Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Saturday Surveys (November 1st)

Take a look at this WROK Chart from November 1st of 1968 ... The Bee Gees best The Beatles and take over the top spot with their latest, "I've Gotta Get A Message To You", while The Fab Four now sit at #2 and #6 with their two-sided hit "Hey Jude" / "Revolution".  But look at what premiers at #3 this week!!!  "Paralyzed" (misspelled on their chart) by The Singing Cowboy!!!  (I'm guessing this is really The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, whose record was out at about this same time but never officially charted in Billboard.)  

Where the heck did THAT record come from, amongst the biggest (and heaviest) hits of the day like "White Room" by Cream, "Fire" by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by The Iron Butterfly, "All Along The Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix and the Five-By-Five Hendrix remake of "Fire", down from #6 to #12 this week.  (That places TWO songs called "Fire" in The Top Twelve!!!)

New on the charts (in the Preview Review section) is The Buckinghams with their latest, "Where Did You Come From". 

Jumping ahead a year we find The Beatles topping the chart again with another two-sided hit, "Something" / "Come Together".  Nice to see The Clique in The Top Ten with "Sugar On Sunday" ... but there are also a few surprises on this chart ...

How about "We Got To Get Together" by Paul Revere and the Raiders at #6, a record that never climbed any higher than #50 on the Billboard Chart.  Or "Don't Shut Me Out" by Underground Sunshine, the follow-up to their God-Awful remake of The Beatles' "Birthday" ... the best this one could do was "bubble under" in Billboard at #102.

"Echo Park" by (misspelled) Keith Barbour, "Groovin' Is Easy" by The Charleston Esquires, "Girls It Ain't Easy" by Honey Cone, "Roosevelt And Ira Lee" by Tony Joe White and "Time Machine" by Grand Funk Railroad complete the list of oddities one wouldn't expect to see charting this high on a Top 30 Survey from 1969.

And don't forget to swing by the Burger Chef when you're done listening ... now serving food "good enough to leave home for"!!!

Our only venture into the '70's this week comes by way of this Musicland Top 40 Chart from 1972.  The most popular record in all the land (well ... in all the MUSICland anyway) is "Convention '72" by The Delegates, a break-in record done up in the style of all those Dickie Goodman records of the '50's and '60's.

Quite honestly, by 1972 the break-in record had become a bit of a novelty novelty style ... you just didn't see a lot of these types of records anymore.  (Three years later, Goodman would come back with a smash of his own when "Mr. Jaws" topped the chart here in Chicago ... and became a Top Ten National Hit as well.)

And, while we're on the subject of novelty records, Chuck Berry sits right behind The Delegates with his novelty smash "My Ding-A-Ling".  (Honestly, this record hasn't aged well ... Berry was often described as both The Grandfather and The Architect of Rock And Roll ... this may have been a fun tune to perform in concert but the fact that this ended up being his biggest hit ever GREATLY diminishes his incredible body of work.)  Nevertheless, we sure loved it in '72 ... I don't know of ANYBODY who didn't buy this record!

In '50's comeback style, Chuck is joined in The Top Ten by both Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson with their latest hits, "Burnin' Love" and "Garden Party".  Another Forgotten Hits favorite sits at #19 ... when is the last time you heard "American City Suite" by Cashman and West???

Friday, October 31, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend

10/31, 11/1, 11/2 - 

BABY LOVE by THE SUPREMES pushes DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY out of the top spot for MANFRED MANN this week … it's now the #2 song in America according to The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart. Once again British Invasion Artists are held to just TWO Top Ten Hits as HAVE I THE RIGHT by THE HONEYCOMBS climbs to #7. 

CHAD AND JEREMY are at #13 with A SUMMER SONG, THE NASHVILLE TEENS stall at #15 with TOBACCO ROAD, I LIKE IT by GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS continues its climb up the chart (from #26 to #18) as does EVERYBODY KNOWS by THE DAVE CLARK FIVE (#19), I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN by PETER AND GORDON (#20) and I'M CRYING by THE ANIMALS (#21). 

YOU REALLY GOT ME climbs to #32 for THE KINKS, ALL CRIED OUT by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD hovers at #41, SHE'S NOT THERE by THE ZOMBIES continues its ascent on the chart, up to #45 from #61, as does TIME IS ON MY SIDE by THE ROLLING STONES, now sitting at #46 (up from #65). 

