Monday, November 16, 2015


In 1964, Gary Lewis and the Playboys auditioned for a job at Disneyland without telling Disney employees that Gary was the son of  the great Jerry Lewis. The entertainment director of the park liked what he heard and hired Gary and the boys on the spot to perform at the Space Bar in Tomorrowland. 
Legendary record producer Snuff Garrett lived just two doors down from Gary's famous father, and Jerry and Snuff had a mutual friend, conductor Lou Brown, who'd worked with Jerry ever since the Martin & Lewis days. Brown had brought Gary Lewis to Snuff's attention. Garrett would later recall: "I got to thinkin' that, hey, if I can get a record cut with Gary, it'd be a new way to promote records -- the son of a famous entertainer!"
The first song that Garrett brought to the group was "This Diamond Ring," which had originally been offered to Bobby Vee. The session was financed by Gary's mother, Patty Lewis. During the actual recording, the Playboys were almost irrelevant since they weren't allowed to play their instruments and their voices were used sparingly. Snuff wanted a hit, so he insisted on using trusted studio musicians. 
Garrett got "This Diamond Ring" on the radio in New York City by making a deal with WINS disc jockey Murray the K., who ran a series of all-star concerts at theaters around New York  Murray was promised that, if he played Lewis' record, the Playboys would play on his shows. Then Snuff had his neighbor, Jerry Lewis, pull some strings to get his son on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Within a few weeks, Gary and his group were on America's top variety program. But it was Sullivan's policy that all the acts appearing on his show had to perform live. Since so many studio tricks had been used on "This Diamond Ring," there was no way that the Playboys could re-create its sound. So a compromise was struck. Gary sang along with pre-recorded tracks as the Playboys faked it on their instruments. According to Garrett, this marked the first time that a song had been lip-synched on the show.

Gary Lewis and the Playboys were instant stars. Their song "This Diamond Ring" shot up to #1 and the pressing plants ran 24 hours a day to keep up with the demand for the record.

By 1965, Gary Lewis was Cash Box magazine's "Male Vocalist of the Year," winning over  nominees Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. He was the first and only artist during the 1960's to have his first seven releases reach Billboard's Top 10 on the Hot 100 chart. In the Philippines during this time, Gary Lewis and the Playboys were considered to be America's answer to the Beatles, and over a two-week period, sold out the Arianeta Coliseum there for 24 performances.

Along with his appearances on various popular television shows, including American Bandstand, The Joey Bishop Show, and The Tonight Show, Gary accumulated an impressive five appearances within two years on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Between 1965 and 1966, Gary Lewis and the Playboys rattled off an impressive string of hit singles. "This Diamond Ring" (#1), "Count Me In" (#2),  "Save Your Heart For Me" (#2), "She's Just My Style" (#3),  "Everybody Loves A Clown" (#4), "Sure Gonna Miss Her" (#9) and "Green Grass" (#8) -- all collected on this definitive album.

In their short-live career, Gary Lewis and the Playboys in total had eight Gold Singles, 17 US Top 40 hits, and four Gold albums, and sold 45 million records worldwide.

In 1971, Gary retired from performing and opened a music store in San Fernando Valley, where he sold drums, guitars and accessories. He found, however, that he still had the urge to play, and in 1973, put a group together called Medicine out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which included Bill Cowsill, formerly with the great '60s pop band, the Cowsills. The band failed to meet with any success.

In1984, Gary put a new version of the Playboys together, and began performing almost 100 shows a year with '60s pop groups like The Grass Roots, Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits), the Grass Roots, the Turtles, and the Buckinghams to cash in on the burgeoning Sixties nostalgia biz.

Gary also appeared and performed on many of his father's Labor Day telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Despite Gary Lewis' string of hits and popularity during the '60s, one thing's for certain:  Not even the influence of his famous father will be able to get him into the honored position as a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Friday, November 13, 2015


While the nation has mourned Michael Jackson, J.D. Salinger, and Sky Saxon, many of us are still mourning the death of one of the greatest country singers of all time, Vern Gosdin. 

Known as The Voice of country music, Gosdin died from a stroke on April 28, 2009. His was a pained and tortured voice singing some of the saddest songs in the world, and when he died, we truly lost one of the voices of the ages.

