Friday, June 7, 2019

The Friday Flash

So … bottom line …
Should I go see Rocket Man this weekend?
See it.
You’ll be going into the theater MUCH better informed than I was when I went to go see it last weekend.   
You’ve been forewarned as to its weaknesses.   
The fact that the songs are presented in random order with no regard for the actual sequence of events is tolerable in this new context because the performance of this music is so well done.
We’ve already told you about the many falsehoods presented here as facts … if you can overlook these as a means to an end by way of creative storytelling, you’ll be fine.  Hopefully, you will come away from the film wanting to do more research into the real story of Elton’s career … because it truly is a fascinating story.
These faults in and of themselves are not reason enough to skip the film.  They take absolutely nothing away from the top notch performances by Taron Egerton as Elton, Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as John Reid and the rest of the stellar cast.
It is brilliantly acted and the artists embody their roles.  Egerton does a very credible job of handling Elton’s vocals and if the idea of mini music videos executed along the way to help keep the story moving forward is the current vogue in “creative style” and doesn’t bother you  (it gives the film more of a musical feel than your typical biopic documentary style of film-making), I think you will likely enjoy most of it.  It shows the transformation of a young and somewhat timid Reginald Dwight into the flamboyant, outrageous superstar that was Elton John, the #1 recording act of the ‘70’s (and, according to Joel Whitburn’s Record Research, the #5 recording artist of The Rock And Roll Era, falling just behind Mariah Carey and Madonna and just ahead of Michael Jackson.)
Go see it … and then let us know what you think.  (kk)

Sad news Thursday Night about the passing of Dr. John …
Although he only had a couple of hits under his own name (“Iko Iko,” #50, 1972; “Such A Night,” #42, 1973 and, of course, his biggest, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” #9, 1973) he appeared on numerous albums for other hit artists of the day … among them Ringo Starr, Cher, Aretha Franklin, Frank Zappa, The Band and many others.
He never abandoned his New Orleans roots and became an integral part of its music scene.
Dr. John (real name Malcolm “Mac” John Rebennack) was 77.  The cause of death was shown as a heart attack.  (kk)  

Brian Wilson has “postponed” another tour.
Last time it was because he needed back surgery … and once he healed from that process, he did start making appearances again.
But this time, it seems to be a bit more serious … psychologically.
Wilson has long had a history of mental illness … and, quite honestly, he has NEVER looked happy on stage.  (His fear of touring dates back to his Beach Boys days at which time Glen Campbell and then Bruce Johnston were brought in to cover for him.)  Wilson always felt more comfortable in the studio than out on the road.  Even the couple of times when we had the chance to meet up with him backstage after a show, he seemed extremely uncomfortable, looking as though he would rather be virtually ANYWHERE else but there.
His return to touring (backed by the incredible Brian Wilson Band, formerly known as The Wondermints) was quite revolutionary.  Thanks to these incredibly talented musicians, they were able to recreate studio sound live on stage that The Beach Boys never even dreamed of.
In an official statement on Thursday, Wilson said, “Lately I’ve been struggling with stuff in my head and saying things I don’t mean, and I don’t know why. It’s something I’ve never dealt with before and we can’t quite figure it out just yet.”
Word is they had been recording a new album until new tour date commitments came up on their schedule.  For right now, only his June and July dates have been postponed … but shows already scheduled for August may soon be affected, too.
We wish you good health, Brian … but most of all, happiness.  (kk)  

Hi Kent!
As the winner of Davie Allan and The Arrows’ Retrophonic 6 CD – and as someone who wishes the excellent Retrophonic 5 would have sold more copies – I thought I’d share my views on the album in the hopes that others will be encouraged to get themselves a copy.
To be blunt, this album – pardon the pun – rocks! There’s a reason Davie’s been called “The King of the Fuzz Guitar” and every song on the album shows how accomplished he is as a musician.
The opening track, "Mass Distinction," is a perfect album opener, showcasing some awesome guitar effects without destroying the melody. That song leads in to "You’re Gonna Try," a tune with a more mellow opening, and one that highlights my favorite aspect of the disc – although every song proves that Davie and his band are great at creating high-octane rock, there’s enough variety throughout that the album remains an interesting listen all the way through.
My favorite songs include "The Cruisin’ Shuffle" and "More Licks On Route 66," a follow-up to Retrophonic 5’s "Get Your Licks On Route 66". Rounding out the CD are two demos that Davie recorded for his band to learn the songs – even in demo form they’re amazing and are a welcome addition.
I’d definitely recommend anyone, whether they’re familiar with the group's work from the ‘60s or not, to check out this CD. And the fact that Davie autographed it for me just makes it that much more awesome!
Colin Donahue

This is going to be a GREAT show!
We told you about it yesterday and now comes the official press release from The Arcada Theatre, announcing that tickets will go on sale at noon TODAY!!!
Get yours early because they’re going to go fast!

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – Tour 2019 – A Tribute To The Beatles’ White Album
Featuring Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Joey Molland
Coming to the Historic Arcada Theatre!
Ron Onesti, Operator of the historic Arcada Theatre and President and CEO of Onesti Entertainment Corporation, announced he will host the “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today – Tour 2019 – A Tribute To The Beatles’ White Album featuring Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz, Jason Scheff and Joey Molland” tour on October 1, 2019, at The Arcada Theatre in Saint Charles, IL!
The tour launches in the Fall, with Saint Charles being one of the tour’s first stops.
“This is the ‘Show Of The Year,’ and not to be missed,” said Onesti.  “To have these five artists come together to celebrate their songs along with the 30 iconic songs on The Beatles’ White Album is remarkable.  I am honored to be hosting the anniversary of such a memorable album in our musical history.”
Tickets will go on sale on Friday, June 7th, at 12 Noon.  Tickets can be purchased by phone at (630) 962 – 7000 or online at
“I am really excited for this show, and hope fans of the Arcada Theatre and music in general are a well.  It will truly be a night to remember,” Onesti stated.
We wouldn’t DARE miss this one!  Hope to see you there!  (kk)

And here’s a great “Story Behind The Song” to kick off your weekend … no matter which version you choose to believe!  (kk)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thursday This And That

OK, you guys are keeping me hoppin' this week!!!  
Here's yet another batch of comments!

I went to see Rocketman last night.  You were spot on with your review of the movie.  Whenever they feature songs that are not from the era that they are portraying, it bugs me … however, I did enjoy the movie. 
It reminded me of Jersey Boys because it is almost like a Broadway musical.  They used Elton's songs to go along with the mood or the scene in the movie regardless of when the song came out. 
I will probably go again because of the music and the job that Taron Egerton does portraying Sir Elton.
Phil Nee

Hi Kent,
Just wanted to pass along this note …
WLTL Presents: Elton John 1970s on Saturday, June 15th, from Noon to 2 pm CT. 
You’ll hear from Russ Regan, former president of UNI Records, Nigel Olsson of the Elton John Band, lyricist Bernie Taupin and Elton himself.  From Reginald Dwight, errand boy to a 70s top music artist …
WLTL Presents: Elton John 1970s, Noon to 2 pm CT Saturday, June 15th.
This two-hour special is from the 1981 version of the History Of Rock And Roll. 
WLTL streams at, the free RadioFX app, and the free WLTL app for your smart device.
Mike Baker And The Forgotten 45s

For whatever it’s worth, I’m going to weigh in here.
I have to support your review from an educational point. I receive so much inaccurate information from students who “saw it in a movie” that it makes me wonder not only about the motives of the movie, but whether the parents, who also watched the same movie, know these facts to be false. If so, why did they not point out the inaccuracies to their children and discuss it?
If the parents are also unaware of the inaccuracies, then aren’t we fostering a “believe everything you hear or see” mentality? If this movie was listed as a “fable” or “based on the life and the times,” then maybe I would say, “OK. Just enjoy the music and remember it is a STORY.” I can even accept the recycled time line of the music as maybe not as important as the music itself … BUT, I can’t accept facts being purposefully changed to fictional representations. That is how gossip and rumors begin.
Just my opinion.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

I read today's blog (read them everyday) and noticed the tidbit about Elton John recording 70's songs under Reg Dwight.  I think that would be a fascinating CD if he did enough songs to fill one up.  I liked his version of "My Baby Loves Lovin'".
Just thought I would drop a note ... and keep up the good work.
Gil McAuliff   
There actually IS one ... which I've seen several different pressings of over the years.  And there are some GREAT tracks on it as well.  (This wasn't so much a case of Elton John recording songs under the name of Reg Dwight ... this IS Reg Dwight, working as a studio musician before he became Elton John.)  Always supposed to be released as budget cd's to cash in on the latest pop hits, the artist(s) were always anonymous at the time.  It wasn't until years later when Elton became a star and the early days of his career became known that these releases began to see the light of day.  Check out these listings on eBay ... at under ten dollars, well worth the investment to hear another aspect of Elton John's career ... The Early Years!  (kk)

Ahhh ... "the  iconic Summer of '69, Kent ...  
Woodstock, the Moon Landing, graduation, the Manson murders, etc. As I read your list of top 40 songs, it seems like only yesterday I was walking down the street in NYC listening to many of these songs being played in the clubs and stores.  I can recall hearing the often-played song "Israelites" in 1969.  I remember it had a strange chorus to it. Guess that it why I remembered it ... anything unusual I sort of  remember. But funny thing is, I haven't heard it since.
 I was just reminiscing for a moment ... pardon my digression.
Hey, that’s what we’re here for … we’re ALL about the memories!!!

You’ll find our local and national Top 50 Summer Songs of 1969 lists … available for the whole world to see here:
(Note to Rick O’Dell … what an AWESOME weekend countdown this would make on Me-TV-FM … a 50th Anniversary Salute during The Summer of Me!!!)
This past weekend, Phil Nee of WRCO Radio counted down our collective Top 40 Favorites from 1969 … it made for a GREAT show that ranked our favorites from this magical year.  
In addition to common picks like “Something In The Air” by Thunderclap Newman, “Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Mendocino” by The Sir Douglas Quintet, “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat, “Can’t Find The Time” by Orpheus, “Make Believe” by Wind, “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells, “Listen To The Band” by The Monkees and “Black Pearl” by Sonny Charles and the Checkmates, our Top Ten Favorites were:
10 – This Magic Moment – Jay and the Americans
  9 -  Every Day With You Girl – The Classics IV
  8 – Things I’d Like To Say – The New Colony Six
  7 – Undun – The Guess Who
  6 – The Worst That Could Happen – The Brooklyn Bridge
  5 – Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
  4 – Crimson And Clover – Tommy James and the Shondells
  3 – I Got A Line On You – Spirit
  2 – I Can Hear Music – The Beach Boys
And #1 – Honky Tonk Women by The Rolling Stones!

Hey Kent:
Another of my favorite pop singles from when I was stationed in London in 1969 is "A Way Of Life" by The Family Dogg.
Formed in London by American actor turned successful UK record producer Steve Rowland (lead singer), the group also featured Albert Hammond ("It Never Rains In Southern California") and Mike Hazlewood on backing vocals along with Christine Holmes and Zooey Quinn. Hammond and Hazlewood were hit making songwriters
themselves but the song was written by one of the most prolific UK songwriting teams of the 60's / 70's, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway.
Session men on the recording included Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Clem Cattini, Big Jim Sullivan and Elton John.
It's been said that guitarist Jimmy Page played on half of all UK hit singles in the mid to late sixties. John Bonham also played on the A WAY OF LIFE album. Never mind that LED ZEPPELIN 1 had already
been released to rave reviews.
The words "tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor" stem from a late seventeenth century poem that British children learned as a nursery rhyme for counting (similar to "eeny, meeny, miny, moe"). Jimmy Page wrote a song by that title for the B-side of the Yardbird's US only cover
of "Ha! Ha! Said The Clown."  The Rolling Stones’ "Dandelion" was also based on the same nursery rhyme. 
The "A Way Of Life" single began a 14 week chart run in early June and reached its UK#6 peak on July 19. The group's follow-up single was about a hippie girl named Arizona that failed to chart. It was penned by
American songwriter Kenny Young ("Under The Boardwalk"). A cover version of "Arizona" by Mark Lindsay cracked the US top ten in early 1970.
Mike G

The Story of the Shaw Street Smackers:
On June 6th (D-Day), this coming Thursday, a remarkable event took place 48 years ago in Rockford, IL.
For a period of time prior to this date, there had been a series of softball events organized and held around the country, primarily in some of the larger cities. The softball games pitted the local Police departments against the opponents, referenced as the “Hippies”. The “Hippie” teams consisted of local popular band members, roadies and friends. I think I remember reading about some of these games in Rolling Stone, but I have no printed documentation on them.
Up until D-Day of that year, all of the “Hippie” teams had been soundly defeated by the local police teams. On that infamous day, they ran into the Shaw Street Smackers. Around this time period we were entering what I refer as the “Dark Days of Music.”  Good bands were breaking up and popular venues were disappearing. In an effort to continue in music, members of disbanded bands were joining to form new groups. Prior to this time period, the original members of Nazz had disbanded and two of their members, Thom Mooney (drums) and Robert “Stewkey” Antoni (vocals / keyboards), had come to Rockford to join Craig Myers, Tom Peterson and Rick Nielsen, the remaining members of Fuse. Along with the roadies, Thom Mooney, Stewkey, Tom Peterson and Joe Sundberg, the original vocalist for Fuse, were the band members on the team.
Fuse was an excellent local band that had released one album and was very popular in the region. As was often the case, their album did not reflect the dynamics of their live performances, so if you did not see them in person you had no idea how good they really were. Had the original band stayed together, they could have easily been as successful as say Aerosmith.
Some of the band members and friends lived in an apartment on Shaw Street, hence the name of the team, and we would all get together and play softball on Sunday afternoon at a local park.
A local promoter, Steve Schuder, heard about the Police vs. Hippies games being held across the country and set up a game between the local Police Department and The Shaw Street Smackers, billed as “The Hippies.”  We never really considered ourselves as “Hippies” … we thought we were just regular guys with long hair.
We put in some serious practice time preparing for this game. Other than little league or sandlot, no one on the team had any organized baseball experience.
All I remember on the day of the game is that we were all really nervous about how we would perform. The Police had a really good team that played in a league and, by all accounts, should have killed us. They scored on us in the first and second inning while we couldn’t even get anyone on base. Things were not looking good.
I remember coming up to bat in the bottom of the second inning and I was “scared to death” that I was going to screw up. As what typically happens, I channeled the fear to strength and hit a single. This ignited a rally and I ended up scoring the first run. After that, I remember scoring one more run and getting two RBIs. The game was tied at 7 and we scored one more run in the top of the 10th.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, and runners on base, the Police hit a towering fly ball to right field. Tom Peterson was playing right. He was literally running around in circles trying to track the ball. I remember thinking to myself ... “we’re screwed.” 
Somehow, a miracle occurred and he caught the ball. Had he dropped it, the game would have gone the other way. We were absolutely flying. A party to end all parties followed the game. This was the first official softball game I ever played in. The team continued to play pick up games on Sunday, but never played an official game again. Unsubstantiated rumors have the Shaw Street Smackers as the only victorious “Hippie” team in these series of games across the country that year. Fuse disbanded for good later in the year.
The game made the front page of the local newspaper the next morning and an article followed in the afternoon newspaper later that day. It represents some classic 1971 reporting.
The following attachment is a reproduction of these articles as the original is awkward in size and worn by time.
Robert Campbell

This And That:
Does this sound like a great show or what?!?! 

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today - Tour 2019 –
A Tribute To The Beatles White Album
featuring Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz,
Jason Scheff and Joey Molland!

In celebration of The Beatles’ 50th Anniversary of the White Album, Flower Power Concerts, Inc., presents It Was Fifty Years Ago Today - Tour 2019 - A Tribute To The Beatles' White Album featuring Christopher Cross, Todd Rundgren, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees), Jason Scheff (Chicago) and Joey Molland (Badfinger)! Musical Director: Joey Curatolo (the musical director of RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles).
Artists will be performing their greatest hits along with songs from The Beatles White Album!
Announced Tour Dates:
Sept 19 - Bethlehem, PA - Sands Bethlehem Casino
Sept 21 - Atlantic City, NJ - Golden Nugget
Sept 24 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
Sept 29 - Danville, KY - Norton Center
Oct 1 - St. Charles, IL - Arcadia Theater
Oct 2 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
Oct 3 - Kansas City, MO - Muriel Kauffman Center 
Oct 5 - Beverly, MA - Cabot Theater
Oct 6 - Concord, NH - Capitol Center For The Arts
Oct 7 - Orono, ME - Collins Center For The Arts
Oct 8 - Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield Playhouse
Oct 10 - Staten Island, NY - St. George Theater
Oct 11 - Boston, MA - Berklee PAC
Oct 12 - Westbury, NY - Theatre @ Westbury
Oct 13 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo PAC
Oct 15 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Oct 17 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theater
Oct 18 - New London, CT - Garde Arts Center
Oct 20 - Washington, DC - Warner Theatre
More dates are expected to be announced shortly.

Put me down for this one, Ron … it sounds like a BLAST!!!
A chance to see some GREAT artists performing not only their own hits but Beatles music … what a creative change of pace!
Stay tuned for more details!  (kk)

Christopher Cross is an American singer-songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. Cross won five Grammy Awards for his eponymous debut album released in 1979. The singles “Sailing” (1980), and “Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (from the 1981 film “Arthur”) peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Sailing” earned three Grammys in 1981, while “Arthur's Theme” won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1981 (with co-composers Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Peter Allen).  
Photo (?)

Todd Rundgren, born and raised in Philadelphia, 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.” 
Photo (?)

Micky Dolenz is an actor, singer, director, producer, writer, radio DJ, inventor, and all-around performer extraordinaire, and stands tall as a paragon of taste and accomplishment in the rough-and-tumble world of show business and entertainment. Micky is best known as a vocalist and drummer of the 1960s pop legends The Monkees. The Monkees not only achieved great success as a TV show, but also as viable recording artists; selling in excess of 65 million units, and achieving worldwide success. Their first four albums - The Monkees (1966); More of The Monkees (1967); Headquarters (1967); and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd. (1967) all reached the number-one position on the charts and launched three number-one singles: “Last Train to Clarksville,”  “I'm a Believer” (both with lead vocals by Micky), and “Daydream Believer.” The group's first five albums also went platinum.

Jason Scheff is the longtime tenor lead vocalist of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted supergroup Chicago. Scheff joined the group in 1985 replacing the iconic vocalist / bass player Peter Cetera, going on to be one of the principal songwriters and main contributors throughout Chicago's career. Scheff's songwriting, vocals, and musicianship helped create the most successful recording era of Chicago, the 1980s and 1990s. Scheff is also the voice across four decades, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, performing all the classic Chicago hits in thousands of concerts, television appearances.

Joey Molland is an English composer and rock guitarist whose recording career spans five decades. He is best known as guitarist, singer and songwriter of classic rock legends Badfinger. Molland is the last surviving member from the band's classic line-up and is still playing concerts worldwide. He is currently recording a new solo album produced by Mark Hudson.

Speaking of great shows, The Eagles have added a third night to their stay at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  (Man, I wish we could see this show!!!)
These are scheduled to be their only US appearances this year … with shows now booked for September 27th and 28th … as well as the following Saturday, October 5th.
Ticket information can be found below.  (kk)

The Eagles
3rd Show Added to their only 2019 North American Concerts
Performing Hotel California Cover to Cover for the first time in history + a 2nd set featuring their Greatest Hits 
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Saturday, October 5th
AMEX Presale: Monday, 6/10 at 10 am PT – Thursday, 6/13 at 10 pm PT
Public On Sale: Friday, 6/14 at 10 am PT
Click the link to view and purchase tickets!