Saturday, November 20, 2021

Billy Hinsche

We lost a good friend of Forgotten Hits when Billy Hinsche passed away earlier today, taken by cancer.  Incredibly, his mother Celia passed away on the same day.

Billy enjoyed his own round of success when, in 1965, he teamed with the famous offspring of Dean Martin and Lucille Ball to form Dino, Desi, Billy.  (The trio was introduced on The Ed Sullivan Show with proud mom Lucy beaming from the sidelines.)  Naturally, they appeared on Dean Martin’s television series, too, and over the years, performed as the opening act for some of the biggest bands of the ‘60’s.

We last saw Billy back in July of 2016 when he was in Chicago performing as part of Brian Wilson’s band at The Pitchfork Festival, subbing for Brian’s usual keyboardist Darian Sahanaja, who was off for a few weeks and unable to tour.  (Billy shared with us how difficult it was to relearn these complicated, intricate arrangements again after so many years … but I think he pulled it off beautifully.)  We were his invited guests to the show and had a great time.  (Billy had been part of The Beach Boys' touring band for decades!)  Afterwards, he brought us “backstage,” where we also found John and Joan Cusak in attendance. (John, of course, had just portrayed Brian Wilson in the “Love And Mercy” biopic.)

He was always good about checking in from time to time (as I did with him.)  Carnie Wilson’s post (shown below) implies that the cancer came on suddenly and spread quickly … as such, everyone was taken by surprise.  (Perhaps even more surprising was Billy’s mother passing away today as well!)

When Dino, Desi and Billy were nominated in 2012 as part of our Forgotten Hits Greatest Garage Bands Poll, Billy sent me this piece to run as their bio:

My best friend Dino Martin and I began singing songs as a duo at the age of 13 in 1964, playing non-amplified nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and covering the songs of Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon, The Everly Brothers and some of the simpler Beatles' tunes.  At some point we decided it would sound even better and look even cooler if we played electric guitars and had a drummer.  We knew that our younger school mate, Desi Arnaz, Jr., was already an accomplished drummer and he seemed like the perfect choice.  He accepted our invitation without hesitation one day on our lunch break on the playground of our grammar school, Good Shepherd aka Beverly Hills Catholic School. 


The next step was for us to find a place to rehearse.  Up until that point, Dino and I had just practiced at the Martin's home and it was fairly easy for us to pack up our guitars and carry them wherever we needed to go; but Desi's drums weren't quite as mobile so we decided the best place for us to get together was where his drums were already set up and ready to play - at his mother's house.  His mother being Lucille Ball.  We weren't old enough to drive, so my dad (Otto Hinsche) would usually be the one to drive Dino and I over to Desi's and then either pick us up later or have Frank Gorey (Lucy's driver and all-around right hand man) drive us both home at the end of our rehearsal. 


Lucy lived at the corner of Roxbury and Lexington with her second husband, comedian Gary Morton, in a home purchased for her by former husband, Desi Arnaz.  The two-story home (which no longer exists in its original form) had a lovely front lawn, parallel hedges leading to the front door, and a driveway along the North side of the property next to Jack Benny's home.  Beyond the black, cast iron gates of the driveway was a three-car garage on the right where you might see the family station wagon or Lucy's powder blue Rolls Royce. 


At the very end of the driveway and attached to a guest house was another garage that had been converted into a room for Desi Jr. and his older sister, Lucie, to stage plays and performances; at the back of the room was a short riser with a curtain, and tiny dressing rooms on either side.  This room would later transform again and would include a small billiard table in the middle of the room.  On center stage were Desi's Pearl Gray Gretsch drums and Ziljan cymbals (Desi told me he still has them and thinks they're the best cymbals made) and that's where Dino and I set up our small amps - Dino hadn't even started to play bass yet and we were both playing our new electric guitars and strumming in unison, so you can imagine how it sounded! 


One day, we were surprised and delighted to see Chad & Jeremy standing in front of us at the entrance of the "garage" watching our rehearsal - they were going to appear on both Lucy's and Dean Martin's television shows and had dropped by to check us out.  What a thrill meeting a couple of our heroes from The British Invasion - I'll never forget it and we remain friends to this day. 


It wasn't long before we outgrew Lucy's place, eventually setting up shop at Dean's home though not in a garage; it was a room that was a combination of a large den, pocket pool table room and projection room all rolled into one.  Dino and I now had new Super Beatle Vox amps and were playing Hofner bass and 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitars respectively, and Desi would simply leave his drum kit on the small riser on the "stage" underneath where the movie screen would lower and raise from the ceiling.  It is here that we honed our skills every day after school  and where Jeanne Martin (Dean's wife) would hear us practicing and thought enough of us to call family friend Frank Sinatra to give us an audition for his label, Reprise. 

Well, we passed the audition, were signed to Reprise, officially became known as Dino, Desi & Billy, recorded four albums with the label and, as they say, 'the rest is history' - and it all started out in a converted garage."

-- Billy Hinsche

It wasn’t the first time Billy shared his story with our readers … he had been a regular contributor for many, many years.

Here’s another “History of Dino, Desi and Billy” piece he wrote back in 2009 …


Dino Martin and I were longtime best friends and classmates in grammar school (Good Shepherd of Beverly Hills) and started out as a duo - just me and Dino, following the lead of Chad & Jeremy and Peter & Gordon, and both of us just playing 6 string acoustic guitars.

It wasn't long before we realized that having a drummer would be a good idea and we should "go electric" and proceed as a trio. We knew that Desi Arnaz, Jr. (in a younger class) could play drums and so we asked him if he wanted to start a group with us - we asked him during a lunch break out by the basketball court. He was happy to accept the role as our drummer (his older sister, Lucie Arnaz, was our classmate).  

We played at local neighborhood parties and made $20 a show. I remember thinking - how do we split this equally?

