Saturday, January 21, 2017

January 21st

Britian's New Musical Express is reporting that The Beatles have approved Owen Holder's basic script for their third film and are now awaiting the final screenplay before setting a shooting date.  The film will feature The Beatles in comedy character roles with little or no singing … but there will be a full Lennon and McCartney incidental musical score.  (Like numerous other failed script attempts … including a western! … this film will never come to be.) The Beatles ultimately fulfill their contractual film obligation to United Artists Pictures by releasing the animated film "Yellow Submarine" in 1968 and the documentary "Let It Be" in 1970. 

Do Ho appears on The Hollywood Palace this evening performing "Tiny Bubbles" and "Pearly Shells". 

 (looks like Don just got leied!!!)

The Monkees perform at Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona, this evening.  The concert will be recorded for a possible future live album or television concert event. 

Meanwhile with the group out on the road, backing tracks for their next single "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (along with five other tracks, including an early version of "She Hangs Out", which will eventually end up as the B-Side of this single in Canada) are laid down at RCA Studios in New York City. 

Peggy Fleming wins The US Figure Skating Championship. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20th

Arthur Conley records his soul classic "Sweet Soul Music" (essentially a reworking of Sam Cooke's "Yeah Man").

Highest debuts on the chart for the week ending January 21st are "Ruby Tuesday" by The Rolling Stones, premiering this week at #71, "Lovin' You", a John Sebastian song recorded by Bobby Darin, which enters the chart this week at #74, "Let's Spend The Night Together", also by The Stones (and the flip-side of "Ruby Tuesday") which debuts at #77, "All" by actor James Darren at #81, and the first hit for The 5th Dimension (covering a Mamas and Papas track, "Go Where You Wanna Go" at #84).  

Darren and Darin ...  

Not to be confused with the two Darrens that ended up on "Bewitched" before all was said and done!!!

Also new on the charts this week are "Walk Tall" (#96) by The 2 of Clubs (a HUGE hit here in Chicago that totally captures the "Girl Group" sound of the '60's), and the timeless rock classic "For What It's Worth" by The Buffalo Springfield, which comes in at #97.  

The Monkees' debut album finally sees release in the UK.  The following day, "I'm A Believer" will top the singles chart there.  (The group is planning a trip to England in February)  

Here in The States, The Monkees appear on KRUX in Phoenix, Arizona, where they take over the studio for two hours of "music and mayhem".  

The Electric Prunes are back on "Where The Action Is" today, along with Joe Tex.

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were scheduled to perform the first of two shows at The Arie Crown Theater in McCormick Place right here in Chicago tonight.  Also on the bill:  ? and the Mysterians and The Sandpipers.  However, fire gutted this establishment earlier this week (scroll back to January 16th for more details).


Bobby Darin enjoyed a comeback of sorts in 1966 when his version of "If I Were A Carpenter" became his first Top Ten Record in three years.

Darin was now into the denim folk period of his career, even leaving his hairpiece behind for various gigs ... and recording an album under his real name, Walden Robert Cassotto.

Darin, who enjoyed quite a successful career as a music publisher through his Trinity Music company was often approached by up-and-coming songwriters pitching their wares.  Such was the case of a couple of guys representing John Sebastian, prior to his success with The Lovin' Spoonful.

Bobby evidently had a blind spot to this music, however, and turned down a number of songs that became HUGE hits for John's new group.

He would often tell this story as part of his nightclub act about how, when the song "Lovin' You" was first presented to him, he just couldn't turn it down for fear of passing on yet another sure-fire chart hit.  (He was right ... "Lovin' You" eventually peaked at #31 on the national charts.)  It was an ingenious bit of comedy that traced the history of this struggle.

You can read more about that ... and the entire Bobby Darin Story ... on our other Forgotten Hits Web Page here: ...

And you can hear Bobby tell it himself right here!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January 19th

Lesley Gore appears as Pussycat, Catwoman's sidekick , in the hit ABC Television Series "Batman".  She performs her latest hit, "California Nights".  

Bulleted tracks on this week's chart include "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group (#57, up from #69), "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" by Cannonball Adderley (#58, up from #71) and "Pushin' Too Hard" by The Seeds (#59, up from #70).  

The Beatles hold their first recording session of "A Day In The Life".  At the time, Paul hadn't come up with his "middle section" yet ("Woke up, fell out of bed …") but they knew they wanted to insert SOMETHING prior to the final verse … so they had their close confidant Mal Evans count out the bars, 1 thru 24, to mark the spot in the tape where something would be inserted later to fill that gap.  Listen closely and you'll hear Mal count from 1 to 24 in a voice layered with echo.  You'll also hear a tinkling piano and, to cement the end of the break, an alarm clock sound, which then PERFECTLY set the stage for Paul's opening line "Woke up, fell out of bed", all reportedly a happy coincidence. 

The very next night Paul recorded his bit, described as follows by Beatles Historian Mark Lewisohn in "The Complete Beatles Chronicles":  

"Here was a prime example of how the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership had evolved … John's song had a beginning and an end but no middle; Paul's song had a middle but no beginning or end.  But the two pieces came naturally together, creating a complete picture and the impression that they were INTENDED as one.  The illusion was compounded by the fact that Paul's vocal, the first line of which was 'Woke up, fell out of bed' occurred IMMEDIATELY after the alarm clock had been sounded on the original recording to mark the end of the first 24-count gap.  Making good use of the happy coincidence, the alarm clock was kept on the track permanently."

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18th

The 20th NHL All-Star Game is held in Montreal,  Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens took on a team of All-Stars derived from all of the other NHL hockey teams … and beat them 3-0.  Incredibly, it remains the ONLY NHL All-Star Game shut-out in history. 

Albert DeSalvo, the self-proclaimed "Boston Strangler", was convicted of armed robbery, assault and sex offenses.  (He was never charged as "The Boston Strangler", although he admitted to killing thirteen women.)  He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was killed by a fellow inmate in 1973. 

Talk about "variety tv" … Wilson Pickett appears on "Where The Action Is" today … with fellow guest Mrs. Miller!

Simon and Garfunkel record "At The Zoo" ... it will peak at #13 nationally in a couple of months.

Check out both The New Colony Six and The Buckinghams in The Top Five on this week's WLS Silver Dollar Survey!

You'll find two other local Chicagoland groups on the survey this week, too ...

The Flock are at #22 with "Can't You See" .. and The Little Boy Blues hold down the #34 spot with "The Great Train Robbery". 

Meanwhile, "I'm A Believer" / "Steppin' Stone" FINALLY reaches #1 on the WCFL Chart.

From Ray Graffia, Jr.'s personal collection ... 

A few photos of The New Colony Six, circa 1967 ...


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17th

Biggest movers this week include "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" by The Electric Prunes, up 18 places from #54 to #36, "Hello Hello" by Sopwith Camel, up 14 places from #57 to #43, "Pretty Ballerina" by The Left Banke, up 14 places from #66 to #52, "The Beat Goes On" by Sonny and Cher, which climbs 19 places from #80 to #61 and "It Takes Two" by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, which jumps exactly twenty spots from #83 to #63.  But NOBODY could top The Casinos and their first chart hit "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" which jumps all the way from #99 to #68, a move of 31 places!!!  

Classical musician David Mason recorded his B-flat piccolo trumpet solo for The Beatles' next single "Penny Lane".  (Paul McCartney had heard the instrument for the very first time the week before when he saw Mason play the instrument in a performance of Bach's "Bradenburg" Concerto No. 2 in F-Major with The English Chamber Orchestra during a televised performance on "Masterworks" and suggested to Producer George Martin that they find a way to work it into the new Beatles track.  Martin set the session up for this Tuesday Night recording session.)  

McCartney sang the notes he wanted Mason to play and George Martin wrote them down so that Mason would have something to follow.  Mason says he brought nine trumpets to the session and, by process of elimination, they settled in on the B-Flat Piccolo Trumpet that was ultimately used for the session. The single originally ended with the trumpet playing the final seven notes and promo copies of the 45 were pressed that way and distributed to American radio stations.  (Today this is a highly sought after collectors' item.)  It was later changed for the record's official release and hasn't officially been released in its original form since (not even on The Beatles' Anthology Album where one would have been most likely to expect to see it.)   

Mason (no relation to Traffic's Dave Mason) was paid a flat fee of 27 pounds, 10 shillings (about $42 American) for his performance on the record.  In August of 1987, the trumpet he used for that recording was sold at a Sotheby's auction for $10,846.  Mason passed away on April 29, 2011, of leukemia.  Over the years he performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Philharmonia Orchestra, The Covent Garden Opera and The English Chamber Orchestra … yet despite these impressive credits, he often remarked that "I've spent a lifetime playing with top orchestras yet I'm most famous for playing on 'Penny Lane'." 

While Mason claimed to be unfamiliar with the work of The Beatles, he was reportedly called back on at least three occasions to provide trumpet for "Magical Mystery Tour", "A Day In The Life" and "All You Need Is Love".  

In other Beatles-related news, The London Daily Mail newspaper reported this morning that a council survey reported finding 4000 pot holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.  John Lennon, reading that line in his morning paper at breakfast, was inspired to use it in the lyric of a new song he was working on, which ultimately became "A Day In The Life", the closing tune on their landmark "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.  

When it came time to finalize the lyrics, Lennon was stumped … he knew that he wanted to use the line "4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire" … and that he wanted to tie that line to something regarding Albert Hall … but couldn't come up with the verb of what those holes would DO to Albert Hall.  It was longtime faithful sidekick Mal Evans (who also just happened to be on the same plane ride back from America with Paul McCartney when Paul launched the whole concept idea of Sgt. Pepper in the first place) to use the word "fill" … and with that, the song was complete.  The line would now read:  "I read the news today, oh boy" (true … he saw it in The Daily Mail!) … "4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire."  "And 'though the holes were rather small, (they were POT holes, after all), they had to count them all … now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall."  

Another line in John's song … "he blew his mind out in a car" … helped to propel the "Paul Is Dead" rumor a few years later.  "I saw a film today, oh boy" was in reference to his OWN film that he made apart from The Beatles, "How I Won The War".  

One could say that Lennon took a few "shortcuts" while working on his contributions to "Pepper".  "A Day In The Life" was inspired by what he was actually reading in the newspaper … "Good Morning Good Morning" came from a cornflakes commercial he heard while eating breakfast one morning … "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" came nearly word for word from an old circus poster he found in an antique shop while shooting the videos for "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" came from a drawing his son Julian had done at school that he titled "Lucy (a fellow classmate) in the sky with diamonds."  (There is absolutely NO question that John's accelerating drug use helped with this one!!!)

Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16th

The Top Three Records maintain their hold on this week's countdown … "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees is #1 for the fourth straight week … which is exactly how long it has held "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen at the #2 spot.  Following up at #3 is "Tell It Like It Is"  by Aaron Neville, who now holds down that position for three consecutive weeks.  

New into The Top Ten this week are "Georgy Girl" by The Seekers (#8, up from #12 the week before) and "Tell It To The Rain" by The Four Seasons, which climbs from #13 to #10.  

"Music To Watch Girls By" by The Bob Crewe Generation and "Wild Thing" by Senator Bobby finally crack The Top 40.  They are joined by Top 40 newbies "Green Green Grass Of Home" by Tom Jones (#35, up from #49), "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" by The Electric Prunes (#36, up from #54), "Blue Autumn" by Bobby Goldsboro (#39, up from #42) and "Papa Was, Too" by Joe Tex, which climbs three positions from #43 to #40.  

The Monkees hold down the #1 spot on the Album Chart again this week, too, thanks to their debut album.  They are in the recording studio today, laying down an early version of Mike Nesmith's "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" (which, at this time, featured Nesmith on lead vocal instead of Micky Dolenz, whose vocal would make the record's official release later this year) as well as two tracks that won't make the final cut on their next LP, "Headquarters" … "She's So Far Out, She's In" and "All Of Your Toys".  

Chicago's huge convention center, McCormick Place, is gutted in a huge fire.  Home to The Arie Crown Theater, it would not reopen until 1971.  

The fire was first reported by janitors at 2:05 am on the morning of January 16th ... within 20 minutes, it was upgraded to a five-alarm fire ... 20 minutes after that Fire Commissioner Robert Quinn ordered the first special alarm.  It happened that fast ... it took just 45 minutes for two-thirds of the building to be completely engulfed.  Quinn later commented that "the fire was out of control when the first units arrived." 

Much as The Titanic was deemed "unsinkable", McCormick place (built in 1960) was supposed to be fireproof.  In the bitter cold early morning hours, firefighters lost time trying to thaw four of seven hydrants before realizing that they weren't frozen ... but had never been hooked up!  (It was later learned that contractors building the interchange of the Stevenson Expressway and Lake Shore Drive had disconnected them.) 

Approximately 2000 firefighters, using 65% of the city's fire equipment (including drawing water from Lake Michigan from which three fire boats also pumped water onto the fire) battled the blaze for nearly eight hours. 

The fire was finally contained at 9:48 am, by which time the roof had collapsed and the Arie Crown Theater was severely damaged but not destroyed.  Incredibly, only one person died in the fire ... 31 year old security guard Kenneth Goodman, whose burned body was later found in the rubble. 

Mayor Richard Daley immediately vowed to rebuild McCormick Place.  "This is a tragic loss to the people of Chicago.  But remember the Chicago fire of 1871.  The people recovered from that one."  (McCormick Place was a HUGE money-maker for the city, bringing in as much as $300 Million a year in convention business and employing more than 10,000 people.)

True to his word, a brand new McCormick Place opened in January of 1971, built on the old foundation with a completely renovated Arie Crown Theater.  Conventions such as The Housewares Show and The Auto Show were soon hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors.  

Incredibly, The Chicago Tribune was able to cover the story for their early edition (that's where all of these photos above came from.)  The fire wasn't even out yet when the newspapers hit the streets.  

Here in Chicago, the lakefront disaster pushed the results of the very first Super Bowl to "second place" as far as the day's headlines went.  (We told you yesterday that The Green Bay Packers, led by Bart Starr, beat the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 35-10.)

Jay and the Americans and Don and the Goodtimes appear on "Where The Action Is".

Two other favorites from this week's chart ...


"Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" was a HUGE #2 Hit in early 1967.  It provided an immediate connection to the Charles Schultz character that captivated America (and the rest of the world) beginning in 1950.  (Schultz personally drew every "Peanuts" cartoon strip himself until his death in 2000.)  But the people behind the hit record never sought Schultz's permission to put his famous character to song so, as a back-up plan, they recorded an alternate version of the tune called "Squeaky vs. The Black Knight", should Schultz decide to put the kibosh on the whole project once the record was released.

Just think ... if Charles Schultz had nixed this whole idea, you could have been listening to THIS track instead ...

Would it have been as big a hit?  Somehow I don't think so.  Another case of all the planets perfectly aligning ... "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" is a 1967 Classic!  

Barry Winslow of The Royal Guardsmen told us:  

As best as I can remember, Squeaky was done quickly to keep the momentum going that the record had started. So while the brass at Laurie Records met with Charles Schultz and friends to get this all sorted out, Squeak was launched. I wish I knew more, but as a 17 yr old "artist", I wasn't privy to any real "business dealings" early on.   

kk:  So Squeaky vs. the Black Knight was actually launched in the event that Charles Schultz and company decided not to allow the use of their copyrighted character?  (It sounds like Laurie Records knew they had a hit record on their hands ... and wasn't going to risk letting anything get in the way of stopping the record's momentum ... so "Squeaky Vs. The Black Knight" was quickly recorded as the "back-up plan!"  Interesting!  I had no idea!)  One cannot help but wonder if the record would have had anywhere near the same impact, were it not a "relatable" character like dearly beloved Snoopy!  (In fact, instead of the recognizable beagle we all know and love, in the "Squeaky" version the lead character was a buck-tooth beaver!)  

kk:  Speaking of copyrights, there was also evidently some issues with the use of the Snoopy name from creator Charles Schultz.  (But wasn't The Red Baron based on a real-life, actual person?)  I'm told that until Schultz was cut-in on a percentage of the royalties, he threatened a lawsuit to stop the record all together.  (Were the songwriters really that naive to think that there wouldn't be some legal action?)  How was all of this resolved?  And didn't Schultz become a big supporter of the follow up records, even designing artwork for the album covers and picture sleeves?  (It had to be good publicity for him, too, right?)

BW:  The "issue" of the suit came from a book that was out at the time, "Snoopy And The Red Baron" and our record title, "Snoopy vs The Red Baron".  Thus the quandary and threat of a suit was over "AND" or "VS".  As I understand it, everything worked out well and Charles did like our records.  You're correct, he did renderings of us for an album "Snoopy and His Friends, The Royal Guardsmen".  I think our records helped with Snoopy's success, and much as it helped ours.  BTW, you're correct ... Baron Manfred von Richthofen was a real, and highly decorated, German WW1 fighter ace. 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15th

The Green Bay Packers defeat The Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 35 - 10 in the first AFL - NFL World Championship game, held at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Although this is the way the game was billed at the time, we have since come to know this pairing as The Super Bowl … and despite plenty of discussion to the contrary, TV Guide was already running ads for the big game and referring to it in this way back in 1967, too … so those "in the know" were well aware of the "official" title.  (For weeks the networks had been referring to it as "Super Sunday" … truth be told, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle didn't think "Super Bowl" was a "classy-enough name" for this showdown.)

The game was covered by both CBS and NBC as, at the time, CBS was the official NFL Network Carrier and NBC broadcast the AFL games.  The Packers ultimately won the game 35 -10, shutting down The Chiefs 21 points to 0 in the second half. 

Tonight on The Ed Sullivan Show we had two comedians (Allan Sherman and Alan King) and two remnants from The British Invasion of a few years before, Petula Clark and The Rolling Stones.  

And yes, THIS is the night when The Rolling Stones changed the lyrics to their latest record to "Let's Spend Some TIME Together" at the request of Mr. Sullivan (although Mick Jagger clearly let the audience know what he thought of this mandate by rolling his eyes for the camera when he first sang the altered lyric.)  They also performed the A-Side of the record, "Ruby Tuesday". 

For the record, Petula Clark performed her latest hit "Color My World" as well as Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly". 

Meanwhile, Chicago's Buckinghams, now signed to Columbia Records, begin recording "Don't You Care" in New York.  It will peak at #5 nationally later this year (and top the chart here in Chicago!)

The Monkees perform at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Number One again at the Box Office this week is The Sand Pebbles. 

You can own ALL of The Rolling Stones' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on DVD

Check out our Ed Sullivan Tribute Page here (featuring comments from many of the artists who appeared on Ed's program)

As well as our interview with Andrew Solt, who owns all of these television programs and licenses them out for commercial use ... he has also put together some INCREDIBLY great collections available for purchase for home viewing (through the link above)