Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Saturday Survey - December 8th

12-8-68 - KLEO - Wichita, Kansas

This cool station was nearly in my back yard (I was living in Dodge City, Kansas) in 1968 and with fellow Wichita Top 40 KEYN-FM, now in stereo on air, the AM/FM battle was for real for the first time in mid-Kansas.  KLEO broke lots of music in its years and this top 40 has a fair share of goodies to choose obscure tracks from.  #1 and 2 boasted fake artist names, as Derek was actually previous hit maker, Johnny Cymbal and the Archies were, for the most part, our FH'er Ron Dante singing what former Monkees guru Don Kirshner created after his ouster by the pre-fab 4.  This chart presents the NC6's biggest national hit for the first time on our survey journey of 68.

Yet, I will choose two great obscure tracks from the lower reaches.  #32 was Nick DeCaro's pretty instrumental, "If I Only Had Time."  This was originally a vocal international hit by various artists, but inexplicably failed here in the US in a year when the instrumental genre was huge.

It's December, and likely you are getting pummeled with Christmas music on your local stations, like every year.  50 years ago, Christmas music was generally played only a week before the holiday for the most part.  One of the newest and BEST of the 1968 Christmas tunes was Bobby Goldsboro's nice #35 "Look Around You" 45.

-- Clark Besch

Check out Derek (actually Johnny Cymbal) at #1 with "Cinnamon," a GREAT '60's track ... 

And Elvis jumps up ten places to #30 with "If I Can Dream," from his brand new television special that aired earlier this week on NBC.

12/3/68 - Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special (“Singer Presents … ELVIS!”) airs on NBC TV. A hit soundtrack album will be issued days later.

12/5/68 – The Rolling Stones “Beggars Banquet”  LP is released.  As part of the release party, and actual banquet was held for the press … where a pie-throwing contest ensued.

12/8/68 - The Association (“Never My Love” and “Along Comes Mary”) and Ray Charles (“Eleanor Rigby” and “If It Weren’t For Bad Luck”) perform on The Ed Sullivan Show

Also on 12/8 - Graham Nash officially quits The Hollies.  The following year, his first efforts with David Crosby and Stephen Stills will be released as Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Very Special Guest Review

We are fortunate to have two extremely talented band leaders / musical directors on our list who, over the course of the past couple of decades, have helped to resurrect the careers of some of our '60's heroes (like Tommy Roe, Peter Noone, The Box Tops, The Rip Chords, Jay and the Techniques, and others) and get them back out on the road, touring again, so that we fans can enjoy their music again in a live setting.

One of these guys ... Rick Levy ... has just written a book titled "High In The Mid 60s:  How To Have A Fabulous Life In Music Without Being Famous" ... which got us to thinking ... 

How cool would it be to have the OTHER one of these guys ... Bob Rush ... write a review of Rick's book!!!  (Both Rick and Bob have been long-time Forgotten Hits Readers and contributors ... and share a lifetime of memories on the road, living the rock and roll dream.)  Rick currently heads up The Box Tops, recently inducted into The Memphis Music Hall Of Fame and gigging all over the world, while Bob was instrumental (pun intended) in putting The Rip Chords back together.  He has also done some of these great PBS fund-raising music programs and served as the U.S. Correspondent to Great Britain's music magazine, "The Beat."

Even better ... these guys know each other ... and have a great amount of respect for one another.  (Sounds like a winner to me!)  

So, without any further adieu ... take it away, Bob! 

- Rick Levy

First of all, “High in the Mid 60’s” was the name of one of author Rick Levy’s bands’ albums from the 1960’s.  And, you have to admit that, from this vantage point, it’s a helluva terrific name for this book about a guy, now in his mid-sixties, who’s written this book about playing in a band and being high in the mid-sixties, had a band in the 60s who had this as an album title, and who now lives in his dream-town in Florida. where the temperature at night is … got it?  

This is a passionately written book about a life that’s been, and is being, lived with passion – passion for music, for his family, for his friends, and for Life.  It’s a book about living a fulfilling, and fulfilled life, by doing what energizes and drives you the most.   

This is the engaging auto-biography of music biz vet Rick Levy, who grew up in a stable, suburban, Jewish, middle-class home, with loving and protective parents.  And, it’s the story of a man who – despite all these odds – grew up to be a success in the music business anyway!  Rick’s early epiphanies and excitement about the entire music scene were inspired, fostered, and supported by family friend, “Uncle” Elliot Wexler, a New York record man with a host of credentials himself. 

