Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Saturday Survey - September 29th

*Survey Courtesy of Frank Merrill  

9-27-68 - WRNC - Raleigh, North Carolina  

Raleigh is the state capital of North Carolina and the second largest city in the state.  Unlike last week's top 30 WJAK chart, THIS week's chart features the old (nearly) top 50 and thus, boasts some great obscure tracks.  

First, we finally find the Beatles' two-sided hit positioned separately at #1 and 3.  Billboard was still doing it this way (ending in late 1969), but you seldom saw separation on station charts.  I never could tell why and how this was done, but I even did it on my own personal charts.  Aretha's current two-sider was at 10 and 16, too!  

At the bottom end of the top 49, Robert John uses big production sound in covering a song written by the still basically unknown, Nilsson, titled "Don't Leave Me."  The Buckinghams have a "fave album," too!  The album featured a song "What is Love" that they performed on the Ed Sullivan show in January, 68, but that episode had just repeated on September 1.  Here's that tune, which had originally been planned as an A side 45.
-- Clark Besch

I'm starting to see a trend here with "Revolution" seeming to be the favored side on the last several charts we've run.  (Here it sits at #1 while "Hey Jude" holds down the #3 spot.  Likewise, it seems to be the Jackie DeShannon version of "The Weight" that is getting the AM radio airplay rather than The Band's original version that we featured a couple of weeks ago in our Saturday Survey feature.

Speaking of which, here in Raleigh, "Shoot 'em Up, Baby" is shown as an upcoming Power Pick while a couple of weeks ago we saw it was already a #2 record elsewhere in the country ... proof again as to why certain records, no matter how big they really were, never got their "due" on the national charts because the momentum of these hits were spread too far, too wide and too thin.  (Nationally, "Shoot 'em Up, Baby" got to #31.)   kk

THIS WEEK IN 1968:  
9/24/68 - 60 Minutes debuts on CBS-TV

9/27/68 – The musical Hair opens in London   

Also on this date, The Jackson Five open a concert in their home city of Gary, Indiana, that also includes Motown legends Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder  

9/28/68 – Legendary Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips dies … Dewey was the first disc jockey to ever play an Elvis Presley record on the radio.  They remained friends until his death. 

9/29/68 - Ed Sullivan kicks off his 21st season with musical guests Jefferson Airplane (“Crown Of Creation,” “Won’t You Try” and “Saturday Afternoon”) and Diana Ross and the Supremes (“Love Child” and a medley from “Funny Girl”).  [I guess the other Supremes had to learn this song pretty quickly, as Diana had just recorded it the week before without them!!!]

Friday, September 28, 2018


Short but sweet today ...

(After yesterday's mega blast, I figured I'd give ya a break!!!)

First up ...

More on the White Album …

Beatlefest Founder Mark Lapidos was invited to a special “pre-screening listening party” in New York City the other night and has this to report … 

We were invited to attend The White Album Listening Party held in New York City on Wednesday, September 26th, hosted by Giles Martin!

There were many familiar faces at the event - Apple Chief Jeff Jones introduced Giles Martin. All three Beatles Channel Fab Fourum Hosts Dennis Elsas, Bill Flanagan and Tom Frangione, Bruce Spizer, Kenneth Womack, Beatles podcast or radio personalities Darren DeVivo, Mitch Axelrod, Rob Leonard, Tony Traguardo and Ken Michaels, plus the four of us. 

Giles took us on a journey through the amazing recording sessions from 1968 that mostly ended up as The White Album, produced, of course, by his father, George Martin. Giles told the room full of listeners that the music of the White Album and The Beatles is timeless. He proceeded to tell us how he went about doing the remixes for this 50th Anniversary release. 

First, Giles began with the Esher Demos, which is one entire disc in the set. He said since all the Beatles had home recording devices at their homes by 1968, not all of these, in all likelihood, were recorded at George's home. He played five of these songs for us:  Back in the U.S.S.R., Sexy Sadie, Not Guilty, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, and Child of Nature. I noticed they were all double-tracked, which seems a little unusual for simple demos. Ob-La-Di had some really cool harmonies and was worked on together as a band. I thought I noticed John trying to speed up U.S.S.R. Child became Jealous Guy with entirely different lyrics. 

Second, Giles played five outtakes (from the fifty outtakes on three CDs of the set) ... Cry Baby Cry, I Will, Julia, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Good Night. Cry featured some very interesting and different guitar work, I Will was not double tracked, Julia did not have the Donovan claw strum., but Take 2 did have it. Good Night has unique three part harmonies with a Donovan claw guitar strum. 

Finally, we got to hear five of the remixed songs from the actual album itself. Giles talked about playing the tracks to both Paul and Ringo. About the originals with George Martin, Giles said Ringo told him he told his dad to “Go crazy and we'll then reign you in.”

Here are my notes on each of them ...

     Overall, the sound jumps out of the speakers without losing its original appeal and emotion. 
     Dear Prudence - All instruments were so clean and easy to hear each one. There is also a piano at the end.

Mother Nature's Son - So clean, the bass really jumps, and great effects.
     Long Long Long - This has the biggest difference. The vocals are now up front, as are most of the instruments. I asked Giles (in the Q & A) about this big change. It was no mistake that his Dad, George and likely the other Beatles, wanted the song that way in 1968. How did he feel about this remix? He liked the question and said he gave it a lot of thought before remixing it. I think he improved upon this great song of George's.   
     Happiness Is a Warm Gun - Giles pointed out the song keeps changing meter and feelings. John's voice is even more up front than the original.  
    Helter Skelter - I heard some clear harmonies in places.
    Overall, I give this White Album release an A+ based on what I heard yesterday.  Congratulations, Giles, on giving us what we fans want to hear. We also thank Apple for getting these great projects out to the world. 

I was fortunate enough to get to hear the entire “Sgt. Pepper” box set several weeks before its official release … and am hoping to have the same opportunity with this landmark set.

Stay tuned for more commentary and detail … and be sure to check out our “Revamping The White Album” Series kicking off on Monday.  (kk)

I don't know that I've ever seen more of a blatant money grab, by anyone, with this latest fleecing of music lovers by Capitol Records. You've even mentioned it Kent ... how many variations of the same songs do you want (Do you need)?
Far more often than not, the reason songs are left off of albums is that they aren't as strong. Certainly we all have our faves, and certainly my faves aren't any better than yours. In regards to the Beatles, it was there at the beginning, when Capitol chose to leave off a couple songs from each of the Beatles albums, to then fleece fans into buying Yesterday & Today. Of course the Beatles were co-conspirators, by creating controversy with the butcher cover. Musicians, known and unknown who are FH readers, must wish they could have had this kind of marketing behind them. Of course 40,000 1963 dollars helps too. Now they aren't the only ones who have conned music lovers over the years … it's just the most obvious example.
How sad is the current state of recorded music when the biggest thing going is an album by a 76 year old musician, whose best days passed long ago, and a 50 year anniversary issue of an album that should have been pared down to begin with, let alone expanded? Why is everyone falling for the hype?
The Beatles continue to sell at a pace with many of today’s biggest name artists … and I expect the special 50th Anniversary of The White Album to follow suit.  There must be SOMETHING to this music that keeps this trend going.  Think about it … in two years, they’ll be re-releasing “Let It Be,” meaning that The Beatles will have been broken up for 50 YEARS!!! 
A lot of this stuff was never supposed to see the light of day … The Fabs kind of had an agreement between themselves ... almost a secret pact ... that the stuff in the vault would STAY in the vault … nothing but their final agreed upon mix would ever be heard outside the studio walls ... but once the Anthology idea hit, all that changed.
Let’s face it … today’s collectors’ market has changed … people want anything and EVERYTHING many of these artists did … and it’s not just The Beatles … it’s been happening for YEARS now, even with some relatively more obscure, minor artists.
(Then again, today alone I got promotional hype for brand new box sets coming out just in time for the Christmas Market by The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and ELO … and you can bet there’ll be more.)
Yes, it irritates me that I have bought The White Album … in some configuration … at least a dozen times already … the original LP (and then a replacement copy as that one started to wear out) … the import … the white vinyl edition … at least two (and maybe three) copies on cassette (as these, too, withered away) … and then on CD when it was finally released … and again on the complete stereo box set and the complete mono box set, the first time I ever owned The White Album in mono.  (It wasn’t released that way here in The States … only in The U.K.)  and now again in its most deluxe edition yet.
Now that doesn’t mean that EVERYBODY has to buy it again (although I’ve seen some price wars in the last few days alone that have caused the album price to drop from $199 to $179 to $159 to $145 … and it’ll probably go even lower … man, I love Amazon’s “price protection” policy!!!)  And there are a few who will hold out, listen to the tracks on the various websites that’ll feature them (or on The Beatles Channel, who have already begun airing little surprises here and there) … many will echo your sentiment that “I’ve already bought this thing … I own it … and I have the version that The Beatles themselves originally wanted us to hear” … and I have absolutely no problem with that.  The Anniversary Edition isn’t for everybody … but I can’t even imagine not owning it!
(Frannie asked me a little while ago if I wanted it for Christmas … and I said, “Are you kidding me???  I can’t wait that long!!!)
I got my very first copy on Christmas Day, 1968 … so it WOULD be kinda cool to see the whole thing come full cycle … but I know myself … and I could NEVER wait that long!  (lol)  kk

Good morning, Kent:
First of all, a huge thanks to you for mentioning the stream for our syndication affiliate, MeTVFM Milwaukee, 99.1-2, in your “Thursday This and That.”  We appreciate the time you spent listening to the stream before posting your review.  Your comments sure brightened up a grey day!  Thanks for the note, Kent, and especially for lending your discriminating ears to the Milwaukee station. 
Second, I completely agree with you (and Joel Whitburn) on your definition of pop instrumentals.  Having spent 30+ years in the instrumental-based radio format, smooth jazz, I can tell you that we grappled with that issue early on.  Quite a few of our tunes featured occasional vocalizing, which we term “shadow vocals.”  In the pop realm, MFSB’s “TSOP” and AWB’s “Pick Up The Pieces” are examples of shadow vocals.  In smooth jazz, we had several dozen tunes like this.  In order to make a determination of whether they constituted instrumentals, we did a couple things. 
First, we went to the musicians themselves and asked them if they considered their tunes that featured shadow vocals to be vocals or instrumentals.  The answer was the same each time:  instrumentals.  In my opinion, that was enough to settle the issue. 
Second, there was also a practical consideration.  We learned the hard way that, in programming tracks for radio, you had to classify shadow vocals as instrumentals.  Since the standard sequence of tunes in smooth jazz was instrumental – vocal – instrumental - vocal, if you classified a shadow vocal tune as an actual vocal and then listened to the result on the air, any stretch that went instrumental - shadow vocal - instrumental sounded very much as though you were missing the vocal in that sequence.  It sounded like you just played three instrumentals in a row, not the desired result.  The shadow vocal sounds and feels very much like an instrumental because it’s primarily instrumentation, not singing.
Here’s the parallel in pop or oldies radio.  Suppose you classified “Tequila” as a vocal (sic).  What if “Tequila” happened to play right before or after an actual instrumental, such as Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream?”  If you listen to that sequence on the air, the complexion of the station is different than what you intended.  From a listener’s standpoint, there’s a sense that something’s missing, despite the fact that the word “tequila” gets thrown in there a handful of times.   Thus, from a radio programming perspective, it’s much better to classify shadow vocals as instrumentals.  That way, you avoid the risk of playing two tracks in a row that listeners would perceive as instrumentals. 
The bottom line is that instrumentals belong in a totally different class than vocals.  Even if there’s an occasional vocal (“Tequila”) or occasional vocalizing (“TSOP”) within the body of the tune, it sounds and feels different than your run-of-the-mill vocal.  I bet Sam Ward would have to concede that “Pick Up The Pieces” and “Fly Robin Fly” don’t sound like the usual pop vocal song.  And ask anyone to listen to either of those back-to-back with, say, “We’re in This Love Together” by Al Jarreau or “Doctor’s Orders” by Carol Douglas.  They’d tell you right away that the first two belong in a different category.  Classifying them as instrumentals solves that problem very nicely.
Rick O’Dell
Program Director

It all makes sense to me.  Classifying "Tequila" as a "vocal" pushes the whole idea to well beyond the limit.  And your programming analogy brings it all into perspective.  Thanks, Rick, for letting us see it from the other side.  I think we stand by our definition as accepted by the industry at large.  (kk)

Mornin' Kent,
Another great read.
Please tell Bonnie that I didn't know that video link on Tommy James' Branson gig was a scam ... with my tired computer, I couldn't get it to come up ... I do apologize.
Thanks, my friend
Barry Winslow
I tried to access it when you first sent it to me, but it took you thru so many steps to register that I finally gave up … maybe that’s a good thing as I suppose it could have been some hacker or virus – so rather than take any chances I just took it down.   
I didn’t hear from anybody else on this, so I don’t know if that means nobody tried to watch it - or ran into the same frustrations I had - or got thru with no issues. I think if somebody had gotten a virus I probably would have gotten an angry email.  Better safe than sorry I guess!  (kk)

Hey Kent,
Reading the on-going Tommy James conversation, this post gets lots of attention on the Pray For Surf Blog: Tommy James reveals secret to Crystal Blue Persuasion:

As you know, I have no sustained concentration, so call this four for the price of one.
Most underrated song of the 50’s: the Paris Sisters - I Love How You Love Me ...
the 60’s: tie … The Moody Blues - Go Now and Eric Burton - Sky Pilot ...
the 70’s: The Outlaws - Green Grass and High Tides Forever   
Greatest guitar performance on any given rock song: Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower. I swear Jimi strangles his “machine” as he weaves his way through so many highs and lows and chord changes.
Hope to see ya soon. 
Chet Coppock 

A comment about Bob Verbos' comments in Sunday's posting: 
The correct titles of these two tunes are "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet" and "Navy Blue." 
The interesting part is that both of those songs peaked at #6 in 1964 ... on May 30th and March 14th, respectively.  What are the odds of two favorite songs peaking the same in the same year?
Mike Brown

Hi Kent,
I enjoyed this week's issue.  In fact, I take no issue with it at all! 
Back in the days of yesteryear, when I was music director for The
Rip Chords, we did a big concert in Wildwood on an oldies bill:
it was, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Crystals, The Grass Roots,
Peter Noone's Herman's Hermits, and Mickey Dolenz topping the
bill.  I can't recall if Charlie Gracie was on that bill, too, or if we had
played with him another time.
Anyway, attached is the cover of The Beat with a photo of us across
the top, taken at that show. (Another friend of Forgotten Hits, Mitch
Schecter, is pictured to my right.)
That's me with the plexiglass bass, arm in the air signaling the end of
a song.  It was a real fun gig, and several months later, I ended up being
the US correspondent for The Beat, a position I held for eight years.
Well, keep up the good work, my friend.
Best Regards,
Bob Rush, D.C.

A closing smile from Frank B ...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday This And That

Are you guys as excited about The White Album’s 50th Anniversary release as I am?  77 brand new tracks (in addition to the original 30) to listen to and enjoy.  Unreal!
Funnily enough, we’ve taken the exact OPPOSITE approach in regards to this LP.
Some months ago, we invited readers to see if they could pare this two disc set down to one incredible 16-track LP.  (For decades, critics and fans alike have complained that there was “too much filler” … and that a much stronger album could have been made had The Beatles been a bit more selective and discriminating in their choices ... kind of the ultimate "less is more" theory, I guess.)
Beginning on Monday, October 1st, we’ll start to share some of your thoughts and comments on this matter.
So if you’d like to be included, you need to get me your submissions by this weekend.  (I’m sure our series will spark much new commentary as well … so we may be sharing some of your amended “track lists” for some time to come!)
Hop on the Beatles bandwagon.  Should The White Album have been held to a single CD of all strong tracks?  Don’t miss your chance to vote and weigh in on this subject now!!!  (kk)

Speaking of which …

The announcement had no sooner been made than big-time rock publications like Rolling Stone Magazine and Ultimate Classic Rock began weighing in with their opinions.  (Hey, this is a really big deal!!!)

