Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Weekend Comments

We lost another major baseball icon yesterday when Henry “Hank” Aaron passed away at the age of 86.


Aaron was a one-of-a-kind player that fans knew early on would be the one to break the great Babe Ruth’s all time home run record.


And all of this occurred in the pre-steroid era, when ballplayers actually set their records with their savvy know how, muscle and determination.  Unfortunately, it was also an era when a great portion of America did not want Ruth’s record to fall to a Black Man … so Aaron was the victim of threats and hate mail from across the country the closer he got to hitting that magic number.


And that's a REAL shame ... because there was no denying the accomplishment was well-deserved. 


Unlike when Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s record for the most home runs in a single season (and then had to wear an asterisk attached to the #61* for the rest of his life because fans were outraged that Roger had eight more games to catch and pass The Babe after, due to expansion, the season extended from 154 to 162 games), Aaron’s pursuit was spread out over a long-fought career of playing exemplary baseball.


Hank was a 25-time All Star … and also won two batting titles along the way, as well as the National League MVP Award for 1957.  (The Milwaukee Braves also beat The New York Yankees in the World Series that year.)


Ruth’s record of 714 career home runs fell on April 8th, 1974.  It came off of Dodgers Pitcher Al Downing.  Aaron would play for two more seasons, spending all but those last two seasons of his career in The Braves’ organization, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta, where they moved in 1966.  (In 1975, Aaron returned to Milwaukee to play for The Brewers … and close out his career where it all began some 23 years before.)  When he finally hung up his spikes in 1976, he had hit 755 major league home runs.  After leaving the field, Aaron went to work in the Atlanta Braves’ front office, where he stayed for 13 more years under the title of Vice President and Director of Player Development.


But his accomplishments didn’t end there.


In 1982, he was inducted into Baseball’s Hall Of Fame on the very first ballot, capturing 97.8% of the votes, second only to Ty Cobb’s 98.2% in 1932.


To this day … 44 years after he retired … he still ranks first on the all-time list for RBI’s (2297), third for number of hits (3771) and fourth with 2174 runs.  He played in 3298 games (third of all time, behind Carl Yastrzemski and Pete Rose.)  His 13,941 official at bats also places him third on the all-time list.  His career batting average was .305.


He hit at least 20 home runs per season for twenty consecutive years … and hit 40 or more home runs per season eight times. 


But he wasn’t just a slugger … Hank Aaron was a skilled batsman who hit .300 or better fourteen times in his career.


This guy played hard every day for over twenty years ... and earned every accolade ... and a WHOLE lot more respect ... than he got.  It's an embarrassment to the sport the way he was treated along the way.  There have been very few players that have played as consistently for as long has Hank did.


In 2004, Barry Bonds passed Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs.  Sluggers like Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa would all surpass Babe Ruth’s (and Roger Maris’) single season home run records … but all three of these players were marred by speculation that they had used strength enhancing drugs in order to do so.  Hank Aaron, on the other hand, did it the old-fashioned way.  His accomplishments are worthy of the highest honor.  He truly was one of a kind.  (kk)




The other day (National Dee Jay Day, as a matter of fact!) somebody wrote in to Pat St. John of Sirius / XM’s ‘60’s on 6 Channel and asked him to play something that HE wanted to hear on the air … and you won’t believe what he picked!!!


Pat explained, “You know I’ve been hearing this song a lot lately on those Amazon Prime commercials” … and then launched into Chuck Berry’s “It Wasn’t Me” … and played the whole record, something that was barely even done back in 1965 when it was first released.  (The single spent exactly ONE week on the Cash Box only chart, bubbling under at #138!!!)


Again, HOW Amazon chose THIS particular song for their new campaign (it really doesn’t have ANYTHING at all to do with what they’re selling) is anybody’s guess … but it is probably safe to say that it was somebody who actually remembered hearing the song back in ’65 and it’s stayed with them for all this time.


I can only tell you that if I was working at the ad agency who came up with this idea and somebody asked me if I had anything to do with choosing this song, I could only say “Uh-uh … It must have been some other body … it wasn’t me!”  (kk)


Yesterday would have been Sam Cooke’s 90th birthday …

So ABKCO released the one hour documentary “Sam Cooke: Legend” on Amazon Prime.

It’s tough to cover anybody’s life in an hour … and this one skims over some of the more interesting aspects of Sam’s career while dwelling on other areas longer than necessary.  Likewise, the music is quite disproportionate … FAR too many little or lesser known songs while most of the REAL hits are glossed over in very brief segments.

Still, there’s no denying how cool it was to see some of these vintage 1950’s clips in near pristine condition as Sam’s career took off.  And I can listen to his voice all night long … no matter WHAT he’s singing.

We’re lifetime fans … and simply put, Sam was taken from us far too soon.  As pointed out last week in our review of the new film (also available for viewing on Amazon Prime) “One Night In Miami,” it’s incredible to think that of the four legendary icons portrayed in the film, all taking place the same night that Cassius Clay knocked out Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight championship of the world, that two of those icons … Sam Cooke and Malcolm X … would be dead before the year was over.  (The “Legends” documentary shows actual footage of Cooke, Malcolm X and Clay / Ali from that same night.) 

I suggest you check out BOTH of these offerings on Amazon Prime before they’re gone.  (kk) 



The life and music of Sam Cooke, soul’s first superstar, are examined in Sam Cooke: Legend, the Grammy® Award winning feature documentary from ABKCO Films, now streaming on Amazon Prime. The 66-minute film examines the extraordinary career and tells the real story of his life through accounts from family, childhood friends, musical collaborators and business associates along with Sam Cooke himself.   It traces both his professional and personal life – from his gospel-singing roots in the early 1950’s through his R&B and pop music career to his untimely death in 1964. The film recounts his commitment to the struggle for civil rights underscored by his last and most enduring hit song, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and highlights his transcendent and consummate popular appeal.  

Sam Cooke: Legend includes on-screen commentary from Aretha Franklin, who shares an intimate recollection from her youth, as well as from Lou Rawls, whose voice is heard in counterpoint to Cooke’s on “Bring It On Home To Me.” Immediate family members, including  brother L.C. Cooke and daughter Zeriiya Zekkariyas, offer insight into the man who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the institution’s inception while Andrew Loog Oldham, Rolling Stones’ original manager, acknowledges the moment Cooke’s tour of the UK left a generation of young musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison and Rod Stewart enthralled as well. Also seen is Bobby Womack who, early in his career, enjoyed a rewarding musical relationship with Cooke who produced his hit “It’s All Over Now,” later covered by The Rolling Stones, a story referenced in One Night In Miami. Cooke’s gospel roots are discussed by LeRoy Crume of the Soul Stirrers, the seminal group that Cooke joined as a teen. 


Sam Cooke: Legend includes newsreel footage of the newly-crowned champ spotting Sam Cooke in the crowd and inviting him into the ring exclaiming, “Let that man up! This is Sam Cooke! This is the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll singer!” That same frantic and jubilant scenario is depicted in the film One Night In Miami. 

Born January 22, 1931, in Clarksdale, Mississippi and raised in Chicago’s South Side, Sam Cooke was the son of a Baptist minister. He started singing in the Church choir as a child and, encouraged by his father, joined with his siblings to form a gospel group, the Singing Children. By the time he was a teenager, he had achieved significant success within the gospel community on the strength of his distinctive vocal style, and in 1950 he was asked to replace legendary singer R.H. Harris as lead vocalist of The Soul Stirrers. 

Cooke crossed over into the world of popular music in 1957 and shot to the top of the R&B and Pop charts with his self-penned “You Send Me.” From that time on, he was never out of the Top 40, with smash hits like “Wonderful World,” “Chain Gang,” “Cupid,” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “Another Saturday Night” and “Shake.” His success didn’t surprise Aretha Franklin, who had long before seen him perform at her father’s church. 

“Sam was a prince of a man. He just had everything going for him. Sam had the looks, he had the voice, he had the manner, he had the charm, he had the savoir faire.”  - Aretha Franklin

A champion of creative rights who wrote much of his own material, Cooke was among the first artists to recognize the importance of owning the publishing rights to his own compositions, and later established his own record label and business empire to better realize his far-reaching musical ambitions. 

Refusing to perform for segregated audiences in the South, Cooke utilized his stature as a performer to help break down the color lines separating blacks from whites, and in the process became, along with his friend Muhammad Ali, a symbol of the new Black American. Legend also offers personal insight into Cooke’s songwriting process as the singer/songwriter confides to Dick Clark. 

“If you observe what’s going on and try to figure out how people are thinking, determine the times of your day, I think you can always write something that the people will understand.”  - Sam Cooke

Further inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” Cooke wrote “A Change Is Gonna Come,” a song that would become an anthem of the 1960s civil rights movement. It is as relevant today as it was back in 1964. “A Change is Gonna Come” was performed at the Obama inauguration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and is a beacon of hope in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cooke’s death in 1964 at the young age of 33 years old, robbed the world of ever knowing what Cooke would have done next, how he would have changed music and the world. Although decades have passed since then, interest in his life and work is stronger today than ever before. Sam Cooke: Legend is a comprehensive look at a figure who is, arguably, one of the most influential musical forces of the twentieth century and whose legacy resonates to the present day. 

Sam Cooke:  Legend was written by best-selling author Peter Guralnick whose Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, is widely recognized as the definitive biography of the musical giant. The documentary is narrated by Tony Award winning actor Jeffrey Wright (“Basquait,” “Angels In America,” “Ali”) and was directed by Mary Wharton and produced by Mary Wharton, Robin Klein and Mick Gochanour. 

The film was awarded a Grammy in 2004 in the Best Long Form Video (since renamed Best Music Film) Initially category.  Released on DVD, it has not been available for years and has never before  been offered on a streaming platform. Its availability via Amazon Prime marks the music icon’s 90th birthday (b. January 22, 1931) and was catalyzed by last week’s Prime release of One Night In Miami, the new film directed by Regina King in which Grammy and Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. portrays Sam Cooke. One Night In Miami follows a young Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), shortly before he became Muhammad Ali, as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the new World Heavyweight Boxing Champion after which he spends the remainder of the evening of February 25 1964 in the company of Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), NFL great Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Sam Cooke.

Bob Merlis

I wanted to let you folks know about a very special one-hit wonders oldies show, which will be posted on my friend Steve Summer's Oldies Time Machine website this Saturday night, January 23rd.  (That’s Tonight!!!)  It will remain on his website until Saturday, February 5th.

When most people create a one-hit wonder show, the criteria is that a group or recording artist has only one song that made Billboard's Top Forty.  However, in Steve's show, even if a group's second effort did not reach the top forty but did make the top 100, that rules out that group as being a one-hit wonder.  So as you can see, there are going to be some rare songs played during this special one-hit wonders show. 

Actually, every week, Steve delves into early RNB material, and also local and regional hits that did not make the Billboard charts at all, but were popular in certain areas of the country, so it's a show that's definitely worth listening to every week if you are a true oldies fan.

Now, during the week of January 24th, it will be the first show on his website available to download.  On February 5th, it will slip back to the previous week's show.  Steve's two most current shows are always available to download from his website.  If anyone misses downloading this show because they didn't see this notice in time, just contact Kent and I will see that you get a copy of this one-hit wonders show.

So, to download the show, you will want to go to: … and look for the two weekly show downloads links. 

I truly hope you enjoy this one-hit wonder oldies show.  I think it promises to be an

exceptional show.

Sam Ward

Good Morning, Kent:

Thank you for the mentions of our Neil Diamond Weekend in your recent blogs. 

If you hang around long enough, you’re going to have a few detractors, which is the case with Neil.  But, overall, he’s an artist with enduring universal appeal.  It’s a shocking realization that he’s turning 80 on Sunday.  But the spate of artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s passing away in recent months should make us appreciate those who are still around even more.

You and Frannie have a nice weekend.


Neil Diamond has had an INCREDIBLE career and still has a large and loyal fan base that loves everything he does.

For the rest of us, we may have to pick and choose our favorites (and I personally would probably find very few past 1972!), but I still have the utmost respect for his incredible body of work.  (That being said, “Tap Root Manuscript” and “Beautiful Noise” are two of my favorite albums of all time.  And his 1983 minor hit “Front Page Story” should have been a smash!!!  (Don’t know if that one’s on your radar or not … or if it’s something you’re planning to play this weekend … but this is a GREAT overlooked gem.)  kk


Loved your Friday's FH.

When I was a kid, my parents (my mother especially), had a leather bound complete collection of the recordings of Glenn Miller. They got it sometime in the late fifties. Now I was never one for the songs or tunes of the so-called 'Big Band' era, but of all the songs I did hear, Glenn Miller's IN THE MOOD is the only one I ever liked.

Likewise, when Ernie Fields came along 20 years later in 1959, I really liked his version. Ernie Fields had a few other records on the Rendezvous label that pertained to songs or dances from the 1930's - 1940's, like THE CHARLESTON, BEGIN THE BEGUINE, etc.

The record by Jive Bunny you don't hear all that often on the radio, if at all.

As for the record by the Henhouse Five Plus Too, you are correct, in that contains some fowl language. (lol).

Reminds me of another record with fowl language that was big here in the OKC area.  That one was by Archie Campbell, and called THE COCKFIGHT in 1967.

Going back to the version of Ernie Fields' IN THE MOOD, back in 1959 local DJ Danny Williams, who was the weekday morning man on top 40 WKY 930, had a local dance show on Saturday afternoons for one hour and Ernie Fields' version was his theme song coming on and going off with the show.

Finally, Kent, you forgot one version of IN THE MOOD and that version is by the "killer" himself, Jerry Lee Lewis, aka The Hawk. He recorded his version in 1960 on the good old Phillips International label.

Larry Neal


At least, you weren't 'Chicken' to opine ~~~

>>>The most DEFINITIVE version of 'In the Mood' is by the Henhouse Five Plus Two!  (kk)

Oh, Gawd!

The only animal song worse than this is The Barking Dogs, "Jingle Bells!"

But, gee, Kent.  Thanx so much for sharing this! {:~}


Friday, January 22, 2021

The Friday Flash

I missed Elvis on ‘Sullivan’ – was only five years old.

My parents watched the show religiously; I usually took a pass.

But after February 9, 1964, when I was 12 ½, I became a regular viewer.

It wasn’t just The Beatles; many of the best British Invasion bands appeared on ‘Sullivan’ in ’64-’66. Who can forget Jagger mugging the word “time” when forced to change ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’ to ‘Let’s Spend Some Time Together’?

Miami went nuts for The Beatles. WQAM’s Rick Shaw started playing ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ in late December. After the February 9th appearance, the band flew to Miami and stayed at the Deauville on Miami Beach, prepping for their February 16th ‘Sullivan’ appearance. I will never forgive myself for going to school instead of skipping and taking the bus to the beach.  (Was I in Florida? Yes, North Miami Junior High ... 7th grade then. Moved to LA in ’68 and did senior year at Canoga Park High.) 

Sullivan was NOT a rock ‘n’ roller, by any stretch. Vaudeville was more of a touchstone for him. But he was shrewd; he knew his success as a presenter meant providing something for everyone during his hour on the air every Sunday night, and keeping up with the latest trends the younger demo were into.

If we kids couldn’t stand the latest plate-spinning acrobat juggler, we’d just wait for him to say, ‘And now, something special for the youngsters…’  Sullivan’s savvy extended to hiring the right talent bookers who knew his audience, and that’s how he kept his show in that prime family time slot for 23 years.

-- Stephen K. Peeples

The British Invasion acts dominated Ed’s program for most of those key years, 1964 – 1967.  Ed was also VERY big on Motown acts … rarely a week went by when somebody from the roster wasn’t making an appearance.  (Of course with a talent pool THAT large, look at all he had to pick from!!!)

Yes, we all sat thru the boring bits … the stand-up comics, the plate spinners, the vaudeville harmonicats and the like and the reenactments of the Broadway stage brought to life on stage at The Ed Sullivan Theater … ALL to get to the top hit-makers of the day.  We really didn’t care WHO it was … if it was music that we heard on our radios that never left our ears, then we were all in!!!  (kk)

Hi, Kent ...

When I saw this, it brought back a great musical memory.
>>> eMovie Ticket Radio (TM) will have its premiere weekend on WEBR1440 and Niagara Falls  (JR Russ)
While in the car one night, in Chicago (1:45 AM EST, November of '97), I was tuning the AM band for new stuff.  When I hit 1440, there was a station that was somewhat listenable but fading periodically.  1440 was a mess at night, and I knew it wasn't WROK in Rockford, IL, because they were daytime-only.
I thought I was dreaming - the DJ was playing "You're the Apple of My Eye" by the Four Lovers, RCA, 1956.
The lead singer was a young man named Frankie Valli.  When I got home, I called the station, and chatted with the DJ, a teenaged college student named Matt Alperio. The station was WJJL in Niagara Falls. He asked where I was calling from and when I told him I was five miles from O'Hare Field, he freaked out.  I checked their stats, which said that they ran about 100 watts nighttime power, but Matt said that due to their interference with another station, they had to lower their nighttime power to 16 watts. I tried to get a verification from them but they wouldn't send one.  Never heard them again.

Are you sure it wasn’t Wolfman Jack broadcasting out of Mexico City???  And were Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss there with you when you heard it??? (lol)

Amazing in so many ways … that a station with THIS weak a signal could transmit all the way to Chicago, no matter HOW clear of a night it was … and that a teen-aged college student broadcaster would even know who The Four Lovers WERE!!!

That’s the magic of radio … it has created special, one-of-a-kind moments for ALL of us that somehow manage to still stick with DECADES later.  The Power of Music … there just ain’t no denying it!!!  (kk)

Check it out ...

Best Classic Bands salutes the WLS Chart from this date in January of 1969 ...

But they didn't SHOW it ...

So WE will ...

And check out the young deejay being promoted there at the bottom!  (We'll hear more from him in a minute!)  kk

Reminder ...

Me-TV-FM's Neil Diamond Birthday Weekend kicks off tonight at 7 pm Central ...

And you can listen live all weekend long here:

Neil turns 80 on Sunday, the 24th.  (kk) 

Sam Tallerico offers up Part Two of his salute to the music of this week in January, 1971, as well as January, 1966, on his LAFOS / Lost And Found Oldies Show, Saturday at 1 pm Eastern ...

JR Russ launches eMovie Ticket Radio on from 6 pm to Midnight on Saturday and Sunday ...

And Phil Nee will be doing his weekly Those Were The Days radio program Saturday Night from 6 pm - Midnight Central on WRCO:

And, if you just happen to be "in the mood" for some classic music of a different nature, you're sure to love this next bit ...

Chuck Buell “Validated” Tim Kelly the other day when Kelly commented, “It was like the day I read Chuck Buell was a Glenn Miller fan -- I thought:  "Thanks for the validation, Chuck … now I don't feel like the "Lone Ranger!" 


Who’s the Lone Ranger . . .?  <cb>


HA!  Just kidding, of course, but seriously, thanx for the Glenn Miller fan acknowledgement, Tim! That makes TWO of us Ole Forgotten Rock ‘n’ Roll Big Band Miller Hitters!


While I’m not a Glenn Miller collector, I just always thought a lot of his music was “cool” ever since I was just a small kid and my folks would listen to his stuff on their big floor standing-console radio.  My favorite of his is the (before my time! ) 1939 version of “In the Mood.”



From listening to that song on the radio as a very young boy I, in later years, went to playing that song on the radio when I was an early High School On-Air Radio “Personality” in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Except then, it was the 1959  Top Five version from Ernie Fields!

And then, of course, much later on, I also played Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers1989 version, “Swing the Mood!”


Fifty years of “Being in the Mood!”



Ah yes, but you left out perhaps the most DEFINITIVE version of the song, cut by Henhouse Five Plus Two (aka Ray Stevens) in 1976.  (Believe it or not, this one was a Top 40 Hit!!!)  kk


WARNING:  Fowl Language Used



After reading recent comments about Jerry “The Beaver” Mathers in recent posts in FH, I wanted to contribute a few personal thoughts about Jerry.

I first met Jerry back in the ‘80’s when I was VP of Programming for the ABC Radio Networks.  I had read that he had been a DJ in California, was a musician, and had a huge love of music.  I had an idea of syndicating a show where Jerry would interview recording artists that grew up watching him on TV for classic rock stations. 

We were ready to announce the show but then I accepted an opportunity within ABC to take the job of VP of Programming at WPLJ-FM / NYC and the show never happened, but I kept in touch with Jerry, because he was such a terrific guy.

Over the decades we have done many promotions together and I was always impressed as to how he treated any fan.  Even though someone would ask him a question about “Leave It To Beaver” that he has been asked a million times since the 60s, he would sincerely answer the fan question like it was the first time he was ever asked it.

One time Jerry was starring on Broadway in the musical “Hairspray” and he had Monday nights off.  One of his music heroes was performing every Monday night at a jazz club in Times Square: Les Paul, the father of the electric guitar.

I arranged for us to attend and we had a blast.  Halfway during the show, Les says “I’m honored tonight because I’ve noticed we have a very special guest on hand for the show.  This is a guy that America grew up watching on TV at a time when TV shows had a positive message.”  He completely stunned Jerry, who had no idea he was going to be acknowledged by Les.

Then Les proceeds to invite Jerry on stage and does a quick Q&A with him.  Les invited Jerry backstage after the show, and because I was Jerry’s partner in crime that night, I went back with him.

Just last month at the radio station we were doing a charity fundraiser for “Why Hunger” the charity co-founded by Harry Chapin and Bill Ayres.  And I asked Jerry if he would donate a Zoom call with the highest fan bidder and he graciously said yes.

I have many Jerry Mathers stories, and they’re all positive, so I’ll leave you with a recent photo when Jerry was in NYC doing an autograph show and a Today Show appearance with his big brother from Leave It To Beaver, Tony “Wally” Dow, and they both stopped by our iHeart Radio  studios.

-Tom Cuddy

After watching the series finale of “Leave It To Beaver” over the weekend, we started the show from the beginning earlier this week in order to see it all again.  Can you even imagine … it was on the air for six seasons and aired 39 NEW EPISODES per year!!!  That’s UNHEARD of these days where a number of series only air six or eight episodes per season.

I’m looking forward to watching these guys grow up again, right before my very eyes.  It was a very intelligently written show with laughs in all the right places ... and the occasional tear now and then, too.  (Eddie Haskell was introduced in Season One, Episode Five, in the episode we watched last night!  lol)

Thanks for sharing, Tom … your memories are welcome here ANY time!!!  (kk)

And Eileen sent us this photo of what I'm calling "Whipped Cream ... The Winter Edition" ... to close things out today ...