Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Weekend Comments

LOTS of buzz about the new Michael Jackson child molestation documentary “Leaving Neverland” currently playing at The Sundance Film Festival.  (It’ll air on HBO this spring … to the best of my knowledge, no official air date has been announced yet.)
It sounds like this one is really something … and having a huge impact on the audience members once they’ve seen it.
Rolling Stone Magazine recounts the events that led up to the making of this controversial film … which pretty much takes down one of pop music’s greatest icons.  (kk) 

The song “How Do You Keep The Music Playing” was written by Michel LeGrand and recorded by James Ingram with Patti Austin in 1982.
Both men died just days apart January 2019.
Frank B. 
That’s really pretty remarkable if you think about it.  “How Do You Keep The Music Playing” was the follow-up duet to their #1 smash “Baby, Come To Me.” (Ironically on the first hit, Patti Austin got top billing … on the second single, it was James Ingram’s name out front.)
It went to #45 in Billboard in 1983 … and was cowritten by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, a couple who had written countless soundtrack songs together.  This song, in fact, was used as the theme to the Burt Reynolds / Goldie Hawn movie “Best Friends.”  (kk) 

Here's Scott Shannon (aka Super Shan) from 12/69 WMAK courtesy ARSA.
Clark Besch

>>>Hard to believe WMAK was just a 5000 watt station … yet was still able to rise to the top of the heap!  (kk) 
Actually, the power of a station IN their own city was not much of a problem for being at the top of the local ratings.  5000 watts is plenty of power for that city.  KLMS in Lincoln was only 1000 watts.  It still is.  It can be heard fine throughout the city here, but if you turn a radio just right, it can be "nulled" out, too.
One of the best stories like this is what Larry Neal talks of some from Oklahoma City.  KOMA there was known worldwide by its 50,000 watt signal and cool jocks in the 60's.  Yet, 5000 watt WKY in the same city with a top 40 format, won the local ratings battle consistently there.  They had great jocks, too, but not the national signal to rate elsewhere.  They were on the same frequency as LA's Boss Radio KHJ (930) and would later have the calls of ... get this … WWLS!
Clark Besch   

Chris Montez is at the Surf Ballroom and Museum ... 

And, from this year's event ... two old friends ... Chris with Brian Hyland ...

Ronnie Spector talks aging, the '60s and more before Clearwater concert 
When I used to go to Murray The K's live shows, the Ronettes were his dancing girls.  This was before they had any hit recordings.  

>>>What about the bands we did not like, and never thought we would ever see again, as they weren't that good then and you never dreamed they would still be around?  My wife and I are riding our bikes through a pedestrian mall in Old Downtown Scottsdale. We are heading down some type of alley passage way and are going by what appears to be the Scottsdale Civic Opera House, or something like that. There are posters on the on the wall for up-coming appearances. I damn near fell off my bike when I see the first poster. It for an upcoming appearance for a band called ... "The Soft Machine."  I would assume most people have never heard of this band and I should never have heard of them either but for the fact that they opened for Jimi Hendrix on a number of his shows on his 1968 tour.  The Soft Machine was a total mis-match for Jimi's show. It's the complete reversal of Jimi opening for The Monkees.  I did not like this band, I did not like their music and I can't even began to describe it other that it wasn't rock and roll or the blues. It was so unappealing at the time that I couldn't even tell you if they were good musicians or not. And, of course, their set crawled at a snail's pace in anticipation of Jimi.  Over the years, I would tell folks about the three Hendrix shows and typically I will mention the band that "you couldn't believe opened" for the first show.  Of all the great bands and shows that I have seen over the years, and would love to see again, The Soft Machine is not one of them.  And here they are playing in Scottsdale next week.  They must be equivalent to the "Cockroach" of rock and roll, or whatever type of music they play.  (Robert Campbell)  
>>>So I guess the BIG bottom line question would have to be this …
Are you going to see them???  (kk) 
No! Would be the direct answer to your yes or no question. Most likely for a number of reasons, but primarily because ...
A) We don't really go out at night anymore. I have a lot of daytime activities and this takes up most of my time. In addition I see better during the day. In the last two years we have only been out twice and that was for the Cornerstones of Rock shows in Rockford and Milwaukee. If that show comes to Scottsdale, I will go out again.  
B) The Soft Machine poster sighting was not my only Jimi Hendrix "experience", so to speak, in Scottsdale. This is our second year here and on the first morning after I get here each year I am invited out to breakfast with a group of car collectors. The majority of the people out here each year seem to come from Chicago, Canada, or Seattle. By pure coincidence, each year that I attend this breakfast, I end up sitting next to an undertaker from Seattle. As it turns out he is the undertaker that buried Jimi Hendrix. I would much rather go to breakfast and talk cars with Jimi's undertaker than go see his 1968 opening band again.  
Robert Campbell