Forget the current crop of Nashville pop crooners. Gosdin was a man who had the wrinkles of Merle Haggard and, like George Jones, knew what it meant to weep.  With his album, Chiseled In Stone, Gosdin created a country music masterpiece. It's virtually impossible to get through the thing without having an emotional breakdown.

On the album cover, the photo is worthy of Walker Evans. Gosdin squints at you, his boot on the bumper of the car, a leaf trapped in its grill, as two old men look out from the glass of a barber shop, its front window marked by fading square-dance posters.

On the recordings themselves, Gosdin squints even harder, clobbering you with the impact of his voice and the tight control of his band. The steel guitars of Sonny Garrish and Jim Vest are particularly astounding at recreating the sound of raw nerves.

The beauty of the record owes a great deal to the songwriting abilities of Gosdin and Hank Cochran, especially on "Set 'Em Up, Joe" and "I Guess I Had Your Leavin' Coming."

But the title song is the highlight. It's the story of a young man who, after fighting with his girlfriend, ducks into a bar, only to be told by an old codger that he should be grateful for what he's got--at least his woman isn't dead, and he doesn't have to wander through life alone.

"Chiseled in Stone" refers to the tombstone of the old man's wife, but it now refers to Vern Gosdin's own life.

More to the point:  "Chiseled in Stone" points to the tombstone's shadow cast in the background of all our lives.

Listed below are ust some of the awards Gosdin has received -- for Chiseled in Stone alone (there were, ultimately, many more awards for many other things):
1989 ASCAP Award - "Set 'Em Up Joe"
1989 ASCAP Award - "Chiseled In Stone"
1989 ASCAP Award - "Do You Believe Me Now?"
1989 CMA Song of the Year - "Chiseled In Stone" (Max D. Barnes & Vern Gosdin)
1988 Nashville Songwriters Association Song of the Year - "Chiseled In Stone"
1988 CMA #1 Song - "Set 'Em Up Joe"
1988 CMA Album of the Year - "Chiseled In Stone" (Nomination)
1988 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (Nomination)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015



The Archies
3% (5 votes)
The Cramps
14% (23 votes)
Gary Lewis and the Playboys
1% (1 vote)
The Fugs
18% (29 votes)
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
3% (4 votes)
Tommy James and the Shondells
12% (19 votes)
The Guess Who
11% (17 votes)
Three Dog Night
9% (14 votes)
Herman's Hermits
3% (5 votes)
The Shocking Blue
1% (2 votes)
Incredible String Band
1% (1 vote)
The Sonics
4% (7 votes)
Paul Revere and the Raiders
18% (29 votes)
Bubble Puppy



I am working on a new Beatles compilation called Worst of the BeatlesPlease vote for their worst recording (live versions and covers are exempt).



You Know My Name 

Submitted by Anonymous

I remember listening to this B-Side when I was 9 years old and thinking "Wow the Beatles really suck!!!"

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Such an annoying song.

Ob la di

is terrible....ruined rock n roll.

Missing from list

"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" spoils every party I ever hear it palyed at.

Worst Beatles song?

"Flying" was just movie-score filler, so leave it out of this! "Wild Honey Pie" is stupid, but commendably demented. COuld I suggest replacing it with "Why Don't We Do It In the Road?" It's one of the earliest examples of Paul's willingness to record literally anything that he happened to make up.....

Worst Of The Beatles

Add Yellow Submarine and All Together Now to that list as well...and while we're at it, can we also add John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War Is Over)...probably the most irritating song of all time!

What, no "Revolution No. 9"?

What, no "Revolution No. 9"? Or does that not count as a song? And I'm kind of shocked that "'Til There Was You" didn't make it either.

I kind of like Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Lots of Maxwell hatin :(

worst beatles songs

Mr Moonlight is up there. All Together Now is pretty dull. Run For Your Life is *SO* thrown together as well. I would pick Run For Your Life as the unbearable one.

Run For Your Life

What makes this song so awful is not the music, its John's threat to kill his girl if he catches her with another man. And he's not exactly subtle about it.

Don't Pass Me By
8% (6 votes)
11% (9 votes)
Wild Honey Pie
9% (7 votes)
Octopus's Garden
6% (5 votes)
What's the New Mary Jane?
14% (11 votes)
3% (2 votes)
Blue Jay Way
4% (3 votes)
Only a Northern Song
3% (2 votes)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
22% (17 votes)
You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)
22% (17 votes)
Total votes: 79

Monday, November 2, 2015



An assessment of Lou Reed's Transformer album as published in Creem (February 1973).

 Their faces drooping in disbelief, the fans shook their baffled, bewildered heads. "If we hadn't seen him with our own eyes we never would have believe it." 

They were commenting on Lou Reed's Transformation from a wrestling hero to a savage villain. -- from Teenage Wasteland Gazette #2
All Last year Lou Reed underwent variously assorted transformations. At one time he was a pirate, and another time he became a transvestite, and even a Lou Reed pamphlet was printed and distributed, claiming that Lou actually had a double who was really responsible for his first album.

This year, on the other hand, Lou Reed must carry the role of a social deviant who hides in closets and jerks off at the mere mention of Marilyn Monroe. Essentially, it's back to those blissful days of Warhol legends when living was clean, and everybody could be zombies with black circles around their eyes.

That's showbiz, and Lou Reed always did wanna appear in a Broadway musical.

This new album is further proof even that Lou Reed has turned into something sicker than a homicidal-rapist-mass murderer-porno editor. Far gone is that prevailing commercial bubblegum flair so evident on the first album (e.g. "I Love You," "'Lisa Says," "Love Makes You Feel"). Instead, it's more like what the third Velvet Underground album would have sounded like if David Bowie had been in charge of production back then.

There's a couple of cute ditties on here that perhaps belong on We're Only In It For The Money (dumbshit show tunes in which Bowie gets to fill in all the vacant gaps with chugging trombones and tubas), but other than that this album proclaims itself as most masterpieces proclaim themselves: IT GROWS ON YA!

Primarily this is because of the lyrics. There are so many good lines thrown at ya at once that, in fact, you could even make a scrapbook. Prime examples are for instance like on "Vicious" a chunky rocker which wraps its belt around ya with the lines – "When I see you walking down he street, I step on you walking down the street, I step on your hands and mangle your feet" or "Hey, why don't you swallow razor blades?!" which fades into the gritty chorus:

You hit me with a flower
You do it every hour
Oh, baby, you're so vicious.

Then there's "Wagon Wheel," which is even more frantic than "Vicious" except that it features a prayer by Lou wherein he confesses all of his sins. Yeah, it's got good lines, too, like – "but if'n you think that you get kicks from flirting with danger/then kick her in the head and re-arrange her". This all fizzles into an over-bold attempt at "Wake Me, Shake Me."

Other noteworthy efforts include "Satellite of Love," total Bowie and would make a terrific Xmas AM hit single; "Make Up," a careful study of all the gunk that attractive "slick little girls" smear on their faces; "I'm So Free," a punk psychedelic rouser reminiscent of the Electric Prunes and a definite Midwest regional hit; and "Andy's Chest," which mostly takes about how your bellybutton is really your mouth and if your feet stink it's really your nose.

But none of em, absolutely none of em, can top "Walk on the Wild Side," which is most certainly the best thing Lou Reed has come out with since "Rock & Roll." The song is one of those impromptu "Wild Child" ramble-epics which feature exclusively Lou's magnificent sense of sneeze-phrasing. Strings are attached onto this one, and it makes you feel like tiny ants are gnawing on your big toe.

At the final clip of the saga, Bowie crams a mellow sax up your rectum, and Lou has his colored (that's what he calls em) backup female chorus do some percolator imitations. But it's words that curdle your oily lubricants and none are better than this verse:

Candy came from out on the island
In the backroom she was everybody's darling
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head.
She sez – hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side.

Well, of course, there are songs you're gonna wanna skip, but the cover should make up for that. Lou Reed looks like he just stepped out of the horror flick about zombies or even more like he's been giving rim jobs to the Fugs during the performance on Golden Filth. Yup, he's a full-fledged social degenerate now, and I really don't see how he could get any lower. Not even Candid Press would have the guts to touch him these days.

Nevertheless, other than the fact that this album is great, there's something especially fine about it which sets it apart from all the other crappy platters being released lately. I mean, hell, at least it ain't anal retentive.