The author in action

I first met Rick around 1997 when I was the music director of The Rip Chords, a band I had just recently helped re-form after over 30 dormant years since their hit records, “Hey Little Cobra” and “Three Window Coupe” (and, thanks, Rick, for the shout-out in your book.)  Our second major gig since reforming was on a bill with Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, Tommy Roe, and The Box Tops, in a theater in Reading, Pennsylvania (not to be confused with Reading, in Berkshire, England, which, being an American, I am certain was named after the one in Pennsylvania … No?)

The music director and lead guitarist for Peter Noone was this smooth, English-looking guy named Rick, who played a couple of gorgeous axes.  He had Peter’s band decked out in beautifully tailored, 60s-style sharkskin suits that would have made Dougie Millings proud.  And, damn if they didn’t sound just like the Hermits’ records!  Peter, Rick and the boys sounded terrific that night, and Mr. Noone, as always, rocked, charmed, and entertainment the house.  
Onstage with Peter Noone 2002 

Talking with Rick backstage, I learned that Mr. Levy also managed Tommy Roe as well as The Box Tops.  Impressive, to say the least.  We hit it off well, and soon Rick was booking The Rip Chords on a number of shows, supporting The Box Tops, and many other acts he managed and booked in those days, including Jay (Proctor) and The Techniques, and “Mr. Excitement,” himself - Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, as well as more gigs with Peter Noone.  Somehow, he even connected Beach Boy Al Jardine to The Rip Chords, and we did many shows with that extremely talented and kind man.  

 With Tommy Roe at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, UK, 2014

The point is:  Rick Levy knows people!  And people know him!  And, he enriches all of his friends with wonderful opportunities to play and perform wonderful music.  This is Rick Levy’s raison d’etre, and he lives it extremely successfully. 

His career began in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and quickly escalated to Philadelphia, and other Eastern centers of rock and roll.  His 60s - 70s band, Wax, was one of the three or four hottest bands in the Philadelphia area in the late 60s, and included future Hooter, Rob Hyman.  To put this important and musically nascent era into perspective, no less than Todd Rundgren was one of Rick’s musical colleagues and competition for the spotlight.  One might think that Mr. Rundgren won that particular rivalry, but one would be mistaken.  While Rundgren has emerged as a great and well-known talent, Rick Levy has achieved the same, but a little more quietly.  His renown is on a quieter, yet no less active, level.  And, he has been working music – and only music – his entire life. 

We’re now being treated to a veritable cornucopia of biographies, auto-biographies and well-crafted myth-supporting volumes of most of the greats we’ve come to know and love.  But, what of the unsung heroes who have been there all along, supporting the ones we know and glorify?  Welcome to “High in the Mid 60s” – a book about a man who has been there, done that, and keeps on doing it! 

Rick is now a touring member of The Box Tops (who were just recently inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame) and still having a helluva good time doing what he loves the most!  As he says, “The challenge is to keep reinventing yourself so you’re still viable.”   Of course, there are the behind-the-scenes tell-all’s that add a little juice to the stories, but, like the author, Rick’s book keeps it on the high-road. 

Rick (right), performing with original Box Tops 
Gary Talley (left) and Bill Cunningham (center)

The Box Tops are recent inductees into 
The Memphis Music Hall Of Fame

Thanks for a terrific, informative, provocative, and motivating book about having a fabulous life in music without being famous.  “I’m ‘always a bride’s maid,’" Rick confides, regarding his career.  But remember:  a bride’s maid is the person who holds it all together for the bride.  So, in that respect – ‘always a bride’s maid,’ indeed.   

Be sure to read “High in the Mid 60’s”.  

The book is available at and also direct, at Rick’s website

Columnist:  Dr. Bob Rush © 2018


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments ... And A Bit More Head Scratching!

Due to "re-purposing" some of their cable channels, Me-TV-FM has been dropped from Comcast / Xfinity's simulcast on Channel 877.

This was disappointing news as we enjoyed putting this on in the background while getting some chores done around the house.  (It's even more frustrating for me since I can't listen to the station in the car .. but I HAVE been listening to Me-TV-FM-Milwaukee at work quite a bit lately.) 

Program Director Rick O'Dell tells us ... 

Comcast / Xfinity, which had been featuring the over-the-air broadcast of 87.7FM on its Channel 877 since 2011 (when 87.7 was a smooth jazz station), decided to discontinue the simulcast as of December 1, 2018.  They are re-purposing several of their channels and, despite the numerous conversations our management had with them over the past several months, they would not reconsider. Sadly, I’ve heard from several listeners who were told by Comcast customer service that it was Weigel Broadcasting that pulled out.  This is not true.    

You'll find seven Rock And Roll Christmas Classics back in Billboard's Top 50 this week ... and they don't necessarily rank in the order these so-called radio experts told us they should because THIS chart is based on actual downloads.  (What I mean to say is, THESE are the songs people are actually BUYING this holiday season.)

Here are the seven most popular Christmas tunes according to this week's Billboard Hot 100 ... showing their ranking (#1  - #7) in terms of popularity, their actual Hot 100 chart position, and the popularity ranking given before the holiday season started by the programming gurus that determine what we actually hear on the radio these days.  (As you can see, what we get isn't always necessarily what we want!)

#1 - All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey  (#14 / #13)
#2 - It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams  (#21 / #7)
#3 - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee  (#23 / #4)
#4 - A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives  (#26 / #2)
#5 - Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms  (#33 / #1)
#6 - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) - Nat King Cole  (#39 / #17)
#7 - Last Christmas - Wham  (#43 / #29) 

Top Ten Programming Favorites that THEY say we should be listening to ... but notably missing from this list include:
(That's SIX of their Top Ten so-called favorites!) 

After catching part of the SNL Christmas Special last night I've got to wonder ...  
How come "Dick In A Box" isn't on anybody's holiday playlist???  (kk)

On behalf of GARY, BARRY, RICK, RON, and BILL ... 
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season ...
peace, joy, health, and prosperity in the new year.
Thank you for your support in helping make the BOX TOPS popularity continue to grow! We could not do it without you.
Looking forward to working more in the future with you.
Members Memphis Music Hall of Fame 
kk ...
12/4/1956 --- the date of the "Million Dollar Quartet" recording at Sun Records in Memphis, TN. 

In an interview, Don Imus once asked Jerry Lee Lewis what he was thinking when this picture was taken. 
The Killer said "I was wondering why Elvis was sitting at the piano."

Meanwhile, we're still trying to figure out when The Rolling Stones first played Rockford, IL ... with a little help from our friends and readers.  (I emailed a couple of old high school chums who I seem to remember also being at this concert but haven't heard back from any of them as of yet.)

Here is what we HAVE found out so far ...  

Wikipedia shows the Stones at the Metro Center in Rockford on Oct 1st of 1981 as part of their 1981 American tour. 
Hope this helps.

Hoffman Estates

That's the one that we keep finding, too ... but that would have been too late ... 

Meanwhile I also found the following information through Wikipedia ...

Here's The Stones' 1972 tour schedule ... man, look how many times they performed two shows per day ... and quite often without even a day off in between!  Now add in all the travel time!  (Keep in mind, this was the '70's!!!):

June 3rd - Vancouver, Canada - Pacific Coliseum
June 4th - Seattle, WA (two shows) - Seattle Center Coliseum
June 6th and June 8th - San Francisco, CA (two shows each day) - Winterland Ballroom
June 9th - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
June 10th - Long Beach, CA - Long Beach Arena
June 11th - Inglewood, CA (two shows) - The Forum
June 13th - San Diego, CA - International Sports Arena
June 14th - Tucson, AZ - Tucson Convention Center
June 15th - Albuquerque, NM - University Arena
June 16th - Denver, CO (two shows) - Denver Coliseum 
June 18th - Bloomington, MN - Metropolitan Sports Center
June 19th and June 20th (two shows) Chicago, IL - International Amphitheatre
June 22nd - Kansas City, MO - Municipal Auditorium
June 24th - Fort Worth, TX (two shows) - Tarrant County Convention Center
June 25th - Houston, TX (two shows) - Hofheinz Pavilion
June 27th - Mobile, AL - Mobile Civic Center
June 28th - Tuscaloosa, AL - Memorial Coliseum
June 29th - Nashville, TN - Municipal Auditorium
July 4th - Washington, DC - Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
July 5th - Norfolk, VA - Norfolk Scope
July 6th - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Coliseum
July 7th - Knoxville, TN - Civic Arena
July 9th - St. Louis, MO (two shows) - Kiel Convention Hall
July 11th - Akron, OH - Rubber Bowl
July 12th - Indianapolis, IN - Convention Center
July 13th and 14th - Detroit, MI - Cobo Hall
July 15th - Toronto, Canada - Maple Leaf Gardens (two shows)
July 17th - Montreal, Canada - Montreal Forum
July 18th, 19th and 20th - Boston, MA - Boston Garden
July 21st - Philadelphia, PA (two shows) - The Spectrum
July 22nd - Pittsburgh, PA - Civic Arena
July 24th, 25th (two shows) and July 26th - New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden

That's a pretty tight and full schedule.  I thought they doubled-back to play Rockford as it wasn't part of the original game plan ... but I don't even see much of an opportunity to do so ... so now I'm starting to question my own sanity instead!!! 

We even found the most-common set list (along with a few variations) ...   

"Brown Sugar" 
"Rocks Off" 
"Gimme Shelter" 
"Tumbling Dice" 
"Love in Vain" 
"Sweet Virginia" 
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" 
"All Down the Line" 
"Midnight Rambler" 
"Bye Bye Johnny" 
"Rip This Joint" 
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" 
"Street Fighting Man" 

Encore: often none, but sometimes "Honky Tonk Women", a few times "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" / "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"  

Additional songs performed: 
"Loving Cup" (Vancouver, 3 June; both shows in Seattle, 4 June; Winterland in San Francisco, 8 June, second show)
"Ventilator Blues" (only on opening night in Vancouver, 3 June) 
"Torn and Frayed" (only on opening night in Vancouver, 3 June) 
"Dead Flowers" (only in Fort Worth, 24 June, first show) 
"Sweet Black Angel" (only in Fort Worth, 24 June, first show) 
"Don't Lie to Me" (only in Fort Worth, 24 June, second show)

Apparently the 1981 Rockford show is on YouTube. 
I am completely unaware of an earlier show. 
(The Stones played two shows at the International Amphitheater in Chicago that year.)
[According to the list above, they actually played THREE ... could one of THOSE shows been subbed out for Rockford???  Maybe the first date???  Honestly, I don't see how, as tickets would have most likely already have sold out by that time. -kk]

I can't imagine a show of that magnitude coming to Rockford in 1972 without anyone knowing about it. The only show I remember hearing about, and not attending, was the Beach Boys at the local YWCA in 1965. I think it was one of their first shows on their first tour.  
As far as outdoor venues go, there really weren't any at the time. We had a decent sized band shell at a park, but that was free. The band Fuse would play there quite often. Later in the '70s I think they started having outdoor shows at the Rockford Speedway, but once again that was later. Ted Nugent was one of the big headliners. They also had a series of shows in '72 at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds located west of town. These were good shows and the promoters lived downstairs at the time. The biggest headliner at these shows was Leon Russell. I attended all of these shows and once again no Stones.
The Armory I remember a little better. The big show there was REO Speedwagon with Badfinger as the opening act. This would have taken place in 1972. I was involved in the financing of this show as I was the only guy, it seemed, with a real full time job at the time. It was a successful as well as a good show. The REO format at this time was the make up on their first album. This was actually my favorite format versus the more successful one that followed. 
Now this is a stretch but I thought I saw the Rolling Stones live in 1964 as part of the TAMI Show. The Stones and James Brown closed the show. The show was shown once at the Midway Theater downtown at 10:00 am on a Saturday morning. We thought it was one of those live telecasts similar to the ones used to televise the Indy 500 on Memorial Day. Recently I found out that it was recorded right before the show and then shown once later around the country before it disappeared. I recently found a DVD of the show with more information on it. Apparently the guy who did the TAMI Show also did the Elvis '68 Special. 
Robert Campbell  
And then ... 
Another thought on this mystery ... 
There was no Ticketron available in Rockford in 1972. I remember that starting in about 1970 and later in the '70s we had to go to Elgin to purchase tickets on Ticketron. None of the venues were connected to, or used the Ticketron system. My guess is the Metro Center was most likely the first one.

Happy Anniversary. 
I saw the acorn and the oak!
Keep at it.
Yes, you did.  Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the Original First 35!  (kk)