Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Sunday Comments ( 01 - 10 - 16 )

re:  Chicago:  
Well, Peter Cetera FINALLY made his big announcement regarding his appearance at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.  (I have to laugh at how he refers to his offer to appear and perform with his former bandmates as his "demands" ... clearly he has a pretty high opinion of himself and his role in the band's success ... or so says Vintage Vinyl News in the way they reported the story.  I beg to differ, however ... I think having Peter join the current members for a grand finale performance of "25 or 6 to 4" would be a pretty exciting moment ... and just may cap off the evening.  The fact that he suggests other one-time members Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Kenny Cetera, Chris Pinnick, and Bill Champlin should also join them on stage for this performance indicates to me that he realizes that Chicago was not a "one man show" ... honestly, at this point I feel like much has been made of nothing.  I couldn't be happier that the band is FINALLY being recognized for their contribution to The History Of Rock And Roll ... but beyond that I can only suggest that we all just enjoy it for what it is.  The fact that Cetera only has a few of the email addresses of his former colleagues speaks volumes about how closely they've stayed in touch over the past thirty years!)  

Here's Vintage Vinyl News' report ...   

Peter Cetera's big breaking news is that he is willing to come on stage to perform just one song, 25 or 6 to 4, at Chicago's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.   
In an open letter to the surviving members of the band, Cetera seems to lay out a number of conditions for his appearance. First, he only wants to perform the rock classic. No mention of the other hits on which Peter sang such as If You Leave Me Now and Baby, What a Big Surprise or the rest of the Chicago songs where his voice was blended in the background.  Second, he wants that song to be the big finale of their appearance.   
He finishes by saying that, if they agree to his "demands", it could help heel old wounds.   

Here is the text of the message: 

January 6, 2016
Hello Everyone!
I’ve just sent this mail to everyone involved. Hopefully it will answer all the questions concerning my participation in the Hall of Fame induction ... Thanks!
Hello Robert, Danny, Lee, Walter, and James ... 
I’m sending this to you and Danny since yours are the only email addresses I have. Please forward this to everyone. 
First off, congratulations all around on this long overdue honor. While our fans believe we should have been inducted years ago, they find it harder to believe that we haven’t even been nominated in all that time. Oh well, we are now! 
All the credit goes to those who voted for us in overwhelming numbers during the recent poll. They alone deserve our thanks for finally making this happen.
I know we all look forward to speaking that evening and I’m sure we all wish that Terry was there to join us. That can’t happen unfortunately, but I have one thing that can.
As a finale, we can walk onstage together one last time as a group, I’ll strap on the bass, and we can do 25or6to4 in the key of E. I believe it would make for one fantastic Hall of Fame moment and satisfy those who have always wanted some sort of reunion.
Along with your current members, I would also like us to invite past members Laudir de Oliveira, Donnie Dacus, Kenny Cetera, Chris Pinnick, and Bill Champlin to join us up there as well on the song. They’ve all contributed to the legacy of the group and I think this would be a fitting way to honor them.
In the end, this should go a long way towards healing old wounds and showing solidarity on that night. At least I hope so!
See you all in Brooklyn,

Through this whole controversy, we've tried to be neutral in our reporting; however, this letter has pushed us to say that it is time for Cetera to acknowledge that he was a MEMBER of the band that is being inducted. He was not the "big star". He was not bigger or better than Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walt Parazaider, Danny Seraphine or the late Terry Kath. He was not the only singer, songwriter or instrumentalist in the band. All seven of those men created the Chicago sound and are as responsible for their success in the 70's and early-80's. 
Cetera needs to, for one night, simply become a part of Chicago again. To "demand" that he be singled out for the "big finale" or be treated any different from the other members is the height of arrogance.   
-- Vintage Vinyl News

Ron Onesti of The Arcada Theatre wrote this piece on Chicago's entry into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ...  

CHICAGO finally gets to Cleveland  
I can’t believe it!  CHICAGO finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!  This is epic!  For so many years the fans have clamored for this moment (me being one of them), and justifiably so.  According to Billboard, Chicago was the leading US singles charting group during the 1970s. They have sold over 40 million units in the US, with 23 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. Over the course of their career they have had five number-one albums and 21 top-ten singles. The band is second only to The Beach Boys with singles and album-charting success, and is still performing over one hundred shows a year!  
Aside from being one of my all-time favorite groups, I am doubly excited about its induction because it represents The Windy City, an underrated contributor to the development of popular music.  Cheap Trick was also selected to be inducted this year and although the band is originally from Rockford, we will claim them as Chicago’s own.  So that’s a big score for us because so few Chicagoans have been invited into the inner sanctum of the Rock Hall.  Aside from Buddy Guy, you would have to dig deep to find others.  I could give you an hour on the subject of Chicago based bands that dramatically influenced popular culture, but that’s a whole different column! 
As my musical prowess began to develop in grammar school, my first “new” album that I bought with my allowance money (imagine getting “paid” for cleaning my room) was the double-album all-hits compilation “Endless Summer” by The Beach Boys.  “Good Vibrations”, “California Girls”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”- songs with meanings a seventh grader really couldn’t understand, at least by 1974’s standards.  My personal faves were “Be True To Your School” and “In My Room”. 
Oh I just couldn’t get enough of those songs because for me, they were less about surfing and more about girls, strange beings I happened to stumble upon and began to take notice of that summer.  Yeah, that was the music for me, and that topic became my favorite! 
Then as I entered eighth grade, my buddy turned me on to a group that was “kinda-like” the smooth rock of The Beach Boys.  It was called “Chicago”, which by virtue of its name I already thought was cool.  The band formed in 1967, so by the time I found out about them, they already had eight albums out including a mammoth four-record live set recorded at Carnegie Hall.  The 1975 Greatest Hits album cover featured a bunch of guys on a falling scaffold holding on for dear life in front of a halfway-painted “Chicago” logo on a building.  “Chicago IX”  featured popular radio hits including “Beginnings”, “25 or 6 to 4”, “Make Me Smile”, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”, “Saturday In The Park” and other smashes.  “Colour My World” was the first song I ever asked a girl to slow dance to.  Ahh, she was a foot taller than me and I can remember puberty setting in at that very moment.  Catchy songs with power horns … Now THAT was music, and those were memories!  
Just as I wore the grooves of that album down by constant over-playing while singing into a hairbrush, the band’s next album was released. The band’s 1976 “Chicago X” album was a logoed chocolate bar exposed by a peeled-back wrapper and featured more great songs.  After a “tragic” breakup between myself and that towering vixen in the summer after grammar school graduation, the power ballad “If You Leave Me Now” really resonated, and Chicago continued to be “my” band.  
I entered Weber High School in Chicago, an all-boys catholic school that required its students to wear shirts and ties, but had no actual uniform.  None of us cared what we looked like, so for most of us, it was corduroy pants, flannel shirt, and some goofy paisley tie from our dad’s bad Christmas present closet.  Style was not one of the electives offered there.  And instead of a sweater, I regularly wore a short-sleeved Chicago concert t-shirt over my long-sleeved flannel shirt as part of my regular high school wardrobe.  GQ Magazine never called.  
At that time, concert shirts weren’t as prevalent as they are now, so the guys would ask where I got them.  The light bulb went on!  I found the guy who printed the concert shirts and made a deal with him.  He had Led Zeppelin shirts, Pink Floyd Shirts and RUSH shirts.  I moved my books into my buddy’s locker next to me, and my locker became a concert shirt store. They were flying out of my locker!  That was my freshman entry into the entrepreneurial world … thanks to Chicago! 
Tragedy hit the group in 1978 when its guitarist, Terry Kath was killed by an accidental, self-inflicted gun wound.  Despite this devastating blow to the band, its fans and the international music world in general, the guys bounced back, in Kath’s honor.  They continued to pump out the hits, and perform sold out concerts. 
Fast forward to August 1, 1981.  ChicagoFest, the first major outdoor music and food festival in the City of Chicago’s history.  My cousin was also a huge Chicago fan was able to get us backstage passes for the band featured that night…CHICAGO!  I got to hang with my boys, and to literally be part of the band for a fleeting moment, as the drummer, Danny Seraphine let me tap on the snare for a bit during sound check! 
I think back to how the guys looked then.  I mean, it was the eighties!  Headbands, tight white pants, hair short on the sides but exploding on top…probably not the look they are most proud of.  I had a Pepsi I was drinking that I put down on the table to shake one of the guys’ hands.  I walked away only to realize that the entertainer then picked up MY Pepsi and started to drink it as if it was his.  I never had the heart to tell him it wasn’t, so I feel a special “closeness” to Peter Cetera, the band’s lead vocalist. 
In 1985, Cetera left the band to pursue a solo career.  That was a tough blow because although keyboardist Robert Lamm was also a lead vocalist (“Saturday In The Park”), Cetera contributed much to their signature vocal sound.  But I still remained a fan, looking forward to one day possibly working with the band. 
My day came about twenty years later when I was booking bands for an Indiana county fair.  I booked my fantasy band “Chicago” and it was magical.  By that time, Seraphine, who left the band in 1990 was gone, but the original home-town horn section consisting of Walter Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane remained, along with Lamm.  The band was still incredible! 
I walked up to Robert Lamm and proudly said, “Hi Bobby!”  Instead of the warm response I was expecting, I got a relatively stern, “Um, its Robert.”  I hung my head low and crawled away. 
Later, he was cool, and I asked him about a certain part of the song “Saturday In The Park” where he refers to “Singing Italian songs.”  He does a couple of lines in what I presumed was Italian.  But being able to speak the language, I struggled with understanding what he was saying.  So I asked him about it. 
“Oh, I just made up some words that I thought sounded Italian,” he said.  With that, the secret to creative songwriting was shared with me! 
I remain a fan of the band to this day.  Original band member Danny Seraphine has become one of my closest friends, an incredible guy and one of my all-time favorite drummers.  We were out at a concert I was producing at the Park West one night recently.  He came as my guest and was just hanging with me.  Some drunken fool got a bit stupid with me, and as I foolishly beat on my chest, he stepped in and was going to take the guy out.  Once a Chicago neighborhood guy, always a Chicago neighborhood guy! 
I was so pleased to hear that not only Chicago will be inducted into the Rock Hall, but original members Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine will reunite with the band on that night.  And with a tip of the hat to Terry Kath, an emotional moment will be had by all us Chicago fans.  Congratulations to my buddies and my musical heroes … from all of us “from the neighborhood”! 
-- Ron Onesti

re:  Happy Birthday Elvis!: 
Kent ...
At 6:50 AM on Friday Scott Shannon played "Kentucky Rain" and mentioned my name. Not exactly the song I requested, "Burning  Love," but better than nothing. 
Frank B.
That's OK, Frank ... we featured the new Royal Philharmonic mix on the website Friday just in case!  lol  (Scroll back to Friday's post in case you missed it!)  kk
Thanks for playing my request.  You played the right one.  I also like this new arrangement.  (Scott just played "Burning Love", the 1972 version.)  
I got one of those "Elvis Mr. Potato Heads" in your picture on my mantel.
2035 for the Elvis Story?  I'm sure you'll get it done.  
If I'm not dead by then, I'll be too weak to press the keys on my computer to get to Forgotten Hits.
Frank B.
Hey, I'm planning to stick around till the year 2525 to see if Zager and Evans were right!  (I betcha they'll still be celebrating Elvis' birthday then!!!)  I still think that, other than the jumpsuit, the Elvis Mr. Potato Head looks more like Sammy Davis, Jr. than The King.  (kk)

re:  Bobby Darin:  
Forgotten Hits! 
What can I say?  Thank you for keeping the flame lit in 100% pure quality form. I tip my musical hat you.
Jimmy Scalia
"Jimmy Scalia Archives"
Visit the Jimmy Scalia website at:  

