Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Did you happen to catch that new PBS / T.J. Lubinsky “My Music: A Classic Christmas” special we told you about Saturday Night?

All-in-all, a VERY satisfying collection of some long-standing holiday classics and favorites, featuring rare and vintage clips, many not seen in decades, presented in high quality for your viewing and listening enjoyment.

If I have any complaints at all (and I do have a few), the good still far outweighs the bad.  
Top performances for me include “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams, “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by a very young and beautiful Julie Andrews, “Little St. Nick”  by The Beach Boys, a picture-perfect rendering of “Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters, featuring a young and healthy Karen Carpenter delivering their Christmas Classic in perfect voice, a rousing (albeit lip-synched) version of “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano and brand new, never-before-seen footage (filmed exclusively for this show) of “White Christmas” by The The Drifters and “Sleigh Ride” and “Frosty The Snowman” by Ronnie Spector.

Some of the clips shown were very short edits (which is kind of a shame) … even the grand finale from the film “White Christmas” was limited to just a verse when the whole song was certainly available.  When all was said and done, I’ll bet there wasn’t more than 65 minutes of music shown in the two hour broadcast, the rest of the time being eaten up with their pledge drive and donation begs.  (I get it … this is how PBS gets its money … but this was overkill … ten minute breaks every thirty minutes and then stopping the show fifteen minutes short of the hour to wrap things up with another fifteen minute solicitation for funds … it seems like “White Christmas” truly should have closed the show … not the image of a heavily made-up T.J. Lubinsky doing his money-beg!

As such, the songs being offered as “bonus tracks” if you buy the DVD absolutely would have fit into the regular program … and then some … but in order to see “A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin, “Happy Holidays” / “It’s The Holiday Season ‘ by Andy Williams with The Williams Brothers and The Osmond Brothers, “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt, “The Chipmunk Song” by Alvin and the Chipmunks, “O Come All Ye Faithful” / “Jingle Bells” by Patti Page and Choir, “Carol Of The Bells” by Johnny Mathis and the Young Americans and “White Christmas” / “Caroling, Caroling” / “Silent Night” / “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” by Bing Crosby and Family with Glen Campbell and The Lennon Sisters, you’re gonna have to shell out the big bucks to see ‘em.  (“Santa Baby” and “The Chipmunk Song” are Christmas Classics that absolutely should have been part of the main broadcast.  And what about Elvis doing “Blue Christmas” from his ’68 Comeback Special?  Certainly THAT could have been featured ... PBS has been showing Elvis' NBC Special for YEARS now!  An animated clip of The Royal Guardsmen performing “Snoopy’s Christmas” would have been nice, too … as would the original music video for Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”  What’s the downside of all of this … 45 minutes of begging vs. 55 minutes?  I say, let the music play!)

Still, this is footage you rarely get to see and it was a REAL delight to watch them all again within the context of this special programming.   
“My Music: A Classic Christmas” will begin airing more regularly in December as we get closer to the holiday.  Check it out if you can … I do believe you’ll enjoy it.

Ordering the DVD and the special 4-CD Set will set you back about $350 in donations … pretty steep (although they’re also offering a 6-Pack of DVDs that include several other holiday classics in the bundle.)  A nice keepsake to drag out once a year for the holidays, if you’ve got the extra cash to do so!  (lol)  Right now, I've got OTHER Christmas presents to buy for all of those on our list.  (kk) 

As you noted in FH, Billboard Magazine this past week announced their Top 125 artists of all-time, in celebration of the magazine’s 125th anniversary.
On that list, Chicago is ranked # 10, which is so well deserved and amazing at the same time.
But after analyzing their list, it dawned on me that Chicago is the Top American Band of All-Time!  Just think of the bigness of that title!
Here’s Billboard’s Top 10:
1.   The Beatles
2.   The Rolling Stones
3.   Elton John
4.   Mariah Carey
5.   Madonna
6.   Barbra Streisand
7.   Michael Jackson
8.   Taylor Swift
9.   Stevie Wonder
10. Chicago
To illustrate the impact that this title has for Chicago , think about it this way:
Billboard’s tabulation means Chicago has surpassed The Eagles, The Beach Boys, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Seasons, The Jackson Five, Maroon 5, Aerosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire, Journey, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam, Kiss, The Doors, The Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, Santana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Van Halen.
Tom Cuddy 
It IS pretty amazing to see … and not at all what I would have expected, especially when you consider the impact and longevity of some of these other artists that they have surpassed on the list.
Still, the facts don’t lie … and their track record is exemplary … makes you wonder again how The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame couldn’t find their way to justify The #1 American Band of All-Time as being Rock Hall worthy for their first 23 years of eligibility!!!  (Chicago was finally inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016 … a GROSS injustice to the band and their legacy for over two decades of being completely ignored by the so-called experts on The Rock Hall’s Nominating Committee.  What a shame.)  kk 

Hi Kent –
Love your Sunday charts, but did you notice that THREE of the top five songs were written by Laura Nyro this week?  What a great songwriter of that era.
Wedding Bell Blues
Eli's Coming
And When I Die
Ron L.
The appreciation of Nyro’s music hit an all-time high in 1969/1970.
Three Dog Night is often credited with discovering brand new songwriters and turning them into superstars … and “Eli’s Coming” was a huge hit for the band.
But The Fifth Dimension was already scoring hits with OTHER Laura Nyro tunes before “Wedding Bell Blues” topped the national charts … “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Blowing Away” and “Save The Country” (also a hit for Thelma Houston) were all Laura Nyro compositions.
Blood, Sweat and Tears’ reading of “And When I Die” became their third straight #2 Hit in Billboard Magazine … and a year later Barbra Streisand would have her biggest pop hit since 1964 when she recorded Nyro’s “Stoney End.”  (Babs was so pleased with the results that she went on to record Laura’s “Time And Love” and “Flim Flam Man” as well.  (kk)

Thank you so much for not only this amazing countdown project that I am enjoying so much but what a treat it was to see Jim Peterik's new song release with the video.  I am a huge fan of all things Ides of March and Jim Peterik.   
The 11/18 Countdown was amazing.  I was so happy to see that one of my fave Ides of March tunes was included.
While watching the amazing performance on the clip you provided, I was wondering how many of the original members of the group are still around.  Jack Levin was able to fill in the blanks on some of it, but suggested I ask you to be sure.  
I also was curious as to what guitar he used on that particular night of the Cornerstones of Rock 2016 show.   My son is somewhat of a collector and had asked me about it.
Once again thanks for this amazing project.  Each day is an adventure!  I wanted you to know how much you are appreciated for all you do.  I look forward to your blogs and the rest of the countdown.  I am having so much fun with it and posting favorites and some I'd never heard before. 
With deep respect, 
The "core group" of The Ides Of March are still the four original members, dating back to 1964 ... virtually unheard of in this day and age!  They include drummer Mike Borch, bassist Bob Bergland and guitarist Larry Millas, who invited Jim Peterik to quit the band he was in and join HIS band instead.  The rest, as they say, is history.  These four guys have known each other since Cub Scouts and grade school and are now celebrating 55 years together (although, to be fair, Jim DID leave for awhile and spent another 18 years with Survivor.) 
Regardless, ALL of these guys have kept up their chops and sound better today than they ever have ... which makes it easy to sit thru show after show after show because they always bring their A-Game.  And, they mix the set list up just enough to always give you something new each time you see them. 
I also have to tip my hat to keyboardist Scott May, who has now been with the band for over thirty years.  The ever-essential horn section consists of Tim Bales, Steve Eisen and Henry Salgado. 
If you haven't already read it, pick up a copy of Jim's autobiography "Through The Eye Of The Tiger" ... it's a fascinating read ... and get their new CD while you're at it, too ... it's amazing. 
As to what particular guitar Jim uses for the Cornerstones shows, the answer is that he NEVER simply uses just one guitar ... he changes off throughout each performance.  (His 2018 "Guitars That Followed Me Home" calendar is an incredible look at some of the guitars in his personal collection.)  My best guess as to the one you see in the "L.A. Goodbye" clip would be a Gibson SJ200 (2000), which he describes as "my main stage axe."  He can probably confirm this. 
(You can pick up copies of both Jim's book and his 2018 calendar thru his website:  http://jimpeterik.com/merchandise/ 
In fact, as a quick reminder, you can catch The Ides of March at an In-Store appearance THIS SATURDAY (November 23rd) at Barbara’s Bookstore in Vernon Hills, IL, where they’ll be signing copies of their brand new “Play On” CD and 2-LP Set … as well as a brand new two-year Jim Peterik Calendar featuring “Stars And Guitars.”  (Watch for an acoustic set as well, featuring a few tunes from the new album along with a few timeless favorites!) 
It all happens THIS SATURDAY, from 2-4 pm.  Hope to see you there!   
The Ides will also be doing their Annual Christmas Show at The Arcada Theatre on Saturday, December 14th.  This is always a fun event ... seasonal songs mixed in with the hits (and often with a few "surprise guests" thrown into the mix, too!)  Check it out if you can.  
And now back to the countdown ... 
We'll hit The Top 1000 on Friday ...  
On the one hand, I can't believe it's gone so fast ... I almost hate to see it end!  But hopefully SOME improvement in our listening pleasure will come as a result. 
We caught an LA Internet Station playing songs from our list the other day ... and a WIDE variety of choices, too!  They ran Elvis' "Burning Love" right into "Barracuda" by Heart ... and then featured obscure tracks like "Breaking The Law" by Judas Priest segued into REO Speedwagon's "Cant Fight This Feeling" ... a GREAT variety mix of non-standard Classic Rock fare that sounded really appealing as a means of "shuffling the deck" a little bit. 
You guys have got to trust me on this one ... these tracks really DO work well together ... add a little bit of a creative mix and make radio interesting again both for the listener AND the programmer!  (kk)
Don't miss a moment ... 
We're counting 'em down daily till we hit the top!