I'M INTO SOMETHING GOOD by HERMAN'S HERMITS seems to have slowed its pace this week, climbing from #64 to #57 (and losing its bullet in the process) … but it'll be back stronger than ever the following week (and beyond!)  WHEN YOU WALK IN THE ROOM by THE SEARCHERS is now sitting at #58 (up from #71) … but that's about it for British Acts this week.  (That still gives them 24% of The Top 58 songs in America, however … no mean feat ten months into the so-called British Invasion. 

Another record of note this week … LORNE GREENE of BONANZA fame premiers on The Billboard Chart at #62 with his soon-to-be #1 Hit, RINGO.  (They couldn't have come up with a more timely title!  BEATLE RINGO STARR was FAR more popular here in America than he was back home, having replaced long-time BEATLES drummer PETE BEST.  Even A HARD DAY'S NIGHT seems to have been written in such a way so as to give RINGO more of the "STARR" Spotlight Treatment.  Of course the song had absolutely NOTHING at all to do with THE BEATLES Drummer … but folks who may not have heard the record yet might likely have picked up a copy when they saw it in the store, just in case! 

Never one to pass up an opportunity to cash in on the latest craze, American LARRY FINNEGAN soon released THE OTHER RINGO … which WAS, in fact, about THE BEATLES Drummer!  It was a short-lived triumph however … although the record DID chart here in Chicago, it never sold enough copies to make Billboard's list of Top 100 Records. 

Closing out October on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey, we've got ROY ORBISON back in the #1 Spot with OH, PRETTY WOMAN, which knocks THE HONEY COMBS down to #3 with last week's #1 Song, HAVE I THE RIGHT.  DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY by MANFRED MANN sits at #5, followed by TOBACCO ROAD by THE NASHVILLE TEENS at #6, YOU REALLY GOT ME by THE KINKS at #7, I'm CRYING by THE ANIMALS at #9 and FROM A WINDOW by BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS at #11.  (That gives British Acts six of the Top 11 songs in Chicago this week!) 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Tommy

First email in after our Tommy James concert review was posted came from Tommy's manager, Carol Ross ... a link to our review was then posted on Tommy's site as well.  (How VERY cool is that?!?!)  
Hey, we had a great time (and I think Tommy did, too!) so we wanted to help spread the word.  
Carol mentions a new web series called "Inside Tracks with Tommy James" where Tommy tells you himself (by way of YouTube clips) his own story in his own words ... these are available through his website link (or you can also find them on YouTube).   
More and more artists are doing this and it's a GREAT way for them to get their stories out there in the way they want them represented.  (Jim Peterik, who ALSO loved our glowing review of his book the week before, does the same thing on his site ... which also posted links to our review.  Burton Cummings is assembling a similar collection for video release ... backstage, fly-on-the-wall stuff for all the die-hard fans out there.  Burton returns to The Arcada Theatre in November.)  
Collectively, we are ALL helping to spread the word ... this music is timeless and there is still an audience out there for it ... no matter WHAT those radio consultants may be telling you to the contrary.  We LOVE the oldies ... but they're not just oldies ... it's GREAT, timeless music that reaches across EVERY generation!  Embrace it!  (kk)   

WOW, THANK YOU so much for this glowing review ... so glad you enjoyed the concert.  Tommy greatly appreciates your support ... we will stay in touch ... and don't forget to watch his show segments on you tube - INSIDE TRACKS WITH TOMMY JAMES!  
As for the latest on the movie, "Me, The Mob And The Music", we are at the stage of screenwriter who we finally have on board, Matt Stone ... so still a long way to go ... but it's moving at a Hollywood pace ... will surely keep you updated.  
P.S.  It took Mick Jagger, producer of the James Brown movie, ten years to get it done, so we are doing ok!  
Carol Ross,  

What a GREAT review of the Tommy James show at The Arcada Theatre.  I was at the show and whole-heartedly agree that he sounds JUST like he did back in the day and he really covered the hits.  (Sure there are a few more I would have liked to have heard but let's face it, you can only squeeze so many into a single show!)  Great show -- and you nailed it perfectly.  Thanks.  