Ultimate Classic Rock decided to rank the original 2-LP set “from worst to best” …

That being said, THEIR Top 16 tracks would be (in rank order, not programming order):

1.    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
2.    Helter Skelter
3.    Revolution 1
4.    Happiness Is A Warm Gun
5.    Blackbird
6.    Dear Prudence
7.    Back In The USSR
8.    Sexy Sadie
9.    Julia
10.         Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
11.         I’m So Tired
12.         Yer Blues
13.         Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
14.         Mother Nature’s Son
15.         Glass Onion
16.         I Will

Their "dream album" is very heavy on John tracks (9 of the 16 cuts are John songs) … Ringo isn’t represented at all (although I can’t rank “Don’t Pass Me By” or his vocal on John’s “Good Night” that closes the original album as being release-worthy either, despite the on-going “one Ringo track per album” rule.
By the same token, George is only given one track here, too … and even though it’s ranked as the BEST track on the LP, I found ALL of George’s White Album compositions to be very strong and entertaining cuts.
“Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” wouldn’t make my Top 20 … and I think “Glass Onion” is highly overrated … especially at the expense of tracks like “Birthday” (probably strong enough to have been a single ... or at least the album opener so that "Back In The USSR" could have been), “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road,” “Savoy Truffle,” “Martha My Dear,” “Piggies,” “Rocky Raccoon” and “Cry Baby Cry.”  (How they ranked tracks worse than “Revolution 9” is beyond me, too!!!)
But that’s what it’s all about!!!  Get clever … get creative … I’ve said before, ONE way to get the LP down to 16 tracks is to release tracks like “Back In The USSR” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and maybe even “Birthday” as singles … and stick some of those borderline “oh so hard to eliminate” tracks on those releases as flip-sides.

Meanwhile, Rolling Stone tells us about the best NEW tracks we’ll discover as we make it thru the now over 100 potential choices …

This one sounds particularly interesting to me …

Of all the alternate takes, “Good Night” is the one that will leave most listeners baffled why this wasn’t the version that made the album. Instead of lush strings, it has John’s finger-picking guitar and the whole group harmonizing on the “good night, sleep tight” chorus. It’s rare to hear all four singing together at this stage, and it’s breathtaking in its warmth. “I do prefer this version to the record,” Martin admits. (He won’t be the last to say this.)
Can’t wait!!!  (kk)

And, if you happen to have any money left in your pocket after you buy the new White Album Deluxe Edition, you might want to check out this new Eagles box set coming out in November …
As complete a set as you're ever going to find!  (kk)

Hi Kent: 
Good morning!  I wanted to thank you for the mention of our one-hit wonders feature and Olivia’s birthday in “The Sunday Comments.”   It was quite a pleasant surprise as I read your blog with my cup o’ joe this morning.
By the way, thanks to the live stream for 99.1-2 Milwaukee, anyone can listen online to a station that is nearly identical to 87.7 MeTVFM in Chicago.  Our playlists are virtually the same, as is the imaging on both stations.  So, one-hit wonders and Olivia’s birthday (and every feature we do in Chicago) will also be on 99.1-2’s stream.  (The one feature which won’t be offered in syndication, naturally, will be our popular “Hometown Favorites” salute to Chicago-born artists.)
Like all Entercom stations, 99.1-2 is available online through the (free) app.  If you do a search at for MeTVFM, it should come up. 
Thanks, Kent …
Enjoy your week.
That’s great news, Rick … I was kinda hoping that this might be the case.  Will have to check it out … it’ll be the next best closest thing to the REAL thing … but will also give listeners across the country the opportunity to get a feel for what “The ME Sound” is all about.  (And who knows … all this new word of mouth just might allow you to pick up a few more syndicated stations!)  I appreciate the heads up.

You can listen live here, 24/7:

UPDATE:  I listened for nearly 14 hours on Tuesday (“One Hit Wonder Day”) and it was FANTASTIC!!!  Listeners are encouraged to give this link a shot … it’ll give you the chance to listen to the Me-TV-FM experience that we have been talking about for nearly three years now.  You’ll find nothing else quite like it on your radio dial.  (kk)

Hey Kent,
Great work as usual!
I wanted to keep you in the loop regarding a Musical History Time Capsule we are dedicating in Cool Scoops on October 14th @ 1pm.
I will attach all the posters and paper work describing the event.
Peace, Pal!
Paul Russo / Cool Scoops
Hi Paul!
Long time, no talk!
This sounds like an AMAZING event!  Hopefully some of our East Coast Readers can make it out to your VERY cool shop and take part in all the festivities.  (Wish we could be there, too!)  kk

Hi Kent –
Thank you for letting me know about Mark Lindsay … he is great guy … please let him know that I’d like  to get in touch with him.
I think it would be a great idea for artists to have an insurance plan … it’s a hard game and most of us love what we do.  It’s not all about the money.
Give my regards to Tommy James, too … he’s another great guy … loved his book.
Take Care –
Billy J. Kramer
I have passed your message along to both Mark Lindsay and Tommy James.  Thanks, Billy!  (kk)

When I originally read that passage in the Tommy James book, I thought I remembered listening to Lujack saying that, on my way home from work, that afternoon. Now I'm thinking, “So that's what he was talking about then!”
The Killer was indeed in town for Riot Fest last weekend, or at least he was scheduled to appear. There's an ad in the 9/18 issue of Illinois Entertainer.
Kind of a dirty, underhanded trick … but it paid off … WLS got an exclusive and helped to break the record.  It’s a true testament to Tommy’s talent that the take he didn’t think was finished yet was good enough to go all the way to #1!
He didn’t stay mad for long … eventually he agreed to an exclusive WLS Pressing of “Crimson And Clover” that was distributed through the station!  (kk)

