Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Just a reminder to be sure to come "hang out" with Count Michael for the 12th Annual Halloween Spooktacular on Treasure Island Oldies, live (or should that be dead!) at 6 pm Pacific, 9 pm Eastern Sunday, October 26th. Just don't listen with the lights out! You'll be sorry. ha ha ha ha ha ha
Posted by Michael Godin at 8:52 PM
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Long before the Beatles put Liverpool on the map with American record buyers, Liverpudlian Russ Hamilton reached the U.S. top ten with "Rainbow". Russ died Saturday (October 11) in Buckley, North Wales at the age of 76.
Born Ronnie Hulme in Liverpool in 1932, he got his start singing at a holiday camp in Clacton-on-Sea and earned a recording contract with Oriole Records in 1957. The A-side, "We Will Make Love", reached #2 in England and earned him a gold record, while the B-side was his only American hit, getting to #4 (on the Kapp label). Though he recorded sixteen follow-ups over the next seven years, his only other British hit was "Wedding Ring" (#20-1957).
Having become disillusioned with the music industry, Russ retired to Wales at that point, though he toured briefly in 1967 and even sang "We Will Make Love" at a performance of "Grease" in 1986. He complained once that he never even got his gold record.
Posted by Michael Godin at 11:29 AM
Friday, October 17, 2008
DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs, who possessed one of the most dynamic and emotive voices of all the Motown singers, died Friday at 72.
He had been ill recently and died in his sleep at the Detroit house he shared with his wife, said Dana Meah, the wife of a grandson.
The Wayne County medical examiner's office also confirmed the death.
With Stubbs in the lead, the Four Tops sold millions of records, including such hits as "Baby I Need Your Loving," "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)."
The group performed for more than four decades without a change in personnel. Stubbs' death leaves one surviving member of the original group: Abdul "Duke" Fakir.
Stubbs "fits right up there with all the icons of Motown," said Audley Smith, chief operating officer of the Motown Historical Museum. "His voice was as unique as Marvin's or as Smokey's or as Stevie's."
The Four Tops began singing together in 1953 under the group name the Four Aims and signed a deal with Chess Records. They later changed their names to the Four Tops to avoid being confused with the Ames Brothers.
They also recorded for Red Top, Riverside and Columbia Records and toured supper clubs.
The Four Tops signed with Motown Records in 1963 and produced 20 Top-40 hits over the next 10 years, making music history with the other acts in Berry Gordy's Motown stable.
Their biggest hits were recorded between 1964 and 1967 with the in-house songwriting and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. Both 1965's "I Can't Help Myself" and 1966's "Reach Out" went to No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart.
Other hits included "Shake Me, Wake Me" (1966); "Bernadette" and "Standing in the Shadows of Love" (both 1967).
They toured for decades afterward and reached the charts as late as 1988 with "Indestructible" on Arista Records. In 1986, Stubbs provided the voice for Audrey II the man-eating plant in the film "Little Shop of Horrors."
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Original Top Lawrence Payton died of liver cancer in 1997. Renaldo "Obie" Benson died of lung cancer in 2005.
Stubbs was born in 1936 in Detroit and attended Pershing High School, where he sang with Fakir. They met fellow Detroiters Payton and Benson while singing at a mutual friend's birthday party, then decided to form a group.
"These are four of the greatest people I have ever known. They were major pros even before they came to Motown," Gordy said when the Four Tops' star was unveiled in Hollywood.
Stubbs is survived by his wife, five children and 11 grandchildren.
Posted by Michael Godin at 3:18 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
by The Associated Press
October 15, 2008
Los Angeles -- Neal Hefti, a Big Band trumpeter, arranger and composer of themes for the movie ''The Odd Couple'' and the ''Batman'' television series, has died. He was 85. Hefti died Saturday at his home, said his son Paul Hefti. Neal Hefti's notable
achievements include the iconic theme of the 1960s superhero series ''Batman,'' which became a Top 40 hit and won a Grammy Award in 1966 for best instrumental theme. He also composed music for ''The Odd Couple,'' ''Barefoot in the Park'' and ''Harlow,'' which featured his classic track ''Girl Talk.'' His son said the ''Batman'' theme was Neal Hefti's most difficult piece, taking him at least one month to compose the driving bass and explosive trumpet bursts. ''He threw away more music paper on this thing than any other song,'' Paul Hefti told The Associated Press. ''It got down to the blues with a funny guitar hook, the lowest common denominator and a fun groove.'' Neal Hefti was born Oct. 29, 1922, in Hastings, Neb., and played trumpet with local bands as a teenager to earn money. As an adult, he worked with and arranged music for the greats of the Big Band era, including Count Basie, Woody Herman, Charlie Spivak and Harry James. ''He was one of the
really great arrangers and composers of all time,'' radio and television personality Gary Owens, a longtime friend, told the Los Angeles Times.
Posted by Michael Godin at 3:34 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
San Francisco, California was the home to Jefferson Airplane, who rose to fame during 1967, the Summer of Love. The members were Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Cassidy, and Spencer Dryden. Over the years, their name changed to Jefferson Starship and finally to Starship.
To some it may be a surprise that they appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 charts 38 times between 1967 and 1991.
This week on Voice Your choice we go back to their beginnings with two of their first hits, both Top Ten hits: Somebody To Love and White Rabbit. Incidentally, Somebody To Love was originally released by the Great Society in 1966 under the title Someone To Love. If you have a copy of this 45 on North Beach Records, it is worth $300 to you!
Cast your vote for either Somebody To Love or White Rabbit by coming to the Voice Your Choice page. We'll play the winner in Hour 3 of next week's show.
Posted by Michael Godin at 11:41 AM
Monday, October 06, 2008
At times overshadowed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George Harrison was no slouch in the talent department, as both a musician and a songwriter. He was born February 24, 1943 in Wavertree, Liverpool, England and sadly, he died of cancer on November 29, 2001. He formed his own group known as The Rebels when he was only 13 years old. In 1958, he joined Paul McCartney and John Lennon in The Quarrymen, later evolving into The Beatles, with George as their lead guitarist.
In the post-Beatles years, George appeared 17 times on the Billboard chart as a solo artist. His "debut" was My Sweet Lord, which remained at #1 for four weeks and became a Gold Record.
This week on Treasure Island Oldies, Voice Your Choice features George Harrison with two of his beloved and thought provoking songs: What Is Life and Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth.
Cast your vote for the song you'd like to hear by coming to the Voice Your Choice page and casting your vote. We'll play the winning song in Hour 3 of next week's show.
Posted by Michael Godin at 7:35 PM
Saturday, October 04, 2008
This sad news in from Oldies Music.com
George Jones, lead singer of the Edsels and writer of their hit, "Rama Lama Ding Dong", died Saturday (September 27) in Youngstown, Ohio at the age of 71. No cause of death was given but George had suffered from cancer. He was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1936 and his family moved to Youngstown so his father could work in the steel mill there. Though he originally sang doo wop with other students at Campbell Memorial High School, it was in the Air Force that George wrote the classic "Rama Lama Ding Dong", which he didn't think would be a hit. Upon his return in 1957 though, the group recorded the tune, calling themselves the Essos (after the chain of gas stations). That was quickly changed to Edsels when Ford introduced their lavish new car. The song appeared in 1958 on tiny Dub Records out of Little Rock as "Lama Rama Ding Dong". The song went nowhere (much like the Edsel car), as did two follow-ups on two other labels, though the group did appear on "American Bandstand". It was the success of "Blue Moon" by the Marcels in 1961 however, that convinced a New York disk Jockey to start playing the similar-sounding song. That led to the song being leased by Old Town Records, who re-released it on their Twin label. With its title corrected, the song made #21 nationally, no doubt hindered by the release of an alternate take by Dub. In fact, though the Edsels then signed with Capitol Records, they had to compete with older recordings from Dub which were leased to Dot Records and never charted again on any label. The Edsels broke up in 1963 and in later years George managed several gospel groups, including one made up of his family members.
Posted by Michael Godin at 8:12 AM
Friday, October 03, 2008
The founder of The Kingston Trio, Nick Reynolds has died at age 75. Here is the full story.
by The Associated Press
October 2, 2008
San Diego -- Nick Reynolds, a founding member of the Kingston Trio who jump-started the revival folk scene of the late 1950s and paved the way for artists such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, has died. He was 75. Reynolds had been hospitalized with acute
respiratory disease and other illnesses, and died Wednesday in San Diego after his family took him off life support, said son Joshua Reynolds. ''Dad was so happy he turned people onto music in a way that people could really approach it, in a simple and honest way,'' Josh Reynolds told The Associated Press. ''He was a very gracious and loving performer. He was a devoted family man.'' The Kingston Trio's
version of the 19th century folk song ''Tom Dooley'' landed the group a No. 1 spot on the charts in 1958, and launched the band's career.
Born on July 27, 1933, in San Diego, Nicholas Reynolds demonstrated an early love of music and did sing-alongs with his two sisters and their Navy captain-father, who taught him to play guitar. He graduated from Coronado High School in 1951 and
attended the University of Arizona and San Diego State University before attending Menlo College, a business school near Palo Alto. He graduated from Menlo in 1956. It was during the mid-1950s that Nicholas Reynolds met Bob Shane, who introduced him
to Stanford student Dave Guard. Guard and Shane knew each other from playing music in Guard's native Hawaii. The three formed the Kingston Trio. In 1958, ''Tom Dooley'' earned Reynolds, Guard and Shane a trophy for best country and western performance at the first Grammys. The group, defined by tight harmonies and a clean-cut style, went on to win a Grammy the next year for best folk performance for
its album ''The Kingston Trio At Large.'' Later member John Stewart joined the group in 1961, replacing Guard. Stewart died in January, also in San Diego. After leaving the Kingston Trio in 1967, Reynolds moved to Oregon, where he stayed until the
1980s and took a break from music to raise his family, his son said. Reynolds moved back to California in the mid-1980s and rejoined Stewart for one album. In 1991, Reynolds rejoined Shane in a reconstituted version of the Trio. He remained with
the group until retiring in 2003, his son said.
Reynolds is survived by his wife Leslie, sons Joshua and John Pike Reynolds, daughters Annie Reynolds Moore and Jennifer Reynolds, and his two sisters.
Posted by Michael Godin at 4:16 PM