Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 02 - 04 - 18 )

Yes, we’re paying the ransom (for the time being anyway) to keep AOL going until we can move everything over to the scenario … so we were able to send out a website reminder to let you know about this week’s Sunday Comments Page … but please remember to book-mark this spot for daily visits as these reminders will eventually begin to disappear.  And be sure to update your address book to show as our primary email address from this point forward.  Eventually, we’ll compile a NEW list of email subscribers who wish to receive email reminders and news about local concerts and ticket offers.  Thank you very much.  

(And now on with the show!)  

We had a couple of big anniversaries this past week in the music world …

JANUARY 30, 1969 - This is definitely one of the Top 5 dates on The Beatles Calendar. The Beatles performed their last live public performance 49 years ago today at the London Apple Offices at 3 Savile Row. It was a cold lunchtime when they stepped on to their rooftop for what would turn out to be the closing part of the Let It Be film. The streets quickly filled up five floors below when they started playing. It was obvious to EVERYBODY on the ground who was performing, even though they could not see the musicians. They could only hear them. None of the songs had ever been heard before but that certainly did not matter. They knew what was happening was history. The Beatles played for 42 minutes and even though there was some tension in the group during the filming, when they played together, they were as tight as ever. As John once put it, We were a great little band. That's All. Yes, but the earth shook when they played, whether it was in the clubs in Hamburg, Liverpool, the biggest stages around the world through 1966 or on their rooftop on this day 49 years ago. Thanks for the ride that has lasted for almost six decades.
The Fest For Beatles Fans
Forever preserved on film this was, indeed, a key moment … and a heck of a way to go out on top.  (Now if they’d only FINALLY release “Let It Be” so that today’s generation can enjoy it.  What the heck is the hold up with this thing anyway?!?!  It’s been DECADES!!!)  Maybe they’ll give it the 50-Year Anniversary treatment in 2020 and release the film along with a greatly expanded collection of some of the music and alternate takes performed during the filming of the movie.  Now THAT would be well worth waiting for.  [And might I suggest a reissue of the awesome book that came with the original British release of this album … along with a brand new book documenting the events of these last Beatles sessions ever from the perspective of 50 years’ hindsight???]  Sounds like a best seller to me!)  
There was some discussion on The Beatles Channel on the night of this anniversary that perhaps The Beatles weren’t so revolutionary with this idea after all.
Somebody said that Jefferson Airplane had done the exact same thing the month before in San Francisco … dragged up all of their equipment up to the roof top to put on an unexpected, impromptu jam and recorded and filmed the whole thing.  (Hmmm … wonder why this story is just coming out NOW, some fifty years later???)  
But hey, it’ll always be The Beatles milestone that lives on forever.  (kk)
And then, of course, ten years earlier, the date now forever known as “The Day The Music Died” … February 3, 1959 … when the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper crashed near Mason City, Iowa.
For the past couple of years we’ve been covering the quest of LJ Coon to have the investigation into that fatal plane crash reopened and re-examined.
We’ve run his review of these events numerous times before (and will gladly forward them again to anyone else who cares to review them … just drop me an email request at the address above and we’ll get this off to you.)
Unfortunately, so far these efforts have fallen on deaf ears … but he puts up some compelling evidence.  Please take a moment to remember the great music these artists gave us during those very early days of rock and roll.  (kk) 

On the 59th anniversary of the 1959 tragedy that killed Buddy Holly and the others, we have a new item to read.

THIS Des Moines Register article is quite interesting looking back in Iowa.  The original photographer revisited the site, the plane owner still claims to own the plane and has hidden it to be "revealed on 50th anniversary."  OF WHAT?  It's already 59 years.  Maybe a typo? 

Even more interesting, they speak with Bob Hale, who, of course, was a co-DJ of Clark Weber at the Big 89 after the crash.  I did not realize some of the info in this article.  Buddy played drums for Dion at the Clear lake concert!  Clark, I assume this story came up often at WLS with Bob?  Seems like you replaced Bob on the Silver Dollar Survey in 63 for a bit, or maybe BEFORE Bob?  I cannot remember without my notes.  Anyway, a nice informative article:
If you read the beginning of the article, you'll see that this is a reprint of a piece they ran back in 2009 ... which would have been the 50th anniversary of the crash.
Bob Hale (a FH Member) has been interviewed more time than he could possible count about this incident ... and couldn't possibly shed any new light on these events as there's been nothing to change his perspective on what he saw and knew at the time.  (LJ Coon, on the other hand, brings some new ideas to the table.)
Likewise, I don’t know that there’s anything more I can say than I did in our special coverage from a couple of years ago.  
Here’s one of our own Forgotten Hits Flashbacks to “The Day The Music Died” …
From one Buddy to another …
FH Reader Frank B sent us this clip of Buddy Knox singing a tribute to Buddy Holly … very nice …

Some sad news this week about the passing of Dennis Edwards of The Temptations, who died here in Chicago on Friday, February 2nd.   (Dennis had been hospitalized and reported to be “near death” just about a year ago, but he rebounded and was even back out on the road for a time, touring with his Temptations Revue.)
Edwards joined the group in 1968, ultimately replacing founding member David Ruffin after his increasing drug-use (and egomania) became too much for rest of the other Temps to bare.  Dennis brought a new edge to the band right about the time their sound (and, quite frankly, the sound of music all around them) was changing to a heavier, more politically-charged variety.  Edwards’ vocals on the hits “Cloud Nine,” “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” and “Ball Of Confusion” (among others) helped to redefine The Temptations’ sound in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.  (Although he wasn’t a member from the beginning, he WAS inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame along with all of the original members in 1989.)  Edwards was also a non-original member of The Contours, another Motown group (who had the Top Three Hit “Do You Love Me” in 1962 before Edwards joined the group), whom he quit to join the Temps in 1968.  (Edwards remained with The Temptations from 1968 – 1977 and then returned again from 1980 – 1984.  He had been performing with his Temptations Revue since 1987, competing with another version of the band that included original founding member Otis Williams.  The scene of The Temps in the recording studio for the “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” session is one of the most memorable in the made-for-tv film (which we have to have watched at least 30 times now!!!)  It truly is addictive!
While I never had the chance to see the REAL Temptations in their prime (pun intended), the very first show I ever saw at The Genesee Theatre was Dennis Edwards and The Temptations Revue a few years ago.  (Thank you, Colleen!)  Edwards is survived by a daughter he had during a brief marriage to Ruth Pointer of The Pointer Sisters.  He died one day shy of his 75th birthday.
FH Reader, frequent contributor (and MAJOR R&B Fan) Chet Coppock sent us this stirring piece on Dennis Edwards to share with our readers …
Dear Kent;
His haunting lead on "Papa was a Rolling Stone" remains one of the greatest vocal efforts in music history.
I truly admired Dennis Edwards, long  time lead singer for the Temptations for a number of reasons.
One, he was downright cool. Two, his pipes were on overload with passion and raw funk. 
But here is the ticket. Dennis had to replace the legendary David Ruffin when he stepped in with the Temptations.
In the late 60's and early 70's, the Temps were the consummate R&B unit, rhythmically brilliant with unmatched choreography. 
But the two stallions who commanded the spotlight were Eddie Kendrick with his dashing falsetto (think "Get Ready") and Ruffin, who's pipes made "My Girl" an R&B anthem or the funk busting "Oh Girl ... I'm Losing You."
I recall going to the old Regal Theater, the Hammond Civic Center and Northwestern University to see the Temps. Chicks were crazy about both Eddie, who seemed like the polite young boy next door, and Ruffin, whose appearance seemed to say, "This is the last guy I wanna to see pick up my daughter."
Really, how many artists have had to replace a singer as magnanimous as Ruffin? Dennis Edwards did it with his own style, his own approach. His lead on "Cloud Nine" was epic.
RIP Dennis. You will always be loved.
Chet Coppock
Host: Chicago Blackhawks Heritage Series

CHICAGO: 25 or 6 to 4 = 2
Chicago has just announced that they'll play their second album in its entirety on their 2018 tour.
Following the lead of such acts as Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Yes, The Moody Blues and Cheap Trick Chicago, now in their 51st year of touring, will be performing one of their albums in its entirety.
The album of choice is their self-titled second album, the two-LP set referred to as Chicago 2. It contains such legendary songs as “25 or 6 to 4,” “Make Me Smile” and “Colour My World.”
They'll go through it in the first half of each show, then play a hit-filled second half, making it what they jokingly call the "world’s longest encore.” This concert will be the band’s longest show ever.
Chicago's 2018 touring schedule starts February 7th with a nine-date residency at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.
-         Tom Cuddy
You’ll find more on the band’s recent line-up changes … along with their current tour schedule … here:

In the new issue of Mojo Magazine (3/18) there are features on Mike Nesmith and Mike Love. Decide for yourself if Mike Love is engaging in revisionist history. Mike Nesmith is candid about his role in the Monkees. Good reading.
Jack Levin
I’ll have to look for this one.  I’ll tell you what, I’ve been just short of a Mike Love Hater for most of the past 35 years … but after reading his biography, I’ve softened some.  He presents some very interesting facts from a very different perspective than I’ve considered before.  (In fact I read his bio and Brian Wilson’s book back to back when they first came out and I can promise you that Mike’s book absolutely blows Brian’s away.  Most distracting is that Brian’s book doesn’t even seem to be written in his own voice … his commentary and manner of speech is unlike anything I’ve ever heard him do over this same timeframe.
There are a few things in Mike’s book that seem a little bit far-fetched in that they hadn’t come up before … the Charles Manson encounter being perhaps the most obvious one … but all in all he makes a VERY strong case for his position in Beach Boys History.  (kk)

Loved your review of the World Stage concert – wish I could have been there – sounds like an incredible night of rock and roll. (I have seen Mark Farner before and he still nails it every night.)  As always, thank you for putting your perspective out there so those of us not as fortunate to have been there can still share in your enjoyment and enthusiasm.  We can always count on Forgotten Hits to give us a real and honest review.
Mike S.
As I said, I’d never been to a World Stage show before … I can’t even imagine what it must take to put all of that together for a single performance.  (As Jim told me, “LOTS of moving parts” – LOL)  Think about it … it’s not like all of these artists can free up their schedules to rehearse for a month together … I’m sure it’s all done in stages (the majority of which is probably “home studying” alone to nail the specifics of your part and then piecing it all together with perhaps a night or two of group rehearsal before the big event.  All of this is just another true testament to the incredible musical abilities of ALL of the artists featured.  (It also gave Jim a chance to perform some of his songs that he doesn’t always get the chance to do … and probably hasn’t played in a long time.  Odds are HE had to do a bit of relearning and rehearsal, too!  Lol)  All I can tell you is, it was a blast!  Think about it … you had TWO Rock and Roll Hall of Famers up there on the stage that night … Rick Nielsen and Danny Seraphine … and two more who DESERVE to be in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in Jim Peterik and Mark Farner … it just doesn’t get any better than that.  (That’s a WHOLE lotta bang for your buck!)  kk

Wow, how does Jim Peterik keep that energy up to pull all of this together time after time?  What a great review!  I wish I could have read that Jim and Mark combined on my fave G-Funk'er, "Time Machine."  That song encompasses great guitar work in a setting of combining blues and hard rock that turns out now to be a "time CAPSULE" of 1969.  Still, sounded like World Stage was one great concert!   
Clark Besch
It was … and (although I’m sworn to secrecy on the details) it’s already been booked back at Wentz Hall for 2019.  You show really try to come in for one of these … you’ll have a great time!  (And probably freeze your ass off to boot!)  kk

Very nice review … thanks for sending that along. 
The Ides of March have played at a couple of fund raising dinners we've been to  and they're still very good and tight.  Plus, Chuck Soumar  played as well.  I guess he's with them on and off, but he's a great guy. He took over his dad's upholstery business.  Did you know that on  "Vehicle,"  he told me the horns were taped first, with one take, and then they were done.  He said they had to just sit around for hours
waiting on the vocals.
Dennis Gilbert
Long-time member Chuck Soumar’s been gone for quite a while now … but he was always a KEY member of the line up (and just an all-around nice guy.)  I didn’t know he had left to manage his father’s business.
Another crazy event at the “Vehicle” recording sessions involved Jim’s original guitar solo being accidently erasaed … and then having to come back and recreate it in order to preserve it on tape for the final recording.  (If I recall correctly, he played it even better the SECOND time around, which is the one you hear today … and virtually EVERY day … on the record and radio. (kk)

Great review … I could not have said it any better myself!
Art Walicki

Hi Kent!!
Thanks for the thoughtful and enthusiastic review!!  
So glad you enjoyed it. Now trying to figure out how to top it for our 20th!  
We will be rocking another World Stage show on October 6th for Moraine Valley College’s 50th Anniversary.  I will announce the details soon!  
Thx again, Kent, for all you do!  
Warm regards.  

Also from Jim …

Good Morning Kent!!  
Couple of things!
I love “Dark of the Bay,” too!!! Great POTUS Redding song!  
Sometimes on my old WJJD surveys (large paper - red ink) the guy who compiled them liked to have a little fun for those keen enough to notice. How ‘bout his listing of Bust Out - by Stomach In - instead of the Busters. My 11 year old brain loved that one!!!
Also, Karen and I went to the 400 Theater One-Day-Only showing of “The ‘85 Bears” - the incredible documentary of that championship season Chicago and the world will never forget. With interviews and anecdote from Barack Obama, Bill Murray, Joe Montegna, Bill Kurtis, Mike Ditka and, of course, that Shuffling Crew, the film tracks the build up from losing / derided franchise - to world champions. 
Produced by Chicagoans Scott Prestin, Rich Lenkov and Michael Chinn, I was asked to write the title track which was to be called Shuffle On. I deployed the Ides Of March to record the song I wrote with some help from Eddie Breckenfeld on percussion. As applause filled the theater, Karen and I were thrilled to hear the results as the credits rolled last night. 
The doc with now go into distribution on dvd and on Netflix, etc. For any football fan - and every Bears fan - this is a must see. It is touching, real, and real hilarious!  
Shuffle On Bears! 
Whoever was putting together those old WJJD / Top Tunes surveys must have been having a blast winking an eye behind the scenes when he dropped in little ditties like that one … if you look closely enough, you’ll find these humorous title plays on words throughout the series, proving nobody on the home front was proof-reading anything they were sending out either.  (And this wasn’t unique just to Chicago … misspellings and flat out wrong information crop up all the time on the surveys we see from around the country.  These WJJD / Top Tunes charts were just having some fun with the concept.)  Check out #29!

We will definitely have to check out this new Super Bowl movie!  Thanks, Jim.  (kk)
And, speaking of The Super Bowl … here’s a great suggestion from FH Reader Frank B …

kk –
I know how much we all love countdowns.
Don't think I ever heard this idea tried before.
Maybe one of your D J subscribers will try it on Sunday.
First, I want to give credit to Joel Whitburn. I gathered this information from his book "Daily # 1 Hits (1940 - 1992).
Here’s the idea:  "Number One Hits On Super Bowl Sundays"
SB # 1 (1/15/67) = "I'm A Believer" / The Monkees
SB # 2 (1/14/68 ) = "Judy In Disguise" / John Fred & His Playboy Band
SB # 3 (1/12/69 ) = "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" / Marvin Gaye
SB # 4 (1/11/70 ) = "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" / B. J. Thomas
SB # 5 (1/17/71 ) = "Knock Three Times" / Tony Orlando & Dawn
SB # 6 (1/16/72) = "American Pie" / Don McLean
(Play it on Saturday for "The Day The Music Died" and on Sunday for the SB #1’s countdown.)
SB # 7 (1/14/73 ) = "You're So Vain" / Carly Simon
SB # 8 (1/13/74 ) = "Show And Tell" / Al Wilson
SB # 9 (1/12/75 ) = "Mandy" / Barry Manilow
SB #10 (1/18/76) = "Theme From ‘Mahogany’" / Diana Ross
SB #11 (1/9/77) = "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" / Leo Sayer
SB #12 (1/15/78 ) = "Baby Come Back" / Player
SB #13 (1/21/79) = "Le Freak" / Chic
Editorial Comment:  My least favorite song on the countdown.
SB #14 (1/20/80) = "Rock With You" / Michael Jackson
SB #15 (1/25/81) = "The Tide Is High" / Blondie
I have to stop right here. I'm already into the 1980's.
On Sunday , I'll be playing these songs in the Jukebox at Larry's Pub.
Actually, I think this is a GREAT idea … and a pretty damn good song list, too.  (I’d add five more Super Bowl #1’s to the list so you can do an official Top 20 Countdown … but I LOVE it!!!)
Knowing that our deejay readers wouldn’t see this in time to be able to incorporate it into their programming on Sunday, I pitched the idea to Me-TV-FM last week who liked it but, as I suspected, agreed that there wasn’t enough time to pull it all together to run on Sunday … so, as Cubs fans have said here in Chicago for MOST of the past 100 years … “Maybe Next Year.”  (Program Director Rick O’Dell DID bring up a good point that I hadn’t even considered … it’s tough for a radio station to indirectly promote an event all day long that could cause their listeners to turn off the radio to go watch the big game instead … unless, of course, that radio station happened to be broadcasting the play-by-play of the game … and I totally get that ... but quite honestly, you could probably count on one hand the number of people who weren’t already planning on watching the game anyway!)
One thing about this list is that it really shows you how late The Super Bowl is this year!!!  Most of the games listed above happened during the first half of January!
Here’s five more to round out the list:
SB #16 (1/24/82) = “Physical” / Olivia Newton-John
SB #17 (1/30/83) = “Down Under” / Men At Work
SB #18 (1/22/84) = “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” / Yes
SB #19 (1/20/85) = “Like A Virgin” / Madonna
SB #20 (1/26/86) = “That’s What Friends Are For” / Dionne Warwick (with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder)
And finally, as a friendly reminder, here’s our coverage of Super Bowl #1  (January, 15, 1967) from last year’s incredible 1967 Calendar Series …

I liked your comments about Jennifer Hudson being picked to play the part of Aretha Franklin. Again, it looks like you went to and graduated from the Dickie Goodman School of Break-In. 
FH is the only place I can depend on upon hearing the deaths of past singers. I did not know about the passing of Buzz Clifford until today's FH. I always did like BABY SITTIN' BOOGIE. He had a follow-up called THREE LITTLE FISHES which I liked also. That record went nowhere. I did not know about the version done a year later in German.
Oh, by the way, I noticed that on the version that you posted by Clifford it had the title I'M GONNA KNOCK ... right song but wrong title. No problem. I hope that Eddie Hodges understands. (lol)
Larry Neal
No matter how many different ways I tried, I couldn’t get the file to resave under its proper name … it must be the way it is lasered into the disc itself.  Annoying … but when you play it, you hear the song you’re supposed to hear.
“Three Little Fishes” climbed to a not-very-impressive #98 in Cash Box Magazine in 1961 … it “bubbled under” in both Billboard and Music Vendor.  It never charted here in Chicago … but I am familiar with the tune so I must have heard it at some point in time.  (Wouldn’t have been 1961, ‘tho, as I wasn’t listening to the radio yet at that age.)  kk

Imagine you had access to some of the most interesting musical artists of our time and that you kept a record of your private conversations with them and then you started a scrapbook so you could recall your most precious memories. Well, the encyclopedic Harvey Kubernik has done just that, revealing some of the most creative talents of our times in off-beat and clever ways deep inside "Cave Hollywood."
 - Roger Steffens, author of "So Much Things to Say: The Oral Histrory of Bob Marley.”
Harvey just sent me a copy of his new book and it looks really interesting.  (Another BEAUTIFUL package, this time paperback bound with a soft-touch cover.)
I haven’t started it yet but chapter titles include:
Motown: Real to Reel
Johnny Cash:  Ten Years After
The Rolling Stones in Mono
Otis Redding: Live at the Whisky a Go Go
Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun
Revisiting Super Session with Al Kooper
50 Years Ago Today Lenny Bruce Taught the Band What to Say
And more, including chapters on Leon Russell, Bob Marley, Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Frank Sinatra, The Turtles and Paul Kantner.
Check it out … and pick up your OWN copy here:

KFC's new Colonel Sanders is Reba McEntire. The first woman in that role, she will sing in the commercials and appear as the Colonel through April. Which is more than long enough, if the other commercials are as bad as the first one. It's awful on so many levels. It reminds me of the mandatory straw bales and red handkerchiefs whenever a country singer appeared on the Lawrence Welk Show. Her degrading yee-haw, boot-stompin' portrayal of country music feels like betrayal. And what does Reba's ongoing inside joke with the drag queen community have to do with KFC chicken?  Who knows. Well, anyway, she and KFC are apparently both happy.
Diane Diekman
Frannie had just told me about Reba's new gig when just a few hours later I caught her commercial during The Grammys … awful … and really, what's the point?  (Exactly what is KFC going for here?  And how on earth do they think this campaign will help business???)  Ya really gotta wonder!  (kk)

Today I heard a radio ad for our “last chance to see Elton John in concert” here in Milwaukee. The concert date is in FEBRUARY, 2019 ! Maybe I have fear of commitment issues but I have a difficult time scheduling myself and laying out what I’m sure is big money for a concert more than a year away. Not being a big Elton John fan, I’ll take a pass.
Bob Verbos
Tickets for his Chicago show are on sale now, too … but it’s a whole lot sooner than that (and past experience tells me he’ll probably come through Chicago more than once, which seems to be the way of these “farewell” tours … heck Brian Wilson is still doing his “final performance of ‘Pet Sounds’” for going on the third year now!  And didn’t Cher do like three or four “farewell tours” several years ago?)
I’ve seen Elton John twice before … the first time was right before he broke big here in America and was working as the opening act for Three Dog Night, who had already recorded a few of his songs before anybody really knew who he was … and then once again at his peak as a headliner in probably 1975 or 6.  THAT was the time to see him.  His voice is barely recognizable today … it retains virtually none of its original tone.  (Did you happen to catch him on the Grammys?  After seeing that performance, I really don’t know he’s going to eek out another three years before it just gives out completely.)
Still he IS a legend … and has provided us with a lifetime of incredible music … so just the experience of being there with him in the auditorium for what will likely be the very last time holds great appeal to not only those who have never seen him but also his most devoted, diehard fans.
Like you, however, I will pass.  I want to remember him as he was at the top of his game and would rather take that money to fill in the holes in my Elton John collection.  It’s kinda like McCartney … I’ve seen him at his best … and while he still sells out virtually every show, the magic just isn’t there anymore for me in those performances … and I love the guy. 

Elton John is booked at The United Center here in Chicago on October 26th and 27th.  And, according to an article FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent me on Friday, he has already sold out his first 60 shows … literally within hours … generating something in the neighborhood of a $400 Million Pay Day!  (Not bad for a guy who can barely sing anymore!!!)  kk

Speaking of Three Dog Night ...
I recently ordered the new Chuck Negron book, mostly because of the info I discovered on the Forgotten hits blog. But buyer beware - just some info for interested parties.
I received an e-mail stating it was shipped priority mail and should receive in two to three days. Which means I should have received it this past Wednesday or Thursday. Well, so far, no book.
I am not a fan of the USPS, but when I checked the tracking information the book was actually shipped media mail and I probably won't receive it until next Wednesday. Just thought I would save some people some time wondering where their book is. A little disappointing as there is a nominal amount of difference between Priority mail and Media mail. And they are charging $7.00 for shipping.
Art Walicki
I can understand shipping media mail as a cost saving measure … that’s the way most books and media are sent … but then don’t advertise Priority Mail and not deliver it that way … especially at $7 a pop.  (I still have to order my copy … my understanding was that copies weren’t going to be available, even as pre-orders, until March, so this is actually GOOD news that they’ve already started to ship early.)  kk

In local concert news, Delbert McClinton has just been booked at The City Winery for April 19th.
Also on tap:
Judy Collins – two shows this evening at 5 and 8 pm
February 9th and 10th – 10,000 Maniacs
February 11th – JD Souther (we’ll be there for that one!)
Sergio Mendes – February 25th – two shows
Howard Jones – March 8th
Los Lonely Boys – March 17th and 18th
The Zombies – March 19th and 20th
Christopher Cross – March 31st  (He made our Top 20 Concerts List for his City Winery performance last year)

Roy Orbison III will soon have a baby brother! 
I thought you might enjoy this piece.  The Orbison legacy continues! 
Bob Merlis

>>>Herman's Hermits cut the first version of “Where Were You When I Needed You,” the break-thru hit a year later for The Grass Roots. (Sloan also wrote “A Must To Avoid” for the band.  (kk)
I think the time-line is a bit off here. According to the liner notes for the CD reissue of the Grass Roots' Where Were You When I Needed You album, "In May of 1966, Dunhill released a preview single from the album, Sloan & Barri's original 1965 recording of "Where Were You When I Needed You." Although the recording had been lying around for the better part of a year, this did not hinder the song's obvious chart potential and the record became The Grass Roots' first Top 40 hit in June of '66." Meanwhile, the Herman's Hermits movie Hold On!, which included their version of the song on the soundtrack, was also released in June 1966. According to a Wikipedia page, Sloan & Barri had been commissioned to write the song for the movie, but that attribution might have actually referred to "A Must To Avoid," which was an early working title for the movie (later changed when the filmmakers realized that that title might discourage moviegoers from going to see it).
– Randy Price
Peter Noone has always maintained that they recorded it first and I tend to believe him.  (Isn’t this the song that has caused such a great debate in Grass Roots History over the years … it was recorded before Rob Grill joined the band and I believe it was P.F. Sloan himself who did the first vocal.)  I scoured the archives of Forgotten Hits trying to find the original in-depth piece we did on this (although the topic has come up several times since) and found sort of a “recap” version from 2011 which even then (seven years ago) mentions the fact that I couldn’t find our original piece.  (Many of our earliest features have been lost forever due to numerous computer crashes over the years.)
So, going from memory here (and I’m sure we’ll hear from many of you if I don’t have any of my “facts” quite exactly right … because, as I said earlier, we have probably given more press to The Grass Roots than any other artist over the past 18 years, simply because they’ve come up so often due to queries from our readers), this is the way that I recall the series of events that lead to the big breakthrough of the band.
The Grass Roots were first conceived as a studio band, built around
songwriters P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who were signed by Lou Adler to his Dunhill Records label.  (Maybe now that Lou’s a Forgotten Hits Reader HE can shed some additional light on this topic!)
The original intent was simply to secure their music for the label as songwriters and producers and then record these tunes with both new and established acts who could do them justice.  (P.F. Sloan would have been the first to admit that he was never much of a singer … but he WAS an excellent songwriter.)  Almost on a whim, they began referring to this as "The Grass Roots" project, more as a way of signifying their start-up with the label (in a folk / rock vein, similar to say what The Byrds and / or The Turtles were doing at the time), than anything else.
Their first release (a cover of the Bob Dylan song “Mr. Jones” ... again, in true Byrds / Turtles fashion, which reportedly DID feature Sloan on lead vocals) ... failed to chart ... but got the songwriting duo looking for a REAL band to fill the role of the now officially christened Grass Roots.
They recruited a band out of San Francisco called The Bedouins, which featured lead singer Bill Fulton, and Bill and some of his bandmates came into the studio to recut some of the existing Sloan / Barri tracks. Apparently, there were difficulties from the start, as it was made clear that Sloan and Barri would be calling ALL of the shots, which didn't set well with the members of the band.
The Bedouins (as The Grass Roots) cut another Sloan / Barri composition, "Where Were You When I Needed You", with Fulton on lead vocals. Here's where things get REALLY confusing.
After a falling out with Sloan and Barri, P.F. Sloan recut the track with his OWN vocals up front. (Actually, I may have that backwards ... in all likelihood, Sloan would have recorded it FIRST and then removed his OWN vocals to replace them with Fulton's ... but hey, I told ya it was confusing … and I can’t find any of my original notes to back this up!!!  You’d think that if there WAS a P.F. Sloan vocal version, it would have been the demo and not the commercially released version … but if The Bedouins quit in a huff, Sloan certainly could have re-recorded the track as a means of still getting the record out.  Lou???)
However, a year later, when the producers / songwriters recruited a brand NEW band (The 13th Floor) to become The Grass Roots, Rob Grill redid the vocals yet again ... and since that time, ONLY the version with Grill's vocals upfront have circulated in print. (They recut the track for the first Rob Grill / Grass Roots album, "Let's Live For Today", released to cash in on their big hit single, and then the "NEW" version was also featured on the band's first "Greatest Hits" album, "Golden Grass" ... and that's been the ONLY version available since, always featuring Rob Grill's vocals up-front, as he was now identified as the lead singer and “voice” of The Grass Roots.)
I remember featuring all THREE of these versions way back when ... but again I believe these were as "wav" files back when Forgotten Hits was only being distributed as a newsletter via email. In 2011, the ever-reliable Tom Diehl supplied MP3 replacements for all three versions so that we could feature these on the website again! (Please bear with me here as, like I said, I can't find ANYTHING in the archives to support any of this so I'm going from memory here on virtually EVERYTHING!!!)
Anyway, from that point forward, singer / bassist Rob Grill (quite often trading lead vocals back and forth with rhythm guitarist / vocalist Warren Entner, which was a BIG part of their sound) handled all of the singing on The Grass Roots' biggest hits.
To answer your SPECIFIC question, it is MY understanding that P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri ultimately sang EVERY song as it was released on The Grass Roots' first album. (Also titled "Where Were You When I Needed You", it failed to chart.)

However, Bill Fulton did receive credit on the LP ... (chalk the experience up as part of his fifteen minutes of fame) ... so who knows!!! (Quite honestly, I'm not sure ANYBODY knows for sure anymore. I once read an interview with P.F. Sloan where he admitted that even HE couldn't tell the difference between the tracks ... and had long since forgotten which version of which songs were ultimately used on the LP!!!) After placing this tune with The Grass Roots, Sloan and Barri enjoyed BIG success with the tracks "Eve Of Destruction" and "You Baby" when they were covered by Barry McGuire and The Turtles respectively.
The one thing I do know for sure is that Peter Noone told us several years ago (probably 2007 or 2008) that Herman's Hermits was the very FIRST band in the world to record the Sloan / Barri track "Where Were You When I Needed You" (and he even sent us a copy of their recording to share with our readers at the time.) It sounds like P.F. Sloan was there in the studio in England for THAT recording session, too.  (kk)

It was mentioned on your post today that Herman's Hermits had the first version of For Your Love.   It reminds me a little of Manfred Mann
recording My Little Red Book a year before the Bacharach / David song was played much more rock and roll by the group Love.
Manfred Mann also had a hit in England called Fox On The Run. This was not the same as the song by The Sweet by the same title … however, it was the same song that was a 1976 country hit for Tom T. Hall.  Somehow the Manfred Mann song got turned into a bluegrass hit!
Phil Nee – WRCO

Our new Saturday Surveys featuring is inspiring some of our readers to check out “new” musical discoveries thanks to some of the local and regional hits being featured both on the charts and by way on sound tracks provided by our partner in this series, Clark Besch. 

Here are just a couple of the recent comments we have received in the past week …

The Will O’Bees?  We never heard them in Nashville, and we're not all that far from Birmingham. Some of their tracks are very good and cause me to agree that they should have been much better known.
You’re likely to come across ALL kinds of undiscovered gems in our brand new Saturday Surveys Series.  Be sure to check it out every weekend … as we criss-cross the country featuring a different chart from a different state for each week of 1968!  (kk)

>>>Any idea if the Chicago Prophibition song is the same one that was a hit for Georgie Fame?  (kk)
Yes, it was: Note that it produced by Kasenetz-Katz, the bubblegum moguls.
Randy Price

Oh my God, this is absolutely AWFUL!!! Why would ANYBODY play this version over the Georgie Fame version?!?!?  (kk)

>>>And how about "Sunshine Of Your Love" already falling down ten spots when it just premiered nationally a couple of weeks ago?!?!  (I love the fact that the group is shown as "The Cream," which is the way they were billing themselves early on ... I don't think the record label showed them that way, 'tho, did it?) kk
The label on some Atco pressings mistakenly showed the group name as "The Cream," while others had it correct, without the "The" ( The UK Polydor 45 had just "Cream" on the label ( 
– Randy Price
It’s interesting because I know that that’s the way they were being billed in England at the time is as “The Cream.”  I’ve seen several concert posters and read several articles about their early days just after the band had been formed … but I didn’t think that any of that had been carried over here in America.  (kk)

Here’s an interesting observation I heard them discussing on the radio the other day …
Easter this year falls on April Fool’s Day!
A listener asked Phlash Phelps about this the other day and Phlash researched this unusual event and found that the last time this happened was 1956!
So it has taken 62 YEARS for this to come around again … yet in 11 years (2029) it’ll happen again!  (It’ll happen eleven years after that, too … in 2040 … that’s the one I’M waiting for!!!)
Back in the 1800’s it happened eleven years apart three times!  (1866, 1877 and 1888!)
Weird how the calendar works sometimes.  (My sister was born on Easter Sunday, 1959, which fell on March 29th … already considered fairly late for Easter)
I took a look back at The Top Ten Hits on Easter Sunday, 1956, according to Billboard Magazine and here’s what I came up with …

1.    The Poor People Of Paris – Les Baxter
2.    Lisbon Anqigua – Nelson Riddle
3.    Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins
4.    Hot Diggity – Perry Como
5.    Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
6.    Rock And Roll Waltz – Kay Starr
7.    I’ll Be Home – Pat Boone
8.    No, Not Much – The Four Lads
9.    Why Do Fools Fall In Love – Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers
10.         The Great Pretender – The Platters

You can see that the Rock And Roll movement had already begun – yet it was the orchestral sounds of Les Baxter and Nelson Riddle that dominated the charts this week.  “The Poor People Of Paris” would remain at #1 for one more week before Elvis topped the chart with “Heartbreak Hotel,” which held at #1 for the next two months.  (kk)
(Not much rockin’ and rollin’ goin’ on here!)  kk

Talk about the early days of Rock And Roll … check THIS out from FH Reader Frank B …

kk …
Here’s one of the many Alan Freed show's I went to.  Check out that lineup … PLUS a movie!
Frank B.

Video Clip of the Week:
This one actually teared me up … Simon Cowell, being showing how he could be the world’s biggest ass … and then humbly dealing with the consequences (which I guess ultimately proved him right … right?)  kk

Smiles of the week (courtesy of Chuck Buell and Frank B!) …
From the Design Center of "Chuck Buell's Super Gold," here's a great idea for you to have a nice vinyl floor for the Offices of "Forgotten Hits!"

You, of course, might use 45s, but either way, I'm sure that when people see it, they would say, "What a 'Groovy' idea!"
CB ( which stands for "Concept Boy!" )
I LIKE it!!!  Honey, can we put in a new vinyl floor in the kitchen???  (kk)

Can you get me an autographed condom from Foghat when they come to the Arcada?
Frank B.
I’ll ask … but if it’s all sticky, you’re on your own!  (kk)