Saturday, December 7, 2013

The '50's

Joel Whitburn's brand new book saluting the Billboard Charts of the '50's is out ... and it's another winner!!!

For the first time ever, Joel is treating us to the entire decade of '50's music.  (Previous editions, dating back now over 40 years, have centered around the dawn of The Rock Era, primarily acknowledged as the event of "Rock Around The Clock" reaching #1 on the Billboard Chart.)  But THIS time around, Joel is running pristine copies of those charts dating all the way back to the Best Sellers List published on January 7, 1950 ... right on through the premier of the very first Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart released on August 4, 1958. (Billboard also ran a Top 100 Chart during this era ... from November 12, 1955 - July 28, 1958 ... but Joel tells us that it was Billboard's "Best Sellers" Chart that provided the definitive ranking of the most popular music in America at the time.  Regardless, you'll find those Top 100 Charts in a special section of the book, too.  Billboard also ran Airplay and Juke Box charts during this era ... the data collected from ALL of these sources ... along with the Best Sellers In Stores information ... is what begat The Hot 100 Chart in 1958.) 

The '50's started out without much fanfare ... the sounds coming out of your radio really didn't sound much different than they did in the late '40's ... and many of the same artists were still scoring hit after hit after hit.  As such, #1 Records by artists like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Patti Page, Nat "King" Cole, Johnnie Ray, Rosemary Clooney, Eddie Fisher, The Andrews Sisters, The Ames Brothers and Teresa Brewer were the norm ... and many of these artists carried over that success well into the decade. 

For the first time, you can watch the charts evolve ... and then change forever when that "new-fangled fad" that was "never gonna last" ... rock and roll ... hit the charts in the mid-'50's. 

Previously, the song was almost as important as the singer.  As such, multiple versions of the same song recorded by as many as half a dozen different artists, charted simultaneously.  That would all change mid-decade when teenagers became the principle buyers of music ... because we made our OWN stars since this was OUR music.  I have maintained for the past thirty years that popular music did more to mend race-relations than ANY politician or government program EVER has ... we liked what we heard and we were buying it, regardless if it was rock, R&B or country.  In fact, it was that very hybrid of all these styles that bred rock and roll in the first place! 

"Rock Around The Clock" may have kicked it off, but soon we had a whole new set of artists setting the pace for what radio was playing.  Elvis Presley hit the charts 17 times in 1956 alone!  And soon, R&B Music (then still referred to by many as the politically-incorrect term "race music") started to cross over and take hold.  Thanks to disc jockeys like Alan Freed, white kids were "dirty dancing" to the hottest black artists of the day, preferring the original spirit of these recordings over the watered-down, washboard versions that were being covered why "acceptable" white artists like Pat Boone, Gale Storm and The Crew Cuts. 

Meanwhile, artists like Elvis and Chuck Berry and Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis and even The Everly Brothers were soon crossing over to the other charts, scoring not only pop hits, but R&B and country hits as well.  

Mainstream artists were still making their mark ... Kay Starr had a #1 Hit with "The Rock And Roll Waltz", the first time a record with the phrase "rock and roll" in it hit the top of the charts ... but a record that had little if ANYTHING to do with rock and roll ... or the new sounds it was creating.  Meanwhile, it was the primitive, sexual tone of rock and roll that was spurring on the youth of the day, getting us to move and groove in ways never previously dreamed acceptable ... and still shocking to most of those around us.  (It may not have been the free-spirited, free-lovin' '60's yet ... but Little Richard was right when he said that the kids of the '50's "sure love to ball" ... the sexual revolution had begun!!! 

Watch it all evolve in Joel's new book, available NOW through the Record Research Website ...  
Click here: Billboard Best Sellers & Hot 100 Charts: 1950s | Joel Whitburn's Record Research   

And be sure to check back tomorrow for your chance to win a free copy of this hot, new book! 

That's right ... Joel Whitburn has put together another amazing trivia challenge EXCLUSIVELY for our Forgotten Hits Readers ... 50 Questions About The '50's ... and they'll premier on the website tomorrow ... so don't miss it!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Friday Flash

Just a few as I'm running out the door this morning ...

