Archive for the ‘Dick Clark’ Category

Brian Hyland

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Listen: The Joker Went Wild / Brian Hyland

Dick Clark’s Caravan Of Stars, the branded road show which featured some of the most popular acts of the day, began in 1959. Negative speculation ran high. Despite owning his AMERICAN BANDSTAND media partner, so many hit makers all rolled into one evening appeared costly to outsiders. But of course with the most watched teen program in America as both your airplay vehicle and your leverage, the economics of this perfect storm streamlined itself into a goldmine.

On the night of the Kennedy Assassination, the 1963 Caravan Of Stars which included Brenda Holloway, Reparata & The Delrons, The Hondells and Brian Hyland was scheduled to play at the Dallas Memorial Auditorium.

After the event, stories began circulating that the gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, had tickets to the Caravan Of Stars concert. The manager of the Dallas record store that supposedly sold those tickets claims Oswald purchased two sometime before the shooting. However, there is no receipt to verify that Oswald actually had tickets, nor any other detail.

Regardless, Brian Hyland was one of the traveling entourage that worked his way through the crowd, getting a curbside view of the motorcade as it passed by their hotel, just three blocks before the shooting occurred.

By ’66, the world had changed drastically, and in some ways, so too had Brian Hyland. His early 60′s DA haircut had now grown into a contemporary Beatles fringe. Whether or not by design, the overall image update worked. Like Bobby Vee, the occasional single got airplay, and sounded perfectly in place on the radio.

Philips Records paired him with writer, arranger, producer Leon Russell who, as with Gary Lewis & The Playboys, merged then modern day west coast surf with Ricky Nelson influenced vocals to great success. ‘The Joker Went Wild’ made for a favorite spring ’66 anthem around our house. Mom, Dad and sister alike all giving it big thumbs up.

The Move

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Night Of Fear / The Move

Listen: Night Of Fear / The Move

I think I first noticed The Move in the UK charts section of BILLBOARD. In the 60′s, they used to print Hits Of The World over one page, Top 10′s from all the countries, but always a Top 30 or 50 from the UK. This was of course, during the tail end of the British Invasion, December ’66 to be exact. My local shop, Smith’s Records, in Oneida NY, would save their week old BILLBOARD for me, and on Fridays, when my Mom & Dad would do their shopping, they’d drop me at Smith’s. I’d get to play the new releases in their listening booth and read BILLBOARD at the counter. Basically studying it, especially the Bubbling Under The Hot 100 section. That was always a goldmine for me, ever changing, probably bought mentions by the labels of their new records, all hoping to help them jump into the proper Hot 100 chart. Missing a week meant you might not be aware something was out. Then later, back home with last week’s issue, I’d really comb it over for details.

I still remember seeing ‘Night Of Fear’ by The Move progressing #17 to #2 up that British chart. At this point I had watched it since debuting at #42 the previous week. The Move was simply the best name for a band ever. I needed to hear this group, and see photos, which luckily, I quickly did. Both their sound and look represented the black and white, rainy England that we heard about as kids, an exotic place with the greatest bands, a new perfect one emerging almost weekly.

My loyalty to The Move was blind, only lately can I admit by ’69, they went downhill slowly but steadily, eventually bringing Jeff Lynne in to grind them to a Beatles influenced halt. But their beginning was never to be repeated for me. A week or so later, Dick Clark played the single on his weekly AMERICAN BANDSTAND Rate A Record, two song competition. I have no recollection of the other single played, or which came out on top, but I still have my reel to reel recording of ‘Night Of Fear’ off the TV. I dove for the red record button, mike and recorder permanently positioned by my bedroom TV set. Technically I was a criminal then, that era’s version of file sharing I suppose. I listened to that tape hundreds of times.

You couldn’t buy ‘Night Of Fear’ anywhere. London, Deram’s parent company, clearly wasn’t promoting or payola-ing it at radio and hence the one stops weren’t inclined to stock it. In small town America, the stores all bought from one-stops, so they primarily sold the hits.

It always pissed me off when I’d read in the Melody Maker back then that The Move weren’t big in The States. They weren’t played. Kids here didn’t get to decide.

So my record company letter writing continued. Someone at London in NY had a deal with me, I’d send him $1.50 per record, which was extortion in those days but he’d send whatever I needed. He was basically selling promos through the mail, genius. Worked for both of us. The stuff I bought off this fellow: The Cryin’ Shames, The Attack, The Syn, World Of Oz, The Honeybus, non-hits by Them, The Small Faces, Unit 4 + 2, The Zombies. Even then I knew I should get extras, but I didn’t have the cash. On this particular occasion he sent me the stock copy above of ‘Night Of Fear’, not easily found then or now.

Over the years, I’ve acquired many copies, US and UK. The Dutch picture sleeve above, Roy Wood signed when I got to meet him during Wizzard’s first and only US tour. Then there was the time ten or so years ago, somewhere on Long Island where Duane and I were garage sale-ing very early one Saturday morning. Walking up the driveway I see a pile of singles on a table. The top one is on Deram. Probably White Plains or Procol Harum I think to myself, but it was ‘Night Of Fear’. I froze. I said, “Duane you need to buy this”. I just couldn’t handle the high.

Denny Cordell produced this perfect record. The mp3 post is from my overplayed original $1.50/extortion copy.

The Move 1966

The original lineup of The Move, who played on ‘Night Of Fear’, are pictured above. If there’s a better shot of a band anywhere on earth, go right ahead and send it to me.

The above is a repost, originally from June 8, 2008.

Jimmy McCracklin

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

The Walk / Jimmy McCracklin

Listen: The Walk / Jimmy McCracklin

His biggest chart hit, ‘The Walk’, was the result of an AMERICAN BANDSTAND appearance in ’58, although the record had been released in ’57. Thus was the power of a very few, limited music outlets at the time. Then it was called television.

Dick Clark’s weekly program must have been aggressively worked for such precious exposure. To Dick Clark’s credit, many of the black acts, often who’s records were covered by white performers thus robbing the originals of the hit, were given shots. Jimmy McCracklin was one.

‘The Walk’ is a great combination of RnB and Jump Blues, which he carried over from the release of his first single, ‘Miss Mattie Left Me’ in 1945.

He went on to record for a few labels including Imperial and Stax, where with Lowell Fulson, co-wrote the massive ‘Tramp’ as recorded by Carla Thomas & Otis Redding, and as recently as 2007 played the San Francisco Blues Festival for the sixth time.

This copy came with the original jukebox tab stapled to it’s sleeve, where it shall remain.

The Cryin’ Shames

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Listen: Please Stay / The Cryin’ Shames
Please Stay / The Cryin' Shames

The Cryin’ Shames ‘Please Stay’ was also from the haul that brought the Marsha Gee record into my collection. Unlike hers, this song I knew about and had a UK copy of. But finding a US pressing was quite an event.

The Drifters had a hit with ‘Please Stay’ in ’61, and their version of this Burt Bacharach classic is indeed great. This one however, has the added ambience of Joe Meek’s production.

Much has been deservedly written about Joe Meek, one of England’s first independent producers. In those days, late 50′s / early 60′s, all the producers were on the label staff. They did their job, and got their pay check. But it all began to change around ’63 and Joe Meek was a catalyst. This of course meant that, because he had built his own studio, he would not only produce the records but own the masters too. The labels didn’t like not owning their catalog, as Joe Meek and the other independent producers would license titles to the majors for a certain time period only. So he was always given terrible treatment.

Get one of the books about him. He was fascinating. And he had a real thing about other worlds. His huge international hit, ‘Telstar’ by The Tornadoes had his signature, haunting extra-terrestrial, almost frightening sound to it. Pretty much all his other recordings did too. You can certainly hear it on ‘Please Stay’, his last ever UK chart entry. Lead vocalist, Charlie Crane, had an amazing voice. One quite perfect for his Meeksville sound as well as this track.

For some time the Dick Clark footage had been embeddable via youtube. Now disabled, but still there. Go direct.

Listen: Nobody Waved Goodbye / The Cryin’ Shames
Nobody Waved Goodbye / The Cryin' Shames

Joe Meek claimed to be possessed by the ghost of Buddy Holly, and on the anniversary of his death, February 3, 1967, he took his own life, along with his landlady’s. Horribly demonized by a lawsuit that left him penniless, his Tornadoes royalties tied up in litigation, one of the last records he made was by this same band: The Cryin’ Shames, titled ‘Nobody Waved Goodbye’. Yikes.

Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston

Monday, September 21st, 2009

marvinkim, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, Tamla, Motown

Listen: It Takes Two / Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston MarvinTammi.mp3

I don’t believe the general public hears this one enough. Seems to have slipped through the fingers of time. If I ever hear Marvin Gaye’s duets with Tammi Terrell (‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Ain’t Nothing Lie The Real Thing’) again on stale, tired US Oldies radio, I think I’ll puke. I’m betting Sirius gives this one a spin occasionally though. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Tammi Terrell, but I really love Kim Weston. She had swagger and I had the hots for her as a teenager, saw her on one of those Dick Clark ‘Caravan Of Stars’ tour packages.

‘It Takes Two’ is also an oddly hard single to find, considering it reached #14 Pop in ’67. Hard to find in good condition that is. I didn’t pick it up on release, and only found a fairly clean copy a year or so back. Now one of my jukebox staples, I spent the day just hanging around the house, filing stacks of singles I picked up during the past two weeks busing around the States with Matt & Kim, playing it incessantly, pressing B9 every time I passed my trusty Seeburg.

Freddy Cannon / Where The Action Is

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

freddycannonaction, Freddy Cannon, Where The Action Is, Dick Clark, American Bandstand

Listen: Where The Action Is / Freddy Cannon FreddyCannonAction.mp3

Let’s face it. The theme song to ABC’s syndicated daily pop show, WHERE THE ACTION IS, titled ‘Action’ by Freddy Cannon, was so good, even The Ramones could have covered it.

I lived for WHERE THE ACTION IS and saw many a great act each day after school. Our local Syracuse affiliate, WSYR-TV, was wishy-washy, and many times pre-empted it with other things. Looking over the complete, chronological list of episodes and guests, I’ve only just discovered missing Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, The Action and Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich for just that reason. Indeed, I’m a bit crushed having now discovered these atrocities. Scumbags.

But seeing an LA centric act almost daily, given they were basically down the street from the studios, must have been daily bliss. To name a few: The Guillteens, The Ikettes with and without Ike & Tina Turner, The Vejtables, The Leaves, The Seeds, Gary & The Hornets, Love, Dino Desi & Billy, The Buffalo Springfield, Jan & Dean.

Not to mention the RnB stuff: Martha & The Vandellas, Doris Troy, The Royalettes, Mary Wells, Brenda Holloway, The Toys, Maxine Brown, Kim Weston, Carla Thomas, Billy Stewart, Bobby Hebb, Alvin Cash & The Crawlers or Felice Taylor. I still replay The Vibrations doing ‘My Girl Sloopy’ vividly in my memory.

Then there were the black and white segments from England, a real high for we Anglophiles: The Small Faces, Gary Farr & The T-Bones, Them, The Mindbenders, The Zombies, The Moody Blues, The Kinks, Unit 4 + 2, The Who, Wayne Fontana, Marianne Faithfull, The Yardbirds and The Cryin’ Shames.

The Ikettes

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

ikettesimblueuka, ikettes, ike & tina Turner, london, atco, modern, stateside, polydor

Listen: I’m Blue / The IkettesIkettesBlue.mp3

All the behind the scenes drama, politics, tension and sleeze associated with Ike & Tina Turner is an endless source of stimulation for this voyeur. Get hold of every last cd booklet accompanying their reissues, and especially the box sets (the Time/Life one is hugely advised) and study. The countless sessions and musical chairs will never really be figured out, but when this bunch was on – they were truly on. Whether as an after thought, or a genius parallel business model, The Ikettes were the bomb. ‘I’m Blue’ premiered them to vinyl and was probably an unexpected hit. The first of many sizzling, gutteral vocal performances – you could always depend on an Ikettes single.

ikettespeachesuka,  ikettes, ike & tina Turner, london, atco, modern, stateside, polydor

Listen: Peaches & Cream / The Ikettes IkettesPeaches.mp3

‘Peaches & Cream’ sounded fantastic on AM radio in ’65, and I was well excited to see that summer’s Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars make a Syracuse stop. The Ikettes took the stage in silk fringed orange mini dresses and gyrated though four numbers including this one. Being afforded the benefit of headliner Tom Jones’ full brass back up band transformed it into a crazy wild Soul revue. Not surprisingly, these weren’t The Ikettes at all, at least not the ones on record. Still through Ike’s revolving door it seems everyone was an Ikette for a minute, so who’s complaining. Considering they followed Them on stage after ‘Here Comes The Night’, ‘Call My Name’ and a rousing ‘Gloria’, and upped the stakes is proof of their power.

ikettesthankfuluka,  ikettes, ike & tina Turner, london, atco, modern, stateside, polydor

Listen: I’m So Thankful / The Ikettes IkettesThankful.mp3

Like The Flirtations’ ‘Nothing But A Heartache, ‘I’m So Thankful’ is one of the great Motown records that was never on Motown. You’d swear it was recorded right there on Grand Blvd.

The Move

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Listen: Night Of Fear / The Move
Night Of Fear / The Move

A reoccurring event: ‘Night Of Fear’ moving in and out of the slot known as my all time favorite single. THE BEST OF THE MOVE was the only cd in the car this past week, so when the iPod ran out of juice during a four day break out of town, in went the disc.

‘Night Of Fear’ had charted in England during December ’66. Just after Christmas day I ventured to Smith’s Records, my local, to pour over BILLBOARD. The Hits Of The World section to be exact. It was always a first stop once picking up any issue, as well, the singles review page and Bubbling Under The Hot 100. The record had jumped from #42 to #17, and with a band named The Move, I was already sold. Unlike today’s just-a-click-away reality, the long wait to hear this one began then and there.

I’m pretty sure the first time was on AMERICAN BANDSTAND in February, the Rate A Record segment to be exact. I’d always have my reel to reel poised for this bit, you could count on at least one gem to be played. Thinking about the programming and record company politics of the day, I’m guessing Rate A Record was much like today’s Specialty Show play, where radio will squeeze in some not yet proven releases that deserve an airing. Regardless, I was ready, and played that taped version, with Dick Clark talking over the intro and outro, easily hundreds of times. I still hear his delivery subliminally during each play of the actual record to this day.

I know Roy Wood hates ‘Night Of Fear’, he told me so. When I asked him to do me a jukebox tab, he was totally agreeable. But when I said ‘Night Of Fear’, a dreadful grimace crossed his face and he asked me to please pick any other song. I chose ‘Blackberry Way’ but prodded. Apparently, he never thought ‘Night Of Fear’ was very good at all, hated the recording and despised it being an A side. No amount of complimenting him otherwise changed his stance. What a shame. He should be so proud.

Well, I loved this song. All it’s twists and turns hold memories of the time, the weather, what was going on at school, what other records I was anxious to hear and own, how fun life was just being a little kid. Lots of reasons to play it over and over all these years later.