Saturday, October 20, 2007

Best of On My Mind part 6: The 70's A Decade of Change Part 4

This was #4 in a 5 part series that I wrote on the 1970's. What I like about this is that Randy Badazz who wrote the song Rise left a comment on it. It was really about a posting that I had on the song Rise where he corrected some misconceptions that I had heard about the origins of the song. I was very happy that people whose work I like and respect were actually reading what I put on the site.

In the 70’s Broadway had a surge in mass appeal. Beginning in the late 60’s Jesus Rock, which later became known as Contemporary Christian Music, was born when people from the hippie generation became Christians and turned on to Christ. They expressed their love through their music. Usually TV or the movie industry is quick to try and get the attention of any new demographic but this time it was Broadway that took the lead with plays like Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar. The soundtrack albums became hits and had hit songs such as “Day By Day” or “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” For Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim the 70’s was a golden era. One of his most popular tunes was “Send In The Clowns” from the play A Little Night Music. According to my research this song was licensed for more music boxes then any other song in history.
Another Broadway composer that the 70’s was kind to was Marvin Hamlisch. His songs have been recorded for plays, movies, TV shows and been hits for many popular singers of the day. His biggest smash was the play A Chorus Line. The story line was just telling the individual story of people trying our for the chorus line of a play. It told the stories of how they got to this point in their lives and their hopes and dreams of wanting to hit the big time. The most popular songs from the show were “What I Did For Love” and the showstopper “One” You know the first line. It starts out…One! Singular sensation. Every little step she takes.
Broadway has never been shy about building a play around comic characters. One of the biggest plays of the 70’s was Annie, based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. It ran for years and was one of the best plays to be adapted to film a few years later. To this day everyone knows the big song from the play and they still sing the song. It is “Tomorrow”
This will continue at a later date. Perhaps…Tomorrow!

Now here is what Randy had to say about his song Rise.

Hi Rick:

Thanks for the nice words about "Rise" last week. Just to set the record straight:

I was 22 in January 1979 and producing funk records for Columbia. Uncle Herb called me up and asked if I would work up some disco versions of some of his old Tijuana Brass songs. I never ever presented him with the idea of doing disco versions of anything. I was never a disco fan. My thing was James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Funkadelics, Aretha, etc.

At our fiest meeting in Herb's office at A&M I played him Rise and he loved it however he still asked me to work up a disco version of the Lonely Bull and 2 other songs. I hated the idea then and never wanted to even attempt to record them. I had new songs and new ideas and thankfully when we went in to record them in early February, Herb did not like what he heard so we did Rise.

Please note that I did not just pull out Rise because we had extra time booked in the studio. I had music charts drawn up for the musicians and we picked the musicians with the mind of recording Rise. I'm not sure how this all got started about me wanting to do disco. Not true at all. In fact I never wanted to work with Herb. I changed my name to Badazz because I wanted to be my own person totally out of the shadow of Herb. It took quite a bit of persuading by Herb to even get me to work with him. However, I'm glad that we worked together because we had a lot of fun and we created a classic record that went to #1 around the world.

There sure haven't been a lot of #1 pop instrumental records during the past 27 years and I'm fortunate to have been a part of it.

Thank you again for your kind words and sharing your happy memories..

randy badazz alpert

Iron Man and Hostess Vs. The Bank Robbers

Don't want to disappoint anyone who has become use to seeing the Hostess and the superheroes here on Saturday becaue of the best of series that I am running. So here is Iron Man and Hostess fruit pies as they stop bank robbers.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Best of On My Mind part 5: Happy 40th Anniversary to The Monkees!

On September 12th of 2006 I posted this article on the 40th anniversary of the Monkees. It was the most linked to article that I have ever posted.

