Wednesday, April 4, 2018

March 31, 2018 - JS - Behind The Hits

Rockin' Remnants

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Date:  3/31/18
Host: John Simon
Feature:  Behind The Hits!

Tonight with JS we'll go behind the hits - who WAS that harmony vocalist? Who played that guitar part??? And why did so many drummers sound like Hal Blaine??!? 6-9 p.m. Eastern Time - good company, great entertainment and it won't cost you a thing!
No automatic alt text available. 

Birthday Calendar

March 25 – Aretha Franklin – age 76
            – Sir Elton John – age 71
March 26 – Diana Ross – age 74
            – Teddy Pendergrass – born in 1950

March 27 – Chad Allan (Guess Who) – age 75
            – Bobby Kimball (Toto) – age 71
March 30 – Eric Clapton – age 73

March 31 – Herb Alpert – age 83

Rock ‘n’ Roll Trivia

Can you name the only artist to hit #1 on the Hot 100 with both a vocal record and an instrumental record?

(scroll down to find the answer below the playlist)


[songs in bold are from the spotlight date of DATE; yellow song titles are YouTube links; songs with * were requests; all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted]


OPENING THEME:  Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)

Spotlight on Drummer Hal Blaine (recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, he reportedly played on 38 #1 records and over 150 Top Tens as a member of LA's famed "Wrecking Crew")
Image result for hal blaine

Be My Baby - Ronettes (9/63; #2 for three weeks - Blaine reports that the signature drum beat was a mistake. Be that as it may, it has become one of the most famous drumming patterns of them all.)
Image result for hal blaine ronettes

Don't Worry Baby - Beach Boys (5/64; #24 - Beach Boy Brian Wilson was so floored by Be My Baby that he composed this song and offered it to Phil Spector as the Ronettes' next record. When Spector declined, the Beach Boys released it on the b-side of their #1 I Get Around.)

Image result for hal blaine brian wilson

A Girl Never Knows - Connie Stevens (1964; dnc - released as a single on the WB label, but to no success. Producer David Gates obviously gave the drummer the green light to go nuts. He did!)

Image result for Johnny Rivers Hal Blaine

Windy - Association (6/67; #1 for four weeks - studio time was expensive, so producers often insisted on leaving the recording to trusted professionals. Ted Bluechel was a fine drummer, but producer Bones Howe had Hal Blaine lay down the drum track. The results spoke for themselves.)

Image result for Association Windy

Poor Side of Town - Johnny Rivers (11/66; #1 - this was Johnny's only #1, and one of his only original compositions to boot. He hired the best in the business to create this masterpiece: Joe Osborn on bass, Larry Knechtel on piano, Darlene Love and the Blossoms on background vocals and the mighty Hal Blaine on drums.)

Image result for Johnny Rivers Hal BlaineImage result for Johnny Rivers Hal Blaine

and now...on with the show!

See The Funny Little Clown - Bobby Goldsboro (1/64; #9 - Bobby was a guitarist with Roy Orbison's touring band, but he had a hankering to become a singer too. He recorded this little number and Roy gave his blessings. The rest is history. Singing back-up here are Jay & The Americans  -  minus Jay!)
Image result for bobby goldsboro  Image result for roy orbison 

Blue Angel - Roy Orbison (9/60; #9 - When Roy left Sun Records for Monument, they assigned some of Nashville's "A-list" session players to back him up. This one includes Hank Garland on guitar, Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax and Bob Moore on bass.)

* Where the Boys Are - Connie Francis (1/61; #4 - this one was written by Neil Sedaka and Howie Greenfield for the film of the same name, and Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break was the setting - and the answer to the rhetorical question. This was recorded with a crack orchestra in NYC under the direction of conductor/arranger Stan Applebaum.)

* Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley (11/69; #1 - Elvis stormed back to the top of the charts with this Mark James composition shortly after Mark's version failed to chart  -  but using many of the same session players, including guitarist Reggie Young, organist Bobby Emmons and background singers Sandy Posey and Toni Wine.)

Image result for American Sound Studios

Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield (11/68; #10 - her classic LP "Dusty in Memphis" featured another A-list of players, including the aforementioned Reggie Young on guitar and Bobby Emmons on keys, plus The Sweet Inspirations on background vocals and the Memphis horns.)
Image result for dusty in memphis

I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Madeline Bell (2/68; #26 - Ms. Bell was one of Dusty Springfield's favorite back-up singers, so Dusty graciously agreed to back HER up on this recording of the Kenny Gamble composition. Listen carefully and you can hear her as clear as..."a bell." 😏)

Image result for madeline bell Dusty

Ain't Gonna Lie - Keith (9/66; #39 - Philadelphia's Keith recorded several tunes with back-up assistance from NYC's Tokens. You can hear them here, but more prominently on his follow-up release "98.6.")

Image result for Keith 98.6  Image result for The Tokens

He's So Fine - Chiffons (2/63; #1 - not satisfied with just being recording artists, The Tokens went into production as well. Due to budget limitations, they played most of the instruments on this recording themselves  -  although they DID hire crack NYC session drummer Gary Chester to lay down the beat. The result? One of the biggest hits of the year!)
Image result for Chiffons

The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Robert John (1/72; #3 for three weeks - NYC's Robert John enlisted the production assistance of The Tokens to re-imagine their big hit from a decade earlier. In addition to adding vocal support, the boys brought Brill Building friend Ellie Greenwich in to sing the low part "way-up, boy!")
Image result for The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Robert John


Love Is Here and Now You're Gone - Supremes (3/67; #1 Pop & R&B - Their third of four consecutive #1's featured breathy spoken interjections by lead singer Diana Ross. The musical background, of course, was provided by Motown's mighty "Funk Brothers," who played on all the hits.)

Image result for Love Is Here and Now You're Gone   Image result for Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes

* Reflections - Diana Ross & The Supremes (8/67; #2 - this one broke their string of #1 records, and was also the first to give Diana Ross top billing in the band. It's quite possible that this is the most-requested song of my tenure!)

That's the Way God Planned It - Billy Preston (8/69; #62 - this would chart again three years later, but only get as far as #65. Check out the line-up, though: Billy Preston on organ and vocals, George Harrison on guitar, Keith Richard on bass, Ginger Baker on drums and Eric Clapton on the blistering lead guitar!)
Image result for That's the Way God Planned It - Billy Preston

Shakin' All over - Guess Who (8/65; #22 - originally a hit for Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, this was one of Chad Allan's last records with the band that used to be called Chad Allan and The Expressions.)

Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin (1/68; #2 Pop, #1 R&B for four weeks - the opening guitar lick on this record was played by occasional studio guy Joe South, who also had a stellar career as a writer and singer. Meanwhile, the piano player on this and all other of her hits was....Aretha herself!)
Image result for Aretha Franklin

Baby I Love You - Aretha Franklin (7/67; #4 Pop, #1 R&B for 2 weeks - hot on the heels of "Respect," this one was sultry and slinky and a sure-fire slice of Soul heaven.)

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies (12/69; #7 Pop, #1 UK for two weeks - this was the group's first major hit following the departure of Graham Nash, and featured the uncredited piano playing of a studio cat named Reg Dwight, who would soon become a household name as Elton John.)
 Image result for He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies

The Love I Lost - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (9/73; #7 Pop, #1 R&B for two weeks - the first of a string of great dance records featuring the soulful Gospel stylings of Teddy Pendergrass - and the blazing back-up rhythms of the MFSB orchestra.)

Image result for The Love I Lost

* Galveston - Glen Campbell (3/69; #4 Pop, #1 C&W for three weeks - Glen Campbell had a remarkable career as a session guitarist with the Wrecking Crew, a touring member of the Beach Boys, a television star, a movie star and a solo artist. He played the signature guitar solo that ends this record; the piano player was the song's composer Jim Webb.)

45 Corner:  Basketball Jones featuring Tyrone Shoelaces - Cheech & Chong (9/73; #15 Pop, #58 R&B - this crazy novelty record ties in with this weekend's NCAA basketball finals as well as this week's theme of "Who's On This Record???" Here goes: George Harrison on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, Jim Keltner on percussion, Carole King on electric piano, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Billy Preston on organ, Tom Scott on horn, Darlene Love & the Blossoms, along with Mama Michelle Phillips on background vocals. The Kid Chorus included Sherry Goffin, Rae Dawn Chong and Robbie Chong  -  children of Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong.)
Image result for Basketball Jones - Cheech and Chong Image result for Basketball Jones - Cheech and Chong

I'm Into Something Good - Earl-Jean (6/64; #38 - this, like most of her songs, featured songwriter Carole King on the rollicking piano. She was meticulous in recording demos, and many of them were good enough to be released as they were - with her vocals removed and group vocals added.)
Image result for young Carole King\ Image result for young Carole King\

 One Fine Day - Chiffons (6/63; #5 - this one also opens with the driving piano of the songwriter, and was the follow-up to their #1 smash "He's So Fine.")

Hello Mary Lou - Ricky Nelson (5/61; #9 - this was released on the b-side of the chart-topping Traveling Man and featured a blistering guitar solo from James Burton, who later left to become Elvis' touring guitar player. By the way, this was the last record attributed to "Ricky" Nelson. He was "Rick" from here on out. By the way...that guitar solo is edited out of this video. Sigh.)


* A Summer Song - Chad & Jeremy (8/64; #7 - This one started out as a throwaway LP track. Shel Talmy produced the album and Johnnie Spence conducted the orchestra.)

Stagger Lee - Tommy Roe (8/71; #25 - this is a surprisingly punchy version of the old Folk song, but the star of the show is piano player Larry Knechtel who lays down a couple of blistering piano breaks.)
Image result for Larry Knechtel  Image result for Tommy Roe Stagger

Mississippi - John Phillips (5/70; #32 - the founder of the Mamas & Papas released one charting single. This one featured tasty solos by guitarist James Burton ["do it to me, James"], pianist Larry Knechtel ["third hand!"] and bassist Joe Osborn.)

Image result for Mississippi - John Phillips

Dedicated to the One I Love - Mamas & Papas (2/67; #2 - Mama Michelle finally got to sing lead on a record, but producer Lou Adler had this to say: "If you really want to hear something great, listen to the break on Dedicated where Larry Knechtel and Hal Blaine play off each other - it's just sensational.")
Image result for Dedicated to the One I Love - Mamas & Papas

She's Just My Style - Gary Lewis & The Playboys (12/65; #3 - these guys' first seven singles made the Top Ten, largely because they were so well-produced - and their main producer Snuff Garrett relied heavily on the talents of Wrecking Crew members Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn and Leon Russell. Ironically, pianist Leon Russell overdubbed the guitar solo on this record!
Image result for She's Just My Style

On Broadway - The Drifters (3/63; #9 - Leiber & Stoller produced this record, but they left the heavy lifting to their assistant Phil Spector - who also played the cool guitar break in the middle!)

My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) - David Ruffin (2/69; #9 Pop, #2 R&B - this was slated to be a Temptations record, but plans changed when David Ruffin was abruptly fired from the band. Motown picked it to be his first solo release and tapped The Originals to do the backing vocals - in the style of.....The Temptations!)
Image result for David Ruffin

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted - Jimmy Ruffin (8/66; #7 - this one was originally slated for the Four Tops, but Jimmy Ruffin prevailed upon the writers to let him try it. This is another one that tapped the talents of the journeymen called The Originals, who would find chart success on their own three years later with Marvin Gaye's Baby I'm For Real.)

Ask the Lonely - Four Tops (2/65; #24 Pop, #9 R&B - Levi Stubbs was the lead singer, but the Four Tops - and many other Motown acts - had a secret weapon: girl group The Andantes, who embellished many a Motown record, even though they never charted under their own name.)

Image result for Andantes      Image result for Andantes

Someday Soon - Judy Collins (2/69; #55 - written by Ian Tyson and produced by "Judy Blue Eyes'" boyfriend Stephen Stills, who doubled as bassist. Also on the session: Ry Cooder and James Burton on guitar, and Buddy Emmons on pedal steel.)

* Heart of Gold - Neil Young (3/72; #1 - from his Harvest LP and featuring background vocals by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.)

Image result for Heart of Gold - Neil Young
Image result for linda ronstadtImage result for James Taylor

Africa - Toto (2/83; #1 - this band got its start as one of LA's hottest group of session players. They got their name in part from singer Bobby Kimball, whose real last name was "Toteaux.")

* Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen (3/72; #9 - this comes in as a request nearly every show. I'm afraid I'm getting ready to veto the next request for it  -  just between you and me....)


CLOSING THEME:  Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)

Trivia Answer

Herb Alpert topped the charts twice, once in 1969 with "This Guy's in Love With You" and fourteen years later with the Instrumental duet with Hugh Masekela "Rise."

Congratulations to Dee Dee from Enfield, George from E. Genoa and Woody from Trumansburg for correctly answering the question and each winning a pair of tickets to Cinemapolis!

Host Next Week (April 7):  Gregory James with a spotlight on April 1959, 1969 and 1979!

Thanks for tuning in! You can listen to Rockin' Remnants every Saturday night from 6-9pm on WVBR (93.5 FM in Ithaca, NY) or at

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