Friday, December 4, 2015

The Friday Flash

re:  The Cornerstones Of Rock:  
If you have Comcast, The Cornerstones of Rock is now listed on the guide, in case you want to record it ... both nights are listed ...
(Bill Hengels) 
Cornerstones of Rock logo

Cornerstones of Rock   

Cornerstones of Rock is a new concert series filmed in WTTW’s intimate Grainger Studio where the groundbreaking music series Soundstage began more than 40 years ago. The first special in the series will bring together Chicago area’s iconic rock groups of the 1960s and ’70s for a once-in-a-lifetime concert special.  

Cornerstones of Rock: American Garage
WTTW’s Grainger Studio, Chicago
October 16, 2015 (taping)   

Cornerstones of Rock: American Garage is a nostalgic celebration of the local “garage bands” that rose to national prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, and remain as favorites today with their sing-along hits. This special shines a spotlight on the local groups from the Chicago area who defined this era as they rose through the teen clubs all the way to national prominence.   

Jim Peterik of The Ides of March (the house band for the evening, playing their chart-topping hit “Vehicle”) and WGN radio personality Wendy Snyder will host this historic reunion, as many original members of these popular bands return to the concert stage to play their greatest hits, including:
  • The Buckinghams – Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna with special guest and original singer Dennis Tufano (“Kind of a Drag”)
  • The Cryan Shames – Tom Doody, James Fairs, and Jim “J.C. Hooke” Pilster (“Sugar and Spice”)
  • The New Colony Six – Ray Graffia and Ronnie Rice (“I Will Always Think About You”)
  • The Shadows of Knight – Jimy Sohns with Dennis Tufano and Ted Aliotta (“Gloria”)
  • The McCoys – Rick Derringer (“Hang On Sloopy”)
  • The American Breed – Gary Loizzo, Al Ciner, Chuck Colbert, Jr., and Lee Graziano (“Bend Me Shape Me”)
The concert will close with two special tributes:
  • Tribute to "Get it On" by Chase – performed by The Ides of March, powered by four trumpets and an historic appearance by Chase member Dartanyan Brown
  • Tribute to the late Mitch Aliotta – featuring The Ides of March, Ted Aliotta, and all of the groups performing the legendary Chicago anthem “Lake Shore Drive”
Yep, we've already set our DVR for this ... can't wait to see it (since we had to miss the live taping) ... now less than a week away!  Good press so far ... and hopefully the first in a series of new WTTW / PBS Concert Specials.  (This is how Soundstage started you know!!!)  kk 

As previously reported on CRM, WTTW-TV taped the very first episode of a possible new live music series entitled "Cornerstones of Rock" this past October. That debut episode, "Cornerstones of Rock: American Garage" now has a confirmed air date. The show will be premiered on December 10th at 7:30 pm. Encore airings will be that same night at 9:30 pm, and again on December 12th at 9:00 pm. Additional airings are expected during upcoming pledge drives. Other PBS stations in markets outside of Chicago could pick up the special for airing beginning in the spring of 2016. Should this episode be well-received, new episodes of WTTW-TV's "Cornerstones of Rock" will be created in 2016.
Chicagoland Radio and Media 

Thanks ... I’ve been looking forward to this since summer, when the plans were in the works.  
Jogging my memory ... I saw the New Colony Six at a Friday night “social” (You good Catholics will remember these from high school) at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Skokie circa 1967/68 - They played an amazing version of the relatively new “A Day in the Life” … Yes, it’s true; 
Saw the Cryan' Shames at Patten Gym / Northwestern University circa 1968/69.  I’ve seen The Buckinghams and Jim Peterik in some much later configurations, but for me they don’t hold the same fondness of memory, having not seen them “in the day”.  Nice shows though for sure.
A friend I grew up with in Evanston is on the cover of the first American Breed album.  He’s the Indian on the bottom left side.  
Also, don’t The McCoys sort of mess up the pure Chicago “Cornerstones” concept / spotlight? They were from Union City, IN, on the Ohio border. I also thought “Hang On Sloopy” was a pretty weak song when I was a kid … and it still hasn’t grown on me, with my sophisticated taste in music forty years hence.  ;-)  
Mike S.  
It would have been really nice if they had held the line-up for this first show to our local Chicagland talent ... they easily could have expanded things later on to include more of the popular garage bands of the day.  But I'm still looking forward to seeing it.  Anxious to see the pledge prizes, too ... from what I'm told some pretty extensive stuff in the way of additional footage, interviews, a live CD of the entire concert as well as a "greatest hits" CD that includes the original hit versions of all these tracks as they were first released.  Mark your calendars ... the first airing is next week on December 10th. 
Unfortunately, I was too young to catch many of these '60's Local Legends at the time ... other than The Ides Of March who played my high school (which was also THEIR high school) numerous times.
As for The Ides Of March and The Buckinghams, I will say this ... they're still well worth checking out in the live concert setting.  The Ides still have ALL of the original members that formed in that Berwyn Basement 50+ years ago ... how many other groups can you say THAT about?!?!  And they sound better than ever.  (They truly do kick ass in concert!) 
And Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna have kept The Buckinghams in front of audiences for 35 years now ... they tour regularly and have been part of The Happy Together Tour numerous times and have performed on many of the cruise ships, too.  (kk)

Speaking of great shows ...