Thanks, Jimmy ...  
As the keeper of the castle when it comes to all things Bobby-related, that means a lot!  
Hopefully each and every new generation will discover and fall in love with Bobby's music, just like we did!  
Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits

Thanks so much.  
We're glad to see your Bobby Darin series is getting so much attention.  
Warm regards,  
Bobby Darin's Webteam

Kent ...
I agree with you about that hidden gem "Rainin'."  It's a great track.
Frank B
It has become, without question, one of my all-time Bobby favorites!  (kk)

Hey Kent, 
One of my favorite Bobby Darin songs was a song that I don't believe made the top 40. As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard it was in the movie Out to Sea with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The song was "More". It had the same type of Big Band arrangement as Mack the Knife or Beyond the Sea. A very good song!  
Pete G 
"More" never charted.  In fact, I had to go back to listen to it as it didn't really ring a bell with me at first.  Then I realized that it was Bobby's version of the very popular Kai Winding hit.  Yes, Bobby vamped everything up to fit his Vegas style.  I still say Michael Buble probably owes more to Bobby Darin's style than he does to Sinatra ... even 'tho Sinatra came first.  (kk)

Thanks for the information on Bobby Darin ... it was interesting and enlightening and sad, too. 
Thanks for bringing the information to light by getting it out of the "attic trunk" and dusting it off.  I read the readers' comments ... Bobby still has a lot of fans!

Hey Kent, 
Still reading through all the Bobby Darin stuff on your site. I'd have to agree with another reader that he came off as brash and conceited. Even though I really liked his songs on the radio, TV was a different story. Personally, I thought he was slick and the very definition of "lounge lizard". When PBS aired a special featuring the folk music artists of the 60s, they put Bobby in there because of his protest song "Simple Song of Freedom". (Darin stuck in with all those folkies?) It's a good song, but here is Bobby, wearing a tux and singing with a half-smile on his face. It didn't gel, in my opinion. I wish I would have heard the song on the radio first.
I did come to appreciate his acting, however. One memorable appearance was on the TV series, "Run For Your Life", starring Ben Gazzara. I found one scene from it here, but the one that stood out was when Ben and Bobby were chasing the bad guys on bicycles. My mom talked about that scene for years! I wish I could find it (or the whole episode, for that matter) on the net. Maybe it'll turn up sometime. 
Reader Jeffrey Beals mentioned to you in his letter the group the Frantics that backed up Bobby Darin with some songs when Darin was out Northwest. Now there is a group I haven't heard mentioned in years. They recorded for Dolton Records, I believe, with tunes like FOGCUTTER and WEREWOLF, a song I used to play every year when I did my Halloween Spooktacular. 
Chet mentioned that bad ass rocker Eddie Cochran. When Eddie Cochran died in that car crash, his recording of THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN was being played here in OKC. I don't believe that record charted nationally, though. How ironic when his death occurred and the title of that song. 
"Three Steps To Heaven" charted for exactly one week.  It peaked at #99 in Cash Box, #108 in Billboard and #115 in Music Vendor.  The flipside, "Cut Across Shorty", actually did a little bit better in Music Vendor ... it charted for TWO weeks and reached #106!  (kk)  

We found a plug for our Bobby Darin Series here ...  
ALWAYS nice to be mentioned!  (kk)

re:  This And That: 
Kent ...
First on the "Tonight Show" (1/6) ...
Then Billy Joel's 25th Show during his current residency at Madison Square Garden on 1/7.
Everyone is guessing that Jimmy Fallon will show up as a surprise guest.
Frank B.

Well, I've got to admit that the pairing of Fallon and Joel for The Stones' "Beast Of Burden" was pretty fun and entertaining to watch ... Jimmy was definitely in his element on this on ... looked like he was having a ball.  (One could say he's got the moves like Jagger!)  kk
Not a bad combination.
Still my FAVORITE Jimmy Fallon video has got to be the lip-synching battle he did with Tom Cruise recently ... this one just totally cracks me up ... especially when Cruise pulls out his "secret weapon" ... and then doesn't use it.  (That just wouldn't be fair now, would it???)  kk

Here's news about a brand new PBS Carole King special coming up ... with a hit musical ("Beautiful") playing on Broadway and recently receiving The Kennedy Center Honors, it looks like Carole's hit-machine song-writing career is all the latest rage again.
You can check it out here:

“The Film Is A Work Of Art About A Work Of Art.”  -WNPT (Nashville, TN)

New York, NY — Celebrating the electric guitar, the full-length documentary film Turn It Up!  will be released on January 22, 2016. A cinematic and auditory tour de force, the film – shot in high definition – is a combination of stunning photography, musical performances, world-class collections, and in-depth interviews – from international legends to “everyman” collectors. Released by 71st Street Entertainment, Turn It Up! will be available as a two-disc DVD set, two-disc Blu-ray set (with 2nd disc in standard definition only), and as a digital download (does not include bonus set). [MSRP $19.98]

Created and directed by Robert Radler (Best Of The Best 1 & 2, SS United States: Lady In Waiting, The Substitute), Turn It Up! is an emotional exploration of the electric guitar and the people who fall under its spell. Narrated by actor/musician Kevin Bacon, the film features interviews with an array of guitar royalty: the late Les Paul and B.B. King (in one of his final interviews), Slash, Robby Krieger, Paul Stanley, Steve Lukather, Nancy Wilson, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Albert Lee, Ana Popovic, Jerry Cantrell, Steve Howe, John 5 and many others.