Our rehearsals began at Lucille Ball's outside playroom and eventually moved to Dean Martin's large den, that had a small riser for a stage.

Over time, we got better and better as musicians and singers. Jeanne Martin (Dean's wife) picked up the phone one day, called Frank Sinatra and told him that he had to hear us play - she thought we were really good.

We auditioned for Mr. Sinatra as he and Dean listened to us perform a few songs in the bar area of the Martin home - perfect, right ? There they sat - old blue eyes and old red eyes!

After the audition, Mr. Sinatra walked over and asked if we would like a contract on his label, Reprise. Of course, we gladly accepted his kind and generous offer.
We were shocked to learn that we wouldn't be playing on our first recording session but would have professional studio musicians record the tracks instead of us. This hurt our feelings, as we thought we were good enough to record for ourselves but didn't realize how things worked in the LA recording scene even though, apparently, it was commonplace, as we know today. I remember that Jerry Cole played guitar on our first two sides but I don't recall who the other musicians were. On subsequent recordings it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Wrecking Crew played on our sessions though, over time, Dino, Desi and I recorded and were incorporated more and more onto our tracks.

I don't think most people know that the first song we released was a dud, sold nothing and went nowhere ("Since You Broke My Heart" / "We Know"). I wanted us to record "Since You Broke My Heart" after I heard it on a Searchers' LP. I didn't realize at the time that it was written by the Everly Brothers - no wonder I liked it so much. The B side, "We Know," was pitched to us as having been "turned down by the Beatles," so we eagerly agreed to record it, since anything that even came close to being a Beatles' song was good enough for us. Even though we performed "Since You Broke My Heart" on the Hollywood Palace TV Show on November 28, 1964 (Tony Martin hosted and the broadcast was in black & white), it got little airplay.

In 1965 (I was 14 years old), our Producer and A&R man, Jimmy Bowen, brought in a young country gentleman named Lee Hazlewood to try his hand at producing us and it yielded our first and biggest hit, "I'm a Fool" / "So Many Ways". If I'm not mistaken, it went Top 20. Earl Palmer played drums and James Burton played guitar on "I'm a Fool". If I had to guess, I believe that Ray Pohlman played bass, though it *might* have been Carol Kaye -- sorry for the lapse in memory. But give me a break - after all, it's been 45 years !@#$%

It opened the doors for us to tour with the Beach Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, and many tours of our own in both the US and Canada. Over the next four years we recorded four albums for Reprise and had six songs that charted on the Billboard / Cash Box Hot 100.

As a result of the success of "I'm a Fool" (written by Red West - yes, THAT Red West & Shindig regular Joey Cooper), we appeared in countless articles and pictorials in Gloria Stavers' 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat, etc., and did all the relevant television shows of the day including Shindig, Shivaree, Hullabaloo, Sam Riddle's 9th Street West, the Lloyd Thaxton show, Where the Action Is, the Joey Bishop show, the Mike Douglas show, the Dean Martin show and Sammy Davis Jr.'s Thanksgiving Day Special for kids. We even made appearances on the Hollywood Squares and the Dating Game.

But the TV appearance that was the most important and memorable was the Ed Sullivan show. It was the first color broadcast of the Ed Sullivan show and we did it at the CBS studios on Beverly Blvd. / Fairfax in LA - not in the studio in NY, so it was historical on several levels.

We were also in the Matt Helm (Dean Martin) spy spoof flick "Murderer's Row" wherein we performed Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart's composition of "If You're Thinkin' What I'm Thinkin'" - one of our charted hits.

You can still see our RC Cola TV commercial on YouTube and filmed at the Hollywood Bowl:

But getting back to the main topic - I found out many years later that Red West had based 'I'm a Fool" on Elvis Presley's "Dont' Be Cruel". The titles even rhyme! When you compare the two songs you can see the similarities, especially lyrically in the first verse of each song:

"Don't Be Cruel" (Otis Blackwell / Elvis Presley)
You know I can be found
Sitting home all alone
If you can't come around
At least please telephone
Don't be cruel
To a heart that's true

"I'm a Fool" (Red West / Joey Cooper)
You know where I can be found
(Dontcha' know) I'll be waiting by the telephone, girl
While you're out running around, yea
I'm sitting home all alone
I'm a fool, just a silly fool
To be in love with you

I think it is very cool that Dino, Desi & Billy had this connection, albeit minimal, to Elvis.

Thanks for including "I'm a Fool" as a topic in your newsletter.
Billy Hinsche
Dino, Desi & Billy

More memories …

Forgotten Hits: Billy Hinsche of Dino, Desi and Billy Remembers Reprise Records (

Frannie found this posting by Carnie Wilson …

I can't believe you are gone. My memories of you growing up laughing, joking, playing the keyboards, Carl's bestie, Annie's brother, Celia's son, Dino Desi and You ...

My Uncle Billy. Sgt. Bilco. You're hair that was always great ...

I watched it turn gray over the years, but your energy never got old. Thank you for making this world a better place with your relentless spirit and sense of humor. Your talent was so huge and you were always one step ahead of us all with your ideas and creativity.

It's really fucked up and hard to think about that cancer took you so quickly ... but I swear to God the only thing that makes me feel a little relief is that you and Grandma passed on together and that Otto, Carl, Dennis, Audree, all the grandparents and loved ones are greeting you.

Fly peacefully and I know you will live on forever. We won't stay sad for long because you wouldn't want that. Eat some Lumpias for us all with Grandma Celia up there. I will miss you.


As you'll see on tomorrow's Super Chart, we have reached the 50th Anniversary of the premier of Don McLean’s nostalgic hit “American Pie” making the charts.  As such, I thought we would do a special tribute here today.

There is no question the song was unique ... there had really never been anything quite like it before ... and when it first hit, there was all kind of speculation as to what all the hidden meanings contained in the song lyrics really meant.  Don McLean was being especially coy about the whole thing at the time, preferring to keep an element of mystery in play … but, in fact, beyond its catchy chorus, it also served as almost a music history lesson.  

Since its release, the date of February 3rd, 1959, has been remembered as “The Day The Music Died” … as this is the date that the plane carrying Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens went down near Mason City, Iowa, taking the lives of all three up-and-coming rock and roll stars.

McLean may have started there, but his lyrics then took us through The British Invasion (with nods to both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones), Dylan, the turmoil and unrest of the turbulent ‘60’s and beyond.  (Keep in mind the song was released in November of 1971 … there wasn’t anywhere NEAR as much rock and roll history to cover back then as there is now!!!)

Still, it immediately captured the hearts of the nation and became the most talked-about song on the radio since Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge!!!  (Truth be told, there are only a handful of songs that manage to do this ... completely captivate the world and make us interpret their lyrics through our own imagination ... a year later, folks would be wondering just exactly who was so vain that Carly Simon felt the need to write a song about him!!!)

Things were no different here in Chicago at the time ... EVERYBODY was talking about this catchy new tune ... and what it really meant.

We used to listen to WCFL at work at the time (which begs the question, "Why would ANYONE ever think that having a jock with the skills of a Larry Lujack counting down the survey every afternoon would be a good idea???  What an INCREDIBLE waste of talent!  But that is a topic for another day.)

Anyway, I will never forget (and keep in mind that this is when the song was BRAND new ... probably only out a week or two) one of my coworkers commenting, "I can't believe somebody made a song out of this and got it on the radio."  I figured he meant the incredibly clever storyline ... but no, he was referring to the "drove my Chevy to the levy" sing-along chorus.  When I asked him what he meant, he said "We used to sing that at our hunting lodge all the time!  Been singing it for years!"

Now this guy Earl was hardly a music scholar ... and even back in late '71, I was already a pretty knowledgeable music guy ... and I was completely blown away by his comment and have never forgotten it.  This was a brand new song!  How was Earl already able to sing along with it as if he had been singing it for years?!?! And then telling me that he HAS been singing it for years!!!  I have pondered this question for five decades now ... and mentioned it here a few times along the way to no response ... but I cannot help but address it here again today in the context of this special "American Pie" tribute.  Feedback anyone?  Perhaps some personal experience of your own with the tune?

Anyway, in an effort to get back on track ... and in honor of the 50th Anniversary, they have put together a brand new lyrics video, which you'll find below.  (I have never made it a secret that after all the initial hoopla surrounding this tune ... and the non-stop airplay of it at the time ... I quickly burned out on it ... and have found it difficult to listen to ever since.  That being said, America ate it up ... and it regularly places near the top of fan favorites when radio station do their special polls to this day.  Incredibly, United Artists chose to split the song in half in order to feature it on both sides of the 45 ... TOTALLY disrupting the continuity and flow the record and making it even more impossible to enjoy.  Perhaps even MORE amazing is that AM radio played the 8-minute album cut nearly every time ... something that was virtually unheard of at the time, even in the post "Hey Jude" / "MacArthur Park" era.

Back to my personal radio memories of 1971, WCFL Chicago Disc Jockey Bob Dearborn (a long-time friend of Forgotten Hits) was one of the first to offer a full analysis of the song’s lyrics.  After he did so on his program one evening, the station was suddenly bombarded with mail (remember that this was back in the day when you actually had to WRITE a letter … with pen and paper … affix a stamp and MAIL it in to somebody in order for it to be seen and read!) over the next several days, asking for him to run it again or send them a copy.

Bob DID run it again … and again and again … and pretty soon (in those pre-viral days) it became national news and radio stations and newspapers all over the country were either running Bob’s commentary or creating their own.

On the 30th Anniversary of “American Pie,” Dearborn and radio guru Jeff Roteman set up a page explaining all of this … which you can STILL view here:

In fact, we’ve even got the audio of Bob reviewing some of what’s featured here on Jeff’s page as well as his original radio analysis.


A pretty remarkable time, to be sure.

Here is the brand new, 50th Anniversary video clip that we promised you ...

And, on a related note, long-time Forgotten Hits Reader Danny Guilfoyle recently sent me this EXCELLENT a cappella clip of Don McLean performing his classic “American Pie” with Home Free.

Now it’s no secret that I have never really been a fan of this song …

But I have to admit that this version is OUTSTANDING … and I just had to share it in the very special American Pie Anniversary Edition of Forgotten Hits!

Jeff Roteman has also put together an AMAZING tribute page to WLS, The Big 89 here in Chicago, that is well worth checking out.  You'll find lots of memories and clips available for your enjoyment.  (kk)

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Friday Flash


Great feature on CBS News this morning.

Richard Carpenter on documenting the Carpenters' musical legacy in his new book (


More on the new Carpenters biography:

Carpenters’ Approved Biography, ‘Musical Legacy,’ Published | Best Classic Bands

Seems like everybody got their copies of the book this past week … I’m just a slower reader than the rest of them!  (lol)  Truth is, between all of my daily commitments, I have SO little reading time, so I have to take advantage whenever I can … let's face it ... if I’m reading that, then I’m not writing this!!!

I guess I spoke too soon the other day about Richard glossing over his and Karen’s demons … because he finally addresses his Quaaludes addition (on page 201!!!) and Chapter 8 (all of two pages) is devoted to Karen’s eating disorder.  I have also since heard Richard say that he did not want this to become “another anorexia book” … because that’s what had been hitting the market ever since Karen died.  But once the book was underway, he also reportedly told co-authors Chris May and Mike Cidoni Lennox that he wanted to devote more time to discussing it, feeling it wouldn’t be fair to all the Carpenters fans out there if they pretended like it never happened.

As such, this makes it much more of a “Recorded History” book as I mentioned earlier … but still delightfully entertaining thanks to Richard’s engaging demeanor during the interview segments.  (This hasn’t always been the case with Richard … and my initial fear going in was that with Richard having this much input into the final product … over 100 hours of interviews were conducted … we would be getting a very distorted view of their story … Carpenter has never had a problem accepting the lion’s share of the credit for the duo’s success … but this simply isn’t the case this time around ... so it was quite enjoyable to read ... and I really do believe the siblings deserve a "shared credit" for their success, thanks to Richard choosing and arranging the lion's share of the material they recorded.  He knew EXACTLY what The Carpenters' sound was ... and how to best showcase it.)

His memory is impeccable and whenever he does have any doubt, he is able to refer to his EXTENSIVE library of clippings for more details.

I am thoroughly enjoying the book and think it will become the definitive research guide moving forward for all things Carpenters-related.  (kk)

And, speaking of books I’ve still gotta read … 

To my Oldies champions,

I’m delighted to let you know that Happy Go Lucky Me - a Lifetime of Music has been released in America and is now available on Amazon and in most bookstores. 

To celebrate, I’m attaching a copy of my song, “Half Man - Half Music.” 

The song is a reflection of the way I felt during my most productive songwriting years.

And from The Diversity of Classic Rock’s review: 

“His approach to writing is one that is conversational, like he’s talking to you over a cup of coffee or tea.”

Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with me,


And, more praise for a book I just finished …

Over the last several months there seems to have been a lot of TV trivia on the site that I have a hard time relating to as I did not have a TV when I was a kid. My parents felt that a TV was unnecessary. I did, however, win the school year and summer book reading contests every year in school. So, when I saw your recommendation on Hollywood Eden, I jumped on it and ordered it on my Kindle.

This has got to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read recently and provided a lot of insightful information on the individuals and recording entities that produced the early California sound. I especially like to read about The TAMI show, which I was fortunate enough to see when it was released.

They only had one showing on a Saturday morning at 11:00 am at the local State Theater. Very few people actually saw the show and for years I kept telling people about it, but there was no information on it, as if it never existed.

You are correct … I would highly recommend the book. What a good read. 

A seamless addition to the story as Jan and Dean performed Sidewalk Surfing on American Bandstand in 1964. I was at a friend’s house watching it as, I did not have a TV at my house. We saw them skateboarding on the show. We were determined to get a skateboard, but they were not available in the Midwest.

We went down in my friend’s basement and found an old pair of metal skates that you strapped to the bottom of your shoes. The only tool we had was a hammer and the skates were not held together with bolts, only rivets. We literally beat the hell out of those skates until the wheels and axles fell off. We then cut a 16” to 20” end off of a 2 x 4 with a hand saw and nailed the wheels to the bottom with 8 penny nails. 16 penny would have gone through the wood.

My friend lived at the top of one of the steepest hills in the neighborhood. We took our new skateboard outside, but it had snowed the night before and there was about 8” of snow on the sidewalk. We shoveled the entire block down to the bottom of the hill. We then attempted to skateboard or kill ourselves depending on how you look at it. You would wipe out at almost every crack and then you had to land in the snow so you did not hit the concrete. I think after several hours we made it 3/4 of the way down. None of us ever had a “store bought” skateboard.

Robert Campbell  

And yet ANOTHER book I still have to read … 

(And, based on this recent announcement, apparently a good one!) 

Paul McCartney … The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present is Barnes & Noble's Book Of The Year


Barnes & Noble, with bookstores in every state across the United States, today announced that the booksellers chose Paul McCartney’s The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present as the winner of Barnes & Noble’s 2021 Book of the Year.


I’m beyond honoured to receive this recognition.  My team and I are extremely proud of The Lyrics and it means so much to us that you like it as much as we do. Thank you to all the amazing team at Barnes & Noble in helping to launch the book.

Paul McCartney


Paul recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career - from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, through Wings and his solo career to the present. The Lyrics is the closest to a memoir we can expect to see from Paul McCartney and the definitive gift not only for every Beatles fan this year, but for bibliophiles and everyone interested in the culture of the last 65 years.


I think I’ve gotta finish the “Get Back” book first, ‘tho, before the movie airs … but then I may move on to Macca!  (Man, I swear, EVERYTHING McCartney touches turns to gold!!!)  kk 

Paul McCartney discusses his bestselling new book, THE LYRICS, with James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble, here …


But if I do THAT, then I can’t read Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s new Jimi Hendrix tome, “Voodoo Child!!!”  (What to do, what to do, what to do!  I think I need to find somebody to read to me on my way back and forth from work!!!)  kk

With the Kubernik Brothers’ latest tome, Voodoo Chile, readers finally are treated to the real James Marshall Hendrix.

Told through both new and familiar voices, the Kuberniks present a fresh account of his legendary life and time. A standout classic. 

--Jan Alan Henderson, author of Speeding Bullet and The Legendary Lydecker Brothers

In an interview with Best Classic Bands, Producer Jack Douglas says that there is still a considerable amount of music left from John Lennon’s “Double Fantasy” sessions that has never seen the light of day … including him playing around with some Beatles songs in the studio.

With all the commemorative box sets being released (this LP celebrated its 41st anniversary last Wednesday), might a new deluxe edition be in the offering for its 50th?

It sounds like that decision remains with Yoko.

From that interview:

BEST CLASSIC BANDS:  So, there’s nothing else that might come out of those sessions?

JACK DOUGLAS:  There’s plenty of other material bouncing around. Some people have heard it, other things no one’s ever heard. There’s a lot of material from the Double Fantasy sessions, a ton of things — nothing really complete. A lot of jams, a lot of Beatles songs. That’s all up to Yoko, what she wants to do with it. As it gets later and later in her life, I’m doubting [anything will come out]. I keep asking — she and I are in touch all the time — and I keep asking if we can go back to the [Nov. 28, 1974] Madison Square Garden concert and dig into that thing and make it work. It was released, but doesn’t sound all that good. There’s a lot of footage that wasn’t used. There’s all kinds of gems there that fans would love. It’s an important statement, that concert, and she’s like, “Let’s do it next year, let’s do it next year.”

