Saturday, September 15, 2012

What's In A Name? (The Ides Of March Weekend - Part One)

This is a song you never hear on the radio, EVER. I was doing some research on his autobiography and found the information on Wiki to be quite interesting. He was quite talented.
Shondell was born and raised in Indiana and was educated at Valparaiso University and Indiana University. He wrote his first song at age 14, which was recorded by Little Anthony & The Imperials. Shondell also learned to play five musical instruments.[5] His professional music career started whilst he was still a teenager. Mercury Records released his first single, "My Hero", from The Chocolate Soldier, which he recorded in 1958 under his real name of Gary Shelton.[1]
He followed the next year with "Kissin' at the Drive-In", a rockabilly song that went on to become a drive-in theater standard. Shondell seemed to be on his way, at least in the Midwest. Chicago's Brass Rail, a major nightclub that usually hosted jazz and blues acts, brought him in for its first foray into rock and roll. The successful gig stretched to 16 weeks.[1] In 1959, Mark Records released "The Trance" and "Goodbye Little Darlin'". These sold well in the Midwest and a few other areas, but neither made it into the Top 40 of the national Billboard record chart. The same year, the singer opened shows on a tour called "Shower of Stars" for such headliners as Chuck Berry, The Impalas, Frankie Ford, Frankie Avalon, and The Skyliners.[1]
The singer cited his father as a major influence, along with Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly. A song Shondell wrote about his father's death in 1960 from a heart attack, "Still Loving You", became a country hit when it was recorded by Bob Luman. Shondell's father's demise caused a stutter in his career, and he briefly returned to help run the family business.[1]
In April 1961, he recorded "This Time". The record was released during the last week in June on the tiny Gaye label. It was picked up by the small Los Angeles Goldcrest label, and sold ten thousand copies during the first week.[1] Six weeks after being released and played in Chicago, Shondell flew to Los Angeles and signed with Liberty Records. It finally hit the Billboard charts the first week of September, and landed in the Top 10 four weeks later, peaking at number six and staying in the charts for a total of sixteen weeks.[1][3] The track reached #22 in the UK Singles Chart at the end of that year.[4] "Tears From An Angel" was his follow-up recording, released in March 1962. No further chart action was forthcoming, and Shondell quietly slipped away from the music industry the following year, despite his third single "Na-Ne-No", being produced by Phil Spector. However, in 1963, Tommy Jackson changed the name of his high school band from "Tom and the Tornados" to "The Shondells" in honor of Troy Shondell (one of his musical idols).[1] Jackson became "Tommy James" and international fame followed for the act.
In 1968, Shondell became a songwriter for Acuff-Rose Music in Nashville, Tennessee, and the first recording artist for TRX Records, a branch of Hickory Records, for whom Shondell recorded some discs until 1969, when he went into the music publishing field. In October 1969, Shondell was apppointed as Assistant Regional Director for ASCAP's Southern Regional Office in Nashville.[5]
In 2001, Shondell was still performing at nostalgia shows and other events. Along with Jimmy Clanton, Ronnie Dove, and the now deceased Ray Peterson, Shondell was a member of the Masters of Rock 'n' Roll.[1]
On October 2, 2007, Shondell traveled to Collins, Mississippi, to deliver the musical tribute to his fallen rock and roll colleague, Dale Houston, who, with musical partner Grace Broussard, had reached #1 in 1963 with "I'm Leaving It Up to You" as by Dale & Grace.
We've featured "This Time" a few times in Forgotten Hits ... but you're right, you rarely hear it on the radio ... despite a #5 showing in Cash Box Magazine in 1961. (It went all the way to #1 here in Chicago ... where a ten year old Jimmy Peterik fell in love with the name Troy Shondell and later named HIS pre-teen band The Shondells ... a name that stuck until Tommy James used the same name for HIS band up in Niles, Michigan ... and hit the charts with "Hanky Panky", a #1 Record in 1966. By this time, Peterik had changed the name of his band to The Ides Of March ... and was charting as well with their first hit single "You Wouldn't Listen".) That's the story I'VE always heard anyway ... and Peterik's told it for years. In fact, in his autobiography "Me, The Mob And The Music", (which I just reread and was recently voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Top 12 Best Rock and Roll Memoirs Ever!), Tommy James makes absolutely NO mention of "borrowing" the name from Troy Shondell ... or being influenced by it whatsoever ... so once again I think Wikipedia has their "facts" a little mixed up. 

In fact, James says in his book  

"With the new record deal and the new band members, we thought it was time for a name change as well. We had been toying with a name that I had made up the previous year in study hall ... The Shondells. We all liked the way it sounded and the way it looked when you wrote it out. And besides, back then anything with 'ells' on the end was a potential musical brand name. The following week, when we walked into the WNIL studio for our first recording session on Snap Records, we were officially The Shondells." (kk) 

Later that same week, we received THIS interesting email when a brand new reader discovered our website, thanks to one of the many Ides Of March articles published there ...

The Ides Of March Copied Our Name, Too!

I was the drummer for “The Ides of March” in the mid-60’s. We were a Michigan group from Essexville, Michigan. I just saw the above link on the internet, as well as the link to your website.
The IDES OF MARCH, above: From left to right starting in back: Tim Ward, Lead Guitar and vocals, Scott Ebright drummer and vocals, Dennis Orvis Bass Guitar, vocals. Front row L to R: Terry Bladecki, Rhythm Guitar and vocals, Bob Ward, Lead Singer.

I guess I was most surprised by the fact that his email implied that he was first hearing of another group called The Ides Of March thanks to my website piece ... which seemed just a little far-fetched in my mind ... 
Here's a copy of my initial response:

Surely you must be aware of the OTHER Ides Of March ... the "semi-famous" one ... that scored the #2 National Hit "Vehicle", an oldies radio and classic rock radio staple. 

Hailing here from the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, they first hit the charts in 1966 with "You Wouldn't Listen", a Top Ten local hit that just missed The National Top 40. (#42)
In fact, the band still performs to this day (with many of its original members still onboard.)
Lead Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter Jim Peterik not only penned all of The Ides' Hits, but also wrote the #1 Survivor Hit "Eye Of The Tiger" from the hit "Rocky" movie as well as several others for the band. He has also composed several of .38 Special's biggest hits.
This could all make for some pretty interesting conversation, however ... stay tuned to Forgotten Hits and let's see where this takes us!
Thanks for writing!

His response:

Yep, I heard of ‘em. And they heard of us …. we played a circuit of teen nightclubs and performing venues all over Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, and all of these venues used radio advertising that broadcast our band name across the Midwest. Chicago is only about 330 miles from where we were from. We used to hear stories about some band from the Chicago area that was using our band name. From the band name history you give in your write-up, it sounds like Jim Peterik and company tried on a few different names for size before finally settling on “The Ides of March”. 
Our band was defunct once the lead singer graduated from high school in 1967. That’s when our lead guitar player went on to form another band called “The Blues Company”. 

Personally, I moved out to California, and by 1972-’73, I was playing drums with bands in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. It was a fun time to be a rock musician and playing alongside of other musicians like CCR, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Elvin Bishop, Boz Scaggs, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Van Morrison and Carlos Santana. 
However, I did like the business side of band management more than playing and I did a marketing flip against the tide of “hippie bands” and decided to go retro by managing and promoting the first “Oldies” review band in 1975. (I was in the movie “American Graffiti” as an actor/extra, and my own band, “Cruis’n” missed the phone call to perform in the movie by five minutes. So much for the absence of “answering machines” back then! Instead, “Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids” got the movie role to play at the famous high school dance in the movie. 
In 1976, I created the world’s first all Elvis show titled, “Jesse King as Elvis” and we took it on tour mostly in the Southern States and Florida. Within a year we wound up in New York City playing a revue in off Broadway, and Scotty Moore – Elvis’ guitar player - was our lead guitar. I sold out my interests in that band and moved back to LA to accept an offer to co-manage the first ever Elvis singer in Vegas at the Tropicana: Alan: A Tribute to Elvis. Dick Clark was our associate producer and we were in the right place at the right time when Elvis died, because our door take went from $10,000 a week to $100,000 a week overnight! 

