Friday, May 4, 2012

Author Mark Bego Talks About His New Aretha Franklin Book

Author MARK BEGO salutes the life of “Aretha Franklin:  The Queen of Soul”   

Mark Bego has been writing and publishing books since he began his career in the 1970s.  Since that time he has scored two “New York Times” best-sellers, and has over 10 million books in print internationally.  Earlier this year he scored a huge hit with the first complete biography of the decade’s most tragic star:  “Whitney Houston!  The Spectacular Rise and Tragic Fall of the Woman Whose Voice Inspired a Generation” (Skyhorse Publishing).  Only weeks later Bego released his 59th published book:  the third and most complete version of his highly acclaimed “Aretha Franklin:  The Queen of Soul” (Skyhorse Publishing in America / Edel Books in Germany).  It is a book he has been working on since the 1980s.  We caught up with Mark to ask him why Aretha Franklin is a singing legend, and how he worked to make this book one which is the ultimate and definitive look at the soul diva’s life.

He recently sat down for some quick Q&A for Forgotten Hits ...

QUESTION:  Aretha Franklin started her singing career as a gospel singer.  How did this come about?

MARK BEGO:  Since her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, was known as an effective orator, his sermons were often recorded and released on Chess Records.  It was through this connection that the idea of recording Aretha’s singing came about when she was only 14 years old.  The resulting album, Aretha Gospel is more of a dynamic artifact that shows off the strength of her voice than it is a masterful recording.

QUESTION:  What made her dream that she could have a career as a popular recording artist?

MARK BEGO:  Several stars like Sam Cooke would come to the Franklin house, since Aretha’s father was something of a local celebrity.  Cooke was also a powerful gospel singer at the beginning of his career. Aretha had a huge crush on Sam, and he left a lasting impression on her.  He came to the Franklin home one day, and he proudly played his newly recorded single, ‘You Send Me,’ for Aretha.  When the recording zoomed up to the top of the charts, Aretha saw how that one recording turned him into a huge singing star, and she dreamed of doing that same thing.

QUESTION:  Aretha was signed to Columbia Records at the age of 18, and she spent seven years there never scoring a major hit.  In your mind, was this era of her career a failure?

MARK BEGO:  Absolutely not!  I still maintain that some of her greatest recordings were done at Columbia Records.  Their only short-comings were that they did not become commercial hits at the time.  I strongly encourage anyone who loves music to go back and listen to Aretha Franklin’s Columbia recordings of ‘Drinking Again,’ ‘Skylark,’ ‘What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,’ ‘If Ever I Would Leave You,’ ‘People,’ and ‘My Coloring Book.’  These are absolutely fantastic recordings.

QUESTION:  There is saying that for a singer to sing the blues, they have to live it?  Is this true in Aretha’s case?

MARK BEGO:  Absolutely!  Look at Bessie Smith.  Look at Billie Holiday.  And then take a close look at Aretha Franklin in the 1960s.  Few people realize Aretha had her first baby at the age of 14.  She had her second baby when she was 16.  She was forced to drop out of school.  She had a father who dominated her, and she married Ted White to feel more like an adult woman and to get out of her father’s house.  Reportedly, Ted proceeded to abuse her mentally and physically.  Clyde Otis told me this in very graphic terms.  Aretha truly knew the blues—first hand!

QUESTION:  What was holding her back at Columbia Records?

MARK BEGO:  Clyde Otis, one of her producers at Columbia told me that the problem was that her first husband, Ted White, was holding her back and not letting her let loose in the recording studio while he was around.  Since Ted White was making money on the side by booking Aretha in jazz clubs, he wanted to keep her in that realm on record.

QUESTION:  When she moved to Atlantic Records and recorded songs like ‘Respect,’ she seemed to become an overnight sensation.  Why is this?

MARK BEGO:  According to Jerry Wexler, once he sat her down at the piano and let her play and accompany herself, she was able to show off her true strengths as a musician.  Regardless of what she thinks, Aretha is not an accomplished producer.  She is always shown off to her best advantage when she is given strong direction.

QUESTION:  Is it Aretha who best knows what songs are the best for her?

MARK BEGO:  Absolutely not!  At Atlantic she recorded such all-over-the-map songs like Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way,’ The Beatles’ ‘Fool on the Hill,’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,’ and ? & The Mysterians’ ‘96 Tears.’  Some of her song choices have been totally kooky.  One of my favorite stories that Jerry Wexler told me was how he begged her to record the song ‘Son of a Preacher Man,’ only to have her refuse to do it.  Finally he gave up and gave the song to Dusty Springfield.  When Dusty turned into one of the biggest hits of her career, Aretha was absolutely green with envy.  The next time Aretha went back to the recording studio with Wexler, she insisted on recording her version of it.

QUESTION:  What is your favorite of all of Aretha Franklin’s albums?

MARK BEGO:  In my mind, the greatest single album she has ever recorded is Young, Gifted and Black in 1972.  That album is sheer perfection, and it was so well received that it won Aretha her seventh Grammy Award.  Every song on that album is a masterpiece.

QUESTION:  What is your least favorite Aretha album?

