Saturday, January 21, 2023

And now this from Forgotten Hits Musical Director, Chuck Buell …  
It was on this day sometime in the Middle Ages, the Recorder was invented.  
(OK, maybe not on this exact day but sometime in the 1500s!) 
And, obviously, not the Tape Recorder so many of us know so very well, but instead a rather famous Musical Instrument for most all of us Forgotten Hitters who grew up going to Elementary school Six Hundred Years after the “Middle Ages” were subjected to this medieval torture of being forced to learn to play the shrill-sounding "Recorder!  
Personal Spoiler Alert:  I detested creating that ear-piercing, teeth clenching, eye-squinting squealing sound as I made my futile attempt of “making music” when but a defenseless young Boy!


Oh, and why was this Brain-splitting Instrument called the “Recorder?” It doesn’t “record” anything in the sense of the word as we know it today.


Well, the instrument’s name is derived from the Latin word, “recordārī,” which means “to call to mind, remember, recollect,” which later in history was defined as “to remember, to learn by heart, to repeat.” 


In Latin, “re” means “again” and “cord” means to call from memory. I guess that’s the definition of “recording.” Simplifying all that, if one could sing a simple melody like, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” or “Bah, Bah Black Sheep,” one theoretically then could easily play a Recorder because they already knew the “tune.”


All this made me wonder if Manfred Mann who “recorded” his 1968 Hit, “The Mighty Quinn” played the Recorder when he was in Grade School.


Or, if Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, who co-wrote their 1966 Hit, “California Dreaming,” was an Elementary School Recorder Player.


Or, if Crispian St. Peter with his 1966 Hit “Pied Piper” was influenced by his early exposure to the Recorder!


Or if James Darren, with his 1961 Hit, “Goodbye Cruel World,” lobbied for a recorder sound.


So, here then is my “Chuck Buell Recorder Minute Medley Mashup Montage” focusing on these Artists' brief “recorder-sounding” elements in their songs, and a Minute and a Half Video revealing how the Recorder came about! 

(Best to watch "How the Recorder Came About," then my "Recorder Minute Medley!") 


CB ( which stands for “Corrupted Boy!” )


When played properly, the recorder (and its much more sophisticated cousin, the flute) can add a lot ... even to a rock song.  (Where would Chicago's "Colour My World" be without it?!?!)


And it grew from there ...


Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull even went so far as to plug his in, creating a brand new and totally unique "electric flute" sound in their innovative music.  (How on earth are THESE guys not in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ... whose whole purpose was supposed to be recognizing and honoring artists that took rock music as an art form to a brand new level???  I'm not even particularly a fan of their stuff ... but what's right is right!!!)


A properly played flute can enhance any recording ... there may be no sound more beautiful.


I have to admit that I was shocked and surprised when I got this video Christmas Card last year from an old friend who I never would have suspected of having a soft spot in his heart for the beauty of a well-played flute ...


(Let's just say that he's not particularly known for his sensitivity level!)


Yet even he was still moved enough by the sound of this instrument to learn how to play it himself.


I just had to share it with you all today.  (kk)




Friday, January 20, 2023

The Friday Flash

David Crosby is dead.

One could say it's been a long time comin' ...

And he's gonna be a long time gone 

Another '60's survivor that most, if speaking honestly, wouldn't have expected to last this long (he was 81), Crosby first reached fame as a member of The Byrds ... and then broke away to join forces with Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield), Graham Nash (of The Hollies) ... and sometimes Neil Young (also an ex-Springfield member) to create one of the first (and most prominent) Super Groups.

Together CSN(&Y) placed nine songs in Billboard's Top 40 (none of which were written by or actually featured David Crosby on lead vocals.)  Yet it is said he had an impeccable ear for harmony and their voices just fell in together in a perfect blend the very first time they all sat down to give it a shot.  

Crosby's prominence in both bands made him a two-time Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee.

His wife's statement said he was suffering from a long illness (although no exact details were released at the time) ... but we also read that he was still sending messages thru his Twitter account as recently as Wednesday.  (One comment addressed heaven ... Crosby called it "overrated" ... and "cloudy.")  New recordings ... and even a new tour ... had also been discussed recently ... so he must have been feeling well enough to undertake these taxing upcoming ventures.

When singer Melissa Etheridge decided she wanted to have kids, it was David Crosby who provided the seed to do so.  (They ultimately had two children together.)

One of my favorite recordings of David's was the duet he did with Phil Collins in 1993.  "Hero" spent a total of 20 weeks on the chart, peaking at #44.

Congratulations to Jeff Lynne, Gloria Estefan, Glen Ballard, Snoop Dogg, Sade, Liz Rose, and Teddy Riley, all members of The Class of 2023 just elected to The Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

I think I’m a bit more appalled by the list of nominees who did NOT make it in this year …Bryan Adams; Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart; Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, and Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers; Steve Winwood; Vince Gill; Patti Smith; and the songwriting teams of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart; Clem Burke, Debbie Harry, and Chris Stein of Blondie; and Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.  (That’s some pretty steep competition!) 

From Tom Cuddy:



It sounds like Graceland will go to Lisa Marie’s daughters Riley, Harper and Finley.

While Lisa sold off the majority of her rights to Elvis Presley Enterprises several years ago, she did still hold a 15% interest … and the physical property of Graceland, which will now move to her three surviving daughters, much as Elvis included Lisa as one of his heirs at the time of his passing.  (kk)


Man, January's been a tough month ... and we're only 2/3 thru it.  Meanwhile, we’re still getting emails singing the praises of the late Jeff Beck …

Here is a link to Part 1 of an excellent 2-Part interview with Jeff Beck pertaining to his other life, cars, and his music.

Robert Campbell

Ever wonder where Todd Rundgren's early band, The Nazz, got its unusual name? Look no further than "The Nazz Are Blue," a 1966 Yardbirds' B-side featuring a rare Jeff Beck lead vocal. Rundgren once called Beck the greatest electric guitarist of all time.

Beck would go on to have a couple of UK chart hits in 1967 as a solo artist, "Hi-Ho Silver Lining" and "Tallyman."  The former would become an enduring UK sing-along party favorite. The latter was written by Graham Gouldman, a freelance tunesmith responsible for three of the Yardbirds' biggest hits.
Mike Gentry

And a couple from Todd …


>>>MOST of the songs on the list of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits, 1970 - 1989 don’t receive anywhere NEAR the airplay that the “heavy repeats” get on a daily basis!  In fact, it’s hardly representative of what we’re actually hearing …

Truth be told, I’d put nearly every single one of these songs on Ross’ Lost Factor List!  (kk)

I must listen to the wrong radio stations. I have not heard any of these songs, on the radio in decades. (Not that I’d want to anytime soon.)



Kenny Loggins has announced his final, farewell tour.

Appropriately titled “This Is It,” Loggins is kicking things off in March … and (so far anyway) has only announced eleven stops.  (Dates are being spread out throughout the year, running from March 10th thru October 27th.)

Announced dates include:

March 10th – Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall @ Sarasota, FL
March 12th – Florida Theatre @ Jacksonville, FL
March 26th – Good Life Festival @ Queen Creek, AZ
April 28th – Dickies Arena @ Fort Worth, TX
April 30th – New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival @ New Orleans, LA
June 15th – Wolf Trap @ Vienna, VA
June 17th – Virginia Arts Festival @ Williamsburg, VA
August 17th – Family Arena @ St. Charles, MO
August 19th – Ravinia Festival @ Highland Park, IL
October 14th - The Mountain Winery @ Saratoga, CA
October 27th – YouTube Theater @ Inglewood, CA


Madonna has also announced her “Four Decades” tour, kicking off this summer with stops all over North America before departing for a European leg


