Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hugh Jarrett of The Jordanaires Dead May 31, 2008

Hugh Jarrett, the bass singing member of The Jordanaires who sang backup for Elvis Presley, died May 31, 2008. As of posting time, cause of death was not mentioned.

Nashville, Tennessee native, Hugh Jarrett, grew-up in a musical family. In his early teens he formed or participated in local barbershop quartets that competed regularly on the programs at Centennial Park in that city. He began his music career in radio with a brief stint in Greeneville, SC, moving to Jackson, TN where he worked with Wink Martindale, then WKDA, Nashville and WHIN in nearby Gallatin. It was while at WHIN that he staged his first record hop. He continued to sing with various groups in Nashville.

In the early 1950s Jarrett joined The Jordanaires, then members of the Grand Ole Opry, as their bass singer. They toured and recorded with various artists and appeared with Eddie Arnold in a series of weekly television shows from Chicago. It was at an Eddie Arnold concert at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, that Elvis Presley told Jordanaires member, Hoyt Hawkins, that if he ever became as famous as Eddie Arnold he wanted them as his back-up singers. With his meteoric rise to fame, Elvis's wishes were granted and The Jordanaires became an integral part of his recordings and appearances for the next several years.

The Jordanaires first Atlanta appearance with Elvis was as part of six acts booked at The Fox Theater on March 15-16, 1956. Hugh served as emcee for this and subsequent Elvis shows. They returned to Atlanta with Elvis for a show at the Paramount Theater June 22-24, 1956.

The Jordanaires appeared with Elvis on most of the now famous TV shows, in the movies Loving You and King Creole and on the soundtrack for Jailhouse Rock. Hugh's bass voice is heard on over 50 of Elvis recordings including the ten-plus million selling Don't Be Cruel. He left The Jordanaires about the time Elvis was drafted into the Army.

Together with Buzz Cason and Richard Willliams, Hugh formed The Statues. They produced the hit Blue Velvet for Liberty records. By 1960 Hugh was back into radio when he joined WLAC in Nashville, and the famous nighttime lineup of Herman Grizzard and John R. While at WLAC he resumed his record hops, but on a much larger scale. The Big Hugh Baby Hops became a major outlet for artists such as Connie Francis, Bo Diddley, Ben E. King, Jimmy Reed to promote their records to crowds of 1,500-2,300 at the National Guard Armory.

Hugh then moved to Atlanta where he joined WPLO and then WFOM with Jimmy Davenport. WFOM supported his successful Big Hugh Baby Hops in the Atlanta area. Then Hugh was off to KBBQ in Burbank, CA, the leading country music station in the LA area. During his three years there he started the Hugh Jarrett Singers and was the singing emcee at the famous country music club, The Palamino.

In 1970 Hugh settled permanently in Atlanta. He has worked at WPLO, been emcee for Lanierland, served as Artist Relations Manager for Bill Lowery Music Group, hosted local television and radio shows, been voice talent for commercials and documentaries, and starred in Heat of the Night with Carroll O'Connor and Murder in Coweta County with Johnny Cash.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Peter And Gordon - Voice Your Choice

Peter and Gordon are Peter Asher and Gordon Waller. The pop duo from London, England burst on the music scene during the height of the British Invasion.

They charted 14 records on the Billboard Hot 100 between May 1964 and June 1967, securing 3 Top Ten singles, with their debut becoming their biggest hit, A World Without Love. After their breakup, Peter Asher became very involved in the music industry in California as both a producer and manager and worked with Linda Ronsadt, James Taylor and 10,000 Maniacs.

This week Treasure Island Oldies spotlights Peter and Gordon on Voice Your Choice with two of their great songs: I Don't Want To See You Again and Woman. Which song do you like better? Come to Treasure Island Oldies to the Voice Your Choice page and cast your vote. The song with the most votes will be played in Hour 3 of next week's show.

Paul Evans - Song Of The Week

In celebration of Memorial Day in the United States, and in recognition of our American friends, our Song of the Week is by our good friend Paul Evans, Happy Birthday America.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Laugh-In's Dick Martin Dead At 86

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!" has died. He was 86.

Martin, who went on to become one of television's busiest directors after splitting with Dan Rowan in the late 1970s, died Saturday night of respiratory complications at a hospital in Santa Monica, family spokesman Barry Greenberg said.

"He had had some pretty severe respiratory problems for many years, and he had pretty much stopped breathing a week ago," Greenberg said.

Martin had lost the use of one of his lungs as a teenager, and needed supplemental oxygen for most of the day in his later years.

He was surrounded by family and friends when he died just after 6 p.m., Greenberg said.

"Laugh-in," which debuted in January 1968, was unlike any comedy-variety show before it. Rather than relying on a series of tightly scripted song-and-dance segments, it offered up a steady, almost stream-of-consciousness run of non-sequitur jokes, political satire and madhouse antics from a cast of talented young actors and comedians that also included Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley and announcer Gary Owens.

Presiding over it all were Rowan and Martin, the veteran nightclub comics whose standup banter put their own distinct spin on the show.

Like all straight men, Rowan provided the voice of reason, striving to correct his partner's absurdities. Martin, meanwhile, was full of bogus, often risque theories about life, which he appeared to hold with unwavering certainty.

Against this backdrop, audiences were taken from scene to scene by quick, sometimes psychedelic-looking visual cuts, where they might see Hawn, Worley and other women dancing in bathing suits with political slogans, or sometimes just nonsense, painted on their bodies. Other times, Gibson, clutching a flower, would recite nonsensical poetry or Johnson would impersonate a comical Nazi spy.

"Laugh-In" astounded audiences and critics alike. For two years the show topped the Nielsen ratings, and its catchphrases_ "Sock it to me," "You bet your sweet bippy" and "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall's" — were recited across the country.

Stars such as John Wayne and Kirk Douglas were delighted to make brief appearances, and even Richard Nixon, running for president in 1968, dropped in to shout a befuddled sounding, "Sock it to me!" His opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was offered equal time but declined because his handlers thought it would appear undignified.

Rowan and Martin landed the show just as their comedy partnership was approaching its zenith and the nation's counterculture was expanding into the mainstream.

The two were both struggling actors when they met in 1952. Rowan had sold his interest in a used car dealership to take acting lessons, and Martin, who had written gags for TV shows and comedians, was tending bar in Los Angeles to pay the rent.

Rowan, hearing Martin was looking for a comedy partner, visited him at the bar, where he found him eating a banana.

"Why are you eating a banana?" he asked.

"If you've ever eaten here, you'd know what's with the banana," he replied, and a comedy team was born.

Although their early gigs in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley were often performed gratis, they donned tuxedos for them and put on an air of success.

"We were raw," Martin recalled years later, "but we looked good together and we were funny."

They gradually worked up to the top night spots in New York, Miami and Las Vegas and began to appear regularly on television.

In 1966, they provided the summer replacement for "The Dean Martin Show." Within two years, they were headlining their own show.

The novelty of "Laugh-In" diminished with each season, however, and as major players such as Hawn and Tomlin moved on to bigger careers, interest in the series faded.

After the show folded in 1973, Rowan and Martin capitalized on their fame with a series of high-paid engagements around the country. They parted amicably in 1977.

"Dan has diabetes, and his doctor advised him to cool it," Martin told The Associated Press at the time.

Rowan, a sailing enthusiast, spent his last years touring the canals of Europe on a houseboat. He died in 1987.

Martin moved onto the game-show circuit, but quickly tired of it. After he complained about the lack of challenges in his career, fellow comic Bob Newhart's agent suggested he take up directing.

He was reluctant at first, but after observing on "The Bob Newhart Show," he decided to try. He would recall later that it was "like being thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool and being told to sink or swim."

Soon he was one of the industry's busiest TV directors, working on numerous episodes of "Newhart" as well as such shows as "In the Heat of the Night," "Archie Bunker's Place" and "Family Ties."

Born into a middle-class family in Battle Creek, Mich., Martin had worked in a Ford auto assembly plant after high school.

After an early failed marriage, he was for years a confirmed bachelor. He finally settled down in middle age, marrying Dolly Read, a former bunny at the Playboy Club in London. Survivors include his wife and two sons, actor Richard Martin and Cary Martin.

At Martin's request there will be no funeral, Greenberg said.

Martin lost the use of his right lung when he was 17, something that never bothered him until his final years, when he required oxygen 18 hours a day.

Arriving for a party celebrating his 80th birthday, he fainted and was treated by doctors and paramedics. The party continued, however, and he cracked, "Boy, did I make an entrance!"


Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

Here's a video clip of some fun highlights from Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Olivia Newton-John - Voice Your Choice

Olivia Newton-John was born September 26, 1948 in Cambridge, England and was raised in Melbourne, Australia. Her talent was evident at a young age when she won a talent contest trip to England when she was only 16. Apart from having many hit records, she also was in the movies Grease, Xanadu, and Two Of A Kind.

Between 1971 and 1998, she was on the Billboard charts with 41 singles, including an amazing 15 Top Ten hits, plus achieved 10 Gold and 2 Platinum Records.

This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights Olivia Newton-John with two of her back to back hits from 1974, If You Love Me (Let Me Know) and I Honestly Love You. Which song would you like me to play? Cast your vote by coming to the Voice Your Choice page and making your selection. We'll play the winner in Hour 3 of next week's show.


The Olympics - Song of the Week

The Olympics were an R&B group, mostly known for their debut hit Western Movies, also recorded the original version of Good Lovin' in 1965, which peaked at #81 on the Billboard Chart. A year later The Young Rascals took the same song and it became a #1 hit in 1966.

Our song of the week is a true Lost Treasure, Good Lovin' by The Olympics.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Herman's Hermits - Voice Your Choice

Herman's Hermits became of of the most successful of the British Invasion groups of the early-to-mid-1960s. While practically everyone knows Peter Noone, the lead singer and head of the band, not that many know who the rest of the members were. Time to rectify that situation. They were Derek Leckenby and Keith Hopwood on guitars, Karl Green on bass, and Barry Whitwam on drums. The name Herman's Hermits was derived from the cartoon character Sherman on the TV show The Bullwinkle Show.

Before Peter Noone left the group in 1972 for a solo career, Herman's Hermits racked up an impressive 19 charted hits, with 11 in the Top Ten plus 3 Gold Records.

This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice spotlights Herman's Hermits with two of their big hits: their debut single I'm Into Something Good and Listen People, which was in the movie When The Boys Meets The Girls, starring Connie Francis.

Which song would you like me to play? Cast your vote by going to the Voice Your Choice page and making your selection. We'll play the winning song in Hour 3 of next week's show.

The Beatles Let It Be - Song of the Week

In keeping with our Mother's Day theme this week, our Song of the Week is the classic Let It Be by The Beatles.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Primrose Lane Singer Jerry Wallace Dead At 79

Jerry Wallace, who shot to fame in the late 1950s with a pair of hit songs including "Primrose Lane," has died. He was 79.

One of his three sons, Jerry Wallace Jr., said Wallace died Monday night of congestive heart failure at his home in Victorville.

Wallace began recording in 1951 and scored his first major hit in 1958 with the release of "How the Time Flies," followed a year later with the upbeat "Primrose Lane" written by Wayne Shanklin.

Gene Kennedy, owner of Tennessee-based Door Knob Records, which released several of Wallace's records in the late 1970s, said "Primrose Lane" sold more than a million copies. Kennedy said it was Wallace's biggest-selling record.

"He was a great singer," Kennedy said. "One of the best in the business."

Jerry Wallace Jr., 44, said his father was passionate about horse racing and would often watch the races at Hollywood Park in Inglewood. The son shared his dad's enthusiasm and went on to become a horse trainer.

"He always had a great time," Wallace Jr. said. "He told me a few weeks before he died not to cry for him. He had a great life."

Born in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 15, 1928, Wallace was the son of a grocery store owner. He grew up in Missouri and Arizona before moving to Hollywood.

Wallace effectively retired in the late 1970s and stopped recording. A Navy veteran who served around the time of World War II, Wallace stopped performing too, with the exception of some low-key concerts for Victorville veterans.

According to the Hit Parade Hall of Fame Web site, Wallace scored more than 45 chart successes on both the pop and country music hit parades.

In 1972, Wallace was nominated for the Country Music Association Award as male vocalist of the year and "To Get To You" was nominated as single of the year. The song stayed on the hit parade for 22 weeks straight.

Wallace is survived by four children, two grandchildren and his ex-wife, Reva Stone.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Eddy Arnold - Country Music Superstar - Dead At 89

Sad day for music fans, and country music fans in particular, with news of the passing of Eddy Arnold. Here's the full story.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Eddy Arnold, whose mellow baritone on songs like "Make the World Go Away" made him one of the most successful country singers in history, died Thursday morning, days short of his 90th birthday.

Arnold died at a care facility near Nashville, said Don Cusic, a professor at Belmont University and author of the biography "Eddy Arnold: I'll Hold You in My Heart." His wife of 66 years, Sally, had died in March, and in the same month, Arnold fell outside his home, injuring his hip.

Arnold's vocals on songs like the 1965 "Make the World Go Away," one of his many No. 1 country hits and a top 10 hit on the pop charts, made him one of the most successful country singers in history.

Folksy yet sophisticated, he became a pioneer of "The Nashville Sound," also called "countrypolitan," a mixture of country and pop styles. His crossover success paved the way for later singers such as Kenny Rogers.

"I sing a little country, I sing a little pop and I sing a little folk, and it all goes together," he said in 1970.

He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. The following year he was the first person to receive the entertainer of the year award from the Country Music Association.

The reference book "Top Country Singles 1944-1993,'" by Joel Whitburn, ranked Arnold the No. 1 country singer in terms of overall success on the Billboard country charts. It lists his first No. 1 hit as "What Is Life Without Love," 1947, and for the following year ranks his "Bouquet of Roses" as the biggest country hit of the entire year.

Other hits included "Cattle Call," "The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me," "Anytime," "Bouquet of Roses," "What's He Doing in My World?" "I Want to Go With You," "Somebody Like Me," "Lonely Again" and "Turn the World Around."

Most of his hits were done in association with famed guitarist Chet Atkins, the producer on most of the recording sessions.

The late Dinah Shore once described his voice as like "warm butter and syrup being poured over wonderful buttermilk pancakes."

Reflecting on his career, he said he never copied anyone.

"I really had an idea about how I wanted to sing from the very beginning," he said.

He revitalized his career in the 1960s by adding strings, a controversial move for a country artist back then.

"I got to thinking, if I just took the same kind of songs I'd been singing and added violins to them, I'd have a new sound," he told The Associated Press in 2002. "They cussed me, but the disc jockeys grabbed it. ... The artists began to say, `Aww, he's left us.' Then within a year, they were doing it!"

Among his recent albums were "Looking Back," 2002, and "After All These Years," 2005.

Joe Galante, chairman of Sony BMG Nashville, which includes RCA country artists, said he was talking about making another just a few weeks ago. "There was a special kind of happiness about him whenever he talked about music, and that is how I will remember him," Galante said.

Over the years, he invested wisely, especially in real estate in the Nashville area, and was regarded as one of the wealthiest men in country music. He once had this advice for young singers: "Get a good lawyer, a good accountant and be on time."

Friends said his wife helped handle his business dealings and was the inspiration for many of his love songs.

"What hurts me more than anything else is that he died of a broken heart," said Grand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown, a friend. "I don't think he ever recovered from that."

Arnold was born May 15, 1918, on a farm near Henderson, Tenn., the son of a sharecropper. He sang on radio stations in Jackson, Tenn., Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis before becoming nationally known.

Early in his career, his manager was Col. Tom Parker, who later became Elvis Presley's manager.

His image was always that of a modest, clean-cut country boy.

"You cannot satisfy all the people," he once said. "They have an image of me. Some people think I'm Billy Graham's half brother, but I'm not. I want people to get this hero thing off their mind and just let me be me."

Arnold lived in Brentwood, a Nashville suburb. Survivors include a son, Richard Edward Arnold Jr., and daughter, Jo Ann Pollard, both of Brentwood.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Connie Francis - Voice Your Choice

Connie Francis was born Concetta Rosa Franconero on December 12, 1938 in Newark, New Jersey. Apart from having a staggeringly successful recording career, she also appeared in several motion pictures including Where The Boys Are, Follow The Boys, Looking For Love, and When The Boys Meet The Girls.

Between 1957 and 1969, she appeared a stunning 56 times on the Billboard charts; achieved 16 Top Ten hits, plus 8 Gold Records, quite a feat for anyone! In fact, Connie is the #1 female singer from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s.

Next week on Treasure Island Oldies we spotlight Connie Francis on Voice Your Choice with two of her huge smash hits: Where The Boys Are and My Happiness. Which song do you prefer? Come to the Voice Your Choice page and cast your vote. We'll play the winning song in Hour 3 of next week's show.

The Ronettes - Song Of The Week

We feature The Ronettes and a great clip from the TV show, Shindig. Be My Baby is our Song of the Week.