MARK BEGO:  It would have to be her 2011 release that was distributed by Walmart, A Woman Falling Out of Love.  That dreary album really underscores the importance of outside producers on her recordings.  A reviewer in The Washington Post called that album ‘a hot mess,’ and they were correct!

QUESTION:  If Aretha Franklin is the ‘Queen of Soul,’ why is she also revered as rock star?

MARK BEGO:  She totally proved that she was a rock star with her Aretha Live at Fillmore West album in 1971.  Making her a bonafide rock star was a dream of Jerry Wexler’s.  He accomplished that feat with the help of Bill Graham, who ran The Fillmore West in San Francisco.  They totally rearranged Aretha’s songs to bring out the rock elements, and every track worked.  That is my second favorite Aretha Franklin album.  It still stands up brilliantly.

QUESTION:  When she was at Arista Records in the 1980s, how did Aretha end up produced by Luther Vandross?

MARK BEGO:  It was Clive Davis’ idea.  He told me that he is the one who introduced Luther to Aretha.  The two albums Aretha did with Luther at the helm — Jump to It and Get It Right — are amongst my Top Ten favorite Aretha albums.  They are lively and exciting, and they both feature the incomparable background vocals of Cissy Houston.  Aretha and Luther also notoriously turned their recording sessions into banquets of eating.  She fondly recalled her sessions with Vandross, in the recording studio.  According what she told me at the time, “He’s a great guy, and on some of those sessions, boy, we had us some fried chicken … wow!

QUESTION:  What was the most shocking thing you discovered about Aretha Franklin?

MARK BEGO:  When I interviewed her in the 1980s, I was shocked to find out that she chain-smoked Kool cigarettes, and she had done so since she was a teenager.  Thankfully, she has given up that habit well over a decade ago.  However, this was a habit which has affected her overall health.

QUESTION:  If Aretha Franklin is notoriously guarded, and you interviewed her in person, how were you able to ‘fill in the blanks?’

MARK BEGO:  When I was writing this book, Aretha Franklin:  The Queen of Soul, I turned to several of the most important people in her life, and they revealed everything Aretha would not tell me herself.  The list of people I did get to talk to me included:  her Columbia Records producer Clyde Otis, her Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler, and her Arista Records executive producer Clive Davis.  These men represent the three successful eras of her recording career.  I tracked down and interviewed her controversial first husband, Ted White.  I interviewed old neighbors of hers in Detroit, TV producers who worked with her, and several record industry insiders who have worked with her.  I also turned to her singing contemporaries in the music business and I interviewed Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Martha Reeves, Freda Payne, and Sarah Dash of LaBelle.  Melded together with the personal interview I had with Aretha herself, it presents a very real and truly rounded portrait of a fascinating star.

Here's a shot of Mark Bego (with L-R Engelbert Humperdinck Producer Joel Diamond and actress Rebecca Holden) taken at a recent book signing held at Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Helping Out Our Readers

Thank you to Guy for the info on the Flecktones. After reading his post I went to youtube and found an interesting video titled Bela Fleck & The Flecktones "Rocket Science" (Behind the Scenes). I found it interesting.


MAYBE played on US Classic Rock radio stations; not sure. I assume this is the same [England] Rainbow group that barely made US Top 40 in 1981.  At least the Polydor / Mercury record labels make sense. Pretty good song, I feel! Maybe a UK hit, maybe even a Japan hit, since that is where I found it on audio CD! 
Jersey John

This is a GREAT song ... in fact, I used to play this one with my band Blind Spot in the '80's ... The Rainbow version is actually a cover of a song written and first recorded by Russ Ballard of The Zombies ... whose version never charted ... but it was a modest US Hit for Rainbow (#56 in Cash Box, #57 in Billboard) in 1979 ... and it got a TON of play here in Chicago on the Classic Rock stations.  You still hear it once in a while, alternated with the Head East version, a  #46 hit the year before.  (Although Head East had the bigger hit version, it seems to be the Rainbow version that is best known ... and they do a KILLER rendition.  Possibly because of Ritchie Blackmore's involvement ... Blackmore, of course, best known for his time with Deep Purple.)  kk
Thanks, Mr. K! Yeah, I noticed the song writing credit (what isn't in Japanese) didn't match any Rainbow members. Thanks for the Chicago radio info, too!

I wasn't really familiar with the Russ Ballard version so I downloaded it to check it out.  

The Russ Ballard Original Version 

Sounds like everybody stayed pretty true to the original ... and, to my ears, any one of these COULD have been a hit.  According to Wikipedia, it was also covered by The Brian May Band ... now THAT might be an interesting one to hear ... which featured Cozy Powell on drums ... Powell also played drums on the Rainbow version.  (Maybe Tom Diehl can put his hands on that one for us!)  Versions were also recorded by Clout, Cherie Currie, Master Blaster and Impellitteri.  The Rainbow version was also featured in a T-Mobile commercial, filmed at Liverpool Street Station in London, England in 2009.  (kk)
This is all I could find ... a live version from 2009.

