Friday, March 1, 2019

The Friday Flash

See, I knew you guys wouldn't let me down!!!  

LOTS more postings to share today thanks to all your responses ... 

So let's get down to it!

Diggin’ Forgotten Hits: 
Great stuff … a veritable rock 'n roll  dictionary.
My lady isn't coming back until March 7th ... so are you and I are good to go for the Ides on the 6th.  We’ll slam a deep dish at Lou's on Randolph and then hear L.A. Goodbye for the 900th time - and still dig it!
I suggest that all your readers listen to Jerry Butler doing "Make It Easy On Yourself." The song was an ethereal slice of soul by the "Ice Man"  The tune was recorded before the Walker Brothers scored big with their hollow rendition.
Jerry Butler is the most underrated soul singer in America music history … a genius with pipes of gold.


My Top 10 Forgotten Hits All Stars from back in the day:
1 - Dick Biondi - ushered in the new era
2 - Ronnie Rice - I love his commitment to the purity of pop
3 - Jim Peterik - prolific song maker who seemingly never gets old
4 -  Fred Winston and John Landecker - they could make or break a record
5 -  Jimy Sohns - hard to argue with G-L-O-R-I-A
6 -  Bob Sirrot - the early 70's jock put WBBM- FM on the map.
7 - The Buckinghams - The pride and joy of the Holiday Ballroom
8 - Pete Wright - The Monster record promoter
9 - Ray Graffia - the heart and soul of the New Colony Six
10 - The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You is simply the greatest  RandB song ever recorded.
Honorable mention:  Gene "Duke" Chandler, Art Roberts, Joel Sebastian, Barney Pipp, The Mauds. The Cryan Shames
Chet Coppock
P.S.  My new book "Silky D - Born to be Bad ... The Life and Legend of Dennis McKinnon" … my sixth book … will be out in mid June
We are looking forward to seeing The Ides at The City Winery next Wednesday Night (March 6th), with special guest Cathy Richardson, lead singer of Jefferson Airplane.  (And as for "L.A. Goodbye, it’ll be the 902nd time for me ... but who's counting.  Besides, I figure that if Jim keeps singin’ it, I’ll keep listening!)
We still have a pair of tickets to give away … but if you want ‘em, you need to contact me RIGHT AWAY!!!  When I checked the site this morning, it looked like there were only about 35 seats left in the whole place … so get online and order your tickets NOW before this show completely sells out!  (Or register to win a pair by dropping me a line STAT!!!)  kk

Go figure …
I got a brand new report from Blogger this week that I’d never seen before …
And according to these stats, more people in RUSSIA read Forgotten Hits last month than in the US!!!  (How is this even remotely possible?!?!)
I know I’ve seen our pages translated into a variety of different languages over the years but I never would have figured on this one … nor do I find it easy to believe it can possibly be true.
But according to this report, we are EXTEMELY popular in Russia, The United States, Belgium, Romania, Canada, Germany, The United Kingdom, The Ukraine,  France and “other regions” (in that order) based on last month’s stats.  (Now what could these folks possibly care about our old WLS Surveys and winning tickets to a show at The Arcada Theatre!?!?!)  VERY strange!  (kk)

Freddie Mercury:
FH Regular Harvey Kubernik had the pleasure of interview Freddie back in the day … 