Simultaneously we managed RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles. This band performed for Dick Clark’s made-for-TV movie called “The Birth of the Beatles”. Rain has stayed together and toured ever since, although they play mostly in Las Vegas these days. 
On a side note: during the leaner years that came after, I became a DJ for nightclub chains with the Grace Restaurant Company and we opened and operated about 50 nightclubs across Arizona, California and Nevada. I invented a new entertainment sing-along concept called, “AudioSynTrac” and had Numark Electronics build me a prototype tape player / recorder machine to perform recorded music backgrounds while live singers sang in front of audiences. I promoted this equipment at the CES shows in Vegas and Chicago, but then lost out to the Asian market that used a $10 million dollar budget to blow my own company out of existence! No way I could afford the attorneys to fight legal challenges, so to this day, “karaoke” always gets the credit for being INVENTED by the Japanese. 
Now that I’m 61 years old, I’m too old to do anything in the music scene anymore. About 15 years ago, I began writing mystery plays to perform in front of Corporate audiences from the Silicon Valley. I hire other TV and Movie industry actors to go out keep folks entertained as a form of “team building” – and to build morale for many Fortune 500 companies. But even this is beginning to take its wear and tear on me, so I’m preparing to move on to launching a Blog on the internet that deals with controversial conspiracies – such as Paul McCartney’s death in November of 1966. 

(That’s right…don’t buy into the corny ‘false story’ about hidden messages in Beatle recordings or hidden clues on LP covers. I have much inside forensics information direct from Apple Records former management people that all proves the “Faul McCartney” (as in “Faux”) we’ve been handed since 1967 was the replacement. 
I wish you success with your website business.
Best regards,
Scott Ebright

I thought our readers might find it interesting to read some background information on this OTHER band known as The Ides Of March.  (We've certainly given the Berwyn Boys a fair amount of publicity these past fourteen years in FH!!!  And we'll continue to do so tomorrow in Part Two of this special Weekend Series.  But first a closer look at the Michigan version!

Clearly these are VERY rare tracks ... the link above shows a copy of this single recently selling for $500 ... so we have to share with you what can only be described as a rare and precious gift ... which is pretty much exactly the way Scott Ebright describes it!

Your wish has been granted. You have been bestowed with a precious gift …. use kindly or the mountains will begin to rumble …
Scott Ebright

The Ides of March came from Essexville, Michigan, during the years of 1965 - 1968. All of the band members met at Garber High School. The original band started with brothers Bob and Tim Ward (total Rolling Stones fans!) and Mark Pawlak on drums. A few months into their existence, critical feedback from teen nightclub owners told the Ward brothers to develop a fuller sound and add a bass guitarist. Tim Ward approached Scott Ebright to join their band as a drummer and also asked Dennis Orvis to join their band as well. This move dissolved "The Knightmen", a fledgling band of which Ebright and Orvis had recently started.
The band played a heavy rotation of early Stones hits, as well as certain other regional hits from the Midwest. Bob Ward affected the style and mannerisms of Mick Jagger on stage, and behind the scenes, he handled management and bookings. He surprised many doubters with his persuasive salesman style and solid roster of booking engagements all across the state of Michigan. The Ides of March really took off when the won an annual Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by WKNX radio in Saginaw, Michigan. Question Mark and the Mysterians had won this annual event the year before, and within that same year, they recorded their smash, million-seller hit, "96 Tears".

As their popularity grew, The Ides of March opened for acts like "Paul Revere and the Raiders", "The Bossmen", "Bobby Riggs and the Chevelles", and several other headliner bands.

 A few months after they won the battle of bands, The Ides of March were now very popular and it was time to record their first record, "Life Has Been So Good", and "Playthings 5 X 5" on the "B" side. Many fans and radio stations preferred the "B" side, even though it was a "quick, thrown-together jam" of a swingy blues progression. The "Ides" recorded their record in the same studio as Question Mark did, and the total cost of the session was $27.50 - including the acetate master. Drummer Ebright was frustrated that the drum licks did not come through so crisp or clean, but the old time sound engineer, Robert Shields was a retired sound engineer from the Lawrence Welk era and he refused to let any young rock and roll band play too loud - lest they blow the sensitive carbon-ribbon mics that he used for the recording session. There is one obvious error on each side of this generic record (It was released in such a hurry, there was no time to get a record company to distribute it - hence the blank top half of the 45 record.) The error on "Life Has Been So Good" is the simple fact that the band could not quite sync their chorus vocals with the beat of the record (studio monitors were too soft), and on the B side, Scott Ebright laments that he lost his grip on the drum stick working the hi-hat cymbals during the soft jam near the end of the record, so a full beat or two completely missed the cymbal and there is a bare hole for a half-second. Also, Ebright's lone voice can be heard on the very last utterance of "Shake, Baby Shake" ... an error he wanted to have faded out, but the rest of the band laughingly voted to keep it in the final master.
The band broke up when lead singer, Bob Ward graduated from High School and attended college. Tim Ward went on to form a power trio called The Blues Company, and Scott Ebright became lead singer in a band called "The Ellison Scott Feeling" - a name which Terry Bladecki suggested, even though he was not in the band. Bassist Dennis Orvis never again played with any bands and about a year and a half after he graduated from High School and got married, he died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. In the winter of 2004, Terry Bladecki was killed when he hit a tree while skiing in Colorado. Tim Ward has continued to record several more songs and albums over the years and also works as a design engineer. Bob Ward spent the early part of his career as a TV News anchor on the East Coast and in recent years he has been a successful sales and PR rep in the mortuary business. Scott Ebright moved to California in 1970 and played with several bands and appeared with many name bands and actors throughout his career. 

I wondered if Scott kept in touch with any of his old bandmates over all these years. (Chicago's Ides Of March has been performing for nearly fifty years with many of the original members still intact!) 

Here's what he told me ...

Yes, as a matter of fact, I recently phoned and emailed Tim Ward, the lead guitarist of the band (his older brother Bob was our manager and lead singer). He wrote me back an informative email about his internet dealings with selling his later songs and recordings. I know that he would probably enjoy talking to anyone that is interested about the Ides, or his later band, The Blues Company, or his solo work after that. 
Check out what he wrote me about 9 days ago:

I have always been interested in the destiny of the so called great bands from Michigan. However even the Beatles can't fetch $700.00 to over $1000.00 for a 33 1/3 LP that my album "Strange But True" has. Even the re-release of the album in 1997 from Rockadelic records located in Texas gets $30.00 to $80.00 from the collectors. I was paid a rather large amount of money from that company to license. I found out later that all of the new pressings had been sold before they started pressing them. I was then approached from a record company from Chicago named The Numero Group, and they paid another fairly large amount of money for one song off the "Strange But True" album called "Good Mourning". The record company made a lot of money off that CD and I still get royalty checks every three months. I have three CD's available on CDBABY and they are still selling downloads and again I get royalty checks every six months.
I consider our band "THE IDES OF MARCH" one of the greatest things I have ever done. The reason I say that is when you're 15 years old in 1965 and the local popular radio station is playing your record and telling their listeners that you will be performing at the DOUBLE O7 teen night club at 8:00 tonight, there is no way you can top that. I consider myself as a totally successful Michigan rock star. No money of course.

Another thought: Tim’s brother, Bob would probably be good to talk with on the phone as well. You could always ask Tim for Bob’s number – they live within three miles of each other.
I am enclosing a better photo of our band that was repaired with Photoshop since there was a tear in the center of the original photo. Just for laughs, I also included some other career photos.
Scott Ebright

I asked Dave the Rave if he might be interested in having a couple of you guys on his "Relics And Rarities" program but never heard back. Dave is quite the record collector ... I wonder if HE has a copy of your rare and hard-to-find single up in his No Static Attic. If we ever hear back from him, I'll let you know. Heck, he could put together a pretty interesting program featuring music from BOTH Ides Of March ... and we can probably get a representative from each band to call in for an interview on the show!!! (kk)

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Friday Flash: Getting A Jump on The Weekend Comments

Working CRAZY hours again this week, so I wasn't able to post as much as I had planned ... meanwhile, we've been inundated with comments so I didn't want to let the week wrap up without featuring a good chunk of them.  (My plans have been to run a special Ides Of March feature this weekend and ... if I can pull it together in time ... I'm still hoping to do so.)

