Monday, March 21, 2016


re:  Tommy Roe:  
I was totally impressed with the first installment of your interview with Tommy Roe - I thought it ranks right up there with some of your best work.  But then part two came out and I was completely blown away.  You have really outdone yourself with this one - and Tommy is a fascinating storyteller.  (Now I wish I would have made the drive up to Chicago to see him in concert!)  
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, part three came out - honestly, I don't even know what to say - this is, without a doubt, your finest piece ever.  
Kudos to Forgotten Hits for ALWAYS bringing their A-game.  I've been reading you now for about twelve years and I swear it just seems to keep getting better and better.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us - ALL of your readers owe you a great debt to your incredible service and the wealth of knowledge you provide.
Thanks, David ... this was a real fun interview to do ... and Tommy makes it SO easy, being such a personable guy.  (kk)

By the way, before I forget, VERY special thanks to Tom Diehl for going above and beyond the call of duty to track down that Tommy Roe version of The Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man" the other day ... NOT an easy track to find digitally.  Thanks, Tom!  (kk)

Ron Onesti explains the excitement of hosting this big even in his Daily Hearald column here:

I am enjoying and looking forward to the rest of the interview with Tommy Roe this weekend in FH. 
I would like to make a comment or two about the earlier version of SHEILA on Judd. 
First, I was reminded of an earlier record on Judd that Tommy recorded called CAVEMAN. 
Now about his version of SHEILA on Judd. 
On the label itself it does mention the group that Tommy said backed him up known as the Satins. Underneath that it says with THE FLAMINGOS. This probably isn't the Flamingos of doo-wop fame. One final thing about his Judd version of SHEILA. 
My copy of the record misspells SHEILA. On my copy it is spelled S-H-E-L-I-A, SHELIA. 
Maybe it was like this on all copies ... that I don't know. 
I have always enjoyed the records of Tommy Roe. He seemed to make music for EVERYBODY. 

I found several photographs of Tommy's Judd version of "Sheila" online and they all misspell the title.  I seem to remember reading MANY years ago about The Flamingos being on this record ... DEFINITELY a different group than the one we're all familiar with.  (kk)   

Here's your answer, Larry, right from Tommy Roe himself ...

Hi Kent ... 
I remember when I first saw the record with the misspelling of ‘Sheila” and I complained. It was Sam Phillips' brother Jud Phillips' label out of Memphis, and he just said his secretary made a mistake. And it was never corrected. 
The back up singers were called the Flamingos and I heard the label gave them that name because we were called the Satins. Very forward executive thinking back then.  
Kent, great job on the interview ... we're getting a lot of positive comments from the fans. 
Thanks again, 

Hi Kent ... 
"A picture so nice you sent it twice" in your blog - You and Roe.  
Hey, I really enjoyed the Tommy Roe interview.  He looks great and it was interesting to hear about what he has been up to and about the touring and tough decisions among other stuff.  I wish him the best.  
"Dizzy"  I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning ... etc. Love it!  The Beatles pics and video were cool, too. They were such "little boys " back then.  It is comical to see them clowning around.  Brings back memories. 
Thanks again Kent.  And Have a Happy and Blessed Easter! 
Actually we snapped three pictures backstage at The Arcada, all with a similar background and ran them all ... so there are very slight and subtle differences between them. (Kinda like those old magazine photos where you had to spot the ten differences ... damn, wish we would have thought of that!!!)  There's a limited amound of space backstage available and since we were doing an interview, we opted for the most private room to talk.
It's hard NOT to get wrapped up in Tommy's music ... it's just so damn catch and accessible ... which is clearly what he was going for all along.  And he succeeded in spades!  (kk) 

Fantastic job on the Tommy Roe interview, Kent! 
I just posted an interview with Mark Moore, author of The Jan & Dean Record. 

Extraordinary research.
Glad to have you link to it or post it all - want to take a look at it?

Here's my Tommy Roe story. 
Several years ago I organized a reunion for our small junior high class from the early 60s in suburban Chicago. One girl named Sheila hadn't seen anyone in years and came in from Canada. We were talking before the reunion about some of our classmates and she asked about one particular boy. She asked, "Will Tommy Roe be there?"  I laughed and said, " Do you mean Tom Roy?" She said yes. I thought it an odd little slip of the tongue until I thought further and it made perfect sense. Tommy Roy had easily changed to Tommy Roe as she heard "Sweet Little Sheila" sung lovingly to her over the new radio over and over. In fact I had been trying to set up a sound track with songs for several of the girls like "Wendy" by the Beach Boys, "Peggy Sue", and " Sweet Little Sheila" for Sheila herself. Next reunion I will definitely do it. 
JP Coyne

Hi Kent -
Really enjoyed the interview with Tommy Roe. Lots of things I didn't know about his early connections with the Beatles.
And thanks for the kind words about my Arcada performance.
Elliot Lurie

Here's one just for you, man ... this is the very underrated Bobby Womack at his best, doing "Across 110th Street". 
Hey, man, I know you love Tommy Roe, but please tell you never danced to "Hooray for Hazel" ... and tell me that Chris Montez wasn't constructed to be the next Richie Valens! 
Chet Coppock  
Nope, never danced to "Hooray For Hazel" ... tough song to listen to at the time as I could never get the image of Shirley Booth out of my head whenever that song played!  (Hey, how many other Hazels do YOU know???  Come to think of it, wasn't there a Hurricane Hazel right around that time, too?) 
And, much as Tommy Roe's sound was built to capitalize on that of Buddy Holly, Chris Montez's career early one was marketed as the second coming of (or at least the very next) Ritchie Valens.  Montez did a COMPLETE about face when he signed with Herb Alpert's A&M Records label and did the whole middle-of-the-road / bossa-nova thing with hits like "Call Me", "The More I See You" and "Time After Time", some of my absolute FAVORITES to this very day.  (I had really hoped to talk with Chris Montez for a follow-up feature to our Tommy Roe interview but he never got back to me.)  kk  

Hi Kent,   
Thanks for the very informative interview with Tommy Roe.  He and Chris Montez were truly there at the start of Beatlemania in the UK in early 1963. I can only imagine that he and Chris Montez must have chuckled, when, one year later, the whole thing took off in the US.   
Tommy’s affection for the UK was born out by his 1965 single, “Diane From Manchester Square”, written by Paul Hampton and Buzz Cason. Manchester Square was the London HQ of EMI Records, of which HMV (Tommy’s label in the UK) was a subsidiary and a Diane was supposedly an employee there.    
The record can be heard on You Tube at: Tommy was backed by the Roemans on this disc. Here is some information on them and how they hooked up with Tommy Roe (including some great   pics):  
Another interesting 45 from Tommy was his original version of “Wish You Didn’t Have To Go”, which became a hit for James & Bobby Purify, when they released it as the follow-up to “I’m Your Puppet” in 1967. Tommy’s original version can be heard here:  
Ace Records included Tommy’s version on their 2011 CD, “Sweet Inspiration - The Songs of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham”  
Best wishes, 
Mike Edwards

That sure was a long interview you did with Tommy Roe ... by the time I was done reading it, I was DIZZY! 
All kidding aside, you did a GREAT job on this.    Congratulations on yet another outstanding piece of work. Drew   

The first two parts of your interview with Tommy Roe were very interesting. 
Highlights = John Lennon's guitar and trying to sell the Beatles to his record company and buying sandwiches on the Sam Cooke tour. 
I'm saving part three for 6 PM tonight, while I'm listening to "Wild Wayne's Memory Machine." 
Frank B.

Perhaps you can post this from RICK LEVY, Tommy Roe's bandleader, tour manager and friend ... 
Friends and fans ... 
If you believe, as many do, that TOMMY ROE should be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, please take a minute and drop a snail mail line to THE ROCK and ROLL Hall of Fame Foundation Nominating Committee 
1290 Ave of Americas 
NYC, NY 10104 
After all, TOMMY had 23 Billboard chart singles, 11 Top 40, 6 Top 10, 4 GOLD, and he wrote and recorded 6 TOP TENS during the 60s ... more than any other American solo artist of the time. 
The Beatles opened for TOMMY ROE on the famed 1963 UK tour, and they asked him to open for him on their first North American live concert in Washington, DC, on February 11, 1964. 
He invented the bubblegum / feel good genre ... and he's a great guy. 
Why the Hall passes over pop artists, I don't know ... but if we all band together, maybe we can get TOMMY ROE in the Hall of Fame! 
I'm happy to run it ... but it will have absolutely ZERO effect ... I've been down this road WAY too many times in the past.  (Think about it ... it took 28 years of eligibility before Chicago finally got in ... and acts like The Moody Blues, The Guess Who ... and countless other deserving artists still haven't even been so much as nominated.) 
It's a convoluted mess that factors in one man's opinion over all others ... FAR too many acts make our "Deserving And Denied" list every single year.  (kk)  

Tommy Roe is a great guy who becomes an instant friend in interviews.  Your conversation with him is excellent and I'm looking forward to reading the rest. 
Thanks, Gary ... and the best is yet to come ... wait till you read Part Two!!! (kk)   
Wow ... you're right ... Part 2 is even more impressive than Part 1 of your Tommy Roe interview.  As I mentioned before, I interviewed Tommy in L.A. in 1977 and he was just as good at telling eye-opening stories then.  Tommy, in fact, is such a good interview subject that brief interviews with him turn up between the tracks on his "12 In A Roe" greatest hits LP. Tommy didn't mention back in 1977 about writing "Everybody' on Lennon's guitar -- or that he approached ABC Paramount about picking up The Beatles.  The label's reaction, though, paralleled that of the execs at Capitol, as they also turned the group down in 1963 -- which was why so many early Beatles tracks wound up getting issued stateside on Swan, Tollie, Vee Jay, etc.     
Attached is Tommy talking about "Shelia" and "Everybody."
Gary Theroux

Thanks again for this interview ... you did a really great job.  We really covered a lot and I believe the fans will enjoy reading it ... in fact, I'm already receiving a lot of positive comments from fans ... so thanks again. 
Your Pal,  
Thanks, Tommy, I appreciate that. 
Below is a link where the interview will now be permanently posted ... you can link to it from your own website and/or Facebook page so others can enjoy it as well.  I have a feeling people will be reading this one for a long, long time.  (kk)