Today he shares a few words and memories …    

Actor Rami Malek is the Academy Award-winning recipient in the Best Leading Actor category for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which has now generated a global box-office gross over $750 million.  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has already released a DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD disc of Bohemian Rhapsody. It includes the full, uncut, never-before-seen Live Aid performance recreation coupled with the original footage. The DVD, Blu-ray and digital edition will also incorporate behind-the-scenes segments with the film’s cast along with Brian May and Roger Taylor discussing the making of the film.
I didn’t realize how many people have flocked to see Bohemian Rhapsody, and possess Queen-sanctioned video items, and constantly devour their audio catalog. I vastly underestimated the band’s devoted fan base and avid collectors. They’ve sold between 170 and 300 million records.
My frame game public and online profile have been more visible after being filmed along with Queen co-founders Brian May and Roger Taylor in their 2012 Queen at 40 documentary, directed by Matt O’Casey for BBC Television and issued and expanded as Queen: Days Of Our Lives: The Definitive Documentary of the World’s Greatest Rock Band as a 2014 DVD and Blu-Ray via Eagle Vision regularly broadcast on cable TV outlets.
I was merely a celluloid pundit reinforcing Queen’s legacy and became part of their visual, print and online documentation, a ramification of product participation.
I was subsequently quoted, describing Queen on Brian May’s website, “as American journalist Harvey Kubernik put it, ‘it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll, it was Broadway.’”
Queen’s 1976 stage repertoire included an encore of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields’ song “Big Spender” initially done on the boards by Shirley MacLaine in the Broadway musical Sweet Charity.  Mercury first heard Shirley Bassey’s 1967 version of the tune on BBC Radio and then by Liza Minnelli. “Big Spender” is on Queen’s Live At Wembley ’86.
I remember a 1977 Queen-centric incident in Southern California when then KROQ-FM deejay Rodney Bingenheimer, in his 1966 black Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham picked up Taylor and May at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and they schlepped out to the city of Fullerton in Orange County, to catch a show by the Runaways at a high school.
When the lads arrived, the head of campus security quickly spotted the loudly dressed long-hair trio walking on campus and immediately stopped them in their tracks demanding that they leave the premises.
Rodney then pleaded with the principal of the school. “We’re here to see the Runaways play. I’m with two members of Queen!”
He swiftly responded, “I don’t care if they are King!”
I saw Queen perform three times during the 1970s, and also interviewed Freddie Mercury twice — Once in Beverly Hills for the now defunct Melody Maker and then in London in 1975.  Our  conversation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was a Special Melody Maker report Killer Queen Slay America!
Mercury regally waltzed into the room, stuck out his hands, and greeted me and fellow journalist Justin Pierce with: “Hello darlings. What do you think of my black finger nail polish?”
I quickly replied: “Freddie, I grew up in Hollywood. I know what kind of paint color real queens wear. So while in L.A. why don’t you go over to Ball Beauty on Fairfax Avenue. My cousin Shelia Kaye and Cher get their makeup supplies at that shop. It’s near Norty’s Music Center. Ask one of the girls at your Elektra Records label office on La Cienega Blvd to drive you there.”
Mercury poured a glass of champagne and requested us “to please put the tape machine on.” Freddie was a yenta and thoroughly enjoyed trumpeting Queen and discussing the machinations of their mid-70s career.  We must have spent the first 10 minutes just talking about Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland.
I saw Judy sing in 1963 at her CBS-TV Judy Garland Show taping in Television City in a memorable duet with Barbra Streisand. In 1975, I sat next to Liza at a Rolling Stones concert. Freddie had seen Minnelli at the London Palladium in the very early 70s.
Mercury was stunned. “If you come to London, do call my publicist Tony. We must do this again.” And we did, but this time he was wearing green nail polish. He had an air of confidence and mega-stardom destiny about him. The boy had a keen sense of the pop music process and about being a star on and off the stage.
To tell you the truth, I was much more interested in talking to Freddie about the time when he, Taylor, and May cut versions of “I Can Hear Music” b/w “Goin’ Back” under the pseudonym Larry Lurex, than I was about discussing his sexuality. That session was around the time of the recording of Queen’s debut album (for legal reasons, they couldn’t call it a “Queen” single). Rodney Bingenheimer, who now hosts a show on SiriusXM, still spins “I Can Hear Music” by Larry Lurex on his Sunday shift.
I also had a delightful chat with Brian May after a Queen show at a party Elektra Records tossed in Hollywood. Brian informed me he saw the Jimi Hendrix Experience a few times. He recalled that in 1967 he was on the entertainment committee at Imperial College in London who booked the trio for a cheap rate. Before Queen and Smile, Brian was in a band called 1984 that opened a show for Hendrix or played at a venue with him.
In my last conversation with Russ Regan, the visionary A&R man and former record label executive at UNI/MCA and later 20th Century Records, he lamented one failure in the music business was not acquiring Queen in 1973 for a North American deal, losing out in a bidding war to Jac Holzman at Elektra. Regan gave the Beach Boys their name and at UNI, inked Elton John to the company and Barry White to 20th Century. “I loved Queen’s songwriting, harmonies and the sound I heard on the tape sent to me.”
So, I think it’s a perfect time after 44 years to write about Queen and Freddie Mercury again, utilizing my stateside 1976 interview with him, and reminding the world about this talented, charismatic performer and truly charming character.  

