Saturday, February 27, 2021

Check Your Local Listings!

This is one you don't want to miss!

Beginning next Saturday Night, March 6th, PBS, thanks to TJ Lubinksy, will bring you a music program from 1965 that hasn't aired since ... and wait till you see this line-up of stars!

Back in the early '60's, Murray The K (yes, THAT Murray The K ... aka The Fifth Beatle) used to put on these package shows at The Fox Theater in Brooklyn ... sometimes as often as two or three times a day! ... and each performance was an extravaganza featuring some of the biggest names in music at the time.

Well, in 1965, he also put together a television special called "It's What's Happening, Baby" ... and it is THIS special that PBS will begin airing on March 6th.  (Encore performances will follow.)

And check out this list of performers ...

Nowhere To Run – Martha & The Vandellas
Walk On By – Dionne Warwick
Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter – Herman’s Hermits
Pride & Joy – Marvin Gaye
Land Of 1,000 Dances – Cannibal & The Headhunters
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles
I’m Alright – Little Anthony & The Imperials
Be My Baby – The Ronettes
I Don’t Want To Cry – Chuck Jackson
My Guy – Mary Wells
The Seventh Son – Johnny Rivers
The Way You Do The Things You Do – The Temptations
Count Me In – Gary Lewis & The Playboys
Up On The Roof – The Drifters
Stop! In The Name Of Love – The Supremes
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers
I Can’t Help Myself – Four Tops
Ooo Baby Baby – The Miracles
What’d I Say – Ray Charles

The program first aired on June 28th, 1965 on CBS ... and this is another one of those "at the time" captured moments of a VERY exciting time in music history.  (Offering commentary on this special broadcast is Mary Wilson of The Supremes, in what would turn out to be her last interview ... she died just thirteen days later.)


Here's the official press release ... 

Along with some special commentary by Harvey Kubernik ... 

And, to kick things off, a copy of the original piece that ran in TV Guide back in 1965 ...

Courtesy of Jim Roup 

Famed New York disc jockey "Murray The K" (Murray Kaufman) became known as "The Fifth Beatle" when he befriended John, Paul, George & Ringo during the musical British Invasion of the 1960s. In addition to presenting all-star rock and soul concerts at the historic Brooklyn Fox theatre, Murray The K hosted a legendary star-studded special, It's What's Happening, Baby, to be telecast for the first time in more than a half century. The show, featuring live, on-stage performances by some of the greatest soul, rock and r&b artists of the 20th century, debuts on Saturday, March 6th Public Television outlets with encore telecastscheck local listings.  
The long-unseen landmark program is being presented by veteran public television producer TJ Lubinsky, creator of the hugely popular My Music specials on PBS.  
It's What's Happening Baby has been newly-restored from original video and audio master tapes. The ground-breaking program was the brainchild of Kaufman, who had given many of the greatest African-American performers their breakthrough in his staged concerts and radio shows. He then fought to present that powerful pool of talent, including many of the bright soul-pop stars of Motown on It's What's Happening, Baby. The once-in-a-lifetime special was originally commissioned by the U.S. Government's Office of Economic Opportunity as part of the war on poverty, encouraging American youth to seek summer employment while out of school.  
Featuring over a dozen iconic artists -- including Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, The Righteous Brothers, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Johnny Rivers, The Miracles, Herman's Hermits, The Temptations and Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles -- It's What's Happening Baby proved to a huge success when it first aired on June 28, 1965, on CBS, attracting over 20 million viewers. Of special note is the fact that Mary Wilson of the Supremes shared her recollections of the show of which she was part.  She recorded her interview for the program on January 26, 2021. It was to be the very last interview she would ever give as she passed away just 13 days after that nostalgic encounter.   
Now, nearly 56 years later, many of the original musical artists appear in new segments, offering fond memories of working with Murray The K, who helped put rock and roll music into the mainstream during his days as one of the most influential radio personalities in New York during the 1950s and 1960s. Dionne Warwick recalls, "He was the man! To be part of a Murray The K show was the thing to be." Little Anthony adds, "He was a real showman. Everybody fell in love with him.”   
During 1978 I co-produced and hosted 50/50, the landmark weekly television music an interview program from Theta Cable in Santa Monica, California broadcast on the milestone Z Channel in Los Angeles and Manhattan Cable in New York.   
My guests were record producer Michael Lloyd, multi-instrumentalist/record producer Todd Rundgren, music journalist/author Danny Sugerman and famed New York deejay/television personality Murray the K (Kaufman).   
Cynthia Kirk, the music critic of Variety praised 50/50, and wrote “on a par with The Midnight Special.”
I encountered Murray the K when he was living in Southern California and married at the time to dancer / actress Jacklyn Zeman, a popular soap opera star with credits on One Life to Live and General Hospital. 
Zeman had met Murray the K” Kaufman in New York as a dancer for The Schaffer Music Festival where Murray was the Master of Ceremonies.   
In 1967, Murray produced and wrote Murray the K in New York on WPIX-TV. An off-shoot of his ground-breaking music video-format that started with It’s What’s Happening, Baby. 
In 1978, I invited Murray to be a guest on 50/50 and brought along footage from his 1967 program. We screened Otis Redding lip synching to “Satisfaction” and “The Story of Love,” with Aretha Franklin singing live on “Baby I Love You” and “Respect.” He also screened the Doors’ “People Are Strange” which featured a live vocal from Jim Morrison over a pre-recorded instrumental track.   
I remember in pre-production asking Murray about 1965’s It’s What’s Happening Baby, but like so many of our celluloid memories, Murray indicated tapes existed but legal rights and music clearances were problematic.  
He did show me an ancient faded and marvelous clip of Dionne Warwick on a VHS tape performing “Walk on By” which we could not broadcast owing to legal restrictions.  
At the time I wondered, “Would I ever get to see this monumental collection of soul, pop and R&B musical stage talent in Los Angeles?”    
I’m elated to announce that on Saturday night March 6th, on Public Television nationwide, It’s What’s Happening,  Baby will be broadcast, with encore telecasts scheduled. 
"Murray The K" became known as "The Fifth Beatle" when he befriended John, Paul, George & Ringo during the musical British Invasion of the 1960s. Let’s also remember that in June, 1964, on the Rolling Stones' first American tour and their visit to New York, it was Murray who spun the Valentinos' “It’s All Over Now” on his WINS Swinging Soiree influential radio show. Kaufman then handed the band’s manager / record producer Andrew Loog Oldham a copy of the disc at Bob Crewe’s apartment at The Dakota. A week and a half later, Oldham took the Stones into the Chess Records Studio in Chicago and cut this Bobby Womack / Shirley Womack-penned tune for their first hit single.    
-- Harvey Kubernik 


I found it interesting that TJ and PBS decided to use THIS photo to help promote this upcoming special ...

As I have been revisiting our 2008 Phil Spector Series ... doing some extensive editing and fine-tuning, preparing it for permanent posting, I have also been re-reading Ronnie Spector's autobiography, "Be My Baby:  How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts and Madness, or My Life As a Fabulous Ronette," a fun read and inside look at the madness that was Phil Spector.
Murray The K took The Ronettes under his wing before they ever even had a hit record.  The girls were just young teenagers, still in high school, when he started booking them for appearances at his regular shows at The Fox Theater in Brooklyn.
Truth be told, they were hired more as dancers ... and squeezed into extremely tight, revealing outfits to put a little pizazz and sex appeal into the act.  Since they didn't have any hits of their own, if they were given a chance to sing at all (usually to allow another act a little more time to get ready or make some necessary stage moves and adjustments), they would sing some of the other popular hits of the day like "The Twist" or "Do You Love Me" with the back-up band.  This went on for years.
But then, when "Be My Baby" skyrocketed to the top of the charts in 1963, they moved from space-fillers to headliners overnight.  (The girls always went over well with the crowd ... first, because they were exciting to watch and second, because they were local girls who grew up in the area, DREAMING of being able to perform at The Fox Theater someday.)
According to Ronnie's book, it was SHE who arranged for Murray The K to first connect with The Beatles.  The Ronettes had met The Fab Four in 1963 when they were touring England in support of their #1 Hit.  (John Lennon quite famously developed a MAJOR crush on Ronnie at the time, so the girls had some unique access to experiencing Beatlemania first hand on the British level.)
When "I Want To Hold Your Hand" started to break here in late-December, 1963 / early-January, 1964, and it was determined that The Beatles were coming to America to do The Ed Sullivan Show, Murray asked Ronnie if he could capitalize on her connection to the group and gain up close and personal access.  As such, Murray was able to broadcast from The Beatles' hotel rooms and conduct interview in the back seat of taxi cabs and limos.  He dubbed himself "The Fifth Beatle," something the guys weren't particularly happy with, but at this point they needed all the publicity they could get in order to catch on here in America ... so they accepted it (apparently resenting it every step of the way!)

Overtime, all parties realized that they were good for each other and Murray (and The Ronettes) were able to spend time with The Fabs on their subsequent trips to The States.  In fact, in 1966, with Lennon still somewhat smitten, The Beatles asked The Ronettes to be part of what would turn out to be their last tour of America.  What most people don't know is that although The Ronettes toured as part of the bill, Ronnie was not with the group for these performances!  Under Phil's direction, Ronnie stayed home with him instead, after he spent considerable time convincing her that touring with The Beatles would be a bad career move ... "Why would you want to go out and do shows where you will be completely overlooked?  NOBODY in the audience will be coming to see you ... they only want to see The Beatles ... and no one will hear you anyway over all the screaming.  It would be a complete, insulting waste of your talent to take part in this tour ... let the other girls go."  (Incredibly, it wasn't the first time ... when The Ronettes were booked as part of Dick Clark's Caravan Of Stars Tour in '63, Phil kept Ronnie home to record lead vocals on the next Ronettes records and sent her sister out to tour with the group instead.  This means that anybody who saw The Ronettes as part of this tour ALSO didn't see Ronnie, the actual voice of the band!)  And get this ... since Estelle Bennett and Nedra Talley were not home to make the recording sessions, Spector told Ronnie "Don't worry about them ... they're just background singers ... we've got plenty of those!!!" ... which is why Darlene Love and Cher are the ones singing background on many of those early Ronettes records!

Like I said, a fascinating book!  (kk)

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Friday Flash

Plenty of chances to enjoy some Forgotten Hits moments this weekend ... 
As no less than THREE radio programs will be saluting recent FH-inspired features!

It all kicks off on Saturday at Noon (Chicago Time) as Sam Tallerico takes another look back at The Super Charts from 1971 on his AWESOME Lost And Found Oldies Show ...
You can listen live here:   Listen to WVKR-FM on TuneIn

I'll be devoting Hour Number One to the February 27, 1971, Super Chart this Saturday (February 27th) from 1 - 3 pm ET and later at 
Come for the hits, Stay for the misses!
Thanks for all you do to keep our music kickin'!
Sam Tallerico

And then, on Saturday night between the hours of 6 pm and Midnight (again, Chicago Time) our radio buddy Phil Nee will be counting down The Top 50 Favorite TV Themes (along with a bunch of extras!) as voted on by Forgotten Hits Readers last year!
In between you'll hear LOTS of great oldies music.
You can Listen Live to this one here:  WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin (just click on the 100.9 headphones for streaming)

I will countdown the top 50 favorite tv themes plus some extras this Saturday night.  The countdown primarily runs during the 2nd half hour each hour. 
The number one theme will play just before 11 pm cst so folks can hear the best of the best before they head off to bed.  (I didn't want to drag it out much than that, even though the show does air until Midnight ... so hopefully some of your readers will stick around and keep listening till the end!)
Phil - WRCO

And, all weekend long (beginning at 7 pm Friday Night ... you guessed it ... Chicago Time), Me-TV-FM will be presenting (by popular demand, I might add) an encore presentation of our Eye Tunes Weekend ... songs about eyes, vision, glasses, etc. 
(You won't believe how many Eye Tunes we came up with!)
Keep an Eye (and ear) out for this one ... streaming here:
This weekend on Me-TV-FM, the EYES have it!!!

Starting this Friday evening (that's tonight!) in the 7:00 hour, it’s an encore presentation of a feature we premiered last September: An Eye Tunes Weekend.
We heard from quite a few listeners who enjoyed the wide array of songs having to do with eyes and vision (there are many more than, well, meets the eye), so we’ll do it again this coming weekend.
Rick O'Dell ... and the entire crew at 87.7 ... Me-TV-FM

Plus here on the Forgotten Hits front, we've got a brand new FRIDAY FLASH posted for you today ...
(as well as a very special Saturday post coming up that you won't want to miss if you're a fan of '60's music ... and who isn't?!?!)

And we'll also have a brand new Super Chart up on the site on Sunday Morning.

(You'll find all of that right here at ... and you can view that ANY time!)

Hope you'll join our radio partners for these special programming events!

As always, thank you for your support!

kk …  

You reminded us about Dick Biondi playing Beatles first song in the U.S.

Do we know who played first song composed by McCartney – Lennon in the U.S.?

I guess soon after they reversed names.


Pretty amazing that Del Shannon charted with a Beatles song here in America before THEY did … but that just goes to show you again how COMPLETELY uninterested we were in 1963.  (Now The Beatles’ version of “From Me To You” did get SOME airplay … and even charted in California.  It bubbled under in Billboard for three weeks, eventually peaking at #116 … six months later it was tossed on the flipside of the Vee Jay single “Please Please Me” and went to #41 … this despite being a HUGE #1 Hit back home in Jolly Ol’ England!)

Del toured with The Beatles overseas and saw the enormous popularity they had first hand.  (Other American acts like Roy Orbison, Tommy Roe and Little Richard saw it, too … yet even all of these artists coming back to The States telling their industry insiders about this hot new act from Liverpool that had girls screaming in the streets did nothing to motivate a U.S. record company to put any serious effort into promoting them.)

Because so many stations played Del Shannon’s version when it first came out (more out of loyalty to the proven hit maker), nobody was really interested in playing ANOTHER version of the same song that hadn’t done all that well on the charts in the first place … so The Beatles’ version was largely ignored.

By the way, to clarify one point made by Mike Wolstein in his mention of WLS being the first station here in The States to play a Beatles record, in this case it wasn’t mega-gifted promotion man Howard Bedno who got Dick Biondi to play it …

Dick told me that he was asked over lunch with Vee Jay President Calvin Carter to please, as a favor to him, give the record a spin as this group was becoming quite the rage in The U.K.  Biondi played it on his program for a couple of weeks to lukewarm response.  WLS even charted the record on their Silver Dollar Survey for two weeks, where it climbed as high as #35.  (Clark Weber told us MANY times that only The Top 20 Records shown on their chart really mattered … the rest were just the station trying out a bunch of tracks to see which ones would click with their audience.  Obviously, The Beatles didn’t … they were gone two weeks later!)  kk

Speaking of The Beatles, I just preordered a brand new book written by Paul McCartney, coming out November 2nd.

Titled “The Lyrics:  1956 to the Present,” this two volume set features lyrics to 154 of McCartney’s hand-picked songs, written throughout his entire career.

It also will feature hand-written lyrics and artifacts from his years with The Beatles and Wings, never-before-seen photos, and material dating back to his teenage years when he was just first experimenting with the craft of songwriting.

I’m VERY anxious to see this one!  (kk)

Look, too, for a new 600+ page volume spotlighting ”The Collected Works of Jim Morrison: Poetry, Journals, Transcripts and Lyrics," which will feature both previously published work as well as never-before-seen material, including unrecorded song lyrics, poetry, personal notebook entries, drawings, photos and more.  This one hits the streets on June 8th.  (2021 marks the 50 Year Anniversary of Morrison’s death in Paris in 1971.)  kk

DWI charges were dropped against Bruce Springsteen for the motorcycle incident we reported on a few weeks ago.  The Boss DID plead guilty to a lesser charge, however (consuming an alcoholic beverage in a closed area, confirming the fact that he drank "two small shots of tequila" on November 14th, 2020, at New Jersey's Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, N.J.  After paying a fine of $540, he was free to go.  (kk)

I have always loved learning little tidbits about songs … especially as introductions when I hear them on the radio … and I heard a good one the other night on Sirius / XM’s ‘80’s Channel when they were doing their usual daily countdown of the biggest hits on that date … in this case, 1986.

The song in question was Heart’s #1 Hit, “These Dreams” … and I guess I was surprised to learn that this song was written by Marty Page and Bernie Taupin.  (How did I not know this???)

Taupin, of course, was one half of the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who have written literally HUNDREDS of songs together over the past 50+ years.

Page, in addition to his own hit “In The House Of Stone And Light” (#12, 1995), also co-wrote the #1 Hit “We Built This City” for Starship, as well as the hit “King Of Wishful Thinking” by Go West and songs recorded by everybody from Earth, Wind and Fire to Barbra Streisand to Tom Jones to The Commodores to Josh Grobin.

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson wrote most of their early hits together, typically much harder rocking material that helped build Heart’s following with hits like “Crazy On You” (#35, 1976), “Magic Man” (#5, 1976) and “Barracuda” (#10, 1977) … but when they switched labels in 1985, they also took on a more soft rock / AC / power ballad sound and were supplied material by outside songwriters.  Amazingly, this is when their career REALLY kicked into high gear with HUGE Top Ten Hits like “What About Love?” (#10, 1985), “Never” (#4, 1985), “These Dreams” (#1, 1986), “Nothin’ At All” (#10, 1986), “Who Will You Run To” (#6, 1987) and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” (#1, 1990.)

I guess I was also surprised to learn that the track featured a rare lead vocal by Nancy Wilson … typically, it was sister Ann belting out all the lead vocals on Heart’s biggest hits … so this one was a double whammy for me … and I was doubly surprised that I didn’t know EITHER of these fun facts about a song that is now already 35 years old!!!

I mention this, too, because Nancy Wilson is releasing her first-ever solo album on May 7th … and it’s already getting quite a bit of press because of its closing track, “4 Edward,” a song written as a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen.  (Heart toured with Van Halen in their early years.)  kk

 (I've gotta say .. both Wilson Sisters are looking pretty glam with their Big Hair '80's look!!!)  kk

In honor of the labels’ 50th Anniversary, Billboard Magazine has run a list of The Top 50 Favorite Songs released on the Philadelphia International Label. 

Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were already writing and/or producing hits before they started their own label to do so.  The late ‘60’s brought us the Top Ten Hits “Expressway To Your Heart” and “Cowboys To Girls” … but once they got rolling, the hits just kept on coming!

(Reviewing the list of tracks selected by Billboard Staff, I find quite a few discrepancies from the list I would make … and even the list of the most successful P-I tunes during those 50 years … but there are some REAL gems here that will never get old as well … so take a moment to review the COMPLETE list here:

(I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that “Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul came in at #1.  Amply represented are The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls  … nice surprises include Gamble and Huff productions like The Jacksons’ “Enjoy Yourself” released on Epic Records and spot productions of The Spinners and The Stylistics.  An impressive list, to be sure … just not quite in the order I would have placed them in terms of cross-over appeal and longevity.)  kk

James Burke of The Five Stairsteps has passed away from pneumonia. 

Their biggest hit, of course, was “O-oh Child,” which went to #4 in 1970.  Despite a total of 22 pop charts hit, this would be the only one to make The Top 40.  (kk)

Hi everyone!
Here is Al Jardine’s full interview on Clubhouse:
Waves of Love 2.0 and Jenny Clover are available to buy and stream on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify & YouTube:
Waves of Love 2.0:
Jenny Clover:
There are still signed CD singles available to buy here:

>>>Madison Square Garden is reopening this week at 10% capacity for sporting events only (at this time.)  I’m also hearing that many artists are looking into touring Down Under, where somehow, someway, Australia has seemed to have virtually wiped out Covid.  Share with us, PLEASE!!!)  But truthfully, the best of plans means absolutely NOTHING if people don’t follow protocol to get things clean FIRST so that we can all enjoy the benefits.  There are still just TOO many people who feel they’re above it all … and this will never change.  As such, even with the new vaccine, I believe we’ll be living under SOME type of restrictions and safety considerations from this point forward.  Too many stupid people out there who only care about themselves with no regard for others … and that’s a shame.  (kk)

And this and ONLY this, is the reason that it won’t work for Australia to tell us anything. Their actions are speaking louder than our words. 

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Hi Kent,

Just when a person thinks they have a pretty good knowledge of music and the trivia that sometimes accompany it, you open up last Monday’s edition of Forgotten Hits and read articles from Sam Ward and Mike Gentry and realize you are still in the minor leagues and have a lot to learn.  Upon reading their articles, I pretty much felt like the chimpanzee in the video sent in by Chuck Buell.  I am hoping with the continuation of reading Forgotten Hits, I'll be able to move up to "Triple-A Trivia", in a couple seasons!  ha!


Tim Kiley

I’ve been saying the same thing for over twenty years now …

There isn’t an issue that goes by where I don’t learn something new.  (Witness some of my comments above!)

I love the fact that we ALL can keep learning and discovering, despite that fact that in many cases now 40-50-60+ years have gone by since this music first took the world by storm.  Now that’s REALLY sayin’ something!  (kk)

Leaving you with a few smiles …

From Frank B …

kk …

Remember when this group broke up? 

Looks like they were going in different directions.


He also sent us this one … for all our hard-working musicians out there …