Friday, January 18, 2013

The Friday Flash

We recently spoke with Mike Love, and when he started talking about songs that came lyrics first (unusual for The Beach Boys), he singled out "The Warmth Of The Sun" as an example.
Here's what Mike said:
Brian and I wrote that together in November of 1963. And the reason I remember it was that we woke up in the morning to the news that President Kennedy had been shot and was on his way to Parkland Memorial Hospital. We all know the result of that incident.
But it was such a haunting, melancholy, sad musical composition, the music was. And the only thing I could relate to in terms of lyrics was the loss of someone you love. In that lyrical treatment, it was about somebody who you were in love with, but they don't feel the same way anymore. So they fell out of love with you. And that's a loss of love, but not quite as dramatic as being shot and killed.
We didn't change the lyrics to conform to the event, but because of that event, when we recorded that song just a day or two later, it was charged with emotion. There's no doubt about that. And I think you can feel it in the lyric and the music combined.
But that was a case where I had written a poem about that experience of being enamored of somebody and they no longer felt that way. So that was The Warmth of the Sun. Leaves you of the feeling of having felt love, having felt the feeling of being in love at one time.
As Fred Vail pointed out in Forgotten Hits, the recording of the song took place amid extraordinary events, and the song will forever be associated with that tragic day.
Here's the full interview with Mike Love:  
Be Well, 
Carl Wiser  
As we learned when we did our own investigation into the true song history of "The Warmth Of The Sun", this has been an evolving (and ever-changing) story for quite some time. The official version as documented by Fred Vail is recorded on The Forgotten Hits Website here:  
Click here: Forgotten Hits - The Story Behind The Beach Boys' Classic "The Warmth Of The Sun" 
After our piece ran in Forgotten Hits, it was picked up by "Endless Summer Quarterly" and run in their publication as well. If you read the entire article, you'll also see that Brian and Mike have BOTH changed their stories numerous times as to the song's true origins and sequence of events leading up to both the writing and the recording of the song ... so I don't know that we'll ever REALLY know the whole story on this one. Meanwhile, the "legend" has permanently tied it to The Kennedy Assassination ... and that's the way it will most likely always be remembered. As such (and because I believe that there had to be SOME kind of tie into the tragic events of the day), we will acknowledge that "The Warmth Of The Sun" will ALWAYS be tied emotionally and spiritually to the assassination of our 35th President ... and that's a connection we can all live with. 
However, there is one part of Mike Love's memory that we need to clarify once again. In his interview with you, he states: We recorded that song just a day or two later ... and this simply isn't the case ... again, if you check out the website, you'll see the actual session log for "The Warmth Of The Sun" ... recorded on January 1st, 1964 (along with their hit "Fun Fun Fun" ... that's a full six weeks after the assassination. 
Everybody's memory fades ... and, when you tell a story as many times as THIS story has been told, pretty soon any inconsistencies simply blend into the "best-remembered facts" ... rather than the REAL facts of the incident. (I remember working on a piece on The Mamas and the Papas several years ago and John and Michelle Phillips talked about how Cass was finally invited into the group to sing. Up until that point, John wasn't happy with her voice ... and, truth be told, her appearance. Then one night, while rehearsing, Cass got hit in the head with a pipe ... and from that point forward, she could hit notes that she had never hit before ... and, as such, was invited to join the group. John later admitted, "I've told that story so many times now that I actually can't remember if it's true or not." lol Well, at least he was being honest!!!) Good interview, Carl! I think Mike Love's role in the success of The Beach Boys is sometimes overlooked ... but, quite honestly, he brings some of that on himself with his arrogant,pompous attitude. However, the (song)facts don't lie ... together, he and Brian created a library of elite, timeless tunes. (kk)  