1975 Interview With Freddie Mercury:   

It was mid-afternoon in Beverly Hills as Freddie Mercury peered over the spacious swimming pool of the Hilton Hotel and reflected on Queen’s latest tour of the States.
“The tour has been going just great. The only drawback has been the problems with my voice, which I’ve been over-taxing. But since I’ve been taking care of it and resting more, it’s been fine. The problem is that when you do a tour, you try to schedule the concerts as close as possible.
“Therefore, it’s like a constant workout. However, at this moment, it’s raring to go and at the conclusion of this tour, we’re going to take a rest in Hawaii, which we really deserve. From there it’ll be on to Japan and Australia.”
The success story of Queen is remarkable when one considers the time in which they’ve become one of the world’s most popular bands. In Japan, they were recently voted one of the top three bands in the world, and that’s without even doing one date in there. What does Freddie see as being the key to their phenomenal following?
“I can’t pinpoint it, but there’s something about our music that’s different and unlike anybody else’s.  I believe that’s our major strong point. But there’s other ingredients. Besides the fact that our timing has helped; there is the fact that we take risks. We’re not one of those groups that go through every stage, for we skipped a few hurdles and we’re willing to take the chances that brought us to our level of acceptance.   
“This American tour is a perfect example. To undertake this kind of massive tour is not unheard of, but it is a risk. People were constantly telling us about the American economy and how the biggest groups are having trouble filling venues. And for us to come on as strong as we are, headlining after only half a previous tour, shows how confident we are, or what you can put across unless you were a headliner.  And now we’ve proved we can do it. Here we are, the first time in L.A. and we’ve sold out two shows, and it’s simply an amazing feeling.”
That feeling is bound to be even greater on subsequent tours for Queen who are only now breaking into the American record charts with their single recording of “Killer Queen” from Sheer Heart Attack. The gentleness and buoyancy of the tune is in marked contrast to the high level of energy that characterizes their first two albums.
It is only on the third album that the diversity really became apparent. However, Mercury really doesn’t look at it as a great change.
“The thing I hate is trying to pinpoint everything for everybody. People always ask questions like, ‘Why did you write such and such a lyric and what does it mean? That’s now what it’s all about. The one thing the British press has been trying to do for years is to pinpoint and categorize. It really annoys us. 
“We came out with ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ as a single, which is raunchy, and then we decided on ‘Killer Queen’ for a latter release. The first thing they do is go up to you and ask, ‘What are you up to?’ This is our music and it’s up to the individual to interpret it. It’s not up to us to come out with a product and label it. It would be boring if everything was laid out and everybody knew what it was all about all the time. I like people to make up their interpretation.
“They also want to categorize my stage image. I remember back in an interview where I said, ‘I play on the bisexual thing.’ Of course I play on it. It’s simply a matter of wherever my mood takes me. If people want to know and ask me if I’m gay, I tell them it’s up to themselves to find out. I’m just being my flamboyant self and having a good time,” he smiled.
Even though Mercury prefers not to try and analyze Queen’s music, he discussed their cumulative work in a logical manner: The first LP was very raw and full of freshness.
“It was simply a reflection of what we’d been doing for so long and we just wanted to get it out of our system. On the second album we found out that even though we had a formula, we didn’t necessarily have to keep it. Therefore, we dabbled at other things. Sheer Heart Attack was something different again. We wanted to make it interesting for ourselves as well as the listener. Hopefully, we succeeded on both counts. When we’re on stage we try to do the same thing.”
“We’re perfectionists. Although all of us write, it doesn’t necessarily mean that every song composed will appear on an album.  Having all the members write adds to our versatility, and that’s another strong point. On the last album we wanted to create a certain feel, and did. However, there were so many ideas and things that we wanted to do and have yet to carry out.
"You simply can’t do everything on one album. Lots of groups eventually burn themselves out due to lack of new ideas. But at this point, there’s no way we’re going to burn out. In fact, presently we’re stronger than ever.
“We do rock ‘n’ roll, and our presentation is just a way of putting across the music. We view albums and concerts as two spheres of work. There’s a different level in the studio as compared to when you’re on stage. But when we’re before an audience, we let loose,” Freddie underscored.
Mercury and Queen were at the end of the US tour. It was interesting to know how he felt the English music market differs from the American.
“Even though singles may have been more important at one time in Britain, I feel that the stress on the singles and the albums is becoming pretty even. If you play too much on singles, you can quite easily become a singles group. 
“At that point, it’s almost impossible to revert back to albums. I feel we’re in a fortunate position for we’ve only released four singles, including our new one. Therefore, we’ve achieved a balance. I think the same thing is true in America, though we’ve had to rely on response to our albums to carry us through. It wasn’t really till ‘Killer Queen’ that we received mass exposure on a commercial level. 
“Back home, you have to be very careful of what you say or do because you’re in a position of immense responsibility. In fact, it can sometimes get ridiculous. We have this black-and-white theme that we carry out in England and it’s very strong. It has even got to the point where the audiences dress and look like me to a tee. They’re very faithful and it’s beautiful. On this tour, in Dallas, there was even a fan dressed with black makeup on one side of his face and white on the other, and it was marvelous.”
As for his own musical tastes, Mercury says: “I listen to all kinds of music, from Hendrix to Liza Minelli, all the way back to Mae West. I also enjoy Flo & Eddie when I hear them on the radio. They’re simply a riot. I also enjoy Joni Mitchell tremendously, and am constantly awed by her vocal phrasing as well as the amazing things she writes. She’s simply beautiful.”
Besides devoting the last few years to Queen, band members took time to record a single “I Can Hear Music” and “Goin’ Back” pressed up under the name Larry Lurex.  I’d never associate Queen with Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King or expect cover versions of the Ronettes and the Byrds. I asked Freddie, how did this single come about?
“It was simply a by-product. We’d already completed our first album [at Trident Studios] and a producer friend [Robin Cable] told us about this record he wanted to put out just for fun.  He said he wanted us to do it, but we told him he couldn’t use our name. Actually there were quite a number of studio musicians on it besides ourselves. It was in the days of Gary Glitter and Alvin Stardust.
“We never took it quite seriously since it didn’t have anything to do with Queen. It was only when we achieved popularity and people started figuring out that it was us that anybody was interested. It was just something rock stars dabble in once in a while and I was quite pleased with the outcome.” 
Harvey Kubernik is an 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.
In December 2018, Sterling / Barnes and Noble published Kubernik’s The Story of The Band From Big Pink to the Last Waltz.
This century Harvey penned the liner note booklets to the CD reissues of Carole King’s Tapestry, Elvis Presley’s The ’68 Comeback Special, The Ramones’ End of the Century and Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish.  
Kubernik’s writings have been printed in several book anthologies, including The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats and Drinking with Bukowski. He is the project coordinator of the recording set The Jack Kerouac Collection.  
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  

One of my favorite works by Harvey Kubernik is his recent book on The Doors … 
It opened up new insight to me for a band I knew little about beyond the Classic Rock Album Tracks we all know by heart.
Which got me to thinking … 
In all your crossing paths with the various members of The Doors over the years, did you ever hear any mention of what they thought of Jose Feliciano’s interpretation of Light My Fire?  
Obviously he went a whole different way with it - but what songwriter doesn’t want to see his songs covered and accepted into the mainstream?
Yet at the time, they may not have felt this way since they were SO underground (and focused on BEING underground) at the time.  
Just curious what you may have heard even in passing. Thanks Harvey!  (kk) 

As a matter of fact, I just saw Robby Krieger at a market last night in Southern California. 
Members of the group LOVED Jose's cover. All four members shared in the music publishing income. 
Ray Manzarek, in one of my interviews, raved about Feliciano doing it and gave Jose's version additional credit for introducing The Doors to the Mexican and Latin community and adoring fans.
Over the years Ray also told me that partially owing to the Feliciano cover that at autograph signings for DVD's and reissues fans would also tell him about the deep connection they felt with the Doors after initial exposure to Feliciano's rendition, and Ray learned how they bonded particularly with him and many of these fans being Catholic like him.
In addition, these fans especially liked Morrison's leather pants, concho belt and the religious imagery in some of Jim Morrison's songs like "When The Music's Over." There is a Jesus reference in the lyric.   
One of the last times I spoke with Ray at an event, I asked about the demographic of the Doors' audience. It was now all ages, third generation ... and I inquired what do you autograph the most.
"The first album and "L.A. Woman."
I also asked about the names of fans he met and signed items for.
"Never really met too many people named Harvey, but at this appearance there were many guys named Roberto, Jose and Ruben. The Doors played Mexico. This is a community that is very passionate about music and our work." 

The Monkees:
Hey Kent ...
Always enjoy your unbelievable columns!  
When I was at KYA in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of being  on the road with the Monkees for a couple of weeks, sending reports  and interviews back to the station.  The guys were great to be around and Peter Tork could not have been nicer or  more congenial.  So sad to hear of his passing.
I agree with you that the Monkees deserve to be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Seems like a no brainer to me.
And Ed Sullivan being snubbed! How do you explain that?
Off the top of my head, I can think of about ten names that have no business in the Hall ... but the Monkees and Ed Sullivan paid their dues . Get em in!
Stay well -
Johnny Holliday
Hangin’ with The Monkees in ’67 was a pretty wild time!  Reeling them in was virtually impossible from what I understand.