It was 40 years ago today Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider taught the band to play. They’ve been going in and out of style but they’re guaranteed to raise a smile. So may I introduce to you Bob and Bert’s pre-fab four get no respect club band. The Monkees! Ok so I paraphrased the lyrics of a Lennon- McCartney song but the description fits. On September 12th of 1966 NBC aired the first episode of the Monkees TV series. The idea for the series came to Bob Rafelson in 1962. It was to be about the life of a struggling folk music group. It was based on a group that he had been in earlier. He couldn’t get anyone interested in his idea until The Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” was released. With changing the group into a pop rock band and help from Bert Schneider he was able to sell his idea to Screen Gems, the television division of Columbia Pictures.
They placed a now famous ad calling for all “Ben Frank types” to audition for parts in their project. Ben Franks was a popular restaurant in the area where a lot of teens and 20 somethings hung out at in the evenings. Of those chosen only one saw the ad. Another was already under contract to Columbia Pictures. One was set up for a private audition by his manager and the fourth was referred to the auditions by a friend who had tried but failed his audition. They were in order Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. So with a recently discharged from the military guitar player, a former amateur Jockey turned Broadway star, a former child star and a full time dishwasher part-time musician all signed to the show and the series was under way. It sounds like a recipe for disaster with four very different personalities trying to blend together but the show was a hit but it looked more like a TV version of "Help!" then it did "A Hard Day's Night". Rafelson said they tried at first to cast existing groups like the Lovin’ Spoonful into the roles but they found thier memebers to have almost the same personalities. TV audiences like to watch personalities that are in conflict with each other. So they decided to cast four different personalities.
The pilot was filmed in November of 1965. There was a fifth member of the cast in the pilot. An actor was hired to play their manager in order to give them some parental authority. When it was screened for test audiences the pilot failed. The producers noticed that most of the poorly rated parts were the slow scenes with the manager. Also the audiences seemed to be getting the four younger band members mixed up. They edited out most of the managers scenes and added on Davy and Mike’s screen test at the beginning. They hoped this would solve any confusion and tested the pilot again. This time it became one of the best tested pilots in the history of television at that time. The show was on the air in the fall of 1966 and was a big hit. It was such a big hit that the Monkees even had an influence on Star Trek. Star Trek was not doing very well in the ratings. In order to get some of the teenage television audience Roddenberry created the character of Ensign Chekov in 1967 and hired Walter Koenig to play the part because he resembled Davy Jones. This didn’t help ratings much but it did add to the Star Trek legacy that is still felt to this day. Trouble started to come early on when the four stars had been promised to play their own music but Don Kirshner, the musical supervisor for the series, would only allow them to sing on the records but not play their own instruments. While Micky was probably happy with this as he was not a real drummer, Mike and Peter were not. The music press got hold of this. Mike got furious and spearheaded a campaign that in the end got Krishner fired and The Monkees got to produce their next album themselves. Credit has to be given to Micky Dolenz for learning to play the drums so fast in such a short period of time. He was now competing on the charts with drummers like Ringo Starr, Dennis Wilson and Keith Moon. These men had been playing the drums almost all their lives. Micky had only been playing them a few months and was expected to hold his own in that competition. I think he did pretty well.
No one had ever expected Leonard Nimoy to become a Vulcan or for Richard Chamberlain to perform surgery or for Raymond Burr to defend a client in a court of law. However, the Monkees were expected to become a real group and they did. By 1971 after many gold records, sold out concerts, Emmy awards, a movie and a television special, the Monkees were over. The show was a hit in syndication and radio stations still played their hit records. Mike Nesmith had a successful country music career, Peter Tork was teaching and Davy and Micky were trying to get their show business careers back on track. They were the two most identified with the Monkees and were severely typecast. It’s hard to escape a role you were typecast in when you and the character you played on the show have the same name. Micky did voice acting in many cartoons and even tried out for the part of Fonzie on Happy Days. Henry Winkler said that when he saw Micky Dolenz trying for the part he thought Micky would get the part instead of him. Micky himself said when he went up for roles the producers would ask him “What are you doing here? You’re a drummer.” He had to remind them he was only playing a drummer. Micky and Davy formed another group with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and released an album and did a brief tour of the U.S.A. and Japan and did a television special. Later they disbanded too.
By the 1980’s it was coming to light that just as the Beatles influenced the Monkees, the Monkees had an influence on bands that were emerging in the 80’s. The Bangles was a huge all female group at that time and have said they were influenced by the Monkees music. Micky, Davy and Peter reformed the group. Micky said that over the years people have asked what it would take to get him and the others together. For him he said it would take a huge amount of money. Usually they went away shaking their heads. This time they didn’t. With the help of MTV running the old shows the Monkees reunion tour and album was a success. They even had another hit song on the charts with “That Was Then, This Is Now.” Eventually the group members went their separate ways again. In 1996 all four members reunited for their 30th anniversary for a tour of England, a TV special and a new album called “Justus.” Fans in America were saddened when only 3 of the Monkees toured there as they had been waiting for a complete reunion for years. Bootleg copies of concerts in England have surfaced in the States but so far no complete reunion concert tour live or otherwise has happened here.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Monkees TV show. No special concert has been announced but Rhino records has released special CD’s of their first two albums and the show is back in syndication. You can catch the four members in separate concerts from time to time. So happy 40th to the Monkees! Long may your music and TV show play.
The above photo is from and you can go to their fan club site if you click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best of On My Mind part 4: theJughead Jones Interview Part 2

