Friday, July 19, 2013

The Friday Flash

The brand new "My FM" (which, after 20-something years, replaced "The Lite" here in Chicago a few weeks ago) is using that cool '70's method for intro-ing several of their songs and artists where they've recorded a "sound-alike" introduction that blends right into the start up of the song. (We've covered these numerous times before ... my all-time favorite is still the Grass Roots / WMACK/ "Sooner Or Later" ... but dozens were recorded and marketed during this era.)  It's even more amazing since most of these are being used to promote brand new music playing on the station, which now features the music "from the '80's till today" ... not my normal listening fare ... but I've got to give them props for trying something new (old?) to win over more listeners.  I've already heard at least five or six of these now and they're all pretty well done.  You can listen to My FM here:    Click here: Breathe - Faith Hill   

OK, now THIS sounds really cool.  According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, WLS-FM producer Tony Lossano found a classic television episode of "Donahue" from November 22, 1983. This particular episode talked about music on the radio and what Phil Donahue considered "dirty" songs by such "controversial" artists as Hall & Oates and John Mellencamp. The guest panelists were four radio mega-stars:  Howard Stern, Jonathon Brandmeier, Larry Lujack, and Dick Biondi. Lossano cleaned up the old VHS video and now has it posted up on YouTube for all to enjoy. This gem (with the 1983 Phoenix-area commercials, too) can be seen HERE It is VERY cool to see this now.  (Most amazing ... you'll be 29 minutes into before you hear Larry Lujack utter a single word!!!  Even then I'm not sure he says more than five complete sentences during the entire hour.)  kk

Hi Kent,  
I wanted to tell you about a good idea that a radio station had. I listen to them frequently on the internet because they’re about 50-60 miles from Orange, CT, in the NYC suburb of White Plains, NY.  http://www/, WXPK 107.1 FM The Peak.  Today, all day till 7 PM, they played only unplugged, acoustic, rare, stripped down versions of everything in their considerable library. Also, live performances from up-and-coming groups in a very small local club that they have been hosting since they went on the air nine years ago. Their promos for this were something like (paraphrase) “doing our part to conserve energy during this heat wave” “we’re unplugging the amplifiers, going off the grid” etc., you get the idea. I listened for about five hours straight and heard all kinds of great versions of songs that I didn’t know existed. Those bonus tracks and CD single extras that nobody plays on the radio were a real treat. I was skeptical at first, didn’t think they’d have enough material to fill all that time, but they sure did and it was very entertaining!  
This was an example of innovative programming that works! Thinking outside the box to reach their listeners with something really different. Glad to see a station do this and make it fun! 
Good Radio! 
Eddie Burke,
Orange, CT 
Hey, I'm in favor of ANYBODY thinking outside the box and trying something new on the airwaves today ... ANYTHING to break the monotony of the same old / same old, day in and day out.  Makes for a nice special (and, as you said, a chance to hear some things that you might not even known existed were it not for a special program like this.)  kk  
And guess what ... they’re doing it again!  TODAY, Friday July 19, from 6 AM eastern – 7 PM eastern – WXPK 107.1 FM The Peak is going “Unplugged” again, doing their part to save energy during this heat wave, unplugging the amplifiers, going off the grid etc. LOL! I’ll be listening all day, check ‘em out if you get the chance.

Carl's 'Goosebump' moment with the Ides Of March's "Vehicle" reminded me that's another song that the 45 version wasn't used on CD's! I've been making a point of buying 45's that I know don't have the hit version on CD. Lately I've been hearing a really bad "Chapel Of Love" that is clearly NOT the 45 version. Wonder in most cases if it is that the original master is lost or it's just easier to get it from a Greatest Hits album? Seems like some of the 'energy' is lost on these remakes or re-recordings. Someday we should come up with a list of these 'missing' originals. Could think of a bunch right now!  
This has been a real stickler point in Forgotten Hits for years now ... I have always maintained that the labels should get together and release definitive compilations that feature ONLY the exact tracks as we heard them growing up.  Save the outtakes and remixes for your other compilations ... but put together something called "The Capitol Singles Series" and the "Columbia Singles Series", etc, etc, etc, featuring NOTHING but the hit single mixes of what was released at the time.  (kk)

I just thought of something.  Enjoyed your recent series on "goosebump" moments for readers of your website. But, have you thought of anything like a "boosegump" moment?  Think about it!  What record in particular am I thinking of?