The "Live" Brian May Version 

This'll work.  Thanks, Tom!  (Wikipedia also says that May has professed his love for this song numerous times over the years ... and even called it one of his "desert island discs" ... and he's not the only one.  In a VH-1 "Best Hard Rock Songs Ever" poll, "Since You Been Gone" came in at #82!!!  Not bad for a non-Top 40 classic!)  kk

The Head East "Hit" Version 

The Rainbow "Classic" Version

Kent ...
I don't know if you're familiar with the new Internet Jukebox.  Maybe one of your experts can answer a question for me.
If you play a song that's in the Jukebox, it costs 1 credit = .50 cents.
If you play a song off the Internet it costs 2 credits = 1 dollar.
Let's take Gene Pitney for example. Either way, in the Jukebox or off the Internet, I can only find 2 songs by Gene ... "Every Breath I Take" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty
Whoever owns the rights to his songs, why wouldn't they want to make ALL of them available for play?
Speaking of a Gene Pitney song, we'll have to update "If I Didn't Have A Dime."
Here's another one that bothers me before I go.
I can get dozens of versions of "Stardust" ... but I can't get the version I want ... Billy Ward and The Dominos, with Eugene Mumford singing lead.
I better say goodbye for now, before I think of more complaints.
Frank B.
Not knowing anything about the Internet Jukebox or how it works (or what licensing agreements they may have to be able to charge a fee for the rights to listen to these songs), it really isn't fair for me to comment.  Basically, you're right ... if this is a legitimate source of music, you'd think they'd have an artist's complete catalog available for listening.  (Go to Amazon or iTunes and you'll find literally MILLIONS of digital downloads available ... but they pay royalties to the artists and record labels, too.  I'm not so sure about what the Internet Jukebox does.)
Quite honestly, it sounds like a waste of money to me ... why would you pay $1.00 to HEAR a song one time ... when for $0.99 you can BUY the digital download of that song ... OWN it ... and play it whenever you like.  Just my opinion.  (kk)

Hallo people,
I'm one of the sixties followers and I've been looking for a song called "Much More Love" by Tommy Roe (or I think it was him) for ages.  I had the seven single and I do have a taped version of it but I battle to get the cd version.  Can you maybe help me please and just point me in the right direction as sites like Amazon are of no use.
Thank you so much.
Gideon Vermeulen
"Much More Love" was the B-Side to Tommy Roe's 1966 Top Then Hit "Sweet Pea".  I'm not sure if it's currently available on CD or not.  (Looking at the Amazon listings, I'd have to say "not".)  So we asked Tommy Roe to see if he knew whether or not this track was available on perhaps an import CD.  Here's what he had to say:
I don't think it is on a CD ... Maybe check Ebay ... sometimes they have imports.
Tom Diehl came up with a fair-sounding copy for us to feature today ... but DivShare hasn't been working for the past three days so I can't upload it.  (Anybody out there know of any other music-sharing sites we can look at? Keywords being:  free --- reliable --- massive storage???)  I haven't heard this one before.  Thanks, Tom (and Tommy)!  We'll share it with our readers as soon as we can.  (Who knows ... maybe Tom'll come up with a better copy in the meantime!)  kk

Hi Kent,
Do you happen to have the song "I Only Know" by Mel Carter?
I can't find this song anywhere.
Sorry, but I don't see this one charting either ... I don't have it ... but maybe a FH Reader does???  (kk)  
Well I don't have it ... and I haven't got 99 cents to buy it ... but I can help out by pointing the requestor to where they can buy it:
Tom Diehl
Hey, that's more than fair ... besides, if they're the one looking for it, why have you snatch up a copy when they can grab it for themselves!  (kk)

My husband (age 61) and his sister (age 63) asked me to find a song.  They think it was on the b side of a Ventures' record (???)  The song title is Midnight Sun and it was done with electric or steel guitars.  Any web link please.
Rosetta Link
Well, I don't see "Midnight Sun" listed as any of their charted singles (A-Side OR B-Side).  I checked a couple on online Ventures discographies, too, and don't see this title listed ... so I'm thinking that either the title ... or artist ... is wrong.  Let's see if any of our Forgotten Hits sleuths out there can come up with anything on this one.  (kk)

>>>I forgot who did the original "Hippy Hippy Shake", but it's still noting the "British / U.K. Invasion" period for giving us a few "garage band" classics from "across the pond".
Tal Hartsfeld

Chan Romero originated the Hippy Hippy Shake at Del-Fi in 1959. If he's still around, he's probably still performing it live. 
There are multiple clips of it at Youtube.
Bob In Jersey  
One of your readers couldn't remember who did the original HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE.  I think it was Chan Romero in 1959 unless someone did it earlier. Incidentally, when I hear the name Swingin' Blue Jeans, they had a big record here in OKC back in 1966 on Imperial Records, DON'T MAKE ME OVER, the old Dionne Warwicke tune.
Larry Neal
Romero's record never made the charts ... which is too bad because it's really a rockin' record.  I'm a little surprised not to see this one listed in Joel Whitburn's latest book as one of those "Classic Non-Hot 100 Songs". Great track.  (kk)