Speaking of Tommy James, we got this email the other day …

Dear Kent,
I am part of Tommy James' team - writing to thank you for the wonderful blog post on his Branson concert. However, the live concert link to is a scam, so I would like to request that you delete that asap, please. 
Many thanks - we look forward to being in touch!
I just took it down … actually, I tried to view it before I even posted it but I wasn’t willing to go thru the whole process of signing up required prior to viewing … but figured other Tommy fans might be.
Consider it taken care of.  Thanks, Bonnie!  (kk)

Another slammer review from Shelley!
And to those who silently wonder, wasn't there someone named Ham with Colin in Men At Work … and is Warren Ham, who was in Ringo's band related to him?
There was ... but Greg Ham died in 2012 … and he and Warren (a Texan by birth) were not related.
Bob Frable

The other day we told you about next year’s Disco Cruise.
This is one of the best cruise ship line-ups we’ve ever seen … and that's coming from a guy who is hardly a fan of disco!!!  But I have to admit that these guys have pulled out all the stops in putting this whole thing together.

And now comes word that The Soul Train Cruise has expanded THEIR line-up, too … they’ve just added even MORE top-notch entertainers to the mix!

Check this out … 

Heatwave, BT Express, Meli’sa Morgan, The Dazz Band and Minister / Award-Winning Entertainer Clifton Davis Join Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, George Clinton and More 
January 20 - 27, 2019
From Ft. Lauderdale to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Half Moon Cay 

The 2019 Soul Train Cruise adds five legendary entertainers to its superstar lineup as Heatwave, BT Express, Meli’sa Morgan, The Dazz Band and Clifton Davis join Smokey Robinson (in a special appearance on 1/23/19), Gladys Knight and more when it sails through the Caribbean from January 20 - 27, 2019. George Clinton, in one of his final performances before he retires, The Ohio Players, Stephanie Mills, Morris Day & The Time, The Chi-Lites featuring Marshall Thompson, Bloodstone, New Birth, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Ray, Goodman & Brown, Al McKay All Stars performing the music of Earth, Wind & Fire and Jacob Lusk (a tribute to Luther Vandross), along with Cruise Host Tony Cornelius, The Urban Guerilla Orchestra, co-host Angela Stribling of Pillow Talk, co-host Jerry Wells, original Soul Train Dancer Cheryl Song, The Soul Train Cruise comedy club presents A.J. Jamal and Kivi Rigers and music executive Chuck Gamble will also spend the week with fans, delivering the vacation experience of a lifetime. In all, over 50 concerts will play throughout the Soul Train Cruise as it departs from Ft. Lauderdale and sails to the Dominican Republic, San Juan, and the beautiful private island of Half Moon Cay on Holland America Line’s luxurious Nieuw Amsterdam. 

“When we were invited to join the 2019 Soul Train Cruise, we were just as excited about performing for fans as we are about watching all of the other concerts onboard,” says Eugene Phillips of Heatwave. “The amount of star power on this cruise is ‘mind blowing.’” Formed in 1975, Heatwave are best known for their string of funky dance hits, “Boogie Nights,” “The Groove Line,” “Mind Blowing Decisions” and the classic ballad, “Always and Forever.”   

Singer, producer, actor and longtime Christian minister Clifton Davis will also join the Soul Train Cruise to lead a series of special gospel and worship events, including: 
A praise and worship concert honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A gospel service backed by The Urban Guerrilla Orchestra
A tribute concert honoring the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin “Gospel music is such an integral part of our lives, and the Soul Train Cruise producers have taken great steps to make sure the voyage is enriched with the music and the messages of faith,” says Davis. “I am grateful and humbled to be a part of bringing this experience to everyone on the ship.” 

The ultimate experience for classic R&B and soul fans, The Soul Train Cruise brings seven days of nonstop Love, Peace and Soul through more than 50 live performances and over 25 celebrity interactive events including parties at the pool, a Gospel Hour, live interviews, cocktail receptions, Q&A sessions, dance classes with the original Soul Train dancers, wine tasting, costume parties and so much more. The cruise will take place aboard the Holland America Line Nieuw Amsterdam, a luxurious ship that features an array of premier dining, lounges surrounded by panoramic views, a world class spa and salon and elegant staterooms. 

Cabin prices start at only $1,900 per person and include access to all of the major concerts, gourmet meals, 24-hour room service and daily events. Further information is available at or by calling 844-266-7685.

From Tom Cuddy, courtesy of The Premiere Radio Networks:

DENNIS DeYOUNG: Writing with Jim Peterik

Two of Chicago 's leading rock and roll natives are working together for the first time. 
Jim Peterik of The Ides of March and formerly of Survivor has been writing and recording with Styx's former frontman Dennis DeYoung.
Peterik is surprised it took so long for the guys to finally come together.  Peterik will be the primary collaborator on DeYoung's upcoming solo album.
"We've been circling each other for 40 years. Finally, the stars aligned, and I've been working hand in hand with Dennis on his new album."
Jim Peterik has teamed with Dennis DeYoung on eight songs and is also assisting him on studio work.
"Obviously, he's still writing things on his own, but we've come together on about eight songs so far -- very excited. Then he has about at least four on his own. You know, Larry Millus of The Ides and I are doing the work at my studio. You know how that goes? Now, he's starting to add his band members to the demos, flushing them out, making them more of a band thing."
With Peterik also planning an album of his own, we had to ask if DeYoung makes a contribution.
Jim Peterik says Dennis DeYoung reciprocates and is recording a song for Peterik's upcoming solo album Winds of Change.
"The answer is probably, 'Yes.' You know, he is so focused right now on his album. I am supposed to be turning in Winds of Change like in two weeks. And we're working furiously on that one song that's going to be the Dennis De Young song."
The two have been working together for awhile now … and the results should be pretty interesting.  (Peterik brings an edge to his music that is too often missing from DeYoung’s work … I think it should make for an interesting and exciting collaboration.)
In hindsight, it’s almost unthinkable that the two have never worked together before.  (Actually, I think Dennis DeYoung WAS on an Ides Of March track a few years ago … but these two premier songwriters working together should make for a whole new sound.)  kk

kk …
For subscribers in the New York area, like me …
Premiere:  "Buddy Holly : Rave On"
Thursday (10/4) - 9:00 PM
Saturday (10/6) - 1:30 AM, 4:30 PM and 11:30 PM
Sunday  (10/7) - 1:00 PM
Wednesday (10/10) - 3:00 AM
PBS / WNET / 13
That’s a WHOLE lotta Buddy!!!  I’m sure it’ll be on all over the country if this is the premier … check your local listings to see when it might be airing in your area. (kk)

And, also from Frank B, this note about a guy who very possibly could be Bobby Darin’s son …

Do you know about this book?
"Who Did You Say Your Father Was?" by Sam Tallerico.
Sam was adopted. In 2009 (at the age of 51 years old), he decided to search for his parents. 
His mother was Lillian Sweet, a waitress. She died.
The search for his father led him to Bobby Darin. Early in his career Bobby was appearing in the Detroit area. He met Lillian and they had a one night stand. She became pregnant, had a baby boy and put him up for adoption.
Sam contacted all the friends and Bobby Darin family members he could find. His goal is to meet family members.  He said he's not interested in claiming any money from the estate.
At the time of Bobby's death, he knew nothing about his other son. Bobby's will leaves everything to Dodd. When Sam contacted Dodd, Dodd answered him with a lawyer letter, telling him to never contact him again.
We were discussing this book on the Bobby Darin Fan Club page. Some people say Dodd should meet with Sam. Others say he shouldn't.
The best part is that author of the book Sam Tallerico, joined the conversation and answered our questions. (I think Dodd is following his lawyer’s advice.
Frank B.
This whole story sounds very familiar to me … in fact, I’d be willing to bet that YOU were the one who told me about it a few years ago.  (Digging thru the archives now to see what I can find.)
My immediate reaction is, if he doesn’t want any money from the estate, then what’s his real mission here with writing the book and hanging out on the Bobby Darin Fan Club page?  It just all seems a little suspect to me.
Then again, if he’s been able to prove Bobby’s parentage through blood or DNA tests, then yes, he should be allowed to tell his story.
Obviously, Bobby was never a part of this guy’s life … and to bring it all out now (at the age of 51) seems just a little bit odd to me.  What stories can he possibly have to tell, having been no part of or had any connection to Bobby and his extended family?
Have you read the book?  Does he offer concrete evidence backing up his claims?
It’s probably not something I would read because he shared absolutely ZERO time with Bobby in his life … so what story does he really have to tell other than the possible connection?  To me, that’s a chapter at best … or perhaps an in-depth interview to cover his story as the two never interacted and likely never even met.  (Actually, that might be something that I'd be interested in doing.)
Now if Bobby acknowledged the birth of a son … and took care of this Lillian Sweet in this regard … then that’s an entirely different story … and one that might be worth hearing about.  But if Lillian is dead … and Sam just started his search at the age of 51 and never even saw or met his father or mother … I guess I’m just not feelin’ it!!!
And I AM going to do some digging … because the more I review this, the more I swear we’ve covered this ground before … and if we have, and it still hasn't made much of a dent on the oldies news front, that just tells me that NOBODY is interested in hearing “the back story” … or it would have come out by now!  (kk)

UPDATE #1:  OK, here’s what I found …

You first sent this to me about three or four months ago … (I swore there was something much earlier … maybe when the book first came out in 2016??? … but if it there was, I can’t find it.)  

Do you know about this book?
If you wrote about it, I don't remember it. 
I also read that since the book was written Sam’s and Bobby’s DNA match.
Frank B.
I’ve read at least six or seven different books on Bobby Darin’s life and none of them have ever mentioned this guy.  That’s not to say it couldn’t be true … Bobby certainly had his flings … but it’s just odd to hear it coming up now, all these years later.  (Keep in mind, Bobby’s been dead for 45 years now!)
Also the fact that the book’s been out a year but is just now getting some notice makes me wonder … I’m just trying to decide if I’m curious enough to read it.  (Honestly, what can he add to the story?  He never knew his father so can’t offer any insight there.  Kinda sounds like one of those stories you’d find on or Lisa Kudrow’s “Who Do You Think You Are” television program (which is actually quite good, by the way!)  kk

UPDATE #2:  It looks like Amazon, in their promotion for Sam’s book, is wondering several of the same things that I mentioned …

In 2009, adult adoptee Sam Tallerico underwent a search for his birth mother. In the process, he was led to believe that his biological father was the actor/singer Bobby Darin. This book asks the following questions: When did the author find out he was adopted? How does an adult adoptee go about learning the identities of his biological parents if the records are sealed? What rights, if any, do adult adoptees have when it comes to viewing these files? What led the author to believe that he was the son of Bobby Darin? Did the author do a Dna test? Was his birth mother able to verify his paternal parentage? Does he have any siblings? How have Bobby Darin's family and friends addressed this news? What's been the reaction from the deceased singer's fans? Why don't any current biographies (at press time), either online or in print, acknowledge the author's connection to Bobby Darin? Finally, just what drove the author to pen this memoir? And what does he hope to gain as a result of its publication?

Overall, some pretty favorable reviews … most of which play down the Bobby Darin connection in favor of a more “this is an adoptee’s discovery journey” angle.  Read more … or order your copy … here:

Different Sam ... 
>>>Welcome aboard, Sam ...  I think you're gonna like it here.  (And you're right ... you've got a WHOLE lotta catching up to do!!!)  But take your time ... and enjoy the journey.  Feel free to comment whenever and wherever you see fit.  (kk) 
Thank you for your warm welcome.  Now that I’ve done some serious browsing around your magnificent website, you  may be sorry that you did!  (lol)  I don’t know.
Right off the bat, one of the things that I'm afraid I must take issue with are some of the songs that were considered as instrumentals in your Top 50 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979 list. 
For example, Fly, Robin, Fly by Silver Convention from 1975 is really not an instrumental as far as I'm concerned since a female chorus is singing "Fly Robin fly" and "Up, up to the sky" throughout the song.  So technically, that song is NOT an instrumental.
And neither is The Sound Of Philadelphia by MFSB for the same reason.  I would also disqualify Pick Up The Pieces by the Average White Band because they chant "Pick up the pieces" during the breaks.  Sorry, but to me, that disqualifies that song as a complete instrumental. 
Also, in Van McCoy's The Hustle, they yell "Do the hustle" in the song, so as far as I'm concerned, that song should be disqualified as well. 
I don't even consider Ray Charles' version of One Mint Julip a complete instrumental because he sings, "Just a little bit of soul now" in one of the breaks. 
With Topsy Parts I and II by Cozy Cole, he speaks the words "Topsy Part 1" and "Topsy Part 2" before the music actually starts, and there is no talking or singing in the music itself, so I still consider that song an
instrumental.  I even have a bit of a problem considering Tequila by the Champs a true instrumental because they say the word "Tequila" throughout the song, but it's just a single word, and everyone else considers it an instrumental so I guess it really is. 
Now, in the case of Telstar by the Tornados, the group is simply humming along with the organ melody in the last verse, and if a group just hums or whistles but doesn't actually sing any words, then that still
makes it an instrumental in my book. 
There is also humming in Johnny Maddox's 1955 instrumental The Crazy Otto as well.  I love that song.  That brings back lots of childhood
memories from around Christmas of 1963, when my Dad's brother, my Uncle Fred, gave me his entire single collection, whose earliest song was Shrimp Boats by Jo Stafford from 1951 … and he had songs up to and including the very end of 1957 like Oh Julie by the Crescendos and, somehow, three copies of Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms. 
Unfortunately, it was the Crew Cuts’ version of Sh-boom that was in his collection and not the much better Chords’ version. 
In fact, there wasn't really any R&B in that collection although, thank God, he had Fats Domino's and not Pat Boone's version of Ain't That A Shame in his collection. 
There was lots of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, the Everly Brothers, Diana by Paul Anka, the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group with Nancy Whiskey's version of Freight Train, although I know that Rusty Draper also recorded it. 
There was also some country music in the collection as well, like Indian Love Call by Slim Whitman and Please Pass The Biscuits by Gene Sullivan as well as a country version of the Whiffinpoof Song, of which my parents had Bing Crosby's 1940's version of on a 45. 
Anyway, I learned a lot about fifties music at a very early age thanks to that collection of my Uncle Fred's.
Now, on to another matter. 
I read with great interest your Best Of The Rest, Part 1 list containing the top ten summer hits of the years 1955 through 1962.  In a way, I wish you could have done a top fifty for each of those years like you did with 1963 through 1970.  However, I realize that that would be a heck of lot of work for the people that compile the information and put these lists together for you.  It's just that the earliest days of rock and roll, especially the fifties, is what personally interests me the most.  In fact, it would have been really interesting to check out the songs that appeared on the Billboard R&B charts during the three months of June, July and August of 1955, because those charts would have contained a lot more exciting material on them that was much closer to rock and roll than the pop charts of the time.  It would have been even more interesting to check out the local Chicago charts for that time, because there was a snappy little number that was out in the summer of 1955 that was probably a pretty big R&B hit locally since it was released on Chicago's own Vee Jay label.  The song I'm talking about, of course, is At My Front Door by Chicago's own El Dorados.  I just bet that Al Benson probably played the hell out of that song in the summer of 1955 on WGES in Chicago, which seven years later, on September 1st, became a real winner when they changed their call letters to WYNR … and, for a couple of years, they were a top forty station. 
But trying to compete with 50,000 watt WLS with only 5,000 watts on 1390, they never had a chance, and only two years later, in 1964, they became an all news station.
Anyway, I know that comparing 1955 pop charts with R&B charts is like comparing apples and oranges, but it is this aspect of fifties music that I love and am inspired by the most.
Well Kent, those are just some of my thoughts for what they're worth.
Anyway, you take care, and thanks so much for the warm welcome.
With warmest regards from Canada,
Sam Ward
It took a little bit of digging but I found Joel Whitburn’s criteria for designating a song as instrumental status.  Of course, this is up for debate … and you’ll see that no less an authority on instrumentals than Duane Eddy even challenged him at one point on his methodology.
But when we put it to our readers to come up with THEIR list of instrumental favorites, we followed Joel’s rule of thumb.  (I get some of what you’re saying … TSOP and Silver Convention, for example … but to not consider “Tequila” an instrumental simply because of the uttering of the song’s title I think is being over the top critical!)  kk

Here is what Joel told us back in 2009 when this series first ran:

My definition of an instrumental, which I designate in my books with an [I] symbol, is a song that is two minutes or longer with less than 30 seconds of vocals. I have allowed a few exceptions ... however, I try to keep that as my basic rule. I think that the MFSB song “TSOP” certainly qualifies as an instrumental because it’s a 3-1/2 minute song and the first actual vocals (not the “du-du’s) aren’t heard until the 3 minute mark. And, the Grammys agreed with that reasoning, giving it an award for R&B Instrumental. On the other hand, although the first 1:19 of “Moon River” is an instrumental, the final 1:23 is sung by a chorus. “Fingertips, Pt. 2”, I do not show as an instrumental because Stevie Wonder’s vocals are heard for 70 seconds, interspersed throughout the approx. 3+ minute song.
On an interesting aside note, my good friend Duane Eddy took exception to my rule, saying that his four chart hits that have vocals by The Blossoms (The Rebelettes) were all instrumentals. Despite his prodding, I still do not classify them as instrumentals. “Boss Guitar”, for instance, features 70 seconds of vocals. Anyhow, opinions probably vary greatly as to what really constitutes a true instrumental recording. I’ve had responses from customers who’ve asked me why I designate “Topsy II” with an [I], when the first thing heard is a spoken word, or why “Tequila” has an [I] when the last thing heard is a spoken word. So, I give them my explanation as shown above and some agree and others don’t. I guess that’s all part of the fun in being passionate about your personal record archive.

If you haven’t taken a look at this list in a while, here’s the link so you can review it once again …

We’ve had a few DeeJays on the list base special programming around this countdown over the years … and it always gets a good response.  (Some of the stations have even polled their own listeners in order to determine what THEIR favorites are … a great programming tool when you’re putting together your radio station play lists … I mean, after all, how many instrumental can you really play during the course of a week?!?!?)
Obviously, STILL a hot topic with our readers as more and more people continue to discover our site … which means a special program like this has got “legs” … why don’t you consider some of our specialty readers’ polls for some of YOUR station’s weekend programming?  You'll find all kinds of great ideas on the other Forgotten Hits website!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
Around about 1966 I was in a garage band and we covered a great song that was a regional hit in the NY - NJ area. All I can remember is the first line of the lyrics and what I recall about the title. The first line was “You’ve been talking to my girl and I don’t want you to” and I believe the title contained the word “talk”. I’m hoping you or one of your readers can help me identify the song and the artist.  
Frank Jeckell
Founding member of the
1910 Fruitgum Company 
PS This summer we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our Billboard #5 hit 1, 2, 3, Red Light
I suck at lyrics … but I’ll betcha somebody out there will know this one.
And congratulations on the Big 5-0 … 1968 was a GREAT year for bubblegum music … and you guys were the leaders of the pack!  (kk)

Great info, Kent!
Keely Stahl
Personal Assistant to Jerry Blavat, the Geator with the Heater
Man, I would LOVE to have Jerry share some of his incredible stories and memories with our readers from time to time!  Thanks for the note!  (kk)

Hi Kent, 
Great to read your column all the time.  So sorry to hear about Gene Cornish and Mark Lindsay, two of my childhood heroes.  Were there  any better songs than those early Raiders rockers or anything by the Rascals???  Hopefully Gene will be back playing with Felix and Carmine Appice soon. 
Regarding Sirius XM and it’s 60’s and 70’s channels, I, too, feel they are missing a ton of music.  Why have a paid-for oldies stations when I can hear the exact same tunes on my local oldies terrestrial station??  For example, beyond the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe In Magic” and “Summer In The City,” there are also “Six O’Clock,” “She’s Still A Mystery,”  “Darlin’ Be Home Soon,” “Money” and others that all charted quite high in the charts.  THAT’s what they should be playing on these channels.  Go a little deeper than the same old, worn out tunes that we hear everywhere!  Dumb.  I would love to program these channels.  (As an aside, does anyone remember “Full Measure” by the Lovin’ Spoonful?  Great tune … and it was the B side of “Nashville Cats” that I also started to hear on the radio once in a while back then.  It seemed like it was gaining some airplay momentum.  Amazing song, this one sung by Joe Butler I believe.)
The Deep Tracks channel is frustrating also, although they are much truer to their intended goal than others.  I want to hear deep album cuts and you’d be surprised how many times I hear a hit single on there (often by the Beatles, who already have their own channel!)   We aren’t expecting to hear “hits” when you’re channel is all about “deep tracks”. 
Ah well, we complain but there is a ton of great music available today that we could  never have heard without today’s technology.
Keep up the great work!
I stand by what I said earlier … if we’re going to PAY to hear dedicated stations like this, then I believe the listeners deserve SOME input into what these stations program … otherwise, they’re going to continue to lose listeners.  You’ve got to EARN our business … WE’RE the customers … and, as we all know, the customer’s always right.  (Or they’ll go elsewhere to be better appreciated.)  Right now I find it VERY unlikely that I’ll renew my Sirius XM subscription when it comes due in December … and that’s a downright shame because this is the kind of service I should absolutely enjoy on a daily basis.
Click on that Me-TV-FM link above … and you’ll hear an INCREDIBLE variety of music FOR FREE.  Same thing with Rewound Radio who, I believe, EXCELS at this whole oldies programming thing … and you get a nice mix of ‘50’s, ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s in the process.  (kk)

Wow, Buddy ... I still don't know how you keep up ... but I know the
readers are grateful you do. 
Great read ... some sad ... and some glad.
Well done, mi Amigo, well done.
Stay well and be blessed, my friend.

Everytime I read an issue I ask the same question:
How does he do it?
Needless to say, thanks for all you do … it means a lot.
But the question bares repeating: 
How does he do it?
Continued success,
Jim Nowoc