Perhaps I should have called this series personal favorites as that is what I seem to be choosing. Here is a fictional interview that I did in Feb. of 2006. I recently did another one a few weeks ago. I did an interview with Archie once but for some reason Jughead's interviews seem to just flow. Anyeay here it is again.

Earlier today I got a call from Jughead. He said that he wanted to tell me how Archie’s
concert went last night.

OMM: Thanks for calling you know you didn’t really have to.

JJ: That’s all right I’m happy to do it.

OMM: You don’t mind if I put this on my website do you?

JJ: Nope! I don’t mind at all.

OMM: OK! So what happened?

JJ: Well my family arrived early at Kleats Stadium so we could wish Arch good luck.

OMM: Wasn’t it cold this time of year to have a concert at a stadium?

JJ: Most places it would be but this is a dome stadium. We kept pretty warm. Anyway Cricket, the kids and I wished Arch good luck and took our seats.

OMM: Cricket? You married Cricket O’Dell?

JJ: Yeah! You remember her?

OMM: Sure do. She was one of the people in Riverdale that they interviewed once the Archies hit it big. Why are you surprised?

JJ: Because they interviewed our teachers, parents and friends like Moose, Dilton, Ethel and a few others hundreds of times. Cricket was only in the papers 2 or 3 times.

OMM: Well she left an impression. I don’t mean to offend you but she came off like a gold digger in those interviews. All she talked about was how you guys must be raking it in and she didn’t care for you or Archie before but now she did.

There is a long pause. Then Jughead speaks.

JJ: You have not hurt my feelings cause that is the way she can come off. Yes, we all knew that she was like that back then. She always hung around Veronica and Reggie because they had more money. When I came back to Riverdale she started dating me because she thought I had a lot of money. When I figured that out I told her the truth. I spent most of it on drugs but I was off of them now. That must have really touched her. She showed me caring and compassion that I thought was beyond her. We started seeing each other more and more. She got me going back to church. We both accepted Christ and got baptized on the same day. Not too long after that we were married. Later we gave birth to Archie and Cricket.

OMM: Oh that’s nice. You named your kids after your best friend and your wife.

JJ: Well they are two of the most important people in my life. Anyway Betty, Tracy and Fred sat with us.

OMM: Who’s Fred?

JJ: Didn’t I mention him last time? Fred is Archie’s boy. Archie named him after his Dad. Anyway Archie was introduced by Principal Doiley.

OMM: Dilton?

JJ: Yeah Dilton is the principal of the high school. Arch started out playing old 50’s tunes. After that he played some Beatles, Beach Boys and the Monkees. He stopped and explained that he played those instead of his tunes because those were the ones he grew up on and gave him the idea to start The Archies.

OMM: Something I’ve always wondered. Archie didn’t seem like a vain type of person. Why did he name the group after himself?

JJ: He didn’t the majority of the group said it should be called The Archies. Now I don’t mean to sound conceited but we were the most popular students in school. We wanted to play at the school dances and said it should be named after the most popular one in our group. Betty, Veronica and I said it should be The Archies. Arch was the most popular and his name sounds friendly and upbeat. Reggie freaked out. He thought we were going to name us The Reggies. To this day if he brings up a reunion he calls us The Reggies.

OMM: Did he play any Archies tunes?

JJ: Reggie? I don't know if he still plays them or not. (He laughs)

OMM: Come on you know I mean Archie.

JJ: Yes he did. Of course played Sugar, Sugar. Then he sang Bang Shang A Lang. Circle of Blue was neat because they showed a promo film that we did for it that had Arch chasing Veronica and she was after Reg and he was after Betty. They were all running in a circle.

OMM: I remember seeing that one. Today that would be called a music video.

JJ: Yes the Beatles, Elvis, The Monkees and The Archies. We were the parents of MTV. Other songs he did were We’re One Big Family, Seventeen Ain’t Young, Sunshine, and Sugar and Spice. He dedicated Tracy to his daughter. I’m just glad that he didn’t do Waldo P. Emerson Jones.

OMM: Why not?

JJ: Because the song was written about me.

OMM: Really? I never knew that.

JJ: Yeah! If you remember the character of the song said he thought he looked like Rock Hudson. He thought he was a superman and said he knows the Beatles and Jimmy Page. Then they would say but he’s just Waldo P. Emerson Jones. Well that was how I acted when I was on drugs. I thought I was better looking then I was and I name dropped like crazy. They wanted me to get the message but didn’t want to say but he’s Jughead Jones so they changed everything but the last name.

OMM: Well you both live in Riverdale so he probably left it out in case you came.

JJ: I think you’re right. The last song was to be Scooby Doo. During that song I looked around and way in the back I see Reggie and Ronnie. I had an idea. I told Betty and we went to see Reg and Ron. We told them our idea and they loved it. After the last song the crowd called for an encore. Betty said lets do this now because Archie doesn’t have an encore. I think Archie was about to do the Star Spangled Banner when he noticed his back up band leaving. He looked puzzled till he saw the four of us coming on stage. We huddled together all with big smiles on our faces. Suddenly we all took our places. I got behind the drums. Reg got a guitar. Betty took a tambourine and Veronica the keyboards. When Betty stood behind the mike the crowd went wild and we played Jingle, Jangle.

OMM: Did you do anymore?

JJ: We did one more it was Who’s Your Baby. After that we left the stage.

OMM: So now are you guys going to reunite?

JJ: Reggie still says we should but I don’t think so. Maybe when they put us in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Archies were just kids having fun in a garage and we got lucky. Special moments like last night should be shared with those near and dear. Not exploited to make money. Reggie finally did tell us why he wanted a reunion. The Banana Splits reunion fell through and unless he comes in with a winner he might be sued for not delivering on his promise. Veronica told him maybe our old pals Josie and the Pussycats could help. She was talking to Josie last week and she was trying to get a reunion together. If that doesn’t pan out who knows maybe we will get back together.

OMM: In true Archie style, it’s to help out an old friend.

JJ: Well old friends are hard to find. Sometimes with Reg I think we should still be looking.

