Monday, December 26, 2011

Week of 26 December 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of December 26 - January 1:

26 - Phil Spector, 1940; Abdul Fakir (The Four Tops), 1935
27 - David Knopfler (Dire Straits), 1951;  Larry Byrom (Steppenwolf), 1948; Mick Jones (Foreigner), 1944; Pete Quaife (The Kinks), 1943; Mike Pinder (Moody Blues), 1941
28 - Edgar Winter, 1946
29 - Yvonne Elliman, 1951; Marianne Faithfull, 1946; Ray Thomas (Moody Blues), 1941
30 - Jeff Lynne (ELO and Traveling Wilburys), 1947; Patti Smith, 1946;  Davy Jones (The Monkees), 1945; Michael Nesmith (The Monkees), 1942; Bo Diddley, 1928 (died 2008); Del Shannon, 1939 (died 1990)
31 - George Thorogood, 1952; Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith), 1951; Donna Summer, 1948; Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), 1947; Patti Smith, 1946; Andy Summers (The Police), 1942; John Denver, 1943 (died 1997)

01 - Clay Cole, 1938 (died 2010)

In remembrance of those who left us:

27 Dec 2008 - Delaney Bramlett
28 Dec 1983 - Dennis Wilson
28 Dec 2005 - Barry Cowsill*
31 Dec 1985 - Ricky Nelson
*Note - The exact date of death for Barry Cowsill is unknown.  Cowsill perished in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and his remains were recovered on 12/28/2005 and identified through dental records on 01/04/2006

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Week of 19 December 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of December 19 - 25:

19 - John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), 1945; Zal Yanovky (Lovin' Spoonful), 1944; Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), 1941
20 - Peter Criss (KISS), 1945;  Bobby Colomby (Blood, Sweat & Tears), 1944
21 - Carl Wilson, 1946 (died 1998); Frank Zappa, 1940  (died 1993)
22 - Rick Nielson (Cheap Trick), 1946; Barry Jenkins (Animals), 1944; Robin Gibb (Bee Gees), 1949; Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), 1949 (died 2003)
23 - Bruce Hornsby, 1955; Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), 1940
24 - Ian Burden (Human League), 1957
25 - Annie Lennox, 1954; Barbara Mandrell (1948; Jimmy Buffet, 1946

In remembrance of those who left us:

20 Dec 1973 - Bobby Darin
25 Dec 2006 - James Brown
25 Dec 2008 - Eartha Kitt

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week of 12 December 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of December 12 - 18:

12 - Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), 1949; Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), 1946; Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers Band), 1943; Dionne Warwick, 1940; Connie Francis, 1938; Bruce Kulick  (KISS), 1953; Charlie Rich, 1932 (died 1995)
13 - Berton Averre (The Knack), 1954; Randy Owen (Alabama), 1949
15 - Dave Clark (Dave Clark Five), 1942; Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes), 1939
16 - Benny Anderson (ABBA), 1946; Tony Hicks (The Hollies), 1943
17 - Art Neville (Neville Brothers), 1937; Eddie Kendricks, 1939 (died 1992)
18 - Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), 1943

In remembrance of those who left us:

12 Dec - Ike Turner (2007)
16 Dec - Nicolette Larson (1997)
16 Dec - Dan Fogelberg (2007)
18 Dec - Clay Cole (2010)

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Artists Announced for 7th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show

Several artists have been added to the 7th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show since my original post about the event on November 4 (Oldies Connection: Artists Announced for 7th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show). As of this writing, there are the artists scheduled to appear along with Andy:
  • Sam Roberts
  • Lights
  • Ron Sexsmith
  • Alex Lifeson from Rush
  • Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene
  • Arkells
  • Members of Finger Eleven
  • Sarah Harmer
  • BUCK65
  • Emma-Lee
  • Honeymoon Suite
  • Dru
  • Sean Cullen
This year, proceeds from the event will go to Julliette's Place, a refuge for abused women and their children.

Venue website and address:
The Phoenix Concert Theatre
410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, ON  M4X 1K2

Tix can be purchased at Ticketweb and other outlets listed in my original post.

A few videos for entertainment and enlightenment follow.

From Canada AM (December 8, 2011):
Full segment - Andy Kim performs "Whatever Happened to Christmas," then chats with the hosts about the Christmas Show
Clip - Andy Kim performs "Whatever Happened to Christmas"
Clip - Andy Kim sings "Baby, I Love You" to an adorable young admirer (trust me, this is a must-watch!)

Andy Kim talks about the Christmas concert in this video fromThe Morning Show (Global TV, Toronto), December 5, 2011:

(Below) Andy Kim performs "Happen Again" at the CNE bandshell in Toronto on September 3, 2011:

(Top of post) Andy Kim performing in Clearwater, Florida in October 2008. Photo credit: Laura Pinto

Monday, December 05, 2011

Week of 05 December 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of December 5 - 11:

05 - Andy Kim, 1952; 'Little' Richard Penniman, 1932; Jim Messina, 1947
06 - Mike Smith (Dave Clark Five), 1943 (died 2008)
07 - Harry Chapin, 1942 (died 1981)
08 - Jerry Butler, 1939; Gregg Allman, 1947; Bobby Elliot (The Hollies), 1942
09 - Donny Osmond, 1957; Randy Murray (BTO), 1955; Walter Orange (The Commodores), 1946
11 - Jermaine Jackson (The Jacksons), 1954; Brenda Lee, 1944; David Gates (Bread), 1940

In remembrance of those who left us:

06 Dec 1988 - Roy Orbison
07 Dec 2008 - Dennis Yost (Classics IV)
08 Dec 1980 - John Lennon
10 Dec 1967 - Otis Redding
11 Dec 1964 - Sam Cooke

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week of 28 November 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of November 28 - December 4:

28 - Paul Shaffer, 1949; Beeb Birtles (Little River Band), 1948; Randy Newman, 1943
29 - Barry Goudreau (Boston), 1951; Chuck Mangione, 1940;  Denny Doherty (Mamas & Papas), 1941 (died 2007)
30 - Dick Clark, 1929; Billy Idol, 1955; George McArdale (Little River Band), 1954; Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary), 1937; June Pointer (Pointer Sisters), 1953 (died 2006)

01 - Gilbert O'Sullivan, 1955; Bette Midler, 1945; John Densmore (The Doors), 1944; Eric Bloom (Blue Oyster Cult), 1944; Lou Rawls, 1935 (died 2006)
02 - Michael McDonald, 1952
04 - Dennis Wilson, 1944 (died 1983)

In remembrance of those who left us:

29 Nov 2001 - George Harrison
30 Nov 1996 - Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury)
04 Dec 1993 - Frank Zappa

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week of 21 November 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of November 21 - 27:

21 - Lonnie Jordan (War), 1948; Dr. John, 1940
22 - Little Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band), 1950; Rod Price (Foghat), 1947 (died 2005)
24 - Clement Burke (Blondie), 1955; Pete Best (Beatles),1941;  Bev Bevan (ELO), 1945
25 - Percy Sledge, 1940
26 - Tina Turner, 1939; Jean Terrell (Supremes), 1944;
John McVie (Fleetwood Mac), 1945
27 - Eddie Rabbitt, 1941 (died 1998); Jimi Hendrix, 1942 (died 1970)

In remembrance of those who left us:

23 Nov 1994 - Tommy Boyce
24 Nov 1991 - Eric Carr (KISS)
24 Nov 1991 - Freddie Mercury
27 Nov 2009 - Al Alberts

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week of 14 November 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of November 14 - 20:

14 - Steven Bishop, 1951; James Young (STYX), 1948; Freddie Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), 1940 (died 2006)
15 - Steve Fossen (Heart), 1949; Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida from ABBA), 1945; Petula Clark, 1932
17 - Bob Gaudio (Four Seasons), 1942; Gordon Lightfoot, 1938
18 - John McFee (Doobie Brothers), 1953; Graham Parker, 1950
20 - Joe Walsh (Eagles),1947; George Grantham (Poco), 1947

In remembrance of those who left us:

17 Nov - Arthur Conley (2003)

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Week of 07 November 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of November 7 - 13:

07 - Joni Mitchell, 1943; Johnny Rivers, 1942
08 - Leif Garrett, 1961; Bonnie Raitt, 1949; Roy Wood (ELO), 1946; Minnie Riperton, 1947 (died 1979); Don Murray (Turtles),1945 (died 1996)
09 - Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary), 1936 (died 2009); Tom Fogerty (CCR),1941 (died 1990)
10 - Ronnie Hammond (Atlanta Rhythm Section), 1950;
Donna Fargo, 1949; Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), 1948; Dave Loggins, 1947
11 - LaVerne Baker, 1929 (died 1997)
12 - Leslie McKeown (Bay City Rollers), 1955; Donald Roeser (Blue Oyster Cult) 1947; Arthur Tavares (Tavares), 1946; Neil Young, 1945

In remembrance of those who left us:

09 Nov 2008 - Miriam Makeba

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Artists Announced for 7th Annual Andy Kim Christmas Show

TORONTO -- The 7th annual Andy Kim Christmas Show is taking place on 14 December 2011 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. Doors open at 7:00pm, show starts at 8:00pm.  Must be 19 or over to be admitted; ID required.

Andy Kim has been a pop music superstar ever since the late 1960s, when the teenager from Montreal enjoyed a string of hits ("How'd We Ever Get This Way," "Baby, I Love You," "Be My Baby," and others) on Jeff Barry's Steed Records, prior to having a #1 international hit with "Rock Me Gently" in 1974. In addition, along with Barry, Kim penned the multi-million-selling "Sugar, Sugar" in 1969, which earned The Archies a gold record and became RIAA Record of the Year. Kim's first studio album in twenty years, Happen Again, was released in 2011.

The Andy Kim Christmas Show has become an annual tradition in the city of Toronto, with all proceeds from the event going to charity. Artists who have appeared in the past include the Barenaked Ladies, Ohbijou, Serena Ryder, Gowan, Jully Black & Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace. This year, the performers are: Ron Sexsmith, Alex Lifeson, Kevin Drew & Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene and comedian Sean Cullen.

Venue website and address:
The Phoenix Concert Theatre
410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, ON  M4X 1K2

Tickets can be purchased via Ticketweb, LiveNation, Rotate This, Soundscapes, or by calling 1-800-222-6608.

If the previous years' concerts are an indication, this promises to be an exciting, fun, and magical night!

(Top of post) Andy Kim performing in Clearwater, Florida in October 2008. Photo credit: Laura Pinto

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Week of 31 October 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of October 31 - November 6:

31 - Tom Paxton, 1937; Russ Ballard (Argent), 1947

01 - David Foster, 1949; Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), 1951; Chris Morris (Paper Lace), 1954; Dan Peek (America), 1950 (died 2011)
02 - Keith Emerson, 1944; Maxine Nightingale, 1949; Dave Pegg (Jethro Tull), 1947; J.D. Souther, 1945
03 - Lulu, 1948
04 - Delbert McClinton, 1940
05 - Peter Noone, 1947; Art Garfunkel, 1941; Don McDougall (Guess Who), 1948; Gram Parsons, 1946 (died 1973); Ike Turner, 1931 (died 2007)
06 - Glenn Frey (The Eagles), 1948

In remembrance of those who left us:

05 Nov 2003 - Bobby Hatfield

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Recommendation: Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone?

DAVIS, CALIF., U.S.A. -- A singer-songwriter who had been a member of America’s most successful and influential musical group of the late 1950s and early ’60s and wrote one of the biggest-selling songs of the 1960s revealed late in his life that he was bipolar. One ’60s era singer who initially established himself as a rock-and-roller before re-emerging as a smooth balladeer recently divulged a secret that not even his mother knew: as a youth, he had spent a night in jail. Another popular teenage heartthrob who amassed 38 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1960s hired a then-obscure backup piano player by the name of Elston Gunnn (with three n’s) -- who later became known to the world as Bob Dylan. The guitarist for a record-breaking American band who severed part of his thumb in later life while building a boat was able to resume performing by switching to bass guitar. After the breakup of one of the most revered “British invasion” groups, its financially struggling lead singer reluctantly took a job with an insurance brokerage, then re-emerged as a singer under a different name before finally reverting to the name by which his fans knew him.

That's the first paragraph of the official press release for Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1, published in July of 2011. Written by Marti Smiley Childs and Jeff March, Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1 is a treasure trove of information on twenty-six artists from the 1950s and 1960s, catching up on the lives and careers of Bobby Vee, Chris Montez, and members of The Kingston Trio, The Spiral Starecase, Herman's Hermits, The Association, and The Zombies. Loaded with information and filled with quotes from most of the principals (including several who are no longer with us), the book is an entertaining read as well as an educational one. As of this writing, seven out of the seven reviews on gave the book a five-star rating.

To read more about Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? -- Volume 1, including the rest of the press release, please visit Oldies Connection. Highly recommended for fans of the  music from rock and roll's golden era.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Week of 24 October 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of October 24 - 30:

24 - Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), 1936; Ted Templeman (Harper's Bizarre), 1944; J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), 1930 (died 1959)
25 - Helen Reddy, 1941; Jon Anderson (Yes), 1944; John Hall (Orleans), 1947
26 - Keith Hopwood (Herman's Hermits), 1946
27 - Simon LeBon (Duran Duran), 1958; Byron Allred (Steve Miller Band), 1949; Garry Tallent (E Street Band), 1949; Lee Greenwood, 1942
28 - Thelma Hopkins (Dawn), 1948; Charlie Daniels, 1936; Wayne Fontana, 1940; Curtis Lee, 1941

29 - David Brigati (The Starliters), 1940; Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), 1946; Leon Redbone, 1929;
Denny Laine (Wings), 1944; Randy Jackson (The Jacksons), 1961
30 - David Green (Air Supply), 1949; Timothy B.Schmidt (The Eagles), 1947; Otis Williams (The Temptations), 1949; Grace Slick (Jefferson Starship), 1939

In remembrance of those who left us:

25 Oct 1992 - Roger Miller
29 Oct 1971 - Duane Allman

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Week of 17 October 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of October 17 - 23:

17 - Jim Seals (Seals & Crofts), 1941; Gary Puckett, 1942
18 - Chuck Berry, 1926
20 - Tom Petty, 1953
21 - Eric Faulkner (Bay City Rollers), 1955; Manfred Mann, 1940
22 - Annette Funicello - 1942; Eddie Brigati (The Rascals), 1946
23 - 'Weird' Al Yankovic, 1959

In remembrance of those who left us:

17 Oct 2008 - Levi Stubbs
18 Oct 2008 - Dee Dee Warwick

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week of 10 October 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of October 10 - 16:

11 - Darryl Hall (Hall & Oates), 1949
12 - Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), 1935
13 - Marie Osmond, 1959; Robert Lamm (Chicago), 1944; Paul Simon, 1941
14 - Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), 1946; Cliff Richard, 1940
15 - Tito Jackson (The Jacksons), 1953; Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters), 1946
16 - Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), 1947

In remembrance of those who left us:

10 Oct 2010 - Solomon Burke
12 Oct 1997 - John Denver
12 Oct 1971 - Gene Vincent
13 Oct 2009 - Al Martino
14 Oct 2006 - Freddie Fender

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Release Party for Lost Pets 2 - Mark Wirtz

Mark Wirtz is going to be the guest of honor at a release party for his new CD, Lost Pets 2, at Rock and Roll Heaven in Orlando, Florida.  This will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2011, beginning at 12:00 noon.  Mark will be meeting and greeting fans and signing autographs.  If you live in the area (or even if you don't), here's a rare opportunity to rub elbows with the artist himself.  Be there or be square!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Week of 03 October 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of October 3 - 9:

03 - Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac),1951; Chubby Checker, 1941; Eddie Cochran, 1938 (died 1960)
05 - Bob Geldof, 1954; Steve Miller, 1943; Richard Street (The Temptations), 1942
07 - John Mellencamp, 1951; David Hope (Kansas), 1949
09 - Jackson Browne, 1948; John Lennon, 1940 (died 1980); John Entwistle, 1944 (died 2002)

In remembrance of those who left us:

04 Oct 1970 - Janis Joplin
05 Oct 1992 - Eddie Kendricks

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mark Wirtz - Lost Pets 2

Today, 27 September 2011, is the official release date in America for the newest CD by singer/songwriter/producer Mark Wirtz, entitled Lost Pets 2.  All of the baker's dozen tracks were composed or co-composed by the artist, and LP2 is a collection that has "hit" written all over it, from the rocking, rollicking title cut "Lost Pets (Loose Ends)" to the wistful "I Need to Fall In Love" (co-written by Jim David, the son of legendary Brill Building composer Hal David, and "Elusive Butterfly" composer/singer Bob Lind); from the energetic, electric-guitar-laden "Sindee" to the excruciatingly romantic "For Just You."

Mark Wirtz first came to prominence during the 1960s, after he moved from his native Germany to London, became an Englishman, and began working at the fabled Abbey Road Studios (then called EMI Studios) alongside Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick.  By 1966 Wirtz had written, produced and arranged "A Touch of Velvet - A Sting of Brass" which was released under the name Mood Mosaic and subsequently became the signature tune of Radio Caroline's deejay Dave Lee Travis.  In 1967, Keith West recorded "Excerpt From a Teenage Opera (Grocer Jack)," which he co-wrote along with Wirtz and which Wirtz produced and arranged.  These two songs remain among Wirtz's most well known efforts; but they are far from his only efforts.  With the exception of some fifteen years away from the music business while raising his daughter as a single parent during the '80s and '90s, Mark Wirtz has been a working arranger, producer, songwriter and singer ever since he first set foot in EMI Studios (which, as it happens, was on the same day in 1962 when The Beatles were auditioning for George Martin).  During the last several years, Wirtz has realized a long-held dream by adding stand-up comedy work to his list of accomplishments.

In the late 1970s, Mark Wirtz began work on an album, Lost Pets, but the project was abandoned when two of his band-mates, Jeff Poccaro and David Hungate, departed to record and tour with their newly successful group, Toto.  Tracks from the "lost" Lost Pets album were subsequently released on two CDs: Kitschinsync: The Hollywood Years, Vol. 1 - 1971-82 and Dreamer of Glass Beach: The Hollywood Years, Vol. 2 - 1971-82.  A few years later, in 2005, Wirtz released the delightful collection Love Is Eggshaped.  The most recent Wirtz release up to now had been Wirtz and Music, which is a reissue of Maestro Wirtz's albums, Latin A Go-Go and Smooth and EasyLost Pets 2 brings Wirtz full circle, in a sense; for, as Wirtz points out on the CD booklet: "Only by returning to where we lost ourselves can we hope to find ourselves again."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week of 26 September 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of September 26 - October 2:

26 - Craig Chaquico (Jefferson Starship), 1954; Olivia Newton-John, 1948; Bryan Ferry, 1945; Lynn Anderson, 1947
27 - Meatloaf, 1947; Randy Bachman (BTO / Guess Who), 1943
28 - Nick St. Nicholas (Steppenwolf), 1943
29 - Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), 1948; Mike Pinera (Iron Butterfly), 1948; Jerry Lee Lewis, 1935; Tommy Boyce (Boyce & Hart), 1939 (died 1994)
30 - Marilyn McCoo (5th Dimension), 1943; Johnny Mathis, 1935; Cissy Houston, 1933; Frankie Lymon, 1942 (died 1968); Marc Bolan, 1947 (died 1977)
02 Oct - Sting, 1951; Don McLean, 1945

In remembrance of those who left us:

26 Sep 2003 - Robert Palmer
27 Sep 1979 - Jimmy McCulloch (Wings)

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week of 19 September 2011 - Arrivals and Departures

Birthdays for the week of September 19 - 25:

19 - Lol Creme (10cc), 1947; Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers), 1940; "Mama" Cass Elliot, 1941 (died 1974); Otis Redding, 1941 (died 1967); Brook Benton, 1931 (died 1988)
21 - Don Felder (The Eagles), 1947
22 - Joan Jett, 1960; Debby Boone, 1956
23 - Bruce Springsteen, 1949; Julio Iglesias, 1943; Ben E. King, 1938; Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly), 1945; Ray Charles, 1930 (died 2004)
24 - Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers), 1942; Linda McCartney, 1941 (died 1998)
25 - Dee Dee Warwick, 1945 (died 1998)

In remembrance of those who left us:

19 Sep 1973 - Gram Parsons
19 Sep 2009 - Arthur Ferrante
20 Sep 1973 - Jim Croce
25 Sep 1980 - John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arrivals and Departures - Week of September 12. 2011

Birthdays for the week of September 12 - 18:

12 - Gerry Beckley (America), 1952; George Jones, 1931; Barry White, 1944 (died 2003)
13 - Peter Cetera, 1944; David Clayton Thomas (Blood Sweat & Tears), 1941; Dave Quincy (Manfred Mann's Earth Band), 1939
14 - John 'Bowzer' Bauman (Sha Na Na), 1947
15 - Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly), 1945
16 - Bernard Calvert (the Hollies), 1943; B.B. King, 1925; Kenny Jones  (The Who), 1948
17 - LaMonte McLemore (the 5th Dimension), 1940
18 - Kerry Livgren (Kansas), 1949; Frankie Avalon, 1940

In remembrance of those who left us:

12 Sep 2003 - Johnny Cash
15 Sep 2008 - Rick Wright (Pink Floyd)
16 Sep 1977 - Marc Bolan
16 Sep 2009 - Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary)
18 Sep 1970 - Jimi Hendrix

Did I forget anybody?  If so, please let me know in the Comments.

Thank you and have a nice week!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Jerry Leiber, R.I.P.

On August 22, 2011, the voice of Jerry Leiber was stilled forever.  Yet, although Mr. Leiber was a legend in the world of music, it was not his voice for which he was best known, but his words.  Jerry Leiber (on the left in the book cover graphic above) was the lyrics half of the legendary songwriting team Leiber and Stoller.  Even those unfamiliar with either name are surely familiar with their music, with the possible exception of those who have been hiding under a rock for the last sixty years.

Actually, it was sixty-one years ago, to be exact, when the 17-year-old Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller first met.  Within just a few years, the partners already had a couple of hits under their composers' belt, most notably "Kansas City" (aka "K.C. Loving") and "Hound Dog," by Wilbert Harrison and Big Mama Thornton, respectively.  Before the decade was over, the Leiber and Stoller team would pen a number of songs that would go on to become classics, for groups such as The Drifters ("Fools Fall In Love"), The Coasters ("Charlie Brown," "Poison Ivy," "Yakety Yak"), and The Cheers ("Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots").  They also wrote several tunes for Elvis Presley after Presley made their "Hound Dog" one of his earliest hits (Presley's version was based on that of Freddie Bell, who'd changed a few of its lyrics for his own recording of it in 1955; by all accounts, Leiber was not pleased with the revised lyrics).  Among the Leiber/Stoller tunes that became hits for Elvis were "Loving You," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Don't."

During the 1950s and 1960s, it was impossible to turn on the radio without hearing a Leiber/Stoller song.  Yet it didn't end there.  Over the course of their partnership, which lasted from their initial meeting in 1950 until the day Leiber passed away, the duo gave the world an enduring catalog of songs, songs that are still widely broadcast and performed.  As record-label owners and producers, they had their talented hands in many other hits as well, including several by The Dixie Cups ("Chapel of Love;" "Iko Iko") and Jay and The Americans ("She Cried").

Jerry Leiber, along with Mike Stoller, was the recipient of a number of awards and honors during his lifetime, including the duo's induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1985); the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987); the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award (1996); and the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) Trustees Award (1999).

In 1995, a musical revue, Smokey Joe's Cafe, showcasing the songs of Leiber and Stoller, opened on Broadway, where it ran for more than 2,000 performances.  Smokey Joe's Cafe presented 39 Leiber/Stoller tunes with no dialogue and no unifying theme; the music was enough to make the show a hit.  During its run, there were special appearances by several name artists, including Gladys Knight, Tony Orlando, and Rick Springfield.  Its cast recording earned the team a Grammy Award in 1996.

In 2001, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller appeared in the A&E Network's presentation Hitmakers: The Teens Who Stole Pop Music.  And, in 2009, Leiber and Stoller's autobiography, Hound Dog, written with David Ritz, was published.  The video series (which includes the dedicated episode Words and Music by Leiber & Stoller in addition to the duo's appearance in the 90-minute series opener) and the book give the world an opportunity to get to know these two talented gentlemen through their own words and thoughts and first-hand observations, as do this Rolling Stone interview from 1990 and this Fresh Air audio interview on NPR from 1991.

And that isn't all there is.  According to this writeup on The Guardian (UK), Leiber and Stoller had been in the process of working with writer Michael Bywater on a musical about the life of Oscar Wilde, and eleven brand-new, never-before-heard songs had already been written by the team prior to Leiber's death.  Stoller and Bywater are hoping to premiere the musical in 2012.  Thanks to Stoller's decision to push forward with the project, we may not have heard the last of Mr. Leiber.

Whatever else happens, though, we have an enduring legacy from the pen of Jerry Leiber, whose lyrics so brilliantly merged with Mike Stoller's music that we can hear one of their songs for the first time (if that's at all possible) and feel as though we've always known it.  And who among us hasn't sung along with their great tunes?  Who among us hasn't heard "Yakety Yak" and chimed in with the response "Don't talk back"?  Or theatrically whined, "Why is everybody always picking on me?" in sympathy with "Charlie Brown"?  How many of us don't know what's coming when we hear the opening chords of "On Broadway" or the first few bars of "Ruby Baby" or that familiar riff that starts off "Jailhouse Rock"?  It doesn't matter whether or not we were even born when the songs originated; they're as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe.  And thanks to people like Jerry Leiber, that air is a lot sweeter than it would have been had this man not graced the planet.

Jerry Leiber's voice may not be with us any longer, but his words will live forever.

Recommended Music:

The Leiber & Stoller Story Volume 1: Hard Times - The Los Angeles Years, 1951-1956
The Leiber & Stoller Story Volume 2: On The Horizon, 1956-1962

The Leiber & Stoller Story Volume 3: Shake 'Em Up & Let 'Em Roll, 1962-1969

Related Websites:

Jerry Leiber on
Leiber & Stoller official website
Leiber & Stoller Wikipedia page

Additional Writeups and Obits:

Jerry Leiber, Prolific Writer of 1950s Hits, Dies at 78 (NY Times obit)
Jerry Leiber dies at 78; lyricist in songwriting duo Leiber and Stoller (LA Times obit)
Songwriter Jerry Leiber Dies at 78 (Rolling Stone)
Some Cats Know: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Legacy of Jerry Leiber - Part I and Part II (Pop Culture Cantina)
'Master of songwriting' Jerry Leiber dies (BBC news; features audio of Peter Stoller remembering his father's longtime songwriting partner)
Jerry Leiber appreciation: A songwriter who helped change pop music (Pop & Hiss: The L.A. Times music blog)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Brian Wilson's Clearwater show was Fun, Fun, Fun!

Good Vibrations: BRIAN WILSON AND COMPANY take Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall by storm!

On Saturday, August 6, 2011, former Beach Boy and indisputable musical genius Brian Wilson and his band put on an electric, energetic, and fantastic 2½ hour (+) concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida.  One of the best shows I have ever had the privilege of attending, it was pure magic from start to finish.

The legendary singer/songwriter/producer epitomizes the sentiment "A man who needs no introduction," and no introduction was given.  Wilson and company quietly took their places onstage in the darkness, and when the lights came up to reveal Brian Wilson, seated front-and-center at his keyboard, the ovation was roaring loud and went on for such a long time that I was surprised there was time left over for the show itself.  The audience response was an indicator of how beloved this man and his music are, and an accurate predictor of the success of the concert that followed.

If I hadn't already liked Brian Wilson enormously, his first words to the sold-out crowd at Ruth Eckerd Hall would have been enough to win me over: after saying hello and then realizing that he couldn't remember which city he was in, Wilson asked the room at large for this minor detail.  A band member swiftly provided the answer, since hearing the shouted replies from audience members over the din of the cheers and applause was impossible.  Considering that Wilson and his ensemble had spent the past eight days playing in such diverse locations as Grand Rapids, Saint Charles, Clear Lake, Lexington, Atlanta, and Hollywood (FL) - and a Canadian tour prior to this - before arriving in Clearwater, his momentary lapse was totally understandable.  (In fact, I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.)

Wilson's first number was "California Girls," a very fitting start considering that his group, The Beach Boys, became synonymous with The Golden State during the 1960s, enjoying hit after hit and helping to popularize the surf sounds of the era.  A former child prodigy, Brian formed the genesis for the band in 1961 (this year marks their 50th anniversary).  The group was signed to Capitol Records the following year.  Before the decade was over, The Beach Boys had racked up twenty-seven Top Forty hits, three of which went to #1 nationally.*  As its founder and main songwriter, Brian Wilson was the soul of the group, his influence still felt long after he ceased appearing with The Beach Boys and, later, started his solo career.

After singing a few more hits - "Dance Dance Dance," "Catch a Wave," and "Wendy" - Wilson playfully led the audience in a singalong to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."  After a couple of lighthearted rounds of the tune, the formal set list continued on with ace guitarist and musical director Jeffrey Foskett starting off a duet with Wilson on "Then I Kissed Her."  A few songs after this, Foskett took the lead on "Don't Worry Baby."**  A star in his own right, as is the case with many of the members of Brian Wilson's Band, the hugely talented Foskett has worked alongside Brian Wilson for many years; his wonderful tenor is a perfect complement to Wilson's.

Several songs later, it was time for another key band member, Darian Sahanaja, to take over the lead vocal on "Darlin'" - which he delivered brilliantly in a pleasing, crystalline tenor.  Two numbers ("Do It Again" and "I Get Around") later, there was a twenty-minute intermission, followed by set #2.

The second set began with several cuts from Wilson's CD, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, which pays tribute to the legendary composer George Gershwin.  The selection kicked off with some fantastic vocal stylizations to "Rhapsody in Blue," followed by "Summertime," a cool instrumental version of "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'," the sweet "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and the rocking "I Got Rhythm," concluding with the heretofore-unfinished Gershwin song "Nothing But Love."  (The "finishers" of "Nothing But Love" for the album project were Wilson and band member Scott Bennett.)

Bennett would demonstrate his own great vocal chops on "Sail On Sailor" a couple of songs later, after which the band performed the instrumental "Pet Sounds."  "Sloop John B" immediately followed, then Foskett took another lead vocal turn on "Wouldn't It Be Nice."  Unsurprisingly, Wilson finished the set with the song that is arguably his best known and that with which he is most identified - "Good Vibrations."  Wilson and the entire band acknowledged the thunderous applause and standing ovation from the audience before leaving the stage, only to come back a few minutes later, one at a time, as Foskett introduced the band members, Sahanaja introduced Foskett, and Wilson returned for a five-song encore that would include "Johnny B. Goode," "Barbara Ann," and "Surfin' USA."  The show concluded with a second encore, "All Summer Long."  Counting the encores (as they must be), Brian Wilson and his band performed more than thirty Beach Boys classics, and roughly forty songs all told.

During the entire concert, from start to finish, the energy in the 2,180-seat room was incredible.  Brian Wilson unquestionably demonstrated the reasons for his legendary status and critical acclaim to the Tampa Bay area that night.  It is my hope that the concert will be made available on DVD.  And the Brian Wilson organization may consider this my formal request - or, more accurately, my impassioned plea.


 *Reference: The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn (6th edition, 1996)

**The set lists for Brian Wilson's show are available for viewing on the Tour page of his official website; therefore, I did not bother to enumerate every song in my text.  I encourage readers of my blog and visitors to my site to visit the artists' websites.

Photo at top of piece: Me (Laura Pinto) with Brian Wilson, 06 August 2011, pre-show


Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin
That Lucky Old Sun

The Beach Boys
Sounds of Summer: Very Best of The Beach Boys
Beach Boys - 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits (Volume 1)
Beach Boys - The Greatest Hits Vol. 2: 20 More Good Vibrations
Pet Sounds

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Music by Robin McNamara!

Check out the cool new single by the ol' hippie himself, Robin McNamara!  Robin, who first came to prominence in 1969 as a cast member of the original Broadway production of Hair, and the following year as the writer/singer of the Top Twenty hit "Lay a Little Lovin' On Me," has just released a 10-track album called Stuck in The 60's.  This song, "The Prophet and The King," is an ode to John Lennon and Elvis Presley.  Please click on Robin's name above to visit his website for details, and a few words from Robin!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rob Grill - R.I.P.

Very sad to report that Rob Grill of The Grass Roots has passed away in Florida at the age of 67.  Rob, who was born Robert Frank Grill on November 30, 1943, had been with the band since its inception in 1967 and, more recently, was making "special appearances" with the group as part of the Happy Together Tour.  Rob had been in a coma since suffering a fall a few weeks earlier.

More information can be found on and the Orlando Sentinel website.


The Grass Roots - All Time Greatest Hits

20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection