Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 30 - 12 )

It's our last Sunday Comments Page of 2012 ...    

Don't fry bacon naked    

Great pop music with actual melodies made a HUGE comeback in 2012. Infectious, future pop classics are sure to include: Somebody That I Used To Know, Call Me Maybe, Lights, What Makes You Beautiful, Good Feeling, One More Night, Everybody Talks, Good Time, Moves Like Jagger, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Someone Like You, Set Fire To The Rain, Domino, Stereo Hearts, Rumor Has It, Rolling In The Deep, Love You Like A Love Song, Some Nights, Locked Out Of Heaven and Stronger. Maybe our kids really WILL have something to sing twenty years from now ... without having to censor themselves three or four times in each verse! (kk)   

And here's a really interesting article (sent in by FH Reader Frank B) reminding us where some of this great music came from in the first place. (Timely with New Year's Day right around the corner!) kk  
Click here: 1948 Musicians Strike | Recording Ban | The Silence That Sparked New Sounds | By Marc Myers -   

One of the stories we covered earlier this year that got national attention was that of Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers, who psychedelicized our lives with their 1968 Hit "Time Has Come Today". Here is a year-end update on that story, courtesy of FH Reader David Lewis:   
Click here: On Web, 'Time Has Come' for '60s singer -    

Al Kooper celebrates his second year of publishing his "New Music For Old People" column at The Morton Report by recapping the 25 Most-Commented-On Tracks of 2012. Some good stuff on here you may not have heard before, courtesy of one of rock's connoisseurs.   
Click here: New Music for Old People: The 25 Most Appreciated Tracks of 2012 | The Morton Report    

It's a good one, to be sure. And the REAL shame, of course, is that Brian was ready to do another (until Mike felt it necessary to let everybody know that HE is The Beach Boys ... not the actual guys who made this comeback tour such a success.) On the plus side, a 21-song live DVD is available, culled from their comeback concert performances ... and, at least for a couple of hours anyway, you can watch America's Band having fun fun fun up on stage together again. (Reasonably priced, too ... and well worth adding to your collection.) kk  
Click here: The Beach Boys Live in Concert: 50th Anniversary: Beach Boys: Music   

Just got these shots from FH Reader Tom Cuddy, who tells us The Rascals performed thirty songs in two hours!!! Man, I hope they take this show on the road! (kk)

And it sounds like we just may get our wish! Venturing outside New York's Capitol Theater ... and extending the reunion at least another six months ... we just got word that The Rascals will be performing in Florida over Memorial Day Weekend, 2013!!!    

The Rascals will perform at Hollywood, FL’s Hard Rock Café over Memorial Day weekend. The band’s original lineup — keyboardist / singer Felix Cavaliere, singer Eddie Brigati, guitarist Gene Cornish and drummer Dino Dinelli — reunited for a series of shows at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre earlier this month. Besides a few private appearances, these were the influential ‘60s band’s first shows in 40 years.  Billed as Once Upon a Dream, The Rascals’ reunion shows combined prerecorded interviews and video reenactment of the band’s early days with a traditional concert. E-Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt produced the shows and wrote the concert’s scripted moments. During the show’s Port Chester finale on Saturday, December 22, Van Zandt took the stage with The Rascals for a bow during their encore. He plans to bring the Once Upon a Dream show to other markets, including the above-mentioned Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Café.    

Although the 2013 list of nominees won't officially be released for another week or two, we just obtained this photo montage that may help to tip off some of our astute readers as to who the newest candidates will be. Take a gander at this for an early tip-off! (kk)   

Former Buckinghams lead singer Dennis Tufano has been filling in some pick up dates with The Outsiders band during lead singer Sonny Geraci's recovery from brain surgery. (Sonny is reportedly doing extremely well and is on the mend.) Dennis performs both Sonny's hits and his own Buckinghams chart-toppers ... as well as selections from his Tribute To Bobby Darin Show. Ironically, Sonny Geraci performed a similar service several years ago when Rob Grill took ill and was unable to perform ... Sonny did his own Outsiders and Climax hits, along with all of the songs Rob made famous with The Grass Roots. As always ... the show must go on.
Plans are also in the works for a benefit concert to help offset some of Sonny's massive hospital bills.  More details to come but right now they're hoping to put something together in the spring (possibly April?)  The show will most likely be held in Ohio, birthplace of The Outsiders.  Meanwhile, Dennis Tufano will reunite with former Buckinghams bandmate Marty Grebb to perform on January 25th at the NAMM Convention as part of the "Living Legends Concert Band".  This will provide the opportunity for these guys to trade off the vocals on "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" just like they did on their Top Five Hit in 1967.  In Dennis' own words:
Marty will also be burning the keys off a B3 Hammond Organ for Hammond at the NAMM. Jimy Sohns will be there too.  
I'll be returning to the Chicago area in Spring to perform again with "25 or 6 to 4" and Danny Seraphine, Jimy Sohns and more. Check your local listings! Lots of new things in the works for the new year.
Hi Fran!
Be Well
Best of the Holidays
This from Tom Cuddy ... another report on how Fontella Bass never got paid a cent for writing "Rescue Me": 
There is a video on YouTube about Jimi Hendrix's death that you might want to see - it's called "The Last 24 hours of Jimi Hendrix's Life".
Michael Lueras
This looks to be a one hour documentary special ... check it out when you've got some time. You'll find several other "Last 24 Hours" profiles here, too. (kk)   

Kent --
If I'm no
t too late to cite a winter song (after all, we're going to be surrounded by winter for another three months!) I'll cite "Winter's Children" by the Capes of Good Hope, a Chicago no-hit wonder. (You've discussed it before, though I think it's been awhile.) The song is unusual in that its melody is adapted from J. S. Bach's "Sleepers Awake" and thus is one of several classical riffs in pop music of the '60s.
-- 73 --
-- Jeff Duntemann
Des Plaines, IL

You have a great site and very informative ... 
Everyone I talk to loves it.
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Carl Giammarese  

After postings in FH recently about the Tradewinds and "New York Is A Lonely Town," which in my eyes is the best tribute to the Beach Boys ever recorded, it reminded me of attending the first on stage reunion in 36 years (Oct. 16, 2010), of the two principals of the Tradewinds, Pete Anders and Vini Poncia, who performed at a sold-out concert in their home state of Rhode Island. That same night Pete Anders released his first album in over three decades called "So Far." I took this photo at the reunion concert in RI. 