Have you seen the new list of this year's inductees for best singles and albums?  An incredible 27 releases have just been enshrined ... and what a list it is! 
Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)
Georgia (On My Mind) - Hoagy Charmichael and His Orchestra (1930)
Get Up - I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine - James Brown (1970)
Honky Tonk Women - Rolling Stones (1969)
Jolene - Dolly Parton (1973)
Low Rider - War (1975)
Nobody Know the Trouble I've Seen - Louis Armstrong and the All Stars (1938)
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - B.J. Thomas (1969)
Rapper's Delight - Sugarhill Gang (1979)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Gil Scott-Heron (1970)
Strange Things Happening Every Day - Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1945)
Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson (1937)
3 O'Clock Blues - B.B. King (1952)
Under the Boardwalk - Drifters (1964)
Walk This Way - Run DMC (1986)
Wonderful World - Sam Cooke (1960)
Yardbird Suite - Charlie Parker (1946)
After the Gold Rush - Neil Young (1970)
All Things Must Pass - George Harrison (1970)The Chicago Transit Authority - Chicago (1969)
Cosmo's Factory - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)
Doc Watson - Doc Watson (1964)
The Joshua Tree - U2 (1987)
Kristofferson - Kris Kristofferson (1970)
Mary Poppins (Original Cast Album) - Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Various Artists (1964)
Relaxin' With the Miles Davis Quintet - Miles Davis (1958)
Woodstock: Music From the Original Soundtrack and More - Various Artists (1970)
re:  GARTH:
Hi Kent,
I am still catching up on Forgotten Hits upon returning from our trip, but wanted to comment on the Garth Brooks Special, too.  I agree with you ... it was GREAT!  I was going to watch it for about five minutes and ended up watching the entire show.  The energy in his performance was like watching something out of the 60's -- whereas a lot of performers today incorporate a lot of bells and whistles, lights, and pyrotechnics -- the energy in his show comes solely from him.  Back around 1990, when he first began to take off, he was performing free at a band-shell at the Colorado State Fair, and he was the same way -- his music is great but what really make his act a home run is his energy in his shows.  I saw him perform several times in the early days and every performance was like it was going to be his last, and it was the same with this show.  I had heard his Wynn-Encore shows were simply he and his guitar, and I always thought, well how good could that be without a band -- well, I saw how good it could be -- and that's pretty damn good! 
Tim Kiley
Yeah, he blew me away.  I kind of went into it with the same attitude ... figured if nothing else it'd make for some tolerable background noise while I did other things ... but he sucked me in right from the git-go.  GREAT special ... great approach to not only his own career retrospective ... but how he was inspired to get into music in the first place.  (Plus he must have made a killing at the Wynn these past three years ... virtually NO overhead!!!  lol)  VERY entertaining ... this is the kind of thing that if they released it on DVD, I'd have to buy a copy so I could watch it again and again.  Meanwhile, his WalMart exclusive box set that he was pushing sold like gangbusters after his tv special aired.  (kk)
The popular teen clubs in Des Plaines and Park Ridge were the The Green Gorilla, The Hut and The Cellar.
Cindy Horning
To my Oldies friends,
My co-writer and friend, Jack Reardon, who co-authored our 1958 hit, "When", passed away yesterday.
Jack also wrote the lyrics for "The Good Life".  Every major artist including Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles have covered the original hit by Tony Bennett.
The Kalin Twins, the original "When" recording artists, have also passed on to Rock 'n' Roll Heaven.  
Jack's passing leaves it up to me to keep "When" on the public's minds.
Jack's death coincides with a new commercial use of "When". The song has just been chosen by a major UK furniture chain for its new ad campaign due to hit the air on December 22, 2013.  I'm sorry that Jack died before he knew about this new use of our song.
I thought you'd like to know,
Paul (Evans)
Sorry to hear about Jack's passing ... but SO cool to hear that "When" is being picked up for commercial use.  And don't forget Paul's recent Christmas favorite:
Hi Kent, 
Well, because of your interview with Burton Cummings, I finished regathering my Guess Who stuff on CD. I bought a few of the early solo albums again as well. I also took a look around on the WWW and found some interesting reads. 
Maybe you've seen all these, but if you haven't here they are.
Dynamic Sounds ... Winnipeg Rock 'n' Roll ... Flourishing in the 60's: Burton Cummings and The Deverons
Burton Cummings | Juliette Jagger | Rock and Roll Journalist
and Finally THE DEVERONS (COPYRIGHT 2000) PERSONAL USE ONLY -- Burton Cummings
Hope I've sent something of interest.
We're still getting rave reviews for our interview with Burton ... and have heard from several other readers who were inspired to either dig out some of their old Guess Who stuff ... or download brand new tracks as well after reading it ... which is always cool!  (kk)

Congratulations on 15 years, Kent! 
May you have more years and may we have more music coming our way!
Happy anniversary from one of your initial members.  It has been a GREAT 14 years.  Thank you for your commitment to keep the music alive!
VERY cool to receive these three emails during the same 24 hours ... as all three of these folks were original members of the "First 35 Club" way back on November 26, 1999!!!  Thanks for stickin' with us all these years!  (kk)
A long overdue thanks for the great 60’s segments that you did earlier in the fall.  The segment dealing with the early 60’s hits (before the British invasion) gave me the idea for a Rockword puzzle (attached for
you or Frannie’s Christmas enjoyment is my latest Rockword puzzle on that particular theme.)
Keep up the good work.  I don’t know where you get the stamina to keep at it as hard as you do.  Clearly a labor of love.
Have a great Xmas and may Forgotten Hits go on to even better things in 2014.  
Mike Ogilvie
Thanks, Mike ... wasn't sure if I could post the puzzle or not but it turned out not to be an option ... the website only accepts JPEG photos!  But I have run off a copy to play around with here at home.  (kk)

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Just a couple of quickies this morning ...  maybe your answers can help bring good holiday cheer to some of our readers!
I came across your website while searching for an old song that my father used to play many years ago. I believe the song was produced in the 1960 - 1970 era. I am desperate to find this song, I have searched for the lyrics and everything I can possibly think of to find the song and keep coming up empty.
Here are the lyrics ... if you know of the song or the artist I would appreciate it so much! This would mean the world to us, to be able to find the song again. A man sings the song and the backup singers or group sings a lot during the chorus. We think the song was on the B-side of a 45 and not a widely popular song. Here is the song ...
She was dreamed up in Detroit, on a Saturday afternoon ... and she sure looked good on paper at the time
Then they started to produce her, back in 1964.. and she's become a legend in her time!
- She was a Ford GT, headed for the Grand Prix ... She set a track record, with a low ET
- Now the Maserati couldn't shake her, NO, NO, The Ferrari couldn't take her, No, No ... The Lotus couldn't shake her, She was a Ford GT.
Chorus repeats twice, I believe ...
Last verse:
I wasn't there myself, but I saw the film..
At the end he says..
- I'm gonna see a man about a Ford GT, and as the song fades you hear " Turn It On, Turn It On, GT Ford" sang over and over by the backup group.
Thanks for any help if you can offer it!
Melinda  Adams
Sorry but this one doesn't ring a bell with me.  (Almost sounds like a promotional / commercial disk, doesn't it?  I think artists like Paul Revere and the Raiders and Ronny and the Daytonas recorded tracks like these that were given away by the car dealers as promotional items ... it may be one of these???)  Stay tuned ... I'm sure our readers will come up with something for you!  (kk)
Read your review of the 60s music show which recently repeated on PBS.  Who are the musicians backing up Davy Jones? Specifically I was curious about the woman dancing with him who also sings and plays tambourine.  She kind of favored him and wondered whether it was a daughter?
We noticed that this was running again last week, too ... apparently in newly-edited form.  (Did you notice how "The New Rascals" ... featuring Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish ... now kick off the show?  Pretty timely until the big news this weekend!  Or, in light of the fact that you can now get the real thing, maybe a bit dated after all.)
I don't know the members of Davy's band on this program ... usually there's a "constant" or "house band" that backs up all of the artists on these PBS specials ... but maybe one of our readers knows for sure ... so we'll put it out there.  Anyone???  (kk)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

I've got to tell you, I'm beyond words when it comes to telling you how proud I am of the fact that we scooped all the "bigs" with our Rascals cancellation news.  We found out last Wednesday (right before Thanksgiving) and went to work trying to dig up details.  I didn't want to print anything until I had some form of verification ... and there was virtually NOTHING posted yet on the Internet.  We did find, however, announcements that tickets were no longer on sale and refunds were being offered to those who had already purchased their tickets to see the show at The Marquis Theatre.  There were comments made on Felix Cavaliere's Facebook Page expressing fan disappointment ... and a whole lot of speculation as to what may have caused this decision ... but nothing concrete ... and nothing in the way of a formal announcement or official statement made by any of the parties concerned.  I held off posting anything until our Sunday Comments Page because I wanted to be sure the news was factual ... and I wanted to check with our own sources to see if we could obtain a statement from any of The Rascals themselves as to what happened.
We were first in with comments from both Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish ... two and a half days later, the rest of the world finally caught up ... and announcements were posted (all featuring the same "official statement" issued by Steven Van Zandt, organizer of the whole reunion extravaganza) in all of the usual high-profile places ... like Rolling Stone Magazine, The Huffington Post (who simply ran an exact, word-for-word piece generated by ABC News, as did at least three or four dozen OTHER news sources that I found), Vintage Vinyl News, Both Sides Now, etc.  But Forgotten Hits readers learned it here first ... and, coming at exactly the same time as our 14th Anniversary, I couldn't be prouder again of all we've accomplished here.  Sad news to be sure ... and I am SO glad that we got the chance to see them when we did ... but also VERY gratifying to know that we scooped the music world with this one.
I am still hopeful that some kind of arrangement can be worked out that will allow the band to continue to perform together ... and for faithful fans to still have the opportunity to come out and see them.  The show now runs as a well-oiled machine ... I don't know that they really need Little Steven's contribution on a daily basis any more ... and we can only hope if they had as much fun doing it as the fans had seeing it, these guys will still find a way to keep the show going ... in some capacity.  Like Felix said, "We had a blast and made lots of people happy."  That you did.  (kk)  

>>>I had tickets for one of the performances of the Rascals on Broadway scheduled for later this month, but I just received notification that those shows have been canceled. I haven't yet found out the reason why.  (Randy) 
>>>Check out our Sunday Comments Page ... We had quotes from both Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish.  Apparently a money issue ... the high costs of putting the show on leaves nothing left for anybody else to get paid.  Funny that no "official" statement was ever released ... so I feel kinda proud that we got an "exclusive" from two of the band members ... even though it was bad news.  (kk) 
This was posted this morning on the Both Sides Now chat board:  
The show's producers issued a statement saying:
"Due to scheduling conflicts with director, writer, and producer Stevie Van Zandt, the New York run for Once Upon A Dream Starring The Rascals has been canceled at this time. The producers hope to reschedule when Van Zandt's schedule, which involves balancing the filming of the third season of his Netflix show Lilyhammer, and touring with Bruce Springsteen among other things, stabilizes."
– Randy   

Two concert series in a year on Broadway is apparently too much for The Rascals: The 1960s-era blue-eyed soul quartet has abandoned plans to play the Marquis Theatre this month. 
-- The Huffington Post   

The Rascals have cancelled their upcoming run on Broadway of their concert/multimedia event Once Upon a Dream. The show played earlier this year and was scheduled for a second run from December 16 to January 5.  
-- Vintage Vinyl News 
VVN then repeats the official announcement above.  In the same issue, they ALSO "broke" the story about Burton Cummings doing a headlining gig in Las Vegas ... you know, the same story WE told you about over three weeks ago!!!  Forgotten Hits ... #1 with a bullet.  (kk)  

Hi Kent, 
I was worried about whether or not Forgotten Hits would carry on after the big crash. I think all of us would have been plunged in to some sort of Oldies Freaks treatment program if you hadn't continued. No one in cyber land has anything close to what you do and I don't think we can tell you that enough. My bandmates probably roll their eyes when I quote bits of info picked up from Forgotten Hits. It's the Webster Unabridged, or the Encyclopedia Britanica. 
I've been addicted since the very first issue that I got in my Inbox somewhere around 2008. 
Thanks again for all you do. 
Believe me, NOBODY more than I felt "The Crash of 2012" may have done us in ... I'm SO glad we were able to rebound and get things back up again ... look at all the great stuff we would have missed!!!  And once again, we couldn't have done it without you ... the readers and the fans ... who pledged both well wishes and financial support to get things back up and running.  I will never forget it.  (kk)

Dear Kent ...
Congratulations on your 15th year of Forgotten Hits! I started reading The 60s Shop and look forward to every issue of Forgotten Hits.
Thank you for all the hard work you do to keep us informed on what is going on with the music business, past and present.
Best Regards,
John Madara

And this from Time Square Gossip ... wow!  VERY cool to see Forgotten Hits mentioned in the same piece covering the triumphant return of Damien Lewis on "Homeland", the un-retirement of Phil Collins and the death of Paul Walker.  That's some pretty impressive company indeed!
15 years of Kent Kotal's Forgotten Hits ... amazing. Kent's encyclopedic-like knowledge of legacy bands and artists is beyond reproach. The daily sheet is chock full of information and his very, in-depth interview with Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, was stunning. Check them out here: Good luck Kent!

Got this from FH Reader Dave Barry ... a wealth of material to choose from ... just in time for Christmas!   

Badfinger Legend Joey Molland To Release Highly Anticipated New Solo Album 'Return To Memphis'  
London, UK – Much to the excitement of music fans worldwide, Joey Molland, best known for his work with the now legendary English band Badfinger, will be releasing his highly anticipated 4th solo album 'Return To Memphis' on December 2, 2013, on UK's Gonzo Multimedia! The new CD features 10 new Molland compositions recorded at the world famous 'Royal Studios' in Memphis. 
Says Joey, “I was raised on a diet of Memphis music, and it was a thrill for me to record there ... I also made a lot of friends.” 
Signed to the Beatles' Apple label in the late '60s, Badfinger would go on to score four consecutive worldwide hits from 1970 to 1972: “Come And Get It” (written and produced by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What”, “Day After Day” and “Baby Blue”. In 1971, a cover of the Badfinger song “Without You” by Harry Nilsson became a number one hit on the Billboard charts. Surviving member Joey Molland has continued to keep the Badfinger flame alight through concerts and recordings over the past 30 years. And now he is back with a fantastic new album 'Return To Memphis', which was produced by Carl 'Blue' Wise. 
Says Joey, “The album is quite a departure for me and the sound is very different, the treatment of the songs, the song content, and Carl's production and Memphis roots all make for a much simpler approach. I wrote all the songs and they have a lot of meaning to me ... I know everybody gets their own feelings out of songs, but you know, I think the songs talk about relevant things and I look forward to peoples' reaction to them. There are no real Badfinger power chords or anything like that. No real jamming guitars ... well ... maybe a little bit, and I do play some slide on it ... Carl had four girls come in to sing 'oohs' and 'aahs' and harmonies which was great, and I played with a three-piece Memphis rhythm section. So it's a really simple sounding record and I'm just hoping that people will like it.” Originally from Liverpool, Joey now resides in the US, where he continues to perform with Joey Molland's Badfinger. Along with Joey on guitar and vocals, the current lineup features Mark Healey (bass / vocals), Steve Wozny (keyboards / vocals), Mike Ricciardi (drums). For updated tour information check Joey Molland's official Facebook page at Joey's new CD comes hot on the heels of the major buzz surrounding the Badfinger track “Baby Blue” being played during the finale of A&E's hit TV series 'Breaking Bad'. The song became the number one download in the world the week of the final episode! 
To purchase Joey Molland 'Return To Memphis' CD:   
For more information:

The other day we told you about the upcoming ten-hour holiday special that FH Reader Gary Theroux put together for Envision Radio Networks that will count down The All-Time Top 100 Christmas Hits (along with TONS of extras and exclusive interviews.)  I couldn't help but wonder how we could be sure to tune in and hear this very special event.  What stations was it airing on?  Were any of them streaming?  Which of our coast-to-coast readers would have an opportunity to pick this up on their own radio dials. 
Here is what Gary sent me back:  
Hi, Kent - 
Count down to Christmas with The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time, the award-winning ten-hour radio special hosted by beloved TV game show host Wink Martindale! The latest affiliates include: WEXR-FM/Meridian, MS; KATQ-FM/Williston, ND; KHVL-FM/Houston, TX; WNKZ/Dushore, PA, WLHH-FM/Savannah, GA; WXKQ-FM/Mayking, KY; WAZL Wilkes-Barre, PA, WJPA-AM and WJPA-FM/Washington, PA; KRWZ-AM/Denver, CO; WKJT-FM/Teutopolis, IL, WESI-FM/Louisville, KY; WINC-FM/Winchester, VA; KWVF-FM/San Francisco, CA; KIWA-FM/Sioux Falls, SD, KKIK-FM/Horseshoe Band, AR, WWOD-FM/Lebanon, NH, WISR-AM/Butler, PA, KIBG-FM/Polson, MT, KDLR-AM/Devil's Lake, ND, WBDK-FM/Sturgeon Bay, WI, WGMF-AM/Scranton, PA, WITY-AM/Danville, IL, WCLO-AM/Janesville WI, WYKY-FM/Somerset, KY, WCMT-FM/Martin, TN, KAAB-AM/Batesville, AR, WXEF-FM/Effington, IL, KSID-FM Sidney, NE, KKMI-FM Burlington, IA, KFLN-AM Baker, MT, WZKN-FM Towanda, PA and KITI-AM Centralia, WA. More are on the way! 
Regarding the Chicagoland area, I understand WLTL in LaGrange, IL is in the process of picking up The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time but I can't confirm that as of yet. New affiliates are being added all the time. Gary Theroux  
We'll have to check out the LaGrange station for sure.  (In fact, I'm going to drop them a line right now encouraging them to air the special ... and let them know how much we're looking forward to hearing it!)  Thanks, Gary!  (kk)

Gary also told us about a couple of other Christmas Events he's been part of ...  
Be sure to check out Wink Martindale's photo and the "100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time" logo. Also the covers of my "Christmas Through The Years" box set, which sold over six million copies, and my currently available -- from -- box set "The All-Time Greatest Hits of Christmas." 

Hey Kent,
I know just about everybody's seen this, but it's my all-time favorite Christmas video, The Drifters, featuring Clyde McPhatter. I enjoy it every year. I actually saw The Spinners perform this exact arrangement, several years ago.
- John LaPuzza 

Definitely one of MY favorites, too ... I watch it several times EVERY year!  (kk)

I also enjoyed this little bit of cheer sent in by FH Reader Gary Pike:   
The Christmas Scale      
It's hard to believe that the greatest message the world will ever hear is contained in one simple scale. 

Seeing Jan & Dean's 1964 song mentioned, THE ANAHEIM, AZUSA & CUCAMONGA SEWING CIRCLE BOOK REVIEW and TIMING ASSOCIATION, reminded me of another one of those songs in which the title is almost as long as the song itself.
I am talking about Ray Steven's 1961 tune, 
You mentioned you were not familiar with NATIONAL CITY. I am sure someone will send you a copy to listen to. Before that record made the scene nationally, when I was a kid, my dad occasionally would sing some sort of silly song in which the tune was the same. Part of the lyrics were something like, "when the monkey ties his tail around the flagpole". So when NATIONAL CITY made the charts in 1960, I figured the tune itself came out years earlier, though I don't know by whom.

Finally, the posting of Christmas songs narrated by Wink Martindale reminded me of his 1959 narrative DECK OF CARDS which he put out on Dot Records. Actually, it never made our local top 40 radio station's weekly survey. The reason is because the morning man for many years, the late Danny Williams, recorded his version on local label Sully Records. And since he was PD at the time, well, you get the picture.
About a year to a year and a half later, Wink Martindale's recording of BLACKLAND FARMER did make our surveys.
Going back to the vocal version done of PATRICIA, Ray Peterson did it in at the same time when he was under contract with RCA. You're right in that it didn't chart.
Larry Neal
Yeah, I thought about the Ray Stevens tune, too ... funny because about the ONLY award either of these tunes would ever have a chance of winning would be for longest song title!!!  (lol)  
I looked up "National City" to see if by chance I had a copy and believe it or not, I do.  (It's on one of those "Hey Look What I Found" compilation CD's.)  I checked to see if it charted here in Chicago and it was on the Top Tunes Of Greater Chicagoland Chart for exactly one week as an extra ... probably why I don't know it.  (Listening to it, I certainly know the tune ... but not this particular version of it.  My immediate reaction was "No way on earth this is a  Junior High School Band!!! Check out the email below yours to see that this was a good supposition on my part!)  Then, just for the heck of it, I looked to see how Wink Martindale's "Deck Of Cards" did here ... it peaked at #13 on that same chart.  (kk)  

>>>I'm still not familiar with "National City" ... maybe if I heard it it would ring a bell???  Anybody got a copy to share?  (kk)
Here's a link:
Although the record was credited to the "Joiner, Arkansas Junior High School Band," in fact it's simply a group of studio musicians.  There is a Joiner, Ark. -- it's a tiny town of fewer than 600 residents -- but it has no junior high school.  "National City" is a rock version of "The National Emblem March."   To quote Wikipedia: "The best-known theme of this march is popularly sung in the United States with the doggerel verse "and the monkey wrapped his tail around the flagpole".
The reason Joiner, Ark., was chosen is an in-joke: Joiner was the birthplace of Liberty Records executive Alvin S. Bennett ("National City" was on the Liberty label).  And -- further trivia -- Alvin Bennett is the man for whom the character Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks is named -- the Chipmunks records were also on Liberty. 
Henry McNulty
Cheshire, Connecticut
Reading all the comments that accompany this video clip, it sounds like the musical mastermind behind all of this was Ernie Freeman, who had a "raunchy" hit of his own back in 1957!  (kk)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday This And That

I had tickets for one of the performances of the Rascals on Broadway scheduled for later this month, but I just received notification that those shows have been canceled. I haven't yet found out the reason why.
– Randy
Check out our Sunday Comments Page ...
We had exclusive quotes from both Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish.
Apparently a money issue ... the high costs of putting the show on leaves nothing left for anybody else to get paid.
Funny that no "official" statement was ever released ... so I feel kinda proud that we got an "exclusive" from two of the band members ... even though it was bad news. (kk)

I saw the Rascals concert in AlbaNY and loved it. I like breaking up the show with a story about the band and can’t understand why other legendary artists don’t do this. By the way,  the local newspaper critic hated the entire concept.   MARK
While scouring the Internet over Thanksgiving Weekend trying to find official reasons for the cancellation of all these shows, I ran across numerous reviews of their show, both positive and negative.  (No, we were NOT alone in our assessment.)  Likewise, an awful lot of fan commentary about the outrageous ticket prices. (Although clearly this was a VERY expensive show to put on.)  Perhaps there's a compromise to be found somewhere in between. If The Rascals truly did enjoy performing together again ... and can scale down the production in order to give more of an "in concert" approach ... who knows ... they may soon be back on the road again, playing to the fans who most want to see them.  I'm sure glad WE got the chance to go before they pulled the plug ... from day one I considered this to be a "once in a lifetime" chance to finally see them ... so I'm definitely glad I did.   (kk)  

SUGGESTIONS (?):  If the cost of putting on the show if prohibitive do one of two things ... strike a deal with a theater to "house" the show for an extended period of time to bring the costs down ... if fans knew that this was the one place to see the full show in all its glory ... and that it was going to be playing there for a good length of time ... they'll come see it ... in other words, let the fans come to you.  Heck, they do this in Vegas all the time ... lock up a two or three year "stay" and then let it be known as the ONLY place to catch the show.
Or ... if you like the touring aspect (which will get you to even more cities and fans), then tour as The Rascals without all the fanfare ... go on out and play the hits ... and sell the "Live DVD" of the BIG show in the lobby at all the concert dates so that people who missed it still have a chance to experience the full-blown production.  (In fact, sales of the DVD will help to offset some of the production costs of putting on the show each night!)  Plus it'll make for an EXCELLENT keepsake for the fans (as well as provide the PERFECT opportunity to edit that show to perfection.  Film half a dozen shows and then edit them together in such a way that every track meets unanimous approval.)  kk  

Hi Kent!
I'm Allan Sniffen and I run Rewound Radio.
I would like to thank you for the nice comments you made on your Forgotten Hits newsletter.  It's much appreciated.
I try to make Rewound Radio as interesting and fun as possible for fans of the music.  Ideally, I would have a staff of full time DJ's to present the music but I don't exactly have a budget for that.  But, even within the limitations of an automated format, I try to make the music fun.  It's nice to be recognized by an authority!
Thanks again.

-- Allan
We've been singing the praises of Rewound Radio for quite some time now ... you guys offer a more interesting variety of music in two hours than most radio stations program in an entire week.  SO great to hear some of these great, "forgotten hits" again ... because the REAL fans out there haven't forgotten.  Happy to help out in any way I can ... and hope you'll drop by our site from time to time, too, to let readers know what other types of special programming events you have coming up.  (kk)
Be sure to bookmark this one on your computer ... at home and at work!  
Click here: Rewound Radio Instant On!

Hey Kent,
OH MY GOSH!!!!!! Just finished reading the Sunday FH’s. Thought I would throw my two cents in about your Jan and Dean song comment about “The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle Book Review and Timing Association”. I’m thinking, maybe sorta, kinda, this might possibly not be (your) best day ever.  For me, whose favorite music genre of all time is the “CAR SONGS” of the 1960’s, this is an all time “KILLER” hit. Granted, trying to follow “Dead Mans Curve” and “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” is really hard to do (as both were in the TOP 10) I always loved this song. I’ll gladly finish behind those two Jan and Dean classics any time. Still remember the first time I heard it on KDWB-63 out of St. Paul, MN. DJ Bob Shannon announced, “That’s brand new from Jan and Dean”. He had to take a breath halfway thru the title.
Well, my times up. Got to go to work. Yes, Even on Sunday. Sooooooo ... this meeting has to break up with a thunderous roar and there’s a (not so) mad mad rush for the big oak door. Unfortunately, over time I no longer go screaming for my car like the start of LeMans and haven’t been spinning any “donuts” in my lawn in quite awhile. Still a member of the Double A-C-A-S-S-N.
P.S. Glad we can always have fun with the music we love so much.VRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No doubt about it, amongst the beach / surf / hot rod crowd, "The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle Book Review And Timing Association" is held in high regard ... but amongst MOST oldies music fans, you're probably not going to remember this one ... a #77 B-Side Hit in 1964.  (It's probably better remembered for its lengthy title than for any long-lasting musical contribution ... but there certainly IS a cult-following for this type of track ... it's just not one that the "masses" are going to recognize.  Cool then that Lou Simon would give it a spin on his "Home For The Holidays" Thanksgiving Radio Special Countdown.
(Radio certainly hasn't done THEIR part to keep this track alive ... if you hear Jan and Dean at all anymore, it'll likely be "Surf City", "Drag City", Dead Man's Curve" and "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena" ... and not much more ... and even those four Top Ten Hits are getting scarcer and scarcer on the dial.  (kk)

In your website today, you mentioned the passing of Dick Dodd and that he was a former Mouseketeer. I didn't really remember, off hand, what he looked like. So I got out my book in my library which tells the story of THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB.  It has pictures of them all and I located his picture when he was on the club.
In regards to some instrumentals titles that were mentioned again by you and one of your readers, Joey, he mentions SWINGIN' SWEETHEARTS by Frank Pourcel. Ron Goodwin's version out of 1957 on Capitol is the best in my opinion.
Speaking of Perez Prado's PATRICIA, does anyone remember who had a vocal version of that song? Here's a clue, he recorded for the same label.
MANHATTAN SPIRITUAL by Reg Owens has got to be one of my all time favorite instrumentals. In January of 1959, it made it to #1 here in OKC.
Always did like NATIONAL CITY, In June of 1960, it peaked at #5 here in OKC.  You probably won't believe me when I tell you what song came in at song position #4 that same week  eventually peaking at #2. As the late actor Don Adams would have said, "Would you believe Pete Fountain's gospel instrumental A CLOSER WALK" on Coral records?
I don't show a vocal version of "Patricia" charting on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart ... but I DO remember getting quite a kick out of it when they would feature it as background music on HBO's "Real Sex" program!!!  (lol)  I'm still not familiar with "National City" ... maybe if I heard it it would ring a bell???  Anybody got a copy to share?  (kk)

>>>Man oh man, with literally THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of Christmas songs to choose from I'll NEVER understand why we have to hear "Happy Xmas" by John and Yoko or "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey FOUR TIMES in an eight hour period.  The argument that radio will give you is because their "research" shows them that people don't listen for more than two hours at a time ... which begs the OBVIOUS reply: Maybe that's because you don't give them a REASON to!!! Stop playing the same crap over and over and give us a reason to stay tuned in ... we just might surprise you. (Unfortunately, radio has given up on their audience ... which is why their audience has given up on radio.)  kk
You're absolutely right, Kent, about radio "research" -- which tends to be conducted in such a way as to reinforce heavily flawed Conventional Thinking.  I have been involved in enough focus group, telephone and other kinds of testing to know how horribly skewed the results can be.  For example, a standard method of testing is to play short excepts from a handful of tracks in order to find out if the test subjects like, dislike or are neutral toward a particular recording.  The problem comes inherent in at least three ways: the limited number of tracks tested, the demographics of the test participants and how much stock you put into any individual participant's response. 
Generally speaking, only new or relatively new tracks are tested -- and if oldies are at all, they are that treasured handful of total burnouts.   Nothing else gets tested and the conclusion is drawn (by people too young to remember the oldies in the first place) that if no test results exist for a track, it therefore is utterly unworthy of airplay.  As far as demographics go, the assumption is made that only people in their 20s or 30s are worth programming to -- even though every ratings service underscores the fact that the average age of those tuned to radio and TV is way older than that.  (That older demo also controls the bulk of the wealth of the nation and are the most active consumers with the lion's share of disposable income -- which they most certainly spend). 
That's why most radio stations play bland Christmas standards as interpreted by contemporary stars -- as opposed to the original hit versions of those same songs -- which just happen to be the best-loved, best-selling and highest-charting Yuletide singles and albums ever made.  Hey!  Isn't a key part of Christmas tradition MEMORIES?  
"Oooh!  We can't play that -- even if it was a million-seller.  We don't have any test data on it -- and therefore we are terrified that it might sound slightly different from the sound-alike selections which clog our format 24/7.  OK, sure -- we never bothered to test the older track in the first place -- but because it wasn't recorded RECENTLY by one of today's flavor-of-the-month stars, why should we?"   I run into this kind of nonsense all the time.  If you're a programmer and you truly understand your target demographics, your EARS should be able to tell if a track will appeal to the audience you wish to attract, hold and satisfy.   All a lot of testing print-outs should do is underscore that your original gut feeling was accurate or not.
Over the years I have assembled a number of top-selling various artists Yuletide CD box sets for Reader's Digest and others.  In each case, I've begun the project with a target demo in mind -- just they way one would program a given radio station aimed at a certain audience base in a specific market.  I'd create a mini-format especially designed to attract, hold and satisfy THAT demographic.   Everything in the set was carefully chosen to please and delight that collection's intended audience. 
My most recent radio project is the current 10 hour countdown "The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time" -- which is exactly what the title implies.  Rather than ANY version of a Yuletide standard, I went for the biggest, best-loved and best-selling -- and then augmented each track with fun facts about the songs and the stars, often told by the very hitmakers who made the music famous.  (Over 160 contributed comments and Yuletide greetings.)   I then added to the mix a number of "bonus tracks": surprise selections by people you'd never guess cut first-rate Christmas material.   Some selections are funny, some romantic, some deeply moving but all convey the true spirit of the greatest season of them all -- and each one is packed with music, magic and memories.  Wink Martindale hosts "The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits of All Time" and if no station in your area is yet signed to run it, call them up and have them contact our syndicator, Envision Radio Networks.  
And believe me -- over the ten hours you won't hear the same track twice -- but you WILL hear a lot of Yuletide gems YOU remember but most of radio has forgotten.
Gary Theroux  

re:  14 YEARS!:

Belated happy anniversary, my friend.  I admire your perseverance in the name of a great cause.  14 years is nothing to sneeze at.  Quite the accomplishment.  Onward!
... Pete

Congratulations on your 15th year!  I know I have been there since the beginning when you and I were scouring the USA for trade magazines!  Keep up the good work!
Clay Pasternack
Rocky River, Ohio

One word ... congratulations. 
Two words ... rock on!
Three words ... Do be Colony!
Walt Kemp

The first song featured was "Shape of Things to Come" -- but will the last singer to join the discussion be "Max Frost" vocalist Paul Wibier? I hope not. Surely, one of these days, he'll break down and communicate with us. He knows we're out here.
David Lewis
I don't know if I'll ever understand his reluctance to participate ... he'll NEVER receive as open an arm invitation as this one!!!  I'm starting to think Paul just may be "the one who got away" as numerous attempts to contact him by several parties have still proven elusive.  Whitburn's book spells his last name "Wybier" which I think is also the spelling I was using when I tried to contact him.  Between you, me, Davie Allan and Mike Curb you'd think ONE of us would have nailed him down by now!  Meanwhile, we'll just have to continue to enjoy his great track ... here's the video clip we ran a few years ago ...

Any excuse to whip out the ol' cream picture!
Happy Birthday you old "Forgotten Hits" fart!

"Herb" WLSSurvey

Howdy Kent,
I just wanted to add my thanks to your amazing project and what it has evolved into over these past 14 years. I am a proud charter member of the "Music Oldies / Oldies Music" AOL chat room, I may even have been on the original distribution list, but with marriage, parental, and work demands have only for the past several years become a more dedicated reader an fan. You do great work.
A lot of what we love has been diminished / corrupted by corporate greed and political correctness, those 'Blue Meanies' that know what's best for us ... ha ha ... pity them for they can never compromise our memories as long as sites like FH flourish.  Thank you.
Hey, have you / we ever done a top ##? Christmas songs list?
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, Kent! And a super New Year.
And, most of all, Thanks For The Memories,
Sweet Dreams,
CharlieOFD (chascot59)
Thanks, Charlie.  We've never actually done a Christmas Favorites list ... over the years we've celebrated The Twelve of Christmas by playing new music by some of our favorite oldies artists ... but I think we'll be doing a low-key Christmas this year ... mentioning it where appropriate and featuring a song or two here or there as suggested ... rather than the over-kill of holiday programming.  (I was thinking about this yesterday ... Chicago's All Christmas Radio Station is going to play over 1000 hours of continuous Christmas Music before the actual holiday hits!!!  Do we REALLY need 1000 hours?!?!?  (Based on my recent listening experience, that means we'll hear many of these exact same songs upwards of 200-250 times each!!!)  Remember the old days when about two or three weeks before the big day your favorite station would start to slip in a holiday track or two ... maybe a couple during each DJ's shift ... then build (as the holiday got closer) to one an hour ... and maybe even one every HALF hour as we got closer to the big day?  And then, maybe go all Christmas for a ten or twelve hour shift on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day (or even both) so that the jocks could spend time with their families, too???  Wasn't it much more enjoyable then to hear the scattered sprinkling of holiday tunes?  No need for so many repeats.  A wider variety and a more pleasant "break in the action" to the current hits of the day.  That's why a radio special like the one Gary Theroux describes above is such a treat ... 100 Holiday Classics ... ten hours with NO repeats ... and only the biggest and most popular Christmas tunes of all.
Could we come up with our own Top 50 List?  I'm sure we could ... maybe next year we'll hang the stockings a little bit earlier and see what kind of treats you guys come up with.  Not a bad idea.  (kk)

In the attachment is a rather unique Christmas song done by Mel Blanc who was the many voices of all those Looney Tune Cartoons we all grew up with.
Now I will admit that I had been enjoying a bit of Holiday Cheer when I first heard this song, I nearly fell over as I listened to the lyrics.  Surely he isn't saying what "I THINK" he's saying.  I will let you be the judge.
Let me know what you think and ...
Merry Christmas!

Yikes!  I've gotta admit that about a minute and a half was all I could take of this one!!!  But I DO get what you're saying!  One of my favorite TV Quotes of all time comes from the first Christmas Episode of "The Office" ...
"Happy Birthday, Jesus ... sorry your party's so lame."  (kk)