The Turn It Up!  DVD and Blu-ray sets not only include the full documentary film, but the “Conversations and Extras” bonus disc, which boasts extended interviews; scenes with the Burst Brothers; mini-documentaries on RKS Guitars and Seymour Duncan; Robby Krieger noodling on his guitar; and a performance of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter from the film S.S. United States: Lady In Waiting.

Turn It Up! simultaneously honors the beloved electrified six-string and recognizes the rich bond between musician and instrument, and the pilgrimage to find the ultimate guitar and perfect tone. From the mouths of those who invent them, build them, sell them, collect them, and those who make them sing, the film reveals the deep cultural love affair of the world’s most popular instrument, and explores its past, present, and future.

It’s the sound of rebellion, heartbreak, joy, fear, madness, pain, and all-out exuberance – the electric guitar has been a beacon of self-expression for generations, and Turn It Up!  details exactly why.

The DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download will be available online and at physical retailers (through Sony RED Distribution).

Available on Amazon:

For more information, stay tuned to the Facebook page:

Kent ...
According to Ron Smith's great book "Eight Days A Week" -- on January 7th, 1963, Gary "U. S." Bonds sues writers of the song "Dancin' Party" by Chubby Checker. He claims it sounds too much like "Quarter To Three."
Listen and you can decide for yourself.  
I say Gary wins the law suit.  (It's settled out of court.)
There was a LOT of borrowing going on back then ... "Dancin' Party" was written by two of Cameo / Parkway's big-wigs, Kal Mann and Dave Appell.  Evidently the suit didn't hamper sales any ... it still became Chubby's 10th Top 20 Hits ... and he'd score another nine more after that!  (kk)

Hi Kent -
Thank you for the GREAT email on the upcoming dates of Our Chicago Groups!!!!!  Must keep their sounds alive!
I know you are a BIG fan of the NEW COLONY SIX like me and I had a question. 
From their "Colonization" album, I was wondering what was the influence or history about their song "The Elf Song" (Ballad of the Wingbat Marmaduke)!!
They are the most creative group but you must admit this tune was a bit unusual. LOL  
When in doubt, ask the master ...
When putting together our month long New Colony Six series several years ago I remember Ray telling me something about the fact that they guys had recently been reading J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord Of The Rings" in school ... and I believe that was the inspiration.
Unusual, yes ... and not one of my favorite tracks by them ... but, believe it or not, this was actually released as a single!  (And, if I'm not mistaken, it's the first track on which newcomer Ronnie Rice appeared.)
I've reached out to the original members to see if they can shed any additional light on this ... if we hear back, we'll be sure to post it here ... so stay tuned!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Hope your doing well, my friend. 
Colder than crap here ... can't make up it's mind to rain, sleet, or snow ... lol ...
Ahhhhh, life in the Ozarks ... !
Bless ya Bro,
We've got some winter storm due to hit Chicago this weekend ... and then a severe drop in temperature ... guess that just means it's winter!!!  (Personally, I hate it ... but whatcha gonna do?!?!?)  kk

Hi Kent,  
Keep the FORGOTTEN HITS comin' (or as the consultants used to tell us)  "non-stop, continuous, back-to-back, and commercial free!"  ha! 
Thank-you for your gift of FORGOTTEN HITS throughout the year, it's GREAT!
Happy Holidays,
Tim Kiley

And a final smile, sent in to us by Alex Valdez ...  

I am a Seenager. (Senior teenager)  
I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.
I don't have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance every month.
I have my own pad.
I don't have a curfew.
I have a driver's license and my own car.
I have an ID that gets me into bars and the wine store.  I like the wine store best.
The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant ... in fact, they aren’t scared of anything ... they have been blessed to live this long, so why be scared?
And I don't have acne.
Life is Good!
Also, you will feel much more intelligent after reading this, if you are a Seenager.
Brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age ... it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains.  Scientists also believe this makes you hard of hearing as it puts pressure on your inner ear.
Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.
Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.  The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time.  The brains of older people do not get weak.  On the contrary, they simply know more.
Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.  It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature's way of making older people do more exercise.
I have more friends I should send this to, but right now I can't remember their names.  So, please forward this to your friends ... as they may be my friends, too.
And finally, 
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016.
Thanks, Alex ... that explains EVERYTHING!!!  (kk)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Happy Birthday To The King!

Kent ...  
"Burning Love" is one of the few Elvis songs they still play.  I sent this request to Scott Shannon for Friday's show ... thought it might be a nice way of celebrating Elvis' birthday ...   

Hey  Scott ...  
I've been accused of living in the past with my music.  
Guilty --  
But, not this time. 
Friday would've been Elvis' 81st. Birthday.  You might not know that Elvis has a new album out called "If I Can Dream."  He's backed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  I think its already #1 in England. I'd like to hear "Burning Love" ... but instead of playing the 1972 Hit, could you play the 2016 version off this new album?
Who says I'm living in the past with my music?  (2016).  
Frank B.  
Valley Stream, New York   

Do you think Scott will play my request?  
Frank B.  