WLS DeeJay Clark Weber tells a far less flattering story of his time with The Pre-Fab Four …

One of my favorite stories happened during the ‘60’s when there was a group created and packaged by a major record company with a cute look, a hit record, a so-so movie and a television show.  In other words, they were making money.
They decided to pay a visit to WLS and say hello as a goodwill gesture to help support their career.  Someone had told them to act a little crazy and create some attention, and when they arrived in our lobby, they seemed to go nuts.
One of them actually began climbing up our expensive drapes and, halfway up, the drapes tore, the rods ripped out of the wall and all of it tumbled down.  I saw the mess and my reaction was to throw the four goofy rock and rollers out of WLS.
RCA Records heard about what happened and were appalled.  The record company assured me that they would pay for the damages and that the group would apologize to us.
Sure enough, the next day, one member of the group, with cap in hand, visited me at the station, said that all four of them were sorry for what had happened, and I decided to accept the apology.
The singing group climbing our drapes and, in essence, trying to catch The Last Train To Clarksville, were none other than The Monkees. 
-- Clark Weber

And The Monkees are coming back to Me-TV beginning this Sunday (March 3rd).
Me-TV will be airing back-to-back episodes every Sunday beginning at 4 pm (Chicago Time), kicking things off with the very first episode this weekend.  (Even at two episodes per week, it’ll take them nearly six months to run them all … so LOTS of great, timeless Monkees Music is coming your way!)  kk

Cliff Richard:
Hi Kent,
The piece on (Sir) Cliff Richard popped up in typical 'Forgotten Hits' timely fashion. I'm co-producing a 60th Anniversary Tribute to Cliff for Variety Children's Charity in the UK this coming July (London) and was just putting the finishing touches to a 'Save The Date' web-shot.
This means I can tell you right off my notes that Cliff actually first hit the UK charts in 1958 with Move It (Number 2). The stats include: 104 Albums recorded, seven of them making the Number 1 slot plus sixteen Number 1 singles. That figure alone gives you an idea of how many dozens of top ten chart entries he's actually enjoyed in his career. 
'Devil Woman' reached #6 in the US in 1976 and 'We Don't Talk Anymore'  made the US top 10 in 1979.  
Whilst he has a worldwide following and undertakes numerous concerts, we still hope for more success for him in the States.
And regarding Variety's tribute evening, my big problem will be what to leave out of the program. Looks like a big video edit to me!
All the best,
Let us know when the video tribute might be posted for all of us to enjoy.
104 albums … damn!!!
Why do YOU think his US label didn’t push a little harder to establish a fan base for Cliff here in The States?  (I remember George Harrison commenting once that when he came to America to visit his sister Louise … right here in Benton, IL … he saw a Cliff Richard motion picture reduced to third on the bill at a drive-in movie!)  It just seemed like if there ever was a golden opportunity to introduce him to a massive and receptive audience, this would have been the time.  (In fact, they EASILY could have reissued double-sided hits of his earlier British material, much the same way they did with The Beatles’ singles in early 1964.)
My British Pop Single Book only goes thru 2003, but during that time from 1958 – 2003, Cliff charted an incredible 127 singles, spending 1154 weeks on the British charts!  56 of those 104 albums also made the chart during this same time period.  Amazing!!!  (Those are Elvis-like numbers … The King charted with 133 singles during that same time frame.)  kk

Paul Evans: 
Hi, Kent –
Regarding the piece about Paul Evans today - I'm going to be a name-dropper here, in case Mr. Evans is interested in rehashing an old memory. 
His song "Hushabye Little Guitar," a B-side, was written by a fellow named Matt Williams.  Matt's son Mark (they were living in Manhattan at the time, I believe)  is an old buddy of mine, and was blown away when I found a 45 of " Hushabye ... " and presented it to him a couple of years ago. 
To top it off, around that time, Mark and his family were living in the same apartment building as Earl "Speedo" Carroll.  Small world. 
Mike Wolstein
That’s awesome!
I passed your note on to Paul … let’s see if he has a thought or two to share.  (kk)

Hey Kent,
Matt wrote “I Gotta Know” with me - and then disappeared from the Brill Building crowd.
Don’tcha just love it when all this stuff comes together …

We just posted comments on both Cliff Richard and Paul Evans … and Paul told us in our interview earlier this week that Cliff actually got the chance to record his song “I Gotta Know” before Elvis did.  (Honestly, it’s a much weaker arrangement … but then Elvis gave everything he did his own unique spin.)

Cliff’s version never charted … I think it was an album track (from “Cliff Sings” if I’m not mistaken, released in 1959.)

Here’s your chance to hear it:

More Songs In Commercials:
We’ve been hearing “Here Comes The Sun” in a variety of different contexts for a while now …
But this past week we caught commercials featuring “The Oogum Boogum Song” by Brenton Wood (an unlikely choice in that “Gimme Little Sign” is the track by him that’s become overplayed these past few years) and, of all things, “Beauty School Dropout” from the hit musical “Grease.”
“Oogum Boogum” was a minor Top 40 Hit (#34) in 1967 … and “Beauty School Dropout” (sung by Frankie Avalon in the #1 Movie) wasn’t ever really a hit at all.  (It “bubbled under” at #110 for a week in 1978 in Cash Box … and, incredibly for TEN WEEKS, reaching #112, in Record World!  It didn’t even do that in Billboard.)
Still, it came from a key scene in the movie and is one of those infectious tunes that never leaves you.  (It is not Avalon who sings it in the commercial.)
Surprisingly enough, the ad it’s running in has absolutely nothing to do with any type of hair or beauty products … but rather a T-Mobile cell phone commercial!  (kk)

New Releases: 
Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre Blu-Ray / DVD / 2 CD Set Available April 5th
Todd Rundgren's seminal prog-rock, power-pop band Utopia reunites onstage for the first time in 32 years!
After a thirty-year-plus hiatus, Todd Rundgren's Utopia graced the Chicago Theatre stage, with the hopes of promising fans an extraordinary, other-worldly concert experience. The original 70's-formed band established a stellar reputation for stretching the prog rock/pop envelope and infusing their mostly original material with verve and state-of-the-art technique. On this occasion the band featured Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and Gil Assayas.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Todd Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front Nazz, the quintessential 1960's psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, Runt. But it was 1972's seminal Something / Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, that catapulted Todd into the superstar limelight, prompting the press to unanimously dub him 'Rock's New Wunderkind'. It was followed by such landmark LPs as A Wizard, A True Star and The Hermit of Mink Hollow, as well as such hit singles as “I Saw The Light, “Hello It's Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends,” and “Bang The Drum.”
Rundgren has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced innovative music videos, pioneered forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.
This beautiful deluxe 4 disc digipack includes a Blu-Ray, DVD and 2 CDs.  Original Release Date: April 5, 2019  Look for the vinyl companion to be released in a gatefold jacket with 2 GREEN LPs on April 19!

Track Listing:  Utopia Theme / The Ikon / Another Life / Do Ya / Freedom Fighters / The Wheel / Back on the Street / Something's Coming / Monument / Overture Communion with the Sun / Last of the New Wave Riders / Road To Utopia / Play This Game / Swing to the Right / Trapped / Set Me Free / Love In Action / Hammer In My Heart / Princess of the Universe / I Will Wait / Rock Love / Love is the Answer / One World / Just One Victory

To pre-order Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre:

Todd Rundgren's new book The Individualist: digressions, dreams and dissertations is available at:

April 3 - Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 6 - Eventim Apollo - London, UK
April 10 - Buckhead Theatre - Atlanta, GA
April 11 - Buckhead Theatre - Atlanta, GA        
April 13 - State Theatre - Washington, DC
April 14 - State Theatre - Washington, DC
April 16 - Town Hall - New York, NY
April 17 - Town Hall - New York, NY
April 19 - Berklee Performance Center - Boston, MA
April 20 - Berklee Performance Center - Boston, MA
April 23 - Athenaeum Theatre - Chicago, IL               
April 24 - Athenaeum Theatre - Chicago, IL               
April 27 - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON            
April 28 - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON            
May 01 - Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA                 
May 02 - Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA        
May 05 - Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square - Cleveland, OH
May 06 - Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square - Cleveland, OH
May 09 - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA
May 10 - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA
May 12 - Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, CA
May 13 - Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, CA
May 22 - Sumida Triphony Hall - Tokyo, Japan
May 23 - NHK Hall - Osaka, Japan

More On Bill Deal and the Rhondels:
Did you know ... Bill Deal played piano on the 1963 Jimmy Soul hit “If You Wanna Be Happy”???
The Rhondels dissolved in the 70’s for a bit and their drummer Ammon Tharp had his own group, Fat Ammon’s Band, that regularly did wintertime shows up in my neck of the woods (the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia). They reunited in the late 80’s. As an addendum, Bill passed away in 2003 and Ammon died in 2017. Several of the original Rhondels are still together, doing gigs in eastern VA and NC.
- Larry Cave
And did YOU know that Rhondels’ first chart hit “May I” was written and first recorded by Maurice Williams of “Stay” fame?
It failed to chart but is another GREAT and timeless track created by this guy. 
At the tender age of eight, Deal finished in second place on the old Ted Macks Amateur Hour! 
Bill Deal and the Rhondels finished in The Top Ten of Billboard’s List of Hot New Artists for 1969.  With three Top 40 hits that year, they were in good company … Three Dog Night, Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Guess Who and Andy Kim also shared Top Ten honors that year and, during their prime, they would share the stage with acts like Sly and the Family Stone, The Beach Boys, The Young Rascals, Neil Diamond, B.J. Thomas, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Box Tops, The 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Temptations and many, may more. (kk)

Wildest Beatles Story Of The Week:
From Ultimate Classic Rock …
A Beatles fan living in the Cleveland area has returned a 1968 issue of Life that featured the band on its cover to the library from which it was stolen, and also included a late fee.
"To the Beatles fan who 'borrowed' this copy of Life magazine in 1968," the Cuyahoga County Public Library posted on Facebook. "Thank you for returning it this week and clearing your conscience. 😇 😂 #overdue #betterlatethannever #TheBeatles #LifeMagazine" 

The library posted a picture of the Sept. 13, 1968 issue, a MoneyGram for $100 and a typewritten letter that reads, "Hello, I stole this magazine from the Parma Ridge Road Library when I was a kid. I'm sorry I took it. I've enclosed a check for the late fee." 
The cover story, titled "The Days in the Lives of the Beatles: They Call It Their Authentic Biography," was written by Hunter Davies, and was the first installment of a two-part excerpt from Davies' The Beatles: The Authorized Biography, which was first published in August 1968.
The story covers the Beatles' childhoods, formation and woodshedding days in Hamburg and the Cavern Club up through their Oct. 11, 1963, slot on the Sunday Night at the London Palladium variety show. Shortly after that, the word "Beatlemania" appeared in the British press for the first time to describe the reaction of the group's fans.
Also included in the Life issue are an essay about the upcoming election, reporting on an earthquake in Iran, a story about the musical career of Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain and a piece by a Metropolitan Opera Company singer complaining about the difficulties in performing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

This And That: 
Kent –
Thanks so much for the mention of my songs in the new TV mini-series  "The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair."  It has sparked new interest in the 1967 Fapardokly album. I just found out "Tomorrows Girl" was used in a 1999 Peter Fonda movie titled "The Limey" …, I never even knew about this!
I remember a publisher who heard the album back in ’67 who told me "Some day these songs will be like rare valuable bottles of wine."  Turns out he was right!
Whodathunk all these songs would be coming around again?!?!
But you’d better get yourself a score card to keep track of those royalties!!!  (kk)
I have a Film / TV agent for placement in Movies and TV and I get advance payment. But some companies just use songs without proper licensing … and then it’s hard to track them down and get payment!
I was recently scammed by a song shark publisher who went to ASCAP and registered about 20 of my songs and changed a word in each title and claimed royalties for two years before my attorney and I found out and he sent a Cease And Desist order ! No way to get the stolen royalties as we can’t find a physical address for the scam company.  The new hi tech online stuff makes it easier for these song sharks to rip you off.

My (OUR) friend Artie Wayne passed away this last week.  "Forgotten Hits" is how I found out, but I'm sure it was on many places. 
Sadly, after sending him a Merry Christmas message, my last communication with Artie Wayne was 12/13/2103 when he wrote:
Re: Happy Holidays!

Mon, Dec 16, 2013 8:47 pm
Artie Wayne (
To: you Details               
Artie typed all in CAPS just like I did when I first joined the internet. 
Like thousands, he became a good blog and email friend in talking about music and "being there" in the moment in the 60's to 2000's.  Although he SEEMED to know EVERYBODY related to the music world, there was never a time when you did not feel like YOU were one of his closest friends.  After emailing about an unrelated topic of a vacation to the mountains, he sent us one of his designer items for free and said to add it to the collection.  He never became a household name in the business but was right there with ideas by the truckloads and lots of great attempts and magic moments that could fill a 380 page book -- which it did. 
He wrote a book in 2008 and sent me a pdf of it.  He said it was to be added to, and possibly, it was.  I never saw the book, but it may have been available on Amazon around 2012. 
There are online pictures of Artie stirring up the crowd at a retirement home he lived in, but nothing seen since 2014, causing me to believe he had passed away.  People asked about him occasionally and I REALLY never knew if he was still with us.  We talked on the phone briefly in 2010 and he was a very nice guy.  He always began his emails with "How ya' doin'?" 
I first met him in 2003 thru the popular blog, "Spectropop," which back in the early 2000's was THE place to chat with music lovers of the 60's era.  Artie always weighed in on topics.  Those were great times when it was almost like an early "Forgotten Hits," allowing us to converse with guys like Artie and Alan Gordon, James Holvay and Austin Roberts and other artists. 
Besides his classic "Midnight Mary" by Joey Powers … a Top 10 Hit … Artie also wrote "Flash Back" one of my fave 5th Dimension 45s, as well as Brian Hyland's great "3000 Miles," which are both faves of mine. 
Artie's "Come Out Of The Rain" is just a great tune.  It could have been a hit by the U.S. Males, but never clicked.  It's from the same label as the 5 Americans and has tastes of the Beatles, Monkees, Cyrkle, Grass Roots, Yellow Balloon, 5 Americans and more all rolled into one.  I think I have four copies now of this wonderful colored vinyl gem from 1968.
I could write more, but Artie already wrote 82 chapters ... here's the pdf he sent me in 2008. It could use some proofreading, but it is interesting reading from an interesting friend. 
Artie's obituary:
Rest in peace my friend,
You will not be forgotten. 
Clark Besch
Here's a page featuring a couple of Artie photos I supplied for a CD booklet.  Artie in sunglasses from about the summer of love 1967.

I don’t know if Artie’s book ever made it to print or not … he sent me a PDF copy, too, way back when … but it sure was a fun read (even if I only believed about half of it!  LOL)
He was a fun guy to talk to … even in his toughest times (between health and financial problems) he kept up the brave face and sense of humor that made him the charmer back in his hey-day.
I, too, thought he might have passed away years ago … so was surprised to hear that it was just this past week.  It’s too late now but I wish we would have done a better job of keeping in touch.
He was a BIG supporter of Forgotten Hits and introduced me to numerous people over the years, most of whom became readers and/or contributors.  Austin Roberts stayed in touch with us for years … then fell off the grid.  We did a lengthy interview session that featured many of his earliest recordings, supplied by some of his diehard fans on Spectropop.  Unfortunately, it’s one of the many pieces that was lost to a major computer crash over a decade ago.  Too bad as I’d love to read it again myself!
He introduced me to the Tony Orlando recording of “I Lose It When I Hear ‘White Christmas’”, written by Toni Wine, who’s been part of Tony’s back-up band for decades now (and was the female voice of The Archies.)  Toni and Artie were very close friends, too.  It’s still one of my favorite Christmas songs … and one that never really got its due.  (kk)

Wow, Clark ... I just saw this.
Artie was a great songwriter indeed.  In fact, in a brand new Ides song to be included in our upcoming 55th year anniversary album, we have a song I wrote called “Song About Mary,” where I reference about 12 songs about Mary – “Midnight Mary” being one of them. Looking forward to you hearing it. 
Thx for sending this ... he will be remembered. 
Same place we always go …
Rock on!!!  

kk …
During Wild Wayne's tribute to Linda Jansen, he played this song: He said if you played this 45 at 33 & 1/3 speed it sounded like a male Doo-Wop group instead of a girl group.
He played it and it sounded like a male Doo-Wop group.
Folks, don't try this at home … unless you're a record collector and have the 45.
If you don't have the 45, you can go to and replay Wild Wayne's Memory Machine from 2/24/19 in the program archive section. Please Note:  You only have two weeks to try it.
This is another great B-Side by The Angels.  (I just downloaded it to my own collection!)  My favorite track by them is “Thank You And Good Night.”  They could have easily extended their hit list had they saved some of these for follow-up A-Side single releases!  (kk)
I, for one (and probably the only one), like to see the Oscars for Technical Achievements, such as the award for the Stedicam that was presented a few decades ago.  It would be nice to have the technical and other Oscars presented separately on one of the lesser channels.  That way both you and I could be satisfied.
Also, the Academy is concerned about TV ratings by trying to shorten the broadcast.  I believe that they would have better results if they could curtail all the political comments.  I find it difficult sometimes to even look at actors that strongly espouse a political view other than my own.  I watch movies and TV to be entertained.  If I wanted political brow-beating, I'd watch one of the news commentary channels.
Jon M
Having a daughter who majored in theater arts, we have come to appreciate all of the technical aspects that go into putting together any type of production.  However, the MAJORITY of people, while they may acknowledge the importance, don’t want to watch a bunch of non-professional speakers go up to the podium and ramble on (often incoherently) thanking all kinds of people we know absolutely nothing about.
Still, I agree, they should have their moment in the spotlight … and like your idea of having a separate awards ceremony for those categories.
This would leave two hours to longer than one minute speeches, more entertainment, longer film clips from the nominated movies and more glitz and glamour from those who, at the very least, can memorize a few lines or ready intelligently from the cue cards.  (Then again, I reiterate my favorite moment of THIS year’s ceremony was the acceptance speech by Best Actress Oliva Colman, who totally winged it and charmed each and every one of us.
As for the political overtones, I, too can do without them … but unfortunately they’ve been part of every ceremony I’ve ever scene … dating all the way back to Marlon Brando having an Indian Squaw accepting his award back in 1973.  (kk)

From Frank B, ever the Bobby Darin fan ...
Five "lost" Bobby Darin performances from 1973 ...
Also from Frank B:

And finally ...

Does it get any cuter than this??? 

Here’s Roy Orbison’s two year old grandson … apparently a chip off the old block!

Roy Orbison III is only two years old but he loves his grandfather's music, especially "Ooby Dooby" ... watch him rock out!
Bob Merlis