Enjoyed the Tommy James review.  He is truly a great talent.  WLS certainly did support his music as well as WCFL.  It was even mentioned in his book and Stuart Shea talked with Tommy about the CFL / WLS controversy a few years ago.  Maybe Stu would share that with you?  I just sent his latest group interview.  Attached is the WLS Premier 45 I have from his 68 concert in Chitown that they gave away 10,000 copies at the concert!  Also, a rather timid sounding Italian vocal of his hit.  I would have been disappointed in not hearing "She" as well.  BUT, so many hits, so little time!  Can't wait for the movie after reading his GREAT book.  
Clark Besch

I remember Clark Weber telling me (and I believe it's in HIS book, too) about one of the times as a programmer that he was "wrongest"!!!  He told a VERY young Tommy James (even before the disc jockey in Pittsburgh started playing "Hanky Panky" in 1966) that he didn't think he had a hit on his hands.  In hindsight, Clark Weber and WLS could have broke this record worldwide a year before it happened ... but it just wasn't meant to be.  (Much like Dick Biondi playing The Beatles' "Please Please Me" in 1963 before anybody in the USA cared about four moptops from Liverpool, England!)    

Here, I found it ...

I'm the first to admit that I didn't always hear "hit record" when a song was first played.  In 1965, I was doing a beach party record hop at the Glen Lord Beach Park Pavilion in Niles, Michigan, when a very polite teenager asked me if I would listen to a record that he and his friends had written and recorded.  I said that I would and put it on the turntable.  My first reaction was that it was a bit primitive, but I decided to be gentle in my response.  I told him that while it was a good first try, it wasn't something that WLS would have an interest in playing on the air.  Yet, soon after, a Pittsburgh DJ started playing the song and, in a while it took off.  Before you knew it, Roulette Records heard it and signed the singer to a contract in 1966.  It became such a big hit that people still dance to it today.  The kid's name was Tommy James ... and the song was "Hanky Panky".  
-- Clark Weber   

"Hanky Panky" topped the WLS Silver Dollar Survey for four straight weeks that summer ... and was the #1 Best Selling Number One Record of the Year, 1966, on their year-end chart ... ahead of "Winchester Cathedral", "Good Vibrations", "Cherish, "Gloria", "California Dreaming", "Wild Thing", "We Can Work It Out", "Summer In The City", "Last Train To Clarksville" and "Paint It, Black"!!!   

More from Mother Weber's Oldest Son here ...  
Click here: Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio: The Fun Years, 1955-1975: Clark Weber, Neal Samors, Foreword by Neil Sedaka, Je

And, if I recall correctly, WLS "bootlegged" a copy of Tommy's hit "Crimson And Clover" and started airing an early mix off a demo Tommy brought to the studio in late '68.  (Tommy was pretty pissed at the time ... WLS taped their interview with Tommy and, as such, now had a copy of Tommy's soon-to-be-released single!)  Yes, the AM Wars of the '60's were legendary ... and we had the best of BOTH worlds here in Chicago with WLS and WCFL constantly trying to one-up each other by snagging the latest scoop.  So sad that today radio has become nothing more than a game of following the leader ... back then these guys couldn't WAIT to get the upper hand with a hot, new release!  It's like all the excitement ... and creativity ... is gone.  (kk)    

Here's the way Tommy James remembers the incident in his book "Me, The Mob And The Music":

We went into the studio and produced the "Crimson And Clover" single in December.  The night I finished it, I made a rough mix, right off the board.  We were going to come back in a week to mix in a lot of ambient sound, a lot of echo.  We wanted it to be a more profound statement than was on the mix.
That weekend, The Shondells and I played a date in Chicago and we were met at the airport by a limousine.  As we were driving to our hotel, I stopped by WLS on the off chance that Program Director John Rook was there.  I wanted to get some reaction to "Crimson" from a radio station that had always been so good to us.  John was in that afternoon and invited me to sit with him.  He made a big deal out of me being there.  I did an interview and talked about the new single.  I should not have done it, but I played him the rough mix when we were off the air.  He flipped over the record.  "Let me go get Larry Lujack in here.  We just hired him."  Lujack would go on to be one of WLS's top DJs.  Rook played Lujack the rough mix and without my knowledge or approval, pushed a record button on the tape recorder and made himself a copy.  Lujack loved it.  They handed me back the tape and we parted with promises to call each other next week.  By the time I had gotten into the limo, the radio was tuned to WLS and Larry Lujack was announcing in his best DJ voice:  "World exclusive ... Tommy James and the Shondells ... brand new single ... 'Crimson And Clover'."  He was playing the rough mix on the radio as a world exclusive.  I knew I ws never going to hear the end of this from Jim Stagg.  I was warned on "Mony" not to give WLS an exclusive.
Monday Morning, when I stopped by at Roulette, a five-foot funeral wreath was sitting outside Red Scwartz's office with a banner that read:  "Condolences on the death of Tommy James and the Shondells at WCFL Radio."  It was from Jim Stagg at the rival station.  Morris came right out and said, "What the fuck?"  I told them both what had happened.  Red called Rook and told him about the wreath.  Jim Stagg wouldn't take Red's call.  Rook said, "Fuck Jim Stagg ... Ill play it every twenty minutes!"  And then added in radio lingo, "He'll have to go on the record."  And that is what he did.  This was still the rough mix.  I never got a chance to remix the record.
Morris had DJ copies sent to all the radio stations in the United States.  He wouldn't let me do a final mix.  So the single of "Crimson And Clover" that we all know was from the tape of a rough mix that was never supposed to see the light of day.
"Crimson and Clover" took off and was the biggest record we ever had.  Jim Stagg left WCFL not too long afterward.  As it turned out, it was more his funeral than mine.
-- Tommy James
Maybe THAT'S why Roulette Records let WLS press up 10,000 special promotional copies to give away to their listeners!!!  They truly DID break the record worldwide (thanks to a little underhanded maneuvering) ... but that was the name of the game as it related to successful Top 40 Radio back in the 1960's!  (kk)

Order Tommy's book here:
Click here: Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells: Tommy James, Martin Fitzpatrick: 97 ...

Or order it from Tommy's website and he'll send you an autographed copy!!! 
(Actually, that's what I wanted to do Saturday Night after the show ... pick up another copy of Tommy's book and have him sign it ... but the line was INSANE so I may just place an order of my own thru Tommy's site later today!)  kk 

Enjoyed today's FH and the review you did of Tommy James show from this past weekend. I don't know or remember if you have featured it before, but I always liked ? and the Mysterians' version of DO SOMETHING TO ME better than Tommy James'. I believe their version came out about a year earlier on Cameo Records.
Larry Neal
Believe it or not, I only recently discovered the ? and the Mysterians version a few years ago, thanks to our FH Buddy Dave The Rave.  It's a GREAT version and it shoulda been a hit.  (Actually I think the two recordings are very similar.)  Had ? scored with his version, Tommy probably never would have recorded the song ... but since that didn't happen ... and since he still recognized a hit when he heard it ... he was able to capitalize on this chain of events and score yet another Top 20 single.  One of my late '60's favorites by him.  (kk)

Did Tommy knock it out of the park on "Ball of Fire", one of my all time, all time favorite songs?  I would have loved to have seen Tommy.
Chet Coppock
He sure did ... and honestly I don't know if I've ever seen him perform this one before.  (kk)    

Great job by Tommy. No disrespect to the opening act (the guy on the keys was sensational and the singer was good) but I would have loved to hear Tommy do some of the minor hits like Get Out Now, Ball and Chain, I'm Coming Home, and Nothing to Hide. To me, Tommy has done everything, and everything well ... garage, bubblegum, pop, psych, country, and songs with a religious favor. The only thing was the sound was a bit murky on some songs ... maybe I will go with the cheap seats next time. We had a fun time ... met some hard core Tommy James fans that put me to shame. But I have the one thing they drool over ... the original 45 on Snap Records out of Niles, Michigan by the Shondells ... that goes in my coffin!
Sorry I missed you. I was on the left hand side. Tommy was very gracious in signing everything. A wonderful night was had by all I am sure!
Mike De Martino
I had an original pressing on Snap Records, too, for the longest time.  I bought it AT THE TIME in 1966 when "Hanky Panky" went all the way to #1 here in Chicago.  Man, I LOVED that song ... couldn't get enough of it.  (I've told the story before of how me and my brothers would stand out in front of our old shed and "play" shovels and rakes, lip-synching to this song with the radio hidden behind the shed door, blasting.  There was a time when it seemed you could flip back and forth between WLS and WCFL and be assured of hearing this song every ten minutes on one station or the other!)
We missed the opening act ... that's when we were backstage ... but I heard they were very good.  (Sorry, but I don't even know the name of the act ... can somebody fill me in?)  The sound at The Arcada can be spotty, depending on where you're sitting ... but I know that this will be part of the upgrade once Ron starts to re-renovate the theater.  As mentioned below, for us it was loud ... but clear.  We loved it!  (kk)    

Loved your review on Tommy James.  I have seen and enjoyed Tommy many times.  The piece about walking through the audience, shaking hands, has been done since he started performing.  It's his signature.  Sometimes, in a large arena, you can go out for coffee, hit the bathroom, and still be back before he resumes the vocals.  Gotta love him!  One question:  did it seem loud at The Arcada?  I'm hoping the sound system was in your favor this time.
We had KILLER seats for this (thanks again, Ron Onesti!!!) ... fourth row, DEAD CENTER STAGE ... so yes, it was loud ... in fact it started loud and seemed to get louder as the night went on ... but we found it to be a very clean mix which meant you still heard everything in balance.  I've seen Tommy several times before ... as mentioned in the review a show at The Star Plaza Theater in which he seemed to be trying to reinvent himself and his music, which I felt was a HUGE mistake ... this music doesn't need any rearranging ... it is perfect just the way it is (and, that in fact, may be the largest part of its timeless appeal.)  I've seen him in the lean year playing at what was for all intents and purposes an old pizza restaurant converted into a banquet hall (on the same bill as Ricky Nelson, believe it or not!) where despite his surroundings, Tommy STILL put on a top notch show for the fans who were there.  Honestly I think writing the book may have made him feel closer to the music than he has in many years ... and the TREMENDOUS response he's received from it has helped him reconnect with the fans and see just how much this music meant to us all.  GREAT show!  (kk)

Another great live shot by Luciano Bilotti - thanks, Lou!  (kk)   

This Friday is the deadline for our latest Joel Whitburn / Record Research / Forgotten Hits Trivia Contest ... scroll back to October 17th for all of the questions ... and details about Joel's GREAT new book "The Comparison Charts".  We've got THREE correct answers thus far ... and you've got THREE DAYS to add yours to the list!  (kk)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tommy James

Ron Onesti absolutely got the party started Saturday Night at The Arcada Theatre ... and it didn't take ANY type of persuasion (crystal blue or otherwise) to fill the place up (and then some!) to see Tommy James and the Shondells.

Tommy was in GREAT voice and played nothing but the hits for an EXCELLENT 90 minute show.  As noted in his introduction, you hear Tommy James music every single day around the world on the radio ... and his hits have been covered by numerous artists along the way ... everyone from Joan Jett to Tiffany to Billy Idol to The Boston Pops Orchestra!  At 67 years of age, he still sounds EXACTLY like the records (although I think even Tommy would admit that it's getting just a little bit tougher to hit some of those high notes these days!)  I can't imagine in his wildest dreams that when he first recorded "Hanky Panky" as a sixteen year old kid in 1963 he could have EVER possibly imagined that he'd still be up there performing this tune ... along with 23 OTHER Top 40 Hits some 50 years later to sold out crowds all over the country.

In addition to the obvious hits ... "Draggin' The Line" (with which he opened the show), "Hanky Panky", "Crimson And Clover" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" ... all of which were placed sporadically throughout his set ... Tommy also featured a potpourri of Forgotten Hits along the way ... HUGE hits from the '60's that just don't garner much airplay anymore ... including favorites like "Gettin' Together", "It's Only Love", "Ball Of Fire", "Say I Am" and "Do Something To Me", songs that I played the heck out of back in the day when 45's ruled the universe!    

NOTE TO TOMMY:  PLEASE have your drummer reinstate that incredible high-hat fill on "Gettin' Together" ... not only is that the signature sound of the record, but its uniqueness is absolutely what is most recognizable about that track ... without question that little hi-high shuffle helped to sell that record and pushed it over the top!  It just doesn't sound right without it!

There wasn't a lot of banter between songs ... he pretty much just kept feeding us the hits ... but the one longer, extended rap that he DID do (elongated even further due to technical difficulties hooking up his acoustic guitar to the amplifier) surrounded the editing of the brand new movie based on his best-selling book "Me, The Mob And The Music" in which the dream sequence ending (leading into the closing credits) features Morris Levy dying and James (with his new band) performing a slow-downed, acoustic version of one of Tommy's biggest hits, "I Think We're Alone Now".  James also performed the full rock and roll version at its normal tempo later in the show.   

Tommy was clearly having fun on stage and closed the show with a rousing version of "Mony Mony", which turned into a 15 minute jam session as Tommy left the stage and came out into the audience to shake hands with literally HUNDREDS of fans in attendance that night, thanking each and every one of them for coming out to see his show.  (He signed autographs in the lobby afterwards as well ... and we were treated to a special "Meet and Greet" backstage before the show started, too.)

Me, Tommy, Frannie and our host Ron Onesti, backstage before the show ... 
photo by Luciano Bilotti (as are ALL of the pictures featured here today!)
Thanks, Lou!

After a standing ovation, Tommy came back to perform an encore of "Sweet Cherry Wine" and "Mirage", followed by a very brief resurrection of "Mony Mony" (cause as we all know, fifteen minutes simply wasn't enough!), to which he left the stage.
All in all, a GREAT show start to finish, performed to a capacity crowd that loved every minute.   

(Tommy James LOVES Chicago ... some of his biggest concerts were held here back in the day ... and WLS Radio was a HUGE supporter of his music.  I can only tell you that the feeling was reciprocal ... Tommy's records performed consistently better on the charts here in Chicago than they did anywhere else in the country!  James hit #1 with "Hanky Panky", "I Think We're Alone Now", "Mirage", "Mony Mony", "Crimson And Clover", "Crystal Blue Persuasion" and "Draggin' The Line" ... that's SEVEN #1 Records here in Chi-Town compared to FOUR on the national charts!)  Based on Saturday Night's show, I can assure you that that feeling hasn't waned at all ... Chicago STILL loves Tommy James!!!

More great shows coming up at The Arcada Theatre in November ... 
Kansas  on November 1st
B.J. Thomas (with Exile) on November 7th
Burton Cummings on November 14th
America on November 15th
The Little River Band on November 16th
and The Spinners (with Ray Parker, Jr.) on November 22nd
Complete ticket information at ... but order quickly ... these shows are selling out like crazy.  The Arcada Theatre is THE place to see classic music in the Chicagoland area!

If you're one of the eight people left on the planet who hasn't read Tommy's book "Me, The Mob And The Music", you've just GOT to pick up a copy.  It's reading that you can't put down ... and soon to be both a major motion picture AND a Broadway Musical.  Order your copy here: Click here: Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells: Tommy James, Martin Fitzpatrick: 97
And for all the latest Tommy James news (and upcoming tour dates) be sure to check out his website here:   Click here: Tommy James and the Shondells Official Website and Online Store  
(You can also pick up Tommy's book here, along with brand new CD releases and other merchandise)   

One favorite I missed hearing Saturday Night was Tommy's 1970 Hit "She" ... a BEAUTIFUL song that climbed as high as #18 nationally.  (Frannie would have loved to hear him do "Sugar On Sunday", too ... he DID do a nice arrangement of the Alive and Kicking record he wrote and produced, "Tighter, Tighter", a #3 smash in its own right.) Tommy didn't do any new material (not even his most recent major hit "Three Times In Love") ... and that's a shame ... because the music he's recording today is every bit as good as the music he was laying down 40+ years ago.  ALL of Tommy's recent CD's are immaculately produced and really showcase his voice and writing, singing and arranging talents.  This guy has not lost a beat in the past 50 years!  (We ran into several Forgotten Hits Readers at the show, ALL of whom were blown away by how rich and pure Tommy's voice still is after all these years.  Also in the audience that night ... Jimy Sohns of The Shadows of Knight and Dave Zane of The Buckinghams and Jay and the Americans, both there as spectators and fans of Tommy's music.)

I've seen Tommy perform live four or five times prior to Saturday Night and I can say that hands down this was one of his best performances ever.  (James went through a bit of a "reinvention process" several years ago where he felt a need to change the arrangement and overall sound of virtually every hit record ... do it up in more of a hard rock / punk rock fashion ... and it simply didn't work.  The fact that he has returned all of his music to its original state ... and performs it with the passion and enjoyment that he does ... is a true testament to his talent.)   

With the new movie coming out, Tommy James music will be all over the radio again ... meaning that new fans will be discovering these great sounds every single day ... feel good, timeless music that they will gleefully embrace.  We are fortunate to have lived through it the first time around ... and can attest that it still holds up every bit as well today as it did then.  Thank you, Tommy, for a GREAT night of entertainment ... and for staying true to the artist that we all know and love.  I think YOU had nearly as much fun Saturday night as WE did!!!  (kk)