Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Birdland

Wayne Shorter, an influential jazz innovator whose lyrical, complex jazz compositions and pioneering saxophone playing sounded through more than half a century of American music, died earlier this month. No cause of death was given. He was 89.

In 2002 Shorter was interviewed by George Varga of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Whatever that word, ‘jazz,’ could mean, to me it’s the spirit of the pursuit of freedom and happiness. And a sub-definition of jazz ‘No category’.”

Or, from a Varga interview in 1997:

“I feel the freedom to do music and be creative (means) you should be able to work your creativity through any medium. I hope my music will be regarded as an expression that came from a person who was indestructably happy. And who, if not thought of as happy at one time, arrived there — not through music — but through arriving at the highest possible life position. I’d like to be thought of not only for what I communicate, but also for what comes after. A doctor wrote me recently that my music made him want to be a better surgeon, and that made me want to be a better musician and human being.”

One of Shorter’s major accomplishment on his lengthy resume: Bridging the gap between jazz and popular muisc.

Here’s a perfect example. Shorter co-founded the ’70s fusion band Weather Report. Keyboardist Joe Zawinfulof the band composed the following as a tribute to the Birdland nightclub in New York City. Watch for Shorter’s sax work in this appearance on the Midnight Special on NBC-TV in 1977.


From the Associated Press:

Bobby Caldwell, a soulful R&B singer and songwriter who had a major hit in 1978 with “What You Won’t Do for Love” and a voice and musical style adored by generations of his fellow artists, has died, his wife said Wednesday.

Mary Caldwell told The Associated Press that he died in her arms at their home in Great Meadows, New Jersey, on Tuesday, after a long illness. He was 71.

The smooth soul jam “What You Won’t Do for Love” went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on what was then called the Hot Selling Soul Singles chart. It became a long-term standard and career-defining hit for Caldwell, who also wrote the song.

Stories abound, many of them shared on social media after his death, of listeners being surprised to learn that Caldwell was white and not Black.

Caldwell appeared only in silhouette on the self-titled debut solo album on which “What You Won’t Do for Love” appears.

“Caldwell was the closing chapter in a generation in which record execs wanted to hide faces on album covers so perhaps maybe their artist could have a chance,” Questlove said.

In the 1990s, Caldwell shifted to recording and performing American standards, including songs made popular by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, he loved in his youth.

In a word, Caldwell was …smooth.

Another bonus.

I hope you’ll enjoy this from a 2005 album…

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Please, Boss

Photo: OnMilwaukee

This week Milwaukee Journal Sentinel music critic Piet Levy wrote:

Yes, absolutely, the prices for some Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tickets in Milwaukee were appalingly high. Resale seats for the concert, the fastest sell-out in Fiserv Forum’s four-and-a-half-year history, were going on Ticketmaster for as much as 5 grand — not including nearly $1,200 in fees.

But experiencing the show itself? Honestly, it was priceless.

I’d wager that Tuesday night’s packed crowd would agree. Together, we watched one of the best performers to ever grace a stage put on what felt like the show of a lifetime.

The Boss is known for his lengthy, energetic concerts.

My facebook friend Kathleen Jordan Hohl was in attendance. She tells me the show began around 7:50 pm (with “No Surrender”) and ended at about 10:20 pm (with “I’ll See You in My Dreams”). That’s two and a half hours. The guy is 73 years old.

The finale was also vintage Springsteen. My friend Kathleen said, “It (the show) was incredible … the encore may have been the best run of 8 songs I’ve ever seen.”


Jamie Lee Curtis thinks concerts by artists like Springsteen start…too late?

Click here to watch Curtis talking to the Hollywood Reporter. NOTE: The video clip contains an expletive.

As for this week’s oldie Springsteen didn’t do this in Milwaukee and as far as I can tell it’s not part of his set list on the current tour.

The song was on his latest album “Only the Strong Survive” and definitely qualifies as a forgotten oldie. Tyrone Davis recorded and released it in 1970 and it climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Springsteen performed it last November 16 on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.


From the NY Times:

Robert Blake, an actor whose career portraying gritty characters like the television detective Tony Baretta was eclipsed by his trial and acquittal in the murder of his wife in 2001, died on Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 89.

The cause was long-term heart disease, a niece, Noreen Austin, said.

Mr. Blake began performing at 2, when his father would take him and his brother and sister to New Jersey parks to dance for money. By age 5 he was a regular in the “Our Gang” film comedies.

He went on to act in scores of films and on hundreds of television shows, all the while making regular visits to late-night talk shows, where he delighted in spouting flagrantly unorthodox views and savagely mocking his own career. He earned a reputation as a Hollywood enfant terrible. He insulted producers, punched a director, fought with fellow actors, abused alcohol and drugs, and sometimes went for years without work.

He nonetheless became a television star in the late 1970s as Baretta, a detective who lived in a run-down hotel, had a pet cockatoo named Fred and used disguises — waiter, wino, janitor, barber — to chase bad guys. His catchphrase, “You can take dat to da bank,” became well known.

One of Mr. Blake’s most acclaimed roles was as the mass murderer Perry Smith in “In Cold Blood,” the 1967 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s true-crime book.

Mr. Blake returned to television in January 1975 to take the title role in the ABC detective series “Baretta,” a retooled version of “Toma,” which had starred Tony Musante. When Mr. Musante quit after the 1973-74 season, the show was taken off the air, but ABC decided to reactivate it as a midseason replacement and asked Mr. Blake to be the star. He accepted, even though he made it clear in interviews that he considered himself above series television. He proceeded to make many suggestions to shape the renamed show to his liking.

“I could have my name all over ‘Baretta,’ but I’ve never taken credit for writing or directing any of the shows,” he told Playboy. Mr. Blake won a 1975 Emmy and a 1976 Golden Globe for his performance, and “Baretta” was briefly a Top 10 hit, but it was canceled in 1978.

—NY Times

In 1976 it reached #20 on the Billboard chart.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: BS & T goes behind the Iron Curtain

Back in the day one of my favorite bands was Blood, Sweat and Tears, jazz-rock pioneers.

Bob Lefsetz writes about the music industry in The Lefsetz Letter. From a column last week:

You have no idea how big Blood, Sweat & Tears was back in ’68 and ’69, even into the spring of 1970. They were everywhere.

Also, if you were not alive in the era, you have no idea of the sixties counterculture, the protests against Vietnam…you’ve read about it, but you’ve never felt it.

The U.S. government wanted to deport (lead singer David Clayton-Thomas). So the band agreed to do this Eastern European tour (in 1970) in exchange for David’s green card.

They’re in Romania and the government throws a sh*t fit when the audience for the first night’s show won’t stop clapping, won’t stop cheering for the U.S.A., they’ve gotten a taste of freedom and they LIKE IT!

Good for the U.S. Bad for U.S./Romanian relations.

And according to (a new documentary) when the band came back and said how bad it was over there they were labeled tools of the administration, the hated Nixon administration, and were banned from the counterculture and the bad press ultimately led to the demise of the band.

Coming out in theaters this month…

“What The Hell Happened To Blood, Sweat & Tears?” will be released theatrically in New York and Los Angeles March 24th, before expanding across North America and Canada.

This video was taken in Sweden in 1971. BS & T performs a song they had also done during the Iron Curtain tour. That song was included on the band’s self-titled LP, actually their second album that was named winner of the Grammy Award for the best album of the year. The winning album was voted by the 3,000‐member academy over the Beatles’s “Abbey Road,” and Johnny Cash’s “Johnny Cash at San Quentin,” Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Crosby Stills and Nash” and the Fifth Dimension’s “The Age of Aquarius,” which had also been nominated in the best album category.

Steve Katz takes over the lead vocal in Sweden 1971.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: It still raises the roof

Sometimes a forgotten oldie isn’t all that forgotten.

From this past Sunday morning on CBS…

October 26, 1969…

Then in 1975 Mancini jumped on the soul (and ever so slightly disco) wagon for an album of his takes on some contemporary hits along with a remake of his famous TV instrumental.

Listen for the bass solo performed by Abraham Laboriel. His son Abraham Laboriel Jr. is a longtime drummer with Paul McCartney.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: What song makes you the happiest?

Think about that question while you read on.

Dr Michael Bonshor is the Course Director of the MA in Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing at the University of Sheffield.

Using a special formula Bonshor found in a news study commissioned by the yogurt brand Müllerlight, that the happiest-sounding songs are in a major key.

To create a happy song, Bonshor believes the combination of a major key, 7th chords, 137 BPM, strong beat, four beats in every bar, and a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure is a guaranteed way to produce a happy beat. It should also have a short intro, repeated riffs, high volume, bright tone, and a mix of predictability and surprise.

 “Previous studies have found songs are perceived as happy if they are in a major key, with a sweet spot of approximately 137 beats per minute,” Bonshor said. “We like ‘7th chords’ as they add interest; regular chords use three notes, whereas ‘7th chords’ add an extra note which provides a sense of musical ‘tension’ and ‘relief.’

“Cheery songs usually have a strong 1-2-1-2 beat to them so that you can dance along – and a short introduction means the song kicks off with a bang straight away, and there’s not a long build up.

“We like high volume when it comes to how our happy songs are made, with notes played in a bright and bouncy way by instruments such as trumpets or electric guitars instead of mellower instruments. Finally, a repetitive rhythm or guitar riff that people can latch onto and becomes memorable is the cherry on the cake.”

Research from a poll also found 46 % of adults say singing along to their favorite tracks is a great way to boost their mood. Of those who have specific tunes they turn to in order to cheer them up, on average, they have eight numbers that do the trick.

Nearly six in 10 (58%) say these songs have an upbeat feel to them, and the same percentage say they remind them of good memories which put a smile on their face. Meanwhile, 38 percent say most of their happy tracks were released during their teenage years.

Research also finds that it takes an average of just 14 seconds for these songs to start working their magic.

Pop, rock, and dance rank as the three happiest genres of music, while 71% feel music is one of the most powerful influences for changing their mood.

Why is music so important to people? According to 48% say the powerful memories it can evoke is the key reason and 29% enjoy that they can share music with others.

Another 36%% even put on uplifting music around loved ones when they are feeling down to try and lift their spirits.

OK. Have you thought about the question in the title above?

What song makes you the happiest?

You think it wound up in the research?

Let’s find out.

Top 10 Happy Songs According to Dr. Bonshor’s Formula:

10) “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire


9) “Waterloo” by ABBA


8) “YMCA” by The Village People


7) “I Get Around” by The Beach Boys


6) “Sun is Shining” by Bob Marley


5) “Uptown Girl” by Bill Joel


4) “Get the Party Started” by P!nk


3) “House of Fun “ by Madness


2) “I Got You” (I Feel Good) by James Brown


And the #1 song according to Bonshor’s research that makes people the happiest…


I dunno. I disagree. Big time.

What about…


Speaking of the The Beatles…

Saturday is Yoko Ono’s 90th birthday.

That would be a big fat ‘so what.’

Super Bowl city oldies

Philadelphia and Kansas City

Cover of the official game program above.

Not sure if you’ve heard this, but …

Travis Kelce (KC) and Jason Kelce (PHL) are the first brothers on opposing teams in a Super Bowl.

The combined ages of Patrick Mahomes, 27, and Jalen Hurts, 24, tie them with Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe as the youngest pair of opposing quarterbacks in any Super Bowl when the Packers thrashed the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI on Jan. 26, 1997.

How dominant have the Eagles been this season? They’ve played a league-high 720 snaps with the lead.

Mahomes would be the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lead the league in passing yards and hoist the Lombardi Trophy during that season.

Here are two oldies…one about each of the participating cities.

We begin with the City of Brotherly Love.

From “Visit Philadelphia.”

South Street always buzzes with activity, whether on a Tuesday afternoon or a Friday night. Ethnically diverse restaurants, bars that keep the party going long after dessert and galleries and performance spaces help make South Street remain a vibrant and essential city destination.

Business people saunter down the block from nearby Washington Square West and Society Hill to mingle with their more Bohemian counterparts for lunch, visitors flock to the area to savor their first Philly cheesesteak at Jim’s, or a classic slice at Lorenzo’s, and residents shop for groceries, check out a show, or find a Mexican-influenced piece of art from the Eye’s Gallery.

Mirroring this diverse mix of fun-to-watch pedestrians, a wonderfully eclectic lineup of businesses that includes over 300 shops and more than 60 eateries, cafes and bars caters to the crowd. Most stores are independently owned and have similarly minded signage.

The area’s restaurants reflect the various ethnic flavors of several nearby neighborhoods, and several performance venues feature fringe theater and live music.

In the early days of rock and roll the Orlons was formed  at a Philadelphia junior high school that included Shirley Brickley, Rosetta Hightower, and Marlena Davis. Fellow student Stephan Caldwell joined the group offering his baritone voice.

The year was 1963…

“South Street” was certified Gold, having sold more than a million copies. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

From visitkc:

Unique attractions throughout KC beckon locals and visitors alike to find the city’s hidden gems. Explore the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Let curiosity guide you at Union Station. Walk in the steps of America’s 33rd President in Independence. 

Nowhere on the site does it mention anything about crazy little women. Oh wait. That’s another song, not this one.

ABC-TV’s “Shindig” in 1965

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: One of the greatest songwriters of all-time

“One of the most accomplished pop music craftsmen of the 20th century…”


He was dubbed ‘easy listening’ but this was nonsense. His dazzling music, a result of classical tuition and nights in bebop clubs, defied categories – and made stars of soul singers, rock bands and mum-friendly crooners.

With the arrival of rock’n’roll, pop music divided, broadly speaking, into two categories. There was music aimed squarely at the recently discovered teenager that frequently seemed to have the specific intention of alienating their forebears. And then there was the music that carried on much as it had in the years between the end of the second world war and the appearance of Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard et al. Look at the charts from 1952 or 1953, and they’re packed with songs that seem to target an older demographic, who didn’t want shock or rebellion or white-hot excitement, but something to soothe or buoy them along, what eventually became known as easy listening.

The twain very seldom met: if anything, the divide became more pronounced as the 1960s wore on and a cocktail of new technology and new drugs meant the music aimed at teenagers became more adventurous, strange and innovative. Look at the charts from 1966 or 1967 and you’ll find a stark split: Strawberry Fields Forever and Purple Haze v Engelbert Humperdinck.

But Burt Bacharach’s music existed somewhere in the middle. He often got lumbered with the term easy listening. You could see why – his own albums tended towards syrupy arrangements and cooing vocal choruses.

The truth was that no obvious label or category could contain what Bacharach did: his style was once memorably summed up by Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen as Ravel-like harmonies wedded to street soul. He could come up with Magic Moments for Perry Como, but he could also write for the Drifters, Gene Vincent, Chuck Jackson and the Shirelles.

—Alexis Petridis, the head rock and pop critic of the Guardian

Just how good was Burt Bacharach?

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated

You remember MUST SEE TV?

That was a slogan used by NBC-TV to advertise its prime time programs in the 1980’s and 90’s on Thursday nights, like “Cheers” and “The Cosby Show.”

For me, Must See TV came earlier, on ABC on Tuesday nights in 1976.

You just had to be home or somewhere in front of a television set so you wouldn’t miss “Happy Days” at 7:00 followed by “Laverne and Shirley” at 7:30.

In a 1976 interview with The Fresno Bee, Williams talked about how she was able to make Shirley one of the most likeable characters on a TV series.

“I watch the show myself. It makes me laugh,” she said. “Sometimes, I just forget it’s me and Penny up there and just laugh out loud and that’s what it’s all about. I know it’s a dumb show. It really is. It’s just fun, it’s just for fun, but you have to exhaust yourself to make it fun for the audience.”

She was in only a few notable roles before taking Laverne & Shirley, but the series would turn into an overnight success story. And Williams would become popular too.

“They say I live in a mansion in Beverly Hills,” she said. “I do, but it’s two and a half rooms on one wing I rent from some friends. Listen, television is hard work. It’s 10 times harder than movies. But, on the other hand, it really is fun and it really is great, as great as everyone thinks it is.”

Television was hard work, but Williams worked harder. 

In a 1976 interview with Corpus Christi Times, both Penny Marshall and Williams recalled what it was like during the Laverne & Shirley season premiere.

“The audience was half asleep and me and this other girl came on, with 14 pages to do, they didn’t know who the heck we were, and it got laughs,” Marshall said. 

“We were terrified, I mean we were terrified, either direction it might take,” Williams said. “We were certain we were going to go into the toilet.”

Both Marshall and Williams gave the series 13 weeks before it would get cancelled. But something amazing happened. 

“The phenomena of that kind of popularity where you’re before 50 million people one night each week, it’s something you dream about when you have inklings of becoming an actress,” Williams said. 


On July 4, 1976, Cyndi Grecco peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Special “Laverne and Shirley” episodes this Sunday on MeTV from 3:00-5:00.


The Grammy Awards take place Sunday. From

Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees: This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording; through 1972, recipients included non-performers.

Two-time GRAMMY Award nominees The Supremes were the leading act of Motown Records during the 1960s. Founded by Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, The Supremes were trailblazers in the history of music, transcending all genres as the first female group that defined a generation. They were leaders at a pivotal time during the American Civil Rights movement by bringing together audiences that had racial cultural differences through their style and music. Named the No. 1 female recording group of all time by Billboard in 2017, the group achieved an unprecedented 12 No. 1 hits and five consecutive No. 1s from 1964-1965 with “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again.” The Supremes were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 with The Beatles, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994, and were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.


Charlie Thomas has died.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Good old rock and roll

This week marked the anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland inducting its first class in 1986. Do you know (guess) who the honorees were? There were 10.

Before the answers a twin spin. In 1981 a Dutch pop act had a huge single of a medley of primarily Beatle songs. An album by the group had more medleys. We’ll hear one of the tracks, but first, my favorite member of the following group is on lead vocal…


Who were the first acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

There was a bunch.

They were:

Chuck Berry (who wrote and recorded “Rock and Roll Music”

Buddy Holly

Elvis Presley

Fats Domino

James Brown

Jerry Lee Lewis

Little Richard

Ray Charles

Sam Cooke

Everly Brothers.

Compare to the latest round of honorees at the 37th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California:

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

Duran Duran



Dolly Parton

Lionel Richie

Carly Simon

To be eligible for nomination, an individual artist or band must have released its first commercial recording at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.

Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: Memphis

Lisa Marie Presley will be laid to rest next to son, Benjamin Keough, in the Meditation Garden at Graceland. In addition to Lisa Marie and Ben, Lisa Marie’s father, Elvis Presley, and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, are also buried in the garden. 

Ben’s grave was slightly moved to make room for Lisa Marie.

Following her death, the family confirmed that a public memorial service will be held in the late singer’s honor at Graceland. The service will be livestreamed via Graceland’s livestream page.

A public memorial service has been arranged on the front lawn of Graceland at 9 a.m. Sunday, at the Presley family estate in Memphis, Tennessee. Following the service, there will be a procession to view Lisa Marie’s final resting place in the Meditation Garden. All guests on the north lawn will be able to join the procession following friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, her family is asking all who wish to send something to do so in the form of a donation to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which offers support to various charitable organizations, especially focusing on arts, education, and children’s programs in the Memphis and Whitehaven area.

Presley died at the age of 54 on Jan. 12, after going into cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed that her cause of death has been delayed pending further tests. 

Chuck Berry wrote and recorded “Memphis, Tennessee” in 1959.

Johnny Rivers got a regular gig in 1963 at the Whisky a Go Go, a popular club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In 1964 Rivers released a live album recorded at the club called Johnny Rivers At The Whisky a Go Go, with “Memphis” (shortened title) issued as a single. Big record. Went all the way to #2 and essentially launched Rivers’ successful career.

Also in 1964 Elvis released his version of “Memphis, Tennessee.”

Pay close attention to the lyrics.


Definitely prophetic.


Did Johnny Rivers steal Elvis’ recording of “Memphis”?