This has nothing to do with garage bands :-)  but might be fodder for a future posting -- unless you have written about it before.
June, 1960, saw something that, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the oddest quirks of the Billboard Hot 100 pop music charts.
A British singer named Garry Mills entered the charts then with "Look for a  Star," a tune that had originally been used in the 1960 Donald Pleasance film  "Circus of Horrors."   At exactly the same time, an American singer  named Garry Miles also entered the charts, also with a similar-sounding version  of "Look for a Star."  Both versions climbed the charts simultaneously,  although the one by the American singer both outlasted and reached a higher  position than the British singer's.
Garry Mills -- Garry Miles.  Almost identically-named singers, each with almost identical versions of the same song at the same time.  What gives?
My suspicion is that the American, whose real name apparently was James "Buzz" Cason, changed his name to cash in on the popularity of the original British recording.  But is this so?  If this is the case, is there any record of this having happened before -- such as a group going by "The Beetles" to try to cash in on someone else's fame? Do any of your readers know the background of this?  It seems that Cason was at one time in Brenda  Lee's backing band.
-- Henry McNulty
It was an unusual pair of releases ... and I'm sure these caused more than a little bit of confusion at the record stores ... more folks probably the wrong version than the right version (although both charted similarly ... now HERE'S a case where these records really SHOULD have shared the same chart position!!!)
For the record, Garry Mills' version reached #26 on the Billboard Chart and peaked at #13 in Cash Box Magazine.  It was released on the Imperial record label.
Garry Miles' version (how many "Gary's" spelled their names with two "R"'s like these guys?!?!  All the MORE confusion!) peaked at #16 in Billboard and shared the #13 spot with the Garry Mills counterpart.
The only other similar situation that came immediately to mind was the 1956 battle between Dick Hyman and Richard Hayman, both of whom released versions of "A Theme From 'The Three-Penny Opera" (Moritat), a song better known today as "Mack The Knife".  Hayman's version went to #12 on The Billboard Top 100 Chart (and failed to chart in Cash Box.)  Hyman's recording went to #9 on The Billboard Chart and peaked at #7 in Cash Box Magazine.  Both are long-Forgotten Hits, absent from the radio for over 50 years.  (kk)

Hi Kent!
I was wondering if you or your readers could tell me if there are any videotapes of the tv show  from Philadelphia " Saturday Afternoon at Aquarama", hosted by Ed Hurst.  I have a website about Gloria Stavers, editor-in-chief of 16 Magazine, and she was a frequent guest on the show.  I believe there was also a show from the Steele Pier that Gloria was on.  Thank you for any information you can give me. 
Karen Steele
I'm not aware of any ... but we have a pretty large readership in the Philadelphia area so let's see if anything comes back on this.  (I'm assuming you've already checked the obvious places like YouTube???)  kk

Hey, Kent,
Remember the Daisy L feminine cologne spray TV ad from the late ‘70s, with a shapely brunette who faked trombone playing? Is there any place I can go to, to see that ad again? Please let me know. Thanks!
Dave Wollenberg,
Wheaton, IL
Wow ... I honestly DON'T remember that ad!!! (Maybe if I saw it?!?!?)  I assume you've checked the obvious spots (like YouTube and such) ... anybody else out there know where he might find this one?  (kk)

In his reply to you, Allan Conner mentions his WALKIN' THE CHALK with a year of 2010. Is this a remake or do you know? The original version peaked at #19 here in OKC for the week of October 10, 1963, on our local top 40 radio station's survey. The flip was MILK COW BLUES.  The label was on OKC's Boyd Records but listed on the weekly survey in the far right column under the title of labels for the various songs, it was written in as Boyd-Bond. The Swingin' Conner Family, as I remember, did radio and television commercials for Bond Bread. They are no longer around, Bond Bread that is, but I believe they changed their name to Rainbo Bread. The record number was #122 and it does say on the label that it is produced by Bond Bread.  I assume that this record did not chart in Chicago (?)
Larry Neal
Actually, Allan was referring to a 2010 article we wrote about The Swingin' Conners.  "Walkin' The Chalk" came out in 1963 and was a regional hit (evidently in the Oklahoma and Nebraska area ... it never officially charted here in Chicago ... OR nationally for that matter.)  As I recall, FH Regular Clark Besch wrote in asking something about the group because he had seem them perform at some outdoor live concert or something in his area when he was just a kid.  In yet another example of what never ceases to amaze me about the wide-scope reading of Forgotten Hits, one of The Conner Brothers SAW our posting and started communicating with Forgotten Hits.  (Clark was looking for his original 45 with a picture sleeve, which may have been a "give-away" at the live show ... I honestly don't remember all the details but this may spark another response that'll help clarify some of this.)  Or you can simply click back to January 27, 2010, and read the article first-hand!  (kk) 

I have a question about Raymond LeFevre.  I remember hearing an instrumental by him in 68 or 69 ... heard the tune while oversees in the army ... but can't find now. Can you help?
Patrick LaFevers
Wow!  Any relation???  The song you're thinking of is "Soul Coaxing" (Ame Caline), which has turned into quite the fan favorite over the past 25 years.  Ironically, it wasn't that big of a hit when it first charted back in 1968, reaching only #36 in Cash Box Magazine ... but it seems to consistently come up on most of the Top Ten Favorites Lists we've seen over the past several years. (I've sent you a copy under separate cover ... and am featuring it here today so that others may enjoy it, too!)  kk

