Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Sunday Comments ( 12 - 23 - 18 )

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!!!  

We’re back from a long weekend in Nashville (more on all that later!) so we’ve got a bit of catching up to do this week … in this, our final Sunday Comments Page of 2018.  (As such, some of what you read here may not be the FRESHEST of music news … but we would be remiss in not reporting it!!!)  

That being said, we can also promise brand new postings EVERY DAY through New Year’s Day as we wrap up our salute to 1968 … and launch our salute to 1969 … so let’s get right to it, shall we?!?!?   

First off, congratulations to Rich Klein of Plano, TX; Big Jay Sorensen of Big River, NJ; Clark Besch of Lincoln, NE and Clive Topol of Chicago, IL.  They each won copies of the newly revised Aretha Franklin Biography by Mark Bego!

And thanks again to everybody who entered … this was one of the biggest responses we’ve had to a Forgotten Hits Giveaway in quite a while!  

If you didn’t win you can still order YOUR copy here: 

That's great news! 
I was sittin' on a "see saw" worried about winning it and was just askin' for a little "respect."  Now that I won, you other fools can stand in line as the "chain of fools!" 
Just kiddin', guys and gals. 
Thanks again. 
I say a little prayer that nobody is offended by your comments.  I know that you were day dreaming about winning … and I’m sure you went thru a moment or two of “ain’t no way” … but you just gotta hang in there and rock steady … I knew you were waiting … and now the weight has been lifted.
When you play the Aretha titles game you’ve really gotta wonder who’s zoomin’ who???  Congrats, Clark … and enjoy!  (kk)   

>>>The Arcada Theatre has SIX SPOTS on this year’s Top Ten Concerts List  (kk)   
I am truly honored! 
Ron Onesti

That’s quite a line up, Kent!
Glad you shared the 2019 shows. There are definitely some I want to see.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Locals on the list receive updates of up-coming shows in our area.  Quite often we are able to offer special ticket pricing through some of the venues we help promote regularly. 
Do you live in the Chicagoland area?  Then get on our Locals List!  Drop me an email at … and as us to add you to the Locals List.  (kk)    

kk …
I know that Larry Chance was included as one of your top 2018 concerts.  
I thought you might like to know he's currently in the hospital. 
That’s some very sad news right before the holidays.  We wish him a speedy recovery.  Despite a barrage of technical difficulties the night we saw him at The Arcada, Larry (trooper that he is) still put on a GREAT show.  We hope he’s better soon.  (kk)  

We heard from one of the other performers that night, too …

Check out THIS from Jay Siegel and The Tokens …  

Kent …
I don't know how you get all this stuff together … but don't stop!!! 
We love seeing and reading your blog.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season.
Hope to see you in 2019 ...
Jay (Wimoweh)

From Jim Peterik: 
Man, we've got the stuff that NOBODY else has got!!!
Here's an exclusive update regarding all the cool stuff Jim Peterik has coming up next year ... along with some photos sent in for exclusive display on the Forgotten Hits Website!
Jim held down TWO spots on last year's Top Ten Best Concerts List ... and we're going to see him at the next World Stage Show in January.
We're also in the process of lining up a phone interview in Great Britain with Radio Presenter Geoff Dorsett ... 
So ALL kinds of cool things happening in this regard.

Here's the update from Jim ...

Hi Kent!  
Merry Christmas, my friend.
Sorry I’ve been a bit out touch. It’s been crazy! But I wanted to catch you and FH up on what’s happening in my life so I’m sending you this update with some photos if you care to share it on your great website ASAP.
It’s been a busy few months for me balancing shows with the Cornerstones Of Rock (Genesee and Arcada), Ides Of March (Arcada and more) and World Stage (Moraine Valley College) 
Meanwhile I’ve been putting the final touches on my World Stage Album to come out on April 26th worldwide on Frontiers. Guests read like a Who’s Who of classic rock: Dennis DeYoung, Kevin Cronin, a previously unreleased track by Jimi Jamison, Kelly Keagy, Jason Scheff, Kevin Chalfant, Toby Hitchcock, Work Of Art, Danny Vaughn Of Tyketto, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson and the amazing Mike Reno.  This album Rocks.
We are also in the middle of recording the Ides of March 55th anniversary album -  Play On!  The Ides chose the great Fred Mollin (Jimmy Webb, America, Johnny Mathis) to produce.
Guest stars so far include Bo Bice of American Idol Fame, Mark Farner, Cathy Richardson, Joe Bonamassa, Paul Shaffer and more to come. Looking forward to a May / June release. 
I am gearing up for the 20th anniversary of Jim Peterik and World Stage at The Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville. And it’s a doozy.
The Ides of March, David Pack, Toby Hitchcock, Gary Wright, Colin Peterik and Alex Ligertwood.  And always the chance of a surprise guest!  I’d love to give you two tickets to my World Stage Show On Jan 12 at the Wentz Center.  Gonna be a good one!  Please let me know if you and your wife can attend. Hope so!
Merry Christmas and a rocking new year!    
Rock on!!  Jimbo

Here are a few exclusive shots for Forgetten Hits:

Top: a scene from the video shoot for Proof Of Heaven (from World Stage) 

Pictured:  Ed Breckenfeld, Dennis DeYoung, Jim Peterik and August Zadra (from Dennis’s Band)

Left to right:  Colin Peterik (Keys on video), Kevin Campbell (Bass) and Dennis DeYoung.

Backstage at Roe Conn Toy Drive ... Santa, Jim Peterik and Scott May Of The Ides

The Ides on Windy City Live, promoting our Christmas Show

Left to Right:  Mike Borch. Scott May. Larry Millas. Host Ryan Chiavarini, Henry Salgado, Jim Peterik, producer Andrea Dres, Co-Host Val Warner and Bob Bergland

This shot will appear on my World Stage album ... 
Jim Peterik at the Jam Lab  (Photo by Kristie Schram) 
The Buzzard Brass at an Ides session at Lennon’s Den Studio
Tim Bales, Steve Eisen, Henry Salgado  

Thanks, Kent, and hoping you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

This And That … And A New Concert Review:  
The two surviving Beatles reunited on stage the other night during a concert held in London when Ringo Starr and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones joined Paul McCartney on stage to perform The Beatles’ classic “Get Back.”  It was a moment of both rock and roll royalty and rock and roll history … and even the two “former fabs” were a little bit emotional afterwards. 
Before leaving the stage, Starr remarked “I don’t know about you, but that was a thrill for me. Peace and love everybody … and a Merry Christmas.” And, as Ringo and Wood left the stage, McCartney said “I’m just going to let that moment sink in.”
You can watch the video clip here …

… and also get a pretty good idea as to what I’ve been saying about the state of McCartney’s voice these days!

Speaking of Dynamic Duos, we witnessed one of the best during our recent trip to Nashville as husband and wife Vince Gill and Amy Grant took to the stage at the legendary Ryman Auditorium to present their “12 Days Of Christmas” concert for what this year marked the 25th consecutive year. 

I believe every show was a complete sell out (in fact, Frannie and I had to sit a row apart with two seats back-to-back behind each other) … but it is something we’ve wanted to see for a long, long time.

While Amy’s voice started out a little shaky (it sounded like she may have been fighting off a bit of a cold … and who isn’t this week?!?!), it came into its own as the show moved on.  Vince, on the other hand, has, without question, one of the sweetest, purest voices you’ll ever hear … and he just exudes charm and charisma the entire time he’s on stage.  (He also provided the comic relief for much of the program … and even treated us to a VERY short “Life In The Fast Lane” riff as they were moving things around a bit on stage.) 

I was probably most surprised by the fact that they rarely sang together … but rather seemed to take turns handling the lead vocals.  The pacing was also a little bit too slow for my taste as more than a few times I found myself thinking, “OK, Guys, you’ve got to pick things up here a little bit in order to keep us awake!”  How about something just a little bit faster than a lullabye?!?! 

Still it was a VERY enjoyable show … and, with Rodney Crowell as their opening act, quite a treat to see.  (They even performed, as Amy put it, “that song that’s been getting all this publicity of late that you really seem to like” … of course meaning “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”  (How exactly did that become a Christmas song in the first place?  It doesn’t even so much mention the holiday season!  If “cold” is the trigger word here, maybe Foreigner will find themselves with a Christmas Classic 85 years from now with “Cold As Ice!”)  Even this one they had a bit of fun with … and Vince seized several opportunities to showcase his incredible guitar skills. 

All-in-all, a very entertaining show … that just fell short of our Top Ten Concerts List from earlier this week. 

We got the chance to meet a couple of long-time Forgotten Hits Readers while we were down there, having dinner with David Lewis and Mark Cummings and their wives and then visiting the Nashville Broadway Strip, taking in a few of the more famous honky-tonks along the way.  It was a whole new experience for us, likened perhaps to the South By Southwest Festival down in Austin … with maybe a touch of New Orleans and Las Vegas thrown in for good measure.
It definitely had a 20-somethings party vibe as each place seemed a little more crowded then the next.  Nashville seems to have become Party Central for the 21-30 set and they were out in full force on Saturday Night. 

It’s a WHOLE different world down there … with no cover charges and no drink minimums, all of the bands play for tips … and pass the tips jar every set.  (There is no split with the house … and I got the feeling that many if not all of the bartenders are in much the same boat.)

Still the musicianship is unreal!  (And you have to be top notch to survive on the stage in Music City!) 

Typical fare requires a $20 tip for the band to play a request … and then, whether they know it or not … have ever sung it before (or ever even have HEARD of it before!), they are obligated to perform it.  As such, all of the musicians and vocalists have their iPads and cell phones handy, looking up the chord charts and lyrics (and, occasionally, making a quick visit to Spotify in an effort to get the melody and phrasing down on some of these completely unfamiliar tracks) … and then boom, they’re up on stage performing it.  Day in / Day out … every single day.  (Man, I think about the countless hours we would rehearse a song before we would dare perform it in public … not this group of musicians trying to make it … it is 100% baptism by fire every single night!) 

Each band we saw had at least one stand-out singer or musician … and we heard some pretty obscure tracks along the way.  (“The Auctioneer” by Leroy Van Dyke anyone?)  And I’m telling you, this guy absolutely NAILED it … and then played an even faster, sped-up verse! 

It was a lot of fun (although most of the time, a bit loud for such a cramped space … but I get that, too.  They’ve got to play loud enough to draw in a crowd of passers-by from the street in order to build up their next batch of tips and requests!)  A tough way to make a living, to be sure.  (Pity the bands scheduled to perform at 3 pm when there’s less than half a dozen people in the bar!) 

(And, as you can see, I also made a new friend while we were down there) …

While there, we also visited Nudie’s Honky Tonk, owned at one time by the infamous fashion designer who perhaps most famously designed Elvis Presley’s gold lame suit as featured on the cover of his second Greatest Hits Album, “50,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong.” 

Billed at the time as Elvis’ $10,000 suit (2018 value = $90,000), Elvis only wore the suit a handful of times … but performed in it for the very first time right here in Chicago on March 28th, 1957 at the old Chicago International Amphitheater.  The photo of sixteen Elvises appeared on his second greatest hits album two years later. 

You can read all about it here:  

And see the jacket on display here:

Siri took us on two completely different routes to and from Music City.  On the way up, we passed thru Benton, IL, one-time home of Louise Harrison, Beatle George’s Sister, whose story of George’s visit several months prior to The Beatles first trip to America has been immortalized in “A Beatle In Benton.”  (Today, the spot is commemorated with a giant George Sign right on the highway … and you can also spend A Hard Day’s Night at their local Beatles Bed and Breakfast hotel!)

We also hit Metropolis, home of the Superman Museum (and the giant Superman statue, where the big guy was all decked out for Christmas this time of year!)

It’s a small town greatly in need of funding to keep the whole Superman motif going … but it has tremendous potential … and there was quite a bit of interesting memorabilia on display at the museum, encompassing all phases of Superman’s now 80-Year Career! 

On the way back we took Highway 65 for over 400 miles, passing through Louisville, Kentucky and a good chunk of Indiana where, as we approached Seymour, we found a sign for John Mellencamp Way!  (Makes sense … he’s probably their most famous son!)  And we also found more than a few “little pink houses” down in Nashville, too!

Here's one for your "where are they now" file.
Jackie Fox, an original member of the 70's punk band the Runaways, is currently a contestant on Jeopardy … and has won three games in a row.  
So were my parents wrong when they told me rock and roll would rot my brain?
Ed Erxleben   
Yep … she’s been all over the news this past week … thru Thursday she had won $87,000 over a four day stretch.  
And this isn’t her first game show experience … back in 1980, she was a contestant on The Dating Game … and, in 2013, also took part in The Chase and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire!
Fox, whose real name is Jackie Fuchs, was in the news for another matter a short while back.  
She says The Runaways’ manager, Kim Fowley, drugged and then raped her in front of the rest of her bandmates … yet none of the other members (including Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer Joan Jett and bandmate Lita Ford) came to her defense or have spoken about it since.
As such, her stint with The Runaways did not end on a harmonious note.  In fact, when they made a biopic of the band in 2010, Jackie refused to let her name be used in the film … so a fictional character was created to fill the role of The Runaways’ bassist.  (She was only in the band for a short time … between the ages of 15 and 17.)
She’s made her REAL mark as an entertainment attorney … but hey, who couldn’t use an extra $87 Grand?!?!  (kk) 

Am wondering why CHRISTMAS DRAGNET (Parts 1&2) by Stan Freberg isn't on the list of Most Popular Christmas Songs.  No one has a sense of humor anymore I guess ... 
Tal Hartsfeld 
I’ll betcha it’s part of Gary Theroux Top 100 Christmas Hits Countdown …

Speaking of which … 

Merry Christmas, Kent.
I was wondering if you know what radio station would be broadcasting Gary Theroux’s “Top 100 Christmas Hits of All Time” this year so I may be able to listen online. I haven’t heard it for a few years and it was simply fabulous.
Thank you for yet another wonderful year of “Forgotten Hits.”  I wish you and your family a very healthy and prosperous new year.
Gary tells us that it’s being broadcast on radio stations in over 175  countries around the world this year, including right here in Chicago on Me-TV-FM, who will broadcast it in four back-to-back ten hour blocks beginning at 8 am on Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately, they don’t stream … but their sister station in Milwaukee DOES … so you can Listen Live to the entire program right here … 

The 24th annual “A Hometown Holiday” airs on Christmas Day from 7 am – 4 pm on WLTL-FM 88.1 and streams at  Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s hosts the annual Christmas special with favorites from the golden age of top-40.
First heard in 1995, the holiday broadcasts includes groups and artists whose only hit single is a Christmas song.  This list is available at: along with more information. 

Micky Dolenz talks to People Magazine about the new Monkees’ Christmas Album … which we’ve been listening to quite a bit lately!    

Here's my latest, favorite Christmas song!
My wife and I heard it for the first time at Woodfield Mall, yesterday.
I was surprised to learn it was a Chris Rea song from the mid 80s. It did well in the UK but I've never heard this on the radio here. I think you and you readers will like it.
Merry Christmas!
Dave and Laurie
Hoffman Estates

It’s actually a great little song … and video … thanks, Dave!  (kk)

And, still one of my all-time favorites of recent years … courtesy of Forgotten Hits Reader Dick Eastman … “Santa’s Comin’ Here” … 

And, of course, I’m still a bit partial to this one by rock ‘n’ roll wannabe Kent Kotal … 

Not much to look at video-wise … but a pretty catchy tune!

Billboard again is touting the success of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” this week … now the highest charting Christmas single since The Chipmunks topped the chart in 1958 with “The Chipmunk Song.”  (That’s 60 years ago, people!)  This week her single moves up a spot from #7 to #6. 

Other big holiday movers this week include Andy Williams’ “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (#13), “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms (up from #26 to #15!), “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee (#18, up from #21), “A Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives (#21, up a spot from #22), “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole (#24, up from #29), “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry (#27, up nine spots from #36), “Last Christmas” by Wham (#31, up from #34) and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” by Dean Martin (#32, up from #41.)

Meanwhile, a SECOND Gene Autry track premiers this week at #40 (“Here Comes Santa Claus) while The Ronettes debut at #41 with “Sleigh Ride” and Jose Feliciano returns to the chart with “Feliz Navidad,” which is this week’s #42 song.

Dean Martin’s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” cracks The Top Ten of digitally downloaded music this week, too.  (Guess all the controversy over this one didn’t hamper downloads at all … but people, there are MUCH better versions of this song than Dino’s!!!)

Billboard is also publishing a Top 100 Holiday Chart for the season, listing ONLY the most popular Christmas tunes based on sales, downloads, youtube views and airplay.  Mariah Carey tops this chart, too, with “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Notable additions to the list (from this chart’s Top 20) include “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby (#14), TWO songs by Perry Como (“There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays,” #13, and “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas,” #15) and Elvis at #16 with “Blue Christmas” and Paul McCartney at #19 with “Wonderful Christmastime.”  (John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas” sits at #22.  The Eagles are right behind it with their version of “Please Come Home For Christmas,” #23.  You can check out the complete chart here: 

From FH Reader John LaPuzza …

Gee, who does THAT sound like?!?!?  (kk)


Several losses last week while we were on the road … both musical and otherwise.

Nancy Wilson, the great jazz singer (who crossed over to the pop charts a couple of times) died on December 13th in California.  Her two biggest pop hits are among my favorites … “How Glad I Am” reached #11 in 1964 … and “Face It, Girl, It’s Over” peaked at #21 (#29BB) in 1968.

We also lost Wrecking Crew great Joe Osborn, an extraordinary bass player who played on literally HUNDREDS of hit records during those hit-making years.

Frequent Forgotten Hits contributor Harvey Kubernik had this to say about Joe …

“Joe was the bass player on all those great Johnny Rivers recordings and all of the Fifth Dimension sessions.  And of course, Rivers and the 5D not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
From the Harvey Kubernik 2014 book, Turn Up the Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972. 
Bones Howe: Johnny Rivers was a performer first. He learned from the road. He knew how to play in front of an audience. He was a good performer before he was a recording artist. He came into the recording studio and was really raw when we did “Memphis” and “Maybelline.” We all caught a great period in time. 
The rhythm section had a lot to do with the Rivers records. Mickey Jones was the drummer on the first Rivers sessions, and Joe Osborn was on bass. But that was part of Rivers’s thing. He liked that country R & B. 
When work began on the 5th Dimension album, Rivers suggested they cover “Go Where You Wanna Go.” Howe selected “Paper Cup” and “Carpet Man” by Jimmy Webb, as well as scripture from the Laura Nyro songbook, including “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” and “Save the Country.” 
Bones Howe: I was actively working with music publishers. I found Neil Sedaka’s “Puppet Man” and “Workin’ On a Groovy Thing,” and “California Soul” by Valerie Simpson and Nickolas Ashford. 
From one record to the next, I began to find things that could get played on the radio. Jimmy (Webb) would sit down at the piano and play his songs live, with these beautiful harmonies. There were no demos. He was the hippest songwriter in town. All of his songs have major sevenths and major ninths and elevenths — all those altered chords, like you find in jazz. So that was what I thought was very attractive. He also wrote beautiful melodies. Suddenly, here is a guy doing all these hip chord changes in a pop song. 
I heard Laura Nyro’s “Wedding Bell Blues” on KHJ radio, because Bill Drake, the RKO programmer, liked the record. Then I saw Laura at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. I mixed the Association and Mamas and the Papas live sets. I thought Laura was amazing, and it was almost jazz, what she was doing. Laura was different. She had some L.A. studio musicians with her at Monterey, like Hal Blaine, who also worked with Johnny Rivers. R & B radio stations played her song “Stoned Soul Picnic,” that I also did with the 5th Dimension at Wally Heider’s studio. It was a number-one R & B hit. I kept exploring the Nyro and Webb mines. I kept finding stuff I loved, and it got easier when we got rolling on it. 
On “Stoned Soul Picnic,” we had complex five-part harmonies. I’m a big believer in using as few microphones as possible for singers. I wanted Marilyn as the lead on the later singles, and Bill was the lead on most of the 5th’s albums. He had some Wilson Pickett in his voice that made him unique. 
“One Less Bell to Answer” was a number-one record. It’s a Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition that was initially done by Keely Smith. 
Hal Blaine was on everything, and Joe Osborn . . . I discovered Joe doing those Johnny Rivers records with Lou Adler. Mickey Jones was the drummer on the first Rivers sessions, and Joe Osborn played bass. He played the bass the way I thought, as a jazz player, rock ’n’ roll players should play the bass. Joe and Hal, together, really had the lock and the feel. Then Dennis Budimir and Tommy Tedesco — jazz guys on guitar. 
That’s kind of how I built a rhythm section. A lot of it was conversation. I always started my session in the room. The lead sheets would go out, but I always started with the guys and stood out there with them as they ran the first tune. I hated the disembodied voice that came from the control room to the floor, telling everybody what to do." 

Joe Osborn, 1937-2018
by Richard Williams on December 16, 2018  
As a first-call bass guitarist in Los Angeles in the second half of the 1960s, Joe Osborn played on some of the era’s most memorable hits, including “California Dreamin'”, “Windy” and “MacArthur Park”. Osborn, who died at his home in Lousiana on December 14, aged 81, formed a particularly strong partnership in the Hollywood studios with the pianist Larry Knechtel and the drummer Hal Blaine. Born in Mound, Louisiana, Osborn started life as a guitarist and spent two years playing with Bob Luman in Las Vegas before joining Ricky Nelson’s band in 1960 and moving to LA. Since the guitarist was James Burton, Osborn switched to bass and played on such Nelson hits as “Travellin’ Man”. In 1964, his studio career had already begun when he became part of the minimalist rhythm section on the Lou Adler-produced Johnny Rivers at the Whisky A Go Go, whose party vibe, captured by the engineer Bones Howe, made it — and the single taken from it, Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” — a giant hit. Osborn went on to play on many more of Rivers’ (now underrated) albums, right up to LA Reggae and Blue Suede Shoes in the early ’70s, and on many of Howe’s subsequent productions, usually alongside Blaine. “Hal and Joe had the lock and the feel,” Howe said in Harvey Kubernik’s book Turn Up the Radio!He played a Fender Jazz Bass, whose narrow neck suited his fingers, mostly with a pick. Apparently, he didn’t change his flat-wound strings for 20 years. There was plenty of competition on his instrument in the Hollywood studios — from Carol Kaye, Ray Pohlman, Lyle Ritz, the multi-talented Knechtel and others, some of them with jazz training — but he was valued for his southern rock ‘n’ roll chops. His later work included Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (with Knechtel on piano) and all the 5th Dimension’s hits, including “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In” and the sublime “One Less Bell to Answer”.

Joe was a very good friend back in the day, and also a great picker. His sound really was unique because he picked his bass stronger than any electric bassist I have ever heard. 
That's how he got his unique sound. He was a really good guy and a lot of laughs in the studio. He had a great sense and very sardonic sense of humor. He could find something funny to say even in the worst sessions we were called to play on. When I started arranging I used him on a lot on my recordings until he decided to leave LA. I’ll miss him, just like all my other friends that have passed.
Truly Yours,
Michel Rubini  
Also joining the broadcasting line-up in Rock And Roll Heaven is Don Webster who hosted the VERY popular “Upbeat” show out of Cleveland back in the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.  This program maintains a very loyal cult following all these years later … and, several years ago, we spent quite a bit of time campaigning for some of these shows to be released on home video so the fans who grew up on this program could enjoy them again.  Sadly, all of this fell on deaf ears … although I’m told a VERY extensive library exists and can be licensed out (at a premium!) for use as part of other rock and roll programs and documentaries.  Too bad … anybody who was anybody seems to have appeared on this program at one time or another.  (Think American Bandstand … or maybe more of a Cleveland version of The Lloyd Thaxton Show, I guess … ultimately syndicated all over the country … although I honestly don’t remember the program ever airing here in Chicago.)  kk

This person may not mean a lot to the folks who were *fans* of pop music in the 60s and 70s, but he did help a lot of *makers* of pop music who were making the scenes.
The host of the Upbeat Show (based in Cleveland, but was quickly syndicated around the country), Don Webster, passed away on Thursday 12/13 at the age of 79. 
This article here includes the last TV performance of Otis Redding, days before his fatal plane crash:
-- Tim K.

From Harvey Kubernik …

Don Webster, Host of Upbeat
By Harvey Kubernik © 2018
This week the legendary Cleveland, Ohio, television personality, Don Webster died at the age of 79. Webster served as host of Upbeat, before embarking on a 35-year career which included a longtime meteorologist spot at News 5 in Cleveland.   Webster was one of the original hosts of the long-running daily talk show The Morning
Exchange, a former No. 1 rated program that subsequently influenced the launch of early morning programming like Good Morning America. He later hosted the quiz show Academic Challenge.
In 1994, Webster was inducted into the Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame.
In 1964, Canadian-born Webster became the host of the music variety one hour TV
program Upbeat that originated from WEWS-TV 5, an ABC-TV affiliate, in Cleveland that was broadcast from 1964 - 1971 and syndicated in over 100 US markets. It was a black and white show from 1964 - 1967, and then shot in color from 1967 until the series demise in 1971.
In 1965 and ’66 I danced for a brief season on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and the Casey Kasem-hosted Shebang! filmed in Hollywood. Local teenagers were occasionally recruited to fill seats and dance to records and performers who lip-synced their hit songs.
By 1966, weekly the network music television series Hulabaloo and Shindig! had been
cancelled. I was sad. But the saving grace of live televised rock ’n’ roll weekly music shows in the United States was Upbeat.
It was different.
We relished The Ed Sullivan Show weekly Sunday night showcase of musical guests,
and American Bandstand had a couple of live acts coupled with fast and slow dance music for the programming, but Upbeat often featured eight to ten live recording artists.
Upbeat really made an impact on me. It was a weekly ritual in Hollywood to watch this show from Cleveland that somehow was aired in Southern California.
I cited Upbeat in my 2004 book Hollywood Shack Job: Rock Music In Film and on Your
In summer of 2017, I was an invited guest lecturer in the author series held at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, discussing my just published book 1967: A Complete Rock History of The Summer of Love.
I spent fifteen minutes just praising the landmark Upbeat to the highly receptive local crowd and acknowledging the efforts of producer Herman Spero.
I interviewed David Spero, son of Herman, for my 1967 book, and he reflected on the Upbeat ground-breaking screen achievements with me.
David Spero was a rock-radio pioneer in the 1970s and for many years has been a very active music manager.
“The whole purpose of the show and what my dad was trying to do at the time he watched American Bandstand and Robin Seymour’s show out in Detroit, Ed Sullivan, one artist two songs, and all the rest were dance numbers. And what he wanted to do was take Top 40 radio and put it on TV. And that was the goal with Upbeat.”
David Spero held up cue cards for Webster, wrote out questions for the host to answer on-air, and served “as the dancers’ and artists’ best friend” beginning at age 13.
Simon and Garfunkel made their first-time-ever TV appearance on Upbeat.
One week I could be watching Dizzy Gillespie and Gene Krupa alongside the Box Tops, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Tommy James & the Shondells, Otis Redding, Terry Knight and the Pack, Bobby Goldsboro, Lesley Gore, the Guess Who, Gene Pitney, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Johnny Nash, The Bar-Kays, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Sly & The Family Stone and Mitch Ryder.
Webster also interviewed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
“There were never any race meetings on Upbeat,” Spero underscored to me. ‘“Oh my God!  The show is all black!’ If that’s what it was, that’s what it was. There was never a meeting ‘whose going to be our Motown act this week?’ It was always the opposite.
“We were fortunate in Cleveland to have so much music coming through the town. Love, Simon and Garfunkel ... The Velvet Underground did Upbeat.
“We had a place called Leo’s Casino, and the only white group that ever played there was Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Ridders. It was all Motown and Stax.
“Otis had been on the show six or seven times,” recalled Spero. “He was like a member of the family. He was the first person I knew who died. Otis performed at Leo’s Casino that night after doing the Upbeat show. He was leaving on Sunday. He had played cards with my dad on Friday or Saturday night. I do know I have a copy of the check; he signed it on the back because he had lost $209 to my dad playing cards and everyone playing cards and endorsed their checks to my dad, which is why it wasn’t in his pocket when he died.
“I literally spent four or five hours with Otis the day before he died. He was a young guy. He seemed much younger than he was.”
-      Harvey Kubernik
(Harvey Kubernik is an award-winning author of fifteen books. His literary anthology Inside Cave Hollywood: The Harvey Kubernik Music InnerViews and InterViews Collection Vol. 1, was published in December, 2017, by Cave Hollywood.
Kubernik’s The Doors Summer’s Gone was published by Other World Cottage Industries in February, 2018.
During November, 2018, Sterling/Barnes and Noble published Kubernik’s The Story of The Band From Big Pink to the Last Waltz.
During 1977 – 1978, Kubernik served as host and co-produced the monthly music video and interview TV program 50/50, which aired on Theta Cable, The Z Channel and Manhattan Cable.
Guests included Todd Rundgren, Murray The K, Danny Sugerman and Michael Lloyd. Videos and film clips of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Utopia, Pink Lady and The Doors were broadcast. Cynthia Kirk in Daily Variety praised 50/50 “on par with The Midnight Special.”
In November, 2006, Harvey Kubernik was a featured speaker discussing audiotape
preservation and archiving at special hearings called by The Library of Congress that were held in Hollywood, California.

We also lost Galt McDermett this past week.


Well, Galt was the composer of the hit musical “Hair,” which premiered on Broadway back in 1968.  
In 1969, the music from this revolutionary show made a HUGE impression on the pop charts.  (You’ll see this covered in much greater detail when we salute 1969 next year in our year-long Fifty Year Flashback series!)
The Fifth Dimension scored a HUGE #1 Hit with “Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In” … and The Cowsills also hit the top of the charts with the title track, “Hair.”
Other notable tunes include “Easy To Be Hard,” a #1 hit for Three Dog Night, and “Good Morning Starshine,” a Top Three hit for Oliver.

You can read more about Galt McDermett in this article sent in by FH Reader Frank B …

Or watch this very poor quality (but very entertaining) Cowsills video for “Hair” right here …

And last but not least, Penny Marshall.
One forgets that in addition to playing Lavern DeFazio on the popular ABC hit television series “Lavern and Shirley,” Penny went on to follow in her brother Garry’s footsteps as a director, helming the films “Big” and “A League Of Their Own” to name just a couple.  (She was also married to Rob Reiner for about ten years!)  “Big” became the first movie to gross over $100 Million directed by a woman.  In 1990, she directed the film “Awakenings,” which went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture … so there was a LOT more to this gal than Lavern!
The Lavern and Shirley Theme Song, “Making Our Dreams Come True,” just missed the National Top 20 when it was released as a single back in 1976 by Cyndi Grecco … but Lavern and Shirley made the charts, too … with a God-Awful rendition of the Connie Stevens hit “Sixteen Reasons.”  (It peaked at #65, also in 1976.)

In a piece remembering Larry Lujack last week on the fifth anniversary of his death, Rob Feder announced that long time WLS Personality Tommy Edwards has a new book coming out next year (official release date still to be determined)  
Expect inside stories on the creative mind of Larry Lujack as well as memories of his time spent covering The Chicago Bulls games during the Michael Jordan dynasty. 

This past Friday (December 21st) also marked the final broadcast of Steve Dahl’s radio show on WLS-AM.  His podcast (available thru subscription) will continue.

Big Jay Sorensen sent us this picture of Joey Reynolds, Lou Christie and himself from when Lou appeared on The Late Joey Reynolds Show.

And special thanks again to Lou Christie, who sent me a beautiful Christmas gift last week.  (We have just GOT to bring this guy back to Chicago!!!)  As well as these wonderful words of encouragement …

Thanks to you for all you do to help keep our music alive!
Happiest of Holidays to you and your family and my best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Hopefully I will be back in the Chicago area in 2019 and I look forward to seeing you then
Lou Christie

After seeing Vince Gill in concert last weekend it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite country music videos … so I just had to share this one with you.
Gill’s friendship with Rodney Crowell dates back to the late 1970’s when the two first met in California where, Vince says, he was “trying to make it as a banjo player … I don’t recommend it.”
The two teamed up in 2004 as The Notorious Cherry Bombs and cut this country classic …

And to show you BOTH sides of the incredible talent range of this young man, here is Vince performing his latest soon-to-be-hit “When My Amy Prays” …

Reminder:  We will have brand new postings straight through New Year’s Day as we wind down our 1968 salute …
And this is not only the last Sunday Comments Page of 2018 … but it is ALSO the last Sunday Comments Page until 2020!!!

That’s right … because NEXT year our “Saturday Surveys” feature will run on Sundays in order to coincide with the dates printed on each week’s WLS Hit Parade Survey.

All the fun kicks off on Sunday, January 6th … and continues throughout the entire year.

Along the way, we’ll also look back at some of the highlights of 1969 … 

Not only the music (but it sure was GREAT music that year!) … but also the biggest news headlines of ’69 …

The Moon Landing … Woodstock … The Beatles’ final live performance as a band (on the rooftop of Apple Records) … Chappaquiddick … the collapse of The Chicago Cubs … and much, much more.

Please continue to join us throughout 2019 … and spread the word … we’ve got stuff here for EVERYBODY to enjoy!