Saturday, October 10, 2020

Now Here's A Really Cool Idea

Radio Big Wig Tom Cuddy told us about a TV Themes promotion he was involved with back when he was VP of Programming at WPLJ-FM in New York.  (Actually, the idea came from a happenstance on Scott Shannon's radio program!)

I'll let Tom fill you in on the rest of the details ...   


Your invitation to have readers submit a list of their favorite TV themes has brought back some memories.

I believe that over the years TV themes have never received all the respect they deserve. Some of them are among the catchiest melodies of all-time.  I have friends who know the lyrics to more TV themes, than hit records!  

When I was VP of Programming at New York’s WPLJ-FM, I produced a one-time special event saluting nothing but TV themes.  To explain what it was about, I did a Google search last weekend and found a story about this memorable concert written by one of the NYC papers:



NY Daily News

APR 14, 2005 

It's terrifying, beyond terrifying really, how many TV theme songs unsuspecting Americans carry around. The most casual TV fan hears three notes of "Happy Days" or "The Flintstones" or "Friends" or "The Jeffersons" and suddenly the whole song spools out uncontrollably in his or her head. Now radio station WPLJ (95.5 FM), far from helping cool this addiction, is encouraging it.  

'PLJ has rented the China Club April 27 for "TV Tunestock," at which composers or singers of the themes from "Cheers", “Facts of Life” and others will perform their songs live. They will be joined by a live orchestra playing more themes from "Gilligan's Island," "Love Boat" and so on. There will also be sing-alongs, said WPLJ vice president Tom Cuddy, and morning hosts Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill will perform at least one yet-unselected song themselves.

This whole thing started when Shannon and Pettengill spun Joey Scarbury's theme from "The Greatest American Hero" as part of a flashback feature. Suddenly we started getting calls from listeners talking about how they grew up on that song and other TV themes," says Cuddy. "So we thought, 'We produce special events for our listeners all the time, why not track down these artists?”  

So far they're signed up, among others, Scarbury; David Pomeranz, "Perfect Strangers"; Gary Portnoy, "Cheers" and the "Punky Brewster" theme; Greg Evigan, “My Two Dads,” "B.J. and the Bear"; Gloria Loring, "Facts of Life;" David Naughton, “Makin’ It,” and, of course, Scarbury.  

Ironically, television itself has devalued themes lately. Some shows have no recognizable music at all. But the people remember. 

In 2002, both TV Guide and the TV Land network, whose reruns bring classic themes to a new generation, compiled lists of the top TV themes. TV Land's was a top 40 countdown, with "Gilligan's Island" edging "Happy Days" for No. 1. TV Guide's list ran chronologically, from "I Love Lucy" to "Six Feet Under.”  

"These songs are just part of people's lives," says Cuddy. "We've had more calls and E-mails about this concert than almost anything I can remember in a long time.”  

Tickets to the show, by the way, are available only through WPLJ contests.

Noblemania: “Greatest American Hero” theme singer interview: Joey Scarbury

“Greatest American Hero” singer Joey Scarbury and his wife

In tracking down the artists to perform, I found some of them living in NY, including the vocalist who sang and co-wrote the Cheers theme (Gary Portnoy).  Gary was a super nice guy, but was so nervous  about closing the concert in Times Square at the China Club, that he sweated through his shirt backstage and asked if we could give him a WPLJ T-Shirt to wear on stage, which we did.  

The hardest guy to track down was Joey Scarbury.  He had retired from singing and was living out of the spotlight as a manger of a California car dealership.  He didn’t have a listed number and back in 2005 there was no recent update for him on the internet.  I had to use a private detective to track down his phone number.  And when I finally spoke to him, he said he would pass.  He was uncomfortable flying into NYC after 9/11. 

The next day he calls me back and says my wife said I was crazy and that I shouldn’t turn down a free trip to NYC, especially if she could come as well.  He asked me if I could throw in some Yankees tickets and he would be happy to participate.  

Here’s a rare interview I found with Mr. Scarbury:

Everybody else I reached out to was thrilled to be asked and accepted, except for one: The writer and singer of the Mary Tyler Moore Theme, Sonny Curtis of the Crickets.  He said he was flattered to be asked, but because of his age he didn’t want to do the traveling.  

One cute story surrounds the Welcome Back Kotter theme, written by the Lovin Spoonful’s John Sebastian. I’m a fan of his work, but I had gone to see him not long before I was producing this concert, and, sadly John, through a medical condition, had lost a great deal of his singing ability.  So I didn’t pursue him for our show.  Instead, I was told by a NY promoter that one of the stars of the hit “Kotter” TV show, Ron Palillo (Horshack), lived two blocks from the NYC venue we were holding the event.  So we surprised our listeners by bringing out Ron, who performed the theme for the first time with a live band.  

Because the concert was such a rarity, I had the idea to film it for a VH1 or Nick at Night Special, but we didn’t have the budget for that, so I asked a film maker friend to bring his camera and film it for posterity.  I sent copies of it after the fact to all the performers and the station DJs got souvenir DVDs as well.  

Unfortunately, I can’t share it with TV theme fans on You Tube because we never got the approvals.  I can only use for personal viewing.  

So, Kent, if you’d like a copy for your private viewing pleasure, just let me know.  Or, if you’d to do a drawing from everyone who votes in your TV themes poll, I’d be happy to provide a copy for that as well.

- Tom Cuddy

Absolutely ... I'm all in!  (Talk about your one-of-a-kind rarities, this would make for a very cool addition to ANYBODY's home music library!)

So folks, get your votes in now for your favorites ... and let us know if you'd like us to register your name for a dvd copy of this one-time concert event.  (We will only be giving away one copy ... so why not enter now for your chance to be the lucky recipient of this great prize, courtesy of Tom Cuddy.  Even if you voted before, just drop us a note ... list a few more of your favorites ... and we'll add your name to the drawing.)

Send ALL TV Themes votes to:

Friday, October 9, 2020

Your Favorite TV Themes

Here's a quick update on our latest Favorite TV Themes Poll ...

As of this morning,  we have received just under 6000 votes, spread out over 360 titles.

During the weekend of November 21st and 22nd, we will be counting down Your Top 50 Favorites.  (We are still working on a radio tie-in for this countdown and will keep you posted.)

As we continue to analyze the data, we see that 117 of those 360 titles have only received one vote each ... that being from the person who nominated it.

Based on the votes collected so far, a TV theme would need a minimum of 40 votes right now in order to make The Top 50.  As such, we are going to eliminate those single vote titles from the running as I don't see any way that these could possibly earn enough votes at this point to make the final list.

That leaves another 120 more titles that have earned between 2 and 9 votes.  (Any theme that earned ten or more votes during our first two full weeks of balloting will remain on the ballot.)

We're going to list those remaining 120 titles for your consideration today.  If any of these earn enough votes to qualify, they, too, will move to the final ballot.

Please keep these thoughts in mind ...

We are asking you to vote for your FAVORITES ... the themes that YOU think meant the most and are most memorable.  You can probably find any unfamiliar title listed here on YouTube ... but if you don't already know it by heart and recognize it from this list, how can it possibly be one of your All-Time Favorites???

Likewise, you are voting for your favorite TV Themes ... and NOT your favorite TV shows.  There are some GREAT shows on this list ... they just didn't have great themes!

The purpose of this list is NOT to try and get you to vote some of these titles "in" to the finals ... 

They're listed here in the odd chance that they may have slipped your mind for consideration due to there being SO many great television themes to choose from.

So now, in alphabetical order, here are some themes that are about to be eliminated unless you determine to save them.  (Next weekend, we'll provide an alphabetical list of all the finalists ... the FINAL BALLOT, if you will ... and ask you to review it and then vote for up to twenty of your all-time favorites.)  The polls officially close on Saturday, November 7th.

Meanwhile, you can continue to vote for all of your other favorites via email to

21 Jump Street
All My Children
The Alvin Show
American Dreams
The Archies
The Avengers
The Banana Splits
Barney and Friends
Bat Masterson
The Beany and Cecil Show
The Benny Hill Show
Beverly Hills 90210
The Big Bang Theory
Bugs Bunny (Overture)
Candid Camera
The Carol Burnett Show
Casper The Friendly Ghost
Cosby (where he played the gym teacher)
The Cosby Show (where he played Dr. Huxtable)
The Dean Martin Show
Dennis The Menace
Doogie Houser, M.D.
Entertainment Tonight
Family Affair
Family Ties
Fireball XL-9
Golden Girls
Green Hornet
Harlem Globetrotters
Hawaiian Eye
Here Come The Brides
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life On The Streets
The Honeymooners
HR Pufnstuff
Huckleberry Hound
In The Heat Of The Night
It's About Time
The Jetsons
The John Laroquette Show
Josie and the Pussycats
The Kids In The Hall
The Lawrence Welk Show
Let's Make A Deal
Little House On The Prairie
Looney Tunes
Lost In Space
Mad About You
Mad Men
Magilla Gorilla
Magnum, PI
Make Room For Daddy
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Match Game
McHale's Navy
Merrie Melodies
Mighty Mouse
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Mr. Lucky
The Muppet Show
Murphy Brown
My Favorite Martian
The Newlywed Game
Night Court
The OC
Pink Panther
Police Story
The Prisoner
Private Eye
Rat Patrol
The Real McCoys
The Red Skelton Hour
Ren and Stimpy
The Rifleman
Road Runner
Rocky and Bullwinkle
Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In
Roy Rogers
The Saint
Saturday Night Live
Saved By the Bell
Scooby Doo
Silver Spoons
The Simpsons
Soul Train
The Soupy Sales Show
Spider Man
Star Trek: The Next Generation
This Is Tom Jones
The Three Stooges
Top Cat
Twin Peaks
Wagon Train
Walt Disney's Wonderful World Of Color
What's Happening
Woody Woodpecker
Yogi Bear
The Young and the Restless

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday This And That

More rock stars praise the influence of Eddie Van Halen …

Billboard salutes both Van Halen and Johnny Nash with their “Forever #1” Series, spotlighting recently departed artists who topped Billboard’s Hot 100 Pop Singles list.

Hi Kent,

I wrote about the Whipped Cream and Other Delights LP a few years ago that I posted on FB. Here’s the link if you’re interested.

Keep up the good work!

Jerry Reuss

One reader wrote in to say that I must have posted the cover of that album 1500 times over the past 21 years of doing Forgotten Hits …

Which we all know is a bit of an exaggeration …

It’s been WAY more times than that!

So I think we’re good on this one!  (lol)   

But the link is there for anyone else who wants to see it.  

Thanks, Jerry!


I’m not sure where I got this …

But here’s the Whipped Cream lady at 82

Mike Wolstein

OK, so the cream may have curdled a little bit over the past 55 years …

Yes, we ran this photo some time ago … you know, in one of those 1500+ times we ran a shot of the cover!  (kk)

Hi, Kent:  

Bravo for pointing out that the so-called "Greatest" this and that is just a ploy to stir interest. When they stick the magic words "All-Time" in there, I just laugh.  Who are these people and are they self-ordained gurus of all things musical?  Hey, I'd like to cast a vote for John Philip Sousa! If you must play this game, the least you can do is separate it into eras. Personally, I couldn't care less, dividing my music into two categories, that which I like and that which I don't like.

Now, about those movies of 1962. First of all, Stanley Kubrick did Lolita and not John Frankenheimer. Let's get that out of the way. I do not revere 1962 as a great year for movies but a good one. And I won't compare 1939 with 1962 for all the same reasons given for the music. I'm a movie nut and won't give in to the temptation unless I am just having fun with another movie nut in a harmless give and take. The only ranking I will ever do, be it music, movies or TV is my FAVORITES ... a safe, inarguable list. 


I’m afraid I’m as guilty as anyone of using that “Greatest” or “Favorites” or “Most Essential” of “All-Time” moniker as much as anybody.

That’s because we’re asking YOU, the readers, to help us build this list of definitive tracks for any given topic or subject matter.  (And the truth is NO list will ever not be subject to scrutiny by self-proclaimed know-it-alls who feel they are in a better position to judge these things than we are.)

That’s why I consider OUR lists to be the most definitive in an era where people just LOVE to debate such things.  (Let’s face it … you can’t get four people to agree on where to go to lunch … how on EARTH are they going to determine The Most Essential Classic Rock Track Of All Time???)

They aren’t … because no one person can …

But when you capture a million votes … when you weigh airplay and downloads and compile all of the data, you CAN get a pretty good idea of what Joe Average Classic Rock Fan out there likes and wants to hear.

Does that mean radio’s actually going to give it to them?

Of course not!

Because they have their own agenda and team of consultants who have convinced them that mass quantities of people will begin exhibiting suicidal tendencies if they don’t hear something by Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, AC/DC or Queen every fifteen minutes.

We can’t win the battle … but we CAN open the awareness to a better listening experience.

For right now, I can live with that.  (kk)

[And meanwhile, don’t forget to vote for your All-Time Favorite TV Themes!!!  Lol]


We heard back from Brian Hyland regarding the song “One Night Jimmy,” which he cowrote with Jim Holvay, covered here the other day …

Hi Kent -
I met Jimmy Holvay on a tour with Shirley Ellis,  Jewel Akins and Bobby Freeman.  He was the guitar player in the band which was contracted by Jimmy Ford, I think, for the tour. We played about a month of one nighters all over the US and I wrote a number of songs with Jimmy on the bus.  This was one of the songs we wrote.  The bass player on the tour was James  Guercio, who later produced Blood, Sweat and Tears … what a band!

After this tour, Jimmy wrote Kind of a Drag, Don’t You Care and Susan for the Buckinghams.  This all happened in 1965 … (the tour that is.) 

As far as that single of One Night Jimmy, it’s probably an acetate from the session. 

Take care …


Meanwhile, Clark Besch came up with another Brian Hyland-related piece …

James Holvay did a lot with Brian Hyland for sure, including writing the 1964 A side single “Stay Away From Her” for Brian when they were on Dick Clark's tour in ‘64.   Unfortunately, it got lost in the shuffle being out in April of ‘64 when the Beatles sold the most records.  This is a dead ringer for Del Shannon.


Some more random thoughts from Clark regarding some of the topics we’ve covered recently in FH …

>>>I’m not sure if “One Way Ticket” was released here in The States or not  (kk)

Yes, it was.  I have a copy.


>>>but I DO like “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” and “It’s One Of Those Nights (Yes Love)”  (kk)

Funny, but in listening to Landecker last night on WGN and reading your blog, I think of having Partridge Family songs on tape of Landecker 50 years ago.  Last night, he opened his show with "Talk Talk" by Music machine!

That William Shatner video is what happens when those sleep apnea commercials get to you.

The new Pride of Lions song is fab!

I watched this nice Herb Alpert documentary the other night, too.  It was mono for me as well.  It covered what he is doing now (his paintings mostly) first, but continued throughout.  It gave credit to Sam Cooke and Jan & Dean for being artists who helped lead the way to his writing and the A&M label.  I have Dore Alpert 45s but never dreamed they were by HERB! 
Of course, many A&M artists talk about how nice he is and how important he was and it being a family because of being a privately owned company. 

It is chronological except returning to the present every 20 minutes or so for a bit of current info and then back.  Lots of good clips including some "of the band" that he found

The maker of the film says Herb never threw anything away and thus there’s all the great footage they have, with some have never been aired before. 

I still was waiting for him to mention all the session players in the Wrecking Crew when recording, but he seemed to make it a better story by saying small pieces about TJB which, TO ME, made it sound like the TJB were making all the music on the records.  He talked all about writing "The Lonely Bull" but no mention of how the RECORDING really came to be with the Crew help.  I always felt the female singing and twangy guitar was so much like Duane Eddy with a horn. 

There was no mention of his early A&M releases with future/past stars like Rod McKuen, Claudine Longet, Jimmie Rodgers, Wes Montgomery, Tommy Boyce, Waylon Jennings, Toni Basil, Bill Dana nor of his early HIT makers We Five, Chris Montez, the Sandpipers, Parade, Merry-Go-Round, Phil Ochs. No mention of his Brit signings of the Move or Procol Harum.  I believe I read that the Move showed up at A&M on their first US visit and went to A&M and they did not know who the band even was.  No mention even of the Baja Marimba Band!  This show really WAS all about Herb, I guess.

Nothing much was said about the 60's A&M artists other than Sergio Mendes.  There again, no mention of the Crew when I figured they did much of the music for Brasil 66, too. 

There was a live questions and answers after the documentary, but it cut off when I was watching and I could not get it back.  I hope someone called in and asked about the Wrecking Crew's helping with recordings.  Did they?  They did have a bit on some 70's bands, but mostly Carpenters.  There were so many cool records on A&M that were glossed over completely.

It said how much he seems like such a great guy and yet, how can he seemingly mislead viewers in the importance of the Crew, especially on the FIRST 45 hit.
I asked Denny Tedesco about his thoughts, but he did not see it.  His comments were:  “That's surprising.  He mentions the guys in other interviews."
Otherwise, a nice documentary, I thought.


You can join Paul Simon for a special benefit concert TONIGHT …

Full details below …

Green the Senate, Save the Planet join PAUL SIMON for a special online musical performance and conversation Thursday, October 8, 2020 | 8:00-9:00 pm ET

Join Paul for a special musical performance, and conversation with top pro-environment Senate candidates to discuss the just and equitable solutions they plan to enact during their terms in office
In a year that has been incredibly challenging, often overwhelming, and too often heartbreaking, it is easy to become discouraged, but the upcoming election presents us with an opportunity to preserve and conserve a habitable planet.
For a donation of $21 or more, attend the event with Paul Simon and environmental Senate candidates on Thursday, October 8 at 8:00pm ET.

This virtual fundraiser supports Barbara Bollier, KS | Steve Bullock, MT |  Cal Cunningham, NC | Theresa GreenīŦeld, IA
/  Jaime Harrison, SC | Jon Ossoff, GA | Raphael Warnock, GA



Pre-order here



Eagle Records and the Bob Marley Estate celebrate Bob Marley’s 75th birthday anniversary with the release of Uprising Live, available for the first time on vinyl, with black vinyl 3LP and highly collectable, limited edition coloured vinyl 3LP.

The Uprising Tour ran in Europe from May to July, 1980, with five further dates in the USA in September. It was Bob Marley’s final tour before his tragic death from cancer in May, 1981, at the age of just 36.

A few days after the release of the Uprising album, Marley played this now legendary live concert from Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle on June 13th, showcasing Marley in superb form and delivering a set of hit singles and classic album tracks, including “Could You Be Loved,” “Redemption Song,” and “No Woman No Cry” to fans’ roars of appreciation.

His musical messages of encouragement, hope and comfort remain as relevant now as the day they were written. This special 3LP edition is released to celebrate what would have been Bob Marley’s 75th year.


Side A
1) Precious World
2) Slave Queen
3) Steppin' Out Of Babylon
4) That's The Way Jah Planned It

Side B
1) Marley Chant
2) Natural Mystic
3) Positive Vibration
4) Revolution
5) I Shot The Sheriff

Side C
1) War / No More Trouble
2) Zimbabwe
3) Jamming
4) No Woman, No Cry

Side D
1) Zion Train
2) Exodus
3) Redemption Song
4) Could You Be Loved

Side E
1) Work
2) Natty Dread
3) Is This Love
4) Get Up, Stand Up

Side F
1) Coming In From The Cold
2) Lively Up Yourself

Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, he famously brought together the country's warring factions. Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th Century's most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley's lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 70 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley's music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide. His iconic collection, LEGEND, holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine's Catalog Albums chart and remains the world's best-selling reggae album. Marley's accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001). For more information visit: and

kk … 

The word on the street is that next week they'll be filming a movie in Valley Stream, New York. 

Do you think it’s too late for me to be discovered?


I don’t know that you could get more famous than you already are right here!  (kk)

Hey, Kent,

Thank You so much for all that you do …

and for The Tuesday Morning Belly Laugh ...



October 8th – Actor Matt Damon is born