I've seen the Guess Who with Burton still in the band ... Steely Dan was the opening act. I've seen Bachman & Cummings a couple times. We both attended the same show in Chicago years ago. I've also seen the band without Cummings. They actually opened for BTO. It's a good show, but without Burton, it's not the same.
Jack (I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands).
Between Guess Who concerts in the '70's (when the band was in their prime), solo shows by both Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman ... and one or two of the Cummings - Bachman reunion shows, I've probably seen these guys nine or ten times over the years ... ALWAYS an energized, entertaining show. The Guess Who rank amongst my favorites of this era ... had every album the band ever released on RCA Records back in the day. To see the current version of the band (featuring bassist Jim Kale and drummer Garry Peterson) without the vocal talents of Burton Cummings simply holds no appeal to me ... pure and simple, he was the SOUND of The Guess Who. (That being said, I've heard they're very good ... as are Creedence Clearwater Revisited, featuring original CCR bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford ... but it just ain't the same.) When I read about these Burton Cummings and John Fogerty sound-alikes they've hired to front the band, I always flash back to "Eddie And The Cruisers", when Saul put together a new "Cruisers" band with a "fake Eddie" upfront ... but this is the age we live in and, let's face it, we've all got to earn a living! (If given the choice, why would anybody go see Herman's Hermits WITHOUT Peter Noone ... but people in Europe do it all the time!) kk   

I loved all the Boyce and Hart songs. WCFL even had a jingle for disc jockey Buddy Carr made around the music of "Alice Long" back in 68!
As for Smokie, my Vietnamese friend loved Smokie when he was hearing their music in Vietnam back then! My first cross with the song "If You Think You Know How To Love Me" was when Allan Clarke included it on his great solo album "I've Got Time" and released it as a single on Asylum in 1976. It came from the pen of Chinn and Chapman, responsible for many of Sweet's 70's hits as well as many others. 

Don'tcha just love it when all this stuff ties together! (kk) 

Hey Kent.  
I appreciate how you handled the note from Joe Viglione regarding "Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye." Click here: Forgotten Hits: Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye  
As you point out, your information was based on reliable sources, and if you get a statement from Gary we'll be happy to amend the Songfacts entry. The song is popular here in Connecticut (I remember the Whalers playing it the few times they won hockey games), but haven't heard anything about it being officially adopted.
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

I think we fairly reported the facts at the time ... and my offer to both Gary DeCarlo and Joe Viglione still stands, should either of them like to go on the record and make a comment / statement to Forgotten Hits. So far, nobody's biting ... and, as such, I don't see a reason or need to update anything. Besides, we already explained the way Gary feels today by way of our recent article. It would just mean more to hear it from him. (kk) has put out a list of the safest and most dangerous songs to drive to ... You're always talking about the songs you hear in your car ... What do you think of this list ?
Frank B.
One of our local jocks (Scott MacKay on 95.9, The River) covered this story about a week ago ... then proceeded to play selections from both lists on the air. (And I'll be the first to admit ... as did he ... that I was unfamiliar with a good percentage of these tunes ... so I guess that still leaves me in the "safe driving" category!) There is not doubt that some songs DO make you "kick it up a notch" when they come on ... but some of the "soothing" tunes they're suggestion just might also cause you to fall asleep at the wheel ... which I guess in a way makes THEM dangerous songs as well! (kk)   

New York, NY (January 14, 2013) – On February 26, 2013, Eagle Records is proud to release Spirits Of The Western Sky by Justin Hayward.
As lead guitarist and vocalist of the legendary rock band, The Moody Blues, Hayward is one of the most prolific singer - songwriters in music. Justin’s songs include “Nights In White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Question,” “The Voice,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” and “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere,” to name just a few of his worldwide hits. Performing and recording for more than 40 years with The Moody Blues, during which the group has sold more than 60 million albums, Justin Hayward has been a driving force in the band’s success.
Spirits Of The Western Sky, recorded in Genoa, Italy and Nashville, is Hayward’s first solo album since 1996’s The View From The Hill. It features his trademark vocals and guitar work on tracks such as “One Day, Someday,” “On The Road To Love,” and album opener “In Your Blue Eyes,” and also highlights orchestrations by Academy Award-winning composer Anne Dudley. Additionally, Hayward moves into new areas with the three country and bluegrass-influenced tracks “What You Resist Persists,” “Broken Dream,” and “It’s Cold Outside Of Your Heart.”
“Anne [Dudley] is one of the true greats,” states Justin, “in the same rarefied class of orchestrators as Peter Knight, who was such an inspiration in my early Moody Blues days. I’ve worked with Anne on different projects over the years and it’s always a joy (when she is arranging, all the studio musicians know it’s going to be wonderful). I also co-wrote a song with my friend Kenny Loggins for Spirits Of The Western Sky. He and I were both on the road and staying in the same hotel. We had a great day playing guitar together and we came up with ‘On The Road To Love’. Kenny plays and sings on the track with me. This album is a labor of love. It’s been my whole life for the last few years. I know we all have many choices nowadays and I thank everyone who gives my album a listen and brings these songs into their collection. Every track is truly from my heart”.
Building on the best of his work throughout an incredible career, Spirits Of The Western Sky is an album guaranteed to delight Justin Hayward’s legions of fans around the world.   