Any ideas out there?  (kk)   

I believe you must have submitted the below cassette for National cassette Day?  My thoughts on this idea are below the cassette picture.  Here's where I found the story:
Cassette Day is a bit different than record store day in that IF you got to cassette Day, most likely 95% of all cassettes there will be made in the past 20 years or less, as opposed to record store day where most often, you will see records dating to the 40's even.  It's just a simple theory of degradation.  MOST cassettes from the LATE 60's and early 70's just don't EXIST anymore because they broke or just got dilapidated and thrown away.  Many more reel to reel tapes exist than cassettes (of course r to r has been around longer too) from the 60's / 70's era, partially because they hold up much better AND sound better.  The slow speed thin 1/8" tape  vs. ANY of the reel speeds (1 7/8, 3 3/4, 7 1/2) at 1/4" tape is inferior.  I recorded at all speeds in the 60's on reel (when I was low on tape space, good ole 1 7/8 was a saviour!) and they still sound pretty good compared to the WOW I get from many old cassettes. 
We got into cassettes in 69 I think.  I never used cassettes in my car until today.  The cassette I use today is just one that plugs into my MP3 player so I can play MP3's. Haha.  I was always into 8 track in my car because I wanted to choose from 4 songs always.  I recorded my own, so I did not have the irritating fades store 8 tracks had, just the clicks of changing tracks.  For the most part, 8 tracks wore longer than cassettes often did too.  Cassettes stretched and ran slower in time, while the wider 1/4" 8 tracks lasted longer, even if they did wear out eventually.  Cassettes had better sound and won out eventually.  I have over 1000 still today, but only a handful of store sold cassettes.  I could never repair an 8 track, but I have reparied a few cassettes when they ran off the reel. 
All in all, recordable mini discs and then CDs have made recording a much surer method of keeping my stuff safe.  I wish I could transfer many tapes I worry about losing to time, but we do what we can do.  In the meantime, my cassettes will stay.  I have been transferring reel to reels lately and as always am VERY frustrated by threading those things.  My eyes are not as they once were and finding that slit to stick the tape in and getting the tape ready to roll only to have it pull out and have to start over again is a pain.
SO, cassette day for me?  Naw.
Nope, never saw this before ... but pretty cool and timely, don'tcha think???  (kk)   

>>>Last Saturday my friends, Billy & Sue, went to see the Rascals at Jones Beach - here in New York.  They brought me back a T-Shirt.  I have no report on the show ... I just wanted to brag about my new T-Shirt.  (Frank B.)
>>>Send me a picture of you in the shirt - and tell them to write me a review of the show - and I'll run them both next weekend!  (kk) 
 Hi Kent,
This is Suzy Q and Wild Bill - the friends of Frank that went to see THE RASCALS - ONCE UPON A DREAM.  The show was fantastic. They sounded as good as they did back in the 60's. I like the background clips from the guys of how they got started and where the music talents came together and ideas came from.  We had excellent seats and the show was GREAT!  I haven't taken a picture of Frank B in his new Rascals Dream shirt we bought for him yet. We also purchased the CD, which is awesome.  I never realized how many songs I actually knew and never was aware it was the Rascals!  I just turned 52 July 6th and the show was my Birthday gift from my Honey Wild Bill. What better than the Rascals ON your birthday - I had my own private party with the Rascals as my guests.  LOL.
Only drawback - Jones Beach doesn’t serve beer and charged $5.00 for a bottle of water, and no smoking. I would say I enjoyed myself more than Wild Bill did.
Thanks KK,
Suzy Q
Thanks for the note.  Here's the t-shirt picture Frank sent us ...
I just returned from a fishing trip in Canada and was reading a local Minnesota newspaper and read a story that the owner's son of the Minnesota Twins is producing a movie about Brian Wilson. Not sure if this has been discussed or talked about?
Bob Morrow
I passed your note along to David Beard, editor and publisher of "Endless Summer Quarterly", the definitive source for Beach Boys and Brian Wilson information, to see if he could share a few more details ...
Actor Paul Dano has been cast to portray Brian Wilson between 1964-1975, and John Cusack  1986 to the mid 1990’s in the upcoming biopic Love & Mercy: The Lives, Times and Music of Brian Wilson which Bill Pohlad is set to direct.  Pohlad acquired the life rights of Wilson and his wife, Melinda, last year, as well as permission to use his music. Paul Giamatti will portray Dr. Eugene Landy, Elizabeth Banks will portray Melinda Wilson, Graham Rogers will portray Al Jardine, and Brett Davern will play Carl Wilson, Brian Wilson’s younger brother. Look for some of Brian’s favorite musicians too. The sets are being built.
John Cusack?  Seriously???  Who signed off on this?!?!?  (kk) 

Speaking of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys ...   

