Archive for the ‘1968’ Category

It’s interesting to note that the year of 1968 held many changes and new opportunities for The Nickel Revolution. Rock and roll music had evolved and the messages in music were stronger than ever. Why?

Music is a reflection of the times and our country was going through many changes and challenges, consequently the songwriters and bands were responding with songs that would become anthems for many.

The year begins for The Nickel Revolution on an “easy feeling,” and the band goes into the studio to record Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ a cover of the Platters hit. Kent Saunders added his excellent vocals. The second recording was Ron Honeybear Hort singing, “Treat Her Right,” by Roy Head.

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

 

The main point of talking about these songs is very clear as it relates to 1968. The year begins with an easy R&B feel for The Nickel Revolution and by the end of the year a heavier rock and roll version of the band emerges. Look at the clothes and style of the band. At the beginning of the year the band wears suits, including tuxes for some shows, and by the end of the year The Nickel Revolution is no longer in matching outfits. Individual style, custom-made clothes with each member expressing their own taste and appearance and long hair.

As 1968 began, we were a show band and the line up included Kent Saunders (lead guitar), Ron Honeybear Hort (keyboards), JohnBerman (sax), Scott Jeffy (bass), Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Lenz (drums). By early spring, Kent Saunders and John Berman would leave to join other R&B show bands as The Nickel Revolution was moving toward a different sound. Keith Luer is added to the band on lead guitar, bringing original songs and a new rock flavor to the band.

Oddly enough, it was the same year that the band would win, “Best New Material” Award and the Connie Awards in May and be contracted with Mercury Records/Phillips label for the Candy Floss recording of Oscar Crunch, a bubblegum song. It’s awkward because this happened when the band was changing its sound and direction.

Oscar Crunch would become a local and regional hit for the band in the Midwest and radio play included eastern states as well. The Nickel Revolution were booked and packaged with bubblegum groups, but they only played one bubblegum song. Audiences didn’t mind, nor did the concert promoters and venue managers as The Nickel Revolution drew audiences.

Looking back at the music and news headlines of 1968 will demonstrate just how much change was taking place. One interesting story of that year for the band happened when a few of the guys traveled to Chicago to buy clothes and “hang out.” We had finished a gig in Wisconsin and part of the band returned to Minneapolis while Louie, Scott, Jerry and Rich Lindquist (one of our roadies) headed to the Windy City. We traveled in Louie’s brand new 1968 Ford Torino. It was dark blue with a white racing stripe down the center of the car, so it did stand out.

The band checked into a hotel and went out to cruise the streets of Chicago. Especially the north side where the emerging hippie shops were. We had our first real experience of being “hassled” by the cops. The corruption of Mayor Daley’s administration was legendary, including the police force.

Some undercover cops in an unmarked, beat up old dodge, pulled us over. It was unnerving as the car and the cops did not look right. The two “officers” looked like bar slobs. They made us get out of the car and sit on the curb while they searched our vehicle—and there was no traffic infraction or probable cause to search the car, nor did we give them permission to search us and the car. They were mad and disgusted to not find any pot or other illegal substances. They yelled at us and told us to get, “the hell out of Chicago,” noting our Minnesota plates and ID’s. The long hair didn’t help and they said we looked like girls. Fortunately we saved our comments about them for later. Daley’s welcoming committee taught us a lesson—be careful in a corrupt city. This was just a few short weeks before the huge anti-war protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention where the police brutalized the protesters. There are plenty of articles and photos online to demonstrate how bad the situation was.

The leading news stories of 1968:

<>Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy assassinated two months apart.

<>The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive

<>1968 – Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act

<>Shirley Chisholm becomes first black woman elected to U.S. Congress

<>Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention

<>U.S. signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

<>United States presidential election, 1968 (Richard Nixon elected president)

Now let’s look at the changes in music and the Billboard Top 100 of 1968

1.

Hey Jude The Beatles

2.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine Marvin Gaye

3.

Love Is Blue Paul Mauriat

4.

Love Child Diana Ross &The Supremes

5.

Honey Bobby Goldsboro

6.

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay Otis Redding

7.

People Got To Be Free The Rascals

8.

This Guy’s In Love With You Herb Alpert

9.

Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) JohnFred &His Playboy Band

10.

Woman Woman Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

11.

Mrs. Robinson Simon &Garfunkel

12.

Who’s Making Love Johnnie Taylor

13.

Hello I Love You The Doors

14.

