Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday This And That

Found this great clip while working on our 1969 series ...

It comes from the short-lived television show "Music Scene," hosted by David Steinberg, with frequent appearances by Lily Tomlin and the comedy troupe, The Committee.

The program presented the top hits each week as determined by Billboard Magazine in countdown form ... and this one's a classic.  (Watch for more as we continue our Fifty Year Flashback Salute to 1969!)

Interestingly enough, this concept predates Casey Kasem's American Top 40 by about a year ... but you can go back to the early '50's and find programs like "Your Hit Parade" doing the exact same thing.  (We have ALWAYS loved countdowns!)

"Your Hit Parade" became a bit embarrassing when rock and roll started to make its way on to the pop charts ... here you had the most bland, middle-of-the-road singers trying to "cover" the latest hits of the day by the likes of Fats Domino, Little Richard and others.  (Of course Pat Boone built his early career doing the very same thing ... and very successfully, too!) 

Speaking of Pat Boone, Pat's wife of 65 years (they were married the year I was born!) passed away last week.  Pat and Shirley had been together since they were 16 years old ... and married at the age of 19.  Shirley was 84 when she passed.

Always a deeply religious man, Pat released a statement that said "We lived a wonderful, blessed life together for 65 years.  I've parted with my better half for a little while … but we don't die, we just move on to another place, and today was moving day.  She's changed her address is all and moved to a different mansion that I expect to join her in one day. I'm very confident of that.

Forgotten Hits campaigned extensively for Pat's induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame many years ago.  He was the "safety link" that brought rock and roll into the homes of Americans from coast to coast, bridging the gap between parents and teens by making the exciting new sounds of rhythm and blues acceptable to both (although truth be told, most of the kids were still listening to the original R&B Artists behind their bedroom doors!)  We are sorry for Pat's loss.  (kk)  

You may have featured this film from years past, but here’s a look at 1968 at the Big 89 with John Rook running things.  This film makes WLS sound like an MOR station to my ears … what do you think???
I couldn’t agree more … WLS didn’t sound ANYTHING like this in 1968-1969 … clearly developed for the advertisers and not the 18-49 demographic that was actually listening to the station.  (Honestly, I don’t think anybody OUR age would have been inclined to listen to the station based on this boring clip!)
There is absolutely nothing upbeat about it … and only spotlights morning man Clark Weber, where as Rook’s motive at the time seemed to be a more “youth oriented” line up like the additions of Chuck Buell and Kris Erik Stevens.  (Scroll back and look at our Sunday Survey post for further evidence of this.)  Art Roberts, of course, was a mainstay of Chicago radio … and Larry Lujack was posting numbers like nobody else was seeing at the time.  It almost seems like the whole premise was devised to lure in an older demographic advertising base … which makes very little sense to me if the key listeners wouldn’t be interested in buying the products these advertisers would have to offer.  The whole thing just seems completely off-kilter to me.  (kk)

Early reviews suggest Otherworld Cottage published another winner with Travis Pike's new memoir, "1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders"

The first galley review for Pike's "1964-1974 A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders" appeared online in the U.K. on Andy Pearson's "Fear and Loathing Fanzine," reporting that "[Pike] may not be the best known name from the Beat music era of the Sixties, but his tale is unique, intriguing and very well-told …" and concludes, "I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with a real interest in Beat music and great stories!" Click on the link above to read a complete pdf reproduction of that review or visit fearandloathingfanzine.com.
Lenny Helsing posted a review of Pike's new book in the Winter 2018 issue of "Ugly Things" magazine, in which he submitted, "Travis' '60s story plays out with a superb run of home gigs by Travis Pike's Tea Party, before a move to California proved their undoing. The group's hopelessly obscure 45 "If I Didn't Love You Girl" would be rediscovered in the late 1980s through the "Sixties Rebellion" and "Tougher Than Stains" garage compilations, and is proving popular once more through the London mod scene … Odd Tales is a thorough exploration of Travis' world in the '60s, and beyond. It's a dramatic, fun and dynamic reflection detailed through narrative, poetry, rhyme and the many lyrics included."
In the February, 2019, issue of "Goldmine" Magazine, Lee Zimmerman's Four-Star review reports "[Pike's] name and reputation may still reside below the surface of general public awareness, but … he's created a veritable cottage industry consisting of numerous albums, books and other output reflecting his prodigious talents as a singer, songwriter and storyteller … It is, in every sense, a remarkable reservoir of craft and creativity."
In the book review section of U.K.'s "Shindig!" magazine's January, 2019, issue, Lenny Helsing submitted a Four-Star review stating, "If unfamiliar with the adventures of Travis Pike, now is your chance to read up on who, what and why … Pike's legend is solidified by some unbelievable YouTube footage where he and the Brattle Street East are playing their hearts out … in 1966 Boston, performing the insanely cool, "Watch Out Woman," and concluded "Hundreds of photos and other promotional images accompany the text, plus lyrics and a superb Harvey Kubernik interview which illuminates further Pike's ongoing journey. A Fascinating read."
And speaking of Harvey Kubernik, Glendale, California-based "Record Collector News" in its December – January issue featuring Kubernik's article on "The Beatles The White Album," also posted, in an Unsung Musicians section, his article titled, "Travis Pike: Renaissance Man," introducing Travis Pike and his new book, to that periodical's readers.
Kubernik, in his December 19, 2018 "Cave Hollywood" article on Travis Pike wrote, "I have worked with Travis Pike on my books chronicling The Beatles and The Doors, and he oversaw the layout and design of "Inside Cave Hollywood. The Harvey Kubernik Music InnerViews and InterViews Collection VOL 1," published by "Cave Hollywood." Now he's published "1964 – 1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders," a revised and much expanded memoir of the first ten years of his prodigious and prolific career in music. Having pulled together the Afterword to this new book, I can tell you it's a deeper exploration of that era, with many more visuals and artifacts - and I should know. I pulled together the Introduction to his 2013 memoir, "Odd Tales and Wonders: 1964-1974, A Decade of Performance" (no longer in print).
For Harvey Kubernik fans, on January 13, 2019 cavehollywood.com will proudly present Kubernik 's 10,000 word multi-voice narrative story on Johnny Cash. To stay up-to-date on Harvey's properties, visit Kubernik's Korner regularly.
Pike's "1964-1974: A Decade of Odd Tales and Wonders" is available in Trade Paperback, online and download versions on Amazon.com.
I had the pleasure to receive an advance copy of Travis Pike’s book and feel just awful that I wasn’t able to get a review posted in a more timely fashion.  (LOTS going on here at Forgotten Hits as you can see by our steady stream of posts and on-going look back at 1969 … throw in all the holiday activities between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and I simply found it impossible to keep up.)
That being said, I have to agree that Travis has put together a very interesting recap of his life in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, recapturing several of what I can only describe as “near brushes with fame” along the way … never quite making it to the point where his would be known as a household name … yet never really giving up on his dream and passion of making it in the music business.  (Thanks to his father, he also dabbled in film … and was even able to combine the two thanks to some soundtrack recording!)
It’s told from an interesting perspective that you don’t always see in rock biographies … he recounts numerous occasions and opportunities where he lived several “close but no cigar” moments … which keep the reader riveted to keep reading to see what other life experiences he had along the way.
I found it to be an enjoyable reading experience and thank Travis again for sending me an advance review copy.  Again I apologize for the delay in finally keep my end of the bargain!  Thank you, Travis.  (kk)

And, speaking of recent rock and roll memoir releases …

Hi Kent …
Hope you have a great year.
Heres a blurb you might want to put in your Forgotten Hits newsletter …
RICK LEVY, BOX TOPS manager and guitarist’s memoir HIGH IN THE MID 60s was Crossroad Press' best-selling title for December!
It’s a great read about life in the music business and finding and keeping ones
passion alive.
Rick has played with Herman’s Hermits, Tommy Roe, Jay and the Techniques and more.
You can get a personally signed copy for only $15.
Simply paypal Rick thru levy17@bellsouth.net (with your name and address), and he will  sign and send a book to you directly in the USA.  (Please add $25 for overseas shipping.)
I've known Rick for a long time now and envy the life he's been able to live.  
Here is another guy who has been able to live out his life-long dream of making music.  He has shared the stage with SO many great entertainers over the years and, as such, I have to admit that his book left me wanting more.  It just seemed like there were SO many more stories he could have told.
I like the fact that he stays true to his roots ... and still seems to savor his time spent with The Limits on an equal par with those spent entertaining HUGE audiences as the musical director for such artists as Herman's Hermits, Tommy Roe, The Box Tops and more.
I just felt a little cheated.  In some ways, the book almost feels as if it was written ten years ago.  The attention to detail seems to stop there ... where as the past ten years have GOT to be the most exciting years of Rick's life.  He has toured the world during this time and played to landmark audiences along the way.  I cannot help but hope that a sequel is forthcoming ... because those are the stories and experiences that will turn us wannabe rockers on our ear.  (kk) 

Ultimate Classic Rock (one of my favorite websites, by the way) ran a story last week exposing current Queen front man Adam Lambert's cameo in the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" ... but of course WE told you guys that three months ago!!!  It's a nice nod of recognition ... but truly a "blink and you'll miss it" moment where you'd never recognize him in the first place.  Still, a pretty cool gesture by Brian May and Roger Taylor.  (kk)

Hey, Kent ... 
I wanted to let you know about two new posts to my Pray For Surf website:  
My interview with the author of "Why The Beach Boys Matter": https://prayforsurfblog.blogspot.com/2019/01/interview-why-beach-boys-matter-with.html
And my Pray For Surf podcast with Mark Dillion ("Fifty Sides of the Beach Boys"): "The Beach Boys' Heroes & Villains (not the song), Part 2": https://prayforsurfblog.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-beach-boys-heroes-and-villains-part.html
Surf's Up!
And perhaps a solution to our latest "Helping Out Our Readers" song mystery (???)
>>>A friend has asked me about a song called Spiral, or Let's Do The Spiral. There's a few on You Tube called Spiral, but she says it's an early 60s tune.  (Jack)
The Elegants did a tune as a B-Side called "Spiral," replete with dance groove, so this is the one that comes immediately to my mind. It's the way-cool B-Side of their 1961 single on the United Artists label, "Happiness."  It is also on youtube.  Just move the playbar to 2:22 to get past "Happiness" then you will hear "Spiral". 
As for the reader seeking the song about John, well, that one is more of a challenge.  I have a 45 in my collection by the Kiwis, from the summer of 1967 titled "John".  It sounds influenced by the Kinks "A Well Respected Man" lyrically but there is no line about wanting to change his name. It is also on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VFHFbqdqaA
Mike Markesich
The Elegants did a song called Spiral - think it was a dance - like The Twist.
David Cousins 
I think the Elegants tune is probably the one Jack is looking for ... Jack, can you please confirm?  I would love to chalk up another "mystery solved" to our collective belt.  (If you read the comments below this clip, one writer talks about meeting Vito Picone at a Doo-Wop concert, who then showed him the dance steps to "The Spiral"!!!)
I'm not quite as confident about the "John" song.  (kk)  
Reader Thom said he didn't remember hearing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida here in OKC on KOMA and or WKY. This is FYI: 
IGDV made its initial appearance on WKY's Star Survey for the week of September 12, 1968. It was on the survey for a total of seven weeks peaking at #5 for the week of October 3, 1968. Its last appearance was on the survey for the week of October 24, 1968. 
As for your 50 year flashback, I am with you if you decide to go into the 1970's maxing out at maybe 1972. 
Also, Jack asked you if you were aware of a song called SPIRAL. This is a new one on me. Would you believe the first thing that came to my mind was Rod McKuen's 1961 song OLIVER TWIST which was done on the Spiral Record label. Just the opposite.
And a new challenge ...
I did a bit of digging on this one myself last night but couldn't come up with anything concrete.  Maybe some of our "insiders" can give us the scoop ... or know of a way we can contact Sandy Posey (???) kk 
Hi, Kent - 
Today's installment mentions Chips Moman and his Memphis Studio, which brings up a mystery I've been trying to solve for years.
Sandy Posey's big hits - Single Girl, Born a Woman, etc., feature a piano line that I would have bet my bottom buck was supplied by Floyd Cramer.  To me, the "slurring" of the notes provides that "country" sound reminiscent of Cramer, of whom I am a big fan.  
I've written to numerous folks who I felt might be able to tell me who the actual pianist is - but never got a definitive answer.  I can't locate the info on any of Posey's material.  Maybe one of your readers can supply that info.
Thanks much,
Mike Wolstein
More later in the week as time permits.  (Yes, I've fallen WAY behind again!!!)  So please check back often.