Meanwhile, here is a VERY healthy dose of what's been on your minds this past week: 


>>>Fans will unite in Liverpool on October 5th in an attempt to break the record for largest number of people singing in the round when they belt out “Love Me Do,” The Beatles’ first single with Ringo Starr on drums. (“Singing in the round” meaning that each singer or group of singers begin at scattered times – think “Row Row Row Your Boat.”) Their attempt at greatness will come about one month after the 50th Anniversary of the first recording of “Love Me Do” (September 4, 1962) and 50 years to the day of the U.K. release. The event is also part of Liverpool’s year-long celebration for a half century of Beatlemania.  (Frank B)  
Hmmmmm ... in the popular movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" there are scenes of world-wide singing of four notes. Wonder if sometime this would be possible for a world-wide singing round of a Beatles song. Could be a satellite transmission again to remember "All You Need is Love".   
Two Beatles events are happening September 15th which we thought would be of interest to you ...  
BEATLES AT THE RIDGE is a free music festival coming to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. For history's sake, the Beatles landed in Arkansas between their Dallas and New York concerts in 1964. Reed Pigman's charter service was contracted to fly them on their first North American tour and he also owned a small ranch. Since they had a couple of days to spare, Reed offered them the use of his ranch to relax and enjoy themselves. More information can be found with a Google search for "Beatles in Arkansas." BEATLES AT THE RIDGE commemorate the date this Saturday starting at 9 am.

"Beatles at the Ridge" in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas - "Where Abbey Road meets the Rock n' Roll Highway." Visit:
Check out the YouTube video:

Also, this Saturday, September 15, THE FAB FAUX will be playing the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT. Formed in 1998, The Fab Faux treat the seminal music of the Beatles with unwavering respect through painstaking recreations of the songs (with emphasis on the later works never performed live by the Beatles). Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke called them, “the greatest Beatles cover band – without the wigs.” Tickets are still on sale for the 8 pm performance.
Built by Warner Brothers Studios and opened in 1931 as a movie palace, the Warner Theatre was described then as “Connecticut’s Most Beautiful Theatre” and it's still one of the greatest in the state, and worth the ride for not just the theatre but for one of the great Beatles bands, The Fab Faux!
Charles F. Rosenay!!! of Liverpool Productions will be there promoting next year's "Magical History Tour to Liverpool & London," so be sure to say hello!

And here's yet another honor and award for Sir Paul McCartney ...
Frank B.
Scroll down in this link and you'll catch a clip of Macca performing "Goodnight Tonight" ... a song he doesn't typically do live ... after this ceremony as part of an all-star jam session. (kk)
A few weeks back we told you about a brand new DVD release profiling Beatles Producer George Martin. (I had the pleasure of sitting in on a very intimate and informal presentation by Sir George several years ago, WAY before the Anthology CDs had been released, where he brought extremely rare Beatles tapes and held a discussion about the various recording methods used to create many of their landmark recordings. Prior to taking the stage, the audience was invited to fill out cards with questions that George Martin would then read and answer at the end of the presentation. It was a one-of-a-kind, rare experience and I will never forget it. Now I can't wait to pick up a copy of the new DVD!!!)

Forgotten Hits Reader Tom Cuddy sent us this clipping from The Wall Street Journal ...

He Had You Hooked on the Beatles:  A Conversation with George Martin  


Wiltshire, England
Moments after greeting this writer outside his 260-year-old summer home here, two hours west of London, Sir George Martin suggested we sit in a gazebo at the high end of a manicured lawn. "I used to do the mowing, but now I'm not allowed to operate heavy machinery," he said, grinning. Tall and more youthful than his 86 years, Mr. Martin strides with long, measured steps, his cobalt eyes alert with purpose. The problem is his ears. Mr. Martin no longer can hear music and he must rely on two hearing aids and lip-reading for conversations.

Ken Fallin

In a cruel twist, rock's most famous record producer has become a victim of the very music he helped elevate to a classic art form. Long hours of exposure to loud sound in recording studios have inflicted permanent damage. It's a topic he talks about openly in "Produced by George Martin" (Eagle Rock), a BBC documentary that will be released on DVD in the U.S. on Tuesday.
The sole producer of the Beatles' recordings, with the exception of their album "Let It Be," Mr. Martin has worked with dozens of other artists, including Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, the Who and Celine Dion. A winner of six Grammys, he still holds Billboard's record for producing the most No. 1 pop singles — 23 in all — and had two titles bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth.
"A producer's role is still a mystery to most music-listeners, isn't it?" said Mr. Martin, whose cello-like voice is as soothing as it is commanding. "Put simply, my job was to make sure recordings were artistically exceptional and commercially appealing, maximizing the qualities of artists and songs."
Mr. Martin's early magic can be heard in the "hooks" that kick off many of the Beatles' hit singles. These hooks include the opening drum roll on "She Loves You," the initial ringing guitar chord on "A Hard Day's Night" and the first yelp on "Help!"
"For 'Can't Buy Me Love' in early '64, I designed a catchy opener for Paul that used the tagline at the song's corners. If you could grab teens' imaginations right away over the radio, you'd have them."
Born in London in 1926, Mr. Martin taught himself piano and could play Rachmaninoff just by listening to recordings. He attended private school on a scholarship in 1937, and in 1943 enlisted in the Fleet Air Arm, Britain's naval aircraft unit. "Formal music studies for me didn't begin until I was 21, at London's Guildhall School in 1947," he said.
Urged by a mentor to interview at EMI, Mr. Martin was hired in 1950 to assist the head of Parlophone — EMI's smallest label. "When my boss retired in 1955, I was named the label's new director, which was a shock to me," he said. Over the next seven years, Mr. Martin recorded classical ensembles, jazz combos and comedians, including Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan.
In April 1962, Syd Coleman called. "Syd headed EMI's music-publishing unit. He asked me to hear a group managed by someone named Brian Epstein. When Brian came by and played their demo, I wasn't impressed. But when I met the Beatles soon after, they had so much charisma I offered them a studio test."
An hour-long test turned into weeks, and singles became hits. By 1965, Mr. Martin questioned his pay. "The head of EMI offered a raise, but it was so low compared to the revenue I was generating that I left to start my own company." With the formation of Associated Independent Recording (AIR), Mr. Martin was a free agent, and EMI hired him regularly to produce the Beatles and other artists.
In June 1965, Mr. Martin launched his rock-classical experiments, beginning with "Yesterday." "We had never done anything like that before — and no one else had either. When I first suggested adding a string quartet, Paul [McCartney] grimaced and said, 'I don't want Mantovani, thank you.' I said, 'It doesn't have to be like that — we can be more clinical. We can use a baroque string quartet.'"
When "Eleanor Rigby" was slated for recording a year later, Mr. McCartney pushed for strings. "My approach was greatly influenced by Bernard Herrmann and his film score for 'Psycho,'" Mr. Martin said. "He had a way of making violins sound fierce. That inspired me to have the strings play short notes forcefully, giving the song a nice punch."
Mr. Martin even played on a number of Beatles songs, including "In My Life" on "Rubber Soul." "I wrote a piano part that I couldn't perform fast enough. So I played the notes at half speed but an octave lower on the piano, recording at 15 inches per second. When I ran the tape back at 30 inches per second, the notes were at the right speed and in the correct octave. But the piano's personality also had changed, which is why it sounds like a harpsichord."
Mr. Martin's instrumental collages and overdubbing grew more imaginative on "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in 1966 and '67. "On 'A Day in the Life,' we needed to bridge John's first half with the second half written by Paul. Paul suggested an orchestral orgasm, so I scored 24 measures, from the lowest note to the highest. I told the orchestra, 'Make your own way up there. If you're playing the same note as the chap next to you, you're wrong.'"
When our conversation turned to "Let It Be" — the Beatles' last pre-breakup album release — the pain was still evident. "It's still a sword in my side and hard to discuss, even today. When we started in '68 and '69, John said to me, 'We don't want any of your production crap on this. We do it live. We're a good band. No overdubbing or editing.'"
But at the recording sessions, errors mounted, and upward of 50 takes were needed on some tracks. "We tried to assemble an album, warts and all, just as John had insisted. But it was a mess and shoved to one side. Later, I heard that John and George took the master tapes from EMI and gave them to [producer] Phil Spector, who did all the things that John wouldn't let me do. It was baffling."
By the late '70s, music was becoming harder for Mr. Martin to hear. "In the '60s, nobody warned us that listening to loud music for too long would cause damage. I was in the studio for 14 hours at a stretch and never let my ears repair. Today's headsets are causing the same problem for a new generation," said Mr. Martin, who is a vice president at Deafness Research UK, a London charity.
Before we headed indoors for tea, a final legacy question: How does it feel to be responsible for helping rock grow up and become timeless? "If I did, I didn't intend to," Mr. Martin said. "Rock should never grow up. It's the domain of young people and must stay young." A short pause followed. "You won't find me making any more rock and roll records."