From left: Rhode Island born rocker, John Cafferty of the Beaver Brown Band; Gerry Granahan (Dicky Do and the Dont's and Producer to Jay and the Americans); Vini Poncia and Peter Anders. 
Here’s an audio clip from You Tube:
And, speaking of photos, in a recent update to the official Del Shannon website, a picture has been posted featuring Del, Wolfman Jack and Forgotten Hits reader and DJ Scott Shannon, the guy who originally introduced me to FH.
Tom Cuddy 

Hey Kent,
I'm so
glad you pointed out that today's radio stations never play any of Melissa Manchester's hits. Maybe they think she's too MOR for today's audiences. Who knows? I didn't know she co-wrote "Whenever I Call You Friend" with Kenny Loggins. Even though I love the duet with Stevie Nicks, I can't help wonder how it would sound with Melissa. I, like you, have seen her in concert. She was here in the mid 70s. One thing I remember was that above the stage, were huge disc-like sound reflectors, that were painted gold. Melissa looked up and studied them for a few seconds, and said to the audience that she was scared that she was going to be taken aboard a flying saucer! Another thing I remember was that she did three encores and told the audience she'd be back, which drew a big cheer. Sadly, it never happened.
The front-act band was Orleans. They were great, especially Larry Hoppen's vocals and guitar work. Now he's in Rock 'n Roll Heaven. You can still hear their hits "Dance With Me" and "Still the One" on some stations, but never, "Love Takes Time", which is my favorite of the three.
- John LaPuzza 

One of the more memorable shows I saw in the late '70's was headliner Melissa Manchester with opening act Burton Cummings, who had just hit the road as a solo act, hot on the heels of his first big solo hit "Stand Tall" ... a magical night of musical entertainment. 
Manchester's version of "Whenever I Call You 'Friend'" appeared on her album titled simply "Melissa Manchester" ... it's a pretty tame, laid-back version that features male vocals by a guy named Arnold McCuller. I do remember Kenny Loggins was touring with Fleetwood Mac at around the time his hit duet with Stevie Nicks came out because I saw that show, too, down in Champaign, Illinois. Both acts were extremely hot at the time so it may have made good "marketing sense" to cut the duet that way ... but I always felt like Melissa, who co-wrote the song, was in some way cheated of another hit to notch on her bedpost as a result of that decision. (kk)

For Today's Forgotten Hit, we're reaching all the way back to 1957 ... catchy as can be, radio ought to be playing "Peanuts" by Little Joe and the Thrillers once in a while ... it was a #22 Hit that Fall. (kk)

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Friday Flash

Fontella Bass, who recorded the #4 pop hit, "Rescue Me" (#1 R&B) in 1965, died Wednesday (December 26) from complications of a heart attack at a St. Louis hospital. She was 72. Fontella had suffered the heart attack December 2. A St. Louis native, Fontella had sung with the Clara Ward's gospel singers (of which her mother was a member) while still a child. As a teen she began to sing in clubs and came to the attention of promoter Oliver Sain, who hired her to accompany blues singer Little Milton. When Milton couldn't perform one night, Fontella filled in and became a regular singer with Oliver's revue. Upon moving to Chicago in 1965, she auditioned for Chess Records, where she was initially paired with Bobby McClure. "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing" reached #33 pop and #5 R&B that year. It was the first of eight chart records on Chess' Checker label, the last six of which were solo. Other hits included "Recovery" (#37 pop, #13 R&B in 1966) and "I Surrender" (#78 pop, #33 R&B in 1966). Disillusioned with the music business (she fought for years to be given songwriting credit on "Rescue Me"), she and her husband -- trumpet player Lester Bowie -- moved to Paris where she recorded two albums with the Art Ensemble of Chicago but semi-retired in 1972. She sued American Express in 1990 over the use of "Rescue Me" in a television commercial and settled for $50,000. Her brother is R&B singer David Peaston. 
-- Ron Smith (
While Chess carved its own niche in the blues market, their success rarely crossed over to the pop charts after the Chuck Berry era. That all changed in 1965 when Fontella Bass took her Motown-infused hit "Rescue Me" all the way to #2 on the National Pop Charts. (Berry Gordy had to be beside himself trying to figure out ways to sue Chess Records for copying his sound!)    

FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent us five excellent "Rescue Me" cover versions to share, too, courtesy of a tribute put together by Billboard Magazine ...

Your comments about the frequency of hearing Supertramp on the radio nowadays resonated with me. Driving home recently, I heard "Take the Long Way Home" on our former Oldies station in Chicago. While I was grateful that it was not another Journey song, I punched the next pre-set button in hopes of hearing something else. Instead, the next "classic" station was playing the exact same song, at almost precisely the same point -- less than half a second apart. Forget about hearing 50s and 60s songs anymore. There is such a lack of variety that they're all sounding the same -- and this certainly drove the point home!   
Dan Crabtree 
Wheaton, IL

