Sunday, May 29, 2016


Since it is Memorial Day weekend, lets look at some celebrities who died and then had comebacks several years after their death.

6.  JIM REEVES -  Reeves was a huge star in the 1950s and early 60s in both country and pop music. The crooner, dubbed Gentleman Jim, is best remembered for the song, "He'll Have To Go." What many people today don't realize is he hosted a radio show on the ABC Radio Network and was HUGE in Great Britain and South Africa. Then, he died in a plane crash in 1964. Interest in Reeves music dwindled as a new crop of country-pop performers came along. However, Chet Adkins convinced his widow to help him promote a compilation of hits sold via TV. It sold in huge numbers. Adkins also used technology to create "duets" with singer-songwriter Deborah Allen in the early 80s. All this brought Gentleman Jim's music back.

5. ERNIE KOVACS - Ernie Kovacs had was one of TV first stars. Kovacs used camera tricks to create elaborate sight gags. He hosted the weekend edition of The Tonight Show (which was quickly done away with) and was bounced on TV from network to network with little major success because his gags were expensive to produce. He appeared in some popular movies such as Bell, Book & Candle and North To Alaska. His longest gig was a game show called Take A Good Look. He was killed in a car accident in 1962. He seemed forgotten with the exception of mention in the first Joker episode of Batman. Then came a TV series called Laugh-In which revived many of his most famous gags and paid tribute to him during one of their early shows. In the late 70s, his last TV show, which aired on ABC, was rebroadcast on PBS. He was a star again after being forgotten. The alternative rock band The Loud Family's video for their song, "Don't Respond" was made to look like his show.

4. LON CHANEY - "Lon Chaney Must Not DIE!" is what the headline in Famous Monsters read. Chaney was sort of forgotten after his death in 1930, with the exception of his son using his name and a biopic starring James Cagney in the late 50s. Forry Akerman wrote several articles to get the monster kids reading his magazine interested in him. Chaney had suffered from being a silent star and the fact that many of his films were lost. Before long the face of the Phantom of the Opera and the vampire of London After Midnight were on posters and toys horded by monster kids of the 60s & 70s.

3. W. C. FIELD - Fields died in 1947. TV revived his old movies and the late 60s and early 70s nostalgia craze brought his radio appearances to LPs. A biography by his son and a film starring Rod Stieger helped bring him back. Firesign Theater frequently dropped his voice onto random characters and Fritos had a cartoon spokesman called W. C. Frito.

2. HUMPHREY BOGART - Bogart died in the mid 50s. French film historians began talking about his work and TV was showing his films. College students and hipsters began putting his face on posters and T-shirts. He was immortalized in songs by Roxy Music, Al Stewart and Bernie Higgins, as well as the Woody Allen film Play It Again, Sam. The Cult of Boggie was at its peak in the 70s.

1. JIM MORRISON -  The Rolling Stone cover sort of summed up this phenomenon. In the early 80s, Morrison and the Doors were suddenly big again. Many point to Elektras release of The Doors Greatest Hits LP and the book No One Here Gets Out Alive. Soon Jim Morrison posters were all over and radio stations were working in The Doors songs between Olivia Newton-John, Michael Jackson and REO Speedwagon. The Lizard King had risen from the flames to be a star again in the 80s.      


Yes, it is time for another pod cast from yours truly. This time, I let you hear my real voice. Find out what Strawberry Alarm Clock, Shocking Blue, Ronnie Cook & the Gaylads, Barry Ryan, The Clique, and the Four Lads have in common.

NOTE: I will probably be deleting the first podcast. So if you want to download it, do it now. Also, if you like this format of the podcast, leave a comment below or with Podomatic or on my Facebook page.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Canadian businessman Philip Kives died this past week. He was 87 years old. The name may not ring a bell, but the company he founded will. Kives was the "K" in K-tel Records. Before the Now That Is What I Call Music CD series, K-tel gave people a chance to own 20 of their the top hits on one record or tape.

Before K-tel released their first record in 1966, compilation records contained only songs by that label or company's artist. Kives managed to create records which featured major hits, from competing labels, side by side. Then, he sold them at a budget price in chains stores like Woolworths, Wallgrens, Ben Franklins, T. G. & Y, and K-Mart (no relation) with the aid of flashy TV commercials.

Granted, K-tel's records were cheesy in the beginning. The first one was country music, followed by a polka record and then came the many Top 40 hit compilations. Originally, the covers were black and white with tiny photos of the artist on them.

In the early 70s, the record covers were usually multicolored with small, color photos of the artist and an over abundance of text that listed the names of every artist on the record. These records featured about twenty hits, some of which were shortened for time. Some would maybe feature fifteen hits, but would pad with early recordings by major hit artist, such as "Love You Til Tuesday" by David Bowie, "It Might as Well Rain until September" by Carole King, "Bless You" by Tony Orlando and "I Can See For Miles" by The Who.

By the late 70s, K-tel began putting together some two record sets, which allowed for longer versions of the songs. The artwork improved quite a bit, including a cover featuring Robby the Robot and one featuring a sexy blond singer named Kerry Ciardelli, who was later married to the inventor in Rollerblades.

About this time the Canadian produced comedy TV show began featuring a character named Harvey Ktel (like Harvey Keitel), a fast-talking, loud announcer, who specialized in voice-overs for record commercials, such as Stairways To Heaven. The character was played by Dave Thomas.

The 80s saw the records become more focused on, sometimes on one genre of music, such as new wave and heavy metal. These probably took a cue from the success of records devoted to country, soul (SUPER BAD) and novelty songs (GOOFY GREATS). The cover design was the biggest improvements. During this time, they released what many believe to be their best compilation, Rock 80, which contained a mix of new wave and power pop.

K-tel even had a hit LP. Kives saw the success of the Stars On's disco oldies medleys and decided to try apply the same formula, only with classical music. Hooked On Classic was a big hit.

Sadly, that was the last hurrah for K-tel. In the late 80s, the filed for bankruptcy, just missing the CD boom. Part of their problems were attributed to a controversy in America surrounding a collection of music from a popular British kids show called Mini Pops, which featured kids dressed as Madonna, Boy George and Prince singing their hits. Cranky American parents felt it was "immoral."

I wanted to do a post about K-tel, because I collect K-tel Records. Most collectors don't want them. I like the kitschish nature, as well as the musical nostalgia held within the cover and grooves.

I've created a Ipod playlist for a non-existent K-tel record of the 70s called "Make Believe - 22 original hits by the original artist" and an 80s K-tel record "Make Believe Two - Today's magical hits."

1. "Little Willy" - The Sweet
2. "Back Stabbers" - The O'Jays
3. "How Do You Do?" - Mouth & MacNeal
4. "Brandy" - The Looking Glass
5. "Don't Pull Your Love" - Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
6. "Why Can't We Live Together" - Timmy Thomas
7. "Cum On Feel The Noize" - Slade
8. "I Am Pegasus" - Ross Ryan
9.  "Beach Baby" - First Class
10. "Dancing In the Moonlight" - King Harvest
11. "Rock The Boat" - Hughes Corporation
12. "Heartbeat It's a Love Beat" - The DeFranco Family
13. "Love You Til Tuesday" - David Bowie
14.  "Beautiful Sunday" - Daniel Boone
15.  "Bang Bang" - Cher
16.  "Smoke Gets In your Eyes" - Blue Haze
17.  "Who Do You Think You Are" - Candlewick Green
18.  "Treat Her Like Lady" - Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
19.  "Look In My Eyes Pretty Woman" - Dawn
20.  "Hooked On a Feeling" - Blue Swede
21.  "Jolene" - Dolly Parton
22.  "Armed & Extremely Dangerous" - First Choice

1. "Sweet Dreams" - Air Supply
2. "Turn Your Love Around" - George Benson
3. "Going Down" - Greg Guidry
4. "Take It Easy On Me" - Little River Band
5. "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone) - Chilliwack
6. "Easy For You To Say" - Linda Ronstadt
7. "Trouble" - Lindsey Buckingham
8. "Is It You?" - Lee Ritenour
9. "Don't Talk To Strangers" - Rick Springfield
10. "One Hundred Ways" - James Ingram
11. "Run Home Girl" - Sad Cafe
12. "Waiting For a Girl Like You" - Foreigner

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