Frankie Valli: 81 Years Old And Still Entertaining

I was watching Frankie Valli being interviewed on The Big Interview by Dan Rather, and was saddened to know,  that he had lost two children in a short time period. He lost his daughter Celia, when she fell off a fire escape, then six months later his daughter Francine died from a drug overdose. Their deaths drove him to drinking, but he eventually recovered from the deep depression he was in.

Valli  was born on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey as Francesco Stephen Castellucio. He was inspired to become a singer at the age of 7, when he saw Frank Sinatra in concert.

He told about growing up in a Mafia neighborhood, and how the word was out to leave him alone. He told Rather that he lost a lot of friends, who were found in trunks of car in mob killings.

His name was changed when his mentor “Texas” Jane Valli was helping him and he decided to take her last name. It was about this time, that Valli was barbering till he became successful in the music business.

The Four Seasons

First Number One Hits

Success didn’t come easy for Valli who started singing in 1951, and he sang with various groups till the Four Seasons were formed in 1960 and named after a cocktail lounge.

Vee Jay record label was the label that they found the most success with. Sherry and Big Girls Don’t Cry both debuted in 1962 and went to #1 on the Billboard chart. Walk Like a Man was their last #1 hit on the Vee Jay label in 1963.

Moved to Philips/Smash Label

They had their first hit on the Philips/Smash label, when they recorded Dawn which went to #3 in January of 1964. Rag Doll was their last #1 song in June of 1964. Valli started recording albums as a solo artist, but still worked with the Four Seasons.

May of 1967 would bring his first solo hit in My Eyes Adored You which went to #1 on the Billboard chart.

Changing Labels

Valli changed labels again and would record Oh What A Night in December of 1975 on Private Stock record label. He would record his last #1 hit in May of 1978, when Grease went to the top spot on the Billboard chart.

He didn’t record another single that charted after June of 1994 according to his Wikipedia discography.

More From Interview

Dan Rather asked Valli why he is still singing at 81, and he said that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. He said he tried retiring a time or two, but it just made him want to return to singing. Rather mentioned the excellent memory of Valli and he said he memorized the lyrics to about 2,000 songs.

Valli also mentioned about his acting career and said he had been on Sopranos television program and was recently on a Hawaii Five-0 episode.

He said he had plenty of money, but still won’t buy something until it is on sale. He says he got that from his childhood.

The Four Seasons were one of those groups like the Beach Boys and Bee Gees, that had their own distinct sound. Valli’s falsetto voice is what made the Four Seasons stand out from the other groups.

We are wishing Frankie Valli a lot more years on the road. He is truly an American icon.

Classic Television – Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Ozzie Nelson, David Nelson, Harriet Hilliard and Ricky Nelson 

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was first broadcast on radio in 1944 and could be heard on radio, until 1954 when the radio show ended on June 18. 1954. Only 83 of the shows can be bought today for listening to, out of the hundreds of shows made during their 10 year run on radio.

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet television program was first televised on October 10, 1952, and for the first two years could be heard on radio and seen on television, till the radio series ended in 1954. The last television episode was telecast on September 3, 1966. The 14 year run on television makes the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet the longest running sitcom,  on American television still 49 years later.

Ricky Nelson recorded his first #1 song Poor Little Fool in 1957, which incidentally also was the first #1 song on the new Billboard Hot 100 chart. Ricky often sang on the show, which gave him even more exposure for his singing career.

Ozzie Nelson and Don Defore

Don Defore portrayed Ozzie’s neighbor Thorny on the show. He would later gain fame as playing George Baxter on Hazel, when Hazel would refer to him as Mr. B.

Ozzie Nelson wrote 178 of the 435 episodes of the show.

The shows are not being shown on any television network that I know of. If you know of the show being on television please comment, so we can share the information with other fans of the show.

It is sad that the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet shows are not being shown. The show represents life at a simpler time back in the 50’s and then continued to entertain fans, even though the country was at war with Vietnam in the 60’s and there was unrest on college campuses.

All four members of the Nelson family have died since the show left the air.

Ozzie Nelson died June 3, 1975 at the age of 79 in Hollywood, California.

Ricky Nelson died December 31, at the age of 45 in a plane crash in Dekalb, Texas. 

Harriet Hilliard died October 2, 1994 at the age of 85 in Laguna Beach, California.

David Nelson died January 11, 2011 at the age of 74 in Los Angeles, California. 

Kenny Rogers – From Houston Projects To Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers and First Edition singing Don’t Take Your Love to Town in 1972

Kenny Rogers was being interviewed by Dan Rather on The Big Interview, and it gave me a chance to learn more about Kenny Rogers. He told Rather about growing up in Houston in the projects, and that his mother only had a third grade education.

He said he didn’t realize how poor they were, till he started school and realized his family was on another rung.

Dan Rather interviewing Kenny Rogers on The Big Interview

Rogers was born Kenneth Donald “Kenny” Rogers on August 21, 1938, when the president was President Franklin Roosevelt. He had a poor, but happy childhood and his mom told him to be happy where you are, and he remembered that advice during his career.

21 of his songs have reached #1 on the record charts. It was 38 years ago in 1977, when Lucille became his first #1 country hit. Daytime Friends also went to # 1 in 1977. Love or Something Like It went to #1 in 1978, while The Gambler peaked at #2 that year.

Kenny Rogers singing his 1979 hit She Believes In Me

She Believes in Me, You Decorated My Life and Coward of the County went to #1 in 1979. The hits kept coming in 1980 with Lady going to #1. Two lesser known songs reached #1 on adult contemporary charts in 1981, but two of his biggest hits Love Will Turn You Around and Through the Years topped the adult contemporary charts in 1982.

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton singing Islands in the Stream

1983 would see Rogers have #1 duet hits with Sheena Easton on We’ve Got Tonight and Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton.

His  #1 hits in 1984 were Rogers singing with Kim Carnes and James Ingram on What About Me. It went to #1 on adult chart, but only to #70 on country chart. Crazy was his other #1 hit in 1984.

Morning Desire was his only song that charted in 1985 and it went to #1. Tomb of the Unknown Love was his only #1 song in 1986. Another duet this time with Ronnie Milsap on Make No Mistake, She’s Mine in 1987 was his last #1 hit in the 80’s.

Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years a great song for a 50th wedding anniversary

12 years would pass, before he had another #1 hit. It was Buy Me a Rose, which was recorded with Allison Krauss and Billy Dean in 1999. His only other #1 songs were with Dottie West on When Two World Collide in 1978 and All I Ever Need is You, which was in 1979.

Starred in The Gambler movies

Kenny Rogers starred in a series of movies about The Gambler. He also appeared in 17 other films and television shows. His last movie was a 2001 movie Longshot. His last television appearance as an actor was in How I Met Your Mother six years ago in 2009.

He made six appearances as himself in 2014 and in five of those shows he sang, or was shown singing in a clip Islands in the Stream.

Five Marriages

He talked about his five marriages and how he may have been too selfish, and was away from home too much, because of his concert schedule. He expressed concern that he might not be around too much longer, for his 10 year old identical twin sons, since he is 76 and will be 77 in August.

His current marriage with Wanda Miller will reach 18 years on June 1. He was previously married to Marianne Gordon of Hee Haw fame for 16 years.

Kenny Rogers being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame

Kenny Rogers showed Dan Rather the Kenny Rogers exhibit, at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and it was an impressive exhibit. He was inducted in 2013 and he seemed to be glad that he wasn’t inducted sooner, when he might not have appreciated it as much as he does now.

He sold 10 million copies of his Greatest Hits album, which earned him the prestigious Diamond Award, for selling 10 million albums.

Rogers is currently on his Through the Years tour and is showing no signs of slowing down. He sure isn’t doing it for the money, since he is reportedly worth $250 million.

TOUR DATES

  • WINCHESTER, VA

  • March 07, 2015 7:00 p.m.
  • Patsy Cline Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • TAMPA, FL

  • March 21, 2015 5:00 p.m.
  • Busch Gardens – Gwazi Field – Food & Wine Festival
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 10, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA

  • April 11, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Casino Rama – Entertainment Centre
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LAS CRUCES, NM

  • April 24, 2015 9:00 p.m.
  • Las Cruces Country Music Festival – Downtown Las Cruces
    Through The Years World Tour
  • CHANDLER, AZ

  • April 25, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino
    Through The Years World Tour
  • ANGOLA, IN

  • May 08, 2015 7:30 p.m.
  • T. Furth Center for Performing Arts – Trine University
    Through The Years World Tour
  • GREELEY, CO

  • June 28, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • Greeley Stampede
    With Special Guest Ronnie Milsap
    Through The Years World Tour
  • LANCASTER, PA

  • July 16, 2015 8:00 p.m.
  • American Music Theatre
    Through The Years World Tour

 

The Kenny Rogers interview may be repeated on the AXS TV network, so check listings for the times. 

American Idol Draws 4 Million Less Viewers

American Idol returns for its 14th season in 2015 with judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez

and Harry Connick, Jr., with Ryan Seacrest who has hosted the show since its inception.

American Idol started its 14th season, by drawing 4 million fewer viewers, than they attracted for the first show of Season 13. That was a decline of 25 percent from the Season 13 premiere. The show reached its peak in Season 6, when they attracted 37.44 million viewers for the premiere that year in 2007.

The premiere this year attracted 26 million fewer viewers, than watched the show in 2007.

Randy Jackson, who was a mentor during Season 13 won’t be seen in Season 14, unless it is in a guest appearance, since he is no longer employed by the show.

There should be no Coca-Cola cups at the judge’s table in Season 14, since Coca-Cola no longer is a sponsor.

The Voice Providing Competition

The Voice on NBC has attracted more viewers recently, than American Idol, but The Voice has had less success in launching careers of their winning contestants.

Season 8 of The Voice premieres on February 23, 2015, so the two shows will be on different nights.

I have watched American Idol since Season 2, so will probably go down with American Idol ship, when it sinks out of sight in the next year or two. I like the chairs turning around gimmick on The Voice, but not a fan of the battle rounds competition. Not to say it isn’t a good show….it is just my loyalty to American Idol  supersedes that of The Voice.

Aftermath for American Idol Winners

American Idol has had some winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, that have sold millions of albums, but then they have their share of singers like Phillip Phillips who made second albums, that didn’t sell nearly as well as their first album, as shown in this Billboard.com review of his sales for his second album:

Phillip Phillips, Behind the Light

First-Week Sales: 42,000

Previous Album’s First Week: The World From the Wrong Side of the Moon, 169,000

Year-to-Date Sales: 123,000

Why It Looks Bad: The American Idol champ’s debut was buoyed by a hit single, “Home,” something his second has yet to produce. And more than a regular artist, people expect a sophomore slump from an Idol champ — so his low first-week tally wasn’t a good look.

Counterpoint: Like 50’s album, the year-to-date total sales for Behind the Lightaren’t terrible. In fact, with the holidays approaching, sales for Phillips’ second are higher than they’ve been in weeks, suggesting there’s life in the album yet.

Scotty McCreery is now 21, after winning Season 10 four years ago. His album and single sales have done well, with him his first album Clear Day going platinum and his second album Christmas With Scotty McCreery earning a gold album certification.

Caleb Johnson Season 13 Winner

Caleb Johnson, who won Season 13 has seen his singing career get off to a very slow start, as indicated by this entry about his first album at Wikipedia:

Chart performance

The album debuted on Billboard 200 at No. 24 with 11,000 copies sold in its debut week, giving him the distinction of having the lowest first week sales and inaugural chart position of any American Idol winner.[8]Johnson also has the distinction of being the first American Idol winner to have their Idol coronation song, “As Long as You Love Me,” fail to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

On the other hand Kelly Clarkson has released six albums and all six have gone platinum and have peaked at either #1, #2 or #3 on the album charts. She has recorded four #1 hits.

Carrie Underwood has recorded 12 #1 hits on the country charts.

It doesn’t seem possible that it has been 10 years, since Carrie Underwood won Season 4 of American Idol in 2005. All four of her albums have gone platinum. It is hard to believe, that she hasn’t recorded an album since 2012, so we should see another Carrie Underwood album released, in the not too distant future. Her 12 #1 hits is the most recorded by any of the American Idol winners.

Results Show Shortened To Half Hour

The Fox network will be shortening the Thursday night results show of American Idol, to half an hour in Season 14. It will be a welcome relief, to American Idol fans, who were tiring of all the filler used in the results show in past seasons. Ryan Seacrest won’t have so much time to stretch out the drama, of who will be going home that night.

Ryan Seacrest has promised that Season 14 will have great talent, but American Idol fans will believe that, when they see and hear the shows.

I personally believe this is the best set of judges since the debut of the show. It will be nice to not hear “Yo dog” and “In it to win it” in Season 14, even though we didn’t hear it in Season 13 either. It is a huge improvement over the train wreck of a judging panel, when Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey took their battle public and overshadowed the contestants, by their constant bickering.

The back stories for  the contestants are what make American Idol so great in my book. Like the blind man, who sang a Spanish song for Jennifer Lopez on last week’s show. He may not be the next American Idol, but he will be one of the highlights of Season 14 for me.

So far this season the focus has been more on the talented singers, and less on the singers who have no talent. We know the judges just see a small percent of the singers, since they have others, that weed out the less than prime-time ready singers.

The Voice may have passed American Idol in the ratings, but American Idol will be the show I watch, till it fades out for the last time.

By this time next year we should know if Season 14 has produced another Caleb Johnson or another Carrie Underwood, or a singer somewhere in the middle of the two singers.

Classic Television: Green Acres 1965-1971

Green Acres 1965-1971

First Row – Eva Gabor, Eddie Albert, Eleanor Audley

Second Row – Alvy Moore, Tom Lester, Pat Buttram

Green Acres was one of the cornier CBS country comedies of that era, but at the same time it was one of the most entertaining. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were involved in the main plot, for each episode but the comedy ensemble backing them up is what set the show apart.

Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert as Oliver and Lisa Douglas who gave up big city life to move to Green Acres.

Who can forget county agent Hank Kimball played by Alvy Moore? Then Tom Lester the farmhand who was portrayed by Tom Lester. Mr. Haney kept us entertained as the con man, who sold Oliver Douglas useless items, that didn’t work often during the life of the show.

Green Acres - 03x30 A Star Named Arnold is Born (2)

Arnold the pig studying movie script for next movie. 

Fred Ziffel played by Hank Patterson, on the show owned a pig named Arnold. It turned out that Arnold like to steal scenes, from the humans appearing the show. Arnold would be about 50 this year, if still living at the Retired Home for Animals Who Acted.

The rumor that the cast had a luau after the last episode was aired, with Arnold as the main course was completely untrue.

Mr.Haney the fast talking con man trying to pull over on Oliver. 

Eva Gabor portrayed Lisa Douglas the wife, who didn’t really want to live on the farm, but put up with it for the sake of her husband Oliver Douglas, whose dream was to own a farm. He never would have followed his dream, if he knew ahead of time that he would be dealing with a shady con man in Mr. Haney, a inept county agent in Mr. Kimball, a pig that liked to watch television and a farmhand that didn’t know a wheelbarrow from a hay wagon in Eb.

Eddie Albert revealed that he had a 10 percent interest in the show, so probably reaped a rich dividend, when the show went into reruns.

Grave marker for Alvy Moore better known as Hank Kimball on the show. 

Mr. Haney according to imdb.com based his character on Col Tom Parker, who reportedly took 51 percent of the income of Elvis Presley, with Elvis having to eke out a living on the other 49 percent.

Oliver usually wore business clothes, even when working on the farm.

Some funny quotes from the show from imdb.com:

Lisa Douglas: Why do you want to irritate your corn?

Oliver Douglas: Irrigate. It means put water on it.

Lisa Douglas: Won’t that irritate it?

