Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Saturday Surveys (August 23rd)

Three charts from Chicago this week in our Saturday Surveys Feature.

First up, another one of those "Solid Gold" Surveys put out by WLS ... but this one isn't a current chart at all!

It's a look back over their three year history of broadcasting Top 40 Rock And Roll at the station.  As such we get a listing of the biggest hits of this era, topped by Ray Charles and "I Can't Stop Loving You" from 1962.

Seeing "The Bubble Man" at #2 is quite a surprise, especially when you consider some of the classic rock and roll hits placed elsewhere on the countdown.  Interesting, too, to see The Four Seasons with all three of their #1 Hits all solidly entrenched in The Top 20.

1960 is represented by only three tracks in this Top 40 Listing:  "Exodus" by Ferrante and Teicher, "Poetry In Motion" by Johnny Tillotson and "Are You Lonesome Tonight" by Elvis Presley.  (The station published their first Silver Dollar Survey in October of '60).  Quite honestly the only one of these songs that doesn't sound EXTREMELY dated would have to be the Johnny Tillotson hit.

1961 has TEN entries ... 1962 has 17.  And 1963, barely eight months old, already has ten records on this recap chart!

We're featuring six tracks this week that we feel absolutely would still sound fresh on the air today ... if somebody would just PLAY them!!!

Chicago's very own Cryan' Shames top this WCFL Chart from 1967 ... they would hold that spot for four weeks here in Chicago, despite never climbing any higher than #89 on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.  The only other local hit on this week's list is "Take Me Back" by The Flock (new on the chart at #17)

Another record that did very well on our local chart is "Run Run Run" by Third Rail ... it's part of the up-and-coming "Action Ten" this week at #24.

Finally, a 1970 chart featuring our FH Buddy Chuck Buell.  Nothing particularly unusual about this chart ... except when is the last time you heard "Morning Much Better" by Ten Wheel Drive?

Neil Diamond's reissued, remixed hit "Solitary Man" premiers on the chart this week ... and my personal favorite track from this week in 1970 has got to be "Hi-De-Ho" by Blood, Sweat and Tears!  We went to go see them almost exactly a year later (August 27, 1971) for my birthday ... the opening act that night was Linda Ronstadt (man, what a GREAT double bill) ... and in Linda's back-up band were Glenn Frey and Don Henley.  Linda left the stage for two songs so that Glenn and Don (who she announced would soon be leaving) could play a couple of THEIR songs that night ... so our audience was treated to both "Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman" ... BEFORE they were even officially called The Eagles.  (Not a bad birthday present if I do say so myself ... all these years later!)

By the way Glenn and Don went on to have a couple of other hits you might be familiar with as well ... and, 43 years later are still playing to sold out houses all over the world!

Friday, August 22, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend (8/22 - 8/23 - 8/24)

THE BEATLES' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT holds at #3 this week on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart, but "Where Did Our Love Go" by The Supremes replaces Dean Martin in the #1 spot.  THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by THE ANIMALS continues to climb, this week moving from #10 to #5 … and BECAUSE (#7) and HOW DO YOU DO IT( #10) join it in The Top Ten for the first time this week.  DUSTY SPRINGFIELD'S still holding on with WISHIN' AND HOPIN' at #9, giving British Invasion Artists HALF of The Top Ten Hits in America this week.   

Running down the rest of the chart you'll find AND I LOVE HER by THE BEATLES at #17, AIN'T SHE SWEET by THE BEATLES at #19, TELL ME by THE ROLLING STONES at #27, I'LL CRY INSTEAD by THE BEATLES again at #29, I'LL KEEP YOU SATISFIED by BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS at #30, IT'S ALL OVER NOW, up to #40 (from #54 the week before) for THE ROLLING STONES, NOBODY I KNOW by PETER AND GORDON at #41, RINGO' THEME by GEORGE MARTIN at #56, IF I FELL (by THE BEATLES again!) up to #57, (a nice jump from #72 to #57), SOME DAY WE'RE GONNA LOVE AGAIN (jumping from #89 to #67 with a bullet) for THE SEARCHERS, CHAD AND JEREMY's A SUMMER SONG at #85, FROM A WINDOW, new at #92 for BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS and THE JAMES BOND THEME (albeit by American session guitarist BILLY STRANGE), debuting at #97. 

SHOUT by LULU AND THE LUVERS moves up a spot to #31 this week on our WLS Chicagoland chart.  IT'S ALL OVER NOW is brand new for THE ROLLING STONES at #30.  AND I LOVE HER by THE BEATLES falls to #25 and I'LL KEEP YOU SATISFIED by BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS falls to #21.  Meanwhile, THE BEATLES' I'LL CRY INSTEAD (now charting as just the A-Side) moves up a few places to #19.  THE ANIMALS' THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN jumps from #29 to #14 as THE DAVE CLARK FIVE's latest, BECAUSE, cracks The Top Ten at #9.    
Three more British Hits round out The Top Ten this week … HOW DO YOU DO IT by GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS at #6, WISHIN' AND HOPIN' by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD at #4 and THE BEATLES' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (also just down to the A-Side) at #3.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thursday This And That

re:  FINALLY!:  
After a rather lack-luster summer, some GREAT shows will FINALLY be hitting our area these next two weeks.  
First up ... tomorrow night ... The Happy Together Tour hits town, appearing at The Paramount Theatre in Aurora.  No official word yet on whether or not Gary Lewis has returned to the fold after battling an illness that sidelined him for several shows.  (He never answered my last email asking how he was doing.)  
Also on hand ... Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.  This will be our first time seeing both of these rockers in concert, so we're looking forward to that ... as well as reuniting with headliners Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night and The Turtles!
Then, next week, Donny and Marie Osmond come into town for a series of shows at the Paramount, kicking off on Wednesday, August 27th (my birthday!!!) and extending through Sunday, August 31st (for a total of SEVEN show, including two each day on Saturday and Sunday.
Also next week, KC and the Sunshine Band return to The Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.  We saw this show a few years ago and it was a real fun time.  KC's still got a lot of energy and pumps out the feel-good music all night long.  He'll be appearing next Friday, August 29th ... followed up the very next night by '60's Legend Johnny Rivers.
Again, this will be a first-time experience for us, although we're long-time Johnny Rivers fans.  (He just doesn't seem to make it to Chicago very often!)  Really looking forward to this one.
More details for ALL of these shows (plus a stellar line-up of follow-up shows) can be found here:

re:  The Saturday Surveys:  
That WELK chart has one of my favorites at #26, "You Make Me Happy" by Puzzle. A great "Chicago" type song that WBBM-FM played. This was a song that should have charted nationally ... but didn't. By the way, they were on Motown and WBBM-FM played three other tracks off their debut album ... besides "You Make Me Happy", they played "On With The Show", "Lady" and "Brand New World". All of them are great and I still listen to them today. 
Mike Hartman

Thanks for posting the Dick Bartley survey.  Too bad he comments as if Dick is past tense, as he is still rocking the airwaves here and across the country every weekend on "Rock & Roll's Greatest Hits."  
WHY you would pick "Muskrat love" to feature is beyond me ... why not "Joyful Ressurrection"??? 
A GREAT CCR song that brother Tom Fogerty sang with all of CCR doing the music and vocal backgrounds.  
Clark Besch  
This is a GREAT track ... and sounds just like John (which is NOT how I remember Tom Fogerty sounding at all.  As you know, Tom was the original lead singer of the band ... but they didn't take off until brother John took over the lead vocals ... if they sounded THIS much alike, it's hard to attribute the success of John's vocals as being the key to pushing them over the top!)  That being said, it was, without question, John's songwriting ability that defined the band ... although they also recorded some of the best cover versions of songs I've ever heard in my life.
Reading all the YouTube comments there seems to be some debate as to whether or not John Fogerty really participated on this track or not ... but it sounds SO much like him I find it hard to believe he didn't ... although I've never heard the story before (and we covered Creedence Clearwater Revival deeply in our series several years back ... see link below.)  I know that at this point NOBODY in the band was talking to each other ... so even John laying down his tracks separately from the others seems to be a bit of a stretch ... he made negative comments to Tom on his death bed regarding the entire CCR mess ... so who really knows. In that I wasn't familiar with this one (and in that Forgotten Hits is, for the most part, supposed to trigger a memory), I went with the America version of "Muskrat Love" (a HORRIBLE song by the way!) as a time-stamp on 1974.  (Still one of my all-time favorite "in concert" lines came after seeing America play an INCREDIBLY rockin' version of "Sandman", after which Gerry Beckley praised his partner Dewey Bunnell by saying "Now THAT'S Classic Rock" ... only to follow it up with "Muskrat Love", after which Beckley said "Note to self ... don't mention "Classic Rock" and then play "Muskrat Love"!!!) 
On the PLUS side, thanks so much for sending this ... it just may be my "new" favorite oldie of the week!  (kk)  
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Creedence Clearwater Revival   
(OMG ... is this piece REALLY almost 12 years old?!?!?) kk

re:  Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard:  
>>>"Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard" is by Diane Ray and is another one of those One Hit Wonders ... she never charted again.  (kk)  
Diane Renay’s Don’t Talk to the Lifeguard a one-hit wonder???  What about her BIG hit Blue, Navy Blue and the follow-up Kiss ME Sailor? I  loved these songs. 
Bob Verbos,
New Berlin, WI.  
Not Diane Renay ... Diane RAY, who charted exactly once with "Please Don't Talk To The Lifeguard."  Diane Ray is from North Carolina (and that's her real name) ... Diane Renay was born Renee Diane Kushner in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  But you're right ... both of the chart hits you mentioned made Billboard's Top 40 for Diane Renay!  (kk)

Ted said he wasn't familiar with the song PLEASE DON'T TALK TO THE LIFEGUARD.  Kent, when I played that song you posted and saw it mentioned, I also thought of a version that came out two years previously in 1961 by Andrea "IT HURTS TO BE SIXTEEN" Carroll. Remember that version?

Honestly???  No ... in fact, I couldn't sing you a line from the Diane Ray "hit" version ... and I just listened to it!  (lol)  For whatever reason, this one was never really on my radar.  The song charted for exactly one week here in Chicago on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey ... debuted, peaked and disappeared at #30.  (kk)  

But evidently OTHERS remember Andrea Carroll ... I got this email a day later ... 

Hi KK, 
After reading Sundays Blog, I couldn't help but think of Andrea Carroll.  She was from Cleveland, Ohio, and in our area (Akron, Ohio), she was the one that had a hit with her version of Please Don't Talk To The Life Guard, and another hit "It Hurts To Be Sixteen".  I believe that she was the first one to record the Life Guard Record.
I also want to mention that there is a YouTube Video sung by a girl named Donna, who claims that she was the girl that Richie Valens wrote the song for. The guy claims it's worth a bundle of money.
I enjoy your Blog and read it every day.  Although I'm older, and also like the 1950's music.
Do you remember a group called "The Cat", from Thailand.  They recorded an album in 1966, titled "Do The Watusi".  The single "Do The Watusi" is on YouTube. I found an album by them and really like it.
I've been buying and selling records for 40 years; however I have no idea what the album is worth (if anything).  I have an old copy of Osborne Price Guide ... however they are not listed.  I'm going to try to send a song with this E Mail of the group, and get your and your readers opinion.
Keep up the great work.  
Arnold Kirkbride

Borrowing heavily from "Tobacco Road", no???  I'm not sure whether to take the vocal seriously or not ... then again, maybe she was just trying to do her best Brenda Lee imitation there in the middle!  Definitely different. (kk)

re:  Too Funny ... Another Great Example of Life Imitating Art!: 
“It’s a mega meta kinda thang,” says Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, referring to the ZZ Top / Jeff Beck collaboration of "Sixteen Tons" ... he debuted the song to a sold out Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on August 13th with his band mates Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, and co-headliner Jeff Beck.   
But it gets even more meta than that. The song “Sixteen Tons” itself is shrouded in controversy. While Tennessee Ernie Ford enjoyed the greatest success with the song, it was originally recorded in 1946 by country singer Merle Travis, who has writer credit. However, folk singer George S. Davis (formerly a coal miner himself) claimed he was the true author of the tune, and wrote it as “Nine-to-ten Tons” in the 1930s.    
Flashback to 2009: It is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden. Billy F Gibbons, singer / guitarist of ZZ Top, joins guitar legend Jeff Beck and his band on stage. They perform “Rough Boy” (ZZ Top) and “Foxey Lady” (The Jimi Hendrix Experience).
2012: A video appears on YouTube by an unknown user entitled “Jeff Beck and ZZ Top – Ernie Ford’s SIXTEEN TONS.” The footage has clearly been culled from the Madison Square Garden concert three years previous, but how about the audio? What sounds a lot like Jeff Beck and Billy F Gibbons playing a revved up version of the 1955 #1 single about wage slavery as a coal miner is, in fact, a clever and convincing hoax.
2014: ZZ Top and Jeff Beck announce their U.S. tour, in which Jeff Beck’s set is followed by a ZZ Top set, concluded by an encore where Beck joins That Lil’ Ol’ Band From Texas onstage. Gibbons is made aware of the YouTube video and totally amused that “someone who obviously had too much time on their hands” would go through the lengths to put the parts and pieces together to create the phantom song.  Gibbons shared the link with Jeff whose initial reaction sparked the retort, "Bloody Hell…!  We can do this…!"  
While some artists under similar circumstances might've been upset or might've even considered other action, ZZ Top and Jeff Beck did the exact opposite by deciding to actually cover “Sixteen Tons,” using the very arrangement of the YouTube hoax.  
YouTube hoax from April 2012 (actual artist still unknown): 
ZZ Top and Jeff Beck performing the same song FOR REAL on August 13, 2014:

re:  This And That:
From FH Reader Dave Barry ... our popstars DO like to misbehave!!!  (kk)

Hey Kent, 
Count me in on having that "Bluebirds Over The Mountain" as in my Beach Boys's Top 30 Favorites.  The harmonies at the end are cool ... and the guitar solo in the middle rocks pretty hard for a Beach Boys track.  My Wife, who likes the Beach Boys but is not a freak like me, loves that one, too. 

More Beach Boys ...

Hi Kent:
I am a long time Music / Program Director / Song Writer from Central Pa. (Penn State). I am writing per the suggestion of Fred Vail. After learning that the Beach Boys would be performing at Penn State in October, I was inspired to compose a "tribute" song for them called "They Bring the Beach to You" . The song is getting a lot of airplay including Flagler Beach / Wilson Beach radio and many other stations as well. We've been asked to perform it on TV and it is getting many nice Facebook shares / likes / comments as well. Fred Vail gave me your name and said that you may be able to post it to share. We would count it an honor. He loves the song and made a nice comment on youtube.  We are delighted that "They Bring the Beach to You" is doing great and would appreciate it if you would share it for us.
I have been writing songs with Jack Servello for eight years and we've enjoyed success with other well-traveled hits, but it seems that everyone loves this one. Last year I composed a "tribute" song for my friend Ron Dante called "We Still Sing Sugar Sugar" and he was thrilled. We even included it on our "Greatest Hits" CD. 
Thank you very much for your consideration. Love your site and am glad that Fred recommended it. You can bet I will be telling others!
Bill Dann
Love it! Thanks, Bill ... and please DO send us the Ron Dante track, too ... Ron's been a long-time Forgotten Hits Reader and Contributor!  (kk)

Jim Croce performances you WON'T hear on the new Jim Croce CD are the ones he recorded in the studios of KIMN in Denver during an interview a few weeks before his fatal 1973 plane crash. That interview and Jim's impromptu performances were captured on a single 10" reel of quarter-inch tape which was never duplicated or rebroadcast.  I bought that tape from the estate of the interviewer and it resides today in my archives. The interview itself, by the way, while of excellent fidelity, is not all that good from a content standpoint. The interviewer did not really know what to ask and therefore generated only inconsequential responses. Despite that, Jim Croce's natural charm and warm-hearted spirit shines through.
Gary Theroux

Quite a bit of press this past week about Aerosmith's Drummer Joey Kramer being out of action for their current tour due to heart problems ... but now FH Reader Tom Cuddy tells us that they've found an excellent substitute ... Kramer's own son, Jesse will be sitting in on drums until his dad is well enough to return!
More details below ...

AEROSMITH: Back on the Road With Substitute Drummer 
Drummer Joey Kramer, who has been sidelined with a heart ailment, took to Twitter to let fans know that his son Jesse is sitting in for him. 
Aerosmith was back out on the road on Saturday night in George, Washington, but with a substitute drummer in the saddle.
Band members took to Twitter to spread the news with drummer Joey Kramer, who has been sidelined with a heart ailment, letting fans know that his son Jesse is sitting in for him.
Guitarist Joe Perry also took to Twitter, writing that the band would "miss Joey" but is in capable hands with Jesse, "who's a kick ass drummer!" Perry added that Joey is "doing great and will be back very soon," but he didn't specify when.
Kramer's wife, Linda, tried to downplay the situation, claiming that the media is "blowing" her husband's health problem "out of proportion." She did confirm that he underwent a procedure "related to his heart," but said he doesn't have an history of heart problems and did not undergo "emergency open heart surgery."

I agree with what your reader Jack said in his words to you. In October of 1968, our local top 40 radio station's weekly survey dropped from 50-55 songs down to 30. Also, for some two months now, I have had my radio in my car turned off.  Stations were playing the same old same old. Sports talk stations are doing the same old same old as well. I agree with him that silence is preferable to hearing the same old songs over and over again. I have not missed the radio being on at all.
By the way, I just now saw on television for the first time a thirty second commercial depicting women's fashions. The music  used in the background was Sam Cooke's 1964 SHAKE. Just love it.  Don't know however if it was a local or national spot.
Larry Neal
I've seen that same commercial here several times now so it must be a national ad.
Sadly more and more people are turning off their radios all together rather than listen to the exact same crap, day in and day out, every single day.  What a shame.  There are 10,000 legitimate hit songs to choose from ... why is radio subjecting us to this "beat-you-over-the-head" programming?  (I'm listening to a 1968 Year-End clip featuring Larry Lujack on WLS right now ... because that's STILL better than anything else that's on the radio at this moment in time!!!)

Speaking of which ... I'm not the only one upset about the ridiculous scaling down going on over at  (Over 1200 more clips were eliminated since my last sign-in!!!)  They've just GOT to find a way to fix this ... or there's no point in renewing my subscription.
Seriously, WHO do we need to write to to protest this new change in policy?!?!

Hi Kent:  
Saw your comments about what has been happening to Reelradio. Can’t agree with you more! Only a group of bureaucratic Morons could do this nonsense to fans of Real Vintage Radio.  

Chicagoland Radio and Media is reporting this morning that projected new morning host Jack Diamond will NOT be joining WLS-FM after all ... in fact, he starts his brand new gig at XHPRS-FM (soon to be rebranded as 105.7 MAX-FM) in the San Diego / Tijuana area.  That's two big deals that have fallen through for WLS-FM in the last few months.  (Eddie and JoBo also bowed out of an opportunity to earn $500M a year as the new morning team.)  Hmm ... if I was Jan Jeffries' boss, I'd have to be wondering why NOBODY wants to work at my radio station.  (Of course, if I were Brant Miller, I'd be thinking "screw these guys!" ... but that's an entirely DIFFERENT story.)  Back on the rumor block ... Robert Murphy returning to the shift that made him famous as "Murphy In The Morning" ... but the station's also got some other under-utilized talent in Danny Lake and Tom O'Toole, too.  Stay tuned for more "major shake-up" news ... coming soon to the now-struggling, one-time radio giant.  (kk)

Regarding the Glen Campell film, I see that an impressive array of stars were assembled to play tribute to the man. Conspicuous in her absence appears to be Tanya Tucker -- and if you read her autobiography, "Nickel Dreams," you'll find out why.  My archive includes a never released one hour interview Bill Drake conducted with Glen in 1977.  As far as I know, it was Bill's only celebrity interview and he asked that I not use it when assembling "The History of Rock 'n' Roll." 
Gary Theroux

The Motown Musical is alive and well, as shown in this report submitted by FH Reader Dave Barry:

Thanks for keeping the hits alive ... I always enjoy my visits to the site. 
It was a bit sad to see that Paul Revere has retired, but I rejoice that he lived and performed all those years (since "Like Long Hair" in 1961) and can walk away still standing and playing to the end.  One of my favorite memories is attending a concert by the early Raiders (Mark, Fang, Smitty, etc.) minus Paul at the "Oaks Park" in Portland, OR, several years ago.  It was obvious that they had performed together many times, had all the fun moves, enjoyed playing together again and knew how to connect with the audience.  Forget all the video screens, pyrotechnics and augmented effects ... just give me some solid guitars, a decent vocalist and a "good beat so I can dance to it" and I'll score it at least a 95 every time. 
Sometime a few years later, I had a chance to sit and visit with Mark for a few minutes.  He was relaxed and easy to chat with.  I still enjoy a number of his solo efforts he recorded with the help of Jerry Fuller in the early 70's.
Again, thanks for your efforts!
Jim Pritchard
(aka Jim Southern, KTEO, KXLF, KMOR & KNAK back in the early 60's)

re:  Clip Of The Week:
Got this one from Clark Weber ... how many of you out there are going to try this next time you go to the gym???  (I call this "Sweatin' To The Oldies, Millennium Style!")  kk

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 19th

Here is a special mid-week chart sent into us by Clark Besch which features commentary from Dick Bartley, nationally known broadcaster (and oldies guru).  

We'll still run our usual Saturday Surveys feature this weekend ... but since we had such elite commentary available to us, we couldn't resist running THIS chart during the week!  (kk)  

Here is a chart from Dick Bartley from his first full time job in broadcasting in Charlottesville, Va, for our Saturday surveys page in August!   
I asked him about the obscure tunes and about his career that you may wish to print some of it. 
Clark Besch
You betcha, Clark!  Dick Bartley was a radio staple here in Chicago for a good number of years ... and his oldies flashbacks shows on the weekend (with national dedications) were always a treat to listen to in syndication.  (kk)    

CLARK BESCH:  As for the WELK chart, can you give me any details on it?  Were you the programming director?  Was this your first station?    

DICK BARTLEY:  I started out doing weekends at WELK in 1972 - then became the music director and afternoon drive announcer from 1973 to 1975, so this was my first full-time job in radio ... my call-letter credits prior to WELK were:
WCHV, Charlottesville (night-time announcer) 1972
WLLL, Lynchburg (weekends) 1971
WUVA, University of Virginia (announcer, music director) 1969 to 1973
WWOD, Lynchburg (weekends) 1969-1970
After WELK, I was at WBBM-FM, Chicago, from 1975 to 1978 (music director and afternoon announcer, then program director) ... WFYR-FM, Chicago, from 1978 to 1984 (mid-day announcer, Saturday night host, then program director) ... and then WNSR-FM, New York, (morning drive announcer), 1986.  

CB:  It looks like a huge fire attacked the station.  The art work covers all eras of radio and a weekly trivia question called "Disco Test" before "disco" was a music explosion!
Tom Fogerty's "Joyful Ressurrection" is a great CCR sound at #29!  Several oddities listed here, which is very cool!  Looks like you got songs up and down the charts as if it were the 60's.  My personal charts had Chicago's "Feelin Stronger Every Day" at #1, while it is a no show on yours.  I am guessing it was already up and gone on yours, as you have many songs charting that would hit MY personal charts weeks later!  

DB:  We had Feeling Stronger Every Day as a Top 5 hit at some point that summer - my guess is that the record had just lost its number and gone to recurrent ... that was the summer Cynthia and I got married, so I remember that record with great fondness.  

CB:  Lots of cool stuff here.  Any comments on your days there or where you went from there?  

DB:  Making the jump from Charlottesville to Chicago was a huge step for me, a dream-come-true really - I had idolized WLS and WCFL for years. 

And here are some of my Forgotten Hits Favorites from this chart ...
"Tell Her She's Lovely" by El Chicano ...
In The Midnight Hour by Cross Country ...
And check out America in the Top Ten with their version of "Muskrat Love", a record that would be a MUCH bigger hit for The Captain and Tennille a few years later.
You'll find plenty of obscurities here as well ... records that barely saw the light of day are all over this Top 50 listing!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Seeds

The Seeds were an integral part of the California Music Scene back in the mid-to-late '60's ... and that legacy has now been preserved on film and explored as part of the brand new GNP Crescendo Documentary "The Seeds:  Pushin' Too Hard".  (In fact, GNP Crescendo has put on the full-court press with this one, re-releasing all of The Seeds' recorded tracks in a new compilation CD ... unfortunately, to MY ears anyway, while the band indeed had a distinctive sound, they took those same inventive riffs and musical nuances and then proceeded to recycle them again and again throughout all of their musical endeavors.  As such, nearly all of their music sounds exactly the same ... for the most part, they seem to be a rip-off of THEMSELVES!!!)

"Pushin' Too Hard", of course, was their biggest hit, climbing all the way to #1 here in Chicago.  (Nationally it stopped at #36 in Billboard ... but peaked a point higher in Record World).  Their follow-up release (which was actually their FIRST release ... it just happened to flop the first time around ... so after the success of "Pushin' Too Hard", the record label released it again, hoping to ride the coattails of their other hit currently climbing the charts) was "Can't Seem To Make You Mine."  It just missed The National Top 40, peaking at #41.  

What kind of music were they?  Garage Band?  Early Psychedelic Rock?  Simply a part of the LA Scene from the exciting, counter-culture days of the mid-to-late '60's?  All of the above, actually ... which I guess today has all been lumped together anyway as what we now call "Nuggets" Rock.  Charismatic Lead Singer Sky Saxon left us a few years back, but still maintains a healthy presence throughout this film as the story of The Seeds unfolds.   

For a couple of months now, we've been telling you about not only the making of this hot, new film ... but also about the official movie premier of this new Seeds documentary, which officially premiered this past week at The Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.   

It sounds like they pulled out all the stops for this mega-music event (actually, they've been hosting a rock and roll marathon of films all week!) ... and several of the key movers and shakers of this era turned up to check out this new film ... including Forgotten Hits Reader Timmy Manocheo, who files this report in his first-time Forgotten Hits contribution ...

You wanted a report on The Seeds Documentary - here it is --->   

My wife, Irene and I went to the premiere of "The Seeds: Pushin' Too Hard" documentary film last night. It was done up in the grand Hollywood style of motion picture premieres of old, at the wonderful, beautiful and comfortable Egyptian Theatre, on THE Boulevard. This documentary was the final result of the vision of director Neil Norman's passion, come to the big screen, complete with stars of the pertinent era mingling about the Egyptian's patio entrance before the showing. I met some of my personal musical heroes and everyone was in a delightful mood.   

Johnny Echols of the band Love was there, looking sharp, as he does in the film. Look, here comes the Seeds' lead guitarist, Jan Savage, strolling up to the crowd with noted D.J. and radio historian Gary Schneider! Hugs all around as Jan meets up with some of his old pals. 

I had to squeeze in a photo op with long time KROQ D.J. legend Rodney Bingenheimer and his lovely gal-pal.  Kim Fowley appeared just before lights out and was his usual cordially ironic self. What a guy ... don't miss his wit in this film, folks.  

Then, yeah, I see Daryl Hooper, the keyboard extraodinaire from The Seeds, happy as all get-out. Yes folks, it was truly an evening to remember.  

Another noted D.J., from the era of 1960's Top-40 L.A. radio was Don Elliott, (KMEN, KBLA and KROQ), smiling and joking about. Everyone noticed the red headed ex-GTO's bombshell, Miss Pamela DeBarres, as she pleasantly posed for snapshots in the crowd. I was introduced to another great 60's scene star from The Strawberry Alarm Clock band member, Mark Weitz, wearing a primo, flowering shirt, the only one there to rival mine, as well as recounting some great stories of times past.  

All in all, a festive time for all who showed up, to be part of celebrating an integral, if overlooked, part of the entire musical scene of not only L.A.'s sixties culture, but also America's counterculture period. Following the film, there was a panel discussion and Q&A with key members involved in the film. 

About the film itself -- one has to point out some surprise elements here. Namely Iggy Pop. This guy is fun AND funny. He also makes you think. I think Neil should direct a project around Iggy's phenomenal career sometime in the not too distant future.   

Another huge 60's musical talent, very much involved in not only this film, but also with the entire 1960's music world, is Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys. Unexpectedly, to me anyway, Bruce was a huge Seeds fan and he sheds a unique perspective on the relationship between musical peers of the age of Aquarius.   

Did I mention Kim Fowley? Well, let me reiterate his somewhat blatant and stoic slant on all things 60's and melodic. His charm is ever gleaming in this movie.   

There are more radio air personalities also included in the film, foremost long time radio legend, Humble Harve (Miller), who helped jettison The Seeds to popularity, not only during his reign at Boss Radio's KHJ, but before that time, during his tenure at KBLA / AM. Humble Harve was also the one who introduced The Seeds on their infamous live album.   

Another D.J. of note, mentioned during the documentary, was Dave Diamond ... and also Wolfman Jack. Not to mention the man who was possibly mainly responsible for the band's success, Gene Norman, who actually gave The Seeds their first recording contract. There are more notable individuals from the era who also contribute to the film, but the true stars have to be Jan Savage and Daryl Hooper, who, along with drummer Rick Andridge and lead vocalist Sky Saxon himself, tell THE REAL STORY of the hows and whys and all the rest of the fascinating story.   

There will be future screenings of this monumental documentary, coming to Long Beach this next weekend, followed by San Diego and then San Luis Obisbo, at The Palm Theatre. You would do yourself the pleasure if you go catch this film, before it's inevitable DVD release, hopefully soon.    

~ Timmy Manocheo

For more on the entire LA Rock Scene of the '60's, do yourself a favor and pick up Harvey Kubernik's EXCELLENT new book "Turn Up The Radio!  Rock, Pop and Roll in Los Angeles, 1956 - 1972.  It is a BEAUTIFULLY done "scrapbook" and oral photograph of this exciting era of music, much of it told by the folks who were actually there at the time making things happen.

Done up right in "coffee table book" style, this is a must-have for any serious music fan who grew up during this incredible era.  (You can pick up YOUR copy here):