A brand new Netflix television special about the "mysterious death" of Sam Cooke.  (Honestly, the whole conspiracy theory thing seems a bit much for me ... watch the trailer and see what you think):    

As to that radio doctor cartoon from Chuck Buell, I was just splicing a cassette this past weekend.  THAT SUCKS!!!  It was even one that was "pressed together" without screws showing to remove.  THUS, I had to break the cassette apart and then unscrew a worthless cassette and reinsert the tape into the new case.  Now, THAT is much worse than the million times I have threaded a reel to reel tape and started it only to have the tape be so brittle that it broke again and again right away.  Splicing tapes:  ONLY old jocks remember that pain.  Clark Besch

How COLD Is It in Chicago?
From Forgotten Hits’ Former Chicagoan and Temporary Self-Appointed Meteorologist, Chuck Buell ~~
Yes, we have no Pizza!  OR Beer!
Wednesday’s HIGH in Chicago was 10 Below Zero after a Morning LOW of 23 Below! Previous day’s Lows had a Wind Chill of over Minus 50 Degrees!
All stores of a Chicago Pizzeria closed Wednesday because of the extreme cold here in the Arctic City!
A local taproom and brewhouse also closed Wednesday.
Beer Deliveries to stores were put on hold because beer freezes at around 32 degrees ... Above Zero.
In fact, some Beer in Kegs in trucks froze even before temperatures reached their coldest here.
So, No pizza!  No Beer!
And “Hot” Rumors ran rampant.
For instance, local radio stations who banned, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” returned the song to their playlists.  Even Little River’s Band’s “Cool Change” received additional airplay.
A local TV station aired the movie, “Dr. Zhivago” in a non-stop marathon while another broadcast “Frozen” over and over.
The Iconic Golden Jukebox at Forgotten Hits Headquarters froze up on Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”
Even Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave” couldn’t thaw it out!
Fortunately, Pizza and Beer inventories and deliveries will be back to normal for Chicago Super Bowl Parties when local temperatures are expected to rise to the Upper 40s above zero, or a difference of a BIG 89 Degrees from last week to this week!
CB ( which stands for “Cold Boy!” ) 
It was cold … brutal, in fact.  Chicago was under a Witches Tit Advisory for three solid days!!!  (kk) 
Yes, I am familiar with that phrase!  {:~)
Once upon a time, a long once upon a time ago, when I was walking across the River from the Wrigley Side to the Stone Container side it was so cold AND windy, I was curious to know that if I leaned backwards into the wind at about the middle of the bridge, and relaxed as much as possible, if the Wind would hold me up.
You already know the answer to this!  It did!
Chuck Buell 
The wind on the Michigan Avenue bridge is relentless!  (We’re not known as The Windy City for nothing!)  Makes me wanna dig out my Lou Rawls record and listen to him “rap” about “The Hawk”!!!  (Hey, maybe that was the first rap record??? 
Nah, we’ve still gotta give to Walter Brennan for “Old Rivers.”  (kk)

Hey, maybe we’re on to something here … 

Mr. Spaceman - The Byrds,  Martian Boogie - Brownsville Station, Space Odditty - David Bowie, Rocket Man - Elton John,  Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra,  Little Space Girl - Jesse Lee Turner,  It Came Out Of The Sky - CCR, Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In - 5th Dimension, Satellite Touchdown - The Movies,  Purple People Eater - Sheb Whooley. 
Just a few space songs for your list.  Perhaps a spacey theme for a program in the future?
Phil – WRCO  
I like it … I’ll bet between all of us we could come up with at least a hundred … and probably more.  We can call it the All Spaced Out Countdown!!!  (stay tuned!) kk 

More favorites that could potentially make this list: "Spaceman" - Nilsson (a GREAT track!), Deodato's "2001," "Space Age Love Song" (A Flock Of Seagulls) and, in addition to Billy Preston's "Outta Space," he also did "Space Race."  And what about Planet P?  Steve Miller's "The Space Cowboy"?  
And, of course, if you want to cheat a little bit, you could include both versions of "Venus" I suppose.  Which leads to Paul McCartney's "Venus And Mars." And how about "Saturn" by Stevie Wonder?  (Of course with the new direction Rap Music has taken us, there is no shortage of songs available about Uranus these days!)  
I'll betcha between our readers we could come up with a pretty good list of candidates.
Anybody else wanna play???  (kk) 

Be sure to check out The Sunday Survey tomorrow in Forgotten Hits!