 

Eustace Charleton Haney: [after learning Oliver and Lisa are going to be out-of-town for a few days] While yer away on yer trip, I thought you might like to avail yerself of Haney’s Farm Mindin’ Service.

Oliver Wendell Douglass: HANEY’S FARM MINDING SERVICE?

Eustace Charleton Haney: Yessir, at Haney’s Farm Mindin’ Service, for a nom-yew-nal fee we will move into yer house, eat yer food, drink yer likker, and turn away any unwanted relatives that might show up at yer door.

 

Oliver Douglas: Why don’t we give away this one?

Lisa Douglas: No that’s the dress I graduated from high school in.

Oliver Douglas: How about this one?

Lisa Douglas: That’s the dress I wore the first day of college.

Oliver Douglas: [holding a black, low-cut dress] What about this one?

Lisa Douglas: That’s the one I got expelled in.

 

Green Acres was a victim of the CBS purge of rural comedies, because CBS thought the shows were only attracting rural and older audiences. Just writing this article makes me want to watch one of the Green Acres shows, but not sure if it is even shown anywhere on TV today.

Sadly most of the cast is no longer with us. These are the main cast members and their birth and death years, with the alive cast members at the bottom:

Eddie Albert 1906-2005

Eva Gabor 1919-1995

Pat Buttram 1915-1994

Frank Cady 1915-2012….played Sam Drucker the grocery store owner

Alvy Moore 1921-1997

Hank Patterson 1888-1975….was 83  when show started and 87 when it ended

Sid Melton 1917-2011….portrayed Alf Monroe on the show. He also appeared in 93 episodes of Make Room For Daddy, in which he played Charley Halper. 

Mary Grace Canfield 1924-2014….was Ralph the wife of Alf on the show. She also played Gomer Pyle’s girlfriend on an episode of Andy Griffith. 

Tom Lester 1938-present….only surviving cast member of the show and is now 76 years old. 

My Hometown: Growing Up In Pineville, Louisiana

Pineville, Louisiana is located across the Red River from Alexandria, Louisiana. It has a population of 14,555 according to the 2010 census.

Front of Alexandria Hall the main building at Louisiana College. 

Louisiana College where my father Dr. Paul R. Godfrey taught chemistry for 24 years was founded in 1906 and is now 108 years old. 

I was one year old, when our family moved to Pineville, Louisiana from West Lafayette, Indiana in 1946. Our first home was located on 110 Lawrence Boulevard if I remembered the correct house number. We later moved to 1608 Holloway Drive and then moved to 313 Burns Street in February of 1952.

We started attending College Drive Baptist Church on College Drive in Pineville in 1948. The church was originally comprised, of Army barrack buildings moved from Camp Livingston. I remember apple boxes being used as pews in the early days of the church, before the modern building shown in the photo was built. The church was founded in 1947 and is now 67 years old. I can remember driving home for supper one night and the Masters V gospel singing group had their bus in front of the church. This was when James Blackwood, Jake Hess, J.D. Sumner, Rosie Rozell and Hovie Lister comprised the Masters V. We attended College Drive for many years and I later led the music there, from 1997-2007, before we moved to Tennessee.

The home at 1608 Holloway Drive was unusual, in that our home was only separated by only a ditch, from the railroad track that ran next to us.

My first year at Pineville Elementary started in 1950 and remember walking to school, with my older brother for about a mile to school each day. I can still remember the 10 cent school lunch back then. The price has probably gone up over the years since then.

Moved To 313 Burns Street

I can remember living at 313 Burns Street. We had a cow, some sheep and chickens back then. It was like living on a farm inside the city limits.

Radio Hall of Fame disc jockey Dick Biondi once worked for KSYL in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Dick Biondi lived in the house behind us for a while, and he worked for KSYL radio station. He would later become famous, as a disc jockey in Chicago and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1998 and is now 82 years old. His main claim to fame is that he was the first disc jockey to play a Beatles song according to his Hall of Fame page. This is his Radio Hall of Fame page, which includes a very short clip of his radio program.

http://www.radiohof.org/dick_biondi.htm

 

I can remember going to see Roy Rogers dock his motorboat on the Red River and he stayed at Hotel Bentley.

Earl K. Long once gave away free chickens at a political rally at the Trailways station in Alexandria.

Faith Ford

Kelly Ripka and Faith Ford

The best nationally known person from Pineville would probably be Faith Ford. She attended Pineville High School many years after I attended there. She is best known for playing Corky on Murphy Brown television show. She also appeared in Hope and Faith.

The middle building is drugstore where we bought our prescriptions.

Veteran’s Hospital where I still go for medical services many years after this photo was taken.

Vincent Price

I can remember the time Vincent Price made an appearance at Louisiana College, with protesters carrying signs that were protesting him appearing in a liquor commercial.

This photo was taken from the Pineville side of the Red River, that was adjacent to Alexandria, Louisiana. The pedestrian walkers going across the bridge had to be careful, to see if there were any missing planks, to avoid falling into the river. I walked across the bridge for many years as I walked to job at the Alexandria Daily Town Talk. One time I was walking across the bridge to work early in the morning, when I was stopped by police and questioned by police, since a murder had just been committed at a night club in Alexandria. I convinced them I was not a murderer and they let me proceed on to work.I never saw the Red River look as blue as depicted in the photo.

I attended this school from 1950-1958 and it burned down in 1959.

I can remember finding out about the fire that night and rode my bike the mile to school. A Town Talk photographer had climbed up the fireman’s ladder, that was attached to the fire truck to get a photo looking down into the fire. I was a sophomore in high school the night of the fire. Had a lot of memories over the years at Pineville Elementary School and it was sad that the building only lasted one year after I started high school.

Summary:

68 years have passed since we first moved to Pineville in 1946. We used to ride our bikes out Highway 28, without encountering much traffic, but today Highway 28 is not the safest place to ride a bicycle, with so many businesses along the route now and many cars traverse Highway 28 today.

We left Pineville in 2007 to move to Tennessee, but it will always be home for us, since I spent most of my life here. It is the perfect size for me. Not too large and yet not too little. Pineville has a lot of businesses for a city of less than 15,000.

Maybe someday we can move back to Pineville. We do come back from time to time, for appointments at the Veteran’s Hospital. I have always been puzzled why the Veteran’s Hospital uses Alexandria as their address, when the buildings are in Pineville.

Thanks for the memories Pineville, since you will always be home to me.

Classic Southern Gospel Quartets – The Blackwood Brothers

This record album was my favorite Blackwood Brothers album. It was released in 1964 and my favorite

songs on the album were I’ve Got To Walk That Lonesome Road, The Old Country Church, God Made

                   A Way, In Times Like These and Precious Memories. I played this album so much I wore out grooves on

the record and had to order a new copy.

The Blackwood Brothers Quartet bus which can be found at the Southern Gospel Music Museum at Dollywood.

The original Blackwood Brothers quartet was formed 80 years ago in 1934. The group was founded in Choctaw County, Mississippi and some of the descendants of that group are stil singing, under the Blackwood Brothers Quartet name in 2014.

Roy Blackwood, James Blackwood, Doyle Blackwood and R.W. Blackwood was the original configuration for the Blackwood Brothers in 1934.

Tragedy For Blackwood Brothers in 1954

Tragedy struck the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, when two of its members R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles were killed, in a plane crash on June 30, 1954. Cecil Blackwood would later replace R.W. Blackwood and J.D. Sumner replaced Bill Lyles as bass after the plane crash.

The Absolute Gospel website has an excellent article describing the accident and the aftermath:

http://absolutelygospel.com/index.php?/content/articles/3948

Trendsetters For Southern Gospel Innovations

The Blackwood Brothers were the first southern gospel group, to customize a bus for traveling to concerts.

They also founded the National Quartet Convention which started in 1957 and is still active 57 years later and is held every September.

James Blackwood 1919-2002

I was fortunate to see James Blackwood sing with the Blackwood Brothers many times over the years, when they performed in concerts in the Central Louisiana area. He was an excellent spokesman for the group, during their concerts and was one of my favorite Blackwood Brothers singers.

J.D. Sumner 1924-1998

J.D. Sumner is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records, as singing the lowest note ever sung. I remember in one Bill Gaither video, that he was singing a song, when the organist started to play faster, than Sumner wanted him to. The look he gave the organist was priceless. It may or may not have been a prank on Sumner, but if it was a prank it was not well received.

Two of my favorite Blackwood Brothers Quartet songs featuring Sumner were I’ve Got To Walk Than Lonesome Road and There’s A Light. 

J.D. Sumner on stage with Elvis Presley in 1976, which was a year before Elvis died.

J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet often toured with Elvis Presley. Still not sure if southern gospel was represented well during this time, since they were singing so much secular music during these years. J.D. Sumner gave credit to Elvis for helping him stop being an alcoholic. Shame J.D. couldn’t return the favor and convince Elvis to stop using drugs. Instead J.D. was more of an enabler and more or less discounted reports, that Elvis was a user, when he debunked those reports at the funeral for Elvis. That was before the extent of drug usage was known by the general public, but Sumner with his close proximity to Elvis probably knew exactly what Elvis was doing with drugs.

The golden era of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet are long gone, but their music will live on for years to come. I have a collection of their music from the early days till later years on cassette. It is great to hear the gospel style singing and piano playing, that most of us grew up with in the 50’s and 60’s.

James and J.D. and most of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet singers of the past are gone, but they will never be forgotten.

 

Bobby Rydell Performing Again After Liver, Kidney Transplant

Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Louis Ridarelli on April 26, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He will be 72 years old tomorrow.

It doesn’t seem possible that 55 years have passed, since he had his first hit song, with the release of Kissin’ Time in 1959.

Before that he had won a talent contest and became a member of the cast of Paul Whiteman’s TV Teen Club. Whiteman had difficult pronouncing his last name Ridarelli, so changed his last name to Rydell.

He joined the Rocco and the Saints band at the age of 16 and the band also had a soon to be famous trumpet player in Frankie Avalon.

First Million Selling Single

We Got Love, which was his first million selling album peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Wild One was his next million selling single and it reached #2 on the charts and it was released in 1960. My personal favorite Bobby Rydell song Volare was also released in 1960 and went to #4 on the charts. Sway also did well for Rydell in 1960 going to #14 on the charts. Swingin’ School also reached the charts in 1960 and peaked at #5.

Sadly, Rydell only had one more Top Ten hit, when he released Forget Him in 1963, which peaked at #4 on the music charts.

His last new song to make the Billboard Hot 100 charts was Diana, which barely made it onto the charts at #98 in 1965.

It has been 49 years, since he had a song that made the Billboard Hot 100.

More recent photo of Bobby Rydell

Failing Health

He had to cancel a 2012 tour to Australian because of health problems. Rydell would have his liver and kidneys replaced in a double organ transplant. The transplant took place at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in July of 2012.

After recovering for six months Rydell performed in a three night engagement in Las Vegas.

With the health problems behind him Rydell has been very active. He has appeared in international concerts, which included a 2014 tour in Australia. He also has appeared as part of a stage act, with fellow Philadelphian rock and rollers Fabian and Frankie Avalon.

Interesting Trivia From IMDB.com

Rydell High School in Grease was named after Rydell.

He was married to his first wife Camille Quattrone Ridarelli from 1968-2003 until the time of her death. He remarried in 2009 to Linda Hoffman.

Started playing drums at the age of six.

The city of Philadelphia named Bobby Rydell Boulevard after him.

He was a victim of the British invasion, as his recording career was never the same after the Beatles hit American shores.

Has Remained Active

Bobby Rydell has remained active after his recording career more or less ended, by hitting the night club circuit and appearing in concert. However, he did appear in the movie Bye Bye Birdie in 1963, at the height of his popularity.

He has appeared in Time-Life infomercial for Malt Shop Memories.

It was sad that his recording career fizzled out at the age of 23, but he was too talented and too young to walk away from the music scene.

When he turns 72 tomorrow he can reflect on a long career in music and has been a fine representative for the city of Philadelphia.

Dick Clark played a part in the success of Bobby Rydell, by having him appear on American Bandstand.

He may have not had the long recording career, of some recording artists, but that has only made his fans treasure, more than ever, those years in the 60’s, when he was making memories for all of us.

 

 

 

 

Classic Televison: Donna Reed Show

Donna Reed, Paul Petersen, Carl Betz and Shelly Fabares shown in a scene from the Donna Reed Show.

Donna Reed Show was one of the few family sitcoms, that featured the mother. The show debuted on September 24, 1958 and the last show aired on March 19, 1966.

Reed who was Donna Stone in the series was the wife of pediatrician Dr. Alex Stone played by Carl Betz. Paul Petersen who was Jeff Stone and Shelly Fabares portrayed Mary Stone in the series.

Donna Reed 1921-1986

Donna Reed

Donna Reed was born Donnabelle Mullenger on January 27, 1921 in Denison, Iowa. Her first movie role was in 1941, when she appeared in The Getaway. She would act in two other films that year.

1942 was a busy year for Reed, since she appeared in seven movies that year including The Courtship of Andy Hardy. She is remembered for co-starring with James Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life in 1947, which has become a Christmas classic.

Reed would also appear in From Here To Eternity in 1953. She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the movie.

Her first television appearance was in an episode of Ford Television Theatre in 1954. Reed appeared in six more movies and made appearances in three television shows, before she took the role of Donna Stone in the Donna Reed Show.

After the show ran from 1958-1966 she wouldn’t appear on-screen again, till 1979 when she appeared in a TV movie, which was named The Best Place To Be. Reed was last seen as Ellie Ewing in Dallas, in 1984 and 1985 before her death in 1986.

Donna Reed died of pancreatic  cancer on January 14, 1986 at the age of 64 in Beverly Hills, California.

Carl Betz 1921-1978

Carl Betz

Carl Lawrence Betz was born on March 9, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Betz portrayed Collie Jordan on the Love of Life soap opera in 1951 in his first television role. Betz would appear in his first credited movie The President’s Lady in 1953.

He then appeared in five more movies in 1953, then wouldn’t appear in another movie till 1966, when he appeared with Elvis Presley in Spinout. He had barely finished his last episode of the Donna Reed Show, when he was in the cast of Judd For The Defense from 1967-1969. He appeared in 50 episodes of the series as Clinton Judd. Betz appeared mostly in various television series till the end of 1977.

Betz also died of cancer on January 18, 1978 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 56.

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen was born as William Paul Petersen on September 23, 1945, in Glendale, California. Petersen recorded a song She Can’t Find Her Keys during the time he was on the Donna Reed Show. Petersen made his first television appearance at the age of 11 on Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in 1956 in the Along the Oregon Trail episode.

He would appear in all 275 episodes of the Donna Reed Show and was the only one besides Donna Reed to appear in all the episodes filmed. He appeared in 83 more episodes than Shelley Fabares, who played his sister Mary.

Peterson appeared in numerous television series, after the show ended its run in 1966.

He will be seen in The Executive which is currently filming and Kathy Garver, who portrayed Cissy on Family Affair will also be in the cast.

The role of Jeff Stone later would cause Petersen much anguish, because he wasn’t being taken seriously, when looking for more mature roles. He had been an original Mousketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club at the age of 8 in 1955.

Petersen would start an organization named A Minor Consideration, which was a child actor support group.

When he couldn’t find work as an actor Mickey Rooney talked him into attending college.

This quote from Petersen explains why he became a child actor:

“I became a child actor because my mom was bigger than I was.”

Petersen was not happy when actor Bill Bixby took his wife: [on losing wife Brenda Benet to Bill Bixby] I was so angry I couldn’t see straight, and what doubled this pain was that Bill was really visible. You know, he was going great guns and I was going in the toilet.

He has reached out to many former child stars, who needed emotional support from someone like him, who had been under the same stress as they were experiencing.

It is hard to believe that the teenage Jeff Stone will be 70 next year.

Shelley Fabares

Shelley Fabares

Shelly Fabares was born as Michele Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944 in Santa Monica, California.

Fabares has 90 acting credits in her acting resume and continued to receive many acting roles, after Donna Reed Show had left the air.

She was in her first movie The Girl Rush in 1955 and also acted in three television series that year.

Her first major role was when she appeared in 15 episodes of Walt Disney Presents: Annette in 1958. That same year would see her appear in her first episode of the Donna Reed Show. She went straight from making her last appearance on the show in 1965 to appearing in three Elvis Presley movies. She appeared with Elvis in  Girl Happy in 1965, Spinout in 1966, and was also in his 1967 movie Clambake.

Then she appeared in 47 episodes of the Brian Keith Show which aired from 1974-1976. Fabares would appear in 27 episodes of The Practice 1976-1977. She would appear in One Day At A Time 1978-1984 in 23 episodes.

Coach would be her next big show, in which she appeared in all 198 episodes from 1989-1997.

Since then Fabares has acted very infrequently with mostly voice roles since then. Her only acting job since 1997 was Playing to Win: A Moment of Truth Movie (TV Movie) which was shown in 1998, so she has not been seen on a television or movie screen in the last 16 years.

She was married to record producer Lou Adler from 1964-1980, then married Mike Farrell of M

She is the niece of actress/comedienne Nanette Fabray who is now 93 years old.

Fabares would have a #1 Billboard hit with Johnny Angel.

One of her major movie roles was in Brian’s Song 1971 when she appeared as the wife of Brian Piccolo.

Carl Betz portrayed her father on both the Donna Reed Show and in the movie Spinout.

The Voice Drawing More Fans Than American Idol in 2014

Versus

The Voice

American Idol started Season 13 back on January 15, 2014. 15.19 million viewers tuned in, to watch the 2014 premiere of the long-running singing competition show. By the time Episode 17 aired on September 6 the ratings had fallen to 9.76 million viewers, which was a drop of 5.43 million viewers from the premiere episode.

The Voice opened Season 6 with 15.86 million viewers and by the time the sixth episode had aired on March 11 the ratings had fallen to 13.51 million viewers. That was a drop of 2.35 million, which made The Voice the winner in attracting viewers so far this season with The Voice holding on to more of the viewers from their premiere, than the American Idol was able to do.

It is too early in the season to tell which show has the better singers, but right now I would give a slight edge to The Voice, since they have 48 singers still in the competition, while American Idol is down to 11 singers left.

The blind audition rounds to me are what really interest me, since it is always fun to watch the coaches turn around or not turn around for a contestant. It is fun to watch the interplay between coaches Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton, as they unashamedly beg the contestants to pick them as their coach.

I think the current panel of coaches is the best, since there seems to be better chemistry, when Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green (who won’t be returning) are not on the show.

The Voice begins the battle rounds on Monday, March 17 and they will end on March 25. I have never been a fan of the Battle Rounds, since it seems to me, to be more of a contest, to see who can hit the highest note. The battle rounds can eliminate contestants, because they may have to sing a song, that doesn’t best showcase a particular singer.

So once the Battle Rounds are over and the live shows began will begin to watch The Voice again. I dislike the fact that a singer chosen by a coach in the first episode of the Blind Auditions might not even be seen,, till 8 or 9 weeks later.

If The Voice returns this fall it won’t face any other competition, from other singing shows, since X-Factor won’t be returning this fall.

American Idol

American Idol to me better promotes their contestants, with them being on every show, after the Final 13 have been chosen. We learn the contestants easier, because we see them  singing week after week. After next Thursday’s results show on March 20 there will be only 10 contestants left.

I don’t think American Idol could have hired better judges than the trio of Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. You can see the compassion the judges have for the contestants. Harsh Harry as Harry Connick Jr. has been called seems to be the sterner of the three judges.

Jennifer Lopez will reportedly have her own detective show on NBC next year, so that will probably mean she won’t be returning for Season 14 next January. Ryan Seacrest contract for three years for $45 million will end after the last show airs in May. It remains to be seen if he will return, or if American Idol will even return for Season 14.

American Idol has lost its invincibility factor, as The Voice has proven it can draw more viewers consistently. American Idol attracted 10.11 million viewers last night, which was only bettered by Criminal Minds with 10.72 million viewers.

While American Idol may be slipping in the ratings it still is drawing well, when compared to the viewers watching shows on the other networks.

The Voice is outdrawing American Idol by three or four million viewers, so they are the king of the singing competition shows, unless American Idol can reverse its downward trend in the ratings.

Classic Instrumentalists: The Ventures

The Ventures 1958- present

 

The Ventures were originally formed as the Versatones in 1958, but changed their name to the The Ventures in 1959. Don Wilson on rhythm guitar is the only surviving member of the group and has remained with the group, during their entire 56 year run.

What really sets the The Ventures apart is that they have sold 110 million albums, which is the most sold by any rock instrumental group.  My favorite song recorded by The Ventures is their 30th anniversary recording of Wipeout on their Super Sessions  with their drummer Mel Taylor and guest drummer Max Weinberg being featured. I can’t recall ever hearing any two drummers sounding better on one recording.

You may want to watch this video of Mel Taylor of The Ventures and guest drummer Max Weinberg having their own battle of the drums:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea843FEdAIU&list=PL7F416D97B1AB2DDB

Wipeout is a must in any collection of songs by the Ventures, along with Pipeline, Tequila, Walk Don’t Run and many more of their best known hits. They have a unique sound that can be detected easily.

The Ventures have played a lot of covers of hits, by other groups but when they adapt the songs, to their own style they sound as good or better than the original recording.

George Harrison of the Beatles says he liked the instrumental sound of The Ventures more than the sound of any British groups.

The Ventures play Pipeline on this video from their 30th Anniversary Super Sessions DVD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nth5gRyJF28

The Ventures have been very popular in Japan in recent years having sold 40 million albums over there.

It is a testament to their sound, that they have been popular for 56 years and one of the few groups from the 50’s, whose recordings have stretched over seven decades.

So next time you visit a thrift store with old records you might get lucky and found a vinyl or CD of The Ventures, that will bring back memories of the past.

There have been a lot of groups known as surf groups, but to me The Ventures stand out as the best of all the groups.

 

American Idol Judges For 2014 Named: Focus Back On Contestants

Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. will be the American Idol judges for Season 13 for the long running singing competition show.

Season 13 of American Idol should be devoid of the drama last year, between dueling divas Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.

Keith Urban will be the only returning judge from Season 12. Jennifer Lopez returns after taking a year off, while Harry Connick becomes the 11th judge, since the show debuted in 2002.

The producers apparently didn’t want a repeat of the hostility, between the two lady judges Minaj and Carey, so Lopez will be the sole female on the judging panel in 2014.

It was easy to tell during Season 12, that the feud between Minaj and Carey was a major distraction and took the focus off the contestants.

The Season 13 lineup of judges tells me, that the contestants will be the main focus this season. I won’t miss the snarky comments of Ms.Minaj. She was by far the rudest judge to ever appear on the judging panel. She turned out to be a female version of Simon Cowell and even a shade ruder, than the master of put downs.

I have found Jennifer Lopez, to be a compassionate judge and isn’t inclined to make catty remarks, about the singers like Nicki Minaj did in Season 12.

Keith Urban also refrained from making his criticisms too harsh, while judging the contestants.

Harry Connick Jr. will probably be my favorite judge, since he sings the music from the 40’s and 50’s that I grew up and probably won’t harp on music needing to be more contemporary, since he sings a lot of the American standards that ruled the music world, before Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis Presley hit the music scene in the 50’s.

Randy Jackson To Mentor in 2014

Hopefully, we have heard the last of Randy Jackson’s catch phrases like “In it to win it”, “Dude that was not good for me”, “I’m sorry dawg, that didn’t work for me”, “I loved every minute of it, you were the bomb” and “I don’t know dawg, it sounded a little pitchy for me”.

Jackson has replaced last year’s mentor-critic Jimmy Iovine, so it will be interesting to see how Jackson handles his new role in the show.

Ryan Seacrest returns for Season 13 and has been the host since the show debuted in 2002 with Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman sharing the hosting duties in Season 1.

American Idol’s ratings peaked in 2003, when 38 million viewers watched the Season 2 finale. Only 14 million watched the Season 12 finale. A loss of 24 million viewers has to be a concern for the producers.

The Voice

The Voice drew over 15 million viewers to their finale in Season 4, surpassing American Idol for the first time and viewership has increased each year. I lose interest in The Voice, once the blind auditions are over, but sometimes will watch the live shows. Battle rounds and knockout rounds sound too much like a boxing competition, instead of a singing competition, so I skip those rounds altogether.

The winners of The Voice have been Javier Colon, Jermaine Paul, Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery. None of them have really done much, to advance their careers since winning.

X-Factor

X-Factor has not been a factor in the singing completion genre, with only 9 million viewers watching the Season 2 finale.

The first two winners of X-Factor, Melanie Amaro and Tate Stevens have not made much of an impact, on the music world that I am aware of.

American Idol Still No.1

American Idol is still No.1 in my book. The show will never regain the notoriety it had, with other singing completion shows proliferating today, but for me it has kept my interest since watching Season 2 and I have been hooked on it ever since.

As far as I know it is the only singing competition show,  to have winners sell millions of records and those winners become household names. I remember when Simon Cowell told Carrie Underwood on the show, that she would sell millions of records and his prediction was right on the mark.

The Voice and X-Factor Competing Again

The X-Factor has already started Season 3 and The Voice will be soon starting Season 5. I would be shocked if X-Factor were to fare better in the ratings, than The Voice since the fans of the The Voice seem to be very loyal.

We don’t receive Fox on our satellite, so we have to switch off the satellite to antenna to watch X-Factor and American Idol. Worst thing is that we have to watch every last commercial since we can’t record, either of those shows so we wind up not watching X-Factor, but will watch American Idol, because it seems like the only singing competition show, that is actually producing singers who make it in the music world.

Pineville, Louisiana in the 50’s and 60’s

Entrance to Louisiana College campus in Pineville, Louisiana.

 

I was born in 1944 in West Lafayette, Indiana and moved to Pineville, Louisiana, before my 2nd birthday in 1946, so my dad could teach chemistry at Louisiana College.

My first memory of Pineville was starting the first grade at Pineville Elementary in 1950 and walking the mile to school. I did ride the bus in the second grade, until the day I didn’t get off, at my stop and wound up in Libuse, Louisiana, which was about a ten-mile walk back home. Needless to say I never rode a bus to school after that incident. The bus driver was Harold Price, who drove a school bus many years.

I remember being in the class of Mrs. Eva Price, if I recall her first name right. One of my best friends in first grade was Robert Cavanaugh, who would later run track for Pineville High School and LSU. Then later Dr. Cavanaugh would become the chancellor of LSU in Alexandria and was responsible for it becoming a four-year college.

One thing I remember about the first grade is the ten-cent lunches. The price has probably gone up to 15 cents some 63 years later.

The second grade through fourth grade years sort of ran together, with no standout memories from those years. I do remember my second grade teacher being Mrs. Frankie Reed, third grade teacher being Mrs. Clarice Ellis and fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Effie O’Neal.

My fifth grade teacher was Mrs.Mabel  Powell and my main memory of that year was that I played my first Little League game the last day of school. I played for Bates Insurance Co. team that year and made a shoestring catch in that first game off of a ball hit by Luther Richardson. Think I was more surprised, than  anyone else that I caught the ball.

Mrs. Scivique (sp) was my sixth grade teacher if I remember right, but can’t remember her first name. Grady Harper was my seventh grade teacher and I think Robert Cespiva was my eighth grade teacher, but not sure of that.

1957 was a year that stood out, since that was the year Hurricane Audrey hit the Pineville area that June. I can remember Jim Gaines of KALB radio giving the latest reports about the hurricane. One memory is that we had no power for three days and my dad went to Jimmie Hoyt’s to buy some dry ice.

1957 Trip To Maine

My most vivid memory of 1957 didn’t take place in Pineville, since my dad and my older brother took a trip to Maine that summer. The trip was an education in itself, as we stopped at tourist stops like Rock City and can remember the signs saying SEE ROCK CITY on the roofs of barns along the way. We also saw many Burma Shave signs on the trip.

Stopping at Mount Vernon was one of the highlights, while  Washington, D.C. was the place that I remember best. We went inside the Capitol building and saw Congress in action, saw the U.S. Mint making bills and visited the National Archive building. We also visited the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian Institution was particularly interesting, where we saw the Spirit of St. Louis hanging from the ceiling. The last place I remember seeing was the Library of Congress.

Having been an avid baseball fan it was a thrill to see a major league game in Connie Mack Stadium, which was my first game to ever see. Saw future Hall of Famers like Roberto Clemente and Richie Ashburn in the game that, plus another Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that landed on tin roof above us in left field bleachers.

We also went to the planetarium in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell.

New York City was a place I will never forget and have not been there in the last 56 years. The main thing I can remember is seeing drunks lying on sidewalk in the Bowery District. That is something a 12 year-old kid always remembers.

We drove on to Beverly, Massachusetts, which was our next destination, since my Dad was there for the American Chemical Society convention there. I remember stopping at a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant with the famous orange roof and was impressed that they had 31 flavors of ice cream.

While in the area we were able to see the House of Seven Gables and Cape Cod.

The convention dealt with such topics as radiocarbon dating of trees and many other topics, that a 12 year-old would never comprehend.

Then we went on to Maine to see my Uncle John for the first time and I think the only time. It would be the only time to see my Maine relatives, since my cousin Jim would die in Vietnam in the 60’s, while piloting a helicopter and was shot down.

We stopped in Millville, New Jersey to pick up my Dad’s mom and while there saw my Grandpa Godfrey for the first and only time, while he was in the hospital. That reminds me of the times pranksters would call his grocery store and ask if he had Prince Albert in cans and then when he said yes, they would say then let him out.

The first and only stop on the way back home was Warsaw, Kentucky and Dad drove almost non-stop from there to Pineville, since school started the same day we got back home.

Random Memories

I don’t remember this but my mom told me I had gotten out of the A&P Grocery store at the age of three and walked down to the Murray Street Bridge. George Huffman a Pineville policeman, according to my mom said when he took me off the bridge that he was going to put me in jail, if it ever happened again. I probably didn’t even know what a jail was at that time, since we wouldn’t even have a television till six years later.

We didn’t have a television till I was about 9 years old and the only reason we got one was because, of my sister’s eye doctor prescribed it for her, so she could use both eyes and we had a polaroid screen on one side to make her use her “lazy” eye.

Being on Cactus Jack with Jack McCall hosting the show on KALB TV was one of my memories from this period and being in the Cub Scouts was another and I can remember riding in the Alexandria Christmas Parade one year.

George Huffman was part of another memory, when we thought our cat may have had rabies, so he tried to shoot at it with a shotgun under the house, but missed and the cat lived happily ever after.

My folks liked to go to Berwick’s Drug Store in downtown Pineville. The dilapidated building was not like Walgreen’s stores of today, but they must have had good prices on prescriptions.

Plane Crashes During Little League Game

One night we were playing a Little League game at Sandy Canyon, when I heard someone say “That plane’s going to crash” and we could see the plane heading downward and it landed near the Memorial Cemetery for veterans about a block from Main Street in downtown Pineville.

Pineville Elementary Burns Down

Pineville Elementary burned down shortly after I finished the eighth grade. This photo shows the firemen battling the blaze:

The story as it appeared in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk the next day:

Will never forget riding the mile from home to the fire that night. News traveled fast back then, even without any media coverage to speak of.

Fast Thinking Commercial Spokesman

Will never forget Larry McHale of KALB TV, who was ordinarily a newsman, but was advertising the virtues of a certain brand of cigarettes. Then in the middle of the commercial he starts coughing and thinking fast said “Just the thinking of those other brands makes me cough”.

Daredevil Over Red River

One memory that stands out is when a motorcyclist ran across the Red River on a some kind of contraption, that enabled him to ride a motorcycle. Anyone there that day is welcome to give their version of what happened that day.

College Drive Baptist Church Founded in 1947

Think we were living on Lawrence Boulevard, when College Drive Baptist Church was founded in 1947. It is now 66 years old and was located close to Louisiana College. I can remember J. Taylor Walworth as the founding pastor, when we joined in 1948. He is one of the few people in my life that never changed and looked the same shortly before his death many years later.

Can remember when Harvey McGraw was the education superintendent and a Sunday, which had 237 people present in Sunday School. It was a different time back then when fewer Louisiana College students had their own car, so they naturally walked to the church, which was closest to the college. As the years went by and more students had their own vehicles attendance started to fall. Students then could drive to the bigger churches in Alexandria and Pineville.

Starting Pineville High School in 1958

It was a huge change going from elementary school to high school and it took time to get used to moving from class to class all day at Pineville High. Went to summer school for three years, but graduated from Pineville High in September of 1962.

State Football Champions in 1960

The highlight of my high school years was when the Pineville High Rebels won the state football championship in 1960. Coach Jimmy Keeth and assistant Coach Vernon Beall led the team to a year, that the coaches and players will never forget. I think Coach Gene Millet was also a coach that year, but not positive. There has not been another championship football team from Pineville High School in the last 53 years making that year even more special.

Said Goodbye to Pineville in October of 1962

I joined the United States Army Reserve in 1962 and went to Fort Polk, Louisiana for basic training. Finished basic shortly before Christmas, then about two weeks later boarded a train at the Missouri Pacific station for Indianapolis,Indiana and headed for the brutal Indian winter, with snow on the ground in Indianapolis, when I arrived in January of 1963.

Returned home again from the Adjutant General School in Indianapolis in April of 1963. It didn’t take long to get tired of going to Army Reserve meetings, so joined the Regular Army for a three year enlistment in May of 1963 and would only come home in October of 1964 and 1965, before being honorably discharged in May of 1966 after a tour of duty in Hawaii and Vietnam.

Town Talk Employment

It was later in 1966, when I would be employed by the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, not having any idea that I would be working there for 36 years with two years working for the Monroe Morning World from 1974-1976 leaving Town Talk for an $8 a week raise, but Monroe paper had me working so much overtime, that I earned $5,000 more than I had earned with Town Talk the year before. Elvis Presley, indirectly helped me get the job in Monroe. We were in Monroe to see Elvis Presley and happened to drive by the newspaper and I wound up mailing in a job application, which was accepted.

More Memories of Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s

I remember we didn’t worry about how hot it was, because we didn’t know what air conditioning was and didn’t have one till the late 60’s. We only had one television station the first few years, before Alpine Cable came to town.

We would go out Highway 28 on our bicycles, since there was not much traffic. Nowadays it would be foolish to try to ride a bike on that same road today.

I can remember the Star Theater on Main Street catching on fire and Chief Crazy Horse and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were on the marquee that day.

Think it was still in the 60’s when Louisiana College ended their football program, due to lack of attendance at the games. I can remember the names of some players from back then like Clayton and Harry Bullard, Bill Mount, David Corley, Harry Ingalls, Frank Mobley, Gene Southern, Jim Jossick and Moose Munyan and of course Hamburger Harrison.

I remember George Huffman and Gus Perry from the Pineville Police Department and for some reason those are the only names I can recall.

Will never forget T.C. Brister who owned a sporting goods store letting me pay $6 for a $6.50 Nokona baseball glove, because that was all the money I had with me.

Can remember going to the display window of Jimmy Walker’s Appliance to watch television at night. I can remember visiting neighbors who had a television, which only got a New Orleans station and the picture was mostly snow, but a better picture would appear from time to time.

Trips to A&W Root Beer stand in Alexandria were a special treat. Those frosty mugs filled with root beer always hit the spot.

It is good to know that the same Martin Library we used to go to in the 50’s and 60’s is still operating many years later.

Remember well walking to Jack’s to buy the Sporting News baseball newspaper for a quarter on way home from high school.

Can remember the KALB radio record hops with the Big Bopper appearing a year or two before his death in a plane crash,which also killed Buddy Holly in Iowa.

Who can forget Mr. Pendergrast walking down the street with his top hat? There were rumors that he was rich, but not sure if he was or not. He sure didn’t live like a rich man.

Hope this article revives memories of what it was like growing up in Pineville in the 50’s and 60’s.

 

 

 

 

Classic Television: Donna Reed Show

The Donna Reed Show first appeared on ABC television network, on September 24, 1958 and would air its last show on March 19,1966.

Donna Reed who was Donna Stone on the Donna Reed Show was born Donnabelle Mullenger on January 27, 1921 in Denison, Iowa.
Carl Betz who portrayed Dr. Alex Stone on the Donna Reed Show was born March 9, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Paul Petersen was born on September 23, 1945 in Glendale, California and was seen as Jeff Stone on the Donna Reed Show.
Shelley Fabares was born as Michele Marie Fabares on January 19, 1944 and portrayed Mary Stone on the Donna Reed Show.

The Donna Reed Show hasn’t received the recognition it deserved over the years. I have not heard of it being shown on the schedule of any television network. It was one of the better known situation comedies, at the time but with time has faded into oblivion, for the most part since its last show 47 years ago.

The show made recording stars of Shelley Fabares who sang the million selling “Johnny Angel” and Paul Petersen who sang “She Can’t Find Her Keys”.

Donna Reed tired of making the shows, so the show ended after 275 episodes in 1966. She appeared as Miss Ellie in 24 episodes of Dallas from 1984-1985 and died on January 14, 1986 in Beverly Hills, California from pancreatic cancer.

Carl Betz went on to star in Judd For The Defense from 1967-1969 and appeared on television and in the movies through 1977, before dying of cancer on January 18, 1978 in Los Angeles, California.

Paul Petersen has been very active in television and movies, since the Donna Reed Show ended and he appeared in eight episodes of Matt Houston in different roles. He is currently filming the movie Executive Ranks.

Petersen is well-known for his work with former child stars, who had problems adapting to life after stardom. The death of Rusty Hamer of Make Room For Daddy fame. Hamer committed suicide 10 miles from where I am writing this, when he shot himself in Deridder, Louisiana at the age of 42.

It was all the motivation that Petersen needed to strive to help child stars, who couldn’t cope in the real world.

Petersen will be 68 in September.

Shelley Fabares is now 69 and acted in three Elvis Presley movies, Girl Happy in 1965, Spinout in 1966 and Clambake in 1967.

She was the co-star of the Brian Keith Show and appeared in all 47 episodes from 1972-1974. Fabares also appeared in 27 episodes of One Day At A Time from 1978-1984.

Her most successful role after the Donna Reed Show was her run on Coach from 1989-1997, when she portrayed Christine Armstrong in all 199 episodes.

The last movie Fabares appeared in was Playing To Win: A Moment of Truth a 1998 TV movie and she has done voice work mostly and has not been active in the last seven years.

Crazyabouttv.com lists all 275 episodes in the series:

http://www.crazyabouttv.com/donnareedshow.html

This is a list of Donna Reed shows available for viewing at youtube.com:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=donna+reed+show&oq=donna+reed+show&gs_l=youtube.3..0l10.43.2722.0.3248.13.10.0.0.0.0.712.1863.1j1j0j1j0j1j1.5.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.O_a5IEKYBPk

Smokey Joe’s Cafe Final Performance: Keep on Rollin’ and Searchin

Victor Trent Cook, Ken Ard, Adrian Bailey and Frederick Owens are featured in Keep In Rollin’ and Searchin’, two of the songs featured in this final performance of Smokey Joe’s Café.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLi0IDrzalY

Frankie Valli Still Going Strong At 79

Frankie Valli earlier in his career.

Frankie Valli was born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio on May 3, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. The 79 year-old singer appeared on American Idol singing his classic hits Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and Grease in the Season 12 American Idol finale.

Frankie Valli shown with Curtis Finch, Burnell Taylor and Lazaro Arbos on the stage during the Season 12 finale for American Idol.

Valli was enticed to sing after seeing Frank Sinatra in concert at the Paramount Theater in New York City. He appeared with various groups, but his main claim to fame came during his time singing with the Four Seasons. The group had monster hits like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Big Girls Don’t Cry, which all went to No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962 and 1963. Another 1963 hit Candy Girl peaked at No.3. Dawn (Go Away) would also climb to No.3.

His first hit as a soloist was Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, which reached the No.1 spot on the Billboard charts. My Eyes Adored You went to No.1 in 1974, then he had his last No.1 solo song with Grease.

An interesting note of trivia is that the Four Seasons were named after a New Jersey bowling alley.

When Valli recorded solo albums he sang in his regular voice, not the falsetto he used with the Four Seasons. Valli sounded good whether singing in falsetto or regular voice.

The Four Seasons and Valli weren’t affected by the British invasion, as they didn’t alter their sound to fit in with the Beatles craze.

The late 70’s would see Valli battle otosclerosis, which causes loss of hearing. He would have to sing from memory during this time and but would regain his hearing in 1980.

He would record his first solo album in 27 years in 2007 and is still active today 62 years after he first became an active singer.

A crowning achievement for Valli and Four Seasons was their induction, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

These are some 30 second clips of the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli hits:

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/frankie-valli-mn0000794449/songs

Four Seasons singing Working My Way Back To You

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pI1BgbYIPk

Four Seasons singing a medley of Dawn, Rag Doll and Bye Bye Baby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmFFsBCHLB0

Ryan Seacrest who is usually shorter than most of the singers on American Idol had to be happy, to stand next to the diminutive Frankie Valli who is five foot five, so Seacrest towered over him at five foot eight.

It is great to know that 79 year-old Valli is still active, with no signs of retiring anytime soon.

American Idol: America Got It Right With Choice of Candice Glover

Candice Glover is the new American Idol of Season 12.

It has been evident since the Final 10 were chosen by judges, that Candice Glover was the best singer among those singers in the Final 10.

American Idol fans confirmed that she was the best, by choosing her as the new American Idol for Season 12. The only surprise would have been if Candice had not won. Kree Harrison finished second and Angie Miller was third in Season 12. I look for Kree and Angie to have successful careers, but Candice should have her first album released long before either of them, since her album should be in stores for months, before Kree and Angie release their albums.

The producers are smart to release the first album of Candice much sooner than usual. Most albums by the current American Idol are not released till November, so the summer release will let fans of Candice have her music, in their MP3 players and phones sooner rather than later, plus many albums should be sold on the American Idol tour this summer.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=frankie+valli+on+american+idol+finale&view=detail&mid=DE2CA8D5E78046F9CAD9DE2CA8D5E78046F9CAD9&first=0&FORM=NVPFVR.

There were many guest artists on the finale, but none of them came close to matching Frankie Valli and him singing with the five guys on I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and Grease. Valli commanded the stage like giants of entertainment do when they enter the spotlight. Valli turned 79 earlier this month and was born a year before Elvis Presley. Valli has been singing since 17, which was 62 years ago.

Aretha Franklin also sang but her singing didn’t have the impact of Valli, since she was singing from New York, but she sang some of her biggest hits, which were received well by the audience.

It was great to see Candice become the first girl  to win American Idol since Jordin Sparks won in Season 6.

Randy Jackson said his goodbyes to fans of American Idol last night. He is the only one of ten judges to remain with the show the first twelve seasons. Latest rumors say that the other three Idol judges could be leaving too, but it could be several months, before any changes to the judging panel will be announced. There are even some reports that the show could return to a three judge format.

It is too early for ratings results for the finale, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that the ratings will be the lowest for any finale in the 12 year history of the show.

The Voice Season 4 will be ending soon, then Season 5 of The Voice will return in the fall along with Season 3 of X-Factor, so three music competitions will end before American Idol returns in January.

 

 

 

 

American Idol: Nobody Going Home

Angie Miller and Kree Harrison were Top 2 in American Idol results show in which nobody went home to get the show on schedule after judges didn’t use their save.

 

Kree Harrison had to be shocked to be in the Top 2 with Angie Miller, on the Thursday night results show on American Idol. The judges had roundly criticized her performances on Wednesday night, but evidently the judges couldn’t sway the voters into not voting for her.

It was a shock to see Candace Glover in the Bottom 2, since she had some of the best feedback from the judges on Wednesday night. Amber Holcomb also was in the Bottom 2, but that wasn’t too surprising since there was some criticism of her decision to sing MacArthur Park on Wednesday’s show.

Ryan Seacrest teased the audience by saying “And going home is no one” and then explaining the show was expecting the judges to use their save, but when they didn’t the show needed an extra week to finish on the original schedule.

According to my calculations there should be three more weeks, with the final three revealed next week, then the final two the following week and finale the third week. None of this is official so is only conjecture at this point.

Lee DeWyze, the Season 10 winner, who is probably the least recognizable winner among the 11 winners so far sang a song from his new album.

Angie Miller seems to be favorite to win American Idol.

The favorite to win Season 12 of American Idol seems to be Angie Miller, unless she falters in the remaining shows. She needs to follow the advice of the judges and Jimmy Iovine and sing while playing the piano, which seems to be the niche she needs to be in to become the next American Idol.

However, with the votes from yesterday and those cast next week anything can happen, so it is crucial for each of the remaining four contestants, to make good song choices and to perform them as flawlessly as possible.

American Idol has lost almost 5.5 million viewers since the premiere show in January. I think many fans have gone over to The Voice and don’t care to watch American Idol the next two nights. A Big Bang Theory rerun topped American Idol last week, which shows how far the ratings have tumbled this season.

Only 12.46 million viewers tuned in to the Wednesday performance show, but no results are available yet for last night’s show.

American Idol: Judges Praise Angie, Trash Kree

Candace Glover, Angie Miller, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb will find out who is going home next on American Idol on the results show tonight.

 

The judges may not have that much influence on American Idol voters, but if they do make a difference in the voting, then Angie Miller and Candace Glover should be in Top 2 and Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb should be in the Bottom 2. However, we can only guess what the actual results will show, when Ryan Seacrest reveals the results tonight.

Kree Harrison got trashed, hammered and battered by the judges after she sang the Susan Tedeschi song Hurt So Bad. I was thinking how good of a job, that she had done with the song, but the judges hated her rendition of the song. It was plain to see that Kree was shocked at being attacked so mercilessly by the judges. I thought she did a creditable job on A Whiter Shade of Pale, but the judges were not impressed by that either.

Keith Urban seemed to think the one hit wonder songs should have been recorded in the last 10 years. The contestants are not mind readers and shouldn’t be expected to know what timeline the judges were wanting the songs from.

I can understand A Whiter Shade of Pale being a one hit wonder, since it was the only hit of Procol Harum, but Cry Me A River recorded by Julie London 58 years ago in 1955 would not be considered a one hit wonder, since London recorded many more albums after its release. It has been covered many times over the years, including my favorite version by Diana Krall in her Look of Love album released in 2001.

Candace received mixed reviews from the judges, while Angie received more praise, than any of the other three contestants. It would be a tremendous shock if Angie is in the bottom two and it would show that the opinions of the judges were not affecting the voting results.

Jimmy Iovine did not like Amber singing MacArthur Park, which was written by Jimmy Webb. Iovine called the song corny, probably because of the lyrics saying “Someone left a cake out in the rain and I’ll never find that recipe again” which was corny. Interesting side note about the song: Webb wrote the song after breaking up with Linda Rondstadt, since they had met many times in MacArthur Park.

Kree and Amber clearly got the worst feedback from the judges, so it looks like Angie and Candace should be the top vote-getters.

Vote For the Worst website has Kree as the one to vote for this week, which might help her stay another week. There is speculation that Ryan Seacrest’s surprise tonight may be that nobody goes home, since the judges haven’t used their save.

So the surprise may be either that the judges use their save or that Ryan will announce nobody will go home. The bad thing about that scenario is that fans cast millions of votes for nothing, so it would make sense if the judges are allowed to use the save, rather than just announce nobody will go home.

I don’t think the judges should even have judged the two group songs. The group songs are only filler anyway and it gave the judges a third chance to trash Kree. I don’t know if Kree can recover from hearing how much the judges hated her singing to become the American Idol.

There is no sense in American Idol having a two-hour show for four contestants and next week it will again be two hours for three contestants, unless the judges use their save to keep all four contestants for another week.

Next week’s show could be the next to last show of Season 12, unless everybody stays another week tonight.

Rumors have been flying around the internet that Mariah Carey might be fired, before the completion of Season 12, to boost the ratings, but those rumors seem to have been unfounded.

For a more complete recap of last night’s show:

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/04/25/american-idol-amber-holcomb-judges-argue/

 

 

American Idol: Candace Glover Current Favorite To Win American Idol

Angie Miller, Candace Glover, Janelle Arthur, Kree Harrison and Amber Holdomb comprise the Final 5 on American Idol Season 12.

The American Idol judges Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey have their work cut out for them since only the most talented singers are left in the competition.

It is looking like Candace Glover is the current favorite to win the title of the American Idol for Season 12. It will be interesting tonight to see how Candace fares in the voting results, that will be revealed tonight. The best singer on American Idol is not always the winner on the finale in May.

Janelle Arthur on the other hand is almost certain to be in the bottom two tonight, after receiving lukewarm critiques from the judges. I agree with Nicki Minaj that Janelle will make a mark in country music, even if she doesn’t win the competition.

It will be sad to see Janelle go home tonight, if she does receive the fewest votes. She is very likeable and seems to be able to handle any criticism from the judges well.

However, there are no guarantees in American Idol voting, as Pia Toscano can testify to when she was eliminated early in Season 12.

Pia Toscano eliminated early in Season 10 of American Idol.

So Ryan Seacrest might reveal some surprising results tonight, but in all likelihood Janelle will be bidding adieu to her fellow contestants tonight.

Kree Harrison probably will be among the top vote-getters tonight, with Angie Miller or Amber Holcomb joining Janelle in the bottom two.

The shocking event of the night was that Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey actually talked to each other, for the first time that I know of during Season 12 live shows.

Unreality TV delves further into their altercation last night:

http://www.unrealitytv.co.uk/american-idol/american-idol-2013-nicki-minaj-tells-mariah-carey-to-simmer-down-over-kree-harrison/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Unreality+%28Unreality+TV%29

Personally, I thought all the contestants performed well, but the judges know music much better than me who missed notes or sang offkey, so my opinion and a dollar will get me on the city bus, but doesn’t really mean that much.

New York Daily News has posted a recap of last night’s show:

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/channel-surfer/2013/04/american-idol-season-12-episode-28-recap-candice-glover-shines-on-night-when

 

Latest Idol News

Pia Toscano mentioned earlier in this article will be seen in her first movie Grace Unplugged in October and should also release her debut album. New York Daily News has more info on the Season 10 American Idol contestant:

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/channel-surfer/2013/04/american-idol-season-12-episode-28-recap-candice-glover-shines-on-night-when

Fantasia will be seen on American Idol tonight singing Lose To Win and Clay Aiken is also slated to appear in the telecast.

Taylor Hicks is still appearing in concerts, but his albums are not selling well. His 2011 album Taylor Hicks has received great reviews with 248 Amazon reviews rating the album 5 stars, while only 5 gave the album 1 star. His problem is that it has not sold well and is currently 87,267th in sales and new and used copies of the album can be bought for one cent.

 

 

 

Will The Voice Find A Singer That Can Sell Albums?

Shakira, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher, judges and Carson Daly host of  Season 4 of The Voice on NBC.

The Voice has done well in the ratings, but still hasn’t come up with a winner that can sell records. Season 1 winner Javier Colon’s album Come Through For You peaked at No.134 on the Billboard 200 chart and has sold only 45,000 copies, as of late last December, more than a year after its initial release.

Season 2 winner Jermaine Paul has an album Finally that has no release date listed at Amazon.com, almost a year after he won The Voice in May of 2012.

Season 3 winner Cassidee Pope has released these singles which have sold a lot of downloads. She covered Cry a song recorded by Faith Hill and sold 81,000 copies in one week last December and debuted at No. 60 in its first week.

.Pope also recorded singles of Over You by Miranda Lambert which rose to No.25 on the Billboard Country chart and also recorded Keith Urban’s Stupid Boy which was at No.40, plus Michelle Branch’s Are You Happy Now, which was No.95. The real test for Pope will be when her first album is released later on down the road.

So the judges this season are intent on finding someone who will become a bona fide star, with name recognition something which has eluded the first three winners of The Voice.

Shakira and Usher the two one name judges seemed to have settled in well, in the first shows of Season 4.

Monday night’s show saw all four judges turn around their chairs for the Morgan Twins who sang Fallin’ and Judith Hill who sang What A Girl Wants.

Midas Whale a duo singing Folsom Prison Blues and Sarah Simmons singing One of Us sang well enough to have all four judges turn around for them on Tuesday night.

Cathia who sang “No Me Doy por Vencido” attracted the attention of Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton and Cathia naturally chose Shakira as her mentor.

No judges turned around for six contestants on Monday night and for one of the six singers shown last night. It is heartbreaking to see a singer sing their heart out, only not to have one judge turn their chairs around. That is what gives the show credibility though, since everyone knows, that some of the singers are not ready for prime time yet.

I usually watch the Blind Auditions, then skip the Battle Rounds, since it seems to be a contest of who can sing the loudest and hit the highest notes. I then return for the individual competitions in the last weeks of the show.

The Voice may be very popular, but until they have a singer who breaks through and has national name recognition it will be known more as the show that features judges turning around in their chairs.

After all these singers are vying to win The Voice and hope to sell millions of albums, like some past winners of American Idol have done. Selling 45,000 albums in close to a year like Javier Colon is not going to help him or The Voice. That is far from the record sales of Carrie Underwood, who has sold 15 million albums, which included 7 million copies of her Some Hearts album.

For The Voice to be taken seriously as a star maker they have to come up with a star that can sell more than 45,000 albums, while an American Idol winner like Carrie Underwood has sold 15 million albums.

The Celebrity Net Worth website discloses that American Idol Season 4 winner Underwood has a  net worth of $45 million, while Season 1 American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson has a net worth of $14 million.

I will start taking The Voice more seriously, when they can produce stars of the magnitude of Underwood and Clarkson.

Net Worth of Petula Clark, Fabian, Prince Jackson, Connie Francis and Gordon Lightfoot

Petula Clark – $10 Million

The Celebrity Net Worth website lists 80 year-old Petula Clark as being worth $10 million. Clark has now been singing for 74 years. When I think of Petula Clark I think of her hit song Downtown.

Fabian – $25 Million

Fabian Forte known only as Fabian by most rock and roll fans was 70 last February and although he may not have a lot of hit songs he made his mark in the movies, appearing in a total of 45 movies and TV shows from 1959-1996. Celebrity Net Worth lists Fabian’s net worth at $25 million.

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson – $100 Million

 

Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. may be only 16, but he is already worth $100 million.. He may or may not have access to that money now, but his financial security is insured, if he doesn’t go through his money too fast.

Connie Francis – $25 Million

The net worth of Connie Francis is listed at $25 million despite the fact that she only had three No.1 hits in her 70 year career. The 74-year-old Francis had her first No.1 hit in My Heart’s Got A Mind Of Its Own in 1960. Her next No. 1 hit was released in 1961 when Together was No.1 on adult contemporary chart and her last No. 1 hit was Don’t Break The Heart That Loves You which reached No.1 on the Billboard charts in 1962. Francis has not even released an album since 1969.  One of her best known songs was Who’s Sorry Now, but it peaked at No.4 for her first Top 10 hit in 1957.

Her biggest regret was not marrying Bobby Darin, after her dad chased Darin out of a building at gunpoint. He then said Darin was out of their lives, when the news of his marriage was broadcast on the radio. Francis said she wished their car had been filled with water, while driving in the Lincoln Tunnel and hoping her father would both be killed.

Gordon Lightfoot in 1967 – $30 Million

The 74 year-old Gordon Lightfoot is listed as being worth $30 million.  Lightfoot has been singing since 1956 at the age of 18. Bob Dylan said Lightfoot was one of his favorite songwriters. He wrote Early Morning Rain, which was covered by many well-known singers including Elvis Presley.

His first No.1 song was If You Could Read My Mind, which reached No.1 in Canada in 1970. His other No. 1 hits on Canadian pop charts were Sundown in 1974 and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1976. Lightfoot had nine songs reach No.1 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary charts. Sundown was the only Lightfoot song to reach No.1 on the U.S. pop charts, but he placed four songs on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts.

He released his last album All Live on Rhino Records in 2012. It includes most of his most well-known hits in this list from Wikipedia:

  • All Songs Written By Gordon Lightfoot

Nicki Minaj: Harshest American Idol Judge Ever?

Nicki Minaj

I thought Simon Cowell was the harshest American Idol judge, but Nicki Minaj gave him a run for his money last night. She not only criticized the singing of the singers, but their attitude and demeanor as well. She seemed to enjoy trashing the singing of Matheus Fernandes and then added insult to injury by saying he was choosing songs about his height, so he could have a pity party. She could have handled this situation better, by telling him backstage not to dwell on his height.

Matheus Fernandes
Matheus Fernandez

Fernandes may be remembered by some viewers, when he competed in The Glee Project on the Oxygen channel in 2011. The 4′ 9″ Fernandes was the shortest of all the American Idol contestants in the 2012 season.

Mariah Carey, who I had considered as a diva of the first magnitude showed a lot more class than Minaj during the show last night. Keith Urban and Randy Jackson didn’t seem to get as much camera time, as Minaj since she obviously enjoyed having the spotlight on herself, rather than on the contestants, who should have been in the spotlight. It is almost like Minaj enjoys stabbing the contestants with a knife and then gives it a little twist for maximum shock effect.

I think it was important that American Idol brought back Randy Jackson for Season 12, to give the show some stability. Keith Urban has shown how well he knows American music, by knowing a song that one of the singers hadn’t heard of, with Urban being from Australia.

http://t.entertainment.msn.com/nicki-minaj-most-hateable-tv-personality-ever-1?toc=ent

American Idol Officials Choose Groups

With the judges picking which contestants were in each group it eliminated some of the drama. There was no drama of someone begging to join a group, or to be kicked out of a group and finding a new group. However, there was still the drama of not all the singers liking a song choice. One group in particular had a country singer, who was trying to learn a Maroon 5 song Moves Like Jagger. The song choice sealed his fate as he couldn’t remember the words and was clearly uncomfortable singing a song out of his comfort zone.

TV Ratings Down

American Idol premiered this year on January 16 and drew only 17.93 million viewers, which was the lowest since the show debuted in 2002 with 9.8 million viewers. This was the first season since 2002, that less than 20 million viewers watched a premiere show.

A season low 13.28 million viewers watched American Idol last night and this is during the Hollywood week.

The proliferation of singing competitions has dealt American Idol a blow, that they may never recover from. To make matters worse The Voice will be returning again, about three months after ending their fall version in December. That could put a further dent into American Idol ratings. X-Factor finished their season a month before the 2013 debut of American Idol.

It would not surprise me to see a viewer backlash against Nicki Minaj, if she continues to belittle the contestants in such a cruel way. The way she is behaving tells me she won’t be back for Season 13.

Memories of a Lifetime: 1971-1975

1971 – We were living on Riverfront Street in Pineville and very close to the Red River, so I walked to Town Talk each day. I passed a lady living in a tent, on the way to work each day. It was sad to know, that she couldn’t afford to live in a house, so she lived next to the river on public land. Later that year we moved to a duplex on Donahue Ferry for $50 a month, which saved us $25 a month in rent. Coincidentally, both the Riverfront and Donahue Ferry rentals burned down after we moved out of them. In addition the house behind us on Riverfront Street was a victim of the erosion of the banks of Red River, which forced the owners to leave their house, before it fell into the river.

1972 – Our first son Steve was born shortly after midnight at 1:52 AM on Thursday, February 17 at Rapides General in Alexandria, Louisiana. My wife’s mother drove down from Texarkana, Arkansas to assist my wife in taking care of Steve the first few days of his life.

This was also the year that the Alexandria Daily Town Talk converted from hot type to cold type composition. We now started using paper, instead of lead to produce the paper each day. The first day was chaos, since everyone was trying to work on all the pages at once. A system was soon put into place, designating what pages each page builder was responsible for, which made the production of the newspaper much smoother.

1973 – Steve would have a bad case of gastroenteritis, which caused his hospitalization. Former president Lyndon B. Johnson died while he was in the hospital. To compound the problems, during his hospitalization I was chosen to serve on a jury in a criminal case involving a drug store owner, who was shot in the back when he opened the store at night for the two criminals. Each suspect was found guilty and given a fifteen year sentence, so have been out of prison for at least 25 years now.

1974 – This was another eventful year, in which Elvis Presley indirectly helped me get a job at Monroe, Louisiana newspaper. We were watching the news on a Monroe television station and they mentioned that tickets were for sale to see Elvis Presley at the Monroe Civic Center. While in Monroe to see Elvis we passed the Morning World-New Star newspaper building and we decided I should apply for a job there. So when we got home I applied for a job and was granted an interview. We left the Town Talk for a $8 a week raise. It didn’t make much sense at the time, but I made so much overtime that I actually made thousands more than what the Town Talk paid.

Meanwhile….back to the Elvis Presley concert. You could feel the electricity in the air when Elvis took the stage, while singing “C.C. Rider”.  Elvis was still at the top of his game that night, since this was only a year, after his Aloha From Hawaii concert. It was sad to see the concert end, since it was such a great show. If Elvis was on drugs that night, then it wasn’t evident to me in his performance.

We moved to West Monroe, Louisiana the next day after Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run passing Babe Ruth, on the all-time home run list.

Our first apartment was the Shangri-La apartments off of Wellerman Road. I was only at my new job, for only a few days, when a lot of the workers, who were in the union went on strike. That caused me to get more overtime, than I ever wanted, since we were working so short-handed. Strike-breakers from the Shreveport Times came to work with us. I was worried that since I was new, that I might be mistaken for a strike-breaker. One of the strike-breakers was pulled over by a car, with flashing lights and then attacked by some union ruffians. Those on the picket line tried to prevent me from driving onto the parking lot, but I kept driving and they eventually moved out-of-the-way. None of the strikers ever returned to work at the Monroe newspaper plant.

I was in for a shock, since the Monroe Morning World was still using hot metal composition. So I was thrust back into the world of hot type, after having worked in cold type composition for two years. One of my jobs was to use a Ludlow stick which was used for the Page One headline.  The Morning World used three line staggered headlines, which made it even trickier to get the spacing just right. I had never been given the chance to use a Ludlow stick at Town Talk, so it was good to learn how they worked.

My main job was building pages and then after the shift was over would throw away the type, unless it was to be used in the News-Star the next day. We tossed the ads which would not run again in a bucket, and used string to tie up the ones that would run again and place them in the News-Star page. Basically what I did when arriving at work most days was tear down the News-Star pages and then set up the Morning World pages by placing the ads where they were designated to be placed in page layouts. When President Nixon looked like he was dying of phlebitis in 1974 we had several pages ready in case he died, but we eventually wound up throwing the pages in the bucket.

Another major event was the birth of our second son Kenneth on December 20 at 3:05 PM on a Friday. It turned out that week that I worked 73 hours with about 36 hours of overtime, since our normal week was 37 and a half hours. Then after getting off work on Christmas Eve we assembled a toy for my first son.

1975 – I worked so much in 1975, that I made $5,000 of overtime. I would work from 2:00 PM till 6:00 AM on most shifts. The composing room superintendent would call me each weekday and ask me if I would come into work at 2 PM, instead of the normal 4:30 PM. I once worked 49 days in a row, without one day off, because the foreman would ask me if I wanted to work both of my days off. I got sick on the 50th day, which I had off so it took a toll on me. So I was working 16 hour days on weekdays. This year consisted of working and sleeping for the most part, because when I woke up the boss would be calling me in to work early.

We moved again during 1975 to Monroe side of the Ouachita River, to the Plantation Apartments off of North 18th Street. We were much closer to work and didn’t have to cross a bridge to arrive at work. 1975 was a good year financially, but it was a tiring year, with so little time to sleep.

Memories of a Lifetime: 1944-1960

When the surgeon that performed my cancer surgery told me in November, that my duodenal cancer has a history of returning it reminded me of my immortality. It may have been negative news, but it also reminded me of many events of my 68 years of living, that were either positive and negative.

1944 – Was born on October 14, just four months after the D-Day landing and World War II would be over in Europe, about six and-a-half months later in April of 1945.

1950 – My first memory is of walking to school with my brother on the first day of school to Pineville Elementary. I remember Mrs. Price was my first grade teacher. School lunches were only 10 cents at the time.

1951 – This is the year I rode my last school bus in the second grade, when I accidentally got off the bus in Libuse, instead of five blocks from Louisiana College, so walked home that day from Libuse to Pineville. I never rode another school bus after that day.

1952 – We moved from Holloway Drive to Burns Street in February of 1952, moving from a small house to a very large house. The house payment was $55 a month, which was a bargain at the time.

1954- Think this is the year when my dad purchased our first television, when I was nine years old. He didn’t buy it for entertainment reasons, but because my sister had a lazy eye and a special screen was placed over the TV screen, that made her use her lazy eye. We bought it at L.B. Henry’s store on Main Street, when they were selling televisions. Our first TV was an Admiral.

This is also the year I really became interested in baseball and remember listening to the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Willie Mays made his famous catch in one of those games on a ball hit by Vic Wertz of the Indians.

1955 – Ray Kroc opened his first McDonalds fast food restaurant (the McDonald brothers opened the first eight, before selling out to Kroc.) Once after he bought the San Diego Padres they were playing so badly, that Kroc said over the public address system that his short order cooks at McDonalds could play better the Padres.

This was the first year I played Little League baseball. I went to a local hardware store to buy a baseball glove and wanted to buy a $6.50 glove. Only problem was that I only had $6, but the owner Mr. Brister let me have it for $6. It was a Nokona brand glove.

1956- My main memory of 1956 was when Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in a World Series. He recently sold his uniform from that game for $756,000 and is using part of the money to pay college education expenses for his grandchildren.

1957 – Elvis Presley buys Graceland for $100,000, since their last Memphis home had attracted too many fans, with no way of keeping them off the grounds. This was the year my baby sister was born on March 23. Three months later the worst hurricane to hit Alexandria-Pineville area in my memory hit the area, with full force when Hurricane Audrey hit. Audrey had earlier killed 500 people in Cameron, Louisiana.  I remember Jim Gaines of KALB Radio telling, about the progress of the hurricane and the damage being done. We had a very tall pine tree fall in our yard, but was not close to the house.

August of 1957 would bring many memories when my dad, older brother and me took a road trip in our 1949 Packard, from Louisiana to Maine. We made the usual tourist stops like Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Mount Vernon and other tourist attractions. We visited the most tourist attractions in Washington, D.C. We visited the National Archives Building, Capitol building, White House (just saw it from the fence), Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Mint and Engraving and watched the workers print sheets of currency.

We visited the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and saw a show at the planetarium, plus visited the site of the Liberty Bell. However, the main thing I remember from the Philadelphia visit was seeing my first major league game. The hometown Phillies were playing the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in Connie Mack Stadium. I remember fans bringing paper bags with bottles in them to the game. I can only imagine what was in those bottles. I also remember the Phillies fans booing their own players. The highlight of the game was when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run that hit the tin roof over our heads, in the left field bleachers. Three years later Mazeroski would hit a walkoff homer that defeated the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series Game 7.

Saw my grandpa for the only time in my life in the hospital. Not sure where the hospital was located. It was either New Jersey or Pennsylvania. My dad’s folks were living in Millville, New Jersey.

Will never forget my dad driving through the Bowery district in New York City and seeing men laying on the sidewalk. That would be the only time for me to visit New York. Then we went on to Beverly, Massachusetts and ate at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, with the classic orange roof. My dad was in town for an American Chemical Society convention, then after the convention ended we went to Maine, to see my uncle and aunt and their family. It was the only time I saw my cousin alive, since he was piloting a helicopter in Vietnam, when he was shot down and killed.

Then we raced back to Louisiana, stopping only one night at Warsaw, Kentucky, then my dad drove almost non-stop since school started the next day at Pineville Elementary. The next month the Milwaukee Braves would win the 1957 World Series.

1958 – Played Pony League baseball in 1958, which would be my fourth and last year of playing baseball. One night when we were playing a game, someone hollered “That plane is going to crash” and we saw a plane plummeting to the ground, about two miles from the park. It crashed about a block or two off of Main Street near a National Cemetery, but not positive about the exact crash site.

This was also the year I entered Pineville High School. It is difficult to believe that this was 55 years ago. Finding classes was not easy that first day, since I wasn’t used to attending such a big school.

The Milwaukee Braves took a three games to one lead in the 1958 World Series, but would let the Yankee,s that they had defeated in 1957 come back to win the World Series.

1959 – I remember this being the year my older brother graduated from high school. February of 1959 would see Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper go down in an airplane crash in Iowa. The Big Bopper had appeared in Alexandria, Louisiana about 1958, at a KALB Radio record hop. 1959 was also the year the White Sox won the AL pennant but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

The highlight of 1959 was our trip in a Volkwagen Micro-bus, which took us to Missouri, Canada and back to Louisiana. My dad was taking classes at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, so we stayed mostly in Missouri at the 80 acre farm of my grandpa and grandma. They had only recently installed indoor plumbing in their home. I will never forget the huge console radio on the living room floor. The sound was great and I could hear the Kansas City Athletics baseball games on the radio. Saw Leave it to Beaver for the first time on their television. Don’t think it was on KALB TV in Alexandria, La., since it was on another network.

We spent part of the summer at the Chateau Cottages near Devils Lake in Wisconsin. We were on a tourist boat, when the captain asked me to pilot the ship. He sold souvenirs, while piloted the boat up the Wisconsin River. It was a relief when he took over the helm, since there were a lot of duckboats on the water.

Then after my dad finished the summer classes we drove to Chicago. It was amazing to look up at the tall buildings on the Loop and we went to a church in Berwyn, Illinois. Then we drove to Detroit and visited the Ford headquarters and also toured Post Cereals factory and can’t remember if we also toured the Kelloggs plant. We crossed into Canada at Windsor and journeyed to Brantford, Ontario where my mom had relatives. We then went to Niagara Falls and crossed back into the United States.

My dad was stopped by the Canadian Mounties, because our Volkswagen micro-bus resembled a vehicle they were looking for. At one point during our trip while driving in the United States a driver hollered “Governor Long” at us, when he saw the Louisiana license plate. This was the same year he managed to escape from a mental health institution, so Louisiana was in the news a lot that summer.

1960 – Nothing stands out about this year for me, except for the Pittsburgh Pirates defeating the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Bill Mazeroski, who I had seen hit the home run, in Philadelphia three years earlier hit a walkoff home run over the left field wall, that made Pirates the world champions of baseball.

Beach Boys On Verge of Breaking Up Again

When the Beach Boys reunited for their 50th Anniversary Reunion Tour it appeared, that the group would still be together after the end of the tour. However, lead singer Mike Love and band member Brian Johnston plan on splitting from the group, at the end of the current reunion tour.

Before the reunion the Beach Boys had split into three fractured groups, with the Love-Johnston configuration, the Al Jardine group and the Brian Wilson group. Love has announced that  Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks will not be part of the Love-Johnston group.

We are only five days away from the last performance of the 50th reunion tour, when the Beach Boys appear as a group for the last time, unless the various factions can work out their differences.

It is sad to see that apparently the egos of Mike Love and Bruce Johnston are too big to share a stage with the other members of the group.

With Brian Wilson now 70, Mike Love 71, Al Jardine 70, David Marks 64 and Johnston 70, it makes me wonder how willing fans will be to pay to see the fractured groups. In a perfect world the Beach Boys could have been together, as a group for the last 50 years, but instead the band has been fractured by lawsuits of the various factions, that only made things worse as the various groups fought over the right to use the Beach Boys name.

Having being stationed in Hawaii from June 1963 – January 1966, Beach Boys music was a huge part of the music scene during those years. I was fortunate to see Beach Boys in concert at Conroy Bowl at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I can remember going to the beach on the weekends listening to Beach Boys music, on my transistor radio.

I purchased the Beach Boys Live at Knebworth concert from England video from 1980, which would be the last time the complete group appeared in England. At the end of the video Al Jardine mentions that Dennis Wilson and Carl Wilson had died in the years, since that concert. It is my favorite Beach Boys video, since it includes most of their greatest hits.

It would be nice if the members of the Beach Boys would think more about their fans, than their own financial situation, but apparently that isn’t the case. So we probably will see the group split into various factions again, instead of banding together and giving fans to hear them as the group we grew up listening to.

Regardless, I still want to thank all of the Beach Boys for providing years of music for their fans. Just wish that most of them who are mostly in their 70’s could overlook their petty differences, so we could hear them as a group, not as splintered groups from the Beach Boys we knew for the last 50 years.

 

 

The Voice Tops X-Factor In Head to Head Encounter

The Voice not only defeated X-Factor in the ratings, but drew 3.2 million more viewers during the 8 ET – 9PM time slot last night. I seriously thought that Britney Spears making her debut as a judge would attract more viewers to X-Factor.

It was a huge win for The Voice, as it drew 10.7 million viewers, while X-Factor only brought in 7.5 million viewers. The worst thing is that X-Factor had 12 million viewers on their debut show last September.

The 7.5 million viewers is an all-time low for X-Factor, as it was worse, than the 8.51 million viewers who watched the live results show on November 23 of last season.

So the spinning chairs won this battle over Simon Cowell, Britney Spears and the X-Factor singers.

These results don’t bode well for X-Factor, as the other networks will be debuting their fall programs soon. However, with The Voice not in direct competition next week, it will be a true test, to see if X-Factor rebounds from a shocking ratings loss.

The Voice has won one round one, but we may see both shows losing viewers, in the coming weeks.

Simon Cowell is probably in deep depression, since he had criticized The Voice producers, for scheduling their program, against X-Factor. Now the ratings results make it worse for him, since he knows X-Factor is not in the same league as The Voice, when it comes to attracting television viewers. Cowell had predicted X-Factor would draw 20 million fans during the inaugural season, but never drew more than 12.59 million fans, which watched the live results final last December. So dropping to 7.5 million in the first show this season, compared to 12.49 million viewers watching the debut show in 2011 is a serious setback to Cowell.

Producers of both shows will be watching the ratings next week, to see if The Voice can top X-Factor for a second week. X-Factor will be on its own tonight, but with the Packers-Bears game going against it, there could be more disappointing ratings announced tomorrow.

American Idol producers can’t be too happy, after the ratings were released, as the singing competitions bubble may be on the verge of being burst.

Best Doo-Wop Song Ever: Since I Don’t Have You

Skyliners released Since I Don’t Have You in December of 1958.

The Skyliners hit Since I Don’t Have You reached No.12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1959. Personally, it is my favorite doo-wop song ever to be recorded.

It was amazing that they recorded their first hit, in the first year of the group. The group stayed together till 1963, then re-formed in 1974 and have been active since then. The Skyliners still have a busy schedule of performances, mainly performing at doo-wop revival concerts across the country.

This is the original group recording of Since I Don’t Have You from 1959:

I was in my second year of high school in 1959 and hearing it today brought memories of those days to mind.

This is The Skyliners singing their signature hit 46 years later in 2005. Jimmy Beaumont is still the lead singer, all these years later in this concert, at the Sands Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Janet Vogel one of the singers in the group died a tragic death, of carbon monoxide poisoning on February 21, 1980. Her story was made into a movie Since I Don’t Have You, that will be released in September of this year.  This trailer from the movie shows how tragic of a life Janet had, before her suicide and the backstage story of her life as a singer with the Skyliners.

The movie shows that there is a price to pay for success and the toll it takes on a child, who grows up in a musical environment.

Wolfman Jack Still Remembered 17 Years After His Death

A young Robert Smith before he became known as Wolfman Jack, a rock and roll disc jockey.

Robert Weston Smith was born January 21, 1938 in Brooklyn New York. He became better known as Wolfman Jack, when he adopted that name while broadcasting on KCIJ, a country and western radio station. located in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1962.

Part of the inspiration for the Wolfman Jack personna was derived from the style of bluesman Howlin’ Wolf. His love of horror films also influenced him in becoming Wolfman while he picked up the Jack part of his name from hipster lingo, which commonly mentioned Jack.

This is the way most rock and roll fans remember Wolfman Jack.

Wolfman Jack moved to XERF a powerful 250,000 watts station in  Mexico. U.S. radio stations were limited to only 50,000 watts. A car driving from New York to California reportedly would never lose the station during the trip.

After eight months in Mexico, Wolfman Jack was managing a Minneapolis radio station, while still sending his tapes to XERF for broadcast in Mexico. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1966 and sent his tapes to another border blasting station XERB in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

His popularity was so widespread that artists like Freddy King, Todd Rundgren and Guess Who wrote songs about the Wolfman. George Lucas a film-maker was a Wolfman Jack fan and included a scene in his movie American Graffitti with Richard Dreyfuss walking into his radio station. The Wolfman pretends to not be the Wolfman in this scene:

He was the regular announcer on the Midnight Special on the NBC television network. He is seen on Midnight Special, while the Guess Who sing a song about the Wolfman.

Wolfman Jack died on July 1, 1995 in Belvidere, North Carolina from a massive heart attack. He reportedly had just finished a promotional tour for a book, when he arrived home and died in his wife’s arms.

Music had changed after 1962 and Wolfman Jack said the happy music ended in 1962. Music became a part of the war protests of the 60’s and he longed for the days of happy songs like Short Fat Fanny, as he chose this song to illustrate a happier type of music.

One last clip that lets you hear Wolfman Jack in action:

Off the Beaten Path Music Websites: Passions of Patchy

Passions of Patchy may be off the beaten path, compared to mega music sites like Pandora and Spotify, but that in no way means the content is not as good. There may not be as much musical content as the afore named sites, but this is not just a musical site.

Before you even scroll down to the music icons, there is a CLICKS icon for links, which take you to some very interesting sites, including a link to make your own license plate, then emailing it to someone, that is just one of many links.

The CHUCKLES icon provides a plethora of jokes like this:

I am not offended by all the blonde jokes, because I am not dumb and I am not blonde – Dolly Parton

You see a lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy. – Erica Jong

Six year old Del says the best way to have someone to fall in love with you is to tell them you own a bunch of candy stores.

The section is broken down to 27 categories. Caution: It is addictive and time-consuming, once you start reading the jokes.

TOUCH SOMEONE -This  is the first of the music sections and includes Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings and the REM classic Everybody Hurts. Rock Around the Clock seems to be out-of-place on this page, but it really doesn’t matter when you can hear Johnny Mathis sing his standard Misty.

The bottom row of icons is where you find most of the music on the page in jukebox format with list of songs to choose from.

BLUES IN MY EYE JUKE JOINT – This page consists of three jukeboxes consisting of songs like I’ve Been Loving You Too Long sung by the late and great Etta James which reminds us again of how great of a singer she was. The jukebox also includes current singers like Susan Tedeschi, singing  It Hurt So Bad.  Jonny Lang has his clothes in his matchbox and is heard singing Matchbox, a driving blues number that really jumps. There is an option at the bottom of each jukebox to play all the songs in jukebox. A lot of the songs may not be recognizable, due to them being sung and played by some of the blues pioneers of the past.

LOST IN THE 50’S AND DOO-WOP – Having grown up during this era, this is my favorite music on the entire website. The Lost in the 50’s page has six jukeboxes, filled with the songs, that baby boomers like me grew up with.

Some of favorites from the jukeboxes:

I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Locomotion – Little Eva

Harbor Lights – The Platters

Shotgun – Jr. Walker and the All-Stars

Hurt – Timi Yuro…..one of the most emotion packed songs ever.

Lost in the 50’s…..this song takes me back to the 50’s, like no other song can do.

You next will find the DOO WOP jukebox on the bottom row of the Lost in the 50’s page. When you go to the Doo Wop page, there will be three speakers holding the doo wop music including songs like:

Blue Velvet – Clovers….This is nothing like the Bobby Vinton version as it gets the full doo wop treatment.

A Thousand Miles Away – Heartbeats….Doo wop music at its best.

Earth Angel – Penguins….A classic doo wop song that will live on forever, as long as there is music.

In The Still of the Night – Five Satins….This song was so well-known that it was included, as part of Ronnie Milsap’s song Lost in the 50’s.

SATIN SMOOTHIES –  Is   next as you return to the home page where you find two jukeboxes, where you can find the songs my parents grew up with, plus some we remember as teenagers. These songs were the chart-toppers, before Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis Presley changed music forever in the middle 50’s.

These are just a few of those songs:

Old Cape Cod – Patti Page….You will be very fortunate, if you can find a song like this being recorded today.

Unforgettable – Nat King Cole….This has to be the best of Nat King Cole’s hits that has become a standard.

In The Mood – Glenn Miller Orchestra…. When you think of the big band era, this is one of the first songs, that come to mind and it sad we lost Glenn Miller during the war.

Lazy River – Mills Brothers….This was one of the premier groups of this era, who epitomized the music of the era.

SUNRISE GOSPEL – This page has only one jukeboxes but will bring back memories, to those of us who grew up in church in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, plus some more recent songs. The artists are not listed, but that sounds a lot like Dolly Parton on Farther Along.

Some of my favorites from this page:

Beyond the Sunset….song written by a blind person after a group of people were viewing a sunset together and thus the title of the song, since the blind writer said they looked beyond the sunset. The reading that goes with this song makes it even more special.

Family Bible….Willie Nelson wrote this song, but sold the rights to it for only $50 to Claude Gray, the country music singer.

Precious Memories….sang this at funeral once for a lady who attended our church. What a great thought to think of the precious memories, even though the loved one is gone.

TWO STEPPIN’ JUKE BOX – Last but not least, Patchy’s Passion includes three jukeboxes for country music fans.

The list includes:

Don’t Rock the Jukebox – Alan Jackson….This song really rocks out and tells the story of a man, who is too sad over his breakup with his girlfriend and doesn’t want to hear the Rolling Stones  on the jukebox, but wants to hear George Jones instead.

He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones….This song has been chosen as the best country music song ever, on many lists of Top 100 songs.

Sweet Dreams – Patsy Cline…. also recorded  by Tommy McLain of Pineville, Louisiana, who attended my high school in the 60’s. His recording of Sweet Dreams outsold Don Gibson, the writer  of the song and the immortal Patsy Cline. His version went to No.15 on the Billboard chart.

For the Good Times – Ray Price….Has it really been 42 years since Ray Price recorded this country classic? It is true and also it is true that Ray Price is still actively singing at the age of 86. The 2010’s started his eighth decade of being active in country music.

Passions of Patchy was created on March 17, 2000, which she dedicated to her mom Candy, who was dying of cancer. This page tells  about the last months of her mother’s life. If this doesn’t make your eyes tear up, then it may be time to have your pulse checked:

http://dapatchy.com/gospel/journal.html

You could spend hours at this website listening to the music and going to some of the links at the website.

Most of all though it is all about the music.

To go back in time to hear some of the music from the past that we never became tired of:

http://dapatchy.com/

Kenny Rogers: Legendary Singer In Music Business For Seven Decades

Kenny Rogers as he appeared when singing with First Edition.

Kenny Rogers was born August 21, 1938 in Houston, Texas. Rogers is in his sixth decade of being in the music business, starting the mid 50’s with the The Scholars, which was disbanded and Rogers struck out on his own.

Kenny singing That Crazy Feeling in 1958 on Carlton Records singing in the doo-wop style.

Only 194 people have viewed this video of Kenny Rogers at the House of Blues, which apparently was on the Disney Channel sometime in the past. He is seen early in the video singing Walkin’ My Baby Back Home a 1931 song and nothing like a song, you would expect him to sing.  He is shown playing the upright bass in another song at the 14:25 mark in the video.

When he sings When I Fall In Love, one of the girls in the audience rests her head on the shoulder of the man, that she is sitting with, which demonstrates the emotion which Rogers sings with carries over to the listeners. He sings another song from the past, in I Get Along Without You Very Well a 1939 tune, penned by Hoagy Carmichael and demonstrates the gift of Rogers to sing any genre. At 43:53 in the video Rogers sings perhaps the best rendition of I Remember You, that I have ever heard sung.

The video is interspersed with Kenny telling about the highlights of his career. Clips from the past are shown, in addition to him singing at the House of Blues, with the backing of a string orchestra. The video shows Kenny singing Sweet Home Chicago, showing Kenny can sing blues music too. He also sings some of his big hits like Lady and The Gambler. This video is worth watching, because it shows how multi-talented Kenny is and helps bring home the fact, that he may be one of the best singers, to ever walk on a stage.

This is why it is a mystery, why he has never been enshrined in the Country Music or Rock and Roll Hall of Fames. Maybe his crossover hits, prevented him from being defined into either category. One thing for sure is that he is going to sing well, regardless of what genre he is singing at any particular time.

Kenny Rogers seen while part of the Bobby Doyle Trio with Kenny on top, without his beard.

Kenny joined the New Christy Minstrels in 1966, but he left the folk group the next year to form the First Edition.  The group’s best known hits were songs like Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town and my personal favorite Reuben James.

Kenny and the First Edition singing Reuben James.

Ten years later in 1976, Kenny would begin his solo career which is still going strong 36 years later.

1977 would produce his first No.1 hit in Lucille, which would be the first of many No.1 hits. He would have seven No.1 hits when the 1980’s started. Then he recorded his first song to be No.1 in U.S. Country, U.S. and Adult Contemporary, which was Lady and maybe his most popular song recorded and was written by Lionel Richie. 1983’s Islands in the Stream recorded as a duet with Dolly Parton placed first in all three of the categories again.

It has been 26 years since Kenny recorded a non-duet No.1 with his recording of Tomb of Unknown Love in 1986.

The complete Kenny Rogers discography:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Rogers_discography

Kenny recorded many duets and eight of those songs made the Billboard charts.

Kenny singing Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer with Kim Carnes.

Kenny singing Islands In The Stream with Dolly Parton at the 25th anniversary of Dollywood in 2010.

Kenny and Dolly singing the same song a few years earlier.

Kenny and Dottie West singing Everytime Two Fools Collide

Yesterday, I found a Kenny Rogers DVD of his appearance on Live By Request on the CBS television network. I had given it to my wife for her birthday several years, but she had never gotten around to watching it till yesterday and that is why I am writing this article today.

I was surprised to look in my MP3 player and there wasn’t one Kenny Rogers song in the player. I will have to rectify that situation, as soon as possible but I do have a Kenny Rogers LP, which I hope to listen to today.

Any collection of Kenny Rogers hits would need to include Lady and The Gambler.

Kenny singing Lady in the Live By Request  program on CBS television. Viewers called in any Kenny Rogers song they wanted to hear and Kenny would sing it.

Kenny singing one of his classics The Gambler.

Kenny  singing She Believes In Me.

Kenny singing Through The Years at Giants Stadium 26 years ago.

Kenny Rogers is not only a great singer, but is also a talented photographer. This short article shows some of his photography. Kenny is so well-respected in the photography field, that he has been a judge in a Digitial Camera’s Photographer of the Year competition, which is described in this undated article, but appears to have happened in 2011.

http://www.futureplc.com/2011/07/06/kenny-rogers-named-digital-camera%E2%80%99s-photographer-of-the-year-judge/

Kenny Rogers decided to have plastic surgery, when he married his wife Wanda Miller, that is 29 years younger than him. They are still married 15 years later. He has been married for 48 years combined, after five marriages. He has twin sons Justin and Jordan who will be 8 on July 6. His wife is a twin and both he and his wife have a history of twins in their families.

http://inyourface.ocregister.com/2008/10/30/kenny-rogers-regrets-plastic-surgery-but-is-hopeful/1334/

Kenny singing Love Or Something Like It at Bonaroo festival three weeks ago. Sorry for the poor sound quality, but thought readers would want to see Kenny is going strong at 73.

Kenny and Lionel Richie singing Lady after Kenny tells about the history of the song. If you only watch one video in this article this is the one to see. To see two professionals like Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie singing one of the greatest songs ever written, makes taking the time to watch it worth every minute.

No article on Kenny Rogers would be complete without mentioning his movie career. Kenny appeared in the The Gambler TV movies five times from 1980-1994, which again proved how talented Kenny is in any endeavor that he undertakes.

Kenny as he appeared in the series of The Gambler TV movies.

kennyrogers-featured

Not everything Kenny touched turned to gold, even though it may have in the early days, when his Kenny Rogers Roasters expanded to 350 restaurants in 1995. Three years later, the company was bankrupt and sold for $1.25 million. Kenny must have taken a financial bath, for the company to be sold for only $1.25 million. No Kenny Rogers Roasters remain open in the United States today.

The following article gives extensive details about the life of Kenny Rogers, but it may take close to an hour to read the entire article:

http://www.billdeyoung.com/onekenny.html

Kenny sold his home in Georgia on Wednesday of this week:

http://www.ontheredcarpet.com/Kenny-Rogers-home-in-Georgia-sold-for-2-25-million–auction-avoided-Photos/8719446

I knew Kenny Rogers was a successful singer, but only in the last two days have I learned, just how great he was and is still great today.  It is safe to say that Kenny Rogers has made a lasting impression on many Americans, through his music and his acting. I have developed a new appreciation for Kenny Rogers and will be looking for his LP as soon as this is posted.

In closing it amazes me that Kenny Rogers is not in the Country Music Hall of Fame, even though he has had 21 country hits. Part of the problem is that maybe the voters who elect singers to the Country Music Hall of Fame don’t consider Rogers a pure country singer, but just sang songs that found their way to the top of the country charts.

In addition, I can’t see why he isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame either, because if any singer belongs, in both Hall of Fames it would be him. Hopefully he will be inducted to one or the other or both, while he is still with us and can enjoy being inducted, like so many others have in past years.

Josh Ledet Sounded Even Better Live (Now With Video of Concert)

Josh Ledet

It was just yesterday that I learned Josh Ledet would be appearing, in Heritage Square in Sulphur, Louisiana. We got there early about 1:20 PM, before the 2PM concert. We live only about a mile-and-a-half from Heritage Square, so it took about three minutes to arrive at the venue.

Jason Ledet, the brother of Josh was the host of the show and introduced all the acts and thanked the sponsors and workers, who did an amazing job, considering they only had two days to set up for the concert.

A lady sang Amazing Grace, then a couple of country singers sang a couple of songs each. The lady had a French sounding name so won’t attempt to guess at the spelling. She returned after the country singers sang and sang the Loretta Lynn classic You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man.

Then a fourth singer sang six songs, while playing the acoustic guitar, with none of the songs being recognizable to me and the crowd seemed to be uneasy, since most of the crowd was in the extreme heat and wanted to see Josh. Then a surprise guest Chase Slaughter of X-Factor sang a song acapella.

After all acts left the stage, it was time for Josh to make his entrance and he rewarded his fans, with his stirring rendition, of When A Man Loves A Woman. Almost everyone was on their feet, from the first note of the first song, till he left the stage. Josh called out to some family and friends, that he recognized.  He also sang It’s A Man’s World, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg and I Wish a song that really rocked the house and sounded even better than this version on American Idol.

Josh also sang Ready For Love. If you have a chance to hear Josh Ledet take it, because you will never forget the experience. He commands the stage well and has as much stage presence, as anyone since Elvis Presley. You could feel the electricity in the air when the took the stage.

This video shows Josh singing at the concert at Heritage Square in Sulphur, Louisiana. The video starts off with still photos, but it switches to video, when Josh begins to sing. Somehow this writer was captured on this video shot, since if I had known I would have absconded from the scene. I am the prematurely gray man wearing a Calvary Baptist T-shirt, not having a clue I was being filmed. The best part of the video is when Josh sings I Wish, which was a hit for Stevie Wonder. The video doesn’t come close to the sound of actually being there:

He came out early because of the extreme heat. Free bottles of water were being handed out to the fans, to keep them hydrated. My wife drank three or four bottles of water by herself and was feeling sick, when the crowd closed in to see Josh.  We were just outside the covered part of the arena, so  there was no escaping the heat, unless leaving the seat, to stand under the trees.

We left after Josh finished the first half of the show and went to his motor home behind the stage. I was badly sunburned by then, so we decided to leave before my wife got sicker or I got more sunburned, than I already was.

The main thing is that we got to see and hear Josh Ledet in person. I will be shocked if he is not a bigger star, than the American Idol Phillip Phillips or runner-up Jessica Sanchez.

Best of all, the concert, food and water were free, with McDonalds furnishing free hamburgers.

Josh Ledet will be returning to Louisiana later this summer, when the American Idol tour stops in Lafayette, Louisiana and appears at the Cajundome. The seats won’t be cheap, but if you got the money you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Best Organ Music

There have been a lot of great organists who play different genres of organ music. One of the best rock and roll organists were Booker T & the MG’s. They are shown playing their classic Green Onions.

 

I bought the LP of The Cat recorded by Jimmy Smith playing his Hammond B3 organ. The title song The Cat is a song I have never got tired of, after listening to it for 48 years.

 

Denny McLain is known for being the last major league pitcher, to win 30 games when he won 31 in 1968. He also was a proficient organist, that plays two classics, More and Laura in this audio recording:

The late Leonard George DeStoppelaire, better known as Lenny Dee plays the classic It Had To Be You.

 

The late Ken Griffin who died in 1956 plays Now Is The Hour a classic Hawaiian song.

 

An unidentified organist playing a southern gospel classic Bye and Bye When the Morning Comes.

 

Nancy Bea Hefley playing the organ at a Los Angeles Dodgers game.

 

Hope these videos bring some memories of  present and  past organists, who have left an indelible impression on our lives with their music.

Classic Television: Shindig


Sept. 16, 1964, January 8, 1966

Shindig was a show featuring many of the best known singers of that era, that was first televised on the ABC television network on September 16, 1964. The Beatles had started the British invasion, in February of 1964 and the show featured many British singers.

The show featured regular singers like Bobby Sherman, Jackie DeShannon and Donna Loren and Teri Garr was one of the dancers and went to be a movie actress.

Guest hosts on the show were a strange mix of Boris Karloff, Mickey Rooney, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ed Wynn, Hugh O’Brian, Jackie Leonard and others, who were not known for their musical talent.

This video features Herman’s Hermits singing I’m Into Something Good. The harmony from the background singers reminds me of the Beach Boys sound. The next song is Doo Wah Diddy sang by the Manfred Mann. Gerry and the Pacemakers close out the video with Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying, their signature hit.

 

The Isley Brothers sing Shout in this video, that also features the Shindig dancers.

 

Bobby Sherman singing the Frankie Ford hit Sea Cruise.

 

Jackie DeShannon sings her hit song What the World Needs Now, which peaked at No.7 in 1965.

 

Donna Loren singing Shakin’ All Over which also features the Shindig dancers.

 

Bobby Vinton singing his classic Mr. Lonely.

 

The Supremes singing Stop in the Name of Love.

 

The Beach Boys singing Do You Wanna Dance.

 

Patty Duke singing Say Something Funny, the only time I have ever seen her sing.

 

The Temptations featuring David Ruffin sing My Girl.

 

Shindig may have ended 46 years ago, but we can still enjoy the videos of the singers from those shows, that lets us go back in time. I had a little portable TV while in the Army in Hawaii and was able to see some of the Shindig shows. Ironically the show went off the air, about the same time that I was boarding a troop ship for Vietnam.

It is just my opinion but the music of today doesn’t come close to the music of the middle 1960’s.

Robin Gibb of Bee Gees Dies At 62

Robin Gibb 1949-2012

Robin Gibb has died in London at the age of 62 of colorectal cancer. Gibb had been in a coma in April and was reported close to death by some media sources. However he emerged from the coma but died Sunday morning.

His death leaves Barry Gibb as the only surviving member of the Bee Gees. Andy Gibb had died at the age of 30, from a heart condition, in 1988 and Robin’s fraternal twin brother Maurice had died of a heart attack in 2003 at the age of 53.

The Bee Gees singing How Can You Mend A Broken Heart with Robin and Barry Gibb featured in their first No.1 song on U.S. charts which was recorded in June of 1971.

Robin Gibb as a solo artist singing How Deep Is Your Love

Bee Gees singing their classic hit How Deep Is Your Love

My favorite Bee Gees songs were How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and How Deep Is Your Love.  Their harmonic sound reminds me of the Beach Boys.

Robin, Maurice and Andy Gibb may have passed away, but as long as music fans love great harmony, their music will live on forever.

 

 

 

 

Frankie Lymon

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing their first and most successful hit Why Do Fools Fall in Love on the Frankie Laine show in 1956.

The Premiers, the original name used before they became The Teenagers were working on a song Why Do Birds Seem So Gay, when Frankie Lymon one of the members of the group decided to change the name, of the song to Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The song became their first single and peaked at No.6 on the pop charts, but was No.1 on the R&B charts.

The group then became known as Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. The group broke up the next year, as Lymon became a solo act. Lymon caused Alan Freed’s Big Beat television show to be canceled, when he was dancing with a white girl during a performance, which didn’t set well with television stations in the south.

His records didn’t sell as well as his voice changed and he picked up a heroin habit at the age of 13. Lymon lost his record contract with Roulette in 1961. Then he was married for the first time in 1964, but his only child died two days after her birth. To compound matters, he had married his wife, while she was still married to her husband.

He then married Zola Taylor of The Platters, but the marriage didn’t last long due to his drug habit. He then married his third wife in a three and-a-half year period in June of 1967.

Lymon had not taken heroin for three years, before having a big promotion scheduled to help his career. However, he went back to heroin, to celebrate what he thought was going to be a return to fame. However the celebration didn’t last long, as he died of a heroin overdose on February 28, 1968 at his grandmother’s house.

His legal problems followed him even in death, as all three lives tried to gain access to his estate. Part of the problem was that Lymon had never got around to divorcing his first two wives. His third wife Emira Eagle was finally awarded the right to Lymon’s estate. Lymon had never received a penny for co-writing Why Do Fools Fall in Love, but Emira Eagle did begin to receive royalties from the song.

The following tribute shows his grave and tells about his influence on Motown music at Find A Grave website.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9929

Groups With Four In Their Name

 

The Four Lads singing their hit song Standing On The Corner on the Mike Douglas Show.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons singing a medley of their greatest hits.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons singing Working My Way Back To You

A later version of the Four Freshmen singing the Beach Boy’s hit Surfer Girl.

The Four Tops singing I Can’t Help Myself in London, England on March 15, 1970. They are seen wearing the famous Nehru jackets of that era.

These are the most well-known groups I can think of, with Four in front of their name. It was fun putting together this collection of the music I grew up with.

I can remember some of these songs being sung on Your Hit Parade. I was amazed at how many ways they presented the same song when it ran for weeks on the show. There are only so many ways of singing Standing On The Corner.

1960’s: When Surfing Music Collided With Hot Rod Music

There was a time when surf music was king. The Beach Boys may not have been the first band featuring surfing music, but they are certainly the best-known from that genre. Dick Dale and the Del-Tones are generally recognized, as the first to record surf music with “Let’s Go Trippin’.

Jan and Dean were an early surfing music group who found a new way of surfing….sidewalk surfing:

Surfin’ USA was the first Top 10 hit for the Beach Boys when it went to No.3 in 1963. The Beach Boys are shown singing two of their early hits Surfin’ USA and Surfer Girl which went to No.7 a few months later.

Jan and Dean had a No.3 hit with Little Old Lady From Pasadena. Used car dealers in California would sell cars telling potential buyers, that the cars had been driven by a little old lady from Pasadena, who drove the car only on Sundays to go to church. Jan and Dean turned it all around in their song, changing the little old lady into a street car racer:

The Beach Boys also got into the hot rod music scene with Little Deuce Coupe and 409.

I Get Around went to No.1 one of only four No.1 hits by the Beach Boys:

Jan and Dean recorded Dead Man’s Curve and Google Maps shows the route taken in the song:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=sunset+%26+vine,+los+angeles,+ca&daddr=34.07918,-118.429441&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=15&mra=dme&sll=34.079216,-118.422446&sspn=0.01301,0.029182&ie=UTF8&ll=34.086644,-118.380947&spn=0.052034,0.11673&z=13&om=1

Ironically Jan Berry of Jan and Dean was in an accident not too far from Dead Man’s Curve which can also be seen on this Google Map. Those readers who know this area probably will be interested in knowing the exact locations.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&saddr=sunset+%26+vine,+los+angeles,+ca&daddr=34.07918,-118.429441&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=15&mra=dme&sll=34.079216,-118.422446&sspn=0.01301,0.029182&ie=UTF8&ll=34.086644,-118.380947&spn=0.052034,0.11673&z=13&om=1

Italy’s highway system places a whole new meaning when it comes to dead man’s curbs as their highways seem to have no shoulders to change flat tires. Instead of shoulders they have drop offs of hundreds of feet if a car veers off the road. Dead Man’s Curve being sung while showing these treacherous highways adds a new meaning to the song:

This video shows The Ventures playing Wipeout their classic instrumental:

The last video is of the Beach Boys singing Fun, Fun, Fun about a girl having fun driving the car until her daddy takes the keys away:

Whitney Houston Death and Random Thoughts

Whitney Houston Dies At 48
Drugs have apparently taken the life of another music icon, with Whitney Houston dying on Saturday, on the eve of the Grammy Awards. From Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson and now Whitney Houston, we have seen how drugs can change lives of those who use them.
 
Houston was rumored to be a judge in the next season of X-Factor, just a day before her death. Simon Cowell has reportedly confirmed, that she was being considered as a judge for Season Two.
 
Amy Winehouse, also died in the last year to an apparent drug overdose.
 
 
Random Thoughts
I am beginning to wonder if Tony Bennett is becoming senile, after saying that drugs should be legalized soon after the death of Whitney Houston. That is problem now, since drugs are readily available in some form for those that use them. Their only problem may be the lack of cash to buy those drugs. Bennett is almost surely the last of the crooners left from the 30’s and 40’s.
 
When Bennett passes on it will signal the end to the era, that preceded Bill Haley and the Comets and Elvis Presley. Some of the crooners like Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin sang for many years, but now Bennett stands alone as a reminder of the crooner era.
 
It was interesting to find out that Houston has only recorded four studio albums in the last 25 years. Whitney Houston’s music is selling well, just like Michael Jackson’s albums sold well after his death.
 
The Grammy Awards tribute to the Beach Boys was not done well. The Beach Boys didn’t even sing until after two tribute songs. Then when they did sing, it was a repeat of Good Vibrations. They could have sung three songs instead of the tribute songs by the others. The Beach Boys deserved better, since they are one of the oldest groups in the music business having started in the early 60’s.  It was good to see Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, Mike Love and Bruce Johnston on the stage together again, after having broken up into Wilson singing by himself, Love and Johnston touring together and Jardine appearing apart from the others.
 
 
Sports Notes
Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks did it again tonight, scoring a three pointer with nine seconds left to give the Knicks a 90-87 win over the Toronto Raptors. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Lin will receive, when Carmelo Anthony returns to action next week.
 
The Chicago White Sox signed Kosuke Fukudome to a $500,000 contract, which was a $14 million pay cut after being paid $14.5 million by the Cubs in 2011. Fukudome didn’t come close to living up to the hype after signing with the Cubs on a four-year contract. It will be like coming home for Fukudome, after spending part of the summer with the Cleveland Indians.
 
Politics
The GOP doesn’t seem close to having a candidate,  that will lead the party to victory in November.  We have seen wild swings in the voting during the primary and caucus season. Romney, Santorum or Gingrich should be standing on the platform at the GOP convention this summer, after winning the nomination but none of the three is a sure thing at this point, with the wild fluctuations we have seen this year. Gingrich seems to be out of it right now, but wait till the next primary at the end of this month. Gingrich has way too much baggage for the GOP hierarchy to give him their support. Gingrich has so many skeletons rattling around in his closet, that he only opens the closet in the dark, so his enemies can’t see all the skeletons.
 
Green Party candidate Roseanne Barr is not keeping the GOP candidates awake at night, worrying about her candidacy. She will do well to garner 500,000 votes on election night. It is difficult to take Barr serious after her rendition of the National Anthem at a baseball game a few years ago. Somebody in the front office had to be fired, for thinking it was a good idea for Barr to sing the National Anthem. It would be like someone letting Jaleel White to sing the National Anthem using his Steve Urkel voice. Whitney Houston put them all to shame when she sang the National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl.
 
Consumer Tips
Buyers need to be aware of buying electronics on QVC.com. I have seen their prices as much as $100 higher on some electronics and close to the highest prices. Priceblink.com provides a unique service to online buyers, since once you sign up to the free service, they will notify you of a cheaper price, than the price you see at a website. Priceblink.com can literally save a consumer hundreds of dollars.
 
 
 
 

1968-1969: Years of Assassinations, Moonwalks and Protests

 

 

 

Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

 1968 and 1969 were years defined by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, American astronauts being the first to walk on the moon, anti-war protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the New York Jets and the New York Mets were surprise Super Bowl and World Series winners.

 

Super Bowl II would be won by the Green Bay Packers when they defeated the Oakland Raiders on January 14.

 

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood would be seen for the first time on February 19, 1968.

 

March 16, 1968 would be one of the low points of the Vietnam War when between 374-504 unarmed civilians were killed at My Lai by United States troops. 2nd Lt. William Calley was charged with 22 of the deaths and sentenced to life imprisonment, but only served three-and-a-half years of house arrest.

 

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced on March 31 that he would not be running for president in the 1968 election. His decision resulted in the Democrats only having one president elected in the next 24 years, when Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976. It would be 1993 before Bill Clinton took office as the 42nd president and he would become the first Democratic president to serve two complete terms since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 

April 4, 1968 started a year of assassinations and demonstrations, when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of his Memphis motel room. Ironically only seven days later the Civil Rights Act bill was passed by Congress, which outlawed racial discrimination, which Dr. King had been fighting before his death.

 

Then only two months and one day after the assassination of Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated while celebrating a win in California primary during his 1968 presidential bid. Sirhan Sirhan is arrested for the murder of Kennedy.

 

 If Kennedy had lived to win the Democratic nomination, he may have defeated Richard Nixon in the 1968 election. Instead Nixon defeated Senator Hubert Humphrey by half a million votes.

 

The Yippies led by Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman would descend on Chicago and the streets of Chicago turned into a riot zone as the Yippies and other radical groups battled Chicago police, U.S. Army and National Guard, while the Democratic convention was being held.

 

The chaos on the streets of Chicago poured onto the Democratic Convention floor when Senator Abraham Ribicoff denounced the use of Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago. His remarks enraged Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago would could be seen yelling at Ribicoff.

 

Anti-war protesters in Chicago may have hurt their own cause. In retrospect they may have protested at the wrong convention since the Democrats were more on their side than the Republicans. The Republican convention in Miami was turmoil free, in contrast to the chaos in Chicago.

 

Richard Nixon would go on to defeat Senator Humphrey in the general election.

 

1969 was another year with many newsworthy events and January 12 of 1969 would see the New York Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts 16-7, after Jets quarterback Joe Namath had predicted the Jets would upset the Colts.

 

Richard Nixon would take office as the 37th president on January 20. The Beatles who had first sang in America almost five years ago would hold their last public concert on January 30.

 

Sirhan Sirhan admits assassinating Bobby Kennedy on March 3. Ironically seven days later James Earl Ray would plead guilty to assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King. Later that month former President Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 8 years after finishing his second term as president.

 

The first American troop withdrawals of the Vietnam War were made on July 8. Senator Teddy Kennedy would end any hope of becoming president, when he drove his car off a bridge on July 18, in what became known as the Chappaquiddick incident. Mary Jo Kopechne would die at the age of 28 in the submerged car.

 

Two days later on July 20, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon. It had to be ranked as one of the biggest stories of the 20th century. The first flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903 would have been another major advance in the 20th century. Their flight led to commercial flights by airlines in later years.

 

August 9, 1969 was a day of violence as Charles Manson followers killed actress Sharon Tate and four others. The next day August 10, they would murder Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home.

 

August 15, 1969 will always be remembered as the day the Woodstock Music Festival kicked off on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The promoters were expecting 50,000 fans, but those numbers were very conservative, considering 500,000 fans showed up.

 

August 17 would be another deadly day, this time because of Hurricane Camille which hit the Mississippi coast killing 248 people and causing damage of $1.5 billion.

 

The first ATM was installed in Rockville Centre, New York on September 2, while on the same day Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam died.

 

The Chicago Eight trial begin on September 24 in Chicago, but was changed to the Chicago Seven, when Bobby Seale a Black Panther was sentenced to four-year sentence for contempt of court.

 

Another New York sports team would win a championship, when the New York Mets defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Seven years earlier the Mets had been the laughingstock of baseball when they posted a 40-120 record in 1962.

 

On a lighter note Sesame Street would be seen for the first time on the National Education Network on November 10.

 

While 250,000-500,000 demonstrators were protesting against the war in Washington, D.C. on November 15, Dave Thomas is busy opening the first Wendy’s in Columbus Ohio.

 

American astronauts would walk on the moon, only four months after the initial landing, four months prior to the Apollo 12 landing. Pete Conrad and Alan Bean would both walk on the moon.

 

With the year drawing to a close, a draft lottery was put in place on December 1 and would be the last major event of 1969.

 

A quick rundown of the events in 1968-1969:

 

1968

 

Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy Assassinated

Unarmed Vietnamese Citizens Killed By U.S. Troops

President Lyndon B. Johnson Announces He Will Not Run For Presidency

Anti-war protesters riot during the Democratic National Convention

Richard Nixon is elected president in general election.

 

1969

 

Richard Nixon takes office of presidency

Withdrawal of Vietnam troops commences

Teddy Kennedy drives car off bridge in Chappaquiddick incident

Four astronauts become first men to walk on moon

Charles Manson followers kill seven in two days

500,000 anti-war protesters attend Woodstock Music Festival

Hurricane Camille kills 248 persons

First ATM installed in Rockville Centre, New York

Ho Chi Minh Dies

Chicago 7 Trial Begins in Chicago

250,000-500,000 demonstrate in anti-war protest in Washington, D.C.

Dave Thomas opens first Wendy’s

Sesame Street shown for the first time on National Education Network

Draft lottery is instituted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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