Saturday, December 10, 2022

Although We Didn't Really Plan It, It's Pretty Cool That It Turned Out This Way ... A Very Beach Boys-Centric SATURDAY EVENING POST

One of the things I am really enjoying about David Leaf's updated book, "God Only Knows: The Story Of Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and the California Myth" are all the references to events that we may have missed or forgotten all about that are now "Googleable" to watch and enjoy again.

The other night, Frannie and I sat mesmerized for an hour and a half as we watched the TNT Television Special "An All-Star Tribute To Brian Wilson" from 2001.

This is the program that the incredible "Surf's Up" clip featuring Vince Gill, David Crosby and Jimmy Webb that we ran several weeks back came from ... but that was only one of the MANY highlights to be found during this remarkable program.

Also on hand are Paul Simon (performing a unique, solo version of "Surfer Girl"), Heart, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Go-Go's, Carly Simon and many others.  (Brian and his band close the show.)

You can view the entire program here:

Reading about all the behind-the-scenes craziness that went into putting this program together is one of the highlights in Leaf's new book ...

Which you can pick up here:

Meanwhile, Al Jardine's excellent solo CD "A Postcard From California" has just been reissued.  Boy, what an all-star cast he assembled for this disc!

Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and Carl Wilson (in what would be his last recorded vocal) are all onboard for various cuts.  Even David Marks provides a guitar solo!  You'll also find guest appearances by Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell of America, Glen Campbell, David Crosby, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Steve Miller, Flea and John Stamos.  You'll even find a narration by Alec Baldwin!

From the official press release, furnished by UMe ...   




Al Jardine’s acclaimed debut solo album, A Postcard from California,
is now available on CD once again via UMe. The album was recently reissued digitally for streaming and download, just ahead of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and legendary co-founder of The Beach Boys’ 80th birthday on September 3rd. Originally released in 2010 on CD and again in 2012 with two bonus tracks, “Waves of Love” and “Sloop John B (A Pirate’s Tale),” the much-sought-after record hadn’t been available digitally for several years before making its streaming debut in September. The album quickly sold out when released on limited edition translucent blue vinyl for Record Store Day in 2018. 

Purchase or stream A Postcard from California here:

“I can’t believe it’s been twelve years since Postcard came out and I thank everyone involved in the production and creation of this album to help me get my songs out there,” says Al Jardine. “Brian’s advice to aspiring young songwriters has always been ‘finish your songs,’ so I took it to heart and I hope
everyone who has listened to A Postcard from California feels my excitement and enthusiasm for this great land and sea of ours and our need to protect it forever. Thank you for all your support over the years, it is greatly appreciated and I will continue to dedicate Postcard to all the pets we love and who love us back!”

Recorded at Jardine’s own Red Barn Studios in Big Sur, Calif., A Postcard from California touches upon California’s history, natural beauty and other environmental issues. The 15-song collection includes several songs that speak to the relationship of man and his environment. “Don’t Fight The Sea,” “Tidepool Interlude” and “A California Saga” are songs that reflect Jardine’s deep love for the California coastline and his concern for the ecological health of the planet, which more than a decade after its initial release resonates as strongly today as ever. Jardine has always embodied that concern for the environment, and the coastline and ocean in particular. Previously, on the Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up album, he and Mike Love wrote the song, “Don’t Go Near the Water.” The track “Lookin’ Down the Coast” is a tale of the discovery of California by the Spanish, as seen through the eyes of its natural inhabitants, the California condor, the whale, the otter and the bear.

Specially for this new CD and digital release, Jardine has included a previously unreleased, newly remastered and extended version of the bonus track “Waves of Love,” which features former Beach Boys bandmate Carl Wilson in one of his last recorded studio vocals ever.
A Postcard from California was largely penned by Jardine who enlisted a slew of his famous friends to help him bring this album to life, including Alec Baldwin, David Crosby, Dewey Bunnell and GerryBeckley of America, Flea, Glen Campbell, John Stamos, Neil Young, Richie Cannata, Stephen Stills, and Steve Miller. The album also served as a reunion of sorts for The Beach Boys as it brought Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, along with a lead vocal by Carl Wilson, together on the song “Don’t Fight The Sea” several years before the band would reunite for an album and tour in celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2012. Jardine’s sons, Adam and Matt Jardine, also sing on the album, which was co-produced by musicians Stevie Heger and Scott Slaughter.

“‘Don’t Fight the Sea’ started a long time ago with a Canadian friend of mine, Terry Jacks, who was kind enough to allow me to rewrite his song for a solo album that Mike Love and I were planning around an ecology theme. I asked Matt Jardine to help me with the lyrics. I always envisioned it to be the quintessential environmental song, a big statement, but I could never get all the guys together to finish it. I started with Carl, Bruce (Johnston) and myself on backgrounds, then years later Brian put on his falsetto, and just recently Mike recorded his baritone signature line. To top it all off, I added Matt and friend Scott Mathews to the track, to give additional vocal support to the core group; all this over a period of thirty-plus years. I guess persistence pays off!”

"Don't Fight The Sea" (also released as a 7” single on white vinyl on Record Store Day 2011 to help raise funds for Japan disaster relief) is just one of the many highlights of the album that also includes inspired versions of Beach Boys’ classics “Help Me, Rhonda” and “A California Saga” and a heartfelt rendition of The Mamas & The Papas’ biggest hit, “California Dreamin’,” a duet with one-time Beach Boy Glen Campbell, who famously filled in for Brian Wilson on tour in the mid-‘60s. Campbell also lent his incredible voice to the album’s opener title track that chronicles Jardine’s trip with his parents from the Midwest to California.

“Help Me, Rhonda” gets quite a blues makeover as Jardine shares vocals with Steve Miller on the Brian Wilson-penned track that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 for the Beach Boys in 1965 on the strength of Jardine’s unforgettable lead vocal. Adding to the blues feel is harmonica by the late virtuoso Norton Buffalo. Jardine’s reworking of “A California Saga,” his song from the Beach Boys’ 1973 album, Holland, features Neil Young on co-lead vocals with Jardine and backing vocals by David Crosby and Stephen Stills along with Adam and Matt Jardine. Young also sings on “Campfire Scene” which follows Alec Baldwin’s spoken word narration of a Stephen John Kalinich poem on “Tidepool Interlude” that leads into “A California Saga.”

A Postcard from California also includes “Sloop John B (A Pirate’s Tale)” which was originally released alongside Jardine’s award-winning children’s book of the same name.
As Endless Summer Quarterly wrote in their review, “there are great moments of depth, strokes of expression, and ageless vision that could only come from a ‘Jardine musical canvas.’ Although this collection isn’t purely autobiographical; it masterfully captures the transient lifestyle of his biological family as well as the musical consciousness of The Beach Boys.”

A Postcard from California is available once again in a variety of formats for all to enjoy however they
prefer to listen to music. For more info on the album, please visit

A Postcard from California Track Listing:

1. A Postcard from California

2. California Feelin'

3. Looking Down The Coast
4. Don't Fight The Sea
5. Tidepool Interlude
6. Campfire Scene
7. A California Saga
8. Help Me Rhonda
9. San Simeon
10. Drivin'
11. Honkin' Down The Highway
12. California Dreamin'
13. And I Always Will

Special Bonus Tracks

14. Waves Of Love
15. Sloop John B (A Pirate's Tale)

Link to buy on Amazon & stream album:


And Forgotten Hits Reader Ed Salamon caught Al's solo show at The City Winery in Nashville last week ... and sent in this excellent review of the concert ...

Beach Boy co-founder Al Jardine brought his Endless Summer tour to Nashville's City Winery on Wednesday, December 7th. Except for the title track of his new CD '"Postcard From California" (which itself sounds like it could be a Beach Boy's lost track), every song was a Beach Boys song. Their fans may have seen drummer Bobby Figueroa and bass Ed Carter, who filled the same positions in the Beach Boys' band, or Matt Jardine (Al's son) who sang on Brian Wilson's tour. Matt sounds remarkably like Brian on the songs he sang lead on and Al features the songs he sang lead on as well as handling the lead vocals originally performed by Mike Love and Carl Wilson. With Debbie Shair on keyboards, it is amazing how close this five piece group comes to recreating the Beach Boys sometimes highly orchestrated arrangements on songs like "Good Vibrations'.
Al's show reflects his folk music sensibilities in that he prefaces each song with some information and humorous asides. The playlist is somewhere between Mike Love's hit after hit approach and Brian's inclusion of deep cuts. Each of the three "Beach Boys" shows (Mike's is the "official" Beach Boys show) is great unto itself, and it would be hard to pick a favorite among the three.
This show benefited from an introduction by Fred Vail, the emcee/promoter who introduced the Beach Boys on their "Concert" album. Fred, who later replaced Murray Wilson as the group's manager, is a longtime Nashville resident and friend. He had been unable to see Al before the show, and tried to take me backstage to meet Al afterwards, but we were stopped by his security/ road manager Scott (who knew me from his work with the Dixie Chicks, Phil Vassar, etc.), who could only let Fred in. Fred  came back out and said, "Sorry ... maybe next time" as access was "restricted." (I have worked with Mike Love, who hosted a radio special I produced, and have done interviews with Brian Wilson and Bruce Johnson, but had never met Al) ... so I have no "behind the scenes" comments this time.
Screens on both sides of the stage showed related videos spanning the group's career. This show was very much like the Monkees show Mickey Dolenz did after all the other members had passed away. Both did a GREAT job at delivering their respective group experiences.
I will try to see this show every time I can, just like I try to see Brian Wilson and the official Beach Boys shows. 
Thanks to all for keeping these great songs and harmonies alive.
Ed Salamon
That's too bad about not being able to visit with Al after the show.  When we saw him solo at The City Winery here in Chicago, he did a brief "Meet And Greet" out in the lobby after the concert.  (Of course, this was before Covid, which likely has something to do with controlled access these days ... as Al pointed out the last time we saw him, earlier this year, "I'm eighty years old!!!"  lol)
I have maintained for years now that today, Al has the strongest and best-sounding voice of ALL of the members of The Beach Boys touring to keep this music alive.  It's a shame he didn't get more lead vocals on record with the band as he very ably handles ALL of the lead vocals in his solo show ... and sounds great in doing so.

While we saw a very disappointing appearance recently when he presented a "Family And Friends" show here at The Des Plaines Theater (which included Wendy and Carnie Wilson) ... probably the hardest review I've ever had to write ... he was back in top form when we saw him perform with Brian Wilson at the co-headling show with Chicago ... and his City Winery performance was top notch.  A highly underrated member of The Beach Boys to say the least, he is doing a GREAT job of keeping the legacy alive ... and his stories before the songs are quite entertaining.  As Fred said, "Maybe next time."  (I hope he's right!)
Thanks, Ed!  (kk)
kk ... Al and Matt Jardine ... after their City Winery Show here in Chicago a few years ago ... along with our review at the time ...

And Al's disappointing show at The Des Plaines Theater ...

PHIL NEE Talks To Jim Messina

Today I am pleased to share parts of a 1996 interview from my aircheck archives.  
Jim Messina was born December 5th, 1947.  He grew up and was a part of a surf group in his early days.  Later he would help out two very talented highly regarded bands.   
I was not aware of Jim Messina until the "Sittin' In" album he recorded with Kenny Loggins.  The two did not officially become a duo until the success of that early record.
Jim Messina wrote or co-wrote many memorable tracks.  Kenny Loggins' "House On Pooh Corner" was originally recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Jim Messina's "Listen To a Country Song" was recorded by Loggins and Messina and became a country hit for Lynn Anderson.  
During my 1996 interview,  we spoke about the writing process for he and Kenny Loggins on a memorable track called "Watching the River Run."

Despite being a country/rock pioneer, Jim Messina has written and recorded all styles of music.  He talked about music stylists and the fact that strict formats have an effect on what we hear on the radio.

When you're in a band that includes songwriters as strong as Stephen Stills and Neil Young (as was the case during Jim Messina's time with Buffalo Springfield), you almost fall victim to George Harrison Syndrome by default.  While never considered a hit singles band (although "For What It's Worth" DID make The Top Ten ... and has since become a political anthem of sorts), it wasn't likely that Jim was going to get much of the spotlight within the confines of this group.  (He didn't join Buffalo Springfield until after their second album, after original bassist Bruce Palmer left the band ... and by that time, the hits had already stopped.)



Moving on to Poco (along with fellow Buffalo Springfield bandmate Richie Furay), it was Jim Messina's "You Better Think Twice" that launched that band's success on the pop charts, reaching #72 on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart in 1970.

This association was also short-lived ... and soon Messina found himself in the producer's chair, working with and helping to develop other new artists.  One of those associations happened to be young singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins ... and the two just clicked.

As Phil mentioned, this was never supposed to be a pairing ... Jim was just trying to help get Kenny's career off the ground.  But something clicked and a hit duo was born.  


Kenny Loggins has since told the story that "Your Mama Don't Dance" was just kind of a fun thing that he and Messina put together.  They never really gave it much consideration ... it was just a funny little ditty to play around with.  In fact, they thought it was a bit too corny and deliberately left it off their first album together, thinking that the audience might not take them seriously if they included such a light piece of fluff.

When it came time to record their second album, the label suggested that this might be a good song to include.  It had already been going over well whenever the duo performed it in concert ... maybe they should consider including it on their new LP.  

Kenny had to admit that it was a fun song that the audience seemed to respond well to ... and agreed to include it as suggested ... but the last thing he and Messina ever wanted was for THIS to be released as a single.

Boy, were THEY wrong.  After a couple of low-charting singles from their first LP, "Your Mama Don't Dance" climbed all the way up to #4 ... and became the biggest hit the duo ever had. (In fact, it is their ONLY Top Ten Hit!)  It became a Top Ten Hit again when the hard rock band Poison recorded it in 1989.

"Watching The River Run" is one of my very favorite Loggins and Messina tracks ... so it was interesting to hear how that song came about.  While it didn't make much of an impact on the charts (#71, 1974), you still hear it today on most of the soft rock and Yacht Rock station ... and it has become a bit of a classic.  It just has a beautiful melody and feel to it ... so we're sharing THAT one with you today, too.  (kk)


Be sure to listen to Phil Nee's THOSE WERE THE DAYS radio program tonight … and EVERY Saturday Night on WRCO ... 6 pm – Midnight (Central):

WRCO AM FM Radio Richland Center Wisconsin

Just click on the 100.9 headphones and start streaming!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Today We Celebrate Another Historical Moment

And now, this from the Director of our In-resident Forgotten Hits Music History Department so that we all can plan ahead for tomorrow … 


Huey and Louie! Meet Dewey!


Tomorrow, December 10th, marks the birthday, in 1851, of the man who invented the mind-numbing Dewey Decimal System of Library Classification, Melvil Dewey, who gave young Forgotten Hitters one of our most daunting elementary school subjects!

Even with the research ease of our Internet-dependent World today, it’s still the most widely used classification system that’s being taught in schools in over 135 countries.


And in those early formidable, pre-Google, years of Forgotten Hits, Kent many times turned to his local library’s numerous wooden cabinets with their nearly insurmountable number of drawers upon drawers of highly condensed book Index Cards . . . 


. . . . . to find the artist and song information he wanted. 



Plus, it was a Great Place to meet Girls!  


So, in acknowledgement of this day and to salute this long-standing Manual Book Locator, here’s my “Chuck Buell Library Books Minute Medley!”


CB ( which stands for “Card-catalog Boy!”)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

MAGICAL MONKEES MEMORIES ... from December of 1969

Gary Strobl has just sent us his latest edition of Magical Monkees Memories to share!

And, if all goes according to plan, I may get to share some time with Gary later this month when he makes a visit to the Chicago area just before the holidays!!!  (So I'm definitely looking forward to that!)

I'll bet we haven't seen each other in over thirty years!

Meanwhile, enjoy these Monkees Memories ... 

As we close out of our 2022 MAGICAL MONKEES MEMORIES Series!

(Thanks, Gary!)  kk

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Some Of Your Mid-Week Comments

Some nice responses to our Beach Boys piece yesterday ... 

And what could be nicer or more meaningful than hearing from David Leaf himself, whose piece inspired mine!  (Now how cool is that?!?)

Great piece, Kent!

David Leaf  

Cool article, Kent!

Ho, ho, etc.  

Rock on!!!


The Ides Of March will be doing their annual Christmas Show this Sunday (December 11th) at the Des Plaines Theater.  This is always a very beautiful performance ... and of course you get all the Ides / Survivor / .38 Special hits, too!  (kk)

You can still find tickets here:

Hi Kent -
What a great story about your daughter Nicki being a Beach Boys Fan.  I thought I was a loyal fan, but starting at two years old!
That Barbie Doll and record is a real collector's item!
Thank you for sharing this story with us!Emoji Emoji Emoji Emoji 
And when Nicki read the article and saw that "Living Doll" just may be the biggest selling Beach Boys single of all time, after growing up listening to ALL the hits, she just sent in a one word response ...

Great post, Kent.  Thanks!
Bill Carroll

By coincidence, the band was on NBC yesterday morning doing a new Christmas song! 

Clark Besch 

I don't know how I acquired it, but I have that Beach Boys single, too.
Jack Levin
When I started reading today's FH and beginning to read about the California Dream Barbie Doll, it reminded me of the record BARBIE, which came out in 1962. I believe it was released under the name of Kenny and the Cadets. I could be wrong about that. (Maybe the  Pendeltones? But I don't really think so.)
Anyway, on BARBIE, members of the Beach Boys were on that record if I remember right. I've got it here at home but haven't played it in years. 
Larry Neal

"Barbie" WAS released by Kenny and the Cadets in early 1962 ... but it has long been believed that it was actually The Beach Boys on that record (or, at the very least, Brian on the lead vocal.) The Boys were just starting out at the time, but this track shows an early Brian Wilson production of a song written by Bruce Morgan, who took the group into his little Candix studio and recorded their first single, "Surfin'."  While their OTHER "Barbie" track never went anywhere, it showed a definite influence of the sounds of the time.  (kk)

Thanks, Kent, for the story about The Beach Boys and Barbie. Another music surprise. 

Loved it!

Paul Evans

How cool!
I've posted a link to this on my Pray For Surf website.

And these thoughts from Chuck Buell . . . 
Great Story about the Beach Boys and their Barbie Hit Song yesterday, Kent!  I did not know about that!
And Chuck was evidently inspired by my comment about their Barbie "Living Doll" song where I wrote, "it truly is a pretty awful tune!!! (lol) because he sent me this cartoon ...

As well as one of those great memorable moments of his own ...

Hey, Kent!
I loved your story about you taking your daughter, Nicki, who was a huge Beach Boys fan, to her first concert ever ... The Beach Boys and Chicago ... when she was just four years old!  I can only imagine the joy and excitement she experienced that night! And how fun it must have been for you to have done that for her!
It reminded me of the time when I was Music Director at WLS in Chicago and David Cassidy was scheduled to stop by the station before his concert for a quick and simple radio station "Hello." 
I had a young tween-age niece who was absolutely in love with him at the time, so I invited her to join me in going to his concert that evening. She was so thrilled that she was going to see him in person in concert.
I did NOT tell her what I also had planned for her.  
The night of his show, I told her I had to make a quick stop at the radio station for a moment.  We went in and I told her to wait in my office and I'd be right back.  I went to the lobby and waited for Cassidy's planned stop by.
I had previously asked him if it would be OK if I introduced my niece to him that night during his station visit.  He was so amicable about it and he thought it'd be fun, too!
So when he arrived, I asked him to wait in the lobby for just a moment or two while I went back to my office, got my niece, and brought her out, not telling her about our special visitor!
When she walked into the lobby and saw DAVID CASSIDY, STANDING RIGHT THERE in front of her, she was absolutely beside herself. She took an uncertain step, shyly smiled, a tear came to her eye and she could literally not speak, she was so shaken with surprise!
David was so nice to her. He smiled his trademark Cassidy smile, talked directly to her and she began to relax. Just a little, and managed a quiet, "Hello" and that it was "nice to meet him!"
Shortly after, we all had to go by our separate means to get to the concert on time.  At his show, she and I watched him perform from the backstage wings and she just quivered all show long.
It was such a Great Night for her.  And what a Fun Night for her "Uncle Chuck," too.
(dare I say Cassidy Boy!!!)  kk

You don't want to miss this week's installment of The History Of Rock And Roll.

Gary Theroux tells us ...

Hi, Kent - 

Here's how the Cleveland affiliate of THE HISTORY OF ROCK 'N' ROLL is promoting this weekend's episode, which showcases nine legendary DJs as they sounded during the golden age of rock 'n' roll radio. 

All the best,

Gary Theroux
OK, this should be a killer show ... 
I let Dick Biondi, Kris Erik Stevens and Johnny Holliday know about it right away.  (Of course Wink Martindale already knows because he's the HOST of The History Of Rock and Roll ... which airs all over the world and can be heard on Me-TV-FM this Saturday Morning from 7 am - 9 am ... with a rebroadcast of the PREVIOUS week's episode every Sunday Night from 10 pm - Midnight!)
And how cool is this?!?!
Record Research is offering a special sale of ALL of their books thru January 15th of next year ...
Buy One (any title) and get the second book for half off! (Naturally the more expensive book will be the full price item ... but what a GREAT way to expand your collection of Joel Whitburn chart books!!!)  Perfect for Christmas gift-giving, too!
More details here ...

I sent a copy of the news release we ran the other day regarding a brand new Anne Murray documentary to Jeff March and Marti Smiley Childs, who did a GREAT, rare interview with Anne for their "Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone" book series.  (We ran excerpts from this earlier this year ...

And was pleased to get this response from Jeff ...

Hi, Kent, 

That article about the background for the Anne Murray documentary was interesting, and it corroborated much of what she told us in our conversation with her. She’s cautious about agreeing to interviews — and probably weary of the process after all the media interactions she had to do during her hit-making and performing career.

Seven months elapsed from the time we made our initial query requesting a conversation with Anne until we actually spoke with her. We received no response to the initial query we sent through her website in June 2014. The following October we re-sent our request to speak with her. A month later her assistant — using a pseudonym — told us that Anne had declined our request. Then to our surprise, the assistant emailed us in January , 2015, to say that Anne had changed her mind and had agreed to speak with us. 

Perhaps she was persuaded by our offer to let her review our manuscript and rectify any inadvertent errors before publication. Maybe it’s because we always referred to our interactions with performers as conversations rather than interviews. Perhaps she was busy when we initially contacted her, but had more time available at the beginning of 2015. Whatever the reason, she was warm, gracious, relaxed, candid and humorous when we spoke with her in February 2015. She didn’t have to speak with us; she was no longer promoting herself. But Marti and I certainly were grateful that she trusted us and gave up two hours of her time to have a conversation with us, and even more time to help us tidy up the chapter about her. She is a very classy lady.
Jeff, with regards from Marti

I was surprised to see that Gilbert O'Sullivan is coming back to The City Winery here in Chicago on March 19th!  (For a guy who hasn't toured in nearly fifty years, this certainly was a welcome surprise!)

We saw him back in March of this year (after two years of Covid-related postponements) and he put on a very entertaining set.  (Read our review here:

You can get your tickets for next year's show right here:

Several months back we told you about a brand new Broadway Musical profiling the life and music of Neil Diamond.

Well, it finally had its grand opening this past weekend ... and the master songsmith showed up for the event ... and even led the crowd in a rousing rendition of "Sweet Caroline."

You'll find a lot more of the story here ...

There are certain music innovators that have come along during our lifetime that stand head and shoulders above the others ... guys like Sam Phillips, who founded Sun Records, Berry Gordy, who gave us The Sound of Motown, Ahmet Ertegan, founder of Atlantic Records and Jim Stewart, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer who founded Stax Records.

Sadly, Jim passed away on Monday, December 5th, at the age of 92.

Stax gave us a very unique, soulful sound.  It was just one more accolade for the city of Memphis, saturated in the sounds of the blues, rockabilly, early rock and roll and soul ... a blend not quite like any other.  (The list of hit songs and artists who came up thru the Stax Record Label and its subsidiaries is staggering.) 

According to Fred Bronson's book "Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits," these are the Top 20 Stax Pop Hits of The Rock Era: 

# 1 - Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding (1968)

# 2 - Theme from "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes (1971)

# 3 - I'll Take You There by The Staple Singers (1972)

# 4 -  Soul Man - Sam and Dave (1967)

# 5 - Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight (1971)

# 6 - Last Night - The Mar-Keys (1961)

# 7 - If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right - Luther Ingram (1972) 

# 8 - Green Onions - Booker T and the MG's (1962) 

# 9 - Who's Making Love - Johnnie Taylor (1968)

#10 - I Believe In You, You Believe In Me - Johnnie Taylor (1973)

#11 - If You're Ready, Come Go With Me - The Staple Singers (1973)

#12 - Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get - The Dramatics (1971)

#13 - In The Rain - The Dramatics (1972)

#14 - Time Is Tight - Booker T and the Mg's (1969)

#15 - Walking The Dog - Rufus Thomas (1963)

#16 - Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers (1971)

#17 - I Thank You - Sam and Dave (1968)

#18 - Hang 'em High - Booker T and the MG's (1969)

#19 - Bring It On Home To Me - Eddie Floyd (1968)

#20 - B-A-B-Y - Carla Thomas (1966)

And that list doesn't even leave room for smashes like "Starting All Over Again" by Mel and Tim, "Hold On! I'm Coming" by Sam and Dave, "Groovin'" by Booker T and the MG's and "Soul Finger" by The Bar-Kays.

Jim Stewart left us with an amazing legacy of music.  (It is being reported that during a fifteen year span, Stax Records placed 167 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart ... and an incredible 243 on their R&B Singles Chart!)  

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  (kk) 

I would have thought Fleetwood Mac songs would have taken over Billboard's Hot 100 Chart this week with the recent passing of Christine McVie ...

But apparently everybody is shoulder-deep in the Christmas Spirit right now as 24 of this week's Top 50 Singles are all holiday oriented tracks ... and this includes SEVEN in The Top Ten, led (of course) by Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which has already hit #2.

Other "Christmas Oldies" in the Top Ten include "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee (#3), "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms (#5), "A Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives (#6), "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Andy Williams (#9) and "Last Christmas" by Wham (#10).

In fact, there isn't a single Fleetwood Mac track in the entire Top 100.  (Too soon, perhaps?  Maybe next week?)  We'll see!  (kk) 

FOR THE RECORD:  Their "Rumours" album DID jump into the #20 spot this week on Billboard's Top 200 Albums Chart ... while their Greatest Hits LP (which includes eight tracks written and sung by McVie) re-entered the charts at #98. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Beach Boys Million Seller You May Not Have Been Aware Of

So I'm reading David Leaf's newly updated book on The Beach Boys ...

"God Only Knows: The Story of Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys and The California Myth" ...

And I come across a notation that I was most certainly familiar with ...

But had absolutely NO idea just how HUGE of a deal it really was ...

At the time ... or at ANY time prior to right now!

I've told the story several times before how my oldest daughter Nicki was a HUGE Beach Boys fan by the age of two.  Seriously, she listened to their music constantly ... knew all the words to all the hit songs ... their music just made her happy and feel good.  She was probably the youngest member of their official fan club ... and even had a Beach Boys bumper sticker on the back of her tricycle!!!

I took her to her first concert ever ... The Beach Boys and Chicago ... when she was just four years old and we sat in the second row, front and center ... and both bands played to her all night long.  It was a moment you just never forget ... and she remains a Beach Boys fan to this day ... saw their 50th Anniversary Show (which WE didn't even get to see!) ... and now has two kids of her own who are up and dancing every time "Barbara Ann" comes on.  Our familial love of The Beach Boys truly has come full cycle.


Well, as a Beach Boys fan (speaking for both of us here), I naturally rushed out and bought her the California Dream Barbie Doll that came out in 1987, which included a blue flexi-disc of a brand new (and honestly, pretty awful) Beach Boys song called "Living Doll."  (If I'm not mistaken, the song writing credit was shared by Brian Wilson and his controversial "doctor" at the time, Eugene Landy.) 

One listen to the tune and it is immediately obvious that this is most definitely a Brian Wilson record and not a new Beach Boys song  ... 

In fact, I'd be surprised if ANY of the other Beach Boys were involved with it at all (although they still got credit for the recording ... but then again there are those who will argue that Brian Wilson always WAS The Beach Boys anyway!)

Brian was in the process of relaunching his career as a solo artist at the time ... and was still deeply under Landy's spell.  (You've really gotta wonder how much the good doctor made on this deal!)  So this presented a great opportunity to "safely" get some new music out into the marketplace.

And, quite honestly, Mattel was simply looking to cash in on the "brand name" and universal appeal of The Beach Boys ... so that's the way the deal was struck.  And let's face it ... Barbie had a pretty hearty following of her own!  Barbie ... California ... the beach ... and The Beach Boys ... the pairing truly was a match made in heaven.

I didn't think much of it at the time ... although I DID think that the flexi-disc might become a valuable collectible item at a later date.  (I mean, seriously ... how many copies of this "record" were they really gonna sell ... so it might be worth hanging on to.)

By now, California Dream Barbie and all her accessories are long gone ... but I still have the Beach Boys single in my record collection.

Then I read this in David Leaf's new book ...

"I have to mention a seemingly inconsequential moment in Beach Boys history because of what it portended.  Tom Wszalek, a dear old friend's husband, worked for Mattel.  Like The Beach Boys, the toy company was founded in Hawthorne.  He asked me to put him in touch with Beach Boys management.

"The result?  A single was recorded that was included in the package with the 'California Barbie' doll.

"Three million dolls were sold out, sort of making it The Beach Boys' biggest single ever.  Barbie was, in the words of the song, a 'Living Doll:' indeed, a 'California dream.'  I got a pseudo-gold record award for it.  Songwriting credits on 'Living Doll' foreshadowed what was to come:  it was written by Wilson / Landy / Morgan.  Alexandra Morgan was Dr. Landy's constant companion."

Think about that for a second ...

A song that never got played on the radio ... and wasn't "technically" commercially available to buy as a single ... is the biggest selling Beach Boys record in history!  "Good Vibrations" and "Kokomo" were both #1 records and sold in excess of two million copies each ... according to Joel Whitburn's "Top Pop Hits" book, The Beach Boys only had one other "official" million selling single ... and that was their first #1 Hit, "I Get Around," in 1964.  Whitburn also lists six other titles as "non-certified" million sellers, meaning they each sold a million copies over a period of time, but never received gold records upon their original release.  These include Surfin' USA" (1963), "Fun Fun Fun" (1964), "Help Me, Rhonda" (1965), "California Girls" (1965), "Barbara Ann" (1966) and "Sloop John B" (1966)

To think that "Living Doll" / "California Dream Barbie" outsold ALL of these rock and roll classics is nothing short of incredible ... especially since nobody ever actually heard or went out to buy the record!!!  (Trust me, it wasn't this new Beach Boys tune that sold 3+ million Barbie dolls!)

For the unenlightened, here's what you've been missing ...

Listen at your own risk ... because it truly is a pretty awful tune!!! (lol)

[special thanks to long-time Forgotten Hits Reader Tom Diehl for tracking down a digital copy for us to share]


A year later, The Beach Boys would be back up on top of the world with their comeback hit "Kokomo" ... giving them a 22 year span between #1 Records, yet another incredible career achievement ... and something that Mike Love is ESPECIALLY proud of, considering the fact that Brian Wilson had absolutely nothing to do with this recording, proving once and for all (I guess) that The Beach Boys COULD have #1 hit records on their own without him ... they just needed an extra 22 years to do so!  (lol)  

[In all fairness, "Kokomo" IS the stronger record here!!!]   kk


FOOTNOTE:  Many years later, I was able to introduce Nicki and her husband Jeff to Brian Wilson backstage at a show he did at The Arcada Theatre.  

(Oh yeah ... btw ... we had second row seats for that one, too!!!  Thanks, Ron!)  kk

(L-R: Arcada Theatre CEO Ron Onesti, Frannie, Brian Wilson and me)