Tighten Up Archie Bell &The Drells

15.

Young Girl Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

16.

HarperValleyPta Jeannie C. Riley

17.

Those Were The Days Mary Hopkin

18.

Little Green Apples O.C. Smith

19.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly HugoMontenegro

20.

Bend Me, Shape Me American Breed

21.

Cry Like A Baby The Box Tops

22.

Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf

23.

Green Tambourine The Lemon Pipers

24.

Midnight Confessions The Grass Roots

25.

For Once In My Life Stevie Wonder

26.

It’s A Beautiful Morning The Rascals

27.

Spooky Classics Iv

28.

Abraham, Martin AndJohn Dion

29.

Stoned Soul Picnic 5th Dimension

30.

Chain Of Fools Aretha Franklin

31.

Mony Mony Tommy James &The Shondells

32.

Classical Gas Mason Williams

33.

Cowboys To Girls The Intruders

34.

I Love How You Love Me Bobby Vinton

35.

The Ballad Of Bonnie AndClyde Georgie Fame

36.

I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You Bee Gees

37.

Grazing In The Grass Hugh Masekela

38.

Angel Of The Morning Merrilee Rush &The Turnabouts

39.

Fire Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

40.

(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls Dionne Warwick

41.

Born To Be Wild Steppenwolf

42.

The Horse Cliff Nobles &Co.

43.

Lady Willpower Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

44.

Slip Away Clarence Carter

45.

I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations

46.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash The Rolling Stones

47.

Light My Fire JoseFeliciano

48.

(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone Aretha Franklin

49.

La-La Means I Love You The Delfonics

50.

Girl Watcher The O’kaysions

51.

Different Drum Stone Poneys F/Linda Ronstadt

52.

Stormy Classics Iv F/ Dennis Yost

53.

Yummy Yummy Yummy OhioExpress

54.

Hold Me Tight Johnny Nash

55.

The Look Of Love Sergio Mendes &Brazil66

56.

Sunshine Of Your Love Cream

57.

Dance To The Music Sly &The Family Stone

58.

Turn Around Look At Me The Vogues

59.

Over You Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

60.

Reach Out Of The Darkness Friend And Lover

61.

Simon Says 19l0 FruitgumCo.

62.

Revolution The Beatles

63.

Bottle Of Wine The Fireballs

64.

Lady Madonna The Beatles

65.

Love Is All Around The Troggs

66.

MacarthurPark Richard Harris

67.

Take Time To Know Her Percy Sledge

68.

Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan

69.

White Room Cream

70.

I Got The Feelin’ James Brown

71.

Nobody But Me The Human Beinz

72.

1,2,3, Red Light 1910 Fruitgum Co.

73.

Think Aretha Franklin

74.

You Keep Me Hangin’ On Vanilla Fudge

75.

Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You The Lettermen

76.

The Unicorn The Irish Rovers

77.

Baby, Now That I’ve Found You The Foundations

78.

Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell

79.

The Fool On The Hill Sergio Mendes &Brazil’66

80.

Susan The Buckinghams

81.

Time Has Come Today Chambers Brothers

82.

I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin

83.

IndianLake The Cowsills

84.

I Thank You Sam And Dave

85.

Elenore The Turtles

86.

Hush Deep Purple

87.

Here Comes The Judge Shorty Long

88.

My Special Angel The Vogues

89.

I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite Tommy Boyce &Bobby Hart

90.

Stay In My Corner The Dells

91.

Both Sides Now Judy Collins

92.

The House That Jack Built Aretha Franklin

93.

You’re All I Need To Get By Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell

94.

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo] Manfred Mann

95.

Suzie Q (Part One) Creedence Clearwater Revival

96.

Do You Know The Way ToSanJose Dionne Warwick

97.

If You Can Want Smokey Robinson &The Miracles

98.

Say It Loud-I’m Black And I’m Proud (Part 1) James Brown

99.

I Love You People

100.

Piece Of My Heart Big Brother &The Holding Company

If you are familiar with the music, it is very easy to see the contrasting sounds and the emergence of more, “message music” as you look at the Billboard Top 100 for 1968. Interesting to note that Here Comes The Judge by Shorty Long came in at number 87, because at the beginning of the same year, The Nickel Revolution recorded a version of Here Comes da Judge for Candy Floss Productions which was never released (available on Amazon and iTunes). You can see the story on this blog in an earlier entry.

