Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 28 - 14 )

re:  The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:  
Hi Kent,   
Yes, admission into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is purely subjective. It is a club, and the powers that be will only admit those which they approve. You could see this coming. A mutual friend of ours once said back in the mid-90's, "Let's go visit it now before they contaminate the place." Well, that is exactly what has happened. What do they have against some of these people? The Moody Blues (too pretentious?), The Guess Who (singles band?), Chicago (sold out in the 80's?), Chubby Checker (not Hank Ballard?), Tommy James (bubble gum?). Anyway, the most obvious case of bias is against the Monkees. The Monkees have long been looked down upon by the rock establishment as a phony band, but let's take a moment and compare them to The Supremes. The Supremes were wonderful but they didn't write their own music, they didn't play their own instruments and they were created and financed by Berry Gordy. They were even sent to charm school! In other words, they were manufactured. Isn't that the complaint about The Monkees? Now, the Monkees string of hits may not quite match The Supremes 12 national #1's, but the Monkees' run, as you pointed out, was damn impressive. And they did wind up writing their own material and playing on their albums (which many major, well respected bands did not.) Nesmith even wrote and placed songs with others. Ronstadt's "Different Drum" and "Mary, Mary" with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who, ironically, are being inducted this year! HOF inductees can be debated in sports like baseball, but at least there, some basic, objective levels of achievement must be attained (eg, 500 homers, .300 average) but in music it is totally subjective and success can actually be held against you! I think the ballplayer who said it isn't worth worrying about things you can't control was former NYY centerfielder, Mickey Rivers. He just might have been right! 
Greg Favata - NC6  

BTW, you were saying they keep playing the same Christmas songs over and over, ad infinitum. Well, I have written a new song specifically for the Christmas season. If you would like to share it with your readers, I think they might like it.  (Either way, thanks for the great site, Merry Christmas and keep up the great work!)  

Billy Joel suggested that Joe Cocker belongs in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... and that he was going to do his best to make that happen (much like Elton John did a few years ago for Leon Russell, I imagine!)  Joe certainly was a one-of-a-kind innovator ... isn't THAT the criteria that's supposed to get you in?  (And not the fact that "we need another rap act this year"?!?!)  kk  

Tom Cuddy sent us this clip of Billy live in concert at Madison Square Garden the night we referenced above ... check it out ...    

Enjoy the holidays!  Here are Billy Joel’s thoughts on Joe Cocker and a video to support it from Madison Square Garden.   
-Tom Cuddy    

Billy Joel paid tribute to Joe Cocker in September during a concert at Madison Square Garden, calling Cocker "a great singer who is not very well right now." Joel added that "I think he should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'm amazed that he’s not yet, but I'm throwing in my vote for Joe Cocker" before performing his own take on "With a Little Help From My Friends."
(You'll find more Joe Cocker comments below)  kk   

And, speaking of Christmas songs ...     

The Vince Vance Christmas song you posted, is played here in OKC.  I guess maybe you are right in that the same Christmas songs are played over and over again. My car radio doesn't work and even though I could get it fixed, I haven't. To be honest with you, I have not missed listening to it at all. Same music heard over and over again, as well as the same old same old on the talk sports stations. Incidentally, hearing Vince Vance's name reminded me of his tune BOMB IRAN. Hadn't heard it in years and had to get it out and play it. 
Larry Neal  
Yes, it was Vince's "Bomb Iran" song that gained him national attention during the whole Ayatollah thing.  (Here in Chicago Steve Dahl beat him to the punch with "Ayatollah", written to the tune of "My Sharona" while Vince Vance went the oldies route and set "Bomb Iran" to the music of "Barbara Ann"!  "All I Want For Christmas Is You" REALLY turns the tables on their sound musically, however, and can easily be considered a modern-day Christmas Classic.  (kk)
As for the non-stop Christmas music, it has FINALLY come to an end!!!  We went out to dinner on Christmas Eve and driving home I literally turned off Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" four times in a span of fifteen minutes.

This year in an effort to break up the programming monotony of non-stop Christmas music, 100.3 FM tried something new, rotating a Christmas song with a current airplay staple ... offering up at least SOME semblance of "variety" for the listener ... a noble effort, I guess, which works in theory ... but in actuality, the end result simply meant that you got what felt like a Christmas classic followed by "Don't Stop Believin'" every-other-song ... yep, that's mixing it up!  (kk)  

re:  Freddy Cannon:  
How GREAT to be able to pass along some good news around the holidays.  Here's the latest on Freddy Cannon's condition, courtesy of FH Reader Tom Cuddy:      

I’m overjoyed to share with you and your readers the news that FREDDY “BOOM BOOM” CANNON has made a terrific recovery from his quadruple by-pass surgery in Los Angeles from about 10 weeks ago.  So much so, that he will return to performing on two rock and roll cruises in February with a bunch of his colleagues, including Gary Lewis, Gary Puckett, Johnny Tillotson, Little Peggy March, Bowzer and others.  I’ve attached a link below.   
- Tom Cuddy  

re:  Larry Henley:  
Lost amid the well-deserved accolades for Joe Cocker these past few days, Larry Henley of The Newbeats is also now "singing on the other side."  He was 77. In addition to his work with the hit making group and his distinctive falsetto, he was also the author if the astoundingly successful "Wind Beneath My Wings," a song somewhere between charming, trite or "irritainment," depending on one's perspective. But he (and Dean and Marc Mathis) left some indelible and muscular pop / rock and roll behind. My favorite Newbeats song is the low-charting "Shake Hands and Come Out Crying" (1966) which was written by Doug Kershaw ("Louisiana Man"). It sounds a lot like Kershaw's "Ain't Gonna Get Me Down" from '67, Country label K-Ark's most pop-oriented 45. I'll send you both tracks shortly if you wish to post them. 
Thanks for all the great posts, research and comments. I may not write as often as I'd like, but I do check in frequently! 
Country Paul Payton  

Sad to hear about Larry Henley's passing.  That voice was amazing.  Although "Bread & Butter" was the big one, my first real Newbeats fave was "Run Baby Run" and later, "Groovin" and "Laura" became my faves by them.  Give a listen to them both!!  See if you don't like them.  
I helped with the Varese release of their hits back in the 90's (2000's?).  Larry's death rivals Joe Cocker for me.  People don't know Larry's name well because he was always in a group, but his voice was always unmistakable, as was Joe's.  Both have songs I just cannot live without.  
Clark Besch 
Due to so few postings last week we did sort of breeze over the passing of Larry Henley ... The Newbeats scored four Top 40 Hits in Billboard ... "Bread And Butter" (their biggest, peaking at #2 in 1964), "Everything's Alright" (#16, 1964), "Break Away (From That Boy)" (#40, 1965) and "Run, Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)" (#12, 1965).  They were always sort of lumped into that Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sound and perhaps dismissed by many for that very same reason.  (In hindsight, "Bread And Butter" sounds more like a take-off of "The Wonder Who?" single "Don't Think Twice, It's All-Right" single that actually came some fifteen months later ... so exactly who was copying who at this point?) Other than the obvious big hit "Bread And Butter", "Run Baby Run" is probably my second favorite ... and it definitely DOES have a Four Seasons feel to it ... but is still distinctly The Newbeats, too.  (kk)  

Here is Ron Smith's official death notice posting from  

Larry Henley, falsetto lead singer with the Newbeats on their hits "Bread And Butter" (#2 - 1964), "Run, Baby, Run" (#12 - 1965) and "Everything's Alright" (#16 - 1964), died Thursday (December 18) in Nashville. The Arp, Texas native was 77 and had been suffering from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases. Larry joined with Dean and Mark (Mathis) who had a hit with their version of "Tell Him No" (#42) in 1959 to form the trio, which charted ten times themselves. Larry later became a well-respected songwriter, best known for Bette Midler's hit, "Wind Beneath My Wings" (#1 - 1989). He also co-wrote Tanya Tucker's crossover country hit, "Lizzie And The Rainman," (#37 Pop, #1 Country) from 1975. Larry was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. 
-- Ron Smith  

Three Newbeats cuts by suggestion:

re:  Joe Cocker:  
Tom Cuddy sent us this remembrance from Jennifer Warnes herself about idolizing and working with the late, great Joe Cocker ...   

Joe Cocker Tribute: Jennifer Warnes Shares Heartfelt Remembrance of 'Up Where We Belong' Duet Partner   
By Jennifer Warnes 

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes perform at the Academy Awards in 1983. 
Courtesy of Jennifer Warnes   

When I was teenager there were three large posters of famous people on my bedroom wall -- Bob Dylan, D.H. Lawrence and Joe Cocker in the middle of a scream in concert at Woodstock. The picture of Joe frightened my mother, but I reassured her. "No mom, he's an emotional visionary."   I didn’t know then, but I know now, that if you wish for something with your whole heart, it has a pretty good chance of coming true. 
In the early '80s, other than a few great pairs such as Ella and Louis, Loretta and Conway, duets were not common on the charts. Music that year was weighted down with synthesizers and rhinestone jumpsuits. I was home watching one of those less than wonderful Grammy telecasts when Joe appeared singing "I'm So Glad I’m Standing Here Today" with the Crusaders. His voice was like a knife cutting through me. He laid his heart right on the table. I also knew right then that we would sing together.  
Then that beautiful song by Will Jennings, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jack Nitzsche fell into our hands. The movie wanted us. Things just fell together. I agree that the pairing of a rough Sheffield blues guy with a folkie-pop girl seemed odd. To make it worse they dressed me in taffeta, Joe in a suit, it was crazy. We looked like two prom kids, not like Ella and Louis. But in 1983 we toured the big wide world and never lip-synced once. That was our rule, no lip syncing. Every performance was the real deal, a free falling skydive. Geronimo! Joe took his liberties with the song and I chased after. Singing with Joe was often risky and always thrilling. Those are great memories that I will keep in my heart. 
With a new dread, I realized yesterday that we will never sing our song again. That thought makes me feel sick. We met last year in Berlin to sing together. I didn't know that would be our last time.  
Joe won my heart completely when I first saw the movie Woodstock. He won millions of hearts with that film. But it was a young girl's dream come true to later become Joe’s singing partner.  
I will always love him and always miss him.  
Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker's 1982 collaboration "Up Where We Belong" for the film An Officer And a Gentleman won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and netted them both the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It also topped the Billboard Hot 100

Thanks for the link and the mention on Joe Cocker.  I'll never know how anybody can sing so good. 
And thanks for listening. Have a great holiday. 
David Hagen 

Hey Kent,
I was never fortunate to see and hear Joe Cocker in concert, and can't remember if he ever performed in this area. The closest I came was viewing the movie, "Woodstock". We had a Cinerama Theater that made you feel like you were sitting in the middle of the crowd, so it was a mind-blowing experience! Ten years ago, I got to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, for the first time. If you have never seen one of their shows, by all means, do it! The first half of the concert is a holiday story, with all the rock-edged Christmas songs and laser light show. After the intermission, it's a rock concert. That year, one of the vocalists sang "With a Little Help From My Friends", ala Joe Cocker. Their cover had the same original vocal and instrumental backup, and it ROCKED the auditorium! The lead singer even had a slight resemblance to Cocker. As I took it all in, I wondered what it would have been like to witness the genuine article. The music world has lost another one-of-a-kind icon.
- John LaPuzza

Clark Besch had mentioned last week that he was going to contact Bobby Jones, formerly of Chicago band Aorta and then, later, a member of Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen back-up band. 

Here's what he got back from Bobby:  

Got this from Bobby Jones of the Mad Dogs & Englishmen band Joe toured with back when "The Letter" was out.  He's also in the film and album cover.

Hey Clark -
Forgive me for not getting right back to you - we had full house (25 family & friends) for Christmas, and I was a little busy.
Joe Cocker was one of the kindest, gentlest characters I ever knew ... to put it simple, we are talking about one fantastic guy.  It's terribly sad to lose him.  I still haven't read the whole deal, but I DID hear that it was lung cancer.  He smoked when I was around him, (and almost everyone on our tour did too, btw), but everybody I knew quit -- at least cigarettes.  But evidently, he didn't.  It's fairly amazing ... it just makes me shake my head.  He was an incredibly intelligent cat, too; I just don't get it.
It's a little bit like Herbie Rich, when I got the news.  I always figured we'd hang out again.  It's interesting that I would mention Herbie in that context - Joe drove me to the airport to pick up Herbie one time, when Herb came out here.
Sad stuff man ... 
But Joe has not been "silenced" ... his voice will be heard for a very long time.  It's a lot like Ray Charles ... I wish you could've seen Joe anytime anyone was talking when a Ray Charles cut would come on the radio.  Joe would say, "Wait a second - that's Ray ..."  And anybody around would shut up until the end of the song.  Another reason why I can tell you about what a beautiful guy he was - we LEARNED MORE about listening.  Don't you wish that everyone did that?
Bobby Jones    

Yes, Kent ... 
I would have to agree with the other reader that you pretty much nailed it with the Joe Cocker tribute.   I would like to add a few thoughts from my own experiences.   
I was fortunate to have seen Joe Cocker perform at the Fillmore East in NYC a few times early in his career (late 60's to early 70s).   I was pretty much  a regular at the Fillmore.   I had heard the song, "Feeling Alright" but I wasn't familiar with Cocker's "style" of performing.  (I don't think many others in the audience were.)  My  initial reaction was "Whoa." I was taken back as I think most people were who saw him in the early days. 
I thought his singing was great but there was much more to him than just great singing.  He had to be seen! He just blew everyone away in that theater.   Most had never seen anyone like Joe and probably never will again.  He was unique and the audience was mesmerized by his creative ability to mix the theatrics with his singing.  I  guess initially that they were trying to figure out, like myself, if he was pardon the pun "feeling alright."   Once we figured out he was very ok, we all enjoyed the show with bewilderment of how someone could do those crazy contortions or why would  they even want to. That was the first time.  When I saw him the second time, I like the others there, looked forward to his act.  We knew full well that we were in for a treat and even got a chuckle.  Like Michael Jackson, there will never be anyone like Joe Cocker.   Anyone else will be an intimation.    He will be missed. 

re:  This And That:  
Have a very Merry Christmas and almost an insanely Happy New Year! 
Rick, Doug, Bill, Bob & Ken - The Fifth Estate  
Thanks a lot, guys ... and right backatcha!  (kk)   

Hope you and your family had a great Christmas Day. I don't know if you saw it today, but on the NBC NIGHTLY NEWS they did some sort of segment that was Christmas related. Can't really remember offhand what it was about, but what caught my eye, er ear, was the background music that was playing very briefly. It was the instrumental BUMBLE BOOGIE out of 1962 by the group B. Bumble & the Stingers. If it wasn't the original recording, it was a very close second. 
And, speaking of the song BEND IT, here in the OKC area the song itself was recorded by a local garage band by the name of the Noblemen. The record came out on the label CJL Records and for the week of March 16, 1967 peaked at #2 here in the OKC area. Now the flip was a song called STOP YOUR RUNNING AROUND and lots of people in the music business here in the city thought that that songwas the better of the two. 
Without doing any research, I believe I heard one time or read that actress Barbara Eden (of I Dream of Jeannie) recorded the song as well.  
Merry Christmas!  
Larry Neal  
"Bend It" got a TON of airplay here in Chicago yet never officially charted.  I probably heard it more on my MOM's station than mine ... for some reason Howard Miller and WIND were all over this song!  It never made Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart yet EVERY TIME we feature it, we get emails from readers all over the country who fondly remember the song.
As for "Bumble Boogie" ... and so many OTHER songs that are used in advertising these days, it's so cool when one of our "vintage" songs comes on during a tv commercial or movie scene ... it's always fun to watch the reaction of those around you.  Invariably, they are immediately taken in by the infectious sound that radio is trying SO hard to dissolve these days.  Too bad.  I've said it before and I'll say it again ... mark my words ... in about four or five years some enterprising young guy is going to come up with the GREAT idea of programming music from the '50's, '60's and '70's again ... and it's going to catch on immediately, sparking all kinds of "imitation" radio stations across the country trying to cash in on this hot "new" sound.  This music will never die.  (kk) 

Speaking of which, did you happen to catch any of the Rewound Radio Top 77 Countdown the day after Christmas?  I was glued to the dial all day long.  (We had to work that day ... I think I passed all of eight cars on the highway into the office that morning!!!  But this meant that I could totally engross myself in Allan Sniffen's station.)

I've got news for all you know-it-all consultants and research geeks out there ... you haven't got a CLUE as to what people REALLY want to hear.  Votes came in from literally all over the world ... and we heard one great song after another, played side by side with the obvious hits that radio plays every day anyway.  The DO mix ... and they mix incredibly well ... because for the first time in a VERY long time, radio was INTERESTING again!!!  One surprise followed another ...  

Here is just a brief sampling of some of what we heard on the "Pre-Countdown to the Countdown" ... GREAT stuff that blows away the repetitive crap they are force-feeding us day after day after day!  I guarantee you that featuring a few of these songs as part of your mix will win you over more new listeners than you ever imagined possible.  Don't insult us with the same playlist every single day, day in and day out ... embrace the heart and soul of this music and watch your listeners respond in kind.  (kk)

Rewound Radio will be playing HUNDREDS of your favorites from this special poll straight through New Year's Day ... and beyond ... because they ALWAYS feature the best of the hits that OTHER radio stations have forgotten all about.  Check out the Listen Live Links here:
They are proving what we've been saying on a daily basis ... you really CAN mix in those same 300 popular tunes with a whole bunch of OTHER tunes that people remember ... and create the perfect listening experience.  Make this your "go to" station between now and New Year's Day ... and I'll bet you never switch back!  (kk)

Tom Cuddy brings us up to date on Andy Kim, courtesy of this article from Rolling Stone:   

Hi Kent;    
I just finished reading a new book entitled “The History of Rock & Roll in Ten Songs” written by Greil Marcus. He does a good job of unlocking some of the reasons behind the those hits. Thought you might enjoy reading it.  
Clark Weber    
PS Merry Xmas and a great 2015! 
I hadn't heard of this one ... a mixed bag of reviews to be sure ... sounds like an interesting concept (but apparently a frustrating read) if I'm interpreting these reviews correctly ... still sounds intriguing, however!  (Can anybody REALLY encompass the complete history of rock and roll in just ten songs?!?!?)  kk  
Click here: The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs: Greil Marcus: 8601401331957: Books

A good article on the decline of the music business:  
There are a few points made therein that go beyond the standard screed, of which we are all familiar.
By the way, the unnamed artist that is cited in the piece whose first album was shelved, but generated $200,000,000 in revenue on her first official release was Sheryl Crow.
Happy Holidays, all! 


Thank you, Kent and Friends!  
I have enjoyed every Friday.  Memories of delight! 

I thoroughly enjoyed each and every Saturday Survey feature this year. Thanks to Clark B and others who provided material, and of course a big thank you to you, Kent, for putting it all together for us. And hey, the Fifty Years Ago Friday feature was great fun too!
Hope your 2015 is grand!
David Lewis  

Here's the thing about the 60's and early 70's ... growing up, the 60's radio was different than it is now ... we had the awesome thing they don't have today:  Top 40 Radio!  Today, you might hear someone say they like a song and it would be easier to say "Oh they like that kind of music", because most of today's music is the same.  We heard the songs that Kent plays every day and they might be "Purple Haze", "Skip a Rope", "It Tears Me Up", "Magic Carpet Ride", "You Gotta Be Loved", "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron", "Walk Away Renee", "The Weight", "Mr. Businessman", "Can't You See Me Cry" and "Delta Lady" back to back, just as you COULD hear them in the 60's.  It was hard to pigeonhole a listener, because we grew up loving ALL of these sounds coming from our tinny tiny transistors! 
It was great working with you on the Saturday Surveys.  I know it was sometimes stressful for both of us to hit deadlines ... but I enjoyed seeing my charts up there to share. 
Thanks for all you do for all of us. 
Clark Besch 
Looking back at those charts was a trip back in time each week ... and you're absolutely right ... it was the magic of ALL these different styles of music, existing side-by-side, that made growing up in the '60's and '70's, listening to the radio, such a life-altering experience ... we were exposed to it all.  It didn't really matter if we liked it or not ... we all have our personal favorites ... but the fact that it was all put out there for us to digest is what made it such an exciting time in radio.  Add in the days of "Personality Radio" where we hung on the deejay's every word and kids growing up today will NEVER understand why this music and this era meant so much to us. 

And we've decided that we WILL continue with our looks back in 2015 ... it'll be revamped as The 50 Year Flashback ... and feature charts from all over the country from 1965 ... and my hope is that you'll be right there with us, Clark, helping to supply some of these great items from your massive collection!  It all kicks off on January 5th and will be our new Monday feature for 2015.  (kk)

re:  Oops!:  
A MAJOR oops on this one ... apologies to Geoff Dorsett! (We have since fixed our error!)   
>>>Several weeks ago we told you that Geoff Lambert would be interviewing Wrecking Crew Drummer / Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Hal Blaine on his program.  We now have an audio link for our readers so that they, too, can enjoy this very special show.  (kk)  
I should have been so lucky, Kent lol. It is Geoff Dorset with the interview and show. 
Geoff Lambert

re:  And The Fun Continues ... Check Out The Up-Coming Local Shows - January and February:

February 7th - Salute to '60's - Herman's Hermits (featuring Peter Noone), The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots - Star Plaza Theater

February 12th - The B-52's - The Arcada Theatre

February 14th - Loverboy and The Romantics - The Arcada Theatre

February 19th - Mr. Big - The Arcada Theatre

February 21st - Billy Ocean - The Arcada Theatre

February 28th - Rare Earth - The Arcada Theatre

re:  Next Week In Forgotten Hits:
Limited postings again due to the holidays ... but watch for our special interview with Barry Winslow of The Royal Guardsmen ... that one will be up on the site the day after New Years!!!  (You're gonna LOVE this interview ... many of the questions came right from our readers ... and it's killer good!)
Meanwhile, continued Happy Holiday Wishes to all!  (kk)