Saturday, October 29, 2022

It's Another One Of Our Very Rare (and HIGHLY Collectible) SATURDAY EVENING POSTS!!!

Jerry Lee Lewis is dead ...

Again ...

(only apparently for real this time)

We said most of what we had to say on Thursday when the premature (but inevitable) announcement was first erroneously made ...

(Scroll back to Thursday for more on this)

And it looks like I called it pretty correctly ...

>>>This has been happening WAY too often lately ...

A notification comes out about a celebrity death ... only to be overturned a few hours later with a "Oh no, they're still alive" announcement.  (In this age of immediate news, it would seem to me that this should be less likely than ever before.  Back in the good old days, when a story actually had to circulate through whatever means was available at the time (and be verified and triple-checked in the process), these misannouncements were far less frequent.  In fact, I can honestly say that I don't remember them ever happening at all!)

And yet, once again, the news came out that the great Jerry Lee Lewis had passed away (announced by TMZ, no less, who seem to have representatives hiding behind the door of every single celebrity around the world, just waiting to scoop the world with their shocking announcements.)  

They quickly back-pedaled, of course ... but as we've seen time and time again of late (Tony Dow and Tanya Roberts immediately come to mind) in the short time it takes to print the retraction, the celebrity in question actually DOES pass away in the meantime ... leading one to conclude that MOST of this information is well-founded and these news sources are jumping the gun just a bit in wanting to be the first to announce the inevitable.  (kk)

One of the best references I read regarding the Jerry Lee Lewis Celebrity Death Hoax inundating the Internet over the last few days is ~~~
"Whole Lot of Bullshitting Going On!"
From www.historyquotes
Yep; as Abraham Lincoln so famously said, "You can't believe everything you read on the Internet!"
CB ( which stands for "Corroborating Boy!" )

Despite the length of Thursday pre-finale post, there are still a more few things that I wanted tocover.

Lewis had been ill and struggling for a long time (that we knew) ...

But I didn't realize that just the week before he was unable to attend the ceremony inducting him into The Country Music Hall Of Fame.  (The official word at the time was that Lewis was too sick with the flu to attend ... obviously, there was more to his absence than that.)

Hank Williams, Jr. inducted Jerry Lee during the ceremony ... and Kris Kristofferson presented him the award at his sick bed.

Jerry Lee sent this acceptance note to be read at the ceremony:

“Dear friends and fans in Nashville, 
It is with heartfelt sadness and disappointment that I write to you today from my sick bed, rather than be able to share my thoughts in person. I tried everything I could to build up the strength to come today - I've looked so forward to it since I found out about it earlier this year. My sincerest apologies to all of you for missing this fine event, but I hope to see you all soon. 
To be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the highest honor in Country music. Through over 60 years singing music professionally, country has always been the genre where I felt the most at home - between my fellow artists, the radio and the industry players -- some of them anyway. I am honored to be going into that Hall of Fame rotunda with some of my heroes - Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers and the like - not to mention so many amazing friends who have been so good to me through the years.
Thank you all for your support and love and for electing me into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and most of all, thanks to God for allowing me to experience this honor while I am still here. Since I could not be in-person with you today, I have asked one of my closest and dearest friends to accept this great honor for me - and he's no stranger to this process: the legendary, Kris Kristofferson.”

In our piece on Thursday, we recounted the infamous tale of Lewis showing up at Graceland, drunk and determined to confront The King (always the showman, Jerry Lee crashed his car thru the gates on the property ... got to make that entrance!) ...

But an earlier incident at an Alan Freed Show in 1958 kind of set the stage for his outrageous stage antics well before this happened.

At Freed's Big Beat Show, an argument developed backstage between Lewis and Chuck Berry as to who should close the show.  Ultimately, Berry won the right to wrap things up for the night ... so after putting on an especially rollicking show that had the audience screaming for more, Lewis capped off his set by setting his piano on fire!  (Keep in mind this was 1958 ... WELL before artists like The Who and Jimi Hendrix worked this type of behavior into their stage acts.)  As Jerry Lee walked off the stage, piano ablaze, he passed Berry and said "Follow that."  (The scene was depicted beautifully in the film "Great Balls Of Fire," starring Dennis Quaid as The Killer.)

Primed to be perhaps the greatest showman on earth after this performance, Lewis' career took an immediate tumble just two months later when it was disclosed by The British Press that he had married his 13 year old cousin.  Literally over night his career was brought to a halt.  He never recovered from the scandal in the rock and roll arena ... but was able to carve out quite a career in the country music field, hitting Billboard's Country Chart 65 times, including SIX #1 Records.  (The biggest was his remake of "Chantilly Lace" released in 1972, which topped the country charts for three weeks ... but his most famous country tune is probably "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)," a #2 Hit from 1968.  It was Jerry Lee's country career that was being honored the week before he died ... 65 chart hits ... six #1's, 19 Top Tens and 49 Top 40.  (In the scheme of things, his success on the country charts FAR outweigh his success in the pop and rock and roll field ... once the marriage scandal broke, Jerry Lee's career was essentially over in the rock and roll world ... his legacy is just four Top 20 hits ... "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" (#3, 1957), "Great Balls Of Fire" (#2, 1958), "Breathless" (#7, 1958) and "High School Confidential" (#21, 1958.

Lewis was the last surviving member of the inaugural class of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, outliving Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry (as far as I know, there were no fires set during the ceremony), The Everly Brothers, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and (in the non-performer category) the aforementioned Alan Freed.  (Also inducted that year was Sam Phillips, proprietor of Sun Records down in Memphis, the label that first signed both Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley to recording contracts.  Their Million Dollar Quartet session held a few years later after most of the labels biggest stars had already left Sun for greener pastures also included Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.  Roy Orbison and Charlie Rich were also young Sun labelmates ... old Sam had quite the ear for picking talent!)

Keeping show business all in the family, Jerry Lee boasted two famous cousins ... TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart and country music star Mickey Gilley, who also just recently passed.

And, for anyone wondering whatever happened to Jerry Lee's 13 year old bride Myra Gale Brown, she's been with us the whole time, preferring to live out of the spotlight after her 1970 divorce from The Killer.  Now in her 70's, Myra says she is STILL referred to as a "child bride" all these years later!  (I guess it's the role that defines her.) 

Incredibly, when they married in 1958, she was already Jerry Lee's third bride!  (And he was only 23 at the time!)

Lewis was married a total of seven times and, as we pointed out in a link provided in Thursday's posting, there was some suspicious behavior and circumstances surrounding some of those marriages ... his fifth wife, Shawn Michelle Phillips Lewis, died after just 77 days of marriage.  Two other wives died during their marriage to Jerry Lee, one drowned in their swimming pool (and, even more ironic, one of Jerry Lee's sons, Steve Allen Lewis ... now how cool is that after the clip we ran the other day! ... ALSO died by drowning) ... and a second son (Jerry Lee Lewis, Jr.) died in a car accident.  Stranger still, Lewis' wife at the time of his death (Judith Brown) was previously married to Myra's brother!!!  (You can't make this shit up, folks!!!)  Maybe young Myra was just one of the lucky ones who got out in time!

Naturally, once the word of Lewis' passing spread, the tributes poured in ...

Here are just a few:

Jerry Lee Lewis was beloved by everyone, a real bundle of talent, energy, and everything else necessary to be a star. He just passed away. Our warmest regards to his wife, Judith, and family. He will be missed!  

— Donald Trump, former U.S. President

Without Jerry Lee Lewis, I wouldn’t have become who I am today. He was groundbreaking and exciting, and he pulverized the piano. A brilliant singer, too. Thank you for your trailblazing inspiration and all the rock ‘n’ roll memories.

— Elton John

Jerry Lee was a Christian, an American icon and the greatest piano player in the world. People will be listening to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ’Whole Lot of Shakin’ 500 years from now. I will miss him. God bless you, Jerry Lee.

- Dennis Quaid 

God bless Jerry Lee Lewis - peace and love to his family.

— Ringo Starr

Goodbye to the Killer – RIP

- Keith Richards

R.I.P. JLL the KILLER - What a man

— Ronnie Wood

Jerry Lee Lewis has passed … REST EASY, KILLER … you were one of a kind …

I will FOREVER cherish my time with Jerry Lee on and off the stage.  No question, one of the best to ever do it and one of the godfathers and architects of rock n roll. Your music will always live through me, and the rest of the world! Rest in peace and Rock on, Killer!!

- Kid Rock

Sad to hear of the passing of Jerry Lee Lewis.  Love his music and I was hugely influenced by his records and live performances, which were always full of fire and inspiration! No one could touch him! God Bless you, Jerry Lee.

-      - John Fogerty

Love & Mercy to Jerry Lee Lewis

- - Brian Wilson

It was an honor to be his friend.  His passing closes out an explosive era of American music. Last man standing baby!!!

-    - Toby Keith

I'm extremely saddened to hear that Jerry Lee Lewis has passed. While I admired his rock & roll records, I really loved and was heavily influenced by his country records when I was a kid.  One of the most unique and soulful voices that country music has ever known. RIP JerryLee

- Travis Tritt

He was Country and Rock-and-roll!!! Jerry Lee Lewis, a pioneer in the birth of rock, was an iconic legend. It was an honor to know you!

-      - Marie Osmond

Sadly, one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll has passed. A rebel to the end.

RIP, Jerry Lee Lewis

-      - Gene Simmons

RIP Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer has gone. He could play that piano, boy. Think I gotta play me some Lewis Boogie.

-      - Stephen King

And, in other news, Legendary Hall-of Fame Dee Jay (a HUGE friend and fan of Forgotten Hits) Scott Shannon officially announced his retirement on Friday Morning during his on WCBS-FM in New York City.

(See Scott, if you hadn't picked the week to retire when Jerry Lee Lewis died, you would have been our top story of the day today!!!  But now you're stuck all the way down here!!! lol)

Just kidding -

We love this guy ... heck, EVERYBODY loves this guy.

Word is that his last shown on WCBS-FM Mornings will be Friday, December 16th ...

He will continue to host the syndicated radio program "America's Greatest Hits" as well as program his baby, The True Oldies Channel.

We wish you MUCH peace and happiness, my friend.  You have ALWAYS gone out of your way to support and help promote our efforts here in FH and you are much loved in the media that you chose to pursue and excell in.  The world will miss you in the mornings (but hey, now you can sleep in once in a while!)  Glad to know that we'll still be able to hear that familiar voice on The True Oldies Channel for more years to come.

(I've got to tell you - and this is for the benefit of everyone else out there reading this - when you get a phone call from Scott Shannon it is the COOLEST thing in the world - because that voice is just so IMMEDIATELY recognizable - it's a voice known to MILLIONS and MILLIONS of people around the globe - but when you pick up the phone and hear it coming thru the other end you know INSTANTLY who it is before he ever even tells you.  It really is the coolest thing - and I still get excited, even after all these years, to hear it.)

We wish you the very best in whatever you decide to do from here on in.  And please DO stay in touch with us ... 

Man, we could do a weekly column on Scott Shannon stories that could run for DECADES!!!  This guy has seen and heard it all ... and been there first-hand for most of it!!!  (That's an open invitation for a Scott Shannon Column running in Forgotten Hits.  Granted, the pay ain't that great ... but we sure would love to hear from ya!!!)  kk

We heard it here first, thanks to FH Reader David Lewis ... 

Yes, he moved the needle. 

First class act all the way - he shall be missed!

David Salidor

David Salidor, Scott Shannon and Steve Leeds, SiriusXM

(at the launch part for the Bobby Rydell book) photo by Derek Storm


From the archives of my Those Were the Days radio show today we go back to 1992 and an interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers.  Bill joined me by phone just ahead of a show in Wisconsin.  At the time, they were fresh off Unchained Melody making the Billboard charts again after it was used in the movie 'Ghost' in 1990.


Bill Medley had a number one in 1987 with Jennifer Warnes when they teamed for 'Dirty Dancing's' theme (I've Had) The Time of My Life.  He had a few country chart hits in the 80's. 'I Still Do' from 1984 was the biggest.  
During my time on the phone with Bill, he talked about some of the Righteous Brothers best known songs. 


Bobby Hatfield was born in 1940 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  He joined 'Rock and Roll Heaven' on November 5th, 2003.   
Bill Medley talked about the many artists that they worked with that were mentioned in the original hit which was a comeback single for the duo in 1974.


The Righteous Brothers had a unique sound - truly a case of two great vocalists who complimented each other during the course of each music endeavor.

"Little Latin Lupe Lu" (#47, 1963), "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (#1, 1965), "Just Once In My Life" (#9, 1965), "Unchained Melody" (#4, 1965), "Hung On You" (#43, 1965), "Ebb Tide" (#4, 1966), "You're My Soul And Inspiration" (#1, 1966), "He" (#15, 1966), "Go Ahead And Cry" (#23, 1966), "On This Side Of Goodbye" (#45, 1966), "Melancholy Music Man" (#43, 1967), "Rock And Roll Heaven" (#3, 1974), "Give It To The People" (#20,  1974), "Dream On" (#32, 1974) and "Unchained Melody" (#13 for the re-released original version from the film "Ghost" and #19 for a newly recorded version that competed with it on the charts at the same time!) all made The National Top 50 in a career that spanned over thirty years.  (And then, of course, Bill Medley reaching #1 again in 1987 with "I've Had The Time Of My Life," his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the big closing dance number in "Dirty Dancing," a film that still seems to air continuously 24/7 all these years later.  A pretty remarkable career to say the least!  (kk)

Alan O'Day became a good friend of Forgotten Hits - we shared some great moments together - so naturally I was devastated when I learned of his passing in 2013. 

Another good friend of FH, Dawn Lee Wakefield, wrote this at the time ... which tells a little bit of the history as to how the song "Rock And Roll Heaven" actually came about ...

On Sunday, May 19, when Kent Kotal’s Forgotten Hits blog announced the passing of singer/songwriter Alan O’Day, thanks to the information from oldies music writer Ron Smith, sharing the news, the first song that came to mind was “Rock and Roll Heaven.” Alan O’Day had left us for the very place he’d written of long ago.
The history of “Rock and Roll Heaven” begins with iconic record producer Artie Wayne, who tells a story better than most, and who was once at the very epicenter of all rock music at Warner Brothers Music, as general professional manager (among other titles). It was at Artie’s suggestion that songwriter Johnny Stevenson take his (then) new song, “Rock and Roll Heaven,” and collaborate with Warner songwriter Alan O’Day and “turn it into a tribute to rock stars who have passed away.”

Friday, October 28, 2022


Buell - With a Remembrance:

I read with interest in FHs about yet another “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” incident, this time around Jerry Lee Lewis.


You also included a Fun vintage video of “The Killer'' playing “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” when he appeared on the Steve Allen Show on July 28, 1957.


As a very young boy, I was a Big Fan of his Forgotten Hits, not knowing that later on I’d be playing them on the radio myself, probably hundreds of times over the years, or that a major market leading Radio Station would appropriate the title to one of his songs to use as a promotional theme for me!


It was before then, and then, and after then, that it was, has been, and still is, one of my favorite Jerry Lee Lewis hits.  (Watching this video through, you can probably see why!)


CB ( which stands for “Commandeered Boy!” )

I cannot help but laugh when I watch that video of Jerry Lee performing on The Steve Allen Show.

Just a year before, Allen had Elvis dress up in a tuxedo and sing “Hound Dog” … to a hound dog!!!  (Allen seemed to really enjoy poking fun at that “passing fad” that everybody called rock and roll way back then!)

Whereas Elvis always felt his appearance on the program was a bit humiliating and insulting (Steve Allen, on the other hand, saw the humor in the move ... and likely just thought of Jerry as just another "novelty act") ... but still he just let Lewis rock his little heart out …

By the end of the song his hands, fingers and legs were flying in every possible direction, all while still keeping the beat and the moment very much alive.

Rock and Roll was new and still in its infant stage at the time … but the kids loved it … and the parents were entertained by the outrageousness of it all!  (kk)

The three remaining original members of Chicago remember how much Jimi Hendrix enjoyed their band in 1969 … and even invited them to go out on tour with them!

And, speaking of Jimi Hendrix ... 


We're also looking forward to a new Rolling Stones album next year ... it'll be the band's first LP of brand new original material in 18 years ... and, we're told, at least half the tracks will feature Charlie Watts on drums.  (The Stones have always been big about raiding the vaults and re-evaluating old and unfinished tracks to see what might be worth resurrecting when putting together a new LP)  Steve Jordan, who took over the sticks after Watts passed away last year, will play on the remaining tracks.  No official release date has yet been announced.

Bruce Arnold, writer and lead singer of Orpheus' "Can't Find The Time" has passed away.  SO many great songs by that Bosstown sound group and his voice was so smooth, too.

Clark Besch

I’ve always said you just never know who’s reading Forgotten Hits … until somebody contacts you out of the blue to tell you how much they enjoyed a particular piece … or to set the record straight on a misinformed topic … or just to let you know what a great job you’re doing.

Such was the case when we heard from Bruce Arnold a few years back COMPLETELY out of nowhere.  He praised a piece we had done on Orpheus and thanked us for keeping the music out there … and even told us that the band was working on a new recording project.  (I didn’t even know they had gotten back together!)

So very sad to hear that this great talent has passed on.  (“Can’t Find The Time” is one of those songs that ALWAYS shows up on those “forgotten favorites” … “should have been a bigger hit” lists.)  When it was first released in 1968, it fizzled out at #88 in Cash Box … and never even made The Hot 100 in Bilboard.  The following year, it was rereleased and climbed to #72 in Cash Box and #80 in Billboard … but an awful lot of people must have loved it and been familiar with it based on the tremendous amount of mail we’ve received on this song and band over the past 25 years.  (kk)


I don't know if this has any basis, but I was thinking about the originally "unknown artist" for "Mah-Na-Mah-Na." 

As read in Forgotten Hits:  “During its September 1 – 15, 1969, run on the WLS 890 Hit Parade, the surveys erroneously credited the record  to someone named Pete Howard.”

OK, Pete Wright and Howard Bedno were two of the most well-known, aggressive, successful and active Independent Record Promoters in Chicago in the 1960s.

If I have my dates right, Art Roberts was Music Director at WLS in the mid-to late 1960s right before I was and he, too, dealt with them on a weekly basis. Perhaps that was a record they were promoting at the time and WLS, needing an artist's name for the song when it was time to list it on the station's music survey, and Art being pretty good friends with them, might have come up with that name as a space holder just for Fun!  "Pete (Wright) Howard (Bedno)!"  "Pete Howard!"

Just speculating here!

CB ( which stands for "Conjecture Boy!" )

I think that is a very likely and very real possibility … and a pretty educated guess!  Bedno and Wright were the KINGS of promotion here in the ‘60’s … the whole Midwest, really … and were even involved with many of the artists themselves. (I know they played a big role in the advancement of The New Colony Six’s career … and many others as well … and even had their own record label for a while.)

I think you may be on to something here (although I’m still not sure why WLS would list the record that way … perhaps they thought Piero Umiliani was a little too hard to pronounce or remember … and they probably didn’t think it was going to be all that big a hit either.)  It ultimately climbed to #34 on the WLS chart during the three weeks it spent there.  In contrast, WCFL didn’t chart it at all.

And … Art Roberts recorded his “Bedtime Stories” LP on Bedno and Wright’s Quill Record Label … I feel confident enough to say that your analysis and theory are likely spot on!  WTG, CB!!!  (kk)

With “Revolver” coming out today (the 28th) Harvey Kubernik’s piece is exceptionally timely!

John Lodge will bring his new show “John Lodge Performs ‘Days of Future Passed’” to America. JOHN, together with his 10,000 Light Years Band, will perform The Moody Blues’ iconic ‘Days of Future Passed’ album in its entirety, with a special recording by the late Graeme Edge and performances by Jon Davison of YES.  The show will also feature a set of the pioneering classic hits “Ride My See-Saw,” “I’m Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band),” “Isn’t Life Strange,” “Legend of a Mind” and “Nights in White Satin” in what promises to be a truly spectacular evening.

“November, 2022, sees me looking back 55 years to that week in 1967,” says JOHN LODGE.  “As I said at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Graeme, Mike, Ray, Justin, and I, together with Tony, went into a studio, and seven days later we came out with an album that changed our lives forever.” He adds: “I’m sorry that the Moodies are no longer touring, and I miss my friends Ray and Graeme deeply, but as I looked back to the past, I realized that I also wanted to look forwards to the Future.  My hope is that in this show, and album, you will get to revisit 1967, but at the same time, see how this album has grown with me, and with you.  Thank you to the 10,000 Light Years Band, Jon Davison and, of course, Graeme, for their belief in this project and helping bring my vision to life. And thank you to all the fans for Keeping the Faith.”

And a closing tribute to Gladys Knight, who was just here last weekend performing at The Arcada Theatre.  (Man, I would have loved to have seen that show ... I have always wanted to see her!)  If any of our readers were there, we would LOVE to run your review of the concert!  (kk)