It's happening more and more often ... not just the same artist playing on two or three stations at the same time ... but now the same SONG playing on multiple stations at the same time! Clearly there is no longer a need for a program director ... we've finally done it ... gone "All Robot". (They warned us about this,ya know!) Sometimes we hear two songs by the same artist twenty minutes apart! What a shame. Because a program director who knows his music ... and CARES about his music ... could REALLY make a big difference right now. Not some kid who wasn't even born yet when these songs were out, simply following the charts put together by these mindless consultants telling them THIS is what people really want to hear. It's gone so far past insulting that I just can't listen anymore. I make sure the car has at least half a dozen CDs in it at all times and leave the button on The Drive ... at least I know they'll mix things up by playing album sides or A to Z salutes or featured artists and deep tracks ... and when they DO hit on those same old Journey, Bob Seger and Steve Miller songs, I just pop the CD in instead. And for right now, this is working for me. (Unless, of course, K-Hits wants to contact me and revamp oldies radio once and for all, Chicago style. In THAT case, I'm all in ... just give me a call ... and let's set this town on its ear. Imagine that ... a radio station in Chicago actually playing something that every OTHER radio station in town isn't already playing ... man, what a concept!) Funny thing is, once it catches on, all of the other stations will follow suit anyway ... Lord knows there's no such thing as an original idea in radio anymore ... but once they do and all the dust settles, what do you know ... radio will be interesting again! (kk)
Thanks for fully
waking me up with the song by the Trade Winds. It has made my day.
This morning while driving in my car and after earlier having played your tune you posted by the Trade Winds, reminded me of another tune which came out earlier in 1959 by another group known as the Tradewinds. Different group, I believe, but the song was FURRY MURRY on RCA. Had to get it out when I got home and play it, as they say, "one more time". You remember FURRY MURRY don't you? He had to get a Yul Brynner haircut.  
Incidentally, I am GUILTY of having the two songs you mentioned that the INNOCENCE made, not to be confused with the INNOCENTS, another group.
Gotta be a different Tradewinds ... in 1959, Vinnie and Pete were recording as The Videls. In 1960, they hit the charts with "Mister Lonely", (not the Bobby Vinton tune), which peaked at #66.
By the way, The Innocence singles actually performed pretty well here in Chicago ... "There's Got To Be A Word" reached #18 ... and "Mairzy Doats" (which some of the non-Top 40 stations even played) climbed as high as #21 ... both far surpassing their national showings of #33 and #75 respectively. (kk)

Speaking of Melissa Manchester (as we were yesterday), when's the last time you heard one of HER hits on the radio??? Sure, you might hear "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" on one of those '80's / Rewind stations ... but Melissa scored two Top Ten Hits in the mid-to-late '70's with two soaring, power ballads called "Midnight Blue" (#5, 1975) and "Don't Cry Out Loud" (#10, 1979).
These are songs that still deserve to be heard ... and are showcase vocal performances by this fine singer / songwriter. (I always felt bad for Melissa Manchester ... she cowrote "Whenever I Call You 'Friend'" with Kenny Loggins ... and then he went off and recorded it as a duet with Stevie Nicks instead!!!)
Manchester had one of those booming voices that just excelled as the orchestra soared to its building crescendo ... I had the chance to see her perform live twice in the late '70's, both VERY entertaining shows.  She is still performing (tour dates listed on her website) and last year, taught the class "The Art Of Conversational Singing" at USC,  The University of Southern California!
(By the way, Manchester also cowrote one of her other '70's hits, "Just Too Many People" (#30, 1975) with her producer Vinnie Poncia, who we profiled in yesterday's piece on The Tradewinds. Don'tcha just love it when all this stuff ties together!!!)

Thursday, December 27, 2012



Best Kennedy Center Honors ever. The David Letterman portion of the show was very funny but I loved the tribute to Led Zeppelin. I think Robert Plant was crying. Heart was awesome as well as all the other musicians that participated. Jack Black was the perfect choice to get it all started.   
I couldn't agree more ... start to finish, this show was a winner.   Dustin Hoffman has always been one of my favorite actors ... that little 20 minute spiel made me want to watch at least 20 of his movies again! I grew up loving this guy! What a career ... "The Graduate" ... "Midnight Cowboy" ... "Kramer Vs. Kramer" ... "Rain Man" ... "Tootsie" ... films that I liked that nobody else did like "Hero", "Hook" and "Straw Dogs" ... other emotional fare like "Marathon Man" and "All The President's Men" ... missteps like "Ishtar" and "Dick Tracy" ... "Meet The Fockers" ... what a GRAND career this man has had.  
And even the less-interesting tributes to Buddy Guy and Natalia Makarova were tolerable. 
The Letterman bit was GREAT ... he truly looked moved and humble ... and there is no question that he forever changed the look of late night television.  Everyone who has come along since has been molded in his image.
But the musical tribute to Led Zeppelin was out of this world, moving the band to tears and cheers. (I've never seen ANY honoree paid such a glowing, powerful ... and rockin'(!) tribute before.) 
Heart (who has ALWAYS ranked Led Zeppelin as their inspiration, performing many fitting tributes and cover versions of their material over the years) have never sounded better ... what a truly inspired, mammoth send-off that was. And as emotional as that had to have been for Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones watching this whole thing play out (The Foo Fighters, Kid Rock and Lenny Kravitz also did exceptional tribute performances), you just KNOW there had to be a part of these guys that wanted to climb back up on that stage with Jason Bonham and sing and play along. 
No, they didn't perform ... but it wouldn't at all surprise me to see them stage one more special event, just to say "thanks"!!! (kk)    

Johnny Carson has already been forgotten ...
But Led Zeppelin is FOREVER!
In other words, what kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the President is black and the national anthem is "Stairway To Heaven"?
The highlight of tonight's show was Tina Fey's introduction of David Letterman. I love Jack Black, but his enthusiasm didn't make up for a substandard speech. We needed Wayne and Garth. Two stoners whose lives are not complete without Led Zeppelin IV.
And then came the piece de resistance. We knew they'd end with "Stairway." But there's no more perfect fit than Heart. Ann Wilson made her bones singing Zeppelin covers. And her "Battle Of Evermore" is just about as good as the original. So, what is usually substandard, the musical tribute, which had us all trepidatious, turned out to be a triumph.
Yo-Yo Ma was singing along. Bonnie Raitt had her hands in the air!
And did you catch the Prez singing along to "Whole Lotta Love"?
Our true rock and roll heroes are ... our true rock and roll heroes. 

You can't change "Good Times Bad Times." "The Rain Song" sounds the same as it did when you dropped the needle on "Houses Of The Holy" back in '73.
Music is the most powerful medium on Earth.
And Led Zeppelin has more power than anybody. 

Bob Lefsetz    

Not much surfin' goin' on in New York City in the '60's (although with all the winter storms being forecast for the east coast again right now, I suppose skiing may not be out of the question!)   

In 1965 songwriters Vinnie Poncia and Pete Anders got together, called themselves The Trade Winds, and released a Top 40 Hit called "New York's A Lonely Town" ... which I can only imagine it would be ... if you're the only surfer boy in town!    

Cashing in on the craze taken to the max by The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean (who were joined by The Sunrays and several other "imitators" by the mid-'60's), Poncia and Anders put together the perfect surfing groove for this tune ... threw in catch phrases like "my Woodies outside" ... added some high-end falsetto ... and crafted a great pseudo-surf tune for the ages.    

Except radio has all but forgotten about it!  

Anders and Poncia honed their craft by peddling songs "Brill Building style" in the early '60's. They were later taken under the wing of Phil Spector ... and then the legendary songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller, who ultimately signed the duo to Red Bird Records and released their biggest hit.   

I found a great tribute website for these two artists:
DIDJAKNOW?: Poncia and Anders ALSO recorded as The Innocence, hitting the charts with "There's Got To Be A Word" (#33, 1967) and a remake of the novelty hit "Mairzy Doats". In 1968 they supplied the backing vocals for the 1910 Fruitgum Company hit "1,2,3 Red Light" and, in the '70's and '80's, Vinnie Poncia produced hit albums for Ringo Starr and Melissa Manchester!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's Wednesday (But It Feels Like Monday)

Tonight on CBS Led Zeppelin receives The Kennedy Center Honors, along with fellow honorees Actor Dustin Hoffman, Talk Show Host David Letterman, Chicago Blues Legend Buddy Guy and Ballerina Natalia Makarova. (I never really got the whole concept of ballet ... instead of recruiting a bunch of young girls and then making them painfully dance on their tippy-toes, why not just hire taller girls in the first place?!?!?)

Watching President Obama salute hard-rockin' / hard-livin' Led Zeppelin is priceless ... as is Ray Romano's line about losing his virginity "to the first two minutes of 'Stairway To Heaven'". (Romano is there to "induct" David Letterman). All in all, it should be a pretty entertaining show (and a rare chance to see Led Zep reunite for a performance, apparently part of an all-star jam that also features The Foo Fighters.) Zeppelin is all over the radio again thanks to the recent release of "Celebration Day". (Can you turn on the radio today and NOT hear "Kashmir"???) The program airs at 9 pm Eastern / 8 pm Central.  

re:  WRAPPING UP CHRISTMAS  (Pun Intended):

Every year we make it a point to buy one new Christmas Album to add to our already massive collection. This year I opted for Rod Stewart's latest release and couldn't have been more pleased. (Frannie was pushing for Michael Buble ... so we may still have to pick that one up, too!) Stewart's voice lends itself perfectly to these Christmas classics (one of which just happens to be a duet with Buble). Whether a lushly orchestrated ballad or an up-tempo tune, Rod is in perfect step on this LP ... highly recommended.   

And then our daughter brought along both the Cee Lo Green and the Blake Shelton Christmas CD's. These are two more excellent collections of holiday music. As two of the coaches on The Voice, these two already hugely-popular artists have skyrocketed out of the stratosphere with their fan base these past couple of years. (Ah, the power of television) Cee Lo manages duets with Voice Coach Christina Aguilera, the aforementioned Rod Stewart ... and The Muppets!!! ... while Blake teams up with Buble (on a reworked Christmas version of their shared hit "Home"), wife Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire (now calling herself simply "Reba") and inaugural American Idol Superstar Kelly Clarkson.  Both CDs make for enjoyable holiday listening.  

And finally, here's a great Oldies Music Fan / Christmas decorations idea for next year ... 
Get a bunch of your friends together and have each one kick in a crisp one hundred dollar bill ... then take those bills and neatly fold them and wrap them together, fashioning them into a round, circular Christmas ornament ... which you can now proudly display as "A Wreath of Franklins"!!!   

re:  MOVIES:
Still fighting my annual Christmas cold (I swear I cannot remember the last Christmas when I wasn't sick!!!), we took things rather easy over the four day weekend ... and rented a couple of movies we had been wanting to see for a while.  Man, what a MAJOR disappointment!!!  

(On a scale of 1 - 10, we give it a "2") 
Don't bother ... do yourself a favor and watch the 90 second trailer ... it represents the ONLY 90 seconds of this entire film that are worth watching, save their knock-out performance of the Bruno Mars tune "Just The Way You Are" ... and, rather than sit through the first 75 minutes just to see that, watch it on YouTube instead:
(We give it a "3" on a scale of 1 - 10) 
No surprises here ... one of the slowest moving, boring, most predictable movies we've seen in a long, long time (with no real pay-off at the end.) I wonder if they have to use special mic-ing techniques to record Clint Eastwood's voice these days ... it's barely a whisper throughout most of this snorefest.  Don't waste your time on this one.  

On the PLUS side ... 
XFINITY just added Season 4 of "Damages" to their On Demand line-up ... we ran through all ten episodes in three days ... and after each episode ended, we couldn't wait to watch the next one.   It was that compelling.

Ironically, it had a bit of a "Homeland" feel to it (another one of our "Can't Miss" television favorites), except Season Four of "Damages" actually ran BEFORE "Homeland" hit the airwaves. VERY well done ("Damages" has always excelled ... and we truly missed it when it switched over to DirecTV ... now we can't wait for Season Five to become available.) When did the quality of TV Dramas start blowing away the movies?!?!? It seems that lately television consistently provides better entertainment than anything we shell out big bucks to see in a theater ... and more and more big name actors are making their way to the small screen because that's where all the good stuff is at!  

I cannot help but wonder ... 
Why is "The Glee Project" ten times more interesting and entertaining than the actual program "Glee" itself???  Ryan Murphy, you've lost your way ... it isn't "fun" anymore.   