Back to the changing music of 1968, let’s look at two artists and their releases. The first is Dion with Abraham, Martin And John (number 28 on the chart above).

Dion Dimuci was the lead singer in a 50s Doo Wop group, Dion and the Belmonts and he had a lot more to say in his 1968 recording.  Abraham, Martin And John which was in reference to the assassinations of  President John F. Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.

 

 

 

Another true reflection of the changing times, anger over the Viet Nam war and musicians working to bring more message music, is  John Fogerty’s song Fortunate Son recorded by his group, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Here are the lyrics:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate son, no, no

1968 truly was a year of change and you can see how The Nickel Revolution was changing and evolving in their sound, direction and style.

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved

Sometimes it is hard to remember exactly how some of the members of the Nickel Revolution found us, or we found them. The core of the band remained Louie Lenz (guitar), Jerry Lenz (drums) and Scott Jeffy (bass)—that would never change. In fact, they were the members deciding when to bring the Nickel Revolution to a conclusion (we will dig deeper into that in a future blog entry).

The “Honeybear” Addition

In this post we celebrate Ron “Honeybear” Hort. Without a doubt, “Bear” was the most colorful, humorous addition to The Nickel Revolution. He always—well almost always—made us laugh and certainly expanded our network of friends and followers (interesting stories about some of our “followers”). He would turn an ordinary evening into an event with his antics and would often break into his Yiddish accent.

 In fact, the ONLY Candy Floss recording we are halfway proud of is the novelty song titled, Here Come Da’ Judge.

Follow this link to You Tube to hear Here Come Da’ Judge by The Nickel Revolution.

 

Photo of Honeybear adding the lead vocals in the studio (Jerry laughing in the background)

The story behind Here Come Da’ Judge

As mentioned in other posts, The Nickel Revolution were contractually obligated to Candy Floss Productions, a group of writers specializing in bubblegum hits. When the concept was presented to the Nickel, the band actually liked the idea of a novelty song based on the huge TV hit at the time, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

(The NBC program launched in January, 1968, ending in 1973.)

A popular recurring sketch was The Judge. The often-changing judge was always wearing a black robe and powdered wig. Flip Wilson is credited for introducing the sketch and announcing, “Here come de judge!” (Candy Floss flubbed the phrase in its spelling of the word, “de.”)

Others would play the judge character on Laugh-In including Sammy Davis Jr. and you can see various versions on You Tube.

After a few regular and boring takes, Honeybear brought the song to life by singing it in his Yiddish accent. The rest is history as they say and everyone in the studio was laughing out of control. It was the perfect touch for the song.

John Berman was with The Nickel Revolution for a short period of time and his sax talent is included on this “golden” recording.

The producers mixed the tune and made dubs. They immediately shopped their record label contacts offering a surefire novelty hit to the first company ready to take a risk. No deal was struck because Candy Floss did not have an original idea. There were dozens of bands racing to record a “Here come de judge!” song. One notable version was recorded by Shorty Long on Motown (hear it on You Tube).

How fitting as we celebrate Ron “Honeybear Hort.” Listening to the crazy recording of “Here Come Da’ Judge” will always be a reminder as to how much fun we had with Bear.

In addition to Louie, Jerry and Scott, here is a list of the members of The Nickel Revolution:

*Ron Hort “Honeybear” or “Bear” (keyboards)

Jeff Simon (lead guitar)

John Berman (sax)

*Kent Saunders (lead guitar)

*Keith Luer (lead guitar)

Mickey Larson (keyboards)

In Memory: Mickey Larson is the only member to graduate to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Bob Fisher (keyboards)

*Ron Hort, Kent Saunders and Keith Luer will be joining Louie, Jerry and Scott in the Nickel Revolution’s September 2012 Reunion.

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com  

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Link for Sweet, Sweet Lovin’: Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Link for Treat Her Right: Treat Her Right

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved

The national exposure generated by Don Webster and the Upbeat Show made it a must-stop for the musicians of the day. All the big acts wanted to appear on Upbeat and as Don says, “We had a great run from 1964 to 1971 and were shown in 100 cities across theUnited States.”  

The invitation to appear on the Upbeat show was an incredible opportunity for The Nickel Revolution and it came about because of the band’s silly bubblegum hit, “Oscar Crunch.” As we’ve discussed in previous posts the Nickel loathed the poorly written and produced song from Candy Floss Productions because it did not represent the Nickel’s rock/R&B repertoire. Nonetheless, there are several positives in having a major label (Mercury/Phillips) and radio stations through the Midwest and east coast playing your record and promoting your name on a daily basis.

