Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

Thanks for the spotlight coverage, Kent!
1969 was a great year for me ... now only with Sugar,Sugar hitting number one but my other group, The Cuff Links, hitting the top ten at the same time!
The Happy Together Tour just finished 53 shows this summer to sold out audiences and we are already getting booked for 2020.
All the best pal,
In fact, this year's tour no sooner ended and they were already announcing the line-up for next year's tour!!!
In 2020, you can see The Turtles, The Association, The Vogues (first timers ... this should be an interesting set!), Mark Lindsay, Chuck Negron and the Cowsills.
This show sells out everywhere so don't miss your chance to see it the next time it comes around to your area.  You're not going to find a better line up of '60's hits anywhere else, all performing together on the same stage.  (kk)
It was great to hear Ron Dante's memories of "Sugar Sugar." Ray Stevens is indeed on the song. 
Here's what Toni Wine told us about it:
Ronnie was Archie, and I was Betty and Veronica. We went in, we did the record. It was a fun session, it was a blast. We just knew that something huge was going to happen. We didn't really know how huge, but it was huge. In fact, a friend of mine had been in town, Ray Stevens, who's an incredible songwriter, singer, producer, musician. We were going to grab a bite to eat, so I told him to just meet me at the studio, pick me up, and then we'll go eat. And he wound up handclapping on "Sugar, Sugar."
Her full interview is here:
Be Well,
Carl Wiser
I always thought that was a cool video for "Sugar, Sugar" ... [scroll back to see yesterday's post - kk]
I know that Ron mentioned all the tremendous singers and players on this #1 recording, but "they all look the same to me!"

And, speaking of The Archies, check out THIS email that we received after our three-day salute to "Sugar Sugar" ran ...

Hi Kent,
Maybe you can help me ...
When Sugar, Sugar came out and I was in like the 8th or 9th grade, we had a sock-hop at our grade school, with a great live band.
Well, lo and behold, they played Sugar, Sugar, as well as some other songs and, being a drummer, I stopped dead in my tracks to listen ... and I'm like No Way, the Archies!?!?!  In Rogue River, Oregon!?!?! 
So, after the crowd settled down, I asked a few teachers who were working that nite keeping us in line if that was, indeed, The Archies ... and our track coach, a nice young lady, (it was '68 or '69) nods her head yes and gives me the shhhh sign.
Evidently she was friends of one or more of the members of the band and they were visiting her that week so they played incognito for our sock hop...what do you think?
They rushed out after the party so I couldn't talk to them.
Curt Hinkle  
You know the odds have got to be a zillion to one ... but I sent your email along to Ron Dante anyway to see if he might comment on it.  (Hey, if nothing else, this can FINALLY give you peace of mind after fifty years of wondering "Could it REALLY have been them?!?!?!"  lol)  
Over the years, Mark Volman of The Turtles has shared some stories of his "close encounters" with fans from back in the day ... and he's got some great ones!  (All, apparently, fictitious exaggerations that loom large in the memories of the fans who were there when all of this was happening!)  The "legends" seem to grow as more time passes (and less people are around to dispute the circumstances!)

