Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Weekend Comments

Happy National Pizza Day!

>>>A tip of the hat to one of my favorites from this year's new crop of programs, "A Million Little Things," for their EXCELLENT use of our FH Buddy Tony Hatch's timeless classic "Downtown" in last night's episode.  (I wonder if Tony even gets "A Million Little Things" out in his neck of the woods ... which I supposed could be anywhere these days from The UK to Spain to God knows where!!!)  
In addition to the Petula Clark original version (which comes at the end of an exceptionally pivitol and emotional scene) we also get a short clip of a beautifully slowed-down version ... would love to know who that one was done by ... did some digging this morning but came up empty.  Anybody know?  (kk)

Hi Kent, 
I knew about the placement of "Downtown" in "A Million Little Things" because I had to OK it through Universal Music. (Nice sync fee, too!)
The series isn't shown in the UK and so far, no network has even announced they have it.
I got a copy of the scene in which the song is featured but, not knowing, anything about the series just made sure the usage was appropriate and no lyric changes, etc.
No trips planned to Chicago at the moment. We see you have (or had) a really cold spell. Hope you manage to beat the snow.
I always look forward to Forgotten Hits and you are doing a great job but I'm quite selective about what I choose to read. I notice you're really into the live music scene in Chicago but, being UK, I'm not always familiar with the 'star' names so speed read those bits.
I really enjoyed the piece about singers/musicians trading off hitherto big names. Especially amusing was '3 dog night' which is really '1 dog' now ... and he never sang lead with the original line-up. We have a similar situation in Europe,  especially Spain and the UK. You would be amazed how many groups there are calling themselves 'The Drifters' or 'The Four Tops,' etc. They get around the problem by the publicity having in the tiniest print possible "a tribute to." Moving on ...
All the best ... 

How cool is it to wonder if Tony Hatch has ever seen an episode of "A Million Little Things" ... and then hear back from him in a couple of hours with an answer?!?!  Amazing!!!
Actually, I thought about sending you the complete episode, Tony, but out of context, it still wouldn't make much sense ... as this is one of those shows that you really have to watch every week because the story continues to evolve and new twists and turns and unexpected surprises along the way.  I will tell you, however, that if it ever does make its way to The UK, it's quite addictive!  (Actually, if you don't mind watching it on your computer, the complete series thus far is available on ... but "Downtown" doesn't appear until Episode 14.) 
Ratings have been thru the roof since ABC moved it to the time slot following "Grey's Anatomy" ... viewership is up 59% since then!
Great to hear from you ... if you DO make it back to Chicago any time soon, please let me know.  (I told Tony that to this day my wife still gives me a hard time because I've never taken HER to The Palmer House for martinis at the bar ... yet met Tony Hatch there several years ago!  lol)  We might have to "double date" next time!  (kk)

If you've been looking for an excuse to go to Las Vegas this spring, here might be a good one ... 

Tickets are on sale now to the general public ... 
Steely Dan: Reelin’ In The Chips 2 Las Vegas Residency April 24 – May 11
The Venetian Theatre at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
Click the link to view tickets!

See, now there's another example of what Tony Hatch was referring to ... 
Steely Dan is down to just Donald Fagan now that Walter Becker has passed away ...
So why isn't this advertised as a Donald Fagan show?
Probably because the name "Steely Dan" is still far more familiar to the more casual fan.  (Let's face it, Steely Dan was never a real band anyway, with "permanent" players in place ... it was always a showcase for Fagan's and Becker's music.) 
Still, I'll betcha this would be a GREAT show to see on The Vegas Strip this spring!  (kk)  

We've been talking quite a bit about "Soul Train" of late, due to the new BET Television Series "American Soul" that we're thoroughly enjoying ... but now FH Reader Frank B tells us about a brand new Motown 60th Anniversary Television Special being taped next week ...

Smokey Robinson will host "Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration," an upcoming celebration of the 60th anniversary of Motown Records.  
Cedric the Entertainer will co-host the event, which will be filmed Tuesday in Los Angeles — two days after Sunday's Grammy Awards — Motown announced on Wednesday. The concert will be broadcast on CBS at 8 p.m. April 21.
Performers on the special include Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Little Big Town, Boyz II Men, Chloe X Halle, Meghan Trainor, Fantasia, Pentatonix, Thelma Houston and more. 
The show will be filmed at L.A.'s Microsoft Theater. Tickets to the show, $40-$205, are available through
-- Adam Graham

Wow, it's been awhile since Motown 25, hasn't it!!!
With so many Motown legends gone now, it's cool to see that Smokey, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder will still be on hand to help celebrate.  (Might we also see The Jacksons, Martha Reeves and a few others as well??? And, hopefully, some vintage clips from back in the day?)   
Sounds like more of a "Tribute To Motown" based on this line-up ... but how can anybody resist this great music???

