Thursday, January 27, 2022

THURSDAY THIS AND THAT

Coming up this weekend (January 29-30) on THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL with Wink Martindale and Gary Theroux: "The Most Romantic Hits of 1968" -- 24 full-length beloved classic hits from the year plus insightful comments from Linda Ronstadt, Mike Nesmith (of The Monkees), Hugh Geyer (of The Vogues), Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (of The Turtles), Mama Cass Elliot, Rob Grill (of The Grass Roots), Stevie Wonder, Spanky McFarland (of Spanky & Our Gang) and Petula Clark. Also: a HRR Profile of The Four Tops (“Baby I Need Your Lovin’.)  Of special note for Chicagoland music lovers: the first appearance in the series of The New Colony Six (pictured).



BTW, The Ventures turn up twice as two-part Spotlight Features in the HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL series.


Gary Theroux 

 

I just heard that Don Wilson of The Ventures passed away at age 88. 

It was an honor to meet and interview him years ago.

One story I wrote on Don was published in 2020 in "Ugly Things."

Before the Beatles arrived on the sales charts, the Ventures' instrumental hit "Walk, Don't Run" and subsequent instrumental albums sold millions and millions of copies, as well as helping open the doors to Asia for touring acts.     

The Ventures’ first Documentary: Stars on ... - Ugly Things 

ugly-things.com/the-ventures-first-documentary-stars-on-guitars 

By Harvey Kubernik  

Interviews - Ugly Things 

ugly-things.com/articles/interviews/page/3 

Dec 17, 2020 · By Harvey Kubernik - The first-ever full-length documentary chronicling the 60 year career of the Ventures, The Ventures: Stars on Guitars, debuted on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD to cable

I still need to see this documentary … been meaning to for ages now.

So sad to hear that ALL of The Ventures are gone.  Their impact on rock and roll was enormous.  (kk)

 

Best Classic Bands once again salutes the WLS Charts from January of 1969 this week …

Radio Hits in January 1969: Over and Over | Best Classic Bands

 

>>>Most year-end surveys were determined by how long songs stayed on the charts -- but, of course, this rewards slow climbers versus ones that hopped up and down the charts quickly. Maybe year end charts should only look at the Top 20 or 40 positions in determining if a song was really popular. I know Cash Box only used the Top 50 positions to allow songs to accumulate 'points' for their year-end surveys. Unfortunately, songs that charted early in the year or late were rarely given their full chart life in determining where they ranked.  (Joe Cantello)

These issues are why I consider my method among the best for determining the top hits of a year: it uses a progressive point system (inspired by the one devised by Jim Quirin and Barry Cohen and applied to the Billboard charts in their "Rock 100" publications), which favors records that spend more weeks in the upper regions of the weekly charts, as opposed to the "slow climbers" that spend more weeks in the lower regions of the charts. And records that straddle the end of one year and the beginning of the next are given full credit for all points earned, and are included in the year in which they earned the majority of their points -- so that, for example, "I'm A Believer" is one of the biggest hits of 1967, not 1966, when it first hit No. 1 on the chart dated in the last week of the year. Of course, no method is perfect, especially since the original weekly charts were subject to manipulation and therefore not perfect themselves in determining the most popular records in a given week.  What matters most is which records have stood the test of time and are most listened to nowadays.

– Randy Price

For the past 45 years I have wished I had the time to analyze the performance of every record to make the charts, utilizing your method for The Super Charts.  I’m convinced it’s the most accurate measurement possible, taking ALL of the national trades into consideration.

But I know then I’d next want to bring things more current than 1982, in which case the Radio and Records charts would have to be incorporated.

And then I’d still want to develop my “Hit Index” factor.  There just isn’t enough time in the day to do so … so we’ll just have to quibble and argue about the results as they currently exist … which is half the fun of analyzing the charts in the first place!  (lol)  kk

 

Hi, Kent.
I have a pretty good idea why Canadian musicians and groups don't make it into our HOF; it just popped into my head this evening.  I remember the fracas that erupted in 1970 regarding a new "law" that made it mandatory that Canadian radio stations' playlists had to be made up of a certain percentage of Canadian artists before they inserted American music into their schedules.
CKLW in Detroit, which has a Canadian call-sign rather than an American one, has its transmitter in Canada (which, apparently, according to FCC regulations, makes it a Canadian station).  Doesn't make sense to me, though. Their signal, which emanates from a tower which is probably within 10 miles of the US/CA border, is the same strength and covers the same listening area as if it were in Detroit.
From a writeup which I read many years ago, CKLW was not happy about the new regulation, because in spite of there being a lot of good music coming from Canadian artists, there was much more money-making music from
American artists, and many CKLW listeners changed their listening habits and jumped over to stations having K and W call-signs.  I believe that CKLW's listenership dropped immensely.
Maybe this caused a never-ending friction between America and Canada, regarding pop music.  Just a thought.
Here's the story of the new "rules".

https://www.tvo.org/article/everything-about-it-rocked-how-windsors-cklw-reckoned-with-the-brand-new-cancon-rules
Mike

 

Kent,

First, I loved the video at the bottom of today's FH. Don't be surprised if that little girl later on in the future has a recording contract with some label. Loved the expression on her dad's eyes.

Second, what a coincidence of today's FH. I'll explain that in a second.

Brad was correct. SAD STORY by Jack Scott did get a lot of airplay here in OKC. I did not check to see how high it got on the weekly survey. You might say it was a "turntable" hit here in OKC. Brad said he never found a 45 copy of it. I'm holding the record in my hand as I email this to you.

SAD STORY was written by Jack Scott with the flip being I CAN'T HOLD YOUR LETTERS (IN MY ARMS), written by John D. Loudermilk. Both sides were produced by a man by the name of Manny Kellum. I wondered if he was any relation to Murry Kellum, who had LONG TALL TEXAN in late 1963.

Now for the coincidence of today's FH ...

Just last night (Monday), I listened to an aircheck of my show, THE WAX MUSEUM, which I did on 12/7/97. During that show I played SAD STORY.

Larry Neal

 

Noise 11 is reporting that Motown will be releasing a Mary Wilson Anthology on March 22nd.  (Sadly, we lost Mary a few months ago … and this will be the first release spotlighting her work with the label.)

The 2-CD set will feature 38 songs, including Mary’s early days in The Primettes, a number of alternate takes and live recordings by The Supremes and some of her solo work.

The complete track list can be found here:

The First Ever Mary Wilson Anthology is On The Way - Noise11.com

kk

 

>>>Robert Feder is reporting that WLS Radio,“The Big 89” Top 40 giant, was selected this past week for induction into The Iowa Rock Hall of Fame.  (WLS was also inducted into The Illinois Rock Hall Of Fame last year.) kk
I'm not a fan of "Halls Of Fame" … but it's good when they get it right.

Before WLS, the source of popular music at our house was the twice-weekly Lawrence Welk Show.  In early 1961 they were plugging their new release, "Calcutta."  One day, while spinning the radio dial, I came across that song and afterwards the dj announced that it was the #1 song on the WLS "Silver Dollar Survey."  I had to find out what other songs were on that survey. The rest is history.

Ed #1

 

I had seen that Vince Gill comment a couple days earlier. While Vince was making his case, he's got the facts all wrong.

Obviously, Vince has made a lot more money in the music biz than I ever will, unless my eBay auctions start kicking in to overdrive, or someone decides my song catalog is worth Springsteen money. I will respect his opinion tho. However, Vince was three years old in 1960, so I don't think he was out buying 45's then nor did 45s didn't cost 99 cents in 1960. Probably not until the early 80's, was the price 99 cents.

Jack

Vince’s comments stuck with me for several days.  The fact that for the same price as Vince’s heartfelt blood, sweat and tears that he poured into his latest record can be purchased for the same value as a farting app for your phone really says a lot.

And let’s face it … we were buying our 45’s at places like discount places like Korvettes and Topps or, if necessary, Polk Brothers and Sears at anywhere from $0.69 each to $1.29 each.  Now granted, you got TWO sides to that single … but the fact that SIXTY YEARS LATER you can still buy a track on iTunes for $0.99 - $1.29 is a pretty amazing thing when you consider the rate of inflation everywhere else.  (kk)

 

Hi Kent,
One more great read ... but Vince Gill's factoid really hit home ... LOL ... so spot on.
Thanks for always bustin' your butt to keep us enjoyably informed.
God bless, my friend -
Barry

 

kk …

Neil Sedaka was Cousin Brucie’s guest on Saturday Night.

Neil and Brucie go back to their Brooklyn days together.

At one time, they lived in the same building.

This week, Neil goes back to his roots.