Here's a song that would still sound great coming out of your radio (if radio would only play it!!!)
It's an early Phil Spector production (before the Girl Groups and The Wall Of Sound) that made The Top Ten in 1961.

And you know what they say ... 
If the girl's that nice, you gotta sing her name TWICE!
Here's another goodie just for fun.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I've been thinking about Jimmy O'Neill and Shindig all day long ... his passing is probably bothering me more now because, as I mentioned yesterday, I had hoped to convince Jimmy to take part in the up-coming "Historic Route 66" Radio Tour.  Now we'll never know what might have been.

On his website, Jimmy talked about the time Shindig had to go to London to film The Beatles for an episode.  (They certainly weren't going to come to him, were they?!?!  lol)

Here, in Jimmy's own words, are his memories of that experience ... followed by a CLASSIC, little-seen Beatles clip from 1965.

People always want to know how we were able to get The Beatles to perform on Shindig.

Because of the popularity of Shindig! in America and because of the reverence with which they held our British producer, Jack Good, who they grew up watching on the English television program, they agreed to appear on Shindig! for scale, which was $350.00 a Beatle. They only had one condition, which we thought was quite reasonable. At the time we wanted them to appear on Shindig!, they really couldn't work a trip to America into their schedule. 

So they asked us to come to them, and we did. We flew to London and spent two days rehearsing and taping the episode which starred the Beatles, and I'll never forget it as long as I live. It was an amazing experience because it was really at the peak of Beatlemania when they appeared on the show. 

When we traveled to London to record our Beatles episode, some New York network “suits” accompanied us to make sure things went OK. When they found out The Beatles were going to introduce new material on the show, they complained that they wanted them to sing their old hits. 

The Beatles were working for union scale ($350.00 per Beatle) as a favor to our English Producer, Jack Good. John Lennon screamed at the network exec who complained about their musical selections. “For $350.00 we’ll sing anything we want, and besides these songs will all be hits as soon as they’re released!” Then he stomped out of the studio and refused to perform. Paul McCartney and Jack Good chased after him and finally soothed his feathers, convincing him to return and tape the show. It was an intense moment, for sure! 

So overall what were the Beatles like? John was surley, Paul was the perfect friendly PR guy, Ringo was extremely sociable and kept asking me where I bought my casual clothes; (Mattson’s on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood) he seemed to like my wardrobe. He was like a friendly little puppy dog. George was the quiet one, very introverted and subdued. 

What were the Brit fans like? Hysterical! While entering the studio they heard my American accent and asked me if I was performing with The Beatles. When I said yes, they started to scream and rip my clothes. I had to break the glass of the locked stage entrance door to get in before they tore me apart. Very scary!  

Jimmy loved The Beach Boys, who appeared on Shindig several times.  (In fact, anybody who was ANYBODY appeared on the show ... all 86 episodes were jam-packed with the biggest recording artists of the day!)
The Beach Boys often appeared on TV singing their latest hit ... but they rarely were ever captured singing their Christmas Classic "Little Saint Nick".  Here they are, doing exactly that, on Shindig, 1964!

Scan YouTube and you'll find hundreds of priceless clips.  Producer Jack Good insisted that ALL of the acts perform live ... no lip-synching.  As such, these are one-of-a-kind performances.  

Here are a couple of our Forgotten Hits buddies on the program ... The Turtles, Herman's Hermits ... and more!

The Video Beat has all 86 episodes of Shindig available on DVD ... an INCREDIBLE collection to say the least!

Here's how you can order YOUR copy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

re: ALICE:  
We got a GREAT response to one of yesterday's Forgotten Hits, "Living Next Door To Alice" by Smokie. Astute deejays on the list that are actually paying attention might do themselves well by featuring this one of their program ... evidently a forgotten fan favorite.   

Here are just a few of the responses that we received ...  

Thanks for sharing "Living Next Door To Alice" today. It's a wonderful track that's almost totally forgotten. Did anyone else comment that the version you posted sounded too fast? Here's another Smokie track you may have never heard. It sounds a lot like "Alice" and should have been a hit here in the States. Loved the other "smoke" songs today too!
David Lewis  

I'm not familiar with this other Smokie song.  "If You Think You Know How To Love Me" must have been more of a "regional" thing.  It was a very minor hit in 1975 on MCA Records ... it peaked at #96 in Billboard (and took three weeks to get there!) Also, they were apparently calling themselves "Smokey" on this recording (or it's a record label misprint) ... by the time they hit RSO (and The Top 40) the following year, they were spelling it "Smokie". (kk)
Of all your "smokey places" songs, "Living Next Door to Alice" was the only song I knew ... and you are right ... back when I first heard it I thought it was "Dr. Hook".  

Living Next Door To Alice ... have NOT heard that in a looooong while. 
Totally agree with the 'Sylvia' connection. Hey guys ... you snooze, you lose. 
But what do you think happened with Sally? 
Hmmm .... I guess we can only let our imaginations run wild. (Should we have segued this one into "Lay Down Sally"?!?!?) kk    

Hi Kent,  
The comments on Boyce & Hart (and the Alice Long clip) and Dave Edmunds remind me of a couple of things.
I heard a song last summer by Boyce and Hart that I hadn't heard in over 40 years; "Out and About". Cool tune by a couple of guys who got more money writing than recording but should've recorded much more than they did. They were pretty good recording artists.
As for Dave Edmunds, I have heard the song only once, but his guitar version of "The Flight of the Bumble Bee" ranks him, in my estimation , as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

We featured "Out And About" a while back ... it was their first chart hit as a singing duo. (#30 in 1967) Another personal favorite of mine is "Goodbye Baby", which failed to make The Top 40 in 1968 but one that I always thought had kind of a Beach Boys feel to it. (Read the complete article and you'll see that Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys agreed ... at one point, he approached Boyce and Hart about producing the next Beach Boys album ... sadly it never happened ... one can only imagine what that might have sounded like!)
I was fortunate enough to have seen Dave Edmunds play at a small club here in Chicago several years ago ... a GREAT entertainer, sadly only known and remembered for his big hit "I Hear You Knockin'" (#3 1971). Dave did a number of classic remakes over the years. I tried to find a YouTube clip of him performing "Flight Of The Bumble Bee" but came up empty ... anybody got a copy of this track? (kk)   

Later on tonight I'll play your five choices you listed as "smokey" songs. Things that immediately came to my mind were that Bill Doggett had a version of SMOKIE 2 also. With these selections today, it might make one to SMOKE SMOKE SMOKE his or her cigarette. Undoubtedly if one does this, SMOKE will be GETTING IN THEIR EYES.
One final thing I happened to think of. There was a song out of 1966 I believe called SMOKEY JOE'S LA LA by Googie Rene on Class Records.
Larry Neal
I thought about going full-bore "smokey" today ... and even considered featuring BOTH of your suggestions ... but I figured five were enough for one. day. (Besides, I might have been tempted to feature the up-tempo Blue Haze version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" ... because I've done that before! lol) I think it's amazing that the original tune "Smokey Joe's Cafe" only went to #79 ... but was inspiration enough to name the Leiber and Stoller musical after it four decades later! (kk)

One of the last CD's I bought was ROSEMARY CLOONEY's 70th bithday celebration. It wasn't totally great, but had a keeper or two. She dueted with various artists. Her duet with Keith Carradine was worth the price of admission ... TURN AROUND (my favorite version)

Trust me on this. Would you believe a couple of days ago I thought of and played THIS OLD HOUSE by Rosemary Clooney as well as Stu Hamblin. Hamblin was also an actor of sorts.