Jug laughs at his joke. He had to go. I thank him for the call. He says I can call anytime.
If I do I’ll let you dear readers know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Best of On My Mind Part 3: Little Archie

Here is a story that I posted about Little Archie and life back in January 2006.
Over at his site Fred Hembeck has a wonderful story about Little Archie and Elvis. That got me to thinking about Little Archie in general. The above photo is from this auction on E-Bay. I looked through my collection but couldn't find any stories on Little Archie. That is sad but not too surprising to me. You see I liked Little Archie but I loved teenage Archie. But it really should have been the other way around. Both were written and drawn well. But Little Archie seems, in hindsight, to have had more meat to it. You could say both series were funny. Both were at times adventuresome. However, Little Archie has something extra about it. It was about a little boy learning the basics of life. Think about your own life. When you look back you are most fond of your teenage years as it had your first date, first kiss, first job etc. Still you had already mastered the building blocks of your life. You had already learned about life and death. Hopefully saw what a good marriage was like by watching your parents. Learned how to make and keep a friend and to be a good friend. All that and more is usually learned, at least in my own experience, before you hit 13. That is what was the real meat behind Little Archie. As the old saying goes what you are at 4 you are at 40.
There is an interesting story that I heard about the creation of Little Archie. Perhaps you have heard it too. If not then I will tell you. Mr. Goldwater, the creator of Archie, was playing cards with other comic book publishers and creators. They were talking about the ups and downs of their business. Then one of them said to him...we always have to keep coming up with different characters to keep our comics going. You only have to do different versions of Archie. You can do young Archie, old Archie, big Archie, Little Archie... A light bulb went off in Mr. Goldwater's head and Little Archie was born. I didn't put any quotation marks on what was said as I don't know if those were the exact words used. However, that is how I heard it.
Also, in the photo above you see the Archie comics version of Dr. Doom. This is not the only time he has appeared. I may show you another time he was in an Archie story some other time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Best of On My Mind part 2: A Letter From My Dad

Here is part two of the best of On My Mind as we countdown to our second anniversary on October 22nd.
When my Dad was sick and knew he may not make it he wrote me this letter.
To My Son,
Ricky you were the finest son a man could ever want or hope for. You were honest, thoughtful, trusting, generous, never a problem and more things that showed me you loved your fellow man as God would want. Rick always believe and trust in God. Never let anyone tell you any different or try to come between you and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Study your Bible and draw even closer to God through prayer and service to Him. Remember your teaching's of the Bible and always try to live up to them. The Lord will be with you always. Remember and take care of your Mother. She loves you deeply. I love you son. See you in Heaven. Dad

I love you and will see you in Heaven one day too Dad.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Best of On My Mind Part 1: The Baptisim

My anniversary as a blogger will be here next week. To celebrate this on line anniversary I will be reposting some of what I consider the best of what I have put on this since October 2005. The day of the anniversary I will have an on line party and linking to the sites that I go to almost every day.
Then we will begin year 3 of On My Mind.
So tell your family. Tell your friends and link everyday to keep up with the countdown to the anniversary day.
Today here is a poem that I wrote and posted in 2005.

This is a poem that I wrote describing the time I was baptized.

I was so young when I first heard,
how the Word can set you free.
It talked of Jesus.
It talked of love.
It talked of Calvary.

The walk down the aisle was just a small trial.
Then I took the preacher's hand.
Men talked with me and asked me questions.
They were sure I would go to the Promised Land.

The time went by and then the day came.
I was dunked under water
and when I was let up Jesus knew my name.

He knew it from the start.
The rest was up to me.
To let Him in my heart
and express my thanks for Calvary.

copyright 2005 Ricky Phillips

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Abba, ONJ and Andy Gibb sing the Beach Boys

This was a fun little video that I found on You Tube. The fun that this group of people really shows through as they seem to be just enjoying singing and each others company. It seems to be from a variety special from the 1970's and I would guess that it was an Olivia Newton John special as she seems to be the one holding court. The 70's was a much lighter spirited time in many ways then today. I can imagine all of these people just getting together just to be together because they were friends or if they hadn't met before then perhaps because they really wanted to meet and work on a project together. Click on the video and watch. You will be glad that you did.