A new British Chart showing the biggest selling albums in history in the UK has just been released … and some of the results may surprise you …

For example, long-standing US best sellers like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” fall outside The Top Ten … while “The Eagles’ Greatest Hits,” recognized as the Biggest-Selling Album of All Time, doesn’t even make The Top 50!

Meanwhile, albums by The Spice Girls, Shania Twain and Amy Winehouse are represented.

It is Queen (and not The Beatles) who book-end The Top Ten … and Adele and Oasis place ahead of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” on the countdown.

The Top Ten are as follows:

1) Queen – Greatest Hits

2) Abba – Gold – Greatest Hits

3) The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

4) Adele – 21

5) Oasis – What’s the Story Morning Glory

6) Michael Jackson – Thriller

7) Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon

8) Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

9) Michael Jackson – Bad

10) Queen – Greatest Hits II

You can view the complete list of The Top 60 here:

The best-selling albums of all time on the Official UK Chart (

And there's some brand new / old Classic Rock coming from a couple of Classic Rock’s best …

It has just been announced that Bruce Springsteen’s complete No Nukes concert from 1979 is being released …

And long-forgotten tracks recorded by Aerosmith in 1971 (a couple of years before their big breakthrough) will be packaged for a Record Store Day vinyl compilation.

Springsteen’s concert will span two CD’s and include:

1. Prove It All Night
2. Badlands
3. The Promised Land
4. The River
5. Sherry Darling
6. Thunder Road
7. Jungleland


CD 2
1. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
2. Born To Run
3. Stay
4. Detroit Medley
5. Quarter To Three
6. Rave On


He was just one of the big name rock acts to perform over two nights on September 21st and 22nd of 1979.  The concerts were organized by Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt and John Hall, who also performed, along with James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers and Carly Simon.


The Aerosmith LP (which is also being released on cassette!) will be called “The Road Starts Hear” and features several tracks that the band would later rerecord when signed to Columbia Records a couple of years later …


1. Intro – Somebody
2. Reefer Head Woman
3. Walkin’ The Dog

1. Movin’ Out
2. Major Barbara
3. Dream On
4. Mama Kin


Teen heart-throb Keith Allison has passed away.

Keith was the Paul McCartney look-alike from “Where The Action Is” and was a sometimes member of Paul Revere and the Raiders.  He also toured with Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart for their "The Guys That Sang 'Em and The Guys That Wrote 'Em" tour ... and again with The Monkees, when they regrouped to tour after MTV jumpstarted their career in the ‘80’s by airing every episode of their television series.

Over the years, Keith also recorded with Tommy Roe, Johnny Rivers, Al Kooper and several others.  In 1967, he even recorded his own solo album, produced by Gary Usher.  (kk)

And a couple of quick thanks ...

From Chuck Buell …

Happy Anniversary, Kent and Frannie ... 

Being old isn't so bad. 

After all, didn't you two meet in an Oldies Chatroom?

Ed #1

‘Tis true, ya know.  A love of oldies music grew to a love for each other.  (And I’ve gotta tell you, I used to really kick ass in that oldies chatroom!!!  Lol)  kk

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Some of Your Mid-Week Comments

Got this quick review from our old Monkees buddy Gary Strobl after Micky and Mike did their final appearance at The Greek Theatre Sunday Night.  (November 14th)

Hello Kent,

I saw Michael and Micky this evening at the Greek Theatre!

Micky singing with his sister Coco on "Porpoise Song" was one of the highlights!

Michael was very animated throughout the whole show and he and Micky delivered a fine version of "Love Is Only Sleeping."

The Monkees gave us a very special night to remember.

The abundance of love on that stage spread into the audience and made us all feel good for almost two hours.

I recently found this photo of Michael and Micky at their very first concert at the Honolulu International Center on December 3, 1966.

It seems appropriately symbolic to The Monkees Farewell Tour 2021.

It has been an amazing adventure!

Thank you for being a part of it with all of us.

As Henry Diltz always tells me, "How lucky are we?"

Huge hugs to you!

Healthy & Happy Days Ahead,



I don’t get to see or talk to Gary as much as I’d like to this day … but that may change …

We are kicking around a few ideas for next year that would incorporate some incredible Henry Diltz photographs into our on-going posts … so stay tuned for more information on that.

(In fact, we’re working on several new features for 2022 that we think you’re going to enjoy for your daily dose of Forgotten Hits.  More details to come!)

Thanks, Gary!  (kk)


And it seems Harvey Kubernik was there, too!!!

Here is his take on the final show of the Farewell Tour …


As The Monkees' Farewell Tour Los Angeles date concluded at The Greek Theater on Sunday night, November 14th, and reminiscing with Monkees' scholar and chief archivist, Gary Strobl, my own regional memories of the group flashed in front of me. My mother Hilda worked at Columbia Pictures 1962-1972, and from 1965-1968 was a secretary and in the stenography pool at Raybert Productions, who produced the band's television series. She and other office members typed some of the show's scripts.  

This was after our family in late 1965 viewed the audition screenings of the actors at The Preview House, subsequently glimpsed the original TV pilot and attended the press party introduction of the group at the Screen Gems/Columbia Studios in Hollywood.

I remember my brother Kenneth and I assembling the initial yellow press kits for the area's trade magazines and television reporters on our kitchen table. There was also Howard Brandy, a hard-working publicist was very busy touting the Monkees' first concert in Hawaii. Gary showed me one of the press kits. I did keep one of the original Monkees' buttons.

I was probably on the set a dozen times when I could break away from Fairfax High School and find a few hours when I wasn't working at my after school job. Always grateful to see and chat briefly with crew members, episode actors Godfrey Cambridge, Stan Freberg, Rupert Cross, and second season staff photographer, Henry Diltz, and the delightful photographer Nurit Wilde.     

Anybody who has ever read one of my twenty books knows I parade my appreciation of the Monkees in photos, text, acknowledgements and credits. And Gary Strobl, Henry's archivist/librarian made damn sure there were rare and unseen photos of members of the Monkees with Jimi Hendrix in "Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child" published this month. 

A thank you to fellow Pisces Micky Dolenz, who was always accessible and really nice to me as a teenager, and decades later as an interview subject. (I just got an email from Denny Bruce, who played tambourine on the Gerry Goffin/Carole King-penned, Jack Nitzsche-arranged "Porpoise Song," which Micky and his sister Coco sang at the Greek venue.)

The circle is never broken. 

Harvey Kubernik, Boss Angeles


And then this …


I was around some recording sessions of the Monkees at RCA studios … it was a couple of blocks from Columbia Studio Gower Gulch, and I sort of remember one of the Monkees' session at Gold Star Recording Studio that Chip Douglas produced.

I believe it was a session for "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," a basic tracking session that was completed at RCA. At age 14 and 15 didn't quite know what a record producer was, but I immediately realized he wasn't in the group or on the television. I was always impressed that Chip and Henry Diltz were from Hawaii. So was Cyrus Farar, who was in the MFQ with the both of them.

One more anecdote Micky told me years ago ...

Around 1962, or '63, he worked for a summer at the landmark Wallichs Music City on Sunset and Vine behind the cash register, a block away from both his future home at Screen Gems-Columbia and RCA studios. He told me Bobby Darin once came in Wallichs as a customer and bought some LP's.     



Another review of their final tour appearance can be found here:

Monkees Say Farewell: Set List and Videos (


And another!!!  (Hey, it’s big news when a group as big as The Monkees officially calls it quits!!!)  A sad moment … but definitely going out on a high note!  (kk)


And how about this EXCELLENT review, sent in by David Salidor, from former L.A. Times Music Reviewer Randy Lewis … 

It was a sweet, poignant farewell performance Sunday night by the two surviving members of the Monkees: Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith, who wrapped up this swan song tour at the Greek Theatre here in L.A. For more than two hours they coursed their way through an impressive body of songs that began in 1966 with their introductory hit "Last Train to Clarksville," from Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and went on to include masterful pop songs from the likes of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Neil Diamond, Harry Nilsson and John Stewart.

This show was also generous with songs written by Nesmith, from "Papa Gene's Blues," "Sweet Young Thing" and "Tapioca Tundra" through "You Just May Be the One," "Sunny Girlfriend," "Different Drum" and, in what was perhaps the most moving segment of the evening, "While I Cry." Nesmith, 79, has surmounted recent health issues to resume a tour that had been interrupted by the pandemic, and appeared more fragile than frail during the show. He spoke endearingly of the way he and his bandmates had bonded with one another and with their fans so long ago through the common affection for the music they played. His voice was strong and emotion-packed. At other times during the evening his vocals were harder to discern, while Micky's voice, at 76, was as distinctive and assertive as ever while he served as both emcee through most of the show, and lead vocalist on much of the material. Tour producer and Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval once again made sure they were supported by a stellar band that, like the Brian Wilson Band of recent years, has studied the recordings and nailed the arrangements down to the last guitar effect, drum fill and keyboard sound, while also serving up so many multi-layered vocal harmonies in spot-on fashion. The Monkees' journey of 55 years has indeed been a long, strange trip in many ways, but one that created much joy -- evidenced by the number of preteens, teenagers and young adults in the audience singing out for all they were worth alongside the parents and, likely, grandparents who accompanied them. Nesmith underscored the two-way street of this group's remarkable longevity when he emphasized the refrain to "Tapioca Tundra": "It cannot be a part of me, for now it's part of you."

Thanks guys. It's been the pleasure of a lifetime.

--Randy Lewis

I agree 100% with every word you’ve said … and am SO glad I had the chance to see the last hurrah, after seeing SO many shows leading up to this one. (kk)

[ You’ll find our own review of the concert here … ]

Forgotten Hits: Concert Review: THE MONKEES FAREWELL TOUR - The Mike and Micky Show - THE MONKEES featuring Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith (

All the more timely to pick up a copy of Andrew Sandoval’s amazing new “The Monkees Day By Day” book, where he looks over the complete history of the band, down to the most minute detail …

beatland books – small-batch books for the music connoisseur

NOTE:  All versions of these books are now completely sold out …

But they HAVE started a Wait List …

So if you’re interested in obtaining a copy, THIS may be the best way to go.  (kk)


Philip Margo of The Tokens passed away on Saturday, November 13th.  In 1960, Philip and his brother Mitch teamed up with Jay Siegel and Hank Medress to form The Tokens, just in time to enjoy their biggest hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which topped the charts in 1961.  (Earlier that year the group hit The Top 20 with a tune called “Tonight I Fell In Love.”)

There were assorted “comeback hits” over he years, most notably “I Hear Trumpets Blow” (#28, 1966) and “Portrait Of My Love” (#25, 1967). In between, the Margo Brothers formed their own production company and began recording and producing other acts, including a string of hits for The Happenings, all reaping the benefit of their studio experience.  (In 1973, they regrouped as Cross Country and hit #18 with their slowed-down, harmony-driven version of “In The Midnight Hour” … and the year before that, they produced and sang on Robert John’s remake of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which went all the way to #2 on its own.)

Forgotten Hits has been fortunate to communicate with Jay Siegel, Mitch Margo, and Hank Medress over the years … and Jay Siegel is still knocking ‘em dead on stage all these years later.  (Medress died in 2007, Mitch ten years later in 2017)

Their timeless music will outlive all of us.  (kk)

More here:

The Tokens’ (‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’) Co-Founder, Philip Margo, Dies | Best Classic Bands



1961 – Tonight I Fell In Love (#15)

1961 – The Lion Sleeps Tonight (#1)

1964 – He’s In Town (#43)

1966 – I Hear Trumpets Blow (#30)

1967 – Portrait Of My Love (#36)

1973 – In The Midnight Hour (#30, as Cross Country)

19974 – The Lion Sleeps Tonight (#51, re-released to cash in on the success of the hit Disney film, “The Lion King.”)


THE HAPPENINGS HIT LIST:  (all produced by The Tokens)

1966 – See You In September (#1)

1966 – Go Away Little Girl (#9)

1967 – Goodnight My Love (#39)

1967 – I Got Rhythm (#1)

1967 – My Mammy (#12)

1967 – Why Do Fools Fall In Love (#39)

1968 – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (#43)

1969 – Where Do I Go / Be-In / Hare Krishna


ROBERT JOHN (songs produced by The Tokens):

1972 – The Lion Sleeps Tonight  (#2)

1972 – Hushabye (#59)


Speaking of “Friends Of Forgotten Hits,” check out this Facebook clip sent in by Frank B., featuring Lou Christie, Brian Hyland and Chris Montez … still out there rockin’ pretty strong in 2022 …

(2) Facebook


Hi Kent:

I wanted to let you and your readers know that on Sunday, November 21st, Dave The Rave will have John Crecco on his live radio show. 

Dave will also be playing several tracks from the upcoming double vinyl album release The Shangri-Las Best Of The Red Bird And Mercury Recordings that Real Gone Music is releasing for Record Store Day on Friday, November 26th. 

John Crecco wrote the liner notes for this cool Record Store Day exclusive double LP which includes twenty-five tracks newly remastered by Eliot Kissileff (and all from tape sources).

Dave's radio program airs live on Top Shelf Oldies starting at 9pm EST. 

The sneak preview of this exciting new Shangs compilation will be can't miss listening for sure.

Santi Paradoa

Miami, Florida


As predicted, ABBA’s new comeback album, “Voyage,” scored big on the charts this week, peaking at #1 in the UK and debuting at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, their only album EVER to make the US Top Ten.  (It also premiered in the #1 spot in Australia.)  And with Anna-Frid making murmurs last week about possibly being interested in doing a bit more recording with her former bandmates, this may not be the “one and done” everybody said it was going to be after all!  Stay tuned!  (kk)


And just like that …


ABBA have just announced their first ever Christmas single!!!

“Little Things” will be released on December 3rd, just in time for the holidays!


An Observation from Chuck Buell ~~~

You wrote

>>>Maybe it’s time to return to another tried and true tradition and foundation of the ‘60’s … a good, old-fashioned Battle Of The Bands (kk)

How about between the Stones and the Beatles … since this rivalry came up recently as well!!!

You know, it'd probably look something like this ~~~

Actually, that's a VERY good idea.  (Oh man, wouldn't it be awesome if this actually happened?!?!  A teaming up of the remaining Beatles and Stones into one unit?!?!  Imagine the songlist THIS tour would generate ... even without "Brown Sugar"!!!)  What a GREAT way to celebrate and close out 60 years in the biz!!!  (kk)


Roger Daltrey has since said that his statement about The Stones sounding like a “mediocre pub band” were taken out of context and only used to grab a headline.  (kk)


Speaking of The Rolling Stones, they toured The Motown Museum while in Detroit this week … and then performed “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” in concert there for the first time since 2007.  (I think The Stones are having a ball on this tour, especially Mick, who seems to be making headlines every time he goes out in public in every city they’ve hit thus far.)  They’ve got two stops left and then the No Filter tour is over.  (MAN, that flew by, didn’t it?!?!)  kk


Meanwhile, Genesis finally kicked their US tour with a show right here in Chicago Monday Night.  (Would have loved to have seen that!)  kk


Did you hear about this one? 

What a strange billing ... Journey, Billy Idol and Toto???

Ken Voss

I did … and was quite surprised as well … but it’s true … all three will be touring together as part of the 2022 Freedom Tour.  (Of course, Billy’s the only vocalist you’ll recognize up there from the records … but all of this music is part of Classic Rock’s regular daily playlist … and provides a VERY solid soundtrack to the Classic Rock Landscape.) 

In our 2020 Poll determining THE TOP 3333 MOST ESSENTIAL CLASSIC ROCK SONGS OF ALL-TIME, Journey scored 13 tracks on the list (“Don’t Stop Believin’” coming in the highest at #31), Billy Idol had eight (with “White Wedding” leading the pack at #140) and Toto had a very respectable nine tracks (with “Africa” coming in JUST ahead of Journey’s top hit at #30.)  kk


And, speaking of Classic Rock, Harvey Kubernik has this piece running now about the 50th Anniversary release of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” album, out December 3rd …  Doors — SSDL (


Dates for The Zombies 2022 “Life Is A Merry-Go-Round” tour have been announced.  (No Chicago stop as of right now)

After mentioning that some readers had a difficult time finding Freda Payne’s appearance on “The View,” promoter David Salidor sent us these links …

Hi, Kent …

Sorry to hear your readers were having some problems viewing Freda’s appearance on The View ...

Below, please find links from yesterday's Freda Payne appearance – and feel free to post!







Thanks, David!  (kk)


And Sex Kitten (can you really BE a Sex Kitten at age 80???) Ann-Margret has a brand new Christmas single out.  (Well, I guess you can if you’re Ann-Margret!!!)  It’s her remake of the Brenda Lee classic “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” … and you can stream it below on Spotify!  (kk) 

Stage/Screen Legend ANN-MARGRET Shares Brand New Holiday Recording!   It has been a while since one of Hollywood’s brightest lights and star of the film classics such as Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas, Ann-Margret, has gifted the world with new musical recordings. So what better time than Christmas for the woman once dubbed the “female Elvis Presley” to return to the medium that launched her epic career? Ann-Margret is happy to announce the release of her brilliant and vivacious new version of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” today on all digital platforms. With special guest, southern blues icon Sonny Landreth, joining in the fun, these two artists have crafted a vibrant rendition of a holiday favorite that seems tailor-made for Ann-Margret’s sultry voice.


Stream/download the single:

The track presages a new full-length album that Ann-Margret has been hard at work on and will be released in 2022. The project will pair her with several stellar guest artists including Bobby Rydell (who co-starred in Bye Bye Birdie), Blondie’s Clem Burke, Wrecking Crew member Don Randi, rockabilly superstar Danny B. Harvey and more!

Also, for those in the Los Angeles area, Ann-Margret will be making an appearance at a special private engagement on January 13 at the Montalban Theater with special guest Rydell!

More new music from an old friend …

Cyclelogical …

My latest album, instrumentals this time.

Here's the first review. It's from Marty Korth, former Disney animator who did the cover …

Wow, Davie! I love it! You're really great! Some heavy, some wild and uplifting, some melodic, some romantic! Just great, Davie!   

Give a listen here:  ‎Cyclelogical by Davie Allan & The Arrows on Apple Music

The new movie "Belfast," released last week, prominently features the song "Everlasting Love."

Remember, the British group Love Affair released their cover at just about the same time Robert Knight's original hit the US charts. Carl Carlton's 1974 cover was also superb.

Check this clip - and the trailer.

Local guys Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason, cowriters of this classic, are both in less than perfect health and finally get their song in a real flick. 

David Lewis

I seem to remember talking to Buzz Cason some years ago in Forgotten Hits … sorry to hear he’s not doing well … but this sure is a great song.  (Gloria Estefan did a great version of it as well … and Rex Smith and Rachel Sweet also charted with their duet version in 1981.)

I had not heard about this movie.  (I’m still waiting to see “Last Night In Soho” and hear its ‘60’s-centric soundtrack!)  Thanks for sharing.  Kk

From Tom Cuddy …

Richard Carpenter Shares Insights Into The New Carpenters’ Biography

This is the book I’m reading (and THOROUGLY enjoying!) right now.

It is a BEAUTIFUL, coffee-table edition, packed full of photos and memories, describing in great detail (although, admittedly sometimes in redundant fashion) the career of The Carpenters.  (Richard has kept meticulous archives … he reportedly has a warehouse full of memorabilia that he collected along the way, whether as part of a “family scrapbook” or old newspaper articles and reviews, trade magazine clippings, programs from special concerts and events … you name it, he’s held on to it all … and it's all on display in glorious fashion here.

I would caution you though … this is not so much a history of The Carpenters as a family unit and performing act as it is a “recorded history” of their work.  (The sticky issues of their personal lives are somewhat glossed over thus far in the 200 pages I’ve already read.  Even losing $2.5 million in cancelled appearances in 1975 due to their personal demons is dealt with in a paragraph or two with no real details divulged, other than to say they were “in no shape” to tour at the time. Cancelled dates throughout England, Europe and Japan proved to be very costly to The Carpenters at the time.  (Richard doesn't first mention his fondness for Quaaludes until page 201!)

Also interesting is how they were always intended to be known as “Carpenters” … and not THE Carpenters (much as The Eagles … I mean Eagles … disclosed a couple of years ago.)  One look at their beautiful logo says it all.

Highly recommended if you want a clearer picture as to just how big this duo really was at the time.  You’ll get the lowdown on every release, appearance, award … they’re all presented here in the most minute detail … but beautifully told by the authors and Richard, some of whose memories are as detailed and entertaining as anything else I’ve ever read.  (kk)

Still to come this month on The Ed Sullivan YouTube Channel:

Premier Date      Artist                 Performance              Original Air Date

SAT 11/13

Tony Bennett

Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)

March 21, 1965

SUN 11/14

Sly And The Family Stone

I Want To Take You Higher

December 29, 1968

MON 11/15

Yogi Berra

Interview With Ed

September 30, 1956

WED 11/17



January 4, 1970

SUN 11/21

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio Is Homesick During The Holidays

December 20, 1964

SUN 11/21

Della Reese

Once Upon A Time

May 9, 1965

SUN 11/21

Tony Bennett

(feat. The Woody Herman Orchestra)

For Once In My Life

November 5, 1967

SUN 11/21

Johnny Mathis

My Funny Valentine

November 22, 1970

MON 11/22

Topo Gigio

Topo Gigio Introduces Bobo The Bear

April 18, 1965

MON 11/22

Ed Ames

The Windmills Of Your Mind

May 11, 1969

MON 11/22

Cilla Black

September In The Rain

September 12, 1965

WED 11/24

Cilla Black

Goin' Out Of My Head

September 12, 1965

TUE 11/30

Sonny James

A World Of Our Own

June 22, 1969

TUE 11/30

The Lovin' Spoonful

Darlin' Be Home Soon

January 22, 1967

I couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with Rick O’Dell when I saw this clipping in the Me-TV-FM Newsletter earlier this week …

Check out Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, who are giving away 1,000 frozen turkeys and side fixings with a FREE Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway in partnership with Chicago Police Department's CAPS Program.

For more information about Chicago Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway visit here, follow the law firm’s Facebook page, call 708-222-2222 and dial ext. 6325, or email Arianna Baiz at

Are Lerner and Rowe still planning on dropping those turkeys from a helicopter again this year or did they learn their lesson last time???  (kk)

And finally, Happy 20th Anniversary, Mrs. K.  (We’re now officially half-way thru our 40 year plan … so see, there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!)  Who knows what might lie in store for a couple hot 80 year olds twenty years from now!  We may be moving a little bit slower these days, but at least we’re still in step with one another and walking the same path.  I love you.  (kk)