Saturday, April 15, 2023

51 Years Ago Today

From Our Forgotten Hits Music Historian, Chuck Buell ...

It was 51 years ago this week that Roberta Flack scored her first Number One hit with "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face."

The song was nearly three-years-old when, as a movie director, Clint Eastwood included it in his film Play Misty For Me, which led to an “edited for radio air play” version that went to Number One and stayed there for six weeks. It went on to take the 1973 Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of The Year.

“First Time” was also played as the wake-up song for the U.S. astronauts aboard Apollo 17 on their last day in Lunar orbit (Friday, December 15, 1972.)

All that being said, Face It!  It’s time for yet another “Chuck Buell ‘In Your Face!’ Minute Medley!”

( With a Special CB Never Heard Before Duet Open featuring Roberta Flack and Johnny Cash! )

CB ( which stands for “Cheeky-face Boy!” )

Friday, April 14, 2023

The Friday Flash

Congratulations to Micky Dolenz, who will be inducted into The Southern California Music Hall Of Fame this weekend.  (He’ll also be performing at the event.)  WTG, Mick!  (kk)


We saw the new May Pang movie “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” about her two year romance with John Lennon last night at the official theater premier.

I can only tell you this …


No matter how much you may think you know about this story, I can assure you that it’s not even CLOSE to the real deal.


Lennon seemed to have a self-destructive trait dating all the way back to his teddy boy days in Liverpool.  He was by far the most substance-abusing Beatle, experimenting with everything from grass to LSD ... and then on to heroin, which he would later write a song about, after quitting the drug “cold turkey.”  He next went thru primal scream therapy … and then built an entire album around THAT experience.  In 1973, wife Yoko Ono threw him out and made the arrangements for May Pang, their personal assistant, to become his companion in every literal translation … only to pull the rug out when she decided it was time for John to “come home.”


During that separation period, Lennon went thru what he later described as his "Lost Weekend," seemingly filling every moment with a crazy amount of drinking and partying while hanging out with other celebs like Harry Nilsson, Micky Dolenz, Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon and more.  His nightclub bashing of The Smothers Brothers (all while wearing a Kotex on his head) became legendary.  He continued to work with Phil Spector, this time  on his “Rock And Roll” album … only to have Spector (in typical Phil Spector fashion) fire a gun in the studio one night.  It was, to say the very least, a pretty wild time in John's life.


But during this incredibly out of control period of his life, he also spent time with ... and fell in love with ... May Pang.


Pang points out in the film (and offers substantial evidence) that John wasn't only partying all the time ... he was also going through a truly creative period of time, putting out new music and producing others, working with Ringo and Harry Nilsson and Elton John and David Bowie, scoring #1 Hits with the latter two ... and his first #1 solo hit ("Whatever Gets You Thru The Night") as well.   


The fact that he reconnected with his son Julian during this time, who seemed to also make a genuine connection with May Pang as well, also adds a nice touch the story … especially hearing that he and May have remained close for all this time since. (May also maintains that even after John went back to Yoko, they continued to see each other for the next several years, something else I had never heard before seeing this film.)


And there is just SO much more.  It’s 90 minutes of non-stop music history, told thru the eyes of someone who was there every step of the way, the vast majority of which wasn't presented to the public along the way unless it was some type of headline-grabbing antic that landed John in a particularly bad light in the press.


How in the world they were able to unearth so much footage from this era … the audio and video is outstanding … May also shares personal drawings and illustrations that John made for her during this period ... and goes on to recount the night that John Lennon jammed with Harry Nilsson, Stevie Wonder … and Paul McCartney … with film footage to prove it!  The fact that John and Paul were actually talking about working together again in 1974 … it’s just INCREDIBLE what this film documents thru actual audio and video from this era.

Although no streaming plans have been announced, this is the type of documentary that you just know will end up on cable quickly … I’m almost inclined to say “in the next week or two” (which is typical after we just paid premium prices to see it first in a theater!)


Essentially told in May Pang’s own words, the movie moves along at a good pace, thanks to memories shared by and including Elton John, Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, Yoko, John, Paul and so many others that were on the scene at the time.


In reality, it's NOT a great documentary … I don’t think Yoko Ono will like it! Lol ... but it is still fascinating to watch, which therefore makes it DEFINITELY worth seeing … especially if you’re as fascinated as I am by seeing Beatles-related stuff you never even knew existed showing up in pristine condition.  (kk)


Speaking of John Lennon ... and The Beatles ... I’m about halfway thru Charles Rosenay’s new book “Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists” and it, too, is pretty fascinating.  It offers a variety of Beatles-related celebs counting down not only their favorite Beatles songs but also their favorite Beatles memories, live appearances, “moments” … and so much more.


And, if you haven’t already picked up a copy, Charles has now come up with a way for you to WIN one!!!


Read on …

This Saturday night WIN a copy of my book “Book Of Top 10 Beatles Lists” on COUSIN BRUCIE’s Saturday Night Rock n Roll Party 6 - 10pm ET on WABC Radio.   

Cousin Brucie is an American treasure beloved by Beatles fans and those who grew up listening to AM radio, and he’s still bringing us joy every Saturday night. His chapter in is GREAT!

Thanks to all 64 rock & rollers, actors, athletes & celebrities who gave me their FABulous top 10 lists. NOW ON AMAZON: 

Email for a signed copy. 

A couple of recent comments that somehow slipped thru the cracks …


An Easter Sunday full of hits …

A very enjoyable idea. I went through time while cooking Easter dinner.

While on Easter Day radio stations were playing 'White Rabbit,' 'Run Rabbit Run' and 'Peter Cottontail'; the closest the survey came to a rabbit was a raccoon.

I was in love with any role Fess Parker undertook. Yes, I was pre-school age, but obviously with impeccable taste. 

Shelley J Sweet-Tufano

For those of you who may have missed it …

It truly IS a step back thru time.

(My, how music has changed over the years!)  kk


My take on Sunday night's Grammys Beach Boy tribute show ... 

Tom Hanks did his usual great speech at start.  Now, consider that I did not know almost ANY of these bands or performers in the least.
Well, there were maybe three performances that were fairly good.  Wouldn't It Be Nice and Good Vibes were best, IMO.  They sounded closest to the hit version, IMO.  Do It Again and Darlin’ weren't bad either.  Heroes & Villains was an odd choice but surprised me to not be nearly as bad as I had figured it would be.

I did not like John Legend's Sail On Sailor at all.  I hated the Caroline No one and the Mumford & Sons was atrocious ... worst of them all BY FAR. 

They often cut Brian off the screen making me wonder if he was looking away.  The first few songs, Mike Love stood up each time after and Brian looked over like "What are you doing?"  Bruce Johnston seems to have a smiling face every minute of every day, which if he is that happy, I applaud it very much, as he HAS been there thru much of the ride and sang these songs a million times.  David Marks seemed unmoved by anything and maybe sitting next to Mike was part of it.  haha  Was he part of the first four LPs like they said?  I thought he left after first LP.  You only saw Al about once close up and he looked unmoved by any.  Meanwhile, Mike seemed to either jump up in joy or sit quietly, so I guess you could judge who he liked and didn't.  They managed to show many Capitol swirl 45s but then showed a reissue Capitol logo for I Get Around (or one 45 anyway) which was odd. 

Barbara Ann hit the highs but they coulda done without a Dean Torrance led vocal?  Brandi Carlisle seemed to be off pitch a few times on In My Room and what was with skipping the word "MY" in ending?  "In Room...."?  You guys might not, but I like Michael McDonald's voice always, so I give him a B+ on his song.  The St. Vincent version sounded like a hit would be today, but I still didn't like it at all ... too different from the original, which most would not believe was same song.  Surfer Girl, I Get Around, Fun Fun Fun / Surfin’ USA Medley, God Only Knows were not too good -- and Warmth Of The Sun, Do You Wanna Dance" (WAY too fast), Sloop John B were even below those.

All in all, it showed how amazing Brian was with lyrics and song creation, but not much else.  I kept wondering what Brian thought:


2. That's not how it should sound.

3.  Why is Mike being nice to me?

ALL performances separated can be seen/heard here:

As Brian would say (but luckily was NOT performed from Pet Sounds), for me, "I Guess I Just Wasn't Made For These Times."

Clark Besch

I thought the special was pretty good overall … maybe even a little better than I had expected.  What’s the point of having other artists interpret your songs if they’re just going to go up there and perform them note-for-note like the originals?  Each one of these artists has to be allowed to bring their own take into the mix and make these songs their own.  Sometimes it works … sometimes it doesn’t (proven most obviously by the Mumford and Sons desecration of “I Know There’s An Answer” … hands down the worst performance of the night.  They took my point of “putting your own spin on it" to a whole new level … as in a whole new LOW!)

I liked some of the ones you didn’t … thought “Sloop John B.” was pretty good, actually.  I didn’t care for Michael McDonald’s version of “Don’t Worry Baby” but Frannie loved it … so to each their own in a situation like this.  “Good Vibrations” sounded pretty damn good to me … and I liked Beck’s other performance, too, of the previously mentioned “Sloop John B.”

Billboard called LeAnn Rimes’ performance of “Caroline, No” the concert highlight … and it didn’t move me at all.  Just an overblown excuse to show that she can still hit the high notes.  I expected more from Pentatonix and was extremely pleased to hear what their song choice was … I just don’t think they did the song … or themselves justice with that performance.

I also thought Andy Grammar did a great job with “Darlin’” … actually, I think I’ve liked just about everything I’ve ever seen him perform … so I may have to dig a little bit deeper into his catalog.

I didn’t understand why they would perform three songs NOT written by The Beach Boys as part of the tribute.  (“Barbara Ann,” “Sloop John B.,” “Do You Wanna Dance”) … and it was kinda fun watch the band sitting up in their special box seats reacting to the show.  (I laughed when I saw Brian and Mike sitting at opposite ends, as far away from each other as possible … but FH Reader Timmy C sent in this photo showing that their paths did, in fact, cross during the course of the night.)

In short, I found the whole program very watch.  (kk)

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Thursday This And That

Ron Onesti is bringing Priscilla Presley back to town for a Q&A at The Des Plaines Theatre.

This should be an especially interesting return in light of the recent death of her daughter, Lisa Marie, and all the controversy since regarding Priscilla trying to take control of Lisa’s affairs as they pertain to Graceland, causing great conflict within the family.  (Lisa bequeathed her rights to her children – and Priscilla has contested the validity of the amendments to her will.)  Her granddaughter, Riley Keough, has been making entertainment headlines of late for her stirring performance as Daisy Jones in the new rockumentary Daisy Jones and the Six, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

I was fortunate enough to see Priscilla during her first program of this kind at The Arcada Theatre a few years ago (2017 to be exact) … and it was quite enlightening and entertaining.  (This was especially exciting for me because Ron invited Forgotten Hits Readers to submit questions for the program that he moderated!)  I’m curious to see what kind of tone this new appearance takes on.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (April 14th) at … and there’s even a special “Meet And Greet” VIP After Party ticket available for $400 to take part in the Ultimate Priscilla Presley VIP Experience!  It all takes place on Sunday, June 4th  (kk)


VIP After Party with two hour Open Bar, Appetizers and

Meet & Greet / Mingle with Priscilla Presley!

Tickets are $400

And, speaking of Ron Onesti and The Arcada Theatre, about a week ago or so we told you about the upcoming Sweet appearance there.

Well, I see now that this is actually going to be a pretty interesting double bill …

Also appearing that night is April Wine, who had a few hits of note that I always enjoyed (“You Could Have Been A Lady,” #26 in 1972 and “Just Between You And Me,” #16 in 1981, in particular.)

Sweet’s biggest hits include the Top Ten Hits “Little Willy” (#3, 1973), “Ballroom Blitz” (#5, 1975), “Fox On The Run” (#4, 1976), “Action” (#10, 1976) and “Love Is Like Oxygen” (#8, 1978)

Should be a good show!  (kk)

Tickets here:

NOT touring is Gordon Lightfoot, who just cancelled ALL upcoming tour dates for undisclosed health reasons.  Gordon will turn 85 later this year.  


Also announcing the cancellation of their tour … which was intended to be a 50th Anniversary celebration … is George Thorogood, citing a “serious medical condition.”  His Facebook page posted this message:  “George has been diagnosed with a very serious medical condition that will require immediate surgery.” No more details are available at this time.  (There’s no denying it … we’re ALL getting older!)


Meanwhile, Peter Frampton, who announced HIS retirement from touring a few years ago due to some serious health issues (in 2019, he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable muscular disease that was causing his muscles to deteriorate), is going back out on the road this year with his “Never Say Never” tour!!!  He’ll be out on the road for two solid months beginning at the end of June (health permitting I suppose.)  Once last chance to watch Frampton Come Alive I guess!  (More power to ya, Peter!  I’ve heard he puts on an INCREDIBLE show!)  kk


FH Reader Carolyn Mondragon mentioned the other day that both Queen + Adam Lambert shows were sold out here in Chicago … but, as I expected, tickets can still be found (as long as you’re willing to pay top marked-up dollar for them!)  Main floor seats are currently going for about $1500 apiece while mezzanines are running about half that ($750.)  I did find balcony seats in the $300 range – but that’s still a little bit steep for my budget, much as I’d love to see them.  (It sounds like this could be the last time the guys take their act out on the road.)  Still, if I’m going to spend $300 a ticket to see a show, I'm thinking we'd probably be better-served waiting to see The Rolling Stones this summer, assuming they make their much-rumored appearance at Soldier Field.

Still, Queen + Adam Lambert fans should be pleased to know that NEW music from the band may be in the works.  Brian May hinted that we just may see the release of a brand new album by the band later this year … and THAT would be awesome!  (kk)


Rock Cellar Magazine has named The Eleven Best Songs About Crying … and it’s a VERY interesting list … and an entertaining article worth sharing …

Did you guys happen to see that promo video piece for the release of the huge Frankie Valli / Four Seasons 45 CD box set?  It's ALL 70's WB stuff in the promo!  NO VJ stuff at all.  (It IS in this box, of course, but NOT in promo video???)

What a mess that is -- SILVER STAR???  C'mon, man!  

No pic of the group on front cover???  You gotta see this!

Clark Besch

It is rather odd not to feature their first three break-out #1 Hits (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like A Man”) and other monster ‘60’s hits like “Rag Doll,” “Opus 17,” "Let's Hang On," "Dawn" or even the title track, “Workin’ My Way Back To You” as part of the promotional video ... an unusual ad campaign to be sure … but still one hell of a collection.  (Amazon doesn’t show it as currently being available … but a few years ago I bought THIS collection … 

Nowhere near as complete … but a nice set nonetheless.  (kk)


UPDATE:  The day after I received Clark's email, I received the official promotional release ... 


The reason Amazon doesn't show it as currently being available is because it hasn't been released yet.


I will say that this thing truly sounds incredible ... but it ain't cheap!!!




Release Date: 2 June 2023 on Madfish

Pre-orders available here:

With career sales of over 175 million records and their long-time membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons have inspired fans and enlightened the music world for more than sixty years.

For the first time ever, Madfish / Snapper Music presents the complete works of simply one of America’s greatest musical exponents. A group who sang about the everyday tragedies and victories that they shared with their audience. A group of the people, for the people.

Rhythm and blues was barely even pregnant with rock ‘n’ roll when a Jersey boy called Francesco Stephen Castelluccio, (aka Frankie Valli,) took his first teenage steps in music.

Working Our Way Back to You chronicles his every stride through a career of 195 singles and 31 studio albums across 44 CDs and 1 LP (a stunning multi-foldout reproduction of the original US packaging of The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette vinyl album, in its original mono mix, available here for the first time ever.)

The package includes an extraordinary assemblage of unreleased treats (demos/alternate takes), rare treasures (vintage live recordings) and long-unavailable mixes, including much sought after tracks the group cut for Motown. The box set also includes a 144-page hardback book, a separate singles book showing a multitude of picture sleeves from around the world, and a book of Collectors notes, penned by Four Seasons Appreciation Society’s Ken Charmer.

The hardback book, authored by lifelong Four Seasons fan Paul Sexton (presenter and producer of BBC Radio 2’s four-part series “Jerseybeat: The Four Seasons Story” in 2008) follows the group’s story from humble New Jersey beginnings to the opening of the award-winning Jersey Boys musical on Broadway. Also included are over 50,000 words of interviews by New York Times Best Selling author Ken Sharp with Four Seasons members Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Joe Long, Lee Shapiro and John Paiva, producer/collaborator Bob Crewe, arranger Charles Calello, key songwriters and session players.

The full list of contents is as follows:

  • 44 CDs documenting a career from 1961 to 2016 featuring 31 newly remastered studio albums and all of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ worldwide singles
  • Over 800 tracks including bonus live albums, demos, outtakes, B-sides and more
  • A replica triple foldout US-only sleeve issue of The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette LP (available for the first time ever on mono vinyl)
  • A lavish hardback coffee table book that tells the full story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons by long-time Seasons expert Paul Sexton, including extensive interviews conducted by New York Times Best Selling author Ken Sharp and written contributions from Brian Wilson, Barry & Maurice Gibb and Billy Joel
  • A portfolio chronicling single & EP sleeves from around the world, including chart placings
  • A Collectors Notes Book from Four Seasons Archivist Ken Charmer
  • Compiled with full cooperation and support of Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio

Praise for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons:

“I thought they were fantastic. The voice blend was fantastic. The competition helped me to get cracking. It inspired me.”  - Brian Wilson

I've always loved Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Everything they did made an intense impression on me from ‘Rag Doll’ to ‘Big Girls Don't Cry’ to ‘Walk Like A Man’ to ‘Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You.’ At the time of The Beatles, Frankie Valli's voice reigned as the voice you would hear when you fell in love.” - Barry Gibb

“Frankie Valli is a fantastic singer. He was doing falsetto long before any of us were doing it. It was just another way of using another instrument for your songs.” - Maurice Gibb

There were a lot of life lessons in their music.” - Billy Joel

They made some of the greatest records ever. They were the biggest productions right there with Phil Spector and Motown.” - Stevie Van Zandt

This thing comes out on June 2nd.

MY suggestion ...

Go pull a thousand dollars out of the bank right now ... and order yourself the deluxe Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons box set, and tickets to the Q&A Show and VIP Meet and Greet with Priscilla Presley!!!  (Ah, if life were only that grand!!!  lol)  kk  


Another new release of interest ...


Paul Simon has announced the release of his highly anticipated musical work, Seven Psalms. Intended to be listened to as one continuous piece, the 33-minute, seven-movement composition transcends the concept of the “album" and will be released in its entirety on vinyl, CD and across digital platforms on May 19.

Recorded entirely on acoustic instruments, and predominantly performed by Paul, Seven Psalms showcases Simon’s craft at its finest and most captivating, simply with his voice and guitar.

Watch here for a glimpse into Paul's inspiration and process in finding Seven Psalms.

And there's an amazing career-encompassing release coming from Japan honoring Huey Lewis and the News, too.  This one sounds amazing.  (Wonder if the DVD will be available as a stand-alone piece?)  kk 


Watch for a new Little Richard documentary, coming soon ...


And we're hoping to catch the premier showing of the new May Pang / John Lennon film "Lost Weekend:  A Love Story."  More on this if we're able to get in and see it!

A closing smiler from Chuck Buell, who offers these "Two Best Password Tips" for all of our Forgotten Hits Readers.  (He is, after all, Our Forgotten Hits Computer Security Manager!)

The Best Password Tip is to change all your Passwords to the word “Incorrect.”  That way whenever you forget or enter the wrong password, a message will appear that says, “Your Password is "Incorrect!”


This is the next best tip that should be easily remembered by all Forgotten Hitters ~~~


 CB  ( which stands for “Cocksure Boy!” )