His Mother wanted him to pursue Classical Music.

Tonight (Tuesday, 1/25) Neil has been asked to perform Classical Music for 1 1/2 hours on Symphony XM.

Neil chose Rock and Roll over Classical Music –

You make a lot more money singing the Rock and Roll songs that you wrote!

REQUEST:  Add Whipped Cream to the Stylistics’ Album Cover.

FB

Neil’s right about that!  (lol)

He is an accomplished pianist, Juilliard trained …

But he can also rock out with the best of them (and has created some of the most memorable melodies in the history of rock and roll.)  How is it that HE has never been considered for The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?!?!?

By the way, this Saturday (1/29) Micky Dolenz finally makes his way to Cousin Brucie’s show.

(And for the record, I think that Stylistics cover is fine JUST the way it is!!!  Lol)  kk

Speaking of Micky Dolenz, it looks like he and Felix Cavaliere are ready to kick off their big tour together …

Here’s a brand new promo photo of the two, courtesy of dis-company …



And, since we're talking about upcoming tours, Daryl Hall hits the road with Todd Rundgren (the two performed together several years ago on “Daryl’s House” and must have hit it off!)

It’s a very short tour that kicks off here in Chicago on April 1st (complete tour list below), which just happens to also be the release date for the new 2-CD set, “BeforeAfter.”

It also coincides with the release of a new solo album by Daryl that collects material from his previous releases as well as live tracks from his “Daryl’s House” series (including “Can We Still Be Friends” by Daryl and Todd, a video for which is ALL over the place right now to help promote the upcoming tour!)

April 1st – The Auditorium Theatre – Chicago, IL

April 3rd – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN

April 5th – Atlanta Symphony Hall – Atlanta, GA

April 7th – MGM Northfield Park – Northfield, OH

April 9th – The Met Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA

April 11th – The Orpheum Theatre – Boston, MA

April 14th – Carnegie Hall – New York, NY

April 16th – The Theatre at MGM National Harbor – National Harbor, MD

The Go-Go’s are ready to go-go back on the road after their recent Covid delays.

New West Coast shows are coming March 24th at The Masonic in San Francisco, CA, March 25th at The Grand Theatre @ Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada, March 27th at The Pechanga Theatre in Temecula, CA, March 28th at The House of Blues in Anaheim and March 31st at Humphrey’s in San Diego, CA.

They then head of to The UK for six dates in June with Billy Idol.  (kk)

Poor Elton John …

He no sooner than got back on the road after a nearly two year delay and he has had to postpone his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour again because now HE has tested positive for Covid-19.

John’s January 25th and 26th shows in Dallas (originally due to take place in 2020) were immediately postponed again … no official word yet on when he’ll resume.  (His next scheduled date is January 29th in North Little Rock, Arkansas.)  Elton is said to be experiencing minor symptoms at this point.  He had only played three shows since returning to the road last week.

You know how we talk from time to time about the way the oldies are used in television commercials these days?

Have you seen Campbell’s Soup’s new campaign?

So far I’ve seen ads featuring the Rick Nelson tune “Never Be Anyone Else But You” and Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” … and there may be more.  (Applebee’s has always been good about recycling these tunes, too.)

They’re not the original hit versions … but it proves again just how catchy pop music used to be.  (kk)

While you are paying your respects to Meatloaf, don't forget Illinois' Karla DeVito …


The Karla DeVito Story

Growing up in the late ‘70s, she was paradise by the dashboard light, a saucy maiden from Penzance, an MTV darling that even David Letterman called “The Sweetheart of Rock &Roll.” She’s Mokena’s Karla Jayne DeVito (b: 5/29/53).

A runner-up for Homecoming Queen while attending Lincoln-Way High School in New Lenox, DeVito already had ambitions of being an actress, appearing in school plays. She studied at Second City and majored in theater at Loyola University in Chicago. That led to roles in the Chicago productions of the Broadway shows Godspell and Hair.

While that was coming to fruition, she was doing some sessions at Chess Studios. Working with commercial jingle producers Donn and Ken Marrier, they had a disco-flavored song that they had Karla put lead vocals on. Initially going under the pseudonym Brenda Brenda, when they were ready to release it, they changed the credit to Karla Jayne and the Boogie Man Orchestra. It was released in 1975 as a 12” EP as “It’s My Party” b/w “You’re Only Using Me” (Boogie Man BM 228).

The real breakthrough year came in 1977 when she was cast in the role of Meat Loaf’s girlfriend in the video for his “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” (https://youtu.be/C11MzbEcHlw.) Ironically, she didn’t sing the song on his album, but was lip syncing Ellen Foley’s part in the video. Meat Loaf and DeVito toured in support of his album and she became hot property.

Her 1981 debut album, “Is This a Cool World or What (https://youtu.be/bAlceT1cqNk), positioned DeVito as a MTV star. Her image was trendsetting with the sexiness of a Pat Benatar coupled with the fun and freedom of a Cyndi Lauper, preceding both in their career successes.

While she continued with her music career, supporting Meat Loaf songwriting partner Jim Steinman’s “Dance in My Pants” (https://youtu.be/ZHon5X0K29I), Epic, and providing background vocals for the Sorrows and Blue Oyster Cult, it was theater that was in her veins.

She secured a role on Broadway as Linda Ronstadt’s understudy in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” eventually replacing Ronstadt in the lead role of Mabel. A short time later, Robby Benson, an actor who had a co-starring spot in the TV show “Happy Days” and was well-known for his roles in teenage coming-of-age movies, was cast as Frederic, the male lead opposite DeVito. The two fell in love, both onstage and off, the pair getting married in 1982.

Benson and DeVito collaborated on a song “We Are Not Alone” (https://youtu.be/4cP-ARAtDnE) that became a centerpiece for the teen movie The Breakfast Club (A&M).

DeVito had continued working on music for a second album, tentatively titled “Incognito,” but with her theatrical commitments, a move to Los Angeles and a label change, it was a four year hiatus for DeVito before that sophomore release, which ended up being called “Wake ‘Em Up in Tokyo.” With the time away, the public appears to have forgotten her, and the album failed to chart.

Commercially, her music career ended there, although she did contribute two songs to the 1990 film Modern Love and sang the part of Elizabeth for Graham Russell’s rock opera “The Heart of the Rose.”

DeVito next headed for the silver screen. She co-starred with her husband in the 1990 film “Modern Love.” She’s made appearances in the 1993 film “Family Album,” 1996 film “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” 1997’s “Fired Up” and 2015’s “Straight Outta Tompkins.” She’s also been the voice in numerous animated films.

Moving out of the spotlight, DeVito has appeared to be comfortable as a mother, housewife and partner.

When DeVito and Benson got married, she must have asked the right question, “I gotta know right now will you love me forever … Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?” The answer was surely, “yes,” as the two have been happily married ever since. They’re still making music together. You can see some of their recent collaborations on DeVito’s website: www.karladevito.com, including a reuniting with Ellen Foley (https://youtu.be/Kh9QXC5SpuQ) and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KarlaDeVitoandCompany.

Is this a cool world or what?

Discography:

KARLA JAYNE AND THE BOOGIE MAN ORCHESTRA

1975  It’s My Party b/w You’re Only Using Me (Boogie Man BM 228).

KARLA DeVITO

1981  Is This a Cool World or What? (Epic 37014)

1986 Wake ‘Em Up Tokyo (A&M 65048)

Ken Voss

Also while you're paying your respects to Meatloaf, at one time when The Boyzz were signed to Cleveland International Records, they appeared on stage with him.

“Whole Lotta Shakin’” with Meat Loaf & The Boyzz

https://youtu.be/r3Sl5JkRsm0

Ken

Also from Ken Voss …

R.I.P. Dick Halligan, founding member of Blood, Sweat and Tears

https://people.com/music/dick-halligan-blood-sweat-tears-dead-at-78/?fbclid=IwAR0KUPqLNViqQ8XENm5JC_O2IzUUf7zgWndQSy7LVlux2GQ_n3G8YQhjHV8

The end of January is still four days away and yet we have already compiled a very sad list of artists who have left us this year.

Comedian Louie Anderson

Director Peter Bogdanovich

Songwriter Dallas Frazier (“Elvira”)

Musician Dick Halligan (founding member of Blood Sweat and Tears)

Actor Dwayne Hickman (TV’s Dobie Gillis)

Michael Lang (Woodstock festival organizer)

Singer Meat Loaf

Singer Fred Parris (The Five Satins)

Actor Sidney Poitier

Voice-Over Artist Peter Robbins (the voice of Charlie Brown since 1965)

Comedian Bob Saget

Singer Calvin Simon (Parliament / Funkadelic)

Singer Ronnie Spector (The Ronettes / and Phil Spector’s ex-wife)

Guitarist Don Wilson (The Ventures)

From Frank B …

kk …

HERE’S ANOTHER BOOK FOR YOUR BATHROOM READING LIST

"LEAVE THE GUN, TAKE THE CANNOLI" …

The Epic Story Of The Making Of The Godfather.

Mario Puzo Was Married With five Children.

He was a heavy gambler and owed money to bookies and shylocks and family members.

I think “The Godfather” really did save his life.

The phrase "I'm Gonna Make Him An Offer He Can't Refuse" came from Mario's Mother.  (I Don't Think She Killed Anybody.)

The Paperback Rights For “The Godfather” Sold For $410,000, A Record At The Time .

Mario Made A Total Of $3000 On His Last Book.

He Used Family Angle , Along With Gangster Angle.

In A Restaurant, Somebody Tried To Introduce Frank Sinatra To Mario.  Frank Refused To Talk To Him. Johnny Fontaine.

FB

And finally, this smiler from Mike Wolstein …

Here’s my music funny for the day:
(I must be telepathic ... I hear Jimy singing!)

;-)

Mike


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tuesday This And That

Here's a Jack Scott song from the fall of 1962 that never charted in the US. 

But it got enough airplay in Oklahoma City that I remember hearing it, and it went on my "search list" when I started collecting records.

Never found the 45, but did get it on a CD many years later, and it's my favorite song by Jack Scott. 

See what you think of "Sad Story".

Is he worthy of the Hall of Fame?


Probably not; there are so many other more deserving omissions that I could list.


But that's another story for another day.

Brad



The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame seems to have a real aversion to Canadian artists for some reason.  How else do you explain The Guess Who and/or Paul Anka not having been inducted?  (Or, as they so like to do, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman not earning multiple inductions for their solo work and the group Bachman Turner Overdrive)  I’d have to put Bryan Adams near the top of the Deserving and Denied list, too.  (Uh-oh … here he goes again!!!)

The only Canadian Artists who have been recognized are Neil Young (twice, like I said), Joni Mitchell and, just recently, Rush.  (Some lump The Band into this category since most of its members hailed from Canada … but The Band formed in Woodstock, NY, many years later … and made it their home during all their hit years.)  And I guess if you REALLY want to get technical, you’d have to include Leonard Cohen, too, who I consider to be one of the LEAST worthy inductees of all time.  (Rock And Roll?  In what way?  He charted for exactly one week in his entire career and that was with his own God-awful rendition of “Hallelujah,” an otherwise FANTASTIC song when performed by other artists … and only hit the charts when he passed away … and even then only managed to last a week.  In what way does this artist meet “the code” established by The Rock Hall over say Gordon Lightfoot, who I don’t really consider to be a rock and roll artist either!)

As we pointed out, Scott had a few hits at a time when rock and roll was still fairly new and finding its way … but I don’t see that he really did any trailblazing of his own in this regard.)

The criteria for Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction has gotten so completely off course that it has meant very little for decades now.  Sadly, we live in a world today where Just Bieber probably stands a better change of being inducted than The Guess Who do … and that’s just a shame.  (kk)

 

Kent,

The whole idea of year end charts should really focus on what songs were popular during a 12-month period, showing the diversity of music (whether pop, soul, country or whatever style of music.)  While many of us seem to get hung up on whether a certain song was a bigger 'hit' than another song while looking at year end rankings, I'm not sure there really is an equitable way to rank songs to determine the most popular -- do you use sales, airplay, digital sales and/or streaming? 

Most year-end surveys were determined by how long songs stayed on charts -- but, of course, this rewards slow climbers versus ones that hopped up and down the charts quickly. Maybe year end charts should only look at the Top 20 or 40 positions in determining if a song was really popular. I know Cash Box only used the Top 50 positions to allow songs to accumulate 'points' for their year-end surveys. Unfortunately, songs that charted early in the year or late were rarely given their full chart life in determining where they ranked.

Perhaps one other alternative would have programs that reviewed a year chronologically, playing the songs that came into the Top 10 as they appeared on the charts from January - December. Of course, a show like this may take away the fun of trying to determine which song was a bigger hit!

Always enjoy reading your daily columns,

Joe Cantello

Roswell, Ga  


I Wrote To David McGrath To Ask Him About Gene Pitney Recording Platters Songs.

FB

Hey Frank ...

Thanks for writing.

The reason that Gene recorded The Platters album was that Musicor bought those masters from Mercury. Art Talmadge, who was running Musicor at the time, was a former A&R guy at Mercury and had the inside track. Then, they were in such a rush to get the album out, that Gene said they didn't properly erase The Platters' vocals and on some tracks!  He said, “You can hear a little bit of Sonny Turner's vocals.”  (My ears aren't that good, so I'll take his word on that!!!)

That's a great Pitney story there. This one is better.

On their very first Dick Clark tour, when they got paired up as roommates, they got to the hotel to check in. Dick Clark reserved the rooms for all the entertainers. What they didn't know 'til they checked in was that they had to pay for them or go sleep on the bus!!! As the headliner, Gene was pretty cash flush, knocking down about $1500 a week in the early '60s. Brian Hyland was collecting $250. Gene would always pay. I spoke to Brian Hyland for my book and he figures he still owes Gene a couple of hundred dollars from those tours!

Thanks so-o-o much for getting the book and the nice comment about it. It was fun to talk to all the songwriters and to get those stories told.

Yerz ...

David McGrath

I just heard the other day that when Tom Jones first started out he was touring as part of Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and making about $1200 a week as one of the headliners.  Two years later after he had really made it on his own, he was making $50,000 a night!!!  (No way he was going back on a Dick Clark Tour at this point in his career … and sharing a bus with all those other acts!)

Still, most of our early-to-mid ‘60’s favorites were happy to be included.  If you look at that Gene Pitney Tour promo poster I ran a short while back, you’ll see the line-up on stage included Pitney, The Buckinghams, The Happenings, The Fifth Estate, The Easy Beats and The Music Explosion … each would come out and do three or four of their biggest hits and then turn it over to the next act … and better still, you got to see them all for about four bucks at the time!!!  (kk)


MORE:
  This particular tour took place in 1967 … here is a shot sent in by Ken “Furvus” Evans of The Fifth Estate, high on the charts that year with “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead,” of the bulk of the guys getting ready to board the bus and head off to the next town.

We’ve heard stories about what a cut-up and prankster Gene Pitney was on this tour.  (Well, he WAS the headliner after all!!!)

Funnily enough, in 1967, he had the FEWEST hits of these artists!

Check out our look back at The 1967 Pop Charts for Gene Pitney, The Buckinghams, The Happenings, The Fifth Estate, The Easy Beats and The Music Explosion …

What a line-up of acts!!!

National Top 40 Hits for these artists in 1967

(NOTE:  Headliner Gene Pitney did not have a single Top 40 hit that year … his most recent success on the charts was with “Backstage” from the summer of ’66 … it peaked at #24 ... yet he was the headliner on the tour.)

# 1 - KIND OF A DRAG – The Buckinghams (#1)

# 2 - LITTLE BIT O’ SOUL – The Music Explosion  (#1)

# 3 - I GOT RHYTHM – The Happenings (#1)

# 4 - DON’T YOU CARE – The Buckinghams (#5)

# 5 - MERCY MERY MERCY – The Buckinghams (#5)

# 6 - HEY BABY, THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG – The Buckinghams (#5)

# 7 - SUSAN – The Buckinghams (#6)

# 8 - DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD – The Fifth Estate (#11)

# 9 - MY MAMMY – The Happenings (#12)

#10 - FRIDAY ON MY MIND – The Easybeats (#16)

#11 - LAUDY MISS CLAUDY – The Buckinghams (#36)

#12 - WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE – The Happenings (#39)

Here’s a piece we did on Gene Pitney in 2002 (OMG, that's TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!) when it was announced that he was being inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame …

(See … we were bitching about them even way back then!!!)

‘60’s FLASHBACK:

There seems to be a genuine feeling amongst GENE PITNEY fans that his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame is LONG overdue. (He was first nominated for the Hall in 1998.) However, I can't imagine that even the BIGGEST Gene Pitney fan has ever REALLY considered Gene's music "rock and roll." He certainly was a voice to be contended with ... he has a very unique, distinctive singing style ... and he also wrote a couple of rock classics along the way. (HE'S A REBEL, RUBBER BALL and HELLO MARY LOU to name just a few!)

Between 1961 and 1968, he placed 17 hits in the National Top 40, including Top Ten pop classics like ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK A HEART and IT HURTS TO BE IN LOVE. His final Top 20 Hit, SHE'S A HEARTBREAKER (#16), peaked at #7 here in Chicago in 1968 ... and just might be the closest he ever came to anything resembling "rock and roll" … yet I’ve heard that among Gene Pitney “purists,” it’s one of their least favorite recordings by him … probably because he strayed from the format that had been working so well for him in previous years.  (Personally, I think he was just trying to stay contemporary and relevant ... and it’s one of my personal favorites from his extensive cataog.)

From a couple of FH Readers:

I have a FIRM belief that Pitney's inclusion is LONG OVERDUE!!!

WmBradSpa

One Third of my main three Hall Of Fame choices was fulfilled this time around when Gene Pitney was finally inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  Gene Pitney is well deserving of a place in the hall

Brother Sev (SN0REFEST)

Gene Pitney is often dismissed as just another vapid early 60's teen idol: a well-groomed, non-threatening young man who sang mushy songs written by other people. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Pitney is an international star who has recorded in several languages. His unique voice prompted one music journalist to dub him "Rock's Caruso."  He's an accomplished songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist. He's worked with the likes of Phil Spector and The Rolling Stones.

By the time he graduated from high school, Gene Pitney (b. 2/17/41 in Hartford, CT) had fronted his own band (The Genies), mastered the piano, guitar, and drums, and was a published songwriter. Early recordings (1959-1960) as half of Jamie and Jane (Jane was Ginny Arnell of future "Dumb Head" fame) went nowhere, as did solo releases under his own name and the pseudonym of Billy Bryan.

In late 1960, his demo recording of "(I Wanna) Love My Life Away" (in which Pitney played all the instruments and sang all the vocal parts) came to the attention of music publisher Aaron Schroeder. He was so impressed that he signed Pitney to his newly formed Musicor label and released the song as is. Ten days after Pitney's 20th birthday, the song peaked at #39 on Billboard's Top 100.

At the same time, Pitney was finding success as a songwriter. "Rubber Ball" (which Pitney co-wrote under the nom de plume "Anne Orlowski"* due to an ASCAP/BMI issue) was a Top Ten hit for Bobby Vee in January of 1961 … and Ricky Nelson would take Pitney's "Hello Mary Lou" to #9 in May of that year.

[* As we recently learned in David McGrath’s book, Anne Orlowski was his mother’s maiden name – just trying to keep the money all in the family!!! – kk]

Although Pitney's next two singles as a performer ("Louisiana Mama" and the Phil Spector-produced "Every Breath I Take") were not hits, major success was just around the corner. In late 1961, Pitney was tapped to sing the theme song for a new Kirk Douglas film. "Town Without Pity," the movie, would come and go quickly, but the song would peak at #13 in January, 1962, and become an international hit. When the song was nominated for an Academy Award, Pitney was invited to perform it on the April 9, 1962, Oscar telecast. This would give him his biggest career exposure to date.

Pitney would go on to make the Billboard Top 100 Pop Chart a total of 24 times between 1961 and 1970, including 16 Top 40's and 4 Top 10's. (He also made the Country charts 5 times: 4 duets with George Jones and 1 with Melba Montgomery.)

While his chart placings declined after 1964, he became an even bigger star in Europe, especially in England, where he would have over 20 Top 40 hits through 1974. In 1988, British rocker Marc Almond would recruit Pitney for a duet recording of "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" (a 1967 British Top 10 hit for Pitney.)  The result was a #1 hit in England.  Pitney toured Europe extensively during the 70's and 80's, eschewing United States appearances where he was pigeonholed as an "oldies artist."  He returned to the American stage in 1993, when he gave a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall.

Today, Pitney lives in central Connecticut, not far from where he was raised. He tours and records occasionally. Some Pitney factoids: His biggest American record was "Only Love Can Break A Heart," which peaked at #2 in late 1962. The song that kept him out of the #1 spot was The Crystals' "He's A Rebel," which was written by ... Gene Pitney. AMAZING!!!

While touring England in 1963, Pitney was introduced to The Rolling Stones. He sat in on a recording session of theirs and played piano on the song "Little By Little."  Pitney's recording of "That Girl Belongs To Yesterday" marked the first American chart appearance of a Jagger-Richard composition.

MFPing

[Man, I miss you Ping … any chance you’re still reading Forgotten Hits???]

Because Brenda Lee was ALSO inducted during that 2002 ceremony, I thought ia appropriate to also include this comment, which was posted as part of the same piece that we sent out in 2002 in celebration of Gene Pitney’s induction …

Because Brenda Lee was ALSO inducted during that 2002 ceremony, I thought ia appropriate to also include this comment, which was posted as part of the same piece that we sent out in 2002 in celebration of Gene Pitney’s induction …

Brenda Lee hit The National Top 40 an incredible 36 times between 1960 and 1969 …

And Connie Francis matched her nearly hit for hit, with 44 of her own Top 40 hits during this era.

They were, unquestionably, the most dynamic duo of female singers to ever hit the rock and roll scene … there from the beginning, right on thru to the time that music changed DRAMATICALLY to a much heavier sound. 

Brenda Lee was known as Little Miss Dynomite and had a powerful voice that grabbed you by the throat and drew you in.  Connie Francis was a bit more subdued, but still pulled at your heartstrings in a different way.

Brenda was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002 … and Connie was never even given the chance.

There was a lot of controversy at the time (and in the years since) that CONNIE FRANCIS has NOT been elected to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame … or even been nominated for that matter.  This oversight (intentional as it may be) certainly does NOT diminish the fact that BRENDA LEE belongs there ... let's just hope that justice is eventually served, and Connie is allowed to follow in her footsteps.  (That window of opportunity just keeps getting smaller and smaller … the nominating committee today seems far more focused on who has made music the past 25 years than someone who peaked on the charts nearly 50 years ago.)  As has been a HUGE point of contention for these past several decades now, the criteria for what does and doesn't qualify an artist to be nominated is pretty vague. This music was a HUGE part of the lives for anyone growing up in the late-'50's and early-'60's ... and it should be recognized as such.

I have been personally told by members of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame that committee members felt in hindsight that inducting Brenda Lee was a mistake … and that even though Connie Francis pretty much matched her hit for hit back in the ‘60’s, they weren’t about to make the same mistake twice.  In their words, since they couldn’t UNinduct Brenda Lee, they just chose to ignore Connie Francis altogether.  Shows you the mentality we’re up against when campaigning for Deserving and Denied Artists who have been continually overlooked.  (kk)

DIDJAKNOW?:  In 1964, Brenda Lee’s hit IS IT TRUE snuck into the Top 20 and peaked at #14, right in the middle of Beatlemania.  This track features Jimmy Page.  

Next time you’ve got about 20 minutes to kill, check out The Monkees on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour!  (I honestly don’t remember ever seeing this before … I’m actually quite surprised by how much screen time they were given on a one hour show!)  Well worth checking out if you’re a Monkees fan!  (kk)

The Monkees on Glen Campbell's Goodtime Hour (2-5-69) - YouTube

UPDATE:  In all fairness, it's not that this is such a GREAT clip ... but rather that it is such a rare one.  The comedy bits are about as lame as can be ... the opening segment of the three remaining Monkees singing snippets of their hits is only remotely interesting ... and the poorly lip-synched version of their latest single, "Tear Drop City" (essentially a "Last Train To Clarksville" rip-off anyway) only serves to remind you just how good Micky was at pulling this off within the context of their hit television series.

But the truth is, the TV show was long gone ... as were their hits on the radio ... as was Peter Tork for that matter.  An earlier attempt at hip street-cred (by way of their film "Head") went virtually unnoticed at the time and, other than the involvement of a young Jack Nicholson, making it sort of a cult classic, this too hasn't really held up all that well over the years.  (Not that it was any bargain to begin with!)

Still, seeing Micky, Davy and Mike trying to act zany and look relevant as a nice treat and surprise for 1969 ... and since Glen Campbell played guitar on any number of Monkees recording sessions, an even cooler piece to enjoy. 

And this from Chuck Buell ...

Just imagine how we’ll feel IN 2060!!!  (Think we’ll still be wearing masks???)  kk

CLIP OF THE WEEK ...

(I dunno ... this just might be Clip of the YEAR!!!)

Frannie got this TikTok video from her sister ... and we've probably already watched it a hundred times.

The passion ... the drama ... all the facial expressions and hand gestures ... 

It's absolutely to die for ... 

And proof again that each new generation is discovering ... and LOVING ... this music!!!

(Honestly, this one is priceless!  How many people will YOU share it with?!?!?)