In your post on the Ides - Shames reunion, the following paragraph about a recording is there:
>>>Ron DID send me a copy of one of the songs from that live Thirsty Whale tape. It's a VERY interesting cut called "Long Goodbye" ... which sounds like absolutely NOTHING either of these bands did on their own. Perhaps we're right ... using the familiar names got them their initial bookings ... but then they tried to forge their own musical identity. All I know is that this one sounds pretty good to me ... especially for a live cut ... and they don't come much rarer than this!!! (Thanks to ALL the guys for letting us "World Premier" this cut here in Forgotten Hits!!!)  kk
I could not find the recording and, the Cryan' Shames being my favorite group, I'd sure like to hear it.  Please share the link with me.
Riverside, CA from South Bend, IN
Wow, I had forgotten all about this one!  No idea why the clip doesn't appear on the website anymore ... but here it is again ... and, like I said in that original article, sounding absolutely NOTHING like either The Cryan' Shames OR The Ides Of March!!  (kk)  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

Bobby Vee announced to his fans on Sunday, April 29th, that he is battling Alzheimer's Disease.  His wife Karen is also in poor health, awaiting a lung transplant.  The family recently picked up roots in Minnesota, hopped in an RV and took a road trip to Tucson, Arizona, both for relaxation and mind-clearing ... he described it as a means to explore their new reality ... and, while there, they recorded some random tunes that will soon find their way to a new CD release through Bobby's website.  You can read Bobby's self-written explanation regarding all that is going on in their lives right now on his official website, as well as view the first video made from these new recordings.
Some very sad news to share regarding one of our Forgotten Hits favorites ... Bobby has been a supporter of our efforts since the early days and we certainly wish him well in the days to come.  You'll find a spot to email Bobby right from his website to send along your own positive greetings and prayers.  You can check it all out here:
It's a heartfelt message to be sure.  In Bobby's own words:
Shortly after this all came down, I hopped into an RV with my family and we embarked on a little odyssey from Minnesota to Tucson, AZ.  Together we explored the depths of our reality ... the depths of my reality.  With very few words, no solutions and a lot of heart, we did what we do.  We shared time.  We shared laughter, tears, stories, meals and music.  We shared thousands of miles of hi-way as familiar to us as the pillows on our beds.  As if nothing had changed, as if everything had changed ... simultaneously.
-- Bobby Vee
I don't know if you heard the news, but there's a very sad but touching letter on Bobby Vee's website about his Alzheimer's diagnosis . . .
Great musician, class guy who's been living in Minnesota for many years..
Don Effenberger
Kent ...
First it was Glen Campbell, now Bobby Vee.
Frank B.
This just came across from A.P.   It is very sad news for me.  He has played several concerts for us over the years for various functions.  He is truly the nicest person in the entertainment business that I have ever met.  The last time he played a show for us was in 2006 with the Crickets and Tommy Roe.  It was a magical night with all three acts on stage at the end jamming and telling stories. 
Phil Nee - WRCO
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Musician Bobby Vee says he has Alzheimer's disease
The 69-year-old North Dakota native who lives in Minnesota made the announcement on his website, saying the news last year "stunned my family and myself."
Vee's career began the night Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash on their way to a show in Moorhead, Minn., the neighboring city to Vee's hometown of Fargo, N.D. Vee was 15 at the time, and volunteered with a band called The Shadows to fill in. Founding band members Dick Dunkirk and Bob Korum tell The Forum newspaper they're saddened to hear of Vee's condition.
Vee went on to a successful solo career. In June 1999 he was given North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state's highest honor.
Yes, I heard about this Sunday Morning after The Sunday Comments had already gone out so I wasn't able to include it until today's posting.  Although I never met him personally, Bobby Vee communicated with Forgotten Hits a number of times over the years.  In fact, he was SUPPOSED to be my very first big-name interview ... the fact that it never happened became a running gag in the newsletter for about three years.  (Bobby kept saying he wanted to do it ... and that these were the best questions he'd ever been asked ... then came up with excuse after excuse after excuse about why he didn't answer them.  It wasn't at all unusual for me to get an email from Vee at 1, 2 or 3:00 in the morning, after he'd finished up a show and finally settled down in his hotel room, telling me that he was going to tackle the questions now ... only to never send in the responses!)  Naturally, by now ALL those questions and emails are long gone ... but he has done a lot to help spread the word about Forgotten Hits over the years.  He's got millions of fans out there praying for him right now.  (kk)
I'm just perusing your extraordinary comments in this weeks "Forgotten Hits" and read everything about the late Dick Clark, and I must admit, I made a HUGE Programming faux pas when I was the P.D. of KARS-FM "Oldies 102.9, The Greatest Hits of All Time" in Ft Collins CO. As such, I'd like to issue a public apology.
I helped put the station on the air in 2004 (and programmed the station til it's demise in late 2008) and I was the one that decided on any weekend radio shows we would have on the air. I couldn't believe all the great shows that were available to Oldies Stations.  I was like a kid in a candy store. I was however keenly aware of Dick Clark's stroke and was approached by the good people from the United Stations Radio Network to run Dick's "Rock, Roll and Remember", which I had heard and was a super fan of for years, but was so STUPID to think that our listeners wouldn't tune it in because they were all aware of how Dick was physically (here and now in the status quo) and how he sounded. Even though the shows would be reruns of classics aired years ago and that classic velvety smooth Dick Clark voice would be all you'd hear along with his renditions of great music stories, I declined to air it.
One of the BIGGEST Programming Mistakes I ever made was telling United Stations, I thought it would be a mistake to air "Rock, Roll & Remember" on Sunday afternoons, because our audience was "too hip" and wouldn't accept it or listen to it. So I went with different programming on Sunday's including Breakfast with the Beatles and Joe Johnson's outstanding "Beatle Brunch", we also ran Mike Harvey's Weekend Shows.
Now, after the death of Dick Clark, giving a listen to Cruisin Oldies 950 (the old KIMN of Denver) blaring out "Dick Clark's Rock, Roll & Remember" on Sunday Afternoons ... I can truthfully say, I can't miss a minute of it because it was and IS incredible. Dick was sooooo good, and the stories and music are unforgettable. Damn, I should sell for United Stations ... if you own an Oldies Station, you'd be an IDIOT not to air this show in your market!
Nuff said!
"Wild" Bill Cody
As frequent readers to Forgotten Hits already know, when Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon was writing his autobiography last year with well known rock author Mark Bego, they asked Dick Clark to write the introduction to Freddy’s book, “Where the Action Is.”  
In tribute to his good friend Dick, other than those who have read the book, Freddy is now sharing Dick’s entire introduction with Forgotten Hit readers for the first time.
-- Tom Cuddy
New York, NY

