>>>Off The Top Of My Head, Without Looking It Up, I Remember Dave Somerville (Lead Singer Of Diamonds) First Being A Member Of Four Preps … And Then After That, Doing A Duet Act With Bruce Belland. Do You Remember That Kent? (FB)
>>>I don’t specifically remember anything about Dave Somerville (who was a good friend to Forgotten Hits … we talked on the phone a number of times over the years about all kinds of things!) being an early member of The Four Preps. I’m not sure the logistics work … since The Diamonds were a Canadian band and The Four Preps were based in California. Since their careers virtually overlapped one another, the timing doesn’t quite work out either. According to Joel Whitburn’s book, Somerville and Belland worked together as a duo from 1962 to 1969 after the hits stopped happening for both groups. However, Wikipedia says that Somerville JOINED The Four Preps in 1967, replacing Ed Cobb. I’m looking forward to reading Bruce Belland’s book, which should shed more light on this subject. (kk)
UPDATE: From Bruce’s brand new book, we found this tribute to his good friend (and singing partner) Dave Somerville. (Sounds like Joel Whitburn’s timeline is a bit off as well … Paul Haney, if you’re reading this, you may want to amend for future editions)
Dave left The Diamonds in the early sixties to perform as folksinger David Troy (his actual first name). David starts to build a career as an actor, studying with Leonard Nimoy and appearing on “Star Trek,” among other shows. Then, when Ed Cobb leave the original Four Preps, David drops his David Troy persona and joins the group for our farewell tour in 1969. Once David replaces Ed, the two of us quickly develop an onstage chemistry that begins to dominate the Preps performances. After a lot of urging, we exit The Preps in late 1969 to become Belland and Somerville, a folk/comedy duo that debuts on “The Tonight Show” and does an additional 33 prime time guest shot in our first six months as a team. We soon become regulars on Tim Conway’s short-lived Sunday night variety show. We both begin to get increasingly distracted by our individual pursuits and in 1972, I accept an executive position at NBC. David changes his name to Diamond Dav Somerville and for years tours in – and often emcees – hundreds of Rock And Roll Oldies shows and “Fab ‘50’s” themed cruises.
In 1989, Ed and I reform The Preps at Dick Clark’s suggestion. David is the first person we call. He comes on board, we add Jim Pike, original lead singer of The Lettermen, who is subsequently replaced by Jim Yester, original lead in The Association, and go on to tour for the next ten years as “The Four Preps: Three Golden Groups In One.” (Interesting fact: Diamond Dave was a Diamond for seven years … and a Prep for fifteen.)
So there you have it …
No PRE-Diamonds Four Preps connection … but ALL KINDS of collaboration after those two original groups disbanded. (kk)
From Tom Cuddy …
The 25 top-selling rock albums of all time …
More from Tom …
Bob Feldman Dead: 1960s Producer & Songwriter Was 83 – Billboard
Feldman wrote the #1 Hit “My Boyfriend’s Back” for The Angels … and, along with Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer, recorded as The Strangeloves, who had three Top 40 Hits of their own in the mid-‘60’s. (He also co-produced The McCoy’s #1 Single “Hang On Sloopy” and their follow-up hit “Sorrow,” probably best remembered by the versions recorded by David Bowie and Great Britain’s The Merseys. (kk)
Friday, August 25th, marked the 53rd Anniversary of Elton John’s first US appearance at Doug Weston’s Troubadour Club
Harvey Kubernik shares these memories …
Reflecting on Elton John: 53 Years On
His United States Debut at Doug Weston’s Troubadour August 25, 1970
By Harvey Kubernik © 2023
I was an avid reader of Melody Maker since 1964. I first became aware of Elton John’s Empty Sky DJM record label first LP in June of 1969. I ordered it as an English import from Lewin Record Paradise on Hollywood Blvd.
His piano playing, voice and some numbers were impressive but the album only hinted at his greatness. [It was later released in 1975 on the MCA Records label in the US.]
The next year in Melody Maker there was a review from deputy editor writer Richard Williams about Elton’s second long player simply titled Elton John in the April 25, 1970 issue.
The astute scribe wrote, “It’s nice to see Cat Stevens and Elton John providing the British answer to Neil Young and Van Morrison. And make no mistake, Elton is up in that class.
“This is his second album, and is considerably meatier and more substantial than the first. He and Bernie Taupin craft superb songs, strong in every department (words, music, moods), and Paul Buckmaster's sumptuous arrangements and Gus Dudgeon's brilliant production lifts the result almost beyond words. If Elton has a fault, it's that he sometimes sounds rather too much like Feliciano in the way he turns and ornaments phrases, but once you get past that it's beauty all the way.
“A truly great record.”
I really dug Jose Feliciano’s vocal delivery on his hit RCA recordings besides the dazzling arrangements and re-workings of “Light My Fire” and “California Dreamin’.”
After reading Williams’ endorsement, I immediately ordered the Elton John UK LP from Lewin Record Paradise.
The disc was cut at Trident Studios, which had a 16-track machine, Sound Techniques boards plus a Bechstein piano. UNI/MCA label Vice-President and visionary A&R man Russ Regan secured the item for North American territories.
I met talent scout Regan in September, 1967, at the Whisky a Go Go one evening when his label act, Hugh Masekela, was cutting a live album for UNI in the famed venue. I was well under age 18 … and looked 12 … but Elmer Valentine and Mario Maglieri at the club graciously allowed me to enter their temple of sound and sit in the balcony.
I later ran into Russ in the summer of 1970 on Hollywood Blvd. at C.C. Brown’s ice cream parlor. We ordered two hot fudge sundaes in tin bowls.
Russ started talking about Elton John. I knew the name. He just beamed, and exclaimed, “You are gonna hear this guy on the AM and FM radio dial!” Regan also added, “Three Dog Night has already covered his tunes ‘Lady Samantha’ and ‘Your Song.’”
I didn’t quite know how important or vital that accomplishment actually meant at the time.
Regan has played a major role in the careers of the biggest names in the music business, including the Beach Boys, Neil Diamond, Elton John, Barry White, Olivia Newton-John, and the Alan Parsons Project, all of whom credit Regan as a major force behind their success.
In my 2014 book, Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972, Regan talked at length about his discovery of Elton John and guiding his career in the US during the first part of the seventies.
“UNI Records was on 8255 Sunset Boulevard.
“Lenny Hodes was a song-plugger for Dick James Music. I knew of Dick James — he was the Beatles’ publisher — but had never met him. Lenny bought me this [Empty Sky] record and said, ‘DJM [Dick James Music] has a licensing deal with Larry Uttal of Bell Records, and they passed. I’ve shopped this everywhere, and it’s been turned down by five record companies. They think he sounds like Jose Feliciano.’”
Songwriter Roger Greenaway also praised Elton John to Regan at the Continental Hyatt Hotel at that breakfast supporting Regan’s impulsive decision to seriously consider signing Elton John to the UNI label.
“I took it, and around six o’clock that night, I put it on,” recalled Regan. “It was the Empty Sky album. ‘Oh my God,’ I thought, ‘this guy is good. What the hell is the problem?’ I loved his voice and the songs ... ‘Skyline Pigeon’ and stuff like that. ‘Lady Samantha’ was in there. I called Lenny and said, ‘I like this artist. What’s the deal?’ He said, ‘If you like him, Russ, you got him for nothing.’ So I said, ‘I want him, and I want to sign him.’
“He calls me the next day and says, ‘I just talked to Dick James, and we have a deal. But Dick wants you to buy another act along with this kid. We’re giving you Elton John for nothing, and Dick wants $10,000 for a band called Argosy; I replied, “because you guys are so nice to give me Elton John for nothin’, I’ll buy this other master for $10,000.’
“Then, before I could put out Empty Sky, the advance of the Elton John album came to me in the mail. That’s when I shut the record label down for a couple of hours [and] brought [in] the employees, sales and marketing, A&R, everybody — thirty people sitting on the floor of my office. I looked up to the sky and said, ‘Thank you, God.’
“Bernie Taupin’s lyrics, if you analyze them, were incredible. He was way ahead of everybody. For a 21 year old kid at the time, he was amazingly talented.
“Paul Buckmaster the arranger. The arranger is important. Sometimes you have to play the song to a skeleton without any meat on it. The arranger comes along and puts the meat on the skeleton. It all comes together. An arranger takes a song for what it is and builds something around it and gives it life and dynamics.”
“Danny Hutton of Three Dog Night used to tout Elton in 1969, and earlier [he] was my driver,” record producer and songwriter Kim Fowley informed me in a 2014 interview.
“I recorded him for Challenge and Invictor Records. I did a record by the Alpines with Danny Hutton. We co-wrote it and produced it and Ray Pohlman arranged. His mother was my landlady. Danny was, and is, cool. He told me about Elton being this great artist before I went to Europe for a music festival.
“In the late summer of 1970, I was living in Sweden. I was at an outdoor music festival and onstage with P.J. Proby. We followed the Move. Elton was there and playing piano with Blue Mink at the time. They followed us. Elton said to me, ‘I remember you when you were on Tops of the Pops, singing [a re-recording of Napoleon XIV’s] ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!’
“I was on that 1966 TV show in England, with Los Bravos and the Small Faces. I told Elton, at that 1970 festival in Sweden, ‘Pay attention to Danny Hutton when you come to town. He will steer you through L.A., and you will survive because of him.’
“I wished him luck. That was a Saturday night, and on the following Monday he left for Hollywood.
“Before his Troubadour shows, Elton did come up to Danny’s house in Laurel Canyon.”
The pianist and singer Elton John landed in Los Angeles in late August, 1970, along with drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray. John’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin was also there.
Before meeting Russ Regan, Elton immediately visited Danny Hutton at his home.
In Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon, my 2009 book, Danny Hutton discussed his initial encounter with Elton John, aka Reg Dwight.
“I first met him in 1969 in England when I was looking for songs for Three Dog Night. So I phoned Dick James Music and Reg Dwight came up to my room and had some demos, which I still have. Reg or Elton, I really liked him. He was so sweet and sincere.
“I invited him to a small club where we are doing a show. The bouncer came up and said ‘Did you invite somebody, because I don’t have him on the list.’ He’d come with Bernie Taupin. They were downstairs in the bar and I went down and he was humming something. I said, ‘You’re a great singer.’ And Elton said, ‘Nah. I’m a songwriter, not a singer.’ Maybe he was working me,” suggested Danny.
“Later on, I couldn’t get him on the list for our show at the Marquee Club so we brought him in as our roadie. Reg knew my resume. We were a hot, hot band.
“I heard ‘Lady Samantha’ and brought it to the group. Our producer, Gabriel Mekler, had all three of us sing it and had Chuck [Negron] do the lead vocal. I liked the song. We also did ‘Your Song.’ And then I got a three-page handwritten letter from Elton thanking me for helping him and Bernie out.
“Elton then phoned from London and said ‘I’m coming to town. He arrived and the first place I took him to eat was Billy James’ Black Rabbit Inn. Then I brought him up to the house. I phoned Van Dyke Parks to come up. And Elton played the piano at my home on Lookout Mountain,” Hutton fondly recalls.
Russ Regan asked UNI/MCA label mate Neil Diamond to introduce Elton for his first performance at The Troubadour. Diamond had earlier heard about John from David Rosner who was working for Dick James Music.
The following day while Elton John was preparing for his game-changing opening at the Troubadour, Regan was running a record company and just couldn’t attend his sound check at the club.
“And then the next day there was Elton’s sound check at the Troubadour and I was so busy at the label I couldn’t make it,” lamented Russ. “Rick Frio was working for me at MCA and I sent him. After the sound check, Rick calls me and says, ‘Russ, you’re not gonna believe it. We got one here. We got one!’”
Regan then went beyond the call of duty and, as Elton John’s advocate, telephoned everybody in his personal rolodex and invited them to the 300-seat Troubadour in West Hollywood on August 25, 1970, the first evening of a historic six-night engagement where John opened for David Ackles.
Russ was ringside for Elton’s launch, along with Danny Hutton, Ray Williams, Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Chris Darrow, Micky Dolenz, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, T-Bone Burnett, Nancy Retchin, Linda Ronstadt, John’s booking agent Jerry Heller at the Chartwell Agency, KPPC-FM program director Les Carter and his wife Susan aka Outrageous Nevada, members of Bread, Roger Greenaway, art director David Larkham, photographers Ed Caraeff and Kurt Ingham, Jacoba Atlas of Circus magazine, the Beach Boys’ Mike Love, publicist Norman Winter of Totem Pole, GO! magazine columnist Rodney Bingenheimer, John Gibson of The Hollywood Reporter, and pop music critic Robert Hilburn from the Los Angeles Times, who subsequently penned the enthusiastic August 27, 1970, review with the headline “Elton John New Rock Talent,” positioning the star to the regional and national entertainment media.
Reporters from TIME and Newsweek were in attendance and hailed Elton John’s new stardom. Leon Russell, Denny Cordell, Blackie Dammett, Gordon Lightfoot, and Brian Wilson came other nights. I subsequently saw Elton at the Troubadour.
“I’m at The Troubadour opening,” reflected Hutton. “I’m with Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, and Randy Newman came over to the table and said, ‘Hey, thank you for putting my kid through college with ‘Mama Told Me Not to Come.’”
“Danny Hutton brought Elton up to my house in Bel-Air in 1970,” Brian Wilson told me in an interview for his 2007 Pet Sounds tour program.
“Three Dog Night earlier did ‘Your Song,’ still my favorite of Elton’s, and he had just played The Troubadour. I heard he was nervous to meet me when they rang the intercom system. I was nervous to see him! So I answered the buzzer and sang ‘It’s a little bit funny’ from ‘Your Song’ to them before they came up.”
“I was there at Elton John’s first show at the Troub,” recollected Micky Dolenz in a 2016 interview with Gary Strobl and I.
“[My wife] Samantha and I were invited over to a party at a little, oh, that’s a great little story. So, we hear about this new kid in town, Elton John from England and he’s getting a buzz, and he’s doing a show at the Troub. It’s his first show. Samantha and I were there and we knew his L.A. record company rep, I can’t remember the guy’s name, got a little house in Hollywood and invited us to the after party.
“It was quite a crowd of the typical Hollywood at the time. Elton John, of course, was not well known at the time. Well, Samantha had gone to England recently to see family, I guess, and had come back with cool clothes for me from Carnaby Street, or wherever, new, hip, cool London fashion. And one of the things was a T-shirt, an Andy Warhol T-shirt with all the Marilyn Monroe. He did that poster or a painting of Marilyn Monroe in all different colors. Well, I guess somebody got the rights to do that as a T-shirt. So it was a very cool T-shirt of that Andy Warhol, I guess it was multiple Marilyn images. And I wore that T-shirt when we went to see the show.
“I remember Elton only had three pieces with him at the time. Then we go and we drive over to the after party. We walk in and everybody’s ‘Hello, hello, hello.’ And I remember actually quite clearly walking into the kitchen, and this is like a really kind of typical three-room Hollywood, stucco little house on Fairfax Avene. And I remember walking around saying hi to everybody and I walked in the kitchen and there’s Elton John. He turns around. He has on the same T-shirt. And he looks at me and he goes, ‘Oh, fuck!’ (laughing) Like two women showing up with the same dress.
“I didn’t give a shit. I laughed. I was like, ‘Oh, wow, man, cool shirt!’ But I think he was really, he was like, must have been so pissed off. Samantha laughed. That was fun.”
“This Elton at The Troubadour was something euphoric. I was on a high for three days,” emphasized Russ Regan. “I couldn’t believe I was so lucky to have an artist like Elton John. It wasn’t a feeling like when Brian [Wilson] would play me his singles before [‘Good Vibrations’] they were released. It was beyond that.”
“In September, 1971, I went to see Elton play at the Greek Theatre,” Danny Hutton happily reminisced. “After the show, he’s kind of short with me and I’m a little bummed out and I’m with a guy from grammar school. I went home and there’s all these cars parked near my place. I get into my garage and ‘Surprise!’ Elton threw me a surprise party at my house. Cass [Elliot] is there. She was a sweetheart and never had attitude. It was very cool. So Elton John did not forget me.”
I was fortunate enough to see Elton John in 1970 when he was the opening act for Three Dog Night on one of their early tours and appearances here in Chicago at The Chicago Stadium. He was virtually unknown at the time and while he was good, the crowd was there to see Three Dog Night, who were probably the most popular band in the world at the time. Who would have ever thought that a couple of years later I’d be going to see Elton John as the headliner who, by that time, already had a string of hits under his belt.
It was a VERY exciting time in music, the early ‘70’s … and these were two of the most talented, up-and-coming acts on the planet. An exciting time indeed. (kk)
>>>“The Woody Woodpecker Theme” (shown as “The Woodpecker Song”) was a #1 Billboard Hit for five weeks for Glenn Miller in 1940. Cover versions by The Andrews Sisters (#7) and Will Glahe (#20) also charted. (kk)
That's a different Woodpecker Song. Kay Kyser and Mel Blanc each had hits with "Woody Woodpecker" in 1949.
Here's another Special Announcement from our Forgotten Hits Radio Legend, Chuck Buell . . .
In my announcement a couple of days ago, I shared with you about this year’s upcoming Second Annual “Rewound Radio’s Big Online Three-Day Vintage Radio Labor Day Special.”
I have been asked once again to be a part as at least a couple hours from my Radio Shows when I was on WLS in Chicago then will be presented.
Additional Full Individual and Original Vintage Radio Hours from that era featuring an impressive collection of dozens of the Best and Most Notable Chicago On-Air Radio Personalities of that time with the Rock Radio Shows they presented on these two radio stations will be also be heard just as they were on the radio then non-stop with no repetition.
All our featured hours will be complete in their entirety. That means you’ll hear the complete songs, complete Commercials from back then, the Radio Jingles, everything including Us too exactly as it was broadcast then in pristine audio quality.
It all begins on Rewound Radio Saturday morning September 2nd at 6 AM Eastern Time and will air well past Midnight, Labor Day, September 4th.
Here’s how you can listen. Just click on this Button and then on the Blue " Go to Link" that appears ~~~
Here is the second of three one-minute or so promos for this event I was asked to voice with all the details.
I think you’ll enjoy The Weekend!
And thanx for listening!
Chuck ( The Radio Guy formerly known as “Chuck-Dah-Buell-Ell-Ess! )
“ W …... L - S !”
I am so excited to have WLS/WCFL Rewound hit the air. We have narrowed down the playlist and have almost finalized the order of play.
I am really excited about the Music People and Pop Goes the Music specials during the midday on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, the WLS Montage on Monday at 12 noon ET / 11 am CT is a big feature that always gets a great response. Only one or two replays from last year are planned, with all the rest considered "new" material. We just got a "new" Kris Erik Stevens and Ron Riley within the past two weeks. We are quite surprised and pleased.
BTW, I just heard a short replay of Harvey Kubernik’s previous interview on Coast To Coast AM early this morning. He was talking about Casey Kasem and other DJs and the impact they had on the early groups of the 60s.
On another note, I was fortunate to have been interviewed by Tim Larson Dingus regarding WLS/WCFL Rewound.
Here is a link to the Podcast.
Scroll down to the Play button.