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Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? : A Great Read For Music Lovers

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Kingston Trio singer and guitarist  Nick Reynolds rehearses in his hotel room before a performance in  Sacramento in 1999. Photo by Amanda Domingues.

Kingston Trio singer and guitarist Nick Reynolds rehearses in his hotel room before a performance in Sacramento in 1999. Photo by Amanda Domingues.

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Authors Jeff March and Marti Smiley Childs explore the lives of 26 pop artists who hit the the top of American charts from the late 1950’s thru the 1960’s. This book quite refreshingly focuses on the success and personalities of the artists interviewed, not sad aspects of their lives. It is the perfect Christmas gift for the music lover in your family.

The long and complex history of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Association[/lastfm] is the first act covered. They were first rock band to appear at both the Greek Theatre, and Coconut Grove. The Association gave us some of the 1960’s best material. The once controversial “Along Comes Mary,” a breezy number called “Windy,” the powerful Addrisi Bros. ballad “Never My Love” and the #1 smash “Cherish,” just to name a few.

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bobby Vee[/lastfm] was just a teenager when he first rose to stardom with 10 hit songs that hit the charts including “Devil Or Angel,” “Take good Care of My Baby” and “Run To Him.” Did you know that Bobby was a fill-in act on the fatal tour that took the lives of (his hero) Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper ?

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Peter Noone[/lastfm] was a household name at the tender age of 15. His group  [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Herman’s Hermits[/lastfm] had more hits than [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles[/lastfm] in 1965. Unlike other British groups, Peter did not try to hide his working class accent, which is quite prevalent on “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter,” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.”

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Zombies[/lastfm] spearheaded The British Invasion in 1964 with a very unique mix of Rod Argent’s commanding keyboard and Colin Blunstone’s gripping vocals on “She’s Not There.” Their 1965 follow-up “Tell Her No,” and 1969 swan song “Time Of The Season” (released after their break-up), remain some of the finest singles on the 1960’s. Ironically, Colin was flat broke at that point and forced to sell insurance for a living. The surviving Zombies re-united for a short tour recently, and were sensational.

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Chris Montez[/lastfm] was hassled much as a teenager at Hawthorne High School. He once shared science class with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Brian Wilson[/lastfm] of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beach Boys[/lastfm]. Chris overcame it all, and hung in there to have a successful career. He broke thru in 1962 with “Let’s Dance,” and topped the charts in 1966 with “Call Me” and “The More I See You.” Chris is currently happily married to K-EARTH 101”s Chaz Kelly, who he met backstage at the Greek Theatre after a K-EARTH 101 show.

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Kingston Trio[/lastfm] was the first group in history to blend Caribbean Calypso, Polynesian, Folk and country banjo music all into what became a sensational stage act for over 50 years. The college circuit was never the same as lecturers were soon replaced by these crazy masters of mischief. Founding members Bob Shane and Dave Guard met in high school growing up in Hawaii. The zany [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Nick Reynolds[/lastfm] joined in 1957, and “The Kingston Trio” was born.

They were first discovered cutting up the stage at the appropriately titled ” Cracked Pot,” a tiny club near Menlo College. They recorded “Tom Dooley” for $900. It became their signature song. They sold more albums than anyone in the late 50’s and early 1960’s. Dave Guard’s departure in 1961 actually enhanced their popularity with  a very young [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Stewart[/lastfm] replacing him. “Greenback Dollar” caused a stir and was banned from radio because it contained the curse word “damn” in it. A cleaned up version featuring a loud guitar riff replaced the “damn” thing. “The Reverend Mr. Black”  hit the top 10 shortly thereafter. They were so big that opening acts for the Kingston Trio once included [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bill Cosby[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bob Newhart[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Barbra Streisand[/lastfm]. They had a very successful 10 year original run, disbanding in 1967. Nick retired for awhile, Bob stayed busy. John Stewart went on to become a star in the 1970’s, peaking  with the huge Top 40 hit “Gold” featuring [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Lindsey Buckingham[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stevie Nicks[/lastfm].

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bob Shane[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Nick Reynolds[/lastfm] are truly two of the craziest people I have ever met in my life. They re-grouped with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Grove[/lastfm] in the 1980’s, and I saw them many times, including their very last show in 1999. Nick once said “Too much fun is not enough.” Bob will tell you he was “the very first Elvis impersonator,” back in the 1950’s. A very bright and knowledgable guy, Bob also claims to have only read 3 books in his life:  (1) War And Peace, (2) A book on memory and (3) “one that I forgot.” I think I ‘ll have a “Scotch and Soda” for Bob and the guys right now.

Catch up with all your favorite stars by getting a copy of Where Have All The Pop Stars Gone? Jeff and Marti spent nearly 15 years interviewing artists, their families and all surviving contributors researching and cross checking all of the material contained. The entire book is both interesting and informative.  However my favorite part  is the picture of the 1951 Seeburg Select-O-Matic jukebox. I have one just like it at home.  Bill Dudley can be heard on K-EARTH 101’s sister station 94.7 THE WAVE.

Find out more at www.editpros.com. You can also “like” their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WHATPSG.

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