Friday, November 22, 2019


We’ve hit the home stretch … 

THESE are the songs that EVERY Classic Rock Radio Station worth its salt should be playing in regular to heavy rotation … still leaving PLENTY of room to slip in any number of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other GREAT selections we’ve offered up, getting to this point.
(While you’re not likely to find as many surprises from this point forward, you may be surprised to see just what order these finished up as determined by YOU and your one million votes.)
You can follow it all right here as it continues to unfold daily until we hit #1 … 

Land Of A Thousand Rock Songs! 
I, like most FH'ers, have been faithfully following each day's posting. I would also assume that I, like most FH'ers, have just shook their head wondering how such and such song placed so high, or didn't. However, I don't wish to start a debate about that. I'm sure when we get to the top 10, there's going to be some serious bitching ... and I'll probably join in, too!
However, as we enter the top 1000, I thought it would be a good time to toss in my two cents.
I would tell you, assuming I could rattle off 3333 songs, my faves or not, for the most part, most of the songs listed pretty much have placed about where they should be.
Today's pleasant surprise was the La's at #1108. I think the shockers, (as in WTF is this doing here?) and pleasant surprises even out. It's sort of like going to the record store every week to pick up the new survey, to see where your new fave song placed.
I've gotten a lot of positive responses on Facebook, as I highlight some of the day's listing. I get a lot of "I totally forgot about this one" responses. I know a couple of them avidly follow the day's countdown. I'm disappointed that more haven't, and even more so with those who don't seem to grasp the basic concept of the countdown, let alone the enormity of it.
I'm wondering if the current plan is to stick with 50/day or, as the time gets closer, whittle the amount per day, so that only #1 is left to play on New Year’s morning.
By the way, I may see you Saturday, as I'm in town for the record show on Sunday. 
Jack Levin

You’re close … the countdown will wrap up on December 30th … and we’ve got all kinds of OTHER Year-End / 1969 stuff happening on The Forgotten Hits Website, too … so be sure to check both sites daily for new postings.
Maybe you’ll have time to swing by Barbara’s Book Store on Saturday Afternoon to catch The Ides Of March CD signing party … I’ll likely be there as well.  (Gotta get my new Guitar Calendar!!!)

If I’m being completely honest, I am a bit disappointed by the lack of response to the countdown since it has launched.  There were SO many comments prior to posting the results and words of encouragement and genuine excitement to see the results that sometimes it almost seems anti-climatic as each new list unveils.  (In hindsight, I think this whole episode has been pretty overwhelming for all parties concerned!)
But this is the list selected by all of YOU out there … these are the songs that YOU decided are the Best Classic Rock Songs Of All Time … The Most Essential … the ones that YOU want to hear … and that includes hundreds and hundreds of songs that radio doesn’t play anymore … so my hope is still that radio will perk up a bit and consider adding some of these “surprises” that time … and the fans … truly have NOT forgotten.
I think once we turn the page on The Top 1000 today, we’ll see a real spike in following and commentary.  I hope so … this was the hardest I’ve ever worked on any given piece in twenty years of doing this but no matter how difficult and exhausting it became, I never lost site of the purpose.  Radio NEEDS to change in order to survive … and a list like this is a HUGE step in the right direction.
Thanks for directing more traffic our way.  Once you start to explore the countdown, I think you’re hooked.  It’s a pretty amazing list!  (kk)

I thought the PBS Christmas Special was great but I wish I would have taped it so I could edit out all of the pledge breaks.  I swear it seemed like they’d play three songs and then break for pledges.  It was overkill … and I don’t remember there ever being so many breaks during a single performance.  (I think you’re right … one hour of music slotted into a two hour program, which gets you a full hour of pledge solicitation!)
The clips themselves were great … some I haven’t seen in fifty years and many more I’d never seen before.  It was wonderful to see these songs being performed by the artists who actually recorded them.  (My daughter is a big fan of Christmas music, too, and we watched this together … of course she knew all of the songs … but she had never seen Perry Como before … or Andy Williams or Johnny Mathis … all very big stars when these songs were first recorded.  Sure, you hear them on the radio all the time during the holiday season … but to actually see these stars performing this music themselves was quite enjoyable.)
I know you said it’ll air again a couple of times in December and I’ll have to remember to tape it then as it is something I’d definitely watch again and again. (I listen to Christmas music all year ‘round … I love it … so this was a very enjoyable experience for me.)
And how about The Drifters?!?!  They sounded even better than the record … and to think that this was recorded right before he died.  Even my wife couldn’t believe how good they sounded.  I think that was the highlight of the show for me … but I enjoyed it all.
Thanks for telling us about this very special broadcast.  I can’t afford to shell out $300-$400 to get the DVD and CD’s but this is definitely something I’d watch again and again.
The Drifters were frickin’ AMAZING, weren’t they???  And to think that that performance sat in the can for all this time just so TJ Lubinsky could use it on a Christmas special!  (Bill Pinkney died in 2007 so they held this for twelve years!!!) Frannie and I were both blown away by it, too.
I still maintain that Andy Williams had one of the greatest voices in history … just SO smooth and effortless with perfect tone … just a beautiful sound every time he sang.
I thought Ronnie Spector looked and sounded great, too.  (She usually plays The Arcada every year at Christmas time but isn’t in town this year.)  And The Beach Boys doing “Little Saint Nick”?  Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Karen Carpenter … ALL of the BEST Christmas songs and voices you could ever hope to hear.
Yes, I’ll be watching it again … and I would LOVE to have a copy of the DVD and 4-CD set … but I’m with you … that $400 can buy Christmas gifts for ALL the grand kids … and then some!  Guess we’ll just have to Switch On The Lite whenever we need our holiday fix!  (kk)

From our FH Buddy Paul Evans … 

To my "Oldies" community friends,
It's Christmas programming time and I wanted to remind you all about "Santa's Stuck UIThe Chimney". 
Check out my YouTube holiday video, "Santa's Stuck Up In The Chimney" (and bring the kids!) 
Now over 2,982,278 You Tube views!  

(I used to chase 1,000,000 record sales ...
Now I'm chasing 3,000,000 You Tube views.)
You can also find a link to all my videos at 
Thanks for the plays and for clicking on the video.
You've all influenced my life.
C’mon, Gang … let’s push Paul past the three million mark this holiday season!!! 
(Note to Paul ... probably NOT the best "still shot" to use for this video ... especially if you want to draw kids in to see it.  It looks like a reindeer orgy!!!  I swear, they all look like they're humping each other!  lol)  kk

After all these years.
(I always thought it was "THE WITCH DOCTOR!")
Did this song make your 3333 list ?
It did …
You’ll find it coming up at #302!  (Stay tuned)  kk

Hi Kent,
On the November 17th WLS Hit Parade, the 3rd, 4th and 5th songs on this week’s list (Eli's Comin’, Wedding Bell Blues, and And When I Die) were all written by Laura Nyro.  Nice coincidence.
And over in the Classic Rock Essentials (#1130) is Otis Redding's version of "Try a Little Tenderness."
You can find Bing Crosby's version from 1933 on youtube … 
Otis definitely made the song his own.
Tom Carroll

And, speaking of WLS …

That's pretty FUNNY, Kent!
I don't remember, or have, that photo, so it was really fun for me to see!
Thanx for sharing!
I swear that Clark Besch must have the largest collection of radio-related newspaper clippings on the planet!  And, even though he never lived here in Chicago, he fondest for ALL things Chicago-Radio-Related from the 1960’s and 1970’s is unmatched.  I’ll betcha he can come up with a few others that might surprise you!  (kk)

Speaking of which, the other half of your Dynamic Duo from the WLS Days, Kris Erik Stevens, sent in a bunch of pix for us to share with our readers from just about fifty years ago …

Here are a few more …

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Orchestra

Looking forward to a GREAT show at The Genesee Theatre tonight where The Orchestra takes the stage.

We have been raving about these guys for YEARS now ...

In fact, we'll let a couple of our previous reviews speak for themselves ...

Here's a piece from 2018 (when we named them the #2 Show of the Year):  

These guys are incredible. 

Yes, Jeff Lynne is out touring again … and I don’t know what connection, if any, he may still have with any of these former members of various incarnations of ELO, but he can be proud that his music is being presented in the most professional and respectful way.  They do it justice in every regard and pay full tribute to the genius of Jeff Lynne. 

Once again, one of the best live shows we’ve ever seen ... and this year they come in at #2!  (kk) 

In 2016, we named them The Best Concert Of The Year ... 

We were absolutely blown away by The Orchestra Friday Night.

Featuring various members of different incarnations of Electric Light Orchestra / ELO / ELO II and ELO III, we figured the musicianship would be outstanding ... but were concerned that the vocals just wouldn't cut it since Jeff Lynne has such a distinctive voice.

But the fact of the matter is, the vocals were outstanding as well!  (It's almost hard for me to say this, but The Orchestra performed "Turn To Stone" better Friday Night than Jeff Lynne did at his Hyde Park DVD concert, which won A+++ reviews on our website a few months ago!) 

Even more amazing ... the band features three lead vocalists trading off the leads ... and often within the same song ... and all have a very similar sound that, when blended together, virtually replicates the sounds of the hits we all know and love.  (There is just enough "Jeff Lynne" in their voices to pull this off ... and the background blend is nothing short of incredible.)  

They covered the band's entire career and did bang-up jobs on nearly every track.

Stand -outs for me included "Showdown", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Evil Woman", "Sweet Talkin' Woman", "Livin' Thing", "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Telephone Line" and, far and away, "All Over The World".

As you know, I have mixed emotions about cover and tribute bands, especially since Jeff Lynne is supposed to be out touring the US himself later this year ... and that DVD concert is so incredibly powerful ... but in that these guys were actually part of the band at some point in time ... and did such an incredible job of recreating (and preserving) the music, I'm willing to cut them some slack and give them a very high Forgotten Hits recommendation.  (I can honestly say that it will take something pretty incredible to knock these guys out of our Top Ten Concerts of 2016 Year-End List!)  

It's just amazing to think, sitting there watching them perform for a little over two hours, that ALL these songs ... save "Roll Over Beethoven" ... were written by the same man ... and yet he STILL isn't in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, despite inventing an entire new side to rock music.  Jeff Lynne has got to be one of the most underrated, underappreciated artists of the past 40 years.  
[Thankfully, Jeff Lynne and ELO were finally inducted in 2017 after this review first ran -kk] 

Yes ... this was the BEST show we saw this year ... and nobody could be more surprised than me!  

Being huge Jeff Lynne fans, we've been waiting for him to tour The States again with his latest version of ELO ... especially now that he's released a new album.  

But until then, we decided to check these guys out ... all former members of Electric Light Orchestra at some point ... and they did an INCREDIBLE job of recreating the sound of this classic (and soon to be) Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inducted band.  

Check out their touring schedule to see if they're heading out your way ... DEFINITELY worth your time! 

In 2017, we raved ... 

Jeff Lynne, an under-appreciated genius, should be proud to know that they pay the highest respect to his music and pull it off brilliantly from the concert stage.   

The versatility and musicianship displayed by this 8-piece band, ALL of whom have, at one time or another, played under this tutelage, is nothing short of phenomenal ... some of what they pulled off last night was nothing short of perfect.


There are still plenty of great seats available for tonight's show ... please come out to see them if you can ... you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Did you happen to catch that new PBS / T.J. Lubinsky “My Music: A Classic Christmas” special we told you about Saturday Night?

All-in-all, a VERY satisfying collection of some long-standing holiday classics and favorites, featuring rare and vintage clips, many not seen in decades, presented in high quality for your viewing and listening enjoyment.

If I have any complaints at all (and I do have a few), the good still far outweighs the bad.  
Top performances for me include “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams, “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by a very young and beautiful Julie Andrews, “Little St. Nick”  by The Beach Boys, a picture-perfect rendering of “Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters, featuring a young and healthy Karen Carpenter delivering their Christmas Classic in perfect voice, a rousing (albeit lip-synched) version of “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano and brand new, never-before-seen footage (filmed exclusively for this show) of “White Christmas” by The The Drifters and “Sleigh Ride” and “Frosty The Snowman” by Ronnie Spector.

Some of the clips shown were very short edits (which is kind of a shame) … even the grand finale from the film “White Christmas” was limited to just a verse when the whole song was certainly available.  When all was said and done, I’ll bet there wasn’t more than 65 minutes of music shown in the two hour broadcast, the rest of the time being eaten up with their pledge drive and donation begs.  (I get it … this is how PBS gets its money … but this was overkill … ten minute breaks every thirty minutes and then stopping the show fifteen minutes short of the hour to wrap things up with another fifteen minute solicitation for funds … it seems like “White Christmas” truly should have closed the show … not the image of a heavily made-up T.J. Lubinsky doing his money-beg!