The Nickel Revolution was recruited by a large national booking agency, Dino Enterprises of Indianapolis and they were responsible for booking The Nickel Revolution on the Upbeat TV Show. The agency also provided the band its largest income with major gigs all over the country as well as pairing the Nickel Revolution with national acts.

Upbeat Show was filmed in Cleveland on Saturday morning approximately two weeks before the air date. We were on in late November of 1968 and the program aired in December, 1968. Fortunately we were back home in Minneapolis when the show aired so we could enjoy it (laugh our butts off) with friends and family. Remember, this is well before video taping, so there was no second chance to catch a show (sure wish we could find a copy of this rare gig).

 We had a heavy travel schedule in that on the Friday night before we filmed Upbeat, we appeared in concert in Illinois, with Question Mark and the Mysterians who had a huge hit “96 Tears.” We had to travel through the night to get to Cleveland, check into a hotel for a couple hours sleep, and then race over to WEWS TV where the Upbeat Show was filmed. Fortunately, all the acts lip-synced their hits, so we did not need to drag all our equipment into the studios.

Show listing of the acts The Nickel Revolution appeared with on the Upbeat Show:

The Blues Magoos performing “Leavin’ Trunk”

The Ohio Express performing “Chewy, Chewy”

The Peppermint Rainbow performing “Will You Be Staying After Sunday?”

Neil Sedaka performing “Star Crossed Lovers” 

Bobby Vee performing “Someone to Love Me” 

The Youngbloods performing “Darkness, Darkness” 

The Nickel Revolution performing “Oscar Crunch”

Jerry Butler performing “Never Give You Up” 

O.C. Smith performing “Little Green Apples”

After taping the Upbeat Show, The Nickel Revolution rushed to southern Ohio appearing in concert at Shawnee State University, Portsmith, Ohio (southeast of Cincinnati).

Learn more about Upbeat Show here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upbeat_(TV_series)

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com  

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Link for Sweet, Sweet Lovin’: Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Link for Treat Her Right: Treat Her Right

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

 

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved

During 1960’s WDGY and KDWB were battling to promote the big rock shows in the Twin Cities to boost their radio ratings with listener contests and having their DJs onstage. On March 8, 1968, WDGY was the presenting radio station for “Super Scene ’68.”  The show was at the Metropolitan Sports Center and there was a great lineup with Wilson Pickett, the Hollies, Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Nickel Revolution and other local bands.

During this time, the Nickel Revolution was performing as a show band, doing R&B, blues and rock and upgraded to wearing tuxedos for big shows. Members during this time included Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar), Jerry Lenz (drums), Scott Jeffy (bass), Ron “Honeybear” Hort (keyboards), John Berman (sax) and Kent Saunders (lead guitar). Both John and Kent would only be with the band for a short period of time.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock had a big hit with “Incense and Peppermints.” And many of their fans were in attendance at Super Scene 68. One interesting story involving the Nickel Revolution is that Gene Gunnels, drummer for the Strawberry Alarm Clock, was missing his cow bell. If you’re familiar with the song Incense and Peppermints, you know that the cow bell plays an important part in performing the song. The Nickel Revolutions drummer, Jerry Lenz, had a cow bell and loaned it to Gene for their performance.

 

Wilson Pickett Hits as of 1968

“In The Midnight Hour” (1965)

“Land Of 1000 Dances” (1966)

“634-5789 (Soulsville,U.S.A.)” (1966)

“Funky Broadway” (1967)

“Don’t Knock My Love – Pt. 1” (1971)

“Don’t Fight It” (1965)

“Soul Dance Number Three” (1967)

“Mustang Sally” (1967)

“I’m In Love” (1967)

“I Found A Love – Part 1” (1967)

“I’m In Love” (1967)

“She’s Lookin’ Good” (1968)

“I’m A Midnight Mover” (1968)

The second headliner act was The Hollies, an English pop and rock group, known for their distinctive vocal harmony style, they became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s and 1970s. Some of their US hits include:

“Just One Look”

“Look Through Any Window”

“Bus Stop”

“Stop Stop Stop”

“On a Carousel”

“Carrie Anne”

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”

STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com  

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Link for Sweet, Sweet Lovin’: Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Link for Treat Her Right: Treat Her Right

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved