Man, I just LOVE it when all this stuff times out together … with virtually NO input from me whatsoever! (lol)
First, I got this email from FH Reader Mike Lane …
Hi Kent -
I'm still a daily visitor to your blog during my lunch hour. Always learning something ... always entertained!
Lately I have been digitizing my home movies (regular and Super 8) with a machine that scans frame-by-frame. I also made a few experimental / silly films back in the late 70's / early 80's before music took control of my life.
One film I made was a stop-motion comedy featuring small busts of famous composers that my mom kept on our piano. Before the four busts duke it out on the keys, I inserted a brief bit of a tv weather forecast . (Kind of like a Family Guy cutaway!)
DJ Ron Riley was a weekend weather guy on Baltimore television, as well as a hot jock for Top 40 WCAO-AM. He was great to listen to, and did just fine on TV, too. The photo enclosed is a shot of my monitor as the silly film mentioned above was being scanned.
Just thought you might like to see a glimpse of Ron Riley (with perm and mustache!) circa 1980 doing the weather in Baltimore!
And then this shot from Mike Wolstein of the aforementioned Ron Riley Batman Club Membership Card …
And finally, this AMAZING news from Pamela Pulice about a brand new Ron Riley Film Documentary being in the works!!!
I got a call from a young man named Brad Still, who is directing a documentary film about his mom’s uncle, Ron Riley.
As we all know, Ron Riley was one of the great deejays at WLS in the sixties who arrived after Biondi’s famous firing. The British Invasion was just beginning, and Ron was there when the Beatles performed at Comiskey Park. The Beatles were young kids having fun, and that’s when Ron got his nickname Ron Ringo Riley.
It’s a great story and certain to be a great film.
If you can help spread the word it would be super!
To make a donation, here’s a link to the Indiegogo site for the Ron Riley Documentary …
If anyone has any stories or pictures or videos for Brad, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s always great to honor the unforgettable voices and personalities who made radio so entertaining and who enriched our lives.
Thanks as always, Kent, for your passion for the music and the deejays of the sixties.
All the best,
Director of “The Voice That Rocked America: The Dick Biondi Film”
Everybody who grew up here in Chicago in the ‘60’s knew and loved Ron Riley’s show …
And that includes thousands who listened to him on a clear channel signal evenings in other cities all ove the country as well. (I immediately forwarded your email to Clark Besch, an enormous fan and serious collector of Riley memorabilia. In fact, Ron Riley himself has a remarkable collection of memorabilia from back in the day … but they may have already drained that well dry!)
Others who want to get onboard with this project can click on the links above. How cool is it that TWO major jocks from the Chicago stations have documentaries in the works right now??? WLS was, without a doubt, one of the premier stations around … about time we reminded the rest of the world about it. (Now if only the station itself would take some pride in its legacy!!!) kk
Here's another Batman-related song that was a good-sized hit in San Antonio.
My vinyl copy is VERY scratchy at this point, so I downloaded a cleaner version today.
This was a TOP 10 chart hit in San Antonio …
The Ballad Of Batman by The Camps
Ok, this is nothing short of awful!!! (lol)
Top Ten in San Antonio?!?!? For real???
Never underestimate the pop culture trends of the American public I guess!!!
Thanks, Brad … never heard … or heard OF … that one before! (kk)
I meant to run this one the other day …
Happy Friday, Kent:
Great photo of you and Julie Newmar today!
Next weekend we’ll be doing our Neil Diamond birthday feature.
Have a good weekend.
We’re letting everybody on the list know about this …
Because otherwise no one may hear it at all …
Not even the chair.
Thanks, Rick! (kk)
Mary McCartney (Paul and Linda’s daughter, who also took the photos for Macca’s new McCartney III album) is announcing a new documentary celebrating Abbey Road Studios. Titled, “If These Walls Could Sing,” it will coincide with the studio’s 90th Anniversary this year (although no official release date has yet been announced.) Still, the number of landmark artists (The Beatles notwithstanding) who passed through these doors is staggering. It’s the first time that Abbey Road Studios have ever allowed a film crew to have this kind of “intimate access.” Should make for a very interesting film. (kk)
Congratulations to Debbie Allen, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke and Midori … they’ve all been named as this year’s recipients of The Kennedy Center Honrs.
As with everything else in the world of late, proceedings will be scaled back for this year’s ceremony … but an edited version saluting all five artists is scheduled to run on CBS on June 6th. More details as they become available. (kk)
We thoroughly enjoyed the new film “One Night In Miami” Friday Night on Amazon Prime. (I had been looking forward to this one ever since I first heard about it from FH Reader and Promoter of the Regina King-directed film, Bob Merlis.)
The story, a essentially a fictional period piece inspired
by real events but with plenty of creative liberties taken to allow for each
superstar’s story to be told in greater detail in some fashion, takes place on
the incredible night in 1964 when Cassius Clay,
portrayed by Eli Goree, defeated Sonny Liston to become Heavyweight Champion of
the World at The Miami Convention Center. (Think of it as The Black Million Dollar Quartet!)
Now I have been a fan of
Muhammad Ali, the name Clay adopted immediately after winning the title, since
this historic night … and I have to say that Eli Goree does a remarkable job of
portraying The Champ, invoking all of his trademark mannerisms and nuances along
the way. Speaking as a true fan, I was
blown away by just how convincing his performance is. There were moments when he actually WAS Ali.
Also present that night (and looking forward to the After Fight Victory Party that just never lived up to their dreams and expectations) are Football Great Jim Brown, played by Aldis Hodge, and Singer Sam Cooke, brilliantly portrayed in style and voice by Leslie Odom, Jr.
Because Malcolm X (featuring
Kingsley Ben-Adir in what can only be described as the lead role) is also
present, the party never quite reaches anywhere near the potential momentum and
atmosphere the others may have envisioned … in fact, for all intents and purposes,
it never really leaves their hotel room! (Ben-Adir plays the role brilliantly, both as the devoted Muslim ... and as the ambitious manipulator looking to start his own sect by perhaps riding on Ali's coattails.)
Along the way and throughout the course of the film we are treated to some very thought-provoking dialog highlighting the trial and tribulations of four black men at the absolute peak of their careers. In fact, it is the dialog that carries the whole movie, powerfully and brilliantly delivered by these four gifted actors.
Some of the conflict expressed between them that night takes your breath away. Each actor BECOMES the icon they are portraying, convincingly nailing each performance and presenting a point of view perhaps not considered by the others around him, despite their friendship and respect for one anothers achievements in their own field of expertise. Each man is keenly aware that they are an elite group of friends … and NOT your typical Black Man of 1964 … and several points are made in this regard that will stay with you long after the movie has ended.
Kudos to Regina King for a brilliant directing job. While each man’s story was well known to me going in, having lived through these times, I was still impressed by how the storyline was engineered to showcase some key events that happened AFTER their One Night In Miami. (To think that TWO of the men in that hotel room that night would be shot dead before the year was over is a devastating reminder about what a different world it really was in 1964 … or was it?)
You’ll find great music throughout (especially if you’re a Sam Cooke fan … and I am!!!) You'll even catch a brief glimpse of Jackie Wilson on stage … and Cooke’s opening performance at The Copa, along with his return years later are definite highlights. (So is his television performance of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” his answer song to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind,” a song Sam always felt that HE should have written … a point driven home with dramatic flair and tension by Malcolm X in one of the many confrontations between these two men during the course of the film. The accusation and very idea that Cooke catered his performances to his audience each night … black crowd / white crowd … also hits home with a wallop … at the same time allowing for just how shrewd a businessman he really was!)
Throughout the film, each actor is given several moments to shine … and each delivers the goods every time in their spotlight moment.
HIGHLY recommended … it’s on Amazon Prime now, available to watch any time you’re free to do so. If you, too, grew up during this era, you will enjoy this look back … as well as gaining some new perspective to what drove these men to become the heroes they were. (kk)
Another Anniversary …
On January 15, 1967, The Ed Sullivan Show welcomed The Rolling Stones under one condition — they change the lyric of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” to “let’s spend some time together.”
What a great clip … I just LOVE how Mick rolls his eyes at the obvious lyric change … it just makes the whole song! (lol) kk
Speaking of The Rolling Stones, the story that Sam Cooke tells in “One Night In Miami” about The Stones recording the Bobby Womack song “It’s All Over Now” is priceless … although not even remotely accurate in many instances, it again makes Sam’s point about getting this music out there (and reaping the benefits of doing so … turns out Sam owned the publishing rights to that one … so when The Rolling Stones caught on here in America as part of The British Invasion, the money came rolling in!!!) kk
And, speaking of Ed Sullivan, our FH Buddy Harvey Kubernik is putting together some type of tribute to Ed’s 21 years on the air … so we sent this little tidbit along. (We gave Ed the spotlight treatment several years ago … and, with the launch of YouTube’s Ed Sullivan Channel, clips that haven’t been seen in half a century are starting to show up again … and in their full-length, uncut form, too! (kk)
The fact that Ed Sullivan is not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame simply offers further proof of how badly this organization has blown it here ... it's not only a disgrace and insult to everyone involved with the program, but also to every fan who ever tuned in on Sunday Nights to catch their favorites performing their latest hits.
Ed Sullivan brought Rock And Roll into our living rooms EVERY Sunday Night ...
And made it acceptable for all of America to enjoy.
There may be no other person in the history of the rock and roll genre to have made such a blanket impact on the growth and affection of this music ... yet The Rock Hall somehow doesn't recognize his incredible contribution.
We discovered some of these artists for the very first time ... while others were already our long-standing favorites.
And an appearance on Ed's show virtually guaranteed a 20-30% increase in record sales the following week.
We ran a lengthy tribute to "the smartest and least talented man in the history of television" on the website a few years back, dissecting the program from BOTH sides of the screen. Many artists who appeared on Ed's show participated, as did dozens of the fans who never missed a Sunday performance.
You'll find it all here ...
Along with our interview with Andrew Solt, the keeper of the clips that are now FINALLY making their way to YouTube via The Ed Sullivan Channel.
We seem to be moving (slowly) ever closer to live concert events again … but with new social distancing protocol, limiting seating and capacity at all venues.
Most of the dates I’m seeing now have been pushed to the third and fourth quarter of 2021, of course still subject to further postponement depending on the health condition of our nation as the year progresses … but with the vaccine now making its way throughout the country, we are all hopeful that things will become a little more normal (if normal means wearing a mask for the rest of your life!) as time moves on. (One positive outcome of all of this … doctors are saying that flu numbers are WAY down right now, likely due to the extra precaution wearing a mask invokes.)
As such, I was a little surprised to see The Genesee Theatre announcing their Genesee Street Cabaret as early as March 28th, featuring an acoustic performance by The Plain White T’s. (Seems a bit early to me in that bars and restaurants here in Chicago are still closed with no indoor seating, offering carryout and curbside service only.)
Time will tell if this event goes off according to plan … but it IS encouraging to see us trying to get music back into our lives. (I have also maintained that music makes you feel good, makes you happy and keeps you young. I’m still not quite sure how “tickets previously purchased for these events will still be honored” comes into play … if capacity is reduced to as much as 25%, what happens to all those other ticket holders?!?!) kk
FOR EXAMPLE: Kenny G has just rescheduled HIS Genesee Theatre performance for the fourth time!
Originally slated to appear on September 5th of 2019, the show was moved to March 27th, 2020 … then to October 2nd, 2020, and now to December 2nd, 2021!
This is more in line with what I’ve been seeing by other artists and venues. (I say it’s still too close to call just exactly when we can safely attend concerts again. (And trust me, the artists are just as concerned … even though they’re all chomping at the bit to get back out there in front of an audience again, they’ve got their entire crew and back-up musicians to consider. Let’s face it … OUR crowd … the oldies artists … are in the highest risk age group for all of this … so once again, FAR better to be safe than sorry.) kk
We’ve already lost a few more music stars in the first two weeks of 2021 … but the one that has garnered the most email so far is the death of Tim Bogert, bassist for Vanilla Fudge, who scored that big Top Ten Hit with their heavy metal interpretation of the Motown / Supremes classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” in 1968.
The single was actually first released a full year earlier, in July of 1967, but barely made a blip on the national charts, reaching #48 in Record World, #67 in Billboard and #87 in Cash Box … but a full year later, in July of 1968, the music scene had changed a bit … and some of these heavier sounds and extended jams were starting to show up on brand new FM Radio stations.
This time around, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” soared up to #6 in Billboard (and #7 in both Cash Box and Record World) and all kinds of similarly reinterpreted tunes followed in its wake.
So sad to hear about Tim Bogert’s passing today.
He had a good voice and the band Vanilla Fudge had an influence from ’67 – ’69, pivotal psychedelic years in music, IMO.
I always hold "You Keep Me Hangin’ On" coupled to "Sunshine of Your Love" in the Summer of ‘68 when BOTH were on Atco and BOTH had charted up to a year earlier, but cemented their Top 10 stardom in Summer, 1968, and BOTH peaked on the Hot 100 at #5 and #6 on August 31, 1968.
TOP 40 radio had never had so much psych blasting out of those transistor radios before. #2, #4, #5, #6 and #13 were blaring in your ears as well as "Journey to Center of the Mind" at #16, "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" at #28, "Time Has Come Today" at #71, "Piece Of My Heart" at #80. Add "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" jumping to #66 in its second week (also on Atco … and would also return to the chart a year later!), and thanks to #3, the DOORS' version of "Light My Fire" returns to the Hot 100 a year later at 91.
Awesome times and hearing the Vanilla Fudge LPs get airplay, too, it is somewhat historic today to listen again to "Voices In Time" from their "Beat Goes On" 1968 LP release. The Fudge had three LPs in the current top LPs chart that week in ‘68.
Voices in Time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yByj7OYFzY
It certainly was a heavier time … an almost overnight change in music.
Also shown on your Billboard Chart from 1968 are “Hush” by Deep Purple, The Doors’ latest, “Hello, I Love You” and “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, all big breakthrough hits.
Yet the ‘60’s being what they were … ya know, the ‘60’s … the list also found room for bubblegum (“1,2,3 Red Light”), country (“Harper Valley P.T.A.”), M-O-R (“Turn Around, Look At Me”) and ‘60’s Soul. (Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Archie Bell and the Drells and The Dells are all represented in the Top 14 songs on this list.) kk
(And let’s not forget Beck, Bogert and Appice, where Tim was a “name player”!!!)
More from FH Reader Ken Voss …
Vanilla Fudge Bassist Tim Bogert Dead at 76 - Rolling Stone
Tim Bogert Dies: Vanilla Fudge and Cactus Bassist Was 76 - Variety
Obviously there’s a new trend happening with Classic Rock songwriters, selling their catalogs for beaucoup bucks one by one of late. (And the list keeps growing!!!)
Already cashing in their chips are Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckinghams and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and many, many more.
(These houses are looking to make royalties for generations to come as these songs are not expected to ever go out of style. It’s like I’ve always said … Rock And Roll Music is the BEST Music EVER!!! (kk)
As far as singer Neil Diamond goes, I always liked his earlier recordings as opposed to the ones he made later on when he was at Columbia Records. Or his recordings on Bang, I liked most of them.
Clark mentioned that early record of Diamond's, CLOWN TOWN. I heard years ago that he hated that song and one shouldn't mention it if one was able to talk to Diamond. I am like Clark in that I never liked re-recordings and songs done live. Reminds me of years ago when I bought an album of Little Richard's GREATEST HITS. Well, when I got home to play it, I noticed on the back of the album, in very small print mind you, that the recordings on the album were re-recordings. Made me look even further when I bought an album to make sure it wasn't made live or a re-recording.
I also wanted to mention that I really enjoyed Paul Evans' posting of the Group 5ive melodies of songs done by groups from 1942-1967.
The first thing I thought of were the two records the 4 Preps made in 1961-1962, MORE MONEY FOR YOU AND ME and THE BIG DRAFT ... a very similar concept though the 4 Preps were kind of making fun of the groups they were mimicking.
And finally, very briefly, singer Brian Hyland was mentioned in today's FH and you said that his GYPSY WOMAN was very big in the Chicago area. I don't know how big it was in Chicago but his follow-up (?), LONELY TEARDROPS, the old Jackie Wilson tune, was very big here in the OKC area.
Neil Diamond lost me as a fan when he started over-dramatizing his songs in more of a spoken word fashion. He just made it feel like either he couldn’t sing anymore or was overridden with self importance! (lol)
As mentioned above, you’ll be able to hear ALL of his hits next weekend on Me-TV-FM as part of their Neil Diamond Birthday Salute.
I liked the fact that The Four Preps were having fun with their competitors, all the while still enjoying hits of their own. (Some of their parodies are spot on!!!)
“More Money For You And Me” was a Top 20 Hit in its own right in 1961.
The Four Preps also hit The National Top 40 five other times between 1958 and 1960: “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)”, #2, 1958 … that one’s my favorite … “Big Man” (#3, 1958); “Lazy Summer Night” (#21, 1958); “Down By The Station” (#13, 1960) and “Got A Girl” (#24, 1960).
Brian’s version of “Lonely Teardrops” (it WAS the follow-up to “Gypsy Woman”) snuck into The National Top 40 at #35 in Record World. (Billboard ranked it at #54.) It just never struck me as creative and inspired as his new interpretation of “Gypsy Woman,” a #3 Hit in 1970 across the boards. (By the way, DIDJAKNOW that Brian’s version of “Gypsy Woman” was produced by Del Shannon???)
“Lonely Teardrops” never charted here at all. (kk)
Cat Stevens (or is that The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens … who is now going by Cat Stevens again because he just wasn’t getting any positive recognition under his new Yusef Islam name) has a new childrens’ book coming out, based on his lyrics to the Top Five Pop Hit “Peace Train,” which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year.
Credit: HarperCollins Children's Books
It’ll be out in May. (kk)
Aloha, Kent ...
Bet ya never seen one of these before, huh?
I don't even remember where I got it from.
I wonder if Jack has any of these. ;-)
And, it's dated 'Week Ending May 2nd, 1963' ... a sad day for WLS listeners.
We’ve run a few Hawaiian charts before, most notably where The New Colony Six were having great success over there … so much so that they were able to play some concerts on the islands in the early ‘70’s. (kk)
I just discovered a new internet station that is awesome for 60's Brit Invasion maniacs like me. NO, it is not some XM DJ playing "You Really Got Me" twice a day. It's a time trip to a place and time I knew only from afar dreaming of hearing. It's RADIO LONDON 60's -- for real!
Here's how it works ...
They have tons of DJ patter from the original 60's tapes and they insert the current stereo or good quality music into the airchecks. It's so cool to KNOW what was a hit there, but to HEAR it as it was played on the station THEN is so cool. Check it out for an hour and you may get hooked. Sure, lots of US hits (as they were hits there, too) and TONS of great Brit songs of which many I knew only because of WLS' Brit Billboard and many I do not know.
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich!!!! Where ya gonna hear that???
Classic Rock Heartthrob RICK SPRINGFIELD Meets Classic Rock Heroes BADFINGER For A Special New Single!
If you grew up in the ‘70s, chances are you had a poster of actor / musician / singer Rick Springfield adorning your bedroom wall and at least one Badfinger vinyl in your record collection. Now these two icons of ‘70s rock have joined forces on a new single that recreates a classic hit from Badfinger’s catalog, the 1979 power pop favorite “Love Is Gonna Come At Last” originally released on the album Airwaves. This new version features not only Springfield’s powerful vocals, which seem to have only grown more resonant with time, but also his deft and intricate guitar work that intertwines beautifully with Badfinger’s Joey Molland’s own ample voice and driving bass guitar. It’s truly a match made in rock heaven!
Springfield shares, “Badfinger has always been one of my all-time favorite bands. In fact, I am often asked by journalists ‘What is the one song you had wished you had written?’ and my answer is ‘Baby Blue.’ What a perfect song! Their music was and is immortal.”
Look for a full-length Badfinger album with special guests Todd Rundgren, Rick Wakeman, Matthew Sweet, Rick Springfield, Sonny Landreth and more coming later this year!
I kinda like this!
I just barely remember the song (Badfinger had a minor hit with it in 1979) but I think Rick Springfield does a VERY credible job with the lead vocal on this one.
Check it out when you get a chance. (kk)
Just got word that Don Miller, one of the original Vogues, passed away on January 11th. Once again, no official cause of death was given.
These guys brought the house down when they appeared on TJ Lubinsky’s Pop Memories Program a few years ago … always wished I could have seen them. (kk)
HELPING OUT OUR READERS:
I came across an old blog post about Evolutions Of Rock on your site as I've been wanting to get my hands on the documentary that I first heard as a high schooler in the late 70's.
Realizing these posts are nearly ten years old, do you know how I could get a hold of Warren Cosford, or Dave Strock or others that might have the show in their collection?
Or point me to someone who might collect such shows?
40-year broadcasting veteran
Best I can do is run this in our HELPING OUT OUR READERS segment and see if we get any response. (I know we have a ton of collectors on the list … maybe we’ll hear back from somebody.)
Warren Cosford used to participate with Forgotten Hits from time to time but I haven’t heard from him in YEARS … but who knows, maybe he’s still reading as part of the silent majority that enjoy FH every day but don’t actively participate. (Warren, are you out there??? Check in from time to time to let us know how you’re doing! Lol)
Stay tuned. (kk)