Saturday, March 5, 2022

PHIL NEE - March 5th - Gretchen Christopher

Today from my WRCO radio archives we share with you two portions of a 2010 interview I did with Gretchen Christopher.  

She was a leap year baby born February 29th of 1940.  Her high school singing group, the Fleetwoods, had two number one hits in 1959, the year of her graduation.  

Gary Troxel, Barbara Ellis, and Gretchen Christopher found fame with Come Softly To Me, which was number one for four weeks in Billboard during the Spring of 1959.


The Fleetwoods were able to have a second number one later in the year when they recorded a song that was not written by the group. The tune spent a week at number one. 


I had the pleasure of working with Gretchen Christopher when she released her "Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)" album in 2008 (her 16th birthday based on Leap Years!) In fact, she even signed and gave away a couple of copies to our FH Readers.

Unfortunately, this piece predates our website ... and a search through the archives turned up very little.  (Gary Troxel has also participated with Forgotten Hits from time to time over the years.)

Between them, they offered up this brief history on The Fleetwoods

From Gretchen Christopher, circa 2010: 

Hi, Kent,
We FLEETWOODS debuted on the national charts in 1959 and were the first group in the world to have multiple #1 Hits top THE BILLBOARD HOT 100 in a single year (1959: "Come Softly To Me" and "Mr. Blue"). While that is a record we will always hold (it's so nice to be the first), it was exceeded in 1964, when the SUPREMES had three #1 Hits and the BEATLES had an incredible six! Nice company to be succeeded by! (:o)
We FLEETWOODS had 11 Hit Singles on THE BILLBOARD HOT 100, our last Top 40 Hit being "Goodnight, My Love" in 1963 (an appropriate farewell, on the eve of the British Invasion). Five decades later, I made my solo artist recording debut in 2007, when release of GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) was launched in Las Vegas at the 2ND ANNUAL COOL BOBBY B DOO WOP CONVENTION & GRAND FINALE CONCERT, headlined by THE FLEETWOODS starring GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER. Immediately after the concert, I returned to Olympia, WA, to take over management of my mother's hospice care.
Three and a half years earlier, when I'd made the commitment and begun recording the CD for my 16th Leap Year Birthday, Mom was told she had only days, weeks or months to live! This was devastating, and I said, "Don't die, just because they tell you you're going to!" Family flew in from California, and we met with the doctor, who recommended we arrange for hospice care immediately (meaning Mom was expected to live less than six months). Torn between spending even more time with Mom or working relentlessly to get SUITE 16 finished within her lifetime, I did both, and sleep went by the wayside.
Happily, Mom defied the odds and lived not only to celebrate her 95th birthday, but her 96th, 97th and 98th, each a grand celebration. My brother, who'd been managing Mom's caregivers (hiring, firing, payroll, shopping, household) for these 3 1/2 years, needed relief, and I committed to take over all these duties, including scheduling myself for 24 hours caregiving each week. Work on promoting the album went by the wayside, but, happily, Mom and I were together when we learned that BILLBOARD'S FRED BRONSON had named GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN (SUITE 16) among the 2007 BILLBOARD CRITICS' PICKS for 10 BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR! Oh, what a blessing, after working so hard to conceive, write, record and produce the concept album of 16 self-penned songs and a 16 page booklet of liner notes and photos (previously unpublished, except for THE CASHBOX cover photo of THE FLEETWOODS and our co-producers, Dolton Records' BOB REISDORFF and BONNIE GUITAR).
Mom and family and friends celebrated her 99th birthday with a dinner party on my deck overlooking the bay. Two months later, she took her final leave. July 30, 2009, family came from four states and traveled across the Cascade Mountains to celebrate Mom's 100th birthday, fulfilling her final wishes by scattering her ashes in her hometown, Wilbur, WA, and dedicating a memory stone next to those of her distinguished twin brother and parents (please see ).
Now, it is a new year, and I've resumed singing, first at the concert celebrating our Fleetwoods' induction into the VOCAL GROUP HALL OF FAME, November 2008, and last week, my solo concert at Olympia's ARTS WALK on Saturday and Seattle's HARD ROCK CAFE on Friday, wonderfully accompanied by GRETCHEN CHRISTOPHER & THE FLEETWOODS' SHOW BAND, performing songs from SUITE 16 and my special lyrics honoring STEPPENWOLF keyboard player GOLDY McJOHN on his 65th birthday: HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GOLDY.
Thank you, Kent, for having given mention to GRETCHEN'S SWEET SIXTEEN on my birthday. For those interested, SOUND CLIPS may be heard and CDs SIGNED to order, at
Thank for caring and sharing!

