Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Saturday Surveys (2-8)

Three charts from the '60's this week ... all with some unusual "charters" worth mentioning!

First up, WKLO from Kentucky ... LOTS of local and regional hits on this one ... 

Look at Billy Joe Royal at #2 (down from the top spot the week before) with "The Greatest Love".  The best that one could muster in Billboard was #117 as a "Bubbling Under" B-Side!

You'll find Tiny Tim at #5 with his version of "Great Balls Of Fire", the follow-up to his fluke hit single "Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips".  Also in The Top 20:  Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson (who we featured a couple of weeks ago in our "Wild" Friday salute) with "Soul Shake", somebody called Africa at #11 with "Here I Stand" and another artist I'm not familiar with, The Waters, falling from #8 to #14 with "Day In And Out".

The Beatles' White Album is still ranking high on the charts ... and this week's Pick Hit is the Ramsey Lewis version of "Mother Nature's Son".  Meanwhile, newly-signed-to-Apple Records The Iveys are at #20 with "Maybe Tomorrow".  (It would be their only hit under that name ... you all know them better as Badfinger!)

Other great songs you just don't hear anymore:
"Indian Giver" by The 1910 Fruitgum Company; the Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry version of "Let It Be Me" and The Arbors' EXCELLENT take on the Box Tops classic, "The Letter".

Wow!  What a GREAT Top Ten on this WHHY Survey from 1967!

The Left Banke are locked into the #1 Spot with "Pretty Ballerina" ... and I just LOVE seeing "Lovin' You" by Bobby Darin, "Hello Hello" by Sopwith Camel and "Friday On My Mind" by The Easybeats scoring so high (at numbers 3, 5 and 6 respectively.)  How often do you hear any of THESE songs on the radio anymore?  (I've always been partial to "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" by The Casinos, too.)

There's a rare, forgotten hit by Peter and Gordon at #13 with "Knight In Rusty Armour" ... and who can forget The Innocence and their soft-rock take of the old childrens' nursery rhyme "Mairzy Doats"?  Nice to see Chicago's Buckinghams and New Colony Six represented here, too, with "Kind of a Drag" at #11 and "Love You So Much" at #36, not far behind '60's classics like "Strawberry Fields Forever" / "Penny Lane" by The Beatles and "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield.

One of the things I love looking at on these old surveys is the way so many of them pick up the same format as those of other stations around the country.  (This WKYC chart from 1966 looks very much like the WCFL survey from this same time period.  Ironically, one of THEIR big tag-lines was "Big 10" Radio ... they were at AM 1000 ... WKYC singles out their "Top 11" on their "Sound 11" Survey.)

There's our FH Buddy Sonny Geraci (and The Outsiders) at #1 with "Time Won't Let Me" ... Sonny has been all over our pages lately due to the fund-raising concert fiasco held down in Streetsboro, Ohio.  "California Dreamin'" is at #2 ... it would go on to be the Biggest Record of the Year here in Chicago for 1966 according to that same WCFL Survey.  You'll find Peter and Gordon on THIS survey, too, holding down the #7 spot with "Woman", a song written by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym of Bernard Webb.

How about "Secret Agent Man" showing up by The Ventures at #15?  The big national hit was by Johnny Rivers, of course.  And you'll find some country cross-over hits here, too, by way of Billy Joe Royal, Roger Miller, Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash, B.J. Thomas (with his GREAT cover of the Hank Williams tune "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry") and Slim Whitman!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend (2/7, 2/8 and 2/9)

50 Years Ago Today, The Beatles landed on our shores for the very first time.  Two nights later, 73 Million Americans would watch their first live televised performance on The Ed Sullivan Show and the rest, as they say, is history.

They single-handedly launched what's become forever known as The British Invasion ... but it was really more of a musical revolution ... each week this year we've been looking back at the evolution of The American Charts to see again what a tremendous impact these sounds from across the ocean had on the music scene here in The States.

In fact, here's what the national Billboard Chart ... and our own Chicagoland WLS Silver Dollar Survey looked like 50 Years Ago This Weekend:

I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND is in its second week at #1 in Billboard Magazine … meanwhile, SHE LOVES YOU has joined it in The Top Ten, sitting at #7 this week.  PLEASE PLEASE ME has climbed to #57 and I SAW HER STANDING THERE, the B-Side of their #1 Hit, has hit the charts for the very first time at #68.  DUSTY SPRINGFIELD is now sitting at #54 with I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU, nearly a 20-point jump from the week before.

