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.


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)



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.


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)

  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!!!)


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!!!


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.


[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


(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?!?!?)