But hey ... I'm not taking ANY chances ... let's ask Toni Wine, too, if she just happened to stop by to visit an old track coach buddy in 1969 and ended up putting on a free sock hop concert for a bunch of eighth graders!  (You just never know!!!)  kk 
I've got one quick question about the WLS survey for September 1. In song position #40, who or what was Pete Howard who supposedly was the artist on "Mah-Na, Mah-Na"? Was he an individual who worked for WLS at the time? 
When that record made its debut here in OKC, it was listed as Aunt Effie, or Aunt Effie Farquar, who was a voice character of DJ Don Wallace who was working mid-days at WKY. I didn't know who was on the record until I bought it.
This makes me wonder if other radio stations across the country that played MAH-NA MAH-NA used some other name on the survey other than Piero Umiliani? I mean, I didn't know who this person was or had ever heard of him. Probably if other stations played the record, the DJ's probably couldn't pronounce his name. What say you?
Larry Neal
Speaking of "Mah Na Mah Na" debuting on WLS makes me remember that when I first heard it, I was sure it was ART ROBERTS singing it!  Doesn't it sound just like him?  It would have been great to have him imitate it on air back then.  I would guess that he did, but have never heard a tape of it from WLS.  Likely most EVERYONE remembers this either from 1969 or from its use on Sesame Street.
Clark Besch
I have NO idea who Pete Howard is ... nor have I ever seen a pressing of the record with that name on it.  (I've also seen it listed as "Sweden Heaven And Hell" as the artist ... but I think that's because this was the name of the movie / soundtrack for which the song was first used.)
Obviously it was used extensively in Sesame Street ... but it also seemed to be one of Benny Hill's favorites, too!  (kk)
>>>Here’s a brain teaser for your followers.The first person who identifies which of the old Chicago disc jockeys used to exclaim “Whopper Waffles!” wins a copy of the brand new Ides cd.  (It’ll prob be Clark!  Lol!) Jim Peterik
Man, I just saw this ON SUNDAY morning!  I could have won!!!  
Art Roberts used "whopper waffles" back mostly in the early 60's on WLS.  
Do you know how he used to sign his shows off back then???
Answer at bottom of email.
BTW, I just ordered the new Ides and World Stage CDs from Amazon and will review when I get them!!!  Cool to see the vintage songs on the 2LP set too.  As Jim mentioned, Art helped many artists make their mark, as did many WLS DJs in the day. 
Here is a 1961 survey that I always thought the tease at the bottom was "Whopper Waffles" but never knew for sure as it would only have enough letters to spell 
"Whopper Waffle."  Maybe Clark (the OTHER Clark) Weber remembers?? 
Trivia answer below: 
Art Roberts closed his shows with "This has been a work of Art" and "Excelsior!"

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Monday, September 2, 2019


The Archies' hit "Sugar, Sugar" reached Number One fifty years ago this week on the WLS Hit Parade Survey.

It was the brainchild of mega-producer (and "The Man With The Golden Ears") Don Kirschner, who also spear-headed The Monkees' success a few years later.  (That relationship didn't end well ... The Monkees demanded power of control over their own releases and ultimately had Kirschner fired. I guess Donnie figured he would face less resistance from a bunch of cartoon characters on his next venture!)

Kirschner's roots date back to the '50's ... he and Bobby Darin teamed up during Darin's early years, writing and recording jingles and wanna-be hits together.  In the '70's, he would host his own Friday Night television series, "Rock Concert," which competed against The Midnight Special, starring Wolfman Jack.

There is no denying his eye for talent.  Along the way, Don Kirschner guided countless careers to success.

Ron Dante, the voice of The Archies, remembers exclusivey for Forgotten Hits ...  

Hello Kent - 
I cannot believe that this is the 50th Anniversary of my Archies hit "Sugar, Sugar".
The session was truly the most fun a singer could ever have. 
Having Jeff Barry and Andy Kim writing the song, Don Kirshner supervising and having Toni Wine singing backgrounds with me was truly the best of times.
I remember Jeff taking his time with the track working on the the bass and drum for longer than usual. 
Andy Kim had to play his guitar to give the musicians just the right feel.
Being in the studio with the best NYC musicians I knew the sessions would be smooth and easy. 
Here are the guys who played on Sugar, Sugar:
·         Ron Frangipane - keyboards
·         Gary Chester - drums
·         Joe Mack - bass
·         Dave Appell - guitar
·         Sal DiTroia - guitar
·         Andy Kim - guitar
·         Toni Wine, Jeff Barry and Ray Stevens - Handclaps.
This summer I have had the pleasure of singing "Sugar, Sugar" on the Happy Together Tour, along with singing lead for The Turtles. It was great to see so many of my friends at these shows.

The Archies would go on to have a total of six Top 40 Hits between 1968 and 1970 ... among them "Bang-Shang-A-Lang" (#6, 1968); "Feelin' So Good" (#30, 1969); "Sugar, Sugar" (#1, 1969); "Jingle Jangle" (#4, 1970); "Who's Your Baby?" (#25, 1970) and "Sunshine" (#17, 1970).

In addition, Ron Dante also sang the "ghost" lead vocals on The Cuff Links' #4 Hit "Tracy" ... climbing the charts simultaneously with "Sugar, Sugar" back in 1969!!!  (kk)

Sunday, September 1, 2019

September 1st

"Sugar Sugar" jumps from #8 to #1 this week (was there ever really any doubt?), on its way to becoming the Biggest Hit of 1969 on many year-end charts.

All four top tunes this week have bullets as being the week's biggest movers ... "Hurt So Bad" by The Lettermen at #2, "Easy To Be Hard" at #3 for Three Dog Night and "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival at #4.

Another Top Ten Hit deserving of a bullet would seem to be "Get Together" by The Youngbloods, up from #13 to #9 this week ... yet somehow missing from this honor.

"I'd Wait A Million Years" by The Grass Roots continues to climb the chart, moving from #16 to #11 this week.  "Keem-O-Sabe" by Electric Indian climbs ten places from #23 to #13.  And it looks like Gary Puckett and the Union Gap have another smash on their hands as "This Girl Is A Woman Now" (my personal favorite by them) climbs fourteen spots from #29 to #15.

The New Colony Six move up nine spots from #28 to #19 with their latest, "I Want You To Know," while "I Can't Get Next To You" by The Temptations jumps ten places from #33 to #23.

And The Rugbys seem to have a big local hit ... "You, I" jumps from #37 to #25 this week, a move of twelve places.

New on the chart this week ... teen idol Bobby Sherman debuts at #33 with his first chart hit, "Little Woman" ... and Nilsson premiers at #36 with "Everybody's Talkin'" from the #1 Box Office Smash, "Midnight Cowboy."  (You may recall from our 1967 series that this track dates back to then and was resurrected for inclusion in the film.  Nilsson felt that he could write a more contemporary song that better fit with the overall concept of the film ... and came up with the very similar sounding "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" ... but producers wanted the original, NON-Nilsson written track so that's the one they went with.  It paid off in the long run ... "Everybody's Talkin'" made The Top Ten and is still considered a classic some 50+ years later.  "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" (NOT included in the film) was released as the follow-up single and only reached #33.)  
And then, of course, there's that '60's classic "Mah-Na, Mah-Na," shown here as by Pete Howard, that debuts at #40.

August 26th - The Rolling Stones earn a gold record for "Honky Tonk Women"  

August 27th – Forgotten Hits Founder Kent Kotal celebrates his 16th birthday.  

August 28th – Elvis completes his four week run at The International Hotel in Las Vegas.  By all accounts, it is a record-breaking stay ... 101,500 people would have seen him perform in the Grand Ballroom, earning gross receipts of just over $1.5 Million. International Hotel Vice President Alex Shoofey shows his appreciation (and congratulations) by treating Elvis and eight others to an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.  (He is due to return to The International in January, 1970, for his next engagement.)

Also on this date, Paul and Linda McCartney welcome their first daughter together, Mary, named after Paul’s mother.  (Paul will later adopt Linda’s daughter Heather from a previous marriage.)

Also on this date, actor Jack Black is born 

August 29th – A TWA flight from Rome to Tel Aviv is hijacked and diverted to Syria

Also on this date, Elvis and Priscilla Presley go to see Nancy Sinatra perform at The International Hotel in Las Vegas

August 30th - The three-day Texas International Pop Festival opens at the Dallas International Motor Speedway.  Artists performing at this event include Santana, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and The Chicago Transit Authority and Bob Dylan.  

August 30th and 31st - The Who, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, The Moody Blues, Free and others perform at the annual Isle of Wight Festival. 

August 31st – Bob Dylan makes his first live, paid appearance since his motorcycle accident three years ago at England’s Isle of Wight Pop Festival.  He is once again backed by The Band (and earns 38,000 Pounds for a one hour show)

Also on this date, Boxer Rocky Marciano dies …

And rocker Bob Seger files for divorce from his wife Sandy after just ten months of marriage.