Proof again that gret minds think alike! (kk)   

I just saw your website with THE GREATEST GARAGE BANDS OF ALL-TIME!!!
Who decided what band ranked what position?
I am friends with Ray Graffia, Ronnie Rice and Jim Peterik personally and I think the order of position from #50 down to #1 is very wrong.  
#1 through #4 to me were nothing but 'One Hit Wonders' and should be way behind the Cryan' Shames and The Ides of March.
#5 - THE NEW COLONY SIX (at least made the top 10)
#34 - The Ides Of March (should have at least been in the Top 10)
#30 - The Cryan' Shames (should have at least been in the Top 10)
Your website is a very cool and informative website but I disagree with the order the bands ranked.
I'm 60 years old and I saw all of these bands make history starting from The Beatles.
Rick Kancilja
What determined the final pecking order was the 9008 votes that we received in this online poll. It had nothing to do with a specific number of hits but more of the "genre" of garage band music. Many argued that The Ides Of March (best known for their hit "Vehicle") and The Cryan' Shames (best known for their impeccable harmonies) weren't really "garage bands" at all. In fact, we could several letters after the fact saying the same thing about The New Colony Six (thanks to their two biggest hits ... both ballads ... "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say".) But the final tally is the way the fans voted and, with that kind of response, we have to accept their decision. (All we do is report the results! We let the music fans speak for themselves.)
Check out a couple of our other online polls and you'll find all kinds of food for thought there as well. Browse around the sites and see what you think. I think you're going to like it here! (kk)   

Hi Kent 
Was wondering when the Guess Who appear at the St Charles Arcada theater will that include Bachman and Cummings? It would be great if they all had a reunion together. When in doubt, ask the master!!! 
Unfortunately, no ... this is the Garry Peterson (drummer) / Jim Kale (bassist) version of the band ... and has absolutely NOTHING to do with the mainstays that most folks would recognize, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman. (Cummings is performing solo these days and Bachman has put together a mini BTO reunion with Fred Turner.) I debated whether or not to even mention / promote this show ... but Arcada owner Ron Onesti tells me that it's actually a very hot ticket ... and the band goes over quite well. Personally, I see no point in seeing them without "the voice" ... and some of those ticket sales MAY be attributed to Guess Who fans unaware that the guys who wrote all the hit songs won't be there. (Kind of like last year's Schaumburg appearance of Grand Funk Railroad ... without Mark Farner! I just couldn't see the point of going so, for the first time ever, we skipped the concerts this year. They also had "The Family Stone" without Sly ... wtf?!?!?) 
It's not really false advertising because Peterson and Kale were both key members of the band ... but certainly not the focal point by any stretch. (When you think of The Guess Who, your first memory isn't typically of the "nameless" drummer of bass player ... but it's Peterson who currently owns the rights to the name, much to the chagrin of Burton Cummings, who makes it a point to slam him during every concert appearance! lol) kk  
Click here: The Guess Who   

Kent ...
Just heard this on WCBS-FM. Bob Dylan said that Neil was trying to sound like him on this song. What do you think ?
Frank B.
Not sure I agree with that ... unless he means the use of harmonica throughout ... in that case, yes, I'd say so. This really is a classic performance ... just Neil alone, showing a bit of humor as he prepares to launch into his then brand-new song, soon a national chart-topper (and probably the song he's most associated with to this day.) VERY cool video ... and worth a watch. (kk)  

On The Pop Shoppe Friday the 18th and 25th I'll be doing a 1963 Whitburn countdown.
Songs 200 to 101 - The songs that didn't make the top 100 of that year.
Starting at 9 PM this Friday night.
This Friday part one, the following Friday part two.
DJ Stu Weiss

>>> Bob Seger is doing "The Rock And Roll Never Forgets" Tour?!?!? Passing this along to FH Reader Jack Levin ... maybe he'll help to underwrite the tour! (kk)  
I'd love to underwrite the upcoming Bob Seger tour. (I just heard about it last week as well). However I don't think the $160.00 I earned at the Chicago record show Sunday is gonna pay for much. But when you talk to Bob, because I know the two of you are best friends, tell him to have his people call me people and we'll work something out. Maybe he can play the local high school gym. Or maybe he can buy all my top 40 surveys that have his songs listed. Seriously, if your Detroit area readers have some old WKNR charts from 1967/8, you'll see some of Bob's really early 45s doing quite well locally.
Jack (Rock and Roll Never Forgets)
Actually, Bob Seger and the Heard earned quite a few votes in our Favorite Garage Bands Poll ... they definitely had a loyal, cult following at the time. I first discovered Bob as The Bob Seger System when "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" became a HUGE #2 Hit here in Chicago in 1968. Then we didn't hear from him again for nearly eight years until "Night Moves" hit The Top Five. I've never seen him live ... and while I complain about the over-saturation of his music on the airwaves, I really DO like his songs ... I just wish that hadn't been beaten into my head so often and for so long. (kk)   

RIP Tandyn Almer, and very sorry to hear of Rich Grunke's passing, and condolences to Clark. Rich gave me the opportunity to download a long-missed record - "Curfew Lover" b/w "What Did I Do?" by Anita Humes & The Essex.

Congratulations to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who has just been inducted into Vintage Guitar Magazine's Hall Of Fame.
And check this out ...
Before reaching superstardom with ZZ Top, Gibbons was in the band The Moving Sidewalks ... and the original members of THAT band are reuniting (for the first time in 44 years!!!) to perform at B.B. King's Club in New York City on March 30th as part of CAVESTOMP! 

Here's a brief article from The New York Times, sent in by FH Reader Bob Merlis:   
Tuesday, January 1, 2013  
The Return of Moving Sidewalks  
Hi Kent - 
Your latest newsletter had a lot about The Sweet. They were on my radio show recently and I was at their latest gig in the UK. Thought I would share some bits with your readers.  
Regards -
Geoff Dorset

Here's another great Forgotten Hit for you.  Sure, "Fox On The Run" and "Ballroom Blitz" may have had more staying power ... but "Love Is Like Oxygen" went all the way to #8 in 1978 ... yet you rarely hear this one anymore.  (kk)

David Beard of Endless Summer Quarterly sent us some recent postings about Jan and Dean ... STILL ignored by The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (but up-coming inductees into The Hit Parade Hall Of Fame!!!)

In today's comments, it was mentioned of Paul Leka and some of his "would be top 40 hits". One of the groups mentioned was Salt Water Taffy. Brought back memories of a record I haven't heard in years. Their 1968 song FINDERS KEEPERS LOSERS WEEPERS made our local survey in May of 1968. Was on the survey for a little over a month, starting out at the bottom as the "Pick Hit of the Week"
Your bonus FH was a good one. From the sound of the artist's voice, IT MUST BE Vikki Carr.
The group the Strangeloves were mentioned in the garage band section. I am not sure but a group called the Sheep had a tune out in 1966 called HIDE AND SEEK on Boom Records. Done originally I believe by Bunker Hill earlier in 1962. You may know this, but it seems I remember hearing that the Sheep and the Strangeloves were one and the same.
Former host of the weekly television show Shindig, Jimmy O'Neil was mentioned. Back in the late fifties, he worked as a DJ here in OKC for top 40 radio station WKY 930 AM.
And finally, one of your readers wrote in about the illness that Joe Bennett is currently experiencing. The first record I remember buying was Joe Bennett's and the Sparkletones 1957 BLACK SLACKS. What a rock and roll group that was.
In order ...
Salt Water Taffy "Bubbled Under" on the Billboard Chart with "Finders Keepers" for four weeks in May of 1968, peaking at #105. It fared a little bit better on the Record World Chart, where it peaked at #84.
Yes, that WAS Vikki Carr and her 1967 #3 Smash "It Must Be Him". When I heard it the other day I just HAD to share it with the readers. (Yet another legitimate Top Five Hit that has fallen by the wayside ... slipped between the cracks and destined to be forgotten.) It's funny but when I listen to it now, it almost sounds like it came from a musical, especially with the phrasing. Vikki Carr was one of the more "dramatic" singers of the '60's ... VERY emotional on stage ... I don't know if I ever saw her make it through "With Pen In Hand" without a tear. (I fell in love with the Billy Vera version of that tune, a #35 Hit here in Chicago in 1968, a year before Carr charted with her version. Most people out there first became aware of Vera when his 1987 Hit "At This Moment" went all the way to #1, thanks to being featured on the hit comedy "Family Ties" ... but I think he did a KILLER version of "With Pen In Hand" that never quite got the recognition it deserved. While it missed The Top 40 in Billboard, it DID go to #25 on the Cash Box Chart.)

