Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Paul Janz

When I was Vice-President of A&R with A&M Records, I signed a wonderful singer, songwriter and producer by the name of Paul Janz. Within a short time of the release of his A&M debut album High Strung, he was nominated for and won a Juno Award as Best New Male Singer.

When it came time for his follow-up album, I had flown to Vancouver from Toronto to spend several days with Paul to go over the new songs he had written and to help him narrow down the choice of songs to record. I was so knocked out with his new material and the growth his writing had taken. At this point he still did not have a manager looking after his career; in fact, I was helping him out a lot with lots of management advice though still an A&M Records employee. This was around February of 1986. By April of the same year, I had made a decision to leave A&M and to move to Vancouver to become Paul's manager.

We released his second album, Believe In Me and one of the singles, the title song, Believe In Me, became a hit in Canada and also charted Top Twenty in the United States on the Adult Contemporary Billboard chart.

I had not seen the video for Believe In Me in many years until today, when I saw it was posted to YouTube; I just had to share it with you. This video was shot in Vancouver and included some wonderful seniors from a retirement home as well as some great children: a school choir, plus some of Paul's children and my own son, David.

While this is not not a Christmas or "Seasonal" song, is a perfect time of year for this song. I sincerely hope you enjoy it and I would not be at all surprised if you were moved emotionally by the end of this beautiful song. Incidentally, Paul left the music business as a recording artist to pursue his passion, theological studies. He is now Dr. Paul Janz and with the King's College London, at University of London, England.


P.S. If you are interested in seeing more video clips of Paul Janz, please leave a comment, and I will do my best to post more.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Vogues - Voice Your Choice

The Vogues, Bill Burkette, lead vocalist, Hugh Geyer and Chuck Blasko, tenor vocalists, and Don Miller, the baritone singer, all met in high school in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.

Between 1965 and 1969 they appeared 14 times on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, including four Top Ten hits and two Gold Records!

This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights The Vogues with two of their much-loved hits: Magic Town and You're The One. Which song do you prefer? Come to the Voice Your Choice page to cast your vote. We'll play the winning song in Hour 3 of next week's show.

Dusty Springfield - Song Of The Week

Dusty Springfield is an all-time favourite among the Treasure Island Oldies listeners, and I am pleased to have her performance of I Only Want To Be With You as our Song of the Week. By the way, she's singing live to the music tracks.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving From Treasure Island Oldies

I'l like to take a moment to wish all of our American friends and listeners of Treasure Island Oldies a very Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope you enjoy your celebration with your family and friends this long weekend. See you next Sunday on Treasure Island Oldies.


B.J. Thomas - Voice Your Choice

B.J. Thomas was born Billy Joe Thomas on August 7, 1942 in Hugo, Oklahoma and later moved to Rosenberg, Texas, where he was raised. While in high school he joined a band, The Triumphs and together they recorded their first hit single, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, a song written in 1949 by Hank Williams.

B.J. Thomas had 26 songs hits hit the charts between 1966 and 1983, with an impressive 5 Top Ten hits and 3 Gold Records.

This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights B.J. Thomas with two of his great hits: The Eyes Of A New York Woman and I Just Can't Help Believing.

Come to the Voice Your Choice page and make your selection. We'll play the song with the most votes in Hour 3 of next week's show.

Moody Blues - Song Of The Week

The Moody Blues are one of my all-time favourite groups and I have been very fortunate to see them in concert on several occasions and always enjoy them live. They're like comfort food, so satisfying and familiar. This week's Song of the Week is Nights In White Satin.



Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hy Lit Pioneer DJ Dead At 73

As a lover of radio and a huge respect for the DJs that brought Rock and Roll music to the listeners, it is with sadness that I bring you this news from the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Hy Lit, 73, pioneer DJ, dies after knee injury

By Michael Klein

Inquirer Staff Writer
Hy Lit, 73, one of Philadelphia's pioneer disc jockeys, died yesterday at Paoli Memorial Hospital of what his son termed "bizarre complications" after a knee injury.

Sam Lit said his father fell on Nov. 4 and was admitted to Lankenau Hospital to have the knee drained. What followed, the son said, was a "terrible situation that should have never happened."

Over the next week and a half, the DJ, heavily sedated, was transferred to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital and, on Thursday, to Paoli Memorial, Sam Lit said.

A spokeswoman for Paoli Memorial last night referred questions to Mr. Lit's family. No cause of death has been announced.

Hy Lit, who lived in Lower Merion, had suffered in recent years from Parkinson's disease, but his son said it hadn't slowed him down. Father and son had started a music Web site, www.hylitradio.com. Mr. Lit had cut audio for the site the day before he went into the hospital.

"This should not have happened," Sam Lit said last night. "We didn't have to lose him now."

"Hyski," or "Hyski O'Rooney McVoutie O'Zoot," as he called himself - or Hyman Litsky, as he was born in South Philadelphia - came of age with rock-and-roll, in an era when disc jockeys talkedlikethis.

Mr. Lit, whose family moved from Fifth and Ritner Streets to 46th Street and Osage Avenue when he was young, got started in the business in 1955, fresh out of the University of Miami.

He flourished in radio alongside such popular Philadelphia DJs of the early rock era as Frank X. Feller, Dean Tyler, Jimmy Bishop, and Joe Niagara.

Mr. Lit's biography credits Georgie Woods, another influential radio personality, with saving him one night during an early appearance, when the mostly African American audience did not believe that the white man at the microphone truly was Hy Lit.

It's said that in the 1960s, Mr. Lit's nighttime show on "Wibbage" (WIBG) drew three-quarters of the listening audience, many under covers defying parents' direct orders to shut off that music and go to bed.

The roster of Mr. Lit's stations - WHAT, WRCV, WIBG, WDAS-FM, WPGR, WSNI and WOGL - reads like a roll call of Philadelphia music. Mr. Lit also had the distinction on Aug. 15, 1990, of launching the oldies format on WCAU (1210).

"Hi, this is Hy Lit. Welcome to Oldies 1210," he said, leading into "Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay." His signature tunes were "Quarter to Three" by Gary U.S. Bonds and the instrumental "A Night with Daddy 'G' " by the Church Street Five.

Mr. Lit was on hand for much rock-and-roll history as it played out in Philadelphia. He played Rolling Stones music early on and accompanied the Beatles to the city in 1964.

A dashing figure with a face for television, he also hosted dance shows on WKBS in Philadelphia and a New York station.

Another longtime fixture in local radio, disc jockey Jerry Blavat, last night called Mr. Lit's death "the end of the era for personality radio."

"I would be nothing if not for him," said Joe "Butterball" Tamburro, program director of WDAS, whom Mr. Lit took under his wing in the early 1960s. Tamburro remembered Mr. Lit as a "fascinating, dynamic impresario."

"There's a piece of Hy Lit in all of us," said DJ Bob Pantano last night from his dance party, a concept that Mr. Lit embraced and helped to develop in the late 1950s. "My greatest thrill was working with him."

"Here's a guy who made it for all of us," said Don Cannon, another radio personality. "He was kind of wild back then."

Cannon supervised Mr. Lit in the 1990s at WSNI, "and he was always trying to take the edge on me. I used to tell him, 'If you had a 25-year-old program director here, you'd be out on your butt.' He could get away with it. Everyone wanted to be Hy."

In recent years, Mr. Lit endured financial strain, and friends rallied around him with fund-raisers. After his last station, WOGL, reduced his hours, Mr. Lit sued it for age discrimination. The case was settled in December 2005. Mr. Lit then retired.

Jim Loftus, general manager of WOGL, said, "It's a sad day for Philadelphia and a sad day for radio. He was one of a kind."

His son last night called him "the magic man. When he spoke, people listened. People were interested in what he had to say. A lot of people say that anyone can spin records. That's wrong. There's a science to it. He knew it."

His many honors include a spot on the Avenue of the Arts Walk of Fame; the first March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement of Radio Award in 1994; an AIR Award for best show in 1997; and Radio and Records magazine's Oldies Personality of the Year for 1999. He also was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 2003.

Besides his son, he is survived by a daughter, Benna, three grandchildren, and a sister. Mr. Lit was divorced from the former Miriam Uniman in the 1970s. His second wife, Maggie, died in 2000.

Sam Lit said funeral arrangements were incomplete last night.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Simon And Garfunkel - Voice Your Choice

Simon and Garfunkel, two names synonymous with the folk-rock era of the 1960s, were from New York City. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first recorded as Tom & Jerry in 1957 and had a song hit #49 on the charts, Hey, Schoolgirl. The duo split in 1964, with Paul Simon off on a solo career in England, while Art Garfunkel went to graduate school. They reunited in 1965 and were signed to Columbia Records and their first single under the Simon And Garfunkel banner, The Sounds Of Silence, shot straight to the top of the charts and also became their very first Gold record.

Between 1965 and 1982, they had 8 Top Ten hits and 4 Gold Records. This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights Simon and Garfunkel with two of their well known and loved songs: The Dangling Conversation and Fakin' It. Which song would you prefer to hear? Come to the Voice Your Choice page and cast your vote. The song with the greatest percentage of votes will be played in Hour 3 of next week's show.

Rolling Stones - Song Of The Week

The Rolling Stones recorded some great rock and roll songs, with a bit more grit than most other British Invasion bands of the '60s. Here they are in 1965 on Top Of The Pops performing The Last Time, our Song of the Week.


For Andy Kim Fans

I know that many many Treasure Island Oldies listeners are big fans of Andy Kim. Did you know that his all-time classic hit Rock Me Gently is being used in a TV commercial? Generally speaking, I am not terribly fond of having classic songs re-purposed for use in commercials. However, in this case, I think it is fun and very cute. Rock Me Gently is the soundtrack, with no voice-over talking over the music, for the 2008 Jeep Liberty. I thought you might find it fun to watch. Note that the driver reaches over to the stereo and you can see the credits for Andy Kim, Rock Me Gently, Classic Rock. Good fun!

And Andy, I sure hope you got quite a few bucks for giving permission to use your song and master recording.

My thanks to listener Fred Waterer in St.Catharines, Ontario for tipping me off to this TV spot.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Tommy James And The Shondells

Tommy James was born Thomas Jackson in Dayton, Ohio and started his pop group The Shondells when he was only 12 years old. Their first single, Hanky Panky, was recorded for a small independent label, Snap, in 1963. Roulette Records purchased the original master recording and issued it on their own label. It took three years for the song to become a hit when it finally reached the top of the charts in 1966.

As the song was climbing the charts, Tommy James recruited the Pittsburgh group The Raconteurs to become the official Shondells. From 1966 to 1973, they hit the charts an incredible 31 times; during which time they enjoyed 7 Top Ten hits, including a Gold Record.

This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights Tommy James And The Shondells with two of their hits for your votes: I Like The Way and Sweet Cherry Wine.

Have a favourite of the two? Come to the Voice Your Choice page and cast your vote. We'll play the winning tune on next week's show.

Dee Dee Sharp - Song of the Week

Cameo Records in Philadelphia was a powerhouse of hits for several years with artists such as Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, The Dovells and others including the great Dee Dee Sharp, who recorded many hits for the label. This week we feature her first huge hit, The Mashed Potato Time, our Song of the Week.


There's No Other - Barbara Alston - The Crystals

Barbara Alston, an original member of one of the greatest Girl Groups of the '60s, has written a book on the history of one of theThe Crystals. It appears to be a tell-all book, both good and bad. There's No Other by Barbara Alston with co-author Thomas Ingrassia is now available for your enjoyment. You can check out more about about this interesting book by visiting Barbara's website There's No Other.

I am sure all fans of Girl Groups of the '60s will be interested to know about her site and her book.