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!

Friday, March 4, 2022


Congratulations to our FH Buddy and long-time supporter Scott Shannon, who celebrates his 8th year at WCBS-FM this week!  (Man, time flies!!!) 

Still doin’ doin' what he LOVES to do ... and doin' it better than anybody else!

Congrats, Scott!  (kk)

Thank you so much for all you do for me and for radio!!!


From FH Reader Ed Salamon, regarding the passing of Tommy James’ wife Lynda …

Lynda Jackson Obituary (2022) - Cedar Grove, NJ - The Star-Ledger 

Hi Kent,

I wanted to be sure you knew. 
For many years, Lynda, who had worked in a talent agency, was a big help to 
Tommy and as she became Ill, Tommy took care of her. A true rock n' roll love story. 
Ed Salamon
Yes, so sad.  I know she had been ill for a long while … but Tommy still always made it a point 
to get home to be with her whenever he could.  It was a love for all time.  (kk)
Meanwhile, I don’t think we’ve ever reported a broken neck before in Forgotten Hits … 
but apparently, that’s what Randy Newman has had to deal with of late …

In a statement posted to his official website, singer / songwriter Randy Newman revealed that he recently suffered a broken neck(!) and is currently recovering from surgery. As a result of this unexpected setback, Newman has had to postpone his planned European tour that was to start later this spring.

“Recently, I noticed I was shrinking. People over whom I had towered now towered over me. Could this be payback for having written Short People? Turns out, my neck was broken. They operated on me successfully, I think. For even now, I look less like an anteater and more like a folk rock artist from the early sixties. But the doctor said I’m not quite ready to tour. I was really looking forward to coming to Europe to perform. I miss performing a great deal and I look forward to a time when I can come. I’m sorry I won’t see you this time but I will see you soon.”

After releasing the two volume set, “The Lyrics, 1956 to the Present,” we can now 
look forward to a two volume biography of Paul McCartney, courtesy of noted 
Beatles historian Allan Kozinn and researcher Adrian Sinclair.  (Release date is 
scheduled for November 8th … and it is reportedly 592 pages long, profiling McCartney’s 
career AFTER the break-up of The Beatles … and that’s just Volume 1!!!
In a press release issued by the book’s publisher, Dey Street Books, they tell us:

“Set against the backdrop of the Beatles splintering over both business and creative issues, “McCartney Legacy Vol. 1” covers a period in which McCartney recreated himself, both as a man and as a musician. This is an in-depth and revealing exploration of his creative life beyond the Beatles — featuring hundreds of interviews with fellow musicians, tour managers, recording engineers, producers, filmmakers, and more. 

“The story of the Beatles has been told many times, covering all periods and perspectives. McCartney’s work in the 50 years since the Fab Four’s breakup has been extraordinarily successful and enduringly popular — his 26 post-Beatles albums have sold upwards of 86.5 million copies; and McCartney’s 2019 Freshen Up tour was the highest grossing tour ever, in the entire world. Beside his extraordinary, creative solo output, he has collaborated with the most influential artists of his generation and the next: from Elvis Costello to Stevie Wonder, from Michael Jackson to Dave Grohl, even with Johnny Cash and Kanye West. 

“McCartney, too, has explored new poetry styles with Allen Ginsburg and teamed up with Peter Martins and the NYC Ballet to create Ocean’s Kingdom. The list goes on from there. And he has done all this while maintaining a mostly normal family life. His creative output since the Beatles has never had the full exploration such a life and body of work demands.

“McCartney Legacy gives McCartney’s post-Beatles life and work the kind of in-depth treatment that Mark Lewisohn has given the Beatles, and Philip Norman has given John Lennon. It is the first truly comprehensive biography, and the most finely detailed exploration of McCartney’s creative life beyond the Beatles, ever undertaken.”

(Guess I’ll have another 600 pages to read come Christmas-time this year!!!)  kk

Digital Journal did a nice piece on Micky Dolenz (aka The Last Monkee Standing) the other day ...

And Rock Cellar Magazine ran a GREAT interview with Gilbert O’Sullivan this past week …
We’re going to see him next weekend (at a City Winery show that has already been postponed for over TWO YEARS now due to Covid concerns!)
I, for one, can’t wait.
O’Sullivan didn’t do much touring here in The States … or even at all, for that matter, during his heyday … so this will be a very special treat.  (kk)
1971 – Nothing Rhymed  (US - #106 / UK - #8)
1971 – Underneath The Blanket  (US – xx / UK - #40)
1971 – We Will (US – xx / UK - #16)
1971 – No Matter How I Try (US – xx / UK - #5)
1972 – Alone Again, Naturally  (US - #1 / UK - #3)
1972 – Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day  (US – xx / UK - #8)
1972 – Clair  (US - # 2 / UK - #1)
1973 – Out Of The Question  (US - #17 / UK - #xx)
1973 – Get Down  (US - #4 / UK - #1)
1973 – Ooh Baby  (US - #11 / UK - #18)
1973 – Why Oh Why Oh Why  (US – xx / UK - #6)
1974 – Happiness Is Me And You  (US - #34 / UK - #19)
1974 – Christmas Song (US – #92 / UK – 12)
1975 – I Don’t Love You But I Think I Like You (US - #107 / UK - #14)
1980 – What’s In A Kiss (US - #133
 / UK - #19)

This group is really amazing. They may not be accepted right now because they are Russian, but they should be as they sure are talented!

Give them a listenπŸŽΆπŸ€—

Danny Guilfoyle

Although we’ve yet to see them for ourselves, we have been singing the praises for Leonid and Friends for years now thanks to all of the excellent feedback sent in by our Forgotten Hits Readers.

(Early on, I heard that they sang most of the lyrics phonetically … not sure just how true that is today … but they SURE do have it down!)

Check out some of the YouTube clips Danny sent along …

Leonid & Friends - The amazing Russian "Chicago" Tribute Band

I’m a Man:

25 0r 6 to 4:


Saturday In The Park:

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is:

Wishing You Were Here:

After The Love Has Gone:


Joe DiMaria turned me on to them a couple years ago. 

Their renditions of Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire hits are beautiful. 

Last year, they asked for donations because funding for what they do is

nonexistent in Russia.  I donated $25 and received the nicest thank you note, and to this day, I occasionally receive a thank you email that is thank you only, not a request for money.

They are very talented musicians, and the girl is gorgeous.

Now for the best:  Check out Gente Stellar doing "After the Love Has Gone."  Here is the link:



I’ve seen and heard their stuff and they are great!

Joe Lenti


Are they coming near you? 

Check ‘em out and let us know what you think!

(Leonid's tour schedule thru June is posted below )

Meanwhile, we’re going to see our buddies The Chicago Experience at The Metropolis Theater on April 2nd!  ANOTHER outstanding tribute to the group Chicago … and some of the other “horn bands” who helped us make it thru the ‘70’s!  (kk)



THURSDAY, 4/21/22 - The Birchmere - 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue – Alexandria, Virginia - Visit their website HERE   

SATURDAY, 4/23/22 - Penn's Peak - 325 Maury Road - Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania - Visit their website HERE

SUNDAY, 4/24/22, 3:00 PM - Sellersville Theater (Matinee Performance) –

24 West Temple Avenue – Sellersville, Pennsylvania - Visit their website HERE

SUNDAY, 4/24/22 - 8:00 PM - Sellersville Theater (Evening Performance)

24 West Temple Avenue – Sellersville, Pennsylvania - Visit their website HERE

TUESDAY, 4/26/22 - Wall Street Theater - 71 Wall Street – Norwalk, Connecticut - Visit their website HERE

WEDNESDAY, 4/27/22 - Blue Ocean Music Hall - 4 Oceanfront North – Salisbury, Massachusetts - Visit their website HERE

FRIDAY, 4/29/22 - Calvin Theatre and Performing Arts Center - 19 King Street – Northampton, Massachusetts - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 4/30/22 - North Shore Music Theatre - 54 Dunham Road – Beverly, Massachusetts - Visit their website HERE

SUNDAY, 5/1/22 - Colonial Theatre of Laconia - 609 Main Street – Laconia, New Hampshire - Visit their website HERE

MONDAY, 5/2/22 - The Egg - Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre - Center for the Performing Arts - Empire State Plaza – Albany, New York - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 5/5/22 - Paramount Hudson Valley Theater - 1008 Brown Street – Peekskill, New York - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 5/7/22 - Patchogue Performing Arts Theatre - 71 East Main Street – Patchogue, New York - Visit their website HERE

MONDAY, 5/9/22 - Gramercy Theatre - 127 E 23rd St. - New York, New York - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 5/12/22 - The Beacon Theater - 401 North Main Street – Hopewell, Virginia - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 5/14/22 - Carolina Theatre of Durham - 309 West Morgan Street – Durham, North Carolina - Visit their website HERE

TUESDAY, 5/17/22 - The Parker Playhouse - 707 Northeast 8th Street - Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 5/19/22 - The Capitol Theater - 405 Cleveland St – Clearwater, Florida - Visit their website HERE

FRIDAY, 5/20/22 - Plaza Live Orlando - 425 North Bumby Avenue – Orlando, Florida - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 5/26/22 - The Eastern - 800 Old Flat Shoals Road – Atlanta, Georgia - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 5/28/22 - Charleston Music Hall - 37 John Street – Charleston, South Carolina - Visit their website HERE

TUESDAY, 5/31/22 - Iron City - 513 22nd Street South – Birmingham, Alabama - Visit their website HERE

FRIDAY, 6/3/22 - Ludlow Garage - 342 Ludlow Avenue – Cincinnati, Ohio - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 6/4/22 - MGM Northfield Park - 10777 Northfield Road – Northfield, Ohio - Visit their website HERE

MONDAY, 6/6/22 - Jergel's Rhythm Grille - 103 Slade Lane, GPS: 285 Northgate Drive – Warrendale, Pennsylvania - Visit their website HERE

WEDNESDAY, 6/8/22 - Mishler Theatre - 1208 12th Avenue – Altoona, Pennsylvania - Visit their website HERE

SUNDAY, 6/12/22 – Andiamo - 7096 East 14 Mile Road – Warren, Michigan - Visit their website HERE

TUESDAY, 6/14/22 - Pearson Lakes Arts Center - (Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre) - 2201 HWY 71 – Okoboji, Iowa - Visit their website HERE

WEDNESDAY, 6/15/22 - Pearson Lakes Arts Center - (Lauridsen Performing Arts Theatre) - 2201 HWY 71 0 Okoboji, Iowa - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 6/16/22 - Rococo Theatre - 140 North 13th Street – Lincoln, Nebraska - Visit their website HERE

FRIDAY,  6/17/22 - Ameristar Casino - 3200 North Ameristar Drive - Kansas City, Missouri - Visit their website HERE

SATURDAY, 6/18/22 - The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater - 2686 East Cantrell Street (Nelson Park) – Decatur, Illinois - Visit their website HERE

TUESDAY, 6/21/22 - The Palace Theater - 564 Wisconsin Dells Parkway South - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - Visit their website HERE

THURSDAY, 6/30/22 - The Blue Gate Performing Arts Center - 760 South Van Buren Street – Shipshewana, Indiana - Visit their website HERE


Hoping the best for all y’all this coming spring season.

Please enjoy The Basement Vapes, Volume 16: A Neil Young Preponderance Playlist — Long May It Run

Mitch Myers Weighs In On The Stills/Young Band’s Better Half, A Fraction Of CSNY, Broken Arrows And More!


>>>Ringo Starr’s comment the other day, 'Why do we only rest in peace? Why don’t we LIVE in peace, too???' makes a WHOLE lotta sense.” (2022)  kk

Chuck Buell says that’s a Great Line and also spotlights a few additional “Peace” quotes in songs from the rest of the Guys;

George Harrison - “Give me peace on earth.”  (1973)

John Lennon - “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”  (1969)

Paul McCartney - “Let us show them (the children) how to play The Pipes of Peace.” (1983)

And while Peace is a serious subject … especially these days … I think, cloaked with respect, we can also take a quick levity break with this Beatles Peace topic ~~~


When I was a kid, refusing to eat his vegetables, I remember my Dad PLEADING with me to “Give peas a chance … you might like them, son!!!”  (Honestly, I still can't stand 'em!!!)  kk