Thursday, March 19, 2020

Thursday This And That

Well, it’s official …

“How Long” by Ace has just hit the #1 Spot on Billboard’s Rock Digital Song Sales chart, all due to its use in a new Amazon Prime TV ad.  (In the past two weeks it has sold over 4,000 downloads and reached 831,000 streams, thus increasing its previous sales by more than 2000 percent.)

Although the song DID reach #1 on the Cash Box Chart when it was first released in 1975, it only peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 … so I guess the answer to the musical question “How Long … does it take to have a #1 Record?” might be … 45 years!  (Once again, Billboard is distorting the facts here just a little bit … comparing having a #1 Record on “The Digital Rock Songs Sales Chart” … which didn’t even exist yet when this record was first released … to The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart, long considered to be “the music bible” when it comes to ranking the hits … are two ENTIRELY different things … but it still is quite an accomplishment.)  With several decades old Christmas songs chart high on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart late last year maybe there IS hope for our “vintage music” after all!  Proof again that much of “our” music is as timeless and memorable as we keep telling you it is.  (kk)


While “How Long” has long been considered a great love song about a cheating lover running around behind someone’s back, and it paints this portrait beautifully, that’s not REALLY what the song is about.

Ace Lead Vocalist, Keyboardist and the song’s writer Paul Carrack has since explained that it was actually about one of his own band members sneaking around, sitting in with other bands, impatient at the fact that it was taking Ace so long to make it.  Bass Player Terry Comer just didn’t feel things were happening fast enough for the band and he was getting frustrated … and started exploring other opportunities.  (In fact, he was sitting in with Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, who had the hit “(I Don’t Want To Love You But) You Got Me Anyway” in 1973.)  When the others found out, they pleaded with him to stick things out, telling him that if they just worked together, they would hit pay dirt eventually.

The incident was enough to inspire Carrack to write a song about it, which masquerades perfectly as a scenario millions of lovers could relate to worldwide.  (Carrack was proven right when their record hit the charts … and Comer stayed with the band long enough to play bass on their hit recording.  In fact, it’s his bass notes that kick off the song.) 

“How Long” became Ace’s only Top 40 Hit, peaking at #1 in Cash Box Magazine and #3 in both Billboard and Record World.  (It reached #5 here in Chicago on the WCFL chart.)  The Amazon Prime ad has proven to be incredibly successful in resurrecting this soft-rock / pop classic.

Lead Singer Paul Carrack would score his own Top Ten Hit as a solo artist in early 1988 when “Don’t Shed A Tear” went to #9 on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart.  Prior to that, he lent his voice to Squeeze (singing lead on “Tempted,” another pop/rock classic), Mike and the Mechanics (Mike Rutherford’s Genesis off-shoot band, who had THREE Top Ten Hits:  “Silent Running” (#6, 1986), “All I Need Is A Miracle” (#5, 1986) and “The Living Years” (which went all the way to #1 in 1988.)  Carrack also played keyboards for Roxy Music in the late ‘70’s and Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit.  

You guys liked "How Long" by Ace enough to make it the #329 song on our TOP 3333 MOST-ESSENTIAL CLASSIC ROCK SONGS List. (kk)

Speaking of “timeless and memorable,” Robert Feder ran a nice reader’s letter the other day, singing the praises of Me-TV-FM … also one of OUR favorites …
WRME 87.7-FM [MeTV FM] plays the widest variety of “forgotten oldies” this side of satellite radio. No other station even comes remotely close to playing songs from the 60s and 70s. It doesn’t mean I necessarily like every song 87.7 plays, but I listen for the guaranteed variety of music. As an added bonus, 87.7 often has interesting trivia about the songs it plays, which adds to the listening experience.
         Frank Lopes
Amen to that!  (kk)

Hi Kent,
I'm sure many of your followers already know this, but if anyone may have wondered why Dick Clark was keying in on the mysterious appearance of the drummer in the Yellow Balloon You Tube clip, that's because behind the shades and fake mustache and sideburns was actor/musician Don Grady, aka "Robbie Douglass" from TV's "My Three Sons." 
Grady didn't want his TV persona and fame to overshadow the group as they were starting to enjoy some success of their own.  Of course, The Yellow Balloon proved to be a one-hit wonder, so who knows?  Maybe the "Robbie Douglas" connection might have been helpful after all.
This wasn't the only time that Don opted not to trade on his TV fame.  In 1973, he released the album "Homegrown" on the Elektra label under his birth name, Don Agrati.  It failed to find an audience and, for many years, it was regular staple of cut-out bins everywhere, but it wasn't a bad album.  (see attachments)
Hope you and all your followers stay safe and well.
Scott Paton

While Don Grady’s involvement with The Yellow Balloon was one of rock and roll’s worst kept secrets, it was pretty cool (and kinda funny!) to see the great lengths he went thru to mask his identity.
YB Lead Singer Alex Valdez has been a FH Member for a LONG, long time … and still chimes in from time to time.
We’ve featured stories on the band numerous times over the years … but here is one of the better, more in-depth features that we did, explaining the whole Don Grady thing …
Alex also sent us this to use in our 1967 Salute a few years ago …

Hi Kent:
The Mr. Rogers CD is very well done ... glad I won. Thanx.
The Jaggerz did not disband. Jimmie Ross and the guys still play around the Pittsburgh, PA area.  Their sound today is more blue-eyed soul than pop, but they still sound great.
Anthony Gentilcore
I saw a number of videos posted on YouTube, including a couple where Donnie Iris sat in with the band for a couple of tunes.  Great to hear that they’re still doing what they love best.  (kk)

I’ve got to say that it was quite encouraging to see The Genesee Theatre send out a list of their rescheduled shows the other day.
All are August, September and October dates … but it’s great to see that the artists themselves are working to still play to their fans despite the most extreme of cancellation conditions.  (The headline reads “Due to public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, we are complying with Governor Pritzker’s mandate to postpone large events over the next 8 weeks.”  EIGHT WEEKS?!?!?  Yikes!!!
While not all of these shows will appeal to some of the folks on this list, the following shows have been rescheduled:
MIRANDA SINGS:  Original Show Date = Saturday, March 21st;
Rescheduled Date = Friday, August 28th
KENNY G:  Original Show Date = Friday, March 27th;
Rescheduled Date = Friday, October 2nd
BRIT FLOYD:  Original Show Date = Thursday, April 2nd;
Rescheduled Date = Friday, August 21st
RON WHITE:  Original Show Date = Friday, April 3rd;
Rescheduled Date = Saturday, September 19th

FH Reader Frank B tells us how Sound Royalties is helping out musicians and recording artists sidelined by the lack of work available to them due to the CoronaVirus.  (Now if the government will only do something to help out all of the restaurant employees who earn the bulk of their livings on tips!)
Big difference from the early days -- ripping off artists.

FH Reader LJ Coon sent us this photo …

March 18, 2020:
A line of Tractor Trailers lined up outside of The P&G Toilet Paper Plant
near Scranton, PA
Welcome to Mehoopany, Pennsylvania, home to Procter & Gamble’s largest manufacturing site in the United States. The Mehoopany plant produces 
Bounty Paper Towels,  Bounty Napkins,  Charmin Toilet Paper,  and diapers under the Pampers and Luvs brand names.
Damn … this is GREAT news!!!  Hope they make a stop at MY house!!!  No lie … I have not seen one single package of paper towels or toilet paper on a shelf at ANY store for two solid weeks now.  Let this bring some relief and peace of mind to all of us … now if only all you hoarders out there will let the rest us have a turn to buy only what we really need … without stockpiling for the Armageddon ... all may be right in the world again!  (Or at least in our own bathrooms!)  kk

We’re all trying to get thru this crisis … let’s face it, this is uncharted territory for ALL of us … and we’re all in it together … so let’s please work together to make sure everybody has the tools they need to survive.  Follow the guidelines that are being hammered into us … and stay healthy and clean.  I think at this point people are clinging to any hope of staying healthy or spotting the signs. 
No doubt about it, it has gotten REALLY crazy here - the empty store shelves - the complete isolation in some cases of any interaction ... you can’t even leave your desk to go out to lunch anymore.  It’s almost like if the virus doesn’t get you, the anxiety of dealing with it will!  But honestly, your home is probably your safest haven right now … because at least you know what you’ve brought into it.
Still, we all have to press on ...
Preferably with toilet paper ...
Or there’ll be a whole NEW disease to deal with!  (kk)

I'm still here and I'm reading every word.  
Music has been a real escape for me in the last few days.  I even pulled up some Irish tunes to post to get me through a day where there was no parade, no place to go hang out to be with friends.  
So I'm online and having fun anyway.  I'm chatting, listening to tunes, and watching lots of old movies and tv shows. 
Keep on keeping on, Kent!  Reminding us of those songs and those times long ago when life was much simpler for us.
Thank you!

LJ also sent us these awesome shots after the Chuck Buell "Abbey Road" / "Social Distancing" photo we ran yesterday …

Kent ... 
'Air Traffic Social Distancing' is just business as usual

While Experience Hendrix and Sony recently released the Band of Gypsys’ legendary four Fillmore East concerts with Songs For Groovy Children, now Capitol is capitalizing on the resurgence in the Band of Gypsys with a 50th Anniversary vinyl edition of the original album. “Celebrate history with a fresh shot of color,” is the slogan they’re using to promote the record as it will be offered in a translucent yellow vinyl. To be released on March 27 by Capitol Records, the set will be offered in either black vinyl or an “exclusive” translucent yellow vinyl pressing. The black vinyl version will be offered in 180-gram vinyl, although the pressing plant has indicated they cannot guarantee 180-gram pressings with the colored vinyl version. You may also have read that there would be a variety of color versions made available (as that was stated on the original official press release), but we have confirmed only the translucent yellow version shown on the pre-order site from Authentic Hendrix - - and is already reportedly sold out.
The poster is a 24” x 36” replica of the original promo poster.  It will be included in the LP jacket of both vinyl versions.  The booklet is the same one that is in the CD we issued.  This will be an all analog pressing and we are using the parts we originally made for Classic Records as those were so great sounding.
The album will be packaged with an eight-page booklet that the press release notes will be “filled with rare images from the concerts and an essay by John McDermott.” According to McDermott, “The booklet is the same one that is in the CD we issued.”
And, as promoted as an all-analog release, McDermott adds, “This will be an all analog pressing and we using the parts we originally made for Classic Records as those were so great sounding.”
As this 50th Anniversary Band of Gypsys edition is a Capitol Records released, it is currently only licensed for U.S. distribution. 
Now for Record Store Day on June 20, a limited-edition, 7” orange vinyl single featuring “Changes” and “Message to Love” from the album is being released.
Ironically, this is not the first time a single with these two tracks has been released. In 1970, the French Barclay label put out a series of singles titled “Jimi Hendrix Story” with volume five of the series including the two tracks. And checking track times, both singles as well as the album versions track in at exactly the same time.
For more information on Record Store Day –
There has been news of a vinyl pressing plant in the U.S. that was destroyed by fire in February. Official word is the Hendrix releases are not impacted as the forthcoming BOG Capitol album release is being pressed at QRP in Kansas, and the Record Store Day single at URP in Nashville. As reminded, vinyl lacquers are used to make the metal parts.  Bernie Grundman has access to his own supply from Japan.  He cuts this, send it to the plant, metal parts are then made and then manufacturing begins. 
- Submitted by Ken Voss