Elvis' new album debuted at the #1 Spot on The British Charts and continued to sell well enough to finish as the 4th Biggest Album of the Year in Great Britain ... not too shabby for a guy who's been dead for over 38 years!!!  (Honestly, I don't know that the new album is all that exceptional ... but I DO like the fact that RCA / BMG / Legacy continues to try and make Elvis sound "contemporary" each and every year ... thus attracting new fans in the process with each new release.)   

And, just in case he doesn't, we've got you covered!  I kinda like this new arrangement!  (kk)

How about giving Elvis the Bobby Darin Treatment?  
Let me make my case ... 
            ---  It's Elvis' 81st Birthday today 
            ---  Elvis has a new album out called "If I Can Dream".  On it, he is backed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  I think its already # 1 in England.  
            ---  You know as well as I do , a lot of the Elvis stories we hear about aren't true. 
            ---  I know Elvis is the " King of Rock & Roll. " In my mind its a dead heat between Bobby and Elvis for my favorite. 
            --- I learned from reading your Bobby Darin Story that Elvis was a big Bobby Darin fan and caught his Las Vegas Shows every chance he could. 
            --- This time I promise to be patient. How much time do you need? 
            --- It sounds like the logical next step.  And, it would look good on your resume.  
I rest my case. 
Frank B.  
Well, if I start working on it right now, I might be able to get it done in time for Elvis' 100th Birthday in 2035!!!  (kk)

Speaking of new Elvis releases, they've got a DOOZIE planned for later this year.   

Rolling Stone Magazine is reporting about a brand new 60-CD Box Set covering ALL of The King's Albums.  Titled "The Album Collection", you not only get Elvis' 57 commercially released LP's on CD but you also get three bonus discs of rarities ... one spotlighting tracks from the '50's, the '60's and the '70's.  Sounds like one interesting collection ... put the price tag may keep folks away ... especially if you've already invested in all of  the other career retrospectives they've released over the years.  (For me, my '50's Box, '60's Box and '70' Box will have to do!!!  Add in the special Movie Soundtracks collection and you've pretty much got it all ... without the alternate and unreleased takes.)  The 300-Page bonus book does make this quite appealing, however ... and it WOULD be cool to have all of these albums (in their original sleeves) in one place.  (See, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff every time!!!)  kk

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thursday This And That

re: Cornerstones of Rock:
I heard from several readers (and coworkers) who have already obtained their tickets to see The Cornerstones Of Rock show at either the Arcada Theatre on March 19th or The Skokie Center for Performing Arts on May 1st.
I also heard from a couple of the performers, firming up their plans for the new year ...
The New Colony Six already have several dates booked for 2016, including a number of fund-raising benefit concerts that they will announce individually as the dates draw closer.
Two full band appearances, open to the public, that we can tell you about right now include:
Durty Nelly's on February 27th and The Woodstock Opera House on April 30th.
In addition, the line-up of Ray Graffia, Jr., Ronnie Rice and Bruce Mattey will partake in both of the Cornerstones shows as well, most likely performing the same set of four songs they did at the WTTW studios:  "I Confess", "Love You So Much", "I Will Always Think About You" and "Things I'd Like To Say".  Congratulations, by the way, to Ray, who has TWO sons getting married in 2016!
Dennis Tufano, original lead singer of The Buckinghams, will NOT be appearing at The Arcada Show on March 19th due to a prior commitment ... but does plan on performing at the Skokie Show on May 1st.  He sent us his list of upcoming appearances to share with our readers ...
January 23rd at the NAMM Show (with buddy Jimy Sohns of The Shadows of Knight); January 29th at The Yayapai Performing Arts Center in Prescott, AZ; January 30th at The Fox Theater in Tucson, AZ; February 4th at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers, FL; The Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, FL on February 6th; The Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, PA on March 18th; The Grand Opera House in Macon, GA, on March 19th; Katie Bellesat The Villages, Florida on March 22nd; The Pop, Rock Doo-Wop Show on April 8th in Lorain, Ohio; The Kool 103.1 Caravan of Stars in Jackson, TN on April 23rd; and The Pop Rock Doo-Wop Show at The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, MD, on May 7th ... more dates to follow.
I asked Dennis for an update on "The Statesboro Bandit", the guy who stole all the money from the Sonny Geraci Benefit Concert a couple of years ago down in Statesboro, Ohio. (FH Reader Tom Cuddy recently sent us a newspaper article ... see link below ... stating that Bill Thompson, who ran off with the money collected for the show, has been ordered to pay back every penny ... but at a rate of only $500 per month.  If the total amount collected was anywhere near the $37,000 figure I originally heard about, that gives this douchebag about SIX YEARS to pay it all back without a penny of interest or penalties.  Given Sonny's health, there's no telling what state he'll be in six years from now.)
Speaking of which, here's the latest from Dennis on this issue, as well as an update on Sonny's current health condition as he understands it from Sonny's family ...
The Bandit spent three years in jail and was released late 2015 to get work and ordered to pay back all monies monthly or go back to jail! Even without the stolen funds we did well outside of ticket sales with auction items and pledges made directly to the organization. After hearing of the crime, the whole town got together and started raising more money for the Geraci Fund. A motorcycle builder auctioned a custom Harley and gave Sonny a good sized check, too! 
Sonny is doing very well in brain function, but physically he is still not at his peak. Slow progress but positive!  He is anxious to return to the stage!!!! He sings everyday and is being very positive about his return to performing.
I asked Dennis to send us an address where Forgotten Hits Readers can make donations directly to the Geraci Family to help offset some of Sonny's medical bills.  (I know a few of us got ripped off the first time around by this Thompson asshole ... but if we can send funds to a collection point positioned to insure this money will go directly to the family ... without any middle men ... I think a few of us might be inclined to donate again.)  As soon as I hear something, I'll be sure to pass it along.
Meanwhile, since I had his attention ... and since all the focus of late has been on the recent Cornerstones Of Rock Program ... I asked him where things stood with the DVD of The Benefit Concert For Marty Grebb he staged here in Chicago last spring. 
Here's what he told me ...
Filmmaker Mark is doing his best to edit this film in between his professional workload. We're hoping to have the final cut available in the Spring.
In addition to the list above of Dennis' upcoming live dates all over the country, I can also tell you to stay tuned for information about another very special local gig right here in Chicago ... more details as they become available.  (kk)
Meanwhile, the current day Bucks, led by Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna, have several bookings already lined up for 2016.  They include:  January 26th at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach, Florida; January 30th at The Star Plaza (with Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits and The Grass Roots) in Merrillville, Indiana; February 19th at The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois and June 4th at The Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan
The Ides Of March will be appearing at Wentz Hall in Naperville on January 16th, before departing for The Moody Blues Cruise (running from February 26th thru March 1st).  Then, in addition to the two Cornerstones shows mentioned above, they've got gigs at The Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights, IL, on May 14th and will be appearing at Milwaukee's Summerfest on June 9th.
From Jim Peterik:
Thanks, Kent!   You're the best!  
Many blessings to you and yours in the coming year.  
Your friend,

Jimy Sohns and The Shadows Of Knight have bookings on January 23rd at the NAMM All-Star Jam in Los Angeles, California; February 20th at The Great Plains Zen Center in Mount Prospect, Illinois and July 16th at The Taste of Antioch in Antioch, IL.
Little known fact, even with Mt. Prospect High School grads, is that Jimy Sohns went to Prospect High School, class of 1966. The high school mascot was the Knights, hence the Shadows of Knight. I went to Prospect High School so would that make me a Knight? I was told he was quite a ladies man. He later confirmed that rumor. In the show Cornerstones of Rock, someone said they formed groups to "meet girls". I guess it worked for Jimy!
The Shadows of Knight were formed in 1963 in the suburbs north of Chicago, Illinois. Originally known as the Shadows, the band's initial lineup consisted of lead singer Jim Sohns, lead guitarist Wayne Peppers, rhythm guitarist Norm Gotsch, bassist Warren Rogers, and drummer Tom Schiffour, most of whom attended Prospect High School in Mount Prospect, Illinois. Within a year, Peppers was replaced by guitarist Joe Kelley, and the band started to make a name for themselves playing parties and school dances in suburban communities like Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights. The lineup shifted again in 1965 when Jerry McGeorge took over on rhythm guitar after Gotsch joined the military, and by this time the band had learned that there was already a very successful British group known as the Shadows; they changed the name to the Shadows of Knight, in part because Prospect's athletic teams were known as such.
Bill Hengels
I couldn't find any listings for The Cryan' Shames or The American Breed ... but if something pops up, we'll be sure to let you know!
Looks like The Sound of Chicago '60's is alive and well ... and will reach an even greater audience this year when Cornerstones Of Rock starts airing across the USA.  (kk)
By the way, we also heard from that GREAT violinist who accompanied the artists during the Cornerstones Of Rock WTTW taping ... let us introduce you to Chihsuan Yang (Chich) ... and be sure to check out her website (link below) ...
Hi Kent,  
My name is Chihsuan Yang. I am the violinist for the PBS Soundstage Cornerstones of Rock. I've heard that there's been some confusions regarding my name, so I'd just like to clarify. :)
Great article in Forgotten Hits blog.
Happy 2016!
warm regards,
Chihsuan aka "Chich" 
-- Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer, Collaborator
re:  Wow!:
Most of you will recognize the name "Shindig!" ... it was a popular teen music program that aired on ABC-Television in the mid-'60's.
Well, wait till you check out Shindig! Magazine, a British Import ...  (a bit of a slow download ... it's 100 4-Color pages! ... but WELL worth the wait!)  This month's issue is devoted to a look back at 1966 ... and you won't believe how many Forgotten Hits artists are featured between these covers ... BEAUTIFULLY done (you'll spend hours going through it!)  kk
re:  This And That:
I’m watching (on DVR) the Jeff Lynne / ELO concert from Hyde Park on VHC cable network. This is the third time I’ve watched this and I thoroughly enjoy it each time. Lynne is backed by a great band, background singers AND the BBC symphony orchestra (lots of strings!). The quality of the music is tremendous and you will be surprised at the number of hits ELO actually had. If you and your readers have not seen this, it is definitely worth looking for.
Happy New Year and keep up the great work.
Bob Verbos
New Berlin, WI.
ps ...  By the way, Oldies 95.7 was once again number 1 in the Milwaukee radio ratings.
Long live the oldies!!!
Yes, I'm QUITE familiar with the Jeff Lynne concert ... we "unofficially" named it The Concert of the Year for 2015 (unofficial because we weren't able to actually attend it ... but the dvd presentation is incredible to say the least.)
In fact, you'll find our "pretty favorable" review right here ...
Legendary Manager Robert Stigwood (The Bee Gees, Cream) passed away on January 4th.  In 1967, Stigwood was hired by Beatles Manager Brian Epstein to work NEMS.  It was here that Epstein gave Stigwood an audition tape by a young group of Australian brothers moving to the U.K.  Those brothers were The Bee Gees, and Stigwood helped launch their career worldwide.
He later got involved with film production as well and, for better or worse, gave the world "Saturday Night Fever", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Grease", "Tommy" and "Jesus Christ, Superstar".  His record label RSO (Robert Stigwood Organization) scored more hits in the '70's than any other independent label.
Barry Gibb told Rolling Stone Magazine that before they wrote "Stayin' Alive", Stigwood gave them the following instructions:   "Give me eight minutes – eight minutes, three moods. I want frenzy at the beginning ... then I want some passion ... and then I want some w-i-i-i-ld frenzy."
More on his remarkable career here:
Long-time FH supporter Sid Holmes (one of the view people who can actually back up their claim as having a hand in the J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' recording of the #1 Hit "Last Kiss") sent us this recent article / claim now published on Wikipedia as "fact".  (Sid has ALWAYS said that, convoluted as it may be, Forgotten Hits has ALWAYS presented "the most accurate truth" regarding this much-discussed recording.  This is Sid's response to an email he received about the recent Wiki posting ...
Interesting write-up. There is one Wiki where I get angry storming out of the studio and another where I'm a mental case (that's true). The most accurate coverage of J. Frank's version of Last Kiss is my book with simple facts.
The only part questionable is Snake (drums) lying to me saying his girlfriend sang behind Frank plus claiming they were on tour with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars (hog wash) in early September of 1964. The rest of my book is accurate.
I wrote the book (took two years and $7000) for the reason there was / is so much misinformation on "Last Kiss" (featuring Frank). Yes, no problema of me playing the piano in your studio as I'm a very talented individual and find it very hard to be humble. I found the Wayne Cochran portion of the article to be interesting. I had talked to Wayne (phone) a couple of times the past 10 years and he said it's the norm for others to claim writer's credits years later when a song becomes a hit and the reason for U.S. Copyrights. Wayne doesn't own the song as he signed a publisher's contract way back when in which it was peddled around until it became a hit.  Wayne received around $200,000. I received a check for $2500 from BMI for "Crazy Guitar", as I had copyrighted it in 1956. Rodney, Frank's son, recently utilized my contract with Frank collecting somewhere around 20 grand from Sound Exchange. SE collects from satellite radio and downloads, etc. Rodney made sure I got paid my 20% as without Rodney the only money I
would have received would have been the one song I wrote on the Last Kiss album ($2000). Sure glad I didn't quit my day job as the music business will most definitely shorten a person's life.
I hope I haven't bored you too much as most people want to make a big complicated story out of LK featuring Frank.  Sonley gets no credit but it was his idea to clone Wayne's 45 record.
Me? I get zero credit (no respect) for discovering Frank signing him, teaching the bass player to play bass, bringing Jim Wynne (piano) into the band (hey, I was the piano player on Last Kiss).
I'll forward this around and especially to Jim Wynne who has been claiming all these years to have played piano on Last Kiss.
You can read OUR take on this whole thing here ...
but you'd better get a pen and pencil ready to take notes as it's nearly impossible to keep track of all the "facts" being spewed out during the course of this piece!!!  (kk)
Kent --
Have missed a few FH entries because Carol and I are packing up to move to Phoenix.
I wanted to mention that bike radios were a reasonably big deal in the early-to-mid 1950s. They looked like fat transistor radios, but they were pre-transistor and used subminiature vacuum tubes. I have one, and there was an article about building your own in an early issue of Popular Electronics magazine, I think the end of 1954 or early 1955.  (I'd look it up but all that stuff is in boxes!)
I thought it was a cool idea when I was 12, but I didn't want to build one because I was afraid
someone would steal it right off my bike. The big downside was the expensive 90V battery that fed the tubes. The volume you needed to drown out traffic noise ate those batteries fast. Five or six of them, and you've paid more for the batteries than you originally paid for the radio!
-- 73 --
-- Jeff Duntemann K7JPD
DJ Stu Weiss sent us this Tribute To The Music Stars we lost in 2015 ... nicely done ...
Last year Forgotten Hits broke the story about a guy named LJ Coon who was pushing to reopen the investigation into the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper back on February 3, 1959 ... The Day The Music Died.
Well THIS year, LJ is reaching out to all of the Presidential Candidates asking them to get on board with this new investigation.  (The National Transportation Safety Board ... NTSB ... determined that there was not enough evidence to warrant a new investigation ... but Coon is telling the candidates:
We see this as a LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY, unique for an individual or individuals that could lead this process, and invite and encourage The NTSB to go forward with this Investigation.
We believe this investigation, through the Presidential Candidates efforts will attract support worldwide.
We encourage you to
1. Fly in to The Mason City Iowa Airport
2. Examine one-on-one The Aircraft Wreckage
3. Oversee this Investigation
4. Assign key personnel to stay on site
5. Make sure that The NTSB follows through with their entire expertise
6. Comment on The Investigation as it unfolds
7. This type of involvement into the investigation will provide news coverage, comments, responses for news personnel worldwide.
While we certainly appreciate LJ's continued commitment to proceed with his efforts to have the investigation reopened, I'm getting the sense that The NTSB has already closed the book (and their minds) to any further investigation.  That being said, after we broke this story last year, the worldwide media DID jump onboard and give this thing substantial coverage, so who knows.  (Somehow I just can't see ANY of the political candidates trying to make this a campaign issue ... but stranger things have happened ... don't believe me?  Then how is it that Donald Trump is running?!?!  And leading the polls?!?!!)  kk
More on The Day The Music Died ... here's a very interesting and enlightening interview with Don McLean, composer of "American Pie", the #1 Hit from 1972 that heightened Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Big Bopper awareness ... as well as recapped rock and roll history to that point:
Thanks to FH Reader Tom Cuddy for sending this in. (McLean also inadvertently gives the interview a brand new exclusive!!!  A fun read.)  kk   
Hi Kent and Cherricat ...