According to the Joel Whitburn book, you are correct ... Sheep was a "studio band assembled by producers Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, who also charted as The Strangeloves." Their biggest hit, "Hide And Seek" went to #53 in 1966 ... and cracked The Top 40 here in Chicago, peaking at #38.
Jimmy O'Neill did a number of radio gigs before and after hosting "Shindig" ... one website I found lists KRLA, 1959-62; KFWB, 1963-67; KDAY, 1969-71; KRLA, 1984-85 and 1990-93 ... and those are just the Los Angeles stations!!!
In his own mini-biography, O'Neill remembers:
I started my career at the age of 15 as a disc jockey for KGWA & KCRC in Enid, OK, (my home town), then moved to WKY and KOMA - Oklahoma City, WTAE - Pittsburgh, PA, KRLA, KFWB, and KDAY, in Los Angeles, PBS -TV-Los Angeles, KOB - Albuquerque, NM, WOW & KOIL in Omaha, NE. When I reached 19, I was the number one rated radio DJ in Los Angeles (KRLA), a very exciting landmark in my career.
Today I’m a 72 year old happily retired radio / tv personality. (Never thought I’d last this long) My past credits include developing and hosting America’s first live weekly network rock / pop music series, ”Shindig!”, which aired on ABC-TV in the mid 60′s. I was 24 and totally blown away by the opportunity of meeting and appearing with the top music artists of the era. (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, The Everly Bros., The Four Tops, Sam Cooke, Patty Duke, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles , Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, Mickey Rooney (Jr and Sr), Dino, Desi and Billy, (Lucille Ball was in the studio audience to support her son, Desi Jr. She refused a front row seat because she “didn’t want to upstage Desi”.)
You'll find a TON of Shindig clips on YouTube, featuring The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Turtles and many, many more.  (More on Jimmy O'Neill below)
And finally, yes, it's sad to hear about Joe Bennett. We corresponded recently when we did our Salute to The Ed Sullivan Show. You can read Joe's personal memories right here:  
Click here: Forgotten Hits - FORGOTTEN HITS REMEMBERS THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW ... From Both Sides Of The Screen
We were on the Ed Sullivan Show twice - first, in November of 1957, when we performed Black Slacks ... and then again in March of 1958, performing Cotton Pickin' Rocker.
The 1957 show came after a 13 week show in Vegas. The Ed Sullivan Shows were the highlight of our career. We were greatly honored to be on them. Our manager, Bob Cox formally a CBS Talent Agent, surprised us with the bookings on the Ed Sullivan Shows. Ed Sullivan was a perfect show host and treated us with great respect.
On the 1957 Show we performed along with other great stars, Paul Anka and Jimmy Rogers. On the 1958 show, we appeared with the Everly Brothers and Jo Stafford.
-- Joe Bennett
Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones
(I'd like to add your "Black Slacks" story to our First 45's feature ... care to elaborate a bit more???) kk

How very, very sad.  We had prepared the above piece on Sunday and were holding it until the next Comments Page.  In the meantime, I had planned on contacting Jimmy to see if he might have an interest in participating in the up-coming Historic Route 66 Radio Tour and Documentary.  I thought this might be a GREAT way to wrap up his long-standing career (and immortalize himself one more time on film.)  As mentioned above, there are TONS of "Shindig" clips on YouTube ... and Jimmy was also animated for a few appearances on "The Flintstones", something he was VERY proud of.  (We ran one of those clips, featuring The Beau Brummelstones, in our recent Favorite Garage Bands series.)  
Something else that he was VERY proud of was the fact that he was clean and sober since 1981.  Jimmy would have been the first to admit that he "lost his way" after all of his early success ... but he ranked cleaning up his act as amongst his greatest achievements.
Now comes the sad, sad news that Jimmy has passed away.

I just got this from FH Reader Tom Cuddy:  

Jimmy O'Neill dies at 73;  
L.A. deejay hosted TV's 'Shindig!'  
O'Neill emceed the ABC prime-time show that featured frenetic dancers and showcased such acts as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Righteous Brothers. 

