "shared" than most would ever imagine!!! (I'm always telling Scott Shannon that he ought to do more "personal" stories during his show ... after all these years on the radio, he's met SO many people and had SO many unique, memorable experiences ... SHARE them with the listeners because they'll enjoy hearing them all the more because of their fondness for YOU!!!  Let us live vicariously through you for three or four minutes every day ... and then use that story to set up the next song you're going to play.  It's radio people will tune in for!!!)  kk

I am putting together a CD of top songs used at sporting events. Is there a list of songs or can we ask your readers for suggestions?  I found some lists on the web but I thing it does not include all songs. 
Bill "Wild Thing" Hengels
I remember buying a series of "Jock Jams" CDs years ago ... but these would have included the most obvious tracks.  I'm sure our readers will have a few suggestions for you list!  (kk)

KENT ... 
>>>Wishing you the best of luck.  Artie has certainly helped US out over the years ... and has always been a good friend when it came to promoting Forgotten Hits ... so we're happy to lend our support toward getting him what he needs.  (kk) 
Here's an update from Artie Wayne  (David Lewis):
We heard from Artie, too ...
!KENT! ...
Great news, Artie ... best wishes for a speedy recovery!  (kk)

I know this movie has been mentioned on Forgotten hits, but I can't remember if there were reviews or just publicity blurbs.
Kent have you seen it?
We've been covering "Wages Of Spin" since before it was even finished!!!  (lol)
Yes, I've seen it ... and now you can, too ...
After numerous showings on PBS, the film is FINALLY commercially available ... and you can order your own copy here:  Click here: The Wages of Spin DVD -  
It has caused quite a bit of controversy over the past few years because it dares to take on music and television icon Dick Clark ... and some of his involvement and schemes in the early days of rock and roll ... but honestly, I expected it to be far more brutal and savage to deserve some of this criticism ... it's an interesting film to watch, especially if you're of the "Bandstand Era" ... some neat "behind the scenes" stuff ... and Part Two has already been in work for quite awhile, too.  (Picking up where "American Bandstand" moved to the west coast.)  Producer Paul Russo and Director Shawn Swords are long-time members of our Forgotten Hits list ... so we're pleased to pass this information along whenever we can!  (kk)

By the way, I just heard from Carolyn Travis last night ... she's the one who put together the excellent "Airplay" DVD a couple of years ago.  After repeated showings on PBS, her film is now available for purchase through Click here: Airplay: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (as seen on public television): Dick Clark, Tom Donahue, The 
This one is DEFINITELY worth picking up!  (kk)