Never a day goes by that we don't hear "Take The Long Way Home", "Goodbye Stranger" and / or "The Logical Song" by Supertramp. In fact, odds are pretty good that you'll hear all three of these tracks during the course of the listening day (and quite likely that "Take The Long Way Home" will come up more than a few times). Throw in "Give A Little Bit" and an occasional spin of "Bloody Well Right" on the Classic Rock Stations, and Supertramp is pretty well represented by Radio, circa 2012.   

But you never seem to hear their 1982 Top Ten Hit "It's Raining Again". It's like life for the band stopped after the mega-successful "Breakfast In America" hit the charts in 1979 ... but nothing could be further from the truth.   

Supertramp scored four more Top 40 Hits in the '80's ... a "live" version of their earlier (1974) track "Dreamer" went to #15 in 1980, "My Kind Of Lady" hit #23 in 1983, "Cannonball" reached #28 in 1985 and Today's Forgotten Hit "It's Raining Again" peaked at #7 in 1982. (A "live" version of "Breakfast In America" also charted in 1980, stopping at #62.)   

We used to LOVE all of this Supertramp music ... but radio overkill has burned out our desire to listen to it  anymore. So why not mix things up a little bit and throw in one of these '80's tunes once in a while. They're all legitimate hits ... and it SURE would break the monotony of the same old / same old button-pushing-inducing diet you're feeding us now!  (kk)

Monday, December 24, 2012


Our buddy Alan O'Day has a brand new Christmas tune that we couldn't wait to share with you ... and it's a good one! You can check it out here:
Hey Kent,
Thanks for sharing this new song and video through your website with as many folks as possible before Christmas.
If anyone would like to purchase a digital audio download it's available on CDBaby now: and iTunes,too.
I'm glad to see Forgotten Hits so healthy.
Thanks for your support, & Happy Holidays!
Happiest of Holidays to you and your family,
Alan O'Day
Have a very Merry Christmas and Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year!!
Ken Evans and The Fifth Estate  

C'mon Kent!
What about PERRY COMO? Christmas ain't Christmas without Perry! His "Home for the Holidays" actually was a Top 40 Hit back in 1954. You remember 1954, DON'T YOU? :-)   
Here's a video from the 60s, that brings it all back, when the world was a little nicer.
Christmas, 1954? Hmmm ... let's see ... I had just turned one ... honestly, I don't remember much other than my diaper being a little snug that day ... but my Mom sure loved Perry Como. (Everybody's Mom loved Perry Como, right???) Merry Christmas Everybody! (kk)   
One of my favorite '70's performers was singer / songwriter Jim Croce. I was fortunate to have seen Jim perform live in concert half a dozen times before he was taken from us ... including twice at The Quiet Knight referred to in one of these articles. (In fact for one of these performances it was Jim with his guitarist Maury Muehleisen as the opening act, followed by Jackson Browne, performing completely solo, at the piano!) This was in early 1972 ... later that year, both artists would have their breakthrough hits with "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" and "Doctor My Eyes" respectively ... it was an AMAZING show put on by two soon-to-be superstars who, at the time, were still one step away from national recognition.) The last time I saw Jim was just a few months before he died when he performed at Ravinia to a sold-out show.
Forgotten Hits Reader Bill Hengels recorded a live performance of Jim's at Harper College and then was later able to sell those recordings to Jim's widow Ingrid for commercial release. Here are two recent articles he sent us regarding not only these recordings but a brand new book put together by Ingrid Croce and her new husband Jimmy rock profiling the life and career of Jim Croce.
Attached are two files about Jim Croce. One is from The Chicago Sun Times Dec. 17th, 2012. Ingrid Croce was coming to Chicago for a book signing but became ill and had to cancel. The second article is a CD review from All Music's web site. It reviews the CD Have You Heard Jim Croce Live. In it, it talks about my recording of Hard Time Losing Man song that I recorded and sold the concert to Ingrid back in 2003.

A review of Jim Croce's Have You Heard Live CD from All Music web site
It talks about Hard Time Losing Man, a song that I recorded at Harper College and sold to Ingrid back in 2003

Release date January 31, 2006
Duration 46:43
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Shout! Factory's 2006 CD release of Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live is a companion piece to their 2003 DVD of the same name. That DVD collected 13 live television performances, taken from shows like The Old Grey Whistle Test, and Underground, all of which were quite rare, since there isn't much footage of Jim Croce live on television. Not only was the music rare, but it was also quite good, some of the best live material he recorded, so it made sense that Shout! Factory would spin it off into an audio-only release. And that's exactly what this CD is -- the audio portion of those 13 TV performances. The two photo-collage montages on the DVD -- set to "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" and "Time in a Bottle" -- have been cut, since they weren't live concert performances to begin with, and a version of "Hard Time Losing Man", recorded live at Harper College in Palatine, IL, is the one exclusive cut on this collection. None of these performances loses anything heard as a mere audio track, and the collection is sequenced nicely, flowing as if it were an actual concert. That said, this doesn't offer anything new: if you have the DVD, you have this music, so this may not be a necessary purchase. But for dedicated Croce fans looking to enjoy these performances as music only, this is a welcome release.





















Hey Kent,
Not to many people realize that “What Now My Love” is about a guy that "offs" himself ... Listen to the lyrics carefully. The world is over for him anyway.
Gary Pike  
You mentioned (and I didn't know this) that the late Jimmy McCracklin wrote the song TRAMP. Pretty decent hit here in the OKC area for one Lowell Fulsom.
Actually, that little tidbit came from Ron Smith's excellent website. Turns out "Tramp" (a #18 Hit for Otis Redding and Carla Thomas in 1967) was cowritten by Jimmy McCracklin and Lowell Fulsom. Their cover version outperformed Lowell's original version, which peaked at #51. (kk)
It’s good to see “I’ll Cry Instead” getting some props. Cynthia Lennon called that song “a cry for help” from John, and certainly one where his paranoia was expressed in his lyrics. (He’d soon top himself with “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, one of the most paranoid songs ever.) Inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin’” album, Lennon was determined to write more from the heart, and less from what was perceived as a typical “hit record”. To me, the line “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet” is one of the most amazing lines ever – two neuroses in a single line! How many writers in the 1964-65 time period could fuse a line such as Help’s “my independence seems to vanish in the haze” into the context of a pure pop #1 record? Whenever anyone tries to tell me that the Beatles were lightweight, or not deserving of their status, I tell them to stop listening to “Hey Jude” or “Love Me Do”, and dig a whole lot deeper.
Jeff Lemlich
Here's a recent Tommy James article / interview sent in to us by FH Reader Tom Cuddy ... 
Tommy James: Rocker’s Story Headed for Hollywood
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Verona-Cedar Grove Times
It's a winding, sprawling kind of story, filled with tales for every vice – music, love, drugs, crime and the list goes on. It's the kind of story that, at times, seems too improbable – too wild – not to be a work of fiction.
For Cedar Grove's Tommy James, however, it's simply life.
The platinum-record-selling rocker recently put his wealth of memories to the page with his 2010 autobiography, "Me, the Mob, and the Music." Hollywood is already knocking on the door to tell James's story, with Universal Pictures and noted film producer Barbara DeFina ("Goodfellas," "Casino") slated to bring James's meteoric rise to fame and personal struggles to the big screen.
In an interview with the Times, James dished on all of it and more.  
So young, so fast
In 1966, James was a teenage dad whose dreams of making it big seemed to be fading. By 1968, he'd find himself sitting beside presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey on election night. Three years later, he was a rock star looking over his shoulder, fearing the mob.
Today, he's still touring, still writing and still enjoying life. How can one person experience such highs and lows over a short span? Where do the dots connect? That's a story that was never supposed to be told, says James.
His book, which he co-wrote with fellow Cedar Grove resident and author Martin Fitzpatrick, was originally titled "Crimson and Clover" – a nod to one of his hit singles. It was going to be a fun, little book about his rise to fame – no mobsters, no drugs, no infidelities. Eventually, he reconsidered.
"It's like I'm telling on myself," James says of the book's candid approach. "You don't think of it so much as a story when you're living it. It's not a story. It's my life."
If one were to look for the initial domino that fell in James's story, his first love — music — is the most logical catalyst. Turning the radio on was how his mother would stop him from crying as an infant. It was why he slicked his hair back to look like Elvis Presley, learned Chuck Berry tunes by ear and – at the age of 12 – was already playing dance hall gigs with older boys.
By the time he was in high school, his band, the Tornadoes – later the Shondells, had two small recording contracts and were playing at local colleges. James was flying high, partying and had legitimate dreams of stardom.
Life had other plans. Tommy's long-time girlfriend, Diane, was pregnant and the two rushed to marry.
"I was married and a father as a senior in high school," recalls James. "Of course, I did everything earlier than I was supposed to."
So young, so fast is an apt way to describe most of James's career. After the original Shondells disbanded, James toured the Midwest with The Koachmen as a way to provide for his family. After a two-week engagement fell through, James was forced back home fearing that his career was already regressing.
What James did not know on his car ride home was that a single he recorded in high school, "Hanky Panky," had been bootlegged in Pittsburgh and ascended to top of the charts.
The 19-year-old kid from the Midwest was headed to New York to become a superstar.  
Of politicians and mobsters
James's prolific music career is well documented. "Mony Mony" followed "I Think We're Alone Now" which followed "Say I Am" and the list goes on and on. As Roulette Record's golden boys, Tommy James and the Shondells churned out single after single to the point where, by the age of 22, James was already coming out with greatest hits albums.
After just a year in New York, James recalls feeling a disconnect with his family back in Michigan, as if they all spoke with accents. By the following year he and the band gained influence, enough to be selected by presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy to play at a few rallies in New York. The band was originally asked to play that June night in Los Angeles where Kennedy was assassinated but had a previous engagement in Dallas.
In a self-described "funk" for weeks after the assassination, James and the Shondells eventually joined the Humphrey campaign – serving as a lead-in for many of his rally speeches.
The two were friends until the day Humphrey died and were so close that Humphrey actually had the band with him on election night.
"I can't tell you how we felt," James says of the honor. "It felt like being at the center of the earth. He actually sat us down and asked us what we thought. I was 21-years-old that year. He was going to have a national referendum (for the Vietnam War.) He was going to 'save 20,000 to 30,000 lives and show them what democracy really was.' That night he lost and it all went to the wayside."
While able to see the madness of his sudden fame now, James says that had no time to reflect on it while living in the moment. Roulette Records and its head, Morris Levy, often cracked the whip – making sure the next hit single was never too far away.
"Life became very, very hectic," James recalls. "Here we are, trying to have a career in rock 'n' roll with a dark and sinister story that we couldn't talk about."
The story is that of Levy, a known mobster who used Roulette as a front for a variety of other operations. In the lion's den
How does a teenager from Michigan forge a relationship with a main cog in the Genovese crime family? Most of it was Levy's doing.
That first day in New York in 1966, James had offers from a host of major labels – Atlantic, RCA, Capitol.
He went to bed set to sign with CBS.
The next morning each and every offer was rescinded with no explanation. After pleading with an executive at Atlantic, James found out what had happened.
"Levy had called the other labels – 'This is my record, back off,'" James says while trying to imitate Levy's husky voice.
In speaking with the Times, James begins describing his relationship with Levy as "love/hate" before quickly switching to "dysfunctional father-figure."
As the months and years wore on, the shroud covering Levy's true intentions slowly fell.
Royalty money, tens of millions of dollars worth, was impossible to secure.
At one point, it seemed as though every time he'd meet somebody in Levy's office, he'd see that same face on the news the following week – handcuffed and being lead out of some warehouse in New Jersey.
James describes the lunacy of his situation as "almost funny," that was until the mob wars of 1971 when some believed James could be collateral, a target for Levy's enemies.
The fast-paced lifestyle eventually caught up with James. Long dependant on amphetamines to keep himself going, and liquor to even-himself out – James was arrested in 1986 for firing a gun at his home pool. Inebriated, James says in the book that he did not recall what he had done.
In his interview with the Times, James described his subsequent six weeks at the Betty Ford Center as "the best thing I ever did for myself."
"They call it hitting bottom – that's what I did," James recalls. "I hit bottom. I made my mind up – I got rid of all the chemicals."
He's been sober ever since.  
From Jersey to Hollywood
"Once you're here, you're here," says James of New Jersey – where he's lived since 1973.
Originally in Clifton, James moved to Cedar Grove following Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The proximity to it all, the airports and the city, has kept him here.
What, nearly 50 years after his big break, keeps Tommy James going today? The same thing as ever — music.
James still tours throughout the continent regularly and has, over the years, released a variety of CDs out of his own Aura Records – including a live album and Christmas compilation.
By far his biggest project at this point, of course, is his the book and the subsequent film adaptation.
"It's a really crazy feeling," he says. "I don't know how I'm going to feel actually watching this thing."
The whole process, the writing, the interviews, the working on the film, has allowed James to finally sit back and take stock in his trials and adventures.
Asked for the one moment of his career he'd like to relive, he cites his first appearance on the "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1968, having grown up with the program as a youth.
Anything he'd like to do over? James said that he'd have liked to be a better businessman and a better family man, but he says that he lives now with few regrets.
"There isn't much I'd change," says James. "If you weren't the person you were then, you wouldn't be the person you are now."
On the Times's last question, who has the chops to portray him in the movie, the boy who grew up perhaps too fast, perhaps too soon finally leaves a decision up to his elders.
"I'm staying away from that one," he says with a chuckle. "I'm going to let the grown-ups decide that one."