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Friday Flash - FH Hot Topix From The Past Week

Good response to this week's recent posts ...
Thank you, everybody!  (kk) 

Rob Feder is reporting: 
Fifty years after one of the most remarkable seasons in Chicago Cubs history, Hall of Fame Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins has written The 1969 Cubs: Long Remembered – Never Forgotten.   Just published by Signature Strength and featuring a foreword by former teammate Randy Hundley, it features personal reflections and insights from Jenkins on the season and its aftermath. “Better late than never,” he writes, “and better for this insider to share what he knows about the unforgettable group of guys who truly gave birth to the modern Chicago Cubs.” Jenkins wrote it in collaboration with Chicago sports writer, historian and author George Castle, who now has 17 books to his credit.  
The story of The Cubs’ collapse and The Miracle Mets is the stuff of folklore … except it all really happened! ... and you can bet that we’ll be covering it as our salute to 1969 continues in Forgotten Hits.   

I’m anxious to hear what somebody who was there has to say about what had to be the most incredible roller coaster ride of all time … and the unhappy ending they all had to live with.  Who would have EVER thought that it would take the team nearly fifty more years to finally go to (and win) The World Series.  (Usually when you build a team of that magnitude and come up short, you remain a contender for the next several years to come.  For the record, The Mets couldn’t keep their momentum going either.)
It started out looking pretty positive for the Cubbies …
They finished 2nd in 1970, 3rd in 1971 and 2nd again in 1972 … but then “The Lovable Losers” (a moniker also long associated with The Mets, in fact!) started to fall apart, finishing 5th in 1973, 6TH in 1974 (and losing nearly 100 games), 5th again in 1975, 4th place in both 1976 and 1977, 3rd in 1978 and then back down to 5th again in 1979, 17 games ahead of The Mets.  
New York, on the other hand waited until 1977 to completely fall apart, losing nearly 100 games in each of the ’77, ’78 and ’79 seasons.  In 1970, they finished one game behind The Cubs in 3rd place … in 1971, they posted an identical record to The Cubbies … 1972, 2 ½ games back behind The Cubs, 1973, they finished five games ahead of The Cubs in both 1974 and 1975 and then eleven games ahead in 1976.  
I just may have to pick up a copy of this book!  Fergie Jenkins was one of the most likeable (and beloved) Chicago ball players ever.  (kk)    

Hi Kent:
Just thought I'd send along my own blog post, published today, about the rooftop concert anniversary. Looking forward to your take on it (but please don't refer to "Let it Be" as the Beatles "swansong" or "last album" -- we know it isn't!).
Garry Berman
My piece originally ran ten years ago as part of our 40th Anniversary salute to 1969 … we just revived it for this brand new tribute (and it was great … I found that I barely had to change a word!)  Cool, too, that that piece included original commentary by Beatles Historian Bruce Spizer … who also brings up the moon landing, which we will cover on its anniversary in June as our Year Long Salute to 1969 continues.
Great piece, by the way … thoroughly enjoyed it!
There is also a new book by Ken Mansfield devoted exclusively to the events of the day when The Beatles took to performing “live” for the very last time.
(You may recall that this was a big point of contention at the time … Paul wanted the band to go out on the road again and just show up at the unlikeliest of places to see if they could rejuvenate the excitement and camaraderie of the early days.  That was quickly nixed by both George and John.  Then it was going to be one big concert event, broadcast from some mountain top … or ocean liner … or Greece … or in front of the great pyramids of Egypt ... but that, too, fell by the wayside.
Then came the idea to film it all as them getting ready for the big concert, which would then air live as a television special … which eventually evolved into what we now know as “Let It Be.”
It’s a shame that the film has been unavailable for nearly fifty years … but rumors persist that next year, in honor of the actual 50th Anniversary of the album’s release, it may finally see the light of day again as part of a big box set release … and also include all kinds of bonus material (showing the group having FUN in the studio) … so we are definitely looking forward to that … as well as whatever this year’s 50th Anniversary Salute to “Abbey Road” will bring.  (What a shame that they skipped over “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” in the way of deluxe, box set anniversary treatments.  Maybe we’ll see something on those next year!)  kk

Billboard Magazine plays up the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles' Roof Top Concert this week (along with commentary from author Ken Mansfield) ...

Billboard also tells us about a brand new Beatles documentary being put together by Peter Jackson (of "Lord Of The Rings" fame), exploring the making of The Beatles' "Let It Be" film.  (Hmm ... a documentary about the making of a documentary ... now that's a new one!!!)
The GOOD news is that Jackson now has access to over 55 hours of filmed footage never before seen by the public, showing that while there were certainly tense moments between the Fab Four by the stage, there was also still a lot of love between the four members, friends since their teenage years.  (This very well may be the documentary that will accompany the Let It Be 50th Anniversary Box Set next year, along with the theatrical cut of the movie ... but it sounds like it may play first in theaters .... which would simply be awesome!)
Along with Ron Howard's film from a year ago covering The Beatles' touring years, this would provide an in-depth look into their habits inside the recording studio.  How cool is it that, even after fifty plus years, we are still finding new ways to discover the history of this incredible band?!?!?  Including even a new college course, courtesy of The Herb Alpert School Of Music.  Read on ...

