Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Saturday Survey (March 10th)

3-8-68 WKNX  -  Saginaw, Michigan 

Located in middle Michigan not far from Great Lake Huron, if memory serves me right, our FH member Bob Stroud grew up getting some of HIS rock 'n roll roots listening to this station in Saginaw.  

This is the first of our '68 charts to feature a true psychedelic song at #1!  The top 10 here is almost as diverse as could be.  Psychedelia, C&W, garage, R&B, instrumentals, soul, bubblegum, pop, soundtrack hits, Brit invasion, bluegrass!!!  Amazing and great to see and hear.  

Two of our FH stars are featured with songs that did not reach their potential hit status nationally, but managed to hit regionally all over the nation, both cashing in on the bubblegum sound.  

Trying to shake the Snoopy image momentarily, "I Say Love" was the Royal Guardsmen's new 45 from an album I received for Christmas, 1968 ("Snoopy and His Friends") 

And Tommy Roe's "Dottie I Like it" got lots of airplay in the Midwest states!
-- Clark Besch

I'm not sure I'd call this week's #1 Record a bona-fide psychedelic hit ... but it IS cool to see this record at #1.  (The Balloon Farm record falling down the chart may be a more appropriate choice!)

LOTS of Bubblegum happening here ... The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Ohio Express and, to a degree, The Monkees, Tommy Roe, Herman's Hermits and, on this track anyway, The Troggs.

I like the Orpheus debut at #31 and it's cool to see the Flatt and Scruggs Bonnie and Clyde tune charting, too.

Raymond LeFevere's  "Soul Coaxing" is a frequent Forgotten Hits request ... so let's feature a few of these this week.

THIS WEEK IN 1968:   
3/4/68:  Eddie Kendricks and Otis Williams of The Temptations end up in a Somerset, Pennsylvania, hospital after an icy car crash

3/5/68:  Wildman Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis opens in “Catch My Soul,” a rock musical version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” in Hollywood, California.  He plays the part of Iago.

Also on this date, sales of “Simon Says” reach the million mark, earning The 1910 Fruitgum Company their first gold record.

3/8/68:  Promoter Bill Graham opens The Fillmore East in New York City.  Opening night features Albert King, Tim Buckley and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Elvis’ movie “Stay Away Joe” opens that same day.  (I’ve never seen this one!)

3/10/68:  The Fifth Dimension perform “Up Up And Away” and “Monday Monday” Live from Caesar’s Palace, on The Ed Sullivan Show

I asked Barry Winslow of The Royal Guardsmen and Tommy Roe about their obscure 1968 hits ... 

While neither one of these tracks made much of a dent in the national charts, BOTH arts would come back in a very big way in the not so distant future ... 

Hi Barry!
We're featuring one of your songs in this week's Saturday Surveys feature and thought you might want to comment on this track ...

Clearly this was a break-away from the Snoopy mold (as were "Airplane Song" and "Wednesday") ... but then you went back to the Charles Schultz well one more time for "Snoopy For President" ... was that a move more designed to go for the "sure hit" after "Airplane," "Wednesday" and "I Say Love" didn't fare as well on the chart?  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Well, Sir, we enjoyed our time with the pup ... and wanted to "expand our horizons" ... but being under contract, we didn't have a lot of say in the matter.  And I doubt there was much money spent on promotion either.  T'was all fun, though, and it gave our audiences a chance to see that
we could do something besides novelty stuff.

Keep up the super work, Kent ...
Take care my friend,

Hi Tommy -
Hope you're doing well.
I know you've told me before that you've considered yourself retired (or at least SEMI-retired) for the last several years now ... but it's still hard to see it in print, knowing how much joy your music has brought to so many people.  But I also understand your need to stay close to home right now.  I hope you'll enjoy your leisure time ... and still pop in every now and again to let us know how you're doing ... and comment on any special memories our service may inspire.
So, with that thought in mind, I just wanted to let you know that we'll be featuring one of your tunes, "Dottie, I Like It" as part of our new Saturday Surveys Series, and I wondered if you might care to make a comment on it.  
(This one was kinda like the last big "fail" before the HUGE comeback with "Dizzy".)  
Had you considered that maybe your time had passed after a streak of a couple of years without a hit record?
Did you continue to write and record in the hopes of something catching on ... or perhaps experiment with a new "niche" to see if you could break thru again on the charts?  (Turns out the successful niche was the OLD niche ... a return to the bubblegum sound propelled "Dizzy" all the way up to the top of the charts where it stayed for a month!!!)
Hi Kent ... 
Yes, after “Sweet Pea” and “Hooray For Hazel,” which were both top 10  Billboard hits in 1966, I recorded two experimental albums, “Phantacy,” and “It’s Now Winters Day.” 
“It’s Now Winters Day” was a moderate hit but didn’t really set the charts on fire. So in 1967 and '68, I was in No Hits Land and “Dottie I Like It” was my first attempt to get back on the bubble gum train which had worked so well for me in 1966. It charted but came up short. But at least I felt I was back on track with Dottie. 
Then in 1969 I started writing with my friend Freddy Weller, who had just joined Paul Revere and the Raiders as their new guitarist. Our first effort as a song writing team was “Dizzy.” 
Need I say more, I was back in the charts big time when “Dizzy” topped the Billboard charts at number one for four weeks. With my second number one after “Sheila” in 1962, Freddy and I then went on to write the follow up to Dizzy, and my forth gold record, “Jam Up And Jelly Tight.” 
Thanks to the  bubble gum genre I created with “Sweet Pea” in 1966, I was back on the hit train with “Dizzy” and “Jam Up And Jelly Tight" in 1969. 
Thanks Kent!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thursday This And That

Just a reminder that this Thursday (March 8) at 8:00 p.m. ET, I will counting down the entire WMCA Top 57 from this week 50 years ago on a special edition of my Top Shelf Oldies [] show Randy on the Radio. All songs on this special are from high-quality sources, and most are stereo, for those who are stereo oldies fans! (After Thursday, the show will be archived at 
– Randy Price
That's tonight, folks!  Please tune in and listen if you can. (kk)

Radio here in Chicago was thrown for a loop (pun intended) this week when, after 41years as one of Chicago’s premier rock stations, WLUP (The Loop) was sold to a Christian Broadcasting Service.
41 years pushing the same format is virtually unheard of in the radio business, especially with all of the network take-overs these past few decades.
The Loop was a big part of our lives growing up here in Chi-Town … Loopfest … Steve Dahl … Jonathan Brandmeier and (more recently) Mancow … Lorelei and some of the other Loop Girls … and never deviating from the concept of providing classic rock to its listeners.
(Steve Dahl made a comment on NBC News Tuesday night that while he may have single-handedly ended disco, it took GOD to shut down The Loop.)
K-LUV, a nationally syndicated Christian station, will start filling the airwaves immediately.  (One rumor is that they’re keeping the call letters, WLUP, but dropping “The Loop” slogan, instead preferring to push WLUP as W-Let Us Pray.)
There are still plenty of good classic rock stations here in Chicago, but The Loop was an institution … and it will be missed.  (kk)

It’s a sad day.
Clive Topol

The Loop has been a part of our lives for a long, long time … but we’ve still got The Drive, The River and WXRT to fall back on … plenty on the dial for us old classic rockers.
Meanwhile, this frees up another button on my car radio … anybody got any interesting radio ideas out there???  (kk)

I remember when WSDM-FM occupied this frequency before the Loop … kind of a soft rock / jazz station helmed by a staff of all female deejays.  Their week-long goodbye was outstanding … I can’t even tell you how many reels of tape I filled up recording these final shows.  (Back then WSDM could be found “Smack Dab in the Middle” of your radio dial.)  It was a very listenable station but The Loop moved right in and developed a whole new audience.  Somehow I just don’t think those “Loop Heads” are going to stick around and listen to Christian Music as “the next logical step.”  They’ll find their own audience … or not.  Kinda like the recent flip of K-Hits to all Hip-Hop … not at all the same “target” audience but proof that each station is willing to build from the ground floor up.  (kk)

We had a couple of people send in copies of the WPGC Survey featuring The 1910 Fruitgum Company at #1 with “Simon Says.”  I have since forwarded a copy to Frank Jeckell for use on the band’s website.

Meanwhile, Frank tells us …

Thanks Kent. 
I just watched TJ Lupinski's new PBS doo-wop show.  Very interesting concept.  Since the doo-wop acts are all retiring or expiring … and in order to "keep the music alive" … TJ surveyed many talented performers and put the best he could find who are still loving and performing doo-wop classics on the show.  If you haven't seen it, it's worth watching.  I would, however, recommend taping it so you can skip all the commercials … and there are a lot.
Take care,
The 1910 Fruitgum Company have recently played on the same bill as some of these doo-wop acts ... kind of a mix of genres for sure (doo-wop and bubblegum???  That's a bit of a stretch for me!)  But honestly, we're just happy whenever we hear that somebody out there is helping to keep this great music alive ... and who knows ... maybe just like in the '60's, fans may be exposed to a new style of music they weren't all the familiar or fond of before ... but walk away with a new appreciation for it now.  Let's face it, groups like The 1910 Fruitgum Company and The Ohio Express help to define "feel-good music" ... and I'm all for that!  (kk)

I love the Vogues - always have. I believe their ultimate wax masterpiece remains "Magic Town," a story of broken dreams in sunny California. I play the tune all the time. The lead and high tenor are just superb.
"They said that the streets were all paved with gold but these dirty sidewalks our gray and concrete cold" ...
I worked a doo wop show with the Vogues about ten years. I loved "Five O'Clock World" but was sick at heart when the group omitted "Magic Town."
Keep on truckin' man. There are so many of us who are proud of Kent Kotal.
The Best,
Chet Coppock
Thanks, Chet!  (kk)

Here’s an update on the next Wrecking Crew Soundtrack from Denny Tedesco …

I'm happy to say that the Wrecking Crew Soundtrack Take 2 is closing in. We have three more weeks to reach our goal. Here's more info.
The songs below are looking like our play list that we've been able to secure the rights. More are on the way. This is a 3-CD set. Two discs filled with hits and the third filled with Wrecking Crew players under their own name.
One of the songs that is included is a 5th Dimension hit, "One Less Bell To Answer". One of the last interviews we pulled together before the DVD was released is with Marylyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Such a wonderful couple that still tour. If you have the chance to see them live -- go!
With writers like Jimmy Webb, Laura Nyro, Ashford & Simpson, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, how can you go wrong. With Bones Howe producing and Bob Alcivar as the singers' vocal arranger, the Wrecking Crew shined.

Here are some of the songs being considered for the new release, The Wrecking Crew, Take Two (more song titles are also in the works):

1. She Gets Me Where I Live - Al Kooper
2. He's a Rebel - The Crystals
3. Young Girl - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
4. Memories - Elvis
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
6. Without Her - Harry Nilsson
7. More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Staircase
8. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - The Ronettes
9.  Hey Little Cobra - The Rip Cords
10. Lady Luck - Kenny Loggins
11. Having A Party - Sam Cooke
12. It Never Rains in Southern California - Albert Hammond
13. One Less Bell To Answer - 5th Dimension
14. Woyaya - Art Garfunkel
15. Surfer Stomp - The Marketts
16. Classical Gas - Mason Williams
17. Humming Bird - Seals and Crofts
18. Puerto Vallarta - Jack Nitzsche
19. Windy - The Association
20. It's Love - The Addrisi Brothers
21. Sky Surfin’ - Avalanches
22. Fools Rush In - Ricky Nelson
23. 18 Yellow Roses - Bobby Darin
24. I Saw Her Again Last Night - Mamas and Papas
25. Half Breed - Cher
26. Sloop John B - Beach Boys
27. Secret Agent Man - Johnny Rivers
28. Dead Man's Curve - Jan & Dean
29. Feeling Alright - Joe Cocker
30. Galveston - Glen Campbell
31. Fun Fun Fun - Beach Boys
32. Travelin' Man  - Ricky Nelson
33. Take Good Care Of My Baby - Bobby Vee
34. Batman - Jan & Dean
35. Tainted Love - Gloria Jones
36. When You Walk In The Room - Jackie DeShannon
37. Little Italy - Stephen Bishop
38. Different Drum - Stone Poneys

The other day we ran the clip for a new McDonald’s ad running in Amsterdam featuring one of our own Chicago Radio Rock Legends, Kris Erik Stevens.

I asked Kris how the gig came about … and if he actually got to fly over there to film it.  Here’s what he told me …

Hey Kent ...
Just caught the McDonalds McDrive mention in today’s Blog ... I really appreciate you running that.  Thanks … very kind and very cool. 
In answer to your question, the gig came about via a few different recording engineers in Europe that I guess I made an impression on. 
I’ve traveled there frequently over the years ... and often either my Agent or a client would require my voiceover services while on holiday. 
Thus I’d have to find a studio and pop in to record the commercial / trailer, etc.  I guess these studio guys kinda liked the way I’d pop by the  studio and bang out a spot in 10 or 15 minutes and be gone!  So, as the recent story goes, the Ad Agency in Amsterdam was looking for an American Voiceover talent who was also an actor for on-camera work.  I auditioned ... and ‘boom,’ they called and I departed for Amsterdam in 48 hours. 
Fortunately, they loved my performance.  It was fun, and wasn’t exactly a stretch for me to get into character! 
But then again, not exactly my usual day at the office.
My best ...
Kris Erik
PS Love that you added my web site to the blurb ... but it was misspelled (see attached) and the link went into the ‘void” instead of to my site ... hoping you can run the correct link next time.
Consider it done, Kris … now folks know exactly where to go to sample some of your work.  (kk)

I am saddened by the loss of Russ Solomon, the founder of Tower Records, who died last night at age 92 of a heart attack in Sacramento, Ca. 
One of the many joys surrounding the acclaim and kudos of my 2017 book, 1967: A Complete Rock Music History of the Summer of Love, were the fans and book buyers who thanked me for profiling Russ in the pages and devoting a sidebar to his monumental impact on the retail record business as well as our own record collections. 
I further realized what a destiny spot a Tower store was for thousands of people in so many U.S. cities. Tower was our little secret in California until late 1969. 
There was a time when the only option of getting a record was going to the record store.
In 2015 I interviewed Russ when the Colin Hanks-directed documentary on Tower, "All Things Must Pass" had its theatrical debut for Record Collector News magazine which also was displayed on

Here’s an article submitted by long-time FH Reader David Lewis … it spotlights another well-known “super fan” who built quite a legacy for himself by taping some incredible, legendary concerts back in the day.

How many hours have I wasted replying to your blog site?  TOO MANY!  But I love it!

I sit and watch the snow falling and wait to head into another ten hour day with lots of stuff to do, but when I read FH, my mind starts thinking, "Hey, I should ... “  Of course, transferring a static filled tape of mid-70's AM radio to digital always helps me. 

Today, listening to Landecker Boogie Check and Super CFL clippings from a very cold and snowy day in Lincoln when, like 40 years later, it's best to stay inside and listen to fave DJ's and stations of that time. 

ALSO, today, it's Frank from the 1910 Fruitgum Company asking for the WPGC that has spurred me on.  Sometimes, I think I am Larry Neal in disguise!  (Great charts, Larry!).  I found my chart (amazingly) and am sending along.  However, you have to take the good with the bad.  You also get a couple of my personal charts from my pretend station I made from 1963 - 1976.  I've always been a huge survey / radio fanatic and these charts are as important to me as Silver Dollar Surveys.  Maybe more!

On the WPGC chart attached, "Simon Says" does hold Paul Mauriat off the top.  On MY charts, "SS" was never #1 due to "Lady Madonna" holding it off at #2 in March, 68.  The ONE 1910 45 that reached #1 on my KLGR chart was "123 Red Light," which held off the group's main bubblegum competitors, the Ohio Express' "Down at Lulu's" which would reach #1 shortly thereafter.  It was a top 60 featuring, of course, several Chicago artists, but have attached just Page 1.

More interesting may be the story behind the 1970 1910 45 "Go Away" reaching #14 on my top 100 chart in August of that year.  HOW did a kid in Dodge City, Kansas, ever hear this 45 when it did nothing nationally?  Well, it was because I was recording it off American Bandstand's "Rate-A-Record" segment!  I liked it and in the late 70's, I was happy to track down the 45 and add it to my collection. 

Of interest to others may be these things:

#1  All Right Now was a 7 week #1 record, making it the longest running record EVER on my years of chart making!

#2  The Gentrys were on a hot streak on my charts:  Four consecutive #1's from the 69 - 70 era.

#12  FH'er Stu Shea recently got a Uber driver named Ronnie Rice who told him NO ONE played "Close Your Eyes Little Girl" by his NC6!  Well, I DID!  You might note too that I was pretty excited to pass the news of one of my fave bands ever playing in Wichita that week too!  (See top of chart!)

#25  Beach Boy fan Phil might enjoy seeing the great "Slip On Through" rising to #25 this week.

#29  Kris Erik Stevens might enjoy seeing me feature Richard Carpenter's B side "I Kept On Loving You" charting when the band was just a 2-hit wonder at the time.  Kris released his own 45 version of this later on.

#31  Burton Cummings' great B sides always did well on my chart.  They were almost ALL "Two sided winners" to me!  "Bus Rider" reached #2!

#41 Crowfoot was a Canadian band that I heard thru "Rate-a-Record" as well back then!

#43  Rod Stewart's new gig and first as a Small Face.  This was charting well mostly on how cool the STEREO was on this 45!

#34  HOW is this 1965 B side charting five years later?  Well, I had just bought the Sunrays 65 Tower LP on a mono clearance and fell in love with the song!  HEY, it was my chart, my station!

And there were 50 more songs on the back side!!!!

BTW, Art Vuolo radio videos really ROCK!  Some of the best things anyone can watch if you are a radio geek.

Also, Larry Neal's survey signed by Joe Niagara is great!  He was a radio legend!

As was WLS' Kris Erik Stevens!!!

Clark Besch

WASTED?!?!?  SPENT, maybe, but never wasted!  And we all appreciation your dedication and input.  And hey, listener requests had to count for SOMETHING!!!  (Even if they were your own!)  Thanks, Clark!  (kk)

I really liked your posting of John's rock 'n' roll crayon colors.
Now what goes with crayons? Why, a COLORING BOOK of course.
Just ask Sandy Stewart and Kitty Kallen.

Sandy Stewart and Kitty Kallen had competing versions on the charts in 1963.  (Kallen won the battle, peaking at #8 in Music Vendor, while Stewart and Kallen shared a #13 peak in Cash Box)  The first version I ever remember hearing was by Barbra Streisand, which is pretty surprising since the best that one could do was “bubble under’ in 1962 at #102.  (Must have heard her do it on a television special or something.)  kk

New York: Author Mark Bego, tub-thumping his Eat Like A Rock Star best-seller on the West Coast, attended, with his co-author Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Elton John’s 26th Academy Awards viewing party, which raised $5.9 million for his AIDS Foundation Sunday night in West Hollywood. Oscar Event.

PHOTO L - R:  Elton John; Mary Wilson; and Mark Bego
-         Submitted by David Salidor