Dear Lovers of Musical Harmony,
Gary Pig Gold's look at the amazing BRIAN WILSON: SONGWRITER dvd has just made its latest appearance, ready for One and All to read, reprint, re-post, quote from and/or Link to ...
Referring to your comment that "Good Vibrations" never lived up to all the hype ...
>>>Yes, it was different ... but I just didn't care for it all that much.  Still don't.  My favorite Beach Boys song from that era is "Do It Again".  (kk)
>>>The Beach Boys were always more of a "singles" band ... The Beatles delivered the full, complete package.  There are very few Beach Boys albums I can listen to all the way through without some degree of cringing ... but there are some exceptions ... "Pet Sounds", of course ...  (kk)  
There are a couple of points here. Taste in music is a personal thing and, therefore, for some of us, 1966 Beach Boys 45s such as “Cottonfields” and “Good Vibrations” were a disappointment, and not as enjoyable as “Help Me Rhonda” or “The Little Girl I Once Knew” from the previous year. "Do It Again" was a great attempt to get in touch with that early sound, as was “Breakaway”.   
On to early 60s’ LPs. They have a reputation for being made up entirely of standards (such as those from Brenda Lee or Connie Francis) or comprising of one or two recent hits with 8 or 9 weaker tracks, generally referred to as filler. The Beatles probably did deliver the first complete package with the UK version of “A Hard Day’s Night” being exceptional; 13 tracks which were all top quality originals. The Beach Boys, however, surely made an attempt to give us a complete a package as the “industry” would allow in 1963 / 1964, when release schedules were insane. Very early albums such as “Surfer Girl”, “Shut Down Vol II”, “Little Deuce Coupe” (with its awesome cover) and “All Summer Long” contained mostly originals, which are highly regarded by Beach Boys fans today. We all love “Wendy”, “Little Honda”, “No Go Showboat”, “Cherry Cherry Coupe”, “Custom Machine”, “Don’t Worry Baby”, “The Warmth Of The Sun”, “In My Room”, “Catch A Wave”, “This Car Of Mine” etc.  
Best regards,
Mike Edwards
Yes, but those early albums ALSO gave us crap like "Cassius Love vs. Sonny Wilson", which I've got to rank about five or six pegs BELOW "filler".  Even a couple of the albums you mentioned recycled tracks that had been released on previous LPs ... although I do give them props for coming up with the "concept album" several years before it became fashionable.  Their early LPs were also filled with surf instrumentals which, while I understand is a key part of the genre, is NOT something you pick up a Beach Boys album to hear ... not with those incredible voices.
Without question, The Beach Boys' albums got more sophisticated and enjoyable throughout the '60's ... it's no secret that Brian was pushing himself in a self-imposed challenge to beat The Beatles ... and McCartney has since confessed to taking part in this challenge as well.  I'm speaking more in terms of how many albums could you plop on the turn-table and just let it play ... without having to get up and skip any tracks.  These were few and far between in the early '60's ... The Beatles helped to raise that standard by offering NO filler tracks.  Their early UK releases rarely even featured the single on the album ... this was by design to get fans to buy both.  Yet there were always three or four tracks on every LP that were strong enough to BE singles that still got them airplay.  (Of course here in The States, most of these WERE released as singles, trying to grab every available dollar possible from the fans!  (kk)   

Speaking of the joy of plopping a new album on the turn-table, check out this link sent into us by FH Reader Chris Astle ...
We told you about a New Colony Six concert that was being filmed over Memorial Day Weekend for future broadcast ... and it sounds like this program is finally going to air over the next two Friday Nights.  More details below:
Kent -
That would mean that the first appearance would air TONIGHT.  Check your local listings as I'm sure this is probably something that is only going out on the air here in Chicago.  Ray Graffia, Jr. could not officially confirm its airing (as he says one other time it was schedule to run, it didn't) ... but I believe this program comes on at 12:30 am very early Saturday Morning.  (kk) 
We were supposed to be on Friday night / Saturday morning (12:30 AM) on the 12th and the day of bands was to continue this Friday the 19th and next Friday, the 26th (and possibly even one more – 3 shows minimum … and possibly four), but, when I asked Becky’s boyfriend to grab the concert on the 12th, he called me Saturday to share that he wound up with 30 minutes of a car commercial from channel 360, so unsure what happened but glad I decided against sharing this with you before seeing the appearance myself.  I sent a note to Bruce over the weekend since he was the one to send us this, but as of this writing, to borrow from the Fab Four, “No Reply!”:

Good reviews for the Monkees reunion tour.  (We just happened to watch an episode of their TV show over the weekend and even saw ads for the tour running during this segment ... very cool!)
With a set list that's heavy on Mike Nesmith tunes (celebrating his return to the fold), it sounds like this is a real crowd-pleaser.  (kk)   

Hey Kent.
I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Petula Clark recently, who confirmed what you have repeatedly said about the talents and character of Tony Hatch. Petula, at age 80, has a new album out that lends her classic vocals to a contemporary production. It's quite good, and Petula even co-wrote a few of the tracks.
Since I'm a song geek, I asked Petula about how she connects with the songs Tony wrote for her, and why she can't stand "My Love." The takeaway is that Petula thinks like a songwriter and performs like an actress (she is, of course, both of these things). "My Love" annoys her because it lacks the depth of other Hatch-penned songs, including "Downtown" and "Don't Sleep In The Subway." When she performs, she thinks of each song as a "mini play," so with a song like "Downtown," she can get into a character with deep emotions - someone struggling with her mundane existence who can set her troubles aside for at least one night.
Two other interesting stories were her tales about Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson. Astaire was also curious about the meanings of the songs, not just Petula's, but what all the kids were listening to, including The Beatles. As for Michael Jackson, he was a big fan and arranged for Petula to record some tracks in the '90s.
Here's my full interview with Petula Clark: 
Be Well,
Carl Wiser 

Just the other day we ran a review of the latest edition (14th in fact!) of Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Singles" book.  (Scroll back to Tuesday's posting if you missed it.)  
And now comes word of a brand NEW book dedicated to the '50's.
Joel had previously published a chart book covering all of Billboard's Pop Charts from 1955 - 1959 (but that book is now long out of print.) 
This NEW edition features the entire decade ... from the very first Best Sellers Chart published on January 7, 1950 right on through the first official "Hot 100 Chart" published on August 4, 1958 ... and on through the end of the decade, this book covers it all.

And he's even offering a special, pre-publication price ($15 off the cover price) if you order before July 31st!  (That's not much time folks, so check this one out right away!) 
Visit the website and enter the special promo code FIFTIES and order your copy today!  (My understanding is that this is a pretty limited printing ... so you may want to act qucikly on this one!)  kk   

I think you will enjoy this video. It displays  the annual convention of MSRA, the Minnesota Street Rod Association.  This convention was devoted strictly to cars built in the 1950s and 60's and  includes many cars that were around when we were kids and that later  disappeared.
Gary Pike

Look for a new Eric Carmen "essential" career-retrospective CD later this year.  Not only will it include all of his biggest solo hits and hits with The Raspberries, but we'll also be treated to some PRE-Raspberries music that Eric recorded with The Cyrus Erie and The Quic ... stuff that's never been made commercially available before.  A 2-CD Set is planned.  More information can be found on Eric's website: 
Click here: Eric Carmen | News    

Just saw the Sail Rock Line-up ...
Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem would kill to get this....
I told Jay Kelly, who's promoting this show at RiverEdge Park that they scored a real coup in snagging this act for their venue.  When we first announced this line-up a few months back, the closest these guys were coming to Chicago was Milwaukee's Summerfest.  Now it'll be great to see them right here in the suburbs!  (kk)

And, in the "Does Anybody Really Care" Department, John Stamos has reformed "Jesse and the Rippers", the fictitious band he fronted while playing "Uncle Jesse" on "Full House" years ago.  They'll be appearing tonight on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.  (Actually some people really DO care!  My daughter, for one, can't wait to see them ... but she's also banking on them performing her favorite, "Forever", the Beach Boys tune from their "Sunflower" album.  (kk)
We've received some really negative feedback in the past regarding established artists looking to Kickstarter to gather the funds to launch a new project ... but here comes another one ...  We're not here to judge, simply to pass the information along to anyone who might be interested in contributing.  I'd love to see Chuck Negron do a new album ... love his voice and can't wait to see him when the Happy Together Tour rolls through town next month ... but I'm getting the feeling that many (if not most) of you out there, don't feel that it should really be up to the fans to help make this happen.  Read on.  (kk)

Hello Friends-
CHUCK NEGRON, formerly of Three Dog Night and currently on this year's Happy Together Tour, is hoping to hit the studio soon and put out a brand new album next summer for fans to enjoy tentatively titled, Then And Now, which will feature three never-before-released Three Dog Night bonus tracks.
We're here to help make it happen.
Enter Kickstarter.
As some of you might be aware, Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition.
If the goal isn't achieved, no funds are ultimately received.
With less than a month left, it's now crunch time and we'd like you to spread the word to Chuck's fans around the world. 
Chuck co-founded the hugely popular, multi-platinum band, Three Dog Night in 1967.
The group went on to become one of the most successful bands of the late 60's and early 70's with 21 Billboard Top 40 hits (seven of which went gold) and three number one songs including "Joy to the World," "Black and White" and "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)."
The band's first gold record was "One," which featured Chuck on lead vocals as did "Joy to the World," "Old Fashioned Love Song" and many of their other greatest hits.
Three Dog Night garnered an incredible 13 gold albums in their career.
Chuck has kept the music that he helped make famous "alive" by continuing to perform throughout the decades.
May the great music continue ...
Thanks in advance.
Cheers -
Jeff Albright
To further read and hear about the cause, check out this link -

I just picked up about two dozen surveys from 1967, mostly from the Summer Of Love. The station is KACY Santa Barbara / Oxnard Ventura, California, 1520 AM. Their slogan was Boss Of The Beach. Having had countless top 40 surveys come my way over the years, I'm always interested in some of the obscurities that got airplay in other markets than Chicago. Let me tell you that this is a cool survey. In their top 15 are two songs that never were heard in Chicago, She Is Today, by Barry Mann (did not chart on Billboard) and Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, by Country Joe & the Fish. (#95). However look at where some of the other top hits fall. Light My Fire wouldn't even debut in Chicago for a couple more weeks and it would be three more months before we heard Incense & Pepperments. In KACY Kontenders section, is where it really gets interesting. I see a dozen or so songs listed there that never were heard at WLS or WCFL. That includes Good Feelin' Time by FH reader Alex Valdez's band, Yellow Balloon. For good measure, FH contributors the Fifth Estate's hit Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, comes in at #13. I thought I'd share.