The Beatles hold down two of the top three positions this week in Chicago on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey with "I Want To Hold Your Hand" holding on to the #1 Spot and "She Loves You" right behind it at #3.  Cliff Richard premiers this week at #34 with his version of the 1950's classic "It's All In The Game".

And of course February 9th was the biggie ... The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  With an estimated audience of about 73 MILLION People, virtually a third of the entire U.S. Population was tuned in to CBS that night ... and watched history in the making.  (This Sunday Night ... at exactly the same time .. and in exactly the same theater ... CBS will broadcast what has now been expanded to a two and a half hour television special they're calling "The Night That Changed America" ... featuring a number of contemporary artists performing Beatles classics on stage, joined at the end by the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who will perform together in honor of this monumental anniversary.

History has long since documented that The Beatles' big breakthrough here in The States came thanks to their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show ... and there is NO question that this event propelled them into the stratosphere ... anybody who hadn't heard of them before February 9th, 1964, certainly knew who they were now ... but as we have seen in our weekly 50th Anniversary updates, their music had already caught on with the fans.  By the night of their first appearance, The Fab Four already had FOUR titles charting on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.

Truth be told, it was actually Late Night Talk Show Jack Paar who first introduced the band (and the mass hysteria surrounding them) to an American audience several months before.  Without a best-selling record on the market, however, any possible momentum that this hysteria may have generated just went nowhere.

This is meant to in no way diminish the impact that this Sullivan appearance had on their career.  Conquering America was the final step ... Beatlemania was now a full-blown, world-wide epidemic ... it was unlike anything else we'd ever seen ... even bigger than Elvis ... and NOTHING was bigger than Elvis!!!

The Beatles weren't the first British Act to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show ... Sullivan had been booking British talent for years.  Coincidently, during that very same February 9th appearance, a young Davy Jones (two years away from Monkees stardom) appeared as part of the Broadway Cast of "Oliver".  (Word has it that after Jones saw the reaction of the audience to The Fab Four, he muttered to himself "I've gotta get me some of THAT!!!" and switched over from Broadway Show Tunes to Pop.) 


Six months earlier Cliff Richard (a HUGE star in the U.K. ... despite the fact that he wouldn't really enjoy chart success here in The States for another decade) appeared on Ed's program.   (We featured Cliff's big U.S. Hit from 50 Years Ago Today above ... a version of "It's All In The Game" that missed our GAME DAY Celebration last weekend on Super Bowl Sunday.  [We opted instead to go with the Tommy Edwards original version.])

Sullivan first caught sight of The Beatles and the surrounding pandemonium while he and his wife were waiting to board a plane at London's Heathrow Airport.  They witnessed THOUSANDS of fans who had shown up to welcome their pop heroes home from a recent concert tour.  Always the showman and talent scout, Ed did some quick checking and tracked down their manager, Brian Epstein.  After some lengthy negotiations, he signed the band to THREE appearances on his Sunday Night mainstay.  (It was a deal very similar to the one he had made with Colonel Tom Parker several years earlier when Sullivan signed Elvis Presley to do his program.) 

A then record-breaking audience of about 73 Million tuned in that night ... February 9th, 1964 ... to watch The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  They made two separate appearances on the program that night ... and sang a total of five songs, including their current #1 Hit "I Want To Hold Your Hand", as well as "All My Lovin'", "Till There Was You", "She Loves You" and "I Saw Her Standing There".


Lou Simon will be playing ALL the British Invasion artists who charted in 1964, in order, based on their chart performance for the year, based on information collected from Dann Isbell's book "Ranking the '60s." 
This Very Special British Invasion Anniversary Countdown runs exclusively on Sirius / XM's 60's Channel, airing at 2 pm on Saturday, February 8th, at 10 am on Sunday, February 9th and again on Wednesday, February 12th at 9 pm ... all times Eastern.

Scott Shannon will be celebrating "Beatlemania" all weekend long on The True Oldies Channel, too!  You can "Listen Live" here: Click here: True Oldies Channel


Just about three years ago I had the enormous pleasure of interviewing Andrew Solt for Forgotten Hits. 

For those of you who don't know, Andrew owns the rights to EVERY Ed Sullivan Show ever broadcast on CBS television. 

Naturally, the subject of The Beatles' first appearance came up in our conversation.  (The show was watched by about 73 million viewers ... how could it NOT come up?!?!?)  

kk:  I'm sure I watched Ed Sullivan before 1964, but the night The Beatles first appeared on his program is still as clear in my mind as it can be, all these years later. (Watching the now-available DVD rebroadcasts of these appearance only confirms how truly vivid these memories really are!) I'll never forget going to school the next day and having The Beatles being the ONLY topic of discussion anyone wanted to spend time on! (In fact, the night after The Beatles' first television appearance, my Dad took us three boys to the barber shop to get haircuts. The running joke that night was whether or not the three of us basically flat top / crew cut boys wanted new "Beatle cuts" or not! A vivid memory to be sure ... of not only an IMMEDIATE fashion style-impact The Fab For had on America ... but also of the day when barber shops were still open on Mondays!!! lol)   
AS:  So you remember that very first Beatles appearance? So many of us do ... it was a life-changing moment for many of us. By then, early 1964, we had heard the records but we had never SEEN The Beatles. You had the record album covers to look at, of course ... but we had never seen them perform live ... and witnessed their wit and charm and charisma. The Beatles' first performance drew nearly 73 million viewers ... it's a mind-boggling statistic ... that THAT many people would tune in to see one act perform ... and a relatively unknown, unproven act at that!  But you have to understand that Ed's program regularly drew 30-35 million viewers, each and every week. That's almost unheard of in television today. Today the only programs that generate that kind of an audience ... 30 million viewers ... would be something like a major sporting event like The Super Bowl ... or perhaps the season finale of "American Idol" ... but Ed Sullivan delivered those kinds of ratings on a regular basis back then when there were less than half as many Americans.  Now consider that there were far fewer televisions in homes back then ... and the numbers become truly staggering.  

kk:  And the way he found these acts was sometimes amazing, too. Had he not been at the airport in London at the exact moment The Beatles were landing, he may never have even booked the lads on his television program!   

AS:  You're right ... Ed was landing at London's Heathrow Airport when he and his wife saw literally THOUSANDS of screaming girls ... and a few boys ... waiting for The Beatles' plane to come in from Scotland. Ed asked what all the fuss was about ... at first he thought perhaps this crowd had turned out to see The Royal Family! When he learned that they were all there to see a pop group called The Beatles, he immediately started seeking out their manager when he got to his hotel. Now this was in November of 1963 ... The Beatles weren’t even dominating the charts in America yet ... in fact, they had yet to have their first U.S. hit record ... but he made Brian Epstein a standing offer on the spot that whenever they were ready, he would book The Beatles on his program ... same deal he had given Colonel Parker and Elvis Presley in 1956 ... three separate appearances. And The Beatles were smart to wait ... as part of the negotiation, Brian Epstein insisted on three things that had previously been decided upon by John and Paul: that The Beatles would not come to America until they had a #1 Record ... that they would have their first major concert appearance at Carnegie Hall in New York City ... and that they would receive top billing on Ed's program ... again, a VERY bold move for an act that had no proven history with an American audience up to this point. The Beatles themselves were unsure as to just how well they would go over here in America ... no British act had ever really had this type of blow-out success before here in The States ... but Brian Epstein believed in his band and negotiated a pretty remarkable deal that Ed Sullivan whole-heartedly agreed to. The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show proved to be ultimately more popular than those of Elvis Presley some eight years earlier!  It was seen by over 72 million people and had an 82% share of the audience.  Amazing!  

kk:  In hindsight it seems to be a rather bold move, insisting that they wouldn't come to America until they had a #1 Record here ... but The Beatles had already had ENORMOUS success all over Europe at this point ... in a way, America was the last land to conquer.  And in hindsight, it seems they needn't have worried ... at one point The Beatles had FOURTEEN of The Top 100 Singles in America!!!   

AS:  You know some people say that The Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was NOT their first American television appearance ... and they'll site a short clip that aired on The Jack Paar Show two weeks before ... but that clip didn't really show The Beatles performing ... it showed the fans turning up at the airport to greet The Beatles and made fun of their unusual hairstyles. In fact, right before their Sullivan appearance, Walter Cronkite had run a short newsreel clip of the pandemonium of Beatlemania at a European appearance ... but The Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was their first LIVE appearance on American television ... and this is the one that we all know gave rise to Beatlemania here in full-blown fashion. The Beatles only made four live appearances on Ed Sullivan ... the original three as stipulated by their contract signed in 1963 and a fourth appearance in 1965 that aired just prior to their appearance at Shea Stadium.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Night That Changed America

***This Just In***

Forgotten Hits learned this morning that the CBS Television Special "The Night That Changed America" is SO good ... and contains SO many highlights ... that it will be expanded to two-and-a-half hours on Sunday, February 9th ... now airing from 7 pm - 9:30 pm Chicago time (8 pm - 10:30 pm Eastern and Pacific)  

Exciting news to be sure!   

We heard from Andrew Solt this week ... he's the guy who owns the rights to ALL of the Ed Sullivan Show archives ... and it sound like there'll be LOTS of BIG doings going on in relation to The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show fifty years ago this weekend.  

(In fact, watch for our special salute on Friday as we look back 50 years ... Scott Shannon will also be saluting Beatlemania on The True Oldies Channel all weekend long ... and, of course, on Sunday Night ... EXACTLY 50 Years Ago TO THE HOUR ... CBS Television will be broadcasting "The Night That Changed America", an All-Star Tribute to The Music of The Fab Four, featuring a reunited performance of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles ... on the very same stage they graced some 50 years earlier for their very first U.S. appearance.  

Hi Kent ~  
It has really been a tidal wave these last few weeks!  I don't really have anything to say or add to what has been published in papers, etc. except that the concert a week ago tonight was absolutely magical and it could not have been a greater pleasure than it was. Awesome. 
It went perfectly. The artists performing Beatles songs did a masterful job. But, of course, the fact that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed on stage together and separately was an unforgettable moment for the books -- one of the great moments of my life and for everyone I talked to who was in attendance would agree. It was as good as it gets. 
The special this coming Sunday night will blow people away. It is a rare, wonderful moment in music and Beatle history. Set your DVR's. You will want to watch it again and again -- especially the last half hour. 
Ken Ehrlich and his Grammy team did a fantastic job. Could not have gone better! 

OK, now I'm more excited than ever!  (And I'm sure there'll be plenty of vintage Beatles / Sullivan clips sprinkled throughout the evening as well.  I mean how could there NOT be!!!  lol)  We watched The Beatles' first complete performance this weekend and it's STILL exciting to see the crowd's reaction all these years later.  (You can own a copy of ALL of The Beatles' Ed Sullivan Show performances, too ... ordering link below!)  
Click here: The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles | Ed Sullivan Show   

As for the line-up, it's outstanding. 

Maroon Five will kick off the show EXACTLY the same way The Beatles did some fifty years prior by performing "All My Lovin'" ... they then jump ahead a year and treat us to "Ticket To Ride". 

They will be followed by Keith Urban and John Mayer performing "Don’t Let Me Down".  Next up ... Ed Sheeran doing "In My Life" followed by "Let it Be" by Alicia Keys and John Legend and "Revolution" by Imagine Dragons. 

We're then treated to Katy Perry's rendition of "Yesterday", followed by the reunited Eurythmics for their take on "The Fool On The Hill." 

Then check out these special pairings:  Brad Paisley, Pharrell Williams, Cirque du Soleil for "Here Comes The Sun", Dave Grohl and Jeff Lynne for "Hey Bulldog", Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison (George's son) for "Something" followed by Gary Clark Jr., Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".  (A little mini-tribute to George in that set!)  Stevie Wonder then wraps things up with his rousing rendition of "We Can Work It Out" before Ringo and Paul take the stage. 

Let the mass hysteria begin!  

Ringo kicks things off by performing three of his Beatles classics:  "Matchbox", "Boys" and "Yellow Submarine", performing with his All-Starr Band.  Then Paul takes over with his band and treats us to "Magical Mystery Tour", "Birthday", "Get Back" and "I Saw Her Standing There". 

And then the magical moment of Paul and Ringo reuniting to perform a song The Beatles themselves never got a chance to do live ... the complete opening medley of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" into "With A Little Help From My Friends" (with Ringo Starr in the Billy Shears role, just like he should be!!!) 

The whole evening then caps off with Paul and Ringo ... joined by Cirque du Soleil ... performing The Beatles' biggest hit ever, "Hey Jude". 

This is CAN'T MISS entertainment ... and it all kicks off at 7:00 Sunday Night (Chicago Time) ... filmed at The Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City on the very same stage that The Beatles themselves performed on fifty years earlier ... at the very same hour back in 1964.  (Who would have EVER thought?!?!?)    

re:  Other Fab Comments:   

>>>I watched Ringo and his All-Starr Band perform "Photograph" ... Peter Frampton was one of the guitarists ... I don't know who the other oldies were.  (Clark Besch)

>>>I don't know that this was supposed to be so much an "All-Starr Band" performance ... I was a little surprised to see Peter Frampton up there ... but I didn't really recognize anybody else as "being" anybody else!  (Truthfully, I was a little surprised that Ringo didn't have his brother-in-law Joe Walsh up on stage with him ... especially since they were all sitting together anyway!)  kk  
Hi Kent, 
FYI - from what I could tell, Ringo's Grammy band included Steve Lukather (Toto) on 12-string guitar, producer Don Was on bass and Kenny Aronoff on drums.
All best,
Billy Hinsche 

The day after all the Ringo / Grammy talk we got a copy of his All-Star Band schedule for the Summer of 2014 ... confirmed are Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather (of Toto), Gregg Rolie (Santana and Journey), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Mark Rivera and Gregg Bissonette.  The tour stops in Chicago on June 28th at The Chicago Theater.  (kk)  

That Tom Hanks produced CNN British Invasion documentary covered lots of ground WAY too quickly, glossing over important BRITISH parts for Beach Boys longer parts at times.  Still, it was good.  Why did they not show "The Wonders"??  That one hit wonder group??  Despite WLS playing AND charting "Please Please Me" in May of 1963 (actually March - kk) for three weeks, they WERE correct about WWDC in Washington, DC playing "I Want To Hold Your Hand" first.  Some of the footage used was awesome to see non-grainy for the first time I'd ever seen it -- "Some Other Guy" at The Cavern and the clips from "Inside Pop" looked great.  Nice of them to play the best song of the decade, "Look Through Any Window", too!  Haha.  When they ran thru all the Brit groups, the SOUNDS of each were so different from each other.  Their take on Sgt Pepper was common, but I just considered it another great album when it came out.  They make it sound like the Beatles albums were not special before, when in reality, almost EVERY album the fabs did, we hung on EVERY song and I still listen to an LP cut and start to hum what would be the next song on the album, even when I don't have that on my MP3 player today.  They said DJs played the album non-stop three days?  I, for one, listened to it a lot, BUT my number one for four weeks at that time was "It Could Be We're In Love" by the Cryan Shames.  What Sgt Pepper DID do for the first time that was awesome, was run the songs into each other creating a longer lasting montage in your head than just the individual songs.  By the end of the year, the Cryan Shames tried it with two songs on their "A Scratch in the Sky" LP and then a year later, an entire album side on "Synthesis".  Chicago did similar in 1970 with the "Ballet for a Girl from Buchanon" set of songs.  The Moodies started doing it also with 1968's "Days of Future Past."  They continued it endlessly.  A good tribute show with lots of classic song clips as well as obscure such as "Very Last Day" by the Hollies! 
As was the case with Bill Buster, I did not see the world wide satellite broadcast of "All You Need is Love" when it was aired live.  What was it that made Beatles fans like us MISS this important event??  I am about 100% positive we did not know about it in time, like we did the Sullivan '64 appearance. 
Clark Besch   
I saw this special Sunday Night (actually turned off the lop-sided Super Bowl to watch it!) and I thought it was all-right ... keep in mind this is only a one-hour recap of a ten hour series ... so I expected we'll see a whole lot more when the entire series runs in May.    
I agree that they did seem to get a bit off-topic during the last 20 minutes or so ... lots of time spent talking about Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Motown, etc ... ALL important and significant factors in '60's music to be sure ... but not much to do with the subject at hand, which was SUPPOSED to be all about The British Invasion.  Still it was GREAT to see some of these clips again.  
And for me that's going to be the key as to how much I enjoy this series ... seeing all those vintage clips again.  (The only one I saw Sunday that I hadn't seen before was the one of Ringo behind the console in the recording studio, explaining how it worked ... how it could turn a guitar into a piano ... and then saying "Now you might ask why we just don't use a piano", further explaining that they had already turned that piano into a guitar.  Funny stuff!  
The other thing that was ESPECIALLY funny for me was watching the James Brown clip from the T.A.M.I. Show.  Coming on literally 45 minutes after Bruno Mars' half-time performance at The Super Bowl it was remarkable to see James Brown execute those EXACT SAME MOVES ... 50 years earlier!!! 
Looking forward to the full-blown edition ... I mean who on this list ISN'T going to watch that?!?!?  (kk)  

With all the recent Beatles Anniversary talk going on here in Forgotten Hits, FH Reader Dave Barry sent us this report: 

A fellow collector made the mistake of visiting Pepperland as the same time a Beatles Faire was taking place in the Los Angeles area. Much of the Pepperland Beatles stock was at the Faire; he was very disappointed in the timing of his visit.   

Did the Beatles really invade America 50 years ago? Yeah, yeah, yeah! On February 9, 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and began their first American tour. That same year they released "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and 30 other songs that hit Billboard's Top 100, at one point having the top five hits on Billboard's Hot 100 singles. The group's last paying concert happened two years later at Candlestick Park, but Paul McCartney apparently is in secret negotiations to play the Stick this year before it's demolished. For those without tickets, here are some spots where Sgt. Pepper still commands. 

1. A Magical History Tour, Santa Monica
Liverpool-area native Gillian Lomax leads this 3 1/2-hour tour starting in Santa Monica, where she tells how John Lennon once spent a "lost weekend" there. The tour goes past Elvis Presley's home in Bel-Air where the Fab Four met the King; cruises Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills, where George Harrison lived; stops at other Beatles-related sites in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills; and ends in Hollywood at the Beatles' four individual stars on the Walk of Fame near the Capitol Records Tower.  

(310) 582-1120;

2. The Beatles Revolution Lounge,
Las Vegas

Walk past the Abbey Road Bar with a black and white striped floor representing the zebra crossing ("crosswalk" in American) on the cover of the "Abbey Road" LP and continue past a wall listing song titles by the Fab Four. Then enter a 5,000-square-foot lounge with a liquid-crystal-display ceiling covered with 30,000 dichroic crystals representing the song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." More Beatles musical fun is next door at the Cirque du Soleil show, "The Beatles Love." The Mirage, 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd.;
(702) 693-8300;  

3. Chit Chat Cafe, Pacifica
The cafe hosts a Beatles sing-along with live music by the B2s (ages 16 to 65) focused on a theme like piano tunes or psychedelic songs. "We do it," said founding band member Jeannine Menger, "because of how much we love the Beatles." The sing-along is from 2-4 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month, and participants range from babies to seniors. Bonus: The Plastic Onion Band plays Beatles songs at the Chit Chat from 7-9:30 p.m. on the third Friday of each month. 5 W. Manor Drive;
If you prefer singing solo, CafĂ© Royale in San Francisco hosts Beatles karaoke night the first Monday of the month: 800 Post St.; (415) 441-4099;  

4. The Hollywood Bowl Museum, Hollywood
The Beatles played this venue three times, and its small museum displays a copy of their original contract, a short video of their 1964 show, an audio clip and photographs of screaming fans. 2301 N. Highland Ave.;
(323) 850-2058;  

5. Pepperland Music, Orange
In this music store that specializes in hard-to-find Beatles memorabilia, customers will find buttons, records, T-shirts and even scarce and original Yellow Submarine mobiles. 850 N. Tustin St.,

Several years ago we did a special look back at The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, during which we shared many of your memories.  If you'd again like to reflect back at this very special time, please send 'em along ... we'll probably stock pile them this week and then run 'em in bulk next week after the CBS "The Night That Changed America" special airs.  (kk)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's New?

LOTS of cool stuff coming across our desk of late.
First off all, Joel Whitburn's brand new book saluting the Cash Box Pop Charts started shipping last week ... and it's an absolutely BEAUTIFUL edition (and welcome addition!) to The Record Research Library. 
I've mentioned before that I own earlier attempts to chronicle these charts ... but there truly is no comparison.  Joel knows how to do this right and with 40+ years behind him now there is no more authortative a source for this information.  (Joel confided in me that another Cash Box volume is in the works, chronically the magazine's equivalent of Billboard's "Bubbling Under" Chart.  Because the number of records varied from week to week as to how many "up-coming" tracks might be listed, Joel says this new volume (when released) will add over 4000 brand new titles to the history of the pop charts ... TONS of obscure, local hits and more.  (We can't wait!!!) 
And special props to our "Super Charts" buddy Randy Price ... Randy is the "Keeper of the Cash Box Charts" at this point, and was able to provide some missing information for Joel's new book.  (These two swapped copies for last year's "Hit Records" book, too, profiling the Music Vendor and Record World Charts of the rock era.) 
The Cash Box book is a MUST HAVE addition to ANY Record Research Library ... and you can order YOUR copy here:  Click here: Cash Box Pop Hits 1952-1996 | Joel Whitburn's Record Research 
(You'll also find Joel's other books here available for purchase, too ... browse around ... you'll be AMAZED by what you find!!!) 
One look into the new book shows in great detail what was wrong with the previously published editions.  While we've been aware of it for awhile, the mistakes start as early as Page 1!!!
Pat Downey's book (covering the Cash Box Pop Singles Charts from 1950 - 1993) shows ABBA's 1982 Hit "When All Is Said And Done" peaking at #1 on the Cash Box Chart ... which, of course, it didn't.  Joel's book shows its peak position correctly at #31.  Downey's book also stops at 1993, while the Whitburn edition compiles chart information through 1996.  (Later online-only Cash Box charts may some day also be incorporated into a future edition of this book as well.)   Frank Hoffman's book (published in 1983) covers the charts from 1950 - 1981 and presents each record's history in an interesting way ... it shows the weekly chart position for every song for every artist ... but we found glaring omissions.  (Try finding the Tom Jones hit "Green Green Grass Of Home" for example ... it's nowhere to be found in the body of the book ... and only appears in the index at the end.) 
Multiple mistakes abound in each edition.  (I've heard there are literally hundreds ... if not THOUSANDS ... between the two books.)  Joel and his staff have painstakingly researched every line of every chart ... and then cross-checked them against the actual records themselves, many of which Joel had to add to his private collection, just to make this book as accurate as possible.  
To paraphrase Carly Simon, NOBODY does it better.  You'll want to check this book out right away.  (kk)


Last week the U.S. Capitol Beatles albums also hit the street.  I picked up four of them ... the United Artists Soundtrack to "A Hard Day's Night" (never previously available on CD before), "Hey Jude" (a U.S. only compilation album released during the lull, waiting for "Abbey Road" to come out), and the U.S. pressings (featuring a different track line-up) of "Revolver" and "Yesterday And Today." 
"Yesterday And Today" is ESPECIALLY interesting because the new CD comes with the infamous Butcher Cover.  However, inside the packaging is a replacement label that you can paste over this cover (much as what was done at the time!) to cover the "offensive" photo with the far-more-common suitcase / trunk cover.  (I suppose if you do it just right, you'll even be able to see the butcher cover peeking through in the lighter, white areas!)  A VERY clever marketing idea!  (Unfortunately, this CD cover is considerably larger than all the others in this series, which now covers EVERY U.S. Beatles album release that had a different track listing than their British counterparts.)  Their first eight Capitol albums were previously released as two 4-pack CD boxes a few years back.  Sorry, but I simply REFUSE to buy these again ... especially since the track line-up is EXACTLY the same, with mono and stereo versions of each song pressed on to each disc.  The discs (13 in all) are also available as a box set ... and people are buying 'em!  The special box set premiered at #48 on this week's Billboard Album Chart!  Spots also went to "Hey Jude" (#72), "Yesterday And Today (#74), "A Hard Day's Night" (#102), "Revolver" (#143), "Rubber Soul" (#170) and "Meet The Beatles" (#171).  Part of this might be attributed to the fact that the previous releases of U.S. Albums were only offered as a box set rather than for individual purchase.  Still pretty cool to see that, as we approach the 50th Anniversary, folks are still out there buying these original U.S. albums ... even though the completely cleaned-up, remastered British versions just came out a couple of years ago ... supposedly as the "definitive" collection.  (kk)  
And finally, Al Kooper sent me a copy of his brand new Michael Bloomfield Box Set, a project he's been working on for a good chunk of the past two years  It, too, is beautifully packaged and features three CD's of material, as well as a bonus DVD disk.
I haven't had a chance to delve into this one yet ... but see it prominently advertised in all the trades that still sell CD's ... so I'm hoping to dig in soon.

One More:
For months now we've been talking about the new documentary "20 Feet From Stardom".  Reviews from our readers have been great ... yet we STILL haven't seen this film.
Well, now we're out of excuses ... it was just released on DVD ... and is even playing "On Demand" on our cable network ... so hopefully THIS weekend will be THE weekend to see it.  (It's also been nominated for an Academy Award as Best Documentary!)

Meanwhile, we got this note from FH Reader Bob Rush (Dr. Robert of "The Beat" over in the U.K.) and thought that it made for a timely tie-in ... 
Hi Kent,
My wife and I watched "20 Feet From Stardom" last night.  We found it to be an incredible documentary, but I've been troubled by the fact that it completely overlooked singer La La Brooks.  I know there is a controversy in that La La sang "Da Doo Ron Ron" and Darlene Love (who was prominently featured) has evidently taken credit for it.  So, do you or any of your readers know if La La's exclusion was political
or otherwise?  Goes to show that even the most apparently well-intentioned information movie has to be taken somewhat with a grain of salt.  Still a do-not-miss movie for the music fan.
Happy Super Bowl.
(Dr. Robert, "The U.S. Beat")
I still haven't seen this movie.  The night we were supposed to go it got down to something like 18-degrees-below-zero (REAL temp ... wind chill about 35 below!) so we skipped it (and it was a one-night-only showing.)  Still hoping to catch it soon. (It just came out on DVD and has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary.)
As far as I know, La La Brooks was always the acknowledged lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron", a #3 Hit for The Crystals in 1963.  Darlene Love was the uncredited lead singer on their previous #1 Hit "He's A Rebel" ... which is probably why SHE'S featured in the film and La La Brooks isn't.

I wanted to make sure I was stating my facts correctly ... so I went to Steve Knuettel, the guy who wrote that EXCELLENT Phil Spector Series for Forgotten Hits several years ago.  He fills in the blanks this way:
Hey Kent, 
Good to hear from you. Things are going well here in Dallas, but we are also having a much colder than usual winter here - can't wait for spring!  
Regarding La La Brooks and Darlene Love and "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Twenty Feet From Stardom" ...
I did see the movie several months ago. It is definitely worth seeing. I don't remember the part about Darlene taking credit for the lead vocal on "Da Doo Ron Ron", although that is something I would normally have noticed and remembered. I have no idea why La La Brooks was excluded or if there was anything political about it. The movie was about background singers, and Darlene Love was one of the best and one of the most prolific - La La was not. The truth of the matter of who sang lead on "Da Doo Ron Ron" is a little interesting.
Darlene had sung lead on "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love", and she received no credit. She was furious with Phil Spector for crediting those records to the Crystals instead of her. Phil promised her it would not happen again and that she would get credit on the next one.
From Darlene's book My Name Is Love - The Darlene Love Story (pages 70 - 71), Darlene wrote ...
"And the next one was going to be "Da Doo Ron Ron".  The only thing that kept me from taking his head off was the quality of that song, in all its nonsensical glory. But guess what? I didn't get that one, either. Phil and I had butted heads during the recording session for "Da Doo Ron Ron" and not just because he was dragging his feet over the contract. ..... he stripped my voice off "Da Doo Ron Ron" at the eleventh hour, and had La La Brooks, the new lead singer of the Crystals, sing over the finished track. ......I can swear though, that I still hear my voice on that lead vocal. I don't think Phil erased all of it, but kept just enough to give La La an idea of what he wanted, and then bolstered her voice in the final mix."
And from  Mark Ribowsky's book He's A Rebel - The Truth About Phil Spector - Rock And Roll's Legendary Madman  (pages 147 - 148) ...
"Though Darlene Wright - so cemented in her Darlene Love persona that she now adopted the name as her own - did a lead vocal on "Da Doo Ron Ron," Phil turned away from her loud, studied impeccability. He had heard La La Brooks sing in New York and thought he was blessed. Still only fifteen, Brooks spoke in a whisper, like a breathy sparrow, but when she sang she could knock down a building. She had a Brooklyn accent and a slight vibrato that rippled like a sneering lip through a song. Phil flew her to Gold Star, tried her on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and axed Darlene's lead. La La made the simple love cupidity of the song a visceral thump of a young girl's heart. Darlene had no idea the lead wasn't hers until the record came out, and Fanita James, recalling Darlene's studio take, which she thought was brilliant, assumed two decades later that it was Darlene on the record."
Hmmmmmm - hope that helps. 
All my best,
Ah, The History Of Rock And Roll ... ya gotta love it!  Thanks, Steve!  (kk)