As such, the songs being offered as “bonus tracks” if you buy the DVD absolutely would have fit into the regular program … and then some … but in order to see “A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin, “Happy Holidays” / “It’s The Holiday Season ‘ by Andy Williams with The Williams Brothers and The Osmond Brothers, “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt, “The Chipmunk Song” by Alvin and the Chipmunks, “O Come All Ye Faithful” / “Jingle Bells” by Patti Page and Choir, “Carol Of The Bells” by Johnny Mathis and the Young Americans and “White Christmas” / “Caroling, Caroling” / “Silent Night” / “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” by Bing Crosby and Family with Glen Campbell and The Lennon Sisters, you’re gonna have to shell out the big bucks to see ‘em.  (“Santa Baby” and “The Chipmunk Song” are Christmas Classics that absolutely should have been part of the main broadcast.  And what about Elvis doing “Blue Christmas” from his ’68 Comeback Special?  Certainly THAT could have been featured ... PBS has been showing Elvis' NBC Special for YEARS now!  An animated clip of The Royal Guardsmen performing “Snoopy’s Christmas” would have been nice, too … as would the original music video for Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”  What’s the downside of all of this … 45 minutes of begging vs. 55 minutes?  I say, let the music play!)

Still, this is footage you rarely get to see and it was a REAL delight to watch them all again within the context of this special programming.   
“My Music: A Classic Christmas” will begin airing more regularly in December as we get closer to the holiday.  Check it out if you can … I do believe you’ll enjoy it.

Ordering the DVD and the special 4-CD Set will set you back about $350 in donations … pretty steep (although they’re also offering a 6-Pack of DVDs that include several other holiday classics in the bundle.)  A nice keepsake to drag out once a year for the holidays, if you’ve got the extra cash to do so!  (lol)  Right now, I've got OTHER Christmas presents to buy for all of those on our list.  (kk) 

As you noted in FH, Billboard Magazine this past week announced their Top 125 artists of all-time, in celebration of the magazine’s 125th anniversary.
On that list, Chicago is ranked # 10, which is so well deserved and amazing at the same time.
But after analyzing their list, it dawned on me that Chicago is the Top American Band of All-Time!  Just think of the bigness of that title!
Here’s Billboard’s Top 10:
1.   The Beatles
2.   The Rolling Stones
3.   Elton John
4.   Mariah Carey
5.   Madonna
6.   Barbra Streisand
7.   Michael Jackson
8.   Taylor Swift
9.   Stevie Wonder
10. Chicago
To illustrate the impact that this title has for Chicago , think about it this way:
Billboard’s tabulation means Chicago has surpassed The Eagles, The Beach Boys, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Seasons, The Jackson Five, Maroon 5, Aerosmith, Earth, Wind & Fire, Journey, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam, Kiss, The Doors, The Dave Matthews Band, Metallica, Santana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Van Halen.
Tom Cuddy 
It IS pretty amazing to see … and not at all what I would have expected, especially when you consider the impact and longevity of some of these other artists that they have surpassed on the list.
Still, the facts don’t lie … and their track record is exemplary … makes you wonder again how The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame couldn’t find their way to justify The #1 American Band of All-Time as being Rock Hall worthy for their first 23 years of eligibility!!!  (Chicago was finally inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2016 … a GROSS injustice to the band and their legacy for over two decades of being completely ignored by the so-called experts on The Rock Hall’s Nominating Committee.  What a shame.)  kk 

Hi Kent –
Love your Sunday charts, but did you notice that THREE of the top five songs were written by Laura Nyro this week?  What a great songwriter of that era.
Wedding Bell Blues
Eli's Coming
And When I Die
Ron L.
The appreciation of Nyro’s music hit an all-time high in 1969/1970.
Three Dog Night is often credited with discovering brand new songwriters and turning them into superstars … and “Eli’s Coming” was a huge hit for the band.
But The Fifth Dimension was already scoring hits with OTHER Laura Nyro tunes before “Wedding Bell Blues” topped the national charts … “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Sweet Blindness,” “Blowing Away” and “Save The Country” (also a hit for Thelma Houston) were all Laura Nyro compositions.
Blood, Sweat and Tears’ reading of “And When I Die” became their third straight #2 Hit in Billboard Magazine … and a year later Barbra Streisand would have her biggest pop hit since 1964 when she recorded Nyro’s “Stoney End.”  (Babs was so pleased with the results that she went on to record Laura’s “Time And Love” and “Flim Flam Man” as well.  (kk)

Thank you so much for not only this amazing countdown project that I am enjoying so much but what a treat it was to see Jim Peterik's new song release with the video.  I am a huge fan of all things Ides of March and Jim Peterik.   
The 11/18 Countdown was amazing.  I was so happy to see that one of my fave Ides of March tunes was included.
While watching the amazing performance on the clip you provided, I was wondering how many of the original members of the group are still around.  Jack Levin was able to fill in the blanks on some of it, but suggested I ask you to be sure.  
I also was curious as to what guitar he used on that particular night of the Cornerstones of Rock 2016 show.   My son is somewhat of a collector and had asked me about it.
Once again thanks for this amazing project.  Each day is an adventure!  I wanted you to know how much you are appreciated for all you do.  I look forward to your blogs and the rest of the countdown.  I am having so much fun with it and posting favorites and some I'd never heard before. 
With deep respect, 
The "core group" of The Ides Of March are still the four original members, dating back to 1964 ... virtually unheard of in this day and age!  They include drummer Mike Borch, bassist Bob Bergland and guitarist Larry Millas, who invited Jim Peterik to quit the band he was in and join HIS band instead.  The rest, as they say, is history.  These four guys have known each other since Cub Scouts and grade school and are now celebrating 55 years together (although, to be fair, Jim DID leave for awhile and spent another 18 years with Survivor.) 
Regardless, ALL of these guys have kept up their chops and sound better today than they ever have ... which makes it easy to sit thru show after show after show because they always bring their A-Game.  And, they mix the set list up just enough to always give you something new each time you see them. 
I also have to tip my hat to keyboardist Scott May, who has now been with the band for over thirty years.  The ever-essential horn section consists of Tim Bales, Steve Eisen and Henry Salgado. 
If you haven't already read it, pick up a copy of Jim's autobiography "Through The Eye Of The Tiger" ... it's a fascinating read ... and get their new CD while you're at it, too ... it's amazing. 
As to what particular guitar Jim uses for the Cornerstones shows, the answer is that he NEVER simply uses just one guitar ... he changes off throughout each performance.  (His 2018 "Guitars That Followed Me Home" calendar is an incredible look at some of the guitars in his personal collection.)  My best guess as to the one you see in the "L.A. Goodbye" clip would be a Gibson SJ200 (2000), which he describes as "my main stage axe."  He can probably confirm this. 
(You can pick up copies of both Jim's book and his 2018 calendar thru his website: 
In fact, as a quick reminder, you can catch The Ides of March at an In-Store appearance THIS SATURDAY (November 23rd) at Barbara’s Bookstore in Vernon Hills, IL, where they’ll be signing copies of their brand new “Play On” CD and 2-LP Set … as well as a brand new two-year Jim Peterik Calendar featuring “Stars And Guitars.”  (Watch for an acoustic set as well, featuring a few tunes from the new album along with a few timeless favorites!) 
It all happens THIS SATURDAY, from 2-4 pm.  Hope to see you there!   
The Ides will also be doing their Annual Christmas Show at The Arcada Theatre on Saturday, December 14th.  This is always a fun event ... seasonal songs mixed in with the hits (and often with a few "surprise guests" thrown into the mix, too!)  Check it out if you can.  
And now back to the countdown ... 
We'll hit The Top 1000 on Friday ...  
On the one hand, I can't believe it's gone so fast ... I almost hate to see it end!  But hopefully SOME improvement in our listening pleasure will come as a result. 
We caught an LA Internet Station playing songs from our list the other day ... and a WIDE variety of choices, too!  They ran Elvis' "Burning Love" right into "Barracuda" by Heart ... and then featured obscure tracks like "Breaking The Law" by Judas Priest segued into REO Speedwagon's "Cant Fight This Feeling" ... a GREAT variety mix of non-standard Classic Rock fare that sounded really appealing as a means of "shuffling the deck" a little bit. 
You guys have got to trust me on this one ... these tracks really DO work well together ... add a little bit of a creative mix and make radio interesting again both for the listener AND the programmer!  (kk)
Don't miss a moment ... 
We're counting 'em down daily till we hit the top!