By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Jimmy O'Neill, an Oklahoman barely out of his teens when he became Los Angeles' top-rated radio deejay and only 24 when he catapulted to national celebrity as the host of "Shindig!," one of the earliest rock 'n' roll shows on prime-time television, died Friday at his West Hollywood home. He was 73. 
He had diabetes and heart problems, said his son, James O'Neill. 
In 1959, O'Neill made radio history as the first voice heard on KRLA-AM (1110) when it dropped its country-western format for rock music. It quickly became a powerhouse in rock radio and launched O'Neill into television in 1964 as the winsome emcee of "Shindig!" 
Compared with "American Bandstand," the afternoon music-and-dance show for teenagers helmed by Dick Clark, "Shindig!" was a blast of hot air that featured frenetic dancers (including a young Teri Garr) and mingled black and white musicians in an era when much of the country was still segregated. Each episode showcased a dozen of the biggest names in pop music, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. Bobby Sherman, Leon Russell, Darlene Love and Billy Preston were also among the regulars. 
"It was a phenomenal experience," said Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, who performed on the first telecast of "Shindig!" with Cooke and the Everly Brothers. "We were like 23, 24 years old and on national television. This was like the coolest thing in the world. And Jimmy was just the perfect guy to host that show. He wasn't slick … he never tried to be too hip. He was just the perfect guy to hold all that together." 
O'Neill opened every show with the same rousing welcome: "Howdy-hi, Shindiggers … we've got a 'Shindig!' for you that's so far in it's out of sight!" 
The show, broadcast on ABC, lasted only 15 months, but it made its emcee so famous with the underage crowd that it inspired a character named Jimmy O'Neillstone in the 1960s "Flintstones" cartoon series. The episode was called "Shinrock-a-Go-Go."  
O'Neill was born Jan. 8, 1940, in Enid, Oklahoma. His parents divorced when he was a toddler and he was raised by his hairdresser mother. At 15 he took a high school class in broadcasting and, as one of the two top students, won a chance to have his own two-hour show on the local radio station. "The program director hired him on the spot," his son said. After he graduated from high school, the director helped him land a deejay job at KQV in Pittsburgh. 
He stayed in Pittsburgh for only a year before he moved to a bigger market, Los Angeles. In 1960, he became "the youngest deejay ever to be rated No. 1," radio historian Don Barrett said Monday. 
He also ran nightclubs for teenagers, including one called Pandora's Box on the Sunset Strip and hosted a youth-oriented TV talk show, "The Jimmy O'Neill Show," on KCOP-TV (Channel 13). 
He was deejaying at KFWB when producer Jack Good enlisted him to develop a rock 'n' roll show for TV. The pilot was called "Young America Swings the World," but no one wanted it until O'Neill showed it to Chuck Barris (later of "Gong Show" fame), then a programming executive at ABC. Getting the Beatles on the show in 1964 was an experience that O'Neill said he would never forget. The British rock sensations were too busy to travel to Los Angeles, so the "Shindig!" crew went to England. 
"I have two vivid recollections from those two days," O'Neill told interviewer Gary James. "One, I nearly had my clothes torn off by the British fans as I tried to enter the studio.... They heard my American accent and asked me if I was appearing with the Beatles. I made the mistake of admitting that I was. Off came my jacket, my shirt, it was practically ripped to shreds before I got the security guard to let me in." 
When the network canceled the show in early 1966, after experimenting unsuccessfully with more mainstream musical guests, it sent O'Neill into a tailspin. His marriage to songwriter Sharon Sheeley collapsed. "I went crazy," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. "I tried to burn my house down. Literally set fire to my house. I was 26 years old. I had never had a bad break before. I drank and drugged my way through my life savings." 
He eventually sobered up and returned to radio, working at KDAY from 1969 to 1971. Later he returned for two more stints at KRLA, in the mid-1980s and early 1990s. 
In 1991, Rhino Home Video released a compilation of "Shindig!" broadcasts that revived interest in the show. 
"One of the funniest things he ever told me," said Mike Wagner, the KRLA program director who hired O'Neill in the 1990s, "was that by the time he was 24 he had peaked already. He said 'My career was front-loaded.' But he didn't have any regrets. He was an eternally young, Midwestern happy-go-lucky type. He always had a smile in his voice." Married three times, he is survived by his son, James, and daughter, Katherine O'Neill, both of Los Angeles; two stepchildren, Megan Rhode of San Pedro and Robin Finklestein of Pasadena; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.