Saturday, July 15th – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
Tuesday, July 18th – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Saturday, July 22nd – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center
Tuesday, Juyl 25th – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Thursday, July 27th – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
Sunday, July 30th – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
Wednesday, August 2nd – Cleveland, OH – Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Saturday, August 5th – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
Monday, August 7th – Pittsburgh, PA – PPG Paints Arena
Wednesday, August 9th – Chicago, IL – United Center
Sunday, August 13th – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Saturday, August 19th – Montreal, QC – Centre Bell
Wednesday, August 23rd – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Thursday, August 24th – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Wednesday, August 30th – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Saturday, September 2nd – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Tuesday, September 5th – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena

Thursday, September 7th – Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
Saturday, September 9th – Miami, FL – Miami-Dade Arena
Wednesday, September 13th – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Monday, September 18th – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Thursday, September 21st – Austin, TX – Moody Center ATX
Wednesday, September 27th – Los Angeles, CA – Arena
Wednesday, October 4th – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Saturday, October 7th – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena


Saturday, October 14th – London, UK – The O2
Saturday, October 21st – Antwerp, BE – Sportpaleis
Wednesday, October 25th – Copenhagen, DK – Royal Arena
Saturday, October 28th – Stockholm, SE – Tele2
Wednesday, November 1st – Barcelona, ES – Palau Sant Jordi
Monday, November 6th – Lisbon, PT – Altice Arena
Sunday, November 12th – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Monday, November 13th – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
Wednesday, November 15th – Cologne, DE – Lanxess Arena
Thursday, November 23rd – Milan, IT – Mediolanum Forum
Tuesday, November 28th – Berlin, DE – Mercedes-Benz Arena
Friday, December 1s – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome

Another possible Spice Girls reunion?  With Victoria Beckham onboard?

That’s the rumor.  Although nothing definite is in the works, it sounds like all of the girls (who recently gathered to celebrate Gerri Halliwell’s 50th birthday) might be intune with the idea.  (An appearance Glastonbury as their “Legends Act” has been bandied about … but according to Mel C, their schedules don’t align to make such a thing happen.)

Still, it sounds like all five Spice Girls seem to be open to the idea, the shocker being Posh Spice.  (Sporty says it’s more a FOMO situation … Fear Of Missing Out on a great time!  Lol) We’ll keep you posted.  (kk)


You can listen to the podcast of the New Colony Six tribute from last week here via the link below.  It focuses on the Sentaur / Centaur / Sentar years. The NC6 part starts about 23 minutes into it so you can drop the cursor up there.

Graphics and comments by listeners below that:

And, if interested in hearing MY show from two Saturdays ago, it has a mostly Chicago spotlight about 20 minutes.  (No NC6 music, tho, except a backing track and an appearance in WCFL Top 10 countdown.)

That show can be heard here:

Graphics and comments of fans below here:


Tom Cuddy tells us about a new memoir by Harvey Lisberg, former Manager of Herman’s Hermits, 10cc and more …

I just thought of two records that would pertain to the subject matter of today's FH. One is one I believe I mentioned some months ago in FH and that was a novelty record called CUSTER'S LAST MAN by a group that called themselves Pop Corn & the Mohawks. This was on Motown, and produced by Berry Gordy Jr. Smokey Robinson co-wrote it. Also, THE POPCORN SONG by Cliffie Stone in 1955. There may be more but I can't think of any offhand. 
Funnily enough as I was driving home from work (still listening to clips from the WLS / WCFL Rewound Radio Labor Day Weekend Special) I heard a broadcast of a Kris Erik Stevens program from 1972, by which time he had moved over to WCFL.
What's the first song I hear Kris play???  "Popcorn" by Hot Butter!!!
Kris and regular FH contributor Chuck Buell followed each other on the air on WLS in the late '60's and early '70's.  They were part of the station's "youth movement" to try and draw younger listeners to their Top 40 playlist. (The marketing campaign was "It's More Fun When You're Young!")
I let Chuck know about it since his feature was running on Thursday (National Popcorn Day) and Chuck told me:
I had a friend tell me this morning (after bringing up the song) that "It's now stuck in my mind as an earworm!  Much like a popcorn husk gets stuck in your teeth!"
I loved that comparison in this instance!

Reelin’ In The Years Productions has announced that it has signed an exclusive contract with the legendary Friars Club Of New York to represent its archive of filmed and recorded private events spanning 70-plus years.  The Friars Archive contains nearly 1000 hours of never-before-seen or-heard video and audio recordings of comedians, actors, sports figures, and iconic musicians.   

Since its founding in 1904, the famed club has been honoring comedians, politicians, actors, musicians and other luminaires at its fundraising celebrity luncheons (aka roasts), testimonial dinners and at private events.  

The Friars Archive dates back to 1950 and the list of comedians whose performances were preserved on both video and audio tape is truly staggering. Some of the legendary comics that appeared at these landmark affairs include Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, George Burns, Jack Benny, Don Rickles, Bob Saget, Buddy Hackett, Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Norm Crosby, Dick Gregory, Jerry Seinfeld, Johnny Carson, Alan King, Amy Schumer, Flip Wilson, George Carlin, Jeff Ross, Will Ferrell, Carol Burnett, Sid Caesar, Gilbert Gottfried, Bill Maher, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Henny Youngman, Steven Colbert, Whoopi Goldberg,  Bob Hope, Lily Tomlin, Jerry Lewis, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rich Little, David Letterman, Howard Stern, Joan Rivers, Billy Crystal, Steve Allen, Martin Short, John Oliver, Lewis Black, Sarah Silverman, Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx, Ricky Gervais, Bob Newhart, Carl Reiner and a host of others. This collection clearly establishes the Friars Archive as the Holy Grail Of Comedy.

Many of Hollywood’s greatest actors, actresses and directors are also part of this one-of-a-kind archive. Such icons as Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, Lauren Bacall, Samuel Jackson, Jack Black, Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Reynolds, Gregory Peck, Betty White, Harvey Keitel, John Travolta, Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Meryl Streep, Cary Grant, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Burt Lancaster, and Sylvester Stallone appeared at annual dinners to honor and celebrate their peers’ achievements in the world of film and television. 

Along with famed comedy legends and Hollywood royalty that were filmed and recorded by the Friars Club, many of music’s greatest artists spoke or performed at these private events. Some who appeared were Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, The Bee Gees, Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross and Frank Sinatra who was also the Abbot at the Friars Club Of New York from 1975 to 1996.

Reelin’ In The Years Productions has spent the last five months meticulously digitizing and fully cataloging the archive, which exists on a variety of obsolete media formats. With hundreds of tapes left to transfer, this will take many more months to complete.

David Peck, founder and president of Reelin’ In The Years Productions said, “I’ve been representing archives from around the globe for over 25 years; it’s quite a thrill to find an archive where a treasure trove of content has been virtually untouched for decades. It brings out the ‘Indiana Jones’ in me. and I am so honored that the Friars Club has trusted us with such an important legacy.”

“For many years we’ve been looking for the right home for our recorded legacy of laughter and entertainment,” said Friars Club Creative Director Anthony Trombetta, “and we feel that Reelin’ In The Years Productions is the perfect company to work with us on this historic archive.” 

For more information about the Friars Club Archive and other footage in their vast holdings, please reach out to Reelin’ In The Years Productions at

Reelin’ In The Years Productions (winner of FOCAL’s 2020 “Footage Library of The Year Award”) is the premier source for footage of musical artists, entertainers and history makers. Its unique archive houses over 30,000 hours of music footage spanning 100 years. In addition to its music footage archive, RITY has available for licensing over 10,000 hours of in-depth interviews with the 20th century’s icons of film and television, politics, comedy, literature, art, science, fashion and sports, filmed between 1962 and 2012. 

David Peck (founder and president of Reelin’ In The Years) has also directed and produced more than 70 historical music documentaries and programs focused primarily on the giants of jazz, blues and rock & roll, garnering many awards in the process as well as a a Grammy nomination. In 2020, David Peck was one of the Executive Producers on the critically acclaimed documentary on the Bee Gees, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” and is currently serving as one of the Co-Executive Producers on a multi-part documentary series on the famed record Memphis record label STAX that will air on HBO.  


A question for the house …

In light of the many recent passings, so many of late that it seems even FH can't keep up with them all, two unrelated items sorta got related, as I was doing research for an upcoming project.

In the research, I noticed that Ray Anthony (Peter Gunn Theme) will be turning 101 next Friday. (He's still with us.)

This has probably been addressed before, but who, beyond Keith Richards & Willie Nelson, is the oldest performer with a charted record still with us. There's a few in their 90s, but I can't come up with anyone older than Ray.

Jack Levin

Wow, good question …

I’m wondering if someone like Gary Theroux or Paul Haney might know …

They’ve made it their life’s work to research these things.

(We were shocked to learn a few months back that Bill Hayes, who hit the top of the charts with his version of “The Ballad Of Davy Crockett” in 1955, was still with us ... AND still acting on "Days Of Our Lives!!!"  Bill is 97 years old right now … still shy of Ray Anthony’s 101.  I was also quite stunned to read the other day that actor Robert Wagner is now in his 90’s.  And, of course, we just lost Gina Lollobrigida at the age of 95 a couple of days ago.)


Anybody got some theories about recording artists, still living and members of the 100+ club???  Let us know.  Thanks!  (kk)


Hi Kent,
Funny you should bring this up. We were just having a similar conversation at the Record Research offices.

Here's a list of all the recording artists that I could think of that are 90 or older:

Mervin Shiner - 101 (will turn 102 on 2/20/23) - He had a few Country hits from 1949-69.
Ray Anthony - 101 (turns 101 on 1/20/23)
Johnny Pate - 99
Jane Morgan - 98
Billy "The Kid" Emerson - 97
Dick Van Dyke - 97
Mel Brooks - 96
Tony Bennett - 96
Harry Belafonte - 95
Doc Severinsen - 95
Ed Ames - 95
Cleo Laine - 95
Burt Bacharach - 94
April Stevens - 93 (we listed her birth year as 1936, it's really 1929)
Leroy Van Dyke - 93
Bob Newhart - 93
Berry Gordy - 93
Rolf Harris - 92
Caterina Valente - 92
Clint Eastwood - 92 (yes, he actually hit the Country charts!)
Sonny Rollins - 92
Kenny Burrell - 91
Petula Clark - 90
Joel Grey - 90
Clive Davis - 90
Johnny Thunder - 90 (we listed his birth year as 1941, it's actually 1932)
If any of your readers can add to this list, I'd love to know!
Paul Haney
Record Research


Hi, Kent - 

I'm not really sure.  Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Lloyd Price used to come to mind as extreme elders, but all of those folks are now gone.  Bruce Belland of The Four Preps (born 1936) comes to mind, as does Freddy Cannon (born 1939) and Wink Martindale (born 1933). 

I don't really think about this subject much, as, to me, the music of ALL hitmakers remains forever alive -- even if they are not.  Burt Bacharach is 93, Harry Belafonte is 94, Tony Bennett is 95, Mel Brooks (who sang as one of Three Haircuts) is also 95, as is Dick Van Dyke (who charted with Julie Andrews).

All the best,

Gary Theroux

"The History of Rock 'n' Roll"


Saw a T-Shirt the other day that read:  "Boy, it sure is weird being the same age as all these old people"!!!  (lol)  Yep ... that's EXACTLY how I feel sometimes!  (kk)

Thursday, January 19, 2023

It's National Popcorn Day!

From Chuck Buell ...


I often pop up a Bowl of Hot, Puffy, White, Salty Popcorn before I sit down each morning that there’s a Forgotten Hits Post to read!


And TODAY I’ll make a Big Buell Brimming Bowl of it!


Because Today, January 19th, is National Popcorn Day!

And to Commemorate this Day, here's a Special Serving of Audio Popcorn, a Top Ten Hit from 1972 coincidentally enough, titled . . . . . "Pop Corn!"


CB ( which stands for “Corn Boy!” )


The group Hot Butter (who is actually just a "band of one," featuring Stan Free playing his moog synthesizer) did, indeed, score a Top Ten Hit (it peaked at #7 in Record World ... and #9 in Billboard)) with this one in 1972.

But DIDJAKNOW that James Brown had an incredible FIVE Top 50 Hits with the word "Popcorn" in the title?!?!  (And I'll bet ya can't hum a single one of 'em!!!  lol)  kk 


Here's the biggest ...

"Mother Popcorn," ALSO a #7 Record World Hit ... from 1969.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

We're Going A Little Soft On You Today

You should do a voters’ poll of your listeners and compile The top 100 Yacht Rock songs of all time!

That would be fun.

Eddie C. Spencer

I have never been a fan of the term “Yacht Rock” … and Sirius/XM’s over the top exploitation of it has only served to worsen my feelings.  (Plus I’m not even sure they have a playlist of 200 songs!!!  Which means you just keep hearing the same batch of songs again and again and again.  And we pay money to listen to this station!!!)

And it seems to have gotten worse …

I can’t tell you how many times in the past month that the last song I hear when I pull into the driveway at night is then also the FIRST song I hear when I go out to start my car for work the following morning!  Are the playlists really THAT tight that you have to repeat every 12 hours???  And we PAY for this!!!  (Clearly, one of the things we’re NOT paying for is variety.  With an available song list of probably 3000 songs that fit the Yacht Rock format perfectly, we are instead constantly fed the same 200.  THIS kind of programming is EXACTLY what prompted me to start Forgotten Hits 24 years ago!!!)

Sure things:  You’re going to hear something by Ambrosia any time you turn it on for more than 20 minutes … and I used to LOVE Ambrosia’s music … now I find myself turning it off due to pure saturation … once again, radio’s narrow-minded play lists is ruining the music I love for me.

You’re going to hear Michael McDonald somehow, someway, at least 12-20 times a day!!!  Whether it be the repeated airings of his solo hits “I Keep Forgettin’” and “I Gotta Try” (and, to a lesser extent, “Yah Mo Be There” and “Sweet Freedom” (which I actually still like) … his hits with The Doobie Brothers (“What A Fool Believes” seems to be their go-to tune two or three times a day) … or any one of the 850 other tunes he sang background on the the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s.  (Key preference given to songs by Christopher Cross and Kenny Loggins.)

You’re going to hear Rupert Homes’ #1 Hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” a few times a day … as well as regular airings of his less-deserving hits “Him” and “Answering Machine.”

It just goes on and on (although hearing “On And On” by Stephen Bishop right now would be a pleasant surprise!)

Did you happen to see that Paramount+ documentary that’s running right now?

It’s a 3-Part profile of Soft Rock … how it grew to infinite proportions in the ‘70’s, continued on during most of the ‘80’s and then (according to them) just COMPLETELY blew off the map by the end of the decade … as in “We now pronounce you DEAD!!!”

My experience with this music is that this simply isn’t true … and wasn’t the case at all.

They then go on to give undue credit to the Hip Hop Industry for resurrecting the soft rock songs of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s by putting a new backbeat behind them and introducing a whole new generation to this music … music that THEY grew up with listening to their parents’ records.  (There’s a similar segment in the recent Dionne Warwick profile where she takes credit for turning Snoop Dogg’s career around and setting him a better path with his music.)  I just don’t think the media is portraying an accurate version of “reality” when it comes to the legacy of soft rock music.

Then, just last week, the Ross On Radio column (one of the most respected radio profile sheets out there) did an entire segment on Soft Rock Hits (while also plugging the Paramount + special for at least the third time), working in their “Lost Factor” for great soft rock songs that you just don’t hear anymore.  They even polled their readers as to which soft rock songs they’d like to hear more of because radio just doesn’t play them anymore.


I had to take Sean Ross to task on this one … because man, if you think these songs are missing from the airwaves … and you really want to hear them … you’re just listening to the wrong stations!!!

Some of these songs play SO often that they have become immediate button-pushers for me.

Here are just some of the songs on Sean’s list:

This Is It by Kenny Loggins (I’ll bet you I hear this at least six times a week – maybe even more - and I rarely listen to the station!)

Steal Away by Robbie Dupree (at least 3 or 4 times a week)

Ventura Highway by America (2-3 times a week)

Cool Change by The Little River Band (5 or 6 times a week)

I’d Really Love To See You Tonight – England Dan and John Ford Coley (literally a dozen times a week or more … this one seems to play on EVERY station these days!)

Just The Two Of Us – Grove Washington, Jr. with Bill Withers (3 or 4 times a week)

Sara Smile by Daryl Hall and John Oates (a good eight times a week)

I Keep Forgettin’ by Michael McDonald (six times a week)

True – Spandau Ballet (3 or 4 times a week)

Smoke From A Distant Fire – The Sanford-Townsend Band (another one that seems to play on every station these days … a good ten times a week … another song that I’ve always loved that saturation has now ruined for me)

Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago (3 or 4 times a week)

Lonesome Loser – The Little River Band (5 or 6 times a week)

Lowdown by Boz Scaggs (a good six times a week)

You’re The Only Woman by Ambrosia (12-15 times a week … WHY?!?!?!)

Something by The Beatles (5 or 6 times a week – and that’s not counting The Beatles Channel!)

Well, you get the idea!

And songs that were considered flat out rock and roll when they were released … things like “Hurt So Good” and “Jack And Diane” by John Mellencamp or “Maneater” by Hall and Oates … some of the Starship stuff … Survivor now all of a sudden qualify as soft rock / lite rock / yacht rock / or whatever you want to call it.  Even back in the day, during its peak, they called it "Mellow Rock" ... Yacht Rock just sounds so pretentious and insulting.

(Actually, I have always loved the marketing concept of “The Lite” … they were playing nothing but soft rock hits 25-30 years ago!  “Turn On The Lite” … and once you did, you knew EXACTLY what you were going to be listening to … a great campaign that still works today.)

But Yacht Rock?  Why can’t they just call it Soft Rock … because that’s what it is!!!  (It’s kinda like radio not wanting to use the word “Oldies” anymore.Those of us who grew up during “The Soft Rock ‘70’s” knows the shift and impact this music had on the charts ... and I'm not ashamed to admit I have always liked it ... and continue to enjoy it to this day.  It's just the "branding" that I object to.

Billboard Magazine published an Adult Contemporary Chart for decades.  I checked Joel Whitburn’s book on this (which recaps the hits thru the year 2000) to see what it determined to be the biggest and most popular Soft Rock Hits of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s (because this seems to be the key era that Yacht Rock concentrates on today.)

These rankings are based solely on the record’s performance on Billboard’s Chart … Peak Position and Number of Weeks at its Peak Position being the determining factor.  (While not, perhaps, the most accurate method, it is at least a method that offers consistency without prejudice to the ranking.)  Ties are broken by weeks in The Top Ten … and then in The Top 40 … and then, if necessary, in The Top 100.

Looking over this list today, all I can say is …

Be prepared to be surprised!

MOST of the songs on the list don’t receive anywhere NEAR the airplay that the “heavy repeats” get on a daily basis!

According to Billboard’s actual chart stats, here are Joel’s Top 50 Adult Contemporary (Soft Rock) Hits for the period of 1970 – 1989:

# 1 – Time Passages – Al Stewart (1978) #1 for 10 weeks!

# 2 – Lead Me On – Maxine Nightingale (1979) #1 for 7 weeks

# 3 – Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon (1977) #1 for 7 weeks

# 4 – Crazy Love – Poco (1979) #1 for 7 weeks

# 5 – We’ve Only Just Begun – The Carpenters (1970) #1 for 7 weeks

# 6 – Song Sung Blue – Neil Diamond (1972) #1 for 7 weeks

# 7 – Love Theme from “A Star Is Born” (Evergreen) 1977 - #1 for 6 weeks

# 8 – How Deep Is Your Love – The Bee Gees (1977) #1 for 6 weeks

# 9 – Cherish – Kool and the Gang (1985) #1 for 6 weeks

#10 – Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx (1989) #1 for 6 weeks

#11 – If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red (1989) #1 for 6 weeks

#12 – You Are – Lionel Richie (1983) - #1 for 6 weeks

#13 – Hello – Lionel Richie (1984) #1 for 6 weeks

#14 – Lost In Love – Air Supply (1980) #1 for 6 weeks

#15 – Snowbird – Anne Murray (1970) #1 for 6 weeks

#16 – (They Long To Be) Close To You – The Carpenters (1970) #1 for 6 weeks

#17 – Yesterday’s Songs – Neil Diamond (1981) #1 for 6 weeks    

#18 – I Don’t Need You – Kenny Rogers (1981) #1 for 6 weeks

#19 – Read ‘em And Weep – Barry Manilow (1983) #1 for 6 weeks

#20 – Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan (1972) #1 for 6 weeks

#21 – We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again – England Dan and John Ford Coley (1978) - #1 for 6 weeks

#22 – Watching Scotty Grow – Bobby Goldsboro (1971) #1 for 6 weeks (when’s the last time you heard this one?!?!)

#23 – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Robert Flack (1972) #1 for 6 weeks

#24 – Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel (1970) #1 for 6 weeks

#25 – Don’t Know Much – Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville (1989) #1 for 5 weeks

#26 – The Rose – Bette Midler (1980) #1 for 5 weeks

#27 – Stuck On You – Lionel Richie (1984) #1 for 5 weeks

#28 – Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins (1989) #1 for 5 weeks

#29 – You’re Only Lonely – J.D. Southern (1979) #1 for 5 weeks

#30 – It’s Sad To Belong – England Dan and John Ford Coley (1977) #1 for 5 weeks

#31 – Two Hearts – Phil Collins (1988) #1 for 5 weeks

#32 – Say You, Say Me – Lionel Richie (1985) #1 for 5 weeks

#33 – Magic – Olivia Newton-John (1980) #1 for 5 weeks

#34 – Woman In Love – Barbra Streisand (1980) #1 for 5 weeks

#35 – Any Day Now – Ronnie Milsap (1982) #1 for 5 weeks

#36 – Greatest Love Of All – Whitney Houston (1986) #1 for 5 weeks

#37 – Glory Of Love – Peter Cetera (1986) #1 for 5 weeks

#38 – Without You – Nilsson (1972) #1 for 5 weeks

#39 – Chariots Of Fire – Vangelis (1986) #1 for 5 weeks

#40 – Careless Whisper – George Michael (1985) #1 for 5 weeks

#41 – Ebony And Ivory – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (1982) #1 for 5 weeks

#42 – Broken Hearted Me – Anne Murray (1979) #1 for 5 weeks

#43 – (What A) Wonderful World – Art Garfunkel with James Taylor and Paul Simon (1978) #1 for 5 weeks

#44 – It’s Too Late – Carole King (1971) #1 for 5 weeks

#45 – All I Ever Need Is You – Sonny and Cher (1971) #1 for 5 weeks

#46 – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – Joan Baez (1971) #1 for 5 weeks

#47 – My Heart Belongs To Me – Barbra Streisand (1977) #1 for 4 weeks

#48 – Just The Way You Are – Billy Joel (1978) #1 for 4 weeks

#49 – Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes (1983) #1 for 4 weeks

#50 – Islands In The Stream – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (1983) #1 for 4 weeks

Hardly representative of what we’re actually hearing …

Truth be told, I’d put nearly every single one of these songs on Ross’ Lost Factor List!  (kk)