Kent ...
7/18/1966 = According to Ron's book, Bobby Fuller is found dead in his car in Hollywood. The death is ruled a suicide but the evidence points to foul play.  Should we try to solve this
crime, again?
Frank B.
I don't know that anyone will ever get the true story to this one.  Bob Stroud on The Drive saluted Fuller on the anniversary of his death earlier today, too.  And of course we have a whole web page devoted to this.  (kk)
Just a belated “Congratulations” to you and Frannie on your two millions views for Forgotten Hits. I’m guessing that 11 and a half years ago when you started E-mailing a few paragraphs to a few friends, you weren’t looking this far down the road. Fortunately, for me and all your readers, the longest journey always starts with a first step. Your columns have brought back so many great memories for me and others alike. I started listening to music in the late 50’s and continue to do so after all these years. This past Tuesday (7/16) I was in Minneapolis to see Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar.” I always bring my friend, Michael along. He’s two weeks older then me and my joke is always, “I’m never the oldest person in the place.” This time however, the oldest person was the performer. At 79, Dick is still playing “Rockin’ Guitar.” Along with his “signature” instrumentals, he included Eddie Cochran, Link Wray, Johnny Cash and others. On closing the show, he said, “I wish for all of you the same as I wish for myself. Very nice. “Thanks,” again.
Thanks for the kind words, Gary ... much appreciated.  Honestly, I've always had bright dreams about what Forgotten Hits could be ... and (in my own twisted dream) we're still falling short of that as I think SO many more artists would enjoy participating with us if they only knew how much good could come of it ... which means the readers would enjoy it more, too.  But hey, we HAVE come a long, long way ... and for that I thank all of the faithful who have stuck with us over the years ... from the emailed newsletters through the websites today.  (kk)

Thursday, July 18, 2013


The "Sail Rock" Tour is coming to Chicago on August 10th at the brand new, acoustically perfect RiverEdge Park in Aurora, IL.   

This is a GREAT opportunity to see seven of the biggest acts of the late '70's / early '80's performing together on the same stage ...   

Christopher Cross, Orleans, Gary Wright, Firefall, John Ford Coley, Robbie Dupree and Player. 

Between them, they've had 32 Billboard Top 40 Hits ... 

HUGE hits like "Ride Like The Wind", "Sailing", "Arthur's Theme", "Baby Come Back", "Steal Away", "Dance With Me", "Still The One", "Love Takes Time", "Dream Weaver", "Love Is Alive", "Just Remember I Love You", "You Are The Woman", "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" and "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again" ... soft rock classics that have stayed in our hearts for decades ... and will stay on the radio for many more decades to come.   

I've never been to RiverEdge Park but it looks amazing.  (Unfortunately, reserved seating has already sold out for this event ... but there are plenty of "General Admission" tickets still available.)  Bring a blanket or chairs and come on out for the concert.  This one sounds like a winner.     

Click here: Sail Rock - RiverEdge Park | Aurora   

This show holds a lot of appeal for me ... all hit artists, most of whom I've never seen perform live in concert before.  (Unfortunately most of the shows that pass through here lately seem to feature the same acts you've already seen a dozen times already ... this one promises to bring something fresh and exciting to the stage.)

It harkens back to the early days of package tours where promoters gathered up half a dozen hot acts, put them all together on a tour bus and then had each go up and perform a short hit of their latest and greatest hits.  In fact, with that thought in mind, I got to wondering about the Ultimate Hit List for these artists ... SO many great songs to choose from ... as well as some truly "forgotten hits", which always caters to our audience.   

So I put together a list that allows us to feature both.  The Top 25 Biggest Hits of the "Sail Rock" artists, featuring a Forgotten Hit by each performer.   



 # 1 - ARTHUR'S THEME - Christopher Cross  (1981)  A #1 Hit

 # 2 - BABY COME BACK - Player  (1978)  A #1 Hit

 # 3 - SAILING - Christopher Cross  (1980)  A #1 Hit

 # 4 - RIDE LIKE THE WIND - Christopher Cross  (1980)  Peaked at #2

 # 5 - DREAM WEAVER - Gary Wright  (1976)  Peaked at #2

 # 6 - I'D REALLY LOVE TO SEE YOU TONIGHT - England Dan and John Ford Coley  (1976)  Peaked at #2

 # 7 - LOVE IS ALIVE - Gary Wright  (1976) Peaked at #2

 # 8 - STILL THE ONE - Orleans  (1976)

 # 9 - DANCE WITH ME - Orleans  (1975)

#10 - STEAL AWAY - Robbie Dupree  (1980)

#11 - YOU ARE THE WOMAN - Firefall  (1976)

#12 - WE'LL NEVER HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE AGAIN - England Dan and John Ford Coley  (1978)

#13 - THINK OF LAURA - Christopher Cross  (1984)

#14 - NIGHTS ARE FOREVER WITHOUT YOU - England Dan and John Ford Coley  (1976)

#15 - LOVE IS THE ANSWER - England Dan and John Ford Coley  (1979)

#16 - THIS TIME I'M IN IT FOR LOVE - Player  (1978)

#17 - JUST REMEMBER I LOVE YOU - Firefall  (1977)

#18 - STRANGE WAY - Firefall  (1978)

#19 - LOVE TAKES TIME - Orleans  (1979)

#20 - ALL RIGHT - Christopher Cross  (1983)

#21 - NEVER BE THE SAME - Christopher Cross  (1980)

#22 - HOT ROD HEARTS - Robbie Dupree  (1980)

#23 - REALLY WANNA KNOW YOU - Gary Wright  (1981)

#24 - SAY YOU'LL BE MINE - Christopher Cross  (1981)

#25 - IT'S SAD TO BELONG - England Dan and John Ford Coley  (1977)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Hollies

Frannie and I dug out The Hollies / "Look Through Any Window" DVD over the long holiday weekend to watch again ... and I've got to tell you, it is every bit as enjoyable on repeated viewings.  This thing is SO well done ... and the music is non-stop.  Plus the personal touch of the various Hollies members telling their story in their own words makes this one of the best rockumentaries ever made.
Ironically, Gary Pig Gold recently reposted HIS review of the DVD ... so we're going to do the same ...
You can catch them both below (along with a comment from David Peck, President of Reeling In The Years Productions, who made this incredible film, after seeing our original review a couple of years ago!)  kk   

Attention, Pop Pals!
Gary Pig Gold's review of the still-amazing LOOK THROUGH ANY WINDOW Hollies DVD has now been published on the Roctober Reviews site (with the print edition in Roctober Magazine to follow soon).
Here is the virtual address, for one and all to not only read, but reprint, re-post, quote from and / or Link to ...
Never as naughty as the Rolling Stones, nor as pin-up perfect as Herman's Hermits; seldom as musically adventurous as the Yardbirds, nitty-gritty as the Animals, or full-on bombastic as The Who. Of course, as truly no-one was, they just weren't as precociously talented as those Beatles either.
In fact, throughout the entire artistic marathon which was 1960s pop, perhaps their only true competition – in the vocal department at least – would be from the all-American Beach Boys. And, like them, it seems the only true "crime" The Hollies ever committed during their illustrious decades-long career was that they solely concentrated on, well, just making good records.
For you see without the assist of a cut-throat manager, cutting-edge studio supervision, wily publicist or even with-it wardrobe consultant (as late as 1972 the Hollies could still be found touring North America in the kind of matching cream-colored suits even the above-mentioned Mike Love & Co. had jettisoned by 1969) Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks, Bobby Elliott, Terry Sylvester et al were left more or less to simply let their own string of absolutely fab hit singles do their walking and talking for them.
And what's wrong with that, I'd like to know?
A whopping twenty-two (!) of those hits and then some now generously fill Eagle Rock / Reelin' In The Years' two-hour-plus The Hollies: Look Through Any Window, packed alongside enough behind the scenes reminiscences, vintage newsreel clips (including a fourteen-minute glimpse inside a 1967 Hollies session at Abbey Road) and even personal road-view home movies to please the most discriminating British Invader out there, I'd wager.
Well, then! Our story begins as a six-year-old Allan Clarke is fatefully seated next to Graham Nash in an otherwise nondescript Manchester classroom. A decade later, the two pals chance upon the Everlys' "Bye Bye Love" at a Catholic Girls School dance and their destinies, both musical and otherwise, are immediately and foreverafter bonded.
So, as teenagers did throughout late-Fifties Britain, Allan and Graham began honing their harmonizing in local pubs and social halls, eventually forming a series of increasingly sophisticated beat combos which, in the wake of the Beatles' initial success – and despite Graham having not a single unbroken guitar string left on his Harmony acoustic during their audition – won a recording contract with none other than EMI's Parlophone label (RIP).
A flurry of effortlessly pop-go-lucky Hollies hits follow, each lovingly illustrated within Look Through Any Window via a veritable goldmine of seldom-seen promotional and performance clips, unencumbered with annoying voice-overs and left to unspool in their pristine totality.
Watch a Queen Elizabeth look-alike stroll somnambulantly through what appears to be a flower shoppe for 1963's pioneering "Little Lover" jukebox video. See the band bravely face down various Stones, Searchers, and even Beatles at the 1964 NME Poll Winners concert, then see – and hear – the Hollies meticulously craft "On A Carousel" in the recording studio ( … it seems the Granada TV crew had just been ushered out of a "Penny Lane" overdub session being held next door). Clearly, for an outfit so often dismissed as being image-less and / or less-than-charismatic, we recognize instead five guys who can more than hold their own against the antics of a Gerry and the Pacemakers or even the on-stage fury of a Dave Clark Five.
Between these astonishing clips we hear the tantalizing back-stories told in contemporary interview footage with Graham, Allan, utterly brilliant drummist Bobby Elliot and wiz-kid vocalist / guitarist Tony Hicks, the latter of whom actually picks up the nearest 12-string to demonstrate his trademark "I'm Alive" solo, "Look Through Any Window" Byrds lick, and still-astonishing "Stop Stop Stop" banjo / balalaika hybrid. The man was, and remains, a disarmingly soft-spoken yet nevertheless undeniable musical wonder.
Watch closely too and you'll see various Hollies cavorting around Japan to the accompaniment of "King Midas In Reverse," discover who "Carrie Anne" really began life as, and even watch Allan Clarke looking for said song's steel drum band hidden down his trouser leg at Yugoslavia's Split Festival, I kid you not.
Most unfortunately however, the fun and games – though thankfully not the hits – began ending circa 1967 as Graham suddenly got himself all "serious" (as in severely profound-o-delic); a curious, demoralizing change of attitude, not to mention altitude, which just didn't sit at all well with his pot-pie-as-opposed-to-pot fellow Hollies. No matter though: after a bizarre fling with DayGlo menswear and albums named after holometabolous insects, the man was soon sent packing aboard his Marrakesh Express to the supposedly hipper climes of Los Angeles … and into the welcoming arms of Messrs. Crosby and Stills. Good on ya then, Willy.
Enter ex-Escort / Swinging Blue Jean Terry Sylvester, straight into Graham's old white suit and bow tie as we watch the second chapter in Hollie History unfold with the UK # 3 hit "Sorry Suzanne" through "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (featuring Elton John's £12 piano part), "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress," "The Air That I Breathe" and, twenty-two years too late, induction at last into that Rock and Roll Hall of, um, Fame.     
Consider this entire package then, including Ben Fong-Torres' studious liner notes for the accompanying 12-page "Hollies Scrapbook," a (re-)introduction to the deceptively simple 'n' smiling musical magic which continues to be this band's stock in trade. An admittedly upbeat combo whose music, in Graham's well-put words, nevertheless remained "serious as a heart attack," with nary a vocal harmony configuration left unexplored or an instrumental note misplaced, overlooked, or thankfully overplayed. In short then, The Hollies exemplify the long-lost art of a band that did only what needed to be done; nothing more, but hardly nothing less.
Or, as Allan Clarke best sums up, "We were just a great group who sang great songs and had a lot of hits." Case closed.   
The Hollies: Look Through Any Window is but the latest addition to Reelin' In The Years' exemplary British Invasion series, so if you haven't already grabbed the rest of the set, what on Earth are you waiting for??
-- Gary Pig Gold

And here's another look at our report, originally found here:  Click here: Forgotten Hits: The Hollies    

Thanks to FH Reader (and mega-promoter) Bob Merlis, we had the golden opportunity to view the brand new Hollies DVD, "Look Through Any Window, 1963 - 1975", six weeks before it will be available to the rest of the world through Reelin' In The Years Productions and Eagle Rock Entertainment ... and I've got to tell you ... this film is nothing short of OUTSTANDING!!!

The Hollies placed a dozen songs in the U.S. National Top 40 between 1966 and 1975 (including a #29 "comeback" single in 1983 when the band reunited for a brief album and tour ... man, I wish I could have seen THAT show!!!)
Not really part of the "first wave" of The British Invasion, The Hollies first caught our attention here in The States in early 1966 with their break-through US Hit "Look Through Any Window", which reached #32 on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.  (It had a far better showing here in Chicago where it soared all the way to #3 ... and still gets a fair share of airplay.)
More hits followed ... "Bus Stop" pushed them into The National Top Ten for the first time when it peaked at #5 in 1966.  (That record went all the way to #1 in Chicago ... and their previous release, "I Can't Let Go" made The Top Ten in Chi-Town as well, despite falling short of The Top 40 nationally.)  "Stop Stop Stop" (#7, 1966); "On A Carousel" (#7, 1967) and "Carrie Anne" (#9, 1967) kept The Top Ten string going.
What most folks probably don't know is that The Hollies already had six British Top Ten Hits before they broke through with their first hit record here in America, including the #1 Hit "I'm Alive" and "Yes, I Will", a #9 Hit in 1963 that would be covered by The Monkees four years later as "I'll Be True To You".  It's fun to watch the group develop both in look and in sound from these early clips (with their piled-high Everly Brothers pompadours and suits) to a more relaxed, hippie-dom state later in the film ... it's a chance to witness first hand a complete musical and cultural evolution from start to finish.
This new Hollies DVD Production begins by offering selections from the earliest days of their success in Great Britain, featuring some songs that most of us won't be familiar with ... but then explodes with a virtual hit-barrage once their success expands worldwide.  Most remarkable about all of this is the INCREDIBLE sound and video quality of these clips ... we were blown away by the clarity of some of these performances, some of which are now well over 45 years old!
Holding the whole thing together are in-depth, current day interviews with Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott, all of whom offer loving, behind-the-scenes reflections in complete candor.  (In fact, when this film has its first official world-wide premier at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, California, on September 22nd, both Nash and Clarke will be on hand to take part in a panel discussion immediately following the screening!)
The stories behind the songs are especially entertaining.  (Without giving too much away, we learn that Tony Hicks did most of the song-searching, visiting publishers to see what they had to offer in the way of new material ... but along the way, the band also developed into quite successful songwriters in their own right ... the story behind "Stop Stop Stop", a Top Ten Hit for the band in 1966, is hilarious ... and we also learn that another Top Ten Hit, "Carrie Anne", first saw life as "Marianne" ... as in Marianne Faithfull ... whom all of the members of the band seemed to have a HUGE crush on ... they just didn't have the guts to leave her name in the song!!!)
About two-thirds of the way through, we are also allowed a behind-the-scenes look at Abbey Road Studios to watch a remarkable film of The Hollies recording their soon-to-be smash hit "On A Carousel".  Viewers are treated to a fly-on-the wall perspective, as they put the song together layer by layer with guitarist Tony Hicks and drummer Bobby Elliott each adding their parts to the backing track, followed by Graham Nash (and then Allan Clarke and Tony Hicks) dubbing on their musically unadorned vocal tracks.  It's nothing short of remarkable, and it's all there to enjoy in crystal-clear sound and video.  There are also specially filmed video clips of the band doing "Dear Eloise" as well as a made-for-this-DVD montage of home movies that now accompany "King Midas In Reverse", two of their lesser-known hits.  (While The Hollies may be best remembered for their impeccable and inventive harmonies, it's interesting to see just how much they experimented along the way, changing up there sound from record to record, always challenging themselves to grow musically.)
All the hits are here and well represented, and most are presented in a live setting (along with a few vintage "live" television performances.)  One of my favorites is seeing The Hollies performing "Jennifer Eccles" at The Split Festival in Yugoslavia, dressed in tuxedos and clowning it up a bit as the song at various times is both falling apart and spot-on vocally.  Talk about your Forgotten Hits, "Jennifer Eccles" only made it to #40 back in 1968 but, to my ears, has always been one of their most infectious tunes, reaching #15 here in Chicago that year.
Graham Nash's leaving the band (to form Crosby, Stills and Nash) is addressed, again in complete candor by all of the members of the band ... and even Graham himself gets off a great line about watching his old band climb back into The Top Ten on the charts without him thanks to the timeless classic "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" in 1970 ... while Crosby, Stills and Nash were simultaneously also enjoying their earliest chart success.
A couple more "comeback" hits followed ... "Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)" went all the way to #1 in 1972 ... and two years later The Hollies were back in The Top Ten with "The Air That I Breathe", a song written by Albert Hammond that they discovered when they heard Phil Everly's solo version of this tune ... not the first time that The Everly Brothers inspired the band!
One thing is clear as you watch this film ... The Hollies were able to take ANY style of music and adapt it to their own, making it "The Hollies Sound" in the process.  (It's particularly enlightening to hear that they stumbled across the third part of their trademark harmonies quite by accident!  Just another quirky happenstance that helped to identify the band!)  They were FINALLY inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010, after being ignored the first 22 years of their eligibility ... and this film simply reinforces their rightful place there.
Recommended for even the most casual Hollies fan, "The Hollies: Look Through Any Window, 1963 - 1975" is BY FAR the strongest release yet in Reelin' In The Years Productions' British Invasion Series thus far (which also includes spotlight features on Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits, Dusty Springfield and The Small Faces.)  While more releases are planned, no official release dates have been announced.  That being said, DON'T miss your chance to pick up this great Hollies DVD on October 4th ... you won't regret it.
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits

You can only imagine our pride when we heard from David Peck, Director of this extraordinary film ...
Hello Kent,
David Peck here, Director of the Hollies film you so kindly raved about.
It's very nice when so much hard work is put in that a writer such as yourself takes the time to really watch it and really review it. It's very obvious that you watched every frame and I truly thank you for that.   When I first read your review I was walking with my six year old daughter and I reacted with a very loud YEAH! and then, after she asked me why I was so happy, I had to explain how good it feels to have someone compliment your work. I guess it's a good thing that it was a positive review cause I would have hated to have to explain what the word "shit" meant.
All the best,
David Peck 
Reelin' In The Years Productions
It's a stellar piece, David ... everyone connected should be very proud of the results.  (Love your "oh shit" comment, by the way!!!  lol)  Not to worry here ... we absolutely LOVED it ... and please let us know as new titles are being released so we can help to spread the word.  (With your collections featuring Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dusty Springfield, Herman's Hermits and The Hollies already in our collection, you can tell that we're VERY big fans of this series!!!)  kk