Saturday, February 19, 2022

PHIL NEE: Remembering Gene Pitney

Gene Pitney was born February 17th of 1941.   
I had the chance to catch him on the phone in 1994 and I asked the future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member about the start of his career and the songs he wrote for other artists.

"Hello Mary Lou" was always one of my favorites.  I'm sure it would have been a hit for Gene Pitney as well ... but Ricky Nelson took it over the top and made it his very own, going all the way to #1 here in Chicago as the A-Side ... nationally, it was "Travelin' Man," the flip side, that topped the charts.  Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Statler Brothers also made notable recordings of these songs.  Pitney also wrote the hits "He's A Rebel" for The Crystals and "Rubber Ball" for Bobby Vee.

Gene Pitney was very popular in the United States, but his success in Europe and other countries was even greater.

"Love My Life Away" was his first big hit as an artist.  It, too, enjoyed much greater success here in Chicago (#8) than it did nationally (#31).
"Blue Angel," released in 1974, was a very popular record in England ... yet never charted here in The States.  For several decades Gene's career seemed to be much bigger in Europe than it was here at home.  (In fact, when The British Invasion hit and established American artists were finding it difficult to get their songs played on the air, Gene was having the exact opposite effect overseas where his records were making The Top Ten on a regular basis.)
And that popularity continued for decades to come.  In 1989, Gene topped the British Charts with a remake of his 1967 hit "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart," this time recorded as a duet with Marc Almond of Soft Cell.

The big hit The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was not used in the film of the same name.  I asked Gene Pitney about the history of the song.

Gene Pitney still earned a #4 pop hit with "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" despite it not being used in the film.  ("Town Without Pity," his prior hit, WAS used in the film of the same name ... and was even nominated for an Academy Award.)

A Gene Pitney biography (by David McGrath) was released recently.  McGrath worked for Pitney for twenty years and was essentially his right-hand man ... but still writes the book more from a fan's perspective.  The title of each chapter is also the title of one of Gene's best known songs ... and insight into the history of the recording is given for each entry ... along with "factoids" about this material.  While annoying at times, it IS an interesting look into Gene Pitney's career.  17 Top 40 Hits tells the story of just how popular he really was back in the '60's.  A unique voice, to be sure, with some GREAT hits along the way.  (kk)

GENE PITNEY:  1963 - 1967

While Gene Pitney's career may have been waning a bit here in The States during this era when the artists of The British Invasion were dominating the charts, he didn't miss a beat with his British fans, where his records regularly made The Top Ten.

Here is a chart comparison of Gene's hits, 1963 - 1967 ...

1963 - Half Heaven, Half Heartache (US - #12 / UK - xx)

1963 - Mecca (US - #12 / UK - xx)

1963 - True Love Never Runs Smooth  (US - #21 / UK - xx)

1963 - Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa (US - #17 / UK - #5)


1964 - That Girl Belongs To Yesterday (US - #49 / UK - #7)

1964 - Yesterday's Hero (US - #64 / UK - xx)

1964 - It Hurts To Be In Love (US - #6 / UK - #36)

1964 - I'm Gonna Be Strong (US - #9 / UK - #2)

1965 - I Must Be Seeing Things (US - #26 / UK - #6)

1965 - I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night (recorded with George Jones and released as George and Gene) US - #97 / UK - xx

1965 - Last Chance To Turn Around (US - #12 / UK - xx)

1965 - Looking Through The Eyes Of Love (US - #23 / UK - #3)

1965 - Princess In Rags (US - #32 / UK - #9)

1966 - Backstage (US - #24 / UK - #4)

1966 - Nobody Needs Your Love (US - xx / UK - #2)

1967 - Just One Smile (US - #64 / UK - #8)

1967 - Cold Light Of Day (US - #83 / UK - #38)

1967 - Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart (US - #130 / UK - #5)


Be sure to listen to Phil Nee's THOSE WERE THE DAYS radio program tonight on WRCO ...

WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin

Just click on the 100.9 headphones and start streaming!

Send him an email request if you like …

Or just let him know how much you’re enjoying his new weekly feature in Forgotten Hits!


UPDATE:  I talked with Phil yesterday and he was still in the hospital at the time ... but very optimistic about being on the mend and coming home soon. 

Why not drop him a line and let him know you're thinking of him ... send along your Get Well Wishes and let him know how much you are enjoying these vintage interview segments.  You can email him at

Friday, February 18, 2022

If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears

This month, we wish a happy birthday rock-a-versary to "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears," complete with soon-to-be-censored toilet cover, released 2-14-1966. When the Mamas and Papas subsequently appeared on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" I was a dancer on this episode and during the '66 season when the show was still shot in black and white in the ABC-TV studios on Vine St. and Fountain Ave. I also danced on "Shebang!" and attended "Shindig!" tapings in 1965 and '66.  

-- Harvey Kubernik

Harvey Kubernik Interviews with Michele Phillips, photographer Guy Webster, producer Lou Adler and engineer Bones Howe  

[Please Note: This article first appeared in Music Connection on December 16th, 2020, as an anniversary opaque yellow vinyl edition of The Mamas and the Papas' first LP was released - used with Harvey's permission] 

On January 29, (2021-kk),the Geffen / UMe record label is set to release the Mamas & The Papas’ If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears on black vinyl. The album will also be available on opaque yellow vinyl exclusively at uDiscover Music and Sound of Vinyl.

Considered one of the best pop-rock albums of all time, the 12-song 1966 debut showcases the exquisite pop sensibilities and impeccable harmonies of Cass Elliot, Denny Doherty, John Phillips and Michelle Phillips. Reaching No. 1 on the Billboard album charts within months of release and spending more than 100 weeks on the chart, the Lou Adler-produced gem opens with the No. 1 hit “Monday, Monday” and includes “California Dreamin’,” which hit No. 4 on the Billboard singles chart.

Album Cover Courtesy of Geffen/UMe

While best known for its two hits, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears features a mix of originals and covers that captivated fans and critics alike. The album is included in the top 100 of the influential reference guide 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

In their pursuit of pop music perfection, the Mamas & The Papas were signed to Dunhill Records by Adler in 1965 and disbanded shortly after their performance at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival, where “Monday, Monday” was first performed live.

In between, the foursome embarked on what has become a storied career during their brief time together. Contributing to their status as pop culture icons were unforgettable performances on The Ed Sullivan Show, including the John Phillips penned classic “Monday, Monday,” their interpretation of Lennon & McCartney’s “I Call Your Name” and “California Dreamin’” co-written by John and Michelle Phillips.

Both vinyl reissues will include the original Guy Webster-shot cover photo, which was censored at the time for showing a toilet. First issued on February 28, 1966, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears opens with the chart-topping ode to the first day of the work week, followed by the upbeat, bass-heavy rocker “Straight Shooter.”

On “Got A Feelin’,” co-written by Denny Doherty and John Phillips, a ticking clock underscores the melancholy vibe that someone is cheating; “Go Where You Wanna Go,” “Somebody Groovy” and “Hey Girl” round out the original compositions with the musical and lyrical flair that defined their style. The Mamas & The Papas also brought their easy-listening harmonies to Leiber & Stoller’s “Spanish Harlem” and Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Wanna Dance,” while gently rocking to The Turtles’ “You Baby.” Cass Elliot’s rollicking cover of Billy Page’s “The ‘In’ Crowd” first done by Dobie Gray, closes the album.


Side A

  1. Monday, Monday
  2. Straight Shooter
  3. Got A Feelin’
  4. I Call Your Name
  5. Do You Wanna Dance
  6. Go Where You Wanna Go

Side B

  1. California Dreamin’
  2. Spanish Harlem
  3. Somebody Groovy
  4. Hey Girl
  5. You Baby
  6. The “In” Crowd

After leaving their respective folk groups, the Mugwumps and the New Journeymen, in New York, singer Denny Doherty and singer-songwriter John Phillips formed a new group with John’s wife, Michelle, and Cass Elliot. The four were initially known as the Magic Circle before they settled on the Mamas and the Papas.

Signed to Dunhill Records by record producer Lou Adler, the band released its first single, “Go Where You Wanna Go,” in 1965. “California Dreamin’” hit the charts soon after, and their debut LP, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, landed at number one on the Billboard Top 200. “Monday, Monday” was the third single from this momentous debut, and garnered the foursome a US number-one hit.

In 1966 I danced for a brief season on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. One afternoon at the ABC-TV studios on Vine Street and Fountain Ave. in Hollywood, Bob Lind and the Mamas and the Papas were the booked guests. Even though both acts were lip syncing to their current hit records on our popular AM radio station KHJ, I thought what I was hearing live in the studio was absolutely marvelous.

The sound of our city revealed in Jack Nitzsche’s arrangement of “Elusive Butterfly” and the Adler produced “California Dreamin’.”

In my 2014 book, Turn Up The Radio! Pop, Rock and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972, I reflected on the meteoric triumph of the Mamas and Papas.

“Their trajectory from clean-cut folkies to acid-addled pop aristocrats is both a cautionary tale — be careful what you wish for — and a validation of pure talent and ceaseless ambition. Their reckless indulgences have long since passed into tabloid infamy. What is worth celebrating, of course, is their singular weave of melody and harmony that soothed the ear like velvet. How it came to be is the quintessential Los Angeles story.”

“In 1965, I tried to sign the Mamas and the Papas to GNP Records,” talent scout and record producer/songwriter Kim Fowley recalled to me in a 2008 interview.

“I got a phone call from Cass Elliot, who I had met through James Hendricks, a songwriter. I hung out with her. She smoked pot. I didn’t. She wanted to know how the town worked.

“Gene Norman at GNP was my boss. I really respected Gene. I was A&R there at the time. [I told him,] ‘I just discovered a new band.’ ‘What do they want?’ ‘Two hundred and fifty dollars a month, plus they will do clerical.’ ‘No new artist is worth two hundred and fifty a month.”

“So I called Nik Venet, who was at Mira Records, and I was going to be involved in the music publishing. Nik helped produce ‘Hey Joe’ by the Leaves on the label. They sang over the telephone. Nik had previously met John when he was in the Journeymen, a Capitol Records act. John Phillips has a great gift for harmony in his songwriting. Nik was going to take them over to Mira the following Monday for a 3:00 pm meeting to see Randy Wood, who dated my stepmother. He was formerly with Vee-Jay Records. Nik gave John a check for $150.00 to hold them over until the meeting. They called up, looking for some grass to calm themselves down, and Barry McGuire didn’t have any. This is just before Barry hit with ‘Eve of Destruction.’

“Then Lou Adler met the group through Barry, and he signed them on the spot for three grand. They never showed up for that Mira meeting and Nik said, ‘Somebody must have grabbed them.’

“I saw John Phillips a year later at a listening party for ‘Daydream’ by the Lovin’ Spoonful. I said to John, ‘Why don’t you pay back Nik Venet the $150.00 that he gave you that was going to carry the group over until that Mira meeting?’ John then sent the check to Nik, who framed it and never cashed it. I loved the records Adler and Bones Howe subsequently did with them.”

Born in 1933 and hailing from the Boyle Heights section of East Los Angeles, Adler wasn’t planning to enter show business when he started writing songs with friend Herb Alpert.

The first four songs they did together were recorded by artists, Sam Cooke, Cowboy Copas, and Sam Butera from Louie Primas band. Adler and Alpert did a demo of a tune and took it to Bob Keane at Keane Records who offered the duo A&R jobs working with producer Bumps Blackwell.

Adler lived in 1957 with Cooke in Hollywood at the Knickerbocker Hotel. He also resided with Sam in an apartment on Saint Andrews Place in Los Angeles where George McCurn, Lou Rawls and Bumps Blackwell hung out.

In 1959, Sam, Adler and Herb Alpert wrote “(What a) Wonderful World,” a hit single for Cooke in 1960, later covered by Herman’s Hermits. Adler toured with Cooke as a road manager and attended Sam’s sessions at RCA studios.

“Sam taught me a language on how to speak with musicians, not only verbal but sign language as far as where to go musically,” Adler told me in a 2008 interview for my book Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon. He penned the Afterword, too. From 1958-1960 Adler lived in Laurel Canyon on Lookout Mountain Drive.

“Sam taught me where the drummer would go and when to layout. That was a language I had to learn and also the communication between producer and engineer. I had no musical or recording experience, so between Bumps and Sam is where I learned.”

Adler saw Cooke every Christmas and on their birthdays. Sam, along with the Everly Brothers played at Adler’s June, 1964, wedding to actress/singer Shelley Fabares.

On December 11, 1964, Sam Cooke was shot to death at a motel in downtown Los Angeles.

“Sam is never talked about as a human being,” Adler emphasized. “He’s mentioned as the great soul singer that he was and the instrument that he had, and the fact that everybody from Otis Redding to Jackie Wilson emulated him, followed him. He was just a great human being, a great guy, a great buddy with a wonderful sense of humor…”

Adler’s business acumen would then give us Johnny Rivers, the Mamas and Papas, Spirit, Merry Clayton, and Carole King, as well as the comedy of Cheech and Chong.

“One song that is Laurel Canyon-specific that John (Phillips) wrote is ‘Twelve Thirty [Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon].’ A lot of the first songs of the Mamas and the Papas were written before I ever got to them. The music was polished. It wasn’t raw. They looked raw, that’s back to the album cover, Can You Believe Your Eyes and Ears? What that meant was ‘that sound was made by these people?’ John was never raw. He went to West Point. He came out of the Hi Lo’s and the Four Lads.”

“John Phillips was a great guy, smart, but he was power crazy, you know,” photographer Nurit Wilde told me in a 2008 interview.

“John was the person who wrote the songs and directed the group. I don’t know if John needed the applause but Cass certainly did. She had issues and wanted validation and was very talented. I met her earlier in New York when she was in The Big Three. Cass was a mensch. The ‘den mother’ thing was much more when other people were around. She was a sensitive person. The weight was really an issue. Michelle didn’t seek the spotlight.

“I loved Denny’s voice and Cass’ voice. Michelle was perfect for that band. I went to some of the recording sessions at Western Recorders. I thought John was tremendously talented. I knew Denny from Canada before he was in the Mamas and the Papas, and he was more of a laid-back person. Denny lived on Appian Way in Laurel Canyon. He had a beautiful house. I had a very short fling with Denny. We were friends and not really anything else. Sometimes I felt that he felt he was over his head, that he couldn’t cope with some of the stuff.”

“The Mamas and the Papas were the informed calm before the incoming easy coast storm of 1966 and '67,” suggested record producer and author Andrew Loog Oldham in a 2020 correspondence. “It didn't matter if your parents were next door: they were weaned on the same.

“I’d met Lou Adler in Santa Monica California at The TAMI Show in late ' 64,” ruminated Andrew in a 2007 dinner interview we had.

“He was managing the hosts, Jan & Dean and I was there with the Rolling Stones. We became fast friends. About a year later I was in LA recording the Stones at RCA; Lou asked me to come down to his Dunhill records office on South Beverly Drive. In his office were four quite ordinary, very special folk. John Phillips, Michelle Gilliam, Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot.

“They sang about a dozen songs to the accompaniment of John's acoustic guitar. They sang their whole career ‘California Dreamin',’ ‘Monday, Monday,’ ‘I Call Your Name,’ ‘Creeque Alley.’ I heard ' em all. Lou smiled. ‘Whadja think?’ I thought a lot.

“I knew my mate had his Mick and Keith in one and that was what was important. The group was almost a backdrop to what Lou and John were about, changing the name of the game and keeping it interesting.

“I know about the hits. The national anthems, the weavings as in ‘Creeque Alley’ of the Mamas and the Papas’ journey. But my total unabashed fave, the one that brings a lump to my throat and makes the pop hairs stand up on my hands is ‘Twelve Thirty.’ The transition from New York City, ‘everything there was dark and dirty’ to the Canyon is just not only magical but real, and that was the art of John Phillips. The production, of course, is a result of the sonic marriage of Adler and the group. It’s their ‘Mother’s Little Helper.’”

When Universal studio owner and sound innovator Bill Putnam came to Hollywood from Chicago in 1957, his first competition in town was Radio Recorders, which he had attempted to purchase. As United Recording was being developed and built, Studio B at United was complete, with two reverb chambers, a mix-down room, and mastering rooms, one of which had stereo.

In 1961, Putnam bought Don Blake’s Western Recorders, located next door on Sunset Boulevard. Engineers Bones Howe and Wally Heider came to United.

In 2008 I conducted an interview with the legendary engineer/producer Bones Howe.

“When Bill Putnam bought Western, he walked me down the street to see the building. Studio 3 was in the building. When Putnam opened his studio, the first thing he did was that he got a new Grampian cutting head [that] you could pump a lot of volume into. You could really pump a lot of voltage and signal into it, and it would cut a much hotter 45 than the Altec head that everybody else used for cutting LPs and 45s. UREI was the development company, and a different division of United Recording. They developed a 1176 limiter, which I ran and did all the test runs on. He had a prototype, and gave it to me in the studio to use. United just became the place to record.

“I was in the room with Lou when he first heard the Mamas and the Papas. It was in the back room at Studio 2 at Western Recorders. John had a guitar and sang four songs for us. The mix of those four voices was so amazing. You didn’t need to do much in terms of enhancement. We doubled their voices up, but it really was a great sound.

“When I was an engineer, I was there to serve the producer and the music. I never lost sight of that. I did what I was told, except I found ways I thought benefited the performance of the musicians in the studio. I made suggestions, like putting Cass and Michelle on one side and Denny and John on the other side. ‘Let’s do it this way and see how it works.’ Those became concrete formats, because what I found out is that if you put the guys close enough together, they’ll play better. Not only that, the sound will be better, because the sound doesn’t have to travel as far to the other microphone. It’s all about an ensemble sound.

“[Drummer] Hal Blaine was on everything, Larry Knechtel, and Joe Osborn . . . I discovered Joe doing those Johnny Rivers records with Lou Adler. Joe Osborn played the bass the way I thought, as a jazz player, rock ’n’ roll players should play the bass. Joe and Hal, together, really had the lock and the feel. That’s kind of how I built a rhythm section.

“Sometimes Lou would ask me about guys. Like on ‘California Dreamin’.’ He did not want to put a saxophone on it. He didn’t want a guitar solo. John [Phillips] said something about a flute. I said, ‘Bud Shank is in the back room doing a session. Bud Shank will play.’ Lou said alto flute, and Bud had [one]. I asked Bud to come into Studio 3 for our session, and he made it in one or two takes.

“When you put a rhythm section together, it has to be a rhythm section. It’s got to be a section and be able to communicate in such a way that they play together. That’s what those guys did. For me, they were the best, and I heard rhythm sections from the East and they always sounded disconnected. I always give Lou credit for being my production mentor.

“During the ‘I Saw Her Again’ session, I didn’t erase the previous vocal, and the playback went: ‘I saw her again . . .’ Lou said, ‘That’s great!’ At that moment, I understood trusting your gut.”

“That’s all John’s amazing arranging,” explained Adler. “You could hear it in the old Journeymen albums, the group that he was in before, which included Scott McKenzie and one other fellow [Richard Weissman]. Even then, his arranging was too far-out for folk music. I mean, you couldn’t listen to it and say, ‘This is a folk group.’ He was doing such far-out things. Grittier.

“I think the key element is the vocal arranging of John and his songwriting, without a doubt. And three very trained voices, musically, and the determination on Michelle’s part, who is not as musical as the other three. The individual styling of Cass is something out of the twenties or forties, like Tin Pan Alley. The style of the Mamas and the Papas was once described as ‘the girls chasing the boys’—vocally, that is.

“When you heard the result come over the speakers, it didn’t matter what you went through to get it. The job of a producer is part psychologist, part catalyst—certainly [on] the music end. It’s a lot of things. You’re locked away in a studio for quite a while, and in the case of the Mamas and the Papas, these four people exposed every so often, you have to be a psychologist at that point.”

Over this century I’ve done a few interviews with Michelle Phillips. In 2007 we chatted.

“I was born when we were living in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles in Aliso Village. Lou Adler is from Boyle Heights, too. I first started listening to radio station KFWB at Thomas Starr King Junior High School, and then while attending John Marshall High School.

“John and I had never heard ourselves sing with anything more than one guitar when we went to audition for Lou. So, when he put together Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Larry Knechtel, and engineer Bones Howe, when we heard ourselves with a band, it was amazing! It just inspired us more and more. And you know, I think we were very lucky that we picked a lot of good material.

“I think that we put a lot of energy into making the material great. John was such a perfectionist, and so was Lou. That was a big romance. John and Lou were perfectly suited for each other. They bounced off each other. They really appreciated each other’s gifts.

“When we were starting our first album, I suggested we do a Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song, ‘I’m a Hog For You Baby,’ that I knew from the Coasters. When I sang it for them, they all laughed at me. ‘Oh God, you’ve got to be kidding.’ But they’d never heard it. And you know what then I sang the Shirelles’ ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ for them. And John went, ‘I don’t know . . .’ [So I said,] ‘Okay. I got another one. ‘Dedicated to the One I Love.’ I sang that for John, and it was like his eyes lit up and his head exploded. And he responded. ‘I like that. Let’s get the lyrics and the key for it.’ Then he took that record, and made it his own. You know, it doesn’t sound like anything the Shirelles did. John took that song, and he knew what to do with it. He knew how to arrange it and make it a wonderful record for us.

“The stuff that we decided to cover was great. I mean, if you listen to our version of ‘Dancing in the Street,’ or ‘My Girl,’ or the Beatles song, ‘I Call Your Name,’ those are great covers. Because John knew that, with our vocal blend, we could make those songs great. Listen to the backgrounds in ‘My Girl.’ I know the Temptations did a fantastic version of it, but you gotta listen to our version of it, too.

“We decided to do ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me,’ that was really a song that had been co-written by a friend of my fathers, Fabian Andre, when we were living there in Mexico City.

“When Fabian died on New Year’s Eve of ’66, I found out about it in ’67, and I told John. ‘Oh my God! He wrote one of my favorite songs, ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me.’ We started to work it up. It just sort of happened, you know? What if I didn’t know Fabian had died? That song had been a hit before. It had been a hit twice. But we brought it back and gave it a whole new life.

“When John gave you a part, you had to learn these incredibly difficult parts. He would say things like, ‘You’ll thank me for this someday.’ He would keep us in the studio, doing take after take until it was perfect. We would already be complaining an hour before we finished. ‘But that’s the perfect take, John! It’s not going to get any better than that.’ ‘Yes it is. And there was just so much material.

“I came home one day in 1966 or ’67 and turned on the television, and a special from Vietnam was being broadcast. The camera panned across this audience of soldiers and marines who were fighting in Vietnam. There is such a look on their faces. This is just right in the middle of this horrendous war, and you can see it just etched on their faces. Then the camera pans across them, and there is this huge banner that says ‘California Dreamin’.’ That just shook me to my core. It became a destination anthem. I’m the co-writer of that song.”

During 2008 and 2014 I did a series of interviews with one of rock’s early innovators, photographer Guy Webster who took the cover of the Mamas and the Papas debut LP and traveled with the group during their short career.

My brother Kenneth and I wrote, captioned and assembled the only collection of Webster’s photos in Big Shots: Rock Legends and Hollywood Icons published in 2014.

“I started working with the group with Lou Adler, who discovered and produced them. Lou called me and said, ‘Barry McGuire is sending over this group and he wants us to listen to them.’ So I went into Lou’s office at Dunhill Records, and in came the four Mamas and Papas and they were visually very interesting. Michelle Phillips. Gorgeous girl. Everybody wanted to fuck Michelle. She was it. Cass was wonderful. I knew Cass really well and we were close friends. And Denny was great. What a voice. So Lou and I were the only two people in the office and they started singing ‘California Dreamin’, and Lou and I looked at each other and locked eyes. Oh my God! That is it. We just saw money signs. I went to every recording session Lou did with engineer Bones Howe.

“I did the front cover of their album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, in the bathroom of a house that was rented at the mouth of Franklin Canyon. In 1966, we were sitting around and I think it was Cass who pulled out some grass from tin foil and lit it with all the windows and doors closed. And we were supposed to shoot our album cover. And we were all really stoned. I couldn’t set up my tripod.

“So I said, ‘We gotta shoot something.’ And in that apartment was that 1920s and 1930s bathroom with all the tile. I put them in the bathtub and I set up my tripod and my big two-and-a-quarter camera and shot that picture. And in that picture for the album cover, shot with my wide angle lens, was the toilet. I had no idea when we produced this and neither did Lou. You can’t put a toilet on the cover of anything and sell it at Sears or one of those chain stores. They will not allow it. So Lou came up with a great idea, to put a little sticker on the shrink-wrap that said, ‘Including ‘California Dreamin’.’ And that covered the toilet. Kid opens it up and there it is.

“It became one of the most controversial album covers of its day which pleased us to no end   I became best friends with the Mamas and the Papas. John Phillips was from another world. You see, John Phillips became a hippie, but he wasn’t. When I first met him, he was not a hippie. He was a bright folk singer who could write beautiful songs. John Phillips and I could be friends. The group was educated. John and I could talk philosophy, religion, and politics. I think John helped Lou and Lou brought John into the modern world of music publishing.

“I was also with Lou and the group at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival as the official photographer for the festival and the program. The police were so nice there. I took the photo of the cop with the flower.”

“I loved The Mamas and Papas,” lauded SiriusXM deejay Rodney Bingenheimer in a 2020 telephone call we had.

“The harmonies in the studio blew my mind! I will always remember the session for ‘I Saw Here Again.’ We all know there is a ‘mistake’ in the singing when Denny comes in early. We were all around the console watching Lou Adler and Bones Howe creating magic. Lou and everyone in the entire room immediately voted to keep the ‘mistake’ on the master recording.

“I liked John Phillips. He and Michelle always had the best New Year’s parties when they lived in Bel-Air. The photographer Ed Caraeff and I witnessed the debut of Jimi Hendrix at the Whisky a Go Go and later we drove Jimi in Ed’s car to their house. Michelle was everybody’s dream. I will never forget the time when they were on The Ed Sullivan Show and you had to fall in love with her. Mama Cass was always very friendly, and went out of her way to treat street people just like the celebrities who were around. She always talked about the Beatles who we both worshipped. John Lennon was her favorite. Denny was quiet. I didn’t see him much.

“I was at some of their TV show tapings, including Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is. On one episode I was sitting beneath Michelle as they sang on a boat. I also saw the group at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The publicist Derek Taylor really hooked me and Ed Caraeff up.”

On April 27, 1966, after a Hollies’ press party event was held on Sunset Blvd. at Liberty/Imperial Records in Hollywood, Rodney Bingenheimer invited Graham Nash of the Hollies to attend a nearby Mamas and Papas recording session of “Dancing Bear” at Western Recorders. Graham then met and talked at length with group member Cass Elliot.

In a 2014 interview, Graham detailed his encounter to me.

“I only went with Rodney to see Michelle. But Michelle, Denny and John Phillips were doing an overdub in the studio, and Cass was outside the studio. I started talking to Cass. You know the truth is there’s a part of me that really believes none of this would have happened without Rodney. Incredible music has been made from that moment.”

During the afternoon of April 28, 1966, matchmaker Cass picked up Graham at the Knickerbocker Hotel and introduced him to David Crosby at her house in Laurel Canyon. Crosby subsequently connected Nash to Stephen Stills, and Crosby, Stills and Nash was formed.

“We were staying in Hollywood at the Knickerbocker and she picked me up around noon in her convertible Porsche,” recollected Nash. “I said, ‘where we going?’ ‘We’ll be there in five minutes. Don’t worry.’ And drove me up to Laurel Canyon and I met Crosby. And once again, my life has never been the same…”

Harvey Kubernik, Michelle Phillips, Lou Adler, Kenneth Kubernik Monterey International Pop Festival Symposium 2012 at The Silent Movie Theatre West Hollywood, CA. Photo by Heather Harris

In a few of my conversations with Michelle Phillips, Lou Adler, Andrew Loog Oldham, and Guy Webster, I asked about the Monterey 1967 event.

In 2012 Lou, Michelle, myself and my brother Kenneth did a Q. and A. session on stage at The Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax Ave. in West Hollywood celebrating our book The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival.     

Adler, along with John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas forever altered world culture and music in 1967 with the Monterey International Pop Festival. It not only helped bring prominence to Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin and Otis Redding, but popularized a whole new generation of rock ‘n’ roll recording artists who were now here to play and stay.

On April 9, 1967, Paul McCartney flew in from Denver, Colorado, to Los Angeles in a Lear Jet owned by Frank Sinatra. On arrival Paul visits the Bel-Air mansion of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, a pad above Sunset Blvd. formerly owned by actress Jeanette MacDonald. An aristocracy has paired the hymnists from the international pop underground along with Mama Cass Elliot and record producer Lou Adler. Paul plays guitar and strums and sings “On Top Of Old Smokey.”

That night, McCartney is quickly invited to join the advisory Board of Directors, which is planning the Monterey International Pop Festival. Adler and Phillips had just formally taken over the planning of the non-profit event, now scheduled in just two months.

“The motivation came that night at John and Michelle’s with Cass, Paul McCartney, myself and a couple of others; our conversation went to rock 'n' roll as an art form, like jazz,” stressed Adler.

“John and I were both aware of the Jazz at the Philharmonic recordings. Someone said, ‘They aren't taking rock 'n' roll musicians seriously.’ Rock 'n' roll was always viewed as a fad that would be over by the summer…but now it was more than just music, it was a lifestyle.

“McCartney’s first recommendation simultaneously along with Andrew Loog Oldham that same day was to book the Jimi Hendrix Experience since they were tearing up England at the time. We looked at Paul beyond an act. Beyond somebody that was singing on stage, as a composer. He was somebody not writing just hits, but great songs. Like ‘Michelle.’

“At John and Michelle’s home, McCartney watched cartoons on the television set, improvising a score for what was on the screen. Paul never came to one of our recording sessions, but (George) Harrison came by a couple of times. You’re fans of everybody’s records. And once again getting back to Monterey, that’s what brought those people together…that they had been fans of everyone in the other groups. And got a chance to cross and ask those questions like ‘How did you get that sound on that record?’”

“As for the Monterey International Pop Festival, John and Lou were smart, they built an infrastructure to draw talent,” underlined Michelle.

“They got the names. It was going to a good cause. What Lou and John did was that they got every person they knew to bring in somebody that they knew. It really gathered energy and momentum. Every time the phone would ring it would be Andrew Loog Oldham calling from London. Kinetic energy. He was so helpful and he wanted to be here so much and be part of it. He loved Los Angeles and he loved Lou and John. They were all very good friends, and Derek Taylor, and there was nothing like this transatlantic energy that grew every single day. Enormously exciting.”

“I was in self-imposed exile from the UK,” admitted Andrew Loog Oldham.

“In late '66 the Rolling Stones had returned to England for a rest after four years on the road. The drugs were working for and against us. I started getting calls from the fuzz warning me about Brian Jones and the condition he was in driving his Rolls-Royce up and down the Kings Road. The party was starting to be over. It was definitely over when I got warnings that I was about to be busted. So I let my bottle go and fled England for Los Angeles. The Monterey International Festival production office was on Sunset Strip in Hollywood.”

It was Andrew Loog Oldham who telephoned Phil Walden who was Otis Redding’s manager to secure Otis for Monterey. Walden then in turn dialed Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler to see if the festival was kosher. Wexler explained to him how logical it would be and Walden wisely then consented.

“When Otis came on stage you forgot about the logistics. We knew we were taking one small step forward for mankind. Phil Walden, his manager, was in heaven. He knew he'd just graduated from buses to planes. Phil Walden was one of the greatest managers of his time. His enthusiasm, his pure chicanery, his belief, his service to Otis was an example to the game.

“These white kids in the audience were in school. We all grew from the diversity presented in those three days. Monterey Pop gave service; it still does. I remain oh, so proud I was there and was a small part of it. Otis; the Who; Jimi Hendrix... every time I think of the music I remember the sea of faces and the rhythm of one of the crowd.

“On so many levels the Monterey International Pop Festival began what is still with us today.”

In my 2020 book Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, I talked to Oscar-winning documentarian D.A. Pennebaker about his movie Monterey Pop that captured the action.

“Bob Rafelson (The Monkees TV show, HEAD) called me up and he said ‘would you like to do a film of a concert in California?’ And I thought about it and I had just seen Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer, which is not about surfing at all, but all about California. Every kid out of high school the one thing they wanted to do was get to California, and Endless Summer didn’t hurt.

“I saw Rafelson once, maybe, but he was never involved. It was always Lou Adler and John Phillips that I dealt with. And we flew up with Cass (Elliot) to see the place and I looked at it and it was this tiny place. I had no idea what was going to happen there. I had never seen a music festival at all. Not even Newport, so I didn’t know what to expect. It had a really nice feeling to it and I loved Monterey and it’s a lovely place. And I sort of thought, ‘well these guys know what they are doing.’

“John and Lou. John was a total genius. He was part Indian and had a mystical view on everything he did. And he hadn’t been playing music for long. The Journeymen a couple of years before the Mamas & Papas. Everything he was doing was like he’d been touched and as long as the spell was there it just flowed out of him. I loved John. He was marvelous.

“Lou knew what he was doing and I knew he was a real good sound mixer ‘cause I had listened to some of the stuff he had done but I knew they were hatching a real interesting game. Which was from the beginning get rid of the money. That was the big thing. Get rid of the money. And I could see that that was gonna make it work. It was a very Zen thing. But I can see that, and later I saw what happened at Woodstock, and I really didn’t want to get involved with that at all. One of the producers of Woodstock saw the film of Monterey Pop and wanted to do a festival.”

In one of my dialogues with Michelle Phillips I wanted to know her feelings about the ongoing popularity and continued interest of the Mamas and the Papas catalogue.

“Why does our music still resonate and have influence? I’ll tell you what I think. I think that we put a lot of energy into making the material great. John was such a perfectionist. And so was Lou. That was a big romance. John and Lou were perfectly suited for each other. They bounced off each other. They really appreciated each other’s gifts. John and I had never heard ourselves sing with anything more than one guitar when we went to audition for Lou Adler. So when Lou put together Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Larry Knechtel, and engineer Bones Howe, when we heard ourselves with a band it was amazing! It just inspired us more and more. And you know, I think we were very lucky that we picked a lot of good material.

“As far as the Mamas and the Papas always connecting and in a way Mamas and Papas music is comforting to them. You know what I mean? They can go back into their childhood and say, ‘That was the music of my era.’ And, ‘California Dreamin’’ has surpassed any kind of era. And I think ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’ has done the same thing. It was just licensed for a Marc Jacobs commercial.

“More than a year ago I got a phone call from a political activist who asked if I would agree to let ‘California Dreamin’ be the theme song for the ‘Dream Act.’ ‘We want to call it the ‘California Dream Act.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but are you going to license it?’ ‘But we don’t have the money to license it.’ So I said, ‘I’ll call Universal and see if I can get them to waive the licensing on it.’ So I called Universal, the President of Licensing. ‘You know, I think we outta give them this. I feel very strongly about this and I would like to just give it to them.’ And the John Phillips estate was called.

“And it’s so much fun for me to see and hear ‘California Dreamin’ being played around these political ads. The Dream Act that enables children of Latinos who came here. I was so happy to be a part of it. Why does our music still have influence and resonate? I don’t know but I am very lucky it does.”

(Harvey Kubernik is the author of 19 books, including Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972.  Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. For summer 2021 the duo has written a multi-narrative book on Jimi Hendrix for the publisher.

Otherworld Cottage Industries in July 2020 published Harvey’s 508-page book, Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, featuring interviews with D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Albert Maysles, Murray Lerner, Morgan Neville, Curtis Hanson, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Andrew Loog Oldham, Dick Clark, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Travis Pike, Allan Arkush, and David Leaf, among others.    

In 2020 Harvey served as Consultant on Laurel Canyon: A Place In Time documentary directed by Alison Ellwood which debuted in 2020 on the EPIX/MGM television channel. Kubernik’s writings are in several book anthologies, most notably The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski. Harvey penned a back cover endorsement for author Michael Posner’s book on Leonard Cohen that Simon & Schuster, Canada published in October 2020, Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years)

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Thursday This And That

It’s been a week since our last confession … I mean publication … of current material so some of this information is likely out of date for some of you … but we still don’t want these events to go unnoticed.

Over 1.85 million votes have already been cast in this year's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ballot.  Right now, Eminem and Duran Duran are neck-and-neck at the top of the heap, each with approximately 270,000 votes ... but Pat Benatar, Dolly Parton, Eurythmics, Judas Priest, Lionel Richie and Carly Simon now each have over 100,000 votes as well.  (In fact, Pat is closing in on the 200,000 mark as I type this.)  kk


 >>>..The Rock Hall has been pushing for Rap Artists to get in for some time now ... and quite a few have made it ... but to my ears, NONE of them have ever been as clever, talented and original as Eminem  (kk)

This reminds me of my first learning about Eminem in this article on page 3 of the March 6, 1999, issue of Billboard.  They were not fans.  Times have changed I guess.  As for me, with a few exceptions, Eminem is still a button-pusher on my car radio.

Ed #1

It took me a little while to appreciate the depth and cleverness of Eminem.  Early on, I agreed with Billboard’s assessment that Marshall Mathers’ “Slim Shady” LP contained a lot of negative and angry content … in Billboard’s own words, “a debut album whose main themes include drugging, raping, and murdering women.”

Between his many multi-characters:  Eminem, Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady, Stan … one wasn’t really sure WHO this new artist was … and his early lyrics were more inciting than insightful …

But as he grew as an artist, I found that there was a lot of truth in some of what he was saying … and also that he was providing enough fodder to make you consider some perspective that might not otherwise have crossed your mind.

Honestly, I didn’t keep up with him for long … this music just wasn’t my thing.

But the whole concept of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was to acknowledge artists who brought something new to the genre of rock and roll … and Eminem certainly did that.  (Not that I don’t enjoy their music, but what did Bon Jovi, for example, bring to the table that wasn’t already there that got THEM into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?  To me, they’re just a VERY successful bar band who just happened to click with millions of people all over the world … but hey, isn’t that ALSO the case with The Monkees, who reached a far greater audience thru their TV show, and gratified millions with their feel-good brand of rock and roll?  Yet they’ve never even made the ballot.)  [See, that’s what I love about Forgotten Hits … where else are you going to see Eminem and The Monkees mentioned in the same paragraph?!?!]

I cast my two votes for Eminem and Pat Benatar, long overlooked for her contribution to the Women Who Rock Movement.  I honestly couldn’t come up with the five allowable votes this time … even with a record seventeen names on the ballot!  What a shame.  (kk)


The new nominees for The Illinois Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame have just been announced.  (You have to be a Charter Member in order to vote)


In the various categories, we find …


Recording Label - Pick 1






Radio Station - Pick 1





DJ - Pick 1

Mitch Michaels

Steve Dahl

Terri Hemmert

John Records Landecker

Bob Sirott


Songwriter - pick 2

Willie Dixon

Dennis DeYoung

Richard Marx

Jim Peterik

Lionel Richie


Band or Solo Artist Pick 4

Dan Fogelberg


New Colony 6

Smashing Pumpkins

Sam Cooke

Alison Krauss

Chuck Berry


Howlin' Wolf

Nat King Cole

Chaka Kahn

Jackie DeShannon


More info here as to how to register … and background on the Illinois Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and its previous inductees …

Route 66 the Road to Rock| Music Museum| Joliet, IL|



I just voted for the inductees, but was sad to see my nominees of the Cryan’  Shames and Ron Riley and the Mob were not even on the ballot and wonder why?  I did not know a certain number of people needed to nominate a person before they could even be on the ballot.  Does it say that somewhere?  Just disappointed my selections were ignored. 



I know they went thru the nominating process, asking for suggestions, but I don’t know if the rules were clear as to what it took to qualify somebody to actually  make the ballot.

As for me, I am NOT a Charter Member so therefore I am ineligible to vote …

But looking over the categories, I know who I WOULD be voting for if I were able!  (In fact, I’ve filled out MY ballot above!)  kk


Classic Rock claimed its spot during The Super Bowl this year …

It seemed like nearly every commercial that aired during The Big Game featured a song by an artist that played a big part in providing the Soundtrack To Our Lives … we’re talking about DOZENS of tracks and snippets … and that doesn’t even include The Half-Time Show!!!


Some of the ones that WE caught (and are songs that we would all remember) are:  “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by The Animals, “Little Green Bag” by The George Baker Selection, “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles, “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba, “Showdown” by The Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies,” “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant,  “Somebody To Love” by The Jefferson Airplane, “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest, “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard, “Stuck On You” by Lionel Richie, “Push It” by Salt-n-Pepa, Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me,” “Baby, One More Time” by Britney Spears, Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger,” “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain, “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Fingertips, Part 2” by Stevie Wonder  (Damn!  That's a pretty good playlist all by itself!!!)  kk


Speaking of The Super Bowl, have you seen this picture of Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh at the game with their wives?!?!

Barbara Bach and her sister Marjorie could pass for TWINS!!!

(Yep ... Ringo and Joe ... real-life brothers-in-law!)  kk


Hi Kent,
I finally took the first step towards trying to launch a music history podcast or perhaps a regular guest appearance on a radio show.

Last week, I did a music history show for Rag Radio, based in Austin. It was all kinds of fun to tell stories about some of the artists and their songs that I have learned over the years.
Below is a link to the archived radio show. You can click the Play button and listen to it anytime. And feel free to share it with any friends who might be interested.
If you would like to give some feedback to the host, you can email Thorne Dreyer at:


Big Jay Sorensen also sent along this link featuring Chicago Radio Jingles … … apparently something Bob Sirott (who I just voted for above!) featured on his program recently.  (kk)

[I should mention that my vote for Bob doesn’t actually COUNT … because I am NOT a Charter Member of The Illinois Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame … but hey, it’s the thought that counts!!! – kk]


A BIG part of Chicago radio in the ‘60’s was Ron Riley over at WLS … MUST listening for any kid growing up in Chicago at the time …

I’m not on Facebook, but a friend sent this to me from Mark Lindsay's facebook post today.  Ron Riley, the great WLS DJ getting some good accolades!

A Ron Riley Documentary is also in the works right now … and, being a Forgotten Hits Reader, he chimes in from time to time.

Ron, if you see this, please let us know how things are going!  (kk)


And Mike Wolstein sent us this trip down memory lane …


Hi, Kent ...

Well, I got silly this time. 

When I saw that list of rock stations that Clark Besch mentioned in his post a couple of days ago, I realized that these were stations I was listening to back in the day, and that I'd written to, in hopes of getting verifications of reception.  It was fun hearing 50kW rock stations from both coasts here in Chi-town, but what was more fun was picking up 250 watt (nighttime) stations from 1000 miles away and getting a really cool letter back from the station's chief engineer, who was astounded that I could pick them up. 

So, I tossed a few pictures of a few of my "QSL cards" together below (the
ones that Clark mentioned), plus a couple that the greatest rock DJ in history, Dick Biondi, worked for in the early days. The KIXZ one is one of my faves, as it's in Amarillo, Texas and was running 250 watts.


More from Mike …


Hi, Kent.
Here's a little piece from my collection ...

About 15 years ago, I mentioned to Dick Biondi that I'd been close with Deon Jackson for many years, and I asked if he'd like to interview him. He said he was interested, so I had Deon call him, and Dick chatted with him and played "Love Makes the World Go Round"  (1966, Carla Records, a division of Atlantic Records) on the air.
This took place on March 22, 2007, when Dick was with WLS-FM 4.7  (track attached)



I always liked this song ... a #11 hit in early 1966.  (kk)


>>>Several years ago, Micky Dolenz recorded what I consider to be his best solo album, “King For A Day,” a salute to Carole King’s music.  (King, of course, wrote several songs for The Monkees’ songbook, including the #2 1967 smash “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”)  Here is MY favorite track on that album … a new reading of The Everly Brothers’ 1962 hit “Crying In The Rain” … recorded as a duet with his sister Coco Dolenz.  (kk)

Thanks for mentioning this Mickey Dolenz LP ...

I just downloaded it and am enjoying these versions.   

Here's another version of "Crying In The Rain" that caught my ears last year. 

The group is a South African duo who call themselves The Dream Merchants.  They released a few LPs in the late 60's, and another one much later.

I've found 19 songs by them.  Their sound is much like the Walker Brothers and/or the Righteous Brothers.

See what you think.



Totally liking this arrangement …

Yeah, it’s country … but so were The Everly Brothers to a great degree. 

Good version.  (I would have NEVER guessed South African!)

Thanks, Brad!  (kk)


I don't know if you already know this or not, but “Sugarloaf” took their name from the name of a Rocky Mountain outside of Boulder, Colorado, a well-known college town near Denver.

Chuck Buell

Wild Bill Cody, a disc jockey from Colorado who spent a WHOLE lot of time visiting with us here in Forgotten Hits, was VERY familiar with Jerry Corbetta, Sugarloaf and their various incarnations.

Here’s a GREAT version of a reformed Sugarloaf performing their big hit “Green Eyed Lady” live in 2011!  Outstanding!  (kk)


Many have Dreamed, Studied, and Longed for The Passion Planet of VENUS ... In August of 197,0 'SugarLoaf ' had their VENUS Hit with 'Green Eyed Lady,' written by: David Riordan / J.C. Phillips / Jerry Corbetta  (6:57)


Green Eyed Lady lovely lady 

Strolling slowly towards the sun 

Green eyed lady ocean lady 

Soothing every raging wave that comes 

Green eyed lady passion's lady 

Dressed in love she lives for life to be 

Green eyed lady feels like I never see 

Setting suns and lonely lovers free 

Green eyed lady windswept lady 

Moves the night the waves the sand 

Green eyed lady ocean lady 

Child of nature friend of man 

Green eyed lady passions lady 

Dressed in love she lives for life to be 

Green eyed lady feels like I never see 

Setting suns and lonely lovers free


In August of 1970, 'SugarLoaf' had their VENUS Hit with  'Green Eyed Lady' 

written by: David Riordan / J.C. Phillips / Jerry Corbetta

In 1969, 'Shocking Blue' had their Hit with VENUS written by: Leeuwen Van Robert H J Rob

In 1960, 'Frankie Avalon' had a Hit with VENUS written by: Marshall Edward H



Thank You so much for All that you do

Kindest Regards, 


L J Coon

And let’s not forget “Venus In Blue Jeans” by Jimmy Clanton!

(And what about “Venus and Mars” by McCartney???)  kk


In Phil Nee’s Interview in FH with Jerry Corbetta today, Corbetta related that songwriter Stephen Bishop is compiling a book about where, when and on what lyrics to pop songs were written (for instance, Sugarloaf’s “Green-Eyed Lady,” he says, was written on a Taco Bag!)

I wonder if this book ever came out as I think those stories could be very interesting!


I did a little digging of my own because, like you, I found the idea of such a book quite fascinating.

I even tried to contact Stephen Bishop myself to find out the status … did he ever finish the book?  And was happy to get this email back shortly thereafter …


Hi Kent! 

Thanks so much for contacting Stephen Bishop!

Yes, he released his book “Songs in the Rough” in 1996. It sold out three times. A few copies are still available on the internet. It's really one of the most in-depth and well researched books on rough drafts. 

Team Bish 


So of course now I had to have it!!! (lol)  The book is out there if you look hard enough for it ... I found used copies (in varying condition) on both Amazon and eBay … and actually ordered a “Very Good” copy.


(I still think this is a very interesting concept, especially coming from another songwriter.  Depending on which promo you believe, Bishop tracked down either 60 or 80 sets of original handwritten lyrics, including those for "Heartbreak Hotel," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and some of Buddy Holly's tunes.  TWO of his own sets of lyrics also appear in the book ... and it won't cost you $1000 to view them like it will if you try to purchase a set of his handwritten lyrics on his website!!!  lol)  kk


Of course, you can always watch Stephen’s scene in “Animal House” for free!!!  (kk)


Talking about handwritten lyrics on what, perhaps you've seen this ... Rare notebook containing handwritten 'Hey Jude' lyrics to go on display ... 
A few years back I learned that some of John Lennon's handwritten lyrics were on display at Northwestern University here in downtown Evanston.
I always meant to go check them out but never did.
I believe a professor there purchased these at an auction many years ago and then put them up on display at the university.  (kk) 

Remarkable bit of research on the Sweet 16 piece


On February 9th, Ian McDonald, a founding member of the rock group Foreigner, passed away of cancer.  He was 75.

Prior to starting Foreigner, McDonald founded the highly praised King Crimson along with Robert Fripp and Greg Lake.  While Foreigner enjoyed massive pop success on the chart, King Crimson took a more “high-brow” approach … their album “In The Court Of The Crimson King” is considered to be a masterpiece of its genre. 

Ian’s Foreigner bandmate Al Greenwood said, “My bandmate and close friend Ian McDonald passed away peacefully yesterday. He was like a brother to me. A true musical genius, Ian’s musicianship was an integral part of launching both King Crimson and Foreigner into legendary status. His contribution to Foreigner’s success was immense. Ian was a dear friend, a kind and wonderful man, and I will miss him terribly”.  (kk)


Sting is the latest major artist to go the garage sale route with his song catalog … and I think he ended up on the right side of this coin toss!
He got $250 Million in the deal, which includes all of his solo work as well as the songs he wrote as a member of The Police.


After running Chuck Buell's Valentine's Day Gift Guide last week, it seemed only fitting to run this follow-up piece that he sent us ...

This just in!

It’s this year’s Special FH's “Clueless Valentine” 45 RPM Record ‘Adapter’ Award!

And the Winner is ~~~ this Forgotten Hitter, whose wife on Valentine’s Day thought it would be a romantic and sentimental gesture to share with him an old photo of her and her then future husband from their early 1960s dating years. 

After taking a long look at it, he said softly, “So Cool.  I loved that Old Car!”


Guess who slept alone in the Bean Bag Chair that night.


CB ( which stands for "Cupid Boy!" )




A few day ago, while you were discussing THE BALLAD OF DAVY CROCKETT, you might remember that you said or one of your readers, said that he was still alive. I thought I heard that he had passed away some years ago, so I checked and sure enough, he is still alive.

You may not know this, but he had a few follow-up recordings.  Two were MESSAGE FROM JAMES DEAN and THE LEGEND OF WYATT EARP, both on Cadence and both from 1956. Wyatt Earp was one of those westerns I watched religiously every Tuesday evening at 7;30, OKC time on ABC.

Larry Neal

The very first thing I did when I received that email about Bill Hayes was check the “Dead Or Alive” website!  (lol)  Amazing that he is STILL acting on this show at the age of 93!!!

I don’t know about those other two hits you’ve mentioned, but Hayes DID make one more trip into The Top 40 in 1957 with a record called “Wringle, Wrangle.”  It peaked at #33 in Billboard … but went all the way to #12 in Cash Box Magazine … and #15 in Music Vendor.  (kk)  


>>>And look at some of the other tracks that were not especially big national hits holding down a spot in this week's Top 40, like ""Shake Off The Demon" by Brewer and Shipley (which peaked at #98 in Billboard)  kk

I LOVE this song by them!  In my fave 45s boxes!!!


I wasn't familiar with this tune so I had to give it a listen ...

And now you can, too!  (kk) 

(Of course these guys are best remembered for their two back-to-back hits from 1971, "One Toke Over The Line" (#8) and "Tarkio Road" (#39)  kk


YES Legend Jon Anderson w/ The Paul Green Rock Academy To Play Select Shows Spring 2022!

Legendary YES vocalist / songwriter Jon Anderson will be playing select shows with The Paul Green Rock Academy in April 2022!

This Jon Anderson with The Paul Green Rock Academy tour is a resumption of the tradition started in 2005 when Jon toured with Paul Green's original School of Rock all stars.

These early shows, over 30 in total between 2006-2008, were nothing short of magical, and now Jon Anderson returns to continue that magic with a set of Yes Classics, deep cuts, mash ups, and solo works, all with lush arrangements featuring choral singing, horns, and all the other benefits of having a backing band with 25 young musicians.









Jon Anderson with The Paul Green Rock Academy tour dates:

Wednesday, April 6, Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA
Sunday, April 10. Capital Theatre in Clearwater, FL
Tuesday, April 12, King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, FL
Thursday, April 14, The Plaza Live in Orlando, FL
Saturday, April 16, ROSFEST at the Sarasota Opera House, Sarasota, FL

Plans for a major North American tour in the summer 2022 are currently in the works!

Watch Jon Anderson with the Paul Green Rock Academy - HEART OF THE SUNRISE promo video:

Jon Anderson is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable voices in music as the lead vocalist and creative force behind YES. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album “Fragile” as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as “Awaken,” “Gates of Delirium” and especially “Close to the Edge” which were central to the band's success. Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group's biggest hits, including “I've Seen All Good People,” “Roundabout” and “Owner Of A Lonely Heart.” After 50 years of success in the music business, Jon has worked with many variations of YES, as well as collaborations with Vangelis, Kitaro, Roine Stolt and Jean-Luc Ponty. He has released several critically acclaimed solo albums including “Olias of Sunhillow,” “Song of Seven,” “Animation,” “Three Ships,” “Toltec” and “Survival and Other Stories” to name just a few. In 2017 Jon reformed YES with former band members Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman. YES Featuring ARW toured the world to rave reviews and released “Live At The Apollo” CD/DVD in September 2018. Never to stand still musically, in 2019 Jon released an album he started 28 years ago, now called “1,000 Hands,” a reference to the fact that numerous guest musicians perform on the album, including Ian Anderson, Billy Cobham, Jean-Luc Ponty, Chick Corea, Zap Momma, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Howe and many more.

For more information:
Paul Green official website:
Jon Anderson’s official website:

What do you have in your pockets?

Now, think!

Are your pockets essential to your success in work?

Last night I experienced a pocket concert.

That is ... a concert being streamed through the use of a phone dropped into a pocket.

I was truly surprised by the quality of the sound. Usually, phones do not transmit the highest quality of sound. I know it was not just my opinion as this was being streamed on FaceBook and comments went by declaring how wonderful and unexpected the quality of the vocals were. Originally, there WAS a picture, but when the concert began, the phone was inserted into a pocket and the visuals disappeared. It kept me laughing to read the comments.

"What happened to the picture?"

"We are in his pocket."

"Why can't I see anything?"

"He put the phone in his pocket and forgot to turn it off!"

"I just came in. I can hear the music, but why is it dark?"

"We are in his pocket."

Did he forget to turn it off? Was it intentional? idk.

After 'Ring of Fire' was performed, the phone WAS turned off. Then I thought about Lou Christie's demonstration of how he maintains the falsetto in his songs and decided I wanted never to know any more details. I will never ask which pocket we were in.  

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

Hi, Kent!
I found these in my "miscellany files" while searching for something else ... some fun 20th anniversary stuff
[Some quotations by musical personalities, 'stolen' from: Best Quotes of 2002, Metroactive Features (From the January 2-8, 2003, issue of the North Bay Bohemian.
  Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media)

And ye shall know us by the words we spoke –

compiled by Larry Engelmann"

1. "I'm sorry. I'm very young."
   -- Britney Spears on why she had never heard of Yoko Ono or Linda McCartney (Us, March 25)

2. "I think MTV should consider using subtitles. Half the time even I can't understand what the fuck I'm talking about."
   -- Ozzy Osbourne, featured on MTV's The Osbournes (San Francisco Chronicle, March 28)

3. "Look at him and how fried his brains are from taking drugs all those years, and everyone will say, 'I don't want to be like that.'"
   -- Dan Quayle, praising the "antidrug" promotional value of heavy-metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne (Newsweek, May 20)

4. "People wonder why they can't understand him. Well, you'd be hard to understand, too, if you drank two vats of coffee, two vats of wine, and took 25 Vicodin a day. I can't stop him. The only thing I can do is make sure he sleeps in a way that he won't choke to death on his own vomit."
   -- Sharon Osbourne on her husband, Ozzy (Us, May 20)

5. "That's a real job, and a musician's life is spent avoiding real work."
   -- Bruce Springsteen, explaining why he doesn't want to run for the U.S. Senate from New Jersey (Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 9)

6. "I was very involved with the very early punk scene. I remember meeting Johnny Rotten when he was known as Jack Overripe."
   -- Kermit the Frog (San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 6)

7. "I hyperventilate opening a box of chocolates. I'm the most nervous guy in the world, a frightened little man on red alert from when I wake until I go to sleep. I was born with fear."
   -- Rock star Ozzy Osbourne  (Newsweek, Nov. 4)

8. "Obviously, I have this sort of strange animal magnetism. It's very hard to take my eyes off myself."
   -- Mick Jagger (Us, Nov. 11)

9. "I don't like pop music."
   -- Michael Jackson, King of Pop, in Berlin (Reuters, Nov. 27)

10. "If you don't have a flag sticking out of your ass, you must be a communist."
   -- Chrissie Hynde on the new American patriotism (Rolling Stone, Dec. 12)

You’ve gotta wonder what some of THEM would think, reading back some of their quotes from 2020!  (kk)