And another one, profiling the rock group Chicago!

On heels of holiday release, Chicago revels in success   

Monica Hortobagyi, USA TODAY, 10a.m. EST December 21, 2012

USA TODAY caught up with Jimmy Pankow and Lee Loughnane, two founding members of Chicago, to discuss their latest release, life on the road, holidays with their families, and the surprise of 45 years of success.

Welcome to Chicago: 
Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, second row, far left; 
Jason Scheff, Keith Howland, Lou Pardini, Walt Parazaider, 
James Pankow, bottom row, second from right; Tris Imboden.
(Photo: Shore Fire Media)
Applying their signature horn accents to the classics of the season, the band Chicago has compiled every holiday song they've ever recorded – 34 of them, including Winter Wonderland, White Christmas and Jingle Bells – into a double-disc release called Ultimate Christmas Collection, available in stores and online.
USA TODAY caught up with Jimmy Pankow (trombone) and Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals), two founding members of the band, to discuss their latest release, life on the road, holidays with their families, and the surprise of 45 years of success. 

Q. What is it about the Christmas genre that speaks to you?
Pankow: It's a special time of year. We're blessed with the opportunity to arrange these songs in a way in which we've been affected creatively. Not unlike Mannheim Steamroller, we personalize the song with our sound; we change the tempo and introduce instrumental departures, but the songs remain intact.
To be able to record songs that we grew up with in our way and share them is really a fun thing. 

Q. When did you first record some of the singles?
Pankow: We were in the studio in L.A. in March 1998. It was 90 degrees out, the palm trees were swaying and we made the studio into the North Pole: Christmas lights, Christmas trees, fake snow – the whole nine yards. People were stopping by – engineers, executives, artists – to absorb some of the North Pole vibe. 

Q. Do you have a favorite single off the album?
Pankow: All of the writers grabbed songs they were particularly fond of and brought them to life musically in the arrangements. 

Q. What Christmas albums do you listen to?
Pankow: I'm an old-fashioned guy. Bing Crosby's I'll Be Home for Christmas, Nat King Cole's Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (actual title The Christmas Song) are favorites.
These songs have become a part of people's lives. The work is already done. For us to be able to jump on a song that's already embraced and do our own thing with that is really cool.

Q. How has your fan base changed since the founding days?
Loughnane: It's expanded. When we started, we had the teens and 20-somethings. As our core audience has grown up, they've gotten married and brought their kids to the show. Then they've grown up and (chuckling) brought their kids to the show. Young kids, not even 10 years old yet, are in the front row singing our lyrics. Their parents and grandparents are standing behind them.
We've brought forward songs that struck an emotion in people, regardless of their age.
Pankow: We certainly don't take success for granted. In fact, we scratch our heads at the fact that our music's become a universal thing. Even in countries where English isn't the language, they're singing the songs. They may not know what it means but they know the words phonetically and they're singing louder than the band.
Loughane: During our Asia tour, every audience was singing our songs.
Pankow: Can you imagine how it feels to be standing on stage, hearing an audience sing as loudly as you are? Swaying and lighting their lighters. It's just magical; it's really awesome. We're living the dream.
Loughnane: It's not necessarily the American dream, it's the musical dream.
Pankow: Every artist would dream of this. Give that to One Direction, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry; let them have their time and enjoy it. But to still be doing this today …
Loughnane: For us to have songs that are playing, that people refer to as standards, we could have never guessed that that would happen.
Pankow: It's really something when you hear your music in the bathroom at the airport, or at Home Depot, or at the dentist. My wife will go to the grocery store and hear our music and she'll say, "everywhere I go I hear that damn music." I tell her, "be grateful, that puts food on the table."
Loughnane: You don't get used to it. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. 

Q. How do you manage staying true to the Chicago sound while incorporating new bandmembers?
Pankow: It's about what each guy brings to the table. A song doesn't come to life until each guy brings something to it and that's when it becomes a Chicago song. We encourage everybody to flourish on their own level as long as the principle focus always remains this band. Chicago is the nuts and bolts of why we've been able to enjoy a career for so many years. If these individual agendas become all-important and override the band, then we have to sit down and talk about it.
Loughnane: It's never been work for us. I've never felt like I've had to look for a job. I warmed up for this interview by playing because I feel different when I do.
Pankow: It's a cure-all. It's not only individually therapeutic, but it's the catharsis of doing something that you then share with others. They call it playing music, not working music. That's what makes living out of a suitcase worth it.

Q. Do you tour with your families?
Loughnane: I met my wife 12 years ago. She loved traveling until she came out on the road with me, since there's no staying overnight and sightseeing the next day. She picks her moments to come out and see the show.
Pankow: If we're in New York, it's nice for our families. But 25 cities in 40 days is not a joyride. We come home after 7 months of slamming it out and the wives and kids wanna go on vacation and we want to sit on our butts. But those family trips are fun because they're leisurely. 

Q. What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Pankow: (laughs) Putting charcoal in my kids' stocking. I'm kidding.
I sit in the big chair and read The Night Before Christmas and the kids drink hot cocoa. A lot of people think that's corny but I don't care. It's the stuff that I did when I was little and I want to maintain that.
My 10-year-old daughter is starting to ask questions about Santa. She may know that he doesn't exist but she's going to apparently allow me to be Santa. Her mother and I will enjoy this last time. You try and preserve it, because that's the magic. On the other side is the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus and on that level it's even more meaningful. You go to church on Christmas Day and say "happy birthday, baby Jesus" and a lot of people have forgone that but we try to embrace that because that's the goodness we strive for. It's all of the above. And the music celebrates all of that.

Q. What's the most memorable fan gift you've gotten?
Pankow: Walt (Parazaider, founding member of Chicago) wears crazy socks with designs of martini glasses, cards and dice. Now, every holiday, fans send him weird socks. That's about the only regular gift occurrence. Usually it's harmless mementos – a picture, a card during the years.
Loughnane: It's really cool to have so many people come up and say they enjoyed their time with us. So many times you hear about artists not being nice with their fans, and fans remember that.

Q. What's behind your success?
Pankow: There's no smoke and mirrors; it's talent. When we're on stage, people can tell how much fun we're having. We bring the crowd in. It's a communal thing, it's a give and take. People walk away fully entertained.
Loughnane: I want people to say when they leave a show, "man, they sound good." And in order to do that, you have to put the horn to your face because these songs don't get any easier. You have to put the time in.
Pankow: People ask "how do you play Saturday in the Park every night and enjoy it?" It's a different crowd every night. Usually, there is someone there who's never seen us. We try and do the show the best we can do it every night, and if you're focused on playing the music as good as it can be played that night, you're too busy to be bored.
People say, "we grew up with your music" and we say, "so did we." I was 20 years old for God's sake, and now I'm on Medicare!

Q. What's next?
Pankow: The songwriting process continues. Although the record industry is gone, music is alive and well. Now we have the joy of writing whatever we want to write and making it available to our fans instantly on the web. So we are the record company of note now.
There's always more that you don't know and the music continues to evolve. We'll never be satisfied to rest completely on the laurels of what we have done. As we evolve as people and our perspectives deepen, so does the music.  

Hi Kent ,
I have found some of the best songs after hearing a snippet of them in various commercials. I am sure a lot of people do. One example would be from a few years ago. A Nivea commercial. The song was "Love Show" by Skye ... pretty song. Anyway, my newest favorite is the song on the Zales commercial. It is called "If It wasn't For You" by Various Cruelties. They are a British group. For me the song has a little John Lennon feel to it.
Merry Christmas
During one of the football games which I watch Sundays, there was a commercial I had never seen before this year. If it had been shown before, I don't know how I missed it. I can't remember the product offhand, but the music being played in the background was the song TRA LA LA (I'M SO HAPPY). It was the original song by Lewis Lymon and his Teenchords, later remade by the Ducanes in 1961. Can you believe it?
OMG, an advertiser stepping outside the box for a second to feature a song that might actually grab a viewer's attention?!!? What a CRAZY concept!!! (kk)  
Received The Fifth Estate CD in the mail Thursday, really appreciate getting the chance to win it.
It's awesome. Thank you so much my friend (especially love the Italian version of Ding Dong)..
Keep up the fabulous work,
Just returned home after being away for a week and much to my surprise there was the 2 disk Fifth Estate CD in my mailbox!
Thank you so much. Can't wait to listen to it.
Steve Davidson 
Hi Ken,
Thank you for the Fifth Estate CDs.
Its ironic that I won them, because the Fifth Estate is the reason that I stopped playing music.
At the time "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" became a hit, I was in a band in Pittsburgh. I was going to college and the other guys in the band had menial jobs (gas station, fire extinguisher filler) that they could easily leave if our band got a break. A promoter saw us and offered as a tour of the midwest, opening - so he said- for The Fifth Estate. I wouldn't leave college to go on the road, and the band broke up as a result. I was afraid the same thing would happen again if I got in a new band, so I gave up playing. Instead, I wound up getting into radio to stay around music, and that worked out well for me.
Ed Salamon  
Hi Kent
Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas. And may 2013 be another Great Year for Forgotten Hits!!!!
My favorite Christmas song was "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes!
Some of my favorite tunes you NEVER hear on the radio:
Mountain of Love - Harold Dorman
The Watusi - The Vibrations (From Jim Lounsburys Record Hop Show!)
This Time - Troy Shondell
Once Upon a Time - Rochelle and the Candles
Keep up the Great Job!!!
Hey Kent,
Even though I'm kind of partial to driving, energetic, arena-rock, I also like to sit back and take in some easy listening pop music now and then, too. I ran across two Top 40 Hits in my case of 45s the other day. They have a couple things in common. They were from the year, 1978, and both were one-hit wonders. "Falling" was from the Massachusetts duo, LeBlanc and Carr, and "My Angel Baby", by the Texas band, Toby Beau. Two more songs you never hear on today's radio stations. Thought you might want to feature them.
- John LaPuzza
Both personal favorites of mine as well ... and actually we've featured both tunes in Forgotten Hits before. In fact, there's a running joke between me and Dave The Rave because I'm always trying to get him to play "My Angel Baby" on his Relics And Rarities Show! Good suggestions to be sure. (kk)  
We plan on keeping this feature going throughout 2013 ... it seems to have really caught on ... and if any of the deejays on the list would like to incorporate these suggestions into their daily or weekly programming, please let us know so we can pass along "listen live" links to our readers! (kk)