1964 1964 THE TRIBUTE has been greeted by cheering audiences and sold out crowds wherever they have appeared world wide, headlining over 120 shows around the globe each year. Fans from eight to 80 have been enthralled by the band's accurate re-creation of a Beatles concert performed live, with exact detailed reproduction of the songs, voices, instruments, suits, haircuts and even the iconic "Beatle Boots" made famous by the Fab Four. Accolades from press and celebrities alike have been enthusiastic. Beloved music historian and TV host Dick Clark said "1964 creates the magic of The Beatles."
Now that magic is returning to Chicago! 1964 THE TRIBUTE will appear at The Rosemont Theatre on Saturday, October 20th. Showtime is promptly at 7:30 PM and tickets are priced between $38.50 and $67.75 available at the box office ( The Rosemont Theatre is located at 5400 N. River Road Rosemont, IL.
In the past, 1964 THE TRIBUTE has performed at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO every year since 2004 to sellout crowds of 10,000. Their 11 appearances at New York City's Carnegie Hall - site of The Beatles' first concert in New York in 1963 - have seen all seats in the venue filled to the brim, with the audience dancing in the aisles, singing along as grandparents introduce their grandchildren to every well known song, and parents recall their own teenage fandom.
1964 THE TRIBUTE is Mark Benson as John, Graham Alexander as Paul, Tom Work as George and Bobby Potter as Ringo. Each musician is an expert at playing his own instrument, singing and performing completely in character as the Beatle he represents. The show is true to an actual early Beatles concert with wardrobe and set list accurate to the time period. 1964 THE TRIBUTE has appeared on TV programs such as Fox News, CBS Early Show, Imus In The Morning and PM Magazine. Countries in which they have performed include England, Chile, Austria, Germany, the Cayman Islands, Mexico and Canada as well as all over the U.S., in concert halls as well as stadiums and arenas including Shea Stadium in NY and Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
For more information, please visit To arrange an interview with the band please contact Ida S. Langsam ( or Stephen Thornton ( at ISL Public Relations: 1-917-338-6199.



9/14 (Friday) Bronson Centre Ottawa, Canada
9/20 (Thursday) St. Joseph County Fair Centreville, MI
9/22 (Saturday) The Majestic Theatre San Antonio, TX
10/5 (Friday) The Apple Festival Paintsville, KY
10/6 (Saturday) The Civic Theatre Akron, OH
10/12 (Friday) The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts Rocky Mount, NC
10/13 (Saturday) Northside High School Jacksonville, NC
10/20 (Saturday) The Rosemont Theatre Chicago, IL

12/7 (Friday) Birchmere Music Hall Alexandria, VA
12/18 (Tuesday) Citrus Hills Country Club Citrus Hills, FL
January - 2013
1/12 (Saturday) Carnegie Hall New York, NY
1/18 (Friday) The Weinberg Center Frederick, MD
1/19 (Saturday) The Stadium Theater Woonsocket, RI
We caught 1964 at the fabulous Bass Hall in Texas several years ago ... and they are one of the best Beatles tribute bands out there, especially on the early material.  (And what a GREAT place to see a concert, too!)  kk

>>>I grew up listening to Art Roberts on WLS. Just before he died, Art told me the story to set it straight regarding The First Beatles Record Played in America. Here are his own words, which I hope you will print in your article to finally make this official (Eliot Stein)

>>>Well, let me tell you the story of PLEASE PLEASE ME. The record was released on the V. J. label. It was a local Chicago recording company. The owner, Hewitt Abner, brought a copy of the record to W. L. S. I was the music director at the time and listened to his story about a group, and looked at pictures in teen magazines he brought back from England. I figured, what if this group would get as popular in the United States as they were in England and Europe. So I added the record to the list. I believe we had the first Beatles fan club in America. I called it Beatles Fan Club No. 1." (Art Roberts)
>>>I have every reason to believe that Art Roberts DID have the very first Beatles Fan Club (Fan Club #1) in America ... and stated as much in my WHO PLAYED THE FIRST BEATLES RECORD IN AMERICA article. (Clearly Chicago had a jump on the rest of the nation in this regard, thanks in large part, to Vee Jay Records being based here.) I would point out, however, that IF he the Program Director / Music Director at the time at WLS (as he claims in his letter to you ... although most of the evidence I've uncovered points to the contrary) and he decided to add "Please Please Me" to the station's playlist, that is most likely what got it played here in Chicago first ... but that doesn't mean the he personally played it ... that distinction most likely still goes to Dick Biondi, who was the top-rated jock at the station at the time ... and, as such, new premiers were featured on his show, not on Art Roberts' program. (I've also read that in February / March of 1963, the WLS Program Director was Clark Weber ... and/or Gene Taylor ... so we've got some discrepancies there as well.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this piece first ran, I have found THREE other sources that all state that in February, 1963, Gene Taylor was the Program Director / Music Director for WLS ... so I've got to believe that this was the case.)
In an interview that Art Roberts did with Stew Salowitz for his book "Chicago's Personality Radio: The WLS Disc Jockeys of the Early 1960's", he says that the Program Director at WLS at the time he was hired was Sam Holman ... and that he inherited the 9 PM to Midnight time slot after the departure of Dick Biondi (which would have been several months AFTER "Please Please Me" made the WLS Silver Dollar Survey). He goes on to say: "I had a chance to be a part of the beginning of The Beatles. I had the first Beatles fan club way before they ever came to this country. I would read in magazines how popular the group was in England and thought, 'What would happen if the became big here?' So I started Beatles Fan Club Number One ... and we had maybe a hundred and fifty members ... not a lot of kids responded to it. But then when they hit, it was kind of neat to know that those few were very proud of the fact that they belonged to the Chicago Beatles Fan Club Number One." I think you'll agree that that's a slightly different version of the story he told you ... although the essence regarding the fan club is the same ... so that's the part WE went with in our article.
Scott Childers' book "Chicago's WLS Radio" says Gene Taylor was named Program Director in 1961, and stayed in that position until he assumed the Station Manager's job in 1965. Clark Weber's book confirms this ... in fact, Clark took over the Program Director's job when Gene moved up the corporate ladder. 
In his book "Rock And Roll Radio: The Fun Years, 1955 - 1975", Clark Weber remembers WLS first airing The Beatles' record "Please Please Me" this way:
"It all started back when Vee-Jay Records released the Beatles' first record, "Please Please Me", and the flip side, "Ask Me Why". WLS had been"burned" a few months earlier by another British rock star named Cliff Richard, whose record went nowhere in the U.S., and we were very leery of promoting another British rock group. Yet, more as a favor to the owners of Vee-Jay, Vivian Carter and James Bracken, we took a shot at it. Dick Biondi was the first WLS DJ to get the go ahead to begin playing the Beatles record. We played it for two weeks, took it off the air, and then put it back on again for another two weeks, thanks to the pleading of Vee-Jay, along with the Beatles growing popularity in England. Finally, the song was killed." (Clark Weber)
I've since read Art Roberts' account of his career in his OWN book, "Thinkin' Out Loud", which states that he was first promoted to Music Director in 1967 when John Rook took over the station. (Not 1963 as stated above in his correspondence with Eliot Stein.) In fact, two years later, Art won the Program Director of the Year Award, as well as the Bill Gavin Award ... all HUGE career accomplishments ... but all six years AFTER WLS first aired the very first Beatles record in America ... on Dick Biondi's program. Without any other "concrete" evidence, this remains "The Most Accurate Truth" we can report in Forgotten Hits. (kk)
I worked with Art Roberts at WKQX when he did afternoons in the early '80s. I was his producer on his Sunday oldies show. Even when he left the station, we continued to work together on some projects and stayed in touch quite a bit when he moved to California and later, Nevada. Art is probably the closest thing I ever had to a mentor and I miss him still. (And no, he never claimed in all the time I knew him to have played the first Beatles song in the US. He was very proud, though, of starting the first American Beatles Fan Club.)
-- Ron Smith
I emailed Art Roberts a fair amount back in my early internet days and I interviewed Gene Taylor in person back in 1991 or so. I am pretty sure Gene took over from Sam Holman as PD in 61, but would need to find my interview to check it out. MAYBE Art was named Music Director at the time of Please Please Me? I don't think so. I remember asking Gene about the special short lived C/W and R&B ten song listings WLS had for awhile and he said they were gimmicks that Art came to him with and they tried them. That would lead me to think Gene was in command, but also that Art did have some power, too. I am going with Biondi as the first to play the 45, too. It is true that (whomever mentioned it in an earlier post) not often did Art get to be the first to premier new songs on WLS on his late night show. Most often, Riley did this and it did cause a little rift between the two back then. Of course, this would set up the new songs played earlier to get rave requests pushing them into the spotlight at 10 when they would usually go to #1 on Art's nightly top 3 most requested songs from 9-10 PM. If I missed Riley's show, you could be assured a new smash would be on Art's top 3 at 10. BTW, I have it on tape from 1964 where Ron is sitting in for Art and mentions that Art's Beatles Fan Club was the first in the US and that Art's son was involved in some way too.
Clark Besch

You've probably already got a lot of e-mails on this, but in 2005, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 'honored' many U.S. DJ's (and three Canadian ones) at a ceremony. Cousin Brucie, Dick Biondi, Dan Ingram, Jack Armstrong and many more were honored.
They weren't 'inducted' into the hall, but they were 'honored' by the Hall. They're all listed in the radio wing, which may or may not be accessible on their website.
Doug Thompson in Toronto

Hi Kent,
There is a radio exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which plays airchecks from notable deejays.
Biondi is probably honored in that exhibit, so one could say he is "in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame', as opposed to having been inducted into the R&RHoF. I know other deejays in that exhibit who say the same thing. I also know at least one deejay who was asked to provide a tape for that exhibit and thought that it was not important enough to her to do so.
Ed Salamon

Dick Biondi is not an inductee into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. However, the Museum honored hundreds of disk jockeys in 1995 in an exhibit there. I believe John Landecker and Scott Shannon are also among those honored.
-- Ron Smith

Yeah, I guess I've always looked at the official induction list ... THAT'S what determines if you're in or not. Over time, The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame has saluted a wide variety of musical genres ... at one point they even had a "Bubblegum Music" exhibit ... but heaven forbid any of THOSE artists would ever seriously be considered for induction, no matter how popular the genre may have been in the late '60's. It's kinda like when they had Hall and Oates perform there ... but they've yet to even nominate them for the ballot ... despite the fact that they're the best-selling duo of all time ... and represent the perfect example of "blue-eyed soul"
As far as I know the only disc jockeys OFFICIAL inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame remain Alan Freed and Dick Clark. (kk)

I first heard them with "Pop Goes the Workers" and FOR THE TIME (and considering British humor), the two-sided 45 of British parodies was excellent. They do a great job vocally at mimicking the groups. "Pop" was a kind of take off on the Beatles' BBC theme "Pop Goes the Beatles" as well. I felt the Barron Knights really did a great vocal job on these and that is what sold the songs over the funny lyrics to some extent, I think.
Clark Besch
Calling Out The Groups ... I HAVE heard that before! At the time it came out, I was living near Niagara Falls, on the Canadian border. We had much more 'cross-over' songs than when we moved to CT. Maybe this can be added to my Vietnam War anti-war songs. It would add a smile to that otherwise grim class time. I never have heard the Rolling Stones cover of 'I Wanna Be Your Man'. Admittedly, I was not a Stones fan at the time, so I am still playing catch-up.
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano
The story of how The Rolling Stones came to record a Beatles tune as their first British release is a classic. Supposedly, Mick and Keith were walking down the street when John and Paul happened to drive by and see them. They stopped to chat and The Stones told The Beatles that they were about to go in and do their first session ... and then casually asked if they had anything available that they might record. The Beatles offered up "I Wanna Be Your Man", knowing that it was going to be a Ringo cut on their next album and, as such, wouldn't be released as a single ... so ... incredibly ... The Stones took them up on it! (Here in the States their first hit was a Buddy Holly cover, "Not Fade Away".) 

And, since you've never heard it, here you go! (kk)

And, speaking of The Rolling Stones ... they've just earned themselves a gig worthy of Hank Williams, Jr.!!!

Kent ...
On ESPN's Monday Night Football, they're going to use 16 different Rolling Stones Songs.
Only one problem ... nothing earlier than 1972.
By the way, Mick Jagger is in this month's issue of AARP Bulletin.
Frank B.


Endless Summer Quarterly Publisher, Beach Boys Examiner Columnist, Knowledgeable Beach Boys Authority and Fan ... and Forgotten Hits Reader ... David Beard ... reviews the brand new Beach Boys DVD "Doin' It Again" (which I just happened to get for my birthday a couple of weeks ago) in his Examiner column today:
I found the DVD to be very fast-paced and entertaining ... if anything, I wished it were a bit longer ... or featured more of the current "live" reunion footage (although there are several performances here committed to video.) The recently unearthed studio footage of "Good Vibrations" is the highlight (and selling point) of the DVD ... and fans will want to pick this up for sure. And it is VERY reasonably priced ... typically right around $10.00 everywhere I've seen it.
And here's a promo clip for both the new DVD ... and the latest in a series of Greatest Hits CD's: Click here: THE OFFICIAL "WILD" WAYNE WEBSITE

On the eve of the release of Bob Dylan's 35th studio album in 50 years, "Tempest" - which is being called his most strange and most inspired - Slacker DJ and nationally recognized Oldies expert Ron Smith hosts a special Bob Dylan tribute station on Slacker to celebrate the deep legacy of this music icon and offer a sneak peak at the new record. You'll hear Dylan classics, new tracks, songs from artists that he was influenced by and artists that he directly inspired. "A Tribute To Bob Dylan" with Ron Smith can be heard at: Click here: Stations on Slacker Personal Radio
And check out the new Bob Dylan video (for "Duquesne Whistle" here:


I talk about the "Duquesne Whistle" video on the channel. It's generating some controversy. Rolling Stone called it "disturbingly violent" while the Wall Street Journal says it proves "Dylan has vitality and relevance." I'm disturbed less by the violence than by the indifference shown by Bob & his entourage to the man's plight as they step over him at the end.
-- Ron Smith
Honestly, the video didn't really move me either way ... Dylan's barely in it ... and I don't see what any part of it has to do with the song ... and vice versa. To me, it just seemed like they were trying to find cute and clever ways for this guy to win over this chick ... but then it went all wrong there at the end, without any rhyme or reason. When all was said and done, it didn't really impress me one way or the other ... and that would be true of both the video and the song. I guess it's gotten some pretty good reviews ... but not from Bob Lefsetz, who seems to question why Dylan is still recording at all. I've never been a big Bob Dylan fan to begin with ... but every few years he seems to come back and re-prove his relevance ... not too many artists can do that at 70 years of age! (kk)
I am not the world's biggest Dylan fan (but I play one on the radio).
Actually, I think the reason Slacker likes what I did is because I'm NOT a fawning sycophant. Having said all that, I can honestly say I like "Duquesne Whistle" -- a lot. To me, it's like he added clever words to
"Manhattan Spiritual." And with Dylan, it's all about the words. Heck, some of the songs on "Tempest" are almost monotonous, musically (Bob seems to be eschewing choruses and bridges nowadays). But he's such a wordsmith you don't even notice.
Most of the critics seem to be obsessed with Bob's raspy voice. Hey, if you can't stand Louis Armstrong, you ain't gonna like the 70+ year-old Dylan.
Lefsetz is right about one thing -- Kanye West and Don Henley couldn't write a successful tune about the Titanic. But Bob can and did and does it well.
Here's a review that's closer to home that takes an opposite view (actually most of the reviews have been good):
My guess is the video was designed to set you up to believe you were watching David Naughton in an old Dr. Pepper commercial, then deliberately twisted things around to become very dark. As I said, the
darkness doesn't bother me as much as the callousness of Bob and his posse at the end.
Things could be a lot worse -- Bob could be doing disco versions of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" in his old age!
-- Ron

Here are a few excerpts from the "less than kind" Lefsetz review of the new Bob Dylan album:

Is this a joke? Athletes retire, their bodies give out and they can no longer compete at a world class level. If you can't dance, they kick you out of the ballet company, if you can't sing, maybe you should stop performing? What I hate here is no one will speak the truth. "Tempest" has gotten glowing reviews. And I'm not deep into it enough to judge the material, although I'm awaiting the "New York Times" article wherein it's revealed he stole the lyrics, hell, if they can bust Jonah Lehrer, they can bust anybody. But one thing's for sure, the vocals are horrible. So bad, they sound like your grandpa just woke up and is clearing his throat. A grandpa who sounds like Frankie Pentangeli in "Godfather II."
I'm a huge Dylan fan. But I gave up going twenty years ago. I've got no problem with him rearranging his material, it keeps him interested, young and fresh, but that doesn't mean I care. It's like a bizarre crossword puzzle. You're sitting there listening, trying to divine what song it is by deciphering a lyric or two. It's kind of like opening the dictionary and trying to figure out which book was made out of the words ..."Ulysses," "Portnoy's Complaint," "Fifty Shades of Grey"? And at this late date, the story's not buried. But people go to the show like lemmings, to pay homage to what once was. Kind of like going to a baseball show to get Reggie Jackson's autograph. Or maybe going to a "Star Trek" convention to meet Spock.
If Dylan didn't have all those years ago hits, he wouldn't even be playing clubs. He'd be playing Holiday Inns. And no newspaper would review his material. People would laugh. But ain't that America, wherein everybody knows the truth but no one can say it.
As for writing a song about the Titanic ... Imagine Kanye doing this. Or even Don Henley. They'd be excoriated. Give me a break.
I've got no problem with Dylan making albums. But I do have a huge problem with mainstream media fueled by ancient record companies and aged publicity people going on and on about stuff that is marginal and most people don't care a whit about. Once upon a time, Bob Dylan was subversive. Now he's just an old man who doesn't know what to do with himself but go on tour. Maybe he should stay
home and hang with his grandchildren, write about that, it'd be more interesting than any music he makes.
-- Bob Lefsetz


Big weekend for Tommy Roe as he was inducted into The Iowa Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Back in the early '60's, The Beatles opened for Tommy on his European tour ... he was one of the headliners. And Tommy is back out on the road again now ... with a brand new CD to promote.
Here's a recap of this very special weekend from his manager and musical director, Rick Levy ...

60s legend TOMMY ROE had a SRO crowd of over 1000 fans screaming for more at the 2012 Iowa Rock n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame INDUCTION CONCERT on September 2nd.
TOMMY is the 2012 featured inductee, and he and the band headlined a fantastic concert at Arnolds Park in Lake Okoboji, Iowa. This followed stellar shows in Dubuque, and Winnavegas Casino in Sloan.
AN EVENING WITH TOMMY ROE is a unique music experience. Not only does TOMMY perform all his mega hits, but also rarities, B sides, and new material from his brand new CD.."Devil's Soul Pile" .
Tommy and the band play full tilt electric and also have an unplugged acoustic segment, plus a great Q&A session with the audience. This is a real highlight for fans.
including pics, bio, video, booking agent, rider, etc.
We look forward to working with you
RICK LEVY ... manager / bandleader
904 - 806 - 0817
PICTURE ATTACHED: TOMMY and band at Hall of Fame

l to r:
Mike Campbell ... drums vocals
Lee Brovitz ... bass, vocals
Rick Levy ... guitar, vocals
Mike Liddy ... keys vocals

We found this very nice tribute to the musical contributions of Joe South, who passed away last week ...
And here's a great article sent into us by FH Reader Bill Hengels ...
Joe South, singer-songwriter from 70s, dies at 72
Associated Press – 7 hrs ago
ATLANTA (AP) — Singer-songwriter Joe South, who performed hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s such as "Games People Play" and "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and also penned songs including "Down in the Boondocks" for other artists, died Wednesday, his music publisher said. South was 72.
South, whose real name was Joseph Souter, died at his home in Buford, Ga., northeast of Atlanta, according to Marion Merck of the Hall County Coroner's office. Merck said South died after having a heart attack.
"He's one of the greatest songwriters of all time," said Butch Lowery, president of the Lowery Group, which published South's music. "His songs have touched so many lives. He's such a wonderful guy and loved by many."
South worked as a session guitar player on recordings of some of the biggest names of the 1960s — Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, among others. But he had a string of hits of his own starting in the late 1960s that made his booming voice a familiar one on radio stations, with a style that some described as a mix of country and soul.
He is perhaps best known for the song "Games People Play," which reached No. 12 on the Billboard charts in 1969 and won him two Grammys for Best Contemporary Song and Song of the Year. The opening lines evoked the message songs of the era: "Oh the games people play now, every night and every day now, never meaning what they say now, never saying what they mean."
The song, which was released on South's debut album "Introspect," spoke against hate, hypocrisy and inhumanity.
He also had hits with "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home," and wrote the Grammy-nominated "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" for country singer Lynn Anderson. Earlier, South's song "Down in the Boondocks" was a 1965 hit for singer Billy Joe Royal. He performed on Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools," as well as on Bob Dylan's 1966 classic "Blonde on Blonde," a triumphant mix of rock, blues and folk that Rolling Stone magazine ranked No. 9 on its greatest-ever albums list. The magazine credits "expert local sessionmen" with helping to create "an almost contradictory magnificence: a tightly wound tension around Dylan's quicksilver language and incisive singing."
According to, South also backed up Eddy Arnold, Marty Robbins and Wilson Pickett.
But his music career was struck by tragedy when his brother, Tommy Souter, committed suicide in 1971. A biography of South on says he moved to Maui and retired from recording for a time starting in the mid-'70s, and that his career was complicated by a rough-around-the-edges personality. South's last album was "Classic Masters" in 2002.
According to South's website, he was born in Atlanta on Feb. 28, 1940. As a child he was interested in technology and developed his own radio station with a one-mile transmission area.
In 1958, South recorded his debut single, a novelty song called, "The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor."
South was an inductee in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

Wella, wella, garage songs don't come any better than the Shames' "Ben Franklin's Almanac" now featured on a new Garage Rock Hits CD. This one from Airline Records. Hmm. Airline records?? Bootleg? Amazon is selling it. Hope Mr. Fairs gets his royalties. The band gets more props, but probably no money? The Cryan Shames rule in my book, but I wished they had one hit to anchor onto Happy Together tours. Hmm, new stereo version on Music Explosion hit??
Clark Besch
I know, I know ... we keep saying we're going to run our All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Poll Results ... but they're still not fully restored yet. (I haven't forgotten ... it's just that there is a WHOLE lot of work involved here pulling all this stuff together again, especially after the crash ... but we're tryng!) Stay tuned ... it's coming ... honest! (kk) 

Last week we also ran a piece on Elvis' return to Memphis ... and then came across this tribute to American Studios, too!
And, speaking of Elvis ...

re: ELVIS:
A couple of weeks ago we told you about a pair of Elvis' dirty underwear going up for auction ... well, bottom line is, it crapped out ... literally ... the few bids received never met the minimum reserve, so the not-so-tidy-whities didn't sell. But a copy of Elvis' Bible brought in some big bucks ...

Kent ...
Can you believe nobody bought Elvis' used underwear? In this day and age I thought you could sell anything!
Frank B.

Don’t miss your chance to Shake, Ramble and Roll in all things music, entertainment and food Visitors to Bridgend, South Wales, will have the opportunity to Shake, Ramble and Roll, as the county plays host to three iconic festivals later this month (Friday 28th September to Sunday 30th September.) For the first time ever, Porthcawl Elvis Festival, Feastival: Wales’ alternative food festival and Love2Walk Festival are all taking place over the one weekend, bringing a mix of live music, quirky walks and unusual food experiences to the streets of Bridgend county.
Every September, thousands of Elvis fans descend on the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl for a unique celebration of The King at Porthcawl Elvis Festival. This year it’s taking place from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th September. There are a number of Elvis events taking place as part of the Festival at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion including The Three Kings Show, The Elvies, and Red Alert, the best Elvis Showband in the world. In addition, the Hi Tide Inn in Porthcawl will host over 100 shows over the weekend, and over twenty other venues in and around the town will host events as part of the Fringe Festival, making Porthcawl the largest Elvis event in Europe.
Feastival: Wales’ alternative food festival, which takes place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th in Bridgend town, isn’t your usual food festival. A must for the diary, visitors to Feastival can expect a variety of unusual foodie experiences and entertainment throughout the weekend. Each year Feastival entertains visitors with ‘artwork with a difference’ and this year is no exception. Bridgend town centre will house the first ever Cauliflower Forest and if visitors look carefully enough they’ll see 6ft Orange-utans hanging from the trees. Visitors can also expect food tasting, celebrity chef demonstrations, street music and entertainment suitable for all the family, including leak lobbing, spaghetti bridge building, egg drops and a giant tea party.
Love2Walk Festival is back for a third year, and kicks off on Saturday 29th September with a World Record attempt for the largest gathering of Elvis impersonators tying in with Porthcawl Elvis Festival. There are over 40 walks planned for the Festival which runs until 7th October. Participants can explore the stunning scenery of the Bridgend Valleys to parts of the Wales Coast Path, as well as embark on some slightly more quirky expeditions including ghost walks, geocaching treasure hunts, speed dating walks and a wild food forage. Karl Schmidtke, Chairman of the Bridgend Tourism Association said: “With thousands of Elvis impersonators wandering the streets, live music, entertainment and fine food we expect Bridgend to have a bit of a ‘bright lights of Vegas’ feel about it over this exciting weekend.
“I’m particularly looking forward to the Love2Walk World Record attempt at Trecco Bay Holiday Park at 9.30 am on Saturday 29th September for the most Elvis impersonators gathered in one place for a short walk. The current record is 645 held by Las Vegas, but we think we can beat this. It’s great to see the two festivals combining, and keeping visitors entertained in true rock ‘n’ roll style. It’s also going to be interesting to see a Cauliflower Forest grow in Bridgend town centre – it’s definitely something that has to be seen to be believed!
“These are three fantastic festivals, which always attract people in their droves, and Bridgend is again delighted to be welcoming people from far and wide. We’ve even had some famous faces at the Elvis Festival in recent years, including John Bishop and the cast of Gavin and Stacey. With 100,000 visitors expected to descend on the county over the weekend, we urge people to make sure they book accommodation in advance.”
Visitors can also download a free new iPhone app, Dare To Discover, which features things to do, places to stay, event listings and more, to make the most of their stay in Bridgend county.
For more information about Porthcawl Elvis Festival visit:, for Feastival: Wales’ alternative food festival visit: and for Love2Walk visit: For further information about Bridgend, places to stay and other activities to do on your visit to Bridgend visit:

In follow up to Tom Cuddy's review of The Zombies at The Highline in New York, the crowd was a who's who of the British Invasion years. Here's a photo I snapped after the show of "Peppy" Castro (Blues Magoos)
and Gene Cornish (The Rascals, Fotomaker).
Brad Joblin
Ridgefield, CT

Didn't Randy Bachman co-write Keepin' The Summer Alive and Livin' With A Heartache with Carl Wilson for the Beach Boys?
Yep, he sure did ... "Keepin' The Summer Alive" is, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated Beach Boys albums ever ... some really strong material on here that was never given a chance as The Beach Boys had fallen out of favor with radio at this point once again. "Livin' With A Heartache" is one of the songs we singled out a while back as a Beach Boy song you really should know ... but probably don't. (In fact, if you pick up the 2-fer CD reissue of "Keepin' The Summer Alive", coupled with their 1985 album titled simply "The Beach Boys", you'll see that Randy Bachman wrote the liner notes for this special re-release.
After Bachman left The Guess Who, he traveled and performed with a wide variety of artists, including (as he puts it) "Janis Joplin, right before she left us." I guess it's a bit easier for a cracker-jack guitarist to sit in with another group ... as lead vocalist, Burton Cummings wasn't afforded the same opportunity, despite the fact that he's also an incredible pianist. (kk)

Great to hear about Burton and Randy. Canada has given our radio stations and record players so much great talent over the decades from Gordon Lightfoot to the Staccatos aka the 5-Man Electrical Band. And in the interim period, 1971 - approx. '73 - they put forth some great power pop (with a country feel) as Brave Belt.

Here's a cool clip of Burton Cummings performing "These Eyes" live in January in New York, courtesy of FH Reader Brad Joblin. A cool performance (with the obligatory dig at that "other" Guess Who band ... the line "at least I was the record" cracks me up!) kk

One of the most exciting concert pairings this summer was Chicago with The Doobie Brothers, two MEGA-star attractions, performing together on the same stage. (We missed it when they passed through Chicago ... thought we had tickets for this but they fell through.) One of the highlights of the show had to be at the end when both groups came out onstage together ... and then performed a few of each others' hits!
Here is a photo I took of Jimmy Pankow, a couple of weeks ago: Chicago and The Doobie Brothers, Jones Beach, August 18, 2012.

Great shot, Brad! (kk)

And here's a clip of the Doobies and Chicago on stage together from August 18 at Jones Beach. I have part of Listen To The Music and then they go into 25 or 6 to 4.
I tagged this video on You Tube as unlisted, you have to have the below link to watch it. So if you put the link on FH, it will be exclusive to you. Not my best work but still cool ... the crowd around me was going nuts and banging in to me. 

Earlier this week, Led Zeppelin had fans wondering what they were up to. Five days ago, their website showed a giant Roman Numeral Five (V) ... and then the next day, it displayed a IV. What exactly is Led Zeppelin counting down to? (Guess we'll have to wait a couple more days to find out!) kk
And then the big reveal ... is it a reunion? A concert? A brand new DVD of an OLD concert???
You'll find all the details here:

>>>These high-paid radio consultants and experts have never learned the concept of "Less Is More" ... if they varied the playlist a little more ... and took some of these heavy rotation songs out of the 20-times-a-week mix, we might enjoy hearing them again because they haven't been beaten into our brains to the point of absolutely detesting them every time they come on now. Again, something like 7000 songs made The Top 40 Chart between 1956 and 1979 ... so a playlist of only 200-300 of them grows old VERY fast. I swear, I cannot turn on the radio today without hearing a Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Journey or Steve Miller song ... nor can I go twenty minutes (no matter how many buttons I push) without running into another one. This is variety? This is what you guys think listeners want to hear?!?! Then what makes YOUR station stand out from the rest ... when I can literally go up and down the dial, again and again, and hear the EXACT same songs (and artists) with virtually every button I push??? Overall, radio HAS gotten better ... we've seen it and heard it ... but we're just not quite there yet when "Hotel California", "Take It Easy" and (go figure) "Already Gone" still come on 20+ times per week. It's not like there's a shortage of OTHER Eagles material to rotate once in a while. And I guarantee you ... we will come to appreciate these songs again if you just stop bashing us over the head with them!!! (kk)

A local radio station here sent out comments cards to be filled in on how listeners liked their line-up. One of the comments I made was that I was sure they owned more than one song from each of the artists they played, but I was only hearing the same song all month. After a week, I didn't need to listen for at least a month. It didn't seem to change anything, so I thought maybe I was the only one who felt this way. Good to know that others have had this same experience.
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano

Got these from a couple of readers this past week ... and we think you'll want to check them out ...
This is neat. It's sort of a time machine of music. Each of the years below connect to the best 20 hits of that year. Pick a year, wait a few seconds, and the Juke Box will show you the 20 hits to select from. You can play all 20 hits, or just those that you like, or scroll down and select an artist.
> > > 1940
> > > 1950
> > > 1960
> > > 1970
> > > 1980
> > > 1990
> > > 1941
> > > 1951
> > > 1961
> > > 1971
> > > 1981
> > > 1991
> > > 1942
> > > 1952
> > > 1962
> > > 1972
> > > 1982
> > > 1992
> > > 1943
> > > 1953
> > > 1963
> > > 1973
> > > 1983
> > > 1993
> > > 1944
> > > 1954
> > > 1964
> > > 1974
> > > 1984
> > > 1994
> > > 1945
> > > 1955
> > > 1965
> > > 1975
> > > 1985
> > > 1995
> > > 1946
> > > 1956
> > > 1966
> > > 1976
> > > 1986
> > > 1996
> > > 1947
> > > 1957
> > > 1967
> > > 1977
> > > 1987
> > > 1997
> > > 1948
> > > 1958
> > > 1968
> > > 1978
> > > 1988
> > > 1998
> > > 1949
> > > 1959
> > > 1969
> > > 1979
> > > 1989
> > > 1999

We've run this one before ... but it's been a while.
Follow the links in search of your pleasure ... 'cause there are over 50,000 songs available here for listening (if you join Rich's Yahoo Group.) Browse around the site and then drop him a line for more information how you can become an inter-active player. (kk)

Okay ... so here we are with the new season of The Voice ... I saw what I considered to be some excellent talent on the first night on the blind auditions. The first singer is Scottish and he looks like he's from the British invasion and it didn't hurt that his name is Terry McDermott ... but I'm afraid I am not going to be able to watch anymore. Would someone please tell Christina to put her breasts away? I'm not a prude ... I think cleavage is pretty ... but this is way beyond good taste and her boobs are ugly. I'm sure men would disagree but what about a little decency ... this is prime-time T.V.?
Stacee McDermott
I find "The Voice" to be the most entertaining of all the vocal competition shows simply because the judges are so engaging. (Rumor has it they're all going to be replaced in January when the series returns ... but the only one who has officially stepped down thus far is Christina Aguilera, who reportedly gets paid $10 Million, nearly twice as much as the other judges.) 
We've noticed Xtina "tucking 'em in" a few times already this season ... and it really does look quite ridiculous ... but the show is just SO entertaining that we'll forgive her. (My favorites are Blake Shelton and Adam Levine anyway! And I love the way these two play off each other.) I also like the fact that "The Voice" doesn't waste our time by showing us a bunch of "never-had-a-chance" wannabes who dress like a chicken for the audition ... the fact that the auditions are truly "blind" ... and the contestants are being judged SOLELY by their voices ... makes this show stand head and shoulders above the rest. But I still gotta love how ALL of these shows play up the "once in a lifetime chance" to make it in the recording industry. Yeah, once in a lifetime ... except for all these OTHER shows running virtually the exact same competition on virtually every single network, every single night of the week. "The Voice" has yet to experience an over-the-top superstar like Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson ... but they've had some pretty amazing contestants pass through. I'm not ready to throw in the towel quite yet. So if that means that I've got to stare at Christina's boobs for another 13 weeks, so be it ... this is just one of the sacrifices that I'm willing to make for the sake of the arts. (kk)

All-Star Concert Benefiting Children's Health Fund,
October 4th in New York City
Tickets for the All-Star Benefit Concert in support of the Children's Health Fund are on sale now!
This is a ONE NIGHT ONLY Event, October 4th, at Radio City Music Hall in New York!
Children's Health Fund and its co-founders, Paul Simon and Dr. Irwin Redlener are pleased to present an exclusive, one-night only, all-star benefit concert marking the 25th Anniversary of the organization's dedicated work bringing doctors to America's most vulnerable children.
Hosted at Radio City Music Hall on October 4, 2012, this milestone event features multi-platinum, award-winning musical performers, never-before-seen collaborations, and amazing special appearances,
Paul Simon and Edie Brickell; Ruben Blades and Luba Mason; Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond; Amy Grant and Vince Gill; Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson; Steve Martin; Sting and Trudie Styler; James Taylor and Caroline Taylor; Stevie Wonder and Aisha Morris and Other Surprise Guests.
Proceeds benefit Children's Health Fund Programs across the United States so that children in desperate need of health care services get what they deserve.
For tickets, visit Ticketmaster:
For more information, visit Children's Health Fund:

When I ran our winning announcement, I neglected to run the winning essay with it! (That's cool ... most of you had already read it anyway ... or simply scrolled back to read it again ... but here it is for the benefit of anyone who may have missed it):
THE 1960'S
What is your favorite musical group from the 1960's? Is it the British bad boys that always tore up the crowd? Is it the band whose lead singer looks like JFK? Or is it the Californian surf boys who started surf music? My favorite group of the 60's is the Liverpool good boys that live in a 'Yellow Submarine' ... The Beatles!
If I was at that first Ed Sullivan show, I would have been all shaky too! The show was the first time ever the Beatles performed in the United States. As soon as the curtains were drawn, the crowd started screeching as loud as a million bats at night. They began the show by performing "She Loves You" and the audience went wild. Each member of the band was so happy, but none more than Ringo Starr who smiled through the entire performance. By the time they got to the second song, the sound of the crowds screams was deafening. Girls were crying for the boys they loved, but sorry girls, John Lennon was already married. If I was lucky enough to go to that show, I would have been shaking and bursting with excitement as fast as a space ship traveling to the moon.
Did you know that the Beatles are the only rock and roll group that ever did a worldwide satellite projection? Written by John Lennon, the song "All You Need is Love", was first performed that day. I believe that most people were brought to tears knowing that was one of the last times the Beatles would perform live. The chorus for the song was made up of a group big enough to fit in a small bedroom. Mick Jagger was even one of them! The Beatles were as lucky as leprechauns to have had the chance to perform for the world through the satellite projection.
The next time I get to watch the Ed Sullilvan show with Mrs. Tufano, I'll be sure to ask to see this episode with the first Beatles performance. I would also like to see the satellite performance of "All You Need is Love". But I would rather build a time machine and be able to go back and see them live. That would be cool!
-- Ryan DeMarco

Hi Kent,
I have been busy these past couple of weeks and didn't get to read all the essays. I did read about half, and I was impressed by them overall. I think I was more impressed that this music that we love, particularly the Beatles, still has the magic and was able to grab them in much the same way it grabbed us.
No complaints about style or content here. I'm just proud of all of them and they aren't even mine.
Yes I, too, can't think of anything more fun than to teach a rock and roll class. I think it could be especially rewarding to teach the 5th graders.
Shelley, you're a lucky one. <grin>

Congratulations to Ryan. He deserved it for this line:
"the crowd started screeching as loud as a million bats at night"
What a great assignment. With no album covers to pique the interest of the younger generation, there aren't many ways for a kid to discover this great decade of music. Great job, Mrs. Tufano, and if Ryan needs a gig in about eight years, I'm sure we'll have something for him. 
Carl Wiser

LOL ... that was MY favorite line, too ... in fact, I read it to a number of people after the entries first came in. I think we all picked the appropriate winner ... and Ryan's prize package will be on its way next week. (kk)

I love the honest comments! Let me see if I can clear up some areas here in the essays ... or just muddy the waters up more.
The writing style shown in these essays is expository. It is introduced in 5th grade, and developed throughout the year. Up to this point, only narrative is used; which is story-telling. Expository consists of introduction, 2-3 paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting detail sentences, and a conclusion. This is the first non-fiction style taught to the 10 year-olds represented here. Heavy emphasis is put on strong vocabulary, personal connections and similes.
Although The Beatles usually get a following during the 60's decade, I was surprised that they received as strong a backing as they did. I had some VERY strong Michael Jackson fans, and yet, The Jackson 5 and the rest of 60's Motown went over like a lead balloon this year. The Surf Sounds crashed on the shore. Buddy Holly became a god in the 1950's decade, and that just may explain the easy conversion to the British Invasion. Also Leadbelly and Harry Champion were loved when we did 1900 - 1920 and their songs were recognized in the 60's covers. Only one student had any background of the 60's before we started, and his love came through his father's musical selections. Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby were unheard of. I was NOT bringing coal to Newcastle here. We had 14 days (45 minutes each day) to be presented with ALL of the 60's choices, read about its impact, listen to its music, and watch its past and present concerts ... talk about a fly-over!!
And then right in the middle of pulling all of this together, Kent's computer crashed!! So, really both he and I have been more involved in restoring his files than working on the essay project. It would not have changed the essays, but had we had more time, we might have been able to present them in a different way.
Something for ALL of us to remember is TALK TO KIDS ABOUT YOUR LIKES AND DISLIKES.
This is especially a shortfall when it comes to the arts. We get wrapped up in science and math and do not communicate about music and arts. The one effect I have consistently found from this program is communication opening up within families. We need to talk and share. These children want that and want us.
I also need to add my personal thanks to Jack Levin and Peter Noone for their donations.
The child is on cloud 209!!
To Jack Levin: FYI, as a tribute to Davy Jones, we watched his favorite Monkees episode when we ended the 60's. So much to learn, so little time. Thank you again for your contribution.

Hi Kent,
Fantastic work you are doing on FH. Thank you for all you are doing for music history. I love it.
All my best,
Brad Joblin

Wow ... what a great website!
My first 45 was "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin, bought in early 1959. I was in 5th grade at Washington Elementary School in Whittier, Calif. My teacher (Mr. Bradford) was teaching the class the Swing step. WOW ... we (guys) actually danced with girls!!! I really enjoyed the class. He played the Bobby Darin record every time we had dance-class (twice weekly) so, I really got to like the song. When I brought home the record my dad said "Oh, that's a gory song". I didn't understand what he meant then because I really didn't listen to the words ... just the beat.
Thanks Kent for the memories : )
Tom Creed

I remember buying that FIRST 45 with my own money like it was yesterday.
I got my very first job delivering papers on my bike every day after school. When it was time to get paid, I rode that bicycle down to the "Record Land" store on the main street of our city. The song I had heard a number of times on my transistor as I delivered those papers. It was "Sherry" by the Four Seasons. After that I was at the record store every week buying all the latest songs I heard on the radio. It was the beginning of a life-long love affair with 1960's rock & roll.
Rick McCaffrey - Poughkeepsie, NY