Friday, April 17, 2020

The Friday Flash

In the midst of all this doom and gloom surrounding us these days, where you don’t even want to put on the news to hear the latest update anymore because it just beats you up so badly, what a GREAT way to start the day the other morning when I received this email from Tommy James …  

You are THE one who keeps the music alive and relevant!!!

Thank you, Tommy … that means a lot.  (kk)

Hey Kent!  
What an amazing edition of FH!
Love the piece on Unchained Melody!  I always thought the title was based on the hugeness of the melody of the song. I find out it was the theme music of a B flick called Unchained!  Wow!  
And the clip of the Guess Who with the great Burton Cummings singing Laughing shows you just what an amazing this singer he is. I recall playing ping pong with him at RCA studios on Wacker back in about 1971 while the Ides were in Studio B. I think he’d win most of the time.
And thanks for posting my full Empty Arena live stream. I think you may agree Colin Peterik did a great job as host!  
Rock steady, stay safe and keep the faith!  

And, speaking of the incredible Guess Who, I wonder if “American Woman” by The Guess Who will be the next rock classic / oldie to find its way back to the charts.
With all its repeated airplay thanks to the non-stop television commercials promoting “Mrs. America,” the new “FX on Hulu” television series, a whole new audience will be introduced to this classic track, even if they’re not necessarily drawn to the viewing matter.  (Actually, it looks pretty interesting … and features an all-star cast.  We’ll be checking it out.)  kk

Hi, Kent:
Still reading your stuff in Philly. I don't comment much because my head and heart are musically some place else, but it's such good reading and informative and we never get too old for information. Kinda knocked me out to read one of my own comments concerning Unchained Melody. Thank you, sir! Then there was the "Fool Such as I" by Elvis mentioned and I had to dig up the Hank Snow hit version from 1952.
Stay safe and keep the good stuff coming. We need it!

You and your followers might enjoy this well-done "Kokomo" parody, "My Corona Home." It's by Jon Pumper, the music director at Minneapolis' Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater, founded by famed improvisational comedian Dudley Riggs.
It just passed 1.5 million views.

Keep up the great work.
Don Effenberger
This is great!  My daughter Nicki also sent me some cool Corona Little Mermaid videos … man, a LOT of work went into these!

Hi Kent,
"Well, who woulda thunk?" 
Just when you thought you had seen and heard everything, along comes another surprise package in life.  This time it's the Corona-catastrophe, a real grand-daddy of game-changers! 
Despite all the clouds, maybe there will be a silver-lining in this cataclysmic event that certainly has changed so much in our world as we have known it.  Maybe now with all this social-distancing, and all this time to appreciate and ponder "the meaning of life," maybe everyone will take a moment to get back into their music libraries and listen to some of the gems we've all been downloading but haven't taken the time to listen to for a while. 
You know the drill, "the hard drive holds eight million songs, but I've only listened to thirty of them recently!"  Maybe it's time to really appreciate the music and mantra that Forgotten Hits has been calling attention to in it's over twenty years of publication.
In our lifetime, from Buddy to the Beatles, Elvis to Elton, to a bevy of Neils, the music artists and their catalogues of which we have access in this age of technology, accessibility, and variety, is certainly unsurpassed at any time in our generation, let alone our history (I can only hope, my high school English teacher doesn't see that run-on sentence)! 
During this current state of affairs concerning this "virus that went viral," now is the perfect time, to listen and appreciate, the "musical fruits" (hey, wasn't that beans at one time?) that have been the result of so much of the history and events we have experienced over our lifetimes. 
Seems to me, "Flower Power, Motown, Metal, Rap, Bubble-Gum, Top-40, and Classic Rock didn't just happen, but were many times the result of historic events.  Being this is about the craziest event I've seen in my lifetime, I have high expectations of music that may just result from it, I guess we'll see. 
"Eve Of Destruction," "Ohio," "She Loves You," "Don't Be Cruel" -- during drastic eras and events, great music always seems to be the result.  And, now with social-distancing, masks, economic shutdowns and "the check is in the mail," maybe now is the perfect time to take a refresher course in Music Appreciation 101!
Just a couple of viewing suggestions …
If you haven't caught the Biography features on the A&E Channel lately, let me recommend a couple that have run recently. 
The one on Kenny Rogers' career is excellent, but one you don't want to miss is the one on Dolly Parton.  Whether you are a fan of their music or not, you will certainly get a crash course in the talent, tenacity and persistence, and what it takes to becoming an icon in the music business.  Dolly didn't accrue a half-billion dollars, and Kenny a quarter of a billion dollars from the stark beginnings of abject poverty because they were "overnight successes" or were just plain lucky.  As I'm sure with so many of artists, their road managers, and roadies can tell you -- there's endless nights of feast and famine, second hand smoke, and plenty of time to ponder and wonder if the fame game, like a car accident, is all that it is cracked up to be.  I would imagine, after an all-night bus ride and eating lukewarm ham and hash browns with a hang-over getting ready to play a County Fair on a hot, humid night in Podunk, you find out real fast whether you can subsist on the compliments from the people in the front row.  And, if your love of music can hold you long enough to attain yours and everyone else's perception of fame and fortune -- if and when it happens. 
After WWII, Korea, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Woodstock, drugs, guns, abortion, Desert Storm, 9-11, Feminism, the Me-Too Movement and political-polarization, let's see what kind of music results from this, the catastrophic Corona-virus.  Behind the all-too-realistic movies, television, and books I am sure are on the way, I am guessing there will be new music out soon with titles such as:  "Toilet Paper Tragedy - The Bootleg Tapes" by The Empty Shelves!
Tim Kiley
GREAT stuff, Tim!!!  Thanks so much for sending!  (kk)
How in the hell you squeeze everything into your day for work, family, and still maintain Forgotten Hits is beyond comprehension, let alone attend concerts and maintain personal and professional relationships.  Like Dolly Parton's Biography Special, Forgotten Hits is a killer! 
Happiness and health to you, Frannie and the Kotal Family.

Hi, Kent –
Staying at home has its little pleasures.  It allows me to dig up all kinds of stuff to help cheer up all of us music lovers. 
For example, this shot I took at the Dick Biondi Toy Drive, 2012, Stratford Square … When you walk into the men's room, here's the first thing you see.  I guess it IS sort of music-related, as a turntable DOES have a spindle!
Take care, stay safe!
Yes, I’ve seen this display MANY times as you head into the bathroom at Stratford Square!  (lol)  Thanks, Mike!  (kk) 

So Stephen Stills had to cancel a CSNY tour because of a broken wrist. Poor baby! Almost three years earlier, I broke BOTH wrists, and I didn't cancel my tour!
Jack Levin

Prince fans should enjoy next Tuesday (April 21st) Night’s Grammy Salute to the artist FOREVER known as Prince.
Taped last January, Ultimate Classic Rock is showing the evening’s cast and set list as:
H.E.R. and Gary Clark, Jr., "Let's Go Crazy"
Miguel, "
I Would Die 4 U"
St. Vincent, "Controversy"
John Legend, "
Nothing Compares 2 U"
Juanes, "
H.E.R., "
The Beautiful Ones"
Usher, "
Little Red Corvette," "When Doves Cry" and "Kiss"
Chris Martin and Susanna Hoffs, "Manic Monday"
The Time, "
Jungle Love," Cool" and "the Bird"
Foo Fighters, "
Darling Nikki"
Earth Wind and Fire, "Adore"
Common, "
Sign O' the Times"
Beck, "Raspberry Beret"
Gary Clark, Jr., "
The Cross"
Sheila E., "
America," "Free" and "The Glamorous Life"
Princess, "
Mavis Staples and the Revolution, "Purple Rain"
Everybody, "
Baby I'm a Star"

UCR is also reporting that Christopher Cross is experiencing some paralysis after his bout with the Corona Virus … but otherwise is recovering nicely.  (This, too, is expected to pass.)

The other day we told you about a couple of new radio shows featuring our old DJ Buddy Jeff James, now back on the air at Huntley Radio. (Well, actually, OLD radio shows, if you used to enjoy Jeff on the old Y103.9, when they presented a great mix of oldies on the air here in Chicago … can you believe at one time Chicago had as many as THREE oldies stations!!!)
Well, I wanted to let you know that on Wednesday, I officially made it “Jeff James Day” at work ...
I kicked things off by listening to last week's Saturday Night Live At The ‘70’s program ... (you can do the same right here: … 
And then followed that up with Jeff’s brand new Windy City Wednesdays program, saluting many of the great artists that hailed from our great city.  (Now airing Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:00 pm.)
And I’ve got to say that it was just GREAT to hear him back on the air ... and he is CLEARLY having fun doing this.
I even listened to a little bit of the station in between, too ... and heard some interesting very stuff.  (Everything from the expected oldies along with some newer and even some “semi-current” stuff to a long-forgotten Amy Grant song to an entire radio episode of The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet!!! … which was QUITE entertaining, by the way.  Airing on April 15th … the usual tax deadline until our entire world was turned upside down … the whole episode was about Ozzie filing his income tax back in what I would guess to be around 1952.  The whole family was there as Ozzie struggled with the forms, how to interpret some of the answers and allow the right deductions … boy, things sure haven’t changed much in the past 70 years!!!  It was a very fun listen … and showed what The Nelsons sounded like before they came into our living rooms every week on that new-fangled contraption called the television set!  And yes, a very young, irrepressible Ricky was there, too!) 
Anyway, since we’ve been on the subject of interesting radio to listen to while we’re all still hunkered down, I just wanted to let you know that I was able to tune in to this one ... and enjoyed the whole day.  Welcome back, Jeff!!!  It’s great to have you back on the dial, as they say!  (kk)

Wow - Super kind of you, Kent. 
Got killer response on the show yesterday and even the big boss man that was there doing some work came into studio after I played the Trolls’ “Every Day and Every Night” and said he has not heard that in years and just loved it.
Thanks for all the announcements on your site - appreciate that like nothing else -  and of course you always have that open invite to come by anytime!
Maybe after the whole social distancing thing settles down … haven’t been to Huntley in DECADES … but I’m STILL going to pass on the turkey testicles delicacies they serve there … I can’t even imagine doing that to myself!!!  (lol)  kk

And, speaking of local radio, this week’s Saturday Night Sing-Along on Me-TV-FM will be The Blues Brothers’ classic “Sweet Home Chicago.”  Everyone is urged to join in and sing (while still observing the social distancing guidelines) at 7 pm tomorrow night.  (kk)

Paul McCartney did a lengthy guest spot on The Howard Stern Show the other day.  (Their spot was delayed due to technical difficulties so I missed it on the way in to work … put it on for a couple of minutes once I got there but it’s not exactly the kind of program you can listen to at work when people are popping in and out of your office all day long!!! … so it was a nice surprise when FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent me the YouTube link to be able to enjoy the whole thing in the privacy of my own home.
And now YOU can, too!  (I’ve already seen several quotes from this interview circling all over the music trades.  Read the comments below ‘tho … Stern needs to let his guests answer the questions without constantly interrupting them.  Howard talked about spending hours putting together his plans for the interview … and all the things he wanted to be sure to ask, including several things he’s ALWAYS wanted to ask.  Great … then allow your guest to answer those well thought out questions. Listen to the opening segment and you’ll see Paul’s concerns about being asked how many times he’s still getting laid and how long his penis is …. questions that Stern says he would have asked Beethoven or Mozart back in the day, too, if given the chance.  Yep, that’s Howard!!!)
Coincidently, that very same night “Private Parts” was showing on cable when I got home … so I just HAD to put it on for a few minutes.  I don’t care how many times I’ve seen this movie (and I’ll betcha it’s at least twenty!), this thing STILL cracks me up every time I watch it.  Howard Stern:  while I can’t consider myself a fan and I don’t listen regularly, he’ll ALWAYS entertain you for as long as you can stand to sit thru the good, the bad and the ugly of it all!  (kk)
And, speaking of Paul McCartney, they’re hosting a 50th Anniversary Listening Party on Spotify this evening, celebrating the release of Sir Paul’s first solo album, “McCartney.”   

More details below …

One of our readers (Ed Erxleben ... thanks, Ed!) caught an error on our list of The Top 3333 Most Essential Classic Rock Songs of All Time.
This is something that was fixed several drafts ago ... but then apparently reappeared when we pasted the album information we received from Dann Isbell, which must have utilized an old file.
A corrected list is now available … just drop me a line and we’ll send it along.
For the record, #1948 should be SUBDIVISIONS by RUSH from their 1982 SIGNALS album.  The current list shows STING at both #1947 and #1948 with LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE.

Hey Kent,
Remember it's not an "error" … it is simply an "update!"  Ha! 
And the good news is, nobody's name, address, and Social Security Number were compromised -- which means you are miles ahead of Google and Facebook!  Ha!  Have a great evening! 
Out here in Colorado, it’s nice to get night-time signals from WGN (listen to Nick Giglio late-night sometimes) and WBBM.  Take care.
Tim Kiley

This Essential Classic Rock database is great!  There is a great need for a chart like this because early classic rock is poorly documented.  Many of these songs were never released as singles, and Billboard did not even chart rock tracks until 1981.  Looking at your database, I see some tracks that I've never even known about.  Needless to say, I will be checking them out.  Thanks!
Ed Erxleben

>>>Is there ANYBODY out there in the ENTIRE world that would rank “Bohemian Rhapsody” between “More More More” by The Andrea True Connection and “Misty Blue” by Dorothy Moore?!?!  Yet that’s how Billboard tabulated their year end chart that year (although I can’t imagine what point system they used to do so!)
As for the Kris Kross error, I will be the very first to admit that Kris Kross and their #1 song “Jump” were not on my radar THEN (back in 1992) or at any moment since.  (If they boogied on next to me right now and sang two minutes of it, I STILL wouldn’t know what it was!!!)  It’s often amazing to me looking back at how some of these songs were SO immensely popular at the time yet didn’t sustain that level of interest even just a few years later (much less thirty!)  It’s also the reason that I don’t think much of today’s music (or the music of the past 20 years) will have much long-term impact … so much of it just comes across as “disposable.”  But “Bohemian Rhapsody” is timeless … a one-of-a-kind track for the ages … that apparently has only grown in stature since its first release.  Who out there … at any age … doesn’t know at least some part of that song?  (Remember a few years ago when that video went around of the two year old kid sitting in her car seat singing it???)  Then again, when’s the last time you danced The Macarena???  (kk)  
Hi Kent,
I happen to find "Jump" by Kris Kross to be catchy as hell!  Yes, it hasn't aged very well at all, but we could say that for a ton of hits over the years. 
I've said it before and I'll say it again … the Billboard charts are a snapshot of any given week.  They have a system that combines sales and airplay OF THAT PARTICULAR WEEK.  There is no consideration to the quality of the songwriting or musicianship or whether or not it'll hold up 20 years from now.  For good or bad, it's all about the sales and airplay at the moment.  Period.  End of story!
As for "Bohemian Rhapsody", I loved that song from the first moment I heard it.  I rushed out to buy the 45 and I couldn't wait for each showing of the video (prior to MTV, those viewings were few and far between).  Although I've become a bit burned out by the constant radio play over the years, I still can't bring myself to turn it off when it comes on.  All of that said, I can easily understand why it never charted higher on the Hot 100 (see comments above).  As for the songs that ranked above it that particular week, I liked some of them more than others.  "Let Your Love Flow" (not "Let Your Love Go", perhaps you had Bread on the brain) still sounds pretty fresh to my ears.  "Disco Lady" is NOT a disco song (it never even charted on the dance charts in 1976), it's a classic R&B song ABOUT disco, and is probably my favorite song of 1976.  I agree that "Sweet Love" is not one of the Commodores best - it didn't get a ton of Top 40 airplay (only peaked at #16 in Radio & Records), but it was a #2 R&B hit and was the first indication that the band could do more mellow songs that would soon become their trademark.  "Right Back Where We Started From," "Welcome Back" and "Boogie Fever" are such fun songs that I can listen to them over and over again.  (Remember, I was 10 years-old in 1976, so the nostalgia factor is huge).  But, that's what great about music.  We all have our favorites and like what we like, smart-ass comments notwithstanding.
Paul Haney

For those who wasted their money to go and see the "Echo in the Canyon" documentary about Laurel Canyon in LA and the music scene there, just wait.  The REAL documentary will be here soon and it's ON TV! 
We spent $15 to go see the "Echo" piece of drivel at our University theater and were greatly disappointed.  NOW, coming in two parts, we will get the real show next month on EPIX.


“Echo In The Canyon” was pretty disappointing … we had SO looked forward to seeing this … but I am hearing good things about “Laurel Canyon” so we’re definitely going to give it a look.  Thanks, Clark.  (kk)

I enjoyed the video you posted of the man doing card tricks with the narrative of DECK OF CARDS. Now in the extended version (?) of the narrative, all of the cards that make up a deck are mentioned, not just the few that he did in the video.
Even though I have a copy of the Wink Martindale version, to my memory and recollection, it was never played on our weekly top 40 radio station, WKY-AM 930. The reason why is that the morning man at the time and also PD, Danny Williams, recorded it himself, and it was his version that was played on WKY. (Rank has its privileges!)
It was recorded on the local label Sully Records with a flip of  IF JESUS CAME TO YOUR HOUSE. According to their weekly survey, it peaked at #10 for the week of October 15, 1959. Now according to the record that Danny made, the song itself was credited to someone by the name of Fitzmans, whomever that is.
Speaking of Wink Martindale, he had a follow-up called BLACK LAND FARMER, again one of those narrative type of records on the Dot label.
One final thing about DECK OF CARDS ...
I don't know this for a fact, but I believe I heard that years ago other DJ's at other radio stations in other markets recorded the song as well. Maybe one of your readers remembers another DJ making it.
Larry Neal
Now that you’re saying that, I think we covered this once before in FH.  It was a fairly common practice back in the early days of rock and roll to have the local jocks record their own version of a popular song, especially a relatively easy narrative such as this one.
Here in Chicago, it was the Wink Martindale version that charted, peaking at #13. (Nationally, it went to #4 in Cash Box … and #7 in Billboard.)
Here in Chicago, it was Frankie Miller who had the hit with “Black Land Farmer.”  (It also peaked at #13.)  Nationally, Miller’s version also bested Wink Martindale’s … but not by much.  Frank Miller’s version went to #82 in Billboard while Wink Martindale’s version stopped at #85.  (kk)

A few weeks ago we told you about the brand new tribute CD to Mr. Rogers featuring an all-star cast recreating the music of Fred Rogers.  (In fact, we even gave away a few copies to our readers!)
Well, now comes word that in honor of Cinco de Mayo, a brand new video has been released featuring Jon Secada singing Rogers’ popular opening theme “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” IN SPANISH!!!  More details below. (kk) 

When you hear the words “¿Podemos Ser Amigo?” sung expressively by Grammy-award winning artist Jon Secada, you'll know that Mister Rogers is definitely in the neighborhood. With all that's going on in the world today it’s been said we need Fred Rogers more than ever. And what better way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo this year than a Spanish version of Fred’s most recognized song.
A video has been lovingly created for the one-of-a kind adaptation featured in the audio album THANK YOU MISTER ROGERS. - MUSIC & MEMORIES. The album showcases celebrity artists singing imaginative arrangements of Fred’s songs. Those featured include Kellie Pickler, Vanessa Williams, Rita Wilson, Lee Greenwood, Sandi Patty, Jim Brickman, Jaci Velasquez, Micky Dolenz, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., The Cowsills, Tom Bergeron, and Jon Secada.
Secada’s song is the world’s only Spanish recording of Rogers' theme song which opened every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighbor for over fifty years. It was the brainchild of Grammy-winning producer Dennis Scott who also plays in a Beatles tribute band, The WannaBeatles. That provided a connection to Rev. Reinaldo Toledo who is father of the group’s Cuban born drummer David. With no encouragement needed, the Reverend beautifully crafted Spanish words for Fred's iconic theme song. It was then offered to multi award winning Latin artist Jon Secada who was excited to be part of the project. Jon quickly approved the lyric and was glad that it was not a word for word translation:  “What you want to do is to get the message across from the original song and still make it fit in another language. This adaptation works really well and it meant a lot to me to be able to do the song in my first language Spanish.” 
It also meant a lot to Rev. Toledo's son, David Toledo. “It brought me to tears to see my father's gift for languages so magnificently displayed before the entire world” says David whose father passed before hearing Secada’s Latin flavored rendition. Producer Scott observed, “I love how this story unfolded and how ‘Won’t You be My Neighbor’” has taken on a whole new character in Spanish. When my wife heard Jon Secada singing it, she literally swooned. I’m glad that both this song and the album will introduce Fred’s’ songs to a whole new audience of pop and Latin music lovers.” 
And when the world hears that familiar melody compliment by the words, “Es Un dia precioso en la vecindad” they will know they are listening to Mister Rogers in a very special way.

Check out this all-star cast!  

Hi Kent,
Thanks for the shout out for the “Spirit of Chicago”!  I can’t believe it’s been 28 years since that song was written.  To my ears, it sounds just as fresh and relevant today as back when it was first released on the Ides Ideology CD. And I’ve got to give the credit to Jim Peterik. When he asked me to help him finish the tune, he’d already written the title, all of the music and some of the lyrics.  Given the subject matter – Spirit of Chicago - it was easy to finish the song. It definitely is an example of the many uplifting and inspirational Jim Peterik songs and I’m proud to have had a part in writing the lyrics. During these difficult days I hope it helps to lift the spirit of Chicagoans everywhere with its timeless message of courage and resilience.  Kent, thanks for featuring the song today and all the great and tireless work you’re doing with Forgotten Hits!  May you and your family be well and stay healthy! 
Dick Eastman

“Spirit Of Chicago” is a nice song and a well-done video, but did the maker have to include pictures of the Democrat mayor and liberal hero Dr. Fauci while leaving out the President? Seems like political bias / promotion pokes its ugly head into everything.
Bob Verbos
I can’t even pretend to speak for Paul Braun, who put together the video montage that accompanies this track … but Chicago has ALWAYS been a VERY democratic political base ... so I can’t say that I’m surprised by this.  (Our history “corrupt practices” dates back to the beginning of time.  The motto here has always been “Vote Early and Vote Often” … and we certainly have had our share of colorful mayors.  (And governors, too, for that matter!) 
I’ll leave it to Paul to speak for himself if he chooses to do so … but I think the ONLY message here is Chicago pulling together as a city to fight this thing.  (Hey, we came back after The Great Chicago Fire leveled the city … bigger and stronger … even bold enough to slap circumstance in the face by building the city’s Fire Department base on the very ground where Mrs. O’Leary’s barn used to be!)
I’d take the whole message at its face value and leave it at that.  Chicago … and the whole country … will rise up again (against our latest rival.)
Now, on the other hand, this COMPLETELY crazy idea of getting everybody back to work in two weeks before they have even gotten a handle on this thing sounds a bit absurd to me.  Sure, we as a country need to rebuild … but NOT at the risk of tens of thousands more deaths when we don’t even have a treatment plan in place.  And what then if we really do experience a second wave of this in the fall?!?!  (Jeez, a week ago all we heard about was that this was supposed to PEAK at its absolute strongest around the 16th – 20th of April (aka RIGHT NOW) … and then knock us off our feet for another ten days to two weeks.  Why on EARTH would we even CONSIDER sending everybody back to work NOW when potentially the worst is yet to come.  And that is NOT a political statement … that’s just good, old-fashioned common sense!!!  (kk)

Thanks a million, Kent, for the featured spot for ‘Spirit Of Chicago!’  Means the world to me, the Ides and Paul Braun and all of our guest artists. 
We are trying now to get it to Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot and others involved in the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. If you (or any of your readers) have any contacts, please let me know.  Thank you!
Anybody???  (kk)

>>>Mark Lindsay and Terry Melcher lived together in Terry’s house for quite some time and wrote songs together there.  (This is the same house that Charles Manson and his crew came to attack, not realizing that Melcher no longer lived there … instead his disciples found Sharon Tate, et al, and the rest, as they say, is some pretty gory history.)  kk
You’re mistaken … Manson wasn't there. Fact.
Apologies … I misworded my statement … it’s the house where Manson dispatched his disciples to carry out helter skelter … a calculated move to “take out the enemy.” Manson did NOT go along for the ride.  (kk)