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Friday Flash

Have you checked out the BET "American Soul" television series yet?

This is the one we told you about last week paying homage to "Soul Train" and Don Cornelius.

We just watched the first episode ... and I totally loved it!  (Funny 'cause I never would have dreamed of watching the show while it was on!!!)

But let me tell you ... very well acted ... EXCEPTIONAL music ... and a couple of young, stand-out performers who were quite impressive (to say the least).

Episode One was more of an overview ... we meet young, ambitious Don in Chicago where he's hosting a local dance show ... then watch him collect fourteen stations for syndication ... before moving to California to launch the program nationally ... and then flash-forwarding to 2012 when Don took his own life with a gunshot wound to the head.  I'm anxious to see how they fill in the gaps in between.

The music itself was outstanding ... everything from Gladys Knight and the Pips (featuring a spot-on look-alike performance from Kelly Rowland, formerly of Destiny's Child), who performs both "Neither One Of Us" and "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," The Chi-Lites, The Staple Singers ... as well as tributes to The Temptations and The Undisputed Truth.

The program is available On Demand ... and Episode 3 will air next Tuesday (February 12th). 

And, speaking of Classic Soul from the '70's, check out next year's Soul Train Cruise ...  (Yes, it’s every bit of a year away … but check out the line-up for the 2020 Soul Train Cruise … booking now!!!  If this new Soul Train television series "American Soul" turns out to be a hit, you just may find yourself hard-pressed to score a ticket for this one!!!)  kk

The Jacksons, The Isley Brothers, Johnny Gill, Cameo, Peabo Bryson, War, Atlantic Starr, Karyn White, Regina Belle, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, he Urban Guerilla Orchestra, Cruise Host Tony Cornelius and Original Soul Train Dancers 

Luxury Cruise Sails From Ft. Lauderdale, St. Maarten, St. Croix, Half Moon Cay, January 18 - 25, 2020  

R&B superstars who have appeared on Soul Train throughout every era of its storied history will come together on the 2020 Soul Train Cruise, paying homage to each generation that grew up with the iconic show. 

Featuring The Jacksons, The Isley Brothers, Johnny Gill, Cameo, Peabo Bryson, War, Atlantic Starr, Karyn White, Regina Bell, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, The Urban Guerilla Orchestra, Cruise Host Tony Cornelius and original Soul Train Dancers, the Soul Train Cruise will revel in the music, inimitable fashion and groundbreaking dance moves that changed music and pop culture forever.   

“Don Cornelius was a special friend of the Isley Brothers. His vision for Soul Train gave black artists a platform to showcase their talents in ways that no other television shows had ever done. Soul Train was truly unlike anything else,” says Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers. “It brought soul music to the world, turned hundreds of talented singers and musicians into stars and made an impact in so many ways that still lasts to this day. The Soul Train Cruise takes all of these things and puts them into one place with the greatest fans for a week of unbelievably good times. The Isley Brothers are so thrilled to be back for next year’s party.”  

“We just returned from the sold-out 2019 Soul Train Cruise and the good times are still vivid in my mind,” adds StarVista LIVE’s Soul Train Cruise Host Tony Cornelius. “It was like getting a group of your closest friends together for one huge, weeklong celebration.” Fans look to keep the party going, with over half of cabins for the 2020 cruise already sold an entire year in advance. “Next year’s cruise will be particularly special, with The Jacksons and The Isley Brothers and many others onboard, reflecting Soul Train’s long-lasting success and impact as well as performances by many of the artists who appeared throughout the weekly series’ uninterrupted 37-year history.”  

Guests aboard the 2020 Soul Train Cruise will experience seven days of nonstop Love, Peace and Soul, spending their days and nights with the stars during more than 50 live performances and over 25 celebrity interactive events. The vacation of a lifetime includes 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 (double occupancy) and include access to all of the major concerts, gourmet meals, and daily events. Further information is available at or by calling 844-266-7685.

Can you dig it???  (kk)  

And, speaking of great TV shows, a tip of the hat to one of my favorites from this year's new crop of programs, "A Million Little Things," for their EXCELLENT use of our FH Buddy Tony Hatch's timeless classic "Downtown" in last night's episode.  (I wonder if Tony even gets "A Million Little Things" out in his neck of the woods ... which I supposed could be anywhere these days from The UK to Spain to God knows where!!!)

If you've never seen the program, it's what I like to call "This Year's 'This Is Us' ... but I've become completely invested in all of the characters and it has become one of the few shows I actually look forward to seeing again each week.  (I would add newbie "New Amsterdam" to that list, too ... as well as the reworked "The Connors" which, for my money, outshines ANYTHING the series might have accomplished with Roseann Barr still on hand.

In addition to the Petula Clark original version (which comes at the end of an exceptionally pivitol and emotional scene) we also get a short clip of a beautifully slowed-down version ... would love to know what that one was done by ... did some digging this morning but came up empty.  Anybody know?  (kk)

Forgotten Hits Readers loved the '60's Dance Clip we ran the other day.  (Scroll back if you happened to miss it ... I'll betcha I've already watched it a dozen times myself!!!)  kk 

Chuck Buell's youtube clip of "Let's Dance" had about every 60's sitcom that I loved in it.  Some great stuff (in many ways).  
Clark Besch

That ‘60’s Dance Video made my day – it had every show I used to watch in it – Jeannie, Samantha, Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, Mrs. Peel, Laura Petrie … even Granny and Mr. Ed!!!  And the perfect song for all of it!  What a great clip! 
I love these clips … and am blown away every time by how they perfectly synchronize the music to the video from a completely different time and yet manage to make it fit perfectly.  But THIS one fits our audience to a tee!  (kk) 

One of Elvis' old friends has died.
George Klein was one of Elvis’ oldest and dearest friends … he was one of the first disc jockeys to believe in him and was instrumental in getting his early records played on the air.
The two met in high school … and, incredibly, Elvis was even Best Man at George’s wedding.  Elvis was The King … but George Klein carved out his own spot in rock and roll history.  Sad news indeed.  (kk) 

It's not too late for Scott to consider running for office! Here's a picture of him I snagged at a local event on Feb 28, 1970.
David Lewis

Are you sure that’s not his High School Graduation Picture?!?!  
(Man were any of us ever that young???)   
Thanks, David! (kk)

Locals on the list will love this one …

Robert Feder is reporting that Bozo’s Circus: The 1960s,” a new two-hour special featuring digitally remastered full-length segments from the first decade of the legendary Chicago children’s show, will premiere at 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9.
Hosted by Dean Richards and produced by George Pappas, the special includes sketches, guest circus acts and the Grand Prize Game, starring original cast members Bob Bell (as Bozo), Ray Rayner, Don Sandburg, Ned Locke and Bob Trendler. The special also will be streamed live at and on the WGN Live app, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. It will be rebroadcast at noon on Sunday, February 24. Widely regarded as the most popular and successful locally-produced kids’ show in television history, “Bozo” aired on WGN from 1960 to 2001.

Just a quick note here to let you know that ABKCO has just posted a really compelling lyric video for the Rolling Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown” that we’re sharing here.  

Some background ...

The record was released in February, 1966, and, yes, “19th Nervous Breakdown” was the Stones’ nineteenth single.

It was recorded in December, 1965, at RCA Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA,  during the sessions for Aftermath. However, it did not appear on any proper studio albums. 

The first appearance of “19th Nervous Breakdown” on an LP was on Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass), released later in 1966.  

“19th Nervous Breakdown” was released as a single in the UK in February of 1966 with “As Tears Go By” as the B-Side, and then in the U.S. one week later with “Sad Day” as the B-Side.  

In the single’s first month of release, the band performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The single went to both #1 and #2 in the U.S. and UK, to wit #1 on Record Retailer Chart (UK), #1 in Cashbox (U.S.), #2 in NME (UK), and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (U.S.).

The song has only ever been officially released in mono sound.

The box set The Rolling Stones in Mono (ABKCO Records, 2016) contains a previously unreleased alternate mono mix of the track.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Brian Jones’ guitar line is partially derivative of “Diddley Daddy” by Bo Diddley.
-- Bob Merlis

I have been transferring old cassettes to digital and came across an old SNL bit I recorded in the 70's that reminds me of the type of humor that Chuck Buell would enjoy, as well as other jocks on the list.  
It's an SNL skit where Dan Akroyd portrays a radio station DJ doing a laid back FM underground show at the same time he does an AM pop uptempo show.  It's very funny, but not that far from how it was in some ways.  Even today, with the digital stuff, it can be done much easier than what Dan was obviously up to in the mid-70's in this skit.  
WABC had Dan Ingram doing some things like this with a somewhat laid back FM show to the opposite of his AM show at WABC.  You could hear Phil Ochs and other more progressive artists on the FM side of WABC just like you get in this skit.  It's not quite so similar in sound, but DJs DID do AM and FM shows in the 60's and 70's that featured totally different music.  Obviously, FM eventually won out for music and AM went mostly talk.  I miss tuning the dial for AM, but the good music ship of the 60's and 70's has mostly sailed, so c'est la vie.

For more on WABC-FM and how things went there (as well as in other markets).  You'll hear WABC's Bobba Lu playing early Stone Poneys, Electric Prunes, etc.  

And finally this from FH Reader John LaPuzza ... with what I like to call "The DJ Curse" ...

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Some Great Mid-Week Comments


LOL - it was a different time for sure!  (kk)  

I've just been around too long. LOL
Hey, how many people at this stage in their lives can still be at very the top of their game!!? It’s like you just keep getting’ bigger and better!  (kk) 

Here’s Harvey Kubernik’s take on the up-coming Elvis Television Special … 

I was fascinated by the technical report pertaining to the Buddy Holly plane so I referred it to my friend, who is literally an aviation history expert. He indicated that the "V Tail" design of the aircraft could have had some control issues versus the conventional design. 

I have attached his report ... 

FYI:  The V-Tail Bonanza has been considered a somewhat difficult aircraft to control - because of the unusual tail and having only two, not three, control surfaces there. It was also considered to be of very high quality and with a very good build and with good performance. The "V-Tail" Bonanza was joined by the Debonair in the Beech catalog in the early 60s. The Debonair was just a Bonanza with a conventional tail. Eventually the V-Tail was discontinued and the Debonair became the Bonanza with a conventional tail. Bonanza is still sold that way today - quite a testament to the longevity and durability of the airplane design. 

LC Coon has been investigating this crash and trying to get the FAA and the NTSB to reopen THEIR investigation into the crash for several years now.  Some of his research goes into FAR greater detail.  (Do a Forgotten Hits search for LC Coon and you’ll find ALL kinds of information that will fascinate you and your friend!)
Our promoting of his work eventually prompted other news sources to draw attention to his campaign (although it wasn’t until we’d been beating the drum for some six months before ANYBODY found it newsworthy enough to investigate the circumstances on their own!)
I think there’s a fascinating story to be told here … and if LC is talking with movie producers now about making some type of documentary film, that would be AWESOME!  (I’ve been researching Chappaquiddick in far greater detail for our 1969 salute … and something like an A&E Investigative Reports or a PBS Documentary Special would be the PERFECT outlet to get this story out there to the masses.
Bottom line is … Pilot Roger Peterson just wasn’t experienced enough to fly that plane … it wasn’t at all like the plane he had trained on and I believe the slightest obstacle (whether it be wind, a change in the weather or whatever) quickly threw him off course.  It wasn’t necessarily a carelessness thing … it all boiled down to this plane being more than he could handle based on his experience level.  (Some of those photos are pretty remarkable … it really drives the point home … and finding Buddy’s glasses and returning them to his window twenty years later just rips your heart-strings out!)  kk

Tommy James …
His book was great and I look forward to his movie. 
As a WLS / WCFL fan, I recorded, bought and taped his songs relentlessly in the 60's to 80's.  From "Hanky Panky" hitting #1 on my personal charts in ‘66 to playing his mid-70's solo "Tighter, Tighter" 45 on Fantasy in the juke box at our local bar, they all were great 45s.  The B-Sides were good as well. 
One issue about his book was not hearing much about the ’67 / ‘68 45s that were not big hits for him.  I loved those, too, and wish there were stories on them, too. 
Attached are three songs he sang in different languages, too.  Not many artists released their songs for YEARS in different languages either.  Here are three of his big hits sung in other languages.  The tape may be a bit slow, but it’s mainly for reference.
Clark Besch

Hey Kent:

As Tommy James mentioned in ME, THE MOB, AND THE MUSIC, his US#1 Hit  "Crimson And Clover" broke all over the world, except in Great Britain, where it failed to chart.

In fact, there seemed to be a disconnect between the US and UK charts in early 1969. That year's first five UK chart toppers didn't even crack the Top 100 in US Billboard. One of these was by a seven piece Welsh outfit called Amen Corner. Their song took its melody from an Italian pop hit with new English lyrics.

First turned down by The Tremeloes, but also released by The Dave Clark Five, it was the Andy Fairweather-Low led single that only took two weeks from release to reach UK#1 in February.