by Dick Clark 
Throughout my years as the producer and host of American Bandstand, I had the opportunity to meet and to work with some of the most amazing performers in the world of rock & roll music.  Some of those talented people I merely worked with on the set, on a friendly-but-professional basis.  Other musicians and singers instantly became lifelong friends of mine.  One of the singers who falls into the later category is Freddy Cannon.
The first time I met Freddy, he was making a guest appearance on American Bandstand on May 1, 1959.  He was there to sing his first Top Ten hit, “Tallahassee Lassie.”  
I happily booked him on American Bandstand again that November, to perform his second Top Ten hit of the year, “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.”  Freddy was on a hot streak of hits that just continued.  The following year Freddy was a guest on my primetime television show The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show, along with Brenda Lee.  
Freddy was always a pleasure to work with.  In fact, it is Freddy Cannon who holds the record for the most appearances on American Bandstand.  
In the early 1960s, when I started my traveling road show, Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, I made sure that Freddy was a part of that, too.  He has always had an upbeat and positive outlook on life, and he has always been a pleasure to be around.  If you are going to plan a city-to-city bus tour of rock & roll stars, these are good traits to have in your musical guests! 
In 1965 I started a new afternoon show on ABC-TV called Where the Action Is.  It was filmed on location and took us to the beach, or up to a snow-covered mountain.  I had booked all of the biggest rock, pop, and R&B stars on the charts as my guests on that show.  It showed all the signs of becoming a huge ratings success.  
However, only weeks before we were set to broadcast the first episode of Where the Action Is, we didn’t have a solid recording of the theme song for the show.  I first had Paul Revere & The Raiders record the song “Action,” but it just wasn’t as exciting as I had envisioned it.  Next, I pursued Del Shannon to have him record his version of it.  Again, it didn’t work out.  What was I going to do?  The demo recording of the song that Tommy Boyce and Steven Venet wrote sounded so much like it could be a Freddy Cannon kind of song.  Why not get Freddy to record his take on it?  He went into the recording studio, and he instantly nailed it.  A few weeks later Freddy’s version of the song “Action” was not only heard on every episode of the show, it went on to become his 21st chart hit!  
I will always remember that 19-year-old kid from Boston who came to the Philadelphia studios where American Bandstand was taped.  He was just so excited to have his first hit song pressed onto a 45 r.p.m. record.  And he has never lost that enthusiasm.  He has been a wonderful friend of mine ever since that very first day I met him in 1959.  After reading this book, I hope you will feel that Freddy Cannon is one of your dear friends, too.                                          
—Dick Clark, 2011

>>>Back in the 70s, I religiously listened to Casey Kasem's "American Top 40" on Sunday nights. I used to intentionally wait until 7 pm, to head back to college, so I could listen to the show on my car's am radio. As a broadcasting major, I regarded Casey as the MAN!  Once in a great while, he would take a night off, and have a guest host fill in on his program. On March 25th, 1972, Dick Clark was that guest host. I must have been busy that night, because I completely missed it, but heard about it later.  Lately, a local radio station here has been playing reruns of "American Top 40" on Sunday mornings, and I thought maybe the show with Dick Clark filling in, would have been featured, because of his passing. Well, it wasn't, so I'm wondering if someone has a recording of the show, or at least some snippets for us to hear.
(John LaPuzza)
Actually, Premiere Networks IS offering (as an option) to its "Casey Kasem's American Top 40®: The 70's" affiliates this weekend (4/28-29) the Dick Clark show from March 25, 1972; some stations are choosing the other option, a regular Casey show from 1979, and I have heard of a few who will carry both, although when they are, of course, varies with the station.
Meanwhile, I did read where someone (briefly) posted a recording of the Clark show to F***book, but I imagine it didn't last long.
Easton, PA
Music Legend Tommy Roe Featured In 'The Beatles Lost Concert' Film
5/2/2012 – Hollywood, CA - International '60s music legend and pop pioneer Tommy Roe will be featured in a new film about The Beatles legendary 1964 concert in Washington, DC called 'The Beatles The Lost Concert'. This new documentary on the birth of Beatlemania in America will have its premiere at New York's world-famous Ziegfeld Theater on May 6, 2012 and will have a limited US theater engagement March 17 & 22, 2012. The Beatles opened for Tommy Roe on the famed UK tour of 1963.  In return, the Fab Four asked Tommy to be on the bill with them at their first ever US concert in Washington, DC. 

The whole story is related through new interviews with celebrities, historically important people, journalists and DJs, photographers, historians and original concert goers, along with plenty archival footage. Also, unseen on the big screen for over four decades, the original concert footage has been restored and remastered. On February 11, 1964, two days after their legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles performed at the Washington Coliseum. After performances by The Caravelles, The Chiffons and Tommy Roe, The Beatles played a 12-song half hour show to an ecstatic audience. The concert was professionally filmed and mixed on location, and then one month later broadcast via closed-circuit to movie theaters across America. The concert has been hidden away in the vaults for over 45 years! For more information visit:

In celebration of the new Beatles documentary, Tommy Roe made a special guest appearance on the nationally syndicated SiriusXM radio show 'Breakfast With The Beatles' on April 29, 2012.
In other news, Tommy Roe will be releasing his first new album in many years in the Fall 2012!  In support of his new CD release, Tommy will be performing several select dates in the US and Canada. A bona fide international star, Tommy Roe wrote and recorded six "Top 10" hits between 1962 - 69, more than any other solo American artist. To his credits he has 11 US Top 40 hits, 6 Top 10's, 4 Certified Gold singles, and two #1 Hits. He is a member of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, The Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. On September 2, 2012, Tommy Roe will be inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Music Association (IRRMA) Hall of Fame.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Tommy began writing songs at the age of fourteen, and his first recording effort yielded the international #1 hit "Sheila".
“I will most likely call the new CD 'Devils Soul Pile', after a song I have written and included in the line up,” explains Tommy. “The song is a departure from my normal and expected style, and one that tells the story of dysfunctional families, and the effect it has on our youth and our neighborhoods. Lyrically, this song is a bit serious, and was inspired by the everyday news of violence in our neighborhoods and cities. But a song that ends in hope.” Other new songs include “LA I Belong To You”, “It's For You I'm Me” and “Water Underneath My Burning Bridge” as well as a re-recorded version of “Kick Me Charlie” from Tommy's 1965's 'Sweet Pea' album.
“Get Ready to party ... Tommy Roe sounds better than ever!”
LARRY KLEIN - Executive Producer: Dick Clark Productions
AN EVENING WITH TOMMY ROE is a new show featuring all his hits, plus less familiar tunes, and new material as well. The show features a full band, along with unplugged and solo segments.  The band is led by veteran guitarist / music director Rick Levy (Herman's Hermits, Bo Diddley, Jay & the Techniques, Freddy Cannon, etc).  Rick plays Epiphone guitars exclusively on tour with Tommy Roe. “I am really excited about my new show,” says Tommy. “I will be featuring some of the new songs I have written, along with some obscure material I have recorded through the years, and get many requests to do. Of course I will highlight the hits, like 'Sheila', 'Everybody', 'Hooray For Hazel', 'Sweet Pea', 'Jam Up and Jelly Tight' and 'Dizzy', along with some of my favorite covers. I will also do a Q&A session in the middle of the show while the stage is being set for my acoustic set with band leader and lead guitarist Rick Levy. This is a new addition to our show, and something I really enjoy. It gives me a chance to get up close and intimate with our audience, kind of like I do at home with family and friends.”

Tommy Roe will be performing on these dates:
May 25 - Century Casino - Edmonton A, Canada
June 16 - Fountain of Life Festival - Gray, TN
June 17 - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
June 18 - Savannah Theatre - The Villages, FL
June 19 - LaGrange College - LaGrange, GA
Aug 31 - DiamondJo Casino - Dubuque, IA
Sept 1- Winnavegas Casino - Sloan, IA
Sept 2 - Iowa Rock Hall of Fame Induction - Arnolds Park, IA
Tommy Roe promo video:
For more information:
"Wages of Spin" Coming to National Public Television Television this month (May).
Chubby Checker, Paul Russo and Shawn Swords,
doing promo's at 60's weekend in Wildwood
Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen’s guitar collection I had meant to send this in long ago when it first aired.  Back in late January, Bob Sirrott's cool Sunday Night WGN radio show featured Rick and others live from Chess Records studio site!  Rick spoke a lot as well as others about Chess and Rick's dreams too.  You can catch the hour long show here:,0,3733798.mp3file
This from FH Reader Frank B (by way of WCBS-FM) ...
With a little help from his friend Dave Stewart (formerly of the Eurythmics), Ringo Starr is developing a movie musical for Paramount, reports entertainment industry website Titled Hole in the Fence, the film is described as a “coming-of-age drama is about a group of kids who form a band to escape their depressing mining town.” 
Starr and Stewart are behind the film’s original concept and music, but the script will be penned by David Harris, who is also working with Stewart on a film adaptation of their graphic novel, Zombie Broadway. The former Beatles drummer and one half of the Eurythmics will serve as executive producers on Hole in the Fence.
Tom Finn has just announced that Michael Brown has agreed to perform at tonight's show. Michael has been a holdout due to bad blood from 40 years ago, and this means three original band members will be onstage at this gig.
David Lewis
Kent ... 
Quite an honor, don't you think? 
Fifty years after the release of his debut, the folk-rock pioneer will receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor award by the United States, according to an official press release from the White House
The White House’s release deemed Dylan “one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century” and praised his “considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s.”
Frank B. 
Here's my last-call email about the upcoming May - June tour.  (I always send these reminders to everyone on my list. Regardless of where you live, there's always a chance you'll be somewhere near one of these venues.)
The tour will start on May 14th and run through June 2nd ...
Two shows in Wyoming, one in San Francisco, three in the greater L. A. area, one in San Diego, two in Arizona and one in Denver.
For the last seven of these ten concerts, I'll be sharing the bill with the incomparable Danny O'Keefe, whose music I've loved and admired since I first heard it back in 1972.
Check my web site Gigs Page for specifics:
They tell me there are still tickets available  for all the dates, but they're going fast. So if you plan on making one of the shows don't wait too long to reserve.
See you there.
Bob Lind
4OO-PLUS filled the Hammonton Regional Performing Arts Center this past Saturday (4/29) to see CHARLIE GRACIE and the DUPREES!   A fun evening filled with some great golden classics performed by both acts: THANK YOU!
CHARLIE will be honored by his Alma Mater: SOUTH PHILLY HIGH (school of the stars) this coming SUNDAY with a LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD -- formal ceremony and dinner at the SAVOY INN in Palmyra, NJ.
We just found out that Jim Peterik will be sitting in with The New Invaders when they play their pre-show lobby concert at The Drive's 11th Birthday Concert featuring Dave Mason and The Doobie Brothers!  Now we gotta get there EXTRA early!!!  (kk)

The New Invaders Appearing At Akoo Theatre - Rosemont, IL
Pre-Concert Performance for The Drive's 11th Birthday Celebration

On Friday, May 11, 2012, The New Invaders will be performing a pre-concert show in the Akoo Theatre's main lobby from 6:00pm to 7:30pm as part of The Drive radio station's 11th Birthday Celebration.  As a special addition to the show, The New Invaders are honored to be sharing the stage with one of Chicago's premier musicians, Jim Peterik, of the Ides of March and Survivor, as Jim sings "Vehicle," the signature song of the Ides of March.  "Vehicle" was released in 1970 by Warner Bros. Records and the song climbed to #1 in Cashbox and #2 in Billboard to become the fastest breaking single in Warner Bros. history!  Needless to say, the band has been working overtime learning the horn parts of "Vehicle" and more.  
Each year, The Drive, 97.1 FM, marks their birthday with a gift back to the listeners in the form of a free concert.  This year's bash will feature
The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason.  The free concert at the intimate Akoo Theatre (formerly Rosemont Theatre) in Rosemont, Illinois is The Drive's way of saying thanks for listening.  Tickets are not available for sale, but The Drive will be giving each and every ticket away daily until they are all gone. To find out how to win tickets (on air, online or in person), visit The Drive's website at:
I've used the BBC website for years now but only came across this link yesterday. It has some historical interviews with The Beatles and other 'Mersey' performers.  I'm sure some you guys will be knocked out listening to some of this stuff, some of it I've never heard before, and didn't know existed.
Happy listening
George Van Win (London, England)
Kent ...
Check this one out. I just found it.
Frank B.
A very impressive line-up ... and obviously somewhat dated ... to see world renown actor Will Smith still being referred to simply as "The Fresh Prince"!  (kk)
My dear friend, I would greatly appreciate your forwarding or using this video release of my  "DOO WOP DREAMER" recording in your newsletter or blog if possible. I hope you enjoy it and thanks very much.
Warmest regards,
Trade Martin  
Kent ...
Six year old boy impresses Billy Joel with his viral rendition of "Piano Man" ...6 years old, playing the piano. I think I was still sucking my thumb when I was 6!
Frank B.
Here are a couple of YouTube clips of Ron Dante performing at B.B. King's last weekend.
David Lewis
VERY cool ... not only Ron but also our FH buddies The 1910 Fruit Gum Company, too!  And "Tracy" has always been one of Frannie's all-time favorite songs!  (kk)

Lots more comments coming this weekend in The Sunday Comments Page ... and watch for another edition of "Helping Out Our Readers" tomorrow in Forgotten Hits!  (kk)