Thanks a million for posting this piece on American Pie. In fact, the entire post was great, as were the links.
One of my proudest achievements is to have sung live with the artists on four of the most anthemic songs of the era: Hotel California with the Eagles, Taxi with Harry Chapin (me on stage, no less), MacArthur Park with Jimmy Webb and American Pie with Don McLean.
Which leads me to the question you didn't ask but could have:
What would American Pie sound like if Don McLean wrote it today and had 60 years of history to review instead of ten?
All the best –
Have a great Thanksgiving.
Can you imagine?!?! What an interesting challenge … and story … that might be! (kk)
UPDATE: Giving this some more thought, I cannot help but think that it might be anticlimactic … kind of like Harry Chapin’s “Sequel” a decade later after he first unleashed “Taxi” on us.
The biggest factor is that I think the death of Buddy Holly on February 3, 1959, was a defining moment for Don McLean … the impact of hearing about rock and roll’s first great tragedy has stayed with him for nearly 63 years now.
The original takes us thru Woodstock and Janis Joplin, still relatively “current events” at the time “American Pie” was first released in late 1971.
Could he come up with an updated version? I’ll betcha he could … and, within the context of some type of anniversary / celebratory television special or something, it might be quite poignant … but nothing will ever top the impact of the song’s first release. It was SO different … and so significant … why mess with perfection?
Especially when he can put together such an AMAZING performance like the updated a cappella clip we featured on the site in tribute to the song’s 50th Anniversary. When I think of the hundreds and hundreds of times I’ve turned this song off over the past 50 years, it is really quite remarkable that I can’t get enough of this new version … I’ll betcha I’ve watched that clip 50 times this past week alone! (Now that’s really saying something!!!) kk
I’m not sure if it's coincidence, but the Apple TV movie Finch (the one with Tom Hanks and a robot) and the Apple TV series The Morning Show both feature American Pie.
From Tom Cuddy …
Bobby Hart on Tommy Boyce, The Monkees, DJBH and Faith-The Monkees Pad Show
We had the pleasure of talking to Bobby Hart several times when we did our Forgotten Hits interview a few years ago …
You’ll also find our piece on the music of Boyce and Hart (with heavy emphasis on The Monkees) here as well …
Tom also tells us about a new documentary coming …
New Documentary To Chronicle Canadian Music Legend Anne Murray
After running our tribute to Billy Hinsche the other night, we got these emails from Forgotten Hits Readers …
Billy Hinsche, longtime member of the touring version of The
Beach Boys, as well as Al Jardine’s Endless Summer Band, Brian Wilson’s band,
California Surf Incorporated, California Saga and his own 60’s band Dino, Desi
& Billy (and later Ricci, Desi & Billy), passed away yesterday at the
age of 70.
A few more details about Billy’s untimely passing are in this Rolling Stone article:
A sad but awe-inspiring salute to Billy Hinsche.
He really made some musical, recording and filmic contributions that are often overlooked.
I first met Billy in the late sixties on the Sunset Strip. We had a comical greeting where we just said our local high schools to each other. I graduated from a public institution Fairfax in West Hollywood, and he graduated from a private one Rexford in Beverly Hills.
We were born the same year and he shared the same June 29th birthday as my brother Kenneth.
Billy was always accessible and blessed with not only a great memory but delightful writing skills. His website along with the archive documents exhibited and retail items displayed on occasion aided my journalistic endeavors.
Earlier this century, we met up at Amoeba Records in Hollywood when he was in from Las Vegas. Somehow, we got to talking about Splevin's, a music and record shop in Los Angeles on Wilshire and La Brea. I first met him there during his chart-success with Dino, Desi & Billy. I was well aware that Billy was a Sunset Strip fixture in the mid-late sixties and would see him every year or so around Southern California. He graduated from UCLA in 1974, having attended their legendary School of Film. (In 1972, the multi-talented Hinsche took a synthesizer class at UCLA along with photographer, writer and editor Heather Harris, who has helped design album and book covers for me the last 40 years.)
I saw him in the seventies with the Beach Boys and once in a while the guy would be on a keyboard and also shooting film during the performance. Now that was cool.
(I seem to remember that Billy went to the 1965 Beach Boys Party live album sessions done at a local studio, too.)
In 2008, I asked Billy, "Did you get your 12-string Rickenbacker guitar at Splevin's that you played on the several television shows, including ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ I watched as a teenager?" "Yes!" I then said, "I'm doing a book about Laurel Canyon and Hollywood. Would dig getting a Dino, Desi & Billy photo since the trio were booked at It's Boss, a Sunset Blvd. nightclub. He then happily offered, "Hey ... I have the sales receipt from 1965 for the Rickenbacker I bought at Splevin's. Would you like it for your book?" "Yes!!!"
He sent a scan over of the receipt he kept, not even crinkled, and it's proudly included in my book "Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon."
So sad to lose two such prominent sidemen, Keith Allison and Billy Hinsche, the same week. Both stayed true to their musical roots throughout their careers, just spending more time out of the limelight than in it as time moved on. Keith would become the musical arranger and band leader for the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart tour as well as the big Monkees’ comeback tour … and Billy would play in The Beach Boys band for decades and then with Brian Wilson solo in the years to come. (His sister having married Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys meant he was part of the inner circle of family and friends and, as such, he also toured with Al Jardine, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, and more.)
His film background allowed him to make (and then market) “home movies” of his time with The Beach Boys. In later years, he was giving guitar lessons online!
I had always hoped to meet up with Billy in Las Vegas but the timing never worked out … so it was nice to finally connect when he found himself in Chicago in 2016. (He had invited me to a similar performance a few years before but it was for something called Aquafest where the band played to an audience of boats on Lake Michigan here in Chicago … and we simply didn’t have access to one! Lol)
Great guy … as down to earth as they come … always sharing interesting stories. I will miss him. (kk)
DIDJAKNOW?: Bill Hinsche sang background vocals with his brother-in-law Carl Wilson on Elton John's #1 Hit "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" in 1974. (kk)
I just saw that Billy Hinsche passed away. So sad. He was outgoing and a talent beyond Dino, Desi & Billy and the Beach Boys.
In early 1968 I worked in a coffee shop right next to the Interstate 5 freeway in Valencia, California. Within about a year, they broke ground in the vacant hillsides to the west of the diner to build Six Flags Magic Mountain. But on this particular spring day it was just so much empty land.
As we were going about our regular restaurant duties, a helicopter flew in and landed across the street and, after it had spun down, two people came walking over to the diner ... a young guy and an older man, who looked old to a 16 year old's eyes, but was probably no more than 40.
As soon as they walked in, I recognized Dino Martin from a number of TV appearances he'd had with the band. He woulda been about 16, also.
Well, I was a little starstruck, but while getting them water and menus, asked about the helicopter. It seems that Dino was taking lessons to get his helicopter license along with a regular pilots’ license.
As a kid, I was duly impressed, as I had just gotten my drivers’ license, and made some comment about how it must be nice to be able to afford flying lessons and all the other expenses. He made a kind of condescending smile at that remark.
We spoke a few more words while they were there, small talk, and, after eating, they walked back over. They sat there for a good 10-15 minutes before getting it going. I'm sure the instructor was going over things like safety and such before lifting off. But, I had my encounter and it made a good story at the high school for a few days.
19 years later, Dino flew into the side of Mt. San Gorgonio down by Palm Springs in an F4 Phantom while on a training mission. I remembered thinking to myself that pilots’ license was what killed him.
It was a shame losing Dino Martin at such an early age. Desi has gone out of his way NOT to talk about the “good ol’ days” with the band, and I know that Billy Hinsche nudged him several times, trying to get him to talk to us here in Forgotten Hits. It would have been quite the coup, as reclusive as he has been for the past 56 years but it never happened, even after Billy told me that Desi had finally agreed to talk to us. (On the old “I Love Lucy” television show, it was no coincidence that “Little Ricky” wanted to learn to play the drums … that storyline came right from Lucy’s and Desi’s real-life son, Desi Arnaz, Jr.!)
As the only surviving member of Dino, Desi and Billy, I’m hoping Desi will at least make SOME kind of comment mourning his old friend and former bandmate. (kk)
We watched the new Brian Wilson documentary “Long Promised Road” the other night. I’m not convinced it always portrays Brian in the best light … but I do believe it presents Brian the way he really is, still struggling with mental health issues that will never go away and yet other times very focused and conscious of the incredible career he has had … and the gift of music he has given us.
Frannie mentioned during the film that Brian seems to have accepted the fact that he’s a genius with a gift for layering sounds in a way no other producer ever has … but the truth is, it’s been a long time since Wilson has shared any of that genius with us. Thankfully, he has a stellar band committed to sharing that detail with us every time they get up on stage … and while Brian’s vocals can no longer even come close to mimicking The Beach Boys’ sound anymore, the band performs it with the highest regard and respect for all that went into creating it.
Available On Demand through most cable outlets, it’ll cost you about eight bucks to rent it or twice that to buy it. We opted to buy it, knowing that we’ll want to watch it again. The soundtrack is beautiful and extensive … and the film wraps up (over the closing credits) with Brian and Blondie Chaplain singing brother Carl’s and Jack Reilly’s title tune “Long Promised Road,” backed by Brian’s band in the studio. (kk)
So sad to hear about Keith Allison’s passing. His sound was Raider-like always and looked like Lindsay OR Macca, too. Always fun to see on "Where The Action Is," where he did many cover songs that never got released. "Louise" is just awesome. Of course, he would become a Raider eventually.
A nice piece on Keith Allison, who we lost recently …
Since we’ve been talking about books quite a bit here lately, I thought you might enjoy THIS list put together by Best Classic Bands, denoting The Best Music Books of 2021. (You’ll find several of the titles we’ve been talking about on this list, including FIVE that I’m in the midst of reading right now!!!)
You’ll find the new Jimi Hendrix book by Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik here, listed (and reviewed above by Ron Lando), as well as Paul McCartney’s “Lyrics” books, recently voted the Book Of The Year by Barnes and Noble. Also of note, “Hollywood Eden” and “The Carpenters” book, both of which we’ve recently heaped tons of praise on.
One book that’s receiving quite a bit of praise but ISN’T mentioned on that list (and probably should be), is the new autobiography by Paul Evans, “Happy Go Lucky Me,” which is earning high marks from rock historian (and long-time Forgotten Hits Reader and Contributor) Gary Theroux …
As you can imagine, I have a ton of books on music in my vast research library.
Paul Evans' Happy Go Lucky Me - a Lifetime of Music is the very best hitmaker autobiography I have ever read.
"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"
It’s still on my “to do” list … likely right after I finish The Beatles “Get Back” book this week. That’s high praise … so I’m really looking forward to reading it. (kk)
Speaking of Gary Theroux, here’s a nice interview with Sean Ross about his partnership with Wink Martindale and their syndicated projects “The 100 Greatest Christmas Hits Of All Time” and the revamped “History Of Rock And Roll” …
That Richard Carpenter report you posted has been withdrawn by CBS News from all platforms. No reason given.
Very strange … as I had watched the entire piece literally minutes before I posted the link. Wonder what happened? (kk)
My personal charts were up to 200 weekly and yet I was struggling with "new math" at school and track, but those radio hits and misses were just fab.
#10 - Everybody's Everything was so great and NO ONE plays it now. Lujack played that all the time. Desiderata? How funny to think I liked it so much then. How many songs named "Superstar" did we need in 70/71? Nothing to Hide was another Lujack daily track.
Don’t Wanna Live Inside Myself -- did anyone play it? Good, but not top Bee Gees material … yet still top 40!
Long Ago Tomorrow, good BJ.
Long Promised Road -- what a great song -- their best in years.
WLS played the whole 9 minute American Pie which made me mad that the 45 was split in half, but by the end of the run, I was switching it off WLS when they played it. NEVER wanna play it these days.
MOST of the songs I have memories of either buying or recording or something good. Great times.
Bob Dylan has started performing live shows again, kicking things off with a concert in New York City last week on November 19th.
It was an interesting set list … with eight of the seventeen songs performed coming from his most recent album, “Rough And Rowdy Ways.”
1. “Watching the River Flow”
2. “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (and I’ll Go Mine)”
3. “I Contain Multitudes"
4. "False Prophet"
5. "When I Paint My Masterpiece"
6. "Black Rider"
7. "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight"
8. "My Own Version of You"
9. "Early Roman Kings"
10. "To Be Alone With You"
11. "Key West (Philosopher Pirate)"
12. "Gotta Serve Somebody"
13. "I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You"
14. "Melancholy Mood" (Frank Sinatra cover)
15. "Mother of Muses"
16. "Goodbye Jimmy Reed"
17. "Every Grain of Sand"
Speaking of live shows, this announcement surprised me …
The Hollies Set 60th Anniversary Tour Dates for 2022;
First U.S. Tour in More Than 20 Years
In early 2022, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band The Hollies will embark on a very special 60th anniversary tour — the group’s first U.S. tour in more than two decades.
Announced on Friday, the tour will feature original Hollies members Tony Hicks (guitarist / singer / songwriter) and drummer Bobby Elliott, accompanied by lead singer Peter Howarth, bassist Ray Stiles, keyboardist Ian Parker and rhythm guitarist Steve Lauri.
“‘We felt like this is something no other band gets to do, celebrate six decades together, 60 years of this band and these songs means so much to us and so many others,” said Hicks.
More, via the news announcement:
Celebrated as one of the most influential bands from the 1960s British Invasion era alongside the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the Hollies have had over 20 worldwide hits, including number one singles in both the US and UK. They have spent an astonishing 263 weeks in the UK’s top 40 official singles chart, and have been performing continuously since their formation in 1962.
Their cultivated musicianship, coupled with the Hollies’ extensive back catalog of memorable rock ‘n’ roll tunes, has ensured the longevity of one of the greatest groups to emerge from the early 1960’s British Rock Revolution.
In 1995, they have bestowed the coveted Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution To British Music, and in 2010 were inducted into the American Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame for their ‘impact on the evolution, development, and perpetuation of Rock and Roll’.
Here are the dates, which visit a few major cities across the country:
APRIL 2 – Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ
APRIL 4 – The Kennedy Center, Washington DC
APRIL 5 – Town Hall, New York, NY
APRIL 7 – The Athenaeum, Chicago, IL
APRIL 9 – The Saban, Los Angeles, CA
Obviously, a VERY brief tour (but a stop in Chicago is certainly noteworthy.) Still, I’ve got to wonder what The Hollies will sound like not only 60 years on, but without their two many lead singers, Allan Clarke or Graham Nash. (Seriously, how busy can either one of them be these days? Why not make it a full-blown reunion like they did in the ‘90’s? And what, Terry Sylvester wasn’t available either?!?!)
Still, I’m curious … I’ve never seen The Hollies … and missing that 1999 show here was heartbreaking … gonna have to give this one some thought. (kk)
I’m hoping everyone will try this Sweet Soul Song, a great tribute to Chicago Soul from a Chicago 60's legend, James Holvay. Truly a great tribute to Major Lance, Curtis Mayfield and all the other Windy City Soulsters!
Whoa … I’m totally LOVIN’ this song … talk about an authentic ‘60’s Soul Sound!!! ((And what a great clip!!!) WTG, Jimmy! Happy to share this clip here! (kk)
Here’s a story I hadn’t heard before …
John Lennon (and his son Julian) visiting the set of “Happy Days”!!!
For the locals …
Elk Grove Village has announced their summer music series and it sounds like a nice mix of popular ‘70’s and ‘80’s artists ...
All concerts are free and held outdoors, kicking off with KC and the Sunshine Band performing on Monday, July 4th, at 164 Lions Drive … followed by The Little River Band (Tuesday, July 12th, at 901 Wellington), Rick Springfield (Thursday, July 21st, at 164 Lions Drive) and Sheena Easton (Tuesday, July 26th, at 901 Wellington.)
These events typically draw huge crowds and these headliners should be no exception.
More information can be found here:
From Mike Wolstein …
They ain't nothin' but some hound dogs ...
HAD to send this. Found it on a humor
I wish for you an "Amazing Monday!"
As for me ~~~