Part of Amen Corner's appeal was that they were teenage pop idols in Britain and they had already had several UK chart hits. It remains one of my favorite pop singles from when I lived in London.

I could never understand why "(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice" never became a hit in the US. Its lack of promotion could have something to do with mismanagement of funds (including rumored embezzling) by some Immediate Records' executives. Founded by former Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham, Immediate became a legendary rock label with several major UK stars but folded in 1970. Amen Corner broke up in late 1969. Fairweather-Low, an accomplished guitarist, would have a brief solo career before playing as sideman for several artists including with George Harrison and with Eric Clapton. Two of the Amen Corner went on to be part of The Bee Gees rhythm section in the Seventies and played on SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, the all-time best selling soundtrack.

Mike G

Amen Corner also holds the distinction having the British Hit with their version of “Bend Me, Shape Me,” a #1 Hit here in The States for Chicago’s very own American Breed, who I think greatly improved the melody with their version.  (Much catchier!)

Tommy James and the Shondells were virtually shut out on the UK Charts … their only hit of any significance was “Mony, Mony” in 1968.  Sadly, we found this to be true of several acts that were HUGE here in America … The Guess Who, The Grass Roots and Paul Revere and the Raiders being three who quickly come to mind.  It’s a shame … because you’d think with things like Pirate Radio going on, “the hits from The States” would have been all the rage.  (kk)  

In regards to Mike's ideas of what was the first " rap" record as well as your own, it seems that while back, and I don't remember where I read this, maybe in FH, but someone said the first "rap" record could be Hank Snow's 1962 crossover hit I'VE BEEN EVERYWHERE. Man, I don't know.
I agree with Mike's assessment of any or all of the early Dickie Goodman break-in records which he made back then.

Late News!  (Meaning I got this News late!)
You didn't tell us this!
"The production of Hamilton was suspended in Chicago due to the recent Arctic Cold Weather.
Once again 'Brrrrrrrrr' killed Hamilton."
Chuck Buell 
Perfect timing … actually “the girls” are going to see “Hamilton” (FINALLY!) on March 3rd.  (Can you imagine waiting three years for tickets and then having your performance cancelled because of cold weather?!?!?)  kk

And a sincere and hearty WELCOME BACK to Roger Wink and VVN – Vintage Vinyl News … they’ll be offering limited postings again.  (Can the return of Ron Smith and Chicagoland Radio and Media be far behind?!?!?) 

The Return of VVN Music 
VVN Music is returning in an altered form to provide information on Awards, Honors and Charts for 1955 to the present.
While we will not be printing regular news stories, many of which are available from multiple news sources, we are presenting information that we believe is not available anywhere else on the net 
VVN Music will stay on top of all the music awards, posting the nominees when announced and the winners.
So far, we have: 
Academy Awards - Music Categories (Nominees) 
Americana Awards UK (Winners) 
Blues Music Awards (Nominees) 
Juno Awards (Nominees) 
More will be added as they occur in 2019 
Halls of Fame 
Every year, numerous music halls of fame go through the nomination and election process.  VVN Music will have the details of both when they occur.
To date: 
Grammy Hall of Fame 
Songwriters Hall of Fame (2019 Inductees) 
We are in the process of studying every top 40 chart from 1955 to date and determining the top songs and artists of each year (with an eye on an overall list in the future).  These will roll out on a regular basis and, so far, have encompassed: 
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960  
In addition, our home page now includes the top hits of 2019 as of the current week in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Also look for occasional other features such as lists of the top recordings by artists who have achieved a significant milestone or who have recently passed away.  
Remembering James Ingram - His Ten Biggest Hits  
We will be sending out an e-mail newsletter every one to two weeks updating you on the latest new posts.
Thank you, as always, for your ongoing support.
-- Roger Wink

Hey, I know ALL about “limited postings” … been trying to do that for YEARS now … but there’s something about Forgotten Hits that drives me … and so I beat myself up daily to offer the best I can give under some VERY limited circumstances.
It’s all about the love of the music … and sharing that love with so many others.  (I’ve even thought about pre-posting twenty years of FH so that it’ll still go out every day long after I’m gone!  Lol)  But who will read it?!?!  ‘Cause you guys will all be gone, too.
So let’s just enjoy it for what it is while we still can.  (kk) 

And one more "Feel Good Moment" from Chuck Buell ... 

OK, because you do that 60s Forgotten Hits Thing, here's something that made me Feel Good and Smile that I just wanted to share with you!  
CB ( which stands for "Cavorting Boy!" )

I love these!  And this is a good one!  (kk)