A little late, but best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy, rewarding and peaceful new year.
I always enjoy reading Forgotten Hits blog. You are right on the pulse of what's the latest in the oldies music world. 
Sorry to hear about Natalie Cole and the Easybeats member who passed away recently. "Friday On My Mind" is one of my favorites from that vintage.  Maybe it was the forerunner of "Thank God It's Friday?"
Anyhow some good news,   I became a grandmother nine weeks ago for the first time.  I am very elated with my new grandbaby boy.  He is a doll and a welcome addition to our family. I am passing you a picture for you to enjoy.  He'll be rockin' in no time! 
God Bless and take good care.
Congratulations on your new addition!  We've got two now ... a girl (10) and a boy (4).  Unfortunately they live out of state so we don't get to see them as often as we'd like to ... but our granddaughter has spent a chunk of the past few summers with us.  She's a lot of fun to be around ... and WAY into music.  (We were cracking up the way she kept filling us in on the latest countdown and then sang along with every song.  Heck, she even liked some of that "really old" music that I was playing!!!  lol)
Congrats again and enjoy!  (kk)
Enjoy your Grandkids.  They grow so fast!  Hugs!
re:  On the Radio:
>>>In this 1971 WLS Larry Lujack Aircheck, there's a song at 10:28 from the group Free and Easy titled "Are You Goin' My Way." Larry doesn't clearly say that title, but the track appears on Big Tree 118, and I've never heard it before. Are you familiar with it as something heard often in Chicago in '71?    David Lewis) 
>>>I did a fair amount of searching for this one and can't find anything listed for either of our big 50,000 Watt Top 40 Stations for this era.  All of the other songs Lujack plays are readily identifiable ... but not this one some reason.  Checking all three national trades, I don't see that it charted (or bubbled under) there either ... nor could I find it anywhere on YouTube ... but a Big Tree Records singles discography backs up your claim of being single release #118 in 1971.  Any help out there from anyone?   Listening to the entire track list, this is hardly a WLS A-List of tunes:  "I Feel The Earth Move" was a B-Side, peaking at #15, Lobo's hit was ALSO a B-Side that reached #11 on the WLS Chart, the Streisand track got limited airplay but never actually charted, nor did "Are You Goin' My Way", so all in all a pretty weak set of music for a big-time Top 40 Radio Station!  (kk)
Are You Goin' My Way by Free and Easy ... never heard this song, but very good.  Sounds like Gary Loizzo of the American Breed singing lead!
Clark Besch
I'm surprised that if WLS played it, I never heard it and that it never charted. That being said, what a weak set by Lujack - almost like his soon-to-be Worlds Most Beautiful Music days at 'CFL!!!  (kk)
Actually, Lujack DID play easy stuff a lot in '71 in mornings ... lots of Vogues, etc.  Close to time for leaving for 'CFL (in about a year) and bringing in Charlie Van Dyke.
Considering the track list you posted, I'm baffled that this was the 7:00 AM morning drive hour.
David Lewis
This is NOT what I remember WLS sounding like back then ... of course half the fun of listening to Lujack back then were his daily features like "Animal Stories", "Klunk Letter of the Day" and "Cheap Trashy Show-Biz Report" ... MUST listening at the time ... by the time he signed off the air at 10 am, EVERYBODY you ran into was talking about SOMETHING he had said earlier that morning.  His whole on-air attitude was one of a kind ... and infectious ... a very dry sense of humor and, while seeming to not give the slightest care at what he was doing, the truth his he worked for HOURS before going on the air, making sure everything was lined up just right.  One of the all-time greats.  (kk)
And speaking of great Chicagoland Radio of the '60's and '70's, FH Regular Frank B sent us these YouTube links spotlighting Super 'CFL, which we shared with a couple of artists featured in The Top Ten Capsule Countdown ... 
TONS of great clips to explore when you've got some time. 
Happy New Year, Bro ... and thanks for the vid.
Man, that was a whole lifetime away ... lol
Take care, my friend.
God Bless ya'll -
Barry & Teena
(Barry Winslow of The Royal Guardsmen)
 Happy New Year to you and yours as well ...
Can you believe it's 2016?!?!?  We're calling it "Sweet Sixteen"!!!
1966 WAS a lifetime  ago!!!  (kk)
Oh Buddy ... I'm closer to 100 than I am 16 ... LOL!!!
Sweet 16 is most bodacious!
Bless ya'll -
Thanks, Kent ... Happy New Year!
Pleasantly surprised to still be alive 50 years later, Kent, let alone getting to take the stage now and then a half century+ from that summer day when we put NC6 together in 1964.  Pretty cool and to have had some success to boot = amazing!  Who’d a thunk it?
(Ray Graffia, Jr. of The New Colony Six)
Lots of talk about Internet Radio and the new Royalty Rates going around ... it could spell the end of Internet Radio as we know it, leaving us all to suffer with the meager playlists offered by conventional, terrestrial radio instead (which, in and of itself, eventually kill off radio all-together.)  Unlike the newspapers who are dying a slow and painful death because most folks get their news information online these days, radio won't be able sustain itself if exhortative royalty rates are enforced.
DJ Stu Weiss offers this link to sign an online petition to keep Internet Radio alive ...
Don't let them shut down Internet radio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have just visited GoPetition and found the following page very interesting: