Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday This And That

Still sorting through about the last 12 days of mail ...   
Here are a few that caught my eye ... they might catch yours, too!   

re:  This And That:  
Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine are getting back together for One Night Only to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.  (Now let me get this straight ... so they're getting back together ... for only one night ... for a good cause ... and they're calling it a "one night only reunion"?!?!  OMG!!! Who would EVER think to do such a thing?!?!?  Much less CALL it that!!!)  
More details here:  Click here: Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine Reuniting For One Night ~ VVN Music   

Kent ... 
We're starting a letter writing campaign to get Turner Classic Movies to feature Bobby Darin movies during his birthday month of May. 
It would be helpful if you could print this information in Forgotten Hits: 
Mr.  Robert  Osborne
Turner  Classic  Movies
1050  Techwood  Dr.  NW
Atlanta ,  GA  -  30318
Thank  You.
Frank B. 

I think there are enough Bobby fans on our list who'll want to get onboard with this idea.  (And no, I still haven't had time to repost my month-long series on Darin on the website ... I barely was able to squeak out a couple of editions of Forgotten Hits this week as it is!)  kk  

Music Festival Celebrates The Beatles' Shea Stadium 50th Anniversary   
On August 15, 1965, The Beatles performed their historic first concert at Shea Stadium which paved the way for stadium concerts for the next fifty years. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of this famous event, Liverpool Productions has announced that this year's Fab 4 Music Festival will be on that exact date - August 15. 
The popular New York / New England regional Beatles-themed festival, also known as "Danbury Fields Forever" is a family-friendly Music, Foods & Arts Festival now in its fourth year, and will feature 10 bands playing the music of The Beatles, their solo material and songs from the sixties. It will all "come together" from noon until 8pm that Saturday at Ives Concert Park in Danbury, Connecticut.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' Shea Concert, advance "Ticket to Ride" admissions to the Fab 4 Music Festival are only $19.65. There are also V.I.P. tickets available and hotel packages. Discounted early-bird advance tickets are now on sale; admission will be higher at the door. Advance ticket available at:
Ives Concert Park is located at 43 Lake Avenue Extension on the campus of Western CT State University in Danbury, CT. Along with the great entertainment (line-up to be announced), there will be more Beatle and memorabilia dealers & vendors, exhibitors, attractions, kid-friendly activities, along with a large variety of food options available. For guests staying overnight, there is a reduced-rate special hotel package which includes accommodations and breakfast. There is also a festival after-party on Saturday night at the hotel.
"Danbury Fields Forever IV" on Saturday, August 15, 2015, is presented by Liverpool Productions, the same company that presented "NYC FAB 50," The Beatles' 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City last February, and produced the Connecticut Beatles Conventions since 1978. They also organize the annual fan vacations to Liverpool and London known as the "Magical History Tour." The Fab 4 Music Festival is hosted by Charles F. Rosenay!!!, with Ken Michaels of the "Every Little Thing" radio show as Special Guest MC.
With a full day of fab 4 fun, 10 bands and music in the air, as The Beatles sang, "It's Guaranteed to Raise a Smile."
For further info, visit website or call (203) 795-4737.
DATE: Saturday, August 15, 2015 
HOURS: 12:00 pm NOON until 8 pm
LOCATION: Ives Concert Park, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury CT 06810 
TICKETS $19.65      

From Claude Hall's newsletter, addressing more of the "Deserving and Denied" artists who have yet to find their way into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:
My email item on the ‘so-called’ Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame’s idiotic exclusion of the recently departed Joe Cocker brought numerous responses from your many followers led by Les Garland and Paul Rappaport, who also noted the exclusion of true rockers like Bad Company, Cheap Trick and Journey, amongst others.  And Madonna’s in.  OK, OK.  She frequently captures the spirit of R ‘n R but not even in the same neighborhood as Bad Company.  And when we think of Rock ‘n Roll we think of Elvis, Jerry Lee, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones and … Abba!  I don’t give a rat’s patootie about how many zillion records they sold worldwide … they’re in and Journey isn’t?  What exactly was Neil Schoen playing that brought millions of R ‘n Rollers to their feet screaming approval over a couple of decades … a ukulele?  And the ultimate idiocy and hypocrisy of the HoF selection committee is the exclusion of Chicago.  Apparently because they’re a horn-driven, jazz-oriented band.  Ever listened to Terry Kath play soul-searing, gut-wrenching guitar?  Listened to the lyrics of their songs?  If that’s not Rock ‘n Roll, I’m Brenda Lee.  And if there’s ever been a harder-driving R ‘n R percussionist than Danny Seraphine, I must’ve missed it.  Oh, and by the way, the purest, most innovative jazz artist of all time -- Miles Davis -- IS in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.  Chicago isn’t.  Puh-leeze.  They should tear the place down and replace it with something of value.  Like an indoor parking garage.
Bob Sherwood
Want on Claude's list?  Drop him an email at ... and tell him that Forgotten Hits sent you! 
The exclusion of Chicago is one of the organization's biggest oversights ... it's downright shameful (and diminishes their already questionable knowledge regarding these matters to the sub-zero level.)  By the way, do you think Miles Davis is known as Kilometer Davis in Europe???  (kk)   

Hi everyone,  
This is Ronnie Allen.  I am delighted to tell you about my latest radio interview show. It's with an artist who has been "off the radar screen" for about 50 years.  
She is Kathy Linden. 
The legendary Steve Allen described her this way: "Kathy Linden has a voice as fresh and sweet as a spring morning." Well, Steve hit the nail on the head there, but what he said is a very small part of the Kathy Linden story. 
Ever since I first heard "Billy," the catchy 1958 hit which made her an overnight success, I have been a huge admirer of her music. She followed up with a similar hit called "You'd Be Surprised" and then, in 1959, had another major hit which was totally different, a touching ballad called "Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye." 
Kathy was a Jersey girl when she had the three hits mentioned above, all of them on the Felsted label. She worked very closely with bandleader, arranger and producer Joe Leahy.  
What is generally not known about Kathy is that prior to "Billy" she was very much involved with piano and violin. After leaving Felsted, she moved to Nashville (and recorded for Monument Records) and then to California (and recorded for R.P.C. and then Capitol Records). The show includes several recordings besides the hits that I've mentioned and you may be surprised as you discover what an incredibly versatile singer she is. And that even includes rock and roll! She eventually left the recording business to concentrate on other things which became the main priorities in her life. The one thing that has never changed is that music has always remained an important part of her life. She is now in the process of writing dozens of songs and instrumentals with the goal of placing many of them in films. 
This was truly one of the most enjoyable shows that I have ever done. Kathy is a total delight. 
Oh, one more thing. There's an outtake at 28:59 into the show which I "decided to leave in" even though I explicitly told Kathy that I would remove it. But was it really an outtake or was it a planned bit? Kathy and I know for sure but we ain't sayin'! I will tell you, though, that she and I both enjoy clowning around. So you can factor that into your judgment.    
To access the show, please use the following link. When my "Ronnie Remembers" page comes up, click on Kathy's picture: that will bring you to a direct link for listening.  

And, speaking of cool interviews, check out THIS one, conducted by our buddy Carl Wiser from Songfacts ...   

Hey Kent -
Just published an interview with Bob Gaudio on Songfacts, where he answered questions like "Is there a real Dawn?" and "Did 'Who Loves You' come from Telly Savalas?"
He also told a great story about producing the Neil Diamond / Barbra Streisand duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." This was a huge deal - the DJ mashup of the song was getting radio play, so they had to get the single out quick. Bob was in charge of somehow making it all come together to the satisfaction of both Diamond and Streisand - very powerful personalities and very particular in their musical tastes. Bob says he over-prepared a bit (full orchestra standing by in the lobby), but they realized early on that the key was not interfering with the vocals. Here's the interview:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser   

On a related note, the aforementioned Ronnie Allen also did a VERY nice piece on Bob Crewe a few months back that's well worth a listen ... you can find that one here:  Click here: Bob Crewe: The Master And The Music   

HI - 

Minnesota's 'Surfin' Bird' makers the Trashmen are riding another wave
“Can you see 10 years from now, ‘The Copacabana Presents: The Trashmen?’ "
 Dick Clark smugly asked those words in 1964 at the end of what has to be one of the strangest “American Bandstand” performances in the show’s 47-year history. He clearly didn’t expect Minnesota’s first chart-topping rock band to have much of a history.
Trashmen guitarist Dal Winslow relishes getting the last laugh: “Here it is, 50 years later, and we’re actually doing pretty good.”
Everybody’s heard about “Surfin’ Bird.” An unlikely hit in the wake of JFK’s assassination, the Trashmen’s 1963 goof-off single has been reused by everyone from the Ramones and Stanley Kubrick to Pee-Wee Herman and, most recently, Fox TV’s “Family Guy.”

However, few of the Minnesota music lovers who will see the Trashmen perform at First Avenue Saturday for 89.3 the Current’s birthday party probably know the story of the pioneering local musicians behind the iconic song.
Take three of your wisecracking, Minnesotan-talking uncles with wire-rim glasses, gray beards and anti-Obama bumper stickers and imagine them as onetime rock stars, and you’ll get an idea of what the Trashmen are like now.
Along with their drummer and primary singer Steve Wahrer, who died of cancer in 1989, the guys rode the wave of their raucous if ridiculous hit for three years before initially calling it quits in 1967. They went on to lead remarkably normal lives with families and respectable jobs, including financial planner and IT technician.

Five decades later, these retired grandpas are being invited to play one of the hippest local club gigs of the year. They also just put out their first record in 25 years, a collaboration with respected California retro-surf guitar player Deke Dickerson.
“I don’t think the Trashmen guys have any idea how important they are,” said Dickerson. “They’re cult rock stars to a lot of people around the world.”
Thanks to legal action in the 1980s that got them back some — but not all — of the rights to their hit song, they all now receive recording royalty payments alongside their Social Security checks.
“The song keeps getting used in the most random ways, which is good for us,” said Bob Reed, the bassist, over midday coffee at the kitchen table in Winslow’s house in Ham Lake.

Winslow’s basement is the nearest thing to an official Trashmen museum. One wall has their old album covers from the Soma Records label, including the original 1964 “Surfin’ Bird” LP. Another wall features mid-’60s posters for their concerts in Midwest ballrooms with the likes of Fats Domino and Jan & Dean.
Most curious of all, a check made out for a whopping $1.88 hangs in one of the poster frames — the first royalty the band members received for “Surfin’ Bird.” Winslow saved it to show what a No. 4 hit in Billboard got you in those days.
“I cashed mine,” Reed recalled with a laugh. “I needed it back then.” 

Minnesota’s kings of surf  
All around age 21 at the time they hit the charts, the Trashmen had been playing together in various bands since attending high school in Robbinsdale and north Minneapolis.
After guitarist Tony Andreason got out of the service in 1962, they took a road trip to California to soak up the sunny surf-rock sound just starting to take off — which they brought back and played in local ballrooms and teen centers.

The band’s longtime friend and resident historian Mike Jann remembered the Minnesota guys’ sudden transformation: “They had to use an article we clipped out of [the Minneapolis Tribune] that listed all the different surf jargon of the time.”
They first improvised “Surfin’ Bird” during a performance at Chubb’s Ballroom in Maple Grove
over the summer of 1963. Local disc jockey Bill Diehl was there and insisted the band record the messy jam as a single to play on the radio.
Diehl soon hooked them up with Nic-o-Lake Records store owner George Garrett, who had started the fledgling Garrett Records. After one failed recording session at the store, they wound up cutting the definitive version at Minneapolis’ Kay Bank Studio at Nicollet and 26th Street.

“This was before Fender made its reverb amps or other [rock recording equipment], so we really played it like you hear it,” Winslow recalled. “Steve did it brilliantly.”
Within a few weeks of Diehl first playing the song in a “Battle of the Bands” on WDGY, it had spread across the Midwest and then onto the Billboard chart. The full album was then wham-bammed and issued in the early spring of 1964, by which time the Trashmen all squeezed into a Chevy Greenbrier van and hit the road, cramming in 292 performances by year’s end.
“We killed that van in one year, we put so many miles on it,” Winslow recalled.
Said Andreason: “People always ask us how much we partied — being young guys on the road like that — but the truth is we really didn’t have time to do that. We did have a lot of fun together, though.”
After three years and about 10 failed attempts to land a follow-up hit, though, it stopped being fun.

“We saw the writing on the wall,” Winslow recalled. “Vietnam was in full swing, rock music was going more psychedelic and getting more serious. It wasn’t really our scene anymore.”

‘Bird’ money  

While the four members did eventually receive a lump sum of $4,500 apiece from record sales in the mid-’60s — Reed remembers buying a new Plymouth Fury with it — they would not make any more money off the song until winning a mid-1980s lawsuit.
Their case was against Minnesota record mogul Amos Heilicher, who picked up the single from Garrett as soon as it started getting airplay and issued it via his own Soma label.
Also the founder of the Musicland record-store chain, Heilicher justifiably claimed ownership of the “Surfin’ Bird” recording for two decades. When the makers of California Cooler wine coolers used it in a national TV commercial in
the mid-’80s, though, the band members said enough is enough and sued.
“We told him to show us the contract, and he couldn’t, because we never signed one,” Winslow claimed.
The Trashmen won back the recording rights to “Surfin’ Bird” but long ago lost their songwriting rights to the hit, which is the more lucrative territory among music royalties.
Not long after “Surfin’ Bird” became a hit, Soma was threatened with a lawsuit by the Los Angeles doo-wop group the Rivingtons, whose singles “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s the Word” clearly provided a blueprint. The Trashmen said they’d never heard the original recordings, but instead heard a Wisconsin band, the Sorenson Brothers, covering them. And anyway, they thought they had reworked the songs enough to call their version an original.
“We were left out of it and really never had the chance to fight it,” complained Winslow.

Reed pointed to the Oak Ridge Boys’ 1981 hit “Elvira,” which also uses the common “papa-oom-maw-maw” passage: “The Oak Ridge Boys didn’t let [the Rivingtons] take their songwriting credit.”
Thanks to their successful careers after quitting the road in 1967, though, the surviving Trashmen were able to keep money matters out of the band’s legacy in the decades that followed.
They played sporadic reunion shows in the ’70s and ’80s, only in the Twin Cities — and “only when it made sense and seemed like a fun idea,” recalled Andreason, who continued playing music in the country and bluegrass realm (he still gigs regularly with the Platte Valley Boys). Wahrer continued drumming and toured with Bobby Rydell and several Nashville singers before his death at age 47.
“Steve was really a versatile drummer and singer who could do Jerry Lee Lewis better than anyone — and a great guy, too,” said Andreason, who took up vocal duties at subsequent gigs.

In 2007, with their parental and professional obligations decreasing, the surviving Trashmen started performing more often after they accepted an invite for their first of several European tours. Stateside, they have played cool oldies/garage-rock festivals in recent years such as New Orleans’ Ponderosa Stomp and the Las Vegas Grind. Reed's son Rob now serves as their drummer, nicknamed "Trashkid" even after he entered his 50s.
“We really don’t go looking for jobs, but just respond to people’s requests,” Winslow said, alluding to a new offer to headline the punk-flavored Memory Lanes Block Party over Memorial Day weekend in
“Sounds fun,” was his response upon hearing a description of the block party. In other words, it’s right up the Trashmen’s alley.
Chris Riemenschneider 

Thanks to Gary Theroux for the info about the Donna Douglas 45 from 1963.  Presumably she recorded it for the ARLEN label in West L.A., not to be confused with the ARLEN (shorter-lived and more independent) label in Philadelphia ("Untie Me" by the Tams, etc.).  If so, that's very cool because Arlen is one of my favorite obscure labels.  Typically, later in '63 it was acquired by Dot Records - right around the time that The Dartells' "Hot Pastrami" was heading up the charts. 
Happy 2015 - 

Speaking of Miss Elly, not JR's Mom ... the OTHER one ... did anybody else happen to see this on American Idol?  (kk)

I'll betcha I've been asked at least fifty times now if I was going to the Grateful Dead concert here in Chicago in July.

The short answer is "no" ... I've never really been a fan of the band or the element that surrounds them ... but apparently this is a VERY hot ticket here in Chi-Town.

One reader even sent us a copy of their poster:
Pretty cool, actually ... although I've still yet to see a "Dead Head" sticker on a Cadillac.  I used to work with a guy who would take the whole summer off ... he and his wife would make an entire station wagon full of sandwiches and then follow The Grateful Dead around all summer, selling those sandwiches to the Dead Heads.  Said he could make more money during those few weeks than he made all year long at his regular job.  Guess that lifestyle really DOES give you the munchies!!! (kk)

Kent ...

I think you can pick any ten Elvis songs and I wouldn't be able to argue with you.
Frank B.

I kind of monitored this while the poll was going on ... believe me, I KNOW how tough this would be to do ... I seriously could not come up with less than 80 favorites when we celebrated what would have been Elvis' 80th Birthday a few weeks ago!  (That being said, I don't think MOST of THIS Top Ten List would have made mine, should I ever really have to narrow it down to just ten!!!)  kk
re:  On The Radio:

As of Tuesday (January 20), I am no longer programming the '50s Hits and '60s Hits channels for Slacker Radio. We disagreed on the direction my channels should take -- specifically, the number of songs in rotation. The decision was my own and I wish them the best as they move forward, playing
"less hits with a lot less Ron Smith."  I still have my real world job so Ebay sellers who depend on me for their livelihood should have nothing to fear. I look forward to announcing my next exciting venture -- just as soon as it falls into my lap.

-- Ron Smith

Best of luck to you, Ron ... "narrow-casting" seems to be the way of radio these days ... and clearly it's paying off BIG dividends for them ... as a whole, less people listen now than ever before!  (Personally, I'd love to see you bring back the Real Oldies Format somewhere ... and reinstate your Chicago Countdown!  But that's just me!)  kk

Speaking of the sad state of radio today, I also got THIS email from Big Jay Sorensen this past week ...

Hiya Kent ...
It's been a while, but I'm still reading your still important blog whenever I can. I so enjoyed the comments about Joe Cocker recently. He was one of my fave artists. So passionate. So talented for interpretation and nuance. 
I still enjoy YOUR passion for our music. And you've taught me a lot about the Chicago music scene from the '60s into the '70s ... being a kid from New Jersey, I didn't get as big a taste of as perhaps I should have. I DID listen to WLS and Super CFL, but I could only listen post-sunset back then. Now, it's a losing cause with most AM DX-ing.
Yes, I'm still on CBS-FM ... and yes, we've evolved as have most Classic Hits stations. I think our station have evolved more than most of them, as we've embraced some '90s hits in the mix of mostly '80s, '70s and the handful of '60s that still remain. As you know, I still personally love the music I grew up with, but I recognize the necessity to reach a 'younger' listener for today's advertisers obsessed with 25-54 year-olds. And we seem to own them now. It's all relative, as 25 years ago, many stations were going after those same demos ... only NOW many of those people are in their '60s and '70s. The difference today is there are many more ways and platforms to find the music WE like. Those platforms didn't exist then. I still have a dream to put online my own internet stream. I've already got the jingles and playlists ready to roll ... now if I could only find a benefactor for the royalty payments!
Hope all is well ... and hope you'll tune in sometime when you're up late ... remember, I'm on from Midnight to 6 am on Friday and Saturday (actually Sat. morning and Sunday morning) every weekend. All times Eastern. 
By the way, ya know, I'm in the Wages of Spin II documentary about three times ... and so is my friend of 42 years, the one and only Joey Reynolds. We were both interviewed for this edition, and I will likely be in the NEXT one, too, which actually takes place in the mid-'60s into the '70s. I attended the World Premier near Philly in the rough-cut stage of production ... and the audience just ate it up. Charlie Gracie was in attendance too, along with many Philly area radio and TV people. And of course, fans of the music and the industry. I didn't see any independent record promo people lurking in the audience however. Wages of Spin II  "Bring Down That Wall" is a MUST see ... if for no other reason to see my face for radio. But the STORY is real and it will blow your mind. 
BE BIG!Big Jay Sorensen
Got this from DJ Stu Weiss:
Stu is also honoring the music of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper on his program this Friday Night ...

The Day The Music Died  -  February 3rd 1959

A date that still sadly lives on in our hearts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Do you remember where you were when you first heard the news about the plane crash taking the lives of The Big Bopper - Ritchie Valens - Buddy Holly?

On this special I will be playing songs by each artist plus songs about each artist plus many Buddy Holly sound a likes and wannabes.   

I often wonder how different the music world would have been if these three great artists had lived.     
Friday Night, from 8:30 / 12:00 AM (Eastern), we'll be remembering these great artists who left us far too soon.
(click here)   OldiesYour Way  

Speaking of cool radio news, check this out ...

Hi guys.
This week, in an industry first, the legendary Radio Caroline will become the first British radio station to begin broadcasting to the U.S. in EST and PST.
On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Radio Caroline officially launches two new free apps that effectively synch its output to the East and West Coasts of America, removing the time difference.
This means people in North America can now listen to the station in "local time," starting each day with the breakfast show from Los Angeles at 7 a.m. EST / PST and so on throughout the day and around the clock.
The free apps are available at the Apple App Store for iOS ( here ) and at Google Play for Android (
here ).
After 50 years on the air, and half a century after it began playing rock and roll in defiance of the British Establishment, Radio Caroline is once again making waves and making history.
I have pasted below a copy of our news release.
Vigeon McGrath
PR Coordinator, Radio Caroline USA 
LEGENDARY BRITISH STATION RADIO CAROLINE LAUNCHES IN NORTH AMERICA - Different cities. Different time zones. One radio station! 
Los Angeles, Calif. - Legendary music station Radio Caroline that defied the British government to bring rock and roll to the UK and sparked the Swinging Sixties launches in the U.S.A. today.  
Still leading the way in innovation, in an industry first, Radio Caroline is rolling out new apps on Tuesday Jan. 20 that remove the time difference and enable American fans to listen to the station's output from breakfast throughout the day and into the evening in either Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time.  
It's the first time that a British radio station has synched its output for the East Coast and the West Coast of America with its flagship breakfast show originating in Los Angeles. Now listeners on both coasts can start their day with the breakfast show with Tony Paul from 7 to 9 a.m and hear the rest of the station's output from the U.K. around the clock. 
After 50 years on the air, Caroline remains true to its heritage with real personalities playing the music of the rock and roll generations up to the present day and helping break the best new artists.  
Apps for iOS and Android are now available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play and the apps are free! 
Download the app for iOS here 
Download the app for Android here  
The British station with the American name soon became recognized as a symbol of rebellion the world over.”  
New York Times, April 3, 2011. 
Named after President John F. Kennedy's daughter, Radio Caroline began broadcasting in 1964 from two ships anchored off the coast of Britain in international waters.  
At a time when Britain's official broadcaster the BBC refused to play the music young people were clamoring to hear, pirate DJs lived on board the boats and rocked and rolled in defiance of The Establishment, playing songs by The Who, the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and other now iconic bands. 
Endorsing the book “The Ship That Rocked the World,” Pete Townshend of The Who is quoted as saying: “Without Caroline, we would not have sold a single record.”  
The story inspired the Hollywood movie “Pirate Radio,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, which was written and directed by Richard Curtis, a longtime Radio Caroline fan.  
The station still has one of the “boats that rocked,” the “Ross Revenge,” now restored and anchored just off the coast of southeastern England.  
A feature documentary about the history of Radio Caroline is currently in production in the U.S. and U.K. and features interviews with Roger Daltrey, Mick Fleetwood, Donovan, Olivia Harrison, Richard Branson and original DJs including Johnnie Walker and Tom Lodge.