But first check out the complete details on this new Peter Jackson film, coming your way with the complete blessings of Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia ...

And, in other Beatles News … 

Hi Kent,
Harvey Kubernik thought you might be interested in this.

FYI, Peter Asher was already a guest a couple of weeks ago.  Elliot Easton of the Cars is my in-class guest tomorrow.
David Leaf
Manager, Music Industry minor Intern Program
Adjunct Professor of Music Industry, Technology and Science
UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
VERY cool!  (Wish I could sit in on this class if only to see its presentation!)
I’m a big admirer or your work, David … thanks for sending.  (kk)
Thank you, Kent.  Very kind of you to write. 
Next time you’re in L.A., you can sit in.
And we hope to get it online next year.

Beatles Fan Tour Travels to Abbey Road in
Celebration of Abbey Road's 50th Anniversary
This summer, Beatles fans from throughout North America will be traveling to Liverpool and London to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road as part of a “Magical History Tour” vacation. Fifty years ago, The Beatles released their iconic album "Abbey Road," which was recorded at the legendary London recording studio on the street of the same name. 
The visit to Abbey Road is part of the 36th “Magical History Tour” from August 19 - 28, 2019, which brings fans to The Beatles' homes, schools, clubs, homes, early hang-outs and the studio where they recorded 90% of their songs here between 1962 and 1970.
"Abbey Road" was the band's eleventh studio album, and the final wherein all four Beatles participated. George Harrison noted that on the album "we did actually perform like musicians again." They completed the sessions on August 20th, 1969 - the very day - albeit fifty years later - that the travelers will be there to commemorate the anniversary. That day would turn out to be an important date in the history of the Fab Four as it was very last time all four members of the band were present in a studio together.   
The fully-guided, professionally-escorted tour to London and Liverpool also includes visits to Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, the Cavern Club, and all the places that long-time fans have always dreamed of someday visiting. 
Other highlights of the tour include “Beatleweek” in Liverpool, featuring the International Beatles Convention, live nightly concert extravaganzas, the annual music festival, Liverpool's Beatles Auction at LIPA plus a fully-guided coach tour hosted by author David "Liddypool" Bedford and several walking tours escorted by historian Rene "Beatles Unlimited" Van Haarlem. There are special events inside the world-famous Cavern Club and the Casbah Club, a Ferry 'Cross The Mersey, exclusive concerts at some of Liverpool's most famous venues including the Philharmonic, visits to museums, and entry inside The Beatles homes and also inside the gates of Strawberry Field.
In London, landmarks include the Beatles three recording studios Abbey Road, Trident Studios and Twickenham, an afternoon visit to Chiswick Park where The Beatles filmed their "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" videos, and locations from The Beatles' films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!"
Travelers will not only experience every Beatles-related landmark in London and Liverpool, but will also spend an afternoon in Henley-onThames, where George Harrison lived. Fans will also meet and greet Beatle associates, relatives and dignitaries who take part in the annual festivities, including John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird.
The vacation is hosted by long-time Beatles aficionado, entrepreneur and super-fan Charles F. Rosenay!!!, producer of "The Fab 4 Music Festivals" in Connecticut, and "NYC FAB 50," which was 2014's Beatles' 50th Anniversary in New York.
The August 19 - 28, 2019 tour is presented by Beatles fans for Beatles fans and is open to all ages. The basic tour package is priced at only $2599 based on double occupancy with other add-on options. Price deluxe accommodations, transfers, ground transportation, breakfasts in Liverpool and all advertised events, parties, admissions, guests and activities. Packages with flights start at $2999 per person, with group departures from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities in the U.S. and Canada. Single supplements and group packages available. Space is limited to only the first 50 reservations.
For further information, write: email or phone (203) 795-4737. The website for the tour is and the Facebook page is
As The Beatles sang, "Picture yourself . . ."

Sunday, February 3rd, marks the 60th Anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper ... forevermore known as "The Day The Music Died" thanks to Don McLean's song "American Pie."
I know that a few of our FH Readers are attending The Annual Winter Dance Party held in Clear Lake, Iowa ... and we hope to hear from you upon your return.

Meanwhile, FH Reader Frank B tells us about another celebration going on in Green Bay, Wisconsin ...

After getting the news of a new Buddy Holly album coming from the Decca/Ume label this week, "Buddy Holly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: True Love Ways," a new collection of Buddy Holly’s most beloved hits set to brand new orchestrations, it was immediately after I spoke to Roger Steffens and Chris Darrow, as we discussed and lamented the February 3, 1959, airplane crash that took the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper and pilot Roger Peterson. 
At the time I was working on an ongoing series of interviews with Chris Darrow, and thought you and your Forgotten Hits readers / viewers might like to read what Chris said about witnessing Ritchie Valens play live in 1958 as well as Roger Steffens' memory of a '58 Buddy Holly performance. 
In service,  
Harvey Kubernik 
At the rate The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra keeps cranking out these remakes, I think it’s only a matter of time before they orchestrate the Soft Machine’s album (see email below) in their never-ending quest to redo every recording ever made.  (kk)

Decca / UME U.S. release of Buddy Holly with the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: True Love Ways;
60Th Anniversary The Day The Music Died: February 3, 1959 –
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper Perish;
Author Roger Steffens and musician Chris Darrow remember seeing Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens   
By Harvey Kubernik © 2019  
February 3, 2019, is the 60th anniversary of the tragic airplane crash that subsequently became known as “The Day the Music Died,” sadly referenced in Don McLean’s song, “American Pie.” Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson aka The Big Bopper died along with pilot Roger Peterson.
After a February 2, 1959, “Winter Dance Party” show in Clear Lake, Iowa, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson took off from the Mason City airport, in a three-passenger airplane that Holly chartered piloted by Roger Peterson during inclement weather. It crashed into a cornfield in nearby Macon City, Iowa, just minutes after takeoff.  
I will always remember the February 3, 1959, front page headline in The Los Angeles Herald-Express, a daily newspaper who reported this accident.
Ritchie Valen’s death was a very big regional loss. He was from Pacoima, a suburb in Southern California. Ritchie’s records were very popular in Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. It was KFWB-AM deejay Gene Weed who first spun his music and the radio station held what seemed like an all-day shiva celebrating the life of Valens, whose record label, Del-Fi, was based in Hollywood.
I knew Buddy Holly from his appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and from 1957 when he was on The Ed Sullivan Show. Holly’s records were also spun on KFWB. “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper was a national hit. 
22 years ago on February 3, 1997, I interviewed Keith Richards around a Rolling Stones concert in San Diego. We talked primarily about his just released Wingless Angels album.   
However, it wasn’t lost on either of us that 42 years earlier, Buddy Holly, one of his musical heroes, passed. An early hit record of the Rolling Stones was “Not Fade Away,” produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, which was originally the B-side to Buddy Holly’s 1957 chart hit “Oh Boy!”   
In March 1958, 14-year old Mick Jagger saw his first rock concert in London at the Woolwich, Granada. “Not Fade Away” made a big impression. 
Keith and I had a brief discussion about how some music, like his Wingless Angeles endeavour or the sounds of the Sun Records label, or any recording that penetrates, makes immediate impact and a connection on your soul, even decades after initial airplay or retail discovery.    
I think because it’s timeless music I call it ‘marrow music.’  Not even bone music.  It strikes to the marrow.  It’s like a faint echo . . . The body responds to it and I don’t know why …”
The Decca / UME label this week releases Buddy Holly with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: True Love Ways, a new collection of Buddy Holly’s most beloved hits set to brand new orchestrations. 
True Love Ways (the name of the song written for Buddy’s wife, Maria Elena) features Buddy Holly’s distinctive original vocals and guitar playing, set to exquisite arrangements newly recorded in England by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Angel Studios. The album is produced by Nick Patrick, the man behind successful orchestral albums for Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, The Beach Boys, and The Carpenters. 
Buddy Holly’s wife, Maria Elena Holly, endorses the compilation. “60 years on, this wonderful album relights the flame, the songs and the music shines brightly again. I am proud for Buddy, his legacy continues to influence and inspire. THE MUSIC LIVES ON.”
Larry Holley, Buddy’s brother, also touts the title. “This is what Buddy would’ve wanted done.” 
True Love Ways is the poignant realization of a dream Holly first explored just four months before his tragic death.
On October 21, 1958, Holly embarked on a musical adventure he would have continued, had he had the chance. He entered the Decca Studios in New York for a three-and-a-half-hour recording session with an 18-piece orchestra, fronted by Dick Jacobs, known for bringing strings to rock & roll. They recorded four tracks: “True Love Ways,” “Raining In My Heart,” “Moondreams,” and “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” all of which are soaked in strings, clearly demonstrating a new direction for Holly’s music. 
Holly’s widow, Maria Elena, explains that her husband thought then that the rock & roll era had peaked: “Buddy felt orchestral music in a popular vein was where the future lay, so he wanted to write, record, explore and innovate that style. So what better combination than the Royal Philharmonic and Buddy’s music. It’s just beautiful.” 
Maria Elena also recalls Buddy telling her he learned to play the violin as a child and later, he had fantasized about writing film scores. 
A January 24, 2019, Decca / UME media press release hails the product: “True Love Ways’ orchestral arrangements invigorate, rather than overwhelm, Holly’s originating rock & roll style, preserving the energy of the songs he recorded with The Crickets.
“Everyday” shines anew, with playful pizzicato strings and percussion alighting around Holly’s original vocals. “Peggy Sue,” whose namesake recently died at age 78, is carried along by percussion reminiscent of a cowboy movie score, with a cinematic string climax. The new orchestral versions of “That’ll Be The Day” and “Oh Boy” are warm and exciting turns for the beloved classics. “Heartbeat,” the last song Holly released, retains its rockabilly guitar, while the new arrangement’s strings serve to lift the spirits even higher.”  
The music and recorded catalogue of Buddy Holly never really died, and the sonic legacy of Ritchie Valens has continued. And, “Chantilly Lace” is constantly heard daily on oldies and classic rock radio stations. Humourist and songwriter J.P. Richardson, aka The Big Bopper, wrote “White Lighting” that George Jones recorded, and penned “Running Bear” for Johnny Horton. J.P. Richardson is in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.  As we reflect on “The Day The Music Died” 60 years ago, I asked two dear friends of mine, author / music historian, Roger Steffens and multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow, a 55 year recording veteran, to share their memories of witnessing Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens perform.  
Roger Steffens: At Christmas, 1957, I went to my first rock and roll show, Alan Freed's giant Christmas Jubilee of Stars at the Paramount Theater on Times Square. The run broke all attendance records, including the previous best, a Frank Sinatra tour in 1944.  My friends and I had to lie to our parents, because they were sure we would be mugged if we went to a show where a lot of black kids were going to be.  “So we told them we were going to Hackensack to see a movie, but got on the bus to the Port Authority instead and walked the few blocks to the Paramount, which had a line stretching three times around the block.  
“The show included Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis (back to back), the teenage Everly Brothers, The Teenagers, Lee Andrews and the Hearts (with Questlove's father), Danny and The Juniors, The Dubs (dear to my reggae soul) and eight others. Most of the second line performers got only one or two songs each, but Buddy Holly and The Crickets got five, because they were on the charts under both names at the time. They were all dressed in tuxedos, and played with a stand-up bass.
“The audience went wild for Buddy, clapping along with his rhythms, and singing along with his parade of hits. I remember watching Alan Freed's 5 - 6 pm Rock and Roll Party TV show on WABD, Channel 5, in New York City.   
“He interviewed Buddy about the national tour they had done together in 1956, during which they flew in a small plane to get to a gig, and encountered severe turbulence. Buddy recalled the ‘woop-woop’ as the plane fell and climbed and fell again. What a premonition!
“It was one of the saddest days of my youth when we learned of that terrible crash that took his life, and the first time I cried over the loss of a performer. Odd that one of the final releases during his short lifetime was ‘It Doesn't Matter Anymore.’”  
Chris DarrowI saw Ritchie Valens a month before his death in Pomona at the Rainbow Gardens, an all-wooden building, with a low ceiling that was just south of the YMCA in Pomona, California. It later was to burn to the ground. 
“I was from a mixed race, white and Hispanic neighborhood in Claremont called Arbol Verde. My best friend, Roger Palos, was Mexican, and he and I were both learning to play guitar and we would sing together a lot.  The songs that we learned that were not from the folk music genre, were popular songs mainly by Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens.  For some reason our favorite song of Ritchie’s was not ‘La Bamba’ or ‘Oh, Donna’ but ‘Hi–Tone.’  We just loved that song.
“I was 15 and in the ninth grade and was not allowed to go out many places by myself at night.  I was attending a private school in Claremont called Webb, which had sons of famous people in my class … Chris Mitchum, son of Robert, Chris Reynolds, (his father owned the L.A. Angels professional baseball team), Tom Mitchell, whose father invented the Mitchell 35mm movie camera and Bob Washburn, whose dad was the head of 7UP. 
“Since I wasn’t driving yet, it took a lot for my folks to let me go into the dark part of Pomona to see a rock ‘n’ roll show in late 1958 or early ’59.  My parents weren’t square, but my mom always worried about me. 
“I went with Roger Palos and Jon Dearborn to the concert, and it was kind of a pilgrimage for us. Since I really identified with the Mexican culture and wasn’t afraid, I couldn’t wait to see one of my main men, Ritchie Valens.  After all he was only 17 and not much older than Roger and me.  I wore my bright, red corduroy coat with silver buttons that my Grandma Darrow had made for me that Christmas.  I also wore white bucks, white pants and red argyle socks.  I looked sharp! 
“I’m not sure who the house band was, but it could have been Manual and the Renegades, or the Mixtures, for they both used to be regulars at the Rainbow Gardens. I was very excited and hadn’t been to too many concerts before this. 
“I listened to a lot of radio at the time and because of the heavy Mexican influence in my life, I got turned on to KDAY with Art Laboe, who would broadcast live from Scribner’s Drive-In, and Ol’ HH - Hunter Hancock - who had a great show called Harlem Matinee.  These were the guys that the Mexicans listened to on the radio.  I was also into KFWB, with Al Jarvis, Bill Balance and Ted Quillan … and Dick Hugg ‘Huggy Boy’ on KGFJ.  He was on so late at night that I would have to listen to him under the covers of my bed in my room.  So what is now called Doo-Wop was big with me, as well as the white dominated music so prevalent on major radio stations of the time.  The Oldies but Goodies albums by Laboe on Original Sound were right up my alley. 
“I was really into dancing at the time and had a chance to dance a few numbers with some strangers at the show.  The opening act for Ritchie was Jan & Dean; possibly really Jan & Arnie. In those days no one had their own bands and acts would use house bands as their own.  Either the band didn’t like Jan & Dean or they just didn’t care.  Before they could get through the first song, which sounded awful, Jan stopped, ran off the stage followed by Dean, and plowed through the locked stage door and out into the night.  Jan just kicked it open like some thug in a movie.  I was so shocked and dumbstruck by this.  They never came back.  
“After the commotion died down, it was time for Ritchie to come on.  He whirled in, probably from some other gig earlier that night, and I went right up next to the edge of the stage.  He was a pretty big guy and loomed on-stage with a graceful power.  He was not overtly hard core in his presentation but was very soulful and I ate it up.  There was a tenderness and sweetness about him, even as he rocked.  The house band knew his stuff and did a great job on the songs.  He did ‘La Bamba’ and ‘Oh, Donna’ and even played my favorite song, ‘Hi-Tone.’ 
“I liken Ritchie to another L.A. guy, Eddie Cochran.  Both had the soul and drive of the Sun / Clovis, New Mexico records, but they were from our own backyard.  As soon as Ritchie finished, he was whisked off in a flash.  There was no chance to say ‘hello’ or offer a handshake, but I was ecstatic over the event.
“The house band played on to people doing The Stomp and I was awarded a prize for being one of the five best-dressed guys of the night.  A perfect end to a perfect evening.
“I read somewhere that Frank Zappa saw Ritchie in Pomona, so he was probably there, too.  A month after the gig, I was at school and heard about the deaths of Ritchie, Buddy and The Big Bopper.  I was crushed and went off by myself and cried like a baby.  It was the first time I remember crying for someone who had died.  Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly were like gods to me at the time and could do no wrong.  It was one of the great losses in rock and roll history.” 
Harvey Kubernik is an award winning author of 15 books. His literary and music anthology Inside Cave Hollywood: The Harvey Kubernik Music InnerViews and InterViews Collection Vol. 1, was published in December 2017, by Cave Hollywood. Kubernik’s The Doors Summer’s Gone was published by Other World Cottage Industries in February 2018.  During November, 2018, Sterling / Barnes and Noble published Kubernik’s The Story of The Band From Big Pink to the Last Waltz.
Harvey and brother Kenneth Kubernik co-authored the highly regarded A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival, published in 2011 by Santa Monica Press. 
This century Harvey penned the liner note booklets to the CD re-releases of Carole King’s Tapestry, Elvis Presley The ’68 Comeback Special, The Ramones’ End of the Century and Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish.  
In November, 2006, Harvey Kubernik was a featured speaker discussing audiotape preservation and archiving at special hearings called by The Library of Congress and held in Hollywood, California.  Harvey literary and musical expeditions are displayed on Kubernik’s Korner at
Perhaps Australian-based writer and music historian Michael MacDonald captured Darrow best when he wrote, “Chris Darrow will never run with the pack simply because he’s always so far ahead of it. A genuine eclectic with a working knowledge of music that is encyclopedic, his only rival would have been Doug Sahm. Country, Cajun, world beat, bluegrass, folk, rockabilly, blues, Hawaiian rhythms, surf and flat-out rock ‘n’ roll are some of the many musical forms Darrow has explored in his forty year plus career. Can also add that Chris Darrow was Alt-country and Americana long before those terms were minted.”    
Darrow is also heard on the spring, 2004 CD reissue Moogy Klingman put together on Moogy Music, Take Your Place In the Freak Parade, a re-release of the 1969 Music from Free Creek sessions that included Keith Emerson, Dr. John, Mitch Mitchell and Chris Wood. Darrow is on Linda Ronstadt’s He Darked The Sun and Living Like a Fool with Bernie Leadon and Red Rhodes.

And this from our FH Buddy LJ Coon …

Here’s an update on our efforts regarding the 'Tragic Airplane Crash' that will forever be remembered as 'The Day The Music Died' …
'Imagine Entertainment' has been invited to create a Feature Length Investigative Documentary.  They are reviewing five years / 70 full pages of investigative material as well as historic photos.   
This crash took the lives of Buddy Holly,  Ritchie Valens,  JP Richardson, and Pilot Roger Peterson.
'Buddy Holly Plane Crash May Be Re-Examined'
-L J

LJ also sent some incredibly cool pictures in this announcement … which we share with you below …



Hi Kent!
Great stuff on one of my heroes, Tommy James.
When the Ides have had the pleasure of sharing a bill with him, we are always impressed by his warm personality and dry wit ... and great performances.
He’s one of us … still doing awesome shows and 19 years old mentally … as inspired now as he was then. That’s the mark of a true pro.
I hope me and the Ides can guest on his Sirius/Xm show someday soon.
He’s a pop rock genius and an even better human being.  
Jim Peterik 
I’m sure you told him how The Ides started out as The Shondells - I wonder if Troy Shondell was HIS inspiration too! (Damn!  I shoulda asked him!)   kk 
I told him!  Lol!  Yeah.  Troy must know. Is he still alive? 
Sadly, Troy died three years ago … on January 7th, 2016.  His National Top Five Hit “This Time” went all the way to #1 here in Chicago … and inspired at least ONE band to use his last name as their own … and at least one OTHER band to go on to have great national success with it.
(For the record, Troy must have liked the name, too … his REAL name was Gary Schelton!!!  And by the way, he was a local, Midwestern Boy, too … born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1939.)
Hi Kent,
Great job with Tommy … another great read, my friend.  Tommy James is incredible for sure ... he’s a good guy and I am glad you got to hook up with him.   I'm with you Kent … can't wait to get the new album.  When I heard "I Think We're Alone Now" at his show in Branson, I was truly blown away. 
I can so relate with his story about the record company.  Our label, Laurie (and
"friends") did a number on us … and other artists as well. And, of course, we were just kids, too ... lol.
Again, well done my friend.
Keep up the good work, Buddy, and try to catch a breath or two in-between.  :O)
God bless ya ~

I enjoyed your Tommy James interview.  He gave you lots of info and no two or three word answers. 
He rarely mentions it, perhaps only when he does interviews here in Wisconsin, but he lived in Monroe, Wisconsin, as a young boy.  His father managed a hotel there for a couple of years. 
His songs always did well in Wisconsin.  Even his solo stuff including:  I'm Coming Home,  Boo Boo Dont Ya Be Blue, Three Times In Love, and the 1990 release Go.
Phil Nee – WRCO
For all his worldly experience, Tommy is still a Midwestern Boy at heart.  Niles, Michigan, Monroe, Wisconsin and Chicago all factor deeply in just who he is and he has deep roots here.  (Kinda reminds me of the James Corden / Paul McCartney episode when Paul comes home to Liverpool and gets a little teary-eyed at all the memories and history there … I would guess Tommy would have much the same reaction here, too, were he to take us on a tour of his old stomping grounds.)
He is genuinely thankful and appreciative for his success … 50+ years now and an incredibly local fan base.  (He really DOES sell out every time he plays here … and he typically plays here once or twice a year!)
His records on the WLS Chart did EXTREMELY well … 19 Top 20 Hits out of 21 charted singles,  After topping the WLS Chart with “Draggin’ The Line” (still one of my favorites), Tommy went to #4 with “I’m Comin’ Home” and #2 with “Nothing T0 Hide” on the WCFL Chart. (kk)

kk ...
I'm glad you asked him about the movie. I was thinking it would be released soon. Now I find out we have to wait two more years. 
Was Tommy hinting that it was the mob and not cops who beat up Jimmie Rodgers? 
Frank B.
There's been speculation of this for quite some time.  Jimmie had all of his biggest hits for Morris Levy's Roulette label ... when he jumped ship in 1967 for A&M and hit The Top 40 again with "Child Of Clay," Morris was reportedly none to happy about it.  (Much like the Bobby Fuller scenario, I don't know if we'll EVER know the whole truth about either of these incidents.)  kk

It was a night of great music performed by hugely talented musicians and incredible vocalists. I am not a big cover band fan, but TCE is much more than that; their skill set is amazingly high.
Great date night, hon! (and a spot on review)
Let’s go to Venuti’s next month.
Frannie  (Mrs.K)
Sounds like a plan!  A night of great food … great music!  (kk)

Perfectly worded review- well deserved!!!
Mary Boch

Excellent review for an excellent band!! Well deserved praise!!
Ann Linden

First Time and I loved the show!!!
Laura Kowalczyk Fortunato

Every word is true ... 'bout time EVERYBODY discovers these guys!
They are sooooo talented!!!
Patricia Nelson

Well deserved review.
I have seen them three times and have always been impressed.
Maureen Kolbusz

Well deserved and such an honor! Honor to read such rave reviews and honored to be in the presence of such a wonderful talented group of artists whose passion shines through at each performance! Congratulations!
Leslie Geiser

What an amazing review. Wish I lived closer so I could come to a concert. Congratulations!
Cherrie Larson Mader Chamberlin

Check it out here (in case you missed it):

Hey, Locals ...
How about a Forgotten Hits Night Out at Venuti’s in Addison?
We’re thinking Thursday, March 28th
Let’s pack this place with music fans.  This is a show you’ve got to see!  (kk)