re:  More Arcada Shows:  
We had no sooner posted our list of upcoming "new year" shows at The Arcada when Ron Onesti announced the next batch of acts just signed for appearances ...
AIR SUPPLY - January 22nd
RANDY BACHMAN - April 16th
THE STYLISTICS - October 7th
And let me tell you ... there are a WHOLE bunch of new acts to be announced in the days to come ... so stay tuned!!!
Other 2016 show already booked include
Jefferson Starship - January 30th
The BoDeans - February 12th
Chuck Negron and Mark Farner - The Voices Of Rock - February 13th
Tommy Roe and Chris Montez - March 13th
Steven Wright - April 9th  (saw him last year at The Genesee and he was hysterical)
Crystal Gayle - May 6th
Alan Parsons - May 7th
Frankie Avalon - May 8th
Paul Anka - May 19th
Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits - June 4th
Norm McDonald - September 16th

re:  Just For Fun:
Check out this video that DJ Stu Weiss sent us ... 

You cannot help but smiling watching this one!!!
The Rocky Fellers went on to have a Top 20 Hit of their own in 1963 with "Killer Joe".  (kk)

re:  Bobby Darin:
Kent ...
Great stuff.  Very interesting. Love it.
The only way you'll be able to top this -- 
Find out who really killed Bobby Fuller.
I love Big Jay ... listen to him every Friday and Saturday on my clock radio. I did write to him to defend my position.  
Looking forward to next week's edition of Bobby Darin.
November 20, 1994 = Wild Wayne interviewed Dodd Darin.
We know that Bobby and Sandra didn't get along at first.  Marriage lasted seven years. He said his parents grew apart because his mother led a sheltered studio life and Bobby was pursuing a high powered career. He was also changed by Viet Nam and the Civil Rights movement.
Frank B.
Not really planning on running weekly installments ... I keep wanting to get the whole thing up on the other site but there is SO much work involved with that (and SO little time to spend on it!!!)  But one of these days we'll make it happen.  We cover all of that stuff ... Bobby and Sandy (and how he first wooed and won over Sandy's mothe!) ... his involvement with Bobby Kennedy and the Civil Rights movement ... now you've got ME wanting to read it all again!!! (lol)  kk

Loved the Darin piece you posted Thursday. The tracks were nice for comparison. Super job as usual.
David Lewis
It was very well-received when we first ran it ... the Official Bobby Darin Website even picked it up ... in fact, I thought there might still be links to the complete original piece but I can't find any.  Years later I was invited to the Flamingo Hotel ceremony in Las Vegas when they put his star on the walkway and got to meet a lot of these people.  It was an exciting time.  (kk)

Hola Kent,
Charlie from deflateville, revenge is sweet !
Loved the Bobby Darin stuff, a great singer-crooner-performer. I was always fascinated by his appearance on a PBS Special (maybe not, could have been just a video) of his "Simple Song of Freedom" performance during which he appears very uncomfortable singing a 'Peace / Folk' song and ending by giving a slyly subtle peace symbol with his hand. 
A great trivia question compares Bobby Darin and Tim Hardin as to who wrote the songs they both sang "Reason To Believe" and "Simple Song of Freedom", many will guess the reverse.
It speaks to his versatility and desire to more than a "Teenage Heartthrob" plus I may have missed this (getting 'senior' ha ha) but didn't he also write "My Way" for Frank(?) another neat connection.
Hey to Larry, the 'Cruisin' Series' allowed us all to experience all the great Disc Jockeys around the country while enjoying the hits through the years, along with the jingles and commercials. I hope you get a kick out of this:

A super compilation collection. 
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and then gave thanks once again after recent events we are the greatest country in the world.
Speaking of Thanksgiving a minor tradition is enjoying Arlo Guthrie's ballad "Alice's Restaurant" and subsequent iterations with family and passing it on. A wonderful statement was shared by Arlo during one of his many performances, when visiting the church years later to purchase and restore it, he was asked by a townsman what he was doing in a church to which he replied "I'm going to establish a 'Bring your own God' Church so all can celebrate their own beliefs in harmony" (I may have abridged it a tad but the essence remains).
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and Happy Holidays to the politically correct!  And thank you, Kent, for the forum.
You're confusing Bobby Darin with Paul Anka on Sinatra's "My Way".  (In fact, Anka has probably rewritten the lyrics to that tune at least two hundred times since in order to fit it into the context of whatever he happened to be doing at that moment in time!)
Darin went full steam into the folk scene ... we had a couple of chapters in our series devoted to his transformation from Vegas lounge lizard into hippie, blue-jean clad Bob.  (Damn, I guess I AM going to have to run this again ... it took a WHOLE lotta work so I hate to just see it sit here in the archives!  Maybe after the first of the year I can devote some time to resurrecting it.)
I listen to "Alice's Restaurant" every Thanksgiving ... in fact, there are a couple of radio stations here in town who play it twice on Thanksgiving Day.  (TV used to run the movie, too, but it's AWFUL!!!)  Instead, PBS ran an Arlo Guthrie concert and I watched a bit of that ... but it was painful to see Arlo try and recreate his masterpiece all these years later ... I ultimately had to turn it off.  The song was both a blessing and a curse ... but now that the whole world knows the story (or at least the whole world as it pertains to the audience at an Arlo Guthrie concert), he's pretty much just going through the motions ... all the little "wink wink, nod nod" moments that made it so clever and unique the first time around are gone.  That being said there are STILL lines that crack me up and make me smile even 46 years later.  (Thank you to cousins Amy and Ina-Alice for first turning ME on to this record way back when at one of YOUR Thanksgiving dinners!)  kk

Hey Kent,
After reading all the things about Bobby Darin, this morning in FH, I couldn't resist sending this Ernie Kovacs clip. Ernie was a one-of-kind comedian. No one has ever been like him, even by today's standards. When "Three Penny" was playing on his show, I thought, "How could they do this to Bobby Darin"hit?"  
I didn't know a thing about the history of the Sinatra vs. Darin "feud". Every time Bobby appeared on TV, my dad would say that he was always trying to copy Frank's style, but I wondered where Dad got that idea. What did I know?- John LaPuzza 

Here are some other cool Bobby Darin links sent in by FH Reader Frank B ...
And from the Bobby Darin edition of "This Is Your Life" (first broadcast on December 2nd, 1959 ... which I see Vintage Vinyl News has ALSO posted links to this week!!!), check out THESE cool clips ... which just celebrated their 56th anniversary!  (kk)

re:  The Huffy Radio Bike:
Hey Kent,
I sure like the photos of the Huffy Radio Bike. In those days, we thought Huffys were cheapies compared to Schwinns, but I just saw a photo of a GREEN Huffy Radio Bike, and I would have found a way to get one! I remember that the closest we could get to a something like that was to hang a transistor radio from the handle bars, by its strap. The radio would swing back and forth, as we peddled, so the reception would fade in and out. Then, we would resort to taping it down! (Not very attractive.) I didn't know that they made radios designed especially to be mounted on bikes, until I saw this page. So, they made Radio Bikes and Bike Radios.
- John LaPuzza
Bicycle Radios - Steve's Antique Technology
Larger Image - Bicycle Radio History - Bicycles predated consumer radios by at least 50 years but as soon as radios and their battery cases became physically small ...

Funny ... I was going to mention tying the strap of my portable radio to the bike handlebars and then forgot all about it ... but I think we ALL did that way back when ... just couldn't keep us away from our favorite tunes!  (kk)

That Radio Bike said it said it took "A" and "B" batteries. I'd bet you can't find them anymore.
R.D. (Bob) Frable
LOL ... good point!  (kk)

This has become a pretty hot topic ... and Chuck Buell (who sent in the original story) tells us ...

Attached is a clearer version of the Radio Bike Ad, if you like.  

Also a friend of mine did some research on this Radio Bike and they came up with this:
Blue is the rarest color, then green, then red. 
One of those, in mint condition? $1500 - $2000.
Another found that Huffy made about 8,500 of them in a two year run debuting in time for the 1955 Christmas season, predating the use of transistors.  With three vacuum tubes, the battery pack was on the carrier behind the seat. 
And a Radio Engineer said, "I would be willing to bet that a set of batteries for a Huffy Radio Bike would cost around $100 today!  The radio in the bike was a tube-type radio and batteries for the old tube portables have gotten really expensive." 
Wow. "A" and "B" Batteries! Used now only to keep the electrical neurons of my mind's vintage memory cells firing!
I remember as a very young Kid these, or similar looking, batteries powering my Dad's Big, Portable Tabletop Shortwave Radio!
Eveready "A" Battery
Eveready "B" Battery

Ride On Radio Rangers! 
Ah yes, I remember these now that I see them again ... you literally had to "plug in" to connect!  (If I'm not mistaken, Dr. Frankenstein had a bunch of these powering his equipment when he created "the monster"!!!  lol)  kk

re:  This And That:
The other day we ran a link to WCBS-FM's Top 500 Thanksgiving Weekend Countdown ...
Then we just got this from the folks at The Fest For Beatles Fans ...
Speaking of lists, The 15th Annual Q104.3-FM Thanksgiving countdown of the Top 1043 Classic Rock Songs of all time was over the weekend and The Beatles had three songs in the Top 6 and four in the Top 11:  
2. Hey Jude
3. Let It Be
6. In My Life
11. Sgt. Pepper Reprise / A Day In The Life.
The Beatles placed 50 songs in the countdown, as voted by listeners.  John had eight, George had seven, Paul had five and Ringo had two - meaning that 72 songs in all made the list.

Thanks again, Kent, for the Santa plug.
And by the way, it's been getting more than 5,000 "hits" on YouTube for the past few days.  I think it's bound to pass 2,000,000.  
My wife asked me why I'm after that number.
The answer?  
"Because it'll make me feel real good".  :-)
Also, I'm getting lot's of requests for the lyrics from teachers who want to use it for their schools' Christmas shows.  Nice!
Congratulations, Paul ... I think you'll pass two million hits in no time!  (kk)

I remember you asking me for this song in the past. At the time I was unable to supply the copy I once had, and converted your wav file to an mp3. By a fluke accident, tonight I found the song again, and it's in nice stereo! It's attached.
Tom Diehl
Thanks, Tom ... evidently a very special promotion "The Chipmunks" did for Harry's Store back in the '50's.  Pretty cool actually.
Their single "The Chipmunk Song" made the national pop charts five times between 1958 (when it went to #1 ... and stayed there for four weeks!) and 1962.  Three out of four times it made The Top 40 ... and the other time it just missed, peaking at #45.  (kk)

Hey Kent.
A Charlie Brown Christmas aired tonight, even though it's only November 30th. The special first aired in 1965, making it eligible for AARP membership. Two big songs in this one, both by the Vince Guaraldi Trio:
"Linus and Lucy" - This is the famous Peanuts theme music. It was actually written two years earlier for a documentary about the comic that never aired.
"Christmas Time Is Here" - Originally an instrumental piece to open the show, the producer of the special decided at the 11th hour to add lyrics, so he wrote some. Guaraldi rounded up some kids from the area to sing them.
Be Well,
Carl Wiser

Kent ...
Have you heard this one?  Mike Love rewrote a Beach Boys song.
Frank B.

Hello Music Fans!  We have big news this holiday season. The Silvers have released a Christmas song called, "What Are You, Christmas?" It's available for FREE on The Silvers / Silver Laughter website, but only until December 31!  Download it now before it's too late!   
Mick Orton

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Look Out Ol' Mackie Is Back

Kent ...
One thing I noticed listening to Wild Wayne's 40th Anniversary Interviews ... Jack Scott, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Duane Eddy, Hank Ballard, Bruce Belland (the Four Preps) and Fred Parris (the Five Satins) all tell similar stories ... their hit song started out as a B-side before they figured out how good it was.  
I was listening to another one of those countdowns on tape.
1991 = WCBS-FM's Top 101 Songs Of The 1950's.
The #1 song was "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Darin.
DJ Bob Shannon said that Bobby listened to Louis Armstrong's version of the song and made the same mistake that Louie made.  The name Lottie Lineard wasn't supposed to be in the song.  She wasn't a character in the "Three Penny Opera."  She was the songwriter's wife.
I was wondering if you came across this information when you did your Bobby Darin Series?
By the way, on December 1, 1960, Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee got married.  It lasted seven years.
Ironically I was working on a piece over the long Thanksgiving Weekend and, as part of my reseach, saw that Sandra Dee was granted her divorce on March 7, 1967.
As for "Mack The Knife," here's the way we covered Bobby's biggest hit in our 30-Day Salute to Bobby Darin:
Chapter 5:  Darin Crosses Over
Despite all his pop chart success, Bobby wanted more.  The truth is, in his heart, Bobby didn't believe that rock and roll would last.  Like many of the older generation, he felt that rock was just a fad that would eventually peter out.  (Keep in mind that by 1959, Elvis was in the army, Buddy Holly had died in a plane crash, Jerry Lee Lewis had already been forsaken by his fans after marrying his cousin, Little Richard had left rock and roll for the church and several new poster-boy teen idol wannabes like Fabian, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell were now prominently on the scene.)  Bobby knew that the key to a successful, long lasting career was to capture the hearts of the older audience as well ... and if he could take the kids along with him, all the better. 
Darin would be criticized throughout his career for using rock and roll as a stepping stone to a bigger musical career.  Indeed, some of his own comments early in his career would indicate that he wasn't particularly fond of the genre ... but there is no question that he could write it and sing it and connect with the young teenage audience.  (After recording "Splish Splash", Bobby told his long-time friend Richard Behrke, "You'll vomit when you hear it.")  He always said that it wasn't a great song ... but that it captured what the kids wanted.  Lyrical references to Peggy Sue and Good Golly Miss Molly insured its place alongside these other early classic rockers.  He as much as admitted to his master plan in an interview with Down Beat Magazine in 1960:  "Pat Boone was using rock and roll as a device ... which is all well and good.  It's exactly what I did."  
There was no question that Bobby wanted to branch out and do more musically.  When he first talked about doing an album of standards, his contemporaries told him it was career suicide.  Close friend Dick Clark pretty much spelled it out for him ... he would lose his audience and alienate his fans if he even TRIED to change his style.  Bobby felt that if he simply stuck with rock and roll, he'd just be one of a thousand other singers ... but if he could continue to polish up his stage act ... and reach a broader, more mature audience, he could take his career to levels never even dreamed of ... and sustain a much longer lasting career than any flash-in-the-pan rock star.  
Darin was determined to prove the cynics wrong.  Despite all the advice he received to the contrary, he went in and cut the standards album he wanted to make. With that thought in mind, "That's All", for all intents and purposes, may very well have been the very first concept album.  Bobby wanted to show his versatility as an artist and when the unlikely pop / rock candidate "Mack The Knife" was selected as his next single, it blew the lid off EVERYTHING else that was out at the time.  It shot straight to #1 and stayed there for nine incredible weeks.  Besides several other previous chart appearances (most often as "The Theme from 'ThreePenny Opera'" or "Moritat"), Bobby made the song his own ... to the point that every "eek" he ad-libbed in the studio have now become permanently etched as part of the lyrics of the song ... you end up singing along with each and every one of them every time you hear it.  Richard Weiss did an INCREDIBLE arrangement and the song took on a whole new life of its own.  "Mack The Knife" was a radio SMASH, crossing over to ALL genres of music ... even the JAZZ stations played it!  
Bobby was rewarded a few months later when he was nominated for four Grammy Awards.  In the Music Industry's second-ever (and first televised) ceremony, "Mack The Knife" was nominated for Best Arrangement. (Richard Weiss lost to Billy May, who had done the arrangement on Frank Sinatra's hit "Come Dance With Me".)  Darin and Sinatra (and the same two songs) faced off again in the Best Vocal Performance Male category and Sinatra also won THAT award.  But then Bobby rebounded with the Best New Artist award and topped off the evening by winning The Record Of The Year Award for "Mack" (which just happened to beat Sinatra's "High Hopes" recording.)  By now, the comparisons to Frank Sinatra had really started to escalate and would follow him for most of the rest of his career.  (How ironic that these two crooners would go head-to-head in so many categories at that year's Grammy Awards!)   
At the end of the evening, whether he was pumped up by the excitement of the day's events or overcome by his own massive ego, exhilaration and / or exhaustion, BobbyY made a comment that would haunt him for the next several years.  When pressed by UPI's Vernon Scott about challenging Sinatra in all four categories (and winning in two), Darin reportedly said "I hope to surpass Frank in everything he's done."  Soon newspapers all over the country were talking about the cocky young kid with the big mouth, who was WAY out of line for even hinting that he deserved to mentioned in the same breath as "Old Blue Eyes" ... despite the fact that those same newspapers had been playing up the comparisons for months already.  
While Darin would spend the next several years denying or down-playing the remark, Sinatra refused to comment.  In hindsight, it seems to have been more of a feud fueled by the press than anything personal between the two artists.  Photos circulated of Sinatra and Dean Martin using a Bobby Darin album cover as a dartboard .... but the truth is that Darin was close with fellow rat-packer Sammy Davis, Jr., most of his life.  (In fact, the liner notes for Bobby's big crossover album "That's All" even reprinted a telegram sent by Sammy Davis, Jr. stating "I've just heard the dubs for your new album.  What can I say?  They're so good I hate you!  But seriously, Bobby, I think the album's another step in a career that I feel will last a long time.")  Bobby also remained on excellent terms with Sinatra's daughter Nancy and her then-husband Tommy Sands.  There are even reports that suggest that after Sinatra broke away from Capitol Records to form his own record company, Reprise Records, Bobby was approached about jumping ship from Atlantic  to record for Ol' Blue Eyes.  (Darin reportedly turned down the offer, feeling he'd be the lost, forgotten artist amongst Sinatra's rat-pack pals also signed to the label ... in fact, Bobby signed with Capitol to record alongside his other idol Nat King Cole, hoping to fill some of the void left by Sinatra's departure!)  Another well recounted incident tells that after one of Bobby's nightclub engagement, Jerry Lewis approached Darin and told him that he was all alone in the league ... Frank, Dean, Sammy and Jerry were all several years older ... and NOBODY else was doing what Bobby was doing ... he had the whole arena to himself.  The only one who could louse it up for him was Bobby himself ... otherwise, there was NOBODY out there that could touch him.  Bobby took the advice to heart.  
The most-famous comment Sinatra ever made on the subject when asked what he thought of Bobby Darin was:  "I sing in saloons.  Bobby Darin does my prom dates."  Darin called it "one of the greatest single lines of all time" and said that he was only too happy to play his prom dates ... until graduation! 
ISN'T IT IRONIC?:  Years later, Frank Sinatra would cut his OWN version of "Mack The Knife", using a virtually identical arrangement to Bobby Darin's!!!  In fact, on his 1984 album "L.A. Is My Lady, Sinatra added a lyric paying tribute to some of the previous "Mack" hit-makers:  "Satchmo Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and Lady Ella, too ... Old Blue Eyes can add nothing new."

DIDJAKNOW?-1:  Against the best wishes of his musical colleagues and his record label, Bobby Darin released his "That's All" album in March of 1959.  Atlantic Records didn't know what to do with the record ... it was SO different from anything else that Bobby had recorded ... and, in fact, different than anything the label had released up to this point.  Coming off the heels of Bobby's smash hit single "Dream Lover", they didn't know what to release next ... all they knew was it had to be big.  The decision was pretty much made for them ... radio jumped on the lead LP track and started playing "Mack The Knife" ... in fact, it quickly crossed over into EVERY style of music, getting played not only on the rock and roll stations but also the pop / contemporary stations, the big bands stations, the jazz stations and everything in between.  It was, by ALL definitions, an across-the-boards SMASH.  Atlantic had no choice but to release it as a single ... which they did in August of that year ... incredibly, a full FIVE MONTHS after the song first hit the streets as an LP track!

DIDJAKNOW?-2:  Bobby Darin was criticized by some for "glamorizing" the character of Mac Heath ... it was basically a song about a murderer!  Bobby most patterned his arrangement after the Louis Armstrong hit from 1956 but the musical "ThreePenny Opera" was also making a comeback in the theater at the time Bobby's song hit.  One of the characters mentioned in the lyrics was Lotte Lenya ... who was actually the widow of Kurt Weill ... one of the original songwriters of "Moritat" ... which became "Mack The Knife"!  In fact, Lotte was starring as Jenny in the off-Broadway revival of "ThreePenny Opera" at the time that Bobby's record hit!  Ironically, Lotte Lenya had discussed the possibility of recording some of her late husband's songs with Atlantic Records label head Ahmet Ertegen ... when Bobby came to Ertegen with the idea to record "Mack The Knife" for his new album of standards (a song he had already been performing in concert for months) it was a COMPLETE coincidence.
 Lotte Lenya

"A Theme from 'The ThreePenny Opera'" was a Top 20 Hit three times in 1956.  Richard Hayman and Jan August took their instrumental version to #12.  It was surpassed by the similarly named Dick Hyman Trio (actually called "The UNFORGETTABLE Sound of the Dick Hyman Trio" on the single) who released the similarly sounding "Moritat ... A Theme from 'The ThreePenny Opera'".  Their version went all the way to #7 in Cash Box.  (Hey, didn't they use to play this on the old Ernie Kovacs television television series all the time?!?!?!)  In fact, three MORE instrumental versions also reached the charts that year when released by Lawrence Welk, Billy Vaughn and Les Paul.  Finally, Louis Armstrong took his vocal version to #20 that year as well.  It's the Bobby Darin  version, however, that's become the definitive take ... and most certainly his signature tune.)  However, this IS Forgotten Hits ... so today you get several of the highlighted versions!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

>>>All weekend long WCBS-FM will be playing their Top 500 Countdown starts on WCBS-FM.  Maybe you can listen now and then.  (I'm gonna go out on a limb and say neither one of us will like the #1 song.)  Frank B.  
>>>What??? You don't think "Boogie Oogie Oogie" will win the top honors this year?!?!?  (kk) >>>"I Love The Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges is song #500 on the WCBS-FM Top 500.  
We're just getting started and already I'm upset.  (Frank B.)
#1 = "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson
DJ said everybody was calling in and guessing "Hotel California", which came in at #2.  All of a sudden "Boogie Oogie Oogie" is starting to look better to me.  (Frank B)

Big Jay Sorensen (who broadcasts on WCBS-FM) didn't take kindly to our commentary on this year's countdown ... 

I'm intrigued by the comments about WCBS-FM and the Top 500 Countdown. I can't speak for management**, but the station is quite successful. No ... really. To whine about "Billie Jean" being No. 1 doesn't compute with a 45 year-old TODAY. To YESTERDAY'S 45 year-old (20 or 30 years ago) it should be blasphemy! Where's "In The Still Of The Night?" 
While I have been reading Kent's wonderful column for years now (congrats on the anniversary) I must say (in my opinion) that we are serving the target audience with pin-point accuracy. If we wanted to super-serve today's 65+ audience, we could play all those great late '50s and early '60s songs that are largely lost on AM / FM radio ... but that would be BUSINESS suicide. What I find most interesting, is the continued feeling of holding on to something that simply can't be done NOW.
It made sense 20 or 30 years ago to play the music the station USED to play then ... but this is 2015. I even grew out of the "demo" and I miss the oldies -- personally. But it ain't about ME. But the music CBS-FM and most other "Classic Hits" stations today DOES resonate with today's 45 year-old. I get calls (years after we stopped playing those "oldies") asking if I can play the Harptones. Uh ... no. Sorry. But I am never rude. I try to briefly explain why. Most people (regardless of age) understand. And then I point out that there are literally thousands of places to FIND their oldies. I know it sounds awful for someone ON the radio to say that, but it's purely business. PURELY. Advertisers generally want 25 - 54 demos. Of course, there are exceptions. But it is reality! So to immediately claim that "I Love The Nightlife" was No. 500 and, "OMG, the world just ended," seems silly. I heard plenty of songs we don't usually play all weekend. And it was great. But the majority of our audience today need not hear "California Girls" on a regular basis ... 'cause it's not THEIR music! It's the oldies of a different generation. Of course, there is anecdotal evidence that younger people (18 - 34) love oldies. Prove it to me with REAL ratings information, please? There are exceptions, but my kids are in their 30s — just outside of 18 - 34 demographic now) and MY music ain't the stuff they wish to hear on a regular basis, if ever. Period. Sure, an occasional sing-along with “Twist And Shout” may happen, but mostly it’s indifference at best. 
I don't wish to get into a pissing match with any of Kent's wonderful readers and supporters. His work DOES serve a wonderful purpose ... to keep OUR music alive. Happily, it IS available in droves, and likely always will be. But just as "Big Band" formats disappeared by the time MY parents were in their '70s, so went "Oldies" radio ... except for a few rare exceptions. One day, "Tainted Love" will be gone as the music of the '00s will be the new "Greatest Hits!" It's evolutionary and necessary. I hope I didn't ruffle too many feathers, but I felt compelled to comment.
Oh ... and to READ about the '60s, '70s and '80s hits, go to my website: and click on Big Week in Pop Music History. I update it usually weekly. There is an archive there complete with videos and the stories about our music, chart history, etc.
I relish your comments at
Big Jay Sorensen 
CBS-FM  101.1 NYC 
**Comments are my own and don't reflect even the sun

Here's the complete list of songs that made WCBS-FM's Top 500 List ...
Passing it along to all you collectors out there ... 

Despite the fact that Dee Mitchell, widow of legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, has pointed out that unscrupulous parties have attempted to sell bogus items and drum kits as having belonged to and played by her late husband, the practice has cropped up again.  "The deplorable practice of auctioning 'Mitch Mitchell' drum sets which he supposedly played while with Jimi Hendrix seems to be ongoing," she noted.  "All of the drums Mitch played with Hendrix and later  are accounted for and not up for sale.   We hope that anybody who might be interested in buying one of these kits will take warning and not fall for this artifice."

>>>When I was just starting my career in radio back in the day as a young, pre-driver's license, teenage disk jockey playing the Hits in South Dakota that have since become those Great Oldies and Forgotten Hits we all love today, it would have been just too cool if this would have been my bike to ride from home back and forth to those KRSD Rapid City radio studios!  (Chuck Buell)
>>>This custom BIKE radio is to DIE for!!!  (I don't think I've EVER seen one of these before!)  kk
I needed this bike in the 60's!!!
Clark Besch
I wonder what one of these goes for today (assuming you could even find one! ... and if you did, if it would still work!!! (kk)

I found this vintage ad on EBay ... looks like these bikes first came out in the '50's!

I also asked I guy I know who works in a bike shop if he's ever seen or come across one.  Nope ... this was a new one on him, too!

More from the Wild Wayne 40th Anniversary celebration, courtesy of Forgotten Hits Reader Frank B ...  

Interview Date:  May 7 1978 - Fred Parris (Lead singer of The Five Satins)
They had the A-side recorded, "The Jones Girl" and needed a B-side.
Fred Parris was in the National Guard in Philadelphia. He was walking guard duty at 3 AM. He decided to work on that B-side song the group needed and came up with "In The Still Of The Nite."
First recorded for the Standard Label, it was recorded at St. Bernadette's Church basement in Easthaven, Connecticut, on a 2-track machine. If you listen to the original recording, you'll hear a truck horn in the background. Once again they get it wrong, making "In The Still Of The Nite" the B-side instead of the A-side.
On the old WCBS - FM Countdowns,this song was #1 ten years in a row.

Interview Date:  October 17, 1982 - Danny Rapp (Lead singer of Danny and the Juniors)
After their 1957 #1 Hit "At The Hop," they were signed by ABC-Paramount . The label said they wanted a song that was similar to "At The Hop" for the group's next release. Dave White wrote "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay." It was a Hit.
Danny said he thought it would've been a bigger hit if it wasn't so close to the first hit.
Danny also said in the late 50's Danny and the Juniors were appearing on American Bandstand about twice a month.
Frank B.

Whatever happened to Joey Scarbury?
Tom Cuddy
Scarbury actually topped both the Cash Box and Record World charts with his 1981 TV Theme / Hit Single "Theme from 'Greatest American Hero' (Believe It Or Not)" ... it peaked at #2 in Billboard where it charted for 26 weeks.  And yep, ya gotta love that Seinfeld answering machine episode!  (lol)  kk

BTW, for Larry, I have one mini survey that is about two inches high and one inch wide from the 60's!!!
Clark Besch
You know the more I thought about this, the more I realized that the original WCFL "Big 10" Surveys were designed to fold in thirds an fit into your shirt pocket ... and they were pretty cool, too, typically depicting the picture of a current hot artist on the front cover ... and often promoting new album appearances, live concerts and radio station promotions.  (kk)

And, speaking of the charts ...

Really enjoyed perusing the weekly survey for WIBG. The first thing I thought of when I saw the call letters was the second volume of the LP's that were made years ago in which certain DJ's shows were reproduced on vinyl LP. The second volume of the Cruisin' Series was from the year 1957 and featured DJ  Joe Niagara. Of the 14 or 15 albums that were made, it just so happens that the one of Joe Niagara happens to be my favorite. In WIBG's  "Future 49", I counted right at just 7 records that would turn out to be hits as we know them today.

Hi Kent,
Just an interesting note ... Burton Cummings is playing at the Orleans Showroom in Las Vegas January 14th - 17th with a one night break on the 15th and I see where the Guess Who are playing in Las Vegas on that night at the Golden Nugget.  I wonder if any of these former band-mates will  catch each other's performances?  
Also, I know how you love Oldies radio, so enclosed is a station high in the mountains of Colorado that is not saddled by the confines of the big city consultants and as a result you'll get to hear quite an extended library and variety.
Tim Kiley 
Honestly, I can't see EITHER party bothering with checking out the other ... but if pressed to buy just one ticket there is absolutely NO question who I'D go to see ... I'll go for the "real deal" every time!  (kk)

We've told you about this one a couple of times now ...
Well, we finally hit the official release date this Friday, December 4th ...
One of the Lonely Ones Will Finally Be Available After Being Shelved For 46 Years
December 4th marks the anniversary of Roy Orbison’s last ever performance (The Front Row Theater, Highland Heights, OH, 1988), a mere two days before his passing. In recognition, Universal Music Enterprises (Ume) has teamed up with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy. Together, they are releasing One of the Lonely Ones globally on December 4, available in CD, 180-gram vinyl and digital form. 
Recorded between January and August of 1969, One of the Lonely Ones is a complete Roy Orbison studio album that has never before been released in any form. The 12-track album was recently discovered by Roy’s sons when they were preparing for the release of The MGM Years box set (also available digitally and on CD and 180-gram vinyl Dec. 4). Born from tragedy, One of the Lonely Ones is a testament to Roy’s unparalleled ability to turn heartbreak into art.
Things were looking up for ‘The Big O’ in 1968. In the middle of the summer, Roy met Barbara, the woman who would be his wife for the remainder of his life. With a new album due out, Roy was on tour in the UK promoting “Walk On” for his forthcoming album Roy Orbison’s Many Moods. Then on Sept. 15, tragedy struck when his home in Hendersonville, TN burned down, killing his two oldest sons Roy DeWayne (age ten) and Anthony (age six). 
To recover from the tragedy, Roy went back to work, recording a new album in January 1969. After taking a break in March to marry Barbara (and go back on tour), recording resumed in July and finished in August. The album never saw the light of day, however. Due to his self-imposed exile during the latter part of the previous year, Roy’s label MGM Records had pushed back the release of Many Moods to May of ’69, thereby knocking his aggressive release schedule out of whack. MGM ultimately made the decision to shelve One of the Lonely Ones.  
Now 46 years later, the world will get to hear One of the Lonely Ones – an album featuring full band, choir and orchestra, with Roy Orbison sounding his strongest. The album does NOT contain demos, outtakes or alternate versions of previously released songs. One of these tracks has recently gained a lot of attention in the UK. Roy’s cover of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is a tribute to his friends Gerry and the Pacemakers, who had a hit with it in 1963, and subsequently toured with Roy and the Beatles. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has also been the theme song for Liverpool Football Club and other soccer teams around the world for half a century. A music video for Orbison’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is currently in the works.
Another standout on One of the Lonely Ones is a cover of Don Gibson’s “I Will Always,” a track that was quite literally lost for several decades. Roy’s son Alex Orbison explains, “Roy was picking these deep love songs for his love of Barbara and starting over again. The song was listed as ‘missing,’ and was truly lost for 45 years. When we went through all of the source tapes we found ‘I Will Always’ in the middle of seven or eight takes of another song. It seemed like they were not getting the other song perfect so they tried a run-through of ‘I Will Always,’ which they did nail on the very first try, and then they went back to the other song. ‘I Will Always’ was not listed on that reel, so if we had not searched through all the source tapes - about 100 hours of listening - then it likely would have been lost forever.” 
Five songs were co-written by Bill Dees (co-writer of  “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “It’s Over”). The guitar-heavy “Child Woman, Woman Child,” an ambiguous tale of a man hung up an immature woman, is a little sister of sorts to “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and was the very first track laid down for One of the Lonely Ones. “Sweet Memories,” a Mickey Newbury song Roy had attempted to record two years earlier, but didn’t release it as he felt the earlier version had not been up to par. A lyric video for “Sweet Memories” was recently made using old family photos, many of which have never been seen by the public until now. 
One of the Lonely Ones was transferred from the original tape at the famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN, and the tracks were individually mixed by Chuck Turner (whose credits include Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss and Marty Stuart) at the Cash Cabin under Alex Orbison’s supervision.  Finally, the restored-to-stereo tracks were put in the capable hands of Richard Dodd for mastering.
Roy Orbison - One of the Lonely Ones [vinyl LP; CD; digital album]
(recorded 1/21/69 – 8/2/69, all tracks previously unreleased)
1) You’ll Never Walk Alone
2) Say No More
3) Leaving Makes the Rain Come Down
4) Laurie
5) Sweet Memories
6) One of the Lonely Ones
7) Child Woman, Woman Child
8) The Defector
9) Give Up
10) Little Girl (In the Big City)
11) After Tonight
12) I Will Always
“Sweet Memories” lyric video:
Preorder links:
One Of The Lonely Ones (CD):
One Of The Lonely Ones (vinyl LP):
The MGM Years (13 CD box set):
The MGM Years (14 LP vinyl box set):

re:  On The Local Scene:   
Hello Kent:   
I thought you might be interested in this event that is occurring this Thursday, December 3rd,  at the Empty Bottle in Chicago:
Chicago music lovers are familiar with the column, “The Secret History of Chicago Music.”  This free event celebrates the publication of a compendium of all of the columns.  
Steve Krakow (AKA Plastic Crimewave) says this about the evening:

ok folks, THIS IS THEE BIG ONE! The official release par-tay of the Secret History of Chicago Music Book Collection is this Thursday at The Empty Bottle, if you RSVP up til the day of the show it is FREE! Copies of the Curbside Splendor Publishing over-200-page hardcover will be available for the FIRST TIME at this event! So stoked to have the first-time-ever set by the FULL BAND version of Athanor, one of my fave 70s windy city psych-pop bands, as well as the 2nd ever perfor...mance in 35 years by electronic soundscapers VCSR (featuring William Vermette), plus the full-tilt avant genius of ONO, and David Bowie-approved auteur Bobby Conn is doing a special "My Chicago" performance that is bound to confound and delight! I'll be signing books and it's gunna be gas!! Can't believe this is finally happening,..yow.

Athanor’s band includes Chris Drehobl of The Mauds on drums and Harry Reinhart (father of American Idol runner up Haley Reinhart) of Midnight on lead guitar.
Best regards,
Rick Vittenson

I'm not sure how many more concerts we'll see in 2015 (we've got Richard Marx coming up on Friday ... and had talked about making The Ides Of March Christmas Show a "Forgotten Hits Get-Together" at The Arcada Theatre on December 18th ... but that one just never came together) ... but not to worry ...

Ron Onesti has already started booking an all-star line-up for 2016 ... and tickets for some of these show are already on sale at their online box office ...

January 17th - The Osmonds
January 29th - Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top)
February 13th - "The Voices Of Rock" starring Chuck Negron (formerly of Three Dog Night) and Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad) 
February 20th - Creedence Clearwater Revisited
March 4th and 5th - UFO
March 6th - The Hit Men - featuring artists who have formerly performed with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Critters, Tommy James and the Shondells, Jim Croce, Carly Simon and more
March 11th - Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes
March 13th - Tommy Roe and Chris Montez
May 6th - Crystal Gayle
May 7th - The Alan Parsons Live Project
May 8th - Frankie Avalon
May 13th - The Orchestra (featuring former members of The Electric Light Orchestra)
May 19